Without a doubt, Cebu has been growing dramatically in the last several years. Across the island, opportunities are sprouting whether it’s for business, employment, or housing. Metro Cebu alone has grown to be quite the big city and frankly, we can all admit that sometimes it can be too much — the traffic, congestion, and pollution. But that’s also okay because outside Metro Cebu are multiple options of weekend getaways.
Every year, the number of tourists increase — even domestic tourists. In 2018, it increased by 14%. This means that the more popular travel destinations are getting even more crowded. Why not opt for the places less traveled?
Most people choose to go for the south. It’s understandable with the amount of nature-related activities you can do in the south areas. But the north is one of the more underrated areas. Apart from Bantayan and Malapascua Islands, no other place has been getting enough attention.
[FUN FACT: Kalanggaman Island is part of Palompon, Leyte but is accessible via chartered boats in Bogo’s ports]
Photo via: Dominicque Jan Celeste (Instagram: @_dominicque)
No doubt Bantayan is beautiful and Malapascua breathtaking with its pristine beaches and shores of fine white sand but there’s more to the north than this. If you’re into history and culture, this one’s for you.
The north boasts of a rising new city — Bogo. Its name is derived from a tree native to Bogo City (Garuda Floribunda), that stood on its own on the shores of Bogo back then. Now, it’s the city’s wharf. The tree was an essential part of a local’s life as it gave shade to the people who came by. It later on became a hub for trading between the natives and traders, creating a vibrant and growing economy and community.
Bogo used to be a part of Daanbantayan but later on became its own town. In 2007, Bogo officially became a city and worthy of one as it boasts of a thriving economy. It’s a quaint little city to explore, too. Here are some of the hot spots to check out:
Photo Via: Dominicque Jan Celeste (Instagram: @_dominicque)
When you think of Bogo, Capitancillo is the first thing that pops into mind. It’s a small coral island just about 6 kilometers off the coast of the Bogo. It boasts of a well protected marine sanctuary with three recognized dive sites (the Ormoc Shoal, the Nuñez Shoal, and the Southwest Wall). It also houses an operating lighthouse that was built in 1905 and later replaced the 1950’s.
The city considers this a treasure for their tourism thus ensuring protection of the islet and its surrounding areas. Above the waters, it is surrounded by both white sand shores and reefs. The place is perfect for a day trip with huts built for shade. Unfortunately, there are no accommodation options for overnight stays.
[DID YOU KNOW? The lighthouse on the Capitancillo Islet is solar-powered!]
It is believed that the name of the islet originates from a legend that took place in the Spanish colonial period when a certain Spanish captain named Capitan Basillo angered Rajah Bugtopasan, an ally of chieftain Lapu-lapu. It’s still unclear what Captain Basillo did to anger him. But the aftermath of his wrath led to a chase of the said captain and once Rajah Bugtopasan found Captain Basillo’s Galleon, he cast a curse on him and the galleon became an islet.
SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL
As the Philippines is a Christian nation with over 80% to be Roman Catholics, religion is embedded in the culture. Unsurprisingly, tourism related to religion is quite popular. A very good example of this is the Sinulog — a celebration of Santo Niño. Millions of people from around the country and around the globe flock to Cebu City for the festivities. In Bogo, the Shrine of our Lady of the Miraculous Medal is a popular site to visit to celebrate the birthday of the Virgin Mary. Apart from that, the place is a calm and solemn place perfect for a quiet day of meditation overlooking the very green mountains surrounding the area. It takes a little over 150 steps to climb to the top.
BOGO BBQ PLAZA
As I always believe, food is essential in learning a place’s culture, history, economy, etc. You get to know how rich their agriculture and aquaculture are; you get to know the lifestyle people have judging by how and what they cook; and most importantly, you understand the sense of community of the place when people bond over food. Over in Bogo, there is the go-to plaza for some entertainment, a little night out, and a big plate of barbecue. To top that off, it’s located by the port so you’re on the beachside soaking in all the fresh breeze and a scenic view. Bogo is a city of both culture and nature. If you find some time to explore more of Cebu, give this little gem a shot. The laid back culture despite being a city might suit your needs to regenerate.