Cebu is one of the best places in the Philippines. Not only because of its strategic location but because of the attractions that this Queen City of the South can offer. Aside from these attractions within the city, Cebu is really proud to showcase its creamy white sand beaches, stunning waterfalls and majestic mountains which could really be at par with the others in the country.
I always love the beach and the waterfalls. They are like my first love but mountain is my greatest love. The feeling of oneness with nature when I am on the mountains gives me that euphoric feeling that tingles through every single vein in my body. The serenity and peacefulness that the mountains can offer bring healing to the soul. The journey within the wonders of nature and getting in touch with our roots gives that realization to appreciate life and people more.
As a wandering soul scamper, every new destination excites every inch of my being. This is damn true especially if it involves mountains and waterfalls or mountains then beach right after. My journeys to the mountains taught me a lot about life and stuffs. Since then, going to the mountains is one of my favorite things to do. It is already a part of my exciting routine to get away from the bustling city.
As a trekker, I climbed a handful of mountains already and each of them has a lot to offer in their own way. From the one that has the easiest trail to the hardest. From the simplest and to the most scenic one. Most of the mountains I climbed are mainly in Cebu. However, there are a few from neighboring Islands and Mount Pulag in Luzon.
Although Cebu has no mountains beyond 1100 MASL, but it has plenty of mountains to satisfy every trekkers thirst for adrenaline rush.
Without further ado, here is my personal list of the Top Mountains and Camp Sites in Cebu. The items in the list were arranged in descending order. These are based on different factors like type and difficulty of the trails, the scenery, the cleanliness and the experience you could get.
16. Chalet Hills
Are you looking for a secluded place, away from the bustling city? Do you prefer to spend a night in a totally different accommodation far from your contemporary and comfortable bedroom? Chalet hills can give you a unique place for relaxation and serenity. The evening ambiance gives you the impression that there are so much to thank for, by just looking at the city on a different perspective with the soothing cold wind breeze atop of the hill.
Chalet Hills is one of the campsites within the vicinity of Cebu City. This is located in Sitio Babag, Busay, just few minutes away from the gaining popularity Temple of Leah. Chalet Hills is a perfect getaway and venue for camping, bonding and leisure time with family, love ones and friends.
Chalet Hills is accessible too as side trip destination or camp site when trekking to Mount Babag. There is not much to do in Chalet Hills except for camping and fun activities but the best takeaway you could get from camping here is the spectacular city lights view.
How to get there?
Chalet Hills is really accessible from the city. It can be accessed by motorcycle taxi (habal2x) or by private vehicle. If you are not familiar with the place, the best place to start is at JY Square Mall where motorcycle taxis can be hired. From there, you will pass through the Busay Road going up to Mountain View Natures Park, Temple of Leah and then few minutes away you will be there at the foot of the Hill. Habal2x can be hired for P75.00 per pax (P150.00 per motorcycle).
For adventurers, it can be accessed by trekking from Mount Babag or from a short trek from Mountain View Natures Park.
15. Mt Babag (750+ MASL)
For mountaineering enthusiasts who need a bit of challenging trek within the city, Mount Babag is the answer. Mount Babag can be access via Sitio Napo, Guadalupe (the most common route). The trek time from the jump off to the peak will take around 3 hours or more depending on how long and frequent your breaks throughout the trek.
The trail to Mount Babag is slightly covered by vegetation thus trekking under the sun is not really a big problem. The fiery heat from the sun couldn’t hurt your skin that much. But the trail going to the peak is a bit arduous and a bit steep. It requires stamina and endurance as it can be a knee-breaking one to those who are not into trekking.
The best reward you can get when reaching the peak is the overlooking view of the city on one side and the overlooking view of the mountain ranges on the other. The view on top is really majestic and exhilarating.
How to get there?
Mount Babag is commonly accessed through the jump off point for trekkers at Sitio Napo, Barangay Guadalupe Cebu. You can hail motorcycle taxi (Habal2x) from Guadalupe church to Sitio Napo for P20.00 per pax. After then, trek your way to Mount Babag for 3 or more hours.
14. Lanigid Hill (630+ MASL)
Aside from Chalet Hills, another mountain that will serve as a quick getaway from the bustling city is the Lanigid Hill. This is a less trodden mound that has a picturesque view at the top.
