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Mt. Batulao | the Blogger's Climb

Mt. Batulao
The social network Twitter is the only medium which was used to create this Blogger's Climb event.  Why is it special?  For me, it's very special because this event is my first time to meet the people with the same interest as mine - the travel bloggers.  This is the first time that I'll be going to share to some of travel bloggers on what's with mountaineering why I consider it as my "Blogging Inspiration.

Before 2012 ended, we already had the date and the location on where is the best mountain that will be marked as the first Blogger's Climb.  A lot of mountains were being suggested but Mt. Batulao was the crown bearer after the online meetings.  When the places was already fixed, we proceeded with the complicated part - the date.  Since the participants came from different locations and different business fields, getting the right date for this event was a tough decision until we came into January 19 or 20, 2013.  We considered the availability of all the participants, so we've got the January 20, 2013 as the final date, so therefore MARKED!

When everything was fine, and the date was near, so we talked about some preparations that we should have before the climb; and the precautions that we should focus on during the climb.  Good thing that Sir Pao was one of participants, at least he shared a lot in terms of preparations and what to expect.
After my Mt. Cristobal Climb, a week before this climb, I got sore throat and tonsillitis, maybe because of the bacteria and the weather. I met my Doctor, and he said: Iha, may tonsilitis at sore throat ka.  And I answered: What does that mean? He said: Kung anu-ano kasi ang pinapasok mo sa bibig mo eh, Kulang ka lang . . . . . sa kagandahan. That really hurts! hahaha, I am just kidding.  But doc gave me a lot of medicines worth 2,250 pesos.  I informed my Doctor about my climb on Sunday and he advised me to cancel it if I am feeling the same thing, I don't need to force myself, remember Health is Wealth. After dinner I took 3 capsules. Early in the morning, I felt good, everything was fine.

January 20, 2013, 3:45AM - when my alarm rung and I got off my bed, I noticed that I have no fever, and I already have my voice but still my throat aces a bit.  But I can handle myself well this time, Hooray!! I can still climb!  So, I did my morning routine, prepared bread and coffee for my breakfast, then finalized my things inside my backpack.  Inside my backpack are: 2 packs of jelly-ace as trail food, extra shirt and shorts, gloves, arm warmer, personal like sunblock, etc.  While eating, my throat was not ready to swallow solid food, so I suffered pain while eating, I need to force myself to eat, I need energy for the climb.  Good thing that my voice came back, after eating, I took a bath while rehearsing and stretching my vocal chords, so I was singing My All  by Mariah and there were some high notes where I can't reach, so that means, my voice is really not in good condition.

When I arrived at McDo-Taft, Mike was already there and was waiting for me and the rest of the participants.  While waiting for them, I bought 1.5 Liters distilled water as trail water at 7-11.  Next one to arrive is Wewen then we had our breakfast and bought our packed lunch.  As the time goes by, the participants  just increased in numbers until we reached lucky 16 participants. 

Since everything was properly set and everyone already knew each other, the 16 Participants ascended to the bus bound to Evercrest, Nasugbu, Batangas.  Some of the bloggers and the special guests occupied the entrance part of the bus, at the back of the driver, and the 5 BHM (including me) occupied the 5-sitter couch at the end of the bus.  Of course photo shoot will always be a part of any Filipino trip while waiting the bus to leave the terminal.

Evercrest Batangas
8:02AM - the bus left the terminal in Taft.  Now, I can see all the passengers, some were standing, some were eating, some were talking to their plastic friends (sorry judgmental ako eh) and some were sleeping.  But our group, BHM, were busy updating our twitter and facebook and the wireless internet connection was brought to us by @Whab.  Thanks Whab!  BHM is known to be the funniest, happiest and the beautifulest??? mountaineers in town, so as usual, we were so noisy while on the way going to Nasugbu.  The sceneries going to Evercrest was pretty good, we saw different mountain ranges nearby plus the gorgeous hills of Tagaytay City was stunning.  We arrived at Evercrest, Nasugbu, Batangas at 10:00AM and first thing that everyone did was finding the nearest comfort room.  The weather here is really cool, the wind is quite strong resulting the dust to stick on my face.  Another blogger Claire was already there before we descended the bus.  So we were 17 participants joining this enjoying journey. 

Callaruega
We started walking across the highway entering the gate of the Evercrest at 10:20AM and while walking we saw a lot of people coming form the church nearby.  The road was full of colors while we were walking, we were like rainbows on the road.  Just few meters from the gate, (left side) we easily saw the green and the gorgeous formation of the plantation on the hills (right side) we saw the stunning formation of the mountain ranges including our apple of the eye - Mt. Batulao.  The sun shines brightly but we still felt cold because the wind was really cold.

