CEBU MOUNTAINS: Perfect Trails for Reflection and Pilgrimage

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I’m back! It’s been quite some time since I last posted something relevant in the blog. Others call it “writer’s block”; I’d like to call it hiatus. And while on those moment of reflection and allowing things to happen just the way the universe planned it, I have come to see on social media (and hear from friends) that the number of hikers and outdoor enthusiasts around the province is growing fast. Can’t blame them. The mountains are just way too amazing and the bond created amongst strangers who are now friends are too strong that not even the most difficult trails can’t break it.

But aside from taking numerous photographs of these idyllic grounds for social media purposes (or for whatever purpose they may serve), it is also important to take some time to ponder and reflect on the lessons that the mountains would like to share with us. In lieu of the Lenten season, I’d like to share with you my top five picks of the mountains around the province where you can do the Way of the Cross, Visita Iglesia, or for personal reflection.

  1. Calvary Mountain Way of the Cross – Sirao Peak
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The famous tree found just below the peak of Mt. Kan-irag. Several meters from here is where Tieza Botanical Garden, Sirao Flower Farm, and Sirao Calvary Mountain Way of the Cross.

Yes, you’ve read it right. Just a few meters from the city’s highest peak stands a chapel at Barangay Sirao where most locals attend mass.

Tip: You can just ride a motortaxi (habal-habal) in going to this chapel from JY Square. You can as well visit Tieza Botanical Garden and Sirao Flower Farm for side trips.

Estimated Budget: P300.00 (But if you opt to do trekking, you’ll only spend P20.00. Clicke here to know how.)

  1. Celestial Garden Good Shepherd – Banawa
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Good Shepherd in Banawa is an open space that can sometimes be prone to the scorching heat of the sun. 

Those who are preparing for major climb and has endured the wrath of Spartan Trail can attest that this pilgrim area is not a walk in the park – though the ambiance of this holy grounds look like one.

Tip: You can either ride a jeepney or habal-habal bound to Convergy’s Banawa and then proceed with the hike to the Celestial Garden. Should you want to endure more pain to really strengthen your reflection and test your faith, you can as well proceed to Pamutan or Bocaue Peak passing by Buhisan Watershed. Good luck!

Estimated Budget: P100.00

  1. Divine Mercy Chapel – Mt. Hambubuyog, Ginatilan
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Both sunrise and sunset can be perfectly captured at Mt. Hambubuyog. If the weather is good, chances of sea of clouds can also be experienced by morning if hikers decide to camp overnight.

They won’t call it the “Calvary Trail” for nothing. The direct ascending path to the chapel is really a sacrifice that must be carried upon by whoever takes the trail. Aside from the cemented and rocky roads, the area is not that rich in vegetation which openly invite the scorching heat of the sun to those who are hiking to this chapel.

Tip: Mountaineers usually take the Ginatilan router where they start trekking from Inambakan Falls. But because you are awesome, you can just take a habal-habal ride from Samboan proper to the Divine Mercy Chapel. Effortless. HAHA. From the peak, you can as well find the trails that lead to Candayvik Falls and Dau Falls in Samboan or Salamanca Hills and Tumalog Falls in Oslob.

Estimated Budget: P500.00

  1. Tabor Hills – Talamban, Cebu City

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This is one of my favorite pilgrim destinations. Well, aside from its uphill battle to the cross, its chapel holds a number of relics of saints and martyrs –including of Jesus Christ.

Tip: From Talamban proper, you can ride a habal-habal in going to the entrance of Tabor Hills. From the entrance, you can take a short but directly ascending path to the chapel and then to the cross.

Estimated Budget: P100.00

  1. Camari Hills – Carcar City, Cebu
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Camari Hills can also serve as good camping sites for outdoor enthusiasts out there. Recently, Katkat Pakighimamat 2016 happened on this site for mountaineers to get to know different outdoor clubs and teach the virtues and values of the mountains.

For those who are fond of chasing sunset, this area is best for you! Aside from the cold weather felt on top of the hills, the vicinity also offers a 360 degrees view of Toledo, Argao and the mountain ranges of Balamban.

Tip: Masses are held on top of the hill every first and last Sunday of the month. From Carcar Rotunda, you can hire a habal-habal near Arbee’s Bakeshop that can bring you to Camari Hills.

Estimated Budget: P200.00

But of course, you can also support you own parishes for this matter. The most important thing is that we get a chance to check the current status of our lives and learn the value of sacrifice and perseverance all through this journey. Wishing you all well this Lenten Season!

For out of Cebu pilgrim sites, check my entry on Mt. Bandilaan in Siquijor and Hanginan Peak at Maasin, Southern Leyte.

Have a reflective week everyone! Keep safe.

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