Lost and Found in The City of Guns | Danao Highlands

What better way to burn all the fats I hoarded during the holidays than to embark on a 12km trek and get lost in the City of Guns?

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2019… Let’s get it on!

Here’s to more “getting lost” experiences this year!

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The gang!

Northern Cebu is slowly making its name in the list of hiking destinations in the province. One of the most popular is Mt. Mago in Carmen, then there’s Lanigid Hill in Liloan, and recently, Licos Peak in Danao. Last year, we started a quest of discovering potential hiking trails in the northern part of Cebu which we are going to carry on this year.

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A happy kid!

To kick off this year’s adventures, I went along with some hiking fellows to explore the supposedly Lawaan-Mago route. But we ended meandering back to Lawaan because we couldn’t find a vestige trail to Mago. Nevertheless, it wasn’t a bad start for 2019.

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I arrived in Danao Transport Terminal a ‘bit’ late. (Ahm, okay, really late.) I came to my companions patiently waiting for me. (Thank you, guys.) Without wasting any minute, because I already did, we took a motorcycle at the back of the terminal to Lawaan. The ride was ninety-percent uphill and butt-aching that our driver had to make a few halts to stretch a bit. It took us more than an hour to reach the Lawaan junction.

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Katkat goals.

After a short prayer and few introductions, we commenced with our hike. Beboy advised us that the first leg would be mostly an ascend through a cemented road. Because it had been a while since I last trek, the first few minutes was arduous. Despite my sluggish pace, I found myself panting. I kept a slow gait until my body had adjusted.

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After almost two hours of walking on the paved road, we reached the junction of Danasan and Magtagubtob. We agreed to take a rest before we carry on our hike. We found a small mango tree nearby where we had our lunch.

Lunchtime has to be my favorite part when trekking or climbing mountains because it’s when we get to know each other more. I learned that Geezelle and James are the people behind the blog GeeMiz. I’ve been reading their corner for a while now, and it was great to meet them in person. After lunch, we debated over what makes the texture of an iced-candy powdery. Tatay Raul fended for cornstarch to be the ingredient that gives the iced-candy a refined taste.
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Although, that argument wasn’t resolved, so if you have any idea, please share it with us.

After having enough rest, with replenished energy, we resumed our walk. Still following the barangay road, we passed by some houses and asked for directions to Santican. Not too long, we made a turn into a dirt trail. The trail was relatively an open terrain without foliage canopy but bushes. Favorably, the sun was not too harsh on that day else, we’d all be toasted!

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Oh, no paparazzi please!

After several descending and ascending, meandering through farmlands, we realized we reached a dead end. We tried looking for a possible track but all there was what seems to be a gorge covered by thick foliage. There was no vestige route.

It was already two hours before sundown. Worried that we’d catch nightfall in the forest, we all agreed to turn back to Magtagobtob. Before our final ascent back to Magtagobtob, we made an apropos wrong turn and reached a small household community. We saw a kid and asked which way to the nearest barangay road. He directed us to Lawaan. Albeit steep, it was nearer than Magtagobtob.
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Following his suggestion, we took a descend and crossed a river. A sharp ascent greeted us. We strenuously worked our way to the top. We met a few locals along the way. They came from the weekly tabo-tabo in their barangay. (“Tabo-tabo” is a weekly bazaar common in the mountain areas where people trade and buy goods.) They were kind enough to tell us that we’re on the right path. Finally, we reached the road in no time.

Happiness was all over our faces despite failing to reach Mago on that day. We might have gotten lost along the way, but we found something more important.

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We found out that it’s okay to stop when you aren’t sure. We learned that there is no need to hurry because we will get there, maybe not that day, but someday. At least, we have something to look forward to, we have a reason to come back.

 

’til next getting lost adventures!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

I Fed My Own Demon With My Embarrassing Judgment.

