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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Mt. Pico de Loro – If this Mountain Could Talk

Mt. Pico de Loro view of the summit resembling the parrot's beak hover_share
I found out this mountain can talk. 

At first, there is nothing interesting except for the usual muddy trail, common trees and bushes…but then small things begin to stand out along the trail - a white leaf floating against the blue sky, fallen flower against the gray rocks, tangled roots and vines and blooming mushrooms. 

At the middle of the trail, I told myself, now I see the trail as it really is; and again see and hear inspirations on simple things around me – most especially when I met that sleeping parrot at the summit – it was as if this mountain is saying and reminding me something! 

This mountain can talk. You just have to open your heart to hear the whispers of the trees and the streams and what this lonesome parrot has to say:

The parrot's beak of Mt. Pico de Loro against the blue cloudy sky hover_share
The "parrot's beak" as if singing to the clouds
Well then, let me share here the three things this mountain has told and reminded me during our day hike one rainy Saturday.

1. Learn to unlearn

Travel Factor organizer enjoying the view of the monolith from the summit of Mt. Pico de Loro  hover_share
Our lead organizer enjoying the view of the monolith from the summit of Mt. Pico de Loro
I saw an ad in Facebook about this group organizing a day-hike in Mt. Pico de Loro and it took two weeks for me to decide whether I would sign up or not. 

Tangled roots going up Mt. Pico de Loro makes the trail exciting hover_share
Tangled roots makes the trail going up Mt. Pico de Loro exciting
hover_share Yodi and new friends at the camp site with view of Mt. Pico de Loro summit at the background
Souvenir group photo with fellow hiking enthusiasts I met first time during the hike 
This Mt. Pico de Loro climb is the first time I tried hiking together with total strangers. I don’t usually approach people and strike a conversation. I admit I fear being left out and worry too much getting “ma-out of place” on a group travel.  

hover_share Yodi carefully hiking the steep trail of Mt. Pico de Loro
You have to carefully walk at the steep trails to enjoy the view - and to have some nice souvenir photos

Anyway, the climb ends up fun and memorable.  

hover_share Local guide at Mt. Pico de Loro inspecting the trail with his jungle bolo
Local guide ensuring our safe climb

This may sound too cliché but yes, Mt. Pico de Loro somehow reminded me to “conquer my fear and doubts” While I reflect during the trek I felt this mountain whispered something that makes me remember this story:   

During my elementary days, I love going to the forest and climb trees to pick wild fruits such as duhat (plum) and guava. One day at the forest, I fell off a tree and can’t hardly walk and breathe. 
While dragging myself back home I made a promise to myself that I’ll never go to the mountains again. Ironically, I am spending my life breaking it.  
That day, I discovered something within myself and in that experience - been exposed to danger – I learned about fear, and live life unlearning that fear and so I continue climbing mountains.
hover_share Eerie trees along the trail going up Mt. Pico de Loro
Eerie looking trees along the trail


2. Move your Butt

hover_share Boulder that looks like a human butt ass along the trail of Mt. Pico de Loro
Reminder along the trail: Move your ass!!
Along the trail I saw this butt-looking old boulder and immediately took a snapshot. 

Funny thought instantly occurred to me – that my butt could end up like this if I didn’t find ways to go out – if I just sit in the office working Mondays to Fridays most of the time even on weekends and holidays. Who wants a stone-hard ass anyway?   

hover_share Yodi enjoying the amazing view of Cavite and Batangas from the summit of Mt. Pico de Loro
Breathtaking view from the summit of Mt. Pico de Loro

I can say this climb and this mountain reminded me that I’m still alive! Something a lot easier to achieve than I realized.