Lanigid Hill stands at around 600MASL and is situated in Mulao, Lilo-an, Cebu. This mound is for beginners too as the trail is not that hard and trek time could just take up to 20-30 minutes to reach the apex of the hill. The trail is fairly easy with mild ascent. Though the difficulty of the trail is just 1/9, but the soil can be really loose and would render the remaining of the trail very slippery when it rains especially on the first half of the trail where it is covered by grasses.
The peak is a grassland where you can set up any picnic mats and enjoy the view while devouring those delectable food, shared with your good friends and or loved ones. This peak is getting popularity now after being the location of the local friendship climb of the mountaineering groups in Cebu.
The peak serves as the camp site and can accommodate 20 tents or more. Sunset and sunrise viewing on the peak is really an exquisite moment. It is worth noting that there is a Malingin River (Stone Arc) that can be a good side trip destination after spending a night at Lanigid Hill.
How to get there?
From Lilo-an town proper, you can hire a motorcycle to take you to Mulao Barangay Hall. The trip can take up to 30 – 45 minutes. Registration is required at the barangay hall, however no registration fee will be collected.
13.Mount Naupa (584 MASL)
Mount Naupa has been known as one of the destinations to trekkers nowadays. Mt Naupa is located at Barangay Cogon, City of Naga, situated approximately 22 Kilometers away from Cebu City. Naga City is the municipality right next to Minglanilla.
Mt Naupa has been known for its picturesque green meadow panoramic scene. Anyone couldn’t want more but to experience the serene beauty of the surrounding place with the 360 degree view at its peak. The peak of Mount Naupa is really a good place to watch the sunrise or sunset. And if you’re lucky, you can witness the mini sea of clouds early in the morning.
Also read: 6 Reasons why Mount Naupa is for beginners
How to get there?
From Cebu City, you can take a ride either by bus or jeepney to the junction going to Barangay Tungkop Minglanilla (Tinong’s Bakery) or the junction at RIKIO. From there, a hired motorcycle can take you to the jump off at Sto Nino Chapel at barangay Cogon, Naga.
12. Mount Mauyog
Famous for its brain-like coral rock formation, Mount Mauyog is gaining popularity among mountaineers and instagrammers alike who are in pursuit of beautiful landscapes. This stunning mountain is located in Balamban and can be access via different trails but the most common are from Tabunan and Sunog.
Be mesmerized by the overlooking view from the top of this rock formation. The jaunt to the peak from its base is short but really taxing. During rainy seasons, the trail can be really arduous as it has a few steep ascent with slippery and some loose rocks.
Mount Mauyog is one of the hiking destinations in Cebu that is commonly paired with Mount Manunggal. The peak is a towering 1000+ MASL. It is one of the mountains that is close to the vicinity of the city.
How to get there?
From Cebu City, take the hired van to either junction going to Tabunan or Mount Manunggal in Sunog.
If you choose to follow the Tabunan trail, you can start the rough road trek from the highway to barangay Tabunan and follow the dirt path trail going to Mount Mauyog then proceed to Manunggal after.
Another option is via barangay Sunog. Alight from the hired Van going to Balamban in the junction going to Mount Manunggal. From there, hire a motorcycle going to the chapel at Mount Manunggal then proceed to Mount Mauyog. Or you can opt to hike by just following the road going to the Chapel then follow that road again going to Mount Mauyog.
11. Mount Bocaue (700+ MASL)
Dubbed as the Muffin Peak, Bocaue is gaining popularity among trekkers lately. Unlike the first time we visited the place where only a few knew about it. Bocaue is situated right above Bonbon, Cebu. Standing at around 700MASL and within the proximity of Babag mountain range.
Bocaue offers a stunning 360-degree view at the peak. You can see the city at the peak and the surrounding sierra of the Babag Mountain range. The trail is a bit challenging depending on where the entry point is. Our favorite trail is the 5-towers trail as it is the less trodden one. But this trail can be really treacherous especially when during rainy seasons wherein the trail will be covered by thick vegetation and nearly impassable.
Also Read: Hit Bocaue One More Time: A bittersweet feat
How to get there?
