Sunday, December 11, 2011

Climbing Mt. Palay Palay in Cavite

Last Saturday, my climbing buddies and I embarked on our third day hike together at Mt. Pico de Loro in Maragondon, Cavite. After paying Php 20 each in DENR's Ternate office at around 7:30 am, we started our relaxed 4-hour ascent to the famous mountain summit of Cavite.

Compared to our 2 recent climbs (Maculot Rockies and Mt. Batulao), Pico de Loro is no easy feat. Although the trail is mostly covered by trees, the trail is long like in Batulao, plus it has its own version of assault areas. The intimidating parrot's beak, its signature rocky plateau near the summit, provides a challenge to rock climbers. Below are its technical specs from Pinoy Mountaineer website:

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

Taking the lead, the first part of the trail is a comfortable hike to the Basecamp 1 from the DENR office. There are many plants and trees, as well as small streams. A few fallen trees have to be crossed over or under by hikers.

Some tree (or root?) also take unusual shapes like below.

We've heard various bird and monkey calls during our hike. We also encountered unfamiliar animal and plant species along the way, like big ant colonies, a Brahminy kite or red-backed sea eagle, a blue-white bird which looks like a shama, long-legged spiders, a bamboo tree snail, a grasshopper, and a wood mushroom.

Below is a photo of Basecamp 1 which has 2 huts and benches for rest stops. Here, we paid Php 20/person to the wife of Mang Rey the caretaker, after we registered on their logbook. Its also the last and only point along the trail, where visitors can buy canned soda drinks at Php 40/can, and cup noodles.

Later, we crossed another stream with small rocks like below. The sight and sound of running water on the stream is quite relaxing.

Near the Alibangbang park rest area is where we've had our first glimpse of Pico de Loro's peak. Its about 2 hours hike to the summit from this point.

After more than an hour, we finally reached the campsite which is dominated by short bamboo trees. On its edge, we got our first reward of relaxing views below.

We are now closer to Pico de Loro's summit, as I point to the top of the mountain. The rocky feature on its left side is the parrot's beak.

Leaving our day bags to our 2 companions on the campsite, we proceeded to the 5-10 minute assault to the summit. Our reward? The splendid 360-degree views from the top like the hills of Maragondon on the east side, the Hamilo coast/cove and Nasugbu hills on the south, plus the Limbones and Carabao islands on the west. If the weather is clear on that day, we could have seen the Corregidor island on the north beyond the Manila Bay.

The parrot's beak looks more formidable from the summit. We can't help but admire those guys we've seen on the top of the rocky plateau, as they were able to scale those suicidal, almost 90-degree climb to its top. If I have been younger and single, I might have tried to climb it like they did. Lunch is a sandwich on the campsite before we initiated our descent.   

On our way back about 5 minutes after the Alibangbang rest park, we did a detour to a nearby waterfall, prior to reaching the stream with a wooden gate. The water is not too cold and its very inviting for a dip and shooting its mini rapids. Too bad that I forgot to bring my slippers, so that I could join my 2 trekmates who enjoyed its refreshing waters.

Less than 30 minutes back to the DENR jump off point, there was a downpour and we have to walk on muddy trail, while my body absorbs the rain. We did a quick shower at the DENR station for Php 5/person, before we travelled back to Aguinaldo highway. But prior to our trip home, we satisfied our craving for a delicious bulalo meal at Balinsasayaw Restaurant in Silang, Cavite.  

It was such a long yet very fulfilling day. If I return to Pico de Loro (which is highly possible), I would like to do a traverse, entering it via Ternate, Cavite then leave thru the beach area of Nasugbu in Batangas. 

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  1. Hi, Can we get this blog you've posted and will be published in the no.1 portal in Cavite which will be having a re-launch this friday? No need to worry we'll put your name. We just want to feature it on our website and if possible all your blogs regarding to any place or thing that can be found in Cavite. Kindly text me at 09228781545

  2. Hi. Can I use your photo/s for NGO purposes?


    1. Hi, Brenz. Yes you may use my photos as long as its not for commercial or business purpose.