A Holiday Trek from Banawa to Campo Tres: Reliving Memories of the Past

"You are awesome! So live an awesome life!" these words strung together by a close blogger friend reminded me of how wonderful it is to be living a life free from doubts, worries and troubles. Admittedly, the moment these words were sent to me two days before my trek to Banawa, I felt that I was compromising the things I am holding dearly these days. My work crossed my personal space. It broke a boundary that I never wished to happen to my new found job but then, it did. 

However, I would never allow anything that would bring me down again - emotionally in this aspect. I am recuperating from the damages my past caused me. I am trying to match the broken pieces bit by bit. I wouldn't wallow to sadness again instead I would continue my passion - the love of the outdoor and specially, trekking the wilderness.

Being a Science Teacher, my lesson on geomorphology which is significantly manifested by different landforms always awes me . I think, different outdoor sports are invented to appreciate the beauty of nature; at the same time, to raise awareness on preserving them.

The rugged mountains, vast plains, deceptive ridges and giant trees are among the things that kept me coming back to the outdoor. These things paint vivid and colorful images in my mind bringing in happy thoughts that help me appreciate life more than being tied at work; depleting and exhausting my energy and worse, my thoughts.
"Banawa Mountain Ridge overlooking the city"
Grabbing the chance for a long weekend, I sent a message to my friend, John, that I'd be joining the group for a hike. Since I have an upcoming major climb this October, this will also serve as my preparation. At 6 o'clock in the morning, I met John, Yapi and Geovanni. We arrived in Banawa at 7:30 and there, Mulberry joined us. Ascending continuously at the Celestial Garden, I was then introduced to another route which I was a bit thankful about. First, it wasn't as tiresome as the previous one with Apol and, second, it opened up to another wonderful scenery.

The early morning hike was greeted with friendly locals harvesting some fruits and vegetables at the mountainside. The weather tagged along with us. The day was cool, the sun was suspending its tickling rays whilst the cumulo-nimbus clouds were covering the spherical Earth. Good weather, indeed! 

After two hours of never-ending ascent, we had our first real rest at the mango tree that served as our marker for the watersource going to Buhisan. Most of the time, we turned left as we descended and went deeper to the jungle. Though it was my second time, the forest became foreign to me again. The trail we were taking were too complex for me to memorize. I was not confident to take the lead yet John allowed me to do so. 
"This fallen tree served as our marker for our next trail: Buhisan"
"This is the scene after submerging the vast jungle."

We finally arrived at the riverbank after an hour in the jungle. My eyes glittered with admiration. The view of the forest was totally a natural relaxant. Sedimentary rocks were all scattered everywhere. Indigenous trees were as tall as 5-story buildings and endemic animals (insects, most specially) were so prominent in this ecosystem. The co-existence of these living and non-living things survive and support each other. Momentarily, we posed for some photos while appreciating the magical world we were transported in. 

After a while, we were back to trekking again. We already finished 1/3 of our hike and it was something that my fellow trekkers were thankful but worried about. How far was it? Being asked of this kind of question was just ordinary for both John and I. We sometimes joked around with it because ever since we had engaged with this kind of hobby what was considered far from others were already near to us and yeah, we endured. 

Enduring the trek did not mean not having fun. The trek was tension-free, I supposed. Laughing around, stopping over for some good conversation and simply, sighing and looking at the beautiful environment were among the benefits of hiking. Of course, not setting aside its physiologic advantages.
It was already 12 noon when we finally reached the road to Barangay Toong. Before we covered the 2nd leg of our trek, we halted for some minutes to have some refreshments - a liter of softdrinks had us energized again. After, we followed a road leading to Barangay Linao which took us another 20 minutes before we walked our way to the waterfalls. 
It was last 2013 when I had my first hike from Quiot-Toong-Campo Tres-Igotan that the group decided to stop over in Kawa Waterfalls. Later on, I realized how much passion I invested in the outdoor. The hike reminded me that there were great memories solely kept for inspiration and this hike was one of these memories. I always love the trail! 

Thankfully, we arrived at the Kawa Falls as we called it. Even if I only had an extra shirt with me, I plunged in to the tempting cool water. It was so rejuvenating. Just the kind of jump I missed so much! After spending 30 minutes in Kawa Waterfalls, we continued our hike to Campo Tres, Talisay. A 6-hour trek, a picturesque scenery, a peculiar but awesome shaped waterfalls and a good company made my Friday holiday fun and perfect!

(Photo credits by Yapi Taneo, a plant enthusiast!)

Something I learned from the trek and some insights:
1. Buhisan Watershed is a 360-hectare land which is already a protected area. 
2. Buhisan Dam supplies 5% of water in Cebu.
3. The wide riverbank could help you appreciate the formation of different kinds of sedimentary rocks - just look at the colors of these rocks and think about minerals!
4. Endemic plants and animals are abundant here. On our way to Toong, we saw a dead coral snake (these snakes are highly venomous with red-orange, yellow and black stripes). Hike cautiously when you are deep in the forest. These snakes are very shy ground dweller but when provoked, they can be dangerous. 
5. The trail to Banawa-Buhisan-Toong-Campo Tres is approximately 20 kilometers with some ascent and steep descent. Hike carefully. 
6. The trail to Barangay Linao where you can find the "Kawa Waterfalls" could be deceiving for the first timers because there exists two rivers which could lead you to a different route. Ask a local if you are hiking alone or group of friends who aren't totally familiar with the trail. 
7. The trail could take 6-7 hours with minimum rest. So better start early.
8. ALWAYS LIVE BY THE LNT PRINCIPLE. (Leave No Trace, please!) Enjoy hiking! Get a good guide if ever you are planning to take the same route. There are a lot of trails and exits, so your guide must be knowledgeable at least 2-3 trails in case it becomes tricky.
9. Gear on with your nature-enthusiast mode. Appreciate the different shades of green, hug a tree and simply, smell the fresh forest air. 
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About Marie Angelique Villamor

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