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?

dsc01199
2019… Let’s get it on!

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

dsc01264
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.

dsc01247
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.

sdr

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.

sdr
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.

sdr

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.
dsc01208

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!

sdr
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.
dsc01269

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.

sdr

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

 

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. 😀

23795410_1763585193685537_8901523718127068433_n.jpg

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.

23843549_1763946663649390_7642212874377017240_n

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!

IMG20171105070109

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.

23844393_1763679883676068_2761161236408208509_n
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.)

23844768_1763947006982689_8529029255548429476_n

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.

IMG20171105092428
The dried river. 
IMG20171105091209_1
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. 

IMG20171105101702_1
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. 🙂 

23844411_1763585720352151_7837499517839729316_n
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.

23795107_1763946123649444_539153215465862265_n
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. 

IMG20171105104736_1
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. 

IMG20171105105120_1
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.

IMG20171105113007

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.

23795909_1763678577009532_810158499062457599_n

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.

23794928_1763584883685568_5006275005465253413_n
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