Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Night Trekking and Traversing Pico de Loro


That will be my friends’ answer if asked about our Pico de Loro traverse. Why? Because one night at Gilligan’s with beer in our hand, Ken Ybarola and Alvin Marin dared me to night trek Pico de Loro right that very night thinking that I would drop the dare since we had no climbing gears. However, they were caught off guard because I nibbled their challenge without second thoughts. My beau Jim Bryan Ilarde supported me thus I got all the courage needed. Having to preserve their manly pride, off we went to Cavite along with our drinking mates Loreebel Patao and a girl I just met named Camille Lumbang.  

after Gilligan's before the climb in our casual attire
notice Loree in her scrub suit!
The Story

10:40 PM – we left Robinsons Galleria and took a bus to Baclaran from where we took another ride to Cavite. The very moment we rode the bus, I noticed Alvin’s grimace, he started to complain “T***ina Missy, this is madness”. Halfway to Baclaran Ken is planning on backing out. Aside from Bryan who’s on leave and me who’s suspended, the rest have work tomorrow. Compared to the two gentlemen I have (Alvin and Ken) the ladies weren’t complaining. They were silent. If ever they felt hesitations or fear it didn’t show and I took it positively.

In Baclaran we bought necessities; hand warmer/sleeves (Php50), bonnet (Php80), new shirt Php100) and a bag (Php300) to put our things in.  I also bought a pair of slippers (Php120) in substitute to my high heel sandals. After buying bread and water (1.5L each), we boarded the bus going to Naic. I was smiling to myself on our way to Cavite. Indeed this was a crazy idea but it’s amusing me.

From Naic we rode another tricycle to jump off point (Php100/head) along Tarnate highway. We took a paved winding road amidst pitched darkness. There were no street lights, thus we settled with our mobile phone’s flashlight. Albeit Ken and Alvin already climbed Pico in broad daylight; and now we’re trying our luck of summiting this mountain in pitched darkness, they’re the only option left who’ll guide us through the summit. So after gulping our pride and gathering our remaining courage, as the clock reflected 2:45AM, we started trekking.

The Ascent

posing against the timed lenses
documented happiness
The trail was under the lush awning of trees. Ken and Camee took the lead, Alvin and Loree settled in the middle while me and Bryan acted as sweepers. While tracing our way up, we tried talking animatedly as possible so as to stamp out our fears. The sound of the surrounding was so eerie and the supposedly familiar resonance of cicadas became unbearable. Chirping of different birds and heaven-knows-what kind of creatures daunted with the hissing thud of air appeared like a perfect concoction of  elements for horror movies. No wonder Alvin shrieked every time Ken kidded him about ghosts. After our first few hundred steps we stopped at the first base camp to register and sign the logbook (Php20 registration fee). There’s supposed to be a registration at the DENR office before that  but we opted not to drop by there for they might forbid our ‘trip’ of night trekking Pico de Loro upon looking at our outfit.

friendship strengthened by a night trek
The night became day, and after several hours of walking, talking, laughing and resting in between we reached the summit at exactly 6:28AM! Just in time for sunrise! But the catch was - There was no clearing! Fog covered us and we started to tremble. The atmosphere dropped drastically as if we walked in to a large freezer unprepared. We asked heaven for the sun but it played hide and seek with us. Regardless of these mishaps, the view from the summit is oh so spectacular! It was a grand view of mountain ranges, thick forest, perfectly structured highways and beaches! It’s all worth it.

And since I rarely go back to places I visit, I made sure to climb Pico’s tower. I told myself that once I conquered this mountain, I won’t descend without a picture at the tower. And so for the realization of this dream, despite the menacing formation of Pico’s beak I climbed it. Thanks to Bryan for joining me in this craziness.
entertained and intertwined atop the Pico's beak (tower)

The Descent

Since we started with this crazy idea, we ended the climb with a more crazy idea - TRAVERSE! It’s not just a simple traverse,what we did was traversing without knowing the way! We relied on our little knowledge of trail signs, instinct and guts. And holla! We found our way after more than 4 hours of trekking.

Though Pico de Loro is considered to be the highest point (664 MASL) within Cavite and Batangas, this is judged as an easy climb (Level 1). I know it’s too early to consider ourselves ‘hardcore’ mountaineers, we can only boast this adventure of conquering Pico de Loro with our casual attire and a tipsy head.

 “Thank God, we’re back to Manila safe and sound!”

A Day After

All stayed home nursing body ache. J

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  1. Madness! and i thought i was the only one who did the night/dawn trek to Pico.
    I was there earlier this year and i did a solo. i started climbing at 10pm, got adopted for the night by the caretaker and resumed trekking at 4am. whew!
    Cheers to the crazies!


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