Visitors gush over falls in Boljoon

CEBU -- When Boljoon town celebrates its founding anniversary nine weeks from now, visitors will have a discovery to gush over.

Mayor Merlou Derama said that the town will launch a new attraction, a waterfall that some students and tourists have visited for a cool dip.

“Among nindoton (We will make it better). We will set up cottages with comfort rooms, waiting sheds, tables, picnic areas and parking areas,” Mayor Derama said of the town’s plans for Dayhag Falls.

The attraction is in Sitio Ylaya, Barangay Upper Beceril, about 12 kilometers from the Boljoon Municipal Hall. Derama has already sampled its cool waters.

The town will celebrate its founding anniversary on October 31.

Discovery

Municipal Councilor Marvin Ian Nierre said that the Provincial Government has seen the falls’ potential, and that Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, as tourism committee chairperson of the Provincial Board, turned over P200,000 to the town to help develop the area. Derama said the amount will add to their local appropriations.

Boljoon, a fifth-class municipality, is some 103 kilometers or a nearly four-hour bus ride from Cebu City.

Tourism officer Ronald Villanueva, who loves adventure, located the waterfalls last year, said tourist aide Paulito “Pebbles” Ruela, 50.

Villanueva, he recalled, went looking for the site after hearing stories from Beceril residents about an undeveloped waterfall in their mountains.

The trail to Dayhag Falls has since been cleared by job-order employees assigned by the mayor, along with officials from Barangay Upper Beceril.

What it’s like

They posted notices to guide visitors and put up sacks as wastebaskets.

When Capitol Tourism Head Grace Paulino inspected the falls, she stayed overnight at Palanas Mountain Resort, a few kilometers from the falls, said Nierre.

Asked why it is called Dayhag, resident Joseph de la Torre, 12, said he had heard older people say, “Ga-dayhag kuno ang tubig (The water cascades).”

From the barangay road in Sitio Ylaya, as one approaches the site, one hears the stream’s hissing current and the high-pitched cry of cicadas.

A wide pool of clear water flows down to the stream that, in turn, feeds the waterfalls.

A visitor has to walk 100 meters downhill under the canopy of some huge trees, guided by a white pebble trail. This leads to the third level of the waterfall, which is the smallest.

A 20-minute trek downhill leads to the grandest among the three levels of the waterfall, which is about 12 meters high. From here, one has to go about 10 meters downhill to see the third and lowest stage of the waterfall.

At the end of each leg, a visitor may go down to the edge of the stream for a closer view. Stairs have been carved into the rocks and a bamboo railing installed to help visitors keep their balance.

Bubbling springs

Although facilities have yet to be added to the attraction, Ruela said that most of the residents and some people from out of town have visited the falls.

During a fiesta last August 22, several people went to the waterfalls, said Candida Caino, 45, a resident.

Caino said the water in the stream comes from four “bulokbulok” or bubbling springs in the farm lot of Estrella de Guzman. The stream also feeds irrigation canals.

Ruela pointed out that the town is named after gushing water (“bolho”), and that Upper Beceril is its water source.

Tourism students from Cebu Normal University visited the falls last January and returned last April, May and June, said Ruela. They studied the area to make a proposal for its development, as part of their academic requirements.

They were visiting the Boljoon Parish church of Patrocinio de Maria, one of the country’s cultural treasures, when they suggested a visit to the falls.

Mayor Derama said that the town also sponsored tours of Dayhag Falls for Boljoon high school students and residents last month.

To get to Boljoon by public transportation, one can take the bus from Cebu City. From the town’s public market, motorcycles can bring visitors to the falls after a 30- to 45-minute ride.

Prepare to pay P128 for a ride on an air-conditioned bus or P120 for a deluxe bus to the town, then another P120 for the motorcycle ride, said Genus Navarro, chairman of the committee on tourism in the Municipal Council. He introduced the spot to Sun.Star Cebu.

Ruela said that the Boljoon Residents’ Association in Manila, led by the town’s first lady Babette Derama, is planning to visit the falls in November, during the town fiesta.

Ruela said that the association is eager to visit Dayhag Falls. “Taga dire sila, unya maulahe pa hinuon sila (As Boljoon residents, they don’t want to be the last to see this attraction),” said Ruela, quoting association members. (Oscar C. Pineda/Sun.Star Cebu)

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