- Drinking water – 1-1.5 liters for day hikes, 2-3 liters for overnight camps
- Backpack – for better balance and stability
- Extra dry clothes
- Plastic bags and/or dry sacks – to waterproof gadgets and extra dry clothes
- Cash in small bills – in case you run out of water, there’s a lot of huts selling drinks
- Packed lunch – optional
- Hiking pole – optional
WHAT TO WEAR
- [Preferrably] Dryfit upper garment with long sleeves
- Hiking pants/shorts
- Outdoor shoes/sandals with good traction
- Shades – optional
This involves 3 very easy steps:
1. Find your way to the bus station in Taft Ave. corner EDSA (the one behind Sogo Hotel) and ask any security guard for the bus that passes through Evercrest en route to Nasugbu.
2. Board the bus. It might wait for a while to get more passengers before leaving. (The bus I boarded left at 5:30am, but there might have been an earlier one that left at 4:00am.) Be prepared for at least a 2-hour travel time and instruct the conductor that you will get off at Evercrest.
3. Upon alighting from the bus, teenage boys offering to guide you to Mt. Batulao will immediately flock to you to offer their guide services. Choose one and then either start to hike immediately or hire a tricycle to bring you to a point closer to the mountain.
Note: You might choose to eat breakfast first (if you haven’t done so yet) at the numerous eateries at the roadside. Also, I suggest that you don’t hire a tricycle. Walking long distance serves as good warm-up for the steeper trail ahead.
Just follow your guide. Seriously, that’s all there is to it. The guides might be young, but they’re good in what they do and they are sensitive to the pace of the people they are guiding, especially beginners.
If you don’t want to spend too much time in climbing the mountain, avoid the temptation of resting at each and every stopover (because there are many), or lingering too much in one. It’s unavoidable to make friends on the trail and just politely excuse yourself from any conversation if you need to continue with your climb. Most likely, you’ll bump into the same people a number of times in the course of your climb.
Exercise courtesy and greet any local or fellow hiker that you pass by the trail. This is actually an old and expected practice among mountaineers. Small talk also relieves mental fatigue, in my experience.
Getting back to Evercrest is much easier because you will then be familiar with the roads at the foot of the mountain. Since it’s not likely that you would want to immediately board a bus back to Manila, you can have a meal at any roadside eatery at Evercrest. You can even take a “shower” at the paid restrooms in the area (just ask around where they are).
And once you’ve freshened up and in dry clothes, just cross the street to catch a bus going in the opposite direction. You’d want to take the buses with the “PASAY” signages if you want to get off the same bus terminal you came from that same morning. If you’re not too keen to return to Manila yet, you can take a jeep going to Tagaytay City and have a food trip.
Bus fare Pasay-Evercrest – P106
Restroom fee – P5
Guide fee and tip – P200 + P50 = P250
Buko – P20
Mountain Dew (lower stopover) – P20
Day hike fee – P20 (if overnight camp, P30)
Mountain Dew (summit) – P25
Restroom fee (shower) – P20
Bus fare Evercrest-Pasay – P106
TOTAL – P572
5:30 am – Departure from Pasay bus terminal
7:30 am – Arrival at Evercrest
7:40 am – Start of trek
10:40 am – Summit conquered
11:40 am – Start descent
12:40 pm – Lunch and rest at the camp
1:40 pm – Continue with descent
2:40 pm – Reach jump-off point
4:00 pm – Catch bus back to Pasay
7:00 pm – ETA Pasay (might change, depending on traffic conditions)