Updated: Mar 8
Conquering Mt Batulao – “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go”
Elevation: 813 mLLA: 14.0408 N 120.8011 E 811 MASL
Trail class 3 with 60-70 degrees assault
Days/Hours to summit: 1 day / 3-4 hours
SPECS: Minor climb
Features: Open trails, rolling slopes, scenic views of Batangas
Jump-off point: Evercrest Golf Course, Nasugbu
Just a little forward note – I only found out about this trip the night before as it was a work organized trek and I was called into another team to make up the numbers. I didn’t have time to go home and prepare so you must forgive how I am dressed, it was all I had available at he time that was even mildly appropriate for the Trek. I know I look oddly dressed for mountain hiking but it is what it is…. (lol)
MT Batulao Batangas
Since I remember I’ve always been in love with the mountains. They’ve always been with me, even in my earliest childhood. I know people who fell in love with mountains in their adult life. The mountains draw climbers who love the natural world and possess an adventurous spirit. Can you hear the mountains calling to you also?
“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves”
My first mountain climb in Luzon was Mt. Batulao Batangas. Located in Nasugbo Batangas, dubbed the rolling hills, this mountain stands 811+ meter above sea level. It’s rumoured to be one of the top climbs for trekking and mountain climbing. Especially for first-time mountain climbers.
Our meeting time was 5 AM at the Coastal Mall bus terminal. I carried a small backpack with 1L of water. Our tour guide was Kuya Noel, a friend of my colleague DG and Kate. We had some time to spare before the rest of the group arrived so we had some breakfast. From Coastal Mall, we boarded a bus to Nasugbu, Batangas. It is a 2-3 hour trip depending on the traffic. Fare is around P120.00 at the time of writing.
The Drop Off point For The Mt Batulao Trip
After orientation and final packing, we rode a tricycle until the trailhead (P100 / way/good for 3-4 pax) or start trekking (FREE). From there, we started hiking to the trails. I love the mountain view and the smell of fresh clean morning air. Because the sun was still rising and had not yet become hot we made the first rest spot in close to 30 minutes. As we rested and had a drink of water we greeted another group of mountaineers as they passed. When everyone was ready, we resumed walking and this is where the real adventure started. There’s a lot of mountaineers along the trails so it’s impossible for you to get lost.
The Trek Begins
We followed the old trail because our Trek guide, Kuya thought it will be easier for us as first-time climbers. After walking up and down a few rolling hills at a moderate pace, we arrived at the entry point. It only costs P20.00 to enter.
Not knowing how hot the sun was going to get I chose to come prepared and fully covered. It was also quite dusty the day we went so be prepared.
Cogons Are Everywhere…
The cogons are everywhere. I also brought a shawl with me so I could cover my face. Many times we passed through trails with cogons higher than me..
Be prepared for the heat…. It’s a killer… It got awfully hot awfully quick as we were hiking. I remember having a thirst that I thought no water could ever wash away. By the end of the day, I realized maybe I should have taken 2 litres.
Be Careful Where You Walk
Mt Batulao – I remember we slipped how many times, thanks goes out to Kuya Noel who always caught me and even offered to carry my backpack. Be careful on this mountain range… People have died… Our goal was to trek to the summit before 12 noon but given the pace that might not be attainable.
I can still recall gazing at the summit and thinking it seems so near yet it’s still so far away. As we hiked I would often find myself wondering “How could this marvellous place be so damn beautiful?”. MT Batulao’s name comes from a spectacular origin. Every year-end, the sun sets right between Batulao’s two peaks, creating an image of rocks surrounding a disc of red light. In Tagalog, this phenomenon of “BatosaIlao” (Illuminated Rocks) which, over time became abbreviated to “Batulao”.
We stopped by the nipa hut store and have some lunch. It was here that I decided to buy a 2-liter bottle of water… Lucky I did… Even though the items they sell are expensive I truly needed more water. That’s why we brought our own meal. In front of the store are some banners from other mountaineering groups which were interesting to look at. We met other foreign and local mountaineers and trekkers as we rested. We had a few laughs. told some hiking and camping stories and made some friends. After 1 hour of rest and chitchat, we continued to the summit.
We quickly passed camps until we reached the difficult camp number 7. There we waited for the traffic of people coming down from the summit to wind down. The trail has become narrow allowing one or two people to pass at a time.
We used the rope on that mini climb. I enjoyed the thrill but at the same time, I was focusing on holding the rope to stop myself from falling. Locals told us that a girl lost her life here in 2012. Apparently she became dizzy and fell or maybe was taking a selfie and not watching where she was walking. Whatever the reason it should always be “Safety first before anything else”.
Once you make it to the summit you definitely feel overwhelmed by what you have achieved. Reflecting on what you had to endure and push yourself through to get to where you were at that moment does remind you how alive you are.
At the summit, you can sit back and take it all in. Enjoy the cool breeze and a view of spectacular boulder formations. We reached the summit a few minutes after 12 noon which was right on schedule even though we had a slow start. We were hot… we were tired but we were there… We DID IT!
Conquering Mt Batulao
A proud feeling of having done something difficult and worthwhile welled up inside of me. Uphill trails only leave two choices: reach the top or turn around. Reaching the top only requires the perseverance to keep putting one foot in front from the other. When life gets tough, I try to remember all we can do is put one foot in front of the other and just keep going.
The heat, dirt, body pain, everything is worth it!
If you can climb a mountain, you can do anything. While not technically true, but the mantra still went round in my head during a hike. LOL! I’m serious, reaching the top of Mt Batulao was, for me, an impressive mental and emotional accomplishment. And it is motivating. It reminds me I can accomplish important things with my life if I dream big, but the work and persist until the goal is reached.
Also, I find myself grateful for those who have gone before and have smoothed a trail for me. And I am reminded, in life, we all stand on the hard work of those who have walked before us.
Hiking down using the old trail, the view is breathtaking. Just a bit of warning though: the soil along the trail is very loose making it very dry and slippery. I tripped many times. There was nothing to hold on to as some of the overgrown grass alongside was dead and uprooted. It was summer when we went there and the heat of the sun is intolerable during noon (the trail gets muddy during the rainy season)
Hiking, trekking and backpacking are healthy physical exercises and pass times that create wonderful memories. They provide opportunities to slow down and disconnect. And given the chance, hiking teaches us important truths about life.
Finally, we’re back
Finally, we are back at the drop off point and a day of hiking almost behind us. After a quick half bath and a welcome change of clothes, we are waiting for the bus going to Tagaytay.. We finish the day happy and content with a sumptuous meal, a bit of chitchat and smile on our face.
Code of a mountaineer
Leave nothing but footprints – Take nothing but pictures Kill nothing but time.