Hiking Mt. Batulao

Now this is one blog post I never thought I’d write because I’m not a hiker (despite my going up Mt. Pinatubo and Taal Volcano the same year). I just never thought of myself as fit enough to actually hike a more difficult mountain. But my friend Shiela asked me to go up Pico de Loro for her birthday trip in September. Unfortunately, Pico was temporarily closed so we decided on Mt. Batulao instead.

They said it was for beginners. If you’re slightly fit/active, maybe! I don’t think I would have gotten down the mountain if our guide didn’t carry my bag. There is such a thing as being way over-prepared and my bag was way too heavy. My knee hurt so bad, the guide tied my leg and prepared two canes for me because I could barely walk on our way down. And my knee hurt for a months afterwards.

Team Markylicious for life!

Second tip for beginners: Make sure you’re travelling with awesome companions! I’m so lucky I went with close friends because they didn’t complain that I was taking too long. They even continued to be in high spirits, but then again, Batulao’s beauty could hardly make anyone go sour.

We booked an uber and went to Coastal Mall. Based on our research, we can take a bus from there straight to Batangas. Unfortunately, that’s not true anymore! The buses that pass by Tagaytay to Batangas are now based in the terminal in Pasay (and Cubao, I think). But since it was already 6am, we got onto a bus that dropped us off at Olivares in Tagaytay, and we took another bus that was going to pass by the drop-off point to Mt. Batulao.

If you’ve been to Caleruega, it’s exactly the same jump-off point. However, once you turn left from the highway, you turn right to Caleruega, but you go straight for Mt. Batulao. If you take the bus, just tell the conductor to drop you off at Mt. Batulao.

We finally reached the summit after several breaks and taking so many pictures. There are some camps (stops) where you can buy food if you don’t want to bring your own. But definitely bring water! You’ll need it!

View from the top

I also put on a lot of sunscreen because it was way too hot and I like to protect myself from harmful UV rays, especially since we reached the summit by lunch already.

The view on our way to the top was spectacular and very calming. Seas of green met our eyes everywhere we turned. It was a sight for sore eyes — literally, because I’m on the computer all day.

The hike wasn’t as easy as we expected! We had to rappel several times, and there were times we’d slip down the slopes. There were also paths that could fit one person at a time, and if you slip, you’d fall down the mountain, so make sure to focus.

There were a lot of people that day, but it wasn’t too crowded. However, it was sad that people kept littering (both trash and human waste). Please don’t forget to take your trash with you when you’re hiking.

Since it was a Sunday and we all had work the next day, we couldn’t do an overnight in Tagaytay either. But if we went on a Saturday, I would have definitely booked a room in one of the inns.

Going back to Manila is easy. You can either ride a Manila/Cubao-bound bus that passes along the highway, or take a jeepney that will drop you off at the shuttle terminal, where you can ride an FX bound for Alabang.

I didn’t think I’d say this, but after all the huffing and puffing, I’d actually like to do it again — but an easier mountain!

 

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