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Mount Batulao Revisited 2019

I first hiked Mt. Batulao three years ago with my co-teachers during one of those long weekends that year. The hike was tiring but very rewarding in terms of the beautiful view from the peak. 

Mt. Batulao

Mt. Batulao Details:

Mt. Batulao stands 811 meters above sea level (MASL). For a well-trained mountaineer, the mountain could be conquered in about an hour and a half or less. However, for leisure hikers like me, it usually takes 2-3 hours to reach the summit. What's nice about this mountain is its straightforward trail perfect for beginners. That's probably one of the reasons why the mountain receives hundreds of hikers daily, probably it even reaches a thousand during the weekend or holidays. What's saddening here was the tons of garbage many of these people leave behind on the trail. Well, that was my observation three years ago.

We got to park beside this souvenir shop. They also sell bamboo trekking poles

This new ordinance requires you to avail of the services of a guide.

Start hike!

I finally got to revisit Mt. Batulao in January this year with my cousins. I'm happy to report that several meters of the road going to the jump-off point have already been cemented making the drive to the jump-off point less bumpy compare to before. Aside from that, hikers are now also required to pay P500 for the services of a mountaineering guide. Inclusive in this fee is the environmental fee. I support this move as it gives income to many of the locals living there many of whom were active in maintaining the cleanliness of the mountain. 

The ascend was slow but scenic.

There are also several refreshment stores along the way selling coconut juice and mineral water. 

The "curves" of the mountain is truly picturesque

My cousins sure had a great time... that is until we passed through the first of the "toll gates"...

See that shack? That's one of the toll gates of Mt. Batulao.

From here the peaks of Mt. Batulao could already be seen.

There are plenty of Instagramable spots...

Like this one...

As when everything seems to be going well, we came upon the first of the several "toll gates" on the mountain. We had to shell out P30 pax so that we could pass through the land of the toll operator. Then after several meters, we came upon another "toll gate" which also asked us P30 pax. Just so you know, we haven't reached any of the peaks yet during this time. It was a very infuriating experience. Seeing that we were dismayed, our guide immediately laid out an option - he suggested that we skip the Old Route and follow the New Route instead. This will allow us to skip 2 more "toll gates" which both charges P30 pax. However, he said that we'd still pass by one more "toll gate" near Peak 8 and we would be asked to pay P30 pax again.
 
Mt. Batulao Peak 1

Mt. Batulao Peak 2

Mt. Batulao Peak 3

Mt. Batulao Peak 4

Mt. Batulao Peak 5

Mt. Batulao Peak 6

I discovered that this "scam-like" fee collection was a result of the trail passing through different lands whose owners wanted to have a share of the pie in Batulao's robust mountaineering business. Our guide even said that there were originally seven "toll gates" until they probably realized that they're shooting themselves in the foot. On the positive side, it did reduce the numbers of hikers which also lessened the trash on the mountain. 

Off to the next peak...

Mt. Batulao Peak 7

What a disappointing sight...

... Irrelevant

Mt. Batulao Peak 8

One of the "toll gates" near Peak 8

The mountain has really picturesque "curves"

Mt. Batulao Peak 9

Main peak
Mt. Batulao's main peak - Peak 10

I reached the peak of Mt. Batulao! Yey!

Aside from the excessive fee collection on Mt. Batulao, there's one more disappointing thing happened to the mountain... the dilapidated "viewing deck". Apparently, this government project which aimed to give hikers another vantage point of the beautiful view of the mountain's majestic curves became an eyesore on the mountain instead. Check out this photo and tell me what you think about this infrastructure...

Check out the crowd

Family pic!

That awesome view from the peak

The Backpack Adventures reached Mt. Batulao's summit


Why hike Mt. Batulao?

Overall, Mt. Batulao literally and figuratively had its ups and downs but if the people who are supposedly managing it do not clean up their act, I won't be surprised that many mountaineer groups would call for a boycott of this beautiful mountain. You should hike Mt. Batulao to see the picturesque view from its peak, however, with the numerous "toll gates", this mountain might be part of the visit-only-once list of destinations in the Philippines.

