Our last Pico de Loro
was one of the most memorable as it was the biggest group Trail Adventours has ever handled on the historic mountain. Over all 32 participants and 6 adventure guides were present. The group left promptly from McDonald’s El Pueblo and after a detour in Maragondon finally arrived at the D.E.N.R. Station at around 6:00PM. Greeting the participants with a simple ice breaker, some reminders, the L.N.T. principle and stretching were guides Guido, Joel and Ryan as well as Adventure Guide prospect’s Gab and Maita. Finally it was off to the mountain lively chats and laughter were loud and clear throughout the trail. Everyone enjoyed the lush greenery ever presented on the trails of Pico de Loro. Participants took photos, played on the little pools and streams and managed to evade some of the many muddy parts of the trail. After passing the base camp the group was divided into 3. A lead group lead by Guido, a middle group with Osep, Ryan and Maita and the sweeper group with Gab and Joel. The lead group encountered a few minutes delay as trails damaged by previous rains made locating of the trails challenging, not helping was a new trail created by an unknown group that probably lead to Nasugbu. Because of the delay all the groups eventually caught up with each other and together were greeted by the awesome view Mt. Pico de Loro’s camp site offered. As usual an abundance of pictures were taking on the many ledges and rocks on the camp site. After a few minutes it was off to the challenging assault of the peak in which everyone scaled. Here the iconic “rock peak” can be seen and be marveled at. Some took up the challenge of climbing the rock beak and were not disappointed by this once in a lifetime challenge and feat. After more photos and lunch it was time to descend.
The trek down was as exciting and intense as the ascend. While on the trail the rain poured very hard and the once little stream now became a rushing mini river with a lot of water spilling unto the trails. By now everyone conceded to getting wet and chose to enjoy the water.
At around 6:00 the last of the participants arrived and was welcomed with applause. A quick shower, sharing of pictures, stories and laughter concluded an exciting and fun day at Pico de Loro
. Another great adventure with Trail Adventours.
Twin Hikes: Mt. Tagapo
& Mt. Sembrano
TrailAdventour’s Twin Day Hike with Pinoy Mountaineer goes to Rizal for the peaks of Mts. Tagapo and Sembrano. The itinerary includes ten hours of trek and around eight hours of travel to and fro jump-off points.
The first stop is Mt. Tagapo in Talim Island. The island is approximately an hour and a half boat ride from Binangonan, Rizal; however, the boat ride is an exciting feast of miniscule surprises. Egrets hover over the lake and occasionally land on paludal vegetation to rest. Colorful boats cruise the lake for possible fresh catch while fish cages and pallor cottages with thatched roofs add up texture to the weekend adventure. The island’s sketch largely include bamboo forests, mountain slopes and littoral villages with narrow cemented roads and houses that are proximate to each.
The trail to Mt. Tagapo’s peak follows a stream that is occasionally peopled by women doing the laundry. Along the way, it is often to meet men carrying long bamboos to the village from the mountain. The trail is covered by thick foliage but the usual humidity sweats every trekker dry. After two hours and a half of trekking, the forest clears to thickets of tiger grass that are as tall as the trekker himself. Every trekker needs to ‘swim’ his way to the peak but the effort and the bruises are all worth it because the peak flaunts to every successful summiteer a 360-degree view of Laguna de Bay, nearby provinces and skyscrapers of the adjacent Metro Manila.
The boat ride on the way back to Binangonan is a great time to share lunch while talking about the experience of trekking the first peak. The second peak is only an hour and a half away from Binangonan. The travel time is a window for every trekker to rest and prepare for the second peak.
Mount Sembrano is steeper and longer to trek but unlike Mt. Tagapo, Mt. Sembrano offers a trail with gradual slopes for assault. The trail is also covered by vegetation. The half way trek is marked by a cottage, which offers coconut for a quick snack and rehydration. Thereupon, the trek is a solid two-hour assault to the peak. The peak is also carpeted by a grassland. A rain or drizzle easily makes the trail very slippery that every trekker needs to crawl for at least thirty minutes just to reach Peak 1 (cut off point of a tight itinerary). Descending the peak is another story. Sliding on muddy slopes makes the adventure more worthwhile to reminisce.
A refreshing bath ends this Saturday adventure but the caresses of water to a tired body affirm a thought that everybody needs a break from the routine.