While still in the office on Holy Wednesday night, the last working day of the holy week (April 1, 2015), my officemates and I were planning a photowalk on black saturday (April 4, 2014). After few minutes of discussion, selecting between Canso X and Mount Manunggal, we resorted to do city lights viewing at Mount Babag where RCPI Tower is.

It is not my first time to trek from Napo to RCPI Towers, I had few treks already and had camped in the place before. We had decided to Trek from Napo to RCPI and stay / camp overnight near the Tower. We immediately planned out everything and then went out of the office for the holidays and prepare for the Black Saturday trek and camping activity. We don’t have a lot of time to invite other colleagues as it was already very late in the evening and also we would not like to disturb them in their holy week vacation.

On the day of the trek, 4th of April 2015, we met at the Guadalupe Church at noon. I was a bit early @ around 11AM. I waited for few minutes for my colleagues to come. There were only 3 of us. We hailed a motorcycle (“habal-habal”) going to Napo at around 12:30NN for around 10-15 minute ride.

We started our trek at around 12:45NN. It’s quiet hot on that day but we don’t mind the heat anyway.As we went on our trek, it can’t be avoided that most of us felt tired and gasped especially walking under the heat of the sun. But the good thing is, along the trail, it’s not always hot coz there are tree shades that covers some parts of the trail.

After about an hour of walking, we felt hungry and an urgency to take a rest . I, myself didn’t know why my pacing is too slow but then I realized, I am carrying with me my tent, sleeping bag, earth pad, water, trail food, burners and extra clothes. I just laughed myself coz I didn’t noticed it immediately that i carried a laden of load going uphill. Huhuhu, poor me!

We decided then to have our lunch at the water source. The water source is just along the way, it looks like that the water is coming from the hillside.
The locals just use half of the bamboo slit for the water to passed through it and can be fetched in easily. I myself has a sensitive stomach to the water intake especially if I am not familiar as to what mineral content it has, so I didn’t try to drink the water even once in all of my treks. But during our trek, there is a local in there heading home who happened to take a rest and have snacks in the same area as we were resting and we saw her drinking the water. I bet it is safe to drink though and almost tried to drink it but naah, I don’t want to gamble and risk my stomach, prevention is better than cure as they say.

Here is the picture of the water source.

20140726_123609This is where the water source is located.

After eating our lunch (packed lunch of course), we rested for few more minutes to recharge our energy as the trail ahead is uphill and then resume our trek after. I must admit, I really feel tired even if I’m used to with the trail. Maybe it’s because of the load I carried with me or maybe its because of the heat or both.

It’s almost 3 in the afternoon and we are still midway on the uphill trail. We rested and had several water breaks along the uphill trail. At around 3PM, we finally arrived at Manang Toya’s House a.k.a Manuel’s house (Manuel is the son of Manang Tonya) , the favorite stop over of the climbers going to RCPI Towers.

Manang Tonya, as usual, is very accommodating to the climbers. We had our Buko juice as we rested in their place.At Manuel’s House, there is a tree house that was built in the Mango tree. Trekkers are welcome to take rest in the tree house or in one of the benches that they build for them and for the trekkers as what Manang Tonya had said. They are very thoughtful and kind to the trekkers by doing that, and I am very grateful for those acts. You can also ask them to cook native chicken if you like. We had them prepared and cooked one for us in our previous trek. Also, you can ask them to cook your meal for an affordable service charge.

These are some of the photos of their place.

IMG_3433Its really nice to play like a child again at the tree top.

IMG_3437Trying to get some rest.

IMG_3445meditating

IMG_6610 - CopyManang Tonya is preparing the buko for us.

After we had our buko break, we continued to climb the uphill trail. It was around 3:45PM so we need to adjust our pace a little bit faster or else we will be caught by nightfall along the trail. On our last ascend going to the RCPI Towers, at the foot of the mountain, the trail that leads directly to house near the tower was closed. It has a sort of flower plantation and some vegetation already. So the trekkers will have no choice but to follow the old trail going up which is a bit hard compared to the usual trail that was closed.

That was a bit tiring uphill ascend and after and hour or so, we finally arrived at the Top of the mountain, the RCPI Tower. We went to the house near the tower to ask them for permission to camp in the place just right above their house but no one was home. We decided to pitch our tent then while the sun is yet to set. We are willing to transfer to Chalet Hills if they don’t want us to camp in there though. After setting up our camp, we had our dinner and prepare our cameras for the city lights photo.

At around 7PM, the city lights are starting to look more beautiful and the view is becoming more serene and beckoning. Without our knowledge, on that night, a Lunar eclipse is about to happen. At first, I really thought that it the moon is covered by some cloud but later on the covering gets bigger and
bigger. I said to one of my colleague that the moon is weird, or its just me that saw it differently. Maybe I’m tired and thought that the moon is slowly covered unless there is a lunar eclipse going on. She said that it’s just clouds, but I strongly argued because the sky was so clear that night, especially  around the moon. So instead of watching the city lights, we kept staring at the moon for few minutes and indeed, the covering gets bigger and bigger until the moon is almost covered by darkness in half.

We are about to look it up in Google if there is an eclipse going on, but to no avail my Service provider’s net was not so good at that time.I really think it was an eclipse and it was confirmed when I received a text message from one of my friends telling me to take pictures of the eclipse. Yeah right, I knew it! I said so! Hehe

Anyways, we enjoyed the view of the city lights + lunar eclipse and picture taking session. We also enjoyed talking with each other under the moonlight while overlooking the city. We enjoyed it so much that we didn’t even noticed the time that it was already around 2AM. We decided to sleep then to have some energy for the next day’s descend via Mountain View exit.

Here are some of the pictures I took at our camp site.

IMG_3506Breathtaking City view from Mount Babag (RCPI Towers)

IMG_2746City view from Mount Babag (RCPI Towers)

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IMG_2741Our camp site.

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IMG_6792City Lights view

IMG_2825Up-close City Lights view (Mandaue City area)

IMG_2822Up-close City Lights view (Cebu City area)

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IMG_6682Playing with lights 🙂

IMG_6619Photo of the lunar eclipse (handheld shot 🙁 )

IMG_6628Photo of the Lunar eclipse when the moon is almost fully covered.

At around 4AM – 5AM, we were about to watch the fireworks display but to no avail, we can’t see anything around as the visibility is reduced to around 70%. It was a bit cold that time and all you can see around is fog. I can’t barely see the next tent, and even the RCPI Tower is not visible. So we decided to sleep back then for few more hours. We woke up at around 7AM and prepared and cook our breakfast. We had beacon, hotdogs, beef patty , bread and coffee. After we ate our breakfast, we started feeling the heat of the sun as the fog slowly disappears, so we decided to break camp.

All is set then, and we heed to our exit point which is  the mountain view. As we passed by the Chalet Hills (the usual camp site), we had a quick visit of the place and for a short rest. I had a talk with the owner of the sari-sari store just  below Chalet Hills, and she told some info about camping at Chalet Hills and the nearby water source. For sure, we will be camping at Chalet Hills soon enough! We then took some photos of the place, have some refreshment at the sari-sari store and then heed on to our exit point.

Here are some photos taken at Chalet Hills, Busay.

IMG_6804It’s really nice to rest for a while under this tree.

IMG_6806The lonely tree @ Chalet Hills, Busay.

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Near our exit point, is where the Temple of Leah is. Since one of my colleagues had not visited the place yet, we were planning to visit the place again with Him. Unfortunately, Temple of Leah is closed on that time. I don’t know why, but maybe because they have an ongoing construction of its pathway near its entrance gate, I don’t know also as there was no signs on the gate or anything.

Upon reaching our exit point, we then hailed a motorcycle going down to J.Y square. After, we had our lunch at Juan Lechonero. We were a bit hungry at that time, so we availed of their lunch buffet at an affordable price of Php199.00 only.

Till next time. See ya!

But before letting you go, here are few more photos from my previous treks from Napo to RCPI Tower (Mount Babag) trail. Enjoy.

IMG_9979Lunch @ Manuel’s house with NCR Trekkers

IMG_9980Lunch @ Manuel’s house with NCR Trekkers

IMG_3913Buko break @ Manuel’s house with NCR Trekkers

IMG_3937Climbing the uphill trail going to RCPI Tower from Manuel’s House.

IMG_5915It’s a bit foggy along the trail.

IMG_3963Almost @ the mountain top (RCPI Tower)

IMG_3972NCR Trekkers having the last push uphill.

IMG_3979Finally @ the RCPI Tower compound (with NCR Trekkers)

IMG_3540@RCPI Tower during my first visit.

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IMG_4035With NCR Trekkers @ Temple of Leah

IMG_4013With NCR Trekkers

IMG_0115_Resized  With NCR Trekkers @ Temple of Leah

IMG_0113_ResizedWith NCR Trekkers @ Temple of Leah

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IMG_8728 Having lunch @ Lantaw Restaurant  (First Trek)

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Tips:

Ride a ‘habal-habal’ (hired motorcycle) from Guadalupe Church going to Napo. The fare is around 15-20 pesos/pax. If you will hire the motorcycle alone, you will have to pay an equivalent amount for 2 pax.  Do not ask the drivers if how much is the fare going to Napo, tendency they will overprice.  Just try to give them 50 pesos or 100 pesos directly and wait for thee change. 🙂

Going down to J.Y from Mountain view, the fare should only be around 20-25 pesos/pax by “habal-habal”. There are jeepneys also bound to J.Y or will pass along J.Y Square but there will be just few of them especially when its getting late in the afternoon/evening. The fare is around 12 pesos/pax though.

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