Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Flight To Parrot's Beak

It was summer in year 2011 when I first saw Mt. Pico de Loro as it is popularly called. I had a trip to Hamilo Coast in Nasugbu, Batangas then and I got so fascinated with it, especially when I saw the rock formation on its peak. It was then that I had strong desire to reach its summit and step on that huge parrot-like beak!

From what I know, the mountain is originally called Mt. Palay Palay,  and because of its resemblance to a parrot beak, the Spanish mariners who used to pass by Manila Bay named it Mt. Pico de Loro for it served as their landmark, whenever their galleons passed through when approaching the Port of Manila. Another legend tells that a large company of parrots inhabited the mountain during the early times and I hope it still is at present. Its location is in the Cavite-Batangas province and 85 kilometers from Manila, with the height of 664 meters above sea level it is considered as the highest mountain in the province of Cavite.

There are two jump-off points going to Mt. Pico de Loro, one is in Cavite and the other is in Nasugbu and it is possible to do a traverse from one province to the other. I am not really an experienced mountain climber but I do this just for fun and curiosity. Until now, I am wondering why I got so enthusiastic with it, maybe it's my love for nature or there's some kind of fulfillment that I got from it. My second attempt to climb this mountain was in the year 2012 but due to time constraints it didn't happen and I was so disappointed, maybe it wasn't my time yet so I waited again.

Year 2013 I was invited again for an overnight stay in Hamilo Coast and this time I really prepared for it! I think this mountain is really daring me, that I got another chance to be in a place not really far away from it and it surely was inviting me! Since my location was in Barangay Papaya in Nasugbu, Batangas, the other jump-off point,  I looked for a local to guide us and for a negotiated fee of 350 pesos, off we went!

It would take two hours to climb on its steep and rocky trail, there were boulders along the way sometimes chest high boulders wherein I can't figure how to get on with it. Weeds clung on my feet while on my way and sometimes made me stumble. The towering trees in its lush forest while the chirping of birds in different sounds and tunes made the trek more entertaining. Yes we did a few stops to breathe freely and dehydrate and exchange pleasantries with our local guides just to relieve tension. Then later continued to walk up, slowly and carefully and as I stepped from one rock to the other, I noticed the trail was getting steeper. It was 11 in the morning, the time when the sun was extremely hot and draining, but I can't manage to stop for I will get more exhausted, I just carried on with it until suddenly I found myself stepping on a big rock and I noticed the trees along the way has disappeared and all that's left was the view of the unlimited expanse of land and sky.

I was still catching my breathe, when our guide told me (in a low calm voice), "Mam, we are here." "Where?" I replied.  "You're already standing on the beak". As I saw the 360 magnificent view of the entire shoreline and the islands  from the summit I felt a great sense of satisfaction, a feeling of immense gratification! Wow! My dream came true! There were to two summits up there, the prominent rock which is just a few meters away, looks so intimidating! The sight of the threadbare rope that's left hanging there looks so scary and it made my heart pound hard and my knees tremble as if I'm going to pass out but thanks to the rocks that I stepped on, if not for them I am doomed!  The beak could only hold a few of us so I took some pictures quickly and went to the campsite nearby to rest.

From the summit you have go down passing through a track with  loose soil where pebbles rolls down by itself. And that time I wasn't wearing my trek shoes, so I just skidded until I reached the campsite, that's how to deal with my running shoes when trekking. There were stores selling water and snacks in the campsite, it is also possible to pitch a tent on the campsite for those who wanted to stay overnight and wait for the sunrise. I was exhausted so I took a rest to prepare for the descent, I know it would be a hard task so I saved a lot of energy and wished for a jeepney to take me down.

It was another incredible experience to be rewarded with tranquility and victory. I conquered my tiredness, my fears and my weaknesses, and I thank God for all His goodness to our Motherland. It was time to descend and I felt joy as I walked down from the summit from where we started, leaving behind all the physical discomforts I had and keeping all the memories of a dream hike forever.

How to get to Mt. Pico de Loro.
Take a bus going to Maragondon, Cavite if  you choose the Cavite jump-off point. Hire a jeepney to take you to Ternate, Cavite, for there are no public vehicles passing in that area. The drivers knows where the DENR marker is located which will lead you to the trail head.

Nasugbu jump-off is located in Barangay Papaya, you need to take a bus going to Nasugbu from Manila, and from Nasugbu hire a jeepney to take you to Hamilo Coast for there a no public vehicles passing by that area.


"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings."-John Muir

Thank you for reading.