Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pico De Loro (664m) - I was almost there...

Ternate, Cavite
Major jump-off: Magnetic Hill, Ternate
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

Sign from DENR
After the Mount Sembrano experience, our team decided to be real serious with mountaineering, so just a month after, we decided to climb another mountain. I could hardly remember what happened last year but for some good reasons our team decided to climb Pico De Loro - a really famous mountain located in the bounderies of Ternate and Maragondon Cavite. Pico De Loro was dubbed as the "highest peak" in Cavite and is really famous because of its "Parrot's beak like appearance" which is really visual especially with people travelling on the sea across Manila Bay. Pico De Loro also lies within the DENR protected Maragondon Mountain ranges and is often visited by hikers due to its pristine environment, awesome summit view, and its challenging "Monolith rock" which can only be climbed by experienced climbers and must be negotiated with a rope.

Our team pushed for a dayhike and we met at 7/11 Lawton , Manila at exactly 0430 and waited for a bus going to Ternate, Cavite. Unfortunately, it was already 0500 and there were still no signs of Saulog Buses travelling to Ternate, so our team decided to just ride a bus headed for Trece Marites, Cavite and got off at the split road near SM Bacoor, Cavite. Our team waited for 30 minutes. just to wait for the Bus going to Maragondon and this time, we are more than I expected - we were composed of 15 members and this proves that a lot of people are really into this sport. The bus ride took 45 minutes before we reached the coastal town of Ternate where we hired a trike to take us to DENR station. If i can still remember, the trike fare were around 150-200 PHP per trike and a single trike can carry 4 of us.

First campsite
HUGE log

It was already 0800 when we arrived at DENR so we all registered right away, did a little exercise and proceeded with the hike. We started by walking back since DENR station was a little way too ahead after the start trails. Our hike started by passing thru a hill wherein real rough mountain roads welcomed us. We passed thru this hill and went down after 20 minutes of hiking wherein we need to take a hold of some roots because it's a little steep. After a little steep descent, we encountered a really HUGE log on our way and our group stopped to take lots and lots of pictures with the fallen log. Not long after the fallen log, our group reached the first campsite wherein we need to pay again for another registration fee. After a quick break, Our team moved on and this time, we passed thru small creeks, bamboo forests, and eroded trails until we reached the sign board "Pico De Loro" and i believe the place was called Alibangbang park. There was a fork road along the sign and the left trail leads to the famous falls and the straight one leads to the peak itself. 

Alibangbang Park

Eroded trails

We decided to head for the peak before we proceed to the falls and the trails started to elevate gradually until such time, it became a little steep again. We managed to hike upto the campsite for 2 hours due to lots of stopovers because almost all of us are new. There was a crowd at the campsite and it's really hard to find a place to stay and have lunch since we dont have tents with us, but good thing there was a spot below bamboo trees were we happily ate our lunch. After a few minutes later, our team decided to go to the summit. The trail of the summit from our campsite looks really scary because it is really steep wherein one needs to hold on to roots and balance himself thru loose rocks. Only a few of us made it to the summit and unluckily i wasn't one of them, my old frictionless rubber shoes which i also wore last Mount Sembrano climb didn't allow me to. I went back to the campsite feeling really frustrated because i wasn't given the chance to see the summit view, but even defeated i promised myself that i will be back in the near future to conquer its summit. 

Whew! the peak!
We left at exactly 1400, and managed to go to the falls which was another dissapointment, because there was no water coming down for its dry season and the water is really muddy. After the dissapointing day for me, Our team started to go back since its almost twilight and the last trip for the bus headed to Manila will leave at exactly 1900. After reaching the first campsite, we took a left turn after the HUGE log and hurried back to DENR to fix ourselves and headed back home. On our way back to the bus station, we asked for the trike driver to stop at what they call "Magnetic Hill" to see if things are really being pulled upwards. Well, i believe it was just an optical illusion since the whole place was full of curves. We hurriedly took the Manila bound Bus and arrived at exactly 2100 in Manila

Our Itinerary

0430 - Meet up at 7/11 Lawton, Manila
0500 - ETD Manila, via bus going to Bacoor, Cavite
0600 - ETA SM, Bacoor, waited for a Bus to Ternate
0720 - ETA Ternate Cavite, took trike to DENR (Magnetic hill)
0800 - ETA DENR Office, Register and change attire.
0815 - Started trek
0900 - Huge Log (take pictures)
0930 - First Campsite (register again)
1030 - Alibangbang Park
1300 - Campsite before summit (Lunch mode)
1345 - Summit, take pictures
1400 - Descent to Alibangbang park
1530 - Alibangbang park, take left turn to falls
1545 - Falls
1630 - First Campsite (Rest a bit)
1700 - Trail Fork near the HUGE log (took the upper left trail to DENR)
1800 - DENR (wash up)
1830 - Bus station (Ternate)
2100 - ETA Manila


*There is a confusing fork just after the campsite near the HUGE log, you need to take the upper left trail, since the main trail leads to Maragondon, Cavite.
*The falls is usually dry during summer, dissapointment is expected.
*There a lot of huge campsites within the trail - First campsite, Alibangbang Park, and the campsite before the summit.
*Ternate buses are rare in lawton, best to wait for them in Baclaran.
*The last trip for Manila bound bus in Ternate is usaully 7pm.
*The Monolith (Huge rock beyond the peak) needs to be climbed with caution since ropes are needed and rock slid is possible.

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