looking back at the years of trekking, i remember the time when i first joined a trek to Mt. Manunggal in Cebu only to be part of the team activity. not knowing that it was the very climb that led me to love the mountains, the trek and the camaraderie.
this year, i celebrate ten years after that first trek with the goal to trek ten mountains until the year ends. starting with the beautiful peaks of Batulao in Batangas. it is best for day hikes and night treks. a two and a half hour bus trip from Manila and another two hours trekking leads one to peak eight through the new trail.
Batulao may only be at a height of 811meters but the multiple ascend and descend can be exhausting to those who are not used to trekking. passing by some nipa huts serving coconut juice, was refreshing.steep ravines, extreme weather conditions, wild animals and careless actions can lead to accidents. i remembered my trek to Makiling as we did a day hike under a sunny day but on our way down, rain poured and i ended the trek with an injured ankle half way down. even worst, a week after our trek, Dr. Rimando Pimentel died from a fall from one of Mt. Makiling's ravine. risk is always there. as Doc Jun Sobremisana, a friend and an experienced climber would always say "never underestimate a mountain". i first joined him in trekking Pinatubo, it was those times when we still had to access the old canal route to the crater. requiring four hours of trek under the sun and the view point of the crater lake was still open for overnight camping. by night, we had to be vigilant from the wild cats.
soon after that, we started organizing fun climbs. it was when we meet familiar faces on every trek somehow wondering if we have few accessible mountains in the country or we were just trekking that often.i may not even be close to the likes of Romeo Garduce, as i never tried trekking outside the country or may not forever be trekking like the famous Fred Beckey, i am quite sure that i'll never cease to love the mountains as much as i love the beach.the trail to Batulao's camel back and rocky peaks reminded me of how amazing nature can be. ten years after my first trek. i am still fascinated with mountains. still trekking. still enjoying the camaraderie.dedicating this post to the friends who i trekked with in the past years, the people who i met along, and above all to the God behind each mountain splendor.
how to get there:
take a bus to Nasugbu and tell the bus inspector to drop you at the entrance of Evercrest Hotel. from there you can either start walking to the peak or take a tricycle to the village drop off which will shorten a bit of the trek. from there, you start trekking the ascend choosing either the old trail or the new trail. i recommend the new trail for the great view but you can do both setting one route for ascend and another route to descend.
note: take at least someone who has experience in trekking Batulao or a guide from the drop off point. there are no official guides but many locals are open or are usually doing it (specially on weekends).
14^ 02" 24' N
120^ 48" 09' E