Mt. Batulao
The two members of BHM served as the head, since it was their second time to climb Mt. Batulao.  While ascending higher and higher on the ranges, I've noticed that the sceneries were starting to blow up my mind by its gorgeous formation.  This time, we were taking few kilometers road; some part are cemented and some are not.  The trail going to the Peak of Mt. Batulao are quite simple and easy to follow.  But the most challenging part in taking the trail of this mountain are those dust mixed in the air that can damage our eyes, so I was wearing my sun glass the whole time.  Cogon grasses are always present in every sides of the trail.  Horses are the primary mode of transportation going to some camps and stores on the ranges.  On the way, there were some children offering their services as the guide but not on the summit, just up to the fork meeting the Old and New Trail for 30 pesos per head.  Those children are minors and don't have any protection gears for themselves, so we decided not to get their services.  We are not tolerating illegal and we don't gamble security.

Mt. Batulao
The cogon grass shines like a diamond on the mountain, it dances and just following the direction of the wind.  Some of the pineapple plantations are creating drawing and shapes on the mountain which adds a beautiful pattern.  The head of the sun wasn't a challenge because of the trees which are present beside the trail and the cold wind breezes that made us froze. 

We reached the first store on the trail at 11:50AM, here they sell fresh coconuts for 25 pesos, halo-halo with melon flavor for 25 pesos and some chichiria.  This place is perfect for lunch breaks and for the people to wants to re-energize their tired muscles.  The store are run by a family, so expect for an old and young will serve you.  The owners are really kind to strangers like us.  After we fill our empty stomach, we decided to start following the trail again.

Trail Mt. Batulao
This time, the trail is just in the middle of cliff covered by cogon grass, so we were walking slowly but surely.  12:22PM we've finally reached another store beside the fort trail where the Old and New Trail met.  There were some mountaineers occupying that store, so we decided to move on.  We first took the Old Trail - for me, this trail is simple, the soil is compact, not so dusty and almost covered by cogon grass.  There are parts of the trail which are covered with trees, so no need for sun protection. 

Mt. Batulao
Mt. Batulao

Mt. Batulao
If I am not mistaken, we passed  across a river (which can be found the stone above) but it doesn't have water, so no need to worry.  As we became nearer and nearer to the peak, the mountain was also started to amaze us by its gorgeous formation.  It was 1:14PM when we've reached the Camp 1, in this area, we took our lunch and rested a lot, we recharged ourselves for the next level of difficulty that we'll be going to take.

campsite Mt. Batulao
From Camp 1, we can see not only one Peak but a lot and it's ranges are composed of gorgeous trees and grasses.  The wind was still strong and cold, so no need for an air-con.  In Camp 1, there are flat areas suitable for camping, there are also some tents for rent in the store located in this area.  This is also the place where you need register and pay it's fee worth 20 pesos.

The Bloggers and the Guests ascended first to the peak because we (BHM) were waiting for another BHM member - Ginger and her son Ian.  We need to see them first before going to the peak, then we'll be going to trek with them to the peak.  We waited for few minutes, but Ginger and her son was still in the fork trail, so at 2: 13PM, we decided to start trekking going to Camp 5, then we will be going to wait for them in that camp.

Mt. Batulao
The trails from Camp 1 to Camp 5 are absolutely easy because the management created the steps that you can take to make your trekking comfortable and easy.  In Camp 5, we saw the whole Mt. Batulao Peaks, it's ridges and the grasses shining brightly with the aid of sun rays.  We also had several jump shoots, photos, and  my buwis buhay poses when Ginger and Ian reached the camp 5.  We were like shouting, embracing her and I an and we had a short talk about some personal stuff.  2:57PM we left Ginger and Ian in Camp 5, I an was crying that time because he wants to be with us on the peak, but the trails after camp 5 are very crucial, so we didn't allow them to be with us.

Mt. Batulao
Mt. Batulao
We reached the Camp 8 at 3:14PM, the trail here is much harder.  The wind are much stronger, so we always bend our knees and sit down every time that the wind blows us to prevent accident.  This camp is composed of dusty stone trails which makes the trail hard to climb.  Our shoes slips every time we stepped on the dusty stones.  We also used our hands to balance, we were like doing rock climbing because the trail was really steep.

Mt. Batulao Trail
the assault part - rock climbing

In this Camp 8 we met Gelai and Nil, they are from the 17 participants.  Nil had a cramps in both legs, so they decided to go back. After letting them to take the trail first, we proceeded to the next challenge which is the steeper trail.  We've used the rope tied on the top to balance, but we still used our skills in balancing.  Good thing that we don't have any heavy things inside our backpacks.  After exerting more efforts in the rope, we were creeping on the trail because of the wind.  This time, the wind can blow my slim figure that might result to accident and can even result to death because of the ravine.  We were really slow taking the trail of Camp 8, too dangerous!

