Osmeña Peak – Sunrise and Jagged Mountains in Cebu

Sitting on the rugged mountain top waiting for the fog to clear up

In the highlands between South Cebu’s tourist area Moalboal and Kawasan Falls there is Osmeña Peak. A cluster of rugged mountain peaks covering the entire horizon making Osmeña one of the best sunrise spots on Cebu.

Osmeña Peak is a tourist attraction in South Cebu and one of the best places to catch the sunrise. From the tourist area in the town of Moalboal it takes around 2 hours to reach Osmeña Peak. 

Unless the thought of cruising in the middle of the night along pitch black roads gets you enticed, I would suggest spending the night in one of the very few accommodations nearby. 

In this guide I will break down everything you need to know about Osmeña Peak. Including how to get there – the best time to visit Osmeña Peak to get the best views. At the end of this article is day itinerary that will take you to waterfalls, Osmeña peak and Moalboal’s best snorkelling spots. 

A silhouette of jagged rock formations peaking out into the foggy horizon at Osmena Peak

Best Time to Visit Osmeña Peak

I will start off by the best time to visit Osmeña Peak since it is the most important detail to get an epic 360 view over Cebu.

Most tourists will want to visit Osmeña Peak for sunrise. This is what we did. Sunrises will either be clear with views travelling for miles or foggy which mostly depends on the time of year. 

Between the hotter months of April and May views at Osmeña Peak are usually clear and without fog. So sunrise would be ideal if you are heading there either in April or May.

However, during December and January weather conditions won’t be that ideal and you probably won’t get any view during sunrise time. We went in late January and the view only slightly opened up for a minute. 

If you are visiting Osmeña Peak outside of the Summer months (April and May) I would suggest going later on during the day. Or even better for sunset after visiting Kawasan Falls or doing the canyoneering adventure. The fog tends to clear up later on during the day.

A silhouette of jagged rock formations peaking out into the foggy horizon at Osmena Peak
While waiting for the fog to hopefully clear up we decided to grab a warm cup of instant noodles

Where is Osmeña Peak in Cebu

Osmeña Peak is located in the South of Cebu. To give you some kind of orientation, you will probably first touch down in Cebu City in the centre of the island. 

From the City you will need to make your way further South either by local bus or minivan from the southbound bus terminal (I recommend a bus, it is cheap and convenient and you’ll get more space than a minivan) or by hire car.

The main tourist area in South Cebu is Moalboal. Buses depart every hour to Moalboal from the southbound bus terminal in Cebu City. For more details on getting from Cebu City to Moalboal click here.

The map shows where you will land in A – B is Moalboal and there are multiple buses each doing the journey. There are 2 routes to South Cebu. One covers Cebu’s East coast and you will need to take the bus doing the West coast. Let the driver or dispatcher know you are heading to Moalboal.

A rough road leading to osmena peak
All around the remoteness in Cebu's highlands there are these small shacks selling hot coffees and snacks

Moalboal to Osmeña Peak

Osmeña Peak is a 50km ride from Moalboal’s tourist area. The ride will take around 2 hours and 50% of the time it will be along South Cebu’s highlands. 

Once you are off the coast road and cruising into Cebu’s highlands, be cautious. The ride from here on does get interesting and you will be constantly dodging potholes, chickens and dogs while trying to wave at all the kids who will be over the moon to see an odd tourist. 

The road is quite unforgiving at times especially when you find a huge pothole right after a sharp bend. 

We did the ride during the day and I must say it was one of the most challenging rides we had in Asia. For those who have been to Nusa Penida, the situation is comparable.

I wouldn’t suggest this ride to inexperienced riders. Especially if you intend reaching Osmeña Peak for sunrise, you will be cruising along pitch black streets while dodging pot holes and in the middle of nowhere so just keep that in mind.

The sign at the jumping off point to Osmena Peak
On the way to Osmena Peak we had our eyes peeled for potholes, chickens, dogs, the children who came waving to us and even these coes that just lay in the middle of the street

How to Get to Osmeña Peak

Osmeña Peak is one of the highlights that will be included in the tours offered in Moalboal or tours found online. So if you want the whole day planned out and visit the best tourist spots near Moalboal, a tour is an option.

The other option is plan out your day and either rent a hire car with driver, cruise by yourself on a scooter, or jump on the back of a habal-habal. 

Hire Car

A hire car will cost anything between 2500 pesos ($50) and 3000 pesos ($60) for the day and you can plan out your day ahead. Your driver will also suggest the best route and recommend tourist attractions. This is a great option if you are travelling in a group and will split the cost.

Habal-Habal

Habal-Habal is a means of public transport in the Philippines and will be an activity in itself.

 Imagine jumping on the back of a motorbike with your friend while someone drives you up to Osmeña Peak. On the way you get some amazing views and be surrounded with jungle while passing by small town in the highlands. 

A habal-habal is extended motorbike that can take up to 2 passengers. A habal-habal will cost around 200 pesos ($4) per hour. From Moalboal to Osmeña Peak a habal-habal will cost 600 pesos for a return ride and you can share the cost with a friend.

By Scooter

Only consider a scooter as an option if you are an experinced driver and are confident riding along roads in a dire need of an upgrade. 

We paid 300 pesos ($6) a day for a scooter. We got a discount for keeping the bike for a week, usual cost is 350-400 pesos ($7-$8) for a single day.

Hike to Osmeña Peak

Although Osmeña Peak is one of the highest points on Cebu, the actual hike is easy enough for tourists of any fitness level. It will take around 20 minutes to hike from the main entry to Osmeña Peak. And the trail itself is easy enough to follow during the day.

You will have to register and pay a 30 pesos ($.60) entrance fee at the main gate.

Guides are available at the entry point. Although a guide won’t be necessary during the day since the trail is well marked, it is a good way to help the local community. 

For sunrise I would recommend taking a guide with you. The trail will be obvious during the day but if you want to get there for sunrise, you will be hiking along a pitch black trail and won’t have a way to work out where the peak is.

When the fog cleared up for a few minutes the view revealed a small village right below us
This partial view was captured when the wind blew some of the fog away

Things to Take With You to Osmeña Peak

Osmeña Peak is high up in the mountains above Kawasan Falls and the climate will be cold if you go for sunrise. There is no need to pack a whole list of things especially if going on a scooter. 

Warm clothes – we where there for sunrise in January and I would have appreciated if I brought a warm jacket with me.

Water – take at least 2 litres of water with you, this will be enough for the ride and hike. There is also a small store along the 20 minute hike to Osmeña Peak if you need to buy a drink or snack.

Towel/Swimsuit – if you are planning on visiting waterfalls on the way, pack your swimming essentials

Where to Stay

Osmeña Peak is located in a remote part of South Cebu’s highlands. The closest place to stay that will tick all the boxes for a tourist is in Moalboal. You can reach most tourist attractions in South Cebu within an hour or two from Moalboal.

Another option is to find an accommodation close to Osmena Peak. As I said, the location is remote and we only managed to find the closest accommodation within a 15 minute ride. However, we didn’t find the place on any booking site but by asking around. 

The name of the place is Arthel’s Inn and is located close to the main town near Osmena Peak. Arthel’s Inn is on the way to Osmeña Peak but instead of turning left at the T-Junction near Mantalongon Public Market, turn right and carry on the main road past the Iglesia Ni Cristo Chapel. Look out for a green building on your right side.

A small town in Cebu's highlands bustles with life in the heart of town
Arthel's Inn - I think this is the closest accommodation close to Osmena Peak

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