This Kind of Summer

shell food  pond

shell food pond

“My heart and flesh cry out for You the Living God. Your Spirit’s water to my soul. I’ve tasted and I’ve seen come once again to me.”

Just when I’m about to upload this picture, I suddenly remembered this line from a song (Better is One Day) and I believed that was what exactly this photo was trying to represent: That (1) this isn’t just what a shellfish pond in the Philippines looks like during summer and after the harvest. Also, (2) this is what a person feels like sometimes: dry and empty.

And we all get this kind of summer in our lives. Summer that sometimes, you were the only one who can feel; summer that we keep to ourselves and ourselves alone; Summer that we don’t want to pass through; Summer that we don’t enjoy.

And that kind of Summer is normal just like this Summer we are currently experiencing here in the Philippines. It’s part of life and it will pass through.

But if time comes, you think your summer is never ending and you’re tempted to give up, remember this:
Every time we feel dry and empty we can always come to the Lord and allow Him to refresh our whole being. Just like how rain refreshes and gives life to this soil. 

shell food pond

shell food pond

Rain will come. God will come. Call unto Him and experience it yourself.

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Pico de Loro (Mt. Palay-Palay)

For so many years we’ve been spending our Holy week either at home or at the beach, and yes it was fun. Besides, it’s always fun when rest and family is around. For a few days, we can proudly say “Now this is life baby”.

But I wanted to try something different this year. I wanted to add something on my list this Holy week. And that includes nature tripping. I wanted to climb another mountain; I wanted to sweat myself out and be challenged as I reach the mountain top; I wanted to look the world, well some parts of Cavite to be specific, on a bigger picture; I wanted to be amazed and be awed by what awaits me up there; I wanted the feels.

And of course, I wanted to blog and share this experience to others. 😉

After reaching the top of Taal, I know I’ll be hungry for more adventure like this. And so I promised myself that the next mountain I will climb, if ever I feel the urge, is Pico De Loro. First, because it’s not that far from home, that means it isn’t too costly for me. Second, someone told me it’s perfect for beginners like me.

Pico De Loro, sometimes called Mt. Palay-Palay and I don’t why (pardon my poor research on that. Hehe), is located in Ternate, Cavite but you can traverse Nasugbo, Batangas, or vice versa. And since we live near Ternate, we chose this as our starting point.

So here’s the amazing adventure:

Bus ride to Ternate

Bus ride to Ternate

We rode a bus to Ternate at exactly 6am, but actually we were 30 minutes late with our schedule. But that was okay, I told myself, as long as it’s not an hour late, I believe it won’t affect our itinerary. And I was right. 😀

This ride only took us 50 mins. ’til we reached the terminal and from there we rode a tricycle for the actual entourage to the bottom of the mountain.

Tricycle ride to DENR

Tricycle ride to DENR

This trike ride won’t take you more than 30 mins. but it will cost you P75. But that’s just fine, let’s give them a chance to earn income through tourism, besides,

scenery on the way to DENR

scenery on the way to DENR

the scenery as you go nearer the entrance is truly breathtaking.

“Eto pa lang ulam na.” – famous Filipino line when something is as amazingly great as the whole package.

And before you know it, voila!

Ternate's Entrance

Ternate’s Entrance

Make sure to pee before you start the hike. :P

Make sure to pee before you start the hike. 😛

Before anything else, register. :D

Before anything else, register.

So now, let’s get it on!

We started the adventure at 7:10am. You’ll find out later how long it took us to reach the top.

let's get it on!

let’s get it on!

Let's get it on!!

Let’s get it on!!

bottom part, rocky

bottom part, rocky

bottom part, rocky

bottom part, rocky

bottom part, rocky

bottom part, rocky

bottom part, rocky

bottom part, rocky

The lower part was actually, well of course, the easiest part. Aside from we still have all the energy in the world, the rocky road made it easier for us to climb up.

But as we were nearing the middle part of the mountain…

IMG_7434

IMG_7440

It became more challenging as the rocks along the way get lesser each time you go up farther..

And so expect this if you’re a beginner..

sweat yourself out baby.

sweat yourself out baby.

Take note, we haven’t reached even the middle part of Pico De Loro yet. Yeah, burn fats burn. 😀

But you can look around and enjoy those small details in this mountain, which probably some climbers fail to see. And enjoying them will help you forget the exhaustion you’re starting to feel.

Here are those small details I’m grateful I notice:

Explore the small details

Explore the small details

Explore the small details

Explore the small details

Explore the small details

Explore the small details

Explore the small details

Explore the small details

And then before we knew it, we were actually nearing the top.

Almost there

Almost there

Almost there

Almost there

Almost there

Almost there

Almost there

Almost there

Almost there

Almost there

I was kinda surprised how friendly these hikers and backpackers we met along the way were. Aside from the greetings and smile, they were also courteous. I guess, nature trippers really posses this kind of good vibrant. It’s what they get from exploring the beauty of the world.

hikers along the way

hikers along the way

hikers along the way

hikers along the way

And after 3 hours of following the trail, you’ll be amazed by these wonderful views at the top of the first peak of Pico De Loro. These prove how awesome God is.

First peak

First peak

First peak

First peak

First peak

First peak

First peak

First peak

First peak

First peak

First peak

First peak

I was so motivated to climb the second peak. I wonder what it feels to be up there; I wanted to see what’s up there; I wanted to complete my climb.

So after the 30-minute rest, we headed on to the second peak.

to the second peak

to the second peak

to the second peak

to the second peak

Oh boy, the way to the second peak was too steep, but thank God we have reached the top in less than 15 minutes.

And oh, so lovely up there.. And though I failed to climb the monolith, due to insufficient energy, still I felt I have fulfilled my adventure here.

view from the second peak

the monolith

view from the second peak

view from the second peak

view from the second peak

view from the second peak

view from the second peak

view from the second peak

view from the second peak

view from the second peak

view from the second peak

view from the second peak

And though the sun was burning our skin, we spent a little more time on this peak. We did savor the moment. 🙂

Because later you will find out, that going down won’t be that easy, especially if you’re going to traverse. And traversing Nasagbu, I think isn’t advisable for a beginner. But cheers to my companions who have survived the obstacles — some of them were actually first timers.

I even failed to capture the hardest part while going down because, well, I was really concentrating on how will I go down safe and sound. I was also concerned with my siblings who were feeling nervous as they climbed down.

traverse to Nasugbo, Batangas

traverse Nasugbo, Batangas

traverse to Nasugbo, Batangas

traverse Nasugbo, Batangas

traverse to Nasugbo, Batangas

traverse Nasugbo, Batangas

traverse to Nasugbo, Batangas

traverse Nasugbo, Batangas

But of course, the more you get closer to the bottom the more you get exhausted, so again look around and see the small details.

enjoy the small details

enjoy the small details

enjoy the small details

enjoy the small details

enjoy the small details

enjoy the small details

And thanks so much to these bamboo beside the trail it really helped us climb down.

bamboo in the house

bamboo in the house

bamboo in the house

bamboo in the house

And of course thanks to our little tour guide, who guided our way as we traversed. We met this boy on the 2nd peak and he offered his help the very moment he knew we’re going to traverse.

our little tour guide

our little tour guide

And though we didn’t say yes, because really we were on a tight budget, he followed us down, and then we realized that we probably need this little guy. And yes, his help played a great role on our way down.

You can also stop by at this little children’s soda station to take a short rest and wind up with a soda in your hand.

buy some soda from them

buy some soda from them

After almost 3 hours of climbing down Pico De Loro, my heart jumped with joy the very moment I saw the exit.

congratulations! You have completed your traverse

congratulations! You have completed your traverse

sign that log book

sign that log book

sign that log book

sign that log book

Finally time to sign out that logbook, baby.

And because the major reason why we decided to traverse is to visit this tunnel, which is starting to make a name in Cavite’s Tourism, we took our chance and took a pose and captured the moment.

Again, you’ll need to ride a tricycle to get here. And this time, the transportation fee, was costly than I thought. You must prepare P150 – P170 for the trike, if you’re going back to Ternate.

Kaybiang Tunnel

Kaybiang Tunnel

Kaybiang Tunnel

Kaybiang Tunnel

Kaybiang Tunnel

Kaybiang Tunnel

Kaybiang Tunnel

Kaybiang Tunnel

Kaybiang Tunnel

Kaybiang Tunnel

In less than an hour, expect that you’ll be back to where you’ve started and then you can start your journey way back home. Because surely, you’ll be needing a lot of sleep after this adventure, well, at least for me. But I’m very much certain that I will go back and that time I will conquer that monolith. 😉

Aside from that, spending part of my vacation climbing this mountain made me realized that God is indeed a creative God. How can we disapprove His existence when even nature declares He exist. I’m also grateful that God used this moment to have a wonderful fellowship with my siblings, enough of all those movie marathon and window shopping, we have to spend our time together doing something different. And this one was a success. 😀

So for that, I encourage you to try this together with siblings too. Have a great adventure. 😀

Here’s the footage of the adventure we had in Pico De Loro: This is how we overcame.