A Peak & A Hot Spring in One Adventure


No trek is ever the same even if you’ve done it many times. This was my 3rd trek in Mt. Lanaya. Yet each and every time is a different experience. And if I were to pick the best, nah, I’ll pass. Last Saturday, June 11-12 is as good as the first (2013 via Legazpi – Lumpan) and the 2nd (2015 via Lumpan – Legazpi, same as this trail).

06
Views of Lanaya – the mountain side below and the sea side on top!

It was another great weekend with NCR Trekkers Club at a trek we dubbed as “Freedom Climb” since it falls on the “Independence Day” weekend. It was NCR Trekker’s 8th mountain after Naupa in January, Lanigid in February, Osmena in March, Mago in April, Kandungaw in May and just last weekend, Mt. Babag & Chalet Hills. There were 28 trekkers who joined the adventure that started in Brgy Lumpan in Alegria and ended in Mainit Springs in Malabuyoc just like my 2nd trek, a first with NCR Trekkers in Lanaya.

Like any other trek, it was great but not without hiccups. Thanks to God we were able to triumph over it with no injuries. Great climbs were not meant to be flawless. It had to be flavored with an epic adventure. We had that adventure by being lost. My emotion got the best of me for some time and then it faded when I realized my responsibilities. I had to be bigger than my angst.

From that trek, I realized how hard it is to be the “Sweeper”. It takes a lot of patience and empathy. And as I have always mentioned, I fall short of the two. Still I’m thankful for the experience. It lets me see a different view of the entire trek. But I’m most thankful to the 2 people who are always there to back me up. Without them, no trek would be as good as it always does. 🙂

So here are the 12 things that made this adventure as good as the first 2 experiences:

1. We were able to achieve the “Apas” group for the 2nd time. Hooray!!! In support of the husband’s habitual Friday late nights, we had to adjust accordingly. Last time I was pretty confident with Kandungaw but not this time. Thanks to God I was able to lead us safely to the campsite even if it was a different trail. Haha! =)

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Apas team starting the ascent at 5:30 PM!

2. We had a better and muffin-free camp. Last time, we camp in front of the cool looking trees but now we were nestled at a small enclosure near the “shortcut”. Our tents are closer compared to the previous too.

02
Checking the camp if it was NCR Trekkers camp. Bottom right pic shoes the “regular group” passing by the previous campsite.

3. Breakfast at the peak achieved again. Yahoooo! This time the team got bigger. Because, we weren’t able to visit the peak at sunset unlike the “regular” group, we had to wake up at 5AM to see the sunrise. We arrived at the peak at 5:30 AM, brought a cook set and a burner. Boiled water while waiting for the sunrise. We had oat meals and fruits.

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Breakfast at Lanaya’s Peak! Hello Rey – our unexpected guest. 🙂
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Group pic sans Junji’s team who chose sleep over sunrise at the peak!
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Another group pic at the seaside. The pole was quite useful as a camera stand. 😀

4. We had an unexpected “recruit”. While waiting for the bus to Alegria which was surprisingly populated when we assembled at 11AM, I saw a familiar face – a neighbor from our condo. He was as surprised as I am for seeing each other. He commented that he never thought of me as the adventure type. Haha! Oh well, everyone’s 1st impression of me. Thus the blog to prove them wrong. 😛 It wasn’t long before he got comfortable with the rest of the group. His stories of Tres Marias and Guiting2 entertained us while we are waiting for our turn. He was supposed to join a group in cleaning Kanlaob river but to our surprise, he ditched them when they got off in Alegria. Lol He is indeed one of a kind. He’s a great addition to my already quirky group. Hehe

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While waiting for our turn. We spent 1.5 hours waiting. Left at 12:30 and was in Alegria at 4:30 PM.

