(Reposted from my old blog, with some revisions.)
Almost two years ago, I participated in an open climb up Mount Pico de Loro in Batangas.
We arrived at the jump-off point at about 9 in the morning. Our (back)packs were ready–most of us carrying about 20 kilograms over our shoulders. Below is a photograph pre-ascent (as we were dry, and still energized).
We started going up the trail a few minutes past 9AM, had a few stopovers in between (we loved our trail food–gummy bears, almonds, jelly ace, and more), and had our lunch sometime after 12PM. The weather was perfect: sunlit but breezy. Check out the scenery.
We arrived at the campsite at around 2PM, alongside plenty of other tourists. My group-mates and I immediately explored the area for quite some time, then pitched our tents.
Look at that view. (And to think we weren’t even on the peak yet.)
I was terribly acrophobic, though I couldn’t pass up the chance to go up the summit at least once. I had to do it, or else my trip wouldn’t have been worth it. Even though I tried as much as possible to keep myself calm, however, I couldn’t help but freak out as I went up on what I estimate to be a 60-degree incline. When I reached the peak, though, I found that the feel of my heart thumping and the possibility of slipping down the grainy path was well worth it. It offers a 360-degree panorama of the entire area surrounding it, and the wind felt like mint and ice water combined.
A number of meters from the peak was the monolith–a tall rock formation which with a little less room for people to stand on–hence climbers had to be divided into batches. In order to reach the surface, one had to walk (or rather, side-step) through a trail that was only about a feet wide (more or less), and use a rope to assault on.
Realizing how much of a nightmare it would have been, I decided to pass.
After an excruciating descent from the summit (yep, once was enough), we freshened up and prepared to cook for dinner. Our group prepared calamari and longganisa, and we had it wish cups and cups of rice. The experience of preparing a well-cooked, complicated meal on a mountain is certainly one-of-a-kind.
After snoozing for about 10 hours (yes, I was that tired; although I did wake up a few times from the cold and/or discomfort from the rock-hard surface we slept on), we were up at 6AM to prepare for breakfast. We prepared crispy bacon and scrambled eggs for over an hour, while it took us about 10 minutes to finish everything. Yep, that’s life in the great outdoors.
After breakfast, I decided to get something warm to beat the intensely low temperature. Hence coffee at 600-or-so feet above ground. Because the place is a tourist attraction, the campsite had small stalls that sold over-priced commodities. (But we caved in, as expected.)
After almost two hours going down the mountain, we had lunch at base camp–about an hour away from the jump-off (starting) point. My group-mate brought sukiyaki-cut pork chop (pre-marinaded, of course) which smelled like the heavens at that time. As usual, we each also had a huge serving of rice.
We arrived at our starting point about an hour later, had a quick meeting and a little free time, then departed for Manila as soon as it started raining.
Hiking up-and-down was painful, difficult, and quite crazy, but it was also refreshing, exhilarating, and breath-taking. And as I sure as heck would do it again.
‘Til my next climb story.