Mt Pico de Loro and the Parrot's Beak - Ternate, Cavite Route


Mt Pico de Loro is not new to me as this is already my second time to conquer this mountain. But like what every mountaineers say, every hike is different. The difference of this hike were 1) unlike my first climb, I only went there for a day hike. Now I'll be staying for an overnight. 2) We did a night trek going up and 3) lastly, I climbed the monolith slash the famous Parrot's Beak.

Just to give you a short background, Mt Pico de Loro (also called as Mt Palay Palay) is situated in the boundaries of Cavite and Batangas. While having said that, trekkers who wanted to climb Mt. Pico de Loro have a choice whether they'll start on the jump off point in Nasugbo, Batangas or the one which is located in Ternate, Cavite. Cool huh? Also, in Cavite it is considered to be as the highest point with a topography of 664 MASL (according to Pinoy Mountaineers).

How to get there?
Well since most of us in this trip were Cavitenos, we started our adventure on the jump off point located in Ternate, Cavite. Going there is just plain and simple. From Baclaran or Coastal Mall Terminal, ride a bus with a signboard going to Ternate. Tip: Make sure that it will passed through Cavitex as that is a much faster way to reach Ternate. You'll be dropping off at the last point which is the Ternate Terminal so getting lost on the way is impossible. Lols! Bus fare is 84 pesos and it will take 2-3 hours. Alight at Ternate Bus Terminal, you can rent a tricycle for 75 pesos per head or a jeepney (didn't know the price) going to the jump off point/registration area of Mt. Pico de Loro. Renting a tricycle is ideal for small groups while jeepneys, well of course, are for large groups who wish to visit the said mountain.

Team Love and Team Baby ko

Upon reaching the feet of Mt. Pico de Loro, we first proceed on the registration area near the jump off point. Registration fee is 25 pesos per head. There is also a comfort room in the  area and it is free of use where you can changed up your clothes. After that, we then head to the jump off point and started our trek. We started at around 4:30pm and expected to reach the campsite no over 8:30pm. 4 hours is the average time to hike this mountain. And Oh, there is another registration area on the Camp 1. Fee is 20 pesos and I don't know why there are two registration area with fee in this mountain.

2nd Registration area in Mt Pico de Loro
What I like about Mt Pico de Loro is its lush green surroundings. Its trails are fenced with tall trees which make shades for trekkers. Less rays coming from the sun during hike means more energy for trekkers. There are also some parts of the trail wherein fresh air breezes on you which is very refreshing for someone like me who lives in the city. Mt. Pico de Loro is a known hiking destination in Luzon and I would like to commend DENR because what you have implemented to protect this mountain is really working and efficient. Yes, this mountain is protected by the DENR.

Trail of Mt. Pico de Loro is a combination of easy trekking to average. The first part is quite easy as it will only requires you to walk into a slightly slanted trail going up. But as you reach the middle 'till up to the summit, trails are getting steeper. I also noticed that we are not constantly going up. There are parts wherein after we trekked up, the trail will lead into a down trail then up again which is very exhausting and draining. Good thing we started our trek late in the afternoon to almost dark. Mr. Sun almost settling down and the environment is getting humid.

Sir Jay, Sir Orlan and Ewin
After almost forever of trekking, walking in the dark... finally, we heard voices. It only means that we're near the campsite. So our spirits were lifted high and rushed hastily to the top. Approximately 3 hours, we were able to reach Mt. Pico de Loro's campsite. The scene at the campsite were like night market of the metro. Haha. There were lots of mountaineers that night. I've never seen a campsite wherein tents were pitch side by side. Take note, campsite of Mt Pico de Loro is quite big yet mountaineers able to fill that land area. Amazing! Luckily we're able to find a spot where we can pitch our tents. After that, we prepared our dinner, eat and had some socials. Then we decided to sleep as we will head to the summit the next morning.

Great morning!
This has been my home for 1 night :)
[I guess] They woke up the next morning at 5am (me at around 6am). Lols. We had our packed hamburgers from Jolibee as breakfast then prepped up to descend at the summit of Mt. Pico de Loro. From the campsite, it took us 20 mins to reach the summit. I suggest extra caution should be taken when going to the summit as the wind blows hard on this part of the mountain. We can't barely stand straight due to the wind. I felt like it will blow my small body into the mid-air. That's how strong it was.

The summit
Jing and Julius
Sir Jay in his signature pose
We're up for this challenge!
Hold tight repa!
Upon reaching the summit is a 360-degree scenic view. Some place I had identified during my stay on top were the Manila Bay, Mt. Marami of Maragondon Cavite, Mt Talamitam and Mt. Batulao of Batangas and the Corregidor.

Awkward selfie pose hahahaha
We cant see straight... and stand straight hahaha
Congrats ladies! You've made it to the summit!
The campsite from the summit...
Aside from the view, you'll also see the pride of Mt. Pico de Loro on its other side - the monolith (also known as Parrot's Beak). Parrot's Beak of Mt. Pico de Loro is a vertical stone structure which stands at around 60 meters. Being able to reach its base is considered to be the most challenging part of this mountain. I attest to that. The trail going on top of it was (a bit) terrifying. I couldn't remember how many times I cursed and said bad words upon my climb up to the monolith. There are part of the trail that you'll be crossing an inclined stone. Some trails were even like my both feet is just right to the trail and a few more inch/step is already a ravine. Apart from having shoes/sandals with good grip, upper body strength is also required as there is a rope installed where you need to hang-on in order to continue the climb. Julius and I were both hesitant to rely all our weight on that rope because it doesn't seemed that strong. Hahaha. So again, be very careful. Accident to this point is really imminent so climbers should take another extra caution when conquering the monolith. After all those things we've been through, a feeling of accomplishment has been a great reward as we reach the base of Parrot's Beak. It is really recommendable to people who loves adventures and to those who are thrill seekers.

Time to descend! 
Terrifying part going to the base of the monolith
(right photo) zoom in mode
My 2nd visit to Mt. Pico de Loro has been a different experience. Plus I have accomplished what I promised to myself back in 2011 - to climb and reach the base of Parrot's Beak. We're blessed that day because the weather favored with us. It was such an amazing trek!

Side story: We climb Pico de Loro at night and we didn't got lost... however, when we descend back to the jump off the next day, and at daytime, we got lost. Hahaha. We didn't know why or how. But just remember that when you see a big trunk and a DENR sign on the trail, take the way up and not the straight way. Lols!

Breakdown of Expenses:
Bus (Coastal Terminal - Ternate Terminal) - 84 Pesos
Tricycle (Ternate Terminal - Jump-off point) - 75 Pesos/pax
Registration Area 1 - 25 Pesos
Registration Area 2 - 20 Pesos
Food - **.**

Island Hopping and Snorkeling in Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro


If you're at White Beach, Puerto Galera and you find the beach shore to be too crowded to relax and enjoy the water then you have another choice. All you have to do is go out there and wait 'till a man approach you and offer you an island hopping tour plus a snorkeling experience. Do not worry because they were boat agents of the islands and that is just a normal scene in the beach front of White Beach.

How to get there (to Puerto Galera)?
From Cubao, ride an ALPS bus going to Batangas (Batangas Port). Their bus terminal is located near the Ali Mall and fare is 175 pesos per pax. It took us 2 1/2 hours to reach Batangas Port. Alight at Batangas Port, you'll be mobbed by people who worked on different ferry companies that will persuade you to get their service and to take you to Puerto Galera. My tip is ti entertain them. Compare their prices and bargain with them. In the end, we get the Father and Son line to get us to Puerto Galera. Why? Because they give us a 7 + 1 promo. Since we're 8 in the group. 7 of us will pay 500 pesos and the other one is free. That 500 pesos is a two-way ride (Batangas Port - White Beach, Puerto Galera and vise-versa). Regular ferry ride is 270 pesos per pax (one way).

You'll know they're boat agents because they have these laminated boards on their hands that is printed with photos of islands near White Beach and activities like snorkeling and caving. I've talked to some of these agents and they have standard price for each and every activities on their list. Well, of course there are also some sneaky boat agents which offer a bit higher price than the others so be very careful. As for island hopping, it only cost 1,500 pesos and good up to 8 pax (approximately 188 pesos/head). I tried to haggle the price and somewhat make it to 1,300 pesos but no one bite my bait. They're really strict to their standards. Oh well, atleast we tried.

Early morning ride!
The package includes: trip to Sandbar Island, Bayanan Beach, Haligi Beach and to the an island where small boats await that can bring visitors to the snorkeling area (separate payment). Unfortunately, like what I said on my previous post of this trip, we only stayed here over the weekend and had a limited time. Having said that, we didn't had the chance to visit all of the spots included on the package. Nevertheless, we never regret getting this tour.

Our first stop is the island wherein small bangka (boats) await. These small bangka will take you to the under water cave (additional 200 pesos/pax), giant clam shell snorkeling area (additional 200 pesos/pax) and to the corals snorkeling area (additional 200 pesos/pax). We were hesitant at first because it was too pricey. Imagine, additional 600 pesos for 3 more activities? But who cares... we're there and who knows when can we ever go back again here. So again again, i tried to haggle the price and thank God because we got the 3 activities for 500 pesos/pax.

