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

 

Heaven In the Border | Borderside Mountain Resort

Head to the border but do not cross the line.

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For office people like us who spend the whole week in the city, beating deadlines and dealing with the daily traffic jams, nothing is more comforting than spending a weekend in a place that guarantees relaxation and peace. Most of us seek refuge in the refreshing feel of the mountain, while others prefer the calmness of the sea.

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Beaches are the common go-to place to unwind and chill because they are readily accessible. However, beach resorts tend to be crowded and busy on weekends. This gives way to the rise of mountain resorts.

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So, we were very hyped up when we learned about Borderside Mountain Resort in Compostela, just five minutes away from our house. Tucked near the border of Compostela and Danao, this resort lies peacefully in Bugho, Bagalnga, a far-flung barangay of the former.

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It isn’t as accessible as Gatubod Spring Resort in Basak, so only a few people know about this place. We never got the chance to visit it, not until last weekend. Ace and I went on a road trip with Elliot, and we decided to check it out. (Ways on how to get there is written below.) 

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As soon as we got off from the motorcycle, I instantly fell in love with the place. It was quiet, laid-back and refreshing. I like how it doesn’t feel like a commercial resort but a rest house. The entrance of the resort is canopied by the lush foliage of the bamboo and mango trees. Upon entering the premises, you have to climb the staircase going to the swimming pool. The pool is 4-6 feet deep. On its right side is the house which you can rent for Php2000/night, and on its left is their mini-forest.

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Aside from the serenity of the place, one thing that stands out the most is the cleanliness of the resort. I wonder how I couldn’t see a single falling leaf even when the whole place is surrounded by plants and trees. I think the caretakers are very meticulous in cleaning and sweeping them. I also want to mention how friendly and accommodating they were.

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RATES and OTHER INFORMATION:

HOW TO GET THERE: 

From Compostela, Borderside Mountain Resort can be accessed through Canamucan and/or Buluang road. If you opt for Canamucan road, it is the corner going to Virginia and Gatubod Spring Resort. The road is established, but prepare for an uphill drive when you start to enter the corner street going to Barangay Bagalnga proper. If you choose Buluang road, it is the corner going to Q-Park and Paradise Hills Mountain Resort. Some parts of the street are a bit rough after you pass by Paradise Hills.

You can ride a motorcycle or habal-habal from Compostela Public Market to the resort. The fare is Php40-50 per person. Tell the driver that you are going to Borderside Mountain Resort in Bugho, Bagalnga.

Recommended driver: Alfie — 09108490689

Entrance Fees:

  • Php100/head — Adult
  • Php50/head – kids

Cottages: Php250

Tables: Php200

For overnight stay: (They have rooms under construction.)

  • House: Php2000
  • Own Tent: Php200
  • Resort tent: Php500

For more information, you may contact these numbers:

  • 564-2161
  • 423-4947
  • 09088631029
  • 09420915982

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It’s a garden…it’s a farm… it’s a mountain resort.

~Borderside Mountain Resort

 

 

’til next refreshing guide, everyone!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

 

Celebrating Love Over The Panoramic Ridge Of Alicia| Binabaje Hills

Bohol — a neighboring island of the Queen City of The South has become the talk of the town lately. With all the trekking and mountaineering hype nowadays, the province opens its own playground for outdoor enthusiasts.

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Behold! The panoramic ridge of Alicia. Also known as the Binabaje Hills or Alicia Rolling Hills, this wonderful sight is tucked in Cambaol, Alicia, Bohol.

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Since it started making noise around the social media, Ace and I had been lusting to visit it. We were supposed to spend our anniversary there. But we were too excited so we agreed to do it advance instead.

So last Friday, as soon as I got off from work, Ace and I went to the port to book a 1:30 am ferry trip to Bohol. There are several entry points from Cebu to Bohol but we chose the Cebu-Tubigon route because it was the earliest trip. (See other ways on how to get to Bohol below.) We came at the Fast Cat ticketing office on a long queue of chance passengers and that would include us. We waited for 30 minutes before they resumed their booking line.

