There are times when on-the-spot impromptu trips are better than the ones that are meticulously planned and scheduled. Maybe because this gives us the instant hype feeling of adventure and anticipation, and lesser time to rethink and slack off. I, myself have experienced this for several times. The latest instance was last weekend. Bored, nothing to do, and no plans for the following day, me and my other travel blogger friends impulsively decided to spend our next day on a mountain day trek.
The trek actually has multiple intentions. Aside from being a boring day filler, the trek also served as break-in trek for our new trekking shoes. I intentionally bought a new pair of trekking shoes since my old one already gave up. Day trek is a great opportunity to test new gears especially shoes. In case your new gear gives up, you need not to worry since you’re assured to be back home within the day and no need to endure overnight or two bearing with your defaced gear.
Everything started with undecided plans and no concrete decisions with all conversations happening only through Facebook chat. Until Saturday night, before the actual trek, we decided to meet, at least, to personally talk and plan everything. The meeting was actually very quick that it did not last more than five minutes. We just picked a mountain and decided our meeting time and place. After that, we then went on our own individual appointments. It was just like saying hello to a friend then poof! We picked Bocaue since it’s just near the city and thus lesser travel time and expenses. We decided to meet at the Brgy. Guadalupe’s church by 9AM of the following day, Sunday.
As usual, 9AM cannot always be 9AM sharp in the Philippines. Yes! That’s what we call “Filipino Time“. It’s one untoward property some Filipinos have. Anyway, the three of us arrived at our meeting place at least 10 minutes late. Though I arrived first but still, I came late. We were able to depart from the church by around 30 minutes past 9AM.
At the back side of the church premise are “habal-habal” motorcycles parking and waiting for passengers. The motorcycles take people to villages and places where public transportation is not accessible, except for taxis. We hired motorcycles for 20 pesos each person. The jump off area is still in “Sitio (village) Napo” which is quite familiar already for the local drivers since trekking activity in Mt. Babag has already increased in number. The ride going to Sitio Napo only took 15 minutes.
We arrived at the jump off around 45 minutes past 9AM. The sky started as grey and the weather was quite gloomy. We expected it to rain. Though we prepared our rain coats and ponchos, but still, we prayed for a good weather and for a nice clearing at least upon arriving at the peak.
Upon arriving at the jump off area, we just took a short 2-minute preparation break before commencing with the trek. Going to Bocaue takes the same initial trail as heading to Mt. Babag. There are several approaches in reaching Bocaue Peak. One is to get to Mt. Babag’s peak point and follow the established trail towards the oppposite of the one heading to the RCPI Towers. The other is to take a detour on a certain point of the Mt. Babag trail (after about a kilometer trek) and take the so-called 5-tower trail. As for this trip, we took the latter. The trail was muddy since it rained days before our trek. When I say muddy, I mean like an ice cream soft muddy ground. If I may be sarcastic, I would say that it was perfect for our new trekking shoes! Hahaha.
We started off quite on a faster pace since we did not carry much weight on our bags. Thankfully, the sky was merciful enough to bless us with a shade, protracting the depletion of our energy reserve. As we progressed and already covered some distance, the sun has started to position and begun its slow tapping on our skin. We took several short breaks to catch our breath. As always, you cannot underestimate a mountain no matter how low its elevation. It is not always about the elevation. It is about the combination of several factors including the difficulty of the trail, the weather, and the companion. As always, I cannot bear trekking silently. I heavily need to talk, else I get bored and feel lousy.
Step by step, we reached each towers. As we gained distance, so did our energy and our gas tank slowly depleted. As noon approaches, the sun’s heat has started to sear. Luckily there were shrubs and trees on the trail which served as our natural protection and shade. Cows are also present on the trail. Be careful though as there are several bombs present and you might step on one of those. Unfortunately I did not get an exemption. I guess there will always be a first time for everything, including my shoes stepping on a cow’s sh*t. What a great shoe break-in experience! *claps* After around 2 hours of hiking, we stopped to have our lunch break to refuel our bodies.
Several splat, splash, and slips, dirt to mud, we continued our hike. Perhaps the most challenging part of the trip was finding the right trail on the 2nd half of the trek. I believe it has been several months since someone used the trail. Vines and shrubs has started sprouting thus slowly covering the trail tracks. The most irritating part for me has to be the “iring-iring” or “kanding-kanding” plants. Not only because of its obstructing stems, but also because they prick and scratch your skin. We got several scratches, so it really is advisable to wear protective sleeves and pants especially those who have very sensitive skin. There were also fallen trees and bamboos obstructing the trail. One has to duck and squat to pass through.
The most exciting part probably was when we lost track of the trail. Luckily, a local helped and tipped us towards the right way. After several minutes, I sighed as I saw myself at the foot of the peak. Just few more steps and a quick assault and I’ll be right there, stepping the grounds of Bocaue peak. We arrived around 20 minutes past 1PM.
The peak offers a great sight of the city on one side, while a peaceful view of the mountains on the other. There are no trees nor any shade at the peak. It was scorching when we arrived at the peak. We just took several photos and stayed just a little while before descending back.
Getting back, we followed the trail heading towards Mt. Babag and RCPI towers. Another hours of hike. We took a break on a village near the RCPI towers. We rested and had our snack. We then continued and followed the road heading towards Mountain View resort and was able to witness the glorious sunset.
As observed, one cannot mind the length and the hours spent walking when you entertain yourself with conversations. We had a couple of topics and a bunch of jokes. We also reached some serious and personal stories. I guess trekking is also another great way to get to know the deeper side of a person. A couple more minutes of walking and talking, a local lady offered us a ride on her pick-up cab down back to the city.We did not hesitate since it already started to get late and dark. We ended up our spontaneous trip with a satisfying dinner. After our meal, our bodies started demanding rest. Guess that must be it. Time to call it a day. We then separated ways as we went to our individual homes.
Check out my vlog entry for this trip.
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How to get there:
- Get to Cebu City’s Guadalupe church.
- Hire a “habal-habal“, located at the back of the church’s premise, to get you to Sitio Napo. Fare is 20 pesos per person.
- From Sitio Napo, take the trail going to Mt. Babag, then detour to the 5-towers trail. I do not recommend going without a guide or someone who knows the trail or who’s been to Bocaue.
What to expect:
- Plenty of pricky plants on the trail.
- There are also cows and cow dung on the trail.
- The peak has a decent area for camping. Though I do not recommend camping on a high noon as there are no shades on the peak.
Further tips and notes:
- Wear protective sleeves to prevent scratches from the plants.
- The trek will take around 4-5 hours depending on your pace.
09:00 Meet-up at Guadalupe Church
09:30 Depart to Sitio Napo
09:45 Commence trek from Sitio Napo to Bocaue
12:00 Estimated time Lunch break
13:20 ETA at Bocaue Peak
14:20 ETD to Mt. Babag and RCPI towers
15:00 ETA village nearby RCPI towers and short break
16:00 Commence walk towards Mt. View resort
19:00 ETA back at the city proper