For every adventure there comes a misadventure. Just like what happened prior to our climb in Mt. Batulao, as always I was clueless of where the meeting point is so instead of going down at Taft Avenue I got off at The Heritage Hotel. On a positive note, that was like my warm-up before the actual climb. I jogged, I ran, I crossed an overpass all for being there on time.
Officially, this is my first out of Manila trip, my first Luzon trip as well as my first climb for the year. That’s why when Angel invited me, I said yes on the spot. Wait. Did I?
But anyway, for the preparation, I did walk my way home every night and I also had carbo-loading. Yes, it’s a minor climb but that’s not a reason for me to chill especially this time where I’m stuck in my office chair all day and my body lacks exercise.
This Bloggers Climb was organized by Angel of gelaikuting.com and Paolo of kalongkong.wordpress.com and Angel (who doesn’t want me to call her Ate) invited me last December of 2012. Initially, we were like four people but the number grew and we were 18 all in all during the event. It was a fun group composed of Batang Hamog Mountaineers, newbie hikers and travel bloggers. The climb became an avenue for me to know more people, get an experience and prepare myself for my dream climb in Mt. Pulag.
The call time was at 7 in the morning and the meeting place was in Mcdo, Edsa Taft. We had our breakfast, took some time to get to know some people, waited for some and we boarded the bus at exactly 8:00 am. The travel took almost 2 hours before we reach Evercrest but we didn’t mind that sine we were able to enjoy the scenery along the way. We reached the starting point at 10:00 am and we then started our trek up to the summit.
Weeks before the climb, the weather was so unpredictable, but rain or shine I said to myself that I will go and summit Batulao. When January 20 came, surprisingly the weather cooperated – perfect with the sun shining brightly and the gust of the wind to keep us cool. There was no any water source in the mountain but good thing is, there are small huts where locals sell Halo-halo and Buko Juice. From there, you can replenish and quench your thirst for only Php25.
What I like most about Mt. Batulao is its ridges that’s perfect for panoramic shots and also its numerous peak and camps. You can also get to choose between taking the Old trail and descend at the New trail or the other way around. Both trails have 10 camps and in our case we took the Old trail then traverse our way at the New trail, that way we will be able to have a smooth way of going down in case darkness catch us.
It was around 1:30 in the afternoon when we reached camp 1 and we registered our names for 20php each. We had a break, took our lunch and readied ourselves for the next nine camps. At first, it was just easy but as time goes by the heat and the dust were intolerable. There were also paths which requires great amount of our lower body strength. It wasn’t that A easy but it was fun.
And for my favorite part – the stone wall. That time I felt as if I was Spiderman. That was like the last obstacle that we have faced before reaching the peak.
When we reach the summit, it was almost Nirvana. That was really what I was after for, that winning moment when you reach the top. Though the sun is just right above us, we didn’t mind the heat and proceed with the photo-ops. Unfortunately, our group was divided into three, Nil and Angel had to go back since Nil had cramps. Then our group which is composed of Mina, Mike, Claire, Jherson, Virmz, Janet, KC, JV and Edselle. And the other group composed of Batang Hamog Mountaineers, Dharzie and the group.
During the descent, Mina, Javee and Virmz were already ahead of us. I chose to look for the safety of everyone behind me then took the lead to fasten our pace. The funny thing was, I was so close to surviving Batulao since we were almost half way but my shoes gave up. It wasn’t able to withstand the slides we have done and the downward slopes.
Luckily, I was able to buy slippers at the New trail’s registration area and we were able to reach camp 1 before the sun set. It was also one of the highlights of our climb, the one we had when we were guessing on which way to go for us to reach Evercrest. We were able to talk about our work, our future travel plans and it felt like we all were really long time buddies. After almost three and a half hours of traverse, we were able to reach Evercrest at around 6:15 pm.
This time I brought with me Kuya JV. Javee or JV is an Engineer by day, a gym rat at night and a runner during the weekends. The climb is his first official trekking experience and it was fun seeing him enjoy the trail though he was leaving his friend, Edselle behind at times.
After our climb, we went to have some Bulalo in Tagaytay, a perfect way to treat ourselves. We took a jeepney going to Mendez, chose a restaurant and waited for our foods. It was really fun sharing stories with our new found friends and as a matter of fact, we have decided to organize a part two.
I have a cut on one of my fingers, I have burns on my face, a bruise on my foot and a terrible body pain, but it was nothing compared to meeting 17 people, befriend them, and share memories with them as we trek the summit of Mt. Batulao. What I gained from the experience is priceless and I’m hoping to see everyone again during our next climb.
For the travel guide, you can check it here: Travel Guide to Mt. Batulao