HOW I CONQUERED MT. PICO DE LORO

Location: Mt. Pico de Loro, Maragondon Cavite

I’ve been to Pico de Loro (the resort) a couple of times and we would always see this mountain that is shaped like a parrot’s beak–never did I actually think that I would climb it. I consider myself pretty fit and active, but treks are something far different from what I do in the gym. The burdensome task of trudging on some hard and uneven ground, climbing and walking on moraines are not really my cup of tea. I did spelunking in Sagada twice and climbed Mt. Batulao, but climbing Mt. Pico de Loro was my hardest climb to date. Quite embarrassing because according to Trail Adventours, the trail difficulty of Mt. Pico de Loro is 4/10.

We started the trek at around 5:30am at the Mt. Pico de Loro jump-off Point in Maragandon, Cavite. 30 minutes as we started, I was already running out of breath. We arrived at the camp site at around 9:30, then headed to the Rock Peak for lunch. I’ve never been so hungry in my life. Mt. Pico De Loro offers another challenging viewpoint, the Parrot’s Beak or some mountaineers call as the Monolith. It’s optional but Vina and I really wanted to do it. We were out of breath and drained but we knew we weren’t coming back soon so we braved the rocky cliff. The path down to the monolith is a steep descent along a cliff–to the point that you have to sit on the rocks to go down. One of the most dangerous part of the monolith climb is pulling yourself up using a rope to the next safe spot through a narrow 90-degree cliff. It was the most challenging thing I ever had to do but I did it. The view was absolutely spectacular. According to the locals, the monolith is part of Batangas while Parrot’s beak is part of Cavite. These two land masses serves as the borderline to those provinces. The whole trek lasted for 9 hours but we have never been more rejuvenated and happy than ever before. There’s a certain joy after completing a trek and reaching the summit. So, how did I, an amateur, conquered Mt. Pico de Loro?

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 1. Energy Gels – Energy gels give you needed fuel without fat and without chewing. Breathing hard and chewing means a risk of choking on a bar or other snack. Drink water after using an energy gel to help it absorb. Seriously, these things are magic. I don’t know if they’re safe (lol) but even my girlfriend who has never picked up a dumbbell in her life nor did an ab crunch survived the whole trek. And she had zero sleep! Zero! (We got them from Healthy Options by the way)

2. Not skipping leg day – I used to skip leg day because I don’t like how thick legs look (lol) but I saw the importance after my trainer incorporating legs in all of my workouts! Seriously, you’re making a huge mistake if you’re only training your upper body. Your lower body is home to some of the biggest muscles in your body and you should focus on workouts that challenge your bottom half. You will be rewarded with strong glutes, athletic quads, healthy hamstrings and toned calves. It increased my balance so I almost didn’t slip nor lose my balance during the whole trek.

3. Taking a lot of breaks – If you feel tired, dizzy or drained, don’t hesitate to ask your buddies to stop and take a break. Hydrate, sip water (not gulp). According to our guide, when tired, one should avoid sitting down on the trail. This will only increase the tiredness further and make it difficult for you start walking again.

4. Wearing the right shoes – The rest half of the battle is won with the right clothes and shoes. I opted for the Capra Sport trekking shoes from Merrell. It’s lightweight, offers great support and traction. I didn’t have a single problem with it. It also has a supportive midsole that protects and cushions over varied terrain. It also helps that it’s stylish too–I felt like a legit mountaineer. Haha!

5. The breathtaking view – I always have a flurry of feelings once I reach a summit. Some relief, a bit of hunger, lots of excitement and so much inspiration. There’s a different kind of high when you reach the top of the mountain– an amazing connection by being closer to nature. The stillness, beauty and calmness of the view. Makes the climb so worth it!

Special thanks to Merrell Philippines and Trail Adventours for arranging this trip. 
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