Mount Batulao is located in Nasugbu, Batangas, Philippines with an elevation of 811 meters (2,661 ft) above sea-level and offers a 360 degree view of a nearby town. You rarely see a big trees along the way and most of the area are filled with grass and smaller trees. It is an ideal place for hiking or mountain climbing especially for anyone who wish to experience new environment and breathe of fresh air.
When I was in college I’ve been seeing a lot of mountaineering club and just hoping I could join and hike with them. However, I was not given that opportunity to join them probably because I don’t have mountaineer friends, I’m not physically fit and cannot afford to purchase the right gear for any hike or climb. 10 Years passed by and I was blessed to be employed by one of the top companies in the world. Good thing I have colleagues who happen to be hiking enthusiasts and very much knowledgeable regarding local hiking. When I got hook into photography and saw Mount Pulag photo during online browsing. My initial desire to push through in climbing or hike a mountain stirs up. Mount Pulag is the 3rd highest mountain in the Philippines. It is Luzon’s highest peak at 2,922 meters above sea level. The borders between the provinces of Benguet, Ifugao, and Nueva Vizcaya meet at the mountain’s peak. I was so amazed when I saw shots taken from highest peak of the mountain. Sea of clouds cover almost the entire ground while you’re standing on top of the mountain. It’s like you left earth and gone to heaven already. God’s creation is so amazing. Mount Batulao is my initial step or mountain climbing initiation. It is my 1st step towards my wish to climb Mount Pulag or other mountain perhaps. ER Flores is my colleague happens to be an experienced mountain climber and very knowledgeable with our local mountains trail. We got an opportunity last April 9, 2014 (Wednesday) which happens to be our local holiday (Day of Valor or Araw ng Kagitingan) and no work for our team. I’ve been reading ahead of time blog of others regarding Mount Batulao and looks like I won’t have difficulty hiking the Mount Batulao. Browsing photo site for possible framing and composition so I could get a great shots during our trip.
A day before the hike I was working on a night shift (7pm to 4am) and I need to make sure before I went to office I got all the gears and things with me. Upon time-out from office at around 4 AM we went directly to South West Provincial Terminal in Coastal Mall, Paranaque to board a bus going to Nasugbu, Batangas. We boarded a BSC bus going to Nasugbu, Batangas at around 4:45 AM. We waited 30 minutes until the bus is full of passengers. As of this writing, cost of fare is P102 from the South West Provincial Terminal in Coastal Mall to Evercrest (a hotel in Nasugbu), Nasugbu, Batangas. Finally, the bus left the terminal at 5:25 AM. Since I have no sleep yet I’ll try to get or make up some sleep during the trip. After two hours of bus travel we reached Evercrest at 7:00 AM. Since we have not eaten any breakfast yet we decided to eat our breakfast at a nearby carinderia before heading for a long day walk. At 7:30 AM we started walking (you may opt to ride a tricycle for P25 each to lessen your walking time) and chose not to ride a tricycle to lessen the cost and able to take photos of locals.
Things to bring for a day hike:
1) 2 liter of water and 2 bottle of gatorade (at least for me) 2) Trekking Pole (very important for safety purposes) 3) 1 long sleeve or pair of arm guard (you can buy arm guard at the old trail camp 1) 4) Sunblock lotion 5) Trash bags 6) Lunch and light snack foods 7) Whistle (in case of emergency) 8) Trekking hat 9) Emergency kit and medicines
Note: It is important to wear to right kind of shoes for this hike because some or most part of mount batulao is very slippery due to powdery texture of the soil. We started our trek and were only walking around 7 minutes when we decided to stop for a while and took pictures of Mount Batulao which is very far away. I was surprised to see how far we need to walk to reach the summit. I’m not worried walking a great distance because I know I’m physically fit for this type of activity. One of my purposes in climbing this mountain is to experience mountain climbing, take photos and document as much details as I can for this travel blog.
You can choose to hire a tour guide for P300 for a hassle-free day hike. However, if you’re not familiar with the trail one might end up in the wrong direction. Locals will approach you or your group asking nicely should you decide to get the service of a local tour guide. As for us, we decided not to hire a local tour guide to minimize the cost and get to know the locals more. Good thing, even though we did not hire a local tour guide they are still kind enough to tell you if you’re going in the wrong direction.
Since it was my first time to hike a mountain I was brief my friend with some of the mountaineer etiquette:
1.Pray before and after for your safety and guidance along the way. 2. Smile and greet every mountaineers or local you meet on your way (Ex. good morning or take care). 3. Inform other mountaineers should you need to walk ahead (ex. advance lang po!)
Initially I was hesitant to greet locals and mountaineers but I get used to it as we go along the trail. I even ask other mountaineers to pose a group shot with us while Kuya Manong the halo-halo store owner willingly pose a portrait shot for us.
Our first stop is to eat halo-halo in the middle of the mountain. You thought that it’s not feasible to have a halo-halo in the middle of the mountain. Mount Batulao almost has it all, mountain dew, buko juice, halo-halo, lugaw and others. Kuya Manong saw a market among the mountaineers to sell a refreshment and looks like it’s a big hit.
At around 9:16 AM we’re back on our feet again and trying to step up because I think were not even halfway to the summit. For me, I don’t mind the difficulty in climbing up this mountain as long I can enjoy the view and able to get a good pictures.
Finally, we reached the summit which is at Camp 10 around 11:00 AM. There are so many mountaineers that day and some of them which we have met along the way also make it. We’re so exhausted yet the feeling of reaching the summit is priceless. We may just be in 811 meters (2,661 ft) above sea-level but it’s like you have reach the top of the world.
Since there is no shaded area to eat properly we skip our lunch at the Camp 10 and decided to just stay for a while. We took the opportunity to take pictures and enjoy the scenery for a while. We’ll just ate our lunch on the next campsite. We decided not to go back on the new trail and proceed with the old trail.
As we trek down, we saw a lone tree where we can take a rest and ate our lunch. Perfect place to take a jump shot, portrait shot or levitation photography. You won’t get bored at Mount Batulao it has everything you just need to tap your creative mind using your camera. However, please be careful when doing this kind of shots. Safety first before anything else.
Kids play and fun time is over. We started to trek down at around 1:09 PM. Hopefully, we can make it at 3:00 pm at Evercrest.
We reached Camp 1 (old trail) at 1:22 PM wherein you can buy a Mount Batulao souvenir like arm guard, t-shirts and other items. Items I bought are:
- 1 pc. T-shirt (P200)
- 2 pairs of arm guard (P160)
I just conquered Mount Batulao in which I thought was just a simple climb or a day hike but I guess I was wrong. We started from the new trail up to the camp 10 and went back going to the old trail. They say it was for a newbie but my assessment it’s not for a faint-hearted who wish to try this mountain. We even almost witness someone almost fell to the ravine but thank goodness my friend ER Flores caught him. Thank you Lord for keeping us safe and sound while at the same time you gave us the opportunity to see your wonderful creation. Hopefully, I may be able to do this again in the near future. Godspeed!!!