Getting High in Cebu: Osmeña Peak

Getting High in Cebu: Osmeña Peak

dalaguete

At 1013 meters above sea level,  Osmeña Peak is known to be the highest point in the island of Cebu, Philippines. It is situated in Mantalongon, Dalaguete which is in the southern part of the Cebu province. Dubbed as the “Vegetable Basket of Cebu” and “Little Baguio” because of it’s cold weather, it is sure to be in the bucket list of every travel travel junkie, shutterbugs and mountain climbers. It is a fairly easy and safe trek and good enough for beginners to no experience level.

We started our trip in South Bus Terminal on board a Ceres bus at 3:55AM and asked the steward to drop us off the corner to Mantalungon (P105 fare for air-conditioned bus). Based on several blogs the travel to Dalaguete from the city takes more or less 2 hours 30 minutes but swiftly we arrived at 5:40AM. That is 1 hour 45 minutes only thanks to traffic-less highway. We dropped off from the highway junction to Mantalungon and rode motorcycles (habal-habal) that will take us right to the base of the peak (P100/person, that’s P200 back-and-forth).

It was around a 30-40 minutes ride and you will notice along the way that they have been developing the road to the peak which makes it now faster and easier for visitors.

I have read blogs that start trekking from Mantalungon market and will take an hour or two to get to the peak. But in our case we passed by the Mantalungon Public Market and drove to a rocky road for a few more minutes that will take us closer and give us shorter trek time. Downside is we were not able to take pictures of plants and trees along the way that are not commonly seen. You can also see a lot of pine trees.

It was very cold along the way and I can feel my nose dripping when we arrived. The locals said that it is just 15-20 minutes trek to the peak from there so we got a tour guide which is a high school kid. As beginners and totally no experience in trekking mountains, we were catching our breath and immediately felt our knees. So we took a rest and a group shot. 🙂

And then we started taking pictures just to slow down the pace while our tour guide just simply walks in the park. Well it gave us more time to savor each step on the way and each beautiful plants and scenery worth the picture.

Along the way, you can see fresh vegetables that are really enjoying the cool breeze. You will also be welcomed with a wide stone wall that is really awesome when covered with fog.

Group shot from time to time to catch our breath, noobies! 🙂

Thanks to our talented tour guide slash carrier slash NatGeo photographer. Yeah he’s wearing a NatGeo shirt.

It was cold but we were sweating and now we are almost there. When we saw the peak, the race to the top has begun.

Hooray, we made it to the famous Osmeña peak and it feels like cloud 9 as we were literally covered with clouds. All the effort was worth it and you could just stop and stair at the breathtaking scenery. Time check 7:15AM.

We were greeted with strong winds and the fog just kept getting thinker but that didn’t stop us from getting a groupie shot. Yey where’s the background?

While waiting for the sky to clear out, we decided to pitch our tent just below to settle down and get some rest.

When the horizon started to show it was just picture perfect. You can see a beautiful panoramic view of the island and the chocolate-hills-like scenery from the top. You gotta love Mother Nature and it was an escape from reality and from the city.

getting high at Osmeña Peak cebu

Magnificent view from the Peak.

Unfortunately, we did not stay overnight in Osmeña Peak so by lunch time we went back to the town proper to check out other sites like the Obong Spring and Tingko Beach in Alcoy. We had a great time with nature, get to stretch some muscles, snap one-of-a-kind photos and get to breathe cool fresh air from this adventure. Surely I will go back to this place, stay overnight and traverse to Kawasan Falls next time. And don’t forget to try out their delicious Torta for only P10, perfect pasalubong. 🙂

Spinning the Oblation: UP Tacloban

Spinning the Oblation: UP Tacloban

Here is my first try on moving timelapse or also called as hyperlapse. I just found about it on several videos in Youtube that got my interest so I got an idea to try it during the Hearts and Smiles for Kids event in UP Tacloban. Since I did not have a tripod with me, I did the shots of the UP oblation handheld so it’s not really that stable and smooth.

This was taken 44 days after the super typhoon Yolanda hit Tacloban Philippines. Check it out!

Chill in Cafe Namoo: Banilad, Cebu

Chill in Cafe Namoo: Banilad, Cebu

 

Looking for a cozy place for your barkada to chill while having some coffee? A new cafe in the block just opened last January 2014 and I can say that the ambiance is really great. Let me share to you some of my pictures taken at Cafe Namoo during our visit a week ago just in time for the Valentines.

They are located 2F Northgate Centre, Banilad Cebu City beside University of Cebu – Banilad Campus and across Gaisano Country Mall.

They have plenty of “rooms”, if you may call it, to choose from with different decorations and stuffs inside.

Cafe Namoo is a great place to spend time and bond with your friends and family. You get to hug not only your friends but a bunch of pillows and teddy bears as well.

For me, the environment brings you back to your childhood playtime days like the “bahay-bahayan”. It’s a great place for kids and kids at heart.

They also have a room filled with balloons perfect for kids who wants to play. The top of the door has an air blower that keeps the balloons  inside.

And lastly don’t forget to stick those sticky notes on the wall. You know what to do.

You may be asking the price range for their menu so I grabbed a picture from Cafe Namoo facebook page for your reference. They are open Mon – Sun: 10:00 am – 1:00 am and take note that they only allow at most 3 hours stay to give chance to other customers.

We enjoyed our stay in Cafe Namoo and hope to visit more places in Cebu to chill. Where have you been lately?

Off to Tacloban: Hearts and Smiles for Kids

Off to Tacloban: Hearts and Smiles for Kids

 

We all knew what happened on the 8th of November 2013. This day a super typhoon hit the Philippines so badly that people will never forget the name Yolanda again or internationally known as Haiyan. One of the worst hit areas in the Visayas was the city of Tacloban where I spent 4 years of my college life in UP.

988758_600331943357521_1259462816_nA day after the disaster, a number of University of the Philippines – Tacloban alumni (which happened to be my batchmates) based in Manila and their close friends met to share news, stories and updates about the status of their family and hometown. They founded a group named Bulig Isko and started to organize relief operations and coordinated with several people here and abroad for help. They were able to send trucks of relief goods, hygiene packages and aide to different parts of Eastern Visayas week after week.

I grabbed the opportunity to be part of the Bulig Isko team that will bring Hearts and Smiles for Kids in Tacloban to happen 3 days before Christmas. So a day before that, I traveled from Cebu to Ormoc via fastcraft dawn of December 21 and arrived past 8 in the morning then took a van to Tacloban. I usually sleep during travel but this time I couldn’t take my eyes out of the mess left by the typhoon to a point that I lost track which town we are already due to the flattened landscapes.

DSC_4226I arrived in Tacloban passed 11AM  and got to join with the team. After lunchtime we divided into three groups, one to work on the decoration, packing and preparation for the event and the other two to distribute toys, slippers and gifts for kids courtesy of Ryzza Mae Dizon and SOS kits from Eat Bulaga on separate multicabs. One went to the town of Palo and I was part of the group that went to Brgy. Anibong in Tacloban where there are ships that were washed ashore and literally parked along houses and beside the road. 

We roamed around the streets and stop by to give toys to kids and SOS kits to the adults. It was a fun experience and the same time stressful when you cannot control some people scrambling to get something. Well that’s understandable and inevitable in the situations they’ve been through. At the end of the day it feels good to bring little joys and smiles to these people especially the kids.

DSC_4509The following day was the main event held in UP Tacloban Multi-purpose Building. It formally started past 11AM with more than 300 kids with parents/guardians who came. The kids were divided in to groups and assigned a facilitator. Lunch packs were served both for the kids and their parents and there were games, energizers, and fun activities for the kids. All of them were able to receive school supplies, bags, toys and noche buena packs for their family.

I’m not really a good storyteller and I wish I could be more specific and detailed with the event and the people behind but one thing I do better is to capture these moments and their stories to tell. I am glad to have spent that weekend in Tacloban, meeting new and old friends, going out of your comfort-zones, sharing hope and joy to the kids and giving your time, talent and treasure in a place I once called my second home.

More powers to Bulig Isko facebook.com/BuligIsko ) and to the people who made this possible. The effects of the super typhoon will be felt for years, let us all continue to help by any means. God bless!