We’ve been told to keep this a secret but I just feel that ain’t right.
Whilst the blame that some people are throwing to us, bloggers, I’m still posting this travel guide for those who are interested to experience and discover Catmon. We expect everybody to practice responsible tourism and give others the chance to witness the beauty of the place, too. 🙂
Where: The trek started at Barangay Tabili Elementary School. You can choose to trek upstream or downstream depending on your capacity. 😀
How to get there: Ride a north-bound bus in the North Bus Terminal and tell the driver to drop you off in corner Katambisan, Barangay Corazon, Catmon. Travel time should not take more than two hours for moderate traffic. Bus fare from terminal to Catmon — Php78. From corner Katambisan, hail a motorcycle to take you to Barangay Tabili Elementary School. We suggest you meet your guides first before going there and they will make the negotations for you. Motorcycle fare — Php50.
Who to contact: Our awesome guide was Mr Kyno Lim Dumlao. He knows the place like the back of his hands so we suggest you contact him. He also conducts guideship to Mt Kapayas and other destinations that requires extreme adventures. You can reach him through this number: 0999 325 9621 😀 You can also negotiate the fee with him.
Tips and Reminders:**Wear proper clothing and footwear for this activity. **Bring enough water to keep yourself hydrated during the entire adventure. **Expect to plunge in the water so bring your dry bags with you to protect your personal belongings like phones and wallets. **The trek would last more than two hours, you can bring trail snacks with you but be mindful of your trash. **You will be chasing waterfalls, if the place is not what you expected, just enjoy the moment and stop comparing. This place is unique in its own way and that’s what makes it beautiful. **And lastly, LEAVE NO TRACE!!! 😀
Php176 — bus fare (back and forth)
Php100 — motorcycle fare (back and forth)
Php200 — guide fee
Total: Php456 (Note: This was our individual expense. Food expenses are not included for you may have different preferences.)
We hope you’ll enjoy trekking the rivers of Catmon as much as we did. We’d love to hear your stories about your adventure, too. Update us! 😀
Let’s wander where the WIFI is weak or where there’s no SIGNAL at all.
While everybody’s planning for a beach getaway, we, on the otherhand, found ourselves in the middle of the woods, surounded by mountains, hearing the music not everybody can hear. We’re going back to nature!
Who would have thought a place which was used as a grazing ground for carabaos could give us a total relaxation away from chaotic life in the city? In the outskirts of Argao, lies this wondrous haven called Coal Mountain Resort, a perfect place for those who wanted retreat from the bustling metropolis.
The hubby and I had our post-Valentine celebration (we just need some reason to getaway, you know) in this haven. I was very excited that I booked a room more than a week ahead. Well, I think that was just right because when I called, most rooms were already booked and there were only two deluxe rooms left. The staff whom I talked to said the resort is usually full on weekends especially the family and group rooms. So yah, I suggest to book your rooms ahead.
Our one hour butt-aching motorcycle ride was totally worth it. Admittedly though, when we arrived at the resort, I was kind of “disappointed” as there was no wonderful decoration that would make anybody curious and interested to see what’s inside. The look from the outside was very simple and straightforward.
But, see “never judge a resort by its gate”. 😀
Yet, when we went inside I felt euphoric as I ran towards their viewing deck. It offers a panoramic view of the lush greeneries of the mountains that surrounds the resorts, some of which are part of Dalaguete mountain range. Not to mention the invigorating mountain air, I felt like we were transported to a different world.
I was very excited to roam around to see what other wonders the resort has to offer. So, right after we threw our bags inside the room, I immediately went to explore the place. Look at this wonderful view from our room, don’t you want to wake up everyday for this?
It’s wonderful how the resort mainted its homey environment. It so much felt like I was having a vacation in my grandparent’s house in the countryside. Oh, I could live like this forever.
The resort has three swimming pools, all are fed by free-flowing spring water. But you have to go through the woods to reach the third pool which was the deepest, too.
The first pool is 4ft deep. It is mango-shaped, by the way. It also has a slide for kids or for those who are kids at heart.
