|Our destination, the 12th peak|
The plan was to hike to the 12th peak, to the summit (812 meters in elevation) using the new trail (left photo) and be back by noon to head to Tagaytay for lunch. That's two hours up and two hours down.
Mt. Batualo is easy to get to. It is located right at the border of Tagaytay and Batangas, about two hours drive from Manila. The jump off point is in Everest Golf and Country Club.
Warning though the climb can be pretty challenging. Most of the trail was made up of loose soil and at times, sandy gravel which made it quite slippery. Towards the summit, the last 2-3 peaks, we were clambering over boulder rocks. In case you don't want your hands to get cut or injured, wear gloves. We were trying to grab anything that we can hold on to - weeds, plants, protruding rocks, name it - just to get a grip and help pull us up.
|loose sandy trail|
|clamber over rocks|
|at the summit with Karen, Kebo and Marge|
After soaking in the view and inhaling the fresh mountain air, we settled by the rocks to enjoy some snacks. We chatted to a family seated next to us - note that they had in tow an 8-year old girl. The family said that they were going to traverse the mountain. This is, climb down using the old path. If the 8-year old can do it, anyone else can.
The downhill was easier but more treacherous because again, it's so slippery that one can easily slide and fall off the cliff.
|Kebo rappelling down|
|Karen negotiating the descent|
I guess this is due to the number of people climbing Batulao in recent months. That day, there were over a hundred registered climbers. Note that the fee for climbers is P20 for the day and P30 for overnight campers. If you traverese the mountain, that's another P20 fee to pass the other side (or the old trail).
|Antonio's Reuben sandwich|
On the way home, we dropped by Ilog Maria Honeybee Farm to shop for
|the working bees of Ilog Maria|
As a side note, if you're wondering why it's uncharacteristically cold right now here in the tropics, this strange phenomena is caused by the polar vortex. According to Dr. John Holdren, President Obama's Science and Technology Adviser, "a [polar vortex] pattern that we can expect to see with increasing frequency as global warming continues... the waviness means that there can be increased larger excursions of cold air southward in the mid latitudes". I stumbled upon his 2-minute explanation on youtube which I want to share with you: