Southern Cebu Peaks: A Trekking Quest

We all know the highest peak in Cebu is located in the mid-south region of the island. The popularly visited and highly accessible Osmeña Peak is located in the mountain ranges of Southern Cebu. But did you know that upon this area also sits neighboring peaks with equally amazing views? Well on my case, I didn’t. Lately, several mountain peaks went buzzing over the social media. Little did I know that those peaks sit on the same mountain range where the highly decorated Osmeña Peak, which I have been to for several times, is located. Last summer on the latter part of May, we went on a quest to climb the Southern Cebu Peaks. This serves as our pre-climb for our Tres Marias major climb in Biliran by June. The planning was short and the jaunt was quite impulsive. With a less than a week planning, we’re still confident we can pull through this quest without any problem.

Start of the Journey to conquer some of Cebu peaks

Early in the morning at around 5 AM, we met at the Cebu Bus Terminal. As usual, there will always be the early birds and the late comers. Thank goodness I arrived the earliest. We were already behind the schedule when we hopped on the bus heading to Dalaguete. After the usual butt flattening 4-hour bus ride, we disembarked at the Dalaguete-Mantalungon intersection where we hooked on to another 30-minute habal-habal ride to Mantalungon Public Market. At the market, we equipped ourselves with the essentials. Since we know this is going to be a hella long trek, we bought several liters of water to avoid dehydration. Starting off from the public market, we followed the road leading to the foot of Osmeña Peak. The weather was partly sunny and cloudy. Still, the fuming heat of the concrete road managed to penetrate our stamina.

Shit happens

Most of us only have few hours of sleep prior to this quest, thus the reason why we kept on having interval breaks to catch our breath. But the worst scenario came with Lai as he was having an upset stomach even the night before. Even though how prepared we are, sh*t can still happen. We haven’t even covered an eighth of the trail to the foot of Osmeña Peak, Lai’s stomach has already started murmuring. Demanding to finally release the demons within. LOL. Lai’s situation has been the main subject of jokes. Luckily we found a residence willing to help Lai’s situation. Thankfully, Lai has been successfully exorcised from the demons within his belly.

Casino Peak (Ka-Seno Peak)

Cebu Peaks

Several minutes of walk following the trail leading to Osmeña Peak, we finally reached the fork where we changed trail heading to the first peak, Casino Peak. Casino Peak has recently marked its name on the list of Cebu peaks. It was still around 10 AM, so the sun hasn’t sat on its throne yet. But still, it was already hot enough to make our heads coil. From concrete pavements to rocky trails, we conquered the uphill and the downhill trails heading to the peak. For about an hour, more or less, we finally reached the foot of the so-called Casino Peak.

We rested for a while on the spot where the locals were chilling under the shades of a tree. As we finally caught our breaths, we assaulted to the peak. To be honest, the assault was short but quite exhausting. Caught in awe, we can’t help but take several photos at the peak. The view was astonishing. Indeed, you can see the other peaks within the mountain range at the peak. The view somewhat resembles the chocolate hills of Bohol.

Read more about my Casino Peak experience here.

Shit can happen not just once.

As time ticked, the sun started rising to its pinnacle. Before we get ourselves toasted, we descended from Casino and made haste on our way to Osmeña Peak. While we were on our way, the demon’s from the seventh hell has once again possessed Lai’s gut. He quickly looked for a spot where he can summon a divine intervention for him to finally let out the little devils inside that has been bothering him. As he was doing his business, we took shade on the trees on the road. Replenishing our energy reserves.

Bring out the jellos! As always, we always find ways to bring jellos during our trek. Not only it tastes good, but jellos can be a hunger stopper while at the same time can somehow re-hydrate you due to its watery composition. One pack of jellos gone in just a matter of seconds.

Osmeña Peak

Cebu Peaks

Energy replenished, we charged through the uphill and downhills of the open trail under the excruciating heat of the sun. After several minutes, we reached the back door trail heading to the Osmeña Peak. It was a good sight to finally be able to see the peak knowing that we are almost at our destination. We did not register nor pay fees as we got on the peak via the back door trail. At the foot of Osmeña Peak, were locals pitching their roofs and selling refreshments for visitors. We, however, asked the locals for us to at least hide under their roofs. The locals gladly accepted us and had us positioned under their tent. In return, we gladly bought some items on their store for us to eat. I did not bother assaulting to the peak anymore as I’ve been to the peak for several times already and also for the reason that there are bundles of visitors that time no need to mention the piercing heat of the sun.

I fear for the mountain’s preservation

Though most of us did not bother assaulting to the peak, Vanessa, one of our trek mates, haven’t been there yet. So we let her assault by herself for her to see the view up on the highest peak of Cebu. We waited for her to come back. It took her several minutes before she went back to where we stayed. It was no problem though as we get to rest under a roof while munching on the foods we bought from the locals’ food stalls. I was worried though for there is a chance that plastic trash from the plastic wrappers of the foods sold by the locals.might appear on the trails. I suggest there must be a filter control upon entering the mountain premises. Plastics and other non-organic and/or non-bio degradable wrappers or bottles shouldn’t be allowed to get near the mountains.

