Bikers @ Cebu / Where The Travels

DALAGUETE-BADIAN MOUNTAIN HIGHWAY, Cebu: Innocent Roadtrip Turned Sour

Philippines: VISAYAS

This is probably not the best entry to talk about clear sunny skies, crashing waves, sand and palm trees or a blissfully peaceful day at the beach because en route we had stumbled into what one would call unchartered territory. No kidding. *Sweat beads all around*

What started out as an innocent joyride turned out to be the roadtrip from hell.

We wanted to enjoy a cool weekend getaway on the shores of Moalboal. Right.

Now… on to our MEGA FAIL version of the trip.

First off, we would take the opportunity to say that this was the first time Jake and Belle messed up real good— and still having the battle scars in our minds to prove it.

Everything started out peachy as pie. We headed out at about 10 in the morning so once noontime hit we could bask in the sun out on the beach sippin’ some gin and juice without the gin.

We could have easily taken a bus or v-hire or something like that but noooo we had to drive all the way down there ourselves “to save money” and “to experience some first-hand awesomeness”. Sure. Our 2 ½ hr car ride from Cebu City inside a vintage 1979 VW Beetle escalated into a 7 hr whatever-the-f***-that-was. Why? How? Let’s see…


1. At the Y-junction in Carcar City, we took a wrong turn. Instead of going west, we headed down the eastern side passing towns of Sibonga, Argao and Dalaguete. We never really noticed the fluke until we realized just how far we’ve gone.

Jake: What the? I think we’re going the wrong way.

Belle: Erm. I coulda sworn we turned left for Moalboal before.

Jake: When you said you wanted to go to Moalboal you must’ve meant Santander (the southernmost tip of Cebu). It looks like we’ll be there in a bit.

Belle: The trisikad driver awhile back nodded his head when I asked him! I SWEAR IT WAS LEFT.

After all, it was RIGHT.

Traveler’s Tip #1: Print out a map or go out and buy one before heading off to wherever regardless of “risk factor”. Once you bust out the guessing games, you’re in for trouble.


2.  In Dalaguete, we came across a sign that screamed out SHORT-CUT!!! (for us anyway). Something like a Dalaguete-Badian Mountain Highway… perfecto! We were too lazy to retrace our steps all the way back to Carcar so we figured crossing east to west would be a brilliant idea.

Note: Moalboal is situated in between the Badian and Alcantara towns.

At first it was a so-called stroke of genius going that way. If I say now that the view was absolutely ripped off a postcard… then I’m full of crap. Because it was more than that.

Imagine driving into a whole new world full of pine trees, rocky cliffs, mountain ridges, glorious peaks and troughs, thick flora… and if you looked down you could see bustling brooks snaking in and out of the foliage.

Belle: Can you hear it? I swear there’s a waterfall nearby!

Jake: I might need a defibrillator. *glazed eyes*

Little did we know that if we kept moving forward, we’d be totally doomed. It never even occurred to us why the only vehicles that went through there were huge trucks or the occasional lonely motorcycle. People began giving us the weirdest looks.

Traveler’s Tip #2: Watch out for other cars. You the only one? Goodbye and goodluck.


3. At the end of the “Highway”, we came across a Public Market… with an unusually small number of people around. They didn’t look at us weirdly anymore… they stared at us like we were plain mental. Like we were frothing and rabid. They should have aptly named that “Road to Nowhere Public Market”… because when we asked around, they had no idea where to point us to.

Despite baskets of various appetizing vegetables the likes of cabbages, squash, carrots, root crops and etc., our stomachs churned at the possibility of being so lost it wasn’t even funny anymore. You can kick is in the face now because in all stupidity, we did not think of going back the way we came and instead continued on to wherever the asphalted road was going.

Traveler’s Tip #3: Learn to distinguish looks of astonishment from stares of pure horror. This could cue you on when to start worrying… a great deal.


4. On and on we went until we ran out of good asphalted road. Uh oh. Red light blinking, alarm going off, can you smell Twilight Zone? For miles, all we had was each other and the dirt road to keep us company. A couple of inches left and we’d have spiraled down the mountain as the road was impossibly close to the edge. Houses were scarce. People were scarcer.

