On the 22nd of December 2019, I woke up at 4am in the morning to catch the sunrise at Osmena Peak. I got ready and waited for the transport provided by the hotel at Badian area, which is on the west side of Cebu Island. It was pitch black and only a few vehicles could be seen on that dark chilly morning. My family and I hopped on two motorcycles and were foretold that the ride was only a 5 minute ride to Osmena Peak. My mom and I were told to get onto a motorbike with a male rider on it. We agreed and immediately started our journey although I knew my mother was not comfortable to ride a motorbike without a helmet. After a few minutes, the motorcyclist stopped by the road side and told us that they had to stop for gas. Surprisingly they fueled up by the road side using a bottle filled with fuel from a house. I guess they keep all their stocks in the houses for easy refuel. As we continued our journey, it took longer than 10 minutes then little puffs of imaginary light bulbs started popping up on our heads. Why was it taking so long ? But neither of us dared to speak up because it was super chilly, we were ascending a hill. With the cool breeze slapping and whooshing our faces, all we could do was hug each other very tightly. The roads were also windy and bumpy, it really made an impact on my leg injury that i had the day before.
We passed by many houses, villages and a small yet busy town trading vegetables, and there were surprisingly a great number of chickens and dogs. The animals there were extremely friendly, unlike the ones in my country, they are more ferocious and violent. The animals in the Phillipines do not attack you, they act more like companions. It was so calming to see the village, the people smile and waved back as we passed by. After a good long hour, we finally reached the Osmena Peak checkpoint.
There was a slippery slope that we had to ascend to reach the hut. The morning fog covered the land with cold droplets of water, it was comfortable to breathe but difficult to walk as the path was slippery. We looked like clumsy babies going up the slope, the villagers just smiled. When we reached the hut, there was an entrance fee of probably 100 pesos per person, and if we wanted a guide, it would cost an additional 500 pesos.
Walking sticks were also available for rent for 50 pesos each, the staff explained that the walking sticks are important during the descend. So, we took 3 walking sticks and hired a guide. We were shocked to see the guide, confidently only wearing a pair of flipflops, draped over with a grey jacket and attired with a simple black colored short. While us on the other hand, were dressed up like mountain hikers, geared up with sports shoes and training attires.
The guide introduced himself as “J.R” he was very cheerful and amazingly friendly. He rendered his assistance for photography purposes, so I gave him my mobile phone, he said it would be a piece of cake for him. He briefly told us that the climb would only take about 20 minutes. By that time, the sun was already up. We missed the sunrise but the weather was still perfectly fine, sunny but rather chilly.
As we ascended, i notice that we were going slightly at a slow pace, the rock edges were fairly slippery and covered with growth. The hike was not challenging but the weather factor made it particularly grueling.
One crucial element that hikers must take note is not to forget the spectacular view from above. Although we haven’t reach the top yet, we could see the wide range village and heaps of those beautiful green mountains, it was amazing. The piles of grassy mountains were wrapped round with windy routes that almost seemed like a whirlwind. The sun cast its warm beams of sunlight on us, it felt like a fairy tail. The echoes of roosters ring the air as we ascended.
As we ascended, J.R effortlessly took shots and videos of us during the climb, it almost seemed like he was just casually stretching his arms while hitting the record button. But the video quality was really good, it was barely difficult for him to make the ascend, it was like walking for him. He explained that he goes up and down the hill more than 8 times a day to guide the tourists. Clearly he was very experienced in this.
On the peak of the hill, I witnessed a lady running some errands beside a tent she’d built. I was shocked that one would camp up there despite its chilly, freezing weather. J.R guided us to a popular spot for magnificent pictures, it was in between sharp shaped rocks demonstrated with the beautiful sea background. Luckily, the sun was on our side, the lighting features were splendid !
Osmena Peak, at 1013 meter is not the highest peak in Cebu Island. In fact, on the about 20 meter east of Osmena Peak, there is another higher peak perhaps 5 or 10 meters taller, but not easily accessible by public. J.R confirmed our observation!
I was dressed in Nashata blue salasa pants and a grey iman hijab, the salasa pants were really popping its colors in the pictures.
My mother was wearing Nashata hooda racerback sports hijab , purple heather top and black riada active pants. The color of the heather top contrasted the background perfectly, the shots were nicely taken too. The hooda racerback sports hijab was a great support for the activity because it did not flip through out the venture and was perfectly still but rise is fashion. I felt slightly shaky when I sat on the rocks because it was located by the edge, one small error then I could have fall. However, J.R was superbly jumping from one rock to another, in those worn off flipflops, readily finding a perfect position to take my photos.
He demanded me to do certain poses as he was the camera master. I should say, I was very impressed by his skills. After a bountiful amount of photos, we finally started our descend.
As we passed by other hikers, we also slip past a few convenient stalls located up on the hill. They sold goods such as soda drinks, snacks and lettuce. They grow remarkably a lot of vegetables. The villagers too, had impeccable English. People there were so buoyant and in good spirits, I admired their characters.
After reaching the hut, we returned our walking sticks and managed to greet goodbye to the amazing J.R, then continued our descend down the slippery slope. However, J.R surprisingly followed us down to make sure we returned safely, how sweet of him. Our transport had already arrive so we hoped on. It took another one hour to return to our hotel, but that was alright. The view and the environment was very entertaining. Although the bumpy road was a bit of a nuisance.
In conclusion, Osmena Peak is a worthwhile hike, staffs are incredibly friendly and environment is simply enchanting. As an advice, hikers should wake up extra early, probably at 3 in the morning to catch the sunrise, else wise, you would be experiencing the hot rays of sunlight. You can also catch the sunset instead. Please note, that every tourist behooves personal belongings to assure that there are no loses or any possible damage.