For a time, Mt. Makiling was my home. I spent four years studying in a state university by the foot of the mountain, which according to a system-wide study, had the highest drop-out rate among all nine campuses in the Philippines. It was notorious for a lot of things–sex, drugs, rock and roll. Students and alumni are known to have decent IQ coupled with an insanely high alcohol tolerance due to constant ‘practice.’
But that one thing I never got hooked into during college was mountaineering. I guess Makiling’s proximity made me think that the opportunity to climb would always be there, so I opted to become just a beach-bitch. Once, I tried to hike for the goddamn EXP points, but that sort of conquest was never repeated. At least not until a two weekends ago.
Mt. Batulao in Nasugbu, Batangas is a 1.-5 hour drive away from Manila via the SLEX, Carmona Exit, and the Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway (assuming you travel very early on a Saturday, like 6:30 AM). It’s one of nearest destinations for those who like quick day-hikes. And the climbers–well, they usually need nothing much for the trip except sunblock, bottled water, and muscle power. Oh right, the last one is something you can’t buy over the counter. Shame.It gets pretty crowded during weekends. The sheer volume of people traveling in big groups makes it the least ideal place for contemplating about your life, sinking in sorrow, or writing a fucking book. Nope, it’s not that kind of space. You climb 60 – 70 degrees using a rope to reach the summit, stay there for about fifteen minutes, get a halo-halo, smoke a stick, and then head down via the New Trail to experience all ten peaks. If you start hiking at 9AM, you’d be back at the jump off point a little before 1PM.The scenery is breathtaking. And the abundance of dirt and greens can feel very relaxing even if you are catching your breath of just holding on for your dear life. Even more relaxing is the fact that some people actually fell off this mountain and died. Yep. Died. My two kid guides sounded quite excited when they told me the story. If by any chance you are miserably single and you find yourself thinking about what to do in the upcoming Valentine’s Day, I suggest you go for this. If you are looking for a comprehensive travel guide, just check out the Pinoy Mountaineer’s website. Ciao!
This blog post is part of my 2015 travel project called #epic7107 — to vist as many places within the home-country as possible and to write not just about destinations, but also, people.