#17th Climb: Revisiting Mt. Batulao

When I started climbing, I have that principle that I will not climb the same mountain but because of this amazing mountain, everything has changed.

As per this famous quote of Lito Tejada-Flores says:

“You never climb the same mountain twice, not even in memory. Memory rebuilds the mountain, changes the weather, retells the jokes, remakes all the moves.”  

I realized that its not the mountain alone but its the memories with people I’m with during my climb that makes it special, enjoyable and memorable.

When I was asked by a co-mountaineer Mami Shee to organized a climb for her family this summer vacation, I can’t say “NO” to her. I post an event on facebook for a Sunday dayhike climb in Mt. Batulao  and I was so surprised that many shows their interest to join, and some of them were my college friends Kaye and Joycy. I asked my friend Alcon who were very familiar to Mt. Batulao to be our guide since he is also from Batangas. Then Sunday came, we were 14 which include my co-freelance backpackers Emi, Jean with her sister and bf, Alcon with his 2 climbing buddies Kim and Leann, college friends Joycy and Kaye, a friend Raymund and the Masalonga Family, Mami Shee and husband Sir Leo with their 2 sons Shen and the wonder kid Ace (7yo). Most of them were 1st time to Batulao except of course to Alcon and his climbing buddies so everybody were very excited for this climb.

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pray first before climbing

Why I said Ace is a wonder kid because throughout the climb, he was the most energetic among us, we never saw him feeling eexhaustes, despite of his young age. Actually he was the most active on every thrills and challenges on the trail of Mt. Batulao like rapelling and face the wall. But of course we are all securing his safety especially his parents.

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the open trail

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the green green grass of Mt. Batulao 🙂

Mt. Batulao is on the top list for dayhikes but you can also try an overnight climb. With its fork-shape landscape,  this makes the mountain very appealing to the eye of the hikers. Majority of the trail were open that makes it exposed to whatever type of weather, during rainy season, it was muddy and slippery; during summer (like our climb), it feels like desert so it is advisable to bring protection from the heat of the sun throughout the climb. It was a very hot climb but I’m not worried because we can refreshed, along the trail up to the summit, there were nipa huts we called “MiniStop” offering fresh buko juice, mountain dew and halo-halo. So we had many stop over but its okay because we took a lot of pictures and save many memories out of it. The best season to visit this mountain is during the 1st quarter of the year wherein it is dry and cool. On the other hand, whether its hot or cold, the presence of the winds in this mountain in any climb makes it refreshing to us.


stopover muna for fresh buko juice 😀

There were two ways to reach the summit, the old (east) and new trail (west) wherein both trails you need to pay a registration fee of P20 for a dayhike and P30 for overnight, this is used by the locals for the maintenance of cleanliness of this mountain. We choose to try both trails, we started from the new trail going up and then took the old trail going down. The trails were initially rough  road then after 40 minutes to 1 hr from the jump-off, we were at fork so were ready for  the up and down and rolling steeps.

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my favorite spot 😉

We reached the summit in 2 hours from the fork. Upon reaching the summit, we were amazed by its 360-degrees view of Cavite and Batangas (thank you for a good weather). As a second-timer, it was still beautiful and captivating. Even the heat of the sun was striking on us in the summit, it doesn’t stop us to enjoy the breathtaking view on the top.

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group pic muna sa summit

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ang lakas talaga ni wonder Ace, wala sinabi si kuya Reymundo 😛

After almost an hour of staying on the summit, taking pictures, I mean a lot of pictures, we decided to descend. Going down up to the jump-off will take only 2hrs (but still depends on your facing).

