If you are looking to spice up a rather boring weekend, a trek to Mt. Mauyog may be a cure for boredom. You can spend your weekend with a day hike to enjoy a relaxing green landscape within Cebu City yet tucked away from all the noise and chaos.
Mt. Mauyog in Balamban is now a popular hiking destination in Cebu because of its relatively easy trail that can be traversed from the more popular Mt. Manunggal, a plane crash site of late President Magsaysay and his staff. To get here, you don’t have to take long bus rides to experience a countryside scene. It will take less an hour to arrive at the trailhead if you’re within Cebu City.
Update: A group guide is now required with ~Php300 rate, plus ~Php50/pax entrance fee. Warning: Like oil prices, these rates are subject to change. Others fees may be asked depending on your trail.
A little bit of history…
Btw, the presidential plane that crashed was named Pinatubo, after a volcanic mountain with a stunning crater lake which is another popular hiking destination in Zambales—the hometown of the late president. Mt. Pinatubo had the most fatal eruption four years after the historic plane crash.
Among the 25 passengers on board that tragic night, only one survived — Nestor Mata — a journalist, who said that the president and his staff were given an invitation for an overnight stay in Cebu but they politely declined because of a scheduled meeting the next day in Malacañang.
Investigation reports said that the crash was due to ‘metal fatigue‘ that the plane lost altitude and collided with a giant tree at the summit. That resulted to one pilot with a broken skull, the co-pilot with his head ripped off and the late president’s body burned to ashes.
You know what, the weird thing is, Mt. Mauyog peak has a brain-like rock formation, an eroded limestone. Mauyog’s peak looks like a stony or hard brain coral with grooved surface whereas Mt. Pinatubo’s crater lake has no aquatic life. (Okay, that’s far-off. 😅 I can write a folklore.)
Going to Cantipla trailhead
As early as 6am, we gathered in Ayala terminal to ride a v-hire with a signboard Balamban to reach Cantipla, Tabunan.
Tabunan is technically still part of Cebu City, but is a mountainous area, away from the Queen City’s hustle and bustle. Here, you can get fresh air and a beautiful green scenery to enjoy. It will take around 30-40 minutes to arrive in Cantipla.
Unfortunately, we’re down on one’s luck during this trip. We clearly told the driver and the dispatcher to drop us off in Tabunan a few times, but traveled way passed Balamban town proper and even reached Tuburan. For our convenience, we decided to have a road trip to its endpoint at Tuburan and get back to Tabunan riding the same v-hire. That’s better than alighting being unsure if we can get a ride back. V-hires will usually depart from their pickup point in Tuburan only when full—so this will save us time.
The driver said he never heard us ask to be drop at Tabunan so he gave us a discounted price of Php100 fare instead of the regular Php120. We spent another hour of travel time because of that.
Not sure if the driver intentionally did that so he can get more passengers on the way back. But admittedly, we also didn’t notice that it was already almost an hour plus of travel, and we didn’t give an extra nudge. Couldn’t blame anyone since it was the first time for us all to trek Mauyog. Plus we were all sleepyheads that time. Our fault.
At Cantipla, you can eat breakfast at one of the eateries. From there, you can hire a habal-habal driver to take you to the jump-off point in Sitio Awayan. It is also where the house of our local guide Robinson is located.
We took the Sunog trail, named after Brgy. Sunog (Burn), where grass fires are frequent.
Our friend who trekked there a week before us said that the trail is ‘a walk in the park‘. But she’s a seasoned hiker and beginners may find this trail fairly challenging, especially when almost near the summit with a brain-like limestone.
Well, she’s actually right in the literal sense of the word because Mt. Mauyog is part of 29,000-hectare Central Cebu National Park (CCNP). So yes, we’re privileged to walk in a National Park, a protected landscape area. (Back in 2011, twelve people were charged of violating Section 14 of RA 9486 or the Central Cebu Protected Landscape Act of 2007 by cutting trees down in Tabunan.)
They said that there was a small stream, a natural waterway near the peak, that’s why there’s a presence of this type of rock formation. The rock formation is not that steady, it can be shaky, and that’s how it earned the name ‘Mauyog‘.
At the peak, you’ll have a verdant mountain backdrop. Don’t have too much fun playing at the peak; you don’t want to fall from the top.
With Sunog Trail, we started by crossing a small river. Along the trail, you’d pass some talong (eggplant) and ampalaya (bitter gourd) farm plots and you may notice some wild berries too, together with utot-utot flowers (Lantana camara or wild-sage). Also, you’ll pass small houses and sari-sari stores.
If you traverse Mauyog from Mt. Manunggal, you will mostly run on a cemented road with some dirt path, and you will only have a taste of a forest atmosphere starting at the foot of Mauyog. This is why they tagged it as a leisurely climb. Another great option to spend time with Mother Nature and to have another awesome weekend! 🙂
Mt. Mauyog Day Trek Itinerary
0900 Take Vhire to Cantipla, Tabunan from Ayala Terminal
1000 Arrival in Cantipla, Tabunan
(Eat breakfast at Irene’s Eatery)
1030 Take habal-habal ride to Sitio Awayan (Jump Off Point)
1045 Arrival in Jump Off, Meet Robinson the guide
1100 Start trek via Sunog Trail
1230 Lunch in the Sari-sari Store near an Open Gym
1300 Resume Trek
1330 Arrive at the foot of Mt. Mauyog
1430 Reach Mauyog Peak
1500 Descend and backtrack to Sitio Awayan thru Sunog Trail
1700 Back in Sitio Awayan
End of Day Trek
Ride Habal-habal to JY Square (~Php150/head)
1830 Arrive in JY Square
Home Sweet Home
May charter jeepney from JY to Cantipla (~Php3,000)
May take habal-habal directly from JY to Cantipla, cheaper if drivers are from Cantipla
Robinson (Guide): 09079283940
Local Habal-habal driver: 09072257892
Actual IT c/o Cielo Alcuino and thanks for the invitation. Many thanks to trekmates Sheenamar, Doms, Jams, Tabs, Carol, Miloni and Carmel.
PS: Don’t leave trash. We saw junkfood plastics along the trail. LNT.