Conquering Pico de Loro

Conquring Pico de Loro. Written by Jervis Manahan for SubSelfie.com

I never liked the whole idea of climbing mountains. But I ended up on top of the Pico de Loro monolith in Cavite. How and why I got there? It’s a long trek but let me walk you through my journey.

Early this year, I found a new (and rather eccentric) hobby: mountaineering. I have climbed Mount Banahaw in Quezon and Mount Daguldol in Batangas for a camping class in the summer of 2010. I was just there for the company (and it’s a class requirement anyway so I really had no choice).

Last February 2014, I joined the guys behind SubSelfie.com as we assaulted the summit of Mount Pulag, the highest point of Luzon. It really was an achievement.

The SubSelfie Team in the Peak of Mt. Pulag
The SubSelfie.com Team atop the peak of Mt. Pulag

The view at the top of Pulag was so divine that I actually pushed myself to climb more mountains. Thus, I booked another trekking adventure to Mount Pico de Loro in Cavite. I saw enticing pictures from some friends. The summit looked so tantalizing that it can actually be included in those ‘Wonderful Places on Earth’ articles in Buzzfeed.

Having survived the challenges of Pulag, I thought Pico de Loro will be easy. But no, I actually found it riskier and harder to climb. The terrain was trickier and we had to step on humongous roots of century-old trees! There were parts that were steep enough, it’s close to ninety degrees! And we trekked without protective gear (I was even wearing shorts). But the adrenaline sustained me and we were able to make it to the campsite.

The Trail.
The Trail.
Centuries Old.
Centuries Old.
View from the Camp Site.
View from the Camp Site.

After lunch, the camp leaders asked the entire group (there were around 47 of us) if we’re still willing to proceed to the summit. They warned us that the next level won’t be as easy. Some of our co-trekkers stayed behind. But not me. As a self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie, I pushed myself to the next level.

True enough, it really proved to be challenging. Some parts were so dusty that our feet were slipping off, and we can only hold to rocks and occasional vegetation to lift our bodies up. That was the time I really felt I was putting myself in danger. But after an hour of trekking, we reached the summit.

The Summit of Pico de Loro.
The view of the summit of Pico de Loro.

But the journey wasn’t finished yet. The actual challenge was to climb the top of the monolith.

Most of my co-trekkers were content in reaching the summit; they decided to stop there. Personally I had a nerve-wracking time just by simply looking up and down the monolith. Admittedly, I had doubts if I can ever reach the top (alive). The summit looked like a massive chunk of rock that stood in the middle of a cliff. One wrong step and you can fall and die.

But I thought, I probably wouldn’t go back here in five to ten years. I don’t want to go home with “what if” scenarios in my head. So I decided to proceed.

Among the 47 original trekkers, only ten of us took the challenge of the monolith. We had to go down the other side of the mountain to reach the base of the monolith. It was the riskiest thing I ever did in my life. When we got to the base, two of our companions backed out.

The eight of us were still determined to finish the challenge. We held onto ropes (no harness, helmets, nor any gear) to climb. We were very careful in every step. We summoned all the courage and strength left in our weary bodies. One last push!

Reaching the top was a sublime moment. I never had this satisfaction for years. The view was so awesome that it reminded me how beautiful the world actually is. The fresh air relaxed our tired bodies; the exhilarating feeling gave us a renewed passion for life.

Going through the entire thing, getting bruised, hurt, nervous, tired and all those emotions — they were all worth it. It was an adventure of a lifetime. I will never forget this experience. Sometimes, it’s not about conquering mountains. Sometimes, it’s about conquering our fears.

The Brave Finishers
The Brave Finishers — Photo courtesy of co-trekkers!

[Entry 6, The SubSelfie Blog] 

About the Author:

Jervis Manahan.

Jervis Manahan is a News Reporter for PTV 4. He is also a Contributor for SubSelfie.com but is part of the original roster that founded the site. He was previously a News Writer for 24 Oras and Unang Balita and a News Researcher for State of the Nation with Jessica Soho. Broadcast Communication 2012, UP Diliman. Read more of his articles here.

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19 Comments Add yours

  1. Rey Manansala says:

    Hi Jervis! Honestly I get dizzy just by looking at the pictures of people on top of the monolith. Thats why I salute your courage to actually reach the top of it! 🙂 Wow, 2 thumbs up for you! Enjoy youthfulness and more power! 🙂 🙂

    Like

    1. Thank you so much! I encourage you to try it too! It’s fun and memorable 🙂

      Like

  2. allanlazaro says:

    Akyat lang nang akyat at sulat nang sulat!

    Like

    1. Thanks Kuya Allan! Mag trek naman tayo! I miss you and Ate Arianne! hehehe!

      Like

  3. Peter says:

    I’m glad that you enjoyed our adventure. See you on the next one! 🙂

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    1. I have booked Mt. Pinatubo, TF din, going there next Saturday!

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  4. angelocrux says:

    Mt. Palay-Palay will forever be one of my favorite mountains. The parrot’s beak, the monolith, the easy-to-navigate trails, I love everything about Pico! (Well, maybe not everything coz who could love the piles of garbage in that mountain?!)
    It was nice reading your post. Keep ’em coming! More adventures to come! 🙂

    Like

    1. Hi Sir! Climbing Mt. Pico de Loro will always be memorable. I want to go back there actually. And also, I’ve checked out your blog and it’s really nice. Hope to climb with you soon! 🙂

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      1. angelocrux says:

        Thanks for dropping by my blog. See you on the trails! 🙂

        Like

  5. Di ako nahihiyang sabihing naluha talaga ako nung marating ko ang ibabaw ng monolith. Niyakap ko ng bongga ang kaibigan kong nauna sa akin sa taas. nangniginig pa ang tuhod ko pag dating sa taas. but the feeling was so great! At nadoble pa yung sense of pride ko nang makababa at makabalik ako ng buo at buhay sa kabila. Oct 4, 2014, I will never forget that day. I am indeed more than a conqueror, I conquered myself, I conquered my fear! KAYA KO PALA! Ako ang certified acrophobic na nakarating na sa Monolith ng Pico De Loro! \m/

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