Batulao Birthday Hike

Batulao Birthday Hike

So it was my 15th month last March 14, and it was also my Daddy and Mommy’s 36th birthdays last March 12 and 18. Unlike most families who would usually just go to the mall and eat out at some fancy restaurant, Daddy and Mommy, being the outdoorsy people they are, treated me to something they really love doing – hiking!! Our destination? Mt. Batulao in Nasugbu, Batangas.

Since we’ve already booked a room at Cityland Tagaytay Prime Residences the night before, we did not need to wake up very early for this dayhike. We left our unit at around 7am and drove to the jump-off site.

The ride was just a breeze since it was still quite early and traffic was not heavy yet even in Tagaytay city proper. However, due to recent NPA-related encounters in Batangas, a checkpoint was set up at the Nasugbu arch where soldiers do random checking of vehicles.

Soldiers doing random checks of the vehicles at the Nasugbu arch

Anyway, past that checkpoint, the ride was smooth. We parked a good kilometer from the jump-off as vehicles were not allowed go farther due to the road getting narrower. There, Daddy prepared my trusty Deuter Kid Comfort 3. Mommy decided to get the services of Julius, a local guide, so that we could have assistance, in case we need one, especially now that I will be carried around. A few minutes later, we boarded a tricycle en route to the jump-off site.

Tricycle ride en route to the jump-off site
Family photo op at the jump-off site

Surprisingly, as Daddy noticed, there was only a handful of hikers going up Mt. Batulao, the day being Saturday. As our guide mentioned, the news of possible presence of NPA members around the area might have scared them off. But not Daddy and Mommy!

Mommy happily smiling for the camera!
The iconic Batulao scenery behind Mommy
Can you see me inside my Deuter Kid Comfort 3? I’m there!

It was still quite early, thus the sun’s rays were not yet that stingy to the skin, coupled with the cool Batulao wind blowing gently. Furthermore, the rocking motion of being carried in my comfy KC3 actually was very soothing, and once we turned left at the fork going to the old trail, I actually fell asleep!

 

I was fast asleep while my parents were smiling for the picture!

It was almost an hour later (and about 2 kilometres of trekking) when I woke up! I was pleasantly surprised by the sudden charge of scenery! I was already seeing the great outdoors – the lush vegetation, the myriad of mountains, and the happy hikers we keep coming across ! We took a 30-minute break here as Daddy was already feeling the effect of being out of shape from hiking for quite a while, plus carrying an-almost-9 kg toddler.

Daddy and me!

We continued our trek. This time, the trail became more technical. Daddy actually has to retract his trekking pole as he needed both hands to grasp the rocky terrain. This part of the Old Trail became steeper and more technical as we were getting nearer the summit. I myself felt the effects as I was now swayed more vigorously the more Daddy needed to scramble.

The trail started to become more technical here
Family photo op again before the trail became technical

Finally, we reached the infamous rope just below the summit! My parents specifically decided to do an Old-New traverse instead of New-Old since this part would be easier to climb up instead of scrambling down. Daddy had a little difficulty from carrying an added weight, while Mommy took her time, slowly, but surely.

Once past the roped segment, finally, we reached the summit of Mt. Batulao! I could not contain my joy in scaling my third mountain!!! Weeee!!

There was already a lot of hikers up there in the summit, and boy, they were so much surprised to see me there! Naturally, they were not expecting to see a baby there, but here I was! Some of them even gave me chocolates! Thank you!!!

Other hikers were so surprised to see a baby like me at the top of Mt. Batulao!
Me, enjoying ice cream at the summit
Don’t care about you guys.. I just want my ice cream!!!
Family photo op at the summit
I love you, Mommy!

We stayed about half an hour at the summit before starting our return trek through the New Trail. Here, the trail became a little technical again, with more segments which were provided with ropes for hikers like us to use. After about a kilometer, the trail gradually became gentler.

Meet Julius, our guide!
Quick break from the blazing heat of the sun at the last registration point
The jagged peaks of Mt. Batulao

It was also almost noontime when we started our descent, thus we took rest breaks more frequently this time to cool off from the blazing heat of the sun. The sunroof of my KC3 provided me with much-needed shade that I fell asleep again! And pretty soon, we were back at the jump-off site!

Mt. Batulao, check! 😀

Trail elevation profile (Old-New Trail Traverse)
Hike route

Points to consider:

  • Total registration fee is Php 150 per person. For those doing a traverse, there are six registration points in all, mainly due to the fact that the trails pass through private properties. The summit itself is even privately-owned! Before, there was just one registration point, then three, then finally, six. We did the Old-New Trail traverse, and the order of registration fees is Php 30, Php 30, Php 20, Php 20, Php 20, and Php 30.
  • Guide fee is Php 500 minimum. My parents were not just able to ask the guide-hiker ratio, but the minimum payment is Php 500 per guide. Since Julius was able to assist us and take good pictures, my parents gave him a little extra.
  • Make sure to bring enough water. In doing a traverse dayhike, whether you’re doing the Old-New or New-Old, you’re bound to still be somewhere in the trails by noontime (unless you’re super harkor who could finish the entire hike in a fewhours or less). You know your own thirst, so make sure you bring enough water, sports drinks, or just buy from the several vendors you would be meeting along the trail.
  • Shoes with good traction will be a plus. During the summer months, some part of the trail becomes very sandy and loose, and your shoes will dictate how you will trek these parts. Else, bring a trekking pole to help you keep your balance. Or just buy the bamboo poles being sold by the local at the start of the trek. It’s just Php 10 per pole.
  • Prepare your bodies, physically. I heard several hikers we came across our trek “regretting why they stopped their regular nightly jog after work”. Yep, Mt. Batulao may be considered as a newbie-friendly mountain to scale, but that does not mean your physical prowess will not be tested here. Both Daddy and Mommy were avid trail runners and mountaineers before I came into existence, and although they felt the physical effects of taking a break due to Mommy and Daddy duties, they were still able to finish the entire trek in a little less than six hours – good enough, I guess.

 


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