Food trip + Selfie inside our bangka
I'm just enjoying the view

Underwater Cave

Located on one of the small island in Oriental Mindoro lies an underwater cave which became very known to tourists who visit the province. The cave is too small that it can be explored by a few minutes. Though the entrance and exit of this cave are small, underneath it is a bit bigger that can be fit up to no more than 20 persons. Get ready to get wet as you tried this activity. The water inside the cave can get shoulder deep/high.

The island is jam packed with other tourists
What to expect inside...
Me at the exit point

Giant Clam Shells and the Corals - Snorkeling Area

Our next stops are the 2 snorkeling areas of this trip. We first visited the area where giant clam shells are being cultivated and protected. It was so nice to see that these things are being protected in the area. I didn't know that Mindoro Oriental's water is a treasure as its water is so rich.

Off to the snorkeling sites

Just when I thought I already saw how beautiful the water of Oriental Mindoro by diving into the giant clam shells area, well, I was wrong. As we reach the 2nd snorkeling area and started diving into it... I was stunned on what I saw. Different kinds of fishes (which are colorful), corals, sea urchins, water plants... all! I also saw sword fishes, Nemo (clown fishes), and humongous-sized fishes! I was speechless of the life I saw underneath it. If only I have go pro, I could have documented it... Arrrrrggghhh! Tip: Before going here, bring/buy a slice of bread. Then as you dive, bring that bread with you. Lots of fish will surely go to your side.

Donna, Claire and Dingdong Dantes their boatman

If there is one activity that I couldn't forget on this trip is the time wherein we were in the 2nd snorkeling area and the boatman told us to hold on the rope placed on the side of the boat. The boat will run slowly and all we have to do is to hold tight on the rope and place our heads on the water and watch what's underneath it as the boat roams around the area. Weeeee! The experience was really priceless!

By the way, life vests and snorkeling masks are included in the package.

That's me exploring the 2nd site :)
Snorkeling while I am being dragged by our boat
The water is so clear that you can clearly see the fishes underneath it

This Other Beach...

Lol me. Yup, I didn't get the name of this island/beach. The water is also pristine and clear but I was disappointed when I saw a ketchup bottle floating on the water. Aw. I hope people become more responsible on their waste. Let's trained ourselves to protect the earth. Aw. 

Anyway, please feel free to leave a comment if it happens you knew the name of this beach. TIA!

I wish this area will preserve its beauty
Self timer mode again!

We missed to visit other beaches and islands because of lack of time but we surely had fun with this tour. The place and activities are very recommendable. I must say it is a must try but please... please be responsible enough of your waste. Lets have fun and protect our surroundings at the same time. Thank you.

Breakdown of Expenses:
Island Hopping tour - 1,500 Pesos / 8 pax = 187.5 Pesos per pax
Tricycle ride (White Beach to Boat pier, one way) - 50 Pesos / 4 pax = 12.5 Pesos per pax
Mini Bangka Tour (Caving, Giant Clam Shell, Coral) = 500 Pesos per Pax

Tamaraw Falls and Virgin Island of Oriental Mindoro


White Beach, Puerto Galera is no doubt the best destination when you asked for a tourist spot in Oriental Mindoro. However, it doesn't mean that it is the only tourist destination they have. As Oriental Mindoro houses some of the majestic moutain (one is Mt Halcon), prestine beach water, white sand, and other unspoiled natural beauty. So during our 2 days (yup, 2 days only) visit at Puerto Galera, I really compressed our itinerary so that we can be able to see some of their natural resources.

One of the natural resources Im talking here that they offer to tourists and catches my attention is the Tamaraw Falls. Why? Then read further...

Claire doing her "eksena" again

How to get there?
Click here for direction: Manila to Puerto Galera. Then from White Beach, Puerto Galera, take a tricycle ride going to "Bayan" or Calapan Terminal. Fare is 100 pesos per tricycle which is good for 4 pax. As you reach Calapan Terminal, ride a jeepney going tamaraw falls which costs 40 pesos per pax. It is roughly 1 hour 45 minutes of time travel from White Beach to Tamaraw Falls.

