Trailed The Spartan Ground.

Being widely known as the most challenging track in Cebu, Spartan Trail is not new to every hiking enthusiasts in the city. In fact, from being the practice ground for those who are up for a major climb, this trail has gone from being famous to infamous. Gone were the days when this treacherous terrain is only for experienced hikers. Recently, there are already first-timers who bravely track this trail despite their inexperience. Don’t get me wrong. I actually admire their courage and determination. 😀

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Whilst its popularity, Spartan Trail was very elusive to Ace and me. Every time we set a date to try this trail it gets canceled due to uncontrollable circumstances. But we remained positive that we’d walk this ground one day.

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Until the wait became over and the patience paid.

During our hike and discovery of the biggest cross in Cebu, Sir Aldrich (The Bisaya Traveler) told me that some members of the team were planning to tramp Spartan Trail the following weekend. I was ecstatic!! I couldn’t say no to that.

So the said day came. I was worried about Ace because he had not been trekking in the past two months. But he was persistent to see what makes this trail challenging. So off we went!

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The first wave of ascending was tough. The sun was burning our skin, the slope was very steep and seemed never-ending. I saw myself catching my breath and even started doubting myself if I could survive the next wave.

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Soar high! 

One step at a time. Until we came to a plateau. I looked back and whooaw! It’s the city below me. It’s not like it was my first time to see such sight, but the feeling of being on top was incredible. (That’s why I love the mountains.)

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As we continued our journey to the deepest part of the trail, I began to understand why they dubbed it as the most challenging and treacherous training ground. Spartan involves a steep ascend, a march into thick and prickly bushes, a long walk through a rocky river, and another dangerous descend.

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The dried river. 
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Ace acting like Kuya Kim of MatangLawin. 

Although everyone was starting to doubt if we could make it, our will to be victorious in this quest was stronger. Like a real Spartan army, we marched through the rigorous path not minding the danger ahead. Instead, we entertained ourselves with stories of funny experiences. 

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Demi and the river. 

We had to make a few stops to regain our energy. As we shared stories and snacks during our short breaks, we were also getting to know each other better. This is always my favorite part when traveling with new people — making friends. 🙂 

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The dried Buhisan River. 

It was a long walk through the slithering river. The water was shallow but the rocks were slippery. Therefore, we had to be extra careful and vigilant with our steps.

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A small waterfall along the trail. 

We arrived in a small waterfall where we took a long break to prepare ourselves for a formidable battle. A soldier, no matter how brave and strong needs to take a break after all. 

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Climbing boulders. 

Walking on the Spartan ground actually taught me a lot. It made me discover more things about myself, my tenacity and my limitation. It helped me understand my body more and it taught me how to listen to my deep breaths. 

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Kapit lang besh. 

The last leg of our adventure was a walk in a canopy of trees. I think it was the hardest part of the trail because of the abrupt inclination. I felt my legs trembled and tightened in my every step. My companions were already far ahead but I couldn’t keep up with their gait anymore.IMG20171105112415

My husband was already running out of words to encourage me. No, I did not stop, but my pace was slower. I did not plan to quit either. I had come a long way, why should I? Well, even if I want to, I didn’t have the choice. I was already on the battleground surrounded by the enemies. I had no escape. It was a do or die.

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We heard roaring sounds of motorcycles which signaled a nigh road. That added encouragement to my already exhausted legs. Like magic, my steps suddenly became faster and this time I was even the one trying to encourage my friends to move. 😀

I guess that meant I won my battle.

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We arrived at Barangay Pamutan on time for lunch. As if we did not have enough combating Spartan Trail, we carried on our adventure to find the abandoned cult cave and Tulong Krus. But that’s another story.

I must admit, Spartan Trail is indeed very treacherous. At first look, it seemed easy but wait when you set foot on its battlefield.

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Ace and Demi survived the Spartan Trail.

Over to you, have you survived your Spartan ground? We’d love to hear from you.

’til our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

 

 

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Elliot’s First Trip To Camotes Island | Traveling With A Pet

Live.

Laugh.

Woof!

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Elliot in Camotes Island.

Camotes Island holds a special place in our hearts. It has been our favorite paradise to visit when we need to escape the busy life in the city and want some dose of the sea.

For the nth time, we visited the island again. But this time, we’re taking our furry bundle of joy, Elliot, on his first ever trip. (See how to get a local transport permit in Cebu here.)

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Playing in the sand.

Day 1

It was a fine day and the ocean was calm. We were thankful that the weather was with us. We almost missed the second ferry trip to the island, good thing we made it before it set forth. Another great thing was, we were allowed not to put Elliot inside the cage as long as we will stay on the lower deck.

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The ride was relatively smooth. We felt proud of Elliot because he was very brave. At first, I worried about him getting sea-sick, contrary to that, he was still very enthusiastic when we arrived on the island.

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Ace and Demi plus Elliot.

We rented a motorcycle so we can freely tour the island at any time of our convenience. We headed immediately to Santiago Bay to find a resort where pets are allowed to stay. Luckily, Bellavista Mare does.

After putting our things, we went to Pito’s Sutukil which is located in the beach area to have our lunch. After eating, we took Elliot for a walk in the wide shore. Elliot had so much fun playing and digging holes here and there. Ace and I really enjoyed watching him having fun like a little kid’s first time outdoor.

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Nanay and Elliot playing in the sand.

We decided to just stay in Santiago Bay on that day because we had to let Elliot get some res. We wanted to wait for the sunset but Elliot had sand all over his face and we needed to clean him up. We headed back to the resort. He fell asleep right after he was cleaned up. (I guess he was very tired.)

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Don’t be scared, Elliot.

Day 2

Elliot woke up early on our second day. He looked lively and excited for the day. He didn’t know we were taking him on his first swimming experience.

After breakfast, we changed to our swimming clothes and hit the beach. It was a low tide, knowing Santiago Bay, the shore stretches far during low tide. Ace hesitated to swim with us but we had to while the sun was not too hot.

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Good boy!

Our little boy was a bit scared but he eventually fought his fear. I can’t be any prouder of this furry baby. I let him follow me to the deeper water but his instinct was telling him to find the land. 😀

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Ace and Elliot.

Elliot seemed to enjoy it although, he clung to me most of the time because he felt cold. I noticed that when Ace dives his bod under the water, Elliot swam to him as if he’s ready to rescue his dad. That’s so sweet. I guess that’s a dog’s instinct, or what?

22552487_1727405890636801_4672825853317002151_nWe only stayed there for 15 minutes because the sun was starting to hurt and Elliot needed to drink water. So, we went back to the resort to wash up.

 

At around 11:00 am, we went to Lake Danao to have our lunch.

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We wanted to try their kayaking activity but the weather was too hot, we’re afraid Elliot couldn’t handle it. We roamed around the area after eating our lunch and went back to Mangudlong Rock Resort.

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Dig deeper, Elliot!

There were not too many guests at the resort. Elliot had a great time digging holes and fitting his body in it. We stayed there for an hour or so before going back to our resort. (We thought Elliot must have burnt few calories with all those digging.)

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Day 3

As we expected, Elliot woke up a little bit late the next morning. I wanted to go out to smell the morning dew, he got up and followed me outside although still feeling drowsy. Such a clingy pup!

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Elliot’s morning view. 

It’s our last day on the island. 😀 As soon as hubby got up, we went to a nearby bakery to have our breakfast. After that, Ace and I took another quick dip in the sea. Then, we went back to the resort to wash up and pack our things. While we were busy packing, Elliot, on the other hand, was sleeping in the corner. (The pup was dead tired.)

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Ace and Demi plus Elliot. 

And that capped Elliot’s first trip in the Lost Horizon of the South. 

Elliot may not be able to talk to us and tell us how he felt but we feel his happiness. Although we had to admit, he was HAPPIER when we arrived home. (Guess “there’s no place like home” trite also applies to pets, huh?)

Over to you, have you traveled with a pet? We’d love to hear from you, tell us about it!

’til Elliot’s next adventure with us!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi and Elliot.

