Before bidding goodbye to 2013, me and three of my friends decided to try a day hike at one of the most visited mountain in the southwestern part of Luzon, Mt. Batulao – Nasugbu, Batangas. Most of the mountaineers I know recommends Mt.Batulao for first time mountain climbers, because of its trail is easy to follow, plus it only takes about 2-4 hours to reach the summit from the camping area.
We left Manila at about 4:00am, and took the bus at Coastal Mall (in Pasay) going to Nasugbu, Batangas. Usually the bus ride takes about 2 hours from Pasay to Batangas, but when it’s traffic it could take more, so it’s best to leave the terminal with something to eat along the way or go to the public washroom to address nature’s call before the trip.
When we reached the Evercrest Gold Course at Nasugbu, around 6:30am the wind is quite strong and was pretty cold, so it’s recommended to bring shawl or jacket with you. The path we took for our day hike: Old Trail to New Trail!
Climbing was never easy, no matter how fun everyone says it is. It will help people conquer their fear of heights and learn to appreciate Mother Nature’s beauty.
Feeling hungry or thirsty? Well aside from the hiker’s required 2 liters of water to carry for a day hike and some packed lunch or food the group had, hikers should not worry since there are some “kubo” (hut) which sells fresh buko (coconut) juice for P25, hard boiled egg for about P20, Lugaw (porridge) for P50 and a bottle of soda for P25.
Since this was my first time to be a team sweeper (last member or the tail of a climbing group), the usual 2 hours hike, took us about 4 hours to reach the new trail’s camping area. It’s a tough task since I was in charge of making sure that the person before me will be okay and no one and nothing will be left behind. So it was already sunset when we almost reach the last camping area. It was tiring, yet the view was worth every walk we took.
For those who are planning to take a hike at Mt.Batulao but have no one to guide them, worry not because the locals in the area can be the group’s guide for P300 per day, and there are some who will offer their service to carry all your bags for roughly about the same price. After the long day of hike, we talked to some store owners across the Evercrest’s road and they were kind enough to offer their place where we took some time to rest and took a bath, for just P20 per pail of water that we consumed.
Let me share our itinerary for our day hike:
0500 ETD Coastal Mall bus terminal to Nasugbu, Batangas
0815 Arrival at Evercrest(Jump Off)
0830 Start trek
0945 Arrival at Fork. Take the left, downward trail that enters some woodland
1000 Arrival at Camp 1. Register.
1115 Arrival at Camp 8, Prepare Lunch
1145 Commence final assault
1300 Arrival at summit; Picture Picure
1400 Start descent via New Trail, which is opposite the Old Trail at the summit
1500 Arrival at New Trail Campsite. Register again.
1630 Back at Evercrest; clean-up at nearby sari-sari store
1700 ETD for Tagaytay by jeepney (P30.00)
1730 ETA Tagaytay.
These were our “must have’s”:
1. At least 2 liters of water.
2. Mosquito repellent lotion and sun block.
3. Trail Foods – Chocolates, Candies or Biscuits.
4. Backpack – Please avoid hand carry bags.
5. Dry kits – Extra shirts, shorts, underwears, dry towels and toiletry kits.
6. Hiking shoes or Trail running shoes.
Let Mt.Batulao be part of 2014′s bucket list, ideally if it’s your first time to climb. Lastly, don’t forget be courteous enough to the nature and fellow hikers by not leaving trashes along the trail and show respect to the locals in the area.
Source for the New to Old Trail.
Credits to Ron Bulaong for some of the pictures.
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