Twin Day Hike Series: Mt. Talamitam and Mt. Batulao
August 5, 2015
Let me start off by saying that this twin day hike experience made me feel all sorts of emotions ranging from extremely happy to extremely scared. Nonetheless, this is really one for the books!
There was a plan for a twin hike when I climbed Mt. Kalisungan. However; that time, my right knee was still injured so we decided to go with Bunga Falls instead of Mt. Atimla. But last Sunday, August 2, I finally conquered two mountains in one day: Mt. Talamitam and Mt. Batulao.
Height: 630MASL (from Pinoy Mountaineer)
Location: Sitio Bayabasan, Nasugbu, Batangas
Trek to Summit: 1.0 – 1.5 hours (based on our pace)
Height: 811MASL (from Pinoy Mountaineer)
Location: Nasugbu, Batangas
Trek to Summit: 2.0 – 2.5 hours (based on our pace)
Read on below for the full story. (Image-heavy post beyond this point)
Before I proceed with narrating my first twin hike experience, let me summarize some of the details that will, hopefully, be useful for those who plan to hike the same mountains.
Mountain 1 of 2: Mt. Talamitam
We arrived in Sitio Bayabasan at around 8:00AM, an hour early from our expected time of arrival. After registering (Php20 per person) and being introduced to our guide, kuya Danny, we headed for the trail to Mt. Talamitam (8:15AM). It wasn’t raining but the trail was already a bit muddy coming from the drizzle the previous night. The first part of the trail includes crossing the Talamitam River through a bamboo bridge followed by a short trek to the forest that will eventually lead to the second part of the trail which is the famous grassland.
The assault was bearable because there were flat surfaces every now and then. It got hot when we reached the grassland because there were no more trees to shade us from the heat of the sun which gradually sapped our strength away. But much to our delight, we saw someone selling ice-cold and fresh buko juice for Php30 each! There were also people selling Mountain Dew for Php40 but since I do not drink sodas anymore, I went with the buko juice. Drinking the cold juice gave us the energy we needed to run across the vast land just below the summit of Mt. Talamitam. And because I was already astounded with the view from the grassland, I got more excited to get to the summit in hopes of getting a better view.
Before reaching the final and most difficult part of the assault, we passed by a variety of crops planted by the locals who live there. Aside from the crops, we also encountered goats, cows, carabaos and horses which were all either resting or grazing. We also noticed a mountain beside Mt. Talamitam which, according to our guide, is still unnamed and will be opened to hikers soon.
There are several trails to choose from to get to the summit. Of course the steeper the trail, the shorter the time it will take to reach the summit. There is also an option to take the gradual way where the climb is not as steep but will take a couple of minutes more before reaching the top. We chose the steeper trail because we were already very excited to get to the summit. This is also the reason why we have the hashtag #TalamiTARIK. True enough, it was the most difficult and challenging part of the assault. Aside from the ice-cold buko juice that I drank, I think my excitement to get to the summit gave me enough energy to push my legs to the summit!
We got to the summit at around 9:40AM– an hour and twenty-five minutes of trekking. There were several hikers who were also at the summit; some were there since the night before, while the others were like us who climbed just that morning. At the summit, I met several hikers who exchanged their hiking experiences with me. One funny thing that happened was when I introduced myself to this hiker; her initial reaction was,
Ah, ikaw pala si Camae! Nakita na kita sa Instagram.” (Ah, so you’re Camae! I already saw you in Instagram.)
After savoring the view, it was time for my second favorite part of hiking: taking photos. Because of the stunning views up in the summit, we could not help but snap lots of pictures.
As soon as we were satisfied with the photos we got, we bid farewell to our new hiker friends and began our descent at around 10:30AM. Before descending; however, I decided to buy another cup of buko juice to give me that extra ounce of energy. Descending is the part that always worries me because the impact to my injured knee is greater here as compared to ascending. My companion and I agreed on pushing through with the twin hike only if my knee was still okay after the descent. Without stopping and wasting any time, we either brisk walked or ran down the mountain giving rise to the hashtag, #TalamiTAKBO.
We got back to the registration area at around 11:30AM– an hour of descending. We again met several hikers who were packing their things to go home after camping in Mt. Talamitam. They wanted to join our hike to the second mountain but eventually decided to go home instead. After talking to the other hikers, my companion and I ate our quick “lunch” (I just ate a sandwich) before riding the bus to Evercrest, the jump off point to Mt. Batulao.
