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.
I have finally come to admit that some of my Sundays from now on will, probably, be spent with mother nature and fun-loving friends. While this is not a bad way to spend the weekend, it is still a work in progress for the lazy me to juggle my passion for poetry and my new found thirst for adventure. Gaaah!
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.
Jane Austen once wrote, “What are men to rocks and mountains?”
Just recently, my escapade with the adventure-seeking squad echoed this very line as we faced the rocks and mountains of Mt. Manunggal and Mt. Mauyog head on. These are two of the most famous peaks here in Cebu that are often hiked by beginners and seasoned mountaineers alike. And we don’t want to miss that, do we?
We started with a foggy greeting. On our way to Balamban, we were welcomed with a misty surrounding that almost felt like entering a world of miasma. Most of us were worried that we won’t get a chance to see the panoramic view atop but gladly Mr. Sun was kind enough to smile upon us.
From the junction of Brgy. Sunog, we said our prayers and started our trek. I should add here that before anyone can proceed with the adventure, you will have to register and pay various fees. I’m not going to elaborate, though, how we ended up broke but I suggest you bring extra money.
Moving along… It was quite a long walk but a fun one. Thanks to Marc and his Mi Gente, we spend the day with this song in our heads. We even danced uphill but we were badly choreographed. Should we do better next time? Yes, please!!
Yet again, life—in its most pragmatic way— found a means of pulling me away from the blogging world. Normally, I would write my AWOL explanation with a pout. But not this time. The past few weeks have been a delightful pull from the outside world to me and I hope my blogging friends here share this joy too.
Making a difference
My friend Shiela, who is a member of a local trekking enthusiast squad dubbed as “Team Bang”, invited me on a hike for a cause in Toledo City. The event was spearheaded by one of Cebu’s renowned travel blogger, Sir Aldrich Infantado of Bisaya Traveler. I was half-hearted at first because although the adventure-seeker in me was excited, my introvert persona was not. Nonetheless, all these reservations faded the moment I met the warm, friendly team, and the children of Old Bucao Elementary School.
It was a heart-warming experience being able to paint a smile on the children’s faces. They went home not just with a new pair of slippers and 2 kilos of rice but also with renewed hope. The fulfillment in our hearts will always be incomparable.
A time for adventure
After the fun program with the kids, we started ascending to the higher lands of Gen. Climaco. This village in the south sits on a very scenic and peaceful land, it reminds me so much of my very own hometown.
Located in the heart of the barangay is one of their pride, the Malubog Lake, which is aptly named for its thick, dark waters. The sun was getting fiery but we all can’t help but stop and savor the view.
Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity” ― John Muir
I’ve been out of blogosphere for quite a time because… life happens. BUT so much for that, I’m happy to be back! 😀 😀 😀
So, for now, here’s a sneak peak of my trekking adventure with friends last April 9 at O-Peak.
Osmeña Peak, most often known as O-Peak, is the highest mountain in Cebu famous for its picturesque view of the countryside. It offers a breathtaking view of the sunrise and sunset, a tedious yet worth-all-the-sweat climb atop the jagged hills, a blanket of moon and stars during the night, and endless laughter and smiles. Personally, I’d say it looked like we were transported to another world. Hmm… say, Middle-earth. ❤
Long winding road awaits an uphill stride Patch of clouds over cerulean skies Sunrays piercing through the haze Nature’s raw beauty wrapped in silence With nothing but birds singing of mirth The gentle rush of trees to the wind’s caress Climb the jagged, rocky mountains petrified in gray It’s the south’s Middle Earth, so they say Eyes squinting to the beauty beforehand O-Peak boasts such scenic mountain range Two eager feet race to reach the summit I receive more than what I seek
Day 11:Today, I challenge you to write a poem in which you closely describe an object or place, and then end with a much more abstract line that doesn’t seemingly have anything to do with that object or place, but which, of course, really does. An abstract, philosophical kind of statement closing out a poem that is otherwise intensely focused on physical, sensory details. Happy writing!
P.S. This poem is inspired by my weekend getaway with friends. The photo above was just the beginning of our long-winding journey to the Queen City of the South’s pride, Osmeña Peak. YAY! *flags up*
Imagine the villas in Venice, the streets in Paris, and the bridges in Spain. Café Talk has definitely made an alluring theme with its unique combination of European and Korean styles. The posh interior has beautifully arched windows, porch grills and hanging bridges. The place looks really lovely, I almost felt like I was in the exact scene where Romeo & Juliet exchange their balcony lines.
Café Talk is quite narrow since both sides were occupied with private cubicles from top to bottom leaving only a stretched hallway in the center. Please be warned that this place is not meant for people who are uncomfortable with crouching or staying in tight spaces. However, if you’re up for a quiet and relaxed time with your beloved or a solitary introvert who wants to chill out, this is a good place for you. Continue reading “When European style meets Korean-themed cafe “→
“We all want to be certain, we all want proof, but the kind of proof we tend to want-scientifically or philosophically demonstrable proof that would silence all doubts once and for all-would not in the long run, I think, answer the fearful depths of our need at all. For what we need to know, of course, is not just that God exists, not just that beyond the steely brightness of the stars there is a cosmic intelligence of some kind that keeps the whole show going, but that there is a God right here in the thick of our day-by-day lives who may not be writing messages about himself in the stars but who in one way or another is trying to get messages through our blindness as we move around down here knee-deep in the fragrant muck and misery and marvel of the world. It is not objective proof of God’s existence that we want but, whether we use religious language for it or not, the experience of God’s presence. That is the miracle that we are really after. And that is also, I think, the miracle that we really get.”
This has always been one of my favorite quotations from renowned author / storyteller Frederick Buechner. For such a powerful message crafted to embody a huge amount of truth not just to non-believers but to devotees alike, I can’t even start to amplify. There is one simple truth, in my point of view, though that I have always tried to live by— day by day. That in the midst of happiness, confusion, fear, and emptiness, along with everything that happens in between, God is always with us, within us. That in the midst of the unending battle between science and faith, between the word of God and science theories, there is something that goes beyond reason. That at the end of the day if we really try to let go of everything and just stare at the stars, look deeper into our feelings, maybe— just maybe, we’ll experience the miracle we’ve always wanted. Not the miracle that we see or touch but something that we feel within us. A feeling that would makes us smile at the starry night for a reason that goes beyond words and paragraphs. A feeling that would make the silence seems so loud.