Posted in adventure, hiking, mountain trekking, travel, trekking, Vacation

It’s not ‘Say Boo’ or ‘C’est Buu,’ just Seh-Bu (Thanksgiving Vacation in Cebu Part 2)

Day 3: Osmeña Peak, Ili Rock, Boljoon Church, Binalayan Hidden Falls, Mainit Springs

Osmeña Peak

      Our first destination on the 3rd day of our trip is Osmeña Peak. We plan to reach the peak before sunrise, so, we were suppose to leave the resort at 4 am. But, like most obedient Filipinos who strictly comply to Filipino Time, we left just a few minutes before 5 am.

The road to Osmeña Peak is curvy with lots of uphill, kinda like the roads to Baguio. Most part of the road is still under construction and some roads with the ‘dangerous curves’ don’t have safety barriers in place, so it’s best to drive carefully. We arrived at the market where the habal habal terminal is located. We don’t plan to take the habal habal ride since we have our own vehicle, so we just asked for directions. A habal habal rider followed us, and a good thing he did because we missed the turn by a few hundred meters and the habal habal rider signaled us and pointed the right direction. We followed him to a rough (rocky and muddy with a lot of uphills, not advisable to small cars), single-lane road to the tourism office (it opened this year) in Baranggay Mantolongan. After registering and hiring a guide (a guide is optional, but why not help some of the locals, the amount of tip you give is up to you), off we go.

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It’s a good thing we didn’t try to catch the sunrise because it was a foggy morning with very limited visibility. So, we took our time for group photos instead.
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Respect the Rules. Leave No Trace.
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At 1,013 meters above sea level, the distance from the foot to summit is just around a kilometer. Depending on your moving speed, the hike may take 20-30 minutes. For trail runners, it may take 15 minutes or less depending on your skill level.
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For some people, like Alex here, looking fabulous whilst hiking up a mountain is mandatory. And wait ’til you see what Jay has in store for us at the summit.
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Going up on a hazy, foggy morning…
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Almost… Halfway… There…
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I can’t relax my feet while standing here. I feel stiff because of the fear of slipping. There’s a ravine just behind me. Photo Credit: Tsong Tero
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Where I stood from the previous photo.

When we finally reached the summit, it was still foggy. We had to wait for almost an hour before the fog starts clearing up and the majestic view reveal itself. When it finally did, it’s photo shoot galore.

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Selfie at the highest point of the summit of Osmeña Peak before the fog cleared up.
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To avoid dizziness, don’t down or behind you. Just concentrate and firmly plant your feet. Let the screen of your smartphone be your guide.
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The smiles of uncertainty. It’s foggy, cold, windy, and nobody wants to look down.
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Look behind us… And the fog starts clearing up.
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The non-selfie shot. Photo by our guide.
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This is how we do it….
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Damn, that’s a long way down… Photo by Alex
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And that’s too far away to walk. Photo by Alex.
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Beautiful morning. Is it the view or Lei?
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And this is what Jay had in store for us. Proper attire? who cares! What to wear during hiking? screw that!
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Dyosa ng Kadiliman (Goddess of Darkness) said David (one of our colleagues who was travelling with TravelCorp.).
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Our guide taking photos of Jay. Me doing the BTS.
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Think of Frozen, but instead of Elsa’s cryokinesis, Jay’s got terrakinesis and goth-like, dark outfit to boot. And let’s call the movie Rocked.
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Wandering around the rocky summit. Photo Credit: Lei
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When the background is finally clear. Photo Credit: Tsong Tero
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Osmeña Peak is the 5th mountain (7th if I include Taal Volcano crater and Mount Sungay which is now known as People’s Park in the Sky) I climbed. Photo Credit: Tsong Tero
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It’s like the spiky and deformed version of Chocolate Hills. Photo Credit: Tsong Tero
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If you have time, you can traverse to Kawasan Falls.
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Going down on a clear, sunny day.
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Lush vegetation.
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Just one more photo shoot with Lei laying down on some flowers before going down.
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I can see our travel vehicle and the tourism office from here.
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It’s more convenient to travel with your own vehicle. Drive wherever you want, whenever you want. Photo Credit: one of the natives.
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Drop off point of Osmeña Peak. Photo Credit: Lei
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Basta’t Driver (Runner, Blogger, at Photographer) sweet lover! XD Photo Credit: Lei
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Driving around town. Photo Credit: Lei

We’re so lucky to have seen the surroundings of Osmeña Peak without the Silent Hill fog. TravelCorp, who visited it in the afternoon were not so lucky, all they’ve  experienced was a 360 degree view of nothingness, just the foggy fog fog, foggy fog foggy afternoon. The habal habal rider led us back to the market and we gave him a tip for being our road guide and guarding our vehicle. After Osmeña Peak, we ate merienda at Julie’s Bakeshop (free Pepsi for 50 pesos worth of purchase, how come we don’t have that promo here in Luzon), we made a quick stop at Ili Rock and Boljoon Church.