Belle: There’s no signal on the phone. If we died here, no one would know.

Jake: I’ll run out of gas in a bit. Start laughing.


5. We might’ve reached Mantalongon, the “Vegetable Basket” of Dalaguete but we’ll never know. As far as we’re concerned, having checked google earth/maps/whatever now, we did NOT pass through the entire highway and instead took a wrong turn somewhere (amidst all the forks we bumped into.) The map doesn’t even recognize it yet.

Belle: Left? Right? Left? Right? Up? Down? Sideways? Yey.

Jake: *cry*

6. We broke out in cold sweat when VolksMegan’s gasoline meter inched bit by angry bit towards EMPTY. Nevermind the main highway. We needed to find a place which sold gas… in the middle of nowhereland at that. And fast! A good (bad) number of things would have gone seriously wrong keeping in mind how old that car was. Why hello there, first scary thing on the list… Oh God help us. Finally, we came by a small sari2x store which turned out to be a life saver.

Traveler’s Tip #4: No matter where you might end up in this island, there will always be vendors selling gasoline in 1-L Coke bottles. Chillax. Enjoy. (And we say that now.)


7. Surprisingly, we didn’t feel like the urge to use the loo, eat, hydrate, rest… and everything else in between. Maybe all the nervous ticks were enough to keep us preoccupied.


8. Within that span of roughly 5 hrs of seemingly hopeless snaking around in the mountains, we managed to experience the entire spectrum of human emotion. From abnormally laughing  too much, to adrenaline rushes all the way to asthma attacks. To make the long story short, we can’t keep track of how many times we asked for directions and followed complete strangers everywhere just to get a glimpse of a road sign or even a good asphalted road which pointed toward civilization.

Traveler’s Tip #5: Always be optimistic. This way, if you are traveling with a companion you wouldn’t be forced into hearing all sorts of “disturbing” end-of-the-world confessions or tricked into giving out the entirety of your inheritance to him/her.

Traveler’s Tip #6: Great travel buddies are golden! They are there to keep you grounded, slap you with reality checks and share whatever miserable/quirky/epic situation you are stuck in. They also make inappropriate nervous jokes that keep you sane and entertained at least. Thank you, great travel buddy!


9. When we finally got hold of some good road, we heaved out all the carbon dioxide which was probably trapped the whole time in our lungs just holding our breaths. And I suddenly felt like I haven’t peed in centuries. Just seeing those road markers which indicated how many more miles to a certain town made us want to dash out the car and slobber the thing with kisses.


It took a while before the main highway unfolded before our eyes like a red carpet and we were Brangelina! And when we spied the sign which spelled out “<– BADIAN / MOALBOAL –>”, you can’t imagine all the noise inside the car. You just can’t! Okay, I guess you can.

Our misadventure doesn’t end there though. The trip is one massive rollercoaster and you’ll find out why… if you read the Moalboal entry! *Teehee* On to the next one!


P.S. A shout-out of heroic proportions to our lovely VolksMegan. If you can zone in our brainwaves, please accept our heartfelt apologies for what we made you go through. (This was not the first time!) If it weren’t for you, we would probably be taming the fields out in the mountains somewhere and never hear of internet or blogging or a haircut ever again. We love you, you gorgeous beetle!



To be continued…


11 thoughts on “DALAGUETE-BADIAN MOUNTAIN HIGHWAY, Cebu: Innocent Roadtrip Turned Sour

  1. true enough, greattravel buddies are golden. i rmmbr my trip w/ lakwatsero to Palaui when we got lost in the woods, haha I may have not survived it w.o him. korek! stay positive, there’s always a good reason why you’re lost. trust me! 😉
    nice post by the way, pati ako kinakabahan sa sunod na mangyayari! 🙂
    keep exploring!

    1. Thank you so much, Pinay! We’d love to read more bout your (potentially funny) adventure with Lakwatsero! Yikes, we think getting lost in the woods is way more serious than up in the mountain roads but then again it all depends how you look at it, no? Hahaha We have yet to try out trekking. You must’ve gone through one heck of a time! At least you have a friend to share all those with first hand.

