Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mt. Pico de Loro 2010

Ternate, Cavite
Major jump-off: Magnetic Hill, Ternate
LLA: 14° 12.855 N; 120° 38.785 E; 664 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1-2 days / 4-5 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 1-3

The Backpackers:
Ivan Laurence Ignacio
Heinz Lopez Alvarez, Jr.
Len Tomas
Liz Honrade
Ralph Flores
York Advento

Mt. Pico de Loro: The Parrot's Beak Adventure
By: Heinz Lopez Alvarez, Jr.

A view taken from the summit of Mt. Pico de Loro. The huge rock formation at the left is what's known to climbers as "Toreng Bato".

November 20, 2010- It was a clear Saturday morning and we were all excited to end our last shift for that week. Everybody was looking forward to a good adventure, a climb to the Mount Pico de Loro in Ternate, Cavite.

The Group

We were six in the group, who decided to spend our restday in a place very close to nature. To be able to breathe some fresh air and to get into some kind of a mountain adventure were everybody's heart desire. Good thing we had Ivan (, who planned everything and who knows Mt. Pico de Loro by heart. He was able to climb several mountains in the past and promised that this one could exceed our very high expectation of a nature adventure. Yes, he was our Climb's Team Lead. 

From left: Heinz, Ralph, Len, York, Liz and Ivan 

Escaping the Metropolis

We preferred to leave Manila after lunch on that day because Liz had a face-to-face session (for her Open-U schooling) in UP. To maximize time, the rest of us took some rest at our humble abode. Then, we did the groceries at Robinsons- Pioneer and ate lunch at Mang Inasal.

Finally, the group was already intact shortly before the clock hit 1:30 PM. Then, the van started to run towards our destination.

DENR- Ternate, Cavite satellite office was our starting point to the actual journey to Mt. Pico de Loro. We registered there, which was (and will always be) a requirement prior climbing this mountain.

Taken from Alvarez Residence's rooftop.

The Journey Begins

With our heavy and bulky backpacks and carrying extra hand-carries, we started the climb. It was an absolutely very challenging starter- a steep mountain slope so everybody breathed like a horse! "Nobody said it was easy..." said the Coldplay in 'The Scientist' while Ivan, the Team Lead, said "It was just an appetizer..." So all of us agreed to expect more!

To take a picture is perhaps the best way to initiate a brief stop.

The team reached the "Bahay Kubo" after fourty-five to an hour walk. It was very relaxing because we got to rest our already aching shoulders, lower backs, legs and feet. Name it- the only part of our body that was not sweating was our tongue! 

Another registration took place and everybody contributed a standard but a very minimal amount for the trail maintenance and clean-ups funds.

The first major rest at a "bahay kubo".

A naturalizer.

The first major rest at a "bahay kubo".

We continued the climb aiming to reach the campsite at eight. Yes, it was already a night climb.

The challenge of climbing at night is obviously visibility. Flashlights and headlights are most helpful to light and see the trail. The trail to Mt. Pico de Loro is covered by canopies above formed by branches of trees, which combat direct heat from the sun on a day climb and provide almost total darkness on a night trek.

Good thing my friends were all prepared. I was the only climber who forgot to bring a source of light. I guessed being a newbie was a good excuse. "If I could only have Harry's wand... Lumos!", I thought. 

York and Ivan with Lumos!

Climbing a steep rocky and zigzag trail, not to mention the heavy baggages, made it very challenging. I dare say very very challenging especially for newbies. Chocolates, water and short rests every after three to five minutes (I thought shorter than that) helped in our case (or should I say, "in my case").

Finally at the Campsite

Reached the campsite at eight. It was an absolute reliever and it felt as if the torture is over!

Liz, Len, Me (Heinz), York and Ralph at the campsite.

Fixing tents was not a problem at all. We had Ivan, a certified camper!

Our shelter.

It was nice watching my friends prepared our supper. They cooked smoked fish and hotdog, and prepared salted egg with tomatoes. Thanks for bringing up the "kaldero" full of rice, Ralph!

Busy preparing supper.

Mouth-watering finished products!

The Mountain Socials

The climb itself made us happier as a group. After supper was a perfect opportunity to talk anything under the sun over a couple of bottles of tequila.

The Dawn and the Sunrise
Always something to look forward too when you climb a mountain is seeing the sunrise. And I was able to watch the great sun as he rose from the east. I knew that I was standing on the edge of a cliff but seeing the sunrise was so magical that I did not feel any fear at all. And, the cold breeze seemed whispering "It's a beautiful world, Heinz..."

Climbing the Peak
The group started climbing the peak of Mt. Pico de Loro right after a slice of bread and coffee on that Sunday morning. It took approximately 45 minutes before we reached the peak. As usual, it was a steep face so we had to lean forward to maintain balance and so as not be blown by the strong winds. It's a rocky peak covered by cogon.

On our way up...

Lean forward to maintain balance...

The Group: (from left) Ivan, Len, Liz, Ralph, Me (Heinz), and York at the peak.

It is at the summit where you can have a 360-degree sight of the breathtaking view that surrounds Mt. Pico de Loro. We could not ask for more- blue skies reflected by the sea helmed to the land with white shorelines, verdant forests everywhere, beautifully nature-sculptured cliffs crowned with green cogon grass, fresh air, free blowing and whistling winds... we started loving nature more!

The Ultimate Challenge: Conquering Toreng Bato
Adventurers would always say "parang di mo narating ang Pico kung di mo naakyat ang Toreng Bato". 

Toreng Bato is a huge rock formation on the side of Mt. Pico de Loro. Looking from afar, you would not think that somebody could actually climb it because you could not see the path to its own peak, not to mention the dangerous possibilities.

Before making our first step up to the starting point of this climb, we prayed. We trusted Him and believed in our capabilities. All of us accepted the challenge... all of us climbed the Toreng Bato.

Liz as she climbs the Toreng Bato.

Finally, the hardest part is over!

We made it!!!

Len, Me (Heinz), and Ivan on top of Toreng Bato.

York at the summit.

Champions, indeed!

It was an adventure of a lifetime. Reaching Mt. Pico de Loro's summit and conquering the Toreng Bato made us feel victorious! It was such an unforgettable experience.

We now believe in the line "Nobody said it was easy..." but we will surely always want to climb this mountain again. She is just beautiful. She is Mt. Pico de Loro.  

Photo Selection and Captioning by: Heinz Lopez Alvarez, Jr.


view our other Mt. Pico de Loro Adventures:

It was November of 2010 when I invited five friends to meet Mt. Pico de Loro.
A month after that, The BACKPACKERS was born.

September of 2012, The BACKPACKERS conquered Mt. Pico de Loro through its traverse trails and found an unexpected company.


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