The rainy season is well and truly underway here in the Philippines, which means all of my adventures need to be put on hold until the sun is shining once more. I’m practically itching to be off on a bus or boat to some other remote locale far, far away from Manila, so I thought I’d stay the wanderlust with another Girl vs. Mountain post! (Check out previous posts here.)
Mt. Pico de Loro, or Mt. Palay-Palay as it’s sometimes known, is a dormant volcano that straddles the line between Cavite and Batangas. Pico de loro is Spanish for ‘beak of the parrot’, and you’ll see why it’s called that when you reach the camp grounds just before the final assault on the peak. The mountain curves upward toward the sky like a beak.
I climbed this mountain with my law school friends – it was a completely spur of the moment decision, brought on by being sick of libraries, highlighters, and textbooks. But then again, those are the best plans, right? I guess it’s true what they say about the only plans pushing through being those that are thought up on the spot.
The old trail was 6 kilometers long, but the new one had been shortened to 3 kilometers by cutting through steep ascending ground. It was hella tiring – my calves haven’t been the same since – but cut the hike almost in half. We started at around nine-thirty, but got to the campsite before the summit at just a little before twelve. We had lunch, then decided to make the final assault to the very top.
From the top, we had an amazing view of the ocean, and Cavite and Batangas all around us. We could also see the Monolith, a rock formation rising up from the ground. Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of us climbing the Monolith because it was so tall and so windy up there, that I was scared my phone would get blown right out of my hand.
We decided to come down the mountain on its Batangas side, joking all the way down about having the strength walking from Cavite to Batangas. (Which we actually did! Hooray us!)
I laugh to think at how gloriously unprepared I was. I packed nothing but water, two bananas, two eggs, and a sandwich. I wore loose sweatpants, a tank top, and white tennis sneakers. I didn’t have a towel, extra clothes, or sunblock. Total SMH moment right there.
Still, as unprepared as I was, I fell in love. Mt. Pico de Loro will always have a special place in my heart for being the mountain that welcomed me to the lifestyle of hiking. It’s true what they say. You never forget your first.