 

 

 

 

A Hymn of Unfathomable Depth and Mystery| Enchanted River, Hinatuan

The river taught us to listen with a silent heart, with a waiting open soul…

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Ace and Demi visited Enchanted River, Hinatuan

In once a sleepy town of Hinatuan, Surigao Del Sur, there is a mysterious river that continuously enthralls people because of its unfathomable mystery. They said this river is “enchanted”, thus the name Enchanted River.

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Ace and Demi in Enchanted River

The name and the fuss about it made Ace and I curious. We were very fortunate to have visited the place during our fleeting stay in Surigao.

Hidden behind the rocky mountains, covered with lush foliage near the Pacific Ocean, we found the said river in it’s placid state.

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The main pool. 

Enchanted River is a brackish lagoon with indeed, a beguiling appeal. With the pristine and deep blue color, I think there is no better way to describe this mesmerizing body of water other than “enchanting“. 

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Aside from its physical beauty, its depth also remains a mystery to everybody. Many professional divers are said to have attempted to reach the bottom but no one has successfully did.

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I was personally amazed when I first caught sight of the river. Unlike usual rivers that slither through valleys, this one springs from nowhere. No one knows where the water came from — is it a spring? Or does it come from the sea? Many said, there is an underground fissure where the sea water comes in. Well, that’s the most possible explanation but it’s not proven yet.

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Walking to the Enchanted river. 

During our visit, we had to register our names first followed by a short briefing about the do’s and don’t’s in the place. From the registration area, we had to walk for five minutes to go to the river.

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The gang. 

Swimming in the main pool of the river is already prohibited to protect and preserve its beauty. But there is a designated area ten meters away, where tourists are allowed to take a dip.

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The gang. 

That area is not deep, unlike the main lagoon. But you are still required to wear a life vest, regardless of your swimming skills because the pressure of the flowing water is too strong. 

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Demi enjoying the water.

At 3pm, people are asked to get out of the water. A bell rings and a beautiful hymn of an ancient ritual plays in the background. People call it the “hymn of Hinatuan“. It was beautiful! This signals the fish feeding time.

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Visitors watching the fish feeding. 

After few minutes, two men in a canoe came towards the main pool maneuvering it in a circular manner. Not too long after, a school fish popped out from nowhere, following the direction of the canoe. One of the men threw small shrimps and other food scraps to them.

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These fishes came swirling around, dancing and some even jumping as if showing off as they beat each other for the food. People are in awe and speechless, well, I was. I couldn’t believe what was happening. Those fish are dancing to the hymn!!!  That was a magical and enchanting moment, indeed!

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Enchanted River

That supernatural and mesmerizing sight left us speechless and astounded. Ace and I are very grateful to have witness such magical charm. We felt proud that such mystical river exists in our very own country. We hope the government, with the help of the people as well, would be able to preserve its beauty for the next generation to see.

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What more can we say? With this river’s unfathomable depth and mystery… We are enchanted!!!

 

’til our next enchanting adventures!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

P.S A huge thanks to our friend Annel Hope Mayuga and to her wonderful family for adopting us during our four days stay in Surigao. Thank you for your warm welcome and for making this venture possible. ’til next time.

 

Guest Post: “Inspirasyon”

Let’s welcome a guest post from someone dear to me.

This girl had been through a lot and I’m happy to see her moving on and starting to let go because of a “man” she fell-in-love at first sight with. 🙂

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“Inspirasyon”

Matagal na ako sumuko sa pag-ibig.
Pero isang araw nakita kita, ang puso koy nanginginig.
Hindi ko inakala, sa bukid lang pala kita makikita.
Itong puso kong bigo at sawi, ng dahil sayo nawala ang pighati.
Ang paghanga ko sayo Kevin, itatago ko nalang.

Kahit ang puso koy nasasaktan.
Hindi man kita makita ng harapan, sa larawan mo nalang kita pinagmamasdan..

-broken💔woman

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So, I’m wondering who is this “Kevin” guy? Because I really want to thank him for making this girl so alive now.

Anyway, to you my dear broken woman, there’s no reason to stay broken now. We hope you come to meet this guy someday.

 

 

A Trek of Whimsical Discovery and New Friends | Discover Compostela

Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures.

