Mount Cabuyao was more than a long uphill trek for me. It was a reminder of the simpler times when my dad would drive us to the top of Mount Cabuyao where we picked strawberries and enjoyed the view of Baguio and the nearby mountains from the top. It’s now easily accessible by cars but climbing it by foot gives you a better appreciation of the view not only from the top but also along the climb.
This was not my first time to climb the Mount Cabuyao Radar Station having joined the Radar Run a few years back and also doing the trek during my birthday last year accompanied by my sister and nephew. I was supposed to join the Radar Run last December 30 but missed it since I was still recovering from sickness on that day. I still wanted to do the trek so when I was feeling a bit better the next day, I went straight to the foot of Mt. Cabuayo / Mt. Sto Tomos to do the trek. It’s about 8 kilometers climb until Mt. Cabuyao and maybe another 3-4 more kilometers if you want to go to the peak of Mt. Sto Tomas. Since I started early afternoon, I’ll just do Mt. Cabuyao this time and will probably climb Sto Tomas at another time. This area has also become a tourist haven lately with the site of the ABS-CBN teleserye, Forevermore Sitio La Presa nearby. Since this is on cemented roads, I went on with the Newton Distance 3 as my weapon of choice for this trek.
Map and Elevation
The route starts at Marcos Highway and follows Sto Tomas Road to the top of the road. The first 3 kilometers is mostly residential and the next 5 kilometers overlooks Baguio City and the nearby mountains.
When it comes to elevation, it’s mostly pure climb with a few meters drop around 1.5 kilometers. The first 3 kilometers, which is the residential area is moderate climbs while the next 5 kilometers has steeper climbs. Overall elvation climb is about 525 meters, with the highest point above 2,000 meters above sea level.
Trekking Mount Cabuyao Radar Station
From some parts of Baguio city, you can see two radars at the top of the Mountain and that’s Mount Cabuyao Radar Station. We joke about it at times as Baguio’s twin aircon that makes the weather cold in Baguio City. It may look like a tough climb seeing it from lower areas but in terms of distance it’s an 8 kilometers walk/run on pure road with a tough incline. The trek starts at Marcos Highway at the entry point of Sto Tomas Road.
It was a foggy day especially on the lower parts of the trail where you get to see the cold white clouds surround you. I started off with the moderate climbs by alternating some runs and walks to warm myself up. The plan was to do insert some runs in the first 3 kilometers as it would be too “breathtaking” doing the runs on the higher part of the trail. This was the residential part of the trek and that included some run stoppers like unleashed dogs walking along the road. There was also a short descent on the second kilometer.
By the third kilometer, the view shifts from residential area to an overlooking view of Baguio and the nearby mountains. This also meant that the climb becomes steeper. For this part, I tried to go for larger steps to cover more distance. I was also focusing on my breathing as the altitude can really take your breath away since the higher you go the thinner the air gets. This is a great altitude training for me.
4 kilometers done and 4 kilometers to go. The next 4 kilometers would be a lot more challenging though. Since the area is becoming popular now, there are more cars navigating this route. The views made up for level of difficulty. I realized that the beauty of walking / running to the top is that you can slow down when the view is amazing. There was a combination of mountains, lush green forest and fog all around the place.
It was a foggy view to the top but slowly seeing the radar station becoming larger felt that the goal was nearer. I also came to realize that this was not just a test of physical endurance but it was a test of mental toughness. It felt different since the last two times I was here, there were people doing it with me so going solo was an attitude training as well. This one is unfinished business so I have to endure and I know this mindset can really toughen me up for my future races.
Approaching the top, you can see Stations of the Cross along the way. This is a popular site for Holy Week too as some people do their stations of the cross here, which I say has a really nice backdrop. There’s also a cafe by the sky at this area, which gives you a splendid view from the Cafe.
After about 525 meters worth of climbing in 8 kilometers of distance, I’m finally 2007 meters above sea level at the Mt. Cabuyao Radar Station and I guess, I can say that my unfinished business is now, finished. I’m on top of the world (or at least 2007 meters above sea level) by the end of 2014. I’m ready for the 2015.
Sitio La Presa
As I said earlier, the site has been a reminder of our childhood days picking strawberries and playing around here and the site where we usually pick strawberries is now called Sitio La Presa, the site of ABS-CBN’s Forevermore. This is just less than a kilometer from the Radar Station and this has boosted tourism in the area so when I dropped by I got to see a lot of people of all ages appreciating the area. What I like the most about the area is that it had a splendid view of Mount Sto. Tomas.
The place also has a nice view of the Radar Station along with an overlooking view of the forest and the mountains. It’s a steep descent and climb going to and from here coming from Sto. Tomas Road. It’s nice that tourism has gone up because of this as not only do small business thrive from this but it also encourage people to trek a bit just for this view.
Most people go to this point by car but I suggest people to explore it by foot. It’s good for your fitness and your eyes would be treated to the views of the area longer. It would also be a great way to strengthen your leg muscles and lengthen your strides with the climbs. It’s not just the view from the top that matters but the view along the journey too.