Mt. Manunggal, Cebu Philippines

Mt. Manunggal is located in the mountains of Balamban and rises to a height 1,003 meters above sea level. A great starter for beginner climbers, the path is given and neatly aligned so getting lost will  not be an option. Let's go!

How to get there:
From Ayala Center Terminal ,Cebu City
Take van bound to Balamban
V-hire Fare: 120 php
Travel time: 45 minutes- 1 hour
Remind driver to drop you at "Barangay Gaas", Mt. Manunggal jump-off point. 

Vacation Checklist:
- bottled water
- trekking/running shoes
- cap
- bag pack
- finger foods
- do not skip breakfast
- sunblock
- some cash
- watch 
- raincoat , in case its rains
- leg strength for a bearable steep trek (i advised you to jog at least 2 days before you have this trek)

I'm tired of seeing bright lights, tall buildings, skyscrapers and hardworking zombies. I guess I'm morphing to a zombie as well, doing the same old routine everyday. When I was able to go back to my hometown for a short trip getaway , visiting the mountains is a must in my do list. I was really excited it reminded me of the ecstatic feeling I've felt during my OsmeƱa Peak climb, and what my friend told me about mountains, "you get much closer to God when you're way up there". I guess that's why monks built temples all the way up the hill or on the tip of a mountain. The atmosphere is different up there so  when you say a prayer or sing a hymn the wind will act as your messenger carrying all your desires and hopes.

Peace and serenity takes over once soul after a tiring climb. The view from top of the mountain drains all your muscle strain and gives you a warmth feeling of fulfillment. Something that is rare to find and only mountain climbers are able to understand. One mountain will never be enough, the craving will keep you awake at night until you  strain another muscle for another strenuous climb.

The van dropped us off at the starting point  of Mt. Manunggal.
Estimated Trekking time: 3 hours and a half
For beginners: 4-7 hours

The team comprises of 5 individuals: me, my two brothers and two friends. First part of the journey was piece of a cake. The cemented roads serve as our guide as we headed to the mountain. I guess frequent visitors of the mountain made way  to development of the road. People visit the mountain to commemorate the death of the late President Ramon Magsaysay, he an unfortunate crash in that very mountain which ended his life of public service to the people and his family. There are only two crossroads that will come your way. First one: go straight and don't go uphill. Second: follow the uphill cemented road even thou the other road seemed to be flowered with green bushes that might lead to the mountain. 

Even thou the road was cemented the steep climb was a challenge. All the forces of gravity wants to pull you down, and in order to make sure you stumble, the scorching sun blazes its ray that leaves you dehydrated . Let's just say I felt that way due to lack of exercise and muscle strength. I tried not to drink to much water, sips of water is more advisable. For one simple reason; to make sure there's an ample of water supply when reached the peak of the mountain and going back down the steep. It is part of the emergency kit as well, to clean the wound and provide hydration for the wounded. 

Along the road abundant of greens filled our eyes, from tall trees and endless hills and mountain ranges. It was a great sight to see considering the amount of time I've spent passing by buildings in the city. I don't exactly want to change what I'm seeing, if only we lived in a place in union with nature. I guess that's why the avatar movie appealed to me so well, even the hobbit place where Frudo lived in The Lord of the Rings movie made me feel at home. I don't know if its just me?! Ahahaa Going back. We asked some locals if there's was any sign indicating we're almost there. One guy pointed to a mountain with a tower looking structure that seemed more like a toothpick standing for me was actually the grail of our destination. Mouths opened, wider than the usual OMG. We laughed so hard knowing that we haven't even reached half way of our journey. They said for  amateur climbers it would take like 4-7 hours, we started late so we have to make amend  for our tardiness by walking faster. My brother who was ten years younger compared to us made the trek so easy like a walk in the park. We verbally bullied ourselves with these pathetic reason especially during stops and ended up laughing like little kids. 

The heat of the sun dried out all the sugar in us and a soda drink was needed. A little community caught our attention and we took some comfort in a little small store. All the stores were closed according to one local because the store owners were attending their child's graduation. It was truly end of the school season but we were convinced as we joked that only one student was graduating and everyone in the community was invited in the ceremony. The friendly lady continued to chat with us and simply asked where we're going, she immediately told us something that lifted our tired muscles and stretched our smiles all the way up to our ears. We were positively almost there! 

It was pass 3 o'clock in the afternoon when we reached the summit, to add it up we've consumed an estimated 3-4 hours of walking which includes:  the water breaks, camera snaps and catching our breath stops. We took a little break beside the shady part of the monument and had our snacks. Took some pictures here and there. A multiple of jump shots with only one successful jump for all of us, at least we had one ahahaa. I advised you to start the trek as early as 8am so you'll be back in the city for your late lunch time. The real challenge was heading back to the city. All public transport was either full of passengers or end of shift except for motorcycles. Our only way of getting out of there was to go to Balamban Terminal , a 30-45 minutes drive. The vans are all parked there so we have a better chance of getting our ride back to the city. 

Motorcycle ride to Balamban terminal cost around 120php for two passengers. 
V-hire fare from Balamban terminal to Cebu City cost 120php. Have fun and be safe ^__^

Itinerary Reminders:

1. Flight Details
Make sure to write down your booking reference number, be at the airport two hours before your flight and allocate time for your travel to the airport.

2. Accommodation Details
Write down your hotel/motel/resort/bnb booking number. Contact your place to inform them around when you'll be arriving — it really does help.  Also, ask if your accommodation has any discounted activities.  You'd be surprised!

3a. Transportation
List possible times your bus/train/boat arrives and leaves so you don't miss an activity.  Always give yourself an extra 30-45 minutes in case you get lost, get stuck in traffic, or are looking for parking.  Better early than late.  Of utmost importance: check for the last trip and fares!  So you still have time and money to get back.

3b. Car Rentals
Take note of your pick-up address and time allotted.  Our last car rental told us to bring the car back by a certain time with a certain amount of gas.  Allot money for fuel and parking.

4. Budgeting
Set aside a minimum and maximum spending amount for: meals, transportation, entrance fees, activities, souvenirs and emergencies.  3 meals a day + snacks adds up quickly, so keep track!  As well as tips for restaurants and activities.

5. Activities
Call to confirm your booking(s) a day or so beforehand.  Set alarms and/or calendar reminders for things you plan to do (i.e- bungee-jumping, river-rafting, or even city / food tours).

Do you want more adventure?
If you still have one more day to spare why not go do something unique and fun like Wall climbing or a Zip-line adventure in Cebu.

Where am I going next?
My next adventure is to check out the Hidden Waterfalls in the South side of Cebu. 

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