To maximize what remains of the holiday break for another adventure, off I went with friends to visit Cebu’s popular southern tourist destinations. On our itinerary were: Osmeña Peak in Mantalongon, Dalaguete; Tumalog Falls in Oslob; Cangcua-Ay Private Beach in Tan-awan, Oslob; and Aguinid Waterfalls in Tangbo, Samboan.
The itinerary was quite pain-inducing: A good climb and descent to/from Osmena Peak; an uphill walk through the steep road from Tumalog Falls; the 200+ steps of Cangcua-Ay Private Beach; and the trek through the 5 levels of Aguinid Waterfalls.
1. Osmeña Peak
Known for being Cebu’s highest point, Osmeña Peak (aka opeak) in Mantalongon, Dalaguete has become a regular destination for those starting out in the hobby of mountain climbing. The trek difficulty is minimum since there is always an option to hire a habal-habal (motorcycle) to the ‘base’ or registration area. With the influx of tourists in the area, finding your way to the top is no longer difficult. Hiring a guide would probably be just for convenience especially in taking group photos.
Travelling on holidays would mean sharing Osmeña Peak with tens of other ‘climbers’. Hopefully, those who visit learn the courtesy of giving way to other groups who wish to take a shoot at the best spots. You can always find other picturesque angles of opeak though if you several groups are in queue to take photos.
2. Tumalog Falls
Tumalog Falls has become the 2nd stop of tourists after butanding or whaleshark-watching in Tan-awan, Oslob. The rain-like cascade of Tumalog Falls and its cool waters have attracted a good following among travellers.
A lot has changed since I visited the place around three years ago. While the falls have maintained its majestic beauty, man-made structures have sprouted ever since. A bit of an eyesore for me which takes away the natural allure of the place. There is now a bungalow right above the waterway after the falls; dikes have been constructed to make an artificial pool; and some stalls and tables beside the ‘pool’. The tourism office and local government unit must make the effort to plot a conservation and land use plan to avoid becoming like Kawasan Falls which is festered by commercial structures along the river.
Safety note: In both my visit where we took photos beside the wall of the falls, objects other than water also fell from above. Better not go too close to the wall, else, you get hit by tree branches or stones.
3. Cangcua-Ay Private Beach
Cangcua-Ay Private Beach gained popularity in social media because of photos of its crystal clear waters. I guess the combination of creamy sand below, clean waters, and a bright sun above would give you the perfect shot. However, we didn’t have time to wait till noon to take those crystal water photos. Entrance is 100 pesos for day use and an additional 300 pesos for overnight stay. First-come, first served basis for the use of cottages.
Aside from its crystal waters, Cangcua-Ay also has a nice beach. Though not powdery, the beachscape is beautiful enough to enjoy. Cangcuaay is a good rest after your mountain adventure or a diversion from your hectic work week.
The downside of Cangcua-Ay Private Beach is that you will have to walk through 200 or more steps of stairs. Expect muscle pains the next day.
The resort is also unobtrusive with no big landmarks so you might miss the place when you are on a bus or car. It is just around a kilometer away (south-bound) from the corner of the national highway and the road leading to Tumalog Falls.
4. Aguinid Falls
I have been mesmerized by Aguinid Falls since I first visited. In the two years since I went there, the barangay local government unit which manages the area has maintained the area well to preserve this attraction in all its natural beauty. Divided into six levels (Level 0-5), each area has its own unique view and kind of falls.
Level 2 is said to be the most difficult to scale since you have to climb through the falls to get to the other levels. Level 5 is my favorite.
Barangay Tangbo already instituted steps to effectively manage the area. Guides contracted by them are now trained and in uniforms. There is no standard tipping fee. Prior to your trek, you get to be oriented by the do’s and don’t’s which is a good sign that they wish to avoid the problems encountered by the other falls flocked by tourists.
It is best to go early to avoid the influx of travellers.by