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Everything on that day didn’t fall in place. I thought I couldn’t do anything right. I was embarrassed to the point of annoyance. I was annoyed of myself that I wanted to break down. I could hear my subconscious mocking me.

She was mocking me the whole time while I was riding a bus going to Naga City. I closed my eyes hoping I could take a nap and ignore her. She was too loud. I could see her bulging eyes. I could feel her finger pushing my forehead. I was taken aback when she shouted my name. Her caustic voice awakened me from my reverie.

“Are we there yet?”, I asked my friend, Niña.

“Uh, almost there,” she replied. “Have you texted them?”

I grabbed my bag where I put my phone. It took me an ounce of courage to finally open my phone.

“We already left,” Tatay Raul’s message went.

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My inner-self started to panic again. I was uneasy on my seat. I kept looking at the windows to see if we have arrived. At one point, I wanted to suggest to my friend to hop off the bus and go back to Cebu City. Yes, it was a dastard idea.

But before I could tell her, the bus halted. We had arrived. I reckoned it’s too late to retreat. I looked at Niña who looked relaxed, unaware of the war inside me at that moment. She looked excited. The look on her face made me feel even more guilty. I felt really sorry.

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My phone rang. It was Beboy. He told us we might be unable to catch up with them because they were already far. He suggested we ride a motorcycle to Magdooc and wait for them there.

I let a sigh of relief before I hopped on the motorcycle. While my ride climbed its way through the steep barangay road of Naalad, my mind brought me back to the scene earlier that day.

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This emotional ruckus started with the wrong alarm time. Hubby mistakenly set the alarm at 4 pm instead of 4 am. When I opened my eyes that morning, the sun was already up. I quickly got up and checked the time hoping it’s not 8 o’clock yet. My clock said it was five. With the meet-up time set at 6:30am in Naga, I knew I was doomed. I knew it was impossible to arrive on time. Thinking we’d be ONLY 30 minutes late, I pursued it. I did everything like lightning, as fast as I could. I met up with Niña who had been waiting for me for a while. We hurried ourselves to get to South Bus Terminal.

I texted Tatay Raul to please wait for us, but I was too ashamed to tell him we weren’t on the bus yet. I kept my phone inside my bag, not wanting to check it again because I was worried Tatay would ask where we were. (Sorry Tay Raul.) Peace! 44440846_342898453130268_6043908722307104768_n

The smell of the mountain breeze interrupted the flashback play on my mind. Somehow, I felt my heart at ease and not anxious anymore. The green surrounding had calmed me and made me forget my worries.

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We got off at Magdooc and waited for them. Beboy said Sir Aldrich and Tatay Raul were off to meet us there. But an hour almost passed, no one came. When I called Beboy again, he said they were in the highest peak of the area, near a tower. We couldn’t find any higher elevation with a tower except the one we’re facing, so Niña and I climbed it. The funny thing was when we reached the top, we found out, there was a higher hill on the other side. There was a tower, yes, it was a smaller tower though.

We bet on our perhaps and agreed to go there. We had to trail back and ask the locals if there was another higher mountain other than that. They confirmed that it was the highest one. We took a short breather before we started to climb it. Halfway through the climb, we heard voices coming from the street below.

It was Sir Aldrich and Beboy!!! Oh, what a relief!

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We exchanged our hi’s and hello’s and I apologized for causing delay. I was prepared to be blamed or scolded, surprisingly, I did not get any of that. I neither saw that disappointment directed towards me on their faces. They carried on the hike just like nothing happened.

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Personal thought:

Guess, I fed my own anxious demon with worry that it almost ate me.

I thought Tatay Raul would scold me for not replying his texts and not answering his calls. I thought Sir Aldrich would blame me for causing trouble and delay. I thought Beboy would tell me not to do it again. I thought Dian would give me a scornful look. I thought my new friends would look at me with disappointment.

I realized that I have created a fearful image of these people because I judged them out of guilt. While writing this, I realized, my judgment was more embarrassing than my tardiness.

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Peace, everyone!

Over to you, have you misjudged someone? Let me hear it from you!

 

’til next time!

Keep safe!

Love, Demi

 

Our Northern Exodus Unlocked Our Hiker’s Compass | Liloan Highlands

While the highlands of southern Cebu become a trekking playground frequented by experienced and newbie hikers, the northern highlands remain humble and still. Although the latter is not favored with high elevation, it has trails and vistas you can compare to that of the known mountains out there.

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Recently, I joined a hiking group that aspires to discover the beauty of the highlands in the north. After that successful quest of visiting Mount Licos, I received an invitation from OMG to trek the mountains of Liloan, Cebu. For someone who came from the north myself, I couldn’t say no since I wanted to give my place it’s due recognition.

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The gang!

Our adventure started with a rendezvous in front of Gaisano Grand Mall -Liloan. As soon as we were complete, we walked to the old Liloan Public Market where we took a motorcycle to Barangay Mulao. Good thing there were only seven of us because it’s hard to get a ride. Mulao is 45 minutes uphill ride from the town, the motorcycles to the said place are very limited.

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Mount Licos from Lanigid Hill.

It took a while before we reassembled at the barangay hall of Mulao. So as soon as everyone had gathered, we immediately commenced our hike to Lanigid Hill. I had been to Lanigid last year with my friends and climbing this hill again brought back those memories. But scaling it with new people was different. The trail started with a steep ascent which made us catch our breaths. It was a strenuous warm-up.

From the top of the hill, we saw Mount Licos standing loud and proud. It was great to see her from afar. She’s such a beaut. I felt a sense of pride in surviving her trail.

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After taking a breather from the top, we trailed back to the barangay hall to head to Barangay Tabla to check out Mount Kolo (also known as Mt View). In the Google map, Mulao and Tabla are adjacent to each other, but there is no trail from Lanigid to there. We had to follow the provincial road that goes around Lanipga to Tabla.

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Have I already told you that I hate hiking on concrete roads? My legs easily get tired on cemented roads compared to rocky terrains. Plus the heat produced by the cement is energy-draining.

Yet, that was what exactly happened that day. After 3 hours of walking, we passed by Lanipga National Highschool. We decided to have our lunch at a nearby store since our tummies already signaled a refill. Tatay Raul’s mirthful spirit boosted our appetite as he entertained us with his hilarious quips. With a companion like him, no journey is dull.

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As soon as we had rested enough, we resumed our hike to Barangay Tabla. We had to ask some locals along the way about Mount View, but only a few of them know it. Most of them were more familiar with Mount Kolo because it’s a neighborhood name (purok). However, nobody could give us a specific way to get to that hill.

Knowing that we were already in Purok Kolo, we trusted our guts and adventurous soul to lead us to the right track. (Tatay Raul called it the hiker’s compass.) We looked for a higher elevation and followed a trail uphill. Fortunately, we were not mistaken. A taller hill stood in front of us.

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Lo and behold, Tabla’s Mountain View!

Seeing the sign that says “This way to Mt View” felt like we won a raffle contest. We did not waste time. We hurriedly climbed the hill. I didn’t mind my sore legs, I just wanted to reach the top. And I wasn’t disappointed. The verdurous panorama of Liloan and the Mactan Island from afar welcomed us. What an astonishing reward!

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The place showcased a 360-degree view of lush foliage. The mountain ranges of Compostela and Danao could be seen from there. In fact, we saw the Holy Cross of Compostela, too.

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We stayed there for a while as we savored the pleasant scenery in front of us. The cold breeze of the wind shooed away our weary feel. We wished to stay longer but time wasn’t on our favor. After an hour, we bid goodbye to the place.

I went home that day with sore legs but with and accomplished heart.

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When life feels like rut and jading, the mountain calls to rescue.

Personal thought:

Life happens! We have different ways to get through it. Some dance with it while others try to escape. Me? I seek refuge in the mountains. If Moana keeps going back to the water, I, on the other hand, go back to the mountains. Because that’s where I feel safe and at peace. It’s where I feel at home.

