Secrets of the City

The island of Cebu is truly blessed. It has a thriving metropolis, impressive cultural and heritage sites, rich marine resources, and unspoiled natural wonders. According to one Austrian I know, Cebu is perfect. He said that when you are in Cebu, everything is within reach. In the morning, you can go scuba-diving and in the afternoon, you can go mountain trekking. Then, in the evening, you can go to the city and watch a movie on Imax or head to a club and party the night away.

Most of the natural spots in Cebu are just a couple of hours away from the city. The famous Kawasan Falls in Badian, for example, is only three hours away. And the Mantayupan Falls in Barili is only two hours away. To get to both Aguinid and Inambakan Falls, you only need to travel for three hours. And you only need an hour to get to that beautiful waterfall below. Yes, you heard it right. That’s how close it is to Cebu City. In fact, to be technical about it, the waterfall IS in Cebu City. Bet you didn’t know that! 🙂


Cebu City’s best-kept secret: Kabang Falls in Budlaan. Wicked!

Before you start planning a trip to this beautiful, beautiful waterfall, let me inform you that getting to this gem is no easy feat. There is no clean and paved path to this natural wonder. But if you think you are brave enough, then read on.

The very first step is to get to the mouth of the trail. How? You ride a jeep to Talamban (Php 8.00) and tell the driver to drop you off at Sunny Hills Subdivision. When you’re there, talk to one of the habal-habal drivers you see and ask him to take you to Sitio Baugo (Php 20.00).

Like this.

You will know that you are in Sitio Baugo when the motorcycle stops and the driver asks you to get off. Or if you see this house.

Before starting the trek, you can buy water or snacks. Remember, this is no easy feat. So, I suggest you buy the whole store. You’re going to need something to eat, trust me.

The start of the trek.

The mountains of Talamban. Gorgeous.

You will see a lot of things along the way. But always remember: never leave a trace and never take anything!

Even this cute Birds of Paradise plant.

Thirty minutes later, you will reach a concrete house with wooden benches in the front yard. You may sit down. But please do not waste your energy by taking a lot of pictures. You will regret it.

Those smiles will fade, trust me.

After finishing a small bag of Piatos we were back on the road. I mean trail.

Remember, it is necessary that you trek only with an experienced guide. Or you will get lost and you will never be found. Ever! (Cue evil laugh)

You will see a small river which drops a few meters into a small delicious-looking pool. But don’t get all giddy. That’s like the tail end of the river.

And don’t mind Gian. Guides can get really excited. You won’t get it. It’s a guide thing.


Remember what I said! Just let him do his stuff.

Now, I suggest you take no more than 5 photos there. Like I said, do not waste your energy. You have to listen to me.

Total torture ensues!

You will most likely meet other trekkers along the way. But fret not. Always remember, according to official hiking rules, hikers on their way back need to make way for hikers who are still beginning their trek. So, go ahead and keep the nice trail. Let them get wet and sweaty. Bet you ten bucks they won’t make it to the other side dry. Nyahahaha.

Another small drop. But it’s no cause for celebration. Take one picture and keep moving!

A little trivia. This is called Cab-Cab. It’s where the city of Carcar got its name. (Oh, geez. I hope I’m right.)

Thirty more minutes of nonstop boulder-loving and you will hear water. Lots and lots of water!

And there it is! You win! But not quite! Hahaha. You see, you still need to climb up a huge huge huge boulder. It’s quite tricky, really. Now, let’s see you do it!

An old man was ‘fishing’ nearby. So we asked him if he got lucky. Well, he got his first two for the day! Yay for him! But you will never ever get to taste it. So, move along!

When you reach the top, you can rest for a while and have lunch before your great assualt. I swear assualt isn’t even a strong enough word to describe it.

 You can go ahead and have fun!



And, you know, remove some excess baggage. It helps to travel light, believe me.

So, anyway, after all those silly water games and crazy dives, you are forced to make a horrible choice. To move forward or head back. Of course, you’d be a total loser if you head back. So, it’s a go go go!

 And that’s how we learned how to crawl!

And rely on the strength of the roots of plants for our survival.

Last look at happiness. Not everything has a happy ending, kid. Now get a move on!

Those loose soil can be quite a pain in the neck, I tell you. They can introduce your face to the ground without your permission.

After 30 minutes of pure suicide, you will reach a cute home on the edge of the mountain. The only thing that keeps it from falling off the side of the mountain is that huge mango tree.

Oh, yes. That’s the last time they smiled.

Time is gold. So you should be on the road again after 15 minutes.

A little further up the trail, you will see these. I’m not sure what these are.

If you want to know how deep these things are, you can try this little experiment.  Take a long stick.

And dip it. Imagine the evil that lurks underneath.

Well, enough of that. Time to move on and see more, uhm, plants.

This is the part where you either end up hugging the trunk of a thorny tree or kissing the back of the legs of the person in front of you.

Oh, yeah. These plants are like armed and dangerous. They can slice you up real good.

After almost an hour of swordfighting with vicious plants, we reached a stream. And that’s when our guide informed us that we were actually lost. Time check: 4:30. Cue Blairwitch Project trailer.

Although there were flower fields, we didn’t see houses and people nearby. It was starting to give us the creeps.

Thankfully, we saw this awesome dude who was watering his field. He said we were almost there.

And that’s why you don’t trust the locals when they say you’re almost there.

He was kind enough to give us free water. Hey, thanks!

A great way to rest your weary arms. But goodluck to your shoulders.

Before 5, we reached a small sitio. We were so happy. Here’s the group smiling with a local. We asked him if we were close. He said, definitely!

I shouldn’t have believed him.

Thirty minutes later, and still miles from our campsite, we saw this beautiful lake.

5-minute rest.

See that mountain near the top? That’s Pedro Calungsod Peak. That’s where we’re headed. Good luck to us!

We saw more flower fields.

And more dizzying trails.

Supply status: 40% remaining.

The final stretch, Gian said.

We started the final assault at 5:40. In chest-deep sword-sharp cogon grass-filled field. I’m starting to think this is all a punishment. Suddenly you’re not so tough, huh?

It was getting dark when we set up camp. We were all too tired. Good thing the city lights kept us company. The campsite was like a secret hideaway. It was like the city was one big movie screen in front of us. Awesome.

The next morning.

Our campsite was clean by 8:00 am. Now, it was time to head home.


Resting by the side of the road.

I was wearing shorts. Now, imagine what I felt.

Sword-fight survivor.

By the way, sorry for this schizoid storytelling. I’m bored. Hehehe. Hope you enjoyed the photos. If you have real and serious questions, I will seriously answer them. Seriously. 🙂