Whenever I hear the word Dalaguete (pronounced as Dalaget), the first thing that comes to my mind is “Summer Capital of Cebu”. Even when it’s not summer, this first income class municipality has continuously stayed true to its moniker “Little Baguio” due to its all-year round cool climate, scenic mountain ranges, fresh vegetables, pine-clad highland and just recently, organic strawberry farm. It’s amazing how such a small town has so much to offer for everyone, both local and tourist alike. However, just when you thought you’ve experienced the best of Dalaguete, a new wonder has emerged, awaiting to be chased.
Home to the famous Osmeña Peak, Cebu’s highest point, Dalaguete is set to unleash another Kraken. No, I’m not talking about the legendary sea monster of giant size, rather I’m referring to the leviathan cloaked in the shadows of the island’s green roof ~ the majestic monolith Casino Peak. To give you a teaser, Casino Peak overlooks nothing but sweetness, in the form of matcha-flavored Chocolate Hills.
As of writing, Dalaguete Tourism Office has not yet officially included Casino Peak in the “natural attractions to be visited when in Dalaguete” but it has already been drawing lots of tourists. If you plan to hike Osmeña Peak, you can actually traverse to Casino Peak in less than an hour. Allow me to walk you through Casino Peak with these visual treats.
WALK IN THE PARK
From the foot of Osmeña Peak, you can arrange for a guide going to Casino Peak. Entrance fee of Php 30.00 will be collected for all hikers upon reaching the tourist information center.
Expect lots of visitors during weekend. But one thing’s for sure, hiking Osmeña Peak (or traversing Casino Peak) is not that taxing due to its established trail. As they say, it’s just a “walk in the park”.
Just a few steps from the registration area, you’ll be greeted with a green signboard. I admire the effort of Sugbo Outdoor Club and Mantalongon locals for giving reminders to tourists about the “Leave No Trace” Principle in relation to promotion of responsible tourism.
You have a decision to make once you get to this area. If you wish to go to Osmeña Peak, follow the trail on the RIGHT. If you are directly going to Casino Peak, take a LEFT turn going down.
You’ll know you’re in the proper direction when you get to see hikers summiting Osmeña Peak from this view.
A few hike will lead to to this rocky, yet exceptional field wherein carrots are thriving abundantly.
And I call it 10,000 Carrots. Don’t step on ’em though.
THE PATH LESS-TRODDEN
You’ll get to see a concrete road leading to paradise. Just look at that scenic view!
You have a guide anyway so just follow the trail. Casino Peak can be seen lurking behind the lush vegetation from this vantage point.
THE MOUNTAIN’S FOOT
And with this conspicuous signboard, you’ll know you’re just 450 meters away from the majestic monolith’s pinnacle.
Farming is evident in this community. We even encountered locals arranging fresh cabbages in the basket for delivery in the market.
Casino Peak is calling me and I must go!
Up to the majestic monolith, we go! Let the final leg of Casino Peak begin!
With just 5-7 minutes uphill climb, this out-of-this-world backdrop will catch your attention. It looks like you’re transported to a different world ~ #TheLordOfTheRings feels.
This is the view before reaching the top-most part of Casino Peak. I find it interesting that lots of carrots are likewise grown in the area, despite the rocky terrain.
SERENITY AT THE SUMMIT
Right before you reach the summit of Casino Peak, you’ll be rewarded with this panoramic view of multiple hills of Mantalongon Range and Tabon Range, Badian town and Badian Island.
Who would have thought this majestic view can be found in Cebu? Exquisite. Natural. Alluring. Just sheer bliss!
There are more hills on the other side of the summit. The summit itself is rugged cliff wherein one can hide in its interiors. The reason it is called Casino Peak is because the summit served as a hideaway for locals during the Japanese occupation and they would play a game of head and tails locally known as “hantak”. This kind of gambling is very simple as one player would toss three coins and land them against a stone, then the remaining players would bet either head or tail. If all coins show head, the player who betted head wins. Since Casino is associated with gambling, that’s how Casino Peak got its name. Interesting, right?!
This one’s tricky. Got to pose for less than 2 seconds just to capture this shot. Definitely a #buwisbuhay one but I’m glad to have spent my Mother’s Day being one with nature and appreciating the beauty of Mother Earth’s gift. And with my own experience, it’s beyond compare!
THE CHOCOLATE HILLS OF CEBU
I’m speechless! Just couldn’t contain my excitement upon seeing the beautiful scenery unfolding in front of me. I could sit there forever while marveling at what seems like a resemblance of Bohol’s Chocolate Hills.
This video clip shows the 360 view of Casino Peak while walking on top of the knife edge cliff. Be careful while doing this buwis-buhay feat though.
And of course, this day won’t end without having a group photo with my new travel buddies. We actually have a video while dancing to the tune of 5,6,7,8 by Steps. Lol!
Thankful for this unique opportunity, made possible by Travels by Omnia Bellus. Contact them for South Cebu tours.
READ ALSO: 2D1N South Cebu Road Trip
How To Get To Casino Peak
Lots of buses ply South-bound assuring a heritage and coastal journey to the royal town of Dalaguete. After a 3-hour trip, alight in the town junction (most notable for 7/11) and take habal-habal ride going to Osmeña Peak or you may opt to be dropped all the way to the foot of Casino Peak in Sitio Lugsangan, Barangay Tabon. Though it is not yet officially included in the “Visit Natural Attractions of Dalaguete” as per Dalaguete Tourism Office, you can be guided with its Motorcycle Tariff Rates just like going to Osmeña Peak. (PhP 100 per person one-way, travel time is 30 minutes).