The Philippines is a country you should visit if you are the type who is “one with nature.” With its given 7,641 islands on its belt, it is no doubt that bountiful natural resources, as well as the beautiful mountain ranges and hill top views never seems to alter the perception tourists and travelers have when they come and travel to Philippines. The country’s rural areas hold the most greenery with mountain trails that is constantly visited by many local hikers and adventurers, as well as tourists and backpackers willing to take on the challenge.
With several rigorous trails set in the Luzon area alone, there is no doubt hiking and trekking is a common leisure activity as well as a business venture many have been getting into lately. Although, it must be acknowledged that hiking and trekking require individuals to be physically and mentally prepared for the journey up.
Batulao for Beginners
Climbing a mountain is quite a challenge for anyone to face and is definitely an adventure many people get into. One of which would be my sister who is an avid hiker, athlete and adrenaline junkie. Planning hikes and mountain adventures is one of her favorite past times, as well as a means of making some pocket money. My sister, Janina has been an active organization member in her university where she met several people who introduced her to the sport. Having planned a hike just recently for her birthday last May, she brought along some of her friends to come experience the journey to Mount Batulao.
Mount Batulao is located in Nasugbu, Batangas, just near the metro. Janina actually hired a van to bring her and her friends from the Mcdonald’s beside Greenbelt 1 in Ayala, Makati to Nasugbu for PHP 1,600 roundtrip with inclusion of toll fees, which she split with 6 of her friends. Going to Mount Batulao was roughly around 2 hours via automobile and that’s assuming you plan to leave Manila at around 4:00 AM which was how Janina and her friends went about their morning excursion. With the McDonald’s beside Greenbelt 1 being a 24/7 branch, it was easy for her and her friends to meet up and wait for the van they hired to pick them up all at once.
Warm Up then Up You Go
Upon arriving at the base point of Batulao, KC Hillcrest Golf Club at around 6:35 AM, the tour guide stood waiting orienting a couple of other groups before the hike began. After being briefed regarding the Dos and Don’ts in trekking and climbing, the guide led some stretching exercises before going about the trail. The tour guide, Kuya Efren finally led the way with entertaining antics to help motivate the group and this entailed singing jingles along the base trail just to keep the energy flowing. It was a good warm up and the slow pacing after the first three stopovers on the way up began to feel heavy approaching camp 1, where Janina and her friends were asked to pay PHP 10 for registration.
Mount Batulao was moderate with regards to difficulty, a 4 out of 5 by difficulty level and is the recommended trail for beginners to try. It is deemed suitable for first timers for its open trails, rolling slopes and of course the breathtaking view of Batangas, literally. The hike is somehow made more at ease for the climber due to the cool wind that accompanies the hikers on the way up, especially for May since the humidity usually hits at around June to October. Climbing Batulao guarantees you epic views on the way up which is generally the same throughout the hike, beautiful as ever.
Batulao is also known for its rolling slopes which are divided into 2, the “Old Trail” and the “New Trail” which generally provides the hikers with more ease and clarity. Mount Batulao is well known among many aspiring adventurers, especially among the youth for it is actually near Metro Manila and definitely worth a day’s trip away. It was definitely quite a surreal experience for my sister’s friends since it was their first time, the challenge was heightened, but was regarded worthy of their time and effort throughout the day. Upon reaching the “Mini Stop” after the first 40 minutes of the hike, Janina and her friends hurriedly scurried to buy buko (coconut) juice for PHP 25 to quench their thirst after the warm up.
Peak of the Moment
It was after this short stopover where the real climb emerged as they began taking the eastern route otherwise known as the old trail. Another PHP 20 is charged per person as registration fee. Upon the next few steps up, slopes stay constant until station 8 where the level of difficulty escalates, since the trail begins to be quite rigorous, thus the need for climbers to be careful with each step. As they neared the summit, the heavy breathing and mild irritability started to commence among the group but was surely swept all away once reaching the climax. As promised, the arduous journey became worth every step up and every struggle on the way there became irrelevant. The view was beyond amazing enjoyable by anyone who steps foot on the peak. Janina and her friends definitely chugged quite the amount of water with every exhausted breath, making the view up even more surreal to absorb.
The hike in itself was definitely memorable and was indeed a trail meant for beginners and built for everyone’s inner explorer. Mount Batulao is should definitely be on the first of every aspiring hiker, visiting the Philippines since it is doable and gives every individual with wander lust quite the treat to experience, and just by the outskirts of the metro.
you may also want to check other tourist attractions in the Philippines while you’re here