In a heartbeat, I would always choose to spend my waking hours above or under water, feeling the sun, sand and beach than to climb a mountain for hours. Admittedly, I was never a fan of mountain climbing and I go on hiking trips just for the experience of it.
I only plan to climb 3 mountains locally: Mt. Pico de Loro, Mt. Pinatubo and Mt. Pulag. I’m already done with the first 2 and in a few days, I’ll be climbing Mt. Pulag.
Initially, I have decided not to join this hiking trip since I’ve already experienced it and as I recall, Mt. Pico de Loro was not an easy trail. However, the group who arranged this hiking trip were my colleagues and since I’m counting my days left at the office, I changed my mind hours before the call time and held on to the idea that I am doing this to make lasting memories, and also considering that I have 3 months left, give or take, before I start that life-changing journey of mine.
Mt. Pico de Loro, also known as the “Parrot’s Beak”, is a popular destination for mountaineers throughout the country. Many people are curious to witness for themselves the iconic rock peak (Monolith). Mt. Pico de Loro is the highest point in Cavite. From here, one can see the wide plains of Cavite and the South China Sea.
At the summit, mountaineers can see the Parrot’s Beak and even climb it if daring enough. It’s definitely worth to climb the peak just for the sights alone. The breeze from the sea is carried all the way to the summit, so it’s always a refreshing experience even during hot or dry days.
The trek is not as difficult to seasoned mountaineers but will pose a challenge for beginners, which makes Mt. Pico de Loro a popular spot to new hikers and to those looking for an adventure. Climbing the Monolith is challenging, thrilling and requires a bit of bouldering but is something to be proud of once completed.
What made this trip different and extraordinary?
The trail was just as hard as the first time. The slippery slopes and sudden drops were still there but I came with a different group of people with distinctive personalities and that alone made this trip more interesting.
I was amazed at the personality of each individual. Jayvee, for instance, was rushing as he was leading the group. Slowing down was not his forte and he was too excited (or fixated rather) to get to the destination that I couldn’t stop myself from commenting, “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey”.
It also reached to the point that we had to put him at the end of the group just to slow him down and told him – NO OVERTAKING, but we couldn’t stop him. He still managed to overtake us and be ahead once again.
Anson and Cliff were the two happy-go-lucky people in this group. They just went with the flow and took part in assisting us ladies if need be.
Wena, on the other hand, loved to stop and take pictures. I can’t blame her because that’s her way of admiring the beauty of nature.
Jeff, the leader of this hike, was very outspoken especially with regards to any changes in the day’s plans, responsible and the type who would always stick to the itinerary as planned. We almost argued when he decided not to take a tour guide on our way to Monolith but I let him have his way than to create conflict. I admire him for his attitude because being the leader, I knew he felt responsible for all of us.
Along the way, we met 3 girls (Bern, Carise and Justine), who were also hiking without any tour guide, and we instantly had a connection, hence, our group got bigger, and not to mention, the boys were ecstatic and giddy.
One interesting conversation took place over lunch break, which was when Cliff and Jayvee said, “for us guys, we can easily do it but the girls will have a hard time”. Upon hearing this, I couldn’t help myself from uttering a reply – “wow. how sexist can you get?” I know they mean well but never underestimate the capabilities of a woman and it was because of this conversation that made us (Bern and I) took the challenge of climbing the Monolith just to prove a point. It was all good in the end.
Overwhelmed still at the beauty of Mt. Pico de Loro but the climb to the summit (Parrot’s Beak) took all our energy and made us held on to our dear lives as we carefully climbed that slippery, steep slope.
Waiting for our turn to climb Monolith, which took us approx. 1.5 hours because apparently, numerous groups have decided to climb Mt. Pico on the same day as we did; hence, there was sort of a line going up Monolith.
Truth be told, I was feeling nervous and anxious as we our turn got closer. There was a part of me even that wanted to back out but I thought to myself, 12-year old girls can do it, why would I let my fear stop me? And besides, I want to prove a point that girls can definitely do it too, ergo, challenge accepted.
Waiting for what feels like forever and conquering that fear of falling and possibly dying were totally worth it upon seeing what awaits us behind that steep climb. We survived Monolith and it definitely felt like we were on top of the world! BEST FEELING EVER.
Unexpectedly, we decided to take another route going down (traverse). We came up via Cavite and going down will take us to Nasugbu. It took us 2.5 hours to go down, a harder route to be honest but what kept us going was the idea of hitting the beach.
As we reached the end of our hike, we took a trike going to Nasugbu beach that took us almost an hour but again, it was worth it — to be reunited with the ocean and be granted with a beautiful sunset were more than any of us expected as this day was finally coming to an end.
Happy. Grateful. Contented. Appreciating nature’s beauty in its simplicity.
The pictures say it all — a very challenging but overwhelmingly satisfying day.
Same mountain, different experience.
With a different group of people bearing distinctive personalities and with just 12 hours to spare.
New friends, challenges beyond limits, and an unexpected traverse trail, which led to a perfect ending by the beach.
Boys will be boys but know that GIRLS, too, can definitely do it.
So to speak, love is sweeter the second time around in Pico de Loro.
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt