It was not so long ago when Mt. Manunggal and Mt. Mauyog left my friends and I in a destitute (but delightful) state, but here we are again: rushing to the north bus terminal, all set and ready for another day of fun and adventure. Where to now?
We already have hiked to the south for a heart-warming cause. This time, the gang decided to face the north— specifically, to see what the municipality of Carmen has to offer. Travelling with me were the usual faces Shiela, Juju, Marc and Zan. The adventure was led by the one and only idol wanderer, Reymund. It was also great to meet new travel buddies in Mel, Fons, Justin and Micah. YAY!
Our bus trip took less than two hours before reaching the town of Carmen. We actually arrived earlier than expected which gave us enough time for a quick breakfast and buying essentials. What made this trip extra special is that none of us has set foot in Mt. Mago. The thought of wandering (and getting lost) to the unknown makes our hearts beat with excitement.
The jump off point to Mt. Mago is located at Barangay Santican, Carmen. Hikers need to get on a long and uphill habal-habal ride to get there but, we promise, the experience will be more than worth the drive. En route to the barangay, our eyes feasted on the verdant green landscapes of Carmen and our curiosity sparked upon passing by the M Lhuillier Farm. From the road, you can already see what the upcoming 100-hectare upland safari has to offer. The sight of the cows, stallions, and aviary is enough to tease our imagination. Hmm… another reason for us to come back!
After an hour ride, we finally reached the jump off point and were led by our guide to the trails going to Mt. Mago. Of course, a trek wouldn’t be complete without a prayer.
An Unexpected Journey… to Shire
Before reaching the peak Mt. Mago, hikers have to go through a series of hill and mountain trails. I must say, it is one of nature’s most spectacular surprise to me. Shout out to all Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit fans— this place, ladies and gents, is Cebu’s very own Shire!
One look at those Shire-like landscapes and you will be transported to the realm of the Middle Earth running around like hobbitses.
And can you imagine how shocked I was to have brought the perfect book?! Yay! I’m a happy hobbit!! 😍❤️
Brave men raised the Philippine flag but we were all cheering loudly for our first-time hiker, Fons! Here’s to climbing more mountains!
Mt. Mago’s peak was not as picturesque as the hills that we passed by but we did had fun taking pictures.
Just before reaching the peak of Mt. Mago is the boundary sign between three municipalities- Carmen, Danao, and Tuburan. Three places at once, how cool is that?! 😀
Prelude to Horror
The group, weird as we already are, also decided to give this trip a twist. Halloween came early in the mountain with our costumes and evil laughs. BWAHAHA! It was a lot of fun!
The Desolation of Smaug Three Men
Before going to Mangitngit Falls, our guide told us about a cave that is unknown to most. We headed into the quiet and unassuming Titip cave. One wouldn’t know it exist from the entry point since it is a hidden dark cavern, most likely 20 feet below the ground. This reminds me of the dungeon from which Smaug hides. Scary!
Concerned with our safety, Marc, Idol, and Juju descended into the cave to check first. What happened next was out of our control. Seconds turned to minutes then to hour. We never heard from the three men— not a sound, just complete silence. The rest of us waited with frustration and fear and crazy thoughts. Are they alive? Were they sacrificed by cults? Were they possessed?
It was not until we heard their faint voices that we felt at ease. We were relieved, yes. But the three men had to endure our bash and stinging stare from then on. Lesson learned: Thou shall not make your friends worry.
Despite not being able to witness the secrets of Titip cave, Marc was kind enough to take photos for us. The cave was enchanting with its clear subterranean pool of cold water. The cave’s stalactites and stalagmites speak of its age and splendor. It was so much like Bohol’s Hinagdanan cave, only darker.
Hidden in the outskirts of Carmen is the cascading waters of Mangitngit Falls. Too bad tourists aren’t allowed to get close to the this two-tiered waterfall at the moment. Hence, its a long distance love affair for us and its waters.
We did get a quick at dip at the Middle Earth cold spring pool before we end our journey. It was indeed fun while it lasted.
You can also check out Marc’s IG account for more stunning travel photos: @theweekdaytraveler
Happy hobbit, signing off. Until next time! 🙂 ✌🏿