” The Beauty of the Mountain is hidden for all those who try to discover it from the top, supposing that, one way or an other, one can reach this place directly. The Beauty of the Mountain reveals only to those who climbed it…”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery
We decided to meet with the rest of the climbers at the gasoline station near the mercado of Carbon, there were trips that heads directly to Mantalungon, and we were told that it leaves at around 6AM but the bus had engine trouble – and we just can’t afford waste time. We had to go to the south station and ride a bus that would take us to Dalaguete town proper.
At the poblacion of quiet Dalaguete, close to several tiendas (one of which is Julies – a favorite!) upon disembarking from the multicab – we were swarmed by habalhabal operators, sensing that we were headed to Matalungon trail.
The habalhabal ride is quite an experience; the ride uphill takes around 20-25 minutes. The trip was rough, road was covered in dust, it was one helluva trip. The only downside is that you end up with sore butt cheeks. We all got off in Mantalungon public market.
Recognized as the “vegetable basket of Cebu”, its chilly climate and rich earth, offers an ideal condition for farming vegetables, variety that are known to favor mild climate. Walking en route to the trail, we saw several homes and schools, it was remarkable because of the barrio’s distance from the poblacion and and the main road. Mantalongon is indeed a spectacular mountain barrio.
The trek is visibly marked, it was just a matter of following it to the top– and since the mountain villagers, mostly farmers, are everywhere, scattered throughout the mountain you can always ask for instructions. On the way to the top, we pass by little clear streams and pleasant vegetable farms. Nearing the peak, some kids led the group to the top, they made climbing look easy.
The people of Dalaguete, especially the Mantalongon villagers are good-natured people. I’ve read experiences (most are not even firsthand) posted over the net about the place being unsafe particularly for campers. I believe that it’s not a dangerous location – like all places you’ll just have take precautionary measures, somehow unverified accounts of crimes committed in the mountain are exaggerations.
We reached the peak pass 12 noon, we ate a light meal and rested on the summit for hours, taking pleasure the mountain offers – islands of Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor all clearly visible. The peak grants its visitors a view of Cebu’s coast to the west and east.