Cebu’s best-kept secrets

I thought my life in Cebu would be a routine of work and sleep. I have never imagined that I will discover one of my passions here, and that is mountaineering. My journey as a mountaineer began when my Nihongo teacher invited me to join him and his students trek the highest point in Cebu city – Mt. Kan-irag passing through Kabang Falls. It was curiosity and boredom that made me want to go, and since Mt. Kan-irag is geographically located just within the city, specifically at Budlaan, Talamban, a short jeepney ride from where I was staying, I said yes.

As a kid, I also had those energy-draining trekking experiences. Given those, I thought this one’s going to be easy, but I was proven wrong.

We all met at Sunny Hills Subdivision at Talamban and took a 10 minute habal-habal ride to the starting point at Budlaan proper. My workmates backed out at the last minute and I was left alone with people whom at that time were strangers to me. Since I was already there, I decided to push through.

We started our trek with a prayer. Azumi (if I am not mistaken) then led us while I became the tail and was tasked to look out for everyone’s safety. The first 45 minutes was just a warm-up. We went through downward slopes, we passed through rivers, climbed rocks and exerted lots of effort on uphill climbs. It was almost everyone’s first climb and Sensei did a good job of assisting us newbies. We had our first stop at a stream and Sensei told us that we were just minutes away from the falls and true to his words, after several footsteps, we have finally seen it.

Side note: I am not used to riding a habal-habal, even more so, riding it with two other guys. As a matter of fact, I burnt my leg. And the burn was as big as a two-year old’s fist.

obstacle #1: downward slopes
obstacle #2: big rocks
obstacle #3: slippery trails

The trail is not that hard though there are parts of the trail that are too narrow and there are parts that are too slippery, like the one above. In fact, the trek was just short. It will only take you about 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach the falls.

photo op at the first resting station

As beginners, you can see that we were not briefed on what we should wear during a trek. Sensei even quipped that we looked like we were just going to the mall.

Kabang Falls

Kabang falls is not the most beautiful falls I have seen, but the fact that it is just minutes away from the city, and that it is perfectly unspoiled is truly remarkable. The water was murky but it was not enough reason for us to waste any time and jump into it. We were told that it was just because of the rain that happened last night and that the water is clean despite of its color.

At the time when we reached the falls, there were no other people around so we got the whole place for ourselves.

thanks to USC Trekkers for the lunch

We had our lunch at the falls and after sharing pieces of hotdogs, bacon, and sandwiches which my trek mates were kind enough to share, we continued the trail.

This time, the path was much more difficult, passing through steep and narrow sides of the mountain, climbing through bigger rocks and walking for hours. Good thing I brought with me chocolate bars. At times, I would munch on them to replenish my energy.

second resting station
natural source of water

When we reached the highlands, we took a break. It’s amazing how that part of Cebu was entirely different. It was like poles apart from the Metro. Sirao’s peak can now be seen from where we were standing and it was approximately another hour. Unfortunately, since Sensei still has a trip to Moalboal, we were not able to continue up to the peak. It was okay though. The climb became a good warm up for everyone. It was but a rewarding experience.

The Highlands
’til next time
with Olaso Sensei

Mt. Kan-irag and Kabang Falls are truly some of Cebu’s hidden secrets. The experience made me love the province more. I just find it amazing how a short ride can bring you somewhere different — to a place where you can take a break from your fast-paced city life.


For those of you who might be interested to trek Mt. Kan-irag or just have some swim in Kabang Falls, you can check below itinerary.

08:00 – ETA Sunny Hills Subdivision, Talamban

08:10 – Habal-habal to Jump-off (the driver will take you there directly)

08:20 – ETA Jump-off point

08:30 – Start trek to Falls (Baogo Trail)

10:15 – ETA Kabang Falls

12:00 – Start trek to Kan-irag Peak

15:30 – ETA Summit

15:45 – Start trek to Ayala Heights

16:45 – Travel to JY Square Mall, town proper

Guides: Not required / No contact number / Trail is visible

Budget: 75 php

25 php: habal-habal from Sunny Hills to Jump-off point

50 php: habal-habal from Ayala Heights to JY Square Mall

This is why Cebu is special to me. It is the home of my mother mountain. It is where I met people who have been a great part of who I am today. To Olaso sensei, I am forever grateful to you. You might consider tagging me to this trip as a small thing, but it actually meant a lot to me.

:: Photo credits to Olaso Sensei


2 Comments Add yours

  1. ruel says:

    Kenneth san konnichiwa. I didn’t realize that your first climb at Mt. Kan-irag will just be the beginning of your amazing adventures in exploring the mountains created by our Heavenly Father. I am so glad that you love this sport….mountaineering. I am looking forward you could summit more mountains in the years to come. Good-luck and God bless you always.

    1. Kenneth says:

      Arigatou Gozaimasu Sensei. Good luck as well and may God bless us during our climbs.

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