One of the budget friendly climbs that I am interested in is traversing Mt. Batulao. Aside from being an easy (but still challenging) hike for beginners, it is not far from the busy city.
Mt. Batulao is located in Nasugbu, Batangas, just 2-3 hours south of Manila. If you really want to get a quick fix of adventure just outside the city, then this popular hiking destination is for you.
The Old Trail
We started at the jump off at 10:30am. Yes! We arrived at almost noon time on a sunny weekend, with clear skies and scorching heat. I just wore a cap and applied sunblock to protect my hairless head and we began our hike, optimistically thinking that at least we’ll take good photos.
We started on the old trail, ascending as we got welcomed by locals with their horses. (When there are horses, there will obviously be poop scattered, so we kept our eyes peeled.)
It was really hot and there wasn’t enough wind, but what made our hike less difficult were the stopovers with the locals selling snacks like eggs, bananas, sodas, and coconut. There was also a fork where you chose between the Old or New trail. We took the left path to continue to the Old trail.
We continued through the woodlands. The trails were narrower here, sometimes giving way to the locals while pulling their horses carrying some wood. It was a tight squeeze but we have managed to pass through.
The lush green ridges and blue skies were a treat to our eyes! We went on a slower pace here just to appreciate the stunning views.
We proceeded to ascend further and ended up in a campsite. The place was cooler because of the trees surrounding the area. it was complete with a shack, a fire pit, and a hammock! I hurriedly signed the registration form (as required by the guide) and got first dibs on it. If only we could stay a little longer.
It was a good thing that we recuperated for a little bit. There were several camp sites that we have passed and it helped out especially for what was in store for us. It was a steeper ascent from here to the summit. We eventually stopped to see the breathtaking views, our guide informed us that what we were seeing was where we were headed. We literally had to make a traverse from the old trail to the new trail.
The more we got nearer to the summit, the more it got more technical. There were 70 degree ascents that were nearly impossible to climb. Good thing there were some rope assists. There were also steep rocky sections where you had to use your hands.
The views on the summit was nothing short of breathtaking! We can literally see the 360 degree view of Batangas, with Mt. Maculot peeking on the horizon.
We stayed here for a while. I was so parched I had two fresh coconuts, enough to give me energy for the descent.
The New Trail
More rope assists as we went down. The new trail was riddled by rocks and remnants of torn shoes. (May their soles rest in peace.)
The exciting part was that we had to go all the way through the ridge. We crossed several peaks when the sound of thunder surprised us.
We tried to go faster as clouds form. The once clear, blue sky became grayish and winds got stronger. We had to be careful.
It did rain. Luckily, there was another checkpoint where we can buy some trail food. We stayed here for a few minutes. Good thing it was only a brief rain.
This checkpoint required us to register again, and we had to pay 30php each just so we could continue to go down! (I thought toll gates only exist in highways.) We refilled our water bottles and continued to go down.
We have finally made our way back to the fork where the Old and New trails meet. We continued to go down to the jump off, concluding the traverse by mid-afternoon.
It was a fulfilling climb and I can’t wait to go back and do a traverse again. I am now planning to go solo next time, hoping for a another good weather like what we have experienced.
Mt. Batulao has a lot to offer for hikers/campers of any ages. From it’s sloped trails that can be dusty during dry season, and muddy during the rainy days. From doing a photo shoot for your social media profile with the stunning scenery in the background, to challenging yourself in climbing its steep assaults.
In spite the charges from the locals, getting there is not too expensive especially if you live in the Metro. I can say that Batangas’ rolling hills will feed the wanderlust of the frugal and adventurous. (Definitely my kind of trip.)
- Location: Nasugbu, Batangas
- 811 meters above sea level
- Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 4/9, Trail class 3 with 60-70 degrees assault
- Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 2-4 hours
- Minor climb, Difficulty 4/9, Trail class 3 with 60-70 degrees assault
Public (1) Nasugbu-bound bus, Coastal Mall to Evercrest – P104
(2) optional Tricycle, Evercrest to trailhead P25/person
Approximately 2.5 hours travel time Private From Manila, go to Tagaytay via SLEX (Greenfield exit) then proceed via the Tagaytay-Nasugbu Road until you reach Evercrest. Go past the gate, follow through, turn left at the fork, and then go down the rough road to the trailhead.
Approximately 2 hours travel time but do avoid the weekend lunch/dinner Tagaytay crowds.