running events on 2010, but with the rampant smoke belching, I think I would end up in the hospital for some lung illness. Fortunately, my college friend, classmate, and adventure buddy -- Jaymark invited me to do some hiking.
At first I was hesitant because both of us haven't been there yet, and I was expecting a mountain climb instead of a trail hike. But due to lack of equipments such as a tent, cooking range, earth pads, headlamp, and etc., we just both agreed to try the Yellow trail hike.
The Yellow trail was just on the surrounding mountains of Camp John Hay (CJH). We started the trek from Scout Barrio, and planned to take our exit in front of the Baguio Country Club (BCC). If you would walk along South Drive road starting from gate 3 of CJH (fronting Nevada), it would only take you around 30 minutes to reach BCC, or around 5 minutes when driving. In contrast, the trail trek took us around 6.5 hours before reaching the residential areas around BCC.
On the first few meters of the trail, some Filipino and Korean visitors frequented the area on a horse-back ride. Finding them amused and enjoying on the horse ride going round, up, and down the hills, made my memory flash back on the days when I was still shepherding our own buffalos (or carabaos), cows, and horses in Masbate. We can ride the horses as much as we want, we ride the horse going from one town to another, mountain-to-mountain, and without a fee to spend, just the responsibility of taking good care of the animals.
While the middle and last few meters of our trail, we met some other foreigners who were also trail-hiking. This made me think that more foreigner visitors are much adventurous with this kind of activity on a foreign land, while some Filipinos prefer to just sit and be serviced by the horses and tour-guides, lol! Another thing that I have observed from those foreigners that we've met along the way is their friendliness. Me and Jaymark are too shy to greet them first, but their friendly faces and smile just took our shyness away, so we were able to respond to their greetings. This made me think back about the Filipinos that we first met along the trail. I even took pictures of them, but no one, not even one, and not even their kids smiled, waved, or greeted, and responded to our smiles. Is this how Filipinos are of today? Are we not the ones who were originally branded as friendly and hospitable? Well, I guess, today, these traits only applies to remote or undeveloped provinces yet, and no longer applies in the well-known Cities of our Country.
Ok, let's go back to the trail and to the story's trail (sorry for going out-of-topic)! I have never realized why was the trail called "yellow trail". Though along the way, we found a yellow-colored stone. One friend of my father told me before that stones like that are already on its dying age and to becoming a lump of soil. I just don't know if rocks or stones really die (are they even alive?), and if it does die, does it really have to become yellow? hmmnn....
The whole trail is all surrounded by tall pine trees, and some about 3 to 7 year old trees that are fruits of some tree-planting activities before. There were also some beautifully constructed, unoccupied mountain/American houses built from pine tree lumbers. One security guard patrolling the area told us that one of those are being sold at Php 40 million. We also came across some area with warning posts on the trees like 'No Entry', 'No Trespassing', and 'Property of United States of America'. I just don't know if the US Property signage was during the American occupation or is it still a property of USA up to this time, after 100 years of Baguio City's anniversary.
Our planned trail exit would've been at BCC as mentioned earlier, though we decided to take another trail going to CJH's gate 3, but we ended up exiting at the main gate which is only around a kilometer away from where we started. It was because the trail going to gate 3 was already covered and surrounded by "Paintball Republic" and rappel adventures inside the CJH - which disgusted and disgraced the area with a lot of paintball bullets, and ticket stubs.
In contrast to all of these frustrating situations, the overall trek was superb, it was tiring and somehow we were able to sweat out our body from the slopes. My leg still got its exercise. The super fresh air with some scent of pine, and the cool breeze just made me remember my childhood days in Baguio when the city was not yet so populated as compared to these days. There were some few bird species too that you can not see nor find in the city, such as the crows (or "uwak" in Tagalog). I realized why they were surviving despite of the lack of food source along the mountains, 'coz they do feast in horse dung. :þ
After completing the trail, I never thought that the area of CJH was that big. We spent around 7.5 hours on the trail including the rests/breaks, going back and forth from the different trails, and finding our way back to the right way of the trail whenever we are lost.
I highly recommend this activity to anyone who's planning a vacation in Baguio City and wants to feel close to nature, and experience how Baguio felt like when there were still no pollution and over-population in the City. It's time for you to get the shopping malls out of your list to visit! ;)
More photos of the trail can be found here.