Aside from being famous as a diving hotspot of the south and an oasis of rich marine life, Anilao in Batangas is also known to its climbing spot, Mt. Gulugod Baboy. Just 2-3 hours away from Manila, Anilao is a perfect place if you want to experience and see lushes of the mountain and at the same time see more of our prolific aquatic existence.
Knowing Gulugod Baboy:
Mt. Gulugod Baboy which means “Pig Spine” in English was named because its peak resembles of a pig spine. The mountain is also known to the locals as Mt. Pinagbanderahan. As per locals there was a Japanese aircraft that crashed on the mountain long back. The Japanese aircrews survived and raised a flag on the mountain that’s why it was called “Pinagbanderahan”. Standing 525 MASL with a 2/9 difficulty level, it is a famous hiking spot for beginners. The trek may take around 2-3 hours depending on your pace and you will be rewarded by a scenic lush rolling hills on the top with a 360-degree view of blue waters surrounding Mabini and nearby islands of Sombrero and Tingloy.
How to go to Mt. Gulugod Baboy:
Ride a bus (Buendia or Cubao) bound to Batangas Grand Terminal. Upon arrival, look and ride a jeepney bound to Mabini (fare is 70 Pesos each). From Mabini ride a tricycle to Anilao, tell the driver to drop you off on the registration area located after the Philpan Diving Resort sign.
Make your way to Turbina Bus Terminal and wait for buses bound to Batangas Grand Terminal (fare will be 92 Pesos). Upon reaching Batangas Grand Terminal, ride a jeepney bound to Mabini then from Mabini proper ride a tricycle that will take you to Anilao.
Mishap before our trek:
We initially decided to stay overnight on one of the resorts in Anilao so that we could start our trek early in the morning and have a chance of watching sunrise upon reaching the peak. Since we still have work the same day, we waited for our shift to end and left around 3 PM hoping that we can still catch public transpos going to Anilao. We ride a bus from Turbina at around 4:30 PM but due to heavy traffic we reached Batangas City at 7 PM and were not able to catch the last trip to Mabini which is 6 PM (last trip is now earlier due to pandemic).
We’re actually unsure of what we’ll do by that night. We’re thinking of just staying overnight on the terminal and just ride the first trip to Mabini by 4 AM, look for a nearby transient houses or rent a vehicle that would take us to Anilao. All these options went all down to buying the famous Batangas Lomi on one of the remaining open food stall in the terminal. Who can’t resist this delicious food especially when your tummy says it’s hungry? While eating, drivers and dispatchers gathered around us negotiating to take us to Anilao for around 1500 to 1800 Pesos which is too much for us. Good thing our tour guide from Anilao, arranged a jeepney ride for us for only 800 Pesos. It’s a pretty good deal because we decided to just start our trek that night and just sleep on our tents halfway of the trail so there’s no need to pay for an overnight stay on a resort. We’re luck enough that our tour guide made sure that we’ll be able to reach Anilao safe that night.
Start of journey to Mt. Gulugod Baboy:
We reached Anilao at almost 9 PM and were welcomed by our guide on the registration area. We paid 50 Pesos as registration and started our trek right away. First part of the trail is a very steep cemented road. Though the road is cemented and kinda easy to walk on your first few steps, it gets too exhausting because of the continuous ascend of the road.
After the cemented road, we set foot on the unpaved or dirt trail where our exhaustion slightly toned down. The trail was dark but thanks to our phone’s flashlights and few light posts along the way. You’ll also see few houses on the course. We finally reached our guide’s house at around 10:30 PM where we’ll be spending the night. We setup our tents inside their compound, freshen up and took a sleep so we could be ready for the next half of our trek by the next morning.
Journey by the next day:
We woke up at around 5 AM by the next day, geared up and ate some biscuits to have some energy before we start our ascent. The trail of Gulugod Baboy is pretty direct and uncomplicated. We saw few more settlers along the path and as per our guide, those settlers are also their relatives who are native of the place. Around 6 AM we didn’t witness any sunrise due to the rainy and cloudy weather the other night. The place was so gloomy, no clearing and what we can only see are mountain fogs all over the place. We decided to stay on a sari-sari store first to eat some decent breakfast before our final ascent on the top.
1.5 hours had passed, there’s still no signs of clearing and I was already losing hope. We decided to take on the last pace of the trek to the peak. Upon reaching the top, we can’t appreciate fully its beauty yet since no view can still be seen. We decided to take some photos first while hoping and praying for a clearing.
We waited for about an hour before our prayers were finally answered! The sun shines so bright, mountain fogs were washed away and we were greeted by a beauty no one can’t deny. We’re stepping on a green rolling hills similar to Batanes and we’re surrounded by blue waters of Batangas Bay. Such a beauty we can’t resist and I thank God for letting us see the scenery He created.
Descent and visiting Anilao Beach:
Seeing the blue sea from the peak will make you want to splash on its waters upon descent. So, we decided to go down as fast as we can so we’ll have more time to swim our hearts on the beach. We haven’t been to the beach for a long time due to lockdowns so we were really excited. Our guide introduced us to a local resort. The resort doesn’t have any name but it’s definitely cheaper compare to other known resorts on the area. We bought foods to cook and let one of their local cook it for us for a very affordable price. She even let us borrow eating utensils since we really don’t have any at all. The place is an old resort but we really enjoyed it since we’re the only guests, no crowd and the beach water is as clear as like on the other expensive resorts. If you wish to go here, you can simply ask our guide Ate Rose Ann.
Recommended tour guide: Ate Rose Ann/Kuya Jaymar Ilao (you can contact them through their facebook page here)
Other things to know before going:
- Tour guide fee is 500 Pesos for dayhike and 800 Pesos for overnight hike.
- If you are not into hiking, there’s a road on the other side of the mountain where you can ride a vehicle. The road leads to the parking lot of the main campsite.
- If you wish to stay overnight on the main campsite, please coordinate with the people from the registration first or with your tour guide.