Every climber has their own story of ascent. For us, it was the embarrassing-turned-funny memories and some thrill-aggravating- on-the-spot made-up fictions. It was also made a lot exciting by our gullible and astute companions. But before I share to you the stories of the climb, let me start with a brief introduction.
Pico de Loro Trivia
Pico de Loro, which literally translates to Parrot’s Beak, is one of the three peaks in Mount Palay-Palay mountain range (officially, Mt Palay-Palay National Park) in the municipalities of Ternate and Maragondon, Province of Cavite. The other two peaks are: Mataas na Gulod and Palay-Palay. Though Mataas na Gulod resembles more like a parrot’s beak, mountaineers call the monolith beside it as Parrot’s Beak for some unknown reason. My theory is that, it (the monolith) was the most famous landmark so they associated it with the most popular name (Pico de Loro or Parrot’s Beak).
Commute to Pico de Loro
We met at 4:00 one Sunday morning at Pasay Coastal Mall Bus Terminal and boarded a Ternate-bound A/C bus (the fare was ₱81/pax). After 1.5 hours, we arrived in the sleepy town of Ternate. Tricycles were waiting in the bus stop to convey passengers to the DENR jump off point. The fare was ₱225 per trike which can carry a maximum of three individuals.
We asked the trike if we can drop-by at town’s market for us to take our breakfast and purchase additional water supply.
Pico de Loro Hike
We then continued our trike ride, registered at DENR office, and paid the ₱25 registration fee. We immediately started the climb after the registration and short break.
Johans was specifically worried on why we were the only ones taking the trail. She repeatedly mentioned that we didn’t sense any other sentient element along the way. That time, my mind was playing on how to induce her worries <evil laugh>.
A gloomy sky, a narrow trail, the sleepy alleys, and the creepy surroundings – with the only five of us – everything is conducive to prank horrors. But I never pushed my dark plans, instead, we just talked about the snake, I mean, the earthworm that I almost stepped-on during the early stage of the hike. Cess was the one following me and she witnessed that I almost stepped-on a baby snake. It crawls so fast and immediately disappeared but Johans – with all her might and firm disposition – corrected Cess and said, “Earthworm yun!” (It was an earthworm!). We were loud since then.
At some point of our climb, we heard a water buffalo’s moo. I then told Johans that it was a tamaraw, a wild and unfriendly dwarf buffalo, and added that there might be another wild animals in the area like wild hogs and unknown beasts. She did not bother but later screamed when she was pushed by Cess, who ran away from a chasing tamaraw. We broke into a loud laughter again when she realized that it was just made-up.
After two hours, we met some descending mountaineers. We exchanged greetings and “take cares” with them. They gave us some spirit-boosting advises. It got colder and colder as we moved farther, so we thought that we were closed. Unfortunately, we still needed to hike a steep trail for another hour.
The cool wind blew and the rain started to pour. We brought out our umbrellas and allowed other hikers to advance. And the notable comment we received: ” Andaming payong! WheW!”.
When we reached Camp 2, we had our goupie, Yeay!- despite of being cold, tired, and hungry. We took out our snacks and rested for a while. Though we have bread, chips, and biscuits, everybody craved for rice. Cess and Cookie jestingly thought of begging some from other groups.A thick fog intermittently hindered our view. We couldn’t even see the summit. The rain made it even more chilly. Of course, we protected ourselves with our colorful umbrellas. We noticed that almost all eyes were set on us.
The horizon cleared for a while after the rain so we decided to have our final ascent. Unfortunately, the trail became more and more slippery. The girls decided not to proceed. Ted and myself continued the climb slowly. When we reached the summit, what we saw was all gray. We couldn’t even point where the monolith was. We heard people trying their luck to climb the monolith though the visibility is zero <scary!!!>.
We waited for a while, hoping for the sky to clear, but after thirty minutes, we decided to descend. The summit is already filled with climbers and the surroundings was still hazy.
We met the girls in Camp 2, who were busy with their photo sessions, and started our way down. We also made a stop at Mt. Palay-Palay Falls to clean ourselves from mud.
We returned to the DENR area past 4 in the afternoon. We then took a shower, changed our outfit, and had our dinner in the neighboring store. We left the protected area past 7PM.
Nobody informed us the schedule of the last departing bus to Manila so we were worried when we missed the last trip. Good thing that one of the residents assured us that there are colorum buses that regularly ply in the area. And in 15 minutes, we were comfortably seated in the front row.
Though we missed the scenic horizon of Mt Palay-Palay National Park, I still believe that we had the one of the best experience. It isn’t all about the place anyway but the people you have the awesome moments with.
Pico de loro Expenses (Day Hike, Non-Traverse)
Fares and Fees:
Bus – Pasay to Ternate = ₱81/pax
Trike – Ternate to Jump off Point [₱225/trike ] = ₱75/pax
Registration = ₱25/pax
Camp 1 Fee = ₱25/pax
Bus – Ternate to Pasay = ₱81/pax
Trike – Jump off Point to Ternate [₱225/trike ] = ₱75/pax
Food = est. ₱300