Mt. Batulao Itinerary:

6:30AM - Departure from Coastal Mall
9:30AM - Board down at Evercrest Gate and ride a trike
9:50AM- Arrival at the jump-off point and registration
10:00AM - Begin the hike 
10:20AM - Tollgate 1 (P30 pax)
10:30AM - Tollgate 2 (P30 pax)
11:00AM - Tollgate 3 at peak 8 (follow the new route to skip two more toll gates) 
12:00NN - Arrival at Mt. Batulao's peak/ Lunch
1:00PM - Descent
2:30PM - Arrival at jump-off point (wash up)

Option 1:
3:00PM - Departure to Manila

Option 2: 
3:00PM - Head to the nearby Caleruega to visit the Chapel of the Hill
4:30PM - Departure to Manila

Option 3: 
3:00PM - Head to Tagaytay City
4:00PM - Arrival at city proper (eat snacks/ early dinner/ coffee)
6:00PM - Departure to Manila

Option 4:

Overnight at Tagaytay

Getting to Mt. Batulao:


From Coastal Mall/PITX, Ride a bus going to Nasugbu. Tell the conductor to drop you off at the gate of Evercrest Golf Course which is just a few kilometers away from the Nasugbu arc. From there ride a tricycle to bring you to the jump-off point.


Ratings:
Crowd
Cleanliness
Overall rating

Comments

  1. Thanks for your honest review and the wonderful pictures. I've never seen toll charges like this but in some way, I understand the farmers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you on that, however, it still ruins the fun in hiking.

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  2. Really fun adventure there. I remember when we first went. It hasn't changed one bit

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    Replies
    1. When was that? Sadly, you haven't seen this mountain during its glory days. It's now a business mountain.

      Delete
  3. Looks like a perfect itinerary. Thanks for Sharing, for sure I'll use it!

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  4. Wow the tolls were surprising but what a view! I do understand the bad look the tower may have had on the landscape but can only imagine the view from there irl

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'd definitely want to hike Mt. Batulao. The view is really fantastic.

      Delete
  5. This hike looks absolutely amazing! Thanks for sharing your experience. This makes me want to make a trip to The Philippines!

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  6. looks like an amazing place to go hiking! great review

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Moonlightmel. =) Please do visit Mt. Batulao.

      Delete
  7. Pictures are really amazing. I will surely visit this place if I get a chance. Thank you for sharing such lovely post.

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome Trijit! I'm happy you found Mt. Batulao amazing. Please do come visit.

      Delete
  8. My favorite mountain!!!! I've hiked Mt. Batulao 3x a few years ago and I don't know... I can't get enough of it. It's true that struggle but you'll be rewarded by it's breathtaking view when you reach the peaks. I'm a bit ... sad??? that they now require hikers to get a guide with them.


    PS: AWESOME PICTURES!!! I'm planning to get a DSLR - ingget ako eh! Hahaha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's true sadly, there were plenty of negative changes in the mountain and the policies that cover hikes. Daming hinihingi!

      Ay oo upgrade ka na sa DSLR, pero pag Iphone ok din quality.

      Delete
  9. I'm not surprised at all that once you went once you wanted to go back. That is just incredibly scenic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right. However, with what I have experienced in Mt. Batulao during my last hike, It would surely take a while before I revisit it again.

      Delete
  10. I love your pictures there is pretty much an amazing review thanks for sharing

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  11. It's such a shame that people leave behind their rubbish on the mountain. Even if it's an easy short hike, everyone should pick up their trash, not leave it up there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you. That is one problem that we have here in the Philippines -discipline.

      Delete
  12. The scenery is beautiful and so are your pictures. I've never done a hike excurtion. Thsat sounds like it would be great.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Nichelle. I hope my photos inspire you to visit the Philippines.

      Delete
  13. You have blogged about this mountain before? It is a beautiful mountain. Are those "toll gates" popular on hiking trails in the Philippine?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have blogged about this mountain about three years back when the excessive "fees" were not yet in place. It was such a nice hike. You'd love it.

      Delete
  14. I would love to be part of your team one day. I always wanted to try hiking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please do join us. =) We'd love to have people with passion about mountains with us. =)

      Delete
  15. The hike looks pretty!! Interesting about the tolls though

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha, Interesting and disappointing at the same time. I do hope the local gov't there fixes this as it does not make the hike better.

      Delete
  16. Do you have any contact number of guide?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi JB! You don't need it as the local government provides you with the guides.

      Delete

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