Pico de Loro (Cavite, PH)

“I like the mountains because they make me feel small. ‘They help me sort out what’s important in life.”

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Pico de Loro and Its Monolith
Maragondon, Cavite and Nasugbu, Batangas
Major jump-off: DENR Station, Magnetic Hill, Ternate, Cavite
Minor jump-off: Ternate-Nasugbu Highway, Nasugbu, Batangas
LLA: 14° 12.855 N; 120° 38.785 E; 664 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1-2 days / 2-5 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 1-3
Features: Distinctive spire at the summit, forests, scenic views of Cavite

*Details above is from from pinoymountaineer.com000

Mount Pico de Loro, also known as Mount Palay-Palay, is a dormant volcano in Cavite. The mountain is 664 m (2,178 ft) above sea level, and is considered the highest point in the province. It is considered to be the most notable mountain and is considered as one of the two prominent mountains of the protected landscape together with Mount Marami.DSC_1790

This mountain rose to fame because of a monolith or a natural 60-meter rock column beside its summit which serves as the major attraction of the mountain looks like a beak of a bird hence the moniker Parrot’s Peak.0000efg

The major jump-off of the mountain is in the town of Ternate in Cavite although majority of its area is under the town of Maragondon. Moreover, the summit is shared between the provinces of Batangas and Cavite.

The approximately 2 hour trek to the summit features a 5-kilometer terrain passing through forested areas and some minor streams. There is a saddle camp beside the summit with noteworthy and lovely bamboo features. There is also a waterfalls near the area, that can be a sight to behold during the rainy season.

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Sample Itinerary (also from PinoyMountaineer.com

DAYHIKE
0400 Board bus at Coastal Mall Terminal to Ternate (P82)
0700 ETA Ternate. Rent jeepney or tricycle to jumpoff
0745 ETA DENR / jump-off point. (P25 registration)
0800 Start trek.
0945 Reach highest point of the New Trail
1000 Arrival at junction with Old Trail
1030 ETA campsite

1100 ETA summit. Lunch

From this point, take either Option A (Backtrail) or B (Traverse)

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Option A: Backtrail to Ternate
1230 start descent to Magnetic Hill
1430 Back at DENR; take jeep/trike to Ternate then take bus back to Manila

1900 ETA Manila.

Option B: Traverse to Nasugbu
1230 start descent to Nasugbu-Ternate Highway
1530 ETA Nasugbu-Ternate Highway.

1700 Arrival in Nasugbu. Dinner. Bus terminal is near Jolibee.

2100 ETA Manila.

A friend I saw along the trail of Pico.
A friend I saw along the trail of Pico.

Taraw Cliff (El Nido, Palawan)

When you go to the mountains, you see them and you admire them. In a sense, they give you a challenge, and you try to express that challenge by climbing them. – Edmund Hillary

When I was planning our El Nido trip last year, I stumbled upon an itinerary that included a trek to El Nido’s highest point. I was pretty surprised since I wasn’t expecting that there is such a thing in this quaint coastal town which is more famous for its beaches. And so I did a little more research and lol! El Nido also boasts off limestone (mountain) cliffs that line up the town and its many islands.

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“Taraw Cliff” (or Mt. Taraw) is the highest point in El Nido, and is actually a monolith made of limestone – sharp, jagged, treacherous ones. And so, during our 3rd day in El Nido (after doing island hopping for 2-days) off we went to do some trekking because my friends and I love mountains. Most blogs described it as ‘seriously not for the faint of heart.’ True enough, the hike would welcome you a steep assault and a lot of rock climbing. Good thing our guides were very generous in helping us with what to do.

I could say that the highlights of this escapade were climbing vertical cliffs along the trail. Ninety degrees of heart-thumping, adrenaline-inducing climb! Although one may find it frightening, my friends (who are also adrenaline junkie like me) found the boulder-filled terrain to be fun-filled and exciting.

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spectacular view of Bacuit Bay!

It took us around an hour to to reach the peak. And the view atop? It was surreal! It was picturesque! We were literally lost for words. And it evoked a joyful feeling sharing this spectacular view with your friends. From the summit is overlooking the azure waters of Bacuit Bay with some of El Nido’s island floating like emerald gems. We spent about an hour at the summit – it was peaceful, satisfying and made me appreciate how wonderful life is.

After almost an hour of staying at the monolith’s peak, we started our descent. The descent was faster however it remains to be quite treacherous (so one has to be as careful as during the ascend).

Happy to be sharing this view with my friends!
Happy to be sharing this view with my friends!

For those who want to squeeze in a different activity when you are in El Nido, besides the usual beachneering and island-hopping, brave your way to Taraw’s summit and feast your eyes with El Nido’s unending charm through a bird’s eyeview.

Things To Consider:

  • Wear the right footwear.
  • Wear gloves.
  • Pack light.
  • Bring energy drink/water.
  • There is no fixed guide fee. We paid ours 400/pax.
  • It is best to trek during daytime (preferably early morning).

Sampe Itinerary

6:30am – Meet up with your guide (got ours from the owner of the inn we stayed at).

7:00am – Start trek

8:00am – Summit

09:00am – Start descent

10:00am – back at the jump off point

that's me atop the monolith!
that’s me atop the monolith!

During our stay in El Nido, we did stay at the Northern Hope Inn. You may contact them at http://www.northernhopetours.com/accommodations/el-nido/northern-hope-inn/