Osmeña Peak: Love at First Climb

Osmeña Peak

“So, are we going to share a single tent?” she asked me.

“Yes,” I replied, “but don’t worry. I’m harmless. In mountaineering, sharing a tent is for practicality.”

“Ah, okay,” she replied with a smile.

Apparently, I realized later on that I was far from harmless. During our first mountaineering experience together at Osmeña Peak, Dalaguete, the purportedly highest point in the Cebu Island, we exchanged pre-marital vows. On May 12, 2012, 9:00 p.m., Sheila and I became official sweethearts sharing a passion for adventure.

I aptly dubbed that day a Valentine’s Climb considering that there were sweet couples who climbed the majestic 1,013 meter mountain with us. Sir Jigz, lead guide of Mt. Kanlaon, and his girlfriend Ma’am April, went with us from Day 1. It was their first time to climb the popular Osmeña Peak, and I was happy to guide them. We planned to do a traverse to Kawasan Falls in Matutinao, Badian, but since not one of us is familiar with the trail (and I’m horrible at memorizing trails), I asked my fellow EWIT mountaineer, Sir Peri, to guide us. He obliged and arrived together with Ma’am Karen, and a few other EWIT mountaineers.

I daresay it was an adventure-filled but romantic weekend with three couples (me and Sweetie, Sir Jigz and Ma’am April, and Sir Peri and Ma’am Karen) doing a classic 7-hour trek that traverses two municipalities, cutting across the width of the Cebu island.

After buying our supplies at Mantalongon market, we danced the cha-cha. hehe!

getting ready to hike

After getting tired of our audience, we proceeded to the valley that precedes Osmeña Peak. That valley is dubbed as the Vegetable Basket of Cebu. Mantalongon’s high altitude and fertile land make it a perfect place for growing vegetables. To get to Osmeña Peak, we decided to cut across the valley and the farmlands.

start the hike

Those are bukags or vegetable baskets. When filled to the brim, these baskets can weigh more than a hundred pounds! Every day, farmers carry these baskets from their farms to the market. And the way they do it is torturous; a farmer secures the basket onto his head with a strap. It is an arduous, back-breaking, neck-wracking work as they walk up and down rocky, slippery mountain trails for several miles to sell their produce. We have high respect for them.

farmer's produce

We cut across the valley. If you notice, the soil exhibits a reddish tint in it, an indication that the earth is rich in irons. That huge landslide in the distance is the result of geological displacement brought about by the February 2012 earthquake.

soil rich in ions

Three-quarters of the way. It was here when we suddenly remembered we weren’t able to buy Coke, our survival drink. Fortunately, Sir Jigz and Ma’am April brought a 1.5 liter Coke. Hehehe!

April enjoying the hike

A beautiful white, untouched limestone cliff at the side of a road at the right side of the valley. Someday, we’ll do a survey and check if it can be bolted for rock climbing.


After an hour of relaxed walking, we reached the road. Beside that road is the trail to the summit and campground.

Gian, Sheila and Jigz

Lovely babes! That’s Sheila and Ma’am April.

Sheila and April

Start of the ascent. This was also where I began impressing Sheila. hehehe.

start of the ascent

Going up towards the summit and the campsite.

towards the campsite

Almost there.

almost at the summit

The grassy trail towards Osmeña Peak. Be careful here. A misstep to the left will find you tumbling down a slope. Save yourself from injury and embarrassment by watching your step.

grassy trail

Spectacular sunset as viewed from Osmeña Peak’s campground. Seeing panoramas like this dissolves any thought or feeling of self-importance.

at the top of Osmeña Peak

The sun began her slumber, leaving behind ethereal rays that cast mysterious shadows.

Osmeña Peak summit

Night fell and the sounds of the night started to permeate through the cold mountain air.

night time at Osmeña Peak

After setting up our tents, we prepared our dinner. Now, here’s the thing. What do you get when you have two people—one, a top guide who prepares home-cooked meals and two, a single-mom who prepares gourmet meals—join forces? Well, what else? A sumptuous feast up there!

preparing dinner

Our mouthwatering dinner. . . macaroni with Italian sauce, cheese and hotdogs, home-made lumpia shanghai, rice, fruits and Coke!

dinner on top of Osmeña Peak

After dinner and clearing up our things, Sheila and I had time with each other while Sir Jigz and Ma’am April went to another dark corner.

Jigz and April

It was during the night when fireflies witnessed our admittance of love for each other. Yes, you might think that it was pretty quick; after all, we’ve known each other for only a few weeks. However, we have so much in common that we’re practically versions of each other! And yes, I broke my promise of being harmless . . . partially.

Sheila and Gian

Sir Peri, Ma’am Karen, and other EWIT mountaineers arrived at 10 p.m. After setting up their tents and having a few gulps of Tanduay, we all turned in to sleep.

The Tanduay got the best of us, and we missed the sunrise. We woke up to a foggy morning.

Osmeña peak sunrise

Then we prepared another delectable breakfast, consisting of scrambled eggs and mushrooms, leftover macaroni, skinless longganisa, crab and corn chowder, and fruits.


Done with breakfast, we cleaned the area and striked a pose.

break camp

I would love to spend each morning with a cup of cappuccino with you, sweetie! I love you! (Yes, we were drinking hot cappuccino).

drinking coffee

Lovely ladies on Cebu’s highest campground.

April and Sheila

We still have a long trek ahead of us, so we broke camp at around 7 a.m.

Jigz break camp

With our stuff safely stowed in our packs, we started a short, easy assault of Osmeña Peak.

assault to Osmeña Peak

The gorgeous view that greeted us when we arrived at the summit. A magnificent view like this makes you grateful that you’re alive to witness the wonders of Mother Nature. Those hilly karst formations are slimmer and rockier versions of Bohol’s Chocolate Hills.

Osmeña Peak

Ma’am Karen and Sir Perry followed us a few meters back.


Lovebirds enjoying our highest treasure as much as we enjoyed theirs, Mt. Kanlaon.

Jigz and April

Quick pose with the adventurers before leaving the Peak for Kawasan Falls in Matutinao, Badian.

Osmeña Peak group photo

On our way to Kawasan Falls, which is a good 7 hours away on a leisurely trek.

going to kawasan falls

These hills appear like sentinels watching over us.


We told you this was a romantic Valentine’s Trek, right?

Valentine's trek

Sparkle trail. Beside that trail is a well-terraced cabbage path.

cabbage path

When you see this cliff, you will know that you’re 2 or 3 hours away from Kawasan Falls.

nearing Kawasan

Cebu mountaineers call this segment the Half Moon due to the crescent shape of the slope. The Half Moon is fully exposed to the sun, making it extremely uncomfortable to traverse. But once you cross this segment, Kawasan Falls is just 30 minutes away.

Half moon

After almost 7 hours of leisurely trekking, we finally arrived at Station 3 of Kawasan Falls. Ma’am April’s face shows our story better than words do.

Kawasan Falls finally

We can’t wait to dip in that refreshing, cool water.

ready to take a dip

Crossing the rickety bamboo bridge is a heart-pounding experience for some.

rickety bamboo bridge

Station 3 where you can dip in Mother Nature’s very own bathtub.

Kawasan falls station 3

Our sexy, lovely, beautiful ladies who eat mountains, caves, cliffs, and trails for breakfast. That’s Sheila, Ma’am April and Ma’am Karen.

Sheila, April and Karen

After an hour of freshening up, we were clean and ready to go home.

clean and ready to go home

While crossing a narrow bamboo bridge to Station 1, ma’am April is holding her hair for balance. Is that possible?

crossing a bamboo bridge

Officially sweethearts! I love you, sweetie pie! May we have more adventures together.


All photos courtesy of Jigz Santiago, April Marcial-Santiago, Leylander Romarate, and Romanslerz Tura.

Suggested Itinerary:

Day 1
11:00 AM – meet at Caltex gas station beside USJR, take Dalaguete-bound minibus
12:00 PM – ETD Cebu
3:30 PM – ETA Mantalongon Market, buy supplies
4:00 PM – Start trek from Market to foot of Osmeña Peak
5:00 PM – Arrival at first water source
5:30 PM – Arrive at campsite, set camp, and visit summit
7:00 PM – Dinner and socials

Day 2
5:00 AM – Wake up call
5:15 AM – Prepare breakfast
6:00 AM – Breakfast
6:00 AM – Break Camp
7:00 AM – ETD Osmeña Peak, Start trek to Kawasan Falls
11:00 AM – Arrive at second water source
12:00 PM – Lunch on Trail
3:00 PM – ETA Kawasan Falls Station 3, swimming
4:30 PM – Trek to Matutinao Bus Stop/Church
5:00 PM – Ride bus to Cebu City
8:00 PM – Back in Cebu City

About Gian and Sheila

Rock climbers. Mountaineers. Sweethearts on adventure. Adrenaline Romance is a photoblog that belongs to a loving couple who has an eternal lust for adventure. The blog contains experiences, tips, itineraries, and other useful information regarding adventuring in the Philippines and beyond.

22 comments on “Osmeña Peak: Love at First Climb

  1. Osmeña Peak is always beautiful.

  2. hye Adrenaline,

    im zack,
    wow beautiful mountain…if i’m from cebu city, how can i get there…and i also don’t know the trail…can u help me…(im sorry my English not so good hehe)

    • Hello Zack,

      Yes, indeed. It’s actually a favorite mountain for many Cebuano backpackers and mountaineers.

      We’re supposed to place suggested tips and budget in this article. We’re so sorry, we forgot to put them in.

      Anyway, yes, it is easy to go up to Osmeña Peak.

      1. You can take a south-bound Ceres Bus at the Cebu South Bus Terminal. Look for a bus that passes by Dalaguete; you can ask the driver or terminal staff to help you.

      Tell the driver/conductor to drop you at the crossing/intersection to Mantalongon. Then, ride a motorcycle to Mantalongon public market. From there, you can hike up to Osmeña Peak. The trail is easy, and there are lots of locals who can show you the way.

      2. The second option is to go directly to Mantalongon. Go to a minibus terminal, which is a short walk away, at Caltex gas station near the University of San Jose-Recoletos. The minibus goes directly to Mantalongon; be prepared for a crowded ride.

      We are not familiar with the trail going from Osmeña Peak to Kawasan Falls. However, most mountaineers/campers hike to Kawasan after camping in Osmeña Peak. You can ask them if you can go with them, and they will be happy to have you along with the group. Be prepared for a 7 to 8 hours of trek under the heat of the sun as the trail is mostly unshaded. 🙂

  3. i am booked to cebu later this year to hike up there. excited!

    • Hi Judy,

      Very cool! We’ll write in a few tips in this blog to help you out. What we have here is just the itinerary.

      But don’t worry. An OPeak climb is easy and enjoyable.

    • hi judy! im just asking…when will your climb to osmena peak be? id like to join you or your group if ever 😀 please.please. really looking forward to climb this mountain! thanks

  4. Reading this coz I’m leaving in a couple of hours for Dalaguete in the hopes of conquering Osmena Peak. So this is where your love story began! Gikilig ko hahaha!

  5. May i ask?? how much is the fare if we take the bus near USJR? then they say that you still need to ride a habal2? how much is the fare also?? hehe 🙂

    • Hi Hazel,

      The minibuses that are stationed near USJR travel straight to Mantalongon market. From there, you can hike to Osmena Peak and forego the habal-habal ride—unless, of course, if you want to ride a habal-habal.

      We forgot the actual fare of the minibus, but it’s more than 100 pesos.

      If you ride a Ceres bus, you need to stop at Dalaguete, then ride a habal-habal to Mantalongon or to the foot of OPeak.

  6. My personal experience in Osmena Peak. Please check it out for more information ->http://sowhatright.blogspot.com/2015/08/camping-in-osmena-peak.html

  7. Hi guys thank you for sharing this my team and I will visit Osmena Peak this November 14 2015 and through this we are more excited to visit and explore the place. Thank you so much for this.

  8. Hello, Did you hire a tour guide from Osmena Peak to Kawasan Falls? If yes, do you have the names and contact number?

    • No, we didn’t hire one. We just went with a couple of friends who knew the way.

      You can visit the FB groups Visayan Trekkers Forum or Enthusiast of Cebu Outdoors and ask for guideship services. They have a lot of members who are familiar with the trail. Thanks!

  9. helo po rob,,,, pwde po ako young hire mo pra mag guide sayo,,, ako po young may coment na nasa taas ng coment mo,,, young rolman tangpos,,,pwde nyo ako contakin,,,

  10. Last December, I confidently planned of doing the traverse with a few of my friends. Too bad, we gave up and got tired on the second day, so we just took a bus heading to Badian. I wanna do this again. Hahaha. ^_^

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