“If travelling was free, you’d never see me again.”
“I simply love the mountains.”
Three friends out for a hike to the mountains with those quotes plastered on their shirts and you’d think they’re out to make that day an adventure kind of day.
Michael, Mohan and I met at Guadalupe Church at 10AM, which was the usual jump-off point for hikers going up the mountain. Mt. Babag is the highest point of the mountain range across the Cebu City background. Peaking at 752 meters above sea level, it is where most of the province’s communication towers are erected. It’s also host to several hiking trails that local climbers use for practice climbs to prep for the major ones. Before going up, we stopped by a man selling buttered chicken and puso (hanging rice) and bought our lunch provisions.
This was my first hike up a mountain after a camping stint in Osmeña Peak a few years back. Turns out, Mohan and Michael hadn’t done much hiking lately either so we were all really hyped up for the day’s adventure. Michael had summited Mt. Babag six times several years ago so he became our designated guide.
We were already sweating bullets by the time we reached Napo. Good thing we had comfortable, cotton shirts on courtesy of KAI. KAI (Facebook page here) is a clothing line founded by a group of friends who are outdoor enthusiasts. They are based in Cebu and are starting to make a name in unique, trendy clothing apparel. They specialize in dry-fits and cotton shirts that are light and comfortable to wear. Mine fit very well and felt comfortable even though I was sweating a lot from the hike. What really enticed me with these shirts were the catchy quotes they have printed on them which were different from the ones already in the market today. While those bank on humor and jokes, KAI relates deeply to a person’s adventurer heart.
The terrain to Mt. Babag definitely didn’t disappoint. We were switching from concrete trails, to gravel, through muddy trails, to grass. My legs had their workout from the steep uphill angles while my knees got the brunt work when we go downhill.
We savored the view of rolling hills, the river, the communication towers, and the city landscape. The panoramic view was picturesque!
We also happened upon a really huge ant that I had first thought to be a black, praying mantis. The two immature boys I was hiking with teased me to bits for the better of two minutes because I didn’t recognize the critter for what it is.
We would meet locals hauling up bags of charcoal or vegetables on their bags, making their way to Guadalupe to sell their produce at the market. They’d look up, smile at us and greet us a good morning. Some kids would wave at us too. We were plowing through tall grass that had sharp leaf blades making me regret wearing short shorts for the hike. At first it just seemed like my legs felt itchy so I didn’t really thought about it. But when we stopped to rest for a bit, it was when I realized what the red streaks on my legs were. They were from the grass cutting through my skin.
Before getting to the summit, we happened upon a house selling softdrinks with a table propped up outside. We took our lunch there while enjoying the scenic view.
We were only a few meters from the towers and the trail towards the summit wasn’t as hard as the ones we’ve been earlier. Plus, two chicken wings, puso, and a bottle of coke have energized us. We were set!
Touchdown! The towers were so tall and imposing. After that entire steep ascent, the huffing and puffing, the leg cuts and almost getting lost, finally seeing the towers that close was a great fulfillment. We then followed the road downhill, which would lead us to Veteran’s Road. From there, the road would lead to Mountain View where one can ride a jeepney going to JY Square and to the city.
Well you’d think that’s it. I thought that was it too but we saw Chalet Hills on the way and we just had to have our pictures taken with that amazing backdrop. And capoeiristas that we are, smiling in front of the camera wasn’t enough.
I went home exhausted (with battle scars) and spent. I’ve done some hiking before but I couldn’t remember ever hiking that long and ever feeling that tired. There had been moments when the climb was so steep or slippery I’d second-guess making it through. There have been times when I wanted to just drop down and stop. But I kept thinking – I had my friends who believed I could make it and going back is not an option. And in the end, you see a breath-taking view that makes it all worth it.
So when you think about it, that’s what makes life THE best adventure. It’s not always rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes life throws lemons. All we have to do is push forward because the view at the top? It’s gonna be worth it.