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descending via old trail

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view of Mt. Batulao from Camp 1 of Old Trail

At the jump-off, there were houses wherein we cleaned up and changed clothes, we just need to pay P20 for shower. Then to celebrate this successful climb, we have decided to dropped by at Tagaytay since it will only take 10-15minutes from the Evercrest jump-off if you will ride a jeepney. This is to give ourselves a sip of their famous bulalo and try their other palatable dishes as our postclimb meal before going back home.


postclimb meal in Tagaytay…Busog much 😀

It was a great climb! My college friend’s first time to climb mountains, they were thankful to me even at first they had a hard time (there were part of the climb they want to cursed me, specially on the steep part…hahahaha…di na daw nila ako kaibigan dahil pinapahirapan ko sila :D) but at the end of the day they were satisfied and asking me for more dayhike climb. Now they understand me why I am hooked to this activity 😉


my college friends…enjoy noh?

It was also the first climb of Masalonga Family and it’s so cute to see them enjoying this kind of activity. I wish that when I have my own family, we will do this family climb too 😀

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presenting…the Masalonga Family!


One of the reason why it is famous is because of its accessibility and budget-friendly. From Manila, we reached this mountain in less than 2 hours ride of a bus via Nasugbu, Batangas at EDSA-Taft Bus Terminal (at the back of Mcdonalds), then we reached the Evercrest Golf Course. From there, there were options: to start the trekking already or take a tricycle up to the jump-off. We took the second options since we were a little bit late to our itineray.

Here is the sample Itinerary I made during our climb:

New Trail to Old Trail (by:Rona)

0400 ETD bus terminal in EDSA-Taft (at the back of MCDO beside MRT Taft) via San Agustin Lines to Nasugbu, Batangas (P105.00)
0630 Arrival at Evercrest . From there, take a tricycle (P30/person for a group of 4) or just walk to the jumpoff (if will walk, it will took 1hr before you arrive at the jump off).

0645 Arrival at the jumpoff
0700 Start trek
0845 Arrival at Fork. Take the middle/slightly right upward trail

0930 Arrival at New Trail Campsite Peak 8. Rest / Register (P20.00).

1030 Arrival at summit; early lunch (May nagtitinda na din ng buko at mountain dew sa summit)
1200 Start descent via Old Trail, which is opposite the New Trail at the summit

1400 Arrival at Old Trail Camp 1. Register again (P20.00).

1515 Arrival at jumpoff. Take tricycle back to Evercrest (P30/head) or just walk to the Evercrest

1530 Back at Evercrest; clean-up at nearby sari-sari store (you can choose also from nearby houses who offered these services: Ligo-P20.00; Palit Damit lang-P5.00; Ihi-P5.00)

1700 ETD Go to Tagaytay by jeepney (P20.00)  for dinner  before going home ( highly recommend for dinner: Bulalo, tawilis and lechon kawali)

1800 ETD Bus going back to Manila (Tagaytay-Pasay P87.00 )
2000 ETA Pasay Bus Terminal



Mt. Damas (Small but Terrible Mountain) 13th Summit

Expect the unexpected!” A 685+masl mountain, Mt. Damas’s height is classified as a minor climb but its trail is indeed a MAJOR one. I could say that this mountain is now included on my top list of most challenging climbs experienced.

My climber friend DL Bustillo invited me to join the Imus-Bacoor Mountaineering in a “Climb for a Cause – Handog Tsinelas” in Mt. Damas and without any hesitation; I said “Yes, I will join”. I was with mixed emotions… excited as its my first climb for a cause… and regrets as this would be my last climb for the year (need to take a break for some personal matters). Nonetheless, a week before the climb, got an email for a career training… (same date of the climb…. waahh! such irony…). Need to inform DL about me not joining the climb, both of us feel upset. But God is so good, Friday lunchtime; our HR officer told me that my training will be moved. Yeheyy!!!Agad-agad, nagBBM ako kay DL para ipaalam na makakasama na ako.

