Hike, Travel

Akyat: Mt. Batulao 2023

January 29, 2023

After 4 years, I was able to return to my favorite mountain. This is a recount of my first hike since the pandemic; my comeback to Mt. Batulao (811 masl) in Nasugbu, Batangas.

I’ve been keeping some tabs on this mountain in the CLIMBER Facebook group for a while now. It’s no secret that I love this mountain as I have climbed it again and again and again.

Finally, a free weekend came up so I decided to bite the bullet and bring me and my partner to the mountain. I haven’t hiked since the pandemic started, so a familiar mountain would be the best way to check my fitness level. I found a climb organizer on Facebook and reserved our seats.

Like in the pre-pandemic days, the pick-up locations were still at the McDo Centris Station and/or the Greenfields parking lot. We picked the former as it was closer to where we were staying. We arrived there an hour before midnight, bought some food, and waited for our van to arrive.

Once seated, we pretty much slept all the way until we turned into Evercrest in Nasugbu, the landmark for Mt. Batulao. I felt pretty giddy because I remembered all the previous times I’ve been in this area. It’s been a while, but it’s also amazing how a single marker can spark so many memories to rush into one’s head.

Our group registered, readied ourselves, and waited for our local guides. It was my first time hiking this mountain so early in the morning. We planned to welcome the sunrise at the summit so we started in the dark.

Even in the darkness, the trails felt very familiar. Each bend in the trail, every rock formation evoked past memories on this mountain. Not much has changed in the natural formations of the mountain and I am grateful for that. It was the same feeling as coming back to your childhood home after years of being away.

Our pace was slow and steady. I was glad that I was still capable of striding the trails of this mountain without running out of breath. My single session of jogging as preparation paid off.

The entire way up, we were being buffeted by a frigid breeze. The weather was forecasted to be cloudy so the sun and rain were thankfully not a problem.

The summit markers

My partner and I reached the summit first and we huddled together while waiting for the rest to catch up. Our fingers were almost frozen and using our phones for documentation became quite difficult.

Once the entire group caught up, we took lots of pictures and greeted the other people on the summit. My partner also had some cup noodles and eggs that were being peddled by the locals. Starting early paid off as we had more time for pictures without the crowd of people.

Pointing out some visible landmarks || Lining up for the food at the summit’s store

It felt so good to stand on top of Mt. Batulao once again. Though I did miss the harshness of the old trail as we were only using the new trail for today, it was still a good experience to welcome me back. The views were being blocked by the morning fog, but every now and then we could steal some glances of the beautiful and sloping surroundings.

Eventually, we started our descent. This time was much quicker and I enjoyed the short downhill bursts where I could push my legs a little. It was as if my muscles remembered how hard they worked a few years ago and woke up a bit. We reached the jump-off satisfied and only a little bit exhausted.

Goodbye, old friend. Thanks for all the miles || The shoes were given to a local instead of thrown away

The group finished the hike early so we still had time to have lunch at a Bulalohan in Tagaytay. We enjoyed the hot soup and crispy tawilis while admiring the view of Taal volcano. Our stomachs full, we slept the entire ride back to Metro Manila where we got off at the same place we were picked up.

Bulalo: 7/10, Tawilis: 7/10

This hike was perfect. I’ve been insecure about my fitness level since the pandemic as I have not maintained a fit lifestyle as before, but being able to still hike comfortably is a blessing I will take. As a bonus, I was able to bring my partner and have her see the beauty of this mountain.



  • 00:00 ETD Manila
  • 03:15 ETA Batulao Jumpoff || Register, get Guides
  • 04:00 Start Hike
  • 06:15 ETA Summit || Photo Ops, Eat
  • 07:15 ETD Summit || Start Descent
  • 09:00 End Hike || Wash Up
  • 10:00 ETD Batulao Jumpoff
  • 11:00 ETA Tagaytay || Lunch
  • 12:30 ETD Tagaytay
  • 15:30 ETA Manila

Event fee: P1,100
Organizer: Lagawan Outdoor Travel and Tours

This mountain holds so many special memories and I will continue adding to them. Mt. Batulao never ceased to be beautiful despite it’s controversies.

I am against the mandatory guideship for this mountain. I am also against the excessive and repetitive charging of fees for hikers. These are the biggest issues of the mountain right now. I hope that the local entities do more to make Mt. Batulao an even better destination for hikers of all experiences.

View from Lyleth’s Overlooking Restaurant

For now, if you would like to hike this mountain, I suggest joining a hiking group to save yourself some peace of mind. The logistics are all taken care of by the organizer, and if you are solo hiker, you will not be spending too much compared to a DIY trip.

Big thanks to the organizer for making this climb happen and also to my partner for providing most of the images in this post. This was a good restart for my hiking journey and I can’t wait to go back to the outdoors regularly once again.

Keep safe and climb often!



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