Here are other inspiring snapshots I took along the trail which gives me instant insights about life in general:
hover_share beautiful wild flower blooming along the trail going up Mt. Pico de Loro

hover_share White flower bowing down along the trail going up Mt. Pico de Loro

3. Appreciate nature as it is

hover_share Hikers and mountaineers passing the bamboo forest going up Mt. Pico de Loro
Bamboo forest before  Mt. Pico de Loro summit
I instantly felt that serene, zen feeling while passing the bamboo forest a few meters before the summit campsite. Suddenly, we were greeted by that famous “parrot’s beak” – majestically looking up at the heavens. Below are morning fog passing, slowly embracing each tree from the faraway deep slopes, adding depth to that numbing sense of height. 

hover_share Mountain Dog talking to the parrot
Even this dog can't resist listening  to what this parrot has to say

While staring at the parrot’s beak and admiring its beauty, I felt a sudden sadness. The memory of that beautiful bird I killed suddenly haunted me. 

When I was 10, I got a slingshot or tirador. I was shooting lampposts, empty cans, fruits on a tree as target shooting, and occasional birds. One day I went on a duhat-picking spree with my friends in the forest.   
I brought my tirador with me and there on the branch directly above me was an unusually colorful bird. Silently, I pulled out my tirador, aimed and let the stone fly. To my surprise, the bird fell down to the ground, lifeless 
I brought home that beautiful bird as a prize, showed it to my playmates and instead of giving me credits, they said “Haay kawawang ibon,” (poor bird) in the saddest voice I ever heard.  
Suddenly, the sad ramification of what I’ve done dawned on me: I killed something that a few hours ago had been so much beautiful and alive. Silently I cried. I buried the poor bird with a heavy heart. I throw away my tirador. It was my first and last hunting experience. 
To this day, whenever I see or hear birds sing, I think of that colorful bird and wonder how many more beautiful birds it had produced had I not killed it. Maybe that is also why I hate zoos and caged animals. I go to the mountains instead – to have a chance to admire nature. 

The taking of life is so easy, but the consequence is sweeping. It was a lesson learned; that I must appreciate nature as it is. 


Colorful wild mushroom blooming along the trail going up Mt. Pico de Loro  hover_share
Wild mushrooms blooming along the trail
Amazing tree with crisscrossing branches posted with Mt. Pico de Loro direction   hover_share
Mt. Pico de Loro: A tree to give you a comfortable rest area and to guide you along the trail


If this mountain could talk 

Mountains can talk, this is what I realized. That is only if we really open our minds and heart to listen and see.  

Mountaineer enjoying the heights and the view at Mt. Pico de Loro summit  hover_share
Living on the edge

When I finally reached the summit, I felt a mix of emotions: happiness for this great day, sadness for that memory of the bird – simple awe at sitting in such a place. 


View of the monolith and the surrounding vistas from the summit of Mt. Pico de Loro  hover_share
Mt. Pico de Loro - The Monolith 

Tired and muddy feet resting and enjoying the view of the monolith at the summit of Mt. Pico de Loro  hover_share
Muddy and aching feet - but the breathtaking view at the summit all worth it! 

I believe we all have our own Mt. Pico de Loros in our lives – and I encourage you to find yours, wherever it may be. Just remember to savor the climb – and remember to listen. 

If this mountain could talk what do you think it would tell you?


________________________________
Quick Facts:
Mt. PICO DE LORO  / also known as Mt. Palay-Palay
Maragondon, Cavite and Nasugbu, Batangas 
Major jump-off: Magnetic Hill, Ternate, Cavite
Minor jump-off: Ternate-Nasugbu Highway, Nasugbu, Batangas
LLA: 14° 12.855 N; 120° 38.785 E; 664 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1-2 days / 2-5 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 1-3
Features: Distinctive spire at the summit, forests, scenic views of Cavite
More Details about this Mountain here: PinoyMountaineer - Mt. Pico De Loro 



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Mountaineering, Trekking, Hiking Escapades







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About the Blogger

Yodi Insigne
Yodi de Veas Insigne is one of those delusional sorts who imagines himself a useful contributor to the greater blogosphere (Well, that's what he's trying to accomplish).

He started blogging for three reasons:

1. He always felt he has something important to say,
2. Books can make him cry,
3. He want to sleep at night.

He is a certified bookworm, travel junkie, shutterbug, movie freak, Mangyan freethinker who sleeps a lot and think a lot. He got a little vice, which is black coffee and cashew nuts. He got colorblindness on yellow and green - and he freaking loves it!

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