Handog Tsinelas – excited na mga kids 🙂

Saturday (Nov. 10, 2012)

Meeting place was at Mcdo in Pasay Rotonda, and our call time is 5:00 AM. There is a short meet and greet with the members, actually I didn’t know most of them. We are only 3 girls out of 16 climbers.  We’re now bound for Camiling, Tarlac and I’m so lucky that I was comfortable with my seat on the jeepney; I used to sleep during the travel. We arrived at Brgy. Papaac around 11am, the place where we will distribute the slippers for the kids (travel time from Manila to Tarlac will take only 3hrs or less, pero nag stop over kasi kami sa palengke ng Camiling to buy our food supplies and prices for kids). Our contact person is a Pastor and he gave us some important information such as not to take picture with the locals without the elders’ permission



At the basketball court of Brgy. Papaac, kids were waiting for us so we don’t waste any of our time, we set up all the slippers and let the children fall in line. Then that’s it! After they heard our signal, every kid grabs a pair of slippers. Then we choose 6 kids with the ugliest and oldest pair of slippers to receive special prices. It was an awesome experience, to make them smile in our simple way; we were like Korina Sanchez in “Rated K”. The Brgy. Captain treats us with cold soft drinks before we leave and start our trek to conquer Mt. Damas.

kondisyon pa..start palang eh…

We started the climb at exactly 12nn (tirik na tirik si haring araw), it made us to stop every now and then kapag may makitang lilim na lugar na pede masilungan at mapagpahingahan. I remembered we stop in a trail full of small bamboo plants, Sir Arvin asked our guide to cut one the bamboo so we can experience to drink water from that bamboo (they called it “tubig sa buho”). The water is a little bit salty but it taste good. The guide made a glass out of that bamboo. The start of the trail was quite easy, only gradual assaults for more than an hour. But I already have an idea that it was just a patikim of Mt. Damas. I already read reviews about this mountain before I climb so I prepared myself with the clothes I will wear against the tall blade-like talahib and thorny makahiya plants; but still, I never thought that this mountain has more surprises.


namimili ng trail..


1st taste of “tubig sa buho” – refreshing


Our guide gave us two options of trails going to the summit; 1st the trail that will pass through Brgy. Dueg then the Ubod Falls side trip will be on the following day and the 2nd trail is that we will be passing through Ubod Falls first then going to Brgy. Dueg on the next day nalang. Then we decided to choose the 2nd option. That is our first encounter on river-crossing, it’s far easier than the river crossing in Mt. Apo (Apo daw gawing standard ng mahirap na river crossing..hahah). After 10 minutes, we faced the start of difficult trail;it was getting steeper and narrower, di matapos-tapos na assaults, habol-hininga kami. We are lacking of energies, we continue asking for those who are ahead if there is a “patag” area, so we can have our lunch to renew our energy. Until we reached a perfect “patag” area, it’s overlooking the amazing Ubod Falls and the summit of Mt. Damas. It’s already 3pm na, we ate then we took a nap, we rest on that area for almost an hour, mapapasabak pala kami sa mas matinding trail, the “Cardiac Trail”. Slide dito! slide doon!padapa! paupo!lahat ng pwedeng posisyon para makababa…walang mahawakan kundi maliliit at matatalas na damo, di ko na mabilang ilang hiwa sa daliri ang natamo naming lahat except yung nagsuot ng gloves.


water source 🙂


you seems so near, yet so far…


sige wave lang….for the sake of picture kahit muntikan na magslide…

After that challenging trail, we received our rewards, to see the breathtaking 120ft Ubod Falls face to face,the beautiful yet smaller than Ubod Falls, the Si-el Falls at marami pa maliliit na falls.


parang crystals


speechless ako..hehehhe..ganda talaga ng Ubod Falls…


Si-el Falls, unique….


kapit mabuti sa baging kung ayaw mahulog dyan…katakot!

After the water falls experienced, akyatan na, sabak na naman sa assaults at lampas taong talahiban. During the night trek, we always asked the guide, “kuya, patag na ba?”, and his common answer is “Opo, Patag na”, until we found out, patag na kasi wala ng hagdan yung assault..waaahhhh!!! I can’t count how many “Take Five” we made. We reached the summit at around 8pm, another group already occupied the campsite on the summit, so we have no choice, we walked, we slide na pala (super pagod na) for another 10 minutes going down to the other campsite where sir Ian is waiting for us for almost an hour already.


beef steak,lechon paksiw, bicol express…yummy!!!

We pitched our tents and then prepared food for our dinner. We have plenty of food. Ang saya! One thing I really enjoyed doing most in the mountains is cooking and eating, especially when people shared food to the group. It’s always a feast.

We more get to know each other during the “socials”, there are sharing of stories and experiences, mapamountaineering experiences or personal life experiences, meron nga mga pangMMK ang life story tulad ni Sir Edgar at Sir Arvin…muntik na ako maiyak pero at the same time, I admired them..Meron din tawanan at kulitan(tuksuhan)..yeeeheheh!. But the most memorable to me is our star gazing and counting of shooting stars, paramihan ng nawishan na shooting stars, si Sir Arvin ata pinakamarami. I can’t take my eyes on the sky; it was so amazing. Seeing millions of stars during the night is very rare to experience if you were in the city. Thanks also to Mugi, for sharing his knowledge on constellations and stars.

Sunday (Nov. 11, 2012)


Overlooking Sitio Dueg from the campsite


anong eksena ito???hmmmm

The original plan was changed; supposedly, we will go down through Brgy. Dueg but due to intense heat, we chose the river-crossing trail that was suggested by our guide. We climbed back to the summit, took some pictures for remembrance pero mabilisan lang dahil sobrang init talaga.


overlooking Tarlac…afraid sa sun burn.lol


Ang init noh?hehehhehe

So we went down through the same trail up to the Si-el Falls where we stopped to have our lunch, rest for a while and enjoy swimming on the cold and refreshing water of this falls, nakakawala ng pagod.haayy! We stayed almost 3hrs on this area.


Picture Trick at Si-el Falls..feeling giant


Enjoying the cold water of Si-el Falls..sarap mauna..


our guides: Daniel and Jeremy…nakahanap ng comfortable place to rest.

Then we head to hike down anew, it was around 4:00 PM. If we could only knew how hard the challenges are awaiting for us. I removed my arm warmers and socks. Naunderestimate ko pa din pala ang Damas, we thought it was the same river trekking we encountered the other day. To our surprise, the trails are “buwis-buhay”; more extreme than the trail yesterday. It took us four hours of walking, hiking, trekking, rappelling, wall climbing, rock climbing, crawling, jumping – name it, we did it all during this climb! Nag ala-Tarzan and Jane din kami, mga baging at lubid ang naging kapitan at pantawid, kung ayaw mo mahulog kasabay na gumulong ng mga bato sa bangin at ilog.


Carefull Maam Pattie…may rolling stone sa taas mo…one of the buwis-buhay Trail!


another buwis-buhay..wheww!!!

Another unforgettable experience to me was the plant they called “lupa” which I accidentally touched its leaves, it was a disaster!!! In just few seconds, I started to feel hot on my left arm and right leg so I decided to pour alcohol on my arm and leg, but it’s getting worst. The infected areas turn red, nagpantal na sya at pag nahahanginan or nababasa, ang hapdi, parang tinutusok ng karayom ang bawat pores ng skin ko.


huhu..it hurts!!!


sand – first aid treatment for “lupa” leaves infection

Thanks to our guide, for the first aid, he applied sand on infected areas, and to Sir Arvin, he used medical tape to pull out the powder or hair (we really don’t know) of that leaves on my pores, the treatment was quite painful, parang nagpapawax daw, nasasama balahibo ko sa paghila ng tape, but it’s really effective. That’s what I call adventure, experiencing things beyond my limitations and expectations.


the conquerors!!!the survivors!!!

It was indeed a successful climb! We survived this Mt. Damn-As (Damas). Special thanks to Imus-Bacoor Mountaineering, I am really challenged by this small mountain. I loved this climb talaga. I never thought na may hihirap pa sa river-crossing ng Mt. Apo, and Mt. Damas did. Until the next climb mga Sir and Mam Pattie. To our 3 guides, kay Kuya (I forgot to ask his name), to Daniel (the smiling face) and his brother Jeremy, ang mga batang hindi ata nakakaramdam ng pagod at di pinagpapawisan, kahit kami ay hirap na hirap na…TWO THUMBS UP!!! 🙂