Just when you thought you lost your heart, then you realized it’s in the resort. “Buti pa sa Coal Mountain, may heart.” 😛 Behold, the pool with a heart, er, heart shape. The second pool is 7ft deep. There’s a jumping platform if you want to plunk.
The third pool is the deepest. Imagine 16ft deep. I bet one couldn’t swim more than 15 minutes here because it’s just sooooooo cold. The hubby and I are into cold springs but this is the coldest one that we’d been to so far. I did not reach 5 minutes swimming here because my nerves were already freezing. There is also a diving platform on this pool that rises up to 30ft high. Perfect for “buwis-buhay” exhibition.
You have to walk through this canopy walkway in the middle of the woods. It’s quite scary because it was slippery and the steps looked weak. But duh, get that fear out of your system and step carefully. I didn’t expect the hanging bridge to be that far, I honestly felt dizzy before we get to the end of it.
The resort also offered a mining demo which includes exploration of a mining tunnel. It was drizzling during our visit, the soil was wet and muddy, so the hubby decided that we go on full gear with the overall, boots and helmet. But you can opt to just have the helmet and boots if you are not comfortable with the overall. We suggest you try this one. Let’s get to work!
Now, get ready to explore the tunnel that stretches up to 145 meters long and 70 feet below the ground. I swear I was anxious while we were still at the entrance of the tunnel. Seeing the dark and narrow hole, I felt like it’s going to swallow me anytime. But the hubby and the guide were so assuring that I was persuaded to continue.
I can’t tell how happy I was when we were about to exit the tunnel. It was an achievement. Along with that fullfillment was a realization. A miners’ life is no easy. The danger while staying several feet below the ground is already something to be scared of, not to mention stooping for hours. But yeah, I did it!
The one thing I loved during our stay in Coal Mountain Resort was the fact that we were so far from the civilization. Our smartphones were not getting any signals in the area. If not because of the camera, we wouldn’t be using our phones during our entire stay in the resort. It was another perfect moment for the hubby and me to talk about us, our life. At night, we stayed at the balcony and gazed at the stars in the sky while we contemplated about mundane affairs.
And oh, for the first time in a long time I saw fireflies coming near me. It’s rare to see them in the cities.
It was a healing moment — staying outside the room, breathing fresh air and only hearing the sound of the crickets and the night owls. I felt like I was brought back to nature, to the time when there were only trees, water and air.
Our lungs had their dose of cleansing and our eyes were pampered by the green healthy surrounding. We felt so healthy during our two days stay in the resort.
We hope you enjoyed our Coal Mountain Resort story. We’d love to hear yours, too. 😀
Stay tuned for our Coal Mountain Resort travel guide in a later post.
We couldn’t seem to get enough of the towns in the southern part of Cebu. After that South Cebu Tour we had last year, we thought we’ll have to give North Cebu its time to shine. But that time has not come yet. There’s still so much more to South Cebu that we couldn’t move on.
Last February, the hubby and I celebrated our Valentine’s Day in Coal Mountain Resort in Argao, Cebu. But I’ll talk about that in a later post. For now, let’s see what Argao has in store for us.
Half of our second day in this municipality was spent walking in the town proper. It’s amazing how Argao managed to keep the Spanish flavor around.
Cabecera de Argao
Just a minute or two walk from the main road, the town hides the remnants of the Spanish era, from the church to the government buildings.
Saint Michael, the Archangel Parish
Our first stop was the 200-year old church of Saint Michael, the Archangel.
Just like most churches in Southern Cebu, this church walls are also made from coral stones. The facade contains articulate carvings depicting the patron saint displayed on its niche. There are urn-like finials flanked at each corner of the pediment. It’s great that they have preserved this old structure.
You should not miss checking the interior of the parish, too. The ceiling immediately caught our attention because of the colorful painting that depicts that archangel’s life. We did not have the chance to check the altar because it was under rennovation.
The Hall of Justice.
Second stop, was the town’s Hall of Justice. One of the edifice in the town that shows evident Spanish taste. This served as military barracks during the old times but now functions as the Hall of Justice.
Torta, Argao’s delicacy.
