|Osmeña Peak in Dalaguete is the highest point of Cebu province.
|Villager uses a vegetable basket for firewood
Having been born and raised in the “Queen City of the South”, I thought I’ve explored every significant corner of my home province. The hidden gems of the south, however, prove me shamefully wrong.
Traveling with blogger friends to southern Cebu over the holidays to swim with Oslob’s whale sharks and revisit Boljoon’s heritage, our one-day sojourn climaxed at Dalaguete town where we hiked to the highest point of the pencil-thin province.
Lording over the cool-weathered vegetable valleys of Mantalongon village – the self-described “Little Baguio of Cebu”, as one farmer we encountered affirmed – the mountain is a collection of karst outcrops with the highest one rising 1,013 meters above sea level. During the wet season, temperatures here range from 18 to 25 degrees Celsius, providing conditions most suitable for vegetable farming.
Among the vegetables grown here are cabbage, pechay (snow cabbage), carrots, sayote (chayote) and eggplant. Along the way, one will encounter local farmers carrying huge baskets of produce on their backs. These vegetables will make their way to the Mantalongon public market, and shuttled to Carbon Market in Cebu City to be distributed around the region.
|Entrance to the summit of Osmeña Peak
The undulating landscape reminded me of Batanes (from photographs, that is, as I’ve yet to visit this much-heralded island province). At the top, one can admire both the eastern and western coastlines of Cebu and, when the weather is clear, see the neighboring provinces of Negros and Bohol as well. Looking westwards, there’s the beach and diving havens of Badian and Pescador Islands.
|With travel bloggers Christine, Edcel, Andrew and Doi.
Photographed by Edcel Ceniza
HOW TO GET THERE: From the Cebu City south bus terminal, take a bus heading for the southern towns of Oslob. Alight at Dalaguete town (1.5 hrs, PHP 100). At the junction of the Dalaguete-Badian road along the highway, take a habal-habal motorbike (30-40 minutes, PHP 100/pax) to the jump-off point to the summit of Osmeña Peak.
From here, it’s an easy 30-minute hike to the karst peaks at the summit (entrance: PHP 20/pax, if the caretakers are around). Best time to visit? Sunset. Just ask for a local to wait for you and guide you down the mountain at nightfall.
More adventurous hikers camp here, and traverse the following day to Kawasan Falls in Badian. For a detailed profile of the mountain, check out Pinoy Mountaineer.
I would like to make a shout out to my travel companions for this trip: Christine of Jovial Wanderer; Edcel of Solo Flight Ed; Edcel and Sheena of The Wandering Couple; Doi of The Travelling Feet and Andrew of Trippings by Drew.