Thursday, February 28, 2013

Moalboal - Diving and Mythical Paradise of Cebu

Cebu is known as the Queen City of the South in the Philippines. It is the oldest city established during the Spanish colonial period back in the 16th century. Lots have been written about Cebu but not that much about the municipality of Moalboal as a tourist destination.

Where is Moalboal?

Moalboal is a peninsula that lies in Southwest coast of the Province of Cebu. It is bounded on the North by the Municipality of Alcantara, the Municipality of Badian in the South, west by TaƱon Strait and the Municipality of Argao in the East. It can be reached by bus or car in 2 ½ hours more or less from Cebu City.

Moalboal is known as a magnificent underwater diving paradise for both local and foreign nationals - one of the best scuba dive capitals of the world. 

There are two interesting things that caught my special attention with Moalboal:

One, a spring where the municipality derived its name. According to lore, Moalboal has a spring where many of the locals get their water. Once, a foreigner asked a woman with a cleft what the place was called. The woman thought he was asking her about the spring so she said that it was a bukal-bukal. However, because of her speech impediment, her words came out sounding like Moalboal and that was how the town got its name. It is interesting to note also that the location of the legendary spring sits beside the house of my relatives! Please see the picture below with an orange banca.

Two, a few meters from the legendary spring is the famed tree trunk that is somewhat "indestructible" and immovable according to the elders of the community. A local hero called Laguno, was a local warrior who was exiled from his hometown in Bohol. He and his family eventually came to the shores of Moalboal and settled there. Laguno had a "yam-yam" or "oracion" (divine prayers), a native prayer used to repel his enemies, and he used this to protect his home when moro invaders came. Legend goes that Laguno instructed his men to throw coconut husks into the water, then with the use of yam-yam, Laguno made it appear that the coconut husks were real men. Seeing that there were many warriors ready to defend the settlement, the moro invaders left. Laguno was revered by his people after that and when he died, it was said that his body was buried near a freshwater spring located, strangely enough, on the beach. His men placed a large tree trunk over his burial ground so as not to disturb him and it is said that even today, that trunk still exists. Whenever anyone tried to chop the trunk, it would bleed.

I also asked via overseas call my father (his hometown) and revealed that when he was young, he tried pulling the tree trunk a lot of times, but to no avail that only drained his power. The elders of the municipality told me as well that whoever attempts to chop the tree trunk gets sick!

If you are after a diving paradise with several scenic spots, landscapes, seascapes and magnificent sunsets, such as the pictures you will see below with some mystic and legendary lores? Then Moalboal is it!

If you want to know more about this interesting and beautiful place see the following link:

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Island Paradise of Biliran

It was late afternoon when I sailed from Cebu to Ormoc City via "Supercat" with my Aunt and Uncle thus, arriving Biliran early evening. The darkness of the night left me with more surprises as my Uncle along the way was telling me how beautiful are the views of Biliran during daytime.

The countless curves I felt while my cousin was driving, made me fall asleep and awakened me at the same time. Only then, when we made a full stop to tell me that... "We are now officially crossing the bridge constructed under former Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos to reach the island of Biliran." I took pictures of the bridge of course.

The island of Biliran was first called Isla de Panamao, referring to an ethnic fishing net. Between 1668-1712, the name was changed to Biliran, which was derived from a native grass called "borobiliran". On April 8, 1959, R.A. 2141 made Biliran a sub-province of Leyte, with the title Lt. Governor. On June 21, 1969, R.A. 5977 was enacted to amend the original charter, changed the title Lt. Governor to Governor, with the executive power of a provincial governor. On May 11, 1992, the people of Biliran and Leyte ratified in a plebiscite the conversion of the sub-province into a regular province.

We were set to reach the town of Almeria, Biliran to stay at Agta Beach Resort. I contented my myopic eyes to savor as far as my optic and acoustic nerves can reach and observe during night time. I know that there is something beautiful and exciting waiting for me during sunrise. 

I wasn't mistaken, chirping birds and the sound of fishing boats awakened me. There was also one morning, that I woke up gazing at various cloud formations and reflections against the sea (Strait of Biliran). My eyes clearly saw Dalutan Island right in front of Agta Beach Resort's shoreline. You swim in pristine and white sandy beaches nor in luxurious resorts elsewhere, but you wont get to see a backdrop of islands, islets, rock formations or even a lovely rainbow jutting from an island right before your eyes than in Agta. The pictures I took below are concrete proofs.

I forgot to mention, Biliran has 30 water falls and I only saw four. It has rice terraces as well. The moment I saw the giant boulders of rocks when I was trekking the hills and mountains, I suspected that this paradise island is also a volcano island.

My little online research gave me the following:

Geological features

  Rock Type: Hornblende andesite containing greenish and black hornblende

  Tectonic Setting: Biliran Volcano is part of the curvilinear belt of Quaternary volcanoes in eastern  
                           Philippines, parallel to Phil. Trench to the east

Volcanic activity

    Number of Historical Eruptions: 1
    Latest Eruption/Activity: September 26, 1939
    Site: crater
    Eruption Character: Debris avalanche
    Affected Areas/Remarks: Ashfall at Caibiran and adjoining areas (6.35 cm thick deposits)
    Monitoring activity: Short-term monitoring in 1954


Please do not forget that the whole Philippine archipelago was created due to volcanic and tectonic upheavals and indeed true that when God created the Philippines, He took lots of time to give us 7,107 islands and I'm talking here of only one island called Biliran.

If you want to experience the best of Biliran, I highly recommend to prospective guests to check out if you are looking for an excellent location, spectacular sunset, reasonable prices and countless activities that you will enjoy from kayaking to scuba diving to island hopping nor mountain trekking and to try their delicious and famed grilled chicken grown by their very own staff.