Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Osmena Peaks

I want to start this article with a note on the name of the location. This cluster of peaks in southern Cebu, which resembles the Chocolate Hills of Bohol, is referred to by three names—Osmeña Peaks, Osmeña Peak and O-Peak. Whether the place had a previous name is as unclear as who christened it as Osmeña Peak. One thing’s for sure, the place is named after a prominent bloodline in Cebu to which the late President Sergio Osmeña belongs. One of the Osmeñas, they say, took refuge in this group of peaks during wartime.   

But regardless of the origin, I’d personally call the place Osmeña Peaks (instead of Osmeña Peak) because it is a cluster of about a hundred peaks and not a single peak is obviously more prominent than the rest. In fact, the peak where most climbers take their ‘summit’ pictures is probably not even the highest among the group. But just like how the pronunciation of Mt Everest metamorphosed from ‘eevrest’ to ‘everest’ and ‘ev’rest’, the name Osmeña Peaks shares the title with the names Osmeña Peak and O-peak. ‘O-peak’ is still (as of 2012) an exclusive parlance among Cebuano hikers.


Osmeña Peaks is a very interesting destination in that the trek starts and terminates at two interesting places—Mantalongon in the east and Badian in the west. Brgy. Mantalongon in Dalaguete reminds me of Benguet. It is a cool place inhabited mostly by vegetable farmers wearing jackets and jeans. Dogs are furry and conifers are scattered in the area. Badian, on the other hand, is home to the endemic black shama. You may not see this bird but you will always hear its song once you’ve entered the Badian side of Osmeña peaks. But more than the black shama, Badian is known for the emerald green waters of Kawasan Falls. I have walked the four trails of this destination—one in Mantalongon, three in Badian (two of which terminate at Kawasan Falls, and one with a terminus at Liong).

This group of hills is the highest elevation in the island of Cebu at 1036 masl. The campsite is a private property and visitors are charged 10 pesos per head. The trek up when you’re starting from Mantalongon is less than an hour. It could be 15 minutes if you tell the habal-habal driver to drop you off at the trailhead closest to the summit. The trail to Kawasan Falls, however, is more than 15km long. The Mantalongon trek is open. The three trails to Badian are at least 50% in the shade. The trails near the summit are slippery and rocky. At the campsite, you’ll see a magnificent view of Kanlaon when Negros is not shrouded in clouds. The surrounding conical hills are also as mystifying as they are peaceful. And that’s all I can say about the view on top because it is futile to try to contain the beauty of the vista in words. 

Mantalungon-Kawasan Dayhike

Assembly @ Cebu City South Bus Terminal
ETD for Dalaguete (Ceres bus)
ETA Dalaguete (eskina). There’s a 24-hour batchoy house at the ‘eskina’—Maria’s Batchoy. Their batchoy costs P56/order. Their bathroom is squeaky clean.
Take the habal2x to Mantalongon, Dalaguete. There are habal- habals waiting across from Maria’s Batchoy. We paid P100/2pax for the 20-minute uphill habal2x ride.
Final buys at the Mantalongon marketplace. (trailfood, Cobra etc.)
Start trek.
ETA summit. Take pictures
Start traverse descent
Water source
ETA @ Sition Butong
ETA Kawasan Falls. Wash up at one of the bathrooms. (P10/pax). Lunch
ETD for  Cebu City (Ceres bus)
ETA Cebu City

Track Logs

Elevation (masl)
N 09˚48.448’ E 123˚27.872’

N 09˚49.207’ E 123˚26.545’
Water Source

N 09˚48.686’ E 123˚25.869’
Sitio Butong

N 09˚48.234’ E 123˚25.510’
Kawasan Falls

N 09˚48.033’ E 123˚22.492’

yellow track represents my Mantalungon-Kawasan trek

Covered Distance on foot
16.30 km
Moving Time
4 hrs 10mins
Stop Time
41 mins 07sec
Fluids consumed
500ml (Gatorade + water)


  1. The place is formerly known as Tan-awan and was a favorite vacation destination of then President Sergio Osmena Sr, who would frequent the place on horseback together with Don Crispin Almagro, father of Dalaguete former Mayor Conrada Almagro. Don Crispin and the Osmenas are related by blood. And yes, many as they are, the other peaks you find around the O-Peak area have their names. There is an Evaristo Peak, a Mercado Peak, a Tabon Peak, etc. etc.

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  3. i also would like to scale this mountain. how much was your budget then?

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