Mount Bocaue is commonly accessed through the jump off point for trekkers at Sitio Napo, Barangay Guadalupe Cebu the same with Mount Babag. You can hail motorcycle taxi (Habal2x) from Guadalupe church to Sitio Napo for P20.00 per pax then trek your way to Mount Bocaue for 4 or more hours via the 5-Towers trail.
Watch this Bocaue vlog from WanderingfeetPH. Don’t forget to follow him on his social media accounts.
10. Mount Takli-ad (700+ MASL)
Mount Takliad is one of the mountains in Argao that has a promising scenery on top. It is a mountain located in barangay Cansuje about 11 kilometers inland from municipality of Argao, Cebu Philippines. Mount Takliad is one of the mountains that are less frequented by mountaineers with a ridge-like feature.
Mount Takliad peak has a stunning 360 degrees overlooking view of the neighboring mountain ranges and one of those is the elusive and mystical Mount Lantoy. On the eastern part of the peak is a cliff, overlooking the Usmad River.
How to get there?
From Cebu City, you can take any bus that would pass the municipality of Argao. Alight at Argao town proper and register at Tourism Office. It is advisable to have prior arrangements with the Tourism office for them to provide guides ahead of time.
From the tourism office, the mode of transportation is a hired/chartered motorcycle that will take you to the jump off at barangay Cansuje for the onsite registration. Coordinate with the Tourism Office for the guide rates.
9. Mount Mago (700+ MASL)
The mountain located in 3 places ranked 9th in the list. It sits along the boundaries of Danao, Carmen and Tuburan, Cebu. The view on top is not 360 degrees but beholding the marvelous mountains around feels majestic and ethereal.
The trail to the peak is fairly an easy but mostly an open one. When trekking on sunny days, the scorching heat from the sun can be really unforgiving. The best thing about Mount Mago, is the trail going to the peak is very scenic which resembles to the grassland in Mount Pulag but in a smaller scale.
How to get there?
From Cebu City North bus terminal, take the bus that would pass the Municipality of Carmen. Alight at the town proper and hire a motorcycle going to the jump off to Mount Mago.
8. Mount Sibugay a.k.a Kan-irag (Sirao Peak)
One of the Mountains that can be both easy and medium in terms of difficulty is Mount Kan-irag or commonly known as Sirao Peak. It can be one of the easiest mountain to climb when accessing it via Ayala Heights wherein trek time is just around 30 minutes or so.
This could be a little difficult when accessed through Budlaan wherein there is a bit of river trekking and minor bouldering. Mount Kan-irag is one of the mountains with most scenic views along the trail especially when accessing via Malubog, passing through the abandoned golf course which is sometimes dubbed as the NZ of Cebu.
Fact: Sirao Peak is not really the name of the mountain, the real name is Mount Sibugay.
How to get there?
There are at least two main entry points for this mountain. If you will take the Budlaan route, hire a motorcycle at corner Sunny Hills Subdivision and Budlaan going to Sitio Baugo jump off. The fare is P50.00 per pax.
Another route would be via Busay or in Ayala Heights in barangay Sibugay. This route is the easiest one. You can just hire a motorcycle taxi from JY Square to the foot of Mount Sibugay commonly known as Sirao Peak. The trek will just take around 30 minutes or less going to the peak. The fare is P75.00 per pax as of this writing.
Watch this vid from foureyedlaagan and don’t forget to subsribe his youtube channel.
7. Mount Lantoy (600+ MASL)
Mount Lantoy is another less trodden mountain in Argao. It is located 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) inland from the municipality of Argao, Cebu in the Philippines. This mountain has a creepy connotation not only to the locals but to the mountaineers as well. This folklore has been making rounds for decades. According to Philippine mythology, Mount Lantoy is said to be the domain of Maria Cacao, a diwata who lives in a cave in the mountain. Outside her cave grow numerous cacao trees, which are said to be her plantation. After harvest time come rains that wash down the mountain, enabling Maria Cacao to float down to the towns below in her golden ship to sell her products.
Mount Lantoy has a scenic view and mostly in its pristine condition. It has no camp site at the peak, camping area is at its based (foot of the mountain). On its peak, the infamous Mount Takliad is very visible as well as the cliff along Usmad river.
Mount Lantoy has this cave nearby that could be a good side trip destination. Also, trekking to Mount Lantoy is usually paired with the exploration at Balay sa Agta Cave with an additional cost of course.
