Not only Budlaan

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Thursday, August 7, 2014


I LISTENED to the Cebu City Hall-sponsored “Kagawasan” program over dyLA the other day and heard former Agsungot barangay captain Jong-jong Alcover talk about the tourism potentials of the city’s hinterland areas. The program’s host identified him as having been deputized by Mayor Michael Rama to act as his point man in the city’s mountain barangays.

Alcover must have been one of those who encouraged Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, currently the acting mayor, to visit Kabang Falls in Barangay Budlaan. The place was subject of reports recently when a member of the football team of the University of Southern Philippines Foundation drowned in the pool formed by the falling water.

As is often the case concerning development of tourist sites, adventurous people are
the first to mark a place’s potential. Government only follows—often too far behind. It might just be mere coincidence, though, that Labella’s visit was made after somebody died in Budlaan.

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Alcover talked about how the Rama administration ended the age-old neglect of the city’s hinterland areas by finally developing the road networks there. That means easier access to places that, during my stay there in the ‘80s, looked like they were frontier areas.

I think one of the beneficiaries of the increase in the number of infra projects implemented in the city’s hinterlands is Barangay Bonbon. The road that traverses the village of Mawmawan towards Bonbon proper was once “very” rough. This was smoothened years ago after the completion of the Transcentral Highway. Population there has multiplied a hundredfold.

Less than a kilometer upwards from Mawmawan is a cliff called Puti, obviously because of its white wall, which is even visible even from the Transcentral Highway. We used to pass near its base while following the footpath going to the mountain peak called Bocawe and down to the village of Napo in Barangay Sapangdaku.

If I remember it correctly, Puti used to be one of former judge Meinrado Paredes’s old haunts. He and fellow mountaineers would rappel down the cliff, I was told. I don’t know what has happened to Puti now.

There’s actually another waterfalls further in the interior, in the village of Morga which is part of Barangay Sudlon. It is the main source of the water that flows through the Morga river, which connects to the bigger waterway in Bonbon, which in turn links up farther away to the mighty Mananga river. The Morga river has formed pools where boulders block the river’s floor. Children of farmers would often frolic there.

There’s also another high cliff in the village of Amaga also in Bonbon. Its top provides an excellent view of the valley below and of the crumpled paper terrain that is the Cebu mountain range. When the corn planted in the farms below was about to be
harvested, monkeys would conduct raids, making the lives of the farmers difficult.

But I don’t think the development of adventure sites should be the only concern of the city government. The city’s hinterlands were once the lair of the famed Cebu guerillas that fought the Japanese imperial forces during World War II. I once did feature stories based on the book “Tabunan” by the late Col. Manuel Segura. Thus, I knew Barangay Tabunan even before it became the entry point of the annual Manunggal trek.

Barangay Sudlon is another historical site. It straddles a plateau that was used as base of a group formed by the late Hilario Camino Moncado.

Some structures built by the Moncadistas there needs to be preserved or rehabilitated and then promoted as lure for tourists.

Barangay Tabunan and Sudlon need as much attention as, say, Barangay Budlaan if only for the lessons the past could impart to present-day generation of Cebuanos.

(khanwens@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 08, 2014.

Opinion

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