Oct 30, 2015

Seeking Sleep at Sirao Peak, Cebu

People climb for different reasons. To conquer fear. To bond with friends. To explore nature. My reason for climbing Sirao Peak, more than anything else, was to find sleep.

A chronic insomniac and unrelenting night owl, I'd been struggling to have long, uninterrupted sleep for weeks. And, just as The Narrator sought to cure his sleeplessness by exchanging punches in a fight club, I sought to cure mine by trekking for five hours through woods and rivers and navigating boulders and slippery slopes.

Sirao Peak, also known as Mount Kan-Irag and Pedro Calungsod Peak, is a 700-meter hill found in Barangay Malubog, a mountain barangay about 12 kilometers away from Cebu City. Sirao Peak was trending in the news and blogosphere recently for its dazzling celosia flower farm fondly nicknamed the "mini Holland of Cebu."

There is more than one way to get to the summit of Mt. Kan-Irag. The easier, shorter route begins at Ayala Heights and takes about half an hour. Hungry for an adventure and a good story, my all-girl climbing team went on the longer, more challenging trail, an excursion that took us five hours and gave us more than a few bruises and scratches.

The sun was just setting when we arrived at the peak. We were exhausted but the journey richly rewarded us with breathtaking views of the city, farms and getting up close with wonders like the Butuanon River and Budlaan Falls. The pain and occasional terror were all worth it in the end.

It's true what they say about success being sweeter when it's hard won. Food tastes infinitely better, too. And, no, I didn't get any sleep the night we camped at Sirao Peak. What I did get was the realization that life is too short to be spent fussing over things you don't and can't have. Look forward and around you: the world is a big, beautiful place and to be part of it each day is grace.

Sirao Peak Trek & Overnight Camping Trip

What to expect:
  • River trekking, slight bouldering, rock scrambling
  • Grassy meadows and flower farms
  • Rivers, streams and waterfalls 
  • Breathtaking views

What to bring:
  • Sturdy, comfortable backpack. Both your hands need to be free to move and hold onto things.
  • Food for 1 dinner and 1 breakfast. Our guides brought a cook set so we had no trouble preparing meals. 
  • Trail food like nuts and chocolate. 
  • Extra change of clothes.
  • Eating utensils (plastic container for eating and a spork)
  • Tent (waterproof if possible)
    • Ground sheet or fly sheet if your tent is not waterproof 
  • 1.5 liters to 2 liters of drinking water 
  • Wet wipes
  • Plastic bags for wet clothing and trash
  • Light blanket or sleeping bag
  • Small flashlight
  • First aid kit and medicines
  • Whistle (in case you get lost)

What to wear:
  • Comfortable, dry-fit top
  • Trekking pants or shorts with leggings
  • Light sweater or arm warmers. There are areas overgrown with thick, prickly plants so you'll need some protection from scratches and cuts.
  • Jacket
  • Visor or cap
  • Comfortable and durable shoes with a good grip

Here's a peek at our itinerary:

Day 1:
  • 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM : Assembly and lunch at Gaisano Grand Mall (Talamban). 
  • 12:00 PM - 12:15 PM : Motorcycle ride from Sunnyhills to Sitio Baogo.
  • 12:15 PM - 01:15 PM : Trek to Budlaan Falls.
  • 01:15 PM - 01:30 PM : Quick stopover for picture-taking and resting at Budlaan Falls.
  • 01:30 PM - 02:30 PM : Trek to water source.
  • 02:30 PM - 02:45 PM : Refill water and rest.
  • 02:45 PM - 03:15 PM : Trek to small convenience store. 
  • 03:15 PM - 03:45 PM : Buy extra provisions and snacks at convenience store. Rest. 
  • 03:45 PM - 05:30 PM : Trek to Sirao Peak.
  • 05:30 PM - onwards : Set up camp and prepare dinner. Enjoy the rest of the night. 
Day 2:
  • 05:00 AM - 07:00 AM : Wake-up call. Prepare breakfast.
  • 07:00 AM - 07:30 AM : Break camp.
  • 07:30 AM - 08:30 AM : Hike from peak down to Ayala Heights / trans-central highway.
  • 08:30 AM - 09:30 AM : Wait for the ride back to the city.


  1. That's very unusual reason to climb, I been sleepless myself and maybe I should climb too. What a lovely city lights at night and beautiful sunrise too. I think its worth it <3

    Vanessa | Ai ♥ Capture Memories

    1. You definitely should try climbing, Vanessa, although I wouldn't recommend it as a cure for insomnia haha! I wasn't able to sleep the night we camped at Sirao Peak but I found something so much better -- friendship and an almost-spiritual experience :)

  2. I didn't even know Sirao Peak exists. Clearly, there's so much I have to discover in Cebu. I'm quite the adventurous type so this is definitely right up my alley. Thanks for sharing. Ka nice sa photos! And oh, sleeping problems - I have lots of them too. LOL

    1. Thank you Rei :) We should form a club for insomniacs haha! If you're busy you can do a day trek for Sirao Peak instead of an overnight camping trip.

  3. ninduta sa sunset ui! pila plete habal-habal?

  4. How much budget? any entrance fees? thanks for posting

    1. no entrance fee... Just dispose your garbage properly

  5. I still remember every Nov 01 & 02, we go that place, all the folks last time on that barrios prepare foods for the celebration of all soul & Saint days, today I don't know f the young generation still practice the tradition.

  6. I still remember every Nov 01 & 02, we go that place, all the folks last time on that barrios prepare foods for the celebration of all soul & Saint days, today I don't know f the young generation still practice the tradition.

  7. when will be your next stop, maybe we can trek along with you :)