Ili Rock and Boljoon Church

Before going back to the resort, we made a quick stop to Ili Rock and Boljoon Church. Ili Rock is a natural rock formation (small mountain) that was once used as a watchtower in the 1800s, overlooking the Bohol Sea. After a strong earthquake hit Bohol and Cebu on October 2013, a project (which included pulverizing a portion of the rock) to make the road safer was initiated. The project started in 2014, but is still only partially finished. When we got there, only the stairs and hand rails were done, the top of the mountain looked like a rocky desert.

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A process called Slope Benching was done to create this stairway to the top.
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Imagine this natural rock formation without the stairs and hand rails. This would be the 8th mountain I climbed if it was still a mountain.
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The cliff. See the rappelling board?
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I did not count the number of steps, but fact-checking online said it’s 136 steps to the top.
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And this is your reward for making it to the top. But, seriously, the future plans for this place sounds good. There’s rappelling board on the cliff side (dunno if it’s use-able). Other plans include a coffee shop, zip line, and other attractions for tourists.
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A nice view of the surroundings. (ignore Jay)
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Group selfie on top of Ili Rock.

We didn’t stay long on Ili Rock because it was very hot at the time. So, we went to Boljoon Church which is just a few hundred meters away from Ili Rock.

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Boljoon Church is a Natural Cultural Treasure and under consideration for the UNESCO World Heritage Sits of the Philippines. Also, there was a wedding going on at the time we visited it.
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Inside the church.
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Ili Rock as seen from Boljoon Church’s main entrance.
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Escuela Catolica was built in 1940 and served as a dorm for children prior to taking their first communion. In the later years, it also turned into a primary school and a meeting place for the religious groups of the parish. Photo Credit: Jay

We didn’t explore the church premises further due to the hot weather and time constraint. We then head back to Cloud and Xky Resort for lunch and rest before travelling to visit the Hidden Falls in Binalayan.

Binalayan Hidden Falls

After the much-needed rest, we went to Binalayan to see the Hidden Falls. Lei was so exhausted after the hike in Osmeña Peak and climbing up the stairs of Ili Rock, so she decided to stay at the resort and meet up with TravelCorp. group later (who will be doing their Whale Watching activity at the time).

The falls is hidden indeed, the path is surrounded by coconut trees and streams, it will take a 10-20 minute hike to reach the falls. You will pass by a pond with a tire-swing and smaller waterfalls.

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Achievement Unlocked: Hidden Falls found!
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The water is shallow, but the center is deep (probably around 6-8 feet), which is the target point for the jumpers.
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There are some hidden caves behind the waterfall.
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Another Achievement Unlocked: Hidden Cave found!
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Raph waiting for his turn to jump the 1st level.
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Raph on the first level preparing to jump. I think this is 15-20 feet in height.
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Jumper! I wish you could step off from that ledge my friend…
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Tsong also jumped the 1st level. The rest of us skipped the jumps. Not sure if it’s safe for me.

Tsong and Raph enjoyed the jumps, the rest of us just enjoyed taking a dip in the cool water. We laso enjoyed watching the guide doing their demo jumps, some do backflips, while others jumped from the highest point, the top of the waterfall, which is probably 50 feet or more. It was very crowded that day and we did not stay long since we also plan to go to the Mainit Springs for a relaxing time.

Mainit Springs Malabuyoc

Our last destination for the day was Mainit (Hot) Springs in Malabuyoc. We all had an exhausting day hiking and going up 136 steps of stairs, so it feels just right to relax and let the soothing, hot water rejuvenate our bodies.

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Welcome to Mainit Springs.
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At 42.6 degrees celsius, this is the hottest pool in the area.
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You can hard boil an egg in this pool. I haven’t seen anyone take a dip and stay on this pool. No human males wants to have their eggs boiled here. People seem to just dip their hands or feet and then leave.
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The 40 degree pool is also very hot, but tolerable to some people.
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The 35.8 degree pool in the center is the ideal temperature for everyone. It’s like a warm hug from a loved one during the cold winter nights. It’s the right kind of warm. On the left is a slightly hotter pool at 36+ degrees. It’s when the warm hug starts to heat up and lead to something else… like hot coffee.
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Taking a dip at the 35.8 degree pool. We also tried the 36 degree pool which had very little difference in temperature from the 35.8 pool.
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Really need to work on skills with an action cam. It would’ve been awesome if I was able to capture the beautiful surrounding without water spots around the lens.

Feeling cleansed (from all the hiking dirt we picked up earlier) and energized, we went back to the resort satisfied, feeling good. And that ends Day 3 of our Cebu-cation. Coming up is Day 4, the last day of our Cebu adventure and it’s exactly the right kind of closing, by having luxurious time (living a classy life) at Plantation Bay. Part 3 is coming up soon.

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