Cebu, also known as Sugbu, is one of the most developed provinces in the Philippines, with Cebu City (oldest city and first capital of the Philippines) as the main center of commerce, trade, education and industry in the Visayas. This province is in the center of Philippine archipelago and is bounded by the Visayan Sea in the north; Camotes Sea in the east; Tanon Strait in the west; and Bohol Strait in the southeast. With a land area of 4, 932.79 km2 (approximately 200 km long and 40 km across) the southern part of Cebu can be traveled within a day.
It was after our scuba diving session when my friend, Ivan, suggested the idea of driving around south of Cebu province. He said to just chip in for the fuel, bring food, camera and yourself. He wanted to see Osmeña Peak and since we haven’t been there, everyone excitedly agreed.
“Life is short and the world is wide.” – Simon Raven
The December air was cold, so we grabbed a coffee first to keep ourselves warm and started hitting the road at 4am. Also every Christmas, the SMP is always in in the Philippines. This actually stands for Samahan ng Malalamig ang Pasko which means a group of single people with cold Christmas Holidays. Yes, we are single and our hearts were already used to being cold so we jokingly named our group as SMP but with different meaning. SMP stands for Samahan ng Mambabalat ng Patatas (group of potato peelers) because of the movie Princess Sarah and its memes circling around social media. (hay naku Pinoy, dami kalokokan)
Of course, in every car ride, there would be a driver, the navigator, and the sleepers and snackers a.k.a. the backseat chillers. And since I was the “Dora the Explorer” of the group, I was assigned as the navigator slash travel agent slash shotgun passenger (because there is no sleeping and I need to make sure that the driver is awake) slash DJ as I also manage the playlist. Easy-breezy. Like duh! *multi-tasking*
We took the route via Argao and had breakfast at Jambalaya Restaurant. It’s not fancy but you can enjoy a cheaper meal by the sea.
After having a breakfast full of laughter, we continued then, stopped at Dalaguete so we can go to Osmeña Peak in Mantalungon. Ivan parked at one of the establishments and we rode a motorbike going to the mountain. You will find these motorbikes along the highway and you need not to worry as they offer driving voluntarily for Php100.00/pax.
Mantalungon is like Baguio in the south. It’s cold, and you’ll get to see huge, tall trees, cabbage plantation, and a wide landscape of green grass. From the drop off, and a small environmental fee, you will be hiking up the craggy hills, with strong blows of wind from different directions but you will also be blessed with beautiful views.
This peak was named after the native Osmeña clan, one of the oldest and most established political dynasties in the Philippines. It stands at 1,013m above sea level and known as the highest peak in Cebu. These hills make up Mantalungon ranges and stretch as far as the municipality of Badian and were considered as a twin to Bohol’s Chocolate Hills.
It was cloudy, windy, and gloomy when we reached the summit – a total contrast when you look down the other part of Cebu.
We got to take a lot of photos including planned stolen shots (lol) and played Mannequin Challenge on our way up and down the peak. We were also teasing our friend, Ivan, as he was heart-broken that time. I took 300+ snapshots but too bad, my memory card was corrupted that I wasn’t even able to look at them. Now, I am also heart-broken! huhu! Thanks to Ivan who was also taking photos on his phone. But still.. huhuhu.. *cries in the corner*
Anyway, Filipino people were known as being resilient so when the camera pointed its way to us, we all smiled. Parang hindi nagdrama. Ganern!
We continued our road trip down south with windows rolled down. Whew! All those rice plantation on the right and sea view on the left… This is life!
We had a stop over at Boljoon. If you want a nice photo, drive pass the curve and stop at the car park across the heritage church. There you will find the right spot for a perfect photo.
Sanayon or Igwaron Site
We had another stop over at Santander, the very end point of Cebu. Sanayon or Igwaron Site is just along the road. The name was derived from the word “sanay” which means multiple, and this site was said to be built to honor the town’s abundance of harvest. According to the locals, their livelihood came from the sea thus the site was built just right there.
Also, if you want to go to Dumaguete, you can find the port at Liloan, Santander.
The group decided to chase waterfalls as we approached Samboan. We were all wearing sneakers so imagine how we climbed the waterfalls on our shoes, denim shorts, and sweaters. (LOL) But nothing can stop us!
After half an hour of just swimming, picture taking, climbing up the falls and sliding down, the tour guide told us that there are another falls on top, so we convinced him to take us there for an additional pay. Actually, falls #6-8 are not open for tourists since there is no trail. No ropes either. You need to climb falls #5 in order to get there. But we believed that we are like cats with 9 lives so without any rope or harness, we climbed up. I was the first to climb and then, it hit me. You know, humans have this habit of destroying anything that’s beautiful so I told Manong Tour Guide to not open a trail to protect the other parts of the waterfalls. But these photos will tell you how it looks like up there.
The photos were brownish because it was gloomy that time and the phone was inside a zip lock.
After spending some time chilling in the pool beneath the waterfalls, we went down on a different trail and continued the road trip on our wet clothes. (Hindi kami prepared, besh. haha)
Alegria Heritage Park
Aside from stopping for bathroom checks, we also stop for sunset shots. And since Alegria has the perfect sunset, we decided to have a stop over at the park. This park really has a different appeal to me.
My mom might have known that we were taking photos because look! A spotlight!
We continued and stopped at Moalboal for a snack before hitting the road. Our last stop was Molave Milk Station at Barili. The best ice cream in the south! They have different flavors. I’ve been there a couple of times so I already tasted all of them. LOL.
It was already 7 or 8pm when we reached Mandaue, Cebu.
That was a tiring yet enjoyable day. One thing is for sure, everyone had a great time. A road trip is a great way for barkadas to spend time and annoy each other in interesting new places. Also, it’s not really about the destination but the wild stuff that happens along the way, like singing your lungs out with the windows down on a 90’s tune (probably boy bands), grabbing chips from someone’s hands when they’re not looking, taking photos of people sleeping, record the snoring, and battling if you decline their music request or not.
Also, I’ve learned that road tip is actually composed of:
1) “Are we there yet?”
2) “Are we there yet?
3) “I have to pee.”
4) “Are we there yet?”
To my dear friend Harmon,
I was shocked and wanted to ask why you went too soon. It hurts, Harms. I am certain I would never find another friend like you. You were You and I love you from head to toe. You were just perfectly imperfect. I am sure the heavens is glad to earn another angel like you.
Our road trips, food trips, and back to back travels will always be remembered just as much as we remember you being a part of it. You might be gone but your memories will stay alive.
Your friends will let go of the tears but please, promise us that you are OK in there, that you are smiling and is in good shape. We are hurting but we promise to carry on. We will miss you, Harmon.
‘Til I see you, sesh.