I used to be a beach kind of girl. But when my soiled rubber soles set foot on Banaue soil, my life’s perspective was never the same. In short, I fell in love with our country’s highlands. #BukidLife
I cannot call myself a mountain kind of girl. Or an outdoorsy person but I love the feeling of reaching the top. Why? It’s the feeling of accomplishment after climbing the steep dangerous trail while lugging around your backpack-full of essentials. It’s the feeling of amazement–you know the feeling of being a tiny speck against the backdrop of nature’s wonders? The kilig rush and all the feels. So it’s a bit like love at first climb.
The highest mountain in Cebu rises 1,013 meters above sea level. Osmeña Peak, or O-Peak, is 80 kilometers away from the city and 2 hours bus ride. It is conveniently tucked between the southern towns of Dalaguete and Badian. The peak is nestled in Mantalongon, Dalaguete–the vegetable basket and “Little Baguio” of Cebu, thanks to its elevated location.
If you’re lucky, the islands of Bohol and Negros can be seen on a clear day. Climbing the peak is a hit or miss because the mountain weather is unpredictable.
How to get there
Ride a bus from Cebu City to Mantalongon. There are two ways to go there. (A) You can take the bus in Carbon market which costs ₱100 that will take you straight to Mantalongon market; or (B) take the southbound bus in South Bus Terminal, pay ₱101-105 and take a habal-habal from Mantalongon to the foot of Osmeña Peak at ₱100 per person. Either way, you’ll arrive in Mantalongon by mid-morning bordering to noon.
We opt for the 7 am bus ride in the South Bus Terminal. We got off at the Mantalongon junction and had a late light breakfast at the nearby karenderia, then we took a habal-habal to take us to the foot of the mountain. The motorcycle ride can exhilarating because you’ll be on it for about 30 minutes. Fare is ₱100 per person per way. You’ll be passing through a few vegetable plantations that will make you think you’re in the Cordillera region.
Motorcycles park at the drop-off base of Osmeña Peak. Register at the only sari-sari store in the vicinity. We were approached immediately by a little guy, offering his services to be our guide.
Most of the time kids act as local guides to assist tourists in guiding them the trail. Trekkers can give them ₱50-100 for their trouble. The trail is pretty easy but for newbies, you will be catching your breath in between treks.
We were so lucky to get a good view during the climb. We took awesome photos of the view of the O-Peak’s famous peaks overlooking the sea and a 360 degrees view of green scenery.
A reminiscent of Bohol’s Chocolate Hills. Hey! It’s a clear day 1,013 meters above sea level.
Day trip is possible in O-Peak but staying overnight will reward you breathtaking views of sunrise and sunset. For day trips, make it a point to leave the city as early as dawn so you can do the climb in a cool climate. Weather is really unpredictable. Wear long sleeves or rashguards in case it rains, a cap or hat, shades, and water bottle. You may wear slippers at your own risk but a good pair of rubber shoes is a better option. Of course, don’t forget your camera.
You know that hugot feeling you want to get off your chest? Pour all your energy during the trek to O-Peak. You need determination, patience and strong thighs to reach the top. Hence, the rubber shoes. Not bad for my first trek.
O-Peak can be pretty crowded on the weekends especially if the weather is good. Most of the time, fog covers the panoramic view of the sea. Just manage your expectations and take photos with good angles.