Spartan Trail: Farewell to Cebu City’s Favorite Hiking Destination?

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Spartan Trail (c) Dakilanglaagan

If you’ve been hanging around the outdoor community of Cebu, then you’ve probably heard of the renowned Spartan Trail. The iconic Spartan Trail begins from Banawa (Paseo Arcenas), to Good Shepherd, all the way to Monterrazas de Cebu, down to the forested part of Buhisan Watershed, then up to Pamutan.  This 2 to 5-hour traverse is a favorite practice grounds among hikers for their upcoming major climbs and running destination among trailrunners as these paths can lead to other connecting practice trails like of Guadalupe, Grassland, Bonbon, Babag, Bitlang, and many other routes. Though seemingly terrifying like of the Battle of Thermopylae, according to some outdoor enthusiasts, Spartan Trail got nothing to do with such bloody war led by King Leonidas. Rather, it got its name from an outdoor group that bushwhacked the trail from Banawa to Pamutan in the early hiking days. (Feel free to correct me, if you have other version of this information).

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Bouldering 101 (c) Dakilanglaagan
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Into the unknown (c) Dakilanglaagan

If you’ve frequented this blog, then surely you’ve read a quite number of posts about Spartan Trail. But I dare write about it again, this time because I want to remember how it looked like before it got totally altered by the ongoing construction of Monterrazas. I want to remember its steep and loose soil before the roads widened and got cemented. I want to remember how we curse the scorching heat of the sun and thank heavens for sending the gentle mountain breeze to calm us down. I want to remember the people I’ve met – the ones who guided me, the ones I’ve guided, the ones who pushed my limits, the ones who encouraged and discouraged me at the same time,and the all those whom I’ve encountered on all the weekends spent on this familiar trail. And the lessons they’ve brought along with them.

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Monterraza’s cemented area (c) Dakilanglaagan

But same way that our perspectives were changed by the mountains, the mountains were also changed by humans. Economic development comes with a price. And sometimes, the mountains, the environment is made to suffer the collateral damage. After almost half a year of hiatus, I came back surprised with the changes that happened to Spartan Trails – cemented roads, backhoes, fallen trees.  What else could change in the upcoming months and years?

Spartan Trail: Farewell to Cebu City's Favorite Hiking Destination?
Dried up riverbed and fallen trees along Spartan Trail (c) Dakilanglaagan
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Laban lang, besh (c) Dakilanglaagan

I used to despise the Spartan Trail. I used to curse its steep ascents and knee-breaking downhells. But looking at it right now, I feel dejected like of those fallen warriors. Should we bid goodbye to one of Cebu City’s favorite hiking destinations? Will other highland trails suffer such fate? Only time could tell.

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Have you been to Cebu’s Spartan Trail as well? How was it? Share your thoughts and sentiments here or through Facebook and Instagram. You may also follow daily rants and reflections on Pinterest and Twitter!

I still hope to see you on trails.

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Thanks to Debby, Idas, and Ana for this chill hike. And also to Sirs Mark and Arnold whom we’ve crossed paths along the way. T’was such great discussion we had.

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