I have scaled this mountain last July 2012.
If Mt.Manunggal is the highest in Central Cebu, Osmena Peak is highest in Southern Cebu. Mt.Manghilao represents as the highest of Northern Cebu located at the coastal Danao City. This mountain in not famous among hikers as they prefer to go with the popular ones like Osmena peak and Manunggal. It is the highest in the north based on my research but to be confirm. This mountain stand at a height of 600MASL+ with difficulty of 2/9, or “easy” on my scale, another possible sidetrip here is that there is a daily trip of ferry leaving in Danao City and destination is Camotes Island.
From Mango Park Hotel, Cebu City, you may ask the taxi to drop you at the jeep terminal going to Danao City. The fare is less than 100, as far I remember it is between 40-50 and travel time is more than 1hr but not greater than 2hr. As you arrived in the town of Danao City, ask your driver to drop you to the parking station of Habal Habal that will take you to Mt.Manghilao.. it is known to them and say bring you to the jump off of that mountain. One concern when I came here is to speak at their language in Visaya for which I am not good in speaking on it and at the same time I travel alone. My landmark is the gasoline station on the right of the jeep and there is few store in front. From Habal-Habal to jump off this will take you 30-45minutes to get you at the jump off, it is more than 10km. First passing on the rice field then open road but upward some part are cemented and some are not but it is largely improved. As you get nearer you can see the peak in distinct for which is the highest point in that area.
Your jump off is that there is waiting shade and the trail is straightforward on the first part is ascend take right, straight ahead then you will have curved of letter S trail to the summit.
Trail Path (I’ve sketched only in PAINT)
As you get closer to the dome peak, the trail become much steeper but manageable, foothold are secured and some are cemented until you will reach the cross standing at the summit and beneath the peak just 2 meters below there is antenna of radio communication.
Mt. Manghilao Summit
The view is spectacular overlooking the town of Danao City and its coastal.At the otherside or should I say at the back of the mountain where the trail you came fromMt.Manunggal and mountain range in Balamban is visible.Amazingly I reached it in 1hr and stay there for 30 minutes for photos and take rest. I tried to go down on the radio communication and follow the path going downward as I will attempt to have traverse. At first it is moderately difficult, the rocks are very sharp similar to coral limestone perhaps this mountain was once under in the sea until I reached a littered campsite after 15minutes. There are few path and can’t say which is the right trail because of the overgrowth and I was terminated to often by thick vegetation and require me to back track at the campsite. Finally I choose the right trail, taking sharp descend.. grass was protuding my way and I did some bushwhacking though I am sure that this is the trail until now the path gets clearer and now I enter to the forest.
There is narrow channel that welcome me to descend for this 2 meter wide and beside me is the wall of soil.. Descending on this part proves to be tough because in the end I found a hole in the channel but I didn’t attempt to try because I believe that there is unknown entity living there.
After 5 minutes of trek, the path is now clearly dead-end and I’m afraid that I can’t no longer push the traverse alone. 3 minutes from the hole I saw the plants which are intentionally criss cross to each other obstructing the way to this hidden cave. When I tried to remove it and open the path, there was a cave which 3 meters away from me but I feel the chill of blowing wind coming from inside. Inside my mind there is a voice that tells me “Please DON’T COME HERE, THIS IS NOT YOUR PLACE, YOU WILL DISTURB US OR ELSE SOMETHING BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN TO YOU.. I was really afraid that time specially I am the only person in that mountain and try as fast as I can to go back on the summit and taking descend on the route I’ve taken previously. Because of this relatively short hike likely saying in tagalog BITIN ako, I’ve tried to descend on the road where the motor took his route coming here just to burn out calories. It is purely descend on cemented road, 20minutes later I saw a plantation of Mango and tried to buy some of it but instead they give me the rejected mango for free just only crack skin. Their mango is export quality that is why the dried mango sold at Cebu still the best compare to the dried mango sold in the market here in Manila wherein it is labeled Cebu . My first bite is crunchy like apple, it is also big and heavy.
Upon my way 4 barangay were already passed-by maybe I am 5km away already from the jump off, when I ask one of the local about on how far I am to the town proper. He said that Aha Tagalog ka, (san ka nakatira) where do you live? You are more than 7km away. I’ve said that I lived in Manila but my purposed of being here is to climb Mt.Manghilao, thank you for the information as I have to go soon but he stopped me that I have to buy time speaking with him so instead of getting away with him even if I’ve tried but I don’t want to disrespect this local. He told me about his life that he lives in Manila for a while, that there is deep cave beneath this mountain and you will having hard time to breathe there. Also I just told my stories that I am outdoor enthusiast and coming from Cebu for a business work but an ordinary worker. I put some sympathy on my stories as well sensing that his true motive is to extort me but didn’t happen because I said I don’t have money . By 4:30PM, I have to say bye to him because of my pending working, I chartered habal habal and get at danao city by 5:00PM and took jeep that will take me on Cebu City
7AM – ETD Cebu City
8:30AM – ETA Danao City (take Habal habal)
9:15AM – ETA jump off
9:30AM – Start trek
10:30AM – ETA Summit of Mt.Manghilao
11AM – descend and tried to explore
12:30PM – hidden Cave
1:10PM – Back at the summit then descended back
1:50PM – Jump off (took merienda)
3:00PM Start descend via road
4:00PM Local house (halfway)
5PM ETA Danao City
5:30PM ETD Danao City
7PM ETA Cebu city
Guide: no need, path is straightforward
Limatik : no presence
Watersource: none, but there is store of local selling softdrink on the road near jump off
Don’t travel alone
Transportation vice versa
Take Taxi going to jeep terminal to Danao City (80 pesos)
Cebu city to Danao City (40-50pesos)
From Danao City you will have Habal habal ride (150 pesos/ motor)