Monday, November 26, 2012

Conquering Mt. Batulao at 811+MASL

November 3, 2012 - Conquering 12 peaks of Mt. Batulao

Coming from a 2-night stay at the cemetery for my departed mom last November 1-2, my wife and I decided to go and climb Mt. Batulao and check out the view from this 811+ MASL summit and grandeur the view around. Being a new climber who haven't tried a night climb ever,  we decided to head to Tagaytay and hang out at Starbucks Summit Ridge for a while and plan ahead our climb with Garmin Basecamp. After checking out the trails and virtualizing the degree of inclination of our climb, we decided that we will go ahead for a Batulao climb. It was already 12AM of November 3 so we decided to sleep for a while in our vehicle while parked at McDonalds - Taal Vista (our favorite temporary sleep-over/stop-over place at Tagaytay).

We woke up at exactly sunrise 5:46AM, do our morning rituals and warm up then head-on to Batulao. We arrived at the village at the foot of Batulao at around 6:30AM and there we parked our vehicle for a fee of P50. You can park your vehicle at a roofed garage but would cost around P100. At exactly 6:53AM at 622MASL, we started our trek and planned to climb the New Trail and traverse to the Old Trail.

The grandeur of Mt. Batulao at the jump-off
We reached the first Kubo at 643MASL and the first stop over at 8:10AM and met this cute yet not to be underestimated 8-year old girl who helps her parents sell Halo-halo everyday and trek this area, climbing 4 kilometers of trek everyday to bring their goods to this kubo. This stop over is the fork trail where going straight would lead you to the New Trail and head left will lead you to the Old Trail to the summit.

If you will be heading to the new trail, this Kubo is the last place to get hydrated with Halo-Halo or Coconut juice. Going to the old trail will greet you with "semi"-potable water at Camp 1.

Personally, the Halo-Halo here is the best I have tasted. Unless you don't dig mango, allow them to add mango juice powder to the halo-halo and it tastes pretty good.

At Kubo 1 with 2 young children doing business at this stop over.
At Peak 2 of Mt. Batulao
We reached Peak 8 (679MASL) at 9:28AM where we are required to pay P20/pax if you are just planning to stop over or P30/overnight. This is also the best area to eat your lunch as shelters are available. We left the place at 10:45AM to continue our assault to the summit.

The climb starting Peak 8 to the summit is dangerous as someone has already perished last February 29 at this area while she was taking a picture. It is recommended to be always alert and secure yourselves when taking pictures due to the ravine.

At Peak 9, there is also a place there where most climbers accidentally climb and it is dangerous due to lose rocks. Good thing there is already a signage for you to know the right way.

Peak 9 at 707MASL. Do not climb the area on your right. Stay left!
At Peak 10, there is a "secret" campsite but it can only accommodate 1 tent. But this is the best way to camp at higher ground.

This photo was taken while we are at Peak 11 (754MASL) after that ravine climb from Peak 9
Shown here is Peak 1-8 of Mt. Batulao
Finally reached the summit at 11:55AM 811+MASL

Panorama from Mt. Batulao Summit facing Calaca and Calatagan, Batangas side.

When you have reached the summit of Mt. Batulao (Peak 12) at 811+MASL, you can see the grandeur of Batangas and Cavite. Facing North will show you Talamitam and far north, Mt. Pico De Loro at Ternate, Cavite. Facing East will be Tagaytay, South to west will show you the panorama above showing Laiya, Batangas City, Calaca, and Calatagan, Batangas.

Mt. Batulao is the 4th mountain I climbed.

We decided to traverse to the Old trail and this is what lies in front of us before we reach Camp 9 of the old trail... rappelling down to that almost 90-degree cliff.

My wife surviving her first-ever rappel. Camp 9 shown further.
Just go down the old trail and you'll get to Camp 9 to Camp 1. Fresh Buko (coconut juice) is sold for P25 at Camp 6. The best campsites to stay overnight is from Camp 5 - Camp 1. Camp 1 has the largest area to accommodate tents with toilet, souvenir shop, and potable water (this water is from the stream about 300 meters from camp 1 and some people used to drink distilled water may have problem with this water).

There is a P20/pax fee at Camp 1 whether you just pass by or plan to stay overnight.

Newly met friends from the summit. We are at Camp 1 (576MASL)
Sunset at Mt. Batulao (Bato at Ilaw) near the first Kubo (Nipa Hut)
The Sun's exact position when this was taken only happens between November and mid-December
Climbing the New Trail is easier than the Old trail however the ravine at Peak 8 up to the summit seems to be a bit adrenalin spiking for beginners. The Old trail is harder in a sense because of the multiple up and down portions yet safer as there are no ravines except for the short cliff assault before the summit.

I do recommend climbing Mt. Batulao from the New Trail to the Old Trail for a day hike. The Old trail is recommended for a night hike.

Elevation Graph from New Trail to Old Trail of Mt. Batulao
Mt. Batulao trail as plotted on Google Earth
The data gathered in this Mount Batulao climb has been contributed to the OpenStreetMap Philippines project for free use of mountaineers who plan to climb this mountain with GPS assistance.

Openstreetmap Philippines Map (link)
Schadow1 Expeditions Contributions (link)
How to use for your Navigation System (link)

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