Because I was excited for my first encounter in the mountains of Luzon, I only had a little time to sleep the night before our Mt. Pico de Loro trek. It was 1A.M. when I woke up to prepare my stuff and our meeting time was 5AM. Wasn’t that an enthusiastic first timer? Well, of course, I needed to prepare all my trekking gears that time (my bag, my bottled water and food, and my cellphone). Hmmm… Quite a lot of stuff to prepare.
I never saw the sceneries on our way to Ternate, Cavite because that was my only chance to gain some strengths for the climb. Actually, all of us (except the driver) were asleep the whole time we traveled. I woke up realizing we’re already in, what was called, Magnetic Hill in Cavite. The name of the hill didn’t catch my interest. Maybe because, it was covered up with my excitement of conquering the Parrot’s Beak… As people were saying, the hill was claimed to be a magnetic area. And to experience this, you just have to put your vehicle’s engine in neutral mode, and then let the hill pull you up. Mysterious huh?.. But as per my “brother” Kuya Kim, it’s optical illusion (“,)
Anyway, we arrived at the DENR office in Ternate, Cavite at around 7AM. In here, you have to pay Php20.00 as registration fee, aside from the maintenance fee (Php20.00) which you also have to pay at Basecamp 1 5minutes away from DENR jumpoff point. (a sum of Php40.00 for the registration).
Some of us were first time climbers, thus, our pacing was slow. Fortunately, the trail was dry making it easier for us to maintain our tread. We had a lot of stopovers, but we’re able to reach the campsite after three hours. We were greeted by climbers who reached the site ahead of us, likewise, a family who maintains a food-store. Yes, you don’t need to worry of running out of food because there’s a “sari-sari” store at the campsite.
There is a part of the campsite, the viewdeck, which enables you to have a wide view of Cavite, the West Philippine Sea all the way to the historic Island of Corregidor. From this point, you’ll also have a perfect front view of the “Parrot’s Beak”. The wind was blowing so hard but it didn’t stop us in doing lots of photo ops at the viewdeck.
After consuming our morning snacks, we decided to climb up to the summit. For some of us, that was the most difficult part of our day trek. The trail is steep and narrow. You can hardly hold on for a branch/bush to help you pull yourself up. Some of us even made use of their “four-wheel drive” (crawling mode).
And at last we reached the summit. It was indeed a fulfillment… For me, because this was my first mountain trek in Luzon and for some of us because this was their first mountain climb.
A much better panoramic view, overlooking Cavite and Batangas, can be experienced at the summit. From there, you can see the monolith or, as called by locals, the Toreng Bato which seems to encourage you to conquer your fear of heights. And yes, four of us were “seduced” by the Toreng Bato. I just found myself trailing forth its wall. (Important Points: The trail going to the wall is a lot narrower and bushy- cliff on both sides. Climbing the monolith should be done with caution and, as much as possible, rock-climbing skills. It is not recommended for beginners.)
Being on top of monolith is like being on top of the world. The experience is, somehow, priceless! This Pico de Loro climb is another moment in my life which I could be proud of.
After spending almost half an hour at the Toreng Bato, we decided to go back to the campsite for lunch. We spent another hour to rest and feel the wind “kissing our cheeks”, before we preparing for our descent. Our pace when we descended was faster and we had the chance to divert our way going to one of the waterfalls near Basecamp 1. Since it was a dry season, the view was a bit disappointing. The drop was lesser and the water is shallow. Well, at least, we were able to visit that part of Mt. Pico de Loro.
We arrived to the DENR office at around 5PM already. The crickets were beginning to get noisier since it was already getting dark. The day was tiring but it was full of fun memories which will never be forgotten. Still, Laagan Adventures do not end here. There are a lot more adventures to conquer… more fulfillments to experience… to be continued…. (“,)
For Your Information (from http://www.pinoymountaineer.com):
PICO DE LORO
Major jump-off: Magnetic Hill, Ternate
LLA: 14° 12.855 N; 120° 38.785 E; 664 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1-2 days / 2-5 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 1-3
Van Rental (Manila to Cavite to Manila) – Php 500.00/head (group of 10)
Registration Fee – Php 40.00/head
Food/Snacks – approx. Php 250.00