One month ago, one of my blogger friends, Marge, invited me to climb Mount Batolusong in Rizal. Our main goal was not to reach the summit, but to see and catch the sea of clouds that’s similar to that seen from the famous Mt. Pulag, the third highest mountain in the Philippines. It is Luzon’s highest peak which is at 2,922 meters above sea level. We wished we could climb that too, but our schedules don’t match.
Originally, only Marge and I would climb the mountain, but since we belong to a large group of travelers, she created an event Facebook. From two, we became 20. But on the day of the climb, we were down to 14.
We met at McDonald’s at Gateway mall in Cubao at 2:30 am. At 3 am, we took the jeepney bound for Cogeo. Travel time was 15 minutes. From Cogeo, we took another jeepney going to our destination. Travel time was 45 minutes. We answered the call of nature first before riding on a tricycle going to the City Hall, which took us 15 minutes. We registered and paid P40 each. We were assisted by Derek, a guy wearing red lipstick early in the morning and had a pink clip on his hair (which I found cute. Wink).
Beginning the ascent
We started to trek at almost 6 am. The sun was about to rise. We were losing hope that we could catch the sea of clouds, but we enjoyed trekking anyway. The trek wasn’t difficult to conquer. Even kids could do it. My sexy friend, Pancake, took her 10 year old daughter, Kc, and she did admirably.
The trails were climber and hiker friendly, as there were chairs made of bamboo for resting. There was a flowing fresh water which is safe for drinking.
It took us 3-4 hours to reach the second base camp. The sun was shining bright and it was windy. The sky was majestic in vivid shades of blue.
But how about the experience?
Truth be told, it was less than what we expected. Apparently, the “press release and hype,” as Marge calls it, was never more than that. The locals said that there adequate facilities for the needs of climbers, like restrooms and shower. As regards the climbing experience, the tour guide said that it was rocky, steep and a bit dangerous—which got some of us all excited since it was the kind of trekking we were hoping for. We never cared about the bruises and scratches we might get.
Marge and three of my friends, however, didn’t come with us to the last peak as they were a bit scared to fall to death. But when we got there, all the bone-crushing description that the guides said wasn’t true at all. It was only like a 5 min rock climb and there were some rocks you could step onto to reach the top. The view left us in awe. We were like in a different country. The view is a proof that the Philippines is rich in natural wonders. All we could see was greenery and mountains. The wind was blowing our hair and touching our skin. The panoramic view was perfect for an Instagram shot. Going down, we took a different route. You should definitely go to the third and last peak. It’s worth it.
We headed back to where our other friends were waiting and trekked back together to the second base where we rested.
Unfortunately, at the base camp, my friends and I had to stand in a long queue to pee, as there was only one available restroom. We had to invade the men’s restroom.
The cave that was also mentioned wasn’t something we expected. The water wasn’t clear, so we decided not to swim. The pool at the base camp wasn’t satisfying either. We just ate lunch, took a short rest and headed back to the main point. Then, we took a jeepney back to the city.
Still, we didn’t let all the disappointments ruin our day. We still had an amazing time climbing the mountain and seeing the view. Even though we failed to see the sea of clouds, the climb was worth it. It’s the climb, baby! In addition to that, it’s the perfect time for me to get more tanned, so when I got back home, I got the reddest cheek again—like a baby! Ooh, I feel so cute! haha
Reminders and tips
Bring your own water and food. Water is important during the trek. Even though you can buy some at the top of the mountain, it’s nice to pack your own lunch. Pancit canton costs P35. Coconut juice costs P35 as well.
Put sunscreen on – You may not realize it, but sunrays hitting the top of the mountain is so strong that I got sunburn on my nose and arms and shoulder. I was wearing a sleeveless blouse during the trek.
Wear a proper attire – I’m not a full-fledged mountaineer, but I strongly suggest that you wear clothes and shoes appropriate for mountain climbing. Wear a jacket especially if you will climb at dawn. It could get really cold on the mountain. Even though the weather was perfect that day, there were muddy parts, so make sure you’re wearing the right shoes.
Bring your own camera – Never forget your own camera. I forgot mine, so I had to borrow my friends’ (haha! Thanks, friends).
Camping? – Sure! There were groups (I think they were families and groups of friends) who camped at the first base. You can pitch your own tent. (Maybe, I’ll go back there next time and camp alone. Ah, splendid place!)
Leave Early – Go there as early as you can if you really want to witness the sea of clouds. We started the ascent when the sun was rising that’s why we didn’t see spectacle. Also, take into consideration you’re your friends will want to take selfies along the way. Well, if you see it yourself, I bet nothing can stop you from taking a photo at random spots.
Breakdown of expenses
McKinley Residences to Gateway – 180/3 = 60
Breakfast at McDonalds and take out (a burger and a cup of coffee) = 65
FX ride to Cogeo – 35
Cogeo to the main point = 42
Tricycle to the starting point – (Cityhall) = 30
Registration fee – 40
Coconut juice – 35
Entrance fee at the Base Camp where we had lunch and rented a nipa hut = 50
Lunch 985.00 / 9 = 110
Tour Guide ( 1 tour guide for 5 people ) = 500
Tricycle back = 30
Jeepney to Cogeo = 42
Jeepney to Gateway = 25
Uber to Makati City / McKinley = 180/3
TOTAL EXPENSES = 744.00 PHP
Anyway, sorry I’m not really good at sharing itinerary, but I tried my best to be as detailed as possible, because I would also like to give ideas on how much you would spend on conquering Mt. Batolusong with friends.
As you can see in the breakdown, it didn’t even cost us a thousand peso to hike and trek Mt. Batolusong. We shared lunch together. We ordered 4 pieces of tortang talong for P70 each, 3 pieces of Daing na bangus for P100 each, 2 orders of pork adobo for P90 each, 11 cups of rice for P12 each and a bottle of 1.75 coke for P75. The total was P985.00 plus the entrance fee at the base camp which was P50 each. That included the rent of a nipa hut where we ate lunch. Use of swimming pool and shower was free.
One last thing, whether you do it alone or with a group, you are strictly required to have a guide whom you will pay P500.
The amount of money that we spent and the few experiences were nothing compared to the mesmerizing view and Mt. Batolusong has to offer. It is one of the most iconic mountains I’ve ever climbed so far. One more thing, it’s has resemblance to New Zealand. It felt like I was in another country!
So, what’s the verdict? Did we enjoy it? Was it worth it even though we missed our main goal? Absolutely yes! Don’t the photos convince you that we had a refreshing time? Saying it was worth it is an understatement.
Mt. Batolusong in Rizal is probably one of the most iconic mountains in the Philippines. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bag, bring your tent, and be adventorous! And remember to be a responsible traveler! Don’t leave trash! Leave only footprints!
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Some photos credit to @mjaneypancake, @ladyfromdmountain and @happyfootnotes. Thanks friends!