Struggling to reach the highest peak... It almost looks like flat ground on this photo...
...but the blogs were correct in saying that you'd have to grab on to grass to climb up!!!
The most beautiful view that greeted us
The rest of the group at the Parrot's peak
My brother and I at the other peak
My friends and I have been dying to go on another hiking trip so we agreed to reserve last weekend for a short one. We've been wanting to go to Mt. Pulag but we didn't have enough time to prepare and organize a bigger group. Jed suggested Pico de Loro in Cavite, so Ayen researched about the hike. I've only heard of Pico de Loro as a resort, so I didn't expect anything from this trip. Even David thought the hike was going to be easy- like going around in a park or something. Ayen even mentioned people talking about grabbing on to grass to climb up but we all laughed when she said that and thought nothing of it.
I wore my Adidas Boost running shoes and thought that the thick sole was going to cushion my feet from the rocks, but as the hike progressed I started to realize that it was a bad idea. I couldn't feel the ground at all so I was being careful the whole time as the paths were all inclined or going downhill. I was also suffering from cough so I was careful not to have an asthma attack (I haven't used my inhaler in 6 years). This definitely slowed me down and made me realize that it was time to buy decent hiking shoes! The Boosts are the best running shoes and are also great for plyometrics but NEVER wear them for hiking.
Other than my struggle to keep my balance with my shoes, the hike was so much fun. It's a bit of a challenge as it is the highest walkable trail at 665 meters above sea level so it's more like mountain climbing but with more rugged trails (the hike to the summit isn't paved) . It takes 3 hours to climb with rests in between, and another 3 to go down. We spent an hour on the peak and on the Parrot's Peak, and the climb definitely made the view more worth it. There were lots of campers but this was also doable as a day trip if you go early. We arrived around 8:30 AM and left almost 4:00 PM.
The funniest part of this trip was expecting nothing from it... We were all underprepared (except for having enough water) and we didn't really know that it was going to be that much of a climb. We only slept for 2 hours since we stayed at my uncle's house in Cavite and spent too much time catching up and exchanging stories. The two guys in the group were scared of heights, my brother wore flimsy sneakers, we didn't have a guide and just followed the other hikers and we also didn't know some hiking etiquette. As we were walking all the hikers would say "Ingat!" or would greet you a good afternoon. It was really nice to be amongst friendly people since it wasn't that easy and it was our first time there. Whenever someone would ask about our group, my friends would always plug my site (LOL) and I would just sit there, face-palming. The Raleene.com Mountaineering Club was born on that day! Highlights of the group include laughing at our disbelief in climbing mountains and ADHD attacks after two sips of pop. We paid Php 40.00 for registration and the rest of our money went to buying Gatorade (Php 50) and Mountain Dew (Php 30) at the camp sites out of desperation. And because it's a business, they didn't have water, just sugar-filled drinks that make you want to buy even more!
My brother might've had the most complete backpack with the essentials my dad packed for him (he trained for the army or something. LOL Hi, dad!). You should have these basics: plastic bags, lots of water, face towels, alcohol, first-aid kit, sunblock (I used Nivea's Protect & Refresh SPF 50 with Invisible Cooling Mist. Water-resistant and non-greasy, i didn't get sunburnt like my friends!), tissue, moist towelettes, swiss knife, salt (one of us got cramps so this is actually important), painkillers, umbrella, packed lunch, snacks, chocolate/crackers.
As for what to wear- proper shoes, a hat, sunglasses, leggings/compression pants and long sleeves (or a shirt with armbands) are the safest options since tan lines aren't so nice when you wear sleeveless tops, plus you're prone to have gashes and cuts especially when sliding downhill. It was harder to go down from the highest peak since everyone's been grabbing on to the grass and the mountain's bald because of all the uprooting!
I'd recommend hikes like these to those who want to try out something else this summer. You can even do this to overcome your fear of heights! It's so much fun, especially after discovering what your body can do if you're willing. For adventure-seekers, this is a beginner's course but it's definitely not easy. You can read more about it on other blogs so you'll know what to expect.