Rock Climbing on the Island of Cebu

This beautiful island is known for having the best mangoes in the world! Tourists also come for scuba diving, swimming with whale sharks, canyoneering, and the pristine white beaches.

A lot of people know this about Cebu. What I’m showing you in this article is a hidden gem. Only for those who are brave enough to face this challenge. This is not for the faint of heart or for tourists who come to relax.

I have to be honest, I’m not the most athletic/fit person. In fact, I have never had a gym membership nor do I go running or play sports. The only physical activity I do is teaching 3-year-olds. All you need is determination and an adventurous spirit.  If I can do it, so can you!

Because of the island’s unique rock formations, rock climbers from all over the world come to Cebu to conquer some beasts. Even if Cebu is internationally renowned as a good place for rock climbing, a lot of Filipinos and even local Cebuanos aren’t aware of this. In a country that is crazy about basketball and boxing, rock climbing doesn’t get the support it deserves. It’s a shame, considering we already have the resources in our backyard.

When the International Olympic Committee announced the inclusion of Sports Climbing to the 2020 Summer Olympics, the Cebuano rock climbers continue to hope that this sport gets more support and recognition.

I’m lucky because three of my handsome brothers love to climb. One of them was part of the Philippine Bouldering Team.  This is what they came up with as the Top 3 Crags on the Island of Cebu:

Cantabaco

this image was taken by my brother Paul Suson

This is the most famous and convenient place to go rock climbing outdoors. You can easily find a decent place to stay, get drinking water and a home-cooked meal for cheap. This is also where you can find easy routes for those who want to try rock climbing for the first time. The easiest route is called “Pumping Station.”

 

Getting there: (from Cebu City = around 1hr 30mins)

– bus (south bus terminal) to Toledo and get off at Landing (P50)

+ motorcycle to Cantabaco, Barangay Silingan in front of the basketball court (P10)

+ walk to the crag (ask locals and they will take you there)

 

– Vhire (south Vhire terminal) to Toledo (P100)

+ motorcycle to Cantabaco, Barangay Silingan in front of the basketball court (P10)

+ walk to the crag (ask locals and they will take you there)

*Vhire is a public van

 

Where to stay:

Ate Glenda’s hostel – 15mins from the crag

P200/room with shared bathroom outside

P350/room with own bathroom

 

Poog, Toledo City

this image was taken by me

This is actually the only crag I’ve climbed in Cebu. For the adventurous but not so athletic, Poog is another crag with easy routes for beginners. The easiest route is called “Italian Station.”

I proudly conquered the “Herakim,” which is a wee bit more difficult than the Italian Station. I guess chasing after those 3-year-olds in my classroom all day has prepared me for the challenge of the Herakim. Although it took me a couple of tries because my dear brother refused to let me cheat. I don’t know exactly how many hours I spent trying to climb this route but it felt like forever!

We paid a local to get us some coconuts but bought our food and water on the main road before walking towards the crag. After that exhausting climb, it was the best coconut I’ve had in my 26 years of existence.

We ended the day by sitting under coconut trees and relaxing for a bit. It was a day trip for us, but you can take a tricycle/motorcycle from Poog to Cantabaco. It will only take around 20 mins. Camping under the stars is also an option if that’s what you prefer.

Overall it was a fun and rewarding experience. I will definitely do it again!

 

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Getting there: (from Cebu City = around 1hr 30mins)

– bus (south bus terminal) to Toledo and get off at Poog Rositas Store (P50)

+ motorcycle to the crag (P10)

 

Tagbao, Mansorela

this image was taken by my brother Paul Suson

It takes about an hour to get there from Cebu City. This is where experts go. This crag is known to be one of the most difficult in the Philippines. Some routes haven’t even been conquered yet. The most difficult route that has been conquered is called “Godzilla.” So far, only 1 person has ascended this bad boy. Godzilla is waiting for someone else strong enough to ascend.

Another behemoth is called “Jack Sparrow.” I am proud to say that my youngest brother, Paul Eli Suson, is the 6th person and the 4th Filipino to ascend this route. He was only 15 years old at that time. When he was 13, he was the first to conquer an intermediate route, hence he got to name it Voldemort, as you do when you’re thirteen and a rock climbing stud.

Unfortunately, Tagbao isn’t the most convenient place to go to. You can’t rent accommodation so you have to camp there, which isn’t the worst if you like the outdoors. It would also be best to bring enough food and water before getting there. There is a mall at the foot of the mountain before getting on the motorcycle.

 

 

Getting there: (from Cebu City – 1-hour motorcycle ride + 10 mins – 1hr hike)

Motorcycle from JY Square Mall to Barangay Tap-tap, Masaba river (around P250)

+ 10mins hike to the crag by the river

+ 1-hour hike to Mansorela.

 

Rock Climbing Walls Within Cebu City

You can practice in a safer place before venturing to the outdoors. This is also where you can meet fellow climbers before you plan your outdoor trip.

 

Vertigo in Metro Sports gym

AddressSalinas Dr, Cebu City, 6000 Cebu, Philippines

Hours: 8 AM – 10 PM (Sunday – Saturday)

Phone+63 32 233 3338

 

Cebu Rock Climbing Community

Address#2 Sapphire Street Gemsville Subdivision Lahug, Cebu, Philippines

Hours: 10 am – 10 pm (Sunday – Saturday)

Phone: 09237411015 – JJ Suson

Email: [email protected]

 

*The latter is in a private property so please call/email before going.

 

Fun Fact #1: The Cebuano word for crag is “pangpang”

Fun Fact #2: Motorcycle ride is called “habal-habal”

 

Things to bring for your Rock Climbing trip: (Aside from food, water, and money)

  • Extra clothes
  • sunscreen

Things you can rent or bring your own: (contact Cebu Rock Climbing Community)

  • Quickdraws
  • Harness
  • Climbing Rope

 

For a guide/belayer/someone to climb with, please contact the official Cebu Rock Climbing Community

Phone: +63 929 252 9612

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ceburockclimbingcommunity/

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