Escape to Pico Sands Hotel - Part 3 - Trekking, Mangroves & Santelmo Beach Experience

The alarm went off at 6am- then 6:15 and every 15 minutes after that until I decided to drag myself out of the comfortable bed by 7:30 to make it on time for breakfast because that day was a full day of adventure. (an adventure that I wasn't really prepared for.)
Chose the Pinoy breakfast with tapa and danggit! It was yum and very comforting. Their breakfast choices also has American & Asian with two different sets to choose from. All guest can have their breakfast at the Pico Restaurant may it be indoors or dine via alfresco. I consumed around 2 glasses of black coffee and headed of for the trekking and Santelmo Beach Cove experience.

We headed to the Pico Beach Club to meet out guide and proceeded to the briefing area. Now before we proceed with the trail adventure some of you might wonder, why there's a cove and also mountains at this area. Well that's the beauty of this place. Hamilo Coast is a sustainable beach resort town sitting on a 5,900 hectares of land.
Hamilo is actually named after Sanskrit words "ami" meaning plenty and "ilo" meaning to see which suggests that there's is an abundance of things to look at and true enough we saw an abundance of nature in this part of Luzon. The first phase of the development is concentrated in a 40 hectare valley within the coast in the protected cove called Pico de Loro. Here you will see a cluster of modern mid-rise condominium, a full-service beach and country club with exclusive club facilities and also the Pico Sands Hotel.
Pico de Loro has a lot to offer for nature seekers and adventurers. Guests can try bird watching, pony ride, cove tours, Hamilo actually has13 pristine coves, three of which are marine protected areas. Guests can also try mangrove tour, or conquer the Santelmo Eco-Trail where guests would be able to see three view points on the mountain, each having a raw and unique sight of nature. There's the north trail and south trail. We took the south trail which took around 45 minutes to an hour trek and is around 1.20 km.
It starts slow and gradually builds a bearable difficulty. There are some challenging steps that really works out your thighs, legs and resistance. There are lines of ropes tied from tree to tree which helps trekkers to hold on to when climbing up path and going down the trails.
Oh the joy of resting when we arrived the first rest stop. Not that it was hard, but maybe we were just out of shape. To make the climb bearable, locals and the Hamilo Coast team built sturdy makeshift stairs made of soil, rocks, and wood. That was around 700 meters from the start point to the first rest top before proceeding a few more meters to reach the view point 1. Here you can see the coast's natural beauty, The picturesque view of Pico de Loro Cove tucked under the dense foliage.
There's also a view point 3 and a third one if you're feeling a bit more adventurous but is currently closed because of some improvements on the trail. The third and last viewpoint give a whole new level with its panoramic views of the Hamilo Coast. Batangas terrain can be seen from northeast and the West Philippines Sea can be seen from the west.

The Santelmo Trail hiking adventure sure has something to offer for both amateur and seasoned hikers. Both giving a nice reinvigorating union with nature. If you chose the South Trail, it will lead you to the Santelmo Private Beach. Before you decide to join the trail, make sure you have proper foot wear. I wouldn't recommend flip flops or even the sandal strap that I was rocking right over there. Because the trail gets slippery and sometimes rocky. Especially when you reach this break, a few meters away from the private beach, expect that your foot to get when when you're not too confident stepping from one rock to the other. One of us were wearing cushioned flip flops and we survived without any injury. So a light shoe that has a good grip on rocks and soil would be a nice options. Easier for you to move around the trail also.
After the rocky portion of the coast, we were welcomed by this beautiful beach. Dubbed by the locals as little Boracay, I was positive with enthusiasm and looking forward to an amazing time at the beach. No one was around. Just the sound of the sea moving to the shore. The sun was high but the breeze was nice. We walked towards the tent area, rested for a but and got ready to swim.
I guess it was a bit reminiscent of Boracay. The fine sand and the clear blue water, so clear that we can see fishes swim around us as we plunge into the water. Me, I tried getting my tan on. I badly needed a good tan.
After an hour so, we decided to head back to the Pico de Loro Beach Club. Guests can opt to hike back but a speed boat can also be arranged which would take you around 5-8 minutes.
Another experience is their Mangrove Tour. Approximately 10 hectares of the estate, it preserves more than 10,000 mangrove trees making it the largest mangrove area in Nasugbu. First there is a short walk which gives you a nice perspective and knowledge on what's unique about mangroves. 
The short walk leads you to where the paddle boats are. Posters also also placed and can be seen which indicates several facts about mangroves and its importance in the environment. Mangroves are necessarily tolerant of high salt levels and have mechanisms to take up water. They also serve as marine sanctuaries, contributing to the proliferation of fish in Nasugbu. 
Guest have the option to go on the canoe which currently accommodates two people depending on weight and one tour guide per canoe. The guide will navigate and paddle through the reforested area and also describe and even give more information on the mangroves. 
The Mangrove tour was a nice experience. It got me interested to know more about the mangroves and its importance. It took around an hour but it went by so fast. The quietness, calming and soothing brushes of leaves, the light splash of the paddle into the water is just a simple but relaxing vibe. The tour ends when freshwater meets seawater and you paddle right back. If you stay quiet enough, you can see and hear different bird species. One of the best things that nature has to offer.

Took the opportunity to also take a nap on the canoe. (kidding of course)
Now as a guy who's always on the go and wants a fast paced activity this one surprised me. The Mangrove tour is something I would recommend someone to experience. This has got to be one of the highlights for me during my Pico Sands Hotel stay.

If you haven't read my other post about Escape to Pico Sands Hotel, check out the link bel
Part 1 (Pico Sands Hotel) - Escape to Pico Sands Hotel - Part 1 - Blog for Tech & Lifestyle (mixofeverything.net)
On the part-4of my Escape to Pico Sands Hotel series, I will share with you guys a summary of things you can do at Pico de Loro when you book your stay at Pico Sand Hotel. I'm also planning on doing a vlog of the experience so please make sure to visit my and subscribe to my YouTube channel www.youtube.com/mykesoon for more updates.

Follow me also on Instagram to get live updates and to see posts during my stay at Pico Sands Hotel.

#PicoSandsHotel #SustainablySafe
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