Because we deserve an escape from the busy corporate life, my workmates and I decided to head south of Cebu and take a two-day adventure up in the mountains of Dalaguete, some three hours from the city.
Of course, this town is best known for Osmena Peak, the highest point in the island, and its many hectares of fruit and vegetable farms. The cold weather is something to crave for, especially in summer. But, besides the mainstream attractions, Dalaguete has got some more mountains to climb–Casino Peak and Kandungaw Peak–and new developing destinations like a strawberry farm that brings Baguio feels to the Visayas.
Conquering Casino Peak
Our first agenda was to get to Casino Peak in Barangay Tabon, not too far from the famous Osmeña Peak. After listing down our names on the logbook, we asked the locals for directions. It was easy to figure out trails, we didn’t need a guide for the trek. We didn’t have to pay any entrance fee, but we were told they might start collecting some in a few weeks.
Trek time is 20 minutes, we were told—but it took us about 45 minutes going up. We couldn’t resist stopping for photos of the breathtaking scenery, especially the group of hills resembling the infamous Chocolate Hills of Bohol.
Be extra careful though, because the peak is a bit narrow. Taking an Instagram shot with just me in the frame was very challenging, and I had to crop photobombers in the photo because there were a lot of visitors that day.
In fact, many have trooped to this side of Cebu in the past months simply because of this view. One of our bloggers, Mel, also went a few months before this trip and was able to take great photos, too.
The Challenging Kandungaw Peak
The plan was to climb the majestic Kandungaw Peak early the next day. So after dinner, we partied with “tuba” (coconut wine) and red wine, just so it was easy to hit the sack. It was extremely cold at night, aircon was totally unnecessary.
Then, at 5 AM, we left for Kandungaw Peak. This one was more difficult than Casino. Trek time was 1 hour, and we had to go up 195 steps, pass some muddy trails, and survive some steep rocks. It’s not for the faint of heart. We had to be cautious with our steps and the spots we posed photos for.
Strawberries at Sergio’s Farm
Don’t have enough time to visit the strawberry farms of Benguet? Drop by Sergio’s Farm for the feels. All their crops and vegetables, including strawberries, coffee, and herbs are organic, which means they’re free of synthetic fertilizer and chemical pesticides. The farm is open to the public. Pick and pay is offered on weekends, depending on the availability of fruits and herbs. They’re out of season sometimes. Also buy their strawberry jam, radish pickles, and kimchi.
Farm Visit: 8 AM to 5 PM, Saturdays and Sundays only
Revalde’s Homestay in Maloray
We headed to the Revalde’s in Barangay Maloray for our overnight stay. If you don’t have a tent for camping out in the mountains, you can opt to bring extra P200 for a home stay that includes access to the dirty kitchen, bathroom, and a spacious room with queen-sized beds. They got 5 rooms, each can accommodate 2-3 guests
We cooked our meals, so we made sure that we brought supplies with us. We stopped by public market in Dalaguete to buy meat, fish, and other essentials. Even in Maloray, you can also buy a variety of veggies, fruits, and spices. The guest house also got a fridge which we used at no additional charge.
What I love about this place is that there is no cellular signal. I loved the solemn, laidback provincial life. Our group had a lot of time watching movies, playing cards, and just enjoying the time with each other.
Contact #: 0977.820.0619 (Michelle)
How to Get There
From Cebu City, take a bus going to Oslob and get off at Dalaguete town proper (about 3 hrs, P110 for aircon bus). Hire a habal-habal (motorcycle) going to Casino Peak (about 30 mins), then start the trek (30 mins or more).
For Kandungaw peak, the trek is an hour or so. The starting point is about 100 meters away from Revalde Residence.
Summary of Expenses
Bus (Cebu South Bus Terminal to Dalaguete) P110
Motorcycle, Dalaguete to Casino Peak P150
Casino Peak to Revalde Residence negotiable
Overnight at Revalde Residence P200
Revalde Residence to Dalaguete town P150
* Entrance fees—none as of this writing
Tips & Reminders
1. Bring water. You can buy some from the stores at the registration area.
2. Wear sunblock, and bring a sun visor or a cap.
3. Bring a towel, because you can be sweaty as hell.
4. Wear mosquito repellent.
5. If you’re opting to get a guide, pay an ample amount as appreciation for their assistance.
6. Don’t leave trash.
7. Respect—wildlife, nature, and other travelers.
8. As these are just minor hikes, wear light clothing.
9. Don’t spray perfume while hiking to avoid bee stings.
I’ve read somewhere that we have to climb the mountains not so the world can see us, but so we can see the world. I say, climb the mountains and take a selfie with the world! And the best place to do that in Cebu is Dalaguete.