Hamilo Coast in Nasugbu, Batangas, with its pristine white sand beach and thriving forests, is a haven for anyone who seeks nature, recreation, and adventure. This sprawling seaside sanctuary is a leisure development of SM Prime, one of the largest integrated property developers in Southeast Asia offering innovative and sustainable lifestyle communities. With its rich marine and terrestrial ecosystem, Hamilo Coast is a premier sustainable seaside community perfect for beach resort living.
One of Hamilo Coast’s best-kept secrets is a hiking adventure of the surrounding mountain range, offering anyone seeking an escape from the urban jungle a brief but reinvigorating union with nature. The Santelmo Eco-trail allows residents and guests to experience the raw yet equally stimulating beauty of nature, for a quick getaway that is distinct from diving into Hamilo Coast’s clear blue waters.
Explore nature up close
Those who dare conquer the Santelmo Eco-trail can look forward to three viewpoints on the mountain, each showcasing a special and unique view. Each point holds a mesmerizing sight of nature.
The adventure begins the moment one steps into the clearing leading to the lush and verdant forest.
A path is easily visible heading up the mountain and to the first viewpoint. A line of rope tied from tree to tree serves as a banister to hold on to when climbing steep paths up and down the trail, making the climb easier to navigate. The thick canopy of tree branches helps shade the path, keeping trekkers cool from the sun at any time of day as they ascend the mountain.
The first viewpoint presents a picturesque view of Pico de Loro Cove. From here, trekkers can appreciate Hamilo Coast’s artistry of seamlessly weaving nature and modern living in this beach resort town, a reward for coming out of the first leg of the climb. A bench lets one rest while taking in the view.
The second viewpoint is a bit more challenging. Located 114m above sea level, heading here raises the bar of difficulty for first-time trekkers. The steep trail also tests one’s agility. To make the climb a bit easier, locals and the Hamilo Coast team built sturdy makeshift stairs made of soil, wood, and rocks.
As one treks up this mountain, tour guides provide interesting trivia on the various flora and fauna that thrive in the forest, including the different possible food sources along the way. These trained tour guides assure trekkers a safe hike and are equipped to assist anyone who might need help. The second viewpoint stuns with the astonishing view of Santelmo Cove’s quiet and pristine white sand beach blending beautifully with the lush green all around.
Going deeper into the forest, one will be pleasantly surprised by brief encounters with wildlife. Indigenous birds fly over and break the silence with their chirping melodies. Forest fauna move swiftly and blend into the trees as if extending a shy welcome to the visitors. Occasionally, there are sightings of playful monkeys swinging from branch to branch, curious about the hikers yet cautious not to fully reveal themselves.
The third and last viewpoint takes trekkers to a whole new level with its 360-degree view of Hamilo Coast. From the northeast can be seen the Batangas terrain with its beautiful and lush protected forest, while to the west one will experience a scenic view of the horizon of the West Philippine Sea. On the southeast is a sight of Pico De Loro Cove’s deluxe development.
A hike through the Santelmo Eco-trail calls to mind what Scottish-American author and environmental philosopher John Muir once said: “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” While walking up the trail or taking in the sights, one cannot help but be amazed at nature and wildlife growing richly while still being so close to the city, how communing with nature and reviving one’s spirit is easily done with just a couple of hours travel from Metro Manila. While cooling down for a bit under the trees, one will realize how being in the forest calms the thoughts and affords one with a new, fresh perspective.
Relax a while longer
The mesmerizing panoramic view of the mountains, forests, and surrounding waters and the fresh sea breeze will make all the effort climbing up worth it — the burned-off calories an added bonus. But the adventure does not stop at the end of this trek.
Less than a kilometer from the third viewpoint, trekkers can further their experience of being one with nature by camping at Cabeza de Paloma for an overnight stay. A smaller cove within Pico de Loro Cove, Cabeza de Paloma is the perfect site for campers who want to take in more of nature and experience the peaceful and clear night sky. With a bonfire and an already available barbecue pit, in a place that is safe and secure, adventurers may disconnect from the world and unwind in tranquility.
The Santelmo Eco-trail of Hamilo Coast is a place for new experiences, be it the first trek or the nth. Whether feeling the need to get a good workout from the climb or just thinking of hiding away from the world, the eco-trail is a quick and easy getaway from the noise of everyday life and a good opportunity to reboot with nature. An experience that revitalizes not just the body but the mind and spirit as well, it is indeed a different kind of indulgence and something one can look forward to doing again and again.