Location: Nasugbu, Batangas
So you want to try hiking, but you’re a beginner and you heard that it costs a lot to do it. Well I have good news for you, I know a place where you can both have a chill beginner’s climb and at the same time wouldn’t hurt your budget.
Let me introduce you Mt. Batulao! One of the most popular hiking spot for beginners in Nasugbu, Batangas. But don’t let this picturesque view fool you. Though it’s considered as a good mountain for beginners, this mountain has a hidden evil in it. The mountain may calm you as it is, but 75 to 90 degrees assault will make your inner courage waver. Don’t worry some steep parts were rope assisted, just make sure you can carry yourself.
How to get there?
Transportation going there is a staggering 2 hours depending on the traffic (of course there is no traffic since we got on the bus at around 6 am). We rode a bus “San Agustin” from coastal mall in Pasay City. The barkers were nice enough to direct us to the bus going to Nasugbu, Batangas. Your stop will be “Hillcrest”, it’s right after exiting Tagaytay City. The fare is Php 102.00 (2.18 USD).
From there you’ll be needing a tricycle ride to the jump-off point the first registration to Mt. Batulao. The road to the jump off point is quite rocky therefore rough. Expect muddy roads during December – February (Rainy/cold/windy seasons) and expect sandy roads during summer time (starting on March).
For the first registration there will be no fees yet, you’ll just need to put your Name and Address there just for the record. Since there are a lot of people going up and camping there in Mt. Batulao, keeping records would help them keep track of people in and out of the trail (for emergency purposes). They sell bamboo hiking pole for just Php 10.00 (0.21 USD).
You’ll be walking into the Barangay (Village) before you get to the mountain proper. The first 5 minutes of walk (trek) quite tired me out, maybe because I don’t see a lot of relaxing scenery of Nasugbu, but rather house of locals who are busy doing their morning routines.
Now there’s 4 ways to hike on Mt. Batulao
1. The old trail (Difficult)
2. The new trail (Medium)
3. The new to old (Difficult)
4. The Old to New (Medium)
We chose the 4th one, I’m a beginner and some of the guys I’m with too are beginners, so I think it’s understandable why we chose the old to new trail. Plus you’ll have the best of both worlds the “new” and the “old” trail.
Honestly this one can’t be compare to what I have experienced in Mt. Daraitan. Though the reason why I continued hiking is because of Mt. Daraitan, the feeling of relaxation is not present there (except when we plunged in Tinipak River). Here in Mt. Batulao, the ambiance is more relaxed as if you were just doing an ecological tour.
I enjoyed taking photos, I don’t usually see these in the city, like wild flowers and tall trees.
I suggest to take your time and appreciate nature. It’s not bad, no it’s not bad at all, in fact it’s wonderful.
After an exhilarating hour of walking through the trails you’ll arrive in the first base camp. Camp Ligaya. Here you’ll have the second registration, where you’ll be logging your name and address, but now with a fee of Php 10.00 (0.21 USD). Here you could take a rest, snack and drink water. There’s a restroom there too just in case you need to answer the call of nature.
I guess getting a tour guide is not that needed here. Since signs are always available on the way. So please read and be attentive. To be honest we almost got lost too. A guide is to be recommended for first timers. I would recommend to get a guide in the first registration, it’s like helping the business of tourism in their place. The tour guide costs Php 400.00 (8.59 USD), if you’re hiking by group price is not bad anymore.
After getting a bit lost and waiting for other hikers to point us to the right direction, we were able to locate Campsite 1.
Here we bought our bag tags as a sign that we conquered Mt. Batulao (though we haven’t yet). In exchange the “kuya” vendor took A LOT of group photos for us.
Arriving at the next check point/registration and guess what? It’s for another fee, Php 20.00 (0.43 USD), be sure to have spare change with you, for they tend to have only bills with them always.
Beside the lady, who gets the payment, is a sign, the sign might give you of an impression of “Wrong turn”, but if it’s not for our delay on our schedule we might have visited the river. Please do let us know if you have gone to this river. I’m so regretting it until now, that I wasn’t able to go there.
Walking to this scenery is like walking the path to paradise, BUT this is the start of the rock climbing part of this minor hike.
These two angels are waiting for me at the summit!
This is the last stairs to heaven! At the start of my climb, we heard that there is halo-halo and ice-cream at the Summit. It became my inspiration going up Mount Batulao. FOR THE ICE-CREAM!
What is more rewarding than having a cold ice-cream while the wind blows my scared knees from all the heights I’ve taken courage to climb. You can have it for only Php 25.00 (0.54USD)
My friends took lots of photos on the summit, while I went to the edge and looked at the steps where I almost gave up. I’m still in awe on the things that I never thought of doing. It’s not bad really to appreciate and be proud of what have you done so far. I have never regretted that I went with my buddy Ivan on Mt. Daraitan, I thank him for that. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be able to experience such adrenaline, such passion and such courage that I have in me.
So we left the summit when we saw that the only guys there left are the people who are planning to camp. Yeah it’s getting late already so time to get down and go home. Off we go and start our trek down. We started with a 75 degrees down path. Now that’s a start.
There will be another check point when you reach a sari sari store with their pet ducks, cat and dog. You will have to pay Php 30.00 (0.65USD) then that’s it.
Well it’s hard to say goodbye to this mountain. I’ve discovered my hidden courage. What more shall I say? I shall return perhaps? I wanna try Old trail to Old trail next year!
05:00 Coastal Mall (Ride a bus to Nasugbu)
07:30 Arrive at KC Hillcrest
08:30 Registration and start trek
10:00 Reached Basecamp Ligaya (Registration)
11:00 Reached Camp 1
11:40 Reached 2nd Checkpoint
16:30 Got back to the starting point
Bus (Coastal Mall – KC Hillcrest) – Php 102.00 (2.21 USD)
Tricycle (4-5 max) – Php 120.00 (2.59 USD)
*Tour guide (Optional) – Php 400.00 (8.65 USD)
Total registration fee – Php 60.00 (1.30 USD)
Tricycle (4-5 max) – Php 120.00 (2.59 USD)
Jeep to Olivarez Station – Php 25.00 (0.54 USD)
Van to Alabang – Php 75.00 (1.62 USD)
Total: Php 322.00 (6.96USD) pax —- w/o Tour guide