Before 2020 ended, my friends and I decided to do a hike to one of Cebu mountains and notorious trails: Mt. Babag. Nah, don’t go technical with me on that “Mt.”, I know 752+ masl does not stand a chance on those legit hiking destinations in the Philippines. But I live for search engines now. That’s how I survived 2020. Please bear with me.
Yearend Hike to Mt. Babag
Now, back to the plan of hiking Mt. Babag before the year ends. I was actually quite hesitant to do it. Aside from the fact that the pandemic isn’t over yet, I have come to make amends with my life now at the comforts of home.
But the love for trails won over me. I know I’m not the only one missing those frustrating ascends and knee-breaking downhells. So, off we went to Mt. Babag.
Hiking in the New Normal
We all know how risky hiking is. Those who have been in the outdoors for quite some time know the potential injuries, trail hazards, and now, virus infection this pursuit of passion entails. Despite all these, despite the curses and those “I will never do this again” charade, we still end up hungry for the trails.
This is the reason why when travel restrictions were eased and leisure activities were permitted in the city, many began to visit Cebu mountains once again. Some with their bikes, others back on trails.
While the number of COVID-cases decreased, it is still relatively better to do some precautionary measures when hiking. Aside from life updates (and web development jargon), here are some of the things that my hiking friends have discussed when hiking in the new normal. Again, don’t go technical with me.
- Limit the Number of Participants
Most hikers have experienced a mass climb once or more in their lives. In fact, it has been an initiation rite for some. But in this normal, and probably when it is safe to travel and hike Philippine mountains once again, I think it’s best to limit the number of participants when hiking.
Limiting contact does not only keep you safe from the virus, it is also less destructive to the trails and flora and fauna inhabiting the place.
- Practice Social Distancing
Maybe this is a no-brainer kind of reminder for some. Even before COVID, hikers have long practiced social distancing with each other – the lead pack already pitching their tents, the middle pack nearing the summit, while the tail pack still resting in the middle of nowhere.
Still, it’s good to be reminded to practice social distancing when hiking. Not only that you get to appreciate more the environment when you’re on your own, but you also minimize the possibility of transmission.
- Wear your Face Mask
Buff headwear has been a multi-functional companion to regular hikers. Aside from keeping the sweat off and providing extra protection on the body parts covered, this can also be utilized as an additional mask to keep you protected and those around you. Though there is a bit of a gray area here, nothing beats taking precautions.
- Check your Hiking Schedule
On our way to the peak, one of the locals noted how we should have hiked on a weekend for more chances of meeting fellow hikers. But that’s actually the reason why we decided to go on a weekday: less contact. What’s the use of limiting the number of your hiking group when there’d be tons of you on trails, right?
What I like most about Cebu mountains is the diversity and multitudes of trails that can be followed. When scheduling for your next hike, maybe you can consider the density of the hiking population on the mountain that you are planning to climb on that specific day of the week.
- Bring Personal Hygiene Kits
I used to take ‘pack light’ literally. For me, that meant: hydration bottle and a belt bag for my phone, trail food, and money. But in this new normal, I guess I’ll have to secure a new pack (boss, baka naman) for personal hygiene kits like extra face mask, disinfectant, and sanitizer.
- Know well Before you go
A little research won’t hurt. Before we had our hike, we did review some protocols that needed to be followed for us to reach the jumpoff. That includes travel documents (quarantine pass and COE, just in case), local government restrictions, and mode of transport.
Assuming the risks, it’s better to take note of the available modes of transportation to and fro the hiking destination. This also cuts the costs and helps you estimate better the budget for the hike.
Recent Photos of Mt. Babag
Sharing here some of my favorite shots during our yearend hike to Mt. Babag.
Thanks, Jet and Debby for tagging along. Hoping for better days and more hikes this new year!
Wishing good health and safe travels to everyone. See you real soon on trails and remember to: take nothing but picture, leave nothing but footprints, and kill nothing but time.
For Cebu mountains and hiking trails suggestions, check out here.