As soon as we had our tickets, we immediately headed to the port and paid the terminal fees. We did not wait too long at the terminal though. At exactly 1:30 am we were already on board. Ace and I were hoping to catch some z’s but the waves were not too friendly. We ended awake throughout the trip. I still felt groggy when we got off.

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To cut the story short, we took a van bound for Carmen. From there, we transferred to a bus going to Alicia. As much as I wanted to doze off, I was so busy watching the greens along the way. Ace said our trip was literally a breath of fresh air. IMG20180609074931[1]

 

We dropped off at the public market of Alicia where we met our guide – Bernard. We agreed to have our breakfast first while Bernard looked for the other motorcycle driver who will take us to the jump-off area.

The ride to the jump-off was really bumpy. You certainly need an experienced driver especially on rainy days as the road could get slippery. Good thing, the weather was on our side on that day.

An important note: they now imposed a 30-peso environmental fee.

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As soon as we arrived at the jump-off area, we promptly started our trek. The first leg welcomed us with its long ascend. For Ace and I who had not hiked for a month, it was pretty exhausting. My pace was slow as I didn’t want to surprise my legs. I used every chance of rest to enjoy the beautiful panorama around.

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Bernard was considerate enough to wait for us while we took a lot of stops to rest and admire the beauty that the hills offered.

I really wanted to say this. I commend our guide for being both informative and patient. On that same day was the Game 4 of the NBA Finals with the exciting 3-0 standing of the GS-Warriors against the C-Cavaliers. It was past 7:30 am when we started our trek and the NBA game was starting soon. I knew so well, how much he wanted to watch the game because Ace was, too. Yet, he never hurried us nor made us feel that we had to. My two thumbs are up for you, Bernard!

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Despite several stops and slow pace, we arrived at the summit in an hour. On very hot days, the trek to the top would be more challenging as it was a steppe trail. There were no trees to shelter from the scorching heat of the sun. Gladly, we had cloudy weather that day. The only challenges we had were the steep ascent and loose soil.

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While sitting and soaking up the wonderful vista in front of us, Ace and I realized that it had been a while since we trekked together. His schedule was very elusive. We’re glad we were finally able to do it again.

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We sat there for few minutes while we shared the jellies we brought. We talked about going back next time and bring Elliot with us. The trail isn’t hard. We’re pretty sure Elliot can manage to the top.

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Soon after we regained our energies we decided to descend since we still have other places to go. We took a different trail to exit the hills. Contrary to the ascending trail earlier, the exit trail was mostly descending. I can’t say it was easier. For someone who hates downhill path, a steep descent is more challenging than an ascent. I felt like my legs and thighs were about to burst.

Nonetheless, I made it back to the base in one piece. And as a bonus, the Warriors-Cavaliers game wasn’t over. 😀 We got to watch it in a house near the jump-off area.

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We separated with Bernard at the municipal hall of Alicia. We were heading to Candijay to visit the nearby tourist attractions which I’ll be writing on a later post. 🙂

Meanwhile, here are some tips on how to get to Alicia Hills.

How to get to Bohol from Cebu:

  • Via Tubigon — *Ride a ferry from Cebu to Tubigon (Php 275 – Fast Cat). *Ride a V-hire from Tubigon to Carmen (Php 80). *Ride a bus to Alicia (Php 40 Ceres).
  • Via Tagbilaran — *Ride a ferry from Cebu to Tagbilaran. *Ride a motorcycle to Dao terminal. *Ride a bus or van to Alicia.
  • Via Ubay — *Ride a ferry from Cebu to Ubay. *Ride a bus bound for Alicia.
  • Via Getafe — *Ride a boat from Cebu to Getafe. *Ride a motorcycle to the jeepney area. *Ride a jeepney to Talibon. *Ride a jeepney to Ubay. *Ride a bus to Alicia.

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Tips: 

  • Ask the driver to drop you off at the municipal hall of Alicia.
  • Prior to your visit, get in touch with Alicia’s Tourism Officer, Maam Godelia Lumogdang at 09338655650. She will provide you with a registered guide and arrange your transport.
  • It’s best to climb the hills before sunrise. They said the sunrise there is spectacular.

