Mt. Palay-Palay and Katungkulan Beach Resort, Ternate, Cavite 09122016

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.

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The protected DENR jump-off point of Mt. Palay-Palay (Pico de Loro).

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It was already 5:30 am when we started the trek and it was a  good thing that the weather is perfect during that day. Guides are not mandatory so we didn’t bother to hire one since it was also a bit pricey for the two of us, it costs around 1,500 for a group of 5. One of the most expensive guide rates that we encountered so far. 
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This is actually our first time to hike with just the two of us without tour guides. We managed to follow some group of hikers together with their guides haha. We passed through ankle-length river and friendly assaults. Almost all the trails are maintained so it wasn’t really hard to distinguish which path to take. 
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The scenic parts of Cavite at the middle part of the trek. 
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The summit from our view. It was called Pico de Loro which means “Parrot’s Peak”. The summit really looks like a beak from afar. I actually didn’t thought  it was that far, I expected to be at the summit after 1 and a half hour but we are still halfway through it despite of continuous trekking. We even already met our group at the middle part while they are having their lunch after an hour of ascend interval. 
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It took us another 1 hour before we arrived at the campsite. There was a lot of hikers that time so we didn’t spend much of our time on the campsite, instead we proceeded immediately on photo ops location.
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Hazel having fun on the mini rock formation. Behind her are scenic views of Cavite from the campsite.
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Finally, we’re complete!
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Allyka
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Paul

We didn’t stay that long on that location since we still have 10-15 mins of trek to the summit.

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Continuous assault going to the summit. We  or I personally don’t want to continue to the summit because from the campsite, I already saw its difficulty but since we are already here, so why not try it still. 

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.

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The view from the summit. Really worth the try. 
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The famous monolith which is closed during our hike.
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Me and Beb.
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The group. We didn’t try to descend to the monolith since it was also closed and we still have planned side trips after the trek. 

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.

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Beb.
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Rivers we crossed.
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Stones and water.
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Cottages at the jump-off point.

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.

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We are able to hire a tricycle going to the resort then they was also the one who fetched us in the afternoon and brought us to the terminal going back to Manila. It was highly recommended to bring your own car or service when going here since there is no public transportation available inside the camp. 

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.

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The beach with tourists.

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The group enjoying the beach. (c) Paul

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

Itinerary

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

Budget

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

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