There are those rare occasions when you are just awash with self-belief. You wake up in the morning and think you can do just about anything you put your mind into. March 31, 2013 was one of those glory days. It was a Sunday anyway so me and a couple of my friends decided to take on the peak of Mt. Kan-irag (popularly known as Sirao Peak) on a whim. Just like that. The place was quite accessible, just within the metropolitan so we thought reading a few travel blogs was more than enough preparation. We could have never been so wrong.
Nevertheless, it was one of my best travelling experiences ever. There is that certain kind of fun you get from being unprepared for a trek. Everything just seems so fantastical and at the same time absurd. There was one point where we had to climb a cliff (I’m extremely acrophobic) and I was like, I didn’t sign up for this sh*t! But my friends and I are on a different level of crazy so we really get ourselves into these kind of situations a lot. Besides, bad experiences make the best stories, right? And looking back, it wasn’t really that bad. Just don’t mention the “climb the cliff, if you fall, you die” part.
The meeting point was in Sunny Hills village in Talamban. From here, you can ride a habal-habal for 25 pesos and the driver will take you to Sitio Budlaan. This is the jump-off point. Don’t worry if you haven’t been there. The place is so popular to travelers that habal-habal drivers in that area can smell a trekker when they see one. Our fully loaded backpacks and rubber shoes gave us away immediately and before we knew it, we were all aboard our destination.
What to bring?
- Water. Lots of it. I suggest you buy 2 1-L bottles. There’s a Julie’s bakeshop across Sunny Hills just in case you forget.
- Extra tee-shirt. Unless you don’t have pores and sweat glands like most of our reptilian friends, you can omit this one.
- Cap/Sunscreen/Towel. Anything to protect your face from the harsh sun.
- Sweets or energy bars. You’ll need every calorie.
Upon arrival at the jump-off point, travel is done entirely on foot. Just ask the locals for directions.
THE GREEN MILE | We were instantly greeted with this lush vegetation. These huge trees served as canopies above our heads, filtering most of the sun as we walked through the trail.
A GAME OF THORNS | We saw this pineapple across the way. It wasn’t ripe for the picking so we left it alone in its thorny throne.
WORDS OF WISDOM | Good shoes take you good places – Someone
SCAR TREK: INTO THE WILDERNESS | At the beginning, the trail requires you to walk across these massive boulders of rock that are situated beside the river. It is important to wear the right kind of shoes because good footing is a key here if you want a wound-free trek. These rocks are pretty sharp and pointed and they won’t hesitate to slice you up if you give them a chance to do so. It is very important to watch your step.
CHASING WATERFALLS | Despite TLC’s warnings, we did just that, chasing waterfalls. The trail along Budlaan river is dotted with numerous waterfalls. This was the first one. A lot more along the way.
PANAGHOY SA SAPA | We came across this group of kids (well, mostly kids) taking a dip. It was very tempting to dive in ourselves but we still had a peak to climb. We took about a ten minute break before we continued our journey.
COOL OFF | The sun proved to be too hot for us. We took refuge underneath this tree, instead.
Gian however reconnected with his roots and took refuge atop a tree. A similar method done ages ago by his ancestors, the primates. Ha-ha.
LUNCHTIME | After hours of grueling adventure, it was time to refuel. We decided to eat our lunch on this behemoth. In case you’re wondering, the left side is a deep cliff and on the right is another gorgeous waterfalls.
OVEREXPOSED BACONSILOG | BACON+FRIED RICE+EGG+A LOT OF LIGHTING. Courtesy of Silogan Ni Gian
(not related in any way to my friend, Gian).
THE VIEW | Gasp.We had this spectacular view to marvel at. While munching down on our lunch, we had the view of this beautiful waterfalls for dessert and all to ourselves.
BEAT THE HEAT | The lagoon was screaming Dive In! To say no was an exercise in futility so we plunged into the mouth of this basin. I was hoping to see mermaids, sadly none was spotted.
SLIPPERY WHEN WET | After the quick dip, we had to continue on our journey. One of the hardest obstacles along the way was climbing this steep slope. A continuous stream of water flows through these slates of rock, making it slippery and extremely dangerous to climb. And don’t even think about trusting those sneaky patches of moss as they are easily detached from the soft ground from which they are growing.
STRIKE A POSE | Strictly for documentation purposes only. Vanity and Narcissistic tendencies are not tolerated.
BACK TO BLACK | Charcoal is made by means of slow pyrolysis with the absence of oxygen. A pit is dug from the earth, where the pieces of wood are placed. It is then burned while being covered with grass or anything that blocks the entry of air into the pit. We found a pit of such kind along the way.
MOTHER AND SON | We met a few friends along the way.
YOU SHALL NOT PASS | A cow asks for the magic word before we are permitted to pass. Yep you guessed it right, the password is… Moo!
LOST IN PARADISE | At this point, we were truly lost. We just walked and walked for hours not knowing where to go. Should have taken those travel blogs a lot more seriously.
PEAKTURE PEFECT | At 750 meters above sea level, one can even see the sea and most parts of Cebu.
GOING HOME | Flames to dust, lovers to friends. As far as clichés go, all good things must come to an end.
FLOWER BEDS | After a strenuous day, it was nice to see these flower beds on the way down. Wished they were real beds, though.Sirao is truly mother nature’s work of art. Painted with beautiful waterfalls, rivers and gardens, it is a sight to behold. What makes it all the more attractive is the fact that you need not go far from the city to see it for yourself. In fact, it is amazing how I could have missed this Eden after all these years. It makes me think how many hidden gems are here in Cebu just waiting to be explored.