      You are so right! Having the right frame of mind and optimistic outlook is the best way to keep away from those panic attacks. Stay in love with the world! We’d love to hear more from you soon. 😉

  2. yeah, if i was lost too, i wouldn’t be thinking of buying those vegetables hahahaha.

    in our research there, we were able to pinpoint the key players of the self-regulating market: the suppliers which were the vegetable farmers (who doesn’t have a say on the selling price), the commissioners (who dictate on how much the price is for a vegetable and jacks it up when selling to a comprador), and compradors who sell it in carbon or to other retailers.

    1. Your study makes total sense, Fetus! Thank you so much for sharing it with us here! Opens up a whole new world in economics we weren’t even aware about. Kudos for all your hard work. (Especially the part where you had to drive all the way up there too.) You guys must’ve scored real well with the profs with that one.

      P.S. Next time, vegetables will definitely be in our itinerary!

  3. Aw man, those are the times worth living for. I too embarked on a road trip from which I seriously thought I would not return. Your travel tips ring true, and I hope that it saves at least a few people from the hell of being lost along the spiderweb that is the provincial road network.

    My friend and I, randomly planned a trip to the south, and we embarked the following day. We got some good food, and saw some awesome sights, namely, (1) a theater playing “Harry Potter 2-D”, (2) a Cah– (this place that had stone walls and a parapet that looked a lot like a typical castle, but when we looked inside turned out to be a jeepney repair shop, “Cah–” being what we exclaimed just before the latter aspect of the place revealed itself to us) and (3) a real live turkey (which was extremely awesome).

    Most importantly though, we took the steepest, most winding, and as a result, scariest single-lane dirt road we’ve ever been on. Going around Batangas area, we only had one landmark, what we believed to be the Tagaytay ridge. (which we got wrong the first time, apparently we headed towards a different mountain, so we turned back and found the right elevated land form to generally head towards) So when we hit this crazy steep, snake-like road that would put the Tokyo Drift mountain road to shame, we gritted our teeth and prayed that this was it, and that our car could make it. We eventually made it back to civilization, barely, and at least came out of it with a story.

    Great experience, glad we did it, never wanna do it again, though. So, yeah, I feel you guys. *double-pounds left pectorial with a clenched right fist.” 😀

    1. Gelo da maaaan! Great hearing about your own version of a TRANSFORMATIVE mindwarp! We suppose you had your lucky rabbit’s (or parrot or cat or muskrat or ant) foot tucked into your pockets or else we never would’ve met you.. at all!

      Where was this strangely exciting roadtrip exactly? You mentioned Batangas… so we guess you pretty much covered 1/8th of the entire Northern Luzon just snaking in and out of the “provincial road network”. Too bad you didn’t leave markings on trees so we could follow your lead (or not). Do you have pictures to share?

      You should be our tourguide up north. We could have our own hilarious version of “EUROTRIP”.

      Very well put! An experience we were lucky to go through with but never in our wildest dreams would wanna put up with ever again. Peace and one love! Keep those travel shoes on!

  4. i recognized the place you took videos! we were there in mantalongon public market last jan 23 for our comparative politics of communist/post-communist states class, studying this rudimentary self-regulating market which is a precursor to capitalism.

    since you were there, why didn’t you buy vegetables? they’re quite cheap. pichay costs around 13.50 pesos per kilo, cabbage 24, calabasa 15, and much more. could have profited by selling it back in cebu and compensate for the gas.

    you could have converted your moalboal beach trip to a highland adventure. well i guess your attires didn’t suit to it. lol.

    1. Hi, Fetus! It’s comforting to hear we were actually going the “right way” (sort of). But at least you and your companions didn’t feel the need to panic ‘coz you were actually heading there for a reason! Hahaha. By the way, your studies sound interesting. How did that go? You chose the perfect location. Rudimentary is right!

      Buying vegetables was the last thing on our minds since we weren’t even sure if that was actually -IT- and we were too preoccupied with a whole bunch of other things from what you’ve read! Hahahah. Who knew we’d actually make it back… the vegetables sure didn’t! :)) We might’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere by the market since I doubt crossing the entire highway would take 5 hours tops! LOL.

      You’re right. We were ill equipped for a highland adventure… starting from the old car down to our beachwear. The sunblock would have been the only useful thing in the back seat. Hahahahah

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