Destinations, Travel Guides, Travel Philippines, Travel Stories

11-hour Trek To Mt. Kan-Irag & Why I Won’t Do It Ever Again

You know that I have always been a beach person. Whenever I think of vacation, I want it to be as relaxing as possible. However, as time passed, I wanted to experience new things. I wanted to try adventure-filled vacations. Which is why I went hiking for the first time at Cebu’s highest peak. So when our long-time plan of conquering Mt. Kan-Irag or more famously known as Sirao Peak finally pushed through, I was excited. But little did I know that it was going to be a life-and-death experience. The others have said that the Budlaan-Sirao trail can be done in 4-6 hours but we did it in almost half a day. Eleven friggin’ hours to be exact. For non-trekkers like me, it was like a suicide mission. Which is why I won’t ever go to Mt. Kan-Irag taking the same trail again. 

Our call time was 7AM at Gaisano Grand Mall in Talamban since we’re taking the Budlaan-Sirao trail. We ate breakfast first and then bought some takeaways for our lunch later. We rode a habal-habal for PHP 50 each going to the starting point and the travel time took around 10 minutes. We registered our names, prayed together, and then off we went to start the trek. It was around 9AM. 

The photo above is the first among the many rivers that we crossed. At first, I took my shoes off and folded my leggings to prevent it from getting wet. But boy, did I know that it was just the start of something even more “adventurous”. 

We took A LOT of breaks within the whole duration of the trek and these breaks were mostly for photo taking sessions. Because we actually joked about the famous “Pictures or it did not happen” thing. 

At around 12NN, we saw a cottage where three other trekkers were having their lunch so we decided to have ours as well. It was actually nice meeting them and we exchanged food and good conversations. They went off first because they were just day trekking so they need to reach the peak as early as possible. The four of us were left at the cottage and continued our lunch while enjoying our fresh coconut juices.

After lunch, we went up and took a long break at the falls. I’ve always known it as Budlaan Falls but reading other blogs, I’m not sure if it’s really Budlaan Falls or Kabang Falls. Or if they’re just the same. Anyway, we enjoyed the ice cold water for a while before moving on to our trail. 

I was going happy-happy after that long break at the falls until we encountered the first and one of the most difficult boulders during the trek. Selah went up first and I was supposed to go second. However I had so much difficulty in lifting myself up that the first time I tried, I hugged the rock instead. Sorry, guys. LOL. The land we were stepping on was so steep and narrow and the mud made it even more difficult and dangerous because it was very slippery. 

Dani, who was supposedly following me, volunteered to go first instead. She took her shoes off and threw them up with the rest of the things she brought to lighten her weight. She went up easily and I was pressured. I took my shoes off too to try if it’d be easier to climb up. Cams, our tail, knelt down and offered her legs to be my stepping point. Huhu so much effort from these guys!

My hands searched for pockets to hold on to and to step on. I placed my left foot on Cams’ legs, readied my right foot to step on the pocket, and in a few seconds, I was finally up. I wanted to cry the moment I finished climbing but I stopped myself. I didn’t want to be a baggage and I knew that there were more coming. And indeed, there were A LOT of huge and treacherous boulders that we had to climb but it was beginning to become easy for me. 

After the huge boulders, it was the steep, slippery, and narrow paths that tested my patience and perseverance next. As we were climbing up, I would grab anything that could help me continue that there were a lot of times that I’d get cuts and bruises for grabbing plants with thorns. My friends even teased me for being the “Best in Kamang” (Best in Crawling) because when the path becomes very, very slippery, I would crawl instead. It was definitely easier, I tell you. 

At first, we took breaks every after a long trek but as our exhaustion ate us up, we took breaks every now and then. We’d walk for two minutes and we’d take breaks and play one song. Yes, we’d sit down and play one full song and when the song’s over, we continue the trek. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why our trek took 11 hours but who cares? This isn’t a competition anyway. 

The worst part of the trek was when we were already at the foot of Mt. Kan-Irag. We were anxious to get to the peak but it was still so far away. Plus, it was already dark when we arrived at the foot. We even took a wrong turn and when Cams realized it was the wrong path, we silently moved down and went on our way. 

We could already see the city from where we were but I frustratingly told myself that I won’t appreciate the view until we get to the peak. Haha. We were getting impatient the nearer we were to the peak. Every once in a while, we ask, “Is it still too far?” or “How many minutes more?”

When we heard people from above and the noise kept getting louder, I knew we were almost there. When we finally reached the peak at around 8PM, we were so relieved! At long last! We reached the top! But that doesn’t stop there. We need to survive the night so as much as we’d want to rest already, we need to cook our food and setup the tents. I helped Selah in setting up her tent and it was a first for me. After that, since Cams’ tent was more complicated, I helped Dani in cooking our dinner instead. Haha. 

I’m not sure what time we were able to have our dinner but we ate very hungrily. 11 hours of trekking was very exhausting. But we could really not complain, right? We told ourselves that we wanted this. How much more if we decided to go on major climbs one day? So we filled our tummies, cleaned ourselves up, and unfortunately, I was the first one to surrender. Haha. I slept. No socials took place. We were dead tired. 

At 5AM, I was awakened by the thing that I dreaded the most — panuhot. Or from what Yahoo! Answers say, digestive flatulence. I could hear the “gas” inside my stomach. I fought the urge to surrender to the call of nature and forced myself to sleep. I was able to hold it in for a while and around 7AM, I could not hold it any longer. So I surrendered. Spell SUCCESS. 

We ate breakfast and then we started cleaning up to prepare for our descent. We took a lot of photos too. It was almost 10AM when we started our descent taking the trail that would take us to the Busay side which they say usually takes around 20-30 minutes (depending on your pace). However, the path wasn’t great especially that it rained at dawn. More cuts and bruises were added to our collection. The muddy path was even more difficult going down. But when we reached the foot and saw four habal-habal drivers on standby, we rejoiced. Finally, we were going home! 

Our climb to Mt. Kan-Irag was definitely a life event I will forever remember. It was indeed an amazing achievement. I was proud of myself considering how unfit I am. But I will never go back taking that Budlaan-Sirao trail EVER AGAIN. You can say I’m such a weakling or I’m just overreacting, say what you want to say. We are all different. We have different preferences. And I’d rather cherish my safety than risk it. Yes, I would still go on climbs and treks but I’d choose to take the easy ones for now. I don’t think I’m prepared for another dangerous adventure yet. 

How about you? Have you been to Mt. Kan-Irag (Sirao Peak) too? How was your experience? 🙂

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