Out of boredom (and maybe stress in the office), myself along with my a few of my officemates booked our group adventure in a private van for a join in daytour hike in order to save expenses.
Pick up point: MRT Boni Station (Private Van Join In Day Tour)
The agreed pick up time is at around 4am in order to arrive at the starting point of Mt. Pico at approximate 7am.
Travel Duration: 2–3 hours from Manila
Estimated time of climb until monolith: 5–6 hours / one way
This depends on how fast you walk and climb. As me and my friends are complete beginners, it took a lot of time as we always tend to make “stop overs” to catch our breath and take rests.
The hardest part to climb of course, is the monolith of Pico De Loro. It is shaped like a tusk protruding from the ground, and i must say, it really was a challenging task.
There are no railings when climbing the peak, only we have to rely on an old, thatchy single rope from above and the hand of our guide to support us.
Including the waiting time to climb the monolith (climbers ahead of us took an ample time to take pictures at the peak), it took us 1-2 hours.
We arrived back Manila at around 7pm, including the traffic allowance. (We left the mountains at around 3pm)
Things to bring: Make sure you pack the lightest as possible. Mountain Climbing is no easy feat, so it advisable to carry less things in order to not get tired easily.
- Arm covers (Despite out schedule being a December month, during the noon time it can go extremely hot. If you dont want the scorching sun to burn your skin like me, then this is a must.)
- BOTTLED WATER, Face towel,Cap
- Gloves: I must say this is important! Gripping the rocks and ropes while climbing without gloves can leave wounds and scratches. Majority of our climb involves a lot of crawling and gripping rocks, so i advise this to be included in your pack.
- Nuts (An every climber must have: This nibbles definitely gives the energy boost you need without feeling bloated).
- Climbing stick (Optional; This can be normally purchased in sports stores. But we tried using a wooden stick. Makes no difference).
We are drenched of sweat and dirt after our climb, and the smell isn’t what you can normally tolerate especially if you will be travelling in an airconditioned van.
- Extra change of clothes and soap & shampoo sachet: This is also optional, but i am glad we brought extra clothes.
Also, at the foot of the mountain beside the parking, there are a shower rooms you can use for free. Just ensure to bring the lightest garments as possible, so it would not feel heavy in the back pack when climbing. For me, i packed a thin long tshirt and leggings aside from a fresh set of undergarments.
Budget per head: Php 500/++ – (includes the roundtrip transfer, lunch, entrance fee, environmental fee)
I felt that we made the right decision to join a private van tour as our bodies were extremely tired from all the climbing. Mind you, right after the van took off back for Manila, all you can hear inside the van were snores. 😅🤣
Note: If you wish to know the contact details of our driver, please do not hesitate to comment in this blog so I can assist you. Mind you, we got discount last time we hired him! 🙊
Make sure to give tip to “cave boys” who assisted you all throughout the climb. Even though the staff in the entrance urges us that it is not necessary to give them tip, we chose to initiate giving the tip, especially as we know that the guides had a hard time assisting our group.
As our group is a total of 10, there were 3-4 boys who assisted us. I assume they are all locals there, and have been assisting the first time climbers everyday. They are very skilled in climbing (and to my horror, jumping over high rocks over another) at a very young age (some as young as 10 year old).
But the reason I strongly recommend to give them a tip is because when i went there, the young boy who guided me and my boyfriend wears the oldest and thinnest pair of slippers I have ever seen.
One small wrong move, and i am afraid that his slippers will break. We gave him a Php 50/- bill, strongly advising him to buy a new pair of slippers, to which he thankfully accepted. I wanted to give more, but we do not have any more loose bills, since the boy definitely became our lifesaver all throughout the climb.
Overall, it was a very exhilarating and fulfilling experience. All the numbness and exhaustion will definitely fade away once you reached the summit and drink the scenic views you never dreamed existed a couple of hours away from the hustle and bustle of Manila.
Disclaimer: This trip was done last 2015 (about 3 years ago), so I am not entirely sure if the same rates I mentioned above still applies. Also, last year there were news about the Mt. Pico de Loro being closed due to some rehabilitation issues for an indefinite period, so I assume it is not still opened for public until now.
Stay tuned for my next blog of my escapades! 🌈
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- Where to go in Dubai for the first time 🏜
- Brief guide on things to do in Boracay and El Nido: 🏄🏻♀️
- Places to Visit from Manila by land travel only – North, South, East and West Luzon 🏃🏻♀️
Pinoy Mountaineer Website: