I decided to visit Osmeña Peak after 6 years. I used to visit the place every year from 1999 to 2007 with the USC-Mountaineers. In 2008 I worked overseas and since then didn’t had the chance to visit the place again until today.
I was having seconds thoughts this morning if I should go to Mantalongon or not as the sky was cloudy and it looked like it was going to rain again later in the day. I was also mulling of going to Simala Church. After packing up my things I traveled by jeepney to the South Bus Terminal and from there I was going to decide which place I was going today.
I arrived at the South Bus Terminal past 10am. The sight of buses made me excited. Somehow I enjoy long bus rides and just looking at the scenery along the way. After asking several people which bus I can take, I decided to take a Ceres aircon bus to Dalaguete. The journey took almost 3 hours.
As soon as I arrived at the junction leading to Mantalongon, the habal-habal (motorcyle) drivers approached me asking if I am going Mantalongon or Osmeña Peak. I asked one of the drivers how much it costs going to the foot of Osmeña Peak and he replied that normally it’s PhP100 per person provided there are at least 2 passengers. As I was alone, I would have to pay PhP200 one way.
It was almost 1pm so I decided to eat lunch first before proceeding. As I never checked what’s the current fares now to Mantalongon, I thought it’s a good chance to talk and ask the locals how much the fare is going to the Mantalongon market or Osmeña Peak and if there’s any chance I can take a mini-bus to the Mantalongon market.
After asking the carinderia (eatery) vendor, I was told that the fare to Mantalongon market is PhP50 and P100 for Osmeña Peak. The lady wasn’t sure about the mini-bus.
Just as I was about to finish my food a very packed mini-bus passed by. At that point I made a decision to just take a habal-habal going to the Mantalongon market then I hike going to Osmeña Peak as I don’t have the luxury of time to wait for the next mini-bus.
The habal-habal driver was just waiting outside the eatery. I told him to take me to the Mantalongon market. He kept telling me that he can take me to the foot of the peak and I only have to walked a bit. I told him politely that I purposely want to hike that’s why I came. Then he asked me if I needed a guide as there are kids I can hire as a guide for a fee. I told him that I used to hike here before and I think I can still remember the trail going to the peak.
The journey from the main road to the Mantalongon market was quite fast. The road conditions have definitely improved compared to the last time I was there. The road has been widened and asphalted.
The sky had turned overcast when I arrived in Mantalongon and it looked like it was going to rain anytime. As I forgot to bring poncho or umbrella I instructed the driver to just take me all the way to the foot of the peak.
After getting past the Mantalongon market we turned left to the grotto. I was surprised that the area has mostly been asphalted as well. As we were approaching near to the foot of the peak it became an off-road ride just like good old times.
The driver stopped me near the house of the late Nong Isar. Being there again brings back a lot of good memories with my mountaineering group. I snapped a few photos and then started to hike as I was worried getting caught in the rain at the peak.
Although it’s been years since I was last here, the trail leading to the peak still looks familiar to me.
The fog was descending on the nearby peaks but quite surprisingly I never felt cold. Previously once I reached Mantalongon I would be feeling the cold air.
After walking about 500m I reached Osmeña Peak. There was no one else at the peak except me and the campsite was clear of campers.
The sky turned dark and it was quite difficult to take good photos with the lighting conditions. On a clear, sunny day one can see Badian, Tañon Strait and the mountains of Negros on the western side but today everything was covered and washed out. It seems that it’s telling me to come back to this place again.
Less than 5 minutes at the peak and I was already hearing thunder. I can see the dark clouds moving closer to where I was. I hurriedly took a few more photos then kept my camera on my backpack.
I wasn’t able to go the campsite area. I’ve read stories in recent years how some campers left their garbage at the campsite site which was really disheartening. From the peak and with my bad eyes, I didn’t see any garbage though at the campsite. I really hope that campers visiting the place are responsible enough to keep the place free from thrash.
I hurriedly went down as it was starting to rain. I sent an SMS to the habal-habal driver that I was going down and heading to the Mantalongon market. The rain became stronger but I was lucky that I managed to get down and take shelter at a store before I totally became wet.
I chitchat with the locals who were drinking tuba (palm wine) while waiting for the rain to stop. After a few minutes of waiting the habal-habal driver arrived at the store. I wanted to wait for the rain to stop and hike to the market however since he came to fetch me I decided to just take his services. I consoled myself by telling myself that I would be able to go home earlier and avoid being caught in the dark in Dalaguete.
A quarter past 3pm and the rain subsided. I decided to go back to the highway to take the bus going back to the city.
I took a Ceres non-aircon bus going back to Cebu City and I was quite surprised that the bus fare is the same price as the aircon bus which is P105. I thought it would be a few pesos cheaper.
Anyway, I was so happy I was able to visit Mantalongon again but it would have been more nicer if it didn’t rain and I had more time to hike.
I certainly hope to visit Mantalongon again and hike from the market to Osmeña Peak then traverse to Kawasan Falls in Badian.
Ceres Aircon Bus from South Bus Terminal to Dalaguete – P105
Habal-habal from the highway to the foot of Osmeña Peak- P200 per way (P100 if at least 2 persons)
Habal-habal from the foot of Osmeña Peak to the highway – P200 per way (P100 if at least 2 persons)
Ceres non-aircon bus from Dalaguete to South Bus Terminal – P105