Hiking Trails: Mt. Batulao, a comfort zone

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There is only one mountain that I keep coming back — Mt. Batulao in Nasugbu, Batangas.

Trekking has been my regular activity for over a year now. And when I’m scheduling another climb, I see to it to try mountains I haven’t climbed. But whenever I don’t feel like researching where to go, what to ride, and I’m not in my mood to write down our itinerary, I’ll be climbing Mt. Batulao. That mountain is like my comfort zone.

A first serious climb
A first serious climb

As I remember the very first time I saw Mt. Batulao was when our parish church had a retreat in Don Bosco Batulao retreat house. Since then, I am fascinated with that mountain. A staff from the retreat house shared that the name Batulao came from words “batong dilaw” (bato-law to Batulao) [rough translation: yellow rocks], as the mountain turns yellow (as yellow as gold) every sunrise.

Let's start to trek!
Let’s start to trek!

Mt. Batulao in Nasugbu, Batangas
Mt. Batulao in Nasugbu, Batangas

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In my second encounter with Mt. Batulao, I was not there to seriously trek but only to shoot some scenes for our independent film Paglipad [youtube link]. I trekked the mountain in my long skirt and slippers and I was able to run in narrow trails of Mt. Batulao, since the director told me to do so. After that trek (or filming rather), I read that Mt. Batualo is one of those dangerous mountains to hike because of its narrow trails — still, I manage to run.

Emoting at Peak
Emoting at Peak

We only climbed until Peak 8 of the new trail since we were done with all our shots. But since then, I promised to myself to go back and seriously experience trekking Mt. Batualo and reach the summit.
But I never had the time, then. I haven’t saw someone to go with in my second experience in Mt. Batulao.
But early last year, the perfect time came as a friend just had a vacation and also want to try some adventure in his short stay here. So, we decided to go to Mt. Batulao — the first mountain I seriously climbed.

This narrow trail to summit
This narrow trail to summit

From my Facebook album last year, I described the journey as: Everything is worthwhile and breathtaking — the cold wind caressing your face; the scenic Taal Volcano which made my heart jumped and put a child-like smile on my lips; the sweat; the decision to take risks; the feeling of reaching the summit; the fear that I might fall; the experience of “romancing the stone”; the sincere greetings of other hikers; the kind natives; and the buko juice and halo-halo on our way up to the summit.

Running in Batulao Trails
Running in Batulao Trails

Before 2014 ended, another friend asked me that she’ll love to join out trekking activities. So, I recommended to our group that we hike Mt. Batulao, for that newbie to fall in love with the experience of climbing mountains. And Mt. Batualo never failed our expectations.

Photo opp before our assualt to summit
Photo opp before our assualt to summit

Do you know why I love climbing this mountain?

First, it’s very accessible. It’s just a two-hour trip from Manila. Just ride a bus heading to Nasugbu, Batangas and get off at Evercrest. This will be your jump-off point to Mt. Batulao.

My friend here enjoys the short adventure of rock climbing
My friend here enjoys the short adventure of rock climbing

Second, it’s easy to climb with difficulty level of three out of nine. Though easy, you can still experience some adventurous parts like short rock climbing and “romancing the stone” which you should “hug” the rocks when walking for you not to fall from the mountain. Exciting!

Dream come true! My first time at Mt. Batulao Summit!
Dream come true! My first time at Mt. Batulao Summit!

Third (and the most important for me), it’s breathtaking scenery.

Love on top with friends
Love on top with friends

And fourth, the bulalo side trip! I always head to Mahogany Market to eat bulalo, beef caldereta, and tawilis!

Reward yourself with bulalo, caldereta, and tawilis
Reward yourself with bulalo, caldereta, and tawilis

I would always recommend Mt. Batulao for those who would trek for the first time.

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