When I hear the word “Spartan”, the first thing that comes to mind is the Greek war– a showdown of dominance between ass-kicking, throat-ripping soldiers from thousand of years ago. But, here in the Queen City of the South, there is a different kind of excitement behind this word. Known to many hikers and trekkers is probably one of the most interesting trails in Cebu, the Spartan Trail. And my friends and I were set out to experience it firsthand.
Our adventure commenced at Paseo Arcenas in Banawa, Cebu City with Zan, Shiela, Predu and moi. What we initially thought was a few heads became a horde of nine giddy folks. I have recently mentioned meeting Demi of Ace and Demi Travel Stories and we were glad to finally meet the Ace of her life this time. They came with two lovely ladies, Niña and Raquel, to add the fun. We have also met the elusive Beboi– who came in last.
Now off we go.
Spartan Trail is recognized by seasoned mountaineers as a training ground for a major climb because of its diverse tracks. The long trail spans from Banawa to Buhisan and ends at Brgy. Pamutan with highlands, waters, and rocks in between.
The hike started off on the paved road of Paseo Arcenas subdivision ascending to the city’s pilgrimage center, Good Shepherd. It was an uphill climb on an open trail but the mountain scale was manageable.
We were guided by Shiela who have been back and forth in the Spartan Trail several times. I should add here that to anyone who wishes to find their destined match, there is a rumor that scaling the Spartan Trail twenty times can lead you to him or her. YAY! 15 more to go for Shiela!
The advantage of first times is you get to see everything with fresh eyes. Despite the heat, we worked our way up to find a breathtaking view of the city.
And… as you all know, my climb is never complete without a book. This time I have brought a very special one from a very special person. Between My Bleeding Lines is a poetry book by my virtual, poet bestfriend, Rosema of A Reading Writer. ❤
After taking our time in this flat-topped hill, we then advanced to the forests descending to the dry river of Buhisan. This time, we were led by Zan who’s climbing for the second time to familiarize the trails. He came prepared, taking notes on the forks and the marks that we passed by, since he was bound to lead a bigger number of hikers very soon.
This part, definitely, is my favorite of our day hike. We walked through the bushes and steep, narrow footpaths until we arrived in a dry riverbed that is often visited by trail runners. The river stream was shallow and, mostly, it was just a long bed of rocks but it gave us a different feeling– like going to the depths of the Amazon.
The trek led us to a waterfall where we rested and prepared for the last leg of our Spartan Trail escapade. Gaah, the water was tempting but it was too shallow for a cannonball. Hence, we just took group photos with Predu’s Huawie GR5. Whoever said 15 seconds is too short must try taking this shot with us. Right, guys?! Haha!
I’m not really a chatty person but the hopeless romantic in me got curious to hear the story behind this adventure-seeking duo. Along the way, I asked Demi and Ace how their love story started because these two were so chill and, boy, who wouldn’t want a travelling match?! Demi and Ace were kind enough to tell us their fun but unusual story. In contrast to what I expected, they didn’t find each other in the mountains. But seeing them together, I’d say the mountains bound them together. ❤
Although we had fleeting doubts if we would make it, the group headed into the woods. Going deeper into the forested trails felt like walking into the very womb of nature. And just as King Agesilaus called his men the Sparta’s wall, Spartan Trail will always have these trees.
We all knew it’d be a seemingly endless assault but we never thought we’d want to see the end this bad. We marched into a battle panting while clambering up the steep hills. Even Predu jokingly said that it’s not only in love that one gets false hope, Spartan Trail has it too.
It wasn’t long until the woods echoed our ‘Arghh!’. A war cry of fallen hikers but these smiles doesn’t show we’re losing though. No we’re not. 😀
…Or So We Thought
Eventually, we reached the end of the lengthy climb with our skin glistening in sweat. But that wasn’t enough the itchy feet. After an hour lunch at Brgy. Pamutan, we hiked our way down the paved roads. Our next destination? Tulong Krus.
We passed by San Carlos heights that offers a great view of Cebu’s skyline. It is also a perfect place to walk, bike, or just simply unwind.
Before heading to Tulong Krus, we took a side trip to a man-made cave which creeped the group. It was dark and bleak and the rumor about cults gave an additional fright. Most of us were curious but too afraid. It was not until Beboi braved getting into the cave first that we loosen up a bit.
The visit to the creepy cave was quick and we advanced to the trails going to Tulong Krus. See those mountains below? Tulong Krus is on the third one. Tired? Yes. Giving up? NO!
I was running low on energy the more I take a stop so I went ahead of the team during this climb. The tall shrubs made the trail hard to see— and I have no sense of direction to begin with— but it was Shiela’s voice that guided me through.
Guess who welcomed me at the top? Mr. Sun in its full glory! Technically, there should be three cross (as the name, Tulong Krus, implies) but I was too immersed at what’s before me. The setting sun and the cold wind played a perfect harmony, one couldn’t help but feast on the view.
This reminds me so much of the Spartan aphorism, “We bow down before no man.” Yes, indeed. Hands down to God and the beauty of nature.
Ending this quite a long blog post with a smile on my face and I hope you, who are reading this, is smiling too. We lost the trail on our way home that we ended up with a night trek. It was fun and exciting and scary all in one but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Will I come back? Yes, definitely. Here’s to more adventures!
You can also check out Predu’s IG account for more stunning photos: @predu_wolf
Signing off, Maria. 😉