May 24, 2012

A One-Day Nature Trek to RCPI Towers, Cebu

What is one of the best ways to get a breath of fresh air and break away from the stress and monotony of daily living? Two words: Nature trek

(This feature begins my Break Away series or 10 Things to Do to Break Away from the Humdrum of City Living, School or Work. I would have called this project 10 Things to Do This Summer but summer is fading and I wanted to give it broader appeal. And besides, being in an equatorial country means having summery/sunshiny/warm/not-my-kind-of-weather most of the time.)

Keep reading to find out how you can go on a nature trek for a day without going out of Cebu!

Extraordinary would be the perfect word to describe the nature trek to RCPI Towers in Cebu that I helped organize. I'm not a fan of outdoor excursions or braving the sweltering heat of the sun so I expected my friends to be surprised when I told them I was going on a nature trek. That’s one reason why the trip was out of the ordinary, the other main reason is this:

Breathtaking views. Clean, fresh air. Green everywhere. No pollution. You don’t get to have all four in the city! That’s what makes a nature trek to RCPI Towers amazing and the fact that you don’t have to spend more than a day to enjoy the stuff I said.

If you’re feeling adventurous now, here are some info that will help you get an idea of what you need to bring, how much the activity costs and what you can expect.

You will need:
  • dry-fit clothes and an extra shirt or shorts
  • durable and comfortable shoes
  • water
  • packed lunch and trail food
  • a sturdy backpack to store all the stuff you need to bring
  • plastic bags to store your trash or wet clothes in
  • friends you can enjoy the adventure with!

Budget: P300-P450, this includes:
  • food allowance (lunch + trail food + the guide's lunch)
  • water
  • fare  
  • the guide's service fee (this will vary depending on how many you are in the group; our guide charges P500 for 5 people) 

If you want to know the flow of the trek, it's best you check out the previous post for a more detailed breakdown of the itinerary. 

Still up to the challenge? Here are 6 tips on how to make the most out of your nature trek to RCPI Towers:

1. Get a reliable guide. 

If you are not familiar with the place you are going to and it’s your first time to go trekking (like me) then it’s a very wise and safe idea to get yourself a guide. Our guide, Kenneth, was a friend of my mountaineer friend, Manny. Our guide prepared the itinerary for the trek while considering our request for a “not so torturous” experience. He also met up with us days before to teach us basic trekking etiquette and what we needed to bring or do to make the most out of the experience. A good guide should be able to do the same. 

2. Get properly conditioned before the trek.

In all honesty, in the beginning I thought the day trek would be a walk in the park. It wasn’t. I’m  not saying it was traumatic, all I’m saying is that expect to scramble up steep trails, get wet, crawl, teeter along narrow ledges and quite possibly climb up boulders. That is another good thing about getting yourself someone who is familiar with the terrain. You can discuss your expectations and limitations with your guide and, in turn, they can make sure that the trip does not become excruciating for the group. 

Our guide told us in the pre-trek meeting how we can get ourselves in the right shape (i.e. jogging/brisk walking for at least two hours for two nights, carb-loading and getting proper rest two nights before the event). Trust me, all the physical preparations will pay off. During the trek I did not have that much trouble catching my breath (hello, this is an anemic sloth talking!)  and I only had slight cramps the day after—I was even able to walk around the mall the next day! 

3. Wear the proper gear.

Since your feet are going to be hard at work for the most part of the trek, make sure your shoes are comfortable and durable. As for your clothes: dry-fit is the word. Thick fabrics will make you a perfect candidate for the heat stroke pageant and they’ll give you hell if you get yourself wet. 

Like I said, I’m not too fond of the sun so I wore a light, knit sweater. The sweater not only kept me safe from sunburn, it also protected me from thorny plants and shrubs that we passed. The bottom line is that you should wear something you would be comfortable to walk, wade, run, crawl and climb in for at least 8 hours.

4. Bring only the essentials and store them in a backpack. 

Remember you’ll be on the move for hours so travel light and bring only the stuff you really, really need and bring just enough of it. For the trek we brought water, packed lunch, trail food (biscuits, crackers, chips, cookies and anything you can easily eat while on the move) and an extra shirt. I brought my camera and made sure to wrap it in improvised waterproof casing :P. 

We were so lucky that it rained the night before so the whole place was damp and cool and the weather was cloudy (wish come true!). Still, that didn’t keep me from bringing sun block and a foldable umbrella.

Last but not the least, it’s important that you put everything in a backpack. No sling bags, no shoulder bags. As our guides put it, you’ll need both your hands the whole time so backpacks are the best option. 

5. Leave no trace. 

This is an important thing to keep in mind throughout the trek. Don’t take anything you don’t own and don’t leave anything that does not belong in the place you are going. Bring a plastic bag for your trash and don’t destroy anything. 

6. Enjoy!

Of course the best and most important part of every experience is to enjoy it!  Drink the scenery, breathe in the sweet, fresh air, laugh with your companions and savor the momentary escape from the urban jungle. 

Don't miss out the rest of the stuff in my list of things to do to break away and have fun in Cebu! Follow me on Twitter, like my FaceBook page,add me on Google Friend Connect or join my mailing list through the widget on the right sidebar!

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