Going to Pico de Loro takes about a 2-3 hour bus ride to Cavite, where you get off at a town called Marigondon. From there you take a tricycle ride to the ranger station, where you also have to register. The tricycle charged us 200 pesos but from what we gathered from the locals, it was supposed to be a good deal.
The actual start of the trek is a few meters away from the ranger station, there are no signs but you will see one that says "magnetic field ahead". Or you might want to try what we did and 'explore' the rest of Mt. Palay-palay. We started on the wrong trail and ended up 'discovering' for 5 hours before finally getting back to where we started at the ranger station. But if you follow the right trail, it's just a short thirty minute trek to the manong's hut (just remember to always keep right). There you have to register again and pay around 5 pesos a head. Don't ask us why you have to register and pay twice. From Manong's hut it's about 2 hours to the campsite, which is a the foot of Pico de Loro. It is a good idea to bring lots of water with you since there is none at the campsite. It's easy enough to follow the trail, and if you want, Manong can even draw you a map.We got to the campsite at around 10 PM since the 'discovering' earlier forced us to do a night trek, which can be actually exciting. There were no other campers during that time, and the path was not as open and clear as in the other mountain trails that we've hiked (translation - expect a bit of small lacerations here and there). However, along the trail you will already see a glimpse a Pico de Loro, and that alone makes the trek worthwhile. We immediately pitched tent and cooked dinner, and finally able to eat at around 1 am. At that time, only brods Toby and Karl were up to continue the traditional Alphan Tanduay session.
We woke up at around 9 am the next morning, partly due to some locals waking is up. A little stretching and we where on our way up to the peak. It takes about an hour to get there. The trail is a bit steep, but the endpoint is certainly worth the effort. From there, you feel like you're on top of the world, well, maybe just on top of Cavite and Batangas, with strong winds trying very hard to knock you off of your perch. The view is spectacular, with a glimpse of the surrounding beaches and the rest of Mt. Palay-palay.
The trek down was much faster, just leave everything to gravity and bamboo trees to cling on every so often, and you're back at the campsite in 20-30 minutes. After a short meal of uncooked corned beef, we headed back to ranger station. We were supposed to go to the falls, the trail of which is opposite to the one to the campsite, but time was not on our side this time. If you want to be able to take a bath before heading home, you might want to do it at Manong's hut. You still have to cover some 30 minutes of trail, but you'll be sure that you can actually take a shower. The ranger station is just by the highway, but oftentimes nobody is there.
|"The Complete Wilderness Traveler is always prepared with adequate clothing, heat conserving survival techniques, and food reserves that require no cooking."
-- Mountaineering - The Freedom of the Hills