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The largest cross my eyes have seen. (Compostela, Cebu)

Two weeks ago, I had a wonderful opportunity to finally meet the TEAM BANG — one of the known hiking group in Cebu and of course, the team’s head, the famous BISAYA TRAVELER, sir Aldrich.

It started with a proposal that I opened to sir Aldrich last month to give the Northern Cebu its chance to be discovered. I told him to start with my town, Compostela. Most people know Compostela as home of big beach and spring resorts. But this town is more than that. There are more beautiful spots hiding in the outskirts of this sleeping municipality.

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Demi at Bungtod Panangban.

We agreed to meet at my place. The team introduced themselves and I offered them cooked sab-a banana and cassava or kamoteng-kahoy  which my family prepared for them.

Our adventure started with a short prayer led by the team’s famous “IDOL“. The plan was to climb Bungtod Panangban and traverse to Mulao River. But then they noticed the big cross from afar that can be seen from my house. Sir Aldrich suddenly became interested about it but tried to let it pass his mind.

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Photo Credit: Sir Aldrich

The walk to Barangay Panangban was fairly easy because we just have to follow the barangay road. Until we arrived at an abandoned quarry spot which, when climbed at the top provides an overlooking glimpse of Mactan Island. Some of the gang did check it out but others stayed below.

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Photo credit: Idol Reymund

This abandoned quarry spot holds a special part of my heart because this was my playground when I was younger. (I’m going to write a separate post about it later.)

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Photo Credit: Idol Reymund

From the quarry spot, once again, the sight of the cross met Sir Aldrich’s eyes as if tempting him to come closer. Until he relented to its teasing scene and asked us to consider checking it out. Everybody agreed to change the plan and traverse to that big cross after Bungtod Panangban, instead.

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The cross from afar. 

So, we continued our trek to the highest peak of Panangban. It was an hour ascent to the area. Until we came to a spot that shows a panoramic view of some mountain barangays of Compostela, the Mactan Island and some parts of Cebu City. We rested for a while and ate the snacks we brought.

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I started to feel more comfortable with the team. They’re friendly and easy to get along with. They never made me feel out-of-place. That time, I knew I’d be tagging with them again some time.

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After our break, we resumed our hike to the highest peak of the area. We had to climb through a steep slope under the scorching sun. But the heat never seemed to bother everyone especially because we had so much fun listening to a “puppy story” by one of the team’s member. I did not fully understand the whole story but The Bisaya Traveler mentioned a piece of it on his post, check it out here. 🙂

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Photo Credit: Idol Wanderer

There was not much to see at the peak because it was covered with thick bush and vegetation. With clearing, I’m pretty sure this area would give a better view of the city.

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Maria of DoodlesScribbles. (Photo by Idol Wanderer)

We did not stay long there, because we already heard stomachs growling. We had to trail back because the other trail was fenced. We took our lunch in a bbq store beside a basketball court at the base of the mountain.

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After filling our tummies, we resumed our hike to traverse to that intriguing cross. This time, we took the descending trail heading to the adjacent barangay, Barangay Basak. It sits next to Panangban and this was also the main quarry site.

We came across this abandoned bamboo hut which we supposed, the workers in the quarry used to live when it was still operating. We rested for a few minutes while they continued talking about the “puppies”. 😀

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Photo Credit: Sir Aldrich

With energies regained, we continued our quest to discover that huge cross. None of us had been there, not even my uncle and cousin who were our guide on that day. I knew, the cross is perched in Tagaytay, a sitio of Barangay Bagalnga.

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Photo Credit: Sir Aldrich

It was another uphill climb towards the cross. Our pace slowed a bit. Admittedly, I started panting and hearing my loud breath. I also noticed some of them catching their breath as well. Perhaps, we underestimated that ascend. That was weird.

After few short stops, we finally made it to the location of the cross. I was in AWE. Like, I literally said “AWE”. I’ve never seen a cross this BIG. (I hope you feel the caps.) I couldn’t stop looking at it and I was wondering why it was made, how it was made…

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We all agreed that this is so far the largest cross we all have seen. Also the view from the cross was worth that breath-catching hike.

