I got home early evening from my Kawasan Falls adventure and was planning on staying home the following day but fought against it. I have the whole Tuesday to myself but will have nothing to do because all my friends and workmates will be working. Since I am already familiar going south of Cebu, I searched for other budget friendly places that will not require staying overnight. I decided going to Osmeña Peak because I have been to beaches and waterfalls the whole year and I haven’t tried hiking on my own. I have to cross out “solo backpack hiking” from my bucket list and start putting check marks on my list of places to visit in Cebu.
Osmeña Peak is regarded as the highest point of Cebu at a height of approximately 1,042 meters above sea level. It was previously known as Tanawan due to its panoramic view but soon became Osmeña Peak or O-Peak, named in honor of the Osmeña political clan of Cebu. In the past, this site was former President Sergio Osmeña’s favorite horse-riding destination. The mountain is located south of the island province of Cebu in municipality of Mantalongon, Dalaguete. O-Peak is part of the Mantalongon Mountain Range that stretches up to the town of Badian.
To the adventure seekers, hikers or not, Osmeña Peak is a destination to visit in Cebu. The panoramic view will give you a different perspective of the island.
HOW TO GET THERE AND AROUND
a. Going to Cebu: From Manila and key cities of the Philippines like Zamboanga, Bacolod, Davao or Ilo-ilo, there are flights going to Cebu via Cebu-Mactan International Airport. From other parts of Visayas or Mindanao such as Negros, Bohol, Samar and Leyte, you can take RORO (Roll-On Roll-Off) or ferry boat going to Cebu pier. Direct flights are also available to Cebu from major cities around Asia such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Tokyo and Bangkok.
b. Cebu Airport to South Bus Terminal: You can take a cab going to the South Bus Terminal. From the airport, it can take about an hour and approximately 20 minutes from Cebu pier depending on the flow of traffic. During weekends, the roads are better while weekdays can have slow traffic movement (but not as much as Manila) during rush hours.
c. South Bus Terminal to Dalaguete Junction: Catch the bus bound for Oslob/Bato via Dalaguete. There are destination labels in front of the bus, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find them. Ask the driver to drop you off Dalaguete Junction. Buses leave every hour or so with travel time of approximately 3 hours to the drop-off point.
d. Dalaguete Junction to Manatalongon Public Market: Once you get to Dalaguete Junction, there are motorbikes available for hire. Rent one to take you to Mantalongon public market. The travel time is approximately 15-20 minutes. You can either go straight to Mantalongon or see the Dalaguete Town Plaza and church first, a few minutes’ walk from the drop-off point.
e. Manatalongon Public Market to O-Peak: If you’re not up for long walks, you can ask the driver to take you all the way to the foot of Osmeña Peak but with extra cost, and additional 15 minutes’ drive.
Hike from foot to the peak is a good 20 minutes’ walk while the trail from Mantalongon market to the peak can take an hour and a half to two depending on your pace.
f. O-Peak back to Cebu City: Going home, just take the same route, only backwards. I recommend you save the habal-habal driver’s phone number if you want him to pick you up. All the same, there are motorbikes available in the market to take you back to Dalaguete Junction where you can hail a bus going back to the city.
As for campers, you can hike from the camp site to Kawasan Falls the following day, a sure way to relax after a four to six hours’ hike.
WHAT TO DO – WHERE TO GO – WHAT TO SEE
There are perks in trying the road less traveled. When I decided to take a walk around the town proper before heading to the trek, I was delighted to discover Dalaguete Church or Paris Church of San Guillermo de Aquitania. A history buff like me must take this detour and see the 200-year old Baroque-Rococo church regarded as a National Historical Landmark.
Dalaguete church was built from coral stone blocks where construction started 1802 and completed by 1825. Completing the whole church was the addition of 3 story belfry later on in 1860. Sadly, the October 2013 earthquake that hit Bohol and Cebu left the church in its current condition. The front and belfry tower were damaged, showing cracks, and is closed to public due to imminent danger. Construction has started. If not done soon, this could be another heritage lost due to lack of preservation.
The interior of the church is detailed with paintings and figures of Senior Santo Nino and patron saints like St. Pedro Calungsod. As a typical 1800 construction, the church have vaulted ceiling made of planks of wood and richly painted with saints and tableau of biblical scenes and retablo.
In front of the church is the public plaza with its well manicured garden facing the beach and a century old watch tower that used to warn people of Moro slave raiders and attacks. This is one of the most beautiful town plazas I’ve seen.
It turns out; the pier is just few meters away. There are stores and food stalls or carinderia by the beach where I decided to get my lunch before heading to O-Peak.
Since 2006, Mantalongon has been dubbed as the “Little Baguio” or the “Summer Capital of Cebu” with its altitude giving a lovely cool weather throughout the year. The highland is ideal for growing crops, vegetables and flowers that supply the city and other towns of Cebu. This also makes Mantalongon as Cebu’s vegetable basket or kingdom.
With an approximate motorbike drive of 30 minutes, the ride will not fall short of giving you stunning views of the mountain range and valleys that make up the landscape.
You can also enjoy the trail where you can see blooming flowers and vegetables up close. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a chance to chat with local vegetable traders on their way to the market.
Hikers and campers mostly schedule their trek in the afternoon and camp overnight. The peak is not advisable for camping as it is too narrow but there is a designated campsite near the peak. Best views of mountain tops are during sunrise and sunsets and O-Peak offers both. From the campsite, the trek going down to Kawasan Falls will take 4-6 hours depending on your pace. Make sure to take extra precaution when camping as there have been reports of theft/robbery when campers are asleep at night.
Osmeña Peak boasts a view like no other mountain range does. The peaks are high jagged, pointed, rocky and gray with nothing but wild grasses and shrubs. Having it grouped together creates a visual impact of petrified beauty. Some parts, as described by the local tourism and I would agree, remind me of the Middle Earth from Lord of the Rings.
Enjoy the view from the peak: North and South are mostly Mantalongon mountain range and vegetable farms. To the West, you can see the Badian shoreline, Zaragosa Island and neighboring Island of Negros. To the East is the side of Dalaguete and island province of Bohol.
Best views are always on top, after a difficult climb. Once you reach the summit, dramatically spread your arms and close your eyes to feel the wind, and then remind yourself why you are the king of the world or better yet, scream it like Leonardo diCaprio did. You can also bring a kite and see how it will last the strong winds up in the peak.
OTHER TRAVELLER TIPS
Travel Itinerary: Day tour is good enough including few minutes’ walk in Dalaguete town proper. Hikers can stay overnight before traversing to Kawasan Falls. Most hikers visit during weekends so if you want the place all for yourself, hike during weekdays. Going there is best during first half of the year as the other half can be difficult and unpredictable due to rainy season.
Transportation: Motorbike is the main mode of transportation from Dalaguete Junction to Mantalongon market.
Accommodation: There are no hotels or traveler inns anywhere near the peak. Camping is recommended.
Food and Water: Bring food and water. The nearest place to buying supplies is Mantalongon market which is a good 1-2 hours walk.
Electricity: No electricity in the area. Charge your phones and cameras or bring extra batteries.
Communication: The peak has strong local cellular phone network signal. You can take pictures and instantly post it on social media sites.
Medical Needs: There’s no hospital near the peak. You have to go back down to Dalaguete town proper to get medical assistance.
Things To Bring: Water bottle, hand towel, umbrella, kite, sturdy tripod and camping gears
MY TRAVEL EXPENSE
P82 – Taxi to South Bus Terminal
P20 – Bread
P105 – One way Ceres Bus fare to Dalaguete Junction drop-off point
P50 – Lunch
P100 – Motorbike to foot of Osmeña Peak
P100 – Motorbike going back to Dalaguete Junction
P10 – Coke
P105 – Ceres bus to Cebu City
P92 – Taxi going home
P664 – Total Expenses
You can still cut it down if you take the jeepney ride going to South Bus terminal and if you bring food with you.
My Tour Date: November 2013
Destination: Osmeña Peak, Brgy. Mantalongon, Dalaguete, Cebu
Location: Region VII Central Visayas
Name Origin: Political clan in Cebu
Language: Cebuano, English and Tagalog (tell them you’re Tagalog)
Shops: There are local shops in Dalaguete junction. None near the peak but the drop-off point is a wet market
Banks: There’s local bank in Dalaguete town proper
Festivals: Utanon Festival (Vegetables Festival)
Forward this to someone who’s up for trekking adventure!
Thank you for reading. To help other travelers, please do not hesitate to leave comments for additional inputs, advice and feedback about the travel guide. Don’t forget to click like or share if you find this travel guide helpful. I hope you enjoy your adventure to Osmeña Peak as much as I did.
Published: August 21, 2015
Last Updated: August 21, 2015