Date of latest trip: February 8, 2016 (Chinese New Year)
Date of latest trip: February 8, 2016 (Chinese New Year)

Acknowledge your fear but don’t make it rule over you.

Due to its proximity to Manila, Mt. Palay-Palay, or more commonly known as Pico de Loro, is one of the top choices for mountain climbing enthusiasts, and because it is considered as a minor climb, it is also ideal for those who just started, or planning to try mountain climbing.

The name “palay-palay”, according to Tagalog Dictionary, is a compound Tagalog word that means gentle breeze, while “pico de loro” is a Spanish phrase that has a direct English translation that means parrot’s beak. The mountain, as Pinoymountaineer stated, was called as such because during the Spanish colonization in the Philippines, Spaniards noticed that the mountain’s summit resembled like a parrot’s beak.

Pico de Loro is part of the Mts. Palay-Palay/Mataas na Gulod Protected Landscape (MPPMNGPL), which is within the jurisdiction of the municipalities of Ternate and Marogondon in the province of Cavite, and of the municipality of the Nasugbu in the province of Batangas. Although there were numerous ways on how to reach this mountain, the most popular jump-off site is the DENR station located in Ternate, Cavite.

Our Chinese New Year hike to Pico de Loro is actually my second visit to Pico de Loro. The first was on June 28, 2014. During my first hike, we passed through the “old” trail. This trail was literally like a walk in the park because the increase in slope was really gradual. One problem in this trail, however, was the second registration area. According to the people there, we needed to register, and hence pay again, since we were entering the Marogondon Trail. Also, along this trail, we were able to visit a waterfalls. The color of the water was not really attractive, but it was still nice to have it as an additional side trip.

Then, during my latest hike, we passed through the “new” trail. According to DENR, the trail was opened last February 2015. Since I was not really aware of this trail, when my friends asked me regarding how difficult our activity would be, I would always tell them that they need not to worry since it is just like a walk in the park, well, because I was referring to the old trail that I am more familiar with. Instead of starting the ascend along the national road, that new trail starts inside the registration area. Unlike the old trail, there are numerous assaults in this trail. There are portions where you need to use ropes to help you in climbing the steep slopes. Although I prefer the old trail, the new trail was not that bad. The new trail was a bit more difficult than the old one, but it made the hike in Pico de Loro more challenging.

Once you reach the base camp, you may opt to have your lunch first before ascending the summit and the monolith. The assault going to the summit was really challenging, especially during our second hike because the wind was blowing really strong. It really felt like we could actually be blown away. Then, after few minutes of stay at the summit, you may choose to climb the monolith or start your descend. I was fortunate that when I first visited Pico de Loro, we did it during a weekday, thus, we did not have to compete with anyone in order for us to climb the monolith, and therefore, we were able to climb it. However, since we did our second hike during a holiday, we were advised that we need to wait for about two hours just to climb it. We therefore decided just to descend and go back to the registration site.

During both of these climbs, we went straight home after we had our dinner.

When we left, we took nothing but pictures, we took nothing but memories.

Additional notes:

  • It is not required to hire a guide since the trail is really established. But in the event you need one, they are available at the registration area and at the base camp. Some people opt to hire a guide during their ascend to the summit because of the steepness of its slope and the strength of the wind.
  • Traverse hike to Brgy. Papaya, Nasugbu, Batangas is also an option. Again, you are not required to hire a guide, however, you have to take note that the trail going to Batangas is not as established as compared with that of the Cavite trail. The tricycle fare from Brgy Papaya upto the Poblacion (town proper) is Php 150 per person (as of June 2014).
  • If you are traversing to Nasugbu, you should take note of the last schedule of buses (and other means of transportation) in Nasugbu, Batangas. As of June 2014, the last trip schedule of almost all means of transportation in the area was until 8pm only.
  • As of our hike, camping overnight in Pico de Loro is not allowed, according to the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) Cavite. Furthermore, they close the registration by around 3pm.
  • Stores are available at the base camp, especially during holidays and weekends.
  • For more information, you may visit DENR-Region 4-A (CALABARZON) office at DENCRIS Business Center, National Highway, Brgy. Halang, Calamba City, Laguna or you may contact them through their landline: (049) 502-7500
  • Always be reminded of a simple rule: garbage in, garbage out. Help in protecting and conserving our environment.

