“Spending weekends with awesome friends were as thrilling as planning where
to actually spend it and as awesome as finally conquering one’s fear.”
Before traveling, we consulted Google for some travel tips especially for the trek to Mt. Mauyog and the suggestions we’ve got were to take a V-hire (Balamban via Transcentral hi-way) in Ayala Terminal or to charter a van/jeepney with some good amount (which I believe is convenient for a large group of travelers). So Leah asked a friend who had been there already and as advised, we took Cebu-Balamban via Toledo City bus at Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT).
1. Mt. Mauyog trek via Mt. Manunggal Campsite in Balamban
The clock is ticking
For the journey
With awesome friends.
The bus departed before 6:00AM and we arrived at Balamban Proper for almost 8:30AM. The travel was tiring but the view and climate as we’re heading to Toledo City was relaxing. We disembarked from the bus at Balamban Proper. (NOTE: City Savings Bank – Balamban was our landmark.) Then we chartered a habal-habal ride. Some drivers didn’t know the mountain, shocking! So we told them Mt.Manunggal, late Pres. Magsaysay’s crash site, and they did knew. Us having the slightest idea, asked for the fare and was told ₱200.00. Fortunately, it included a ride back to Balamban Proper.
The good thing about the long ride was that the drivers we chartered were giving us some insights of the place we passed by and we’re going to. We took a short break and took photos at the junction of Brgy. Sunog in Transcentral Hi-way.
(NOTE: If you’re planning to visit Mt. Mauyog/Mt. Manunggal as commuters, like us, I strongly believe and advise you to follow our route because there wasn’t any habal-habal drivers waiting in the junction of Brgy. Sunog. If you’re with a large group, try to charter a van/jeepney to take you there.)
And the adventurous ride continues…
We arrived at Mt. Manunggal’s camp site about 10:00 AM. Actually, we met another junction. Left route is for Mt. Mauyog while the right is for Mt. Manunggal.
There were campers when we arrived. We were asked by the campers guide on which did we plan to trek and was told that if we chose Mt. Manunggal, we should empty our hands as it was more challenging than Mt. Mauyog but we haven’t trekked there so I really cannot compare the two.
Mt. Manunggal’s Chapel Mt. Manunggal’s Campsite
Visited the actual crash site.
We left our bags in a house at the campsite and tried to follow the campers, in which we failed. The trigger point? We’re lost! We don’t have the GPS instinct except Leah who’d thought we’re not on the right route.
Well, the idea of getting lost with these people was not that frightening. So there, Olah went back to campsite and asked for a guide and been back with Welvin, son of the house owner where we left our bags.
The good thing? We go down and down so we could get to Mt. Mauyog’s base.
The bad thing? It’s past 10:00AM and we’re walking under the scorching heat of the sun.
After an hour walk, we finally reached Mt.Mauyog’s base. As of April 29, 2017, here’s what we paid.
Environment/Disturbance fee – ₱ 30 per person
Guide fee – ₱ 300 per group
We chatted with Ate, who collected the fees, and we learned that Mt. Mauyog was discovered by a judge in early 90’s and thought that maybe during ancient times, the area was part of the ocean as the rocks above looks different. Actually, there were tarpaulins hanging so we could also read who and when it was discovered. Ate also told us that the area was now being surveyed by government officials so it’ll be part of Balamban’s geographical area (which I think that’s why it wasn’t on Google Maps).
We started to ascend at past 11:00AM. Fortunately our guide, Ryan, told us we can take a break anytime and eat our lunch during the trek. Unfortunately, we’re travelers/trekkers with empty stomachs. We didn’t brought food, only snacks since we’re told that there’s a carenderia at the base but found out it was no longer operating.
Our ascending process
And we made it to the peak!
Our winning moments at the brain-like structure of the peak of Mt. Mauyog.
Descending from the peak of Mt. Mauyog is as challenging as ascending. Gladly, we really made it but the dilemma of another long walk back to the campsite already tired us.
