Monday, December 10, 2012

Conquering Pico De Loro 664+MASL

August 19-20, 2012

Pico De Loro
Another long weekend. It was 24 years ago since I last climbed a mountain. I was 8 years old back then. Having this scar on my lower left leg reminds me of my first ever climb in Mt. Banahaw and since then, my instinct has been telling me to get back to who really I am... to unite with nature and feel the grandeur of setting foot to elevations not meant for a regular man to take foot often and enjoy the peace and fresh air at this altitude. It is the right time to re-unite with the mountains and conquer Mt. Pico De Loro.

Mt. Pico de Loro is bordering two provinces, namely Cavite and Batangas. Having its east side situated at both Ternate and Maragondon, Cavite and its west at Nasugbu, Batangas. This mountain is a site of on-going infrastructure. In fact, at the time of this writing, the government is about to open the tunnel that connects Cavite to Nasugbu, Batangas as part of the R-1 Highway Extension to shorten the travel time from Manila to Nasugbu and Calatagan, Batangas.

This climb is supposed to be an ocular and test run to climb Pico De Loro as I was requested by my colleagues to head a climb to this same mountain a week after this weekend. Unfortunately, that climb has not pushed through however climbing this mountain is of no loss to me, instead it is of all gain.

Pico De Loro is known to have the longest trail to the summit with a trail distance of about 7 kilometers from the Caylabne highway in Cavite. And its summit is well known with this vertical cliff that expert mountaineers would like to climb so they can grandeur the view of Cavite and the Manila Bay - West Philippine Sea entrance.

The whole trail is forested and the path has lots of boulders.

Forested path on Pico De Loro

This mountain is named as Pico De Loro as its summit looks like a parrot's head and with its beak pointing out. Galleons use this mountain during the Spanish era as a sign that they will be entering Manila bay to approach the Philippine capital.

It is 9:30AM and we reached the DENR site at Ternate, Cavite where we parked our vehicle for P50 and paid an environtmental fee of P20 to the same office. From there you would need to walk back along the highway for about 323 meters to the jump-off.

DENR Ternate along Caylabne Highway

From the jump-off, you would need to trek 1.85 kilometers, climb a portion of Mt. Palay-palay, then descend, before you reach the first basecamp. This is the first and the last camp to stay and replenish your supplies before you head on and continue your trek to the summit. Souvenirs are also available. Softdrinks in can costs P40. This basecamp is owned by Rey Medina and his family and they themselves maintain this area.

Pico De Loro Ternate Jump-off

On this basecamp you would need to pay another P20/person as a donation to the owner for keeping the area clean for mountaineers to camp and have a picnic.

At Rene Medina's Basecamp

From here, you would need to trek for another 1.5 kilometers passed the stream and enter the wooden gate until you reach the fork road. Going right will lead you to the summit while  going left will lead you down to the waterfall.

Trail of Pico De Loro with Mt. Palay Palay at back

Stream along Pico De Loro Trail

For this time, we intend to the get to the summit first so we went right until we reached Alibangbang Park after another walk of 305 meters.

Alibangbang park is named after the sound that is emitted by crickets and it is nice to stay and rest under the tree or camp before you head on. This park is the last flat ground and this is also the sign of the start of continuous 60 degree assault to the summit.

Alibangbang Park

The trail from Alibangbang park to the Pico De Loro campsite is filled with big boulders for you to climb on and is very slippery when raining. The only things you can cling on while climbing your way are bamboos and blade grass so ensure that you wear proper gloves.

The first clearing from Alibangbang is about a kilometer away and the next is another 900 meters away. The whole length of which is assault.

There are a lots of "Ligaw Path" or wrong ways from the 1st clearing and it is imperative that you always go left when there is a fork.

When you reached the second clearing, make sure to go right going down. As the one straight ahead or going to the left leads to another way that is blocked by foliage and boulders at the end.

518 meters from the second clearing is the campsite. You'll know when you are there when you reached a semi-plane ground filled with bamboo trees. From the campsite, the one to your left will lead you to more areas to tent and a natural limestone water source near the ravine. However getting water from this source is dangerous.

We reached the campsite (607MASL) exactly after 6 hours of trek at around 3:33PM. It is foggy however and is raining the whole afternoon and night. We were soaked and cold the whole stay.

At Pico De Loro Campsite 607MASL

The rain didn't stop until morning came. We have planned to reach the summit however the path to it is laid out with high boulders and is so wet, even the Marines who were with us at the campsite didn't push through to the summit. So I called it off as we were no experts and this climb can be considered our first climb in decades. We started going back down at 8:30AM.

Attempt to reach the summit. And I am only 64 meters away.

There is a traverse to the Nasugbu side which I didn't try as our vehicle is parked at Ternate side. So upon going back to down, we went and stop over to the waterfalls and reached the area at about 11:30AM; stayed for about an hour and a half.

According to the people there, the falls hardly do not have water during summer, so our visit to the falls during the that time is an ample reward for our climb when we have not reached the summit.

Pico De Loro Water Falls

Friends met at the campsite of Pico De Loro
At Pico de Loro Waterfalls (Tagalog)

Touch down back to DENR Ternate is 3:30PM.

Mt. Pico De Loro is the 2nd mountain I have climbed.

Elevation map from DENR Jumpoff to Pico De Loro Campsite

Our path to Pico De Loro summit as plotted on Google Earth

The data gathered in this Mount Pico De Loro 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)

Related Article:
2nd Attempt to Pico De Loro Summit: Conquering Pico De Loro Summit 664MASL Part 2

1 comment:

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