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Conquering Cebu’s Highest Peak

Conquering Cebu’s Highest Peak

 

Fresh from our quick stop-over at the neighboring town of Boljoon, we impatiently waited for a bus that will take us to that famous junction at the town of Dalaguete. We were on our way to conquer Cebu’s highest peak, the Osmeña Peak.

This was my third climb in a span of one year. The first one happened November 2011 where I joined three of my friends on a spur-of-the-moment trek to witness the scenic and captivating view of O’Peak, as well as the mountain ranges that surround it. I’m not really a mountain person (if there’s even such word) but the moment I learned that my friend was summiting Cebu’s highest point, I could almost feel my feet clapping in excitement while my shoulders giggled at the thought of joining him and friends to accomplish what I thought would be an extreme adventure of a lifetime.

road condition going to osmena peak

Osmeña Peak, rising more than 1000 meters above sea level, is considered to be the highest peak in the province of Cebu. The peak is a favorite trekking destination among campers and mountaineers. Although the actual climb starting from the foot of the mountain is not entirely that difficult, the trail going there proves to be more challenging.

how to get to osmena peak

There are different entry points to reach O’Peak but the common one is through that junction at the town of Dalaguete, southwest of Cebu. We had to endure the deafening chorus of habal-habal drivers who persistently convinced us to hire them for the 30-minute ride to Mantalongon, the small village that houses Cebu’s rooftop. Soon after, we found ourselves cruising uphill while traversing the winding road leading to Mantalongon. Though 95% of the road is well-paved, it won’t guarantee a sore less ride, not to mention the chance of rolling down deep into ravines if extra caution is not practiced.

how to get there - osmena peak

We knew we were almost near the village when the temperature suddenly dropped and the cold wind started kissing our naked skin. During the cold and wet season, temperature even drops to as low as 18 degrees Celsius. Because of the cool weather in this side of Cebu, the signage that says “Summer Capital of Cebu” greeted us as we reached the village. In fact, Mantalongon is also dubbed as the “little Baguio of Cebu”. It’s also safe to coin it as Cebu’s vegetable capital since majority of Cebu’s vegetables are grown here.

road to osmena peak cebu

It won’t be another 15 minutes before we reached the foot of the peak when we asked a habal-habal driver to take us all the way to the foot of the mountain during our third trek. We were pressed with time, you see, and we might not witness the enchanting beauty of the sunset. But on my first attempt to conquer O’Peak, my friends and I decided to embark on that 2-hour scenic trek to also witness how simple life unfolded in that quaint town.

The road leading to the foot of the mountain is covered with white limestone rocks. It’s a guaranteed butt-numbing ride via a habal-habal but the 2-hour trek is even more tiresome as we walked up and down hills before reaching the base of the mountain on a hot afternoon. I guess the only consolation to subjecting ourselves to that agony was the chance of meeting friendly locals on the way while admiring the beauty of the mountain ranges that revealed their exquisite shapes as we got nearer.

climbing osmena peak

Before starting off the real climb, we asked kids to point us to where we can refill our supply of water as access to fresh water is nearby. What we didn’t expect was meeting the most stubborn creature that delayed our trek. A cow blocked our way. No matter what we tried, it won’t budge and won’t allow access to the trail behind him. Turned out we were headed the wrong way. I could almost imagine the cow scoffing at four idiots who tried to cow-talk him to invade his private space.

After getting side-tracked, my friends and I started the 30-minute climb to reach the summit. The trek was not difficult. However, the easy climb may be a challenge when the heavens decide to shower the vast vegetation in Mantalongon. One must be prepared for that muddy and slippery trek. Zero visibility is not far from happening too. But on regular days, the mountain trail is visible, rocks that form the trail becomes handy as they provide a good grip for wandering soles.

crazy jump shots at osmena peak

Before we knew it, we’ve already reached the top. Standing on Cebu’s highest Peak fattened our hearts with pride as we finally made it to the summit. Wherever we look, the magnificent karst topography greeted our weary body and refreshed our exhausted spirits. The vast mountain ranges that extend beyond the horizon are reminiscent of the Chocolate Hills in Bohol except that those in O’Peak have pointed hilltops. On a clear day, one will get a glimpse of the neighboring island of Negros and a peek below shows off Badian Island, famed for its pristine beach, and Pescador Island, a diving haven for underwater enthusiasts.

osmena peak cebu

No words could describe how lucky and happy all of us felt when we reached the captivating and breathtaking view of Osmeña Peak. Watch out for the unforgiving cold wind though as it takes joy in teasing curious trekkers, sending shivers of goose bumps all over for that dramatic touch.