5. Socials assignment continued. This time it was Barbie who started it. Thanks to him, we had wine to pair our laughter with. No #hugots this time but instead, we were looking back on our trekking adventures. Happy to have known 1 who is really a first timer. I just hope Lanaya wouldn’t put out her flame. Lanaya can be pretty tough for a first timer. 😀

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Dinner time!
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Socials started at 8:30 PM followed by a game of “Werewolves”!

6. “Werewolves” with 27 people was a ruckus but still fun! I still can’t get over the fact that all the werewolves were from the “Apas” group and my guests. Haha! Well mostly, all the roles really: Barbie – the Scapegoat, Jane – the Seer, Didit – the Little Girl, Cha – the Defender, Migo – the Nurse, Werewolves: Liz, Ziel, Dee, Marvin & Ricco. Only me, Junji & Rey had no roles, hepless “Villagers”. Van2 was the witch. Last time 4 all girl villagers survived with me as the most annoying villager. Haha! Now almost half of the villagers were saved. Thanks to the most “ichusera villager” of all time – Bujoy. Being friends with influence get her so far indeed.

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Remaining villagers, the survivor!!!

7. Call time was almost achieved with a 30 minute delay. We left the camp at 8:30 this time. Kandungaw was an hour late so it’s an improvement.

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Breaking up camp and cam-whoring while waiting.
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Finally a group picture!

8. No major injuries despite the fact that it rained when we went down to Legazpi. We had hiccups with some guests. A shoes needed a medic. The sole falls out and she was having a hard time. And another almost had cramps.

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Going down the almost vertical descent!
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Medic shoe break for Leizel!

9. We got lost for a while but eventually angels were sent to lead us to the right path. We were already famished when we arrived at Mainit Springs by 1:30 PM, 5 hours after we started.

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Bottom right peak is where I left my bag to scour for the lost sheeps.

10. I learned a great lesson. One that I would cherish. My respect for “Sweepers” have grown immensely. After that ordeal, I swore never to be on the tail again but thinking about it now makes me want to be a sweeper again. There’s just so much in a trek that you could only see when you are seeing it at the back. 🙂

11. We were able to put up LNT sign again. This time we put it on the trail.

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This trek’s LNT champion is Van2x supported by Jumz plus our new overnight joiners.

12. From what happened last weekend, I was more fired up to implement that “ribbon” thing or put up signs on the trail. It is important for the guests to be aware of the difficulty of the trail too. Next time, we should be firm in implementing that the inviter should tell their guests about the nature of the trek. We are all for fun and sometimes, thinking of the safety of other people can suck the fun away. Each and everyone needs to treat each other as companions too. It is supposed to be a rule to be mindful of the one in front and behind you on the line. NEVER lost sight of the one in front of you and ALWAYS check if you have the person following you is still around. If that simple rule isn’t followed then problems will arise. We are not on a race, we are on a trek. Well, we can always do a race if we don’t have neophytes.

But all is well that ends well. Mainit Spring is still rejuvenating but unfortunately, Montañeza falls was closed down because of some rock issues. There’s the dispute of the road too. We had to pay Php5 to exit. It’s weird. And when we finally reached the highway, most buses were full. We had to squeeze in at a full bus. Good thing a lot of them got off at Alegria. Wew!

Freedom climb at Lanaya is another one for the books but I would love to go back via Legazpi soon even if I have to pay the exorbitant price. Hehe! And ohh, did I mention I was having muscle pains in the leg. Wew! That was indeed a great pre-climb for Tres Marias. Hopefully, no more muscle pains on Friday. I’m very excited nowww. Tickets are ready. Yay!!!

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Finally cozying at Mainit Springs!
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Migo and Miga getting ready to go home!
view1
Kandungaw-like view of Lanaya. The big rock before the peak!
view2
#OOTD pic at Kalo-kalo peak!

Climbing With A Purpose @ Mt. Babag, Cebu


Mt. BABAG

This was my 3rd day trek in Babag and the 2nd trek with a purpose. The first was an outreach climb in December 2014 where we made at least a hundred kids happy. The 2nd was a Sunday trek as a pre-climb for a major trek in Alto Peak.

