Food Trip + Easy Hike: Tagaytay & Mount Talamitam

We combined a Tagaytay food trip with a short excursion to burn off the calories!

Distance: ??km – I don’t know why the Mountaineers over here never give precise information on trail lengths, but my estimate would be 7km up and down.

Duration: 3 hours up and down

Difficulty: Easy

Admittedly, hiking in the Philippines is far from ideal. It’s either hot or raining, you have to travel far, there’s the traffic to consider… but being in Manila for a prolonged period of time can drive one crazy. And that weekend I was going crazy. So I convinced a ragtag group of people to head south to Nasugbu with me that one time…

Read: How I Fell In Love With Hiking x The North Face

Breakfast

We left Manila at around 8am for Tagaytay. We then loaded up on energy at Breakfast at Antonio’s  (because, where else? Kidding. I know there are tonnes of great places in Tagaytay but I hadn’t tried BAA at the time so I was happy to go there).

breakfast-frontage

Get there

Driving to Brgy. Aga was a bit confusing, because Waze was not working that day. So we just did it the old school way and got lost. My sister thankfully started spotting the short yellow posts by the roadside denoting which KM of the Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway you’re on, so after backtracking a bit, we finally found KM. 83. The locals had a tarp indicating the start of the Talamitam hike and we parked somewhere by the shoulder.

For parking you have to pay something like P50 (don’t really remember too well) and for a guide around P300. Apparently you can talk your way out of getting a guide if you’ve done it before. We had to register in the log book and then got on our way.

Apologies for being such a vague and shitty blogger for not taking note of these little details. Will try harder next time.

The ascent

It had been raining recently so it was a bit damp and muddy, but that made for a healthier river. The bamboo bridge we had to cross was brand new since apparently the rains had swept away the older bridge that had been there a few days prior.

Our guide – just a teenager – was not particularly engaged nor informed. He barely had a clue about anything regarding the trail unlike our awesome guide in Mount Ulap who was well trained, college educated, well informed, great sense of humor with the occassional drip of sarcasm, obviously loved his mountains, was environmentally conscious, full of childhood stories growing up in the hills,  etc etc… you can really observe the cultural differences between locals from the South and North. (Based on my very limited experience) the people from the north seem fiercely independent, strong of character, with a firm sense of identity and pride. Where I am going with this little rant, I have no idea.

Anyway so we went on following this clueless kid and suffered under the sun because, as we had been warned, there was ZERO tree cover to shade us from the scorching off-season rays. (READ: BRING A HAT!)

Also, if you’re still reading at this point, and are still convinced that you want to do this hike despite my less than enthusiastic narration, DO NOT WEAR SHORTS. The talahib (itchy grass) will scratch you the whole of your last 100 metre climb up to the peak.

At the peak: Sorry for being such a downer but I really found it difficult to enjoy because it was bare and shadeless and we were all at the point of heat stroke, plus there were some annoying askals (mongrels) pestering us nonstop for handouts as we ate our sandwiches.

K guys, I really hate complainers and I wasn’t bitching like this in real life, but I guess what I’m saying is I wouldn’t recommend this hike either (Read: What they don’t tell you about climbing Mount Daraitan). The only hike I’ve ever really loved in the Philippines so far was Mount Ulap, followed by a so-so Pinatubo. The heat really does get in the way of your enjoyment… next time I’ll try higher altitudes.

But I mean, if you’re desperate for a quick escape from Manila like I was, and are not a fan of sunbathing on the beach like me (it’s so boring, srsly. I need to be active!!!), then by all means, do it!

IMG_6981.JPG

And if you do, tell me all about it, because I would love to hear that you had a better experience than I did πŸ˜€

Dinner: Balay Dako

My second time here, tskokolate de batirol still amazing. If you have foreign guests, or just miss or love Filipino food, this is an elegant and delicious restaurant with a view and a cool terrace on the upper floor. And it won’t break your bank like Antonio’s (I know it doesn’t make sense to compare, the cuisine isn’t even the same). But there you go.

Oh, and it will probably be traffic on the way home. That’s just how it is.

Have you done Talamitam before? Would you recommend it to anyone? Where else in Tagaytay is great to eat?! Any other hikes near Manila that are preferrable to Talamitam or Daraitan? Would love to know!

Happy hiking!!! πŸ˜‰

Yeni

Oh, and once again thank you to The North Face PH for my lovely hiking boots!

 

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