Camping at MT. BATULAO

The cool and arid clime of Mt. Batulao is a pleasant escape from the tropics. The moment you alight from the Crow bus at Evercrest Golf Course – the jumpoff – you will feel the same coolness felt by the visitors of Tagaytay. And this temperature will be with you all the way. Batulao is the only mountain in the region where you can wear jackets at high noon. You have to. There is no tree cover throughout the climb. On sunny days, this paradoxical blending of heat and cold, on dramatic, sometimes steep landscapes, with forceful winds that make the cogon grass dance, forming beautiful waveforms across the slopes, earns for Batulao the distinction of being the most spectacular of the mountains in Batangas.

The trails are initially rough roads, then transition to paths that are well-maintained, taking you up and down, up and down, at first gently, and then the slopes will be more pronounced later. After around forty minutes of trekking, you will encounter a hut, fondly called ‘Mini Stop’ where buco juice is sold for P20 each. 500 meters beyond this hut is the fork between the two trails to Mt. Batulao’s summit.

Route
Mount Batulao is located in Nasugbu, Batangas which is 1,5 hours from Silang, Cavite. One of famous mountains for mount climbers in Philippines.

OLD TRAIL (EAST)
Fork to summit: 1.5-2 hours. Take the left, downward path to follow the old trail. You will enter a woodland, then emerge into the campsites (or stations) marked 1-10. At the earlier campsites the facilities are larger and there is a water source. There is a logbook and you will have to pay a registration fee of P20.

Same old slopes till station 8, after which the final ascent commences. Beyond this point, at the you have to be extremely careful because the trails are really steep, there are loose stones, and the winds can set off you balance. Also, they spawn duststorms which may cause transient visual disturbances. This will just take 30-45 minutes, though. Campsites are marked from 1-10 in the final hour, with stations 8-10 being the steep parts, Campsite 10 being the summit itself.

EW TRAIL (WEST)
Fork to summit: 1-1.5 hrs. Take the right, upward path. There is a small wooden marker. You will immediately ascent into a hill, and continue ascending and descending. Around 20 minutes uphill is the lone campsite of the trail, good for several tents. There is a water station – the locals who man the site sell water which they get from a nearby river (around 30 minutes away). Here is also the counterpart registration area of this trail.

From the campsite, go up the hill and continue trekking until you reach a point where you have to go down and enter a forested area. Just proceed into this woodland and emerge 10 minutes later. The path goes between two rocks; turn right towards the summit. At this stage you are just 15 minutes away.

ITINERARY
0400 ETD bus terminal in EDSA-Taft via Crow Bus Lines to Nasugbu, Batangas (P114.00)
0715 Arrival at Evercrest
0730 Start trek
0930 Arrival at Camp 1 (fee of P20.00)
1015 Arrival at Camp 8, commence summit assault
1100 Arrival at summit; lunch
1200 Start descent
1530 Back at Evercrest; clean-up at nearby sari-sari store
1600 ETD for Tagaytay by jeepney (P24.00)
1630 ETA Tagaytay; anything goes from here

For the old trail, some would advice wearing gloves during the final ascent to Batulao’s peak, but it would depend on the hiker’s grip and convenience. For the new trail, gloves are not needed nor recommended.

Boy guides, aged 8-17, wait for mountaineers by the highway; you can secure their services for a range of prices but PinoyMountaineer recommends P300/day. Don’t worry much about the ‘child labor’ aspect as these kids are able to go to school on weekdays; they do the guiding on weekends as their part-time job.

You can save time by taking a tricycle from the highway to the end of the road – about a 20-minute trip that costs P100/tricycle ride. You can also get their cellphone number to fetch you on your way back. At the small village that you will pass by foot or trike, you can buy food and water. A local ice cream is also sold.

At Camp 1, P20 fee is collected; a similar fee is collected at the New Trail campsite. Take note: If you want to two different trails up and down, you must pay P20 on both sides.

There are no immediately accessible water sources throughout the Batulao trail but guides can access further sources, 30 minutes away for you on either trails. For dayhikes, 1.5-2 L water is advised. Cellphone signal is present throughout the climb.

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