It started with an invitation from sport and fit enthusiast friend Jennifer Gonzalve, whom have been biking and trekking her way to vast mountainous areas in Cebu with her siblings and she's been doing it for quite sometime now. The invites were extended to friends, clusters and up to friends outside work and what originally confirms was 26-30 people but then it was downsized to 18 due to conflicting schedule and recent changes.
Day 1 (April 16, 2015)
We have gathered at Elizabeth Mall at 10:00AM which is just a walking distance (like 4-5min walk) from South Bus Terminal were we need to head to the Municipality of Dalaguete. But there was a sudden changes on our plan. Dax and I had to be there early to search for our guide to assist us through Kawasan Falls, our supposed to be guide was part of the 8 pax who backed out and of course to catch the best time on the peak for a sunset view.
It was a 2-3 hrs Ceres bus ride, discounting the slow traffic from Pardo to Talisay it could reach 3 1/2 hrs so its ideal to leave early. It was 34°C and it was quite humid on the road though air-conditioned, you may want to keep away sitting near the window and usually when traveling this far i would just sleep at least to regenerate energy since everyone of us came from a Wednesday night shift so I'm a bit haggard.
We arrived at exactly 1:00pm in Dalaguete, we have roam around their Plaza and Church which is facing the bay. It was beautifully set-up, the boulevard, the park and the church its a perfect combo. Solemnity it is, though weather is a bit hot, the see breeze made us breath. We then hit at the nearby store (which sells halo-halo) which is also a stone-throw away from the crossing heading to Osmena Peak's foot.
After 10minutes indulging ourselves with refreshing Halo-halo and some food, we then head to the crossing, from the National Road you can just see those signs going to Osmena Peak, guided or not its easy to spot. One last Habal2x (motorcycle) ride going to the foot which will take 20-30min. There's another option though its either to trek for 2 hrs but its a long paved road which also serves as the Provincial Road to Badian (pero mas init) or through habal2x, the ride is more ideal. Yes, it was a long ride just be ready with the rough and dusty unpaved parts.
Along the road, you'll see locales doing their daily chores but since Mantalungon is not just your ordinary village they are infact the food basket of the area, I mean Dalaguete is the Food Basket of Cebu, the Mantalungon Market has huge vegetable drop in the area.
Registration Area. Arriving at the foot of the Osmena Peak you have to sign and Register.
at the back is the Osmena Peak, estimated time of arrival is 15-20 minutes trek. Type of terrain: Stiff and rough but rope is not needed to climb a support stick maybe and an interval rest.
what you see at the back are cabbages and the small hut is where the registration took place.I almost fainted, without exercise or at least warming-up would create a serious trouble trekking.
Finally! Love on Top! This is what i have been missing for more than 5 years now, i missed hiking and mountain climbing, but the difference though we climb because we serve local communities in hinterland villages in Mindanao.
Perfect Sunset, next island at the back is the Province ofMeditating is the best thing to do when you're on top, it's solemn and our target was to get here before the sunset was achieved and it was great! the place is brilliant for trekking as they said level of difficulty is 5/9
As darkness covers the sky we began to settle and set-up our bonfire to keep as warm. The weather changes and became chilly nights and a bit windy. Everyone is at least having fun chatting on their camping tents. Jen made a call to start the activity, I started the Yepo Itata though a bit dark each of us seems to get the action, its a warm up i would say similar to the "Paa tuhod" but with a twist. Jen then took over and started the "Name Game". everyone enjoyed it but it didn't last long since winds were getting stronger and colder. As Jen have warned us to bring winter clothes to keep as warm.
We didn't expect that the weather will go that far. We just thought it will just be cold, but the wind was like a storm, lambasting our camping tents, that was the reason there were stones scattered on the camping area that serves as a stopper to tents set-up. Two of my colleague's tents were dropped down by the wind, they then transferred to other tents. Tents were like wrestled and colds become coldest, we felt it on our tent as it began to moist. We woke up around 5 am but still it was cold as ice.
The second one is more tricky, no path to take, wild and thorny bushes are mostly scattered, rocks and boulders are visible as well and getting there is just 5-10min. At the top the cliffs are more dangerous. here are some pics to describe it.
Our breakfast were canned of sweetened beans and biscuit not that much since we have to trek to Kawasan Falls and to be honest I am a rice person but nevertheless I was satisfied with this food during trekking.
After taking our breakfast, everyone were so excited to traversed to Kawasan Falls but some were hesitant since we have big guys and girls and its a challenge that they're taking and YES, we had our guide, our guide was 3 kids around 9-12 years old and they're from Mantalungon, actually they stayed with us the whole night. (Isn't it child labor?) but these were the kids whose been competing with the adults to earn. they work for campers and they charge every penny including pitching water, buying woods and some stuff.
A lot of us were asking, as to how many hours would take to get to kawasan, adults from Mantalungon told us like 5 hours. but as we begin to walk and after crossing rivers, rocks and mountains, we also get to pass villages and every time we get to one village after another they would say 5 hours but remember we already have trek 2 hrs. and then another 5 hours? hmmm its not right. upon reaching these villages we get a chance to rest, good thing some were selling Bananas since we forgot to buy one.
Four (4hrs) of trekking we get to encounter a lot of challenges, one of our colleague experience numbness on her legs and we have to stop for a couple of minutes and some were complaining because of a very exhausting trek and of course misinformed about the time of travel we then decided to take a motorcycle ride from Ubos (they call it ubos) to were Kawasan is. After the motorcycle ride we have to walk trough the 1st Falls like 30-45min from point we were dropped from the motorcycle.
The path to Kawasan is unpaved, its small, stiff and rough. on our way there we had an accident, Kimmy slipped from the stiff terrain and then rolled, good thing though the young coconut palm had save her life, it blocked her. We were all shocked and dax quickly picked up kimmy her knee begun to bled and swell. We've noticed that there were small limestones that causes the slip. one thing that we would have to be very careful next time.
Upon reaching the 1st waterfalls everyone were finally relieved, and one was very happy since her Kendra was waiting there on the first falls. Kawasan is still the same but the experience with friends can never be. it was one of a lifetime. a great one to treasure!