I have been to South Cebu couple of times as two of my favorite weekend getaways are situated down there. Namely, swimming with the “School of Sardines” of Moalboal in the southwestern part and swimming with the gentle-giant “Whale Sharks” of Oslob in the southeastern side. And last weekend, I headed back down to the Southeastern Part of Cebu again but not for the Whale Shark this time.
Bluewater Resort in Sumilon Island was the endtail of my weekend destination and before I settled down there, I spontaneously pulled over and discovered some pure bliss destinations: Dalaguete Beach Park, Ili Rock Boljoon Church, Tumalog Waterfalls, and downtown Oslob.
Mostly, I am kinda too-perfectionist-too-organized travel planner. However, sometimes there are people who abruptly change plans and ruined all the researching and planning that I have made. When this happens, I just go pack-your-bag-buy-a-ticket-go-rogue-and-follow-your-guts mode. And last weekend was one of those. For quite a while some of my friends and I planned to go south but due to some circumstances and the unconventional weather, most of my friends canceled and left me in the air last weekend. So, on a gloomy Saturday morning, I went to Cebu South Bus Terminal, bought a ticket going to Oslob and hopped on the bus. Along the way, while on my phone asking Mr Google where to go and what to do in the south, I found that the Municipality of Dalaguete and Boljoon are those that I have not set foot on. Thus, I told the bus conductor that I will be alighting in Dalaguete instead of Oslob. The bus driver then pulled over meters away from the “Welcome to Dalaguete” signage…and my wonderful journey begun.
Dalaguete Beach Park, Dalaguete
Dalaguete is well known for the famous Osmeña Peak, the highest summit in the Island of Cebu. Aside from that, many have said that the Municipality of Dalaguete is also named as “The Summer Capital of Cebu” due to its beautiful white non-private beaches and the pristine and relaxing. Dalaguete Beach Park is a testimony. This public beach resort is located in the town of Casay, Dalaguete. Thus, it is also called Casay Beach Resort by the locals.
I was mesmerized by the beautiful instagram posts of this public yet secluded beach and coming here did not disappoint me. The long stretch of tall-green coconut trees fronting the white shore beachfront and cold blue ocean were very accommodating. Perfect place to chill, watch and listen to the waves as it splashes to the ramp of rocks at the shore.
The Dalaguete Beach Park or Casay Beach Resort is owned by the local municipality and opens its gate to beach bummers from 7:00 in the morning and people can enter until 5:00 pm only. The beach resort has ample of cottages for rent ranging from Php200 to Php500 and some comes with free Karaoke machine. So, you can enjoy beach bumming and singing your heart out with friends and colleagues at the same time. There are also local stores that sell snacks and beverages inside the beach park when you are thirsty and need a bite. You don’t need to worry if you bring any food inside because they have No Corkage Fee for that. However, entering Dalaguete Beach Park requires you to pay the Php30 entrance fee before getting in. If you have your own transportation, they charge Php 20 for the Four-Wheel Parking Fee, however, motorcycle are free of charge.
How to Get to Dalaguete Beach Park:
From Cebu Proper, take a jeepney, Grab, or Taxi heading to Cebu South Bus Terminal. Look for the bus bound for Dalaguete, Alcoy or Bato. The journey is approximately 3 hours and fare is Php 130. Don’t forget to tell your bus conductor or bus driver to drop you off at corner leading to Dalaguete Beach park. The beach is 15-20 minute walk or 1.5Km away from the National Highway so you have an option to go there on foot or hire a motorbike for 20 peso one way.
Ili Rock View Deck, Boljoon
After enjoying the wonderful beach of Casay, Dalaguete, I headed back to the main road and took a bus bound to the next municipalities. The Municipality of Alcoy comes next to Dalaguete, but I did not alight there as I had been there couple of years ago. Boljoon Municipality was my next destination, simply because of the accidentally and recently became a Boljoon tourist spot and instagram sensation the “Eli Rock View-Deck” and of course the historical “Boljoon Church”.
The story behind the Eli Rock Viewing Deck started back in March year 2013. The 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Cebu and Bohol that time caused some part of the mountain to be eroded. To prevent further landslide and secure the town’s safety, the government decided to shave and level part of it and making it what Eli Rock looks like at the present. The construction is still on going though so you can still climb up the bare 132 steps staircase with no charge. Don’t forget to put your sunscreen on as there are no shades at all on your way up.
I arrived the municipality of Boljooon at around 2pm and the sun was still high but it did not stop me to ascend and see the view at the top. I stayed at the top for a 10-solid-minute appreciating the beautiful panoramic view of the Philippine sea and the lovely cove Boljoon town. The scenery from the viewing deck was totally worth the climb under the heat of the blazing sun.
Boljoon Church, Boljoon
The church of Nuestra Señora Patrocinio de Maria or commonly known as Boljoon Church has been declared as a National Cultural Treasure of the Philippine by the National Museum of the country in 2001. It is also one of the few remaining historical churches of its kind here in the Philippines. Aside from the religious purpose of the church, Boljoon Church is also a fortress church that served as a place of refuge for the possible moro raid during the ancient war.
The entire church is mostly made of corals stones and its altar is beautifully decorated with pure gold leaf highlights and polychrome accents. Its main retable located at the very top of the altar is also made of the same materials and is a town’s treasure. This is the reason why they close the church if there is no mass being held. This 490 year old church is properly preserved by the municipality of the town and is under consideration for the proposed extensions of the UNESCO world heritage sites under the Baroque Churches of the Philippines.
Boljoon Escuela Catolica
Located within the church fortress is this ancient structure labelled “Escuela Catolica”. In the 1940’s, this building served as a school for religious education, a primary school, and a dormitory to house the children the night before taking their first holy eucharist. AS of the present, it is a venue for their religious meetings.
How to Get to Boljoon:
From Cebu City, take a jeepney, Grab, or Taxi heading to Cebu South Bus Terminal. Look for the bus bound for Oslob or Santander. Inform your bus conductor to drop you off at Boljoon. Boljoon church and Eli Rock View-Deck will welcome you the moment you step out of the bus. Bus fare for air-conditioned bus is Php 140 and Php 130 for non-air-con.