Mt. Pico de Loro recently closed its old trail and opened up a newer, shorter route to the peak. Here’s a guide.
Many mountaineers would agree: Mt. Palay-Palay, best known as Mt. Pico de Loro, makes for a great first time climb. Perched on the summit and overlooking the toreng bato back in August 2013, it was the first mountain that got me saying, “I wanna climb more!”
Aside from its proximity to Metro Manila and the guaranteed breathtaking beauty of both the Parrot’s Beak-shaped summit (thus the name) and the monolith (a.k.a. the chest piece that fell from the heavens), Mt. Pico de Loro has now a new, shorter trail to the campsite.
We got to try the new trail firsthand, just a week after it was opened to the public. Even though Mt. Pico de Loro is the only mountain I’ve climbed five times (!), the new trail leaves me to be one of the beginners. Nevertheless, even as I was leading the way without a guide, the trail was freshly-marked and intuitive.
Cutting Trail Time at Mt. Pico de Loro
The new trail shortened the hike time from the usual 3-hours to an easy 2-hours. The incline is not difficult, although being a new trail, there are overgrown roots and newly-cut vines that might cause one to trip. What we missed from the old trail of Mt. Pico de Loro is the majestic fallen tree, the thick terraces of roots of the forest and the waterfalls! But the new trail leads to the same bamboo-laden path before opening to the campsite.
Lots of mountaineers have gotten lost in the old trail of Mt. Pico de Loro, even the more experienced ones, especially after the onslaught of Typhoon Glenda that practically erased the path and left trees blocking the way.
More Traffic at the Peak
But the campsite of Mt. Pico de Loro was unlike anything I’ve seen before. Tents sprung from all corners, and even the summit was as crowded as a mall on sale. They have also allowed a paid restroom on the campsite.
What saddens me though is that soil erosion and drying (probably also because of the season) has made the assault to Mt. Pico de Loro’s peak more difficult and slippery. Before, there were at least grass and big boulders to hold on to during the 45 degree angle ascent. Now, there is only loose soil and dried leaves. Thankfully, the locals are still there to assist distressed climbers.
For what it’s worth, the DENR Protected Area Management Board opening a new trail is a great step. Not because it gets mountaineers to the top quicker and easier, but because we trust it is a step to protect the well-loved mountain. It also ensures that climbers register first before climbing Mt. Pico de Loro.
Still, I hope DENR protects the ascent to the peak from soil erosion, or worse, landslide once the rainy season kicks in. See, there are not much greenery to hold the now-sandy soil of the peak. Protecting Mt. Pico de Loro from vandalizers will also be helpful, as the monolith is laden with ugly marks from epals.
I don’t blame the increasing traffic of climbers trooping to Mt. Pico de Loro — they have all the reasons to see the mountain. Even I have come back five times!
May we, however, remember to proactively look after the welfare of the mountains so that more people can appreciate the beauty and fresh perspective they offer.
Climb with us at Travel Compass PH.