But since we went there in a large group, we did rent a multicab to take us at Tamaraw Falls which costs us 1,500 pesos. Though it is a bit expensive compared if we travel on our own, we still avail it for reasons. One, it will saves us time (remember, we're only there for 2 days). So we value more of our time than a penny. Second, for convenient purposes. Most of my companion in this trip were ladies so I have to make this travel less stressful. Third, I've read and heard that travelling back to White Beach from Tamaraw Falls is difficult as jeepneys are already or almost full because they also have another terminal right before Tamaraw Falls. And since we were a large group, chance of fitting into 1 jeepney that passes Tamaraw Falls is very low.

Touchdown! We're at Tamaraw Falls

To answer the question why Tamaraw Falls catches my attention, it is because this falls is just right beside a road bridge. Yes, you read it right. People who wants to see Tamaraw Falls do not need to hike, trek or passed by any forest as this attraction is accessible to passers-by.

Tamaraw Falls is composed of different unsymmetrical layers of falls that leads into grand one as it reach the waterbed. It is located in Barangay Villaflor, Puerto Galera and according to Wikipedia, it stands at 423 feet (or 129m) tall. Approximately, it is a 4-5 storey building high. It is covered with lush green plants which adds beauty of this falls. The water streaming down this falls isn't that grand, maybe because it hasn't rain for more than a month now, yet it still possess an undeniably unique beauty. We were actually all smiling and excited as we saw Tamaraw Falls up-close and in person.

I wonder how it looks like during rainy season

Taking photos and hanging out on the bridge is free but there is a man-made pools under it where the water of Tamaraw falls cascades on. However, one must pay 30 pesos in order to get inside the area. There are also cottages (140 pesos) and tables (30 pesos) wherein you can place your things as you go swim into the chilling water of Tamaraw Falls.

No electricity on this part of the Galera

Just like the falls, the man-made pools are also cascading. It is divided into 3 or 4 layers with different water levels. One thing is common on all pools, they're all cold. Haha. Those pools are not as developed as you imagine. It seems like it was created whatever so people could enjoy swimming. Who cares? I only spent 30 pesos. The water may fool you and you may take it as dirty because of its green color (due to moss) but I assure you its clean and refreshing. As I, myself dive into it.

Luscious green surrounding! Priceless! 
Water from the mother falls
With my 2 photo-bomber friends
Mini falls near the cliff

Note: Those pools are  near the cliff so be very careful and cautious as you swim and explore the area. Some spots tends to be slippery as the pools' rocks are exposed to water.

After an hour of picture taking and splashing on its water. We then bid our farewell to Tamaraw Falls but that's not the end of this blog entry as we also had a side trip to "Virgin Island" beach.

Sidetrip: Virgin Island

Our trip to Virgin Island is also included in our 1,500 payment going to Tamaraw Falls. Though we only spent half an hour to this unspoiled beach as we were catching up the sunset at White Beach of Puerto Galera, our group still enjoyed the stay as well as its water. I have 2 conclusions why this place is called Virgin Island Beach. One is because of the grotto of the Vigin Mary installed in the middle of a huge rock and second, is because it is still undeveloped and a non-commercial coast.

The grotto of the Mama Mary
Photo op!

The 4-hour trip was really worth it. Seeing other part of Mindoro aside from White Beach, Puerto Galera is quite refreshing. I said that because I prefer going to unspoiled and hidden natural resources rather than party-vibe beaches. That's my type of adventure.

Breakdown of Expenses:
Multicab (White Beach - Tamaraw Falls - Virgin Island Beach) - 1,500 Pesos / 8 pax = 188 Pesos
Tamaraw Falls Entrance Fee - 30 Pesos per pax
Food - **.**

White Beach of Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro


Summer is fast approaching in the Philippines. People will start looking again for a destination to spent their vacation which includes me and my colleagues. To some, they wanted for a place that is just accessible and near the metro. A place wherein one who is employed doesn't need to file a VL (vacation leave) to enjoy swimming on a beach or experience a stress free environment but still they can say its worth their time and travel.

One place I can recommend that suites the above criteria is Puerto Galera of Oriental Mindoro. White Beach is one of the famous beaches in Puerto Galera. It is known for its blueish water, active nightlife, all kinds of bars and restaurants, and varieties of accommodations from first-class to economy class. Sounds fun and exciting huh?

How to get there?
From Cubao, ride an ALPS bus going to Batangas (Batangas Port). Their bus terminal is located near the Ali Mall and fare is 175 pesos per pax. It took us 2 1/2 hours to reach Batangas Port. Alight at Batangas Port, you'll be mobbed by people who worked on different ferry companies that will persuade you to get their service and to take you to Puerto Galera. My tip is ti entertain them. Compare their prices and bargain with them. In the end, we get the Father and Son line to get us to Puerto Galera. Why? Because they give us a 7 + 1 promo. Since we're 8 in the group. 7 of us will pay 500 pesos and the other one is free. That 500 pesos is a two-way ride (Batangas Port - White Beach, Puerto Galera and vise-versa). Regular ferry ride is 270 pesos per pax (one way).

