Pico De YOLO InsTraverse: Do-It-Yourself Photohike

Pico De YOLO InsTraverse: Do-It-Yourself Photohike

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It started with an invitation from my fellow Instagram enthusiast, Julio (@jdpanaligan) to hike the crowd-drawing Pico de Loro duo peak. After the conflicting schedules of his friends, his second attempt to plan a hike was responded with my yes. Coincidentally, another Instagram friend, Angelo (@angelotemp), is looking for an alternative to Pinatubo hike when his friends retreated as well. So I invited him over. Funny thing is that I organized a trip with my officemates to Calaguas supposedly set to the same weekend but it didn’t push through. Basically, the Pico de Loro climb is a Ditched Club hike.

I’ve been to the same mountain last 2013 but this time, I wanted to do it ourselves. I created an open Facebook event to my friends. The idea is to grab anyone available who wants to hike the Twin Peaks. It helped that the damage to the wallet is only less than PhP 500. A lot of friends sent their intentions.

Some of those who signed up arrived at the Coastal Mall Provincial Terminal as early as 2 in the morning. And before we left the terminal, I was co-heading a wolfpack of 17. It was like a wedding where my friends from different worlds that I love – programming, couchsurfing, blogging, and mobile photography attended. The difference is I’m still single.

To my surprise, most of them are first time hikers. That statistics became a challenge later when they found out that while Pico de Loro trail is categorized as a beginner, the difficulty is merely relative. It was harder than they thought.

Pico de Loro: #Instraverse
Instagram users, bloggers, fellow mga Iskolar ng Bayan, and couchsurfers. Mutual friend: Me.

I totally had forgotten how difficult the old but closed trail was in comparison with the new one. It was already exhausting for some. But I tried to boost their remaining energy by saying things will be easier after we see the peak from the trail. Just like in life, it’s sweet when eyes see the prize that awaits right? They’ve also been introduced to the tradition of greeting everyone whom we bumped into. Little by little these exchanges of politeness became their encouragement to reach the camp site.

Pico de Loro: #Instraverse
Eyes on the prize! With some ice cream break to boost their morale.

The Camp Site

Whew! Everyone made it. It was a relief. They used to catch their breath defying the pull of the gravity but now their breaths were taken away yet again but because of the sceneries around. We’re one bunch of happy photographers.

Pico de Loro: #Instraverse
Never back out

Pico de Loro: #Instraverse
One more video take before the assault to the peak

I Drew This

In line with Instagram’s Weekend Hashtag Project: I Drew This, my buddy Julio is capturing the mountain view with his pencil and paper.

Pico de Loro: #Instraverse

Pico de Loro: #Instraverse

Pico de Loro: #Instraverse

The Parrot’s Beak

We started without a guide and decided to reach the first peak with the same condition. Do it yourself, baby. We’re so close to the first peak but some of us got trouble in hiking the dusty and crumbling soil. But all is well.

Pico de Loro: #Instraverse
Aside from the 17-man group, we were with the pro hikers that day who were cleaning up (and down) Mt. Palay-Palay or Pico de Loro. As professional as they are, they reached the other peak an hour before us.

Trivia! Somewhere between the campsite and the parrot beak is the line that divides Ternate, Cavite, and Nasugbu, Batangas. The more you know.

Pico de Loro: #Instraverse
A rewarding sight of three-hour hike. Although we wished that clouds would pass over us.

Pico de Loro: #Instraverse
We’re ready to conquer the second peak.

Pico de Loro: #Instraverse
The descent from the first peak to the monolith

Unfortunately, the DIY thing caused some minor drawbacks for us. We were stalled to wait before climbing our way to the monolith. Other hikers after us and who have a guide were served first at the bottleneck wall climb. Talk about politics there. Before one could reach the top of the famous monolith, the hiker shall kiss and climb the wall of 5-person height. It was the same wall for going up and return. But we are a gang of cool people who met another group of crazy people. Hilarity ensues. Thanks to Val (@valchrstn) and new BFF found. They both hosted an instant gossip show that talks about celebrities and their neighbors. It ended up with a revelation that Val is a lover of BFF’s father. Da what?

After some patience and more courage, the group reached the top!

Pico de Loro: #Instraverse
Jaybee, Julio, Jose Angelo, Jonas, John, Jaypee. #JaJaJoJoJoJu.

Pico de Loro: #Instraverse
The view of the first peak from the monolith. Tiny people in big places huh.

Pico de Loro: #Instraverse
Socialization through mountain climbing a.k.a. Social Climbing

The Squad Goals

Pico de Loro: #Instraverse
Choose your rock, I said.

Pico de Loro: #Instraverse
Caught ‘gramming.

Jonas Brother

We’ve been following each other in Instagram since 2014 and it was only that day when Angelo and I finally met.

Pico de Loro: #Instraverse

Pico de Loro: #Instraverse

Pico de Loro: #Instraverse

Pico de Loro: #Instraverse

The Traverse

I don’t know what exactly happened to them. Despite the pain that they endured, they still want to pursue a non-planned traverse and exit to Nasugbu. When the beach called, no one resisted.

Pico de Loro: #Instraverse
Just because they saw how beautiful the beach is from the top, they want to traverse the mountains to go there. SMH.

Except with the initial steep descent, everything seems a walk in the park. But only under the scorching sun and sparse shades. The streams had dried up. To rest under the trees and to have a halo-halo break were the hallelujah moments.

Pico de Loro: #Instraverse
One of the vendors from the peak joined us in our descent and eventually guided us the whole traverse.

I wanted to kiss the cemented road when we reached the finish line. With one boat away, we are going to Layag-Layag island! Not! After some deliberations among the group and the tricycle drivers, the latter suggested a no-go since catching the sunset there would mean not catching the bus back to Manila.

But the need to refreshen our haggard body is strong that we pushed to an alternative beach in Nasugbu. Everything happened so fast that it seems we didn’t hike at all. Hello swimming pool and black beach!

Pico de Loro: #Instraverse
And we all have the energy to enjoy the rest of the afternoon. What is clingy?

I like everything that transpired during our photo hike. It only shows that the world is a mix of ditchers and kaladkarins. But those kaladkarins are the ones who make the impromptu fun and of good vibes.

Pico de Loro: #Instraverse
Buti pa ang biglaang lakad, natutuloy. Biglaan feelings, hindi.

Instraverse

It’s only after the hike that we came up with the official hashtags for our adventures. While #ArteArteSaTernate and #NapasuboSaNasugbu are witty and cool, it’s #Instraverse that stood out. Later Julio and I, with the input of our friends, thought of continuing this as a regular engagement thing open for both hiking and photography enthusiasts. As of writing, we have solid plans, next climbs that is, for this project. And we can hardly wait to share that to you!

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