How to get there?
From Cebu City, you can take any bus that would pass the municipality of Argao. Alight at Argao town proper and register at Tourism Office. It is advisable to have prior arrangements with the Tourism office for them to provide guides ahead.
From the tourism office, the mode of transportation is a hired/chartered motorcycle that will take you to the jump off. Coordinate with the Tourism Office for the guide rates. For the cave exploration, it is better to make arrangements ahead if you will opt to include it in your itinerary.
6. Mount Kandungaw (900+ MASL)
Mount Kandungaw is one of the mountains in Cebu that has an astonishing view on top. The peak has a cliff drop on one of its sides, resembling like a stone wall. On the side of the cliff drop there is a cave where you could explore. But going inside this cave can be treacherous especially on rainy seasons as the trail going to the cave opening can be very slippery.
This is a grandiose multi-peak mountain wherein you can do peak hopping as you like. It is situated in Maloray, Dalaguete . It can be accessed via Maloray or Sohoton, Badian.
How to get there?
From Cebu City, you can either ride a bus from Cebu South bus terminal and alight at Dalaguete Town Proper and ride a motorcycle going to Mantalongon Public Market for P75.00 per pax or ride a minibus at the terminal near Carbon market (Osaka Terminal inside Caltex gasoline station) that would directly bring you to Mantalongon Public Market for P100.00 per pax.
Mount Kandungaw can be reached via Mantalongon, Dalaguete like the mighty Osmena Peak. From the market, you will have to hail a habal2x (motorcycle taxi) to haul you to the jump off at Barangay Maloray. On the jump off, every visitor must register on a logbook provided by the in-charge at Lilie’s residence/Store right below the man-made concrete 205-step stairs dubbed as the stairway to heaven. (205 steps includes the few steps from the road gutter to the shed)
5. Mount Hambubuyog
If you’re looking for both a killer mountain and a paradise, love and hate status quo or a bittersweet escape from reality, then Mount Hambubuyog is the place to be. Mount Hambubuyog is now dubbed as the “Bee Mountain” as I heard it from our Nihongo teacher, Sensei Ruel.
This mountain has the scenery that is really an eye-candy to anyone. It is located in Ginatilan, Cebu where Divine Mercy Chapel is located. You can have a picturesque view of the Tanon straight and the neighboring Island Negros. On the far south west, Mount Talinis is visible on a clear day.
Mount Hambubuyog can be accessed via Ginatilan passing through the majestic Inambakan falls or just ride a motorcycle straight to the peak at Divine Mercy Chapel. There are access roads from Samboan or Oslob too. The challenging one is trekking via Ginatilan where Inambakan falls as the jump off point. Some would tag this trail as the killer one especially during the hottest months of the year.
The trail is open and are exposed to the fiery sun on sunny days of course. There are no favorable time of the day to start the trek since it will take around 6-8 hours of trekking. There is one trail that they said it was a shortcut going to the top passing through the Calvary Trail. The Calvary trail basically is a trail of unending assault, not too steep but a knee-breaking one and will push anyone to their limits.
Worry not as the view upon reaching at the top is beyond rewarding where all of your sorrows from the Calvary trail will be gone in an instant and feel the heavenly paradise atop of Mount Hambubuyog.
How to get there?
From Cebu City, ride a bus that would pass the municipality of Ginatilan. From the town proper charter a motorcycle going to Inambakan Falls for a quick dip or start the trek immediately from there. Another option is charter a motorcycle from Ginatilan going to the peak.
4. Osmeña Peak (Mount Labalasan) (1013 MASL)
One of the mountains on top of the bucket list for mountaineers in Cebu is the highest point in the island – Mount Labalasan or commonly known as Osmena Peak.
Osmena Peak is known as the highest peak in the province of Cebu (at least among the explored and recorded mountains in the island). It stands at around 10103 meters above sea level. It is located within the boundaries of Patung, Badian and Mantalongon, Dalaguete and is part of Patung, Badian mountain range. Osmeña Peak is said to be part of Patung, Badian and not from Mantalongon, Dalaguete as most mountaineers, tourists and travelers had assumed for a while now. I stand corrected as I was one of those who thought that Osmeña Peak is part of Mantalongon, Dalaguete.
