If anyone would ask for a suggestion where they could run some trails in Laguna, i’d mention Cavinti in a heartbeat! The rough roads and trails are a hidden gem for trail running but it’s the fantastic scenery within this quaint town that immediately grabs your attention.
I was in for a treat when long-time friend and the run’s host Prince Baltazar invited me and other trail running friends for a test run on the rough roads and trails of his hometown in Cavinti, Laguna which has never been actually tried by runners before and the chance of being the first runners to set foot on these trails was pretty exciting, indeed.
Running buddy June and i, together with Chito and Wilnar who tailed us in the second car set off at about 4am from Quezon City, enough for the 2-hour drive to Cavinti, as i thought. I then realized that our departure time was too late for the scheduled 6:00am run as it took us about 3 hours to reach Cavinti, including a short stop-over we made in Fami for breakfast.
While Chito and Wilnar had porridge and an egg for breakfast, June and i had our fill of Goto-Batangas with egg and a cup of rice each which should be enough as energy reserve for our run. It took us all less than 10 minutes to finish our food as i realized that we were really running late.
Fortunately when we arrived at about 7:20am, the runners were still congregating at the covered court as announcements were being made by our host.
We were greeted by mild rains that Sunday morning when we arrived so i expected the trails to be wet and muddy. As announced by Prince, the run will cover a distance of around 30k, the first 10k to be ran along the main concrete highway and the last 20k on rough roads and trails. Except for the first 2 kms of the trail road which were indeed muddy, the succeeding kilometers were drier and soft which made my run easier and manageable.
Mild temperatures, expansive views of surrounding mountains, rolling hills, moderate elevation gains, a beautiful lake and wildflower meadows are the highlights of running in Cavinti. It reminded me of running up the mountain passes of Miyamit in Porac, Pampanga but here, they were shorter and the rolling terrain was more tolerable.
The dirt roads and wide-track trails offer everything from gentle loops to challenging climbs with sweeping views of the Sierra Madre Mountains including parts which were denuded by illegal logging for timber and coals for cooking, a rather heart-breaking sight.
All in all, we did a total of 24.7 kms (not 30k which was originally intended) in about 4 hours and 23 mins which included all the walking and picture taking i did along the course. The batteries of my old point and shoot camera gave out after only a few shots so please bear with the pictures as i used my BB phone as replacement.
As i am typing this, Prince had just announced that the first Cavinti Adventure Trail Marathon and Half-Marathon is going to take place here with tentative date on November 30, 2013. So here is a glimpse on what to expect on this course:
At the Cavinti Plaza, in front of the Municipal Hall just before the run
A mini dam taken from atop a bridge
The first 10k of the run were done in concrete with views of forests, lakes, mountains and residential neighbors
June and Val taking their time
Passing by this beautiful lake, Lake Lumot
One of the scenic views of our run
Lake is rich in aquatic resources
Couldn’t help but go down the shore to take some pics! 🙂
Arianne Ortega catching up with us
Entry into the trails and rough roads. Luckily, the trails weren’t this bad as we went along inside
We had bikers from Cavinti who acted as our guides so we wouldn’t get lost on the trails. Thanks to Prince!
Nice view of the countryside though the road was damp and soggy
This is our guide’s playground
14 kilometers of rough roads going to the underground cave
This is how green the place is when you consider that illegal logging has denuded some parts of this area
One of the few dwellings located in the area
Entrance to the Deaf Evangelistic Alliance College
Sign at the entrance: Isaiah 29:18
The School’s Church
The 2nd half of the route is mostly rolling terrain
One of many uphills
The ugly face of illegal logging
Another sad picture of illegal logging
Going further inside the forest
One of my favorite parts of the trail
These trails and rough roads snake around the Sierra Madre mountain range
A scenic view near the 22k mark
Another uphill trail
The trees are always a feast of the eyes
The trails were drier on these portions but intermittent showers kept the grounds soft
The trees seem to be arranged perpendicular to each other
Endless mountain views
Downhill all the way from here
Just a kilometer away from the caves
A green rotunda trail
Just after this bend is the finish
All that was left at the boodle lunch table. 🙂
Finally, our destination (Thanks to Benj for the photo)
Water was cold enough to dip our tired legs
Taking a refreshing dip on the icy river
With May Santos
This bamboo raft transported us to the cave
The mouth of the cave
The underground cave
Another group pic
Thanks to Benj Termulo, Prince Baltazar, Ronnel Go, Vener Roldan and the others for letting me use their pictures posted here.