As I have mentioned in my earlier post, originally I was supposed to hike Mt. Gulugod-Baboy with my Egyptian friend in the first weekend of October last year but because we boarded the wrong bus, we ended up hiking Mt. Manabu. Four weeks after, on the last day of October, I finally climbed it. I was supposed to hike with him again, unfortunately, a few hours before our scheduled meeting time, he texted me and told me he won’t be able to join me because he hasn’t slept the whole night. He had an insomnia attack. I was already planning not to go but I have already prepared everything I needed for the hike and I won’t be doing anything the whole day (it was a special holiday because October 29 and 30 fell on Saturday and Sunday and November 1 was declared a special non-working holiday in celebration of All Saints Day) so I decided to proceed without him. I was confident to do solo because I have read that the mountain trail is safe for solo hikers.
At 9 in the morning, I left home and waited below Ortigas MRT Station for a Batangas City-bound bus. After about 2 hours of travel, we reached Batangas City Grand Terminal. There are food stalls in the Grand Terminal. After checking out the different stalls, I decided to eat Lomi Batangas before boarding the jeepney to Mabini.
The jeepney ride from Batangas Grand Terminal to the jeepney terminus was around 45 minutes. From there I took a tricycle to Phil Pan Dive Resort. I alighted there unaware that the registration desk is not in Phil Pan Dive Resort as what bloggers had been writing but in a shed along the road some 20 meters away from Phil Pan. At the registration desk, I was told that I need to get a guide even though I have read in blogs that guide is not required. They required me to get one because I was alone and it was my first time to hike there. Not really sure how the trail looks like, I did not object anymore. After paying the registration fee, we started the hike.
We started at half-past one in the afternoon. I was lucky that it was a bit cloudy that day otherwise it would be too exhausting. The first part of the trail is a cemented road with continuous ascent. I remember stopping in all of the benches that we passed by because it was really tiring. After the concrete road is a stair which is also the start of an unpaved trail. The hike is actually easy with a difficulty rating of 2/9 from Pinoy Mountaineer. But it is a continuous ascent up to the peaks and I really didn’t have enough exercise prior to my climb so I got tired easily. It was a good thing that there are benches and stores along the trail where you can take a rest and buy cold drinks.
We got to the first peak after an hour and a half of hiking. There are actually three peaks in the range: one is at 470 MASL, the second is at 485 MASL, and the highest is at 525 MASL. At the peaks, you get to enjoy views of the sea, the neighboring islands, and green rolling hills. I decided to stay for a while in the first peak to enjoy the view before proceeding to the highest peak because it was crowded. In the highest peak, you have a 360-degree scenic view of Batangas.
I wanted to watch the sunset at the peak because I have read in blogs that the view is magical. I told my guide about my plan and while waiting for the sunset, we just stayed there to enjoy the view. Unfortunately, it got too cloudy that I thought I won’t be witnessing that “magical” view so I decided to go down. Going down was faster (it took us only thirty minutes) but one must be very careful to avoid getting injured.
After the hike, I went back to Batangas City and looked for a restaurant that serves bulalo before heading back to Manila. Unlike Lipa, the restaurants serving bulalo in Batangas City are open even after 8 in the evening. I was able to eat bulalo for dinner but I almost missed the last bus to Manila because I got lost while looking for an ATM because the money I had left was not enough for the bus fare.
How to get to the jump-off point:
From Manila, take a Batangas City-bound bus and alight at Batangas Grand Terminal. The fare is around Php 160.00. From there, take a jeepney to Mabini (Php 37.00). The jeepneys can be found at the back of the food stands. Tell the driver to drop you off at the junction going to Philpan Dive Resort in Anilao or you can also go down at the jeepney terminus. From there, take a tricycle to Philpan Dive Resort or better yet tell the tricycle driver to drop you off at the registration booth for Mt. Gulugod Baboy because as I have mentioned earlier, the registration booth is not in Philpan Dive Resort (fare is Php 100.00 for one passenger, I am not sure how much it is for a group). Refer to the map for the location.
Registration fee: Php 35.00
Guide fee: Php 500.00 (even for solo hikers)