Friday, January 23, 2015

TRAVEL: Hidden Escapes and a Trail of Adventure in Oslob, Cebu

Oh how time flies so excruciatingly fast. I never thought it had been more than two months since I said good bye to Oslob, Cebu.  I've never seen Cebu in its stark beauty!  Stripped off of urban life, which means communing with nature can be such a bliss.  

You know, nature can really talk to you and it will indeed tell you a lot things. It, however, doesn't talk like your noisy neighbor, it will whisper sweetly with mild blows lazing your weary soul or it may blow you away as if shouting at you and checking your focus. 

If nature does not envelop you with a certain purpose in mind, it will rock you! 

Believe me, for this is how I had encountered Oslob's natural beauty.

After, my short visit at Sumilon Island and the small town of Oslob, this came to mind while I was going down the steep staircase which leads to the other side of the beach.

“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair” 
― Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Oslob remains a secret to many but a gem to some who have experienced it's not too bold adventures. If you are among those who needed an escape to city living and thinking of checking out what to do and where to go when in Oslob, you came to the right website.

Swimming with the Whale sharks or "Butanding"

Note that tourists are required to undergo a short orientation and briefing of the “10 commandments” of whale shark watching. Hand-feeding is solely tasked to the fishermen and spectators are not allowed to get within 2 meters from the whale sharks. Touching the butanding is strictly prohibited. Not all fishermen or tour guides may follow Oslob’s whale shark watching rules, so it should be everyone’s conscious effort to respect these wild animals and obey the rules. A fee of Php300 is collected from every tourist, who wishes to see the butandings at close range.

Tumalog Falls

Another must-visit destination in Oslob is the Tumalog Falls. Retaining its natural beauty, this unexplored falls is not clouded with cement structures and huts. Century-old trees abound in the place and the cascade of water from the falls drops in different clusters like gentle raindrops.

The road to Tumalog Falls, however, is already paved and developed. No entrance fees are collected as of the moment. Tourists are advised to bring their own mats and food as the place is not yet fully developed. It will take about 15 minutes of hiking in order to reach the falls.

Even from afar, you could sense the inviting and cool feel of the water gushing from the huge rocks from the falls.  Expect the water to be extremely cold as it comes from accumulated water from the rainfall from a big reservoir above the hill.  

I was just in awe, and every spot is a dedication to nature's works of art!

It's a great activity after the whale-watching experience from the Oslob.  The cold dip (swimming can be hard specially when the water isn't that deep plus considering the very low temp of the water) instantly washes the salty water you had from swimming in the sea.

From the whale watching station in Brgy. Tan-awan, you can hire a habal-habal for 140/pax or a multi cab for a P 600 for 5 pax, both are round trips.  They will only take you to the entrance of the Tumalog but another habal-habal group can take you to the falls. The habal-habal ride to the falls costs PhP30 (one-way) and PhP50 (round trip).

Oslob's Municipal Heritage Park

Seated south of Cebu, is the town proper of Oslob, teeming with historical memes and ahh, a majestic view of  the ocean.  Being there is like a passage from the Spanish era, but with what were really left from the age old stories of pirates, Spanish priests ruling the land and the fires and storms that visited the century.

the facade of the heritage church
From the town proper of Oslob, is the Nuestra Señora de la Inmaculada Concepcion, the National Heritage Church of Oslob, built in 1830. This site was designed by Bishop Santos Gomez Marañon, who had also created the famous Magellan’s Cross in Cebu City. The facade is simple; on the left side is a gigantic bell tower and on the right, the ruins of a monastery that had been connected to the church. Fray Julian Bermejo, to whom the construction of the present church was credited, was an Augustinian priest who organized a military defense system to fight Muslim raiders. Recently, in March 2008, the church was badly damaged by an eight-hour fire and is yet again undergoing major reconstruction.  But with the help of the towns people they were able to rebuilt and complete te renovation on 2010.

It's a mix of new and old materials but still evokes that Neo-Classic look, simple yet elegant architecture.
Inside the church
The clean sky blue wall paint can really tell that it only have been refurbished for just a couple of years and the marbled floors are just so extravagant for a sleepy town like Oslob.

On the left side of the church is Calle de Aragones, the town’s oldest street, built in 1879.  It was named after Fr. Juan Jose Aragones.  At the end of the street, at the intersection of Calle Aeternidad, is the unique, unfinished cuartel.

The structure of the cuartel is mainly made out of the remnants of the walls of the church' bell tower when it first collapsed, while the facade was made of coral stones.  Said to be barracks for Spanish armies.

When you walk further almost at the edge of the boulevard is the baluarte, which is along Calle Eternidad, A baluarter is a watchtower, where the locals called lantawan.  It's one of seven towers built by the warrior-priest Fr. Julian Bermejo, who was then parish priest of Boljo-on.  Half of it only stands. According to stories, this baluarte, as well as the other watchtowers, helped Fr. Bermejo and the townspeople of Oslob repel Moro slave raiders led by Sultan Goranding during a naval battle near the waters off Sumilon Island. Sultan Goranding was captured during the battle, long durin 1813.

Sumilon Island, Home of Bluewater Sumilon

From Bancogon, a ferry will take you to probably one of the most dreamed of resort island by many tourists.

You can either spend the whole day at Bluewater Sumilon Island with a packaged day tour which includes lunch and back and forth ferry ride or just wonder in the sand bar which is open to the public with an entrance fee of P10.  You can hire a boat to take you there from Tan-awan which roughly costs P 2300 to P2500, can be shared by up to 15 people.

You can check out my full review of Bluewater Sumilon at the link below

Fleeting Moments of Travel Bliss at Bluewater Sumilon

After spending half the day of Oslob adventure, the next best thing would be a sumptuous buffet lunch at par with top hotels in Manila.

My unequaled dining experiences at Bluewater Sumilon below:

Lux Resort Dining The Way You Like It at Bluewater, Sumilon Island

After that, it's time to check how far these newly manicured feet took me.  After all, we can't let our tummies bulge with all the food from the buffet, right? So, it's about right to burn some calories with the hike and island trekking.

Bluewater provides a trek guide, making sure the terrain is safe, but still health precautions are implemented.

On the trail, sights like this will enthrall you as the different facets of the island is revealed.  Overlooking is the lagoon in the island, where you can do kayaking or boat paddling.

A day well spent in this island adventure is worth all the hard-work and probably being sea-sick.  Up for an adventure, then call Bluewater Sumilon for booking and more inquiries.

Day Tour Island Package

Set lunch
Boat transfers (Bancogon – Sumilon – Bancogon)
Island activities (kayaking, trekking, snorkeling)
Use of swimming facilities

Note: Above rates are inclusive of tax and service charge • Cannot be combined with other resort promos and packages • Terms and conditions apply • Prices are subject to change with                        their prior notice • Please call the resort to get the schedule of boat trips.

Sumilon Island, Bancogon, Oslob,
Cebu, Philippines 6025

Phone: (63 32) 318 3129 / 318 9098
Mobile: 0917 631 7512 / 0999 885 8337


Rm. 704 Cityland Herrera Tower Rufino cor. Valero Sts. Salcedo Village,
Makati City, Philippines

Phone: (63 2) 817-5751 / 887-1348
Fax: (63 2) 893-5391
Mobile: 0943 700 3378 / 0917 790 6260

CRM Bldg.,  Escario cor. Molave Sts., Lahug, 6000 Cebu City
Phone: (63 32) 412 2436


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