What differentiates Osmena Peak from other mountains in Cebu is its Mountain range distinctive feature – the multiple jagged and sharp pointed hills grouped together overlooking the nearby towns and shorelines. The Mountain range looks like Chocolate hills but is more pointed albeit more like peanut kisses shaped hills.
How to get there?
From Cebu South Bus Terminal:
From Cebu South Bus Terminal, ride a bus bound to Dalaguete or any bus that would pass Dalaguete. Alight at the Town Proper (Poblacion). Just tell the bus conductor to drop you off at the junction going to Mantalongon Market (Osmeña Peak). Hire a motorcycle taxi (habal-habal) going to Mantalongon Market Register at Tourism Office.
From Osaka Terminal inside Caltex Gasoline Station (Near Carbon Market)
Ride a minibus here bound to Mantolongon Market. Alight at Mantalongon Market. Hire a motorcycle taxi (habal-habal) going to the foot of Osmeña Peak. Register at Tourism Office.
3. Mount Lanaya (700+ MASL)
Being one of the mountains in Cebu with difficult trail rated at 6/9, Mount Lanaya offers a rewarding treat upon reaching its peak – commonly known as Kalo-Kalo Peak. This grandiose mountain is situated in the humble municipality of Alegria, Cebu.
Aside from the beautiful beaches and waterfalls that the town of Alegria can offer, Mount Lanaya is one of the top listed mountains to climb among mountaineers. Mount Lanaya stands at around 720 meters above sea level. It boasts the scenic and panoramic view atop with the vast view of the Tañon Straight, Mount Kanlaon, Mount Talinis and the highest peak in Cebu – the Osmeña Peak.
Mount Lanaya is characterized by the ridge-like edge slopes facing the Tañon straight on the west. It is covered by thick vegetation and forest. The peak is just around few hundred meters away from Poblacion via the Legazpi Trail. Legazpi trail is one of the most scenic trail and is commonly compared to the bliss wallpaper on Windows XP. Others call that part of the trail simply as Windows XP.
The Legazpi trail is not an easy one, it involves a knee-breaking walk from the jump off and a lot of trekking through a dirt path with a steep incline. The trail is an ascent with no comfortable descents through the narrow ridge of the mountain. The average angle of this ascent is about 60 degrees.
On the second part of the assault from the base of the mountain, the trail is covered by a not so thick forest with trails of loose rocks, covered with moss and fallen leaves. The last part of the steep ascent is a 90 degree steep assault. On this steep drop-off, there is no room for error and climbers must be very cautious to avoid misfortunes. Only one climber at a time should climb on this obstacle and ropes are really necessary at this point, especially on rainy seasons where sliding off the trail is a very palpable event.
After this obstacle, the remaining trail to the peak is a rolling terrain of mild ascent and descent with not so loose rocks and soil. The trail is still covered by vegetation though, so trekking under the midday sun is not really a problem but there are few segments of the trail that is open so sunscreen or any protection from the fiery sun is highly encouraged.
There is a camp site just right below the summit but can only accommodate for small group of campers. There is also an emergency camp at the heart of the forest few meters away from the base camp. In this emergency camp, hammocks can be setup aside from camping tents. However for large groups, a camp site in Lumpan is large enough.
There is also an executive trail when doing the backdoor entry at Barangay Lumpan. The jaunt to the summit when taking the executive trail will take around 30 minutes to one hour only. This trail is usually the exit point when using the Legazpi trail as the entry point. Some climbers may opt to do back trails also and detour to Mainit Springs as the exit point
How to get there?
From Cebu City, you can ride a bus from Cebu South bus terminal that would pass the municipality of Alegria. Alight at the junction going to Legazpi trail (barangay Legazpi) if you’re going to take the harder trail. For those who want the executive trail via Barangay Lumpan, alight from the bus at the old Alegria Public Market. Charter a motorcycle going to the jump off at barangay Lumpan.
2. Mount Manunggal (1000+ MASL)
As far as other mountaineers are concerned, Mount Manunggal is merely a historical plane crash site of the late President Magsaysay that is made into a camp site. Without the knowledge of the many, it has a hidden multi-peak that is a bit like a playground for adrenaline junkies.
