Cebu Island – Part 3: Osmeña Peak

Usually, if Dave and I take a trip, I do quite a bit of planning ahead of time.  I always leave a bit of room for free time, of course, but we don’t usually stay in the same spot long enough for us to discover more than what have planned for.  I did things differently in the Philippines.

We were on a bit of a tight budget, so we figured that even if there was nothing to do in Cebu, our Air BnB included a gorgeous pool…so how bad of a time could we possibly have had?

When we first arrived in Dalaguete, we knew we would discover some hidden gems, but we didn’t expect to find a spot as beautiful (and apparently unknown) as Osmeña peak.

Osmeña peak is the highest point on Cebu Island

We learned about this hidden gem while relaxing one evening with our Air Bnb host, Thomas.  He was very surprised we’d never heard of it, and told us that it was very beautiful and very worth the short hike up.  So, the following morning, we set off to check out the highest point on Cebu island.

We were using an app to navigate to the entrance of our destination, where we’d heard of a relatively easy hiking trail up to the peak.  When we arrived at our destination, a young boy hopped over and pointed us in the right direction.

Our original path looked promising…

About 5 minutes into our walk, a little boy ran up behind us and started shouting in a local language.  He seemed insistent that we should turn down a tiny, mud-covered path.  It wasn’t long down that path that we realized we’d come in through the ‘wrong entrance’.  We head back to our motorbike, but not before getting some great pictures first.

We drove around a bit more and found the actual entrance to the peak.  In hindsight, it made a lot more sense than our original stop.  For one thing, there was a ticket office and a little store at Stop #2, instead of a couple of farmers sitting on the back of a truck, grinning at us.  Having said that, if you’ve traveled in South East Asia, you learn that things aren’t always as official looking as you expect, which is why we went with it at Stop #1.

The hike up the hill was nice….especially when we got high enough that a breeze made it through the trees.  The trail is well maintained and if you’re in reasonably good shape, it isn’t too difficult of a trek.  It took us about 25 minutes to make it to the top, but we also stopped for quite a few pictures along the way (and a dog followed us up, so I stopped to pet him quite often!)

Aside from our experience with scarf snarfing selfie seekers, our time on the peak was beautiful.  I managed to get some pictures without tourists in it, which is always a challenge.

I did actually manage to get the shot I waited so patiently for…after the selfie seekers left.

Once more…I think it’s nicer without people in it…

I did take a few selfies myself.  I’m not here to condemn selfies.  But when you’re in a place as beautiful as this, please be considerate of other people.  You can take 1 or 2 selfies…but a series of 8-10 poses is excessive!

I was sitting on some very sharp rocks here, so I wasn’t too interested in sticking around longer than necessary!

Osmeña peak is a very worthwhile trip.  If you’re looking for additional information about the hike, I found a fantastic website with lots of information including directions and fees.  You can check out that website here.

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Some last shots for you


I have a few posts left about our time in The Philippines, so stay tuned!

Cebu Island – Part 2: Tumalog Falls

Dave and I have done a lot of travelling for the last 4 years.  Each country we’ve visited has offered new insight into the different cultures, languages and history that make up our wonderful world.

From the Grand Palace in Bangkok….
To the beautiful sandstone architecture of India
Our world is full of beauty...both man-made and natural!

Although there are so many differences between each place we’ve visited, there have also been similarities.  One thing that we find pretty much anywhere we’ve ever gone, is that every place in south east Asia has a waterfall for tourists to visit.

My favourite falls in South East Asia:  Kuang Si Falls, near Luang Prabang, Laos.  

Of course, Cebu island has several waterfalls, but we only had the chance to visit one: Tumalog Falls.  Located just outside of Oslob, it’s easy to rent a motorbike to visit, or even hire a motorized tricycle (although, they may have a hard time getting up the hills if their motorcycle isn’t in tip top shape!)

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Surprisingly…these trikes don’t always run perfectly… 

When we arrived the entrance to the falls, we were asked to park our motorbike and walk the last kilometer or so to the actual waterfall.  It was a steep climb down to get there, and then, of course, a tough climb back.  The first time we tried to visit the falls (we tried twice), we were actually scared away by the mid-day heat and the idea of climbing a km uphill.  We normally wouldn’t be worried about a short hike like that, but after suffering from heat exhaustion for several days, we weren’t keen on getting sick again.  But, when our Air BnB host told us we could hire a special motorbike to bring us back up the hill, we decided to try again.

