With two summits under my belt, I expected I’d be more confident about this trip.I am, but I still got a little nervous at the thought of hiking up two mountains in one day. I remember the organizer saying that it’s manageable for beginners, and who am I to insist I know better. My borrowed confidence took a beating when the rain started pouring the moment we left Manila. It was around 3 a.m., we’re in a crowded van, the rain heavily pounding on the windows, and someone from our group jokingly said, “Oh right, I forgot there’s a storm coming.” I was miffed; thinking Mom wouldn’t be happy about this. But truth be told, I am also excited. If these mountaineers we’re with are pumped up at the thought of a storm on this hike, it must be a fantastic experience! This is why I signed up in the first place. 🙂
We started the hike at Mt. Talamitam around 9 a.m., it is normally colder on this part of the region. The rain has stopped, which was encouraging. There was mud as expected, but extra caution can prevent slipping. Thirty minutes into the hike, it started pouring. Some of us have plastic ponchos, so we used that. Soon enough, it proved futile to avoid getting drenched and I do like the feel of the rain on my face, but I kept it on to ward off the chill as we ascend to the rolling hills.
I honestly think that the rain has made the hike much more fun. The trail is indeed quite easy, mostly grasslands and foliage. I am not condoning a hike during a storm. In fact, I wouldn’t be doing it again for safety reasons. We were lucky that there was not much strong wind, otherwise, I wouldn’t be saying I enjoyed it. Because of the weather, clouds covered the scenery, and very few photos have been taken. I want to go back to the summit when it’s sunny to witness for myself the beauty of the Nasugbu landscape, accented by the view of Batulao and Pico de Loro.
0300 ETD Shaw Blvd. to Nasugbu, Batangas
0600 ETA Registration area at Sitio Bayabasan, Brgy. Aga (KM. 83)
0730 Start trek
0930 Arrival at summit
1030 Start descent
1200 Back at registration area
Since our hike at Mt. Daraitan, I noticed that I enjoy the descent part the most. Some hiking buddies hate how it feels in the knees, but I honestly can’t relate. Maybe because I am always a little nervous during the trek up that I focus more on being careful than actually enjoying the view. On the way down, I get to look around without worrying about my legs getting tired.
I believe we were back at the jump-off before lunch time. We ate, freshened up, and then drove the small distance to Mt. Batulao.
1315 Mt. Batulao Jumpoff
1330 Start of second climb
1600 Arrival at summit
1730 Back at jumpoff. Tidy up.
1800 ETD to Tagaytay
1900 Dinner in Tagaytay
2000 Drive back to Manila
2200 ETA Manila
The weather has not improved, and I had a moment when I’m not sure if it’s wise to push through. A few of our companions decided to stay at the jump-off, but I’m glad I had let myself be persuaded to go! The trails are more challenging, and it does feel like I’m on a mountain. Mt. Batulao is known for its cliffs on either side of the trail, and I learned to respect its terrain whether I see the threat or not. It has plenty of rest stops, but thanks to the habit of running, I didn’t feel so tired that it takes away from the experience. We were told that trekking on a sunny day means extreme heat and humidity, and so I was thankful once again that the weather is cold. I ditched the poncho and just put on my hoodie whenever it gets too windy.
Then comes the most challenging part…
The photo above was taken right before we head for the summit. Little did I know that we need to climb our way up using a rope anchored somewhere I did not bother to ask. From my perspective, it was steep as a stone wall. All I was thinking was, “I’m going to do this? In this weather? Heck, yeah!”
Oh, what satisfaction it was to reach the top! We took photos like crazy, even though there’s really not much to see. The rain decided to go all out. We were shivering and trying our best to sit close to each other for warmth. It was miserable and funny and probably a once in a lifetime experience. It built friendships I still keep to this day.
I consider this day hike at Talamitam and Batulao as one of my favorites!