I rarely write about the places that I’ve been to. I mentally hoard them one by one and keep them in a corner of my head where I can revisit them all by myself. By and large, almost all of these destinations were worth the funds, time and energy spent. Reaching these places almost always involved a lot of walking from Point A to Point B. Cavorting from one tree to another is not exactly necessary, but it often requires me to cross x number of rivers and crawl my way to the destination when the situation really calls for it. You would be surprised; these places are just a stone throw’s away from the city. Not convinced? I’ll let you in on one of Cebu City’s secrets.
I’ve always thought of the city as relatively one-sided, a sort of you-get-what-you-see kind of metropolis. One will often tell you about its beaches, local dishes, malls and several sights to behold when you are willing to hop on a bus or drive your way to the countryside. Boy was I wrong!
So what exactly am I blabbing about? I am referring to Sirao Peak which is also locally known as Kan-Irag or Pedro Calungsod Peak. This hill which overlooks the city may go by several names but it’s still a hill, right? And a very formidable hill at that. Formidable? Despite its location which you might assume as easy to access since it’s within the city’s confines, you may have to look for a guide to show you the way to mini-neverland. The Guide could either be one of the locals (some of them will ask you for a fee) or one of the city’s seasoned trekkers as most of them do not ask for fees and guide newbies just for the love of trekking and nature.
So this post isn’t going to give you a very detailed itinerary on how to get there. I’ll leave all the details to your experience. The truth is, I dislike reading very detailed travelogues. It will most likely give birth to truckloads of expectations and we very well know what happens when one’s expectations are thrown out of the bucket without having to fulfill them. Disappointment sets in and you may vow not to do it again. So I’ll leave the mini-discoveries to you.
- The most common point of entry is Sunny Hills, Talamban. From there, you can ask the habal-habal driver to drop you off at Brgy. Baogo (specifically the jump-off point for most trekkers when heading for Budlaan River or Sirao Peak). The driver will know right away which jump-off point you’re referring to when you mouth these keywords: Kan-Irag, Budlaan and Sirao.
- There are countless trails towards Sirao Peak from the jump-off point. This is where The Guide comes into the picture. He or she will most likely discuss the options: i.e. easiest and fastest trail but no breathtaking views, trail with some river crossing episodes plus a waterfall to boot, trail with good views of flower gardens and mini-lakes, the “suicide” trail, or that trail where you can have your dose of Sparkle and ginabot in a store near the foot of the summit. Choose at your own risk.
- A jug of drinking water is your best friend; stick to it and always have them handy. If you don’t want to get barbecued under the sun, don a hat. Leggings and arm guards could be worn to protect you from scratches and insect bites. A first aid kit may be brought by one of the group members. Waterproof your stuff as well. A pair of trekking shoes or sandals to complete your trekking gear is highly advised.
- Respect both nature and the locals you encounter along the way. DO NOT ever leave your trash along the trail and avoid picking plants and scaring animals away. Respect certainly begets respect.
- Take your camera with you of course! The views are equal parts splendid and awesome. The best thing about it is you don’t have to shell out hefty amounts of cash to be able to see these stunning views.
- The point of exit is that road leading to Ayala Heights’ Kan-Irag Nature Park. You can either hitchhike your way or ask a habal-habal driver to take you down to JY Square in Lahug.
Sirao Peak can be covered by day trek alone. If you wish to camp overnight, ask The Guide about it. Now that you’re already armed with the must-knows of getting there, you can find the kindest and very accommodating of the city’s seasoned trekkers at the Outdoorsman’s hub.
*Photo Credits: Tiki Allado and Chong Grancho.