After a few months of nonstop weight-gain, I finally found myself agreeing to walk. Not towards the food store like the usual days, but to another local destination right here in my hometown — Cebu.
I haven’t heard of Mount Naupa until recently. But according to travel blogs, Mount Naupa in Naga is a popular destination for mountaineers. I’ve seen it in the top 10 list of best campsites in Cebu, which can only leave you with nothing but high expectations.
I wasn’t disappointed.
Read on, and I’ll guide you through my experience with this spectacular weekend getaway! ♥
Everybody else was already in Gaisano Minglanilla but boyfie and I was still stuck in the notorious city traffic. Sigh.
A 30-minute late is probably forgivable, but 2 hours?!? OMG. I must remind myself to leave 3 hours early next time. When boyfie and I arrived, we found our friends waiting in a table in Mang Inasal, their giant bags scattered around the tables. Some of them were still doing last-minute shopping. So we took the chance to make use of the limited time. We went inside, stopped by a food stand to grab a quick lunch, swallowed a siomai whole, ran around the grocery, grabbed some chips, got 3 liters of water, payed for it at the counter, and returned to the assembly area.
We began making arrangements with a group of habal-habal drivers that we met outside Gaisano Minglanilla. We settled on a one-way fare of 50 pesos each for them to take us to Cogon Chapel, the jumpoff for Mount Naupa.
After a quick stop at the gas station, we were off speeding through the highway. None of the drivers knew the road to our destination, save for one, which unfortunately was not driving our habal-habal. We made a wrong turn somewhere but it was quickly sorted out. We reached our destination safely. However, the road to the jumpoff was mercilessly horrific. It had rained a few hours earlier, and the uncemented rocky road had become slippery. Add to that a steep incline and motorcycle tires made for flat pavement. The motorcycle was wobbling uncontrollably, and we almost fell at least a hundred times. I do not, repeat, DO NOT, recommend travelling here after a heavy rain.
I jumped off the motorcycle, my heart bursting with gladness for reaching Cogon Chapel in one piece. We gave manong driver an extra tip for his excellent maneuvers. Then, after a good 5 minutes of sharing our survival stories, we commenced the trek after a prayer for gratitude and guidance.
We walked past houses and friendly faces until traces of human occupancy had become sparse. All was well, until we reached a fork in the road. Should we go left? or right? We stood there until someone, a local resident, passed by. We asked for help, and he kindheartedly pointed us to the right direction. The hike up the mountain was relatively easy, but we still paused to catch our breath quite often. And to take pictures, of course.
What?! We can’t be here already after only an hour! But we were. Here, in one of the most beautiful campsite I have ever been on. A far cry from the desecrated land that Osmena Peak has become.
The ground was relatively flat and devoid of annoying rocks. The scenic view presented us with gray-blue shades of distant mountains and ghostly white clouds. For some reason, it reminded me of Mount Kanlaon’s shoulder campsite in a much smaller scale, except Mount Kanlaon had spiky-leafed plants growing all over it.
We have pitched our tents, changed into clean clothes, and rested our tired legs. Now, what’s next? Oh yeah, dinner! And what is better than having meat and wine? Well, charcoal-grilled meat and wine while on the mountain top without a care in the world! ♥
It had started to drizzle while we were eating dinner, but we didn’t care. It was slightly cold too, but it was nothing a T-shirt can’t handle. We played “The Resistance”, a strategy game where you need to practice your poker face and convincing powers. It was so much fun, our laughter probably echoed throughout the entire mountain. But we needed our rest, so we decided to call it a night.
??:?? AM (too sleepy to check the time)
I woke up to the sound of what seemed like large flapping wings. The city of Naga is infamous for having witches and monsters. With that in my head, I asked myself, do I dare take a peek outside? What is making that terrifying noise? I knew it was still too dark outside. If I was brave enough to take a look, I still wouldn’t be able to see anything. So I settled on thinking that it was probably just a loose tarp giving in to the strong winds. In the morning, my friends confirmed that it indeed was the tarp. No winged monsters.
Or is there?
I woke up again. This time because of the strong winds smacking on the flimsy walls of our tent. I was afraid it would snap our poles like what happened in Kanlaon. So I got up to reach out and gave it the much needed support. Thankfully, the pegs served it’s purpose and we didn’t fly towards the valley below.
The strong winds suddenly stopped. A logical and scientific reason would be that the Wind Bender decided to finish his practice 15 minutes early. Now, without the howling wind blocking out all other noises, I tried to listen for signs of the others waking up. Unfortunately, all I heard was a chorus of human snoring and the steady pitter-patter of raindrops against the tent.
Seriously, nobody’s still up yet? Even the sun isn’t peeking out of the sky. There was no sign of a sunrise, but it was definitely brighter now. So I went out of the tent, and feasted my eyes on such a glorious sight: Sea of Clouds! ♥
Boyfie’s awake now. Because I was making too much noise. Since he’s up, I urged him to come with me to the peak, and see the view from there. Together, we ran the short distance towards Mount Naupa’s highest spot.
All that cloud rose up to the peak. And soon everything was obscured by mist, until you can only see a few feet in front of you (or behind you if you turned around, duh). Then it rained again so we ran back to camp to take shelter inside the tent.
Almost everybody is awake now. Those of us who usually do the cooking is busy preparing breakfast. The menu was dried fish, eggplant, and omelette. After breakfast, we had fresh coconuts straight from the nearby trees. It was offered by Sir Mt. Naupa Caretaker himself, for only 10 pesos each — half the price of what it’s worth in the city.
Tents down, backpacks on. We were all set to bid Mt. Naupa goodbye. We trekked down the trail and in just a few minutes found ourselves on the road again. Slippery road. We had to move slowly and carefully to avoid tumbling down.
We exited in Barangay Lanas, where we waited for a ride that would take us to Poblacion Naga for lunch and reality, which was the city life.
Yet another journey has been added to my pile of good memories. And I hope somebody out there would try it too. I would definitely recommend this to anyone, especially those who want to try trekking for the first time, to experience for themselves the breathtaking world of being a mountaineer. Who knows, you might fall in love with the mountain as I did. Go on an adventure. Just go where your feet leads you. ♥
Timestamps are just guestimates. I didn’t have a watch.
Special thanks to @kresia, @ali, and @pong for the photos.