Up the Parrot’s Beak Again

Friday
September 25, 2015

It’s been long overdue, but finally I was able to have my revenge climb on my mother mountain! My friend organized a hike with her friends and she invited me to go. Since it was Mt. Palay-palay, I couldn’t say no.  I’ve already said before that I want to go back to Pico de Loro and finally, the time has come!

On my first climb, we had a private vehicle going to the DENR Site. This time, we just had to commute. So early in the morning, I was already at the Coastal Mall Bus Station. I waited for the rest of the group and we took the Ternate-bound bus. There were lots of other climbers on the bus with us, it was pretty obvious to spot those who were climbing as well.

Going down in Ternate terminal which is in Cavite, there were already tons of tricycles waiting for climbers. We rode one on a bumpy and uphill ride straight to the DENR site. The place has really changed in just a few months. It was as if parts of the site were still familiar to me, but a lot is different as well.

We paid the registration fees and followed the procession of hikers to the start of the trail. No guides for this adventurous group. The trail is very established as stated in other blogs.

The trail starts with a brook crossing
The trail starts with a brook crossing
The aforementioned brook
The aforementioned brook

The trail is a new one, made by DENR. On my first climb, we used the old trail which is now closed. I don’t know the issues that led to the creation of the new trail, but it’s fine for me as I was able to get a new experience from the old mountain.

After the brook, it was a steady ascent up muddy slopes
After the brook, it was a steady ascent up muddy slopes
There were a couple of parts with ropes and vines
There were a couple of parts with ropes and vines

The new trail is waaaay easier than the old trail. It reminded me of Mt. Manabu, although this trail was more varied in terrain.

There were lots of fallen trees and branches to maneuver through
There were lots of fallen trees and branches to maneuver through
Bamboo territory means you're near the campsite
Bamboo territory means you’re near the campsite

Finally, we reached the familiar campsite, where there were LOTS OF PEOPLE. Like, holy shit, is this a mountain or a convention? We had to wait our turn for some pictures.

Fogless and fabulous
Fogless and fabulous

But I was fine with the waiting because in the meantime, I was enjoying the view without any fog! It was breath-taking to say the least.

Once the group was done with pictures, we hired a (mandatory) guide to take us up the summit and the monolith. This was the part that frustrated me because we had to wait a really long time because there was lots of traffic. Imagine that! Traffic in the mountain! Crazy!

Letting the people going down pass
Letting the people going down pass

The trail to the summit was very beaten. Where there was once shrubs, there are now just dry rocks and dirt. The trail has truly given way to the horde of people going up and down daily.

Scrambling up to the summit

At the summit, THERE WERE EVEN MORE PEOPLE. This was the most people I’ve seen on the summit at once. Holy shit! Different colored clothes and umbrellas everywhere!

Summiteers
Summiteers
People, people everywhere
People, people everywhere

We didn’t stay long at the summit because we immediately fell in line to get up the monolith.

Imagine that, the monolith, what was once my first scariest mountaineering experience and now I am queuing to get up it like some kind of government office.

To the monolith
To the monolith
The queue to the monolith; Looking back at the summit
The queue to the monolith; Looking back at the summit

After what seemed like hours (we had lunch while waiting), it was finally our turn at the top of the monolith. We climbed up it and had our guide return back to the summit to take pictures of us. We also enjoyed the view and the cool air. I had a quick nap while the others were taking pictures.

From up high, the forest looks like little broccoli

Yes, that's me
Yes, that’s me

After the monolith, we queued to go down it and decided to do a traverse. This means that instead of backtracking the trail we used for the ascent, we will be using the trail under the monolith, which will lead us to the Nasugbu jumpoff. Again, good for me because I’ll be using another trail so it’ll be a new experience.

The traverse trail also has various terrain
The traverse trail also has various terrain

The traverse descent was shorter than the new trail. It was also a well-used trail and there were even levels carved into the ground for easier descending. This was the trail the guides use to quickly go up from Nasugbu back to the campsite.

