My first hike this year is at the rolling hills and mountains of Mount Batulao in Nasugbu, Batangas. This is my first time to try hiking outside Cordillera mountains.
Here’s a short vlog about the hike, click this link: Vlog: Mount Batulao
Me and my boyfriend started the travel to Mount Batulao from Lipa City, Batangas. That is roughly an hour away from Makati City, Metro Manila. So, from the SM Lipa grand terminal, we rode a van going to Nasugbu. We left Lipa at around 6:30 in the morning. The van dropped us off at a terminal near the public market of Nasugbu, another 20-minute ride to the jump-off point which is at KC Hillcrest Golf Course. We arrived at the jump-off at 8:30am. We first rode a tricycle on the way to meet our tour guide. We’re four in the group and hired a locale to guide us. Trust me, you need a tour guide that knows the trail, even though they say that Mount Batulao is for beginners.
The “muddy” trek
Our tour guide lent us hiking kawayan sticks, which is truly helpful. It rained the night before so the first part of the trek is a bit muddy. I advise you to wear comfortable shoes, better with spikes so that your feet have something to hold on to.
Trekking the “peaks”
There are 12 peaks of Mount Batulao, the 12th or the last peak is of course, the summit or the highest peak. You can stop and rest for a few minutes at every peak. It is also a must to pay fees to the locales at some of the stopovers. Individually, hikers must pay Php20-30. In our case, we only paid at one station and our tour guide just signed up our names at the next stopovers. He made a deal with us that we’ll just pay him after the hike.
We passed through old and new trail. A lot of hikers are following us too and the others are going down already. We tried to rush so we won’t arrive the summit too late. Some parts of the trail have only enough space for a few people to pass, only the hikers that can go down or go up. We must climb up a sturdy rope one by one, though it’s a bit scary, I just rushed because I know there are more hikers that will climb up or go down.
For the record, I have a fear of heights. Honestly, I quit being part of the cheerleading group in college when I was told I will be on top of the pyramid or the one to be tossed up in the air! Anyways, back to the trek, on our way to peak 10, our tour guide already carefully holding me and my friend on the way to up to the “camel rocks” he says. It is rocky, high and oh man, I was so darn scared. I was advised to don’t look down, (bangin na yun) and just focus on my steps. I feel the rush in my chest, because we don’t have safety gear or harness or anything. Before reaching peak 11, my stomach is feeling acidic, and I was palpitating a bit. Seriously, we did not have enough sleep the night before and didn’t eat that much. I was telling my boyfriend I want to be left behind but still he and my friends encouraged me. I pulled myself together and just kept on drinking water, Gatorade and eating jelly ace along the way!
So we reached the summit around 11:00 in the morning! We brought food so we had our lunch there in front of the breathtaking view at the top of Mount Batulao. I must say, it totally different from what I used to, given that I am from Baguio City, yes, we are on top, the Cordilleras but it’s all mountains. At Mount Batulao, I can see not only mountains, there are plantations, valleys, the lake where the water breaks into the ocean. I think that’s already part of the Taal lake or the sea going to Mindoro.
The Trek Summary
There are no trees along the trek so basically, there are no shades but the stopovers at each peak. Good thing it wasn’t that too sunny. Going up, it was drizzling but stops again then the sun shows up. The trail is covered with cogon grass where it bends, bows down and sways wherever the direction of the wind is. Ahh, it was quite windy along the trek. Along the way, it is a pleasant scenic view of towns in Batangas and grass ridges. Beside the trail, if it’s not cogon grasses, we sew a few wild berries, Makahiya leaves, small and pretty flower beds that you do not see often especially in the city. I love the feeling of going to a place that brings out the nature lover within me. I enjoyed the trip, what’s also surprising was that the other hikers you meet along the way would say “Ingat po”, “good morning po” and “enjoy po”, that makes me smile. On our way back to the jump-off, it’s slightly difficult because the way is sometimes too steep, but I got the hang of it. We capped off the hike with a good serving of Batangas’ famous lomi.
That’s it, I don’t want to make this blog too long. I just want to share to you all my experience on my trip to Mount Batulao. Where do you suggest I should climb next? Please do leave comments below!