Last year, I’ve developed a lust and an insatiable craving for scaling scenic mountains in Cebu. Even since then, I’ve been on a series of hikes and adventures with my energetic and wonderfully weird friends. From my foggy Kandungaw Peak experience to my spine-tingling rock climbing adventure in Puting Bato, it’s been, so far, a rip-roaring stretch filled with pleasant memories, heart-pounding thrills and giggles. And while I never consider myself a bona fide mountaineer, I’ve unintentionally conquered over 20 mountains in Cebu in my first two years, as a hiking aficionado.
Need to escape the monotony of everyday life in Cebu? Want to spice up a boring weekend? You might want to check out these breathtaking mountains in Cebu that I’ve visited in the past few months.
1. Casino Peak
They don’t call Casino Peak as the “Chocolate Hills of Southern Cebu” for nothing. As you reach the top of the mountain, you’ll get to feast your eyes on an ethereal sight of lofty mounds and peaks that will remind you of Bohol’s iconic topography. And on other side of the mountain, hikers will enjoy an overlooking panorama of Tañon Strait and Badian. From my perspective, Casino Peak is a whole lot better and more awe-inspiring than its more popular neighboring mountain – Osmeña Peak.
2. Mount Mauyog
I totally love Mount Mauyog. Not only does it boast extraordinary brain-like rock formations, but it also offers a mind-blowing heart-pumping climb. To make things even better, it has a refreshing mountain breeze that gives you a soothing quick escape away from the hustle bustle city life. The only downside to this peak is its hefty guide fee.
3. Dalas-ag Peak
Despite its spectacular Batanes-like scenery, Badian’s Dalas-ag Peak remains one of the most underrated mountains in Cebu. On our way to Kandungaw Peak, we bumped into this not-so famous peak, and were enthralled by its laid-back feel and sweet vistas of Badian and the lush surrounding hills.
4. Mount Kapayas
I had, once, a ton of sweet praises and positive remarks for Mount Kapayas. As a matter of fact, I was even planning on going back to this rocky peak later this year, together with Gelique, Beth, RJ, and the other newer members of Team Bang. But, with its skyrocketing fees, I’m now having second thoughts about my plans to hike it. According to my reliable sources, hikers to Mount Kapayas will be, in the near future, charged with a whooping fee of more than PHP 1,000 per person. Rumor is, the Department of Tourism (DOT) is imposing these hefty charges to limit the hikers, so that they can easily preserve the environment.
Whether these rumors are true or not, I think the fee is still somewhat ridiculous. Nonetheless, Mount Kapayas can be a great hike, if you’re willing to shell out some cash. Famous for its rocky formations and picturesque trail, Mount Kapayas will totally blow you away with its breathtaking panoramas. Plus, you’ll have to do a bit of rock climbing to get to the top of one of the most beautiful mountains in Cebu.
5. Mount Tagaytay
Barangay Climaco, or also known as Casoy, has a ton to offer to the wide-eyed traveler. And one of the best must-see spots in this remote part of Toledo is Mount Tagaytay. Praised for its dramatic views and dazzlingly green pastures, Mount Tagaytay is a splendid oasis that will give an urge to snap dozens of photos. As an added bonus, it has fresh mountain air that will alleviate stress, and let you escape the metro’s hubbub.
6. Mount New Bucao
After your hike to Mount Tagaytay, head to Mount New Bucao, and indulge on its spellbinding views of Malubog Lake. Like its neighbor Mount Tagaytay, it’s relatively unknown too, with very few hikers and travelers visiting this peak. In other words, you’ll have a great deal of time, to soak up the ambiance and enjoy the view without the queues of travelers waiting for their turn to pose in the perfect spot.
7. Ablayan Peak
The first time we went to Abalyan Peak, the friendly habal-habal riders drove us all the way to the top. For some, there’s nothing wrong with it, but for avid hikers like us, every impressive panorama should come, after a sweltering and sweat-inducing hike. That’s why I, and the rest of the crew, returned to Boljoon, and hiked the trail leading to the peak from Dayhag Falls. And, along the way, we ran across a plethora of awesome surprises, including the extremely alluring rice terraces.
8. Mount Mago
Looking for beginner-friendly mountains in Cebu? Then, make sure to hit the trail to Mount Mago! With gentle rolling hills and a well-established trail, Mount Mago offers a fairly easy and relaxing hike, even for newbie hikers. Believe it or not, even kids as well as toddlers can complete the hike to Mount Mago with ease. For me, the only real challenge of this hiking escapade is the bumpy habal-habal ride to its jump-off point.
And make no mistake about it – Mount Mago is also unique in some ways, when compared to the other mountains in Cebu. For one thing, it has a landmark where hikers can stand in three places at once – Carmen, Danao and Tuburan. Plus, I know plenty of people who have witnessed a surreal natural phenomenon – the majestic sea of clouds – while hiking this mountain. To top it all off, a visit here will give you a sneak peek into Michel J. Lhuillier’s soon-to-open Cebu Safari Zoo. While we didn’t get to see zebras and lions on our Mount Mago hike, we did catch some statuesque stallions and cows.
9. Mount Naupa
Speaking of newbie-friendly mountains in Cebu, another terrific option for first-timers and inexperienced hikers is Naga City’s Mount Naupa. For years, this beloved trail has been luring seasoned mountaineers and newcomers with its outstanding overlooking views, easygoing atmosphere, great camp site and verdant backdrop.
10. Mount Babag
Mount Babag, in a literal sense, is nothing short of breathtaking. Although it doesn’t have jaw-dropping overlooking views, it has a rather difficult trail with steep slopes and loose soil that, as you might have guessed, will pump up your adrenaline and take your breath away. A playground for hardcore mountaineers in Cebu, Mount Babag is definitely a must-climb mountain for those who want to take their hiking adventures up a notch.
11. Mount Kan-Irag
With its great city views and easy access to the city, it’s no wonder many mountaineers label Mount Kan-Irag as one of the best mountains in Cebu for hiking aficionados. Like Mount Babag, it’s a playground and a practice area for hikers who want an element of adventure to their hike.
12. Kandungaw Peak
Kandungaw Peak, or also referred as Candongao Peak, holds a special place in my heart. After all, it’s one of the gorgeous mountains in Cebu that helped unleash my inner hiker. What’s more, it’s officially the birthplace of Team Bang, and the peak where I got to a meet a handful of incredible new friends.
And that’s not only the reason why I included Kandungaw Peak on my list of breath-snatching mountains in Cebu. Once you reached the summit, you’ll be rewarded with 360-degree views of Cebu, and its surrounding islands, such as Bohol and Negros. On a clear day, you’ll get to see the towering skyscrapers of Metro Cebu from Kandungaw Peak as well. And, did I mention that it also has a wondrous cave?
As far as I know, there are two of trails leading to Kandungaw Peak – Maloray and Badian. Personally, I prefer the Badian trail (3 to 4 hours hike) because it’s simply more picturesque, challenging as well lets you drop by Dalas-ag Peak.
13. Sunset Peak
As the name implies, Sunset Peak will sweep you away with its mesmerizing sunsets as well as bird’s eye view of Badian. Plus, it’s has amazing camping grounds, and is just a stone’s throw away from a couple of remarkable mountains in Cebu – Lover’s Peak and Kandugaw Peak.
14. Lover’s Peak
Lover’s Peak was such as a lovely bonus to our fun-filled day adventure in Dalaguete. With its sweeping views and gorgeous greenery, Lover’s Peak, to me, was a fitting culmination to our 5-peaks-in-1-day escape in Dalaguete’s highlands.
15. Tabon Peak
There’s not much I can say about Tabon Peak, except that it has a rocky top with some interesting sights. If you’re planning to visit it, I suggest that you make it a side trip or a not-so vital part of your itinerary. In spite of its steep slippery trail, the peak can be scaled in just a few minutes. Not to mention, it’s located just beside the road leading to Alegria, from Mantalungon Market.
16. Katampuko Peak
Not a lot of people know about Katampuko Peak. Often overshadowed by the highly touted peaks of Dalaguete’s highlands, Katampuko rarely gets mentioned, when people talk about mountains Cebu. Still, it’s an Instagram-worthy spot and a fabulous trail, especially for those who are a bit bored with the quintessential paths and mountains in Cebu.
Since the peak is facing the east, I highly recommend that you visit it before you sunrise. Better yet, pitch a tent there at night, and admire the glorious view of the sun emerging from the sea. Trust me, it looks absolutely fantastic during sunrise. Furthermore, it’s an outstanding vantage point that gives a good view of the towns Argao and Dalaguete.
17. Puting Bato (Batogag Banog)
Putting Bato is, without a shadow of a doubt, my favorite monolith, and to me, one of the best mountains in Cebu. To be honest, it doesn’t have views as breathtaking as Dalas-Ag, Casino Peak or the other mountains in Cebu mentioned in this list. But, it does offer a dose of adventure, with its rocky vertical faces and complicated slippery trail. To get to the peak, you need to channel your inner rock climber and adventurist.
18. Mount Kalbasaan
A hike to Mount Kalbasaan, from Campo 8, will feel like you’re walking into the postcard-worthy landscapes of New Zealand. And when you arrive at the summit, you’ll get some enticing views of Minglanilla and some parts of Metro Cebu. In addition, the mountain is home to a glut of eye-catching flowers and plants.
19. Bocaue Peak
I accidentally discovered Bocaue Peak, when we got lost following our hike in San Carlos Heights. From its 360-degree views to perfectly-shaped surrounding mounds, the peak is loaded with sights that will surely captivate every photography enthusiast. For hiking connoisseurs, the peak also has a challenging, muddy trail that will test your physical strength and endurance.
20. Osmeña Peak
No list of the top mountains in Cebu is complete without the inclusion of Osmeña Peak. Even though it’s too mainstream for my taste, it’s still is the highest peak in Cebu, standing proudly at 1,013 meters above sea level. Of course, the peak has some enticing landscapes and relaxing, cold mountain temperatures.
21. Mount Lanaya
Hiking Mount Lanaya was truly the ultimate way to start my 2017 with a bang. Even with a gloomy weather and dark skies, we – Team Bang – still had a blast scaling the summit and cherishing the views from one of the most sought-after mountains in Cebu. And, after scaling Mount Lanaya, we capped off our trip on a high note by chasing the stunningly blue waterfalls of Alegria – Cambais and Cancalanog Falls.
22. Pangilatan Peak
Pangilatan Peak, unlike most of the mountains in Cebu mentioned in this list, is still relatively unknown, and barely gets any visits from mountaineers and hikers. Luckily, I got a chance to see the magnificent 360-degree panoramas of this mountain in Naga City, after doing diligent research about it.
23. Mount Magdook
Need a less crowded alternative to Naga’s Mount Naupa? You might want to check out Mount Magdook. Though it doesn’t have a campsite, it at least has a scenic trail and sweet vistas of Cebu. To me, the views up here are more Instagram-worthy than Mount Naupa. That’s just my opinion, though.
24. Udlom Peak
One of the recently discovered mountains in Cebu, Udlom Peak is just a stone’s throw away from the Instagrammable Mount New Bucao. As for the views, it offers outstanding panoramic vistas of Toledo City, Mount Tagaytay and Malubog Lake.
25. Mount Manghilao
Mount Manghilao is, hands down, one of the most intriguing mountains in Cebu. Not only is it a sacred pilgrimage site, but it has a fascinating history as well. Some locals even say that the mountain is an active volcano. To make things even better, it has a couple of caves that may lead to a thrilling adventure.
26. Danasan Peak
I was expecting a sea of clouds sighting, the first time I went to Danasan Peak. Sadly, this unique natural wonder was a no-show, with the weather conditions not on our side. Nonetheless, I had a swell time taking in it fresh mountain air and unique topography.
27. Holy Cross Tagaytay Compostela
Very few mountains in Cebu are as unique and striking as Compostela’s Holy Cross Tagaytay. Tucked away in the highlands of Northern Cebu, Holy Cross Tagaytay offers a bird’s eye panorama of Compostela and its neighboring towns. But, the thing that makes it stand out among the other mountains in Cebu is its cross, which is arguably the largest one in the whole province.
28. Bugtong Lubi/Tulo Ka Cross
For bona fide foodies in Cebu, you’ve probably seen these three white crosses, as you are eating your way around the city’s siomai capital – Tisa. Getting there, however, isn’t as easy and relaxing as your siomai eating spree, especially if you’re taking the bushy trail from San Carlos heights. Once you’ve reached it, you’ll be rewarded with a sweet view of Metro Cebu.
29. Antuwanga Ridge (San Carlos Heights)
Fond of easy and relaxing urban hikes? Why not scale Antuwanga Ridge, and be enthralled by its incredible city views? After your scenic hike, make your way to AO Farm, and snap pictures of its lovely and eye-catching floral displays.
30. Mount Makatol
Mount Makaol – one my recently discovered mountains in Cebu – is a hidden gem tucked away in the highlands of Copper City – Toledo. With its remote location, wondrous panoramas and undeniable rural feel, it’s certainly a mountain I’d love to scale again this year. To make things even better, the mountain has Instagram-worthy lakes and is surrounded by tons of unheralded waterfalls.
31. Mount Kalatkat
A hidden in Carcar City, Mount Kalatkat boasts a pristine and challenging trail as well as offers visually enticing overlooking views of Southern Cebu. Additionally, it’s within walking distance to a refreshing waterfall and a mystical cave in Sibonga.
32. Mount Bandilaan
Truth be told, Mount Bandilaan isn’t as visually alluring as most of the mountains in Cebu mentioned in this list. But, with an open mind and a bit of research, it can lead to a fun-filled outdoor escape.
33. Mount Alpaco
We accidentally discovered Mount Alpaco, after hiking Mount Bandilaan and checking our Bugho Falls in San Fernando. Although it’s located in Naga, you may include Mount Alpaco to your itinerary, when visiting San Fernando’s Bugho Falls and Mount Bandilaan.
34. Balirong Peak
With its serene feel and outstanding panoramas, Balirong Peak is, hands down, a gorgeous mountain that every intrepid hiker should visit. Nestled in Naga City, this verdant mountain is the perfect place for those who are looking for a more serene alternative to the crowded mainstream mountains in Cebu.
35. Mount Awayan
Thanks to Mount Awayan, we got to discover the trail linking two of the most scenic mountains in Cebu – Mount Naupa and Mount Calbasaan. Moreover, Mount Awaywan offers outstanding panoramas that will unleash your inner shutterbug.
36. Lantawan Cliff
Lantawan Cliff offers an insanely fun outdoor adventure, with its wondrously challenging trail and superb bird’s eye views. To me, it’s a fascinating combination of three famed mountains in Cebu – Mount Mauyog, Puting Bato and Casino Peak. It has the views of Casino Peak and the ruggedly tough trail of Puting Bato and Mount Mauyog.
37. Spartan Trail
A playground for mountaineers, Spartan Trail offers a dramatic view of Metro Cebu as well as slightly challenging hike to the secluded mountain barangays of the city.
38. Mayana Peak
Nestled in a remote area, Mayana Peak wows hikers with its beautiful views of Negros Island and Naga, Cebu. Getting there is an adventure in itself since you have to hike challenging slopes with thick bushes. Not to mention, it has a small cave, named Lapos Lapos, near its pinnacle.
39. Licos Peak
Even with its modest elevation, Danao City’s Licos Peak is, in my book, one of the most challenging mountains in Cebu. With its steep trail, loose soils and shaky rocks, it can give you a hell of an upper body workout. As for the views, they are nothing short of amazing, offering superb vistas of Northern Cebu, Lapu-Lapu Island and even Bohol.
40. Mount Kolo (Tabla Mountain View)
With its fresh mountain breeze and impressive views, Mount Kolo is, to me, the best lookout view in Liloan. Since it’s a fairy easy climb, you can link it with the other mountains and hills in Liloan, such as Lataban and Lanigid.
41. Bungtod Talinis
My friends and I stumbled upon this mountain, as we were exploring the highlands of San Fernando. And, guess what? It’s one of the loveliest and most picture-perfect mountain in Cebu, in my book. And, the best part is, only a few people know about this mountain.
42. Mount Lantawan
The first time I saw this mountain, I was intrigued and enthralled by its unique form. With my curiosity, I together with a few friends ventured into this mountain, and got an exciting adventure in Danao, Cebu.
43. Mount Lanhan
Newly discovered, Mount Lanhan is certainly one of the most visually appealing mountains in Cebu. Tucked away in the highlands of Sibonga, this mountain swept me away with its stunning panoramic view.
44. Mercado’s Peak
Located right next to the famed OPeak in Badian, Mercado’s Peak offers a more quaint alternative for those who want get away from the crowd.
45. Guinkamote Peak
Guinkamote is a scenic and relatively unknown mountain set in the heart of Toledo’s highlands. Truthfully, it’s nowhere as known as some of the mountains in Cebu mentioned in this list. Nonetheless, it can give a hell of adventure, especially if you don’t mind getting lost.
46. Unnamed Campo 4 Mountain
I honestly have no clue what’s the exact name of this visually enticing mountain in Cebu. But, I must say, it’s one of the most gorgeous mountains in Cebu that I’ve ever seen.
47. Some hidden spot in Barili
We accidentally discovered this mountain, as we were exploring an abandoned mountain resort in Barili. Actually, this spot has a name, but I completely forgot what our adventurous driver told us on our little expedition in Barili. Even so, I’m pretty we’ll remember its name, when we explore it again.
As far as I’m concerned, this list of mountains in Cebu is just the tip of the iceberg. Truth be told, there are still plenty of mountains in Cebu that I have yet to visit, including Tiposo Peak, Mount Manunggal, Mount Lantoy and Mount Hambubuyog. But the good news is, I still have a lifetime to explore and discover these steep natural wonders. And every time I scale I new mountain in Cebu, I’ll update this blog post.
Inspired to hike these mountains in Cebu? Whether you’re hiking for leisure, fun or adventure, make sure to be a responsible hiker every time you hit the trail. Remember, it our duty, as outdoor lovers, to help preserve the beauty of Mother Nature by practicing the LEAVE NO TRACE principles.