If you are looking for a hike that offers an insane 360-degree view for miles in every direction, then we fully recommend the Osmeña Peak hike as part of any South Cebu Itinerary. The views at the peak are incredible and are a just reward for making the effort to travel out to Osmeña. The jagged rocks at the peak of Osmeña contrast with the numerous rounded mounds on the horizon, comparable to the Chocolate Hills of Bohol. With the ocean far below as a backdrop, the views are breath-taking to those willing to make the short climb.
Osmeña Peak is the highest point on Cebu Island, standing at 1013 metres above sea level. The good news is that you are able to drive most of the way to the top, and then it is just a short climb to reach the summit. We love hiking, but doing it in the Philippines is much more difficult due to the heat – meaning short hikes like this are the perfect compromise and make for a wicked day out adventuring.
Getting to Osmeña Peak
We always recommend staying in Moalboal when exploring the south end of Cebu Island. It is a great hub and allows easy access to the numerous adventure activities in the area, like Aguinid Falls and the sardine run. From Moalboal we recommend renting a scooter and driving out to Osmeña Peak yourself. Scooter rental costs around 300PHP ($5.86 USD) per day.
If you don’t want to ride a scooter out there, you can either jump on a habal habal or a tricycle and have them take you out there, although this will be a more expensive option.
The journey from Moalboal takes about 1.5 hours and the roads out here are quite well maintained. There are a few gravelly sections and some potholes but nothing major to worry about. This road will also take you past Cambais Falls, one of the amazing blue waterfalls in the region.
The drive itself is absolutely stunning. As you ascend into the mountains, you follow winding roads, passing by farm land, through the mountain peaks and you will catch several glimpses of the blue ocean a thousand metres below. The temperature also drops as you climb the mountain making it a pleasant journey even in the middle of the day.
From Cebu City
It is possible to do a day trip here from Cebu City and many people often visit Kawasan Falls on the same day as well. To make your own way here head to the South Bus Terminal in Cebu City and take a bus heading to Oslob or Santander. Ask the bus driver to let you off at the Dalaguete Junction and from here you can rent a habal habal to take you the rest of the way.
There is also a tour you can take which will pick you up and drop you off at your hotel in Cebu City and take you to Osmeña Peak. What’s even better is that the tour also takes you to Kawasan Falls, the most famous waterfall in the Philippines. This tour is a great option if you are short on time but still want to see a couple of the best things on Cebu.
Check rates and availability for the Osmeña Peak & Kawasan Falls tour.
It costs just 30PHP ($0.59 USD) per person and it is not required for you to take a guide. While it is an easy climb and the path is clearly marked, there are guides available if you prefer. There is also a fee for parking your scooter, which is by donation. We found that the standard rate for parking at most places is about 20PHP ($0.39 USD) but it is entirely at your own discretion.
Osmeña Peak Hike
One reason we enjoyed this day hike and would highly recommend it to anyone, is that it takes just 15 – 20 minutes to reach the top from the tourism centre where you arrive. The hike itself is also quite easy with only a couple of short, steeper sections. Halfway along the route there are a couple of shops selling souvenirs, water and light snacks. Once you are near the summit there are two different peaks you can climb. The one on the left side is the main peak, while the one on the right has a less defined path but it seemed to be much quieter. We hiked the main peak on the left, and after a short scramble up some loose rocks, we reached the top of Osmeña Peak.
From the top, the scenery of the surrounding mountain tops is quite unique. Hundreds of these strange domed rock formations rise out of the rolling green hills creating a very unusual landscape. Over a thousand metres below you will see the sparkling blue of the sea. It’s such an awesome sight and we enjoyed taking our time at the top to fully appreciate the views.
There were about 15 other people at the top when we visited, and although we didn’t have it to ourselves, it wasn’t so busy that we couldn’t enjoy it. We just had to wait around a bit to get the perfect photo.
After making the short climb back down again, we decided to visit another hike we had heard good things about, Casino Peak (AKA Lugsangan Peak). If you have the time and the energy after hiking Osmeña then we suggest you make the short drive over to Casino Peak and hike it as well. It offers similar views and what was even better was that we were the only people there. It is hard to beat having somewhere this good to yourself.
- Wear trainers or closed toe shoes. Although the hike is short, there are some muddy sections and some areas with loose rocks that would be more difficult to climb in your flip flops.
- You do not need a guide, however if you would like one, you can ask at the tourism centre where you pay your entrance fee. Don’t forget to tip your guide as this is their wage.
- The entrance fee is just 30PHP ($0.59 USD) per person.
- Take some water with you. Even though it is a short hike you will still need a drink when you reach the summit.
- Sunrise here can often be foggy, if you want the best chance of getting uninterrupted views then come here in the afternoon or for sunset.
Where to Stay on Cebu Island
When exploring the south end of Cebu Island, we recommend staying in Moalboal. It is the perfect hub to start off on all your adventures. The main tourist area to stay here is actually just outside of Moalboal town centre towards Panagsama Beach.
Budget: J&C Guesthouse – Our choice for budget accommodation and where we stayed while in Moalboal. A private double room with air conditioning cost 1000PHP ($19.56 USD) and this price also included breakfast. It is a short walk to the beach and close to lots of good restaurants.
Mid-range: Moalboal Shaka Traveler’s Place – If you want to stay right on the beach but not break the bank then this is the place for you. They have their own private beach area and a great terrace to watch sunset each night. Shaka also offers dorm rooms for those who want a more social atmosphere.
Luxury: The Blue Orchid Resort – A much more luxurious way to enjoy Moalboal. They have an awesome pool, an on-site dive centre and they are also located right on the water.
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Hiking Osmeña Peak and Casino Peak was a seriously fun day of adventuring. The journey to get here was almost as cool as the hikes and the view from the peak was epic. Even though we enjoy hiking we really appreciated the short and sweet nature of the hikes here as anything longer would have been too much hard work in the sun. With the journey to get here, the hike and the trip home this is a full day of exploring.
We would definitely recommend a trip here as it is something a little bit different than the usual stuff people do in the Philippines. Don’t get me wrong, we love the beach, but after almost two months, it was nice to mix it up a bit and spend some time in the mountains.
*Please note, prices are a reflection of our experiences while traveling the Philippines in June 2019 and are subject to change. Prices quoted in PHP were the exact prices we paid and USD conversions are listed for your convenience.