THE ISLAND OF CEBU is considered the home of Christianity in East Asia, but most people know it as a tropical beach destination. 196km long, and never more than 32 km wide, coastline is never far away. Dive enthusiasts rate some spots in the south very highly, but I didn’t even get my toes wet.
Mountains run the length of the island, and some of the better hikes can be done as day trips from Cebu City- which is what I did. With plenty of monsoon rain, the hills are green and forested, or planted with rice and vegetables.
The island of Cebu is world famous, especially among beach lovers and divers.
Above ground, there are beautiful green hills.
Traditional villages with some lovely old houses.
Fertile farmland producing fresh fruit and vegetables.
And this really weird looking vegetable (or fruit?).
I didn't visit those famous beaches at the southern end of the island.
I spent a few days in Cebu City, and made two day trips to the mountains nearby.
An hour inland sits Sudlon National Park. While the area is green and beautiful, with villages and farms throughout, it is hard to see why it is deemed a park.
A farmer prepares to plant out, on the edges of Sudlon.
Regardless of human influence, the area was certainly pleasant and scenic.
But this was my destination, Moncado Colony, headquarters of Filipino Crusaders World Army.
Part religious group, part resistance army, the group has many thousands of followers, and I believe was involved in fighting the Imperial Japanese Army.
General Moncado inspect the Moncado Hotel. There are relics of the armed activities around, and you'll need ID to get past security. Strange place.
The way down from Moncado was forested, green and hilly, with scattered farms and villages throughout.
Walking my way back to the main road, I looked at this house and thought "I want to buy that." I didn't.
Returning to Cebu City was easier than the 2 (3?) mini-bus outbound leg. A motorcyclist picked me up on the backroad, and dropped me back in town!
Getting to Osmena Peak was even worse. The single lane highway south was choked with traffic, the pollution stinging my eyes and throat. The hills were a welcome relief.
An old basketball court fades with time along the road.
Everyone callas Osmena Cebu's highest peak. Another one, much harder to get to, is only a wee bit higher, so near enough!
The surrounding countryside is pretty, and the views at the top first rate. Sadly, the rains came minutes after I took this, and had to head back down.
I spotted a few kingfishers by the side of the road.
Birds were few and far between on Cebu. This sunbird was in Sudlon.
Up and down the windy roads, these dangerously overloaded moto-taxis serviced the nearby Mantalongon market town.
With more time, I would love to cast my gaze across more of this island. Next time.