December 15, 2013
Every climb is a different experience. And that happens no matter how many times you climb the same mountain. It was the third time we climbed Mount Pico De Loro and the second time for this year. We have done it this time with friends who are first-time climbers. Though this is not the first, this makes it the first time for myself to become a mountain guide and the first time to scale the Parrot's Beak or also known as the monolith.
Mount Pico De Loro is the famous mountain destination in Cavite being the highest elevation in terms of topography (at 664 meters above sea level) and is also the the nearest mountain in Metro Manila. It also offers a stunning 360-degree view of the surroundings. When at the summit, you can see the Manila Bay opening, the Corregidor Island, and the Mariveles mountain range of Bataan to your north. To your east is the vast flat lands of the whole province of Cavite. To your West are the coves of Maragondon and Ternate Cavite including the West Philippine Sea; and finally, to your south are the stunning green grazelands of Magallanes, Cavite, the rest of the Palay-Palay Mountain Range of Cavite including Mt. Mataas na Gulod and Mt. Marami, and the mountains of Nasugbu, Batangas which includes Talamitam and Batulao.
|Mountains of Batangas from Pico De Loro|
|Corregidor and Bataan from Pico De Loro|
|Patungan Cove and Limbones Island|
Mount Pico De Loro offers another challenging viewpoint, the Parrot's Beak or some mountaineers call as the Monolith. The Monolith is a 60-meter vertical cliff just right slightly below its summit and is situated on a 600-meter ravine. Climbing the monolith requires a lot of presence of mind and adrenaline.
The attempt to climb the monolith requires you for a steep descent from Pico De Loro's summit and as soon as you reach the base of the cliff, you have to situate your self in climbing a crevice to go around the cliff to reach its back. The rocks going to the back are slightly inclined and is only as narrow as your body. Shoes with good grip to the rocks are very important or else a fall several hundred meters down is imminent. As soon as you reach the back, there is a rope installed by mountaineers to where you can hang on and climb to get to the top. The rope seems to be newly installed at the time of writing this article and will stay there for a bit of a long time for the use of other mountaineers. As you reach the top, you will be rewarded with an exhilirating view of Pico De Loro's summit and the rest of Maragondon below. The Monolith is already part of Nasugbu, Batangas as the peak of Pico De Loro itself is already the boundary of Cavite and Batangas.
|Myself having a hanging time at the edge of the Monolith|
|Pico De Loro summit as seen from the Monolith|
|Roped section at the back of the Parrot's Beak|
As for myself, the attempt to scale the Monolith was a failure as the rope is too short for me and I still lack the upper body strength due to my previous motorcycle accident. It is still hard to carry myself up using barely my two hands to get a foot grip on the next crevice. There will still be another time for this. Probably on the 4th climb to Pico De Loro? Who knows.
Anyway, being a mountain guide for the first time was an amazing experience and having seen my friends check out Cavite in a whole different vantage point (at 664 meters above sea level) is an awesome twist. They love Pico De Loro so much, they have to literally "hug" the mountain to get to the summit :D . It was understandable though as the wind was too strong and it would be very hard to stand on an 80 degrees inclined surface.
|Friends at Pico De Loro summit at 664 MASL|
L-R Vanessa, Lyrra, Chale, Janwyn, myself
|Jump shots at 605 meters above sea level|
The weather was also excellent, comparable to the first time we climbed Batulao. No clouds nor fog covered the view and we have enjoyed Pico De Loro at its maximum level.
|Snugging up a panoramic shot of Pico De Loro and the surrounding mountains|
The "environmental fee" has already increased at DENR's station at the Ternate jump-off from Php20, it is now Php 25. The "right of passage" on Rey Medina's property at the basecamp remains at Php 20.
Conquering Pico De Loro 664+MASL
Pico De Loro Summit 664+MASL Part 2
Google Maps (link)
Schadow1 Expeditions Contributions (link)
How to use for your Navigation System (link)