Ahmad Sampang ibnu Hajiri, MD

A Personal blog by a Tausug medical student (now a doctor!) from Sulu and the stories that inspired him.
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When Nerds decided to Hike: A Mt.Pico de Loro Adventure

By  AhmadMD _     December 31, 2014    Labels:,,,, 
Assalamu Alaykum! (Peace be upon you all!)

First, a friendly warning: If you came here hoping to find a helpful tip on how to survive the climb to Mt. Palay-Palay more nown as Pico de Loro ("Parrot's beak"), you are in the WRONG PLACE! Please find another travel-blog for this is just a troll post. Really, don't say I didn't warn you.

As mentioned in my past post: "Ready for the Hike!" me and a group of friends decided to go out of our usual comfort zones and why not climb a mountain instead. We already had one target we all agreed to climb: Mt. Pico de Loro. Most of us are beginners, and not one have traversed that place alive--I mean, alone yet. And as crazy as we may be, we are friggin' serious about it. If only we knew head on how hard it was to climb that mountain, we could have chosen a smaller one, LOL.

But enough with all the complaints, if you really decided on one thing, a real man should act on it no matter what. And so we did. With a difficulty level: 7/10 we started the climb that fateful morning of December 21, 2014... A day the world shall remember as us legends. (come on! Do you believe this guy!)

Anyway, enough trolling. let's start some serious blogging.

Mt. Pico de Loro is considered the highest peak in Cavite with an elevation of 664m. "Pico de Loro" means "Parrot's Beak" as the peak of the mountain resembles that of a parrot's beak, which I would really want to argue about... anyway, The place is about 1-2 hours from Manila, depends on where you will ride and on what day. But one thing is for sure: one can easily access this magnificent mountain with lesser expenses. For our trip we only spent less than P500 each! [See the summary of expenses by the end of this post.]

Manila to DENR Trail Camp
From Manila, we rode to Coastal Mall (P25 each) where the terminal to Cavite is. Then we took the bus to Ternate terminal (P81.00 each, P65.00 for students except Sundays/Holidays), the ride is about 40-50 minutes IF without much traffic. We went there on a Sunday so it was pretty faster. Then from the terminal, you can ride the tricycles to the base camp for P250-300 each trike carrying 3 persons. The way there is a hill-climb thus the high price, but the road is concrete and smooth, so no problems on that one. Some 10-15 minute ride and you will be dropped at the base camp.
We arrived a bit late (almost 10am) to the camp and knowing that the trail to the peak would take 3-4 hours, we hurriedly prepare our stuffs, paid the registration fee of P25 per head (you will be asked to log-in as well), and off we go!

Now if you think that hiking a 664m mountain is just a simple task, you are up to some terrible realization later. That's what happened to us. So don't you ever follow it!

"Sticks! I need sticks! Ah this will do!
Hiking means you need some sticks!" says the newbie
From DENR Trail Camp to Base Camp 1.
Our first instruction: "Just keep right when going up and keep left when going down" the woman in the registration told us, which is pretty confusing. Still, believe what she said and you wont get lost.

For the first hour and a half we hiked the seemingly endless trail. There were times that we have to climb a few then eventually go down again then climb up again then go down again. It's like being lost in the wilderness but you only have one trail to follow. Eventually after almost two hours you will reach another "settlement" with rest area (some picnic areas), a sari-sari store selling souvenirs and goods (hard-boiled eggs cost P15 each) and be surprised that you will be asked to log-in again and pay another P25.00! Midst our complaints and all, we still paid the because it's for our own "safety" they said. We rested for some minutes and continued on. The next stop is the Base Camp 1.

