How I Survived The “Death March” (Osmena Peak to Kawasan Falls Traverse Trek)

Hello Strangers! Seeing a person climb Mount Everest from the movie, The Bucketlist, inspired me to go outdoors. I’ve never trekked nor climbed a mountain before. So I had no idea what to expect, what to bring, what to wear. I didn’t have any survival gear or even a tent. I was scared and excited at the same time. So I said to myself, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?”

At the peak
At the peak

So I asked Lanze, a friend from college, if there was an upcoming climb. He told me that they were planning to traverse from Osmeña Peak to Kawasan Falls in a few days. Traverse meaning that they will trek across mountain barangays from Dalaguete (East Cebu) to Badian (West Cebu). It was not an easy feat. By the way, Osmena Peak is the highest point in Cebu island.


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The view of our camp
The view of our camp

Breakfast! Eating rice in a garbage bag
Breakfast! Eating rice in a garbage bag

We decided to meet up in Cebu South Bus Terminal after lunch on a Saturday. The group consisted of four girls and five guys including me. I only knew Lanze so the other people were strangers to me which was quite awkward at first. We arrived in Dalaguete three hours later and rode a motorcycle to Mantalongon Public Market to buy supplies. This place was also the center of livestock trading in the area. We then rode another motorcycle towards the foot of the mountain where we began our ascent. We reached the peak by nightfall.

The obligatory Osmena Peak group photo
The obligatory Osmena Peak group photo

Socials night
Socials night

We set up camp and prepared for dinner. After eating, we had a socials night. We got to know each other, played some games, sang Bob Marley songs with the ukulele as accompaniment and had shots of Tanduay rhum to counter the cold atmosphere.

Stop-over for softdrinks in a sari-sari store
Stop-over for softdrinks in a sari-sari store

My favorite part was laying flat on the grass and watching the night sky full of stars. I felt like I was in outer space. It was as if the stars were in your reach. After the activity, we decided to rest early to prepare for tomorrow’s big day.

Stop-over halfway through at a water source
Stop-over halfway through at a water source

Because I didn’t bring a tent with me, I had no choice but to ask Ian, Lanze’s friend who was also a tattoo artist, if it was okay that I squeezed myself inside his tent. Oh the three of us were like canned sardines! There was no space to just even change your sleeping posture. Because I never really knew Ian well enough, I reckoned that it was also uncomfortable on his part. I didn’t bother to move an inch until dawn. I can’t help but laugh at the situation I was in.

The one-legged Kung Fu pose
The one-legged Kung Fu pose

I woke up at about five in the morning, just in time to help prepare breakfast and watch the sun rise. We then had the obligatory Osmeña Peak groupie and we were on our way by 9am.

Sunrise on my cheeks
Sunrise on my cheeks

TRAVERSE. TRAVERSE. TRAVERSE.

My legs were shaking, and my muscles were fatigued and in pain. I was under the sun’s scorching heat for more than five hours now. My water was running low. I was very tired and exhausted. We didn’t stop for lunch. All I ate was sliced bread with condensada, which was very delicious by the way, since there was no other option. I was at my limit.

Sitting on a bamboo bridge by the falls
Sitting on a bamboo bridge by the falls

But then, I heard it. The sound of falling water was like music to my ears. We are almost there. Just a little more. It’s getting louder and louder with every step.

The obligatory Kawasan Falls group photo
The obligatory Kawasan Falls group photo

I was smiling from ear to ear when I saw the waterfalls in Badian. Indeed, the feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction was overwhelming. I can now brag that I was able to survive the Death March. Not so many people my age have accomplished this.

Behind me is a natural jacuzzi spot
Behind me is a natural jacuzzi spot

If you would ask how I survived it? All I could say is that time goes by fast when you’re having fun especially with new found friends. Now, it’s time to relax and dive into the cold fresh water. One thing checked off my bucketlist!

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