My memory is a corrupt agent. I tend to lose specific details that catches my interest like random conversations, colors, textures. It’s pretty scary, and that’s the reason why I resurrected my fancy for writing, to fight from my tendencies of being forgetful. I wish to write beyond the mere narratives and chronology. Practice makes perfect and this is to start with doing what I love – travel and document it, and never to delete it again. This is Part 1 of my One-Day Sojourn diary at South Cebu for the month of June.
With my travel cohort, Anwar, we braced the wee hours of the night to be at Cebu South Bus Terminal. We had to make most of the time to be on the road to catch up with the early morning hike to Osmena Peak, known to many as O’Peak. The highest mountain in the province is located at Mantalungon, Dalaguete otherwise known as the Vegetable Basket of Cebu.
Getting to Osmena Peak via Dalaguete junction-Mantalungon Market was one of the scenic routes I took. Plants and trees I seldom noticed in the low lying areas were there. That was my first time seeing a pine tree and a huge lot planted with lots of vegetables. No wonder with its elevated location that reaches 700 to 800 meters, the place live up to its reputation. The verdant countryside are teeming with plants and vegetables, pine trees and conifers .
It was freezing cold and hazy fog blanketed the up-slopes of the mountain. It was zero visibility as we progress in our climb, but we choose not to hire a guide because it could cost us Php 100 for just a 15 minute walk not to mention the Php 20 for the entrance fee. It was a frugal decision as we walk behind the staff collector going up to the peak, we followed him and the distinct foot paths lead us to the right trail.
We trek from 4:45 to past 5 in the morning, still dark and the area was covered with mist and fog. We waited patiently, and just like a spectator in a theater, the curtains eventually rolled up and gifted us with the breathtaking view of the mountainous and sharp rugged hills; the overview of the other islands of Bohol and Negros which one of the guides had declared; and the vegetation that slowly revealing on its own. I am proud that we have this kind of place in the province. I could not compare it to Chocolate Hills or even labeling it as the little Benguet of Cebu. This place has its own unique beauty, this is Osmena Peak, and there is no other peak like this in the country.
It was a steep and a short distance climb as we ascend from the base of the mountain that only took us 15-20 minutes to reach. Seasoned climbers will take the challenging traverse from Kawasan, Badian and vice-versa and may pitch a tent after a long day’s walk at the campsite area.
My fear of heights teased me as as I marvel on the fleeting clouds that kissed the edges of the mountain. The distinct curves of the the mountain ranges, in between cliffs and rocks is one of a kind creation, incomparable to any places in the Philippines. At the base of the peak, nestled the campsite. I could’ve stayed longer enjoying the view, getting a clearer direction of my housing amortization that may end this year or start penning a poem while I am on a high, but due to ts popularity, the demographics of visiting viewers abused the mountains. The peak as we got there is already cramped with tourists who could not get over with their selfie shots and inconsiderate overstaying. So we move along and find other peaks where we could stay atop and take a break with a hot coffee that comes with a Php 20.00 price tag.
My memory sometimes failed me. I forgot names, but seeing this kind of view more often could spiked up some inspiration and filling up my memory bank of small details, sequences, and conversation from local folks. How can I forget the habal-habal driver who taught me about the real pine trees and kidding me about the difference between a pechay and a cabbage. The driver who can put up with my silly questions, and for the benefit of my curiosity told me about a famous political family who owns one of the best vacation house in Dalaguete This he relate in a sing-song Cebuano intonation I had ever heard so far still resonates in my head.