Pico de Loro: Roughing it Up on the Parrot's Beak

"Napagod ka na, nagastusan ka pa!" one newbie beginner complained, to the amusement of everyone else clinging to the side of the parrot's beak.

Welcome to Pico de Loro.

The majestic Pico de Loro, just a few more meters away.
(Photo by Your City Promdi)
Your City Promdi agreed to go on this climb because it's been advertised as "easy," something for beginners or people like me who had been out of practice (last hike was about 10 years ago). I didn't realize that "easy" was relative.

The climb started smoothly enough--we first went through a gently sloping jungle. It was a relaxing enough, with songs and twittering from unseen birds (we like to imagine they are loros). And then the terrain started getting steeper and more wild. We were sweating and my water canteen was almost finished by the time we were about a third of the way up. It was hard work by then and I think some of us were thinking of giving up every time we stopped a little to rest. But then we got a glimpse of this:
The rolling hills of Cavite, seen from Pico de Loro.
(Photo by Your City Promdi)
(Side note: When you get to this point, which you will see from a break in the surrounding foliage--try to look for Mang Jess. He sells popsicles, which is a huge treat when you've just trekked through about a kilometer-and-a-half of steep mountainside.)

After admiring the view, we moved on, and then stopped on our path again for some halu-halo (yes, there is halu-halo in this mountain, such magic!) We found a guide there--registered with the municipal hall--who we contracted to help us get to the summit and what he called the monolith.

We went fast--our guide Manong Nick set a hard pace. We got to the campsite where more courageous and adventurous climbers than us spent the night. And then we were able to admire the view of the summit (and the amazing view all the way to the see) up close.

Pico de Loro up close.
(Photo by Your City Promdi)
Now, the challenge levels up (pun super intended!). We had to climb the summit from a side that only have loose soil and rocks (making it hard to find a footing) and that is devoid of any plants (so we don't have anything to hold on to). We had to practically crawl to get up, clinging to whatever piece of rock seemed stable and solid enough. When the wind blows or when another group of climbers descend, the dust kicked up and we were left choking on the particles. It was such a reward to get to the summit in one piece, I kid you not. We spent maybe five minutes just thanking the heavens we were all alive and in one piece. And then we looked around and saw the scenery below--from coast to coast--Ternate on the one side and Nasugbu on the other. The sea was so blue, the skies were clear with just some scattered white puffs of cloud, and the land was all shades of green--it was BEAUTIFUL!

View of Nasugbu from the summit. (Photo by Your City Promdi)
From here, we can also see the Monolith. It looked like some tower from the distance and the climb up to its peak looks scary, but personally there just seemed no way for me to go back down the way we climbed up without falling and rolling back down the mountain. So off to Monolith it is. I'm not that afraid of heights, but it was both disconcerting and exhilarating to realize we're just a meter (sometimes a foot) away from the edge. This was a much harder climb on the nerves and the body because we literally had to climb using just a rope and an almost vertical rock face with some steps chipped into it. When we got to the top, though--it was all worth it!

After the Monolith, we decided we'll just go down by way of the traverse--much steeper but shorter way down, which took us to Nasugbu. We would have gone to the beach if we weren't so plastered already.

It was a great experience and something that you should try.

How to get there:
From Manila, go to the bus station at Coastal Mall, hop on a bus going to Ternate. When you get to Ternate, ride a tricycle to take you to the hiker's entrance. Hike. You can choose to go back to the via the Ternate side or the Nasugbu side, ask for a tricycle to take you back to the bus station going to Manila.



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