Solo Hike to Mt. Babag, Cebu
My first hike to Mt Babag was last September 09, 2013 together with two office mates and a few of their friends. You can read about it here http://www.dbgg1979.com/2013/09/a-trek-to-the-transmitter-towers-at-babag-cebu/
After that hike, I decided to go back. Solo or not, there were too many photo opportunities that I had to skip just to keep up with the group. I had to go back to this trail at my pace – the landscape photographer’s pace – this time so I can spend more time on taking photos, document the trail and get to know more about the locals in the area.
The usual assembly area is the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Church.
Here you will usually meet other mountaineers waiting for the rest of their group before they start to move out to the starting points of their chosen trails.
I chose the trail I took before and it starts at Napo in this basketball court.
You need to take a motorcycle ride to this place. Fare to Napo is Php20.00 and you share this amount if you want another passenger with you.
From Napo, my hike starts.
Like this little girl. She’s carrying drinking water for her family. I asked her where she got the water and she just pointed into the general direction and told me it’s just up ahead. This is the general answer you get if you ask for directions here. Everything is just a walk away for them.
To us who are not used to the mountain areas, the water source she was talking about probably translates to about 10 to 15 minutes walk for an average person living in the city. She does this every day for their daily water consumption. For a moment, I thought about how wasteful I was with the water I have access to in the city.
A few minutes later, I met these two kids, slowly pacing along the trail with their cargo.
When I saw these two, I was reminded by what I learned from basic mountaineering course. It was suggested that your backpack with all your gears should only weight around 1/3 of your body weight. This is to prevent straining your muscles and injuring yourself. It is cheaper to hire a porter to carry the rest of your pack than the possible hospital expenses repairing what body injury you might end up with. Yet, I can’t imagine the weight of these they’re carrying. No proper padding and support protecting his back and shoulders. Just a sack of charcoal. I asked these boys where they come from. They told me Kahugan (Cahugan?) and that they were heading for Napo. I later learned that Kahugan was actually half way the trail I was walking. I asked to try and lift his cargo and I can’t image reaching Napo from here before evening. But the most surprising thing, he wasn’t even carrying a bottle of water and wasn’t really sweating. I was sweating all over with my 40L backpack and I wasn’t even half way the trail.
Some have it easier.
If you want it easy, you can actually hire a ride to Kahugan (spell check) with one of these motorcycles. From there, you cut your hike to the peak by half, depending on your preferred route to the top. Just be warned that the road isn’t safe and is mainly used for people, not motorcycles. It will be a rough ride.
Continuing the ascend I saw some hillside farming.
I know some environmentalist are not going to like hillside farming and converting forest areas into farm lands. But these people got to make a living and they’ve been doing this for generations.
I finally reached Manuel Roble’s house.
That’s Manuel in the middle and Nanay Emem on the right. This place is a known stop over for mountaineers. The kid is actually a great guide for mountaineers who wish to explore the area. His mom is a very nice person too. I stayed for an hour and we just talked and I got to know more about their family. I bought 2 coconuts from them. I drank the coco water from one and stored the other in my water canteen. Although I estimated enough water for the entire hike, I wasn’t ready for the humid weather and drank too much along the trail I ended up consuming 2/3 of my water when I’m just half way.
For those of you who wish to stop over or in need of a guide, contact Manuel Roble. Here’s his contact number 0932-7653590. In case you need to contact him, please be considerate and just give him a call instead of texting him and waiting for a reply. Tell him you got his number from Brian Gerona and you need a guide.
I’m walking under primary level trees now. With the heavy cloud cover and trees above me, my phone can hardly get a good gps signal.
I really need to invest on a proper gps device like garmin for my future treks. Another one for gears acquisition syndrome!
Then heavy rain poured just when I reached the house.
I had to stay to keep my gears dry. I asked permission from the owner that I take shelter. People in this mountain areas are friendly and accommodating. They even invited me inside when the rain started pouring really hard. But I was really worried now that I might not be able to take photos because of the rain.
This is what I love about landscape photography. Nature never fails to surprise those who have the patience.
I have found a new playground. And I am coming back for more.
Complete photo gallery here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjJXXvPL