Thursday, June 29, 2017

Our family adventure at Eco Trail in Camp John Hay (with useful tips!)

Hello everybody! Thanks for following my family's adventures in Baguio. Today, I'll share with you tips on how to properly and safely do the Eco Trail in Camp John Hay. Why? Because we didn't take precautions! I feel really stupid, being a mommy with little kids, and just going on a forest trek willy-nilly. Thank goodness we're all okay!

But first, let me say we had the most amazing fun and I totally want to go hiking there again. That said, I'll be more ready next time!

At the start of the Eco Trail!

The Eco Trail is right across our hotel, Le Monet. We weren't planning on going on the trail. Instead, we were going to check out the Butterfly Sanctuary, which was the first stop on the Eco Trail. So off we went but when we got to to sanctuary, my sons said they didn't want to see the butterflies. Since we were already on the Eco Trail, we decided to just check it out. 

It was a beautiful walk! Totally worth all the huffing and puffing! But as a mommy and daddy, we should've been more prepared. For one thing, we didn't know the distance (it's about 3 kilometers), where the trail ended (there are three exits), and if there were rest stops along the way (there were none). We had small kids! We should've been more prepared!

Paths have been made for hikers.

I'm so proud of my boys, though. They never complained throughout the hike. They didn't misbehave at all—no running, no bothering the bugs, no walking to the edge of ravines, no dangerous stunts. They listened to us and were careful, especially when we had to clamber up tree roots just to climb steep hillsides. They also patiently waited their turn when we had to assist them one by one over streams and narrow, rickety bridges. What little troopers!

So despite the ominous tone of this post, I still want to say that we totally enjoyed our hike and I would love for us to explore the Eco Trail again. I think we'll do better next time because next time, I'll make sure we're prepared! Here are my tips for a fun and safe adventure for families who want to check out the Eco Trail:

Despite the cool weather, Vito said his shirt was hot.

1. Dress appropriately. While the cool mountain air makes it pleasant to hike, do remember you're in a forest. That means there are lots of bugs so long pants and a thin long-sleeved shirt will help protect skin. We met a few other people on the path, one was wearing a sando and he kept complaining about being bitten by little bugs. Thankfully, we weren't bothered by the bugs except that part near a stream where we saw a spider with a red mark on its back. Now I'm not sure if it was a poisonous spider but all those nature documentaries said stay away from brightly colored bugs! So do try to not bother the bugs. If you don't want to wear long sleeves and long pants (and I totally understand because the hike will make you sweat), apply insect-repellant lotion.

A beautiful day for a hike in a beautiful forest!

Another tip is bring a jacket or a raincoat anyway. Even if it's sunny. Baguio weather can suddenly turn chilly. In our case, we started the hike with the sun out, but within 30 minutes, heavy clouds rolled in. We were alarmed because when you're caught in the mountains in the rain, it gets very cold fast. Hypothermia can set in. We had three little kids with us! I was quite frightened.

And of course, wear the right shoes. Rubber shoes, hiking shoes. Remember those people we saw on the path? The women were wearing low heels and strappy sandals. Not a good idea at all!

Through the foliage, we could see the clouds rolling in and covering the once clear blue sky.

2. Check the weather for the whole day. To be fair to me, we set out on our hike on a bright and sunny day. So we were alarmed when we heard the distant thunder and saw the skies grow dark. Rain makes the forest very cold. Plus the fact that mud will make the trail slippery. No place for babies!

It's a good thing the rain didn't fall, even as it threatened us with rumbles. Whew! So we still got to enjoy our lovely hike!

Tree roots on the path help you climb the slopes.

3. Bring water. If you think you can buy refreshments while you hike, nope you can't. There are no rest stops along the way. I guess it's because it's just 3 kilometers. That's not really far. But all that climbing and walking will make you thirsty.

If you want to bring a snack for your kids, that would be nice. Little tummies get hungry fast, especially on a hike. Plus, the forest makes for a picturesque picnic. However, please make sure you bring your trash with you.

There are planks to help hikers on slippery parts on the path.

4. Tell someone you're going on the eco-trail. I got this tip from another blogger. There are three exits: the Manor, the Filling Station, and the one near Loakan Road. Near is not near haha. If you exit near Loakan Road, that's still a looooooong walk to the road! So best to have someone with a car waiting at the exit. You can arrange for your hotel to send a car for you, or you can just tell the concierge where you are and what time you'll return so that they can alert authorities in case you don't come back at the expected time.

But the most important reason for telling someone you're on the Eco Trail is for safety reasons. Vince told me that hikes and climbs should always have someone at the starting point registering climbers. At the end of the trail, someone checks if all the registered climbers have come back/exited. If you haven't exited at the expected time, then they will send a search party. There is no such safety precaution at Eco Trail.

Behind IƱigo is a steep drop into a ravine. Always tell your kids to stay on the path.
My hearts! They had so much fun!

The trail is safe, okay? I don't want to scare anyone. But even the safest places can get people into accidents. There are bugs, steep climbs, sharp drops (and no fences!), tree roots across the path, fallen trees, rotting vegetation—all of which can fascinate and excite little kids! So if you're a family with little kids who wants to go on the Eco Trail, be prepared. Otherwise, like if you're all adults in the group, I guess you can be more carefree (never wise when you go into nature, though).

I still recommend the Eco Trail for families to explore. We had a great time! Have fun, mommies!

If you have more tips for families on how to have the best time on the Eco Trail at Camp John Hay, please share!


  1. Why do I get the feeling that it wasn't that you weren't prepared, it's just that there were no available information about the trail to keep guests safe...hmmm... Was this the case?

    1. It's both. There were no safety guidelines from them, so we had no idea what to expect. But we were also not supposed to go hiking that afternoon kasi. So we weren't prepared. We didn't even bring water. Mali rin ako. Wala namang masamang nangyari but the whole time we were hiking, my mommy Spidey sense was screaming. If I had brought water, snacks, jackets, known how far we'd have to walk and where we were going, if I had bug lotion, mga ganyan, I'd have enjoyed myself more. Nag-enjoy naman the kids. Hindi halata yung stress ko haha

  2. Great experience! Did you guys turn back to the entrance or headed for an exit?


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