I heard a lot of hearsay about Babag’s difficulty. It was one of the few mountains in Cebu with a lot of continuous and steep ascents making it very ideal for preparing a major climb. Since all my treks have been day treks, I wouldn’t know for sure just how difficult Babag could be with my usual pack. It has been OK for now. Tired but bearable.

We were supposed to join as a club to a local Cebu mountaineering group in cleaning up Mt. Kan-irag. But as we were checking the list, there were at least 2 other groups who’d do the same. Because of our number, we decided to change our destination and enlist.

There were 3 mountain nominees and Mt. Babag won. It was very ideal since no other groups were listed. A week before the climb, some members expressed fear when the story about the cobras that escaped in Cebu Zoo resurfaced (searched for news article but I couldn’t find one). Even with our assurance that it’s generally safe and no cobra incidents were reported, the news continued.

At our pre-climb, we announced to everyone about the “cobra news” and opened an option to those who were afraid. It was too late to change the mountain already.

Surprisingly, majority of the registrants opt to join Mt. Babag still. Only 11 who had prior schedule in the morning joined the new group that would go to Chalet Hills directly. The Babag group started in the morning while the Chalet group started in mid-afternoon.

BabagChalet
Babag group: divided into 3 sub-groups Head, Mid & Tail led by Tats (NCR Trekkers Adviser), AJ (NCR Trekkers Pres) & Kring (NCR Trekkers Secretary) respectively, Chalet group led by Analyn (NCR Trekkers VP)!

Because it was a cleanup activity, a give back to the community and not just for fun, NCR Cebu provided food for the participants. Php 5600 were given. Babag group was provided a 1-pc chicken from Jollibee while Chalet group had Red Ribbon Mamon and Zest-o juice.

Babag group was a big group of 54. To manage the group well and to cater to those who are late, it was divided into 3 groups. Each group was scheduled to leave at 15 minutes interval. Head group was led by Tats, mid-group was led by AJ and the tail-group was led by me. We were the last group to leave the church at 9:30 AM.

01 Orientation
Lunch & ID distribution before the orientation!
02 Group Pic
Babag group was divided into 3 sub-groups: Head, Mid and Tail. Head group led by Tats (NCR Trekkers Adviser), Mid group led by AJ (NCR Trekkers Pres), Tail group led by Kring (NCR Trekkers Secretary).
03 Warmup
Warm-up at Napo Basketball Court!

At 10 AM, we started the cleanup and was at Manuel’s Manggahan at 12PM. After an hour the trek resumed. We were at RCPI towers after an hour and a half of walking.
We had a long stop at the road to the towers. After we had our rest, we went to the towers, had our group picture and proceeded to Chalet Hills.

04 Cleanup
Tail group in action on the way to RCPI towers!
lunch time
Lunch time!

CHALET HILLS

We arrived earlier than expected. As planned, we waited for the Chalet group. They arrived after 30 minutes of our rest time.

While we were waiting, some wanted to play but to my dismay, it took a lot of my convincing powers. And personally, I don’t want to play as well so I leave it as is. Haha! I am actually not missing much since I can always play on our overnight treks.

I was exhausted but restless. When the Chalet group started cleaning, I joined them. I needed pictures for documentation as well. It was a chance to explore the hills too.

05 Cleanup
Chalet group in action at Chalet Hills!

We cleaned the vicinity of the big camp and the small camp above it. To be honest, I never expected Chalet Hills to be that beautiful. Because it was just a hill and is very accessible, I didn’t have the desire then. It all changes when I realized I could bring my un-trekking friends camping in there. I should do it soon. 🙂

BABAG MEETS CHALET GROUP

GroupPic
The participants at Chalet Hills after the cleanup taking a pose before the final announcements.