Mountain 2 of 2: Mt. Batulao
Now, I have already climbed Mt. Batulao last April. In fact, it was the first mountain I climbed. Coming back here made me want to test myself for any improvements in hiking. (For a quick reference to my first hike to Mt. Batulao, kindly read: Summer Escapades: Climbing Mt. Batulao)
We got to Evercrest at around 12:00PM. From there, we decided to take a tricycle to the start of the trail initially because we were hurrying to start the trek. Later on, we found out that taking the tricycle instead of walking was a good decision because the road was very, VERY muddy. As soon as we got down the tricycle around 12:15PM, it started to drizzle. We kept all our gadgets inside our bags so we barely have any photos from the trail. Nonetheless, I will describe it as best as I can.
The trail starts with a lot of…mud. We were informed that it rained earlier that day and the amount of people who passed by the trail also contributed to the state of the mud. It was wet, slippery and sticky and every step digs deep into the mud making it difficult to walk. Aside from that, clumps of mud stuck to our shoes with each step, making us exert extra effort in lifting our feet. We bought a wooden rod for Php10 from a girl we passed by because this will at least help us balance and reduce the chances of slipping and falling butt first.
We encountered a lot of hikers who were already walking barefoot and the stretch of extremely muddy road lasted for about 30 minutes or so. During the 30 minutes, I remember thinking why we pushed through with Mt. Batulao when we could have just been in Layong Bato and if we stopped earlier in the trail, the easier it is for us to go back to Evercrest. But I guess those thoughts were only brought about because of the rain and mud. Stepping one foot at a time, we finally arrived at the part of the trail which is still muddy but not as wet, slippery and sticky. During this time, the drizzle was also gone making the trek less difficult. But since we expected the entire trail to be muddy, I decided to use the hashtag #BatoBatoPutik. One good thing about hiking is that every person you come across with will, most of the time, greet and tell you to be careful. Of course, it is common hiking courtesy to do this but then again, well-wishes go a long way.
I forgot to mention that we still had the same guide, kuyaDanny, for Mt. Batulao and we used the Old to New trail traverse. The winds were still present even though it was already past noon and the fact that it was cloudy made the assault easier. There will be three registration sites along the trail: first is at the base camp (Php10), second is at Camp 4 (Php20) and the third is at the campsite upon descent (Php30).
We got to the summit at around 2:30PM – a good two hours and fifteen minutes of trekking. This is already an improvement coming from my first hike to Mt. Batulao because then, it took me at least three hours to reach the summit. There were two – three groups of hikers who were there with us at the summit and one of them recognized us from Mt. Talamitam. He literally said,
Oh kayo uli? Di ba nasa Talamitam rin kayo? (Oh, it’s you guys again? You were also in Talamitam, right?)
I felt bad because I do not recall seeing him in Talamitam. We were quick to take photos because the skies were getting really dark and we knew the rain was coming back again.
At around 3:00PM, we began to descend from the summit using the New Trail. Five minutes into our descent, it started to drizzle again but this time it was worse because there were also thunder and lightning that came with it. We were still high up the mountain that we feared we might get hit by the lightning every time it flashed. Aside from that, we also felt the vibrations every time the thunder sounded which added to the Buwis Buhay feel of the hike. KuyaDanny said that we just have to get to the campsite to take shelter and wait for the thunderstorm to pass. And with so much adrenaline, we dashed to the campsite while ducking every now and then. When we got to the campsite, we were told to turn off all our electronic devices to reduce the risks of being hit by lightning (It sounds funny now but during that time, I was literally scared for my life lol).
We were fortunate enough to reach the campsite before the rain clouds completely covered Mt. Batulao. I observed how the clouds slowly enveloped the surroundings making them appear hazy and how they simultaneously brought heavy rains. The locals assured us that it won’t take long for the rain clouds to pass. Other hikers continued with their descent as soon as the thunder and lightning were gone. As for us, because it was still raining, we decided to wait for a few more minutes. It was around 4:00PM when we resumed our descent. Kuya Danny pointed rain clouds to us every now and then and told us where it was raining. At one point, he directed our attention to Mt. Talamitam and told us that it was raining there at the moment.
We were keen on observing rain clouds during our descent because we didn’t want to get drenched in rain even though we were already wet with both sweat and rain water. It was kuya Danny’s accurate weather forecast that saved us. There was a time when he said that the rain clouds were coming our way so we needed to hurry and find the next camp to take shelter in.
The narrow trail was full of mud and puddles so our shoes and socks got really dirty. Even though it was raining, I was just happy that the thunder and lightning were gone. What worried us; however, was the thought of passing by that 30-min stretch of muddy road again. And because it was raining, we braced ourselves for a wetter, stickier and more slippery road ahead.
For me, this was the most difficult part of the trail even though it wasn’t steep. We all had to watch our every step because one wrong move could make us fall straight to the mud. The wooden rod was a big aid during this part of the trail because it helped maintain my balance. Fortunately, none of us slipped and fell. I remember feeling a sense of achievement upon seeing the line of tricycles because finally, the descent was finished. Since it was raining almost all throughout our hike to and from Mt. Batulao, I came up with the hashtag #BatULAN.
We logged out of the registration area at around 5:30PM – two hours and thirty minutes of extreme descent. This is still an achievement from my first climb because then, it took me three hours to descend. But I think we could have reduced the time further if not for the rain. Hopefully when I come back again to climb Mt. Batulao, the weather will cooperate so I can set a new personal record. Lol.
After logging out, we rode the tricycle back to Evercrest and found a place to freshen up. I was not able to bring a pair of slippers but luckily, the place where we freshened up had all the things I needed: slippers (Php55) and plastic bag (Php5). It was already around 6:30PM when we rode the bus bound for Pasay and as expected, we were not spared from the Cavite traffic. I already got to Coastal Mall at around 9:30PM and finally at home around 10:00PM.
The original plan for August 2 was to hike to Mt. Gulugod Baboy which then changed to Mt. Talamitam with a side trip to Layong Bato or anywhere in Tagaytay.
On the night before the hike, our organizer suddenly had an emergency to attend to so he decided to cancel the hike. However, I really felt the need to climb since I wanted to replenish my happy fuel coming from the not so good things that happened to me the previous weeks. I did not want to climb alone so I messaged some friends (in the middle of the night) in hopes of finding at least one who would be VERY spontaneous enough to go and climb with me. Thank you to my hiking companion, Jen, for still being game on such short notice! And good job to us for withstanding the heat, rain, thunder, lightning and mud!
Batangas mountains never fail to amaze me with their majestic views and I feel so lucky to have been able to do my first twin day hike here. This is such an accomplishment for me considering how I haven’t been able to do leg exercises because of my knee injury. I have proven yet again that the body always achieves everything that the mind believes.
For those planning to do a twin day hike of the same mountains, I highly recommend our guide, kuya Danny. Contact him at 0909-609-4519 and please tell him that the girl with short hair and red glasses recommended him. Lol.
This blog post will not be complete without a short video of our twin hike experience. Please note that because it was raining in Mt. Batulao, we were unable to take lots of photos and video clips.
TWIN DAY HIKE INTINERARY:
5:30AM – 6:00AM – Meet in KFC along Coastal Mall and eat breakfast
6:00AM – 8:00AM – Bus ride from Coastal Mall bus terminal to Sitio Bayabasan
8:00AM – 8:15AM – Arrive at Sitio Bayabasan. Register for Php20 each
8:15AM – 9:40AM – Trek to Talamitam summit
9:40AM – 10:30AM – Chill at the summit
10:30AM – 11:30AM – Descent back to the registration area
11:30AM – 11:45AM – Freshen up and eat quick lunch
11:45AM – 12:00PM – Bus ride to Evercrest
12:00PM – 12:10PM – Tricycle ride to the start of the trail
12:10PM – 12:15PM – Register
12:15PM – 2:30PM – Trek to Batulao summit
2:30PM – 3:00PM – Chill at the summit
3:00PM – 5:30PM – Descent back to Evercrest
5:30PM – 6:30PM – Freshen up
6:30PM – 9:30PM – Bus ride to Coastal Mall
Even though I am only able to cross one mountain off my hike list despite doing a twin hike, I still feel extremely happy to know that I can pull off a twin day hike. My goal now is to do a trilogy but that will have to wait until my knee is better and until I can do my leg exercises and cardio again.
Surprisingly my right knee did not hurt the following day. What hurt were my entire leg muscles (quads, hamstrings and calves) but this was the happy kind of pain coming from someone who has not done leg exercises for a while.
Do you want to go on a hiking trip? Join me on my next one and hopefully, you will let me join yours too. Yaay!