March 20, 2016
It’s been a while, and given the issues with the mountain, I’ve purposely avoided hiking Mt. Batulao recently. But I was finally able to return and get the actual blow-by-blow of what’s happening there. The beauty of this mountain is still undeniable, and I am glad to finally get some sense of closure regarding some of the issues with the fees and guideship.
This event was organized by a co-member of Team Run Direction. I was looking for a weekend climb to prepare for an upcoming trail run, trying to get some elevation every week. Then a status about this hike popped up on my newsfeed and one thing led to another until I got the last slot on the van. Yipee!
We took a private van straight to Evercrest (Hillcrest), the jump-off. After a bit of orientation for all the hikers (there were 32 in our group), we started the trek. It’s been a while but some familiarity with the trail came back to me.
A few things have changed since my last visit. There is now a mandatory registration early on in the barangay with a fee of P30 per head. This is also where the new Kakawate river trail beings. The Kakawate trail leads up to the camp in the old trail. Also, guides are not required! But some parts of the trail can be confusing so for a group unfamiliar with the area, guides are recommended. Other than that, the usual registration fees of P30, P20, and P10 are still in place at certain points of the trail.
A new thing I experienced in this hike was traversing from the new trail to the old trail. The ascent to the last peak was much easier through the new trail. This was good because the hike up was fast. But the steep descent made me worry a bit for the other members of the group. Thankfully, they were all fully capable of completing the hike.
There was a part of the trail that was marked “Bawal Akyatin” and “Dead In.” But since there was no one around, a few of us decided to climb up it. The steep ascent led to the second highest peak of the mountain, but unfortunately, it really was a dead end at the top, so we had to carefully climb back down the steep trail again. It was a funny experience, but I’m glad nothing bad happened.
Once again, the heat was the main annoyance. No problem for me because I love the sun, but I did consume a lot of fluids. My hydration bladder got emptied precisely as we reached the summit. I had to refill with the Mountain Dew and buko juice being sold at the top. Sweet, sweet buko juice.
I just can’t get enough of the beauty of this mountain. Left to my own devices, I’d take lots and lots of pictures of the views and never get tired of looking at them. Now, my next goal is to be able to spend the night in Batulao. Sometime soon, hopefully.
Congratulations to the group of mostly newbies for successfully climbing my favorite mountain! They were tired but very happy, as is the default feeling of reaching the summit. After a bit of rest and photo-ops, we decided to go down for lunch.
Going down the old trail was harder than I expected. The soil was looser than before, reminiscent of Mt. Palay-palay’s summit. Good thing that my shoes were grippy on the rocks. It was very dusty as well, as even a small step kicks the soil up in the air big time. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the descents as I always do.
The part where we spent the most time was during the rappelling segment at the old trail just a few minutes from the summit. It was difficult for the newer hikers but they eventually were able to get down. Hurray! Experience is always the best teacher, no doubt they’ll be more skilled in their next rappelling attempts.
Upon reaching the camp at the old trail, we had lunch before proceeding back to the jump-off to wash up. Every time we passed a store with buko juice, I gladly bought one. Buko juice in the mountains is at least twice more tasty than those in the city. To put it plainly, I love BJs.
After washing up, we had dinner at Bulalo Point in Tagaytay, before finally returning to Metro Manila. It was a very successful hike, and I’m glad I was able to come back to Mt. Batulao. Thank you to everyone who participated and made friends!
It was a wonderful hike and a good chance for me to get some elevation and mileage, as well as get to know other hikers. I hope that the newer ones enjoyed and are looking forward to their next climb!
Mt. Batulao (811+)
Via Commute: Take any Nasugbu-bound bus and alight at Evercrest or Hillcrest. From there, take the trike or walk to the barangay registration stations. There are lots of locals along the way so don’t be afraid to ask for directions.