At THE SUMMIT

Mt. Batulao
summit Mt. Batulao

After the horrifying trail on Camp 8, we are now reaching the Peak at 3:31PM.  Wow! I was really amazed on the formation of Mt. Batulao.  I can say, among the mountains that I've been with, this mountain is the perfect in terms of the formation its ranges and peaks.  On the peak, you can see the other mountains nearby Nasugbu, Batangas.  You can also feel the cold wind that blows my black, long  and curly hair.  Despite of the strong wind, we still had a time to do the jump shots, planking and the death defying poses. 

Mt. Batulao
We left the peak at around 3:53PM, so the trail from the Batulao's Peak going to Peak 9 was also challenging.  The trail was so dusty and we were holding and depending at the cogon grasses beside the trail.  The trail was also steep making my legs folded backward and my hands were holding the grass, also in backward position.  I can't stand on the trail going down, because of the main problem which is the strong wind. 


trail Mt. Batulao
After that hardcore trail, at last we've reached the Registration area of the New Trail at 4:36PM.  The registration area also has a store that you can buy everything including  the cold soda and slippers.  All the people needs to re-register and will be paying the 20 pesos fee.  They also have tent and camping equipment for rent!  After taking our rest and fill our empty stomach, we left the area wearing our jackets, because the wind was more cold than during the morning.

Mt. Batulao
Mt. Batulao
Mt. Batulao really has a lot of Peaks, so by 5:16 we were in Peak 2, much nearer to the base, but wait, the sun is now leaving the ranges and  I saw the heaven turning into orange from blue.  5:29PM, we reached the store selling the halo-halo and buko.  While eating, we were talking about everything that occupies our huge mind.  We also spoke to one of the guides, about the girl fell from one of the peaks and she was 27 years  old.  After 30 minutes, we left the store, and the darkness was beginning to invade the world. 

Mt. Batulao
We double time pacing on the trail, I am sorry to Blogger Claire, because I pressured her to walk faster.  We need to do it because the trail is simple, but it's not good at night because we were lacking flashlights.  At last we did it! before the darkness came, we were able to reach the kabayanan.

Mt. Batulao
Mt. Batulao
Our pacing were still fast, because we need to reach Evercrest as soon as possible.  We still need to eat Bulalo in Tagaytay City and everyone maybe were waiting for us. Claire was really pressured, but she was also fast in walking - two thumbs up!  I think it was already 7:00PM when we reached Evercrest, first thing first? change costume and cleaned ourselves. 

Bulalo Point Tagaytay
When everything was properly set, at 7:29PM we took a jeep going to Crossing, Tagaytay, worth 25 pesos, so 25x17=425.  We occupied the whole jeepney and as usual, we were so noisy.  I don't know why we're so happy that time, I feel I was so energized that day. 7:46 PM, we reached Bulalo Point in Tagaytay City, the perfect place for our empty stomach.

Since we were17, if I am not mistaken, we ordered 7 Bulalo's, then we included plain rice, and many more. In our group, we were 5, we shared 220 pesos each for our dinner.  It was a windy and cold night in Tagaytay, I wasn't happy on that because I was wearing just shorts.  At 9:07PM we were done eating our sumptuous dinner.

After dinner, time to wait for the bus bound to Manila.  According to some locals, their will be buses passing by until 10PM, so that's fine.  But, it was so cold and I can't imagine that feeling will last for more than an hour.  When we tried to ask some other locals to make sure, and they've said it''s until 11 PM, so which is which?

After more than 30 minutes of waiting for the bus, while we were freezing beside the highway, we did everything just to warm our feeling like putting our palm to our under arms.  At last there was a bus going to Baclaran, but we need to stand up, because the sits can't accommodate our number.  So 5 BHM and Mina remained on the same spot. 

We again waited for more than an hour I think in the same location.  Since I was wearing short, I decided to wear my trekking pants again, I really can't withstand the cold wind. 

I think we need to take another option, so by 10:11 PM we took a jeep going to Pala-pala, Dasmarinas, Cavite with 40 pesos fare,  then we arrived at Pala-pala around 11:00 PM.  From Pala-pala, we took another jeep going to Bacoor, Cavite.  Departure was 11:18 PM then arrival at around 11:50 PM with 27 pesos fare.  And from Bacoor, Cavite, we took another jeep going to Baclaran for only 18 pesos fare.  Departed at 11:53 PM and arived at 12:20 AM in Baclaran.

Baclaran is already part of Manila so I shouldn't worry about my travel, and I already knew how to go home from here.  We first let Sharon and Mina to take a bus going to Novaliches then we took an air-con Bus B going to Cubao, since the Belason brothers will be descending there.  It was 12:25 AM when we left Baclaran, taking an air-con bus.  We-wen was the first one to get-off the bus in Estrella, then me at Ortigas then the Belason bros. at Cubao.  I paid 25 pesos for that trip and arrived at 12:51 AM in Ortigas.

The whole trip was remarkable to everyone!  We've met a lot of new people and friends and we developed a new tie and harmonious relationship.  This Bloggers Climb will not be the last, it will be the start of the new journey for us bloggers and  Mountaineer.

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