This is one of the few unplanned out-of-the-city weekend trips I had. Unplanned, because most of the time I am meticulous searching where to stay, where or what to eat and what to enjoy in new places. Well, now it doesn’t matter as long as I’m with my best travel buddy. I just entered a few keywords on google a couple of hours before we left the city.
We hopped on the bus at Cebu South Bus Terminal around 7am and read e-books and listened to some feel-good music while on the road to Samboan. We chose Samboan because I heard that there is a coral garden with many clownfishes very near the shore.
I had been to different parts of the country, but I haven’t seen this part of our province.
We arrived almost noon in the poblacion (town proper) and from there, we took a tricycle ride to a beachfront villa. Unfortunately, nobody else was staying there. It was off-season. We called the owner, his phone number I got from reading online, but he said that he no longer manages the property because he’s now separated and his ex-wife is the one actively overseeing it now. He gave a contact number of the caretaker, but we couldn’t reach him either.
Luckily a local suggested another homestay and it was a good deal at Php 1,000 per night. We were the only visitors that time so it’s like we rented the whole cottage house with three rooms and a shared kitchen and sala. Outside, there is a small nipa hut where you can eat, or have coffee talks, or read books and/or simply feel the sea breeze.
It felt great dipping in the salty waters after months of missing the beach. It does not boast of fine white sands, but we were surprised to see corals and small fishes just very near the shore. You’ll find lots of zebra-like fishes and nemo clownfishes. Some parts near-shore have dead corals, but good thing it is still coral-rich deeper.
For dinner, the cottage caretaker bought food from the market. She cooked us sinugbang isda (grilled fish), utan bisaya (local mixed vegetable soup) and dried fish. The utan bisaya was healthy and satisfying. But I did throw up because I was not able to tolerate the pungent dried fish. I like eating pinikas na buwad, dried fish that’s thinly-sliced in half, but this one was different. I just couldn’t handle it. I’m a supertaster which means I experience flavors with greater intensity than average. Benjie finds it good tasting and he said that it was dried in the sun shorter than the usual. It is called Labtingaw.
The next day, we had an early morning swim and then packed our bags so we can explore the rest of Southern Cebu. We went to the poblacion and from there we hired a tricycle driver to reach Aguinid Falls.
Aguinid Falls is located in Brgy. Tangbo and one has to hike for about 5-8 minutes to the waterfalls. It has five levels of cascading falls and we enjoyed its fresh cool waters for a couple of hours.
Locals enjoying a dip in its cool waters.
This is the next one. The spray in the air was really refreshing.
View from above. A great getaway from one hot afternoon.
There are three more falls in Samboan namely:
1. Binalayan Falls or Hidden Falls,
2. Candayvic Falls
3. Da-o Falls.
Da-o Falls is the tallest among them and it’s like a natural dam. You need to take a short trek to go the falls, but we did not go there that weekend. We’d like to come back for the rest of the falls and also for Colase Marine Sanctuary. Thank you Samboan!
Thereafter, we waited for a bus on the highway and agreed to drop by Ginatilan. It is St. Pedro Calungsod‘s hometown.
We had our lunch at an eatery in the public market and from there we asked the owner how to get to Inambakan Falls. The driver charged us P80 for both of us one way. Going to the falls is around 6-10 minutes of easy hike.
There were a few foreigners who enjoyed the falls. It is about a 100 feet high and 8-9 feet deep.
We should have just let the habal² driver wait for us because we did not stay long here. He said that we just need to walk for about 20-30 minutes to reach the road where we can a ride another habal². But it was fine — it was a chance to sweat out.
Afterwards, we rode a bus for Cebu City but decided to stop over at Boljoon, a quaint town by the coast that showcases its heritage.
We paid a quick visit to Boljoon’s old Augustinian church built in 1690, the Nuestra Senora Patrocinio De Maria Church. It is one of the baroque churches in the Philippines declared as a UNESCO world heritage site. It was also declared a National Culture Treasure by the National Museum in 2001. It has a mice painted ceiling. It was under renovation that time because of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in October 2013.
Adjoining the church is a museum. We were the only visitors that time and we’re grateful that the caretaker explained about the displayed artifacts and also gave us a brochure.
Boljoon started as a small settlement named Nabulho. This was before the Spaniards arrived and introduced Christianity in this southern town. In early 2008, artifacts were discovered including chinawares, knife weapons and gold jewelries of the tribe from the dig site in front of the church.
The excavation was initiated by the USC Department of Sociology and Anthropology in collaboration with the National Museum team.
Below is a digital representation of the Nabulho settlement:
Beside the church is Escuela Catolica, an old structure made of wood built in 1940. It served as a dormitory for children who were required to stay the night before taking their first communion.
Also in Boljoon Rizal Park stood the church fortress, the El Grande Baluarte. Not the typical fortress like Fort San Pedro but it is a stone structure that served as a fortification for the church. The townfolks call it “Dakong Balay” (Big House) and it now serves as a belltower.
Boljoon Highway Rock
When you pass by Boljoon town, you will notice its popular landmark, the Ili Rock. The natural rock formation served as a fortress during the prehistoric period. It is a beautiful backdrop in a curved coastal road making Boljoon a postcard town. ‘Til we meet again Boljoon!
Around 5:45pm, we hopped on the bus again and we arrived about 9pm in Cebu City. It was just another great weekend of November 2013. 🙂
You might also like reading: Moalboal | Panagsama and Basdaku beachineering