Over to you! How do you keep up with life? I’d love to hear from you. Leave me some words.

 

‘Til our next exodus!

Keep safe!

Love, Demi

Reaching Out Beyond Mountains | Hike For a Cause

The heart that gives, gathers. ~ Tao Te Ching

 

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Scenes of my primary years:

I used to live in a far-flung barangay when I was a younger. I spent my primary years in a school 20-minute away from our house. I had to walk back and forth every day with my friends and classmates. I never mind the distance. I loved going to school. I could still remember my excitement at the start of every school year. Probably, why I love the month of June. (The school year starts on June back then.)

On the first two days of school, our teacher would let us write a long list of requirements. I would write it in an old notebook that my mom recycled from the previous year.

Use this old notebook for the meantime. We will buy your school supplies when you have the list,” my mom would say.

I was then excited to go home and show mom the list. 8 notebooks, 2 pencils, crayon… my list went.

Wow! That’s a lot! We don’t have enough money to buy everything on this list,” she would say again. “Let’s buy five notebooks and a pencil. You can borrow crayons from your classmates…blah, blah..

We had this same scenario every school year. I couldn’t remember a year which I had the complete school supplies.

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I know very well how it feels like to be the last one to submit your art project because you had to borrow crayons from a classmate. Therefore, you had to wait for him to finish. I know how it feels to recycle your old notebooks because you didn’t have enough. I know how it feels to wear a hand-me-down school uniform. I know how it feels to hide in the corner on lunchtime because your buwad (dried fish) stinks. Believe me, I’ve been through that!

Our family’s income back then was enough to keep our heads above the water. I would felt sad but I never complained to my parents. I knew they were doing their best to provide our needs.

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Fast forward to the present:

This is the reason why I always love to participate in outreach programs or similar causes that benefits school children, especially in rural areas. For someone who didn’t have enough before, the idea of giving joy to the students is very gratifying. I’m grateful that nowadays, there are a lot of non-government groups that organizes events to provide school supplies to remote schools. (Something, we never had before.)

Ace and I have tried organizing such events. But mostly, we just support or join other groups. We give support in our small ways, sometimes pecuniary, often we do it by volunteering.

Last weekend was one of those successful causes. We got invited by the OMG (Open-minded Group) hikers to join their Hike for a Cause. It was specifically hosted by Sir Aldrich, Beboi, and Dian, the same group I was with when we scaled Mt Licos. The beneficiaries are the 150 Grade I students of Toong Integrated School.

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When we arrived at Toong Integrated School, we were greeted by a crowd of parents and excited kids. I knew it was going to be exhilarating and fun. The school doesn’t have a wide ground. So we all squeezed in a small area in front of the principal’s office.

Because of the number of kids, there was a confusion at first. We grouped them by section, but most of them didn’t know which class they belong. I reckoned they were not acquainted with their section’s name. Good thing the teachers were there to assist us.

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We had a few games before we distributed our present to them. Each student received a bag which contained some notebooks, pencils, and art materials. Afterward, we gave the kids some snacks to share with their parents.

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The smile that I saw on their faces and the thank yous from the parents sent joy to my heart. It once again reminded me that I am beyond blessed. The happiness that I felt as I watch them comparing what’s inside their bags, and as they shared the hamburgers with their moms, was immeasurable. I received more than what I gave. It’s heartwarming!

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After the program, the hikers headed to AO Farm for lunch. We shared each other’s food while talking about anything under the sun. But as usual, Tatay Raul was the favorite subject. We teased him about his love for food, sweeping food for that matter.

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After replenishing our tummies, we hiked to the highest point of the farm where we cracked a birthday surprise for Tatay and Jonah. We stayed there for a few minutes, just enjoying the green vista of the neighboring mountains.