I don’t know the reason why this cross was made but there are different stories and rumors going around the area. Some of these stories are controversial. For that reason, I can’t share it here, it’d be better if you personally find it out from the locals in the area. 🙂

We took a rest under the shade of the cross. Yes, it did fit all of us. What is largest, right? Jovy, took a short nap while the rest are talking and munching some snacks. I had so much fun listening to them. I couldn’t help laughing at Sir Aldrich and Idol’s first-bump gesture almost every minute. I really enjoyed the TEAM’s company. I was amazed how open-minded and flexible they are. I’m very glad to have met them and even get to know some of the members. I also look forward to meet the rest of the team in the future. 🙂

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It’s the friends we met along the way that help us appreciate the journey.

At first, I thought it would be just another weekend trek to quench my adventurous soul. I was happy with the sudden change of plan that led us to a whimsical discovery. But I was happier to have made NEW FRIENDS on that journey. Indeed, mountains don’t only give a wonderful feeling at the top, this time, it gave me new friends.

Tips and How to get there:

  • Ride a north-bound bus or jeepney to Compostela and drop off at Compostela Public Market. (Fare: Php25 from Sm/Php18 from Mandaue)
  • If you plan to take our route, start your trek from Dikyop. Hail a motorcycle to take you there. (If you only want the see the cross, just tell the driver to take you to Tagaytay, Bagalnga.) (Fare: Php20 to Dikyop)
  • Hire a guide. You can contact me. Send me a message or connect with me through my Facebook Page. (Ace and Demi Travel Stories / Demi Compra)
  • You can also traverse to Mulao River from Bungtod Panangban.
  • Keep yourself hydrated.
  • LEAVE NO TRACE. Always, wherever you go.

 

’til next friendly adventure.

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

Feeling High In Mt. Kan-Irag (Sirao Peak)

So, the adventure continued and we’re feeling so high…

The higher, the closer to heaven.

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Ace and Demi in Mt Kan-Irag

We feel high…

We felt high… when we learned we were climbing Mt. Kan-Irag through Budlaan.

We felt high… despite the gloomy weather the day before our adventure.

We remained high… although there were only five of us who showed up on the day of our scheduled jaunt.

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Ace and Demi in Budlaan Falls

We felt high… when we started trekking Kabang River and witnessed the mightiness of Budlaan Falls.

We felt higher… when we bathed in the flowing water of Kabang river.

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Sirao Peak

We still felt high… just by eating isaw, and chicken feet bbq for lunch beside a basketball court.

We felt higher… when we continued our quest to the peak of Mt. Kan-Irag.

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We felt high… seeing our national animal taking a dip in a muddy puddle under the scorching heat of the sun.

We felt high… as we took a short break and rested our bodies in the grassy field.

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We felt higher… when a mother cow chased us and saw her sexy baby posing elegantly in front of our camera.

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We still felt high… though our paced slowed down because our bodies were already exhausted.

We felt high… even though we had to take a lot of short breaks to regain our energy.
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We felt even higher… when we reached the shoulder of the peak and saw the city below us.

We felt high… as we enjoyed the wonderful view and pointed the trail we passed through.

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We felt high… as we realized we’re just a dot in this vast universe.

We felt high… as we contemplated on mundane things that we missed to notice below.

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We felt higher… when we were welcomed by the blooming flowers of cogon grass which brought us to a different world.

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We even felt higher… as we started walking and making our way through those grass that are taller than me.

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A beautiful paradise.

We felt SUPER high… when we finally reached the top and saw a beautiful paradise below us.

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We felt high… as we rejoiced because we finally reached the peak.

We felt higher… while looking at the clouds and identifying the shapes they formed.

We felt high… talking about life and past experiences.

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We felt higher… while dancing to beat of the infamous Despacito and the Shark Song.

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We remained high… even until the sun started to set painting the sky a different hue. Even higher… as we argued whether the hue was pink or orange.

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Truly, Mt Kan-Irag being the highest peak of the city’s highland, made us feel high as we scaled her wonderful trail. Even looking and reviewing the photos we took during our trek make us feel high. No wonder why most outdoor souls who are always hungry for adventure love to go back to her peak.

