I’ve told you many times that I quit chasing your backbreaking trail, but the more I try to evade your stiff terrain nature, the more I’m pulled closer to your wonderful world.
Oh, the mountain is calling again and I couldn’t resist the sweet voice that makes me feel so good to embrace the most humbling way to start my year. How could I evade the exciting and fulfilling sentiment that satisfies me and makes me recall that life is a road to take? I couldn’t afford to reject the experience that I’ll be getting as I’m talking to myself the moment I got the invitation coming from a friend who happens to be a travel blogger as well. As I was told to camp on the mountain, I was extremely energized and elated cause It was actually my first time to stay overnight on the mountain. Though I have been trekking in the mountain since last year, but just a day trek, this time was a different one. It was really a great way to start my year, since aside from this is my ever first overnight camp, this is also my first trek this year which happened last January of this year. I was a bit shy since some of the trekkers that I’ll be seeing that day were strangers that I haven’t heard and meet yet, but I know it’ll always be fun to traipse our feet on the same off the beaten path while knowing each other.
Bocaue Peak is also known to many as Muffin Peak. It is actually situated in Bonbon, Cebu City which makes it very easy to reach and only needs a small amount of money to get here. They called it the muffin peak because it looks so close to the newly baked muffin cake when you try to see it from its foot. The peak offers a panoramic view of the city, then the jaw-dropping sight of an adjacent mountain range.
Our tryst was set at the Guadalupe Church and it requires us to take a motorcycle ride going to the Jump off area. I’ve met unfamiliar faces and I relish my freedom by showing my genuine smile while making friends with some of the trekkers. Just like any minor or major trek, it is always beneficial to have a bit of stretching so that our muscle won’t be surprised as we tread on the backbreaking trail. We also prayed before we set off climbing and makes sure that we are all prepared for another fun-filled adventure that is waiting ahead of us.
It was my first time to join with a huge group of trekkers and spend our whole night on the mountain as I ordinarily had a day trek with friends. My happy little itchy feet were so elated, but I know they were also worried and excited to finally play with the backbreaking path along the way. The first few meters had been merely a smooth walk and I haven’t been exuding a clear liquid from my sweat gland until we had our first stop for a moment while waiting for others. I wasn’t paying attention to someone who have said that we’ll be crawling on that upward surface as we have to move up. I was smiling while trying to consider that he’s just kidding me. But yes, I had to crawl and I guess that moment was just a childlike way of sending me an idea that the challenging trail is about to start and so it was.
The beginning phase of the challenge is to overcome the first five towers before taking another route. Yes, in truth, I’ve seen a lot of towers while imagining myself taking Zip line as it perfectly hanging on those thick electrical wires from the first tower going to the fifth tower. Oh yes, I have to walk and continue moving forward. My adopted child inside my stomach was starting to beg for food and I was just waiting for others to have our lunch. Soon enough we’d reached the third tower and we only have to walk a little bit to find a perfect spot to rest and have our lunch.
Filling our hungry stomach was just our way of preparing ourselves to continue on our trek. At that place were numerous wild flowers I’ve seen along the trail and the stunning view is slowly revealing itself to us. The refreshing breeze coming from the mountain is tardily kissing my surface after a long hour in the wilderness as I’m starting to commune with nature. Nothing compares to the touch sensation of being in an area that is undisturbed by human activity together with its naturally developed innate beauty. It was truly serene and fulfilling.
As we keep on our trek, there was an abandoned backhoe that has been neglected of its purpose in the wilderness. I just don’t know how could that backhoe reaches the stack area where I didn’t see any visible road that leads to the mountain. It was strange to look at, but it was really a rare scene to experience, so I took the chance to climb up and have some photos. Yes, we made the backhoe as an instant tourist spot as most of us have ourselves being photographed with the backhoe.
The clouds began to unite and trying to tell us that they are in their maddened state. Yes, the rain started pouring down, but hesitate to release everything as he rather hold back most of what he got. Hence, we were lucky enough to continue on our journey without experiencing the heaviest rainfall. It was actually first time that I told myself, this is truly challenging trail as we’ve stopped several times cause some of the pathways are no longer visible and require a passkey of the trail to sense of which route to follow.
Yes, we believed we’d lost that time, but the good thing was, three or four of the trekkers are familiar of the trail. Yes, I was smiling, but I was actually worried that we might get to the wrong trail, but I know at the back of my mind that it was truly fun and I enjoyed it a lot. What they did was clearing the leaves of the plants covering the trail to make it visible and we could determine the trail going to the Bocaue Peak.
This only proves that the trail going to Bocaue peak was never gentle. There was a great deal of unexpected deflection along the way. Crawling under the trellis of interlacing branches of trees was truly challenging, but after almost 5 hours of trek we finally arrived at our destination.
As soon as I was told that we are now at the foot of the Peak, I was really happy cause my legs were acting like seemed to cede. Then we slowly come up to the Peak, which bears a last challenge that we’ll be facing before we can ultimately reach the Peak. We need to walk along the high slopes, which I find it hard and I was exuding clear liquid from my sweat glands. As I traipsed my feet at the Bocaue Peak, I was welcomed by the cold mountain breeze and the breathtaking sight of the Cebu City and the adjacent mountain range on the other side.
I can genuinely feel the fulfillment and all my sweat and muscle pain has all been paid off. It was belatedly in the afternoon when we arrived at the Peak, we stayed there for a while and we truly have enjoyed the stunning view. There were already campers at the Peak the moment we arrived, and since it doesn’t have a wide area to camp, we resolved to go down to look for the possible good camping site. As we got down to the base of the Boacaue Peak, I was really surprised cause there is actually a wide area to Camp, which is a good thing since we are quite a lot during our trek.
We have taken in a good area to set up our tent. Then, each of us were busy setting up our tent. I got my beach tent, which is not an appropriate tent when camping on the mountain, but I have no choice that time cause that’s the only tent I have. As shortly as we have pitched our tent, we immediately prepared our dinner. I find it amazing that time since most of my friends had an amazing mountaineering gears. They have this small camping pot, a portable camping stove, a sleeping bag, a mountaineering tent, almost everything I’ve seen have made me speechless. I started asking many things from my well experienced mountaineer friends. Where to buy this stuff and what brand should I choose. It was truly a completely little crazy question since I was so curious that time. I told myself that I can have the proper gear soon.
The darkness began to invade the whole space. We were hugged by serenity and the mountain vibes. I’ve started hearing evening species and the cold wind hugging my entire physical structure which has made me look for my jacket. Shortly enough, the dinner was served and eating under the little shade of light was truly an experienced that was far from what I used to. It was something that has made me so happy and a kind of feeling that I couldn’t explain. The food that we have that night was cooked with love cause it was so luscious. As expected, everybody was very hungry and tired, and the sole way to pacify our jaded body is to eat as much as we can. It was as if we’re actually eating in a beanery with an unlimited food to choose from at that moment.
As to my surprise, there is this funny thing that usually campers do and they call it “social”, which takes place right after dinner. It is one means of bonding with campers. It can be done through games, short stories or just a friendly talk with the campers. What we did after dinner was playing games, chit chat and knowing each other until it turned out to a horror story. Imagine sharing horror stories in the mountain. Some tales were actually really scary and some were very fun to listen to. Truly, that night was really full of merriment.
In the middle of our scary horror tales, the heavy rain suddenly poured down. We immediately departed to our respective tent to rest. I was actually worried about my tent, since it was not the mountaineering tent that most of the campers has. The sturdy blowing of air and the heavy rain was seemed to unite and planning to break my poor beach tent. The struggle was very real that night. As the strong wind slapping my tent, I was there inside trying to contend for the wind while holding my tent. I place my backpack on the other side where the wind hit, so it can be of help to fight for the wind. The rain and the strong wind didn’t stop for nearly 3 hours. Within my tent was seemed to be like a small swimming pool where I couldn’t straight my feet cause I might soak it in the cold water brought by the heavy rain. I didn’t able to control myself to shout countless times every time the wind hit my tent until about 2:00 AM. It was truly an unthinkable experience and I never have imagined that I could get through it. In truth, my first try to camp on the mountain was extremely challenging. Around 2:00 AM, the rain finally stops for it may have heard me pleading countless times to just end it. I don’t have any choice that time, but to sleep while attempting to fit myself in the small dry space inside my tent. The good thing was, my tent was in an upright position where my head is in the higher lift and my feet is in the lower elevation, that’s why the water only gets to the lower side.
The minute I woke up in the morning, I couldn’t even halt myself from not sharing what I experienced last night with my camper friends. They told me that, I have to get used to it, since this won’t be my last. They too shared their worst experience in the mountains for the past years they have been climbing mountains. They even told me that my experience was served to be a basis either I continue to trek to the mountains and stay there for days or my experience last night might be my last. I was smiling and told them that this is merely a beginning.
Just like a typical scene on the morning when camping. We also prepared our breakfast and of course a cold morning deserves a hot coffee as this is the best way to fight the cold weather in the mountain. And as soon as we’d done eating our breakfast, we also prepare to fix all our things and cleaning the camping area is our way of caring and loving the mother earth. Leave no trace should always carry in mind.
Then it was around 9:00 am when we were ready to descend and took the different trail. The Babag Trail is what we took, since this is the trail that most trekkers follow as an exit to go back to Cebu City. It is a very known shortcut going home. The trail leads to Mountain View, Busay, Cebu. It also goes straight through RCPI then to Busay and would pass you through Chalet Hills, the famous Temple of Leah, then Mountain View Resort. From there, you can opt to ride a motorcycle, taxi or Jeepney going to the JY Square Mall at Lahug, Cebu City, then finally welcome back to Cebu City.
Descending wasn’t just a walk in the park, even though we took the shortcut trail. It also requires strength and motivation to reach down. It took us more than 2 hours of trek to reach Mountain View Resort as our last exit. The moment we traipsed our feet at the National road, there was a Jeepney going to the JY square Mall and everyone of us ride on the Jeepney while secretly enjoying our annoying smell. It is our happiness to fill our empty stomach from the tiring trek, so the minute we reach the JY Square Mall, we immediately went to Mang Inasal near Salinas Drive, Lahug branch. We had our unlimited rice with a luscious grilled chicken. Lunch have done and we need to separate ways and hopefully we all see each other on the next climb.
HOW TO GET TO BOCAUE PEAK
There are daily flights to Cebu from Manila, Davao and other part of the Philippines with Major Airlines (Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Air Asia). From the Mactan Cebu International Airport, ride a taxi going to the Guadalupe Church.
There’s a MyBus outside the airport near the exit gate on the right side. From the Airport, the drop off point is in SM Cebu. The fare is PHP 25.00. Trip schedules are from 7:00AM to 9:00PM with a 30 minute interval.
When you reach the Guadalupe Church, go to the back of the Church or ask the locals where to ride a Motorcycle or Habal-Habal going to Sitio Napo, Guadalupe Cebu City, since this is the jump off area. The fare is only Php 20.00 per person. From Sitio Napo, take the trail going to Mt. Babag, then make a detour to the 5 towers trail.
Note: If you haven’t been here, I advise you to trek with someone or a group of trekkers who have already been to Bocaue Peak and have taken the 5 tower trail.
- The jump off area is located at the Sitio Napo in Brgy. Guadalupe, Cebu City. It is the same jump off area when going to Mt. Babag or the RCPI Towers. Actually, they are neighboring mountains.
- There are two known trails going to Bocaue Peak. Most trekkers will take the Babag trail where they go through Mt. Babag first, then turn on the left side as this leads to Bocaue Peak. This is actually the first trail, and From Mt. Babag, the trek going to Bocaue Peak is around 2 hours. The second trial was what we took, it is known as 5 towers trail where you get to follow the 5 towers, then turn on the right side which is the commencement of the backbreaking trail. It is shrouded with thick green bushes and a muddy trail. The trek from the jump off area and taking the 5 tower trail going to Bocaue Peak is about 4-5 hours and it can be extended to 6 hours, depending on someone’s pace.
- If you haven’t been here, I advise you to trek with someone or a group of trekkers who have already been to Bocaue Peak and have taken the 5 tower trail.
- Bear in mind that when you reach the Peak, there are no trees nor any shade at all. If you get there and wasn’t that hot, then you’re lucky enough, but if it’s not, then good luck to the scorching heat of the sun. But despite of this, you will certainly enjoy the panoramic view of Bocaue Peak.
- Make sure your phone or camera is fully charged for picture purposes or bring a not so heavy Power bank.
- Wear your comfortable trekking shoes, clothes and everything that you need when trekking in the stack.
- Bring just the necessary thing you need when climbing the mountain. Always make sure that climbing the mountain with your heavy backpacks is not easy and it’s very tiring. It might drain your energy.
- Bring enough food, which includes trail food and always make sure to have a meal plan, particularly if you’re traveling with a group people. Bringing of drinking water is also advisable since water is not readily available anywhere near the summit so you better bring your own drinking water, 2-3 liters will be enough.
- Bocaue Peak can possibly be reached if you choose a day trek, but I advise you start the trek as early as you can, so you won’t suffer to trek at night when you get back to the City.
- If you choose to stay overnight. Always remember that your tent is where you take the chance to rest at night, so make sure to bring a sturdy mountaineering tent and a sleeping bag cause it might be really cold at night and at dawn. Bring a reliable head lamp for you need it at night and also a ground sheet for your tent.
- We can’t foretell the weather, so you better bring your dry bag to put all your gadgets and camera when it rains. If you bid to have your snacks or meal at the summit, please take responsibility of your garbage, make sure to bring them all with you and don’t leave your garbage there.
- Please remember to leave no trace behind. Take good care of our mother nature. Just enjoy and be responsible enough. Don’t break its innate beauty.
POSSIBLE TRAVEL EXPENSES
- Motorcycle Fare from Guadalupe Church to Sitio Napo – Php 20.00
- Food & Water (Lunch, Trail Foods, Water, includes Dinner and Breakfast if you stay overnight) – Php 300.00
- Mountain View to JY via Jeep – Php 15.00 Lunch at Mang Inasal – Php 135.00
TOTAL – Php 470.00
ITINERARY FOR THIS CLIMB
- 09:30 AM – Meet up at Guadalupe Church 10:15 AM – Depart for Jump off area
- 10:30 AM – ETA at the Jump off area (Stretching & Praying)
- 10:50 AM – Trekking start
- 11:30 AM – First Tower
- 01:00 PM – Third Tower (Lunch and rest) 01:45 PM – Trekking continue 03:30 PM – Bocaue Peak (Picture taking and enjoying the panoramic view)
- 04:30 PM – ETA Camping Site
- 05:00 PM – Tent Pitching (Rest)
- 05:45 PM – Prepare for dinner
- 07:30 PM – Dinner
- 09:00 PM – Socials (Mountain night life) 11:00 PM – Lights off (Rest)
- 06:00 AM – Wake up call (Coffee)
- 06:20 AM – Prepare for breakfast
- 07:30 AM – Breakfast
- 08:30 AM – Break camp
- 09:30 AM – Descend and take the shortcut trail
- 12:30 PM – ETA at Mountain View Resort 12:40 PM – Depart for JY Square Mall
- 01:00 PM – ETA JY Square Mall
- 01:20 PM – Lunch at Mang Inasal
- 02:40 PM – Going Home