Ba2lao: Way back into Batulove

Saturday
August 1, 2015

I don’t think I’ve ever missed an opportunity to announce that Mt. Batulao is my favorite climb. And to prove that, I’ve decided to visit it again. This time, I kept track of the itinerary and cost which I neglected to do on my first climb. So let’s dig in!

To start off, Mt. Batulao is a 4/9 climb in Nasugbu that reaches 811+ meters above sea level. It is my father mountain and my favorite climb (if you didn’t know already). For this climb, we used the same Old Trail to New Trail traverse.

Early in the wee hours of the morning, I was already in McDonald’s at Gil Puyat (or Buendia), waiting for my hike-mate. I was chowing down on a cheeseburger when she arrived and we hopped on one DLTB Co. Bus bound for Nasugbu.

As always, sleeping on the bus has become a staple for me, and when I woke up, I was already along the familiar roads of Tagaytay. Everything was going smoothly until the conductor of the bus didn’t stop at Evercrest! Fortunately, there was immediately another bus going the other way and we were able to get a ride back for free.

Upon alighting in Evercrest, we walked in freezing (for me) temperatures to the jumpoff. Despite having climbed multiple mountains, I noticed that I was still very vulnerable to the cold. This could pose some problems on my Pulag climb in the future.

When the sun started to rise higher in the sky, the temperatures increased and I started to welcome the sweat and heat. Once we were out of the last residences in the baranggay, I was treated to the beautiful view of Mt. Batulao.

Beauty even at a distance.
Beauty even at a distance.

I was in awe. I had almost forgotten how beautiful this place is. Once again, I have to say that even the most beautiful picture is nowhere as fulfilling as seeing the peaks with your own eyes live. It almost brought a tear to my eye.

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So pushing on, we met some trail runners along the way and they were friendly enough to tell us some stories about the mountain. Batulao is a good place to train for running and climbs because of its challenging ascents and technical descents.  Upon seeing them run, I was filled with a little bit more energy and we hastened up to the summit.

Little Maculot and the peaks
Little Maculot and the peaks

When we reached the summit, we were surprised to see that there were only us and a couple of other groups. On my last climb, the summit was crowded with people. We took this as a chance to relax and take pictures while chowing down on Halo-halo.

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We also made some new friends; hikers who have been to Batulao numerous times already. We descended together and they let us share their kubo for a quick lunch. My climb diet, if you still need to know, was Tuna Paella.

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After bidding our new friends goodbye, we continued our descent under the heat of the sun. Oh yeah, don’t forget that Batulao is a bald mountain so be prepared for the intense heat! After slipping and sliding down the dusty trail and taking in copious amounts of UV rays, we finally made it back to Evercrest where we fixed up in the ligo places nearby. After that, it was a bus ride to Cubao and finally, home.

For some reason, there was very intense traffic all the way home and despite finishing the climb really early, we were stuck in the bus for 5-freaking hours! Good thing I was asleep most of the time or else I would’ve gone crazy. The bus ride home took longer than the entire climb up the mountain! Good job, Philippines!


Itinerary and cost breakdown:

  • 04:10 ETD Gil Puyat, Bus bound for Nasugbu
    • P110 per head
  • 06:00 ETA Evercrest, Walk or Trike to Registration Office
  • 06:20 Registration 1
  • 06:30 Start Trek
  • 06:50 Old and New trail Junction
  • 07:15 Registration 2
    • P10 per head
  • 07:41 Registration 3
    • P20 per head
  • 08:40 ETA Summit, eat Halo-halo, Photo ops
  • 09:30 ETD Summit
  • 10:15 Registration 4 Campsite, Early lunch
    • P30 per head
  • 11:20 ETD Campsite
  • 13:15 ETA Evercrest, Fix up
  • 13:50 ETD Evercrest, Bus bound for Cubao
    • P132 per head
  • 17:03 Coastal Mall
  • 19:30 ETA Cubao

Total Cost: P302
Safe Budget: P500

It’s a really cheap climb if you bring your own packed lunch, but if you want to immerse yourself and help the locals, you can hire a child to guide you, buy one bamboo trekking pole, or enjoy some buko juice and halo-halo at the summit! I promise, halo-halo tastes better at the top of a mountain.


There isn’t really any much more to say that I haven’t said in my first Batulao climb. And that’s okay because this mountain is something I’d rather experience than talk about. Because words and pictures really don’t do justice to Mt. Batulao. You have to experience it in all its glory.

Needless to say, this won’t be the last time I’m climbing my favorite mountain. Thanks to Jeka for being my travel companion and for the other kind souls that talked to us during the climb. And as always, to the Big Guy for giving us optimal hiking conditions.

New friends from high up
New friends from high up

Batulao II: Electric Boogaloo done!

The traveling pink polo re-conquers Mt. Batulao!
The traveling pink polo re-conquers Mt. Batulao!

-jgzn

p.s. If you want to climb Mt. Batulao and need/want/crave a companion, just let me know. I’m always game for a Batulao climb!

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