South of where we were standing, dark clouds started gliding towards us threatening to ruin our chances of kissing the sun goodnight at Cebu’s highest summit. By this time, the chilling wind whispered caution to our freezing ears to start heading back before the entire peak gets covered with fog and rain. We unwillingly accepted defeat. We gave up too easily and declared it was time to head back to the village for our own safety.

sunset at osmena peak

Osmeña Peak welcomes anyone who wishes to call upon her. The easy climb to see her is a clear gesture of her warm reception. All she asks in return is that you treat her with care and she’ll surely return the favor. The experience of summiting Cebu’s highest peak will not only leave you breathless but will surely rejuvenate your soul.

Posted in Cebu, Dalaguete, Philippines, TravelsComments (13)

Climbing Osmeña Peak in Cebu

Climbing Osmeña Peak in Cebu

 

January’s almost over and am still talking about Christmas presents, and this time it’s the gift of climbing Osmena Peak. :-) Anyway, this is the last installment of my Best Christmas Gift series wherein I received the perfect gifts last Christmas of 2011. For the benefit of those who have not read the 1st two posts, I got the perfect gifts last Christmas in the form of travel adventures. I never imagined I would end the year swimming with whale sharks in Oslob or be transported back in time as my friends and I did the Boljoon Heritage walk and almost jumped off the boardwalk and swam in the town plaza of Boljoon. What’s more crazy is climbing Cebu’s highest peak, the Osmeña Peak in Mantalungon, Dalaguete, Cebu, again! And this is what this last series is all about, my second climb to Osmeña Peak.

climbing Osmena Peak

Now that I am composing this post, I couldn’t help scratch the back of my head and chuckle as I recall what we just did last December. It was by far the most exhillirating and adventurous trip I did in my entire life. char! For a day, we visited three towns in the south of Cebu where crazy adventures awaited us. Without considering the possibility of those whale sharks in Oslob mistaking us for food, we carelessly carefully swam the seawaters of Oslob to get up close and personal with those whale sharks. Seeing the heritage sites of Boljoon allowed us the chance to get a glimpse of our past. And then the climb…

The Perfect Gift # 3

Climbing Osmeña Peak

Osmeña Peak

Honestly, I have no idea what I was thinking on why I agreed to climb Osmeña Peak again. Last November 2011, my friends and I climbed the peak for the first time and I almost didn’t make it to the top due to an injury which I’ll share in another post ;-) But I guess my travelling feet are just too stubborn and never hesitated the invitation to climb the peak again :lol:

Osmeña Peak
my turtle pace. care to guess who reached the peak last? :lol:

The plan was to make sure we reached the top of the peak before sunset. After doing the Boljoon heritage walk, we travelled to Mantalungon, Dalaguete using our other companion’s SUV. Free ride! Wohooo! :lol: I’m happy that we were able to save a few bucks  (P95) with that free ride up to the jump off point of the climb :-D

free ride to the highest peak in Cebu

L-R: moi, edcel c. and sheena, christine, cris, edcel s. and andrew

It normally takes 1.5 – 2.5 hours to reach the peak depending on your pace. But since we were dropped off half-way down the trail, we were able to cut the time in hiking to reach the top. We could have asked to be dropped off at the foot of the peak where we could reach the top in 30 minutes but some of my companions wanted to hike. I originally planned to start the trek from the foot of the peak too to avoid what happened on my first climb but since majority of the group wanted to hike, the rest of those who wanted to follow the shorter trek were led to believed that that was the start of the short climb :lol: Am just glad no one complained why it took them more than 30 minutes to reach the peak. peace! :-P

trail to Osmena Peak

Trivia: All cities/towns/village/barangays in the Philippines have their own basketball courts and this small village in Mantalungon, Dalaguete, Cebu is no exception :-D

And since I’m travelling with my fellow Pinoy Travel Bloggers, we couldn’t help make unscheduled stops to take photos of the place and of themselves (me not included :lol: )

trail to Osmeña Peak Cebu
stop-overs like this extends the trek time ;-)

foot of Osmena Peak
foot of Osmena Peak where it will take 30 minutes to reach the top

During this time, the trail was not dry. It wasn’t too muddy either but enough to make you slip in case you don’t watch your step.

Reaching Osmeña Peak

entrance to Osmeña Peak in Cebu

This makeshift bamboo pole gate is the entrance to the peak. You need to pay P20 per head but since this was our second time, Ed tried his haggling skills with the kids guarding the entrance and was able to get a P5 discount for each head. Besides, those kids still remembered us not because we climbed there the month before but because of my epic injury. hahaha

Osmena Peak, Mantalungon, Dalaguete, Cebu
Lo and behold! The highest peak in Cebu, the Osmena Peak!