 

From there, we were to proceed to San Carlos Heights and make our way to Tulong Krus. However, AO Farm fenced the back exit of the farm where we were supposed to take the shortcut way. So, we went back our way and followed a different trail.

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I went home that day feeling happy and content. It’s very nice to know that we can do a lot more than just hike or climb a mountain.

 

Over to you, have you participated in any causes? We’d love to hear from you! 

 

‘Til next time!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

A Letter From Licos Peak That I Wished I’ve Read Before I Scaled Her.

We got scammed last weekend! It’s weird that we’re happy about it.

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Our expectation deceived us once again. But this time, it’s something we couldn’t resent. Last weekend, we scaled Mt Licos in Danao City. We had to admit that we underestimated her. Because we were so eager to meet her, we pushed through our plan even with scarce information. We ended up in a memorable mishap that became an important lesson.

From my firsthand experience, I want to share this letter for those who want to climb the Licos Peak. Read this when you plan to visit her.

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Dear you, 

Before you climb me, I have two requests.

“Don’t underestimate me.”
“Expect neither less nor more.”

When you are ready, I will open my arms for you. I will let you step on my soil. But I have to warn you. On your way to my peak, you will trip and fall. You will scream in pain, and you will feel betrayed.

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Should you decide to walk on me, I want you to understand the lesson of my trail. My height might be a joke because I only stand less than 500 meters above the sea. But my path is not easy. I have prepared challenges for you, some of which, you can compare to that of the mighty mountains out there!

So, now let me ask you again. Are you ready to face me?

Dear, don’t fret. I want you to visit me, so I prepared a sneak peek of the challenges along my trail.

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I will let you hold on to small and thin roots so you will learn to value small chances. I will teach you not to trust all the big roots because I want you to make careful choices. My loose soil and stones are the tiny things that will spoil your day. I hope you won’t let them affect you because they will delay your plans.

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Along the way, you will see trees of different sizes. Be careful which to trust.

These trees are like the people around you. Some of them will help and some won’t. Few of those will lay their branches and will pull you up even if they have to bend. Some will pretend to cheer you up but when you hold on to them, they will break and you will feel betrayed.

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Sharp rocks will welcome you near my peak. These sharp rocks signify your major problems. If you don’t pay attention, you’re likely to get hurt. But if you learn to focus and make careful steps, you will get through them with ease.

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My peak is your dream. You will feel accomplished and fulfilled. You will feel proud of yourself for passing my test. The verdant vista in front of you will be your reward. Savor the moment, feel the wind, and calm yourself. Soak into the luscious foliage in front of you. You deserve it.

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But when you think it is over, the wind will whisper into your ear, “It’s time to go down.”

I want you to contemplate on this. Before you continue, how long are you going to stay at my peak? Most of you will wish to stay there, but you will be left without a choice but to go down.

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Your life goes like that. When you are at the peak of your happiness, some things will drag you down. You will try hard to resist it because you don’t want your happiness to end. But, sometimes you will end up defeated.

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Please remember this, just because you have succeeded doesn’t mean your new road is wonderfully paved from there. Your test will continue. If you are lucky, it will be easier. What if you are not?

I hope the best for you. But I want to prepare you for the worse.

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On your way down, the challenges will appear tougher.

DSC05243This time, you will skid. It will hurt you a lot. You have to slide and learn to accept that you are going down. When it hurts so bad, stop and seek refuge to the trees you trusted in your way up. Hold on to them until you’re ready to move on.

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And finally, when you hit rock bottom, look up and give me your last glance. I will wave at you, this time, the pride will be mine.

You will realize that even if you’re back on the ground, you did a great job! You’ve passed my test, and you’re brave enough to go down.

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Only then you will realize that success is not in reaching my peak. Success is when you are finally home.

Now, my question is… Are you ready to climb me again? 

 

With love, 

Mount Licos

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Personal thought: 

I hope you heard her. Our climb to Mt. Licos was a wonderful misadventure that we’d love to do again. This mountain went beyond our expectations. Should you find yourself at her peak, send my regards. Take care of her because she’s a great teacher. 🙂

How to get there: 

From Danao City, hail a motorcycle in front of the City Civic Center to Barangay Licos. The fare is Php 50/person. The ride will take 30 minutes. From the barangay hall, ask the locals the way to the peak.

Special thanks to Mr. Ericson Batulan for the tips and information.

‘Til our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Demi.

Trekking on Your Period | Yay or Nay?

Oh, girl, it’s that pesky time of the month again. It feels taboo but it is something beyond our control. So, yes! We have to talk about it because it happens.

You’re excited about an outdoor adventure next week only to realize you are also expecting your period on the same dates. Should you cancel or push it through? If you’re having this perplexity then read on.

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When I was just starting to love outdoor activities like trekking and climbing, I used to make sure my “red days” don’t meet my trek dates. I thought it was impossible and uncomfortable to climb mountains while you have ‘something’ going on inside you. But there came a time when my thirst for adventure was stronger than my doubts. That’s when I learned to figure out how not to let my red days impede my plans. 

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Here are important DON’Ts to remember:

  • DON’T compromise your hygiene. 

Hygiene is very important. Girls are very prone to urinary tract infections, especially on our periods. Whatever the situation is, don’t ever compromise your hygiene. It is a must that you have a hygiene kit with you.

What’s in the kit?

  1. Enough supply of  your trusted sanitary pads or tampons. Some women also prefer to use menstrual cups. They said cups and tampons are perfect if you’re going to soak in the water.
  2.  Wet wipes and/or tissue. You don’t always have a water supply on the trail so it is best to bring wet wipes with you. I suggest the unscented ones.
  3. Hand sanitizers. Of course, before and after changing pads make sure your hands are clean.
  4. Extra clothes for emergency.
  • DON’T forget your dates. 

Let us be mindful of our dates. I understand that some of us don’t have regular periods so just be prepared for emergencies. It’s better safe than sorry.

  • DON’T go when you have terrible and unbearable cramps.

When you have painful red days, or maybe you always experience cramps on your period, then you have to think about it carefully. While strenuous exercises like hiking or trekking relieve the cramps for some women, it worsens for others. Sure, there are pain relievers available but if they don’t work for you, I suggest you don’t go. Because you are not only going to make yourself uncomfortable, but you might inconvenience your colleagues, too.

  • DON’T be ashamed about it. 

Men don’t go through it but they are aware that girls do. It might be a bit awkward but it’s completely okay. With the rising numbers of women hikers nowadays, trek leaders and guides already know how to handle this kind of situation. So, let them know.

  • DON’T leave your pads or tampons in the ‘wild’. 

Dearies, please remember our sanitary pads don’t biodegrade. Don’t leave them in the mountains. You don’t want to see this kind of wastes when you climb a mountain, do you? Be responsible for disposing of them properly. I strongly suggest you bring a trash bag intended for this waste. Personally, I always bring a separate zip lock pouch only intended for this kind of trash. There is also a technique on how to wrap your sanitary pads properly in order for it not to leave stain and foul odor, you may look it up online.

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And lastly,

  • DON’T let your period keep you off  the trail. 

Our period can be uncomfortable but if we learn how to handle them, it will never keep us off the trail anymore. So, choose your products wisely and always be prepared for emergencies.

Over to you, have you trekked on your period before? Or do you know anyone who handles it well? Or do you have other tips? We’d love to hear from you.

‘Til our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

 

Came for Casino But Found a Shy Lugsangan Peak | Mountain Diary

Standing at a modest 1,013 meters above sea level, Osmeña Peak is known to be Cebu’s highest point. Everybody is familiar with it because of the wonderful view of Mantalongon mountain range from the top and its easy accessibility to the public.

