Pico de Loro New Trail

A few months ago we heard a big news regarding one of my favorite mountain. The DENR office that manages Pico de Loro in Maragondon, Cavite opened a new trail leading to its summit. A new set of rules was said to be implemented as well the same time the new trail was opened. A few weeks ago we arranged a dayhike to this side of Cavite to check the trail that has just opened last March 28, 2015.

It was a Sunday morning when Rose and I met with Iris, Ericka, Kat and Adih in front of Maragondon Municipal Hall. From here we rode a tricycle that took us directly at the jump off point of Pico de Loro. We were expecting a lesser crowd since the release of new rules but to our amaze there are still a number of hikers climbing that day.

Rough sketch of the old and new trail by DENR at base camp.

The hike starts on a concrete road on the right side of the DENR office. After crossing a cemented bridge we were welcomed by streams that could easily pour down into a river during rainy season. A gradual continuous ascent under the vegetation will commence after.

Stream during the early part of the trail.

We were planning to refill our trail water in on Kuya Rey's hut at camp 1, but it was bypassed on the new trail. The same thing with the waterfalls, though they are planning to open up a detour trail for those who want to visit the it on rainy season.

Mid of the climb, the hike will progress into a scene of bamboo fields with cogon grass. We were deceived to think that we were already nearing the peak as we can already saw a small preview of the parrot's beak. We did descent back a few meters until the new and old trail meet. It was marked by an overgrowth root of a tree already rising from the ground, we usually called this place the ugatpak. We were now undertaking a familiar trail, a 20 minute walk and we reached campsite. We took a quick-lunch and decided to climb the peak.

A security guard was on stand by and said that drove the vendors out of camp 2, but unfortunately this vendor took refuge along the trails, and their trash were already starting to pile up. We talked with the vendors and they explained that they will be bringing down the garbage with them.

We also spoke to some hikers who were pitching their tent, and in contrast with the new rules, they are still staying for an overnight camp.

Lower left: Long line of people wanting to climb the monolith.

We rallied the 10 minute hike into the summit where the boastful monolith was standing. I asked Adih who is a first timer if he wanted to climb the monolith, he agreed. We were accompanied by Ericka, Kat, and Irish who already taken this challenge before. To our dismay a great number of hikers were sitting on the boulders leading to the monolith, they were falling in line to take turn in ascending this tower of rock. Since we were on a dayhike we planned to skip the peak 2 and just return on wee days where people hiking up are scarce.

This huge pile of people lining up in the monolith like an entrance to a museum maybe brought by so-called locals/guide waiting in camp 2, offering assistance to the monolith. Gone are the days, that we were scared to climb this rock, where our group leader would bring ropes and carefully guide us up.

New rules and regulation set by DENR.

When we first heard the new rules and trail, we thought it was a great news. Pico had already suffered enough from the tarnish of weekend hikes, and this reform are good indications of restoring the mountain on its glory form, but as we saw it, there are still a long way to go.

Don't get me wrong Pico de Loro is still a great climb, still one of my favorite, but it's time we give this tired, beaten mountain some rest it deserves.

NOTE: Again, thanks to Ericka and Iris for the photos in this post. I don't know what to do without your fondness to take pictures.


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