Every adventure connoisseur needs a little spontaneity in their getaways. In the age of Facebook, Instagram and Google, we rarely take a hike for a simple exploration adventure. Nowadays, everything is researched, planned and even rehearsed. Of course, we all know the thrill of hiking somewhere awe-inspiring is still there. But, wouldn’t it be better or more exciting if your escapade started the moment you arrive at the bus terminal? Wouldn’t it be more rewarding and fulfilling to go somewhere barely touched by tourists like Tagjaguimit?
And, I get it – most of us don’t like the feeling of uncertainty. We are all scared of exploring the unknown and not having a clue on what’s going to happen. We are afraid that things will not go as expected or things will be rather uncomfortable, when we dive into unfamiliar territories like Tagjaguimit. In most aspects of our life, we want everything to be clearly visible and in their proper place.
But as Amelia Atwater-Rhodes said, “life is nothing without a little chaos to make it interesting”. And guess what? Diving into unknown can also be a rather rewarding experience. Once you explore the unknown and step outside your comfort zone, you’ll be breaking the barriers that you and others had set for yourself.
You’ll feel totally free and allow yourself to do something new.
And, eventually, you’ll rediscover your passion and innate talents without being held back by external opinions, your own fears and societal norms.
Speaking of diving into unknown, my OMG family and I have been exploring a bunch of unfamiliar spots in Cebu, for the past 8 months. With our impulse to see our island beyond the travel magazines, we’ve discovered some intriguing places. And, one of our favorites is Tagjaguimit (also called as Tagha by locals) in Naga City, Cebu.
Earlier this year, we scaled the magnificent and thrilling Lantawan Cliff in Tagjaguimit. While our spontaneous adventure was an absolute blast, I felt like we still have some unfinished business with this secluded barangay in Naga, Cebu.
As we were admiring the views from the summit, we caught a glimpse of a couple of caves and picture-perfect rolling landscapes nearby.
And, that’s why we made a return to Tagjaguimit, last weekend.
For this spontaneous Sunday escapade, I was joined by my fellow OMG members – Dian, Raul, Beboy, sir Franz, Ivy and Geneva. As an added plus, there were a few friends who tagged along with us, including Shanine, Kla-kla and Grace.
Not only did we scale Lantawan cliff, but we also experienced a mysterious cave and explored a nameless mountain. On top of it all, I figured out why spontaneous hikes are addictive and healthy.
Here are some of the things that I’ve learned on our Tagjaguimit weekend escape.
You’ll always feel upbeat and excited
Our Tagjaguimit hike started with a meet-up at Cebu City South Bus Terminal. From there, we hopped on a bus bound for Balirong gym where our friends from Naga were waiting for us. Afterwards, we took a habal-habal ride to Tagjaguimit barangay hall.
Along the way, everyone seemed so psyched and happy. Even though some of us were practically sleepless, I could sense the excitement and the adrenaline running in the veins of my hiking buddies.
And, there’s a good reason why they were so pumped up.
For starters, we were about to embark on a journey that would let us try something different and go somewhere new. Additionally, it was an open-itinerary adventure with a plethora of possible surprises.
We, as a group, have been diving into the unknown, for months. At first, taking a spontaneous hike was pretty scary, but it got somewhat easier, as we kept repeating it. Whenever we feel stuck or bored, we just do something that’s out of our comfort zone. And ultimately, our hikes became so much exciting, after we got used to being optimistic and animated about not knowing what’s about to happen.
And, if you’re still afraid to dive into the unknown, just think about the last time you unexpectedly tried something new. How did that new experience make you feel? How did it turn out?
You were afraid to try it initially, but in the end, you were absolutely glad that you did it.
How did you feel after that long and breathtaking zip line ride?
How was your mood, following your toughest hike?
It felt so good, heavenly and amazing, right?
And, that heavenly feeling is what truly drives us to explore the unknown and go on spontaneous hikes.
Although it’s not always sunshine and butterflies, throwing ourselves into the unknown puts us on a state of pure bliss.
You’ll become fearless (sort of)
From Tagjaguimit barangay hall, we, together with our guides, hit the road and trail leading to Lantawan Cliff.
And, getting to the top of Lantawan Cliff isn’t easy, even for some seasoned hikers.
You’ll have to crawl, scramble and even do a bit of rock climbing.
Not to mention, the trail is still relatively bushy and full of sharp rocks.
And, with its steep height and perilous spots, climbing it can be rather dangerous for those who aren’t extra careful.
Even with all the stumbling blocks and challenges, I didn’t notice an ounce of fear from my pals.
Sure, we were very careful with our steps, but we didn’t let our fear get the best of us.
Upon our arrival at the summit, we cherished the view and soaked up the breezy atmosphere.
As always, we took a ton of pictures from a variety of angles, to preserve the pleasant memories of Tagjaguimit adventure.
And, the mid-blowing and heart-pumping moments didn’t stop at the summit of Lantawan Cliff.
Soon, we descended from the peak, and hiked our way to one of numerous caves in Tagjaguimit – the historic Kasarya Cave.
As for our Kasarya Cave exploration, it was nothing short of fun and spectacular.
From gleaming rocks to dark taverns, it was filled with eye-catching sights. To make things even better, there were some challenging spots inside the cave.
As you may have noticed, some of my hiking buddies are becoming more and more fearless (and open minded), every hike.
They are not afraid to get lost, and they are more than willing to try something new.
Heck, they don’t even care if they get bruises and scars while hiking.
But, that kind of attitude doesn’t happen overnight.
Tons of spontaneous long day hikes on puzzling and difficult trails have developed their mental strength.
The elevated path of Licos Peak, the confusing signboard between Mount Naupa and Calbasaan, and the thorny plants of Antuwanga have made these people relatively fearless.
Thanks to the challenges of diving into unknown, these people have become physically and mentally strong.
You’ll learn to make decisions on the fly
Life is unpredictable. Even when you plan everything meticulously, things often don’t work out the way you want to them to. So, I’ve figured out that less planning is actually better. In life, you sometimes have to stray from your plan, and just go for it.
And, that’s how we’ve approached our hikes recently.
In our Tagjaguimit hike, we didn’t have any other plans, following our visit to Lantawan Cliff and Kasarya Cave.
Thankfully, though, sir Francis had a wonderful idea in mind. And that’s to hike Punod – the mountain ranges in between Tagjaguimit and Balirong.
Since we got nothing else to do and we all love spontaneous hikes, we decided to check out these ranges.
By the way, we made this decision during our lunch break.
Truthfully, not all our quick decisions turn out to be great. But, after a series of spontaneous hikes, we’ve become more intuitive and learn to make good decisions on the fly.
With lunchtime over, we resumed with our hike by taking on an unnamed trail in Tagjaguimit. Spearheaded by Beboy, we followed a scenic trail to Punod.
We kept on hiking, until we arrived at this stunning hill.
Majestic, isn’t it?
The open-minded squad spent minutes there, taking in the wondrous scenery.
Beboi and I, meanwhile, descended from the hill, to find a trail that would lead us to the Punod.
Moments later, we found a trail that would lead us to one of the most beautiful spots of our adventure.
You stay fresh and achieve something great
Spontaneous hikers like Beboy are always up to try something new.
They are never happy doing the same thing.
Even in gloomy day hikes, they will find a way to spice up the adventure.
With their innate desire to try something new, spontaneous folks will never get bored, and always find ways to stay fresh.
Even better, they have the ability to achieve something great, with their curiosity and optimism.
And in our Tagjaguimit hike, we did make our adventure a whole lot more memorable and interesting.
Amidst the bushy and thorny trails, we found this lovely mountain with stunning panoramas.
And, truth be told, I don’t think we’d find this spot if our Tagjaguimit hike wasn’t spontaneous.
From there, we got a good view of the mountains that we’ve climbed before, including Lantawan Peak, Mayana Peak, Puting Bato, Kabalas, Mount Naupa and Mount Awayan.
Moreover, it gave us a sneak peek on the remarkable island of Negros.
Honestly, I got a lot of scratches from this exploration hike. But, trust me, it was totally worth it.
Aside from snapping photos, the old-man Tatay Raul also found his groove, dancing to the beats of “In My Feelings”.
Want to see his moves? Check it out soon on my Facebook page.
You’ll discover a bevy of wonders
Spontaneous hikers don’t set boundaries for what they can accomplish.
They are constantly thinking what to do next.
As great as our recent discovery was, we still had an urge to hike, and explore the other ridges and mountains in the area.
And, boy, it was a fantastic string of events.
From the glorious sunset views to the lush landscapes of Balirong, it was truly a perfect ending to a wondrous hike full of highlights, sights and giggles.
And, best of all, we’ve unlocked another trail for our future spontaneous hiking adventures in Naga City, Cebu.
You’re less stressed out
One of the things that I really like about spontaneous hikes is that it’s not stressful. Once your team develops a culture of spontaneity, they will understand that life will go on, whether everything goes as planned or not.
They will, then, have no problem dealing with situations that they didn’t expect. Likewise, they are less disappointed, when things don’t turn out the way as they’ve planned.
Our Tagjaguimit to Balirong hike wasn’t perfect. The truth is, we had problems catching a jeepney ride to Naga City proper, after our hike. As matter of fact, we had to walk for almost a kilometer to find a jeepney or multi-cab that would take us to our final destination.
Despite the hurdle, no one seemed to be on a bad mood.
Making the best out of the situation, we were cracking up jokes and enjoying one another’s company.
It was quite late, but we were literally never worried!
Shortly after, we finally found a ride to Naga, and capped off our hike on a high note with a sumptuous and hearty meal.
How to get to Tagjaguimit:
From South Bus Terminal, take a bus bound for Toledo via Naga (fare is PHP 40 to 60). Ask the conductor to drop you off at Balirong Gym. Once there, take habal-habal ride to Tagjaguimit barangay hall. If you want to explore the cave and cliff, make sure to contact Kap Nanding days before your hike at Tagjaguimit.
As for the trail to Punod and Balirong, you need to explore it without a guide, and ask the locals in the area.
- 06:30 AM: Meet up at South Bus Terminal
- 07:30 AM: Depart for Balirong
- 08:30 AM: ETA Balirong/ Depart for Tagjaguimit Barangay Hall
- 09:10 AM: ETA Tagjaguimit Barangay Hall
- 09:35 AM: Start hike to Lantawan Cliff
- 11:00 AM: ETA Summit of Lantawan Cliff
- 11:40 AM: Start descend
- 12:40 PM: ETA Kasarya Cave/explore
- 01:30 PM: Start hike to barangay hall
- 02:00 PM: ETA Barangay Hall/lunch
- 02:45 PM: Resume hike
- 03:30 PM: ETA unnamed hill
- 04:00 PM: ETA unnamed mountain
- 04:30 PM: Resume hike
- 06:00 PM: ETA Balirong Gym
- 06:30 PM: Depart for Naga city proper
- 07:00 PM: ETA Naga City boardwalk/dinner
- 08:00 PM: Depart from Naga
- 09:30 PM: Home sweet home
Things to take note:
- Practice the LEAVE NO TRACE principles.
- Pack at least 2 liters of water.
- Bring trail food/snacks.
- Bring ION drinks like Gatorade or Pocari Sweat.
- Wear trekking shoes or sandals with great traction.
- Pack full-fingered gloves, leggings and arm guards.
Embarking on a spontaneous hike can be a whirlwind of fun. Why you don’t you take the leap of faith, and try it? Who knows? You might end up having an epic adventure!