O di ba ang haba ng title? Haha! Wala lang yan. Actually it was meant to be a group hike with my co-bloggers from PSA. Expected ko nga madaming sasama from the group, so I immediately gave my “I’m in!” sa organizer. Pero habang papalapit ang date ng akyat, aba nababawasan ang may interest sumama! Ayun, ang nangyari apat kami from PSA (including Joseph, na siya ring organizer) na sumama sa isang grupo na hindi ko na nagawang bilangin – at halos lahat sila ay galing sa iisang church! Technically, kung hindi lang sa mga co-bloggers ko, wala talaga akong kakilala sa buong grupo.
Anyway, this is the chronology of events when I climbed Mt. Palay-palay (Pico de Loro):
The team which I will be joining will go straight to Pico from Los Banos, with only Lanie and I coming from Manila. Dahil kami lang yung nahiwalay, we’ve made necessary adjustments so we’ll not be a burden to the group. We met around 4am at Alimall, had breakfast at Jollibee Farmers and boarded to Coastal Terminal around 5am. Sobrang dilim pa, as in. Subsequently, we boarded a bus going to Ternate, Cavite, at nakiusap na ibaba na lang kami sa terminal nila. Mukhang sanay naman na ang mga bus drivers sa mga pumupunta sa Pico.
We arrived at the terminal ng bus and we were welcomed by friendly tricycle drivers offering us a ride papunta sa DENR. We tried to wait for Joseph’s team but apparently malayo pa sila. We’ve decided to take the ride na agad. The tricycle ride was fun, with lots of enjoyable sights to behold! At yung kalsada, sobrang sarap bisikletahin!
We reached the DENR/Registration area, rested for a while and answered the call of nature habang naghihintay sa iba. We stayed for about 30 minutes din yata, and there was no more cellphone signal kaya mahirap na silang tawagan. Since we don’t want to hike under the heat of the sun, we decided to hike on our own. Buti na lang talaga Lanie is so adventurous din, so no worries on my part.
After registering ourselves, we just left a note for Joseph na nauna na kaming umakyat. The thing is, we are hiking on our own, wala kaming guide!
The first thing you’ll appreciate sa trek is the clear, flowing water and its sound! So relaxing! Ingat lang baka madulas, but you will really feel that the nature is really embracing you dahil sa tunog, sa simoy ng paligid and the greenery surrounding you.
Along the way you will encounter huge trees, even mga punong nakabagsak that you have to cross over. As we are progressing sa trail, I can say that Mt. Palay-palay is good for beginners – hindi mainit dahil maraming lilim at hindi masyadong steep ang mga dadaanan. Ang dami na nga naming napag-usapan ni madam as we go along.
Sa midpoint of your Pico journey, you will arrive sa tinatawag nilang viewdeck. Kung napagod ka na sa pag-akyat mo, you’ll find this place as a breathing point where you can rest for a while as you gaze upon the enjoyable view of the mountain.
However, viewdeck is just a foretaste of what Pico has to offer. So we continued our trek, this time halos nawala na sa isip namin na may susunod pa sa amin na supposedly kasama namin sa pag-akyat.
At one point, medyo luluwag ang dadaanan, but i’ve noticed some trees were left with vandalism and carvings, obviously from other hikers.
In just a few minutes from the viewdeck we arrived at what I call the “marketplace”. Natuwa akong maraming mga stalls na nagbebenta ng pagkain – cup noodles, chips, halo-halo, softdrinks… it’s actually a relief lalo na sa mga nagugutom na at napapagod katulad naming dalawa. You will also notice na may mga nagtatayo ng tents, natutulog at kumukuha ng pictures within the area’s scenic spots. As for the two of us, since almost lunch time na, we attended to our stomach’s demands.
After we have taken our early lunch dumating din sa wakas ang team nila Joseph! We joined them for a while, had a few chat and while they were taking their lunch, I left the group for a while and decided to take pictures for myself. Me time ba.
As soon as they have rested, we immediately headed our way to reach the summit. At last may kasama na kaming aakyat! During this time, medyo mahirap na ang trail. Sobrang steep, sobrang dulas. If not for the shrubs sa gilid ng daan, mahirap umakyat.
As we are nearing the summit, ramdam na namin ang sobrang lakas ng hangin. Not just an ordinary breeze, I must say – as in sobrang lakas that our progress is so gradual. Nakakapuwing, nakakatangay. Mahirap tumayo habang umaakyat since sobrang lakas nga ng hangin kaya halos pagapang na lang ang akyat naming lahat, and halos paisa-isa.
And praise God, we were able to reach the summit!
Indeed, so worth it!
On the summit you’ll see bodies of water surrounding Ternate, Cavite and Batangas. You can also have a glance of Mindoro, at kung anu-ano pang di ko naman alam dahil wala akong mapagtanungan. But the view, I must say left me bewildered. God has a wonderful taste when it comes to design and color combination. Haha!
However, the summit is not the only challenge of Pico de Loro. There’s a pillar of rock called the Monolith where the courageous dare to climb. And in fairness, not a few people are queuing to conquer its peak! We were even advised to wait for at least three (3) hours to have our turn on the Monolith. Unfortunately, since alam naming na matatagalan kami pagbaba, we just let go of the desire. Siguro next time na.
Our descent now turned to be my mini-PSA meet up with Joseph, Jem and Lanie. Kwentuhan, konting tawanan. Konti lang kasi mahirap tumawa habang humihingal. Sayang nga lang wala yung iba. Kelan kaya kami makukumpleto? But so far, this meet-up na ang pinakamarami. Haha!
Pababa, medyo nauubusan na rin kami ng kwento. Pagod na kasi. Ang mga kwento ay unti-unting napapalitan ng hugot lines.
Until we’ve reached the flowing water again.
And the registration area.
And answered the nature’s call sa mga nangangailangang tumugon.
Pabalik, Lanie and I joined Joseph’s crew sa ni-rent nilang jeepney. So nasama kami sa byahe nila to Waltermart (somewhere in Cavite, di ko talaga alam. Haha!) and we requested that we are to be dropped off to Dasmarinas, where we will be riding a bus to Pasay.
Okay, balik ako sa title. Picking up the pieces at the peak of Pico de Loro? Sabi sa inyo wala lang yun e. Haha! Nalimutan kong sabihin, the hike was February 8 pa. Late na masyado no? Pasensya na.
Note: Sorry, I’ve lost track of all the expenses 😦
See you next hike!