It has been years since I last saw you. The green really brings out the beauty in you as you sit majestically beckoning travelers to make the trek and worship your magnificence. To reach your heights and bask in the glory of being in that moment.
So it begins...
Basic information on the Mountain
Name: Mount Pico De Loro or Mt. Palay-Palay
Location: Maragondon, Cavite, a province south of Manila
Height: 664 MASL
Difficulty Level: 3/9 good for beginners
I had been running marathons and considered myself to be fit. I've climbed it once when I was in college with some mountaineering friends and had lived to survive it.
Tyrone, our climb leader gave us a list of recommended things to bring.
- Trail food (jelly, mixed nuts, chocolate, etc)
- 2 Liters of water and one Gatorade
- Arm sleeves/Cap
- A set of clothes
- First aid kit including medications that you might need
- salt packets (that's the runner in me saying I might need the sodium)
We rented a van so that we did not need to worry about our transportation. We met around 5:00 AM in the designated place in Manila and of course, some of the folks were late (dreaded Filipino time) It was about an hour ride from Manila to Cavite and we arrived around 7:00 AM and proceeded to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and pay about $2 for the environmental fee. We also took a guide that would help us for about $20 for 8 people.
The Journey begins
We started off the trail by crossing a wooden bridge and into a creek with slippery smooth stones. We took extra care as we did not want any accidents so near the starting point.
It rained the previous day so we wanted to take it slow and safe. The first 10 minutes of the trek was ok. I was far from being tired and Tyrone made sure that everyone was accounted. He assigned a sweeper that would make sure no one got left behind.
At the 30 minute mark. Tyrone made us take a rest and have a water break. Although he advised taking small sips only as he doesn't want us to feel bloated. I popped a Jelly cup in my mouth savoring the sweet taste of strawberry.
We started climbing again before our bodies start cooling off. The wet, muddy ground making the climb difficult and slow.
Aside from the muddy terrain, we had to overcome fallen trees, roots that would seemingly grab your feet, and thorny vegetation. I have a number of scratches. I would like to present a few that really made me question why I was there.
I was so confident in these shoes that had the patented chameleon adaptability that would ensure grip and remain waterproof thus keeping your feet dry. So you see me here right before I slip and landed on my nuts. It was not a pleasant feeling and looked downright pervy when I was holding them. About half of my group were female and they kept laughing as I held on the family jewels.
See that person peering out? Well someone from another group slipped and he was telling our team sorry for the delay as they made a makeshift stretcher and would be going down. So the Summit claimed its first victim.
We proceeded for another 30 minutes and Tyrone asked us again to rest. He explained the perils of loose rocks and footing. For the rest of climb, he asked that we be careful and try our footing first before committing the step. I ate some candy as he continued the lecture.
We were at the more than 1-hour mark when I felt some muscle cramps. Somebody was gracious enough to share her roll on liniment and I was fine again.
They would often give way and even if you are from another group they would lend a helping hand and lift you. It placed a smile on my face to be around these kinds of people.
They would often say "Excuse me po" when they pass by. The word (Po) is an honorific to signify respect.
Relatively short assault climb. Even with the rope, the footing was slippery. I kinda cheated by using the footholds created by the previous hikers as seen below.
Just like in life sometimes we have to make use of the strength and experience of others before us to make our journey easier.
No just kidding that is just me almost slipping again. That patented chameleon technology is not cracked up to be effective.
At the 2 hour mark, I was straggling behind. The slopes were getting steeper and the footholds harder to come by as the muddy ground shifted under my weight. I wanted to rest and drink one whole bottle of water.
I was hot, in pain and cranky. The group kept urging me on that I can do it. My mind was not listening as it only felt the discomfort. Several scratches on my leg started to itch. I popped another jelly cup in my mouth savoring its sweet taste. I took a deep breath and started to climb.
We arrived at Basecamp. A small clearing where other trekkers set up camp, pitch tents and spread their blankets as they take a well-deserved rest. It is time to mend the bruises and scratches. Drink that pain reliever and massage your legs.
Of course, this is time for lunch as well!!! Just a simple meal with friends. Rice and grilled chicken and washed down with water.
We took a power nap to regain some energy and off to make the final assault.
We took the obligatory photo in front of it. This was the whole reason for this journey.To reach the pinnacle and savor the view. It is to push yourself and overcome pain, tiredness and, thirst to reach the top.
This is why a guide is needed to help us safely traverse the final assault. As much as I want to take pictures I wanted to live more besides I have the memories and scars.
There we were in The Summit. A 360-degree view of the valley below. As I breathe in the air and enjoy the breeze. I close my eyes and bask under the sun. I am grateful for the experience. To have pushed myself to the brink of quitting many times but to hear the encouraging words of my group. To reach the pinnacle and be happy with my accomplishment.
But wait there is more!!
Next to The Summit is this huge slab of rock about 50 Feet tall and only accessible by climbing the sheer wall with ropes. That was a nope for me. Not today.
Afterward, we returned to Base Camp and rested again before making the climb down. We happily chatted and recalled the instances that we wanted to stop. Of reaching deep and getting that 2nd and 3rd wind to continue.
We laugh about the bloopers and slips. They recall the Eunuch incident again and another round of boisterous laughter ensues. I join the laughter.
The climb down went relatively well without further injuries. Arriving at the foot of the mountain. We rested again and enjoyed a much-deserved shower for 20 cents.
The van returns and picks us up. I look outside and see the trees breeze by. I can still hear some of them talking. This is the last image as I drift off to sleep.
Mountain Hiking is a popular passion among Filipinos. It has many health benefits like cardio and breathing in that oxygen-rich air.
It is a great stress reliever as you leave the hustle and bustle of the metro and only think of overcoming the obstacles and reaching The Summit.
Once there you are grateful for the beauty that surrounds you and feels a sense of accomplishment. You get a natural high as dopamine courses through your body.
You think of the next goal, the next mountain you want to conquer. Untill the next time.
I would like to thank both @anomadsoul and @guyfawkes4-20 for this great quest. I have never done a travel post before. I have seen a lot of great ones but never attempted it. Here is to overcoming obstacles.
All that is left is the Dtube and Compilation post. Onwards!