The falls were well worth the visit.  They were very tall and they trickled more than spilled, making them quite peaceful.

The area was very peaceful too.  There was lots of bamboo growing, and it even created a bit of a dome over the area, giving us the feeling of being enclosed by the jungle.

The small pools around the falls were also stunning.

Lots of people brought their swimsuits and were swimming in the pool at the bottom of the falls, but Dave and I hadn’t brought ours.  I’m glad others had more foresight than me though, because the shots I got of them in the water help to show just how high these falls were.

Tumalog falls was a worthwhile trip I’d recommend to anyway staying in the Oslob area!

Cebu Island – Part 1: Our Lady of Immaculate Conception

Our first real stop in the Oslob area was not planned.  We were driving around, looking for a market when we came upon this huge and beautifully old Church.


It took 18 years to complete The Immaculate Conception Church, beginning in 1830. There are several buildings on the grounds, including the church itself, a bell tower, and a parish house.  All buildings have had some reconstruction over the years, due to fires and other damage.

The church is made of a made of coral stone, which was very popular in Spanish architecture during colonial times.  Coral stone is excellent at repelling heat, so it is a perfect choice for a church in The Philippines.  While we were walking around, we saw that a funeral was being held inside the church, so even now…this parish is active and the church is in use.

There are also several buildings nearby that were equally beautiful.  We spent a bit of time exploring the unfinished “Cuartel”.  This large building was suppose to house Spanish soldiers during colonial times, but for some reason, it was never actually completed.  Now, it serves as a beautiful place to take some pictures on a sunny day.

The area around the church and Cuartel was also beautiful.  There were a few vendors out, selling treats to kids and their parents.  There were some really nice benches as well, and some trees, providing shade.  Dave and I actually visited the area twice during our week in Oslob.  It was so hot the first day that we couldn’t stay for very long, so we came back a second time.

The part of this historical site that interested me most though, wasn’t actually the church itself.  Although the church was beautiful, the Baluarte, or watchtower, was even more interesting yet.

The Baluarte has an important place in Oslob history, having helped protect the town from attacks in the past.  Now, it serves as a photographic reminder of times past.  Most interestingly, there are chunks of coral built into the wall.  It’s really very beautiful, overlooking the ocean the way it does.

I really enjoyed this ‘surprise stop’ in Oslob, and I encourage anyone in the area to check it out if they have the chance!

One of my favourite pictures of area

Oslob’s Whale Sharks

My sunburn has subsided, and the bruises I collected on our Cebu holiday have now all but disappeared, but my memories of our time in the Philippines have not.

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Some things….like this public urinal, for example…are unforgetable


Now, before I get into writing about our time in Cebu, I want to write about one activity we decided NOT to do.  Most people who travel to Cebu Island stay in the little town of Oslob.  We opted to stay in a town nearby this popular tourist destination, but we skipped the activity most people do while in the area:  swimming with whale sharks.

Whale Sharks are the world’s largest fish. But don’t worry…they aren’t the type of sharks that eat people. They just eat tiny krill, so swimming with them is pretty safe.

For those of you who know me, this probably seems like the kind of thing I would love!  Swimming in the ocean…seeing incredible wildlife…learning about a fascinating animal… but after spending the last 4 years learning how to be a responsible tourist, I took the time to learn about the Oslob Whale Sharks, and I learned how human contact affects the fish.

I learned that although the government has set up all sorts of rules that tourists and tour operators are suppose to follow, it doesn’t stop people from touching the fish.  Sharks have very sensitive skin, so a watch or a ring can easily hurt one of these beautiful animals. 

First, I should say that unlike riding an elephant, swimming with whale sharks is not as obviously harmful to the animals.  They are not captive or trained in any way, so on the surface, it doesn’t seem like swimming with them should be too much of a problem.  After all, they are just being given some free food.  What’s the harm?

Whaleshark feeding in Oslob, Cebu
The whale sharks are swarmed by people and boats as soon as they arrive.  Tourists are also only given a few moments in the water with them, before they are told to get out, to make way for more tourists…

Unfortunately, whale sharks in the area are becoming too comfortable around boats, and are frequently hurt when they approach fishermen, expecting food.  Some fish are also dealing with malnutrition, because the krill they are fed by the fishermen is only 1 of the various types of fish they need in their diets.  Unfortunately, if their bellies are full of this free krill, they don’t search for food, and don’t get all the nutrients they need.


But there’s actually a bigger problem with feeding the Whale Sharks of Cebu Island.  The free food they receive is actually changing their migration patterns and many scientists believe that this will ultimately result in fewer whale shark babies being born.

I’d be happier if these animals didn’t join the very long list of critically endangered animals in our oceans.

Ultimately, we decided that seeing the whale sharks was not as important as protecting them, so we chose not to go on that adventure.  We did, however, see Tumalog Falls, a church made of coral stone and of course, and the highest point on all of Cebu Island!


Over the next few weeks, I have several posts planned about our week in paradise.  They will all be short, and full pictures, so stay tuned!

Day 8 – Selfies & Tourists

We had a beautiful day here, in The Philippines.  We started the day visiting the highest peak on Cebu island, and then headed back towards Oslob to check out Sumilon Island, where snorkeling was suppose to be good.  All in all, it was a day full of beautiful views, lots of tourists and of course….selfies.

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It was a pretty beautiful place to take a selfie!

Of course, those who know me know that I’m not much of a fan of tourists.  I realize that this is silly, seeing as how I am one myself, but an abundance of tourist usually means I don’t enjoy myself very much.  I was reminded of that today.

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I find it amazing that I got any shots of Dave and I without other tourists in them.  I managed…but only because I’m incredible patient (and incredibly determined!)

I believe that a selfie or two in a beautiful place is a great way to commemorate the time you spent there.  Other people, as it would seem, will go to great lengths to get every pose, on every inch, of every rock….and then they’ll go back because they had a single hair out of place.

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This is in the background of the Selfie Dave and I took.  She was literally carrying her shawl in her mouth up onto that rock, so that she could get photos of herself with the shawl blowing in the wind.  

This particular group of tourists was made up of young girls and a tour guide.  Each girl got up on those rocks one by one and posed…and then they all went up again and again to get different poses and try to outdo each other.  Dave and I eventually grew bored waiting, hopped on a different set of rocks, and get a couple of shots of our own.

Dave’s beautiful selfie.  He didn’t have a shawl, or he would have carried it up the rocks in his mouth….

Later, on our trip Sumilon island, we saw more bad tourist behaviour.  Now, I should begin by explaining that what I saw today was something I have seen many, many times before.  Some tourists…for reasons unknown to me… go on boating tours…when they are TERRIFIED of both water and the sun.  The result usually involves several locals needing to carry these tourists in and out of the water, and a lot of people refusing to get off the boat to snorkel ‘because it’s too deep and they don’t know how to swim’.

The woman in the long skirt at the left of the photo had to be carried on a Filipino man’s back because she was either scared of the water (like the woman before her had been), or she didn’t want to get her skirt wet getting back into the boat.   The woman sitting next to her, is your average Asian tourist.  They hate the sun.  They hate it like a vampire hates it. 

In case you need more proof…here’s a short and blurry photo I took of the second woman being carried onto the boat.  One of the boat hands had to literally put her on his shoulders and carry her to the boat.  He was walking barefoot on a lot of coral while he did this.  I feel like that is important information.

So, today was a mixed bag.  I really enjoyed some of the scenery we saw today (I’ll be writing more about our experiences later), but I was pretty fed up with people by the end of the day.

Tomorrow is our last day in the Philippines (for this trip, anyway!).  I’ll be back with one more daily post, and then some detailed posts about our time on Cebu Island!

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It’s been a beautiful week!

Thanks for checking in!



Day 7 – The Scenery

We live on an extraordinary planet. It supports so much life, and is so stunningly beautiful. I’ve been lucky enough to see that beauty on several continents and in many different countries. I’ve watched vibrant sunsets in Vietnam, stood atop gorgeous cliffs in Laos, explored ancient towns and rivers in China, and even admired desert landscapes in India.  There hasn’t been a single place we’ve gone that hasn’t been spectacular in some way.

You can see where each picture was taken by opening the photo, or just scrolling your cursor over the photo.

Of course, The Philippines is no different and has provided us with some great scenery!  We’ve spent the last few days cruising along the south east coast of Cebu island, and I wanted to share some of our more scenic pictures with you.

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Our motorbike for the week.  She runs very well and has a comfy seat!

We got some great shots on our way up to a waterfall (which I’ll be writing about in a future post, as soon as I have the time!)

And of course, there are always the necessary selfies…

The end of our day was pretty beautiful as well.  We’re on the wrong side of Cebu island for seeing sunsets, but we do get to see the moon rise!

We’ve got a full day planned tomorrow that will include some more beautiful scenery, some snorkeling and more driving around on our sweet motorbike!  Stay tuned!!!