Wednesday July 18, 2018

A haven for campers, history buffs

SAN Fernando is a second-class town, about 38 kilometers from Cebu City, whose flat lowlands stretch between the sea and the town’s mountains.

On those mountains, bygone residents put up a watch station to warn them of incoming enemies from the sea, said Ernesto Lariosa, author of the coffee table book “History of San Fernando.”

Nowadays, one can find beach resorts along San Fernando’s shores.

The highlands still give its visitors a panoramic view of the sea, the neighboring islands and cities, as well as mountain ranges.

The mountains are also the home of two known resorts in town, Hidden Paradise in Barangay Ilaya and Singli Mountain Resort in
Barangay Tonggo.

In an interview, San Fernando Municipal Mayor Antonio Canoy said he will erect historical landmarks in these areas, which shaped the lives of residents during World War II.

Among these places is the crash site of Japanese Admiral Mineichi Koga’s plane, located 100 meters from the shores between Barangays Balud and Panadtaran.

The crash led to the recovery of Koga’s invaluable strategy documents. The Koga documents revealed that Leyte then had the weakest of Japan’s defenses, which prompted the American Gen. Douglas McArthur to change his plans and land in Leyte.

Industrial connections

The crash site is now the destination of cargo ships serving the town’s cement industries, Taiheiyo Cement Philippines Inc. and Mabuhay Phils. Cement.

The area is also the site of the proposed Mabuhay Phils. pier.

According to old-timers, a bloody clash on the beach between local hero Juan Diyong and marauding pirates took place in Barangay Panadtaran.

Lariosa, in his book, wrote that Diyong, a Filipino martial arts eskrima master, spotted the incoming Moro sailboats and immediately staged an ambush with his trained eskrimadors, taking the intruders by surprise.

The clash site is now a mooring station of fishing pumpboats and small bancas at the back of Linde Philippines, an industrial gas plant.

San Fernando Tourism Officer Genever Enad said that not far from this beach is the Pulchra Beach Resort, a five-star resort in Barangay San Isidro.

Another resort is Paulo Luna Resort and Spa in Barangay North Poblacion.

Enad said the other resorts are the Aroma Beach in Barangay South Poblacion and the Maestro Beach Resort and El Kargador Beach Resort both in Barangay North Poblacion.

The Phil Trigon Shipyard, a dry docking ship repair company, sits in neighboring Barangay Sangat, said Lariosa.

Lariosa, a native of San Fernando, also mentioned two other mountain resorts: Lantawan (overlooking) and Sitio Bandilaan in Barangay Cabatbatan. Bandilaan is 20 kilometers from the highway and may be reached through an asphalted road.

One can view the islands of Bohol, Negros and Mactan, the cities of Naga, Talisay and Cebu from Bandilaan.

Vantage point

“Bandilaan was the viewdeck of early inhabitants and the guerilla forces against the Japanese during World War II. Here they saw incoming invaders from land, sea or air,” said Lariosa, a Palanca awardee and a former language consultant of Sun.Star Superbalita.

Nowadays, local residents and visiting campers enjoy Bandilaan’s peak.

“Kung dinhi ka mag-camp you can see the sun rising and the moon setting at the same time,” said Ian Bacalla, a volunteer worker for
the town.

Last New Year’s Eve, local residents were entertained by the various fireworks displays at the South Road Properties in Cebu City that can be seen from the viewing deck.

Bandilaan’s peak and adjacent areas are ideal sites for backpackers and camping enthusiasts, said Bacalla. He said the town is planning to develop the area as a campsite with activity center and a main office to manage the site.

Local changes

Bandilaan got its name from the word bandila or flag.

Lariosa said that during the early days, whoever ruled the town then planted their flag there.

San Fernando town is also home to Cebu’s poultry farms, Tan Chan Multi-Farms and EEJ Farms. The town has Overseas Feeds, Cebu Steel, Big Brother Home Depot and ESO Home Builders. It has two banks, the Barili Rural Bank and Coastal Bank, and an array of bakeries.

In going to San Fernando, one may take a bus bound for Carcar City or any provincial bus going south. Going up to its mountains, one may take one of the motorcycles-for-hire near the town hall or at the public market.