If you told me back in high school that a couple of years later I would willingly hike a mountain up to its peak and succeed, I would have laughed at your face and be all “Yeah, right. I can’t even sit on the grass without a picnic mat.”
I used to truly despise nature, well the physical engaging part, I enjoy it when I view it in a distance or in pictures.
Now, I have no idea how it happened, probably the stress of college or the depressing feeling of me not being able to make much exciting memories during my teen years but when one of my close friends invited our group to go hiking, I immediately said it was a great idea….
Also, all of us agreed it was time to change our facebook profile photo and to post a new picture in our instagram.. (haha, #stupidannoyingmillennials am I right?)
Before I get into my experience, here are some facts and tips for hiking Mt. Batulao, since I know most of you really just want to know about this.
- The difficulty level of this mountain is 4/9. (For those beginners like me, do not be stupid like I was and think that this is a simple rating by the writer/blogger. There is an actual difficulty assigned to each mountain)
- There are 2 trails, the new trail and the old trail. I suggest if you are new to take the new trail because it is easier.
- It takes about 3 hours to reach the peak (estimate) and 2 hours going down.
- If you are a group of 4 or more, the money you would spend won’t take 500php (exclusive of transportation and if you are gonna buy food and drinks on top of the mountain, but I suggest you bring your own because the stuff they sale are overpriced)
- Yes, it is near Manila.
- I also recommend hiring a tour guide if you are a beginner, but if you aren’t I don’t think you really need too, like what some other people say the trail is really easy to follow if you are already a veteran at this.
- For those who are beginners like me and asking if this is a mountain fit for newbies, I would just like to say, take it from a fellow noob, I don’t think this is really for beginners cause I had a really hard time even though I enjoyed everything. BUT, it is possible for a beginner to do it. I mean, I made it.
- You all might also want to check this blog for more info!
Since this was our first hiking trip and all of us are poor af due to college tuition fees, we decided to search up the nearest, easiest and cheapest mountain we could climb, and it was Mt. Batulao!
Or so we thought. Mt. Batulao was definitely cheap and near our place, the travel time by car was only an hour away and the tour guide was only around 500php , there were stops along the way that you have to pay 30php each head but they were only around 4.
The “easy” part however…
You see, we saw a blog that said this would be an easy hike, the trail is visible, it would only take 2 hours and we thought we would only walk all the way to the peak, there wouldn’t be any rock climbing or difficult slopes – WRONG.
Well, I guess for a veteran it would be easy in a way? But for a new hiker, nope, nada, nu-uh, NO.
You see, we were so fooled that we could hike Mt. Batulao within 2 hours that we told our families we would finish up by noon and our trip wouldn’t even take half a day… again, WRONG.
For the first hour all of us were enjoying the trip calmly and excitedly, always snapping pictures each step we took, thinking that was what we would be doing for the whole journey and we were only another hour away from the peak..
So I am pretty sure you all could imagine our shock faces when our guide told us “WELCOME TO PEAK 1, JUST 12 MORE TO GO!” after more than an hour later in the hike.
Okay, Take note that our pace was really really reaaaaallyy slow, since like I said, we kept on taking pictures and enjoying the view… about 6-7 groups of hikers have passed us before we could reach peak 1. So, I guess, it would normally take 30-40 minutes to reach peak 1.
But *fake coughs* I do believe the pictures were worth it.
After hearing that it was only peak 1 we asked our guide if all the peaks have the same distance, and since he said that the next peaks are nearer each other and normally it would take just another 2 hours, we continued.
Since we told the guide we were new hikers he told us it would be better to start with the ‘New trail’. In Mt. Batulao, there are 2 trails you could choose once you reached a certain point, the old and the new trail. The new trail was easier while the old trail was harder and once our guide mentioned “ropes” we all agreed to take the new trail cause to us ‘if you need ropes then that means it is difficult, all of us can’t even properly pass P.E, how in the world are we gonna survive a slope that needs ropes’.
