My Life with the Spartan Boys

Break of dawn. Hello, Sunday! (c) Dakilanglaagan

I used to despise Sundays when I was younger. To me, it was equivalent to doomsday. Back then, the only thing I feared, aside from being whacked by a brook stick (or hanger), was to have my tooth extracted by my father. Whenever he finds out about a loose tooth, he’d eventually say that I have until Sunday to extract it myself or else… his mighty fingers will pluck them out of my mouth. My faith developed at such a young age every night whenever I pray that he’ll forget the ordeal. To some weekends, it worked; but most of the time… it didn’t. Now that I have grown older and toothaches are then cared of by health care insurance, Sunday became nothing but a typical rest day. Not until our recent hike to Baloy Daku.

Babag Range (c) Dakilanglaagan

It took a lot of pondering before I was able to chronicle Baloy Daku because sharing such four-day experience meant delving into the back story on how and why it happened. And of course, acknowledging the people who made such a success. Hence, the purpose of this entry.


To Manggapares – tracing those six towers (c) Dakilanglaagan
Smog around Cebu City. (c) Dakilanglaagan
Muffin Peak (c) Dakilanglaagan

For the past two months, my Sundays have never been the same. Ever since I signed up for the Baloy Daku climb, I was forced to wake up early every Sunday to hike the infamous Spartan Trail. At five, we were expected to have started the slow ascent from Banawa to the construction site of Monterraza’s to avoid the scorching heat of the sun, for such is an open trail. Instead of feasting on Sundays, I ended up having apple for breakfast, bihon (or sometimes nothing) for lunch, chocolates for trailfood, and a lot of water (and softdrinks) in between.  I have learned my lessons the hard way: full stomach, full ascent.  And to be at par with my pseudo-trailrunner comrades, I befriended the roads and started walking home from my workplace (approximately 7 kilometers passing through hi-ways and nine skywalks) everyday. For someone as lazy as I am, breaking the daily routine was difficult. In the words of my father: no one signed me up for this; so, I had to face the consequences. Ginusto mo, panindigan mo. It was the first time I took pre-climbs seriously.

N. Bacalso Avenue (c) Dakilanglaagan
Blessed to see this sunset view while walking home (c) Dakilanglaagan

But when you are with people who get excited when Sundays come, I began to question the worth I once placed on such dreadful day. Spartan trail allowed me to witness kindness among strangers, responsibility towards each hiker, fun amidst exhaustion, and perseverance on reaching a certain goal. Most of the time, I would be trailing behind them but never did they leave me even though I have long convinced myself that it’s better to quit. They celebrated with me in every milestone that I make until finally I was able to complete the Spartan to Spartan trail (Banawa – Pamutan – Manggapares – Napo – Babag – Bocaue – Pamutan – Banawa). The support was overwhelming and for that I’d be forever indebted to them.

Chabs (c) Dakilanglaagan

For consistently acknowledging my achievements, inspiring me to go lightpacking, and helping me explore views beyond the horizon that I exist in, thanks Chabs.

Chabs and Tuts (c) Dakilanglaagan

For making the hike ridiculously fun, giving input on hiking hacks, and celebrating with us your birthday, thanks Tuts.

Post birthday celeb of Tuts (R – L: Sir Mark, Tuts, Jahmar, Chabs, Alien) (c) Dakilanglaagan

For sharing bits of your wisdom, your stories of early hiking days, and for accommodating a fickle soul, thank you Sir Mark.

Break at Babag (c) Dakilanglaagan

For making the hike bearable with all your 9gag stories and Facebook memes, thanks Jahmar and Jet.

Mandatory Group Photo with the gang
Growing Spartan Family HAHAHAHA (c) Rose

And for all those who were scammed by these people and joined our crazy die-hike, thank you!

That 12noon Spartan hike invitation tho. (c) Dakilanglaagan

Special thanks to Shiela and Debby for making me sane when all these men connive and put me on a hotseat.

Finally finished the Spartan to Spartan route! (c) Dakilanglaagan

 They say you have to look backward in order to move forward. Now, it finally made sense why I met Chabs in Sambawan Island, Epifanio in Mt. Talinis, and Sir Mark on my initiation climb in Argao – all on a weekend. Everything has been perfectly laid for me to realize that Sunday can become the best day of my life – most especially when it’s shared with the best people.

Now that we’re done with Baloy and Kalatungan-Wiji, I still hope to see you on trails, particularly on a Sunday! Happy hiking!

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