Conquering Mt. Pico De Loro Without A Guide

Mt. Pico de Loro has always been in my list of mountains to climb. When I heard that Mt. Pico de Loro is about to close and undergo rehabilitation, I immediately planned our hike. I cannot afford to miss the chance to conquer this mountain in Ternate, Cavite.

Mt. Pico de Loro is one of the most well-known and most-visited spots in Cavite. Ternate is two hours away from where I live. Jem and I took the bus to Ternate terminal and then we rode the tricycle to the DENR station where we signed up for registration. You can leave you non-valuable things (like clothes, etc.) at the DENR station where a local will look after your them.

The locals were very friendly and helpful. At the beginning of our trek, we got confused because the running water was misleading. The locals who were bathing within the area pointed us to the right direction. Halfway through our hike, there were also locals who helped us get through a pile of logs. The locals were very nice and welcoming. Even the teenage girl who sold food and drinks at the campsite was very accommodating. She even let us leave our bags behind as we climb up to the summit.

It was about to rain when we reached the summit so the fog was really thick. During our short stay at the summit, we took some photos and just sat there, waiting for the fog to clear out so we could see the 360-degree awesome view from the summit.

We were literally waiting for the fog to subside just to get a good look at the monolith!

It felt like we have this LOSERS! sign looming above our heads whenever we climb mountains. Bad weather would always try to ruin our trek and thick fog would cover the view. However, it’s the little details that make every climb unique. No matter how tough it was to hike on a rainy day, it couldn’t stop us from having fun while conquering this majestic mountain.

It was a ten-minute assault to the summit from the camp site. We spent quite a while at the summit until thunders roared and lightning flashed. That’s when we decided to begin our way back down to the campsite. Back at the campsite, it started raining hard, so we decided to take some time off before we head back to the jump-off point. We prayed for a safe trek down and for the rain to stop. I took a thirty-minute nap and when I woke up, the sun was already out! Our prayers were heard!!! We proceeded to take pictures with the famous parrot’s beak in the background. Thankfully, the fog had subsided, so we were successful in taking decent shots.

If it weren’t for the fog, we could have clearly seen the white coastline of Hamilo.

Even the rocks are photogenic!

This was our first look at the famous monolith when we emerged from the assault:

We did our best to reach the jump-off point as fast as we could despite our pauses to re-hydrate and to pass through enormous logs that block the trail. It took us around one hour and thirty minutes to finally reach the jump-off point.

We just can’t help but take photos with the artistahing monolith! Screw the fog! It kept on blocking the majestic view. :-/ 

“Kapag umaakyat sa mga bundok, damang-dama niya ang panganib ng mga bangin. Pero alam din niyang dahil sa bangin kaya nagkakaroon ng ibayong kahulugan ang bawat pag-akyat. Dahil sa panganib, nagkakaroon ng matinding kahulugan ang bawat pag-akyat.” –Sir Edgar Samar, Walong Diwata Ng Pagkahulog

The forest vibe was refreshing. It felt like my mind and body underwent detox during our entire hike. Surrounding yourself with nature can surely take away all your stress and anxieties instantly. Even colds! I had colds that morning and sure enough, ten minutes into trekking, *poof* they’re gone. I could already feel my nose clearing up.

We made sure to stop and take photos by the huge rocks!

It was the very first time we hiked a mountain without a guide. While the trail was easy to follow, we are extremely proud of ourselves for surviving the climb without hiring a guide (which, FYI, costs a thousand pesos). Jem and I actually considered it as an achievement as a couple. We were like, “We made it without a guide!” the whole time. It was challenging, but it was worth it. Not only we were able to save one thousand pesos, we also learned how to pay close attention to the trail and to our surroundings (which I fail to do when we hire a guide–and yes, I tend to be really dependent on our guides haha).

I was glad to wear sandals this time. I have learned my lesson. Ever since my first hike, I expect to have dirt and mud all over my feet and body. The sandals were really convenient and comfortable at the same time. It saved me from the hassle of changing into slippers after cleaning up. Also, the sandals made it easier for me to pass through bodies of water (which we did encounter during the hike).

And, of course, I wouldn’t miss the chance to pose for photos in front of Mt. Pico de Loro’s most picturesque site. Thankfully, the fog was not blocking the view by the time we went here. Hence, the beautifully taken photos! 🙂

Mt. Pico de Loro provided me with just the right amount of exhilaration and satisfaction. I discovered that going on an adventurous hike requires more effort and persistence than I thought. Being on our own, making sure we were on the right path, and helping each other along the way brought out both the leader and the team-player in ourselves. This is what I will always love about mountains—they never fail to teach me valuable things. Mountains may usually be associated with difficulties, hurdles, and consequences, but for me, they serve as effective teachers. There are things that you can only learn once you step foot on a mountain. Like difficulties, hurdles, and consequences, mountains should not be underestimated. One should allot enough time and prepare well before conquering them. The most important thing is not reaching the summit and conquering the mountains, but gathering the strength and courage to try, to begin, to finish, and to learn something from them.

I do not want to forget the most beautiful things in the world. I always want to keep them—in my mind and heart. “Remember this,” I whispered to myself as I turn my back on the monolith and head our way down.

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