To contemplate on things that went well and went wrong for me, I took the hardest decision to resign from a job that provides a decent amount of salary and leave Cebu. But before I bade goodbye to the province that welcomed me for seven months, I made a promise to reach its highest point.
Situated in Mantalongon, Dalaguete for approximately 1000 meters above sea level stands the highest peak in the island of Cebu – the Osmena Peak. It was named after an influential political clan the Osmena family and has been compared with the Chocolate Hills of Bohol because of its formation.
Growing up, decisions are not mine to take, but this time, I know that I have got to do this. Without my parents knowing, I joined One Cebu Team. All I can think of that moment, was to make that promise of reaching Cebu’s highest happen. I know that if ever they will find out about this, they will be the one who will pack my bags and force me to go home in an instant, so please don’t tell my parents my plan of reaching the highest point in Cebu.
The Bus Story.
I’ve never been in a bus as crowded as the one we had going to Dalaguete. It was pretty cramped and talking about butt-numbing rides, the one we had tops it all. To make the matters worst, I was seated beside a woman who almost brought the world with her and a granny who used my bag if not my shoulder as her pillow. For someone who is not used to this kind of ride, my patience was being tested. Though I was close to being pissed, I managed to keep my cool. Shame on me if I complain.
When we arrived at Mantolongon Market, we readied ourselves. Bought all the things we needed since we will be staying for a night. We stopped at a grotto, had some briefing lead by our trek master, Mr. Aldinson Esto. For one hour we trekked our way up to the peak. It was funny since it was just like 10 minutes since we started, and I was already gasping for air. It could have been easier for me if I carried a much more lighter load, but being a team player, I took the task of bringing the big tent. I was watching my pace, and the first few minutes we had was not really that easy. On our way, we met kids who offered to carry our things for some bucks, and for several times I was tempted. Since I have still got some pride left, I chose not to, and the thought of them carrying my load does not submit to the true essence of mountaineering.
We had some few stops to regain energy and for me to regain my pride. lol. After an hour, we have finally reached the peak. I then hurriedly went to where Sensei and the first batch of our team were. It was a bit late when we reached the peak but it did not stop us from having some photo ops.
That moment I had right in the peak of Cebu’s highest point brought me into oblivion. I had a 360 degree view of Southwest Cebu and Negros Oriental and that was just pure bliss. It was really satisfying and it left me with no words on how to explain what I felt. Although wrong, it made me feel like I made the right decision of going with the team. I felt something which I haven’t felt for so long – freedom.
The night that was.
It was my first time to go camping on a mountain and I had no idea on what to expect. After a hearty meal, we shared a couple of booze and stories. One by one, we introduced ourselves and the process of getting to know each other was fun. It was my first taste of what ‘socials’ is. Truly in mountaineering, you won’t just get to summit a mountain, but you will also get to develop a camaraderie.
It was just a shame that the group of people beside us brought a club to the peak. Complete with sounds, alcohol, they danced the night away. They were too loud but we minded our own business as to not create a scene. We tried to sleep at around eleven in the evening to prepare ourselves for the traverse the following day.
Osmena on being so cold,
It was frigging cold and the number of clothes I wore was not that big of a help. In fact, I was not able to sleep that much. From time to time, I would change my position and check the time. I woke up at 4:54 in the morning, went out and I was able to see a shade of light. The breeze of the morning wind glued me from where I was standing then sent me back to my tent. After thirty minutes, I went out again. I ran through the peak and that time my body was well adjusted to the environment and I was ready for Kawasan.
It was a grueling seven hours trek to Kawasan and I might already be expecting it to be that hard, but still, my body was not prepared. For full story, click here: Seven Hours to Kawasan.
I’m sorry but I just feel the need to share this. I was really pissed when the group of people beside us just left their trash on the camping site. They had with them all the gears for mountaineering hence they might be seasoned mountaineers. And being a pro, they should know the things to do and not to do. Sometimes people forget their ethics. LEAVE NO TRACE, is but a very basic camping principle.
If you have any plans of going to Cebu or if you are already in Cebu, it is a must to experience reaching its highest point and try the feeling of walking for seven hours to Kawasan. If you think you are ready, put on those hiking shoes and take on the challenge of conquering Osmena.
Take a minibus at Caltex near Carbon Market that will take you directly to Mantolongon Market, which will be the starting point of the trail. Bus fare is only 100php and it will take you three hours. You can also take a bus at the South Bus Terminal plying Oslob – Bato via Dalaguete route and ask the driver to drop you at the Dalaguete junction. After that you will need to ride a habal-habal all the way to Mantolongon Market.
From the starting point, you can either take a habal-habal or trek by foot all the way to the peak which is what we did.
Guides: Not required / Easily available at the jump-off point
105 php – Bus from South Bus Terminal to Dalaguete Junction
100 php – Tricycle Ride to Mantalongon Market
20 php – Registration fee
105 php – Bus back to Cebu City
100 php – Mini Bus from Carbon Market
20 php – Registration fee
105- Bus back to Cebu City
You can make above itinerary as your guide and you can alter the time which best suits to your schedule. Osmena Peak can be day-hiked. If you take a habal-habal from Mantalongon market, it will only take 30 minutes of trekking.
If you plan to traverse to Kawasan, the trail as well is visible. In our case, since we did not hire a guide, we used GPS waypoints generated through an android app. Yes, for seven hours we trekked all the way to Badian. We made it and so you can.
::Photo credits to Olaso Sensei and Ms. Amper