After Chalet group was done cleaning, I pushed for the group picture since I noticed the Babag group’s bored face. To my (2nd) dismay, nobody wanted to move again. Phew! A test of patience indeed. I actually thought of just letting go of the big group picture. But of course I had to. I sensed some annoyance but I hope they would understand the value of documentation since it was after all a company-sponsored activity. We were not there simply to enjoy but to fulfill a responsibility. I need the pictures as proof. And is there a better way to show that it was a successful event than by pictures?

I may had some slight annoyance but overall, it was another kick-ass event. Thankful to God that despite the dangers of cobra and this, we were all safe. We were able to carry out our regular mission to spread the awareness of LNT by posting signs on the 2 camps of Chalet Hills. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find an appropriate place to post our sign in Babag so we put everything in Chalet Hills. This was our 3rd sign since our first sign posted in Mago Peak.

BigCampLNT
NCR Trekker’s guest (July) putting up the LNT sign at the big camp.
SmallCampLNT
NCR Trekker’s guests (Norie & Jay) putting up the LNT sign at the small camp.

But of course, I am especially proud because the husband was one of the champion. He was quite handsome with the cleanup shirt as well. ❤ Thanks to Maria. It was supposed to be mine but Migo said it was too big for me. Just so happy he wore it. Liz was not able to join the cleanup 'cause she went with Maria to clean Kandungaw.

MigoMiga
Migo wearing the cleanup shirt and me wearing the Ambassador shirt.

After the final announcements, most left. Regular trekkers stayed until 6 PM enjoying the sunset. Finally had our chance to cam-whore too. Thanks to Wandering Soul Scamper for the lovely photos.

IMG_8582
This one is my favorite. Totally captured the playful me and the ever-supportive husband. 🙂

More Purposeful Climb @ Mago Peak, Carmen, Cebu


The plight of Osmeña Peak has been heartbreaking to us who have seen it’s beauty before trekking has become somewhat mainstream. It’s sad and disappointing. Lately, more and more beautiful mountains or spots in Cebu has fallen into the hands of human nature – selfishness, carelessness and no love for the environment. We’ve seen some and are greatly affected thus aside from our main purpose of encouraging our office mates to enjoy and experience nature via trekking, NCR Trekkers has added a new line in our mission: to help what we can in keeping the beauty of every place we visited. Last weekend, we visited Mago Peak for the first time and was astounded by it’s beauty.

01
LNT sign posted by our NCR Trekker champion of the month, Gamz!

In living up to our mission, we posted an LNT sign to a post on the way to the peak. We wanted to put it in the peak but it had nothing to tie the rope on. Aside from posting an LNT sign, we aimed to clean the camp site and the vicinity of the mountain as well. Fortunately, Mago Peak is still clean. We are hoping it will stay clean forever.

02
Participant’s in this weekend’s activitiy! 7 day trekkers and 13 overnighters of which 13 are NCR employees and 7 guests. Official photo ops at Mago peak. – Pics from Sanberth aka Nognog.

A plea to those who can read this post and be enticed to visit, PLEASE, PLEASE be responsible enough to follow the LNT ethics. If you don’t know about it, I strongly suggest you should know. It’s time we start caring for our environment. Don’t be JUST a mere spectator and bitch about what’s happening. Be an agent of change and PLEASE, DO SOMETHING if you ever saw anyone breaking the code. 

This weekend’s climb is NCR trekkers’s less populous activity with only 20 participants in total of which 13 are NCR employees and 7 are guests.  13 enjoyed the overnight at the camp near the boundary marker. The peak was not fit for camping since the grass were just burned. We chanced upon a local who told us the reason why the grasses needed to be burned.

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Yip that’s fire in there. Some parts of the mountains on the way to Mago is burnt. That’s not of course fire due to carelessness. The local said, the fire was intended to make way for new grasses to grow. The cows no longer eat old grasses, they have to be burn so that new ones will grow and the cows will like to eat them again.

