Saturday, January 19, 2008

Batangas: Scaling the summit of Mt. Batulao

Another surge of adrenaline! I climbed Mt. Batulao in Nasugbu, Batangas together with the UP Med Outdoor Society. There was a 200-meter rock climb, about 60 to 70 degrees, to get to the peak. I felt I was hanging on for my dear life!

Since I wanted to get as much sleep as I could (my lack of sleep during the past climbs proved deadly), I decided to meet up with the group at the jump-off point in Nasugbu giving me an extra two hours in bed and enough to fuel my adrenaline rush. The group took a bus to Nasugbu and got off at the entrance of the Evercrest Golf and Country Club. If you're familiar with Calaruega, that's the same entrance. We caught up with the group just as they got off the bus. And from there, the long hike up Batulao began.

Instead of making a right to Calaruega, take the road on the left. A few meters away, you will see an old basketball court and a dirt road to the right which is the road that leads to Batulao. It's straight-forward trek from there.

Along the way, you'll pass by several inhabited areas before the trail leads you to rolling hills with a sparse incidence of nipa huts and the occasional drink stand ready to sell you ice-cold soft drinks or a refreshing dose of coconut juice. At the first of ten camps, you'll be asked to register and pay a PHP20 fee to hike towards the peak.

Since it was January, the cool mountain wind made the effort even easier. We just had to deal with a lot of mud and slippery paths along the way no thanks to the random drizzle which would transform the wind from cool to cold. The assault to the summit was another story worth telling. That took a considerable amount of effort on my part given the steep incline we had to overcome. As I mentioned earlier, there were times I felt I was hanging on for my life since one wrong step or hanging on to a loose stone could have meant me rolling down and hitting the jagged rocks along the way.

But the summit was indeed a prize worthy of the climb. We were afforded panoramic views of Cavite, Batangas and the nearby mountains. You could even see the Taal Volcano! Going down was another story, and I literally had to get my butt dirty, carefully sliding down the steep trail of rocks and soil. It was better to be safe than sorry.

After ten hours of hiking, we finally made it back to the jump-off point. And to celebrate the feat, we binged on pizza and pasta at Carlo's Pizza in Tagaytay City. But my weekend was not over since I'm on my way to Pinatubo tomorrow for a swim in its crater lake. Sometimes I feel I'm just too crazy.

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