Should we come back, too? We’d love to.

’til our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi.

 

 

A Serendipitous Trek To The Other Side of Budlaan Falls Through Kabang River.

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After a hiatus, the hubby’s schedule has finally agreed with mine. I had 10 days off from work and Ace also filed a time-off. Because it’s not every day we get this long break, we made sure all of the days are jam-packed with adventures.

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So, our second day was set for a trekking through Budlaan Falls in Talamban all the way to Mt Kan-Irag also known as Sirao Peak. With the help of our guide, AJ – The Wandering Soul Scamper and his friend Lakbay Lawin, our plan was made possible.

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We agreed to meet-up at Gaisano Grand Mall-Talamban at 9:00 am. And just a few meters away from the mall, we hailed a motorcycle to take us to Barangay Budlaan where the jump-off point is. There, we registered our names and immediately started our trek. Along with Ace and I, was our good friend, Louise.

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Our guides suggested taking the river trail because it was more challenging and exciting. We can’t say no to extra challenge, you know. So, as expected we followed the river upstream. Before we arrived at the banks, my heart jumped as I heard a loud cascade which signals the river nearby.

When we arrived, we saw a group of outdoor enthusiasts already enjoying the waters. Our first sight was the infamous heart-shaped waterfall basin. The water was brown and muddy, probably because of the rain on the previous days and nights.

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After few minutes, we continued our upstream adventure. We saw more mini-waterfalls along the way. I heard these falls have their names but I can’t tell which is which. Trekking the river involved climbing boulders and jumping from one rock to another, and even crawling if the situation requires. My experience brought me back to our Mulao River adventure.

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The sight of a bigger waterfall welcomed us after almost hour of following the river trail. I reckoned it is already the Budlaan Falls. But contrary to what I’ve seen on the internet, the descent of water was stronger and mightier compared to those photos on the web. The water was abundant up there maybe because it had been raining the past days and weeks.

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There is a small store where visitors could buy some snacks and fresh buko or coconut fruit. Fresh coconut water is a good source of hydration and electrolytes. And its meat could be a source of energy. We bought one for each of us as we rested in one of the cottages nearby.

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We resumed our quest after we finished eating our buko and had our energy replenished. We stopped in front of the mighty falls for a while to take some photos and enjoy its mightiness at the same time.

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The vehement pressure of the water was like pulling us as we stood in front of it. The pressure was too strong that the moist was enough to wet our clothes. We did not swim here because we don’t have any idea how deep was the catch-basin now that the water is abundantly flowing.

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Instead, we headed to the right side of the waterfall to continue our journey. We climbed a steep slope and cliff, holding only to roots and giant rocks to avoid falling. One wrong step, I would have tripped and fallen down giving me only 30 percent chance of surviving. (Charot!) This trail is not advisable for those who have the fear of height, else you’d end your life here. (Another charot!) 😛

But, really. You must dare! The price is worth it! 

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A good find! 

You must be wondering what made our adventure serendipitous. It was this water flowing on a steep and slippery slope after that dangerous and risky climb above the main waterfall. Now, I’m not claiming we were the first to discover it because this water trail has been here for a long time ago. But on that day, the water was flowing in a torrential flow.

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I could say, we came at the right time indeed, perhaps we’re just lucky.

The water was inviting and it was clearer compared to that of the main falls. Louise and I decided to take a quick dip while the boys were taking a rest. We really enjoyed the cold water. It was a pure bliss from nature, a therapy per se.

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Louise and I enjoying the cold water. 

After ten minutes of indulging with nature’s therapy, we quickly changed into our dry clothes so we could continue our trek to Sirao Peak. And yes, it was timed because we had to catch the lunch-time. 😛

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Ace and Demi at Budlaan Falls, Talamban, Cebu. 

This is where our Kabang River and Budlaan Falls adventure ends. But we’re sure to come back because we believe “no experience are the same no matter how many times you do it”. 🙂

Stay tuned as we continue our adventure to Mt. Kan-Irag on a later post.

’til our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi.