Metro Cebu, with its seemingly endless stream of traffic and relentless energy, can sometimes overwhelm the fittest and the mentally strongest people. And just like any busy Cebuano with a full-time job, I’ve been feeling a little burned out for the past couple of weeks, working ceaselessly on a variety of projects. Thankfully, though, Mount Babag and a few of travel buddies came to the rescue to help me stay sane and break the monotony of my daily grind.
After our unforgettable Candongao Peak trek, me and my new crew couldn’t stop talking about our next outdoor adventure. From Mount Naupa to Mount Mago, there were plenty of suggestions and options that we’ve discussed on our Facebook group chat. But in the end, we picked the closest and most accessible place for our next group expedition, Mount Babag. It was a unanimous choice, and everyone was so pumped up for this trekking expedition.
Sadly, two of our friends from our Candogao Peak trek – Nikki and Reynolds – couldn’t join us for some personal reasons. But on the brighter side, there were three fresh faces who showed up to experience the mighty and unforgiving Mount Babag with us – Donna, Kevin and Wilfred.
Not to mention, Vine, a buddy of mine from Ozamis, and Raymond, her friend from Amsterdam joined us for this weekend trip.
To top it all off, we were accompanied by a bunch of fun-loving and charming seasoned outdoor enthusiasts whom we considered our mentors. Nirvana, Nobie, Romelyn and Marky (with his energetic dog, Harvey) not only guided us for this trek, but also inspired us to explore more mountains.
Our fun and exciting hike to Mount Babag
Our rendezvous for this trekking adventure was the beautiful Guadalupe Church. Once we’ve finished our introductions and orientation, we headed to straight by pairs via habal-habal to Napo – the jump off point to most hikes to Mount Babag. Then, with Marky’s guidance, we commenced on our hike to Mount Babag.
The first part of the trail, though the pace was a bit fast, was relatively easy, and with some great sights too. I was sweating, but my shirt wasn’t totally drenched yet.
Along the way, we bumped into a few locals, and we greeted them with sweet words and warm smiles. Some of them giggled, when Raymond greeted them in English.
We did take a couple of stops, to catch our breath, know each other better, and of course, for some photo ops.
As the trek progressed, the trail became steeper and more challenging. My heart was beating so rapidly that it evoked memories of my previous fun runs and HIIT workouts. Donna, who was in front of me, was quite exhausted as well, trying to catch up with the speedsters Marky, Raymond and Vine.
After a series of tough slopes, we made a quick layover to this lovely spot, to relax and get some refreshments.
Moments later, we took another ascend, and got treated to a lovely view of Cebu City.
We followed Marky, until we reached the houses of the caring and extremely hospitable Lola Bebeng and Lola Tiyang.
There, we took a breather and had a wondrous chat with the awesome lolas. Some ate their breakfasts and snacks, while others like Tine got up close and personal with the slightly naughty dogs.
We, then, bid farewell to the great lolas of Cahogan, Napo, Guadalupe, and thanked them for their sincerity. I can see pure joy in their eyes, as we said goodbye to them.
Afterwards, Marky asked us if we were ready for the amazing and challenging uphill trek ahead of us. With its 60 to 70-degree inclines, I must say this was the hardest part of our trek to Mount Babag. Needless to say, there were plenty of stumbles and bloopers on this part of the trek. As a matter of fact, Wilfred even suffered mild cramps on his left knee in midst of the challenging trail. And yet, for all these complexities and tumbles, most of us were still in high spirits and even chuckling.
The overlooking views and flora were pretty amazing and breath-snatching too. Every time I saw something beautiful, I paused for a while, and took a snap of it. Kevin and Wilfred did it too.
As for Sheng, Tine Nirvana, Nobie and Romelyn, I didn’t know exactly what they were doing since they were a few meters behind us, enjoying each other’s company. But, I could hear their laughs and outbursts.
There’s a source of fresh drinking water here, for those who ran out of H20.
We went on our trek, until we finally reached the summit of Mount Babag. Even though we’re still newbies in hiking, we reached the summit of Mount Babag surprisingly an hour earlier than our estimated time of arrival.
And I could see everyone was happy, when the trek culminated. I saw Donna bouncing her way in ecstasy, as we got closer to our final destination. Likewise, Vine and Tine took turns on the famous duyan of Mount Babag. Others, meanwhile, enjoyed their refreshments and bought toothsome ice candies on the house nearby.
We spent some time there just enjoying the view and the fresh mountain breeze. Later on, we took a group photo, and went our separate ways. Our cool and remarkable mentors went back to the city, while me and the rest of the gang proceeded to our next adventure – Mount Kan-Irag!
Our Mount Babag itinerary:
05h00 – Assembly at Guadalupe Church (wait till 06h00)
06h05 – ETD from Guada church to Napo
06h25 – ETA at Napo
06h30 – Start trek
08h30 – ETA at lola’s house and snacks
09h00 – Resume trek
11h00 – ETA at Mt. Babag’s Peak (Duyan sa Mangga and lunch)
12h00 – Resume hike to Chalet/Habal habal parking
As I’ve said above, we finished the trek an hour earlier than our ETA.
How to climb Mount Babag
There are many local mountaineering groups that host hikes to Mount Babag. Feel free to contact them, ask them when their next hike to Babag would take place. Alternatively, you may contact Pinoy Apache at 0917 203 5101 if you need guide services to reach the summit.
Reminders and things to take note
- Bring, waterproof bag, light snacks (flakes, candies), 1-2 L water, extra shirt/underwear, poncho and umbrella.
- Don’t underestimate Mount Babag. Although it stands at only 752 meters above sea level, climbing it can drain your energy and cause muscle aches. Besides its steep inclines, it has unpredictably loose soil as well. Trust me, it’s way harder than your short walk to the summit of O Peak.
- Don’t forget to carry salt and ion beverages like Pocari Sweat and Gatorade.
- Wear trekking shoes or sandals with good traction.
- Don’t leave your trash behind.
- Greet all the locals you pass.
- Ask your guide to stop if you’re having a hard time catching up.
- Fare to Napo from Guadalupe Church is 20 PHP only.
- Have fun and enjoy making new friends!
Our trek to Mount Babag wasn’t just about the thrill of conquering a challenge, the awe-inspiring sights or getting a good cardio workout. As far as I’m concerned, the best part of our hike was the opportunity to appreciate life, meet new people and spend time with buddies. Kudos to everyone who joined me on this journey!