But last year, another peak that offers a stunning vista of the other side of Mantalongon highland range made a fuss on the web igniting the curiosity of every adventure junky. The mountains around this peak resemble that of the famous Chocolate Hills of Bohol with their perfect muffin-like hills. But the fuss was not only because of that beautiful view but the name of the peak itself. I’m talking about Casino Peak now called Lugsangan Peak.

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When the said peak started making a break, it went by the name Casino. Everybody became curious about it. What’s with the name? Is gambling going on there? Outdoor enthusiasts flak the place not only for the view but to discover the story behind that infamous name.

Ace and I were not exempted with that curiosity. We were also excited and we even made several plans to check it out. Unfortunately, we were not able to realize any of those together. His schedule didn’t meet with mine so he was unable to come with me when I visited the place with the Team Bang.

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The Team Bang’s plan to trek Osmeña Peak and traverse to Kawasan Falls made my plan to visit Casino Peak possible. Few hours before the trip, I experienced a personal problem and I had to pull off my plan. I felt frustrated as I counted the remaining hours of our supposed departure. I was arguing with my subconscious whether to pursue the plan or stay home instead.

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And yes! My will to taste an adventure won over. An hour before the agreed meet-up time, I found myself riding a cab heading to the terminal with my friend Abby. My friends Louise, Daisy, and Charlotte also tagged along. Oh, I forgot to mention, on that same day the other year (2016) we visited O’peak, so it was sort of an anniversary climb for us.

We arrived at the terminal earlier than expected. It was my friends’ first time to meet the Team Bang. Louise was especially excited to meet the man behind The Bisaya Traveler blog as she’s an avid reader. When everybody was all gathered, we hopped on a bus to Dalaguete. (See a guide to Osmeña Peak here.)

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While we were riding a motorcycle going to Osmeña Peak, the rain started to pour. The road was covered with thick fog and the ride was freezing cold. When we arrived at the registration area, we did not waste any more time and started our hike after paying the necessary fees.

We already expected a foggy sight at the peak because of the weather. We didn’t stay long there because it was starting to get crowded. We had a short prayer at the top led by the Idol Wanderer and started our trek to Casino Peak.

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We took a shortcut from the foot of O’Peak and passed by a cabbage field. Later on, we followed a concrete road that led us to the registration area of Casino Peak.

To my surprise, the sign said it’s Lugsangan Peak and not Casino. The man who was assigned at the registration enlightened us about the change of name. The owner of the land going to the peak is named Ka Seno thus the name Casino, however, the name sounded indecent and gave a bad impression. So they changed the name to Lugsangan Peak. Lugsangan is the barangay where the peak is located.

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That sounds pretty interesting though.

The climb to the peak was not that hard. But the muddy trail made it dangerous and slippery. We also had to be cautious with the sharp rocks on the way.

The view from the top was breathtaking. It was windy and cold and we were standing only on slippery rocks with high cliffs on each side. I was amazed at the same time my legs trembled as I tried walking on a narrow rock. (I’m sure, Ace wouldn’t let me do that if he was there.)

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The fog was thick because of the unfriendly weather. We were all seemed teased with the beautiful scenery as the wind blew and clearing the fog. But the murkiness just wouldn’t go away.

The mounds surrounding the peak was like a shy little girl having second thought whether to show up or not, a little girl wanting to play peekaboo.

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As I sat in one of the sharp rocks, the situation made me ponder some things.

My life is full of failed expectations of myself, my family, and people around me. And sometimes, with me trying so hard not to fail, I forget to live in the moment. I sometimes forget to admire the journey. I have high hopes and all I see are those. I get too excited to see the silver lining that I failed to appreciate the things that made it glitter.

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And I was there. Sitting, hoping and waiting for the sky to clear up. And I realized, I wasn’t there because of the view. I was there because of the journey. I was there because I want some adventure. I was there because I want to make new friends.

In the end, I realized, I was actually there to learn.

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Over to you, what life experiences made you ponder things? What experiences taught you BIG lessons?

 

‘Til our next diary!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

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

 

 

 

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.