By KRIS M. CRISMUNDO
TAGAYTAY CITY — Trekking has been my regular activity for over a year now. And when I’m scheduling another climb, I see to it to try mountains I haven’t climbed.
But whenever I don’t feel like researching where to go, what to ride, and I’m not in my mood to write down our itinerary, I’ll be climbing Mt. Batulao in Nasugbu, Batangas. That mountain is like my comfort zone.
The first time I saw Mt. Batulao was when I was 14 years old when our parish church had a retreat at Don Bosco Retreat House which is actually adjacent to the mountain.
Since then, I am fascinated with that mountain. A staff from the retreat house shared that the name Batulao came from words “batong dilaw” [rough translation: yellow rocks], as the mountain turns yellow (as yellow as gold) every sunrise.
My second encounter with Mt.Batulao was when we had to shoot some scenes for an independent film project we were doing in college. But we were there not to do a serious trek and we just reached only eight peaks (out of 10 peaks via New Trail of Mt. Batulao).
Then, I promised to myself to visit that mountain and reach its summit which is 811 meters above sea level (MASL).
I was lucky last year because I finally reached the Mt. Batulao summit — the first mountain I seriously climbed.
And before 2014 ended, the group of mountain climbers I am in trekked Mt. Batulao. I reached the summit then for the second time and I will still love to go back to that mountain.
Do you wonder why I keep coming back to Mt. Batulao?
First, its accessibility. It’s just a two-hour trip from Manila. Just ride a bus heading to Nasugbu, Batangas and get off at Evercrest. Evercrest is a former golf club resort. This will be your jump-off point to Mt. Batulao.
Second, the mountain is beginner-friendly. It’s easy to climb Mt. Batulao with difficulty level of three out of nine. Though easy, you can still experience some adventurous parts like short rock climbing and “romancing the stone” for you should “hug” the rocks when walking for you not to fall from the mountain.
Third, its breathtaking scenery. Mt. Batulao alone is breathtaking. From the summit, peaks one to eight look like jagged teeth. Also from the summit, have a great view of Taal Volcano and beach coasts of Batangas.
Fourth, you can have different side trips. You may opt to go to a theme park in Tagaytay City or head to Nasugbu beach. But the best side trip for me is food trip! Reward yourself with a local viand called Bulalo (kind of beef soup), Beef Caldereta, and fried tawilis.