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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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 😉
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 😀
HOW TO GET THERE:
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
ESTIMATED SAFE BUDGET: P500-700