When we went to Tumalog Falls, we asked our guides if there are other places that we can visit around Oslob. Prior to our trip, one of our options is Osmena Peak, the highest peak in Cebu. However, we were a bit torn about going to Osmena Peak because of the distance. Instead of concurring with us, surprisingly our guides insisted that it is doable. After further deliberation and bargaining with our guides, we finally (it is more like my friends) decided to go scale Osmena Peak, which is located in the town of Dalaguete, Cebu, two towns away from Oslob.

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This diaphanous curtain that trickles down from the mountains of Cebu leaves visitors in awe.

During the planning phase, I was apprehensive about climbing Osmena Peak because I wasn’t much of a climber (then). I thought that it would be a challenging climb. My companions, on the other hand,  were really set on doing Osmena Peak. Oh well, it is one against three. Nonetheless, I was still thrilled because the pictures I saw from my friends who already climbed Osmena Peak were wonderful.

According to our guides, it takes about two hours to reach Osmena Peak using habal-habal. This added further to my fears because my mind was filled with images of grisly motorcycle incidents. Paranoia strikes! Take note, we won’t be wearing any helmets on the entire duration of our motorcycle ride. However, as we rode on, I got comfortable and left my paranoia at the back of my mind. God listened to my sigh of prayer before I rode on the motorcycle.

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The town of Dalaguete has earned the moniker of “Baguio of Cebu”. And it is no wonder why. Photo by Rey Ernesto

I guess this trip is teaching me a lot about having a leap of faith. When I boarded my first plane, I calmed my nerves by murmuring a short prayer. After that, I let Him take the driver seat. Thankfully, we landed safely in Cebu. On our canyoneering experience, I also murmured a short prayer. Thankfully, we completed the experience unscathed. Here I am again, taking a leap of faith and letting Him take over the driver seat.

When I became comfortable with our ride, I began to appreciate our surroundings. The more we navigate the winding roads, the more I realize that this has got to be one of my most scenic rides ever. We are winding through  the southern Cebu coastal road and the view of the sea is just astounding. I was just in awe even though dust keeps blowing on my exposed face.

About an hour into our ride, we finally reached the town center of Dalaguete. From the town center, we turned left towards the towering mountains that form the backbone of the province of Cebu. The flat road was replaced by an uphill one. The ride was still smooth because, surprisingly, the road was paved. After thirty minutes, we reached Barangay Mantalongon.

In Barangay Mantalongon, we felt the cold breeze. It is no wonder that it earned the moniker “Little Baguio of Cebu.” Aside from the cold and crisp climate, the vegetable industry is also thriving in the area as there are numerous vegetables planted all over the area. There is also a big vegetable market located there where these vegetables are being traded. This green sight and the cold weather really reminded me of Baguio City.

From Mantolongon, the road to Osmena Peak became rougher as we had to take backdoor farm-to-market roads which were unpaved and rocky. The ride, consequently, became rougher – it was really painful on the butt! Our drivers assured us, however, that we are drawing nearer to our destination.

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A glimpse of the Benguet-like Barangay Mantolongon. Photo by Rey Ernesto
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Prepping for my first official climb (ever). Photo by Rey Ernesto
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But first, that proof shot to show that “we’ve been here”. Photo by Rey Ernesto

Much to our relief, we finally reached the jump off point after two hours on the road. At the jump off point, we registered and paid the registration fee before climbing. Tour guides are not required because the trail is short and prominent. However, in view that we want to help the community, we availed of the services of the young guides. When we climbed Osmena Peak in November 2015, there were no fixed rates for the guides.

When we were all ready, we began our climb. Unexpectedly, the trek was very pleasant and easy. The view on our climb up is reminiscent of Benguet and its vegetable terraces. We passed by vegetable farms and village houses. We also met farmers carrying their harvest down to the jump off point, awaiting transportation to the Mantolongon vegetable market. This part of Cebu gave the vibes of Buguias, Benguet.

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Alas! The summit beckons! Photo by Rey Ernesto
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A view of South Cebu’s eastern coast. Photo by Rey Ernesto
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Those sharp-peaked formations give off some Middle Earth-ish feelings. Nature is truly astonishing.

After about fifteen minutes of pleasant and chill hiking, we finally reached the summit. I was immediately drawn by the view. My officemate was on point when she said that there is a Middle Earth-ish feeling on top of Osmena Peak because of the view. The wind was really blowing hard, cooling us down after that short hike. The view is nothing short of breathtaking. Being the highest point of Cebu, one can see both eastern and western coasts of South Cebu. You can also make out the outlines of Negros Oriental on one side and Bohol on the other side, especially on a good day.

There are also other prominent peaks that can be seen from Osmena Peak. I am not quite sure though if they are also open for hiking activities. Taking advantage of this opportunity, my companions and I immediately looked for picturesque spots to take Instagram worthy shots. To be honest, you can never run out of a picture spot because of the peak’s 360-degree view. Even our drivers were elated, especially the one who is experiencing Osmena Peak for the first time. We took as much picture as we can and stayed on the peak for a good one hour.

When we’ve had our fill, we climbed down. Unfortunately, it began to rain so we speedily tried to go back to Oslob. Every now and then, we had to stop because of the rain. When it stops, we take the opportunity to go as far as we can before it begins pouring again. When it began to pour really hard, we decided to stop over at Boljoon Church, one of the oldest churches in the Philippines.

And that is the story of how Osmena Peak became my mother mountain. 

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Signature pose they say? Photo by Jorella Doga-ong

This is the fourth part of our 2015 South Cebu adventures. To read more about the rest of adventures, click on the below links:

South Cebu 2015: Canyoneering
South Cebu 2015: Swimming With The Gentle Giants
South Cebu 2015: Side Trip to Tumalog Falls

Do watch out for the continuation of our South Cebu adventure.

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The gang with the guides. Exploring places becomes more awesome as one meets new friends (and locals). Photo by Jorella Doga-ong
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