 

Acknowledgements:

I would like to send my sincerest gratitude to the people who were with me during this trip.

My Pico de Loro hiking buddies
My Pico de Loro hiking buddies

 

Travel Guide (Calamba City, Laguna)
Route Mode of Transportation Estimated Travel Time
Calamba City Terminal to Trece Martirez, Cavite Van 1 hour
Trece Martirez, Cavite to Naic, Cavite Jeepney 20 minutes
Naic, Cavite to DENR Station/ Magnetic Hill (Ternate, Cavite) Tricycle 1 hour
DENR Station (jump-off area) to Basecamp Foot 2 hours
Basecamp to summit Foot 15 minutes
Summit to monolith Foot 20 minutes

 

Travel Guide (Coastal mall, Parañaque City, Metro Manila)
Route Mode of Transportation Estimated Travel Time
Coastal Mall to Ariel’s Bus Terminal (Ternate) Bus (Naic Bound) 2 hours
Ariel’s Bus Terminal to DENR Station (Magnetic Hill) Tricycle 45 minutes
DENR Station (jump-off area) to Basecamp Foot 2 hours
Basecamp to summit Foot 15 minutes
Summit to monolith Foot 20 minutes

 

Estimated Budget (in Pesos)  
Transportation (one-way from Calamba City, Laguna)  
Calamba City Terminal to Trece Martirez, Cavite 80
Trece Martirez, Cavite to Naic, Cavite 22
Naic, Cavite to DENR station (Ternate, Cavite) 250-300
   
Transportation (one-way from Coastal Mall)  
Coastal Mall to Ariel’s Bus Terminal (Ternate) 81
Ariel’s Bus Terminal to DENR Station (Magnetic Hill) 225
   
Environmental fee 25
   
Guide (optional) 400
   
Use of comfort rooms 5
   
Food* 100
*based on our past trips (packed lunch and some trail foods  

Here are some photos during our Pico de Loro dayhike:

the registration booth at the jump-off area (DENR-manned)
the registration booth at the jump-off area (DENR-manned)
the start of the trail
the start of the trail
some of the concrete cottages available at the jump-off area
some of the concrete cottages available at the jump-off area
off to the unpaved trail
off to the unpaved trail
just few meters away from the registration area
just few meters away from the registration area
the start of the trail was basically just a chill
the start of the trail was basically just a chill
thank God, there was no need to cross rivers during our trip
thank God, there was no need to cross rivers during our trip
Off to a more challenging part of the trail
Off to a more challenging part of the trail
one of the many obstacles along the trail
one of the many obstacles along the trail
a very steep muddy trail
a very steep muddy trail
a very "cool" Popsicle vendor
a very “cool” Popsicle vendor
a view deck constructed along the trail
a view deck constructed along the trail
pointing where to go next
pointing where to go next
our first sight of the summit and the monolith
our first sight of the summit and the monolith
the bamboo forest near the basecamp
the bamboo forest near the basecamp
one of the numerous stores at the basecamp
one of the numerous stores at the basecamp
groupie with the parrot's beak as the backdrop
groupie with the parrot’s beak as the backdrop
Viewing the vast area on the foot of the mountain
Viewing the vast area on the foot of the mountain
started with grassy area, then, dusts and rocks: on our way to the summit
started with grassy area, then, dusts and rocks: on our way to the summit
it is indeed REAL
it is indeed REAL
the difficulty of climbing the parrot's beak a.k.a the summit is real
the difficulty of climbing the parrot’s beak a.k.a the summit is real
the view of Corregidor Island and of the Municipality of Mariveles
the view of Corregidor Island and of the Municipality of Mariveles
the monolith with a lush green backdrop
the monolith with a lush green backdrop
a closer look of the monolith (take note of the line of people)
a closer look of the monolith (take note of the line of people)
the view of the base camp from the summit
the view of the base camp from the summit
starting to descend from the summit
starting to descend from the summit
the crocodile island (just got the name from the guides)
the crocodile island (just got the name from the guides)
a view of the Ternate side of the mountain
a view of the Ternate side of the mountain
two of the young guides in Pico de Loro
two of the young guides in Pico de Loro
visitors going to the "monolith"
visitors going to the “monolith”

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