The peak was concealed in a heavily vegetated area and the rock formations atop resembles the rock formation that of Mount Mauyog but on a slightly bigger scale. The rock formations are really jaw-dropping and the 360- degree view on top is really breathtaking.
The peak has a beautiful rocky brae that every adrenaline junkie could not help but jump through each rock to reach certain heights up and below. Going to the other peak is arduous as it has no established trails, you had to jump through rocks, hug and climb some boulders, do some ninja moves through leaps and bounds in getting there.
Surely the Peak will invigorate lost souls and restless hearts will be smitten for a dose of nature just had experienced when being there. Being in the peak, one could not help it but be enamored. The experience was indeed euphoric!
Traversing between peaks in Manunggal can be fatal because the part of the peak is so steep. One wrong footing can lead anyone to fall right straight below the base of the mountain.
How to get there?
From Cebu City, you can take a ride either by hired van to either junction going to Tabunan or Mount Manunggal in Sunog. If you choose to follow the Tabunan trail, you can start the rough road trek the highway to barangay Tabunan. Then follow the dirt path trail going to Mount Mauyog. Another option is to hire a motorcycle from the junction to barangay Tabunan gym and start the trek from there.
If choosing the Sunog trail, alight from the hired Van going to Balamban in the junction going to Mount Manunggal. From there, hire a motorcycle going to the chapel at Mount Manunggal. You can also opt to hike by just following the road going to the Chapel.
And the mountain that is on top of the list is…
1. Mount Kapayas (758 MASL)
Mount Kapayas is by far the most beautiful among all Cebu Mountains considering all the factors and deserve to be in the top list. It is located in Sitio Kampanya, Barangay Cabangkaya, Catmon Cebu.
Mount Kapayas has a lot of features that made it stand out among other mountains. The peak is an outcropping of limestone rocks towering above the surrounding mountains in a 360 degree view perspective where the word “Torre” and “Lantawan” was associated. “Torre” in Spanish means Tower and “Lantawan” is a Visayan term with a close English translation – overlooking, observation point or watchtower.
At the “Torre” is a mesmerizing and breathtaking view of the surrounding. You will come into a realization how splendid God’s creation is by just witnessing it. It may not be as high as other peaks but the scenery that you can witness atop of Mount Kapayas is simply amazing, let alone perfection before nature lovers’ eyes. To top it all, the mountain is relatively unexplored with its astounding beauty, secrets and challenges.
The trail going to this majestic peak is a combination of a bit of everything. It is an open trail with rolling mild sloping terrain, and a rocky kiss the wall type of trail when climbing to the Torre. The trail can be really dangerous and extremely slippery during rainy seasons. The fallen leaves along the path adds the challenge where extra caution is advised especially for beginners. The rocks along the trail are a bit sharp too, so wearing the right foot gear is a must.
The most challenging part of the trail is climbing on a steep trail going to the Torre. The angle of ascent is about 70-80 degrees in average. Literally it really needs both hands and presence of mind when climbing at this part of the trail. One incorrect footing can lead you to a fatal fall to the abyss below. Covering the trail are loose soils, stones, and sharp rocks. Each climber must be very vigilant to avoid any mishaps and accidents.
Near the campsite is a beautiful and almost unexplored cave that is worth checking out. The cave is a bit treacherous to wander around its compartment inside. However the stalactite and stalagmites inside are simply beautiful not to mention its beautiful curtains of rocks. There is a water basin inside the cave that looks a bit eerie and an unexplored compartment of the cave.
How to get there?
From Cebu City North bus terminal, take the bus that would pass the Municipality of Catmon. Alight at the town proper. Register at the police station and hire a motorcycle going to the jump off to Mount Kapayas.
From Cebu City North bus terminal, take the bus that would pass the Municipality of Carmen. Alight at the town proper. Hire a motorcycle going to the jump off to for the traverse to Mount Kapayas. I personally recommend to have an expert guide when following this itinerary as the trail is a bit complex.
There are few more mountains in Cebu that Wandering Soul Scamper didn’t visit yet. Remaining few on the list are Mount Manghilao in Danao, Mount Tiposo and Binalabag in Argao and Mt Kalbasaan. Here you go, the list of the mountains and camp sites in Cebu worthy enough of your adventure time.
How many of the mountains on the list have you been to? How was your experience and would you agree with me about this list? Share your thoughts on the comments section below.