 Possible Expenses to Alicia:

  • Cebu to Tubigon – Php 310.00 (Premium Class because they ran out of Economy) 
  • Van to Carmen – Php 80
  • Bus to Alicia — Php 60
  • Motorcycle Ride to the Jump Off (back & forth) – Php 200.00
  • Guide Fee/5pax – Php 300.00 (Php 500 for overnight)

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Happy 2nd Anniversary to us!

We hope you find this post useful. Enjoy your trip to Alicia, guys!

‘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

 

 

 

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 experience through Budlaan Falls in Talamban all the way to Mt Kan-Irag also known as Sirao Peak. With the help of our guides, 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 me, 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.

 

 

 

We Survived Our First Trek With a Toddler. | Tips and Lessons

Love her, but leave her wild. ~ Articus, To Kill a Mockingbird

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Ahkirah at Mt Mago.

Two weeks ago, we ticked off another thing from our bucket list — trek with a toddler. Since Ace and I started scaling mountains, it had been our ‘wish‘ to bring our kid(s) with us. As adventurers who value the outdoors, we believe that kids learn life’s little lessons quickly when they are on an adventure. Although we are not blessed with one yet, it did not really bother us because we have nieces and nephews whom we can bring anyway.

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First things first. Friends, meet my sister’s two-year old daughter, Ahkirah. She is the brave soul whom we took with us during our Boundary Climb to Mt Mago two weeks ago.

Like most of our ‘first‘ experiences, the said climb was unplanned and spontaneous. Admittedly, we also wondered how we could survive it, but we did!

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Ahkirah and Demi at the boundary! Hooray!

Here are few things we did to survive it:

  • Never hurry. Let the kid explore.

Kirah toddles a lot. She stopped at anything that interests her. We stopped to pick some wild flowers, we stopped to count the butterflies, we stopped to watch domesticated animals along the way. Knowing that it was her first trekking experience, we let her do just like that. We didn’t want to make her first trek a traumatizing one, instead, we want it to be an adventure that would inspire her young soul to do it again and again. 😀

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  • Bring out the kid in us.

We know that kids get bored quickly. Thankfully, the mountain has a lot of things to entertain the kid’s eyes. However, leaving it to the mountain is not enough. When she got tired, we sang nursery songs and made up funny stories.

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  • Cooperate.

No matter how slow our pace was or how many times we stopped, that one and a half hour climb to the boundary is truly exhausting for Ahkirah. We took turns to carry her when she didn’t feel like walking anymore.

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  • Take short breaks.

Whether we’re traveling with a kid or not, breaks are essential for trips and excursion to give our muscles enough time to relax and regain energy. But we have to limit our breaks into three minutes so we won’t feel more tired.

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  • Stay hydrated and munch on trail foods.

Food is life, water is ‘lifer‘. 😀 I mean, as much as food is important, water is more important. Due to the lack of planning, we only brought 4.5 liters of water with us. We forgot that there was no water source near the summit. We already consumed everything before our descent. Thankfully, we passed by a small community and ask for some refill. As for Ahkirah, we also let her munch on chocolates and sweets.

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  • Embrace dirt.

Get ready to get dirty! Because getting dirty is an adventure itself. We came for dirt, heat, and mud and we got it all. Afterall, the dirt can be washed away, but the memories will last a lifetime.

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  • Always encourage.

Paulo Coelho once said, “Only children believe they’re capable of everything“. But I think, behind every child who believes in himself is someone who believes in him first. I noticed, Kirah becomes more determined to walk farther when we tell her that she could. During our entire hike, we never fail to encourage and praise her for doing a great job.

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And lastly,

  • Teach kids the LNT (Leave No Trace) Principle

Teach the kids so it won’t be necessary to teach adults. I carried a plastic bag with our trash on it on our way back home. Ahkirah asked me why I brought garbage with me, I answered and explained to her the importance of not leaving our trash in the mountains. I reckoned she understood it and I admire her inquisitive attitude. 🙂 It is important to start teaching the kids about caring the nature no matter how old they are. Afterall, it’s for their own future.

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Children are not things to be moulded, but people to be unfolded. ~ Jess Lair

 

We hope you find these tips and lessons helpful. Stay tuned for our Boundary Climb to Mt Mago story in a later post.

Over to you. Have you trekked with a kid before?

 

‘Til our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

Coal Mountain Resort | Bringing You Back To Nature

Let’s wander where the WIFI is weak or where there’s no SIGNAL at all. 

While everybody’s planning for a beach getaway, we, on the otherhand, found ourselves in the middle of the woods, surounded  by mountains, hearing the music not everybody can hear. We’re going back to nature!

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Ace and Demi Coal Mountain Resort Story

Who would have thought a place which was used as a grazing ground for carabaos could give us a total relaxation away from chaotic life in the city? In the outskirts of Argao, lies this wondrous haven called Coal Mountain Resort, a perfect place for those who wanted retreat from the bustling metropolis.

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Find Demi.

The hubby and I had our post-Valentine celebration (we just need some reason to getaway, you know) in this haven. I was very excited that I booked a room more than a week ahead. Well, I think that was just right because when I called, most rooms were already booked and there were only two deluxe rooms left. The staff whom I talked to said the resort is usually full on weekends especially the family and group rooms. So yah, I suggest to book your rooms ahead.

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Deluxe rooms.

Our one hour  butt-aching motorcycle ride was totally worth it. Admittedly though, when we arrived at the resort, I was kind of “disappointed” as there was no wonderful decoration that would make anybody curious and interested to see what’s inside. The look from the outside was very simple and straightforward.

But, see “never judge a resort by its gate”. 😀

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The resort’s viewing deck.

Yet, when we went inside I felt euphoric as I ran towards their viewing deck. It offers a panoramic view of the lush greeneries of the mountains that surrounds the resorts, some of which are part of Dalaguete mountain range. Not to mention the invigorating mountain air, I felt like we were transported to a different world.

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Imagine waking up to this view.

I was very excited to roam around to see what other wonders the resort has to offer. So, right after we threw our bags inside the room, I immediately went to explore the place. Look at this wonderful view from our room, don’t you want to wake up everyday for this?

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Morning view from our room.

It’s wonderful how the resort mainted its homey environment. It so much felt like I was having a vacation in my grandparent’s house in the countryside. Oh, I could live like this forever.

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Stairs to the deluxe rooms.

The resort has three swimming pools, all are fed by free-flowing spring water. But you have to go through the woods to reach the third pool which was the deepest, too.

The first pool is 4ft deep. It is mango-shaped, by the way. It also has a slide for kids or for those who are kids at heart.

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Four-feet pool.

Just when you thought you lost your heart, then you realized it’s in the resort. “Buti pa sa Coal Mountain, may heart.” 😛 Behold, the pool with a heart, er, heart shape. The second pool is 7ft deep. There’s a jumping platform if you want to plunk.

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The pool with a heart, seven-feet deep.

The third pool is the deepest. Imagine 16ft deep. I bet one couldn’t swim more than 15 minutes here because it’s just sooooooo cold. The hubby and I are into cold springs but this is the coldest one that we’d been to so far. I did not reach 5 minutes swimming here because my nerves were already freezing. There is also a diving platform on this pool that rises up to 30ft high. Perfect for “buwis-buhay” exhibition.

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The deepest pool, 16ft.

You have to walk through this canopy walkway in the middle of the woods. It’s quite scary because it was slippery and the steps looked weak. But duh, get that fear out of your system and step carefully. I didn’t expect the hanging bridge to be that far, I honestly felt dizzy before we get to the end of it.

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Canopy walk.

The resort also offered a mining demo which includes exploration of a mining tunnel. It was drizzling during our visit, the soil was wet and muddy, so the hubby decided that we go on full gear with the overall, boots and helmet. But you can opt to just have the helmet and boots if you are not comfortable with the overall. We suggest you try this one. Let’s get to work!

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Ace and Demi, off to work!

Now, get ready to explore the tunnel that stretches up to 145 meters long and 70 feet below the ground. I swear I was anxious while we were still at the entrance of the tunnel. Seeing the dark and narrow hole, I felt like it’s going to swallow me anytime. But the hubby and the guide were so assuring that I was persuaded to continue.

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I’m not scared. Really not scared. 😛

I can’t tell how happy I was when we were about to exit the tunnel. It was an achievement. Along with that fullfillment was a realization. A miners’ life is no easy. The danger while staying several feet below the ground is already something to be scared of, not to mention stooping for hours. But yeah, I did it!

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Ahhh, I did it!

The one thing I loved during our stay in Coal Mountain Resort was the fact that we were so far from the civilization. Our smartphones were not getting any signals in the area. If not because of the camera, we wouldn’t be using our phones during our entire stay in the resort. It was another perfect moment for the hubby and me to talk about us, our life. At night, we stayed at the balcony and gazed at the stars in the sky while we contemplated about mundane affairs.

And oh, for the first time in a long time I saw fireflies coming near me. It’s rare to see them in the cities.

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Chilling.

It was a healing moment — staying outside the room, breathing fresh air and only hearing the sound of the crickets and the night owls. I felt like I was brought back to nature, to the time when there were only trees, water and air.

Our lungs had their dose of cleansing and our eyes were pampered by the green healthy surrounding. We felt so healthy during our two days stay in the resort.

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Ace and Demi are summer ready!!!

We hope you enjoyed our Coal Mountain Resort story. We’d love to hear yours, too. 😀

Stay tuned for our Coal Mountain Resort travel guide in a later post. 

‘Til our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi.

 

 

 

Garden by The Lake | TIEZA Botanical Garden

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TIEZA Botanical Garden

Bloom where you are planted! ~ Anonymous

It has been a while since the infamous Sirao Flower Farm made a fuss all over the web. Curious visitors flocked the place but sadly, due to some people’s negligence, the farm suffered an unfortunate fate. Some were lucky to have witnessed the beauty of the place yet, I wasn’t one of them. When I visited Sirao Flower Farm last January, I did not see any of those that I saw in the internet. All I found were newly sprouting plants finger-span length. The local farmers were trying so hard, pouring their sweats to cultivate those plants, I just hope people know that and we should be responsible enough to take care of the vegetations, too. Let us not be selfish and say “I paid for this. I paid an entrance fee.” Paying the entrance fee does not give us the right to step and kill those flowers. Our money can’t afford the hardwork of the farmers who are working so hard to give us this wonderful view.

(I’m not here to scold or act like ‘I-know-everything-right’. I’m just saying.  LET US DO OUR PART!!!)

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Anyway, here’s another fruit of our local farmers’ labor. The former Philippine Tourism Authority which is now called TIEZA (Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority) is developing the formerly Kan-Irag golf-course located in Barangay Malubog, Busay into a botanical garden by the lake.

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According to the farmers whom we talked to, this lake was once a small hollow filled with rainwater then it resembled a lake. There were wild floras growing around the area and it showed a great potential to become a scenic garden by the lake, hence this project.

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Despite not being able to see the wonderful beauty of Sirao Flower Farm, I am beyond lucky to have seen this enticing beauty of this new attraction. My hopes for this place not to experience downfall because of people’s lack of discipline. Let’s give others the chance to see this beauty.

Leave nothing but footprints. Take nothing but pictures. Kill nothing but time.

 

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Demi in Kan-irag Golf Course.

You might want to visit the place. You can contact our kind driver to take you there just in case you are commuting. Here’s Kuya Roel’s number: 0919-954-4254. If you have your private transport, the place can be accessed through the transcentral highway via JY Lahug and take turn towards the corner of Busay Holiday Pool. You can also ask the locals for directions.

The flower doesn’t dream of the bee. It blossoms and the bee comes. ~ Mark Nepo

 

‘Til our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi