Sirao Peak and the Golden Yellows

Let me start this article with Robert Frost’s famous poem: “The Road Not Taken”. Here are his first few lines:
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;”

We are all travelers in this road called “life”. Some gave up traveling as they encountered harsh obstacles; others simply continued walking even though it meant surpassing each roadblock. Each step we take could lead us to our destination and each path we choose could either make us or break us. After all, it is not just about our goals but how we get there. It is how we deal with these predicaments as we go on to our life long journey.
The road I am taking this time is the road I had been yearning for so long – series of adventures and sometimes misadventures, traveling from one place to another, eating luscious food – sometimes, exotic and grotesque ones. Most of all, meeting new friends who share my passion.
And this is where I am leading you, my fellow travelers, the road I have been taking while influencing a young soul to travel with me – a road up to the mountain. It was a clear January sky – a fresh start to a new year; Apol, my mountain buddy, An Angel, our new travel buddy, and I were already riding motor bikes while catching up the morning sun at Brgy. Baugo. With good vibes for the new year, we were now having our first trek for the year at the same Sirao Peak.
"Apol's travel companion at Kabang Falls"
I have been climbing back in this mountain for several times, each trekking experience was distinct from each other and the climb I had with Apol and An Angel made a lot of difference. An Angel, being a first timer, was all with “ahh’s” and “wow’s” while we were still trekking to Kabang Falls. However, the usual river trekking and reaching the highest falls weren’t feasible because of the slippery boulders, we opted for a detour.
"The trio in Kabang Falls"
The trek was quick until we reached the water reservoir and had our lunch. A quick rest and then we continued trekking to Brgy. Sirao when we hoped for Nanay Merla’s store opened since we were already craving for an iced-cold soda (we often call this store our very own version of “7 Eleven”). The store was closed so we stretched some more in the greenery up to Mt. Kan-irag and this is where our great adventure happened.
"One of my favorite spots"
Apol was now at the shoulder of the mountain when she happened to glimpse a field of yellow flowers. She went down a little path then caught her breathe when saw the brightly colored golden yellows with a farmer taking a stalk at a time. She called us out so An Angel and I immediately followed her – and loo! What a sight to behold! It was like being transported to Libya when Ulysses and his men came across with lotus-flowers which induced them to sleep. I was dreamy holding a bunch of golden yellows – I had never hugged bunches of fresh flowers in my life! It was really a sight to behold and an experience to remember forever.
"Golden Yellows are so pretty!"
We were all smiles and the screams of amazement were all pouring from our happy mouth especially when the farmer gave us a bunch of those lovely bright flowers. Of course, we need to continue up to Sirao Peak before the afternoon gets dark. We politely bid farewell to the kind farmer and commence our trek to the grassy slope of the mountain.
After 45 minutes, we were already “hooraying” at the top of our lungs when we had our 360-view of the sea (to the Northeast is the city of Lapu-lapu and Olango Island) and the summit (to the Northwest is Mt. Mauyog; the Southwest is Mt. Babag). Our new travel buddy as well was “awed” by her experience.
It was one great trek and we all agreed that it was while we were heading down to J.Y hitchhiking. We were glad that we had our little detour and our experience made a lot of difference from our previous mountaineering experience.

(P.S. Some golden yellows that were given by the kind farmer were offered to Virgen dela Regla as it was the farmer’s request. Of course, we never refused him instead we were glad to do his little humble favor.)
Finally, let me share to you the last few lines of “The Road Not Taken”,
“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
"At the shoulder of Sirao Peak overlooking the city"
Updates on Sirao Peak: Barangay Baugo now enforces that every climber must log-in to their Barangay Hall near the basketball court for monitoring. This new policy issued by the Barangay captain is to look after the welfare of climbers since there was an incident of robbery and mishaps that involved a foreign climber sometime this year – 2015. So, let us bear with this new regulation for our safety.
How to get to Sirao Peak:
1. From Jollibee A.S Fortuna, Mandaue City, take a cab going to Talamban and tell the driver to stop you by Sunny Hills (P9.00 for the fare). There is a junction there going to Barangay Baugo. Habal-habal drivers are willing to take you there for a fare of 25 pesos per head. From there, you would be hiking and river trekking Budlaan Falls.
(A word of caution: Never attempt to cross the river when it had been raining the previous night – the current on the next day is expectedly strong and the boulders are slippery).
1. Be ready with your pack – water (at least 1 liter), snacks (trail food especially those with high-sugar), oral hydrants/salt, lunch.
2. You can take your lunch at the reservoir but it is preferable to have it in Nanay Merla’s store in Barangay Sirao. There is a little hut and they offered some refreshments. If you are lucky enough, they could even invite you for a flower harvest the next time you’ll have the climb.
3. Wear protective gears – rash-guard, visor, sunglasses, sun block and leggings.
4. Respect the locals and be friendly enough – they will do you great favors! (Trust me!)
5. Don’t be afraid to hitchhike on your way home – somewhere in Ayala Heights down to J.Y. (tried it several times but again, always be careful and learn to trust your gut).
6. Common mountain etiquette: “Leave nothing but footprints. Take nothing but photographs. Kill nothing but time.”

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About Marie Angelique Villamor

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