Name: Mt. Batulao
Location: Nasugbu, Batangas
Jump-Off Point: KC Hillcrest (Evercret) Golf Course
Elevation: 811+ MASL
Difficulty: 4/9 (Pinoy Mountaineer)
Features: Scenic view of the coastal towns of Batangas. Grass Ridges. 12 Peaks.
Let me start this post with one of the most captivating lines from one of the songs of my favorite band Incubus that goes….
“You’re a MOUNTAIN that I like to climb. Not to conquer but to share with the view”
Mountains are a truly magnificent work of nature. They are art molded intricately into various shapes and sizes. Each of them has a charm that is unique only to them. Some are forbidding. They have secrets no great mountaineer was able to unravel. Others are inviting. They open their worlds wholeheartedly to lost souls hoping to find refuge in their solace. Mt. Batulao is gladly the latter kind of mountain.
We started our journey at 4 in the morning ridden on a DLTB bus bound for Nasugbu Batangas. Filled with sheer courage, we embarked on an adventure we knew nothing about. None of us had the idea of the challenge this strange mountain would be. All that was there was the joy of friendship and the hope of discovering what lies at the summit of the marvelous Mt. Batulao.
We arrived at Evercrest (now KC Hillcrest Golf Club) a little past 6AM. There we waited for the stranger who volunteered to guide us on climbing our first mountain. He arrived 15 minutes later. Upon seeing him with his girl companion who was also an experienced mountaineer, immediately we thought we were all going to have a wonderful time.
We started walking towards the the main jump off point quickly after all the preparations have been made. The sun has risen up the horizon but the cold of the morning have refused to be chasten away. We arrived at the first hut quickly after 20 minutes of walk and since the sun was still not bothering us, it was really easy. I didn’t run out of breath. Not yet.
We rested for a good 20 minutes. Had some sandwich and buko (coconut) juice. When everyone was ready, we resumed walking towards the 2nd hut. We rested for another 15 minutes and then went to walk towards the 3rd hut which was the main jump off point. There our stranger guides met with their old friends, the twin baby boys of Batulao. When everyone felt well rested, we started with the real adventure.
We followed the old trail. Our guide, Sir Migz thought it will be easier for us as first time climbers. We were walking on a moderate pace on a climb down climb up pattern. I couldn’t recall how much time we spent to reach camp 1 which was also the 1st registration point. There we paid P10 pesos each. We didn’t stay long as we felt we have stalled too much during the first 3 stopovers. Besides we were running behind schedule. The goal was to reach the summit at 11.30 but given our pace that might not be attainable.
I could barely remember what camp 2 looked like as camp 3 was more vivid in my memory. I remember we paid another registration fee of P20 each. I remember grasping for air as I was running out of breath. My mouth still feels the pang in my throat out of too much thirst that I thought no water could ever wash away. I remember laughing at Shawn too hard that it already hurt. I could still recall gazing at the summit seeming so near yet still far away wondering how could this place be so damn beautiful.
After camp 3, we quickly passed camps 4,5 and 6 and found ourselves in yet another amazing place, camp 7. There we waited for the traffic of people coming down from the summit to wind down. I could feel my heart beating faster as I could see the climb would become more difficult passed camp 7. I noticed the trail have become narrow allowing only a person or two to pass at one time. I could only recall taking a sip of my water in camp 8 and the rest before the summit was an absolute struggle. I still feel the fear I was trying to suppress as I was climbing up clinging only to rocks focusing my eyes up refusing to look away as I might lose focus and fall. I remember none of us used the rope on that infamous 90 degree mini rock climb as we felt climbing up through the rocks was easier. I was not able to keep track of everything as I was too consumed by fear and overwhelmed by the sense of fulfillment after surviving the challenging parts of the climb. The next thing I know I was at the summit taking photos.
I think we reached the summit few minutes before 12 noon. Initially the plan was to have lunch at camp 8 of the new trail but Sir Migz thought that would be too much of a punishment. Hence we had lunch at the summit that was a little bit crowded with other climbers. Although the bugs were bothering us, I could see everyone was happily munching on our home cooked food.
We didn’t stay too long at the summit as it was about to rain. We decided to follow the new trail going down. I think I was most challenged with going down than climbing up. The trail was dry and slippery. There was nothing much to hold on to as the overgrown grass alongside it was dead or uprooted. That was the case from the summit going down to camp 8 of the new trail. Gladly, we survived and nobody was harmed. We rested at camp 8 for a little while. After we departed from camp 8, we found ourselves walking down the trail nonstop to camp 1. We capped off the day happy and content and with a sumptuous meal, a little bit of chitchat and smile on our faces.
MY 20 CENTS OF THOUGHTS
- I think Mt. Batulao is an absolute stunner. It’s no wonder that most of the people we met along the way are repeat climbers. She’s the kind you would always love to go back to.
- Mt. Batulao is perfect for newbies. The first part of the trek is super easy. The trek after camp 7 to and from the summit down to camp 8 however is something newbies would find a bit of a challenge but it’s the kind we all can learn from and will prepare us to more challenging climbs.
- From the scale of 1 to 10 level of diffuculty, as a newbie I would say Mt. Batulao is a 5.
- It’s best to start the climb at 6AM or earlier as Mt. Batulao is an open trail and nothing would protect you from the scorching heat of the sun come the hour of 10AM onward.
- Although for some this mountain pose no challenge, it would always be best to exercise caution.
HOW TO GO THERE
- For Commuters – Ride a DLTB bus bound for Nasugbu in Buendia Station. Alight at Evercrest (KC Hillcrest Golf Club). Fare is P111.00 (March 2015). Ride a tricycle or walk towards the registration point.
- By Car – Follow the way going to Tagaytay via Cavitex or SLEX. At the intersection in Olivares, follow the way going to Nasugbu. Turn left at Evercrest (KC Hillcrest). Take the first right after then drive straight until you see the parking area.
|SUMMARY OF EXPENSES, THINGS TO BRING & SAMPLE ITINERARY (Day Hike)|
|THINGS TO BRING|
- 2L Water
- Trail foods (biscuits, Jelly Ace, Fruits etc)
- Pack Lunch (highly recommended. Not time consuming. No need cooking)
- Light (Headlamps & flashlights)
- Umbrella (just be careful with the wind though)
- Scarfs or caps (something you can use for cover that could not be easily blown away)
- Raincoat or Rainjacket (in case of rain)
- Extra Clothes & Toiletries (washing up after the trek)
- Garbage Bag (as they say "Leave nothing but footprints")
|SUMMARY OF EXPENSES|
- Roundtrip Fare DLTB Pasay (Buendia Stn.)- Evercrest : P222.00
- Registration fee (Old & New Trails) : P60.00
- Guide Fee : P500.00/5PAX
- Toilet & Bath : P25.00
- Other expenses (Halo-Halo, Buko juice, etc) : P50.00
- Tricycle (optional) : P100.00/3PAX
TOTAL - P492 (sAFE BUDGET P600)
0300: Assembly at DLTB Bus Terminal Buendia Taft Station
0400: ETD to Nasugbu Bound Bus (DLTB Co. Buendia Taft)
0600: ETA Evercrest Batangas
0630: Start Trek to Jumpoff Point. Start Trek to Registration site
0730: 1st Hut. Rest. Proceed to OLD trail
0830: Arrival at OLD Trail Registration site. Rest
0900: Start trek to summit
1030: ETA Summit take Pictures
1130: ETD to CAMP 8 (NEW Trail)
1230: Camp 8 (NEW Trail) Register. Rest
1300: ETD Evercrest
1530: ETA Evercrest. Take Shower. Eat.
1700 - 1730: Wait for Bus back to Manila.
|GUIDES CONTACT INFO|
- January 2016 – Some Netizens are urging fellow mountaineers to boycott Mt. Batulao due to conflict currently happening in the mountain. – As of this moment I have yet to receive news about the conflict whether it was already resolved or not. One thing is sure though. Some locals have taken advantage of the influx of hikers to this mountain by imposing more fees and requiring hikers to get a guide at a totally irreasonable price which is why the mountaineering community still encourages to boycott Mt. Batulao. 😊
- April 2016 – A great portion of the mountain was reportedly wiped out by a bush fire. The fire which has turned the mountain into ashes and acres of greys is yet to be determined whether caused by unattended camp fire or was intentionally done by the locals as some would say they normally do so come rainy season the grasses will grow anew.
- July 2016 – Locals of Mt. Batulao are now urging hikers to revisit the mountain stating that the conflict which once sparked distaste from the hiking community is resolved. This may be good news but I hope for hikers to lessen the impact you might bring when you revisit this beautiful mountain. Go on small groups and please bear in mind the LNT Principles.
- October 2016 – I was recently informed by Kuya Ramon Casanova (a guide – 09101317847) that the original fees of 20 and 30 which are usually collected at camps 1 and 8 are now coupled with 2 fees collected at the lower part of the mountain. He strongly advised for mountaineers to ask those people collecting these fees a valid permit (to collect) before making any payment. He worries that this might be taken negatively against the people of Mt. Batulao, especially to the local guides who only seek to provide service and earn an honest living.
There you go lovely people! If you need other information, feel free to leave your comments below. 🙂
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