Keeping it Slow and Steady: Traversing Cebu Transcentral Highway

There are so many realities in life that we refuse to accept. For one, life does not follow the timelines we have set for ourselves. Two, our time is finite. And three, some of our best efforts will never be reciprocated.

Your ears may bleed from its constant repetition – but as cliché, as it goes – if it’s not meant for you, you have to let it go.

It has become an inside joke among those participating in gatherings and parties this holiday season: that strong desire to win the major prize in the raffle draw only to experience the same fate like of the previous years – failure.

Who wouldn’t want to win an international roundtrip ticket, right? Perhaps the latest model of iPhone? Household appliance? Or those crisp Christmas bills. I, for one, have also fallen into this delirious wanting. After all, we’re all just kids who grew up way too fast – and are still hoping for Santa to grant the desires of our hearts.

But for someone who has never won any major prize, I have long learned to take comfort in the thought that prizes do come to those who need them. It’s not that you don’t deserve it, it’s just that someone else needs it more than you do. It’s not yet your time.

As they put it: timing is everything. And when the time is right – when you’re ready to receive the blessing that could have been too heavy for you to carry – the universe will make it happen.

The Longtime Dream of Traversing Cebu Transcentral Highway

Excuse my ramblings. My head’s still on cloud nine.

Up until now, I still couldn’t fathom how the stars have aligned to finally make my longtime bucket list come true. Guess, 2022 is not yet over with its crazy plot twists.

Last weekend, after dancing through our busy holiday schedules, my ever-supportive friends finally agreed to hike Cebu’s mountain highway that extends from the east coast to the west, Cebu Transcentral Highway.

Crossing TCH, as most Cebuanos fondly call it, has always been a dream of mine. Having traveled to Balamban back and forth (thanks to my classmates in college who reside in the humble municipality) a couple of times, I’ve always wondered about the possibility of having to traverse such highway by foot.

So, when I found out that Sir Mark had done it with his fellow runners years back, I kept on bugging the group to do the same thing. Last weekend, my Christmas present came early, the dream has been ticked off the bucket list.

Is It Really Possible to Hike Cebu Transcentral Highway?

Cebu Transcentral Highway spans around 45 kilometers from Balamban going to JY Square. Following the kilometer markers, it is approximately 50 kilometers long starting from the Cebu Provincial Capitol (where kilometer zero is positioned).

Through a runner’s lens, it can be classified as an ultramarathon – one that Jet was not made aware of. He thought it was like one of our regular day hikes that lengths from 20 to 30km. Sorry, besh. HAHA. So, imagine his surprise when we began the hike and started discussing the distance that we have to cover, not to mention that we actually started late due to some ‘delays’. HAHA.

While everyone is getting all giddy for their Christmas parties, doing last-minute shopping, and choosing the best outfit to wear, Sir Mark, Jet, and I opted to battle with the seemingly endless ascents and downhills of Cebu Transcentral Highway while the sun was happily grilling us three.

And before I could start spitting out curses, Jet reminded me in the first kilometer that it was all my idea. ‘Wa kay karapatan mureklamo. Ginusto mo ‘to.’ So, there I was, mouth shut as I struggled to breathe while hiking up that Cansomoroy assault at twelve noon. (Even my brother who frequently joins rides at TCH detests that slide-prone portion ascending to DPWH District Engineering Office.)

If it’s of any consolation though, the view on both sides of the road is truly mesmerizing. Aside from the magnificent vista of Cebu’s highlands, the clear skies provided a better landscape picture of Tañon Strait and the island of Negros. Add to that the cold mountain breeze of December.

Our hike thru Cebu Transcentral Highway also allowed us to take a closer look at the famed tourist spots in between Cebu City and Balamban, like Lakeview Le Jardin, West 35 Eco Mountain Resort, and Adventure Café. We’ve also got a closer encounter with the photographers stationed at Manggahan and Baluarte along with the different Cebu bike groups and sportscar enthusiasts that they were trying to take photos of.

Needless to say, among the three, I’m the happiest when we arrived at JY Square. Despite the unexpected heavy downpour, we were able to safely and successfully traverse Cebu Transcentral Highway – and Jet even completed the 50km run up until Cebu Provincial Capitol.

In my recent blogs, I have repeatedly mentioned how unexpected it was for me to have joined marathons this year. But probably, it was a requirement – for the realization of this longtime dream or something even bigger.

Sometimes, it takes years before we get to see the bigger picture of why we have to do or undergo certain things in life, of why our greatest desires are never granted. But maybe Baek Yi-jin of Twenty-Five Twenty-One was right: in the grand scheme of things, maybe everything that we are doing right now is just a practice, a preparation for something bigger.

Living in a world that worships immediacy, it can truly get frustrating to have not met the deadlines we have scheduled for ourselves: finishing graduate school, working on that passion project, taking your dream car out for a spin, earning your first million, starting your own business, or simply complying to society’s rambling of you getting married and building a family.

When the pressure begins to make itself known, remember that some of the best things in life take a slow unraveling. Sometimes it can be a literal uphill battle; other times, it could be a steep downfall.

Maybe the ironic truth is that we have to learn to savor the agony and find joy in waiting. What is life but of constant trials, of remaining steadfast in whatever the universe has to offer. When you feel that you are at a slow pace, know that glory comes to those who persevere. It will be your time soon.

As always, thank you Merese Gang (especially to Jet and Sir Mark) for your unwavering support. I don’t know what good I have done in my past life to deserve you all. Also, congratulations to our ever-dynamic bubbly scammer Chiarra (whose presence we truly missed) for completing Pinoy Fitness SUB1 10k Road Challenge.