6 things to do in the Vegetable Basket of Cebu
By Irene Mariell Labucay
STC Masscom Intern
WHILE many Sugbuanons are getting giddy preparing for their inter-province or overseas trips in the coming weeks, we’re guessing that some of you prefer a laid-back vacation within Cebu. You might want to visit Dalaguete during the holidays for a breather from the city bustle and for that much-needed nature recharge.
Known for its cool mountain weather, the Municipality of Dalaguete is located just 84 kilometers south of Cebu City, and if you’re planning to get there anytime, go raid your room, grab your travel essentials, and step on the gas. Just drive straight along N. Bacalso St. until you reach the municipality. Waze can be a helpful friend in times like this.
Another option would be heading to the South Bus Terminal: just hop on a bus that will take you to the town dubbed the “Vegetable Basket of Cebu.” Getting there won’t be as difficult as you think since the friendly Dalaguetnon motorcyclists will take you to your destination of choice, or you could just ask any of the locals. Here are five stops for your Dalaguete escapade:
1. Cool down at Obong Cold Spring
When one thinks of beating the heat in a tropical country, the beach often comes to mind. But dipping into natural pools like Obong Cold Spring can prove far more refreshing. Obong’s clear cold brackish water springs from the nearby beach. At the spring’s edge, century-old “dalakit” trees, from which the municipality derived its name, offer cool shade. For fun-loving guests, huge rocks in and around the spring can be used as swimming platforms. With an entrance fee of only P5, it’s definitely an affordable deal for a cold plunge!
2. Strawberry time at Sergio’s Farm
A good volume of vegetables all over Cebu comes from Dalaguete, but the “Vegetable Basket of Cebu” produces strawberries as well. Yes! Strawberries are not just found in the northern parts of Luzon but are also cultivated in the fertile valleys of Maloray, Dalaguete. What started as a private farm, Sergio “Paul” Revalde opened his two-hectare farm to the public in 2013 and has grown organic produce without harming the yield. With a P50 entrance fee, you will find yourself in the strawberry and leafy haven with birds chirping in the uplands. One of the most sought-after activities in the farm is hand-picking strawberries and other vegetable products in strawberry and vegetable “tunnels.” Aside from fresh strawberries and other greens, they also sell jams, vegetable salads, pickled radish and refreshments made from strawberries. Here’s a tip: visit Sergio’s Farm for strawberries between December until the summer when it’s peak season. Take it from the locals, you’ll have a strawberry overload.
3. Bloom and blossom at Sunflower Garden
Apart from abundant fresh produce that grow in the cold uplands of Dalaguete, flowers bloom there as well on sunnier days. One destination that’s growing in popularity is the Sunflower Garden of Dalaguete in Barangay Mantolongon, where the famous Osmeña Peak could be found. Aside from sunflowers, a variety of other flower species are also cultivated in the garden. Tourists and sightseers can often be seen appreciating nature’s gift through their best snapshots.
4. Stand high and golden at Kandungaw Peak
There’s no doubt that Dalaguete has got to be on the top of the list of trending mountain peaks hiked by tourists. Some of the tourists’ favorites are Tabon Peak, Osmeña Peak and Casino Peak. But just last year, a fourth one has been added to the list: Kandungaw Peak. Between the mountains of Dalaguete and Badian, Kandungaw Peak started drawing tourists in 2017 when it first opened to the public. This is the second highest peak of Cebu, just after the more popular Osmeña Peak. Managed by the Dalaguete Tourism Office, Kandungaw is located in Barangay Maloray in Dalaguete, a little bit farther from Barangay Mantalongon. The environmental fee is only at P30, so if you’re in for a 40-minute steep hike and a spine-tingling but fulfilling kind of fun, then this might be the peak for you. The sunrise is simply majestic out here.
5. San Guillermo de Aquitania Church
Beautiful old churches that tell so much of Cebu’s rich history and culture always leave an impression among those traveling down south. One of these churches is the San Guillermo de Aquitania Church, which was completed in 1825. The interior and rich artistry of the walls reflect the Spanish era. The church is one of the island’s most preserved baroque-rococo structures, valued for its highly ornamental and decorative style. Dalaguetnons fondly claim that almost all the locals of Dalaguete receive the sacraments from this Church. Stop by the San Guillermo de Aquitania Church for some religious and historical enrichment.
6. Bonus: Take home Dalaguete’s Torta
Perfect getaways are never complete without souvenirs, or in this case, a special treat of take-home delicacies. Contrary to the belief that Southern Cebu has one distinct torta specialty, Dalaguetnons would beg to disagree! They claim that Dalaguete’s Torta has the perfect yolk-to-oil ratio, and that’s what makes it Dalaguetnon. It has this distinct sweet delicacy taste and an aroma of pure homemade goodness that makes it delectable down to the last bite. Dalaguete’s Torta, which remains as good as it was first bought for five to six days, surely is a surprise treat for your family and friends.