Now, from peak 1-8, it was all fun and games. Like sure it was long and all of us were honestly tired since peak 6, but all we did was walk, and up until that moment we thought that was what we would still do, I mean the guide did say the ropes are in the old trail and the new trail would be a whole lot easier… but then dundundundunnn… PEAK 9 got us all.
APPARENTLY, THE GUIDE FORGOT TO MENTIONED TO ALL OF US, NO MATTER WHAT, YOU WOULD STILL ENCOUNTER ROPES AND ROCK CLIMBING.
As a person who grew up to hate nature I wanted to call it a day and walk back all the way down and go home, but as a person who grew up to be so competitive I couldn’t just leave, especially since we were already in peak 9! Just a couple of peaks more to go and we would have conquered the mountain! Plus, it would leave such a sour taste if you don’t finish it all the way, right?
Thankfully, even though we didn’t really set out for this, my other friends thought the same, but of course all of us did rock paper scissors to see who would try to climb first and teased whoever was the lucky loser.
For the first few ropes and rock climbs, we were all relying in our guide who held our hands and told us exactly where to step, but eventually most of us got the hang of it.
I honestly felt really satisfied when I managed to climb by myself without any assistance and with the constant shouts of my friends behind me saying to wait for the guide and “WHAT KIND OF STUPID ARE YOU DOING????”
You see, me and my best friend were the first one to try to climb on our own (which was really stupid considering how physically weak with no experience we both were and the fact that if we slip we could fall off the cliff and die, someone did die while climbing this mountain by the way) and all of our friends got worried, but after seeing both of us managed to climb safely, almost everyone followed soon.
After 5 hours of our hike, we finally reached the final peak!
The view was worth 100% of our efforts. Once we reached the peak I was so happy I started screaming like how those people in dramatic movies do, normally I hate doing stuff like this but I was too happy, relieve, grateful all at once I couldn’t care.
Of course, all of us took a picture at the peak and the sign that says “PEAK 12” for proof, I mean, we did originally came here to change our facebook DPs and to add something to our instagram, might as well brag it all, right?
We stayed in the peak for some time cause aside from being tired and to enjoy the view awhile longer, we didn’t really want to imagine the hike all the way back where we came from.
You see, again, we thought after we reached the peak there would be a shortcut to go down… nope, you see by this time we should’ve really learned our lesson to stop assuming things are easier than it seems but all of us are idiots.
When we went down, we completely stopped taking pictures, stopped talking and making jokes, all of us just wanted to get home… and that is why it only took us 2 hours and a half… plus the fact that we already knew the way and the obstacles that we had to face.
Of course even though the hike down was more faster, it was less fun and more tiring.
Our legs, since we weren’t (well still aren’t) used to using our legs for so long and we never really do much exercise, began to hurt. We could feel our joints aching and our muscles failing, we even have to stop for awhile in the middle of the trail because one of us got cramps.
It is also not fun to go down on those rope slopes. Surprisingly, I had fun with the ropes when I was climbing up and I truly enjoyed it, but going down is another thing. I couldn’t really see where to step on and it was harder to grip the rope when going down.
Also, for some weird reason, I don’t know why, but it felt more slippery going down. I don’t know if it was because my feet were so tired so I couldn’t grip the soil properly or it is really like that. At this point I was tired and couldn’t care less if I get mud and dirt on my clothes or even under my nails so every time I reach a slippery point I would sit and slowly slide down instead. So much for the ‘I’m a person who hates sitting directly on grass cause eww physical engagement towards nature’. Well, in my defense, getting dirt on you is better than dying or getting injured any day.
Anyways, as soon as we got down we immediately cleaned our faces, wiped off our sweats and changed clothes so we could finally hop on the car and go home.
It was very tiring and challenging, but I honestly enjoyed it. It was a good experience and it made me want to hike more. I honestly planned this to be the first and last hike of my life, but in the middle of it all, I realized that I want to do this more often. Hopefully in the coming summer I could climb another one!