There are quite a number of peaks in there and one can’t help wonder which peak is really the highest. I wonder if they measured its height. :lol: If you are familiar with the Chocolate Hills of Bohol, you will notice that they looked kinda similar. The only difference is that this one’s pointed whereas the Chocolate Hills in Bohol are round-shaped. These pointed mountain ranges are also visible from Moalboal if you are on your way to Pescador Island and you can also see Cebu’s neighboring islands – Bohol and Negros from the top.

Osmeña Peak in Cebu
one of our death-defying stunts to climb each mini peak just to have our own spots

Osmeña Peak offers different magnificent sights for your eyes to feast on. All you need to do is make a 360-degree turn and you will witness one of God’s wonders ;-) I’m sorry if I can’t describe it properly :lol: You just have to be there to see for yourself. hehehe.

Osmena Peak
guess who took the picture…definitely not me :lol:

sunset at Osmena Peak
the reason of our choice of time to climb Osmena Peak – S-U-N-S-E-T! :-)

levitation shot at osmena peak
Edgar levitated! (no camera trick here) ;-)

headstand at osmena peak
the best way to watch the sunset

zero visibility at Osmeña Peak
group pic before the fog ate the entire peak

Tips on the descent from the Osmeña Peak

As soon as the sunset was over, the entire place was covered with fog. Some of us were shivering due to the sudden drop of the temperature. We had to collect all our stuff and hurry our way down the mountain. It was dark and foggy and not all were able to bring  a flashlight. Some of our companions had to make do with the built-in flashlights in their cellphones. Some relied on the person infront of them who’s got a  flashlight. The others had to keep up with the kid-guide who was leading the way.

The descent is not really that scary unless the trail is muddy. In our case, it wasn’t. But the ground was not dry too so there were some parts of the trail where it was really slippery.

You just have to be careful and watch where your foot lands. It is also best to remember the trail when climbing up as you will need that memory when descending from the peak. If you are not sure where your feet lands or how stable the soil is, it’s best to just sit and glide to avoid any accidents.

foggy trail on our way down

Also make sure you have a buddy with you when you descend since you will be needing each other’s support in case either one slips. Your buddy will also come in handy when showing you the pathway or letting you know the sudden change in the trail.

ghost hunting in Osmeña Peak  Cebu
our thankful faces after reaching the foot of the peak unscathed :lol: awoooooo!

Although I just climbed oPeak a month ago, the trek to the top still did not fail to make me say “huwaw!”, “nice!” or silently smile at the beauty that unfolded in front of me. What’s more fulfilling was hearing my companion’s, who were also first-timers to climb the peak, positive remarks about the whole climb, the whole trip for that matter. It made my heart glow with joy and made me more proud to be a Cebuano as they witnessed the majesty of one of my province’ hidden gems. :-)

Osmena Peak

Travel Essentials to Climb Osmeña Peak

  • drinking water (there’s a fresh water at the foot of the mountain where you can refill your water bottles if you want to)
  • flashlight – a must if you are descending at night
  • jacket or sweater
  • food in case you get hungry (ie. bread, chips, banana, biscuits)
  • change clothes (optional)
  • sunblock to protect you from the sun’s rays (optional depending on how OC you are. LOL. )

What to Wear

  • comfortable clothes
  • slippers will do but be sure it’s sturdy. bring an extra pair just in case or better wear proper hiking/trekking shoes/sandals ;-)

Accommodations

  • There’s a camp site at the peak in case you decided to camp for the night
  • There’s a lodging house in the town of Mantalungon for P150/head. Just ask around where the lodge is located.
  • You can sleep at the town’s barangay hall for ~P50-P100/head.

How to Get There

  • From the South Bus Terminal, look for buses that ply the Dalaguete route. Tell the bus conductor you will alight at the Dalaguete intersection headed for Mantalungon. Fare is somewhere around +/- P149
  • Hire a habal-habal to take you to the Mantalungon Market. Fare is P50.00. Travel time is ~20 minutes.
  • You can start trekking from the town to the peak but that may take 2.5 hrs. You can also ride a habal-habal up to the foot of the peak for P25. Travel time is ~15 minutes.
  • From the foot of the mountain, you can hire a habal-habal to take you back to the Mantalungon Market. Fare is around P25-30. You can also ask the motorcycle driver to bring you to the town proper of Dalaguete. Fare is P100.
  • Buses from Dalaguete to Cebu are up to 10pm only. The buses pass by every 30 minutes (i think ;-) )

 ———————————————–

This is Part 3 of my Best Christmas Gift series where me and a couple of my friends from my Pinoy Travel Bloggers group went on a day trip to the south of Cebu to experience 3 amazing adventures. To checkout Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, visit the link below ;-)

Part I: The Best Christmas Present: Swimming with Whale Sharks
Part II: The Best Christmas Present: Boljoon Heritage Walk

For more photos of the Osmena Peak climb, check out the FB Page here.

Posted in Cebu, Dalaguete, TravelsComments (27)

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