Cebu Road Trip: Lost in Libo Hills

in Haveyoubeenherelast month (edited)

What happens when one gets lost in a rural area without any internet signal?

After weeks of isolation getting through our own family's Covid-19 experience and dealing with a sad month of losing a close friend (also to the virus), my husband and I longed for an escape.

We received a Sunday lunch invite from a very dear friend in Argao whose family also went through Covid a few months back. The last time we visited them was almost a year ago.

Argao is an agricultural town in Southern Cebu located on the other side of the island. It is an hour's drive away from Moalboal through the mountains. We lived there for 2 to 3 years, so in a way, Argao was also our home.

We were still wary of the virus so we planned to come for a visit and head back home directly afterward. However, the thought of driving back on the same road that we've taken countless times seemed boring.

While in the car, I pitched the idea, "What if we take the Alcoy Road to cross the mountains to Alegria instead? Do you think our car would make it through the deep potholes in Alcoy?"

I knew my husband @iamyohann would find this too tempting to pass. Several minutes later, we made our way to Alcoy.

In my previous post below, Yohann and I passed through this very route on a motorcycle ride but missed the chance to see the view halfway through for we were engulfed by the fog. Read more about it here:

Explore South Cebu Mountain Roads on a Motorcycle (Part 2)

It's a narrow meandering mountain route through a forest reserve. The scenic views on this road are hands-down breathtaking. The image above is a sneak peek of Libo Hills.

Libo Hills

Libo Hills is a vast area of rolling hills and jaw-droppingly beautiful hilly terraces in the quiet countryside town of Alegria in the southwestern part of Cebu.

Not much has been written about it. it's an ideal site for trail biking and camping. It could also be an interesting site to hike and enjoy a picnic. A visit to the area is free. The best part is, the temperature drops here which make for a pleasant and cooler place to enjoy when one wants to escape the humid heat from the tropical coast.

How to Get There?

It's accessible using a private vehicle. It might even be difficult with a small car. The road is rough in many parts so a 4x4 vehicle or a motorcycle would be ideal. If you find a habal-habal, or a motorcycle driver for hire who would be willing to take you there, then perhaps that could also be a viable option.


From Cebu City, follow Natalio Bacalso National Road all the way to Alcoy. Take Lalin Road, a small road after Alcoy Church. The ear-popping zig-zag ascent will reveal stunning views of the sea above steep ravines.

Rolling Hills welcomed us.

We faced a crossroad several kilometers after Nug-as Forest Reserve. We didn't remember encountering this T-junction before. The fog erased any landmark the last time, it might as well have clouded our memory too.

The road on the right was muddy and the idea of our car losing traction in a slippery cliff left a scary thought. The road on the left was clean concrete so it was an easy choice. We followed this smooth road for several kilometers.

The concrete road ended.

5:25 PM

The time on my mobile phone screen silently warned us that the sun will disappear very soon. I had a strange feeling we were headed in the wrong direction.

There was no internet signal and google maps wouldn't load offline on Yohann's phone. My phone also had 1% battery left.

We came across a local farmer on his way home. In the local language, he advised us to turn around because the road we took was headed for Malabuyoc, the opposite direction where we were headed.

"What if he's just pulling our leg," Yohann asked as he made a U-turn.

"I don't know, what if he's right? Why don't we head back to the junction and ask again?"

A friendly passerby at the crossroad confirmed what the farmer recommended.
The correct route was the muddy trail.

My Takeaway

I read somewhere that Libo Hills is referred to as "Little Baguio of Cebu." I beg to differ. In my humble opinion, Libo Hills has its own unique character. It is special enough that it doesn't need a comparative title to any other destination.

It was dark when we reached the town of Alegria and despite getting lost, we're glad we decided to take the Alcoy pass.

The trip made me realize that the seemingly easy and smooth road is not always the right one when we're confronted to choose a path to take at crossroads. I believe the same holds true in life.

If you're in Alegria and on the lookout for places to eat, this might interest you:

Food Trip in Alegria

Thank you for reading! May we choose the right route always. Have a blessed day!

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What a beautiful sight you have had.. I wish I could explore the islands. I was born in Guadalupe, but grew up in Manila, my vacation there 2 years ago had been short, was just visiting relatives. We have a huge clan and the next time I visit Cebu, I'd take the time to explore.. Thanks for sharing your lovely adventure, you gave me an idea for such a wonderful place full of nature.

Hello @mers, there's just so much to see in Cebu. I can imagine, vacations are not enough to be able to visit relatives and meet friends. I grew up in Manila as well but I made a self-promise that should I return to the Philippines, I'd live somewhere else. There are still many places I haven't seen in Cebu but I'm glad we drove through this road and have finally seen it without the fog.

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Looks like a nice place to get lost in!
It's always a bit stressful though when technology fails and you don't know where you are. There is something to be said for paper maps - though who even carries them nowadays???
It's nice that you found some friendly people to help out along the way.

At times like this, paper maps are the best. I remember the road maps in France inside car dashboards which are tattered at the folds haha. The countryside folks particularly the ones living in the mountains are always helpful and kind here. If we still had daylight, we'd probably linger and continue being lost 😄

Ka nice diri oy! Makawala og stress! Thanks for sharing this @discoveringarni :)

Hi @patsitivity, the sprawling greens were therapeutic. Murag naay free aircon sa gawas, as refreshing as Mantalongon and Osmena Peak. 😁

It looks so luscious and green. Thank you for taking us along on your trip! And it must have been nice to have been "off the grid" for a while!

Hello @fermentedphil, yes, it was nice to be surrounded by greenery and off the grid even though we were just passing through. It helps to see something different. Thank you and I'm glad to hear that.

Such a beautiful landscape. 😍😍😍. Beautiful photos @discoveringarni

Thank you, I'd love to see it again, hopefully, next time when the weather is clear if it ever gets sunny.

That's a beautiful and peaceful hill!

Hello @dodovietnam, thank you. We hope to return hopefully on a sunny day. We noticed it's either cloudy or rainy here but it is refreshing and peaceful.

i lived in cebu for more than 10years, my husband is from the south but we never had gone to this part yet

Hello @junebride, they're doing some road widening from Alcoy to Nug-as forest reserve so perhaps in the near future, this area would be more known. It's a trail more popular for bike riders. I can imagine it would be a nice area for trail running as well. Not sure where the name was derived but I figured Libo means thousand so it's Thousand Hills?

yes libo means thousand.. perhaps that's what it meant..

I this so too 😊

A pretty place to get lost. I do miss maps, they do not run out of batteries or lose service and it is kinda a lost skill on how to read them!

Hi Sara, I miss maps too. I agree, I wish we had a map and an actual compass. Map and compass reading are skills that we should bring back, learn, and re-learn.

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