Pico De Loro (Mt. Palay Palay) – February 15, 2015

This year is probably the most outgoing that I have been in my entire life. I usually just stay home watch movies and play games. I haven’t been to many places. I think what triggered the change in me is the company Boracay and the family Unisan, Quezon trip last year. I saw how beautiful these places are and I realized that I’ve been keeping myself locked in a room all the time and I never got to appreciate nature.

I receive an invite from Ms. Weng last February to climb Pico de Loro(Mt. Palay-Palay). She is my previous supervisor who is now in a different department. I’ve always dreamed as a kid on going to some adventure trips like this. So I got excited and it didn’t take long for me to accept the invite. This is officially the first mountain that I’m going to hike. I’m not that athletic but I do play basketball from time to time so she said that I would be fine. One problem that I have is that I only have basketball shoes but she said that it is fine since some people climb Pico de Loro with just sandals and slippers so I went along with it.

A van picked us up from RCBC Ayala I think around 4AM and took us to Ternate, Cavite. One big benefit when joining Ms. Weng’s group is that they are from the Admin team of our company. So it’s easier for them to book company vehicles for these trips. Less hassle than going on commute, no need to pay fares and you can leave some of your things in the van so your pack won’t be that heavy.

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I think we were at the jump off and started hiking at around 6AM. The sun is just rising and we still have that fresh cool air with us. We took the old trail(I think this is no longer being used) and enjoyed the view of trees and distant mountains.

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We arrived at a registration point that also serve as a souvenir shop.1507614_10203822023054109_4744106881226511956_n 10984980_10203822023414118_5872524208431056722_n 10997779_10203822021734076_2914104982452970299_n

Then we continued on our journey passing through some streams along the way.

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We were going at a relax pace and I was really enjoying myself so I lost track of the time. But I think after about 1.5 to 2 hours, we reached the steep part of the trail were we have to grab on to tree branches. This means that we are near the campsite. Being a first timer, it was really a challenge as I’m not sure which branches is safe to hold on to. After 30 mins to 1 hour, we reached the campsite and decided to have lunch first before pushing through the summit.

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view of the summit from the campsite

I was surprise to see a lot of people and stores at the campsite. Only then that I realized that Pico de Loro is really popular with mountaineers.

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I guessed about an hour passed when we decided to push for the summit. I would say that this is probably the trickiest part of the climb. The trail was really steep and  the soil was so loose that one mistake and you would slide all the way back down or worse, fall of the edge of the mountain. It doesn’t help that I’m wearing basketball shoes. I guess it would have been easier if I was wearing actual trekking shoes.

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Alas we finally reached the summit! Yey!

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view of the campsite from the summit

Unfortunately we were not able to climb the famous monolith(Parrot’s Beak) as the queue of people waiting already reached the summit.

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view of the monolith from the summit
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behind me are the people waiting their turn for the monolith which already reached the summit

There is an option to traverse to Nasugbu, Batangas and there were locals at the summit offering their services as a guide. We didn’t take it since we have our own transport waiting. Extreme caution again needs to be taken when going down from the summit.

We had a bit of rest back at the campsite before going down. We decided to take the new trail. What we didn’t anticipate is that the new trail is really ‘new’. The trail is not that established and there were a lot of roots that could easily trip you. I almost tripped several times. I even bumped my knee on one of the bamboo trees as the trail was also a bit slippery.

I heard there was a mini falls somewhere nearby but I didn’t have a chance to see it.

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maybe it was just a bit dry… is this supposed to be the mini falls?

You are close to the jump off point once you see the stream.

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I had this sense of fulfillment after this climb. It was tiring but at the same time you feel some kind of completion once you reach the summit. It was then that I decided that this will only be my first climb but is not my last. We had a nice dinner at a restaurant called Lolo Claro’s before going home.

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