Selfie mode before we hop in to our boat

After almost 1 1/2 hour ferry ride, finally, our group already reached the shore of White Beach, Puerto Galera! Yeah! Upon entering White Beach, you'll be asked to pay 50 pesos per head. It serves as environmental fee for the area's preservation. As soon as we paid the fees, right there and then, we proceed right away to our hotel. We changed into a more comfortable outfit and we're ready to explore Puerto Galera!

Presenting my travel buddies in this Galera Trip!

Boredom is the last feeling one can feel in White Beach of Puerto Galera. Why? Because of the activities available on the water as well as the near shore. Aside from sun bathing and swimming on its blue water, there are lots of water activities available in White Beach. Some of which are snorkeling, kayaking, thrilling water activities like banana boat, flying fish and parasailing.

I'll try this one as soon as I already have my own Go Pro (Photo from Ferdinand De Guzman)

After a good swim, you might want to stretch those muscles by playing beach volleyball with your friends. I saw volleyball nets in the long stretch of White Beach and there are stores which offer rental of balls. But if you're already tired, you have the option to get a massage on the sand. Yup that's right! Massage happening on the beach shore. I heard it was 200 pesos which is good for an hour. It's quite expensive (well, that was just my opinion) but I saw a bunch of tourist being served.

(Photo from Ferdinand De Guzman)
Food, drinks, massage... name it! (Photo from Ferdinand De Guzman)

Hungry? Thirsty? That's not a problem in White Beach as this place has numerous bars and restaurants. One will surely find a place that will satisfy his/her taste buds. I also noticed that unlimited rice promo is popular in the place. Well I can't blame them to put up something like that, with all the activities in this island, one will surely get hungry in big time. 

The sun may rest and set down but that doesn't mean it stops or ends the life in White Beach. As what I've experienced, it seems like nightfall is just the start point of a day in Puerto Galera. The night has been lighten up by the bars. The music makes the beach shore more alive. Each spots has its gimmick. Some offers cheaper price of drinks than the others, some of them have live shows (similar to comedy bars) but one of the attention grabber gimmicks is the poi dancing. Take note, poi dancers in White Beach is really skillful and packed with different tricks. It was very entertaining to watch!

Ferdie really enjoyed the night at Galera LOL! (Photo from Ferdinand De Guzman)

If you're going to visit and party at Puerto Galera. I recommend to try the island's famous drink which they named "Mindoro Sling". It is an apple flavored cocktail drink with an extraordinary kick! Tip: During day-time, survey each bar/restaurant that served low priced "Mindoro Sling". Price varies on each bars so look for the cheapest one to save money. We spent 330 pesos/pitcher for this drink yet the next day, we saw another bar which sold it at 200 pesos. Shame! Our two pitchers of Mindoro Sling should have been three only if we saw it earlier.

Cheers! (Photo from Ferdinand De Guzman)

Oh! And before I forgot, just like bars and restaurants, souvenirs stores are also all over White Beach. From t-shirts, bracelets, anklets, key-chains, magnets, mugs, etc... name it, 'coz they might have it! I brought my Puerto Galera designed shirt at 90 pesos. Affordable right?! Henna and tattoo shops are also present in the area. Too bad, I didn't get an ink so I have no idea how much does it cost. 

Overall, though I'm not fond of crowded beach, I must say I really had fun during my stay at White Beach. A nice quick getaway after a long week of work. I hope the authorization will keep this area clean or the sanitation plan for this place is strong enough as it has a big chance for White Beach to get polluted because of its popularity on local and foreign tourists. 

Tip: If you're getting 2-way trip ticket. Have an early reservation going back to Manila to secure a trip back to Batangas Port.

Breakdown of Expenses:
Bus (Cubao - Batangas Port) - 175 Pesos
Ferry Boat (two way) - 500 Pesos
Accommodation - 2,000 Pesos / 4 pax = 500 Pesos per pax
Environmental Fee - 50 Pesos
Exit Fee - 10 Pesos (I don't know what's its purpose)
Mindoro Sling - 330 Pesos (but there are bars which offer cheaper)
Magnet (w/ Puerto Galera print) - 25 Pesos (price vary on size and design)
T-shirt (w/ Puerto Galera print) - 90 Pesos (price vary on size)
Food - **.**