March 14, 2008, We were on a bus to Evercrest, Nasugbu, Batangas to start our trek to the peak of Mount Batulao.. It was the start of the summer climbs.. At getting off in front of Evercrest, we "suited-up" and started the trek. Around 3.30pm.
First Turn, Wrong Turn
We have read other blogs about Batulao and followed their instruction -- "keep the mountain to your right.." We got to a fork on the road and took a left (to keep the mountain to our right). After sometime of walking, the turn was actually taking us away from the mountain. It was a wrong turn. We traced our steps back a little, and cut through a short-cut to the road we were supposed to take.
"Step Up the Pace"
Since we started late, we were quite in a hurry to beat the sunset. We new it would take us around 2hours according to blogs. So Ed said, "Pick up the pace!" We kinda did until we got a guide.
Then, the pace did pick up. It was no ordinary pace, I tell you. Especially with the terrain. Steep ups; steep downs. We were huffing and puffing after awhile. For Ed who was carrying the heaviest pack (including the tent), it was not "Pick up the pace!" any longer.
It took us around 1 hour & 30 minutes from the from of Evercrest to Camp 8, where we set up camp. We were really tired. Some workout!
Despite us being tired, we decided to make it to the peak before sunset. We set camp and started the assault. The reward was amazing! It was worth the effort. The view was spectacular! As you can see in the pictures above. The assault took another 30minutes. Before the sun fully set, we started back down for supper and worship and much needed rest.
A Little Socials
After a little worship and some supper, RJ went to bed, while me & Ed went to talk to 2 locals who were there. We talked about the trail, the history of the mountain, where their income goes to, other climbers, etc.
Something really interesting is that they use the income to help their little church and school down in their village. This was a really touching story. They told us how the local government didn't do anything to help them and that this was their only way.
The trail we passed was actually new. It was started January 2008 and was finished one month after. No wonder the ground was still soft. Not much feet had trodden on it to compact the ground to make it hard.
We didn't take long cause we were also tired. We entered the tent and fell asleep after much talking.
The Beauty of Creation
Up at 4am Saturday morning, we got ready to assault the summit one more time for sunrise. We packed our breakfast, got our flashlights and set out. The sky was just awesome, the stars were so bright. Countless stars dotted the sky that it was more difficult to point out a constellation. It was really a beauty. Seldom can you see so much stars down in the "civilized" world. Up here, we were closer to heaven and it was glorious.
We made our way up slow but sure remembering the loose ground from the previous day. The sky was already illuminated when we got to the peak though the sun wasn't out yet. We took in the 360 degree view from Batulao. Batangas, Laguna, Cavite. You could even see mount Halcon from the island of Mindoro.
The lighting of the terrain around changed as the sun started popping out onto the sky. Sun rays raked the mountain side. An endless array of colors and shades. The wind started rolling in with the sun. The view was really breathtaking. Layers of different shades of light that couldn't be captured by my camera. I guess to have to go up there yourself to see it.
We then had a little devotional to welcome the Sabbath. We talked about creation and what we saw around. Then, we ate breakfast, took some pictures and started our way down.
The Return Trip
The return trip wasn't as difficult although it took about the same time. It was mid-morning and the sun was up in the sky. Down at the village, we did give a little donation for their church. A little help from us just to show our gratitude. We made our way back to the road where we waited for the bus home.