Road to Santican, The Jump-Off

Mago peak is almost an hour ride from Carmen Public Market via habal2x. The fare was quite steep but it’s worth it. The ride is really long and be prepared to have muscle pains on your leg. The road to Santican was uphill with most parts under construction. The view was nice though. You can pass a road with some pine trees. You can catch a glimpse of Lhuilliers’ richness too.

04
View on the road. Took this on the 2nd day. I was too scared to take snaps on the way since I am very concerned with my safety in the habal2x ride.

Trek Proper

Duration of trekking to Mago Peak is around 2 hours with numerous stops. We needed it since it’s very hot. Everyone was clamoring for the next shade which were very countable. The vast brown mountains reminds me of walking through Pulag. On our first uphill climb, on top of it is a tree, from there we could already see the peak.

05
The first longer uphill trek!
06
This tree provide relief from the scorching summer hotness. We could already see the mountain where the peak is from here!
07
The view from the tree. See the trail on the mountain slopes, yes that’s part of the trail to Mago. This view is my favorite!
08
Last hurray till the peak. The arrow represents the camp site near the boundary marker of Carmen, Tuburan and Danao. The star represents the electricity post where we tied our LNT sign. Just 5 minutes from the post is Mago Peak.

Overnight Camp

Mago peak is both good for overnight or a day hike. When we reached the peak at 4:00 PM, we had our group picture and decided to camp on another site. Our plan was either to camp near the boundary or go back all the way to the tree. But the tree is still a long way up so we settled near the boundary.

09
The camp site! We had our official group picture on top of the hill at the background of the camp. The view was really nice from up there.
09-0
Top is setting up camp! Bottom is breaking the camp!
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Extended view of the camp. Top right picture has the post where we put the LNT sign. Bottom pictures are views of the camp from the hill.

The food, socials and more

Like always, trekking with NCR trekkers is both rewarding in body, mind and spirits. The 13 trekkers enjoyed the full moon in Mago knowing and learning from each other, listening to horror stories, breaking and strengthening new friendships by playing “Werewolves”.

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In keeping up with the mantra of creating quality trekkers rather than quantity, everyone is encouraged in preparing the food and helping cleanup after. It’s our dream for every NCR trekker members and guests to know how to prepare, cook and clean up. We not only enjoy the outdoors but learn whatever we can as well.

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Breakfastttt!
12-0
Group pic at the boundary marker before going down!

Mangitngit Falls

We ended the event at a dip in Mangitngit falls, a newly opened tourist spot in Carmen. Much of it was still under construction though but still enough to refresh our bodies before heading back to reality…home.

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Preparing lunch at our exclusive spot in Mangitngit. We transferred the table here just so we could roam away from the crowd.
13-1
Mangitngit falls is off limits this time since an accident happened weeks before. We can only take a picture of it.
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Overnighters minus Sanberth who ditched us before Mangitngit falls, Didith and Dena who left after lunch.

Itinerary:

Day 1
8:00 Participants started arriving
(Waiver & attendance signing while waiting)
9:00 ETD from North Bus Terminal
(This is departure time, no more allowance.
If you are responsible with no Filipino mindset,
you can arrive on the dot.
For those who are not, arrive early.)
09:05 Actual departure from North Bus Terminal (Yehey! NOT Filipino time…almost!)
11:00 ETA Carmen Public Market (LUNCH)
11:45 Actual departure to Brgy Santican
12:00 Last batch of departure to Brgy Santican
– Distribution of IDs
13:00 ETA Brgy. Santican
(Registration @ Brgy Hall)
(Pre-camp briefing)
(Prayer & warm-up)
13:30 Start trek
14:30 ETA of water source
(No water this time. It’s dried up!)
15:15 Foot of Mago Peak
16:00 ETA Mago Peak
(Not feasible for camping since the grass are burned.)
16:30 Day trekkers start to descend (back trail)
17:00 Setup Camp near the boundary indicator
17:45 Day trekkers arrived at jump-off
18:00 Prepare for dinner
(Pinoy dinner for 13/pax: 2 lechon manok, 2 packs of dilis in tomato, 7 cups of rice)
18:30 Socials
19:00 Day trekkers arrived at Carmen Public Market