It’s past one o’clock in the afternoon and the habal-habal drivers we chartered were waiting at the campsite and we cannot contact them to get us at the base of Mt. Mauyog since getting a good cellular connection would be a sheer luck. Fortunately, our guide and a resident there took us back to the campsite for a fare of ₱ 50 each. On the ride back, we passed by the campers we met in the campsite.
Ate, the house owner told us some about the late president’s tragedy. Rumors around revolved that there was a plot against the late president’s life. Some believe on overloading case. She said that according to her father’s story, the residents heard a deafening noise and seen the chopper drawing on the area. Only one survived the accident. Ate said that the bust of Pres. Magsaysay was placed in the campsite as agreed but the actual crash site was where the chopper’s remains were left.
After which, we headed to Toledo City where we decided to eat…and we ate like savages! Then, we tried to visit the maze of Capilla Sta. Ana but when we arrived aroud 4:15PM, it was already closed as it was open for public from 9:00AM to 4:00PM. So we decided to visit the city’s public market and then headed to Leah’s house.
Hello, City of Copper – Toledo City!
2. Spent an Evening at Toledo City
After an eventful day, we headed to Media Once, Toledo City to spend an evening with Leah’s family and of course to take a good night sleep.
Leah’s house was another mountain to conquer!!!
- Visiting Hermit’s Cove & Bojo River in Aloguinsan
As we readied ourselves for another journey of the Southwest, we descended before 9:00AM. (Thank you to Leah’s family for accommodating us! 🙂) Then Leah told us we’re gonna hitch a free CCC ride to Lutopan so that included an unplanned quick tour of the plant. Hooray!
After the quick tour, we then hopped in on a bicycle to take us to the main road. There we rode a v-hire to Toledo City proper and a sikad ride to the jeepney stand for Pinamungahan and Aloguinsan.
We arrived at Aloguinsan Public Market around 11:00AM and met additional two pairs of wandering feet. We then chartered for a habal-habal ride for a hundred pesos each to take us to Hermit’s Cove.
It was a long and bumpy journey. Good thing was that the drivers were part of the town’s association and they also feed us some information about the place. Our habal-habal driver even knew how long the rough roads were and the cemented ones.
We paid ₱100 per person for the entrance fee and before we descend the 88 steps going to the sand bar, the personnel did some orientation about who discovered the place and why it is called Hermit’s Cove. You’ll know the story once you visited the place.
The view above was relaxing, however, as we descend we noticed the very huge crowd settling just anywhere. As we arrived late in the morning, all the tables/cottages which were part of the entrance we paid were all used and according to the personnel, “first come, first serve”. We then made our way and looked for vacant area and paid ₱150 for as small table.
At 2:30PM after a good dip and swim, we decided to ascend and head to Bojo River. Again, we chartered for another habal-habal ride worth ₱ 50 each.
Another good walk following the signs…
We reached the area and paid ₱400 each without food. You could also go directly to the farm house and pay the fees there. In our case, we went directly to Bojo River since there were assigned personnel who would collect the entrance fees. And yes, Bojo River won awards too.
The good thing about the place was it was preserve by the residents as it was also their source of livelihood and income. The staff were skilled and proficient. They showed and thought us the mangroves scientific names. They feed us good information about the residential and migrating birds in the area and of course about the currents and tides. The staff also inform us about the ancient beliefs and myths by showing us the arched form of a specific rock.
My friends enjoyed diving and swimming. As for me, I am not a swimmer, not even good but I enjoyed the experience even it’s just the dipping and the getting wet part. After the 30-minute visit, we were rowed back and witnessed a spectacular sunset along the way.
As every tides comes back to the ocean, it’s time for us to leave the place and head back home. The two-day escape comes with great expense, yes, but it was all worth it. Spending the day and creating awesome memories with good friends was all worth it.
The clock is ticking
And the journey
With awesome friends
Will soon continue…
Here’s our Travel Itinerary: