Maragondon, Cavite and Nasugbu, Batangas
Major jump-off: DENR Station, Magnetic Hill, Ternate, Cavite
Minor jump-off: Sitio Fronda, Brgy. Papaya, Ternate-Nasugbu Highway, Nasugbu, Batangas
LLA: 14° 12.855 N; 120° 38.785 E; 664 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1-2 days / 2-5 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 1-3
Features: Distinctive spire at the summit, forests, scenic views of Cavite
(Credits to Pinoy Mountaineer)
Mt. Palay-Palay or much known as Pico de Loro is located at Ternate, Cavite which is easily accessible by bus from Manila. It is one of the most famous dayhikable mountain near the metro and a perfect experience for first time hikers.
I regret not trying this before hand, it was just last September 22 when we decided to try this out, exactly 9 days before its scheduled indefinite closure. We aren’t sure about the reason of it but when we asked the locals and guides about the news, they told us, we’ll find it soon as we arrived at the summit.
Me, Beb and together with our four friends planned to meet at Ternate tricycle terminal before going to DENR jump-off point since we came from different locations. Paul, Allyka, Winniefer and Hazel all came from Manila so they met at Coastal Mall at midnight then rode a bus going to Ternate via Cavitex. For them, it’s just a one hour trip since it tehy left at 12 o’clock in the midnight, while me and Beb came from Cavite and it took us around 2-3 hours before we arrived at Ternate since it was a cutting trip (just like how we got off to Mt. Buntis when we came from Silang, Cavite). Again, I therefore conclude that it is still much better to came from Manila when going to Ternate or Maragondon because is passes through Cavitex, much cheaper and less hassle.
We didn’t stay that long on that location since we still have 10-15 mins of trek to the summit.
From there I realize why they need to close this for the mean time, the trails to the summit are almost denuded due to the number of hikers flocking to the park. The mountain badly needed a rest and rehabilitation. It is for the cause of both future hikers and the mountain itself.
We just stayed at the summit for 30 minutes then started to descend, it took us around 2 hours before we arrived at the jump-off point. We met numbers of hikers, both first timers and seasoned one, some of them already climbed Pico De Loro the the 8th time. Just wow.
It was already lunch when we arrived at the DENR station so we had a quick rest at the nearby store while contracting some tricycle drivers going to our next stop which is the Katungkulan Beach Resort.
Formerly known as Cavite de Boracay, Katungkulan Beach Resort is a Marine Base Camp in Ternate, Cavite which is open for locals and tourist if they don’t have military/marine exercises. So don’t be surprised whenever you see some marines on their uniform roaming around the vicinity. Don’t worry they are all friendly. Just be careful in taking photos since there are spots that picture taking are not allowed since it is still a exclusive property.
All in all, it was a quick but good experience considering its accessibility from Manila. I, personally highly suggested Pico De Loro for beginners, from the short river crossings, cool weather, maintained trail, intimidating but friendly assaults, and scenic views from the summit, the trail and its difficulty is perfect from adventure starters. Though it was closed for some time now, I’m pretty sure everyone is looking forward for its opening again with more improvement on its maintenance.
On the other hand, one shall not expect too much from Katungkulan Beach Resort because from the time it became more open and popular to the public, the consequence is that it also badly needed a proper care especially on waste disposal. We saw how almost all the water waste from the shower rooms are going directly to the beach. It was pretty obvious too with the sea water, it wasn’t as clear and green as it was supposed to be. It was a bit disappointing. But if you are not that picky and wants to treat your family for a short summer get-away, this beach is good for you.
Mt. Palay-Palay/ Pico de Loro and Katungkulan Beach Resort, Ternate, Cavite
0100 Departure from Coastal Mall
0200 Arrival at Ternate Cavite, chill and wait at 711
0400 Jeep to DENR station
0430 Register at DENR
0500 Start Hike
0820 Rest and Lunch
0840 Arrival at Campsite, Rest, Photo ops,
0855 Continue hike to the summit
0905 Arrival at the summit, photo ops
0930 Start descent
1140 Arrival at the jump off point
1200 Merienda then tryk to Katungkulan Beach Resort
1235 Arrival and registration at the gate of Gregorio Lim Military Camp Base
0100 Arrival, swim and relax at the beach
0300 Wash-up and wait for the tryk back to the terminal to Manila
0400 Departure from beach
0500 Arrival at the terminal and departure of bus from Maragondon
0800 Estimated arrival to Manila
75 – Bus from Coastal to Ternate
85 – Tryk from terminal to DENR (250/3)
25 – Registration
100 – Tryk from DENR to Katungkulan Beach Resort
67 – Discounted Entrance Fee (400/6)
130 – Tryk from beach to Terminal
80 – Bus from Maragondon to Manila
562 – Total