I’ve heard some stories… stories of mountaineers who have found their inner peace on top of the mountains. Some even mended their broken, fragile hearts.
For me, climbing mountains is personal. It has given me realizations that I am now carrying with me as I move forward with my life. There’s an amazing power and connection by being closer to nature.
And that experience was the same as I climbed Mt. Pico De Loro.
THE WAY TO THE SUMMIT
It was nice to see these people, friends whom I’ve met through traveling. Early morning in Ternate, Cavite we walked for a few meters to the tricycle terminal to go to the DENR office where the starting point of the hike is located. (guide below this article)
Once arriving at the DENR office, you just need to pay Php 20 environmental fee and register. After that, the journey begins.
As we went on, every step was starting to be more difficult. A few minutes later, sweat was dripping on my face and body. I knew I had to slow down and walk at my own phase, a lesson I learned during my climb at Mt. Kupapey in Mountain Province.
There is no need to hurry. You’ll get at the summit in time. Let go of the pressure that you have to keep up, it’s okay to stop for a while and breathe. Believe me, there are some stop-overs along the way and once you get there you’d see your friends waiting for you.
Climbing mountain is also about perseverance. There are times when your leg, your body would want to give up, too painful that you want to stop, but you got to keep moving, because at the end of all the hardship there is something beautiful waiting for you to behold.
Something we all realized when we reached the camp site, the beauty of nature that we all witnessed was just captivating. I was speechless for a while. But just for a while, because we all had to take pictures. LOL!
We could feel the summit calling us, but we decided to rest, regain some strength and take our lunch.
Sharing food with your friends is something you need to experience during a climb. Eating and talking with these amazing people while knowing you’re on top of a mountain? One of the best for me!
ASSAULT TO THE SUMMIT
By the time, we all stood up and climbed towards the summit, we had this feeling that eating before going for an assault to the peak might not be a good idea, especially with Pico De Loro.
The trail was steep and tough. Mountaineers call this “the assault” and at that time, I’ve finally got the meaning of it, no more explanations needed.
If there is an important tip during this time is you just have to trust. Trust yourself, your instinct but more than anything else trust your friends… trust them that they can also handle themselves and not slip off because when that happens you know what’s going to happen with all the people below.
The last part before finally reaching the summit was another challenge. There’s no trees, no twigs for you to hold on, only a piece of dry dusty soil. Open to the air, so when the wind blows, you might lose your balance so you have no choice but to crawl. Yes, you read it right, crawl your way up to the summit.
There is no better word to explain the summit of Mt. Pico De Loro as just WOW!
Then I asked myself as I look beyond this beautiful landscape, Why did it take me years before even trying this? I remember there were signs in my earlier years but I did not pay attention.But enough with the regrets, what’s important was I have reached the summit and truly excited of the next mountains to climb.
Mt. Pico De Loro is special. For some mountains, once you reached the summit, you’ve reached the best and the toughest part of it. With Pico De Loro, you would learn to be prepared for greater challenges ahead, because once you reach the top, it is not yet the end.
I remember I was taking a selfie when I saw a friend, waving at me. When I got closer, he said, it was time to conquer the monolith. Yes, the great monolith.
If you don’t have any idea what the monolith is, take a look at the photo below which was taken at the summit.
It’s a huge, tall rock formation just a few more grueling hike from the summit. The first thing I said when I first saw it was, how on earth are we going to get to the top of that?
Well, the answer came to me just after a few minutes, and the best words to describe is the popular Filipino term, Buwis-buhay! Yes, seriously! Climbing the monolith can be too risky but it’s an adventure worth trying!
Oh well, maybe I can just describe and show it to you in photos.
After the rock-climbing, there were more crawling on a terrifying cliff and we were finally on top of the monolith. One feat in our lives that we were all really proud of!
In life, there are things that you’ve never imagined you could do, until you do it.
This is what I realized when I was on top of the monolith, that the more you try new things, risk, and manage your fear, the more you believe. A belief in yourself that is so strong nobody could ever crush it!
If you believe you can, you can do it. If you believe you were meant for something bigger and greater, you do it. You follow it, and be unstoppable.
How to get to Mt. Pico De Loro (Ternate, Cavite)
1. If you’re coming from Manila (NCR), ride a bus going to the Coastal Mall Grand Terminal.
2. At the terminal, look for the bus with “Ternate”sign on it.
3. The drop-off point is the Ternate proper where the bus terminal is located. (Saulog and other buses)
4. Just look around and ask for the tricycle terminal going to the DENR office.
5. At the DENR office, register and pay Php 20 environmental fee. And then that’s it. The hiking begins. 🙂
Note: Thank you to my friend Jerny Destacamento for the photos! you’re the best! Naks!