Beyond Mount Mago


Posted by geemiz | Posted in Cebu, My Travel Story | Posted on 20-04-2017

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Reaching the top of Mago Peak the group met tatay Sonny, and after exchanging stories we found ourselves following him to his place which he said is only a 30-minute descent from Mago Peak on the Tuburan side. The rest 6-7 hours is an adventure of walking on a steep, winding and muddy mountain under a signal 1 Tropical storm warning – yes it was raining.

What to do in Mago Peak

It was Holy Week and of course long good 4 days without work. After completing all holy week rituals, what better way to spend the rest of Black Saturday than climb a mountain.

I hiked Mago Peak on the 1st day of April 2017. and you can read the Travel Guide I wrote here “A Guide to Mount Mago: A Boundary Climb” about this beautiful mountain. The reason why I went again is that I have to share its beauty to my amore who was not able to come with me the first time due to unfortunate events.

Mao Peak Jump Shot

Get ready Mago Peak! Here we are

The date is set, climb the mountain on Black Saturday with two other friends.

Off To Mount Mago
The estimated habalhabal ride from Carmen Public Market to Santican Barangay Hall is 1 hour, and 1 person per habalhabal is the safest and ideal ride. 10 minutes away from the market my ride had a flat tire so I had to share a ride with babe, making the bumpy uphill travel more pleasant and sweet.

Pine trees and molave trees were the main attraction on the road. It does not just give shade but also sweetness in the air. Along the way are several paths to flower and vegetable gardens as well as to monasteries and churches. The wealth of the Lhuillier’s can easily be noticed by the area of land they owned in Carmen like it’s as if more than half of the mountainous area of Carmen is theirs. And oh! that wide green ranch with cows and horses is an inspiration and favorite but second to the beautiful overlooking sight of coastal Cebu and other mountains of Danao and Carmen.

Habalhabal to Maount Mago

The walk from Santican barangay hall to the mohon (boundary marker) of Mount Mago where we are going is 3.7km. Don’t be deceived by the distance because it is an uphill downhill trail. Estimated climb to Mago Peak is 1 hour and 30 minutes including rest and lots of picture taking like my first visit.

This time around we had less photo taking due to the weather, it was really foggy. I am happy yet a bit dismayed. Happy because it is my first time to be in a thick fog like this. Disheartened because my reason for the climb is to show babe and friends the beautiful scenery, but the fog is like a huge blanket covering the beauty of the mountain. I don’t think I have enough words to describe the background so please enjoy the photos I have prepared for all of you.

Mount Mago with a horse

There were horses in the area too.

Beauty of Mago Peak in Carmen

Those bushes looking plant are bamboos.

Trail to Mago Peak

The view of the Carmen side of Mount Mago.

This photo is taken during my first climb at Mount Mago

Tatay Sonny and His Tinolang Manok
The weather is totally fine, not too hot and even not raining, it is a picnic perfect day. We prepare the food we bought at the market – Lechon manok and puso. We shared the food with our habalhabal drivers who also serves as our guide. As we prepare our lunch, there came a very fond and charming old man who seems to be a guide of a solo climber. While the guy busied himself setting up his tent, tatay Sonny (the charming old man) is now with us exchanging small talks and still refuses to eat. We learned that he just met the guy in one area of the mountain while he was transferring his cow and told the guy that there is a much preferable spot where he can camp for the night.

Highest Point of Mago Peak

The highest point of Mount Mago is 760m above sea level.

We have finished our satisfying lunch until the discussion with tatay Sonny and our group reached to asking him if he has native chickens. Babe as spontaneous as he is, suggests that we go to tatay Sonny’s place and a natural Filipino hospitable trait tatay Sonny excitedly invites us to come with him. He says his humble abode is just at the foot of Mount Mago in the Tuburan side, a 30-minute descent from where we currently at.

The thing is, tatay Sonny is already used to the trail to his house. He has been walking on this track for God knows how many years even after dark and poor weather condition. Us, beginners to mountain climbing and in an unfamiliar 250 meters steep, muddy descent under the heavy rain, it is a challenge. Because young as we are – adventurous, impulsive, and present hedonist, we go with tatay Sonny.

Mago Peak Trail

We arrived at tatay Sonny’s house after more than an hour of walk. All of us wet and eager to drink a hot chicken soup “Tinolang Manok”. Our habalhabal guide turned new friends are very helpful, they help tatay Sonny catch the native chicken, climb the coconut tree for lamaw “coconut drink”, and even cook the tinolang manok themselves. The four of us is the moral support, documentation and shutterbug team. Typical Filipino farm province house is what I can describe of the place where we currently are.

Mount Mago Tuburan

It has fruit trees surrounding the house, firewood able kitchen, TV, DVD Player, huge speakers, piles of corn, hanged lanot (abaca fiber), hot and cold water dispenser and an installed Cignal cable (not functioning at that moment). We ate our sumptuous meal on the bamboo floor of the mini living room of the house.

Meal Time at Mago Peak

Getting to Know Tatay Sonny
Tatay Sonny is a farmer who lives in barangay Bangkito, Tuburan. He has 5 cows, several pigs and chickens and a vegetable farmland. Aside from farming he also works with abaca fiber “taktak ug lanot”, and so is his wife. The couple has 3 brilliant children, as seen in the medals and ribbons of recognition and award hanged in the left corner of the wall near the door. The man has a warm nature like an uncle who is so fond of his nephews and nieces.

Mount Mago from Tuburan

Tatay Sonny and us

Tuburan Abaca Fiber

We pass by the place where tatay Sonny’s wife is working.

A Beautiful Trail
We have a tasty and healthy meal. Tatay Sonny’s native chicken only eats corn and whatever mother earth grows in the ground. As departing time gets nearer he keeps on inviting us to stay overnight, but as much as babe and I love to stay, our companion has other matters to attend to that night and early the following day so we have to go home. We tried to prepare ourselves for we don’t know how many hours of ascent and descent hike for tatay Sonny suggested that we take the other path because the previous one is dangerous due to the pouring rain. The other trail is safer but twice or more the distance of the one we had. Since we are taught to listen to our elders we took the longer trail.

View from Tuburan Mount Mago

Mountain ranges of Tuburan, Cebu

I agree that the trail is safer but it was still slippery and muddy. What I love about this path is it has a spectacular view of the forest and the mountains plus it answers my question on what is beneath Mount Mago on the Tuburan side. We run into a friend of tatay Sonny who informed us that the forest we are seeing few meters away has lots of monkeys, isn’t it exciting!

Mago Peak Danao

Who can’t say no to a photo of this view?

We zigzag our way under the trees and the pouring rain. We also pass by horses, native pigs, and chickens until after 2.5 hours we reached the foot of Mount Mago. It was already dark, tatay Sonny bid as goodbye and let us borrow his flashlight. We say our deep thank you for his generosity and he keeps on inviting us to come back again. As we continue to stride back to Santican proper, my mind is divided between thinking of the path ahead of us and the dark track tatay Sonny will take back home alone.

Picture taking since no monkey at sight.

With everyone’s enthusiasm to go home, we make it to Santican proper in due time wet and feet full of mud. All of us are exhausted of the long walk but we are filled with the contentment of the day’s journey and fulfilled for the one of a kind adventure.

Mago Peak Climb

All excited for the adventure.

We left Carmen Public Market on a sunny day. Arrived in barangay Santican the drop off point on a cloudy day. Pave our way to the top of Mount Mago on a foggy day. Descent Mount Mago to Tuburan on a drizzling day. Walk our way back to Santican Barangay Hall on a dark rainy day.

Time check 7:30pm another 1 hour more travel to Carmen proper. This experience is definitely one for the book.

Have you tried trekking? How did it go? I would love to hear your story. You can comment it down below or send a message in Geemiz social media accounts found below.

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Meet geemiz

Geezelle Tapangan - A Management Accounting and Accountancy Graduate. She reads a lot and co-founded Cebu Book Club. She is a dog and nature lover. Gzell blogs about Travel & Life experiences.

Comments (21)

Are the locals friendly especially for foreign couples there? It it safe to stay overnight in the peak?

Hi Jerry
Yes, the locals are really nice and kind most especially to visitors. They are very accommodating too. The peak is safe for overnight camping.

Man I miss the Philippines. This looks like a great place. Is it on Cebu Island?

Yes, it is in Cebu. 🙂

This sounds like a great adventure. Well done for finishing it in the rain and the muddy trail. Its good you have family along the way.
Are there springs along the way for drinking water?
I have added this to my list of Cebu treks along with Osmena.

No springs along the way. You have to bring your own water. There is a house though where you can ask for drinking water. Looking forward to your Cebu treks.

Wow, Gzel. It looks and sounds like an amazing experience! 🙂

It is Nance. I hope we can do some other great experience in the future.

I haven’t heard about this place before but it seems such a great experience!

It is indeed a great experience.

Wow what a down to earth experience in Cebu. Especially around Mount Mago. I’m actually from the Philippines and only been back once when I was little. Be great to adventure around here.

Hope you can visit again in the future.
So many beautiful places yet to be discovered.

The hike sounds like a lot of fun but also hard work! Yet the views repay you, as far as I can see here!

The view is breathtaking and so worth the pouring rain hike.

Even though it poured rain on you— it still looks like a beautiful hike. Sometimes rainy hikes are the best.

I agree, rain hikes are different.

These are some beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing.

Looks so gorgeous, so green and sounds like quite and adventure. Shame about the pouring rain but it sounds like Sonny made everything great for you. Thanks for sharing and happy travels.

Sonny made the trip more fun and adventurous.

Lovely views of the hike! Sounds like you had a lot of fun!

It was a lot of fun.

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