Just trolling around. I already told you, THIS IS NOT the blog you are looking for!
(we made this pose mimicking one of our classmates' similar pose,
but they are sexier that's the bigger difference)

Expect to find some awesome views like these

It took us more than 3 hours to climb because of these:
No not the observe-the-nature-moments, but the take-a-picture!-take-a-picture! ones
"Why are we going down again? Thought we're climbing?"
After another 1-2 hours of trekking and we were already feeling the toll of this misadventure we decided to take. I tried to look back but it was already pretty far to walk back down haha! So we have no other choice but to head on. Until finally, we saw the light! We heard a lot of voices up ahead the trail ad we are sure we are on the right track! It's finally the base camp!

There are a lot of tents and camps by the time we arrived. It was past 1PM already and we are starving! So after some mandatory photo-shoot, we took out our packed lunch and had some rest. There are stores up there where you can even buy noodles, soft-drinks and even Halo-Halo! 
The "Parrot's Beak", it's more of a "Lion's snout" to me though.
After lunch we were already considering tracing back our steps (such losers we are haha) but then what's a little more pain just to reach even just the peak, right? And so, after being fooled that it would only take us 15 minutes to go there (said the "settlers" whom we left our things with, Salamat Manong!) off we went to the greatest challenge of our lives. No not really, just taking it overboard here.

The Climb to the Peak
Imagine climbing an almost 80 degrees elevated plain with nothing to hold on but rocks and dry land with some grasses. Nuff said.
What awaits is something we did not expect.
But upon reaching the top, you will be met with an spectacular 360 degree view of the whole world! I mean just the lands around us. And of course the ever daunting Monolith!

It's pretty crazy just looking at people climbing that big mammoth of a stone with nothing but ropes (no harnesses, yes) and rappelling down after wards. Must be awesome to go up there... Too bad we never dared to try :( We have plans and dreams, you know (excuses) and it was already late in the afternoon! (more excuses) And maybe we could come back here some time in our lives (haha)

Another trolling. Power Ranger pose.
Note: those bags are not ours.

Wonder what it feels to be up there? hmmm

Before we start rolling like stones back down, a mandatory jump shot. perhaps the highest jump I ever had: 664 meters! Now top that!

The Hidden Waterfalls!
We may have not traversed the most challenging part of this trek (the monolith), and so to appease ourselves, we decided to really look for that hidden waterfalls and refresh our souls! The way to the falls was somewhere after the "second toll fee" and the base camp. But we missed it on our way up maybe we were too busy on things (like trolling perhaps). And how could you blame us if they have this so concealed sign board!

We missed it the way up, and we almost missed it the way back!

As a man who loves the sea, I am all ready to jump right in!

Friggin' cold, but it was really refreshing!

And after that refreshing dip in the cold water... we finally traced back our steps towards ending this adventure. We were all silent the way back, no more jokes, no more trolling, perhaps very much exhausted that our whole blood supplies are just focused on walking and breathing. 

(Oh! Don't forget to "log-out" in the two stations where you paid the P25 fees; they might start a nationwide search if you failed to sign your name as proof that you are still alive after the trek.)

We survived and (almost) conquered Mt.Pico de Loro!
(it was already 6PM when we finally saw hope: the way out)

================= Summary of expenses ========================

Manila to Coastal Mall (FX): P25 each
Coastal Mall terminal to Ternate Terminal (bus): P81 each
Ternate terminal to DENR Camp (trike) : P250/3 persons
DENR Registration fee: P25 each
Second registration fee: P25 each
DENR to Ternate terminal (trike): P75 each
Ternate terminal to Buendia (bus): P85 each
Buendia to Manila (Ermita): P7.50

Total: P410 +
Let's you have P600 and that's more than enough.
(this excludes lunch and water supplies)

Would I want to go back there? Probably yes, but I certainly have to train first. I got easily exhausted with the climb :(
And I really want to climb the monolith!

Salam Kasilasa!

About AhmadMD _

Ahmad is a young Tausug Physician now serving as one of the Doctor to the Barrios (DTTB). He is a free spirit. He loves coffee. And fish.

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just saying. -Dr. Ahmad