It is not Bohol’s Chocolate Hills nor Albay’s Quitinday Hills! It may not be taken from Osmeña Peak but the roof of Cebu still. It’s Casino Peak!
The ragged peaks of Mantalongon Range is undeniably among the most picturesque mountain peaks not only in Cebu but in the entire Philippines. The mountain range borders the towns of Badian and Dalaguete and covers various sitios and barangays of the two towns. It features countless conic peaks reminiscent of Bohol’s Chocolate Hills and Albay’s Quitinday Hills.
For years, Osmeña Peak of Barangay Mantalongon has gained popularity for the imposing view of the roof of Cebu. This is understandable as the site is just an easy trek from the main road and yet it offers a panoramic view of the iconic multiple jagged peaks that stretch to as far as the neighboring town of Badian, overlooking the towns of Ronda, Moalboal, Argao and Alcoy, and the islands across Tañon and Cebu Straits.
But aside from Osmeña and with the countless peaks comprising Mantalongon Range, there are other lesser known peaks and I am sure there are still not yet discovered that offer equally if not more imposing vista of this spot. Ever heard of Tabon Peak, Lovers’ Peak, Sunset Peak, Kandungaw Peak and the recently becoming popular Casino Peak?
Casino Peak is an icon of Sitio Lugsangan in Barangay Tabon, the neighboring town of Barangay Mantalongon where Osmeña Peak is located. It would be hard not to notice this spot if you are at the village due to its attractive shape, ask any local from the village and they will instantly point you to a towering peak in their backyard. That’s how iconic it is!
Like other sitios in this hinterland of Dalaguete, Sitio Lugsangan is typically rural and laid back. Its high elevation makes it climate temperate and soil rich, ideal to grow high value crops such as lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, beans and onions, among others. Tourism is not the village’s way of life and most locals are into farming. Literally, Sitio Lugsangan is a huge farm.
There’s an easy and not so easy way of getting to Casino Peak from Mantalongon proper. The former is by taking a motorbike (habal-habal) from Mantalongon Public Market straight to its base which is just 450 meters assault to the peak while the latter involves around an hour of leisurely trek from Osmeña Peak or so from downtown Mantalongon. You will be needing a guide or assistance from the locals specially if you are first timer and you decides for the long trek.
See the roof of Cebu from a different viewpoint at Casino Peak!
How to Get to Casino Peak
Getting to Casino Peak from Cebu City is the same as going to Osmeña Peak. There are two ways:
1. The easiest way of commuting to Casino Peak is by catching a local bus direct to Mantalongon (Dalaguete) from Cebu City South Bus Terminal or Carbon Market, travel time is about three hours and fare is around P120. However, the firs trip is around 6AM to 7AM, which is too late if you are aiming for sunrise. The bus will stop at Mantalongon Public Market, from there you may take a habal-habal to Sitio Lugsangan (P40/person, 15 to 20 minutes ride). Lugsangan bound habal-habal are stationed at the end of the road, en route to Osmeña Peak; those stationed in the market charge higher fee so better ask the locals where these habal-habal are stationed.
2. If you are aiming for sunrise, take a Bato via Oslob bus at Cebu City South Bus Terminal and get off at Dalaguete (in front of 7/11). Travel time is at least two hours and fare is P120 (aircon). Habal-habal drivers will crowd you as soon as you get off the bus, avoid them as much as possible as they charge higher rate (around P300). From 7/11, walk to the corner of the street where Mantalongon-bound habal-habal are stationed, fare is P50/person or P100/trike. The driver will drop you at Mantalongon Public Market, from there you may take a habal-habal to Sitio Lugsangan (P40/person, 15 to 20 minutes ride). Lugsangan bound habal-habal are stationed at the end of the road, en route to Osmeña Peak; those stationed in the market charge higher fee so better ask the locals where these habal-habal are stationed. Alternatively, you may ask the habal-habal driver from Dalaguete to take you direct to Lugsangan but expect the rate to balloon.