I have been fortunate to be able to squeeze in time for a hike to Pico de Loro or Mt. Palay Palay last March 14th, and it was AWESOOOOME!
I know that the Lenten Season has already started in the Philippines, and a lot of you are probably thinking of activities to enhance and evoke your spirituality and faith.
If so, I would definitely recommend – mountain hiking.
It need not be an overnight camping trek, a day hike would do. Most mountains near Metro Manila are easily accessible (2-4 hours away) and would take around 6-8 hours in total (uphill + downhill) to hike. Very doable.
Anyhoo, if you are already prepping to conquer Pico de Loro I have a post that’s all about preparing for the hike HERE.
You can download edit & printer-friendly sample itineraries from there, so I am hoping that will make your life easier.
Moving on, I’d like to share with you what transpired during my “actual” hike.
I know that reality will always be different from what you’ve expected.
In my case, reality emptied my pockets. Haha. Yes, I was 500 pesos over my budget, and though I enjoyed the trek+camp and I don’t mind paying more for convenience, I wished I could have stuck to my plans because, well… that’s what plans are for. LOL.
That’s why, as my good deed for the day, I will help you steer clear of that.
To start, here is our hike’s actual itinerary + expenses:
Here are edit & printer-friendly versions:
Pico de Loro Itinerary-03302015 – EDIT-FRIENDLY
Pico de Loro Itinerary-03302015 – PRINTER-FRIENDLY
Alright, as promised I am here today to make sure that you will enjoy your trek without breaking the bank and breaking a sweat, so let’s name this next section as:
Bembunny’s Pico de Loro Tips and Tricks:
1. TRAVEL LIGHT
This is a MUST! Some parts of the trail are steep. It’s even more difficult during summer due to its dry, sandy and slippery ground texture. Always bring only what’s necessary, such as:
- Bottled water (at least 3 liters)
- Face / hand towel – to wipe away your sweat and tears
- Sunblock – to make sure you don’t look like overcooked meat once you reach the top
- Wet wipes – to wipe away the stress. Yes. This is a wonderful thing to bring everywhere.
- Pocket money – bring extra money if you don’t intend to bring food with you. Food and drinks are available at the camping grounds but they are 100 to 150% marked up. Break the piggy bank!
- Accessories to cover the face (sunglasses, cap, scarf, etc) – to keep your beautiful faces away from the burning sun’s merciless rays
- Extra shirt – yes. Only one extra shirt is enough. No one will smell you there as everyone smells exactly the same – a combo aroma of dirt and happiness.
2. BRING LIGHT SNACKS
This is supposed to be under the first tip “Travel Light”, but judging from the bruises and tiredness I got from lugging around food + cooking tools, I decided to put it as a different tip so as to put more emphasis on it.
As I’ve said earlier, you can buy food and drinks at the camping grounds. There are 2 stores there selling stuff at competitive-albeit-higher-than-the-usual prices.
Important note: The last time (March 15, 2015) we talked to the store owners at the camping grounds, they told us that they will no longer be there in the coming weeks / months. SM Dev. Corp. recently bought Pico de Loro and issued a memo that they are no longer allowed to set up stores and sell there. I am not sure if they are still there, so take this info into account when you plan your trek. Although removing them from the grounds could help a lot in lessening the current trash accumulating in the mountain, I am hopeful that the store owners and SM can arrive into some sort of agreement that would benefit everyone including the environment.
If you don’t want to lug around food and cooking tools, but don’t want to buy stuff from the stores- scrooge! kidding, haha – it’s best for you to bring light snacks.
Remember, you will be thirstier than hungrier when you hike, so forego bringing rice and such and such – instead, bring crackers, sandwiches, nuts and trail mixes. If you plan on staying overnight, light snacks are still the way to go plus a bit of booze. LOL.
3. BRING A SMALL FIX-IT KIT
This is like your valuables’ first aid kit. You never know when your bag, shoe, strap, etc. might break so having a kit with the right tools handy could be a lifesaver. This kit should include:
- A strong adhesive – an adhesive that could help you fix almost everything; popular brands include Mighty Bond, Bulldog, etc.
- A tape (packing tape, etc) to fix your camping tent when necessary
- A small sewing kit – your clothes might get tangled somewhere, your sandal’s strap might get loose, or your button might just pop. You don’t know when misfortune will strike so to avoid having you trek naked ala Adam and Eve, this is necessary. This should include:
- 2 needles (small + large)
- 1 small pool of white thread
- 1 small pool of dark or black thread
- 1 button
- 1 alternative to a button
- 2 safety pins (small+large)
4. BRING A TRASH BAG
Whether you are a seasoned or occasional hiker, this is one of the things that you should never, EVER, forget to bring when hiking. Remember, “LEAVE NO TRACE” – you will do yourself, your parents, and Mother Nature proud. Attaboy!
Important note: Hikers who trek down without a trash bag in tow will be fined at the DENR station – so just imagine that this is like a trophy that you will be bringing home to momma.
5. INVEST IN A GOOD AND STURDY PAIR OF HIKING SANDALS / SHOES
The beauty of Mother Nature is in its predictable unpredictability.
Having said that, you will never know what you’ll encounter in the mountains. The weather could go from fine to nasty, and the ground could go from dry to muddy. It’s best to make sure that your feet will be safe and in one piece after the hike.
Remember: a hospital, clinic, etc. could be at least 2 hours away – make sure that if you do get injured, you can at least walk to the nearest emergency aid.
Sandugo sells reliable hiking slippers for 595 pesos (cheapest), while Merrell offers good ones for 2,000 as its cheapest.
*If you’re budget’s really, REALLY, tight. Go to Landmark in Makati. I found hiking slippers for as low as 400 for men. They carry small sizes so women can also take advantage. I bought one myself for 395 pesos and it has served me well.*
6. BRING A FIRST AID KIT
I tend to ignore and forego this all the time because I always tell myself that I have never been injured in my adventures -THIS IS A SHITTY EXCUSE, PLEASE DON”T COPY.
The beauty of Mother Nature is in its predictable unpredictability.
You never know what could happen when you are in the wild. This is something that you should have memorized by now. It’s best to be prepared. A first aid kit should have the following:
- Hydrogen Peroxide – best for wounds that should not be touched with anything (even a cotton), i.e. burns. Buy the 6% or 20 Vol solution that you can use as a disinfectant and mouthwash. ALWAYS DILUTE WITH WATER.
- Cotton balls
- Gauze & bandages
- Adhesive bandages – commonly called “Band Aid”
- Cotton buds
- Over-the-counter medicines for common illnesses like diarrhea, colds, allergies, cough, fever, etc.
7. FIND AN ECO-HIKING STICK
Be resourceful. Before you hike, you can try and find a sturdy stray branch that could be used as your hiking stick.
*If it’s too difficult to find one by yourself, use your charm and be friendly with the trekkers that have just finished their hike. Most of those who have gone downhill and are on their way home will probably have a bamboo pole as a hiking stick. They could have sourced it from the camping grounds. Once they’ve finished the hike, they will have no more use for it – so if you ask in a friendly and polite manner, I believe they will oblige. Hurrah for free stuff and new friends! :) *
MAGANDANG BUHAY! (May you have a beautiful life!) <3
Let’s get lost in the wild,
Didn’t like my post?
More info about Pico de Loro from the pros: