I was never a fan of hiking until recently. Lately, my thirst for any thrill has been on top of it, which is great, because I’m bringing myself to new heights- literally and figuritively. So one weekend, I was able to convince my husband to go on a hike with me. We decided to go on a Monday to avoid the crowd on weekends. He’s lucky enough to have the option to switch his Saturdays for Mondays off when he wants to.
A couple of weeks prior to this, we did a few hikes in Sagada for my birthday and we had a great time together. The thing I knew I should prepare for in this hike is the heat. It was cold in Sagada because we were already in the mountains so that was tolerable. This mountain is a little bit more of a struggle.
So off we went on a beautiful Monday. Mt. Talamitam is located in Nasugbu, Batangas, which is only about 20-30 minutes away from our place (we live in Tagaytay). The clouds were gorgeous that day, and it was already hot at 7 in the morning. We were told to register and pay 40php each (roughly $1) and we were given a guide to go with us. From what I read, the minimal guide fee is 300php ($6-7) for a group, but we gave ours 400php. He carried my stuff the entire time so that was worth the extra hundred.
From the highway where we got dropped off, we started our hike where we passed by a few residential homes until we reached the beginning of the first part of the trail which is the forest. The good news about this part is that it’s shaded with trees. There are minor ascends but nothing anyone in an average physical condition couldn’t handle. We came across this young Banyan tree, locally known as Balete. I have a novel affinity for them. It looks like it’s straight out of a fairytale book doesn’t it? In the Philippines, they’re believed to be homes of supernatural creatures.
The next half of the trail is the plantation. It’s pretty flat in the beginning until you go a little further and you’ll have to start ascending through hills. What makes this partially difficult is that there are very limited trees to keep you shaded from the heat. It’s beautiful around though. It’s very lush and you’ll see cows and some horses around, even farmers planting goods here and there. The mountain looks minor and small in the picture, but don’t be fooled. It was quite ambitious for us.
Now going up the actual mountain only really takes about 20-30 minutes. There are two trails, the steeper one, which goes up to 60 degrees slopes, and the easier one which will take maybe another 5-10 minutes longer. We chose the latter. The boots I was wearing isn’t really meant for hiking, I realize a little too late. I ended up with bruises under my nails on both of my big toes. Thank God for high pain tolerance because I didn’t realize it was that bad until days later.
It was gorgeous and the sun was shining passionately at us by the time we reached the summit. The 360 view was splendid, reaching as far as Cavite and the other parts of Batangas. There really is something exhilarating about finally reaching the top after the struggle. I’m not entirely the fittest person but I actually have fun doing hikes now.
We went under a little nipa hut at the top to take a break from the heat. We lingered there for bit as we listened to music, snacking all the while enjoying the optical feast. I remember telling my husband this was literally a childhood dream. You know those cartoons and you see them having picnics up the hills and it’s just green everywhere? It felt like that especially right below us were a bunch of green hills.
Up ahead, we saw rain clouds (and literal rain from a far-away perspective). It was reaching noon time when we decided to begin our descend. We were originally opting to head out the river for a dip, but my husband had a little minor injury heading down so we decided to skip that. We live nearby anyway so I can go there anytime. It takes an hour to complete the descend and about 15 minutes away from the highway, it started to drizzle. I never really mind walking in the rain, despite the risk of getting sick (which I kinda did, since I never completely recovered from being sick on my birthday).
By the time we reached Tagaytay, it was pouring. We had a late lunch at a local restaurant and had a little celebratory degustation. Couldn’t think of a better way to end it than a meal of grilled pork (locally known as Liempo) and some mussel Tinola soup. It was a good day. More hikes are definitely coming.
Some deets on Mt. Talamitam:
To reach the start of the hike, take a bus going to Nasugbu. It takes approximately 2-3 hours from the city. Tell the conductor you’d like to be dropped off Sitio Bayabasan, or simply tell him you’re hiking Mt. Talamitam. You will be dropped off at the highway and there’s a small eatery there. This is where you’ll register and will be given a guide. Registration and entrance fee is 40php per person and a guide fee is minimal of 300php and it entirely depends on you how much you want to give.