The mud was still slippery though
The mud was still slippery though
Closed forest, open forest, river crossings, and a grotto
Closed forest, open forest, river crossings, and a grotto

Finally, we reached the Nasugbu jump-off where we commissioned a trike to take us to the nearby waterfalls. Since the jump-off didn’t have any amenities, we decided to rinse ourselves off at the falls.

There were still a lot of people at the falls
There were still a lot of people at the falls
Rinsing off
Rinsing off

The falls was really nice after a hard day’s trek and the water cooled us off. We stayed here a lot longer than planned.

When we finished, the day was already ending. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to catch the sunset at the Kaybiang tunnel and pass through the beaches anymore. We had the trike take us to the Nasugbu bus terminal to catch one of the last buses bound for Manila. Halfway through the trike ride, night had fallen and I fell asleep at the back as usual.

Getting off at the Nasugbu terminal, we were happy to see a bus bound for Manila. We boarded it and I slept on the long, long, looooooooooong ride home.


Itinerary and Cost Breakdown

  • 05:40 ETD Coastal Terminal, Bus bound for Ternate, Cavite
    • P81 per head
  • 06:55 ETA Ternate Terminal, Trike to DENR Station
    • P255 per trike (3 pax per trike)
  • 07:15 ETA DENR Station, Register and secure guides (optional)
    • P25 per head, registration
    • Guide Rates:
      • P1000 for 1-5 pax
      • P1200 for 6-10 pax
      • P1500 for >10 pax
  • 07:30 Start Trek
  • 09:45 ETA Campsite
  • 10:20 ETD Campsite, secure guide and ascend to summit
    • P50 per head, guide fee for Summit + Monolith
    • P100 per head, guide fee for Summit + Monolith + Traverse
  • 10:47 ETA Summit
  • 11:05 ETD Summit, descend to Monolith
  • 11:15 ETA Monolith foot, Lunch
  • 12:45 ETA Monolith top, Photo ops
  • 13:35 ETD Monolith
  • 14:20 ETA Monolith foot, Start Traverse
  • 16:05 ETA Store camp, Snacks
  • 16:35 ETA Nasugbu Terminal, secure trike
    • P500 per trike for 1-3 pax +tip for sidetrips (Falls, Kaybiang Tunnel, Beach)
    • P150 per head for 4-5 pax +tip for sidetrips (Falls, Kaybiang Tunnel, Beach)
  • 16:45 ETA Falls, Fix up
  • 18:05 ETD Falls
  • 19:05 ETA Nasugbu Terminal, Bus bound for Manila (Pasay)
    • P152 per head, to Coastal Terminal
  • 22:50 ETA Coastal Terminal

Total Cost: P743
Safe Budget: P1000

You may opt to do the reverse traverse by starting at the Nasugbu jumpoff. From Ternate Terminal, tell the trike to take you to the Nasugbu jumpoff. This is frowned upon, however, as you are bypassing the DENR Registration.


I’m glad to have returned to my mother mountain, but I am actually a bit disappointed at its current state. There are so many climbers because the trail is easily accessible now. So if you want to avoid the lines, arrive early or better yet, go during weekdays. Weekends and holidays will only see you being stuck in the traffic at the summit.

Now I’m not saying that it’s bad that a lot of people are climbing Mt. Palay-palay. In fact, I encourage a lot of my friends to start climbing as well! BUT, before climbing, one must always know the etiquette up the mountains. This can be summed up easily by:

Leave nothing but footprints.
Kill nothing but time.
Take nothing but pictures.

It’s that easy and it’s basic common sense. Don’t leave your trash behind and don’t vandalize. I know this because I’m guilty of these things in the past. But it helps to not be ignorant. Do your part and respect the mountains.

But anyway, it’s all good, I just hope that things will work themselves out in the end. With the help of all climbers, of course.

Thank you to Camae and friends for letting me join their climb. And thanks to the big guy for the good climbing weather and the safe traverse for everyone.

Group picture!

Pico de Loro 2: Electric Boogaloo finished!

Since my traveling pink polo is in the laundry, here's the traveling pink jersey!
Since my traveling pink polo is in the laundry, here’s the traveling pink jersey! #PinkAtThePeak

-jgzn

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