Trekking in Cebu | Conquer the Mountains of Cebu Island

Man standing on a cliff

Trekking in Cebu should be on your itinerary. Check out the incredible mountains of the island!

To explore the different parts of the world gives someone a feeling of success. Some people travel, some dive deep into the seas, and some climb mountains. Activities like these can be done in Cebu, which is why most people visit the island. Trekking in Cebu is always on one’s Cebu itinerary.

Regardless of the rapid progress and development of the island, there are still numerous mountains to conquer. Ideas on where to go in Cebu Island is limitless but can be narrowed down. Whether you are looking for an easy trek or a challenging climb, there is a mountain in Cebu that can satisfy your need for a heart-pumping adventure.

Mt. Manunggal, Balamban

One of the highest peaks in Cebu Island is Mt. Manunggal. It has an elevation of 1,097 meters above sea level. The reason for the popularity of the mountain is not only because of its height, but also because of its proud history.

Mt. Manunggal is the crash site of the presidential plane of the seventh president of the Philippines, Ramon Magsaysay. The reputation of the president also contributed to the popularity of the area. His years in service were the Golden Years of the Philippines because of a corruption-free period. He also led the military in ending the Hukbalahap rebellion.

Because of this history, climbing Mt. Manunggal will always be one of the things to do in Cebu. Although, the climb won’t be easy. At the beginning of the trek, you will be walking on pavements until you reach the muddy trail. Eventually, the path will be steep, and if it rains, the mud will make it harder.

The route from Gaas is most recommended, which can also lead you to another mountain good for trekking in Cebu, Mt. Mauyog.

Mt. Mauyog, Balamban

This mountain has the same rock formation as Mt. Manunggal. It also almost has the same level of difficulty. These mountains are near each other, which means the Lusaran River can be reached either way, only that the journey to Mt. Mauyog begins at the river.

You can spend your whole weekend trekking the two mountains. Set up camp for the night at Mt. Mauyog and proceed to Mt. Manunggal the next day.

Sirao Peak (Mt. Kan-Irag), Cebu City

Sirao is mostly known for its flower gardens. It started with Little Amsterdam of Cebu, which name was based on the arrangement of its flowers that resembles the flower gardens of Amsterdam.

It is also known as the location of one of the beginner-friendly mountains in Cebu, Mt. Kan-Irag, or more popularly known as Sirao Peak.

There are two ways to reach the peak. First is the Backdoor Trail, where you can stop over the famous flower farms in Sirao. The second is the Budlaan Trail, which is longer and more difficult but can give you access to Tinisik-uwang Falls and Kabang Falls. If you take the first trail, you have a chance to hail a motorcycle to the base of Sirao Peak. But if you choose the second trail, you have to climb boulders to be able to reach the top.

You can set up camp at the peak and enjoy the view overlooking Cebu City.

Osmeña Peak, Dalaguete

Trekking in Cebu’s famous Pico Osmeña is one of the easiest things to do in Cebu. The climb may not leave you out of breath, but the view from the top is breathtaking.

The travel time from Cebu City to Dalaguete is around two to three hours. Once you reach the base of the mountain, you can hike for forty-five minutes to an hour up to the peak.

At the top you will be welcomed by clusters of landforms that seem like the Chocolate Hills of Bohol. Early mornings are freezing cold and foggy, but there will be less people, so you can freely take a lot of pictures during that time.

Since the trek is fairly easy, it won’t take a whole day for you to explore the place. But if you yearn for more adventure, you can continue the trek to Kawasan Falls in Badian, which is an hour away from the peak.

Mt. Mago, Asturias

Located in the northern part of Cebu is another mountain that is good for beginners. What’s different about this mountain though is that when you reach the top, you will be standing on the boundary of three towns: Danao, Carmen, and Tuburan.

Trekking Mt. Mago is a perfect getaway because of its relaxed trail and a picturesque view. It is recommended to begin hiking in the afternoon, set up camp when on the summit, and wait for the morning to come. The early mornings are the best because that time, the earth below will be surrounded by clouds, somewhat similar to Mt. Pulag’s sea of clouds.

Mt. Babag, Cebu City

If you want a heart-pumping climb, choose Mt. Babag. Well, it is not recommended for beginners, but you can always take the challenge if you want.

To reach the summit, which is where the RCPI Towers are located, you have to conquer the steep slopes and the cliffs. Most paths are narrow and can only accommodate one foot at a time. Some of these paths do not have branches to hold on to—just soil. Rain is going to make the trek even more exciting.

Bring a bottle of water enough to last for two hours. You can refill your containers when you reach Lower Kahugan Spring. Thirty minutes away from the spring is Lut-od Waterfalls where you can cool down and have lunch.

It is a surprise to some that a grueling adventure like this can be done in the city. If you need that adrenaline rush, you don’t have to go far from Cebu City.

Mt. Naupa, Naga

Laid-back hike and a calming experience is what you will remember after trekking Mt. Naupa. The paths are wide and easily accessible.

It takes less than an hour from South Bus Terminal to Naga, Cebu. Thirty minutes from the jumping-off point, you will be able to find a gate where you will be paying an entrance fee of US$0.40 per head. After an hour of walking (or less, depending on the pace), you will be able to reach the top, a vast mountaintop where groups of people can set up camp.

Tagaytay Hill, Toledo

When you search for ideas on trekking in Cebu, this spot will always be in the list. Tagaytay Hill offers adventurers one of the scenic views in Cebu, the Malubog Lake.

Stories about the lake entice tourists. It is said that a mythical creature lives underneath the lake and takes out those who misbehave and disrespect the place. Whether this is true or not, the story indeed captivated a lot of adventure seekers, which boosted the tourism of the town.

Another intriguing spot as you get to hike toward Tagaytay Hill is the Malubog Tunnel, which is the gateway to another lake. But now that the tunnel is closed to tourists, one can only wonder how it looks on the other side.

Kandungaw Peak, Badian

Arduous but great for photos. This is how most trekkers and bloggers say about Kandungaw Peak. Both beginners and experienced mountaineers enjoy the hike to the viewpoint.

There are two picturesque spots in this mountain range. First is the Titanic Peak, which name derivation is understandable once you see it. The path to this first viewpoint is paved. You do not actually need a guide; all you need to do is follow the steep cemented road and the torturing flight of stairs. Once you reach the Titanic Peak, which one can never miss, you can move on to the edge of the rock. Just be cautious.

After the first viewpoint, there will be no paved paths anymore, but it will not be that far away to the main viewpoint, the Kandungaw Peak. The Philippine flag and the huge drop-off will welcome you as you arrive. And just like the Titanic Peak, there will be no fences, so be careful taking photos while you are at the edge.

What’s more interesting in this mountain range is the not-so-visited Kandungaw Cave, nestled just below the cliff. This is one of the underrated things to do in Cebu because only a few knew the history of this cave.

This small cave full of stalactites was once a hiding place of the locals during the Japanese invasion. The locals would peek at the viewpoint to see the incoming Japanese troops, and they would hide in the cave. The term “dungaw” means “peek” in English, hence the name Kandungaw.

Other interesting stories are yet to be discovered in these mountains. Experience trekking in Cebu and learn something about the mighty mountains.

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