Day 2
05:00 Wake up call
05:30 Actual Waking Time
(Breakfast Preps)
07:30 Breakfast
(Not very ideal, the sun is high up and it’s very hot.)
(Continental breakfast for 13/pax: scrambled egg, hotdog, sardines w/ egg, corned beef, spam, 2 loaves of sliced bread)
08:30 Break Camp
09:00 Trek start
10:45 ETA in Brgy. Santican
11:00 ETD to Mangitngit Falls
12:00 ETA in Mangitngit Falls, lunch preps
13:00 Lunch
(Modern lunch for 13/pax: tuna w/ cabbage, spam, sobra for breakfast, 7 cups of rice)
15:30 ETD from Mangitngit falls
16:00 ETA in Carmen Public Market
18:00 ETA in SM City, Cebu via mini-bus

Expenses individual:
P40 Bus from North bus to Carmen Public Market
P100 Habal2x from Carmen Public Market to Santican Brgy Hall
P100 Habal2x from Santican Brgy Hall to Mangitngit Falls
Php50 Entrance in Mangitngit Falls
Php50 Mangitngit Falls to Carmen Public Market
P40 Mini-bus from Carmen Public Market to North bus
Total: P380.00

Php200 Table in Mangitngit Falls (dividided by 12)

A Foggy Welcome at Kandungaw Peak, Dalaguete


Dalaguete has always been known for Osmeña Peak but unbeknownst to many, there is another camping destination that can be reached via Dalaguete too.

NCR Trekkers visited Dalaguete again last November 28-30, 2015, this time the mighty Osmena was not our purpose but the less trodden path that leads to Kandungaw Peak in Maloray, Dalaguete. It was a long weekend since the 30th was a holiday so we aimed for 2 mountains in Cebu, Kandungaw Peak and Lanaya in Alegria.

Cebu has a lot of mountains but none of them is that hard to be trekked for more than a night. It was actually nice because you could combine 2 or more mountains in a single trekking adventure.

So far here are the mountains that you could combine based on our experience:
1. Mauyog and Manunggal in Balamban
2. Babag and Chalet Hills in Babag
3. Kandungaw and Lanaya – this trek. Take note though that Dalaguete and Alegria is on each sides of Cebu. It can be trekked but its advisable to take a motorbike via the Alegria access road from Dalaguete.

It was a multi-stop escapade with more motorbike rides than trekking which means more fun. Our first destination was Kandungaw then hailed a motorbike to Cambais Halls. Before reaching Cambais, we visited 2 caves in Alegria. After the falls, while me and some of our companions went home, the others proceeded to Lanaya to camp for the second night.

First stop: Kandungaw Peak
Just like going to Osmena, we rode the bus bound to Mantalungon market directly. We had lunch at the market and rode a habal2 to Maloray.

The journey to the peak started at a cemented stairs that ended at a water source. A local path then followed where we passed by a house and some locals upon going up.

The hike up was steep but tolerable except for the part where we need to climb a rock. The climb is more or less an hour and a half from the main road.

2nd Stop: Kandungaw Cave
It was a foggy afternoon. We didn’t see the whole splendor of Kandungaw due to the fog but that didn’t stop us from exploring the small cave just below the peak. There was a resting hut where we leave our packs before going down to the cave.

3rd Stop: Kandungaw Camp
We were a big group so camping near the peak was not possible. There were at least 1 more camping places that we considered but we settle for the big space just some steps away from the big rock climb. Had we known we were to camp there, it would have been nice to camp and leave our packs first before visiting the peak and the cave.

We spent the night at Kandungaw with our usual favorites – the Socials after our dinner. Lights off at 10 PM.

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