Have you tasted that delish sweet flatbread called “torta“? How was it? If you think it wasn’t delicious then you have not tasted Argao’s torta. 🙂
I say, “Torta is Argao, and Argao is Torta!”
When you visit the town, don’t you dare miss this delish delicacy. Argao is known for its homemade tortas that are traditionally baked in a clay oven and they use tuba (coconut wine) as the leavening agent. They said “with time, it gets tastier” or “magkadugay, magkalami“. Hmmm? I ate mine after two weeks, I say they’re right. 🙂
The town also has a nature park where you can relax and think about your existence. (Kidding.) They offer canoing for only Php10. You can have a picnic or try their wall climbing, too. The park has an entrance of Php5.
Our short jaunt in the town proper brought to us a Spanish flavor. Despite the pain the era had caused us, it’s nice to know how we are so forgiving, how we showed importance to its legacy. It would be easy to move on from the Spanish colony by destroying everything that reminds us of that time, but we chose not to. Because these…these things is a constant reminder of how our great grandparents fought for our freedom. A constant reminder that we have to take care of this sovereignty we have now. A constant reminder that we had been a slave once and we should not go back to being one anymore. 🙂
We hope you enjoyed our virtual diary about Argao.
Everybody is hyped up for summer. Got your weekends’ schedule full, yah? Most of us are planning for beach get-aways, some prefer the cold springs to beat the heat of this season. Us…we’re cycling, still.
Don’t limit your challenges. Challenge your limits, instead!
Inspired by a famous ice cream commercial, you should be familiar of the line, “Saan aabot ang 20 pesos mo?” (Where does your 20 pesos lead you?) Remember the product? Now grab it and continue reading. 😀
Few weeks ago, I decided to challenge myself to try biking around Olango Island with just 200 pesos on hand. So, where did my 200-peso lead me? Did I survive?
Let’s take a quick trivia of this island:
Olango is part of Olango Group of Islands with its six satelite islets — Sulpa, Gilutongan (also spelled Hilutungan), Nalusuan, Caohagan, Pangan-an, and Camungi. The islands are low-lying with elevation reaching no more than 10 metres (33 ft) above sea level.
The hubby wasn’t available because he went cycling with the Cebu Friendly Bikers Club in the highlands of Cebu City. So, I hesitated to pursue my plan because I’d never been to Olango island since. And the fact that I don’t know anyone who lives there was giving me more doubt. Because of my three awesome friends who gladly accompanied me on this venture, this 200-peso experiment was realized.
My friends and I met up at JCenter mall at 7am and hailed a jeepney bound for Punta Engano. (By the way, these jeepneys pass by Andy Hotel, Parkmall, Chong-Hua Mandaue…just in case you don’t know.) We asked the driver to drop us off at Movenpick Hotel where the port to Olango was located.
It was a 10-15 minute relatively smooth boat ride to the island. I forgot to tell you that we did not have an itinerary for this escape. We just knew we’re to explore the island with a bike. There are bicycles for rent in the area for as low as Php10 per hour. It was a quarter to ten o’clock when we arrived in Sta. Rosa Port. We immediately rode a tricycle to take us to Barangay Candagsao where we can rent a bike.
After five minutes, we were greeted by the smiles of friendly locals who were kind to tell us where Kuya Erwin’s bike rental place. After choosing our preferred bicycles, we signed an agreement paper and off we go.
Our first stop was the Tungasan Boardwalk. Unfortunately, the paseo was closed for renovation. The locals said, the storm had devasted the boarwalk very much that it was now unsafe to step on the walkway. We had no choice but to settle with the view.
After a few minutes, we proceeded to San Vicente Marine Sanctuary to eat our lunch. We were thinking of seafoods but to our disappointment, the staffs were not very friendly to us. We even felt discriminated because they prioritized their foreign guests. Our tummies were already growling but they just told us they don’t have rice even though we saw the rice on the table. Huhuh. 😥
We couldn’t stay there and drool, we headed to Olango Wildlife Sanctuary to experience the bird-watching. Contrary to what happened in the Marine Sanctuary, the staffs in the Wildlife Sanctuary were very friendly and accommodating. They even lent us a binoculars to use in the bird-watching area. Sadly, they don’t have food but chips and snacks. Huhuh…more growling of our tummies.
After repleting our eyes with the migratory birds, we went back our way and dropped by Sagastrand Restaurant to eat our lunch. Finally!!
I’m proud to say that I SURVIVED and my experiment was a SUCCESS. Information about my expenses after this. 🙂
I didn’t have enough of my biking tour in the island and the following weekend, I brought my younger brother and the hubby with me. Coincidently, the CFB team were also going. Yahoo!
My brother and I rented our bikes in the same rental place. He chose the mountain bike but I chose the folding bike because I don’t know how to use the big bike. As a result, I caused delays of the team’s ride. (Sorry.) Gladly, they live by their name “friendly bikers” and understood my shortcoming.
This time, we had our sumptuous lunch in Barangay Talima. Our good host prepared saang and grilled fish for us. We devoured the feast in just few minutes because we were all hungry.
Once again, for the second time I have proven my 200-peso experiment in Olango. 🙂
Here’s a breakdown of my expenses: (Day-tour in Olango Island)
Php30 — (back and forth) jeepney fare to and from Mandaue City (Php15)
Php30 — (back and forth) boat fare
Php6 — terminal fee (Php5 and Php1)
Php40 — (back and forth) tricycle fare to and from bike rental (Php20)
Php30 — three-hour bike rental (Php10/hour)
Php30 — lunch
Php30 — entrance fee to Bird Watching
Do the Math and that’s all my expenses.
Hence, I conclude that your 200-peso will let you survive in Olango Island.
Just a few reminder: **You’ll probably love to stay in the island for a long time but if you are in a day-trip make sure to be at the port before 4pm because it is the boats’ last trip to the mainland. **You can buy seafoods at a very cheap price like saang, talaba and etc., in Barangay Talima. ** Rent a bike at Kuya Erwin’s bike rental in Barangay Candagsao.
The greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. ~~ Roald Dahl
Catmon, Cebu — home of Cebu’s second highest peak, Mt Kapayas. Despite being flocked by outdoor enthusiasts and the like, this town remained self-effacing and humble. And lately, with people’s never ending quest of discovering wonderful places to visit, Catmon, in all fairness has another reason to boast.
Behind the tall mountains of the municipality hides a wonderful haven full of nature’s bliss. A mysterious river slithers through the valleys of the town and divided it into the Old Catmon and New Catmon.
This place is not known to many people not even to most locals. Some of them knew the place but never dared to visit it because of the creepy stories that circulates around the town. Not even the kids in the area are fond to play in this river.
Rumors have it that there were mysterious disappearances in the area. Sometimes, locals nearby hear uproarious sounds coming from the river but there are no people around. Our guide forwarned us to leave the river before 5:00pm to avoid any untoward circumstances.
Hmm? That sounds really creepy!
We trekked for about five minutes before we caught a glimpse of this beguiling watercourse. Just the sound of the water cascades was already inviting. As if nature’s telling us to leave the worries behind and commune with her. And that, my friends, we couldn’t resist. Before we knew it, our feet were already in the water and we’re ready to plunge into an unknowingly great adventure.
There’s something with rivers that we like so much. We love the beach but we always long for the streams.
It gives us the thought that life is indeed like a river. It keeps flowing.
There are times that life is calm and peaceful. Times when life is steady, just the way you like it to, like nothing wrong could come its way. The water maybe placid but it is vulnerable. This tranquility won’t stay that way.
Sometimes, this life could be harsh that you struggle and fluctuate. The flow could be strong that it could drown you, that it could wash you away forcing you to leave your comfort zone. These times will come when you least expect it, it’d slap you on your face and you couldn’t do anything to stop it.
Yes, you’ll have a lot of struggle, a lot of holding on, a lot of letting go, too. But one thing is for sure, all of these things will lead you to a better place. All of these struggles will lead you to something great. Really great that you also did not expect it.
Yay!!! I couldn’t believe I just wrote that. hahah
Let’s get back to reality, everybody. 😀 And after that musing, Tinubdan Falls finally! Look at that isn’t that worth our struggles? Waterfalls everywhere.
Hubby and I were very astounded. Tinubdan Falls is not as tall as the waterfalls in the Southern part of Cebu, but it’s stunning just the way it is. It’s unique in its own way. Albeit its height, it would never disappoint you.
We also learned that during the Second World War, this place was developed by the Americans in order to supply electricity for their camp at combat in Agsuwao, Catmon. However, there were no trace of that.
We saw more mini falls as we continued trekking downstream. We climbed more rock boulders along the way which tested our balancing skills. It was one great adventure indeed!
Hey, everyone! I know this post has long been overdue. I was hoping to retrieve some of the photos we had on this place but we couldn’t seem to do so anymore. Anyway, I hope you’d still enjoy reading this one.
When you least expect it, the great adventure finds you.
Remember our South Cebu Tour few months ago? (Oh, I hope you do but you can click here just in case you don’t.)
One of our most unforgettable adventure during that jaunt was our visit to Inambakan Falls. This mighty 100-foot waterfall is hidden in the outskirts of Ginatilan, Cebu — a half-hour motorcycle ride from the trash-free town.
Upon disembarking from the motorcycle, we could already hear the sound of water crashing down from afar giving me a relief from the pain I felt because of that ride.
After paying the entrance fees, our guide led us to a cemented staircase which was very slippery because of the moss. I couldn’t count how many times I tripped. So, please take extra caution. (I’m talking.) As we got nearer, the sound of the water got louder, too. At last, after about 10 minutes of walking, this majestic beauty of Inambakan Falls was like telling us our search was all worth it.
The vehement pressure of the water falling from a hundred-foot height already hollowed the banks resulting to small cave behind the waterfall. The falls has a catch-basin as deep as 8 feet but there is also a shallow part for those who don’t trust their swimming skills like me.
During our visit, there was already a newly-made makeshift raft. We were lucky to use the raft solely for ourselves because we were the only people there. Our guide also let us go to the small cave and plunge into the natural massage of the falling water.
Got your curiosity rising yet? Here’s another trivia, Inambakan falls is also dubbed as Ginatilan’s hidden treasure because this falls is not known to many people yet. the surrounding remained untouched except for the small hut cottages made for guests who wish to stay for a couple of hours in the area. Who would not love to hear the sound of nature alone?
What do you say? Are you ready to visit the place?
We hope you enjoyed our travel diary of Inambakan Falls despite the scarcity of photos. Have you been here? Tell us about it.
Every mountain is, rightly considered, an invitation to climb. ~ Henry Van Dyke
Situated in the far-flung barangay of Liloan, Cebu is a hill which is perfect for first-time climbers or for those who just want to get a dose of greeneries. They call it Lanigid Hill.
After a month delay of our plan to climb Lanigid Hill, it was finally realized last Saturday. It then served as a pre-valentine climb. Climbing with me were my single friends hoping to find love on top. 🙂
The hubby was not able to come with us because he went biking with his friends. So it was my first venture without him, sort of ‘the girls’ climb’.
We rode a motorcycle at the old Liloan Public Market and paid 100 pesos each. After a 30-minute of almost an uphill ride, we reached Mulao’s barangay hall. There we registered our name and paid the Php10 environmental fee. After few minutes of warm-up we then started our trek to the hill.
The ascent was a bit easy but enough to get those sweats flowing. For first-time trekkers like Gichelle, it was a strenuous one because of the steep slope and loose soil. But she made it! (Clap, clap!)
Some of the plants along the way had been cut off for the wood to make charcoals which is the locals’ main source of livelihood. But we think, they’re also planting new ones to replace those.
After 20 minutes of ascending, we finally reached the top of the hill. And this view of Mr Sun greeted us. He’s very up but the wind beat his heat.
For office people like us, the kind of moment at the top is priceless. With all the lush greeneries and thick vegetation in the area we can’t help falling in love.
My girls, indeed, found love on top.
After few hours at the top, we agreed to go down and have a quick visit to Mulao River. You might want to check out our adventure to this wonderful river on my previous post.
How about you? Have you been to this hill? How was it?