A chance encounter

Few minutes passed by, Vanessa returned to where we stayed signaling us to resume our trek to the next peak. It was already passed noon when we resumed our trek. As we all know, Osmeña Peak’s trail is already well established, thus did not take us long descending to the foot of the peak. We even frantically running through the trail. While we were descending down, we had a chance encounter of meeting Sir Aldrich of The Bisaya Traveler. Of course, we did not miss the chance to take a photo together with him. The meeting was just a quick hi-hello as we were chasing time and our schedule. Also, Sir Aldrich might also have his own schedule, so we did not bother staying too long.

Let’s make haste

As we reached the foot of Osmeña Peak, we managed to have a quick rest while enjoying the flavors of the local street ice cream sold at the foot. When you are chasing time, you can’t help but utilize everything around you to hasten your pace. And so we hired the habal-habal motorcycles, parking and waiting for passengers, to take us fast back to Mantalungon Public Market. We have to be there as early as possible since we still need to buy food for our dinner and for our breakfast then head straight to the last peak. Plus, our stomachs were already grumbling and complaining. We still have to take our lunch at the market.

I swear we were like on the “Amazing Race” show when we reached the market. We took our lunch fast and hurriedly bought our food supplies for dinner and breakfast. Splitting the work really helps, it makes the tasks easier and fast.

To the last peak, we go

Supplies restocked, we headed on to the next neighboring peak. This time we hired a habal-habal motorcycle to take us to our next destination as we were already behind our schedule and the next destination is at a considerable distance from Mantalungon Public Market. The habal-habal ride took around 30 minutes. Imagine if we trekked the distance. The sun would already be sleeping before we can reach the foot of our next peak. It was already late in the afternoon when we reached the foot of Kandungaw Peak. We hurriedly filled up the visitors’ log and paid the fees. We want to at least be able to reach the camping area before dark.

Kandungaw Peak

Cebu Peaks

Kandungaw Peak has already established its name as one of Cebu Peaks that’ll definitely test your fear of heights. That is why we, adventure junkies, made sure we include this peak on our quest. After we filled up the visitors’rs log and settled the fees, we then started ascending to the peak. One guide was provided as mandated by the local tourism. The trek to the campsite took more than an hour. It was already twilight when we arrived at the camping site and already dark when we pitched our tents. When everything was settled, we addressed the demands of our bellies by feasting on what we have for dinner.

Camping under the blanket of stars

Camping won’t be complete without the socials part. After we had our dinner, we gathered around on the small open space to have our socials. Though we already know each other, there were at least 2 new faces on the group. What better way to disperse the awkwardness than to play a game. We played several card games and word plays. We laughed and enjoyed the company until some of us were visited by the angels of sleep. There were only a few left surviving throughout the night. It was a good thing as we were blessed with a sky spectacle. MILKY WAY!

Cebu Peaks

Of course, we did not let the chance to get some shots with the marvelous backdrop. It did not take long before the fumes of drowsiness dragged our eyes to shut.

Daybreak and the descent

Cebu Peaks

Early morning and we have to cook our meal fast. The sun might come out and it would be too hot for us to cook in the open space with no shades. We hurriedly consumed our breakfast and broke our camp. The weather was inconsistent that day. Moments of drizzle and rain came in from time to time. Maybe because it was just foggy at the top and we just mistook it for rain. We descended early as we planned to do some side trips. But before anything else, we did not miss taking photos at the iconic cliffs of Kandungaw Peak. We weren’t able to do so the day before arrived as it was already dark when we arrived. I must admit, the view at the top was breath-taking. A different sensation though when you look directly below the 90 degrees death-drop of the cliff. It’ll surely suck the life out of your knees.

Read more about my Kandungaw Peak experience here.

Side trips and more

After minutes to an hour of knee cracking descent, we arrived re-hydrated ourselves at the water source before proceeding to the foot of the mountain. We had another set of quick break at the foot before hopping at the motorcycles waiting for passengers. As we set off to Mantalungon Public Market, we asked our motorcycle drivers to quickly drop us at the area where the scenic mini rice terraces are found. The drivers dropped us at the exact location and patiently waited for us as we quickly took snaps of the rice field.

Cebu Peaks

There also is a strawberry farm in the area but unfortunately, the fruits were already harvested that time. Heading on, it was already afternoon when we arrived at the public market and so we took our lunch there before heading back to the main highway to catch a trip back to the city.

We arrived at the city quite exhausted and dirty. But everything was worth it. Adventure is what adventure junkies are craving for anyway. The price has to be paid.

Last note

Adventures like this are fun, especially when supplemented with a good company. But in the middle of our fun and laughter, we sometimes tend to neglect the actions we make. Actions that can greatly affect the environment and the ecosystem. That is why we need to keep in mind, practice and religiously observe responsible tourism. Leave No Trace. Even just on the smallest things, we can help in preserving mother nature.

Leave No Trace.

Leave Nothing but Footprints, Take Nothing but Photos, and Kill Nothing but Time.

What you bring, take it back with you.

Dispose waste properly.

Leave what you find.

Respect wildlife.

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Cebu Peaks

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