Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Suroy Suroy Sugbo 2009: Explore the Midwest – Tuburan

I am running out of superlatives for indeed all the towns we visited had a great show. And Tuburan was another grand experience. Per schedule, we were to have lunch at this town though no one seemed to be interested. We had been partaking of food almost every two hours since morning! So my attention was on what was to see in this town and OMG what a place!

On arrival, we did not enter town. The buses instead veered left from the road to enter a resort called Molobolo Springs. We were already told about it by the local guides Ofel & Lucy during the bus ride as we approached town. The interesting thing is that this spring is so near and actually empties its cool waters down to the ocean. And everyone in the bus was saying, why don’t we hear about these in the media! I told myself… that is precisely why we all are here… that is the objective of this tour – so that the world will know the yet undiscovered beauties of the island!

Oh alright, townsfolk were also welcoming us along the way and right at the entrance to the spring just before those big big steps going down. Cute little kids were bearing placards that thanked Gwen for the various things she has done or given for Tuburan. Now now… our local guides wore Filipiniana costumes and they gave each of us nicely crafted key chains made of wood with a carving of the town’s official seal. Whohoo! A local singer rendered visayan songs as we started to roam around the place. Can you imagine what Cebu island will be like without music?

The Molobolo spring amidst big, tall trees and thick foliage empties out to the sea. To enjoy this interesting endowment from mother earth, local residents made a layered pool to catch the cool spring water before letting it empty out to the beach. That means they have a nice swimming pool with cool fresh and always running water with a convenient option of diving into the clear emerald salty water of the sea. One of the guides told me that it is usually done the other way… meaning bathers go and have their fun time at the beach (sea water) and later come frolicking in the two-level fresh spring water pool! Coolness!

So what did we do here?! Nothing but roam around the place for photo-ops or just laze around. HOWEVER… as I have been saying repeatedly, the suroy suroy sugbo does not seem to have a stop without food. This was lunchtime okay, but we were still full from the Asturias bounty, right? Nevertheless, one side of the resort, by the edge of the sea, was lined with long tables laid out with local rice cakes, pastries and other native snacks. There was pilipit, banana cue, turon, lumpia, fritters to name a few. Many of them were rolled in white sugar before serving. I picked and liked one thing called “lupak” or something.

Oh Molobolo does have cottages that line the shore, but these are the open huts ideal for picnickers to lay their things and food down. There are no accommodations here as of yet but local officials were quick to inform us that there are accommodation facilities in the center of town or at Lantawan where we will be having lunch. Gosh, I heard food again! What you can have here in Molobolo is the cool breeze, the sound of the spring water emptying out to sea, leaves caressing each other, birds singing… serenity at its finest. As some of my tour mates and I sat in one of those huts, we all even felt a bit guilty giggling and laughing as our noise seem to be invading the serenity of the place. Great vistas out into the sea and the horizon where everything is a shade of shimmering blue and green! Ahh! Ah yes, some of the younger tour mates could not help it that some of them dipped in the pool while others enjoyed the strong force of the fresh-water emptying out into the sea! Envy envy envy. I wished we had more time for I too, wanted to splash!

After a few minutes of lazing around in Molobolo, everyone slowly slithered up the stairs past the manong who was still rendering beautiful visayan love songs and the big tall trees. Local guide inside the bus announced that we would go past town and straight into Lantawan Resort for lunch. As if to tempt us to more food, we saw local residents rolling their lechon near the roadside and there were quite a number of them. Oh so it was fiesta in Tuburan too!

At Lantawan (a resort overlooking almost everything around Tuburan), I cannot anymore describe the plethora of food. Makes my stomach and throat sick just by describing them as indeed there was plenty. And hey, this is Cebu and this was lunch… so the ubiquitous lechon cannot be absent, right? My goodness, every long buffet table sported the dear delectable and shining roasts. Now let me tell you my biases… full or very full in the stomach, my mouth will greedily salivate at the sight of the shining and crackly “panit” of a lechon. So, I dove in! Makes me sick pala ha?! Here’s more, the tour mate beside me seemed to be enjoying a dish that looked like adobo, though a bit lighter in color and had more liquid. I asked what it was but the waitress was quicker to answer. Humba! Ah that adobo like thing but sweeter and has peanuts and black beans! I also tried that one. Well, when it comes to food I like, the hypocrite in me shines even if I’m truly all stuffed! Talking about anything food I always say I don’t want any more. But when I see my favourites… kesehuda!

The fish sinugba was truly tempting even down to the leche flan. So, I grabbed my 3rd bottle of coke and took off to stroll down to the gazebo and lighted a cigarette. That way, I would be as far away from food. Lantawan resort btw perches on a low cliff that to be able to reach water level, you need to pass by a good height of concrete stairs. But oh how, this one here is different! Anyone can swim on the sea water, no beach, just the wooden gazebo. Everything around it is an emerging (yep, I hope it is being protected) mangrove forest. The real beaches are further to right and left. The breeze in this area is super cool I wanted to lie down on any of the benches which can all be seen! So I joined my travel mates watching fishes and crabs down in the water swimming with people! And we also explored further beyond the stairs where we discovered the “secret” that the guides challenged us to discover. It is a secret passage that connects one to the main highway and the other resort without passing up at the resort’s main area!

Okay, enough of Lantawan… after lunch we were herded back to center of town. Hey this was their town fiesta! June 13, and our destination was to watch the final performances of the 7 competing contingents in the Tubud Festival. Ye, Tubod means spring in Cebuano and this town was named so because of the many Tubods in the area. And now they even have a festival to portray its importance and the legends that surround the springs.

Our buses parked on a street beside the museum, so almost all of us visited for a chance to see their collections. Yes folks, Tuburan is one of the few towns in this country that gives importance to their heritage via a museum. And the museum honoring General Maxilom is a good place to learn about tuburan’s past.

But the drums were already beating (in practice probably) and we were soon asked to enter the town’s gymnasium. Of course, like in Toledo, there were choice seats for us the Suroy Suroy Sugbo guests and we had a choice of either up stage or just at its foot. And the performances began. My goodness, these kids are great. I mean there are other greater shows and performances in this whole province but one cannot forget the dedication to master their moves and the gusto at which they do their routines with a lot of props and semi-acrobatic movements! Whew! We saw the whole festival competition until all winners were announced and awarded by Gwen. And when it was time for us to go, all the seven groups instantly forgot who just won and who did not. They rushed in unison to line our path, do that final wave and smile, thanking and asking us to come back soon! Endearing!

Now why will I go back to Tuburan? Here are a just a few of the many reasons… I was not able to see the century-and-a-half old church as we had to already go for the next town; did not even have a good cursory of the plaza and the municipal hall as there were a lot of people and we were busy at the performances; the beaches looked very inviting; a longer day of doing nothing at Molobolo seems splendid; so we learned are Mantawihan and the Adela river; the Marmol Cliff and cave (marmol means marble in Cebuano); there are at least two marine sanctuaries; and they told us about the uniqueness of Mag-atubang Twin Falls – “mag-atubang” is Cebuano that means “opposite each other”!

One very curious thing I would like to know more via a separate visit is the unanimous courtesy of the people in this town. They do not just wave, greet and smile at you then look at you in awe. Everyone seemed to be more than willing to talk to us the visitors and help us around. I experienced this myself via brief encounters with the kids, the vendors, the policemen – even some elderly women on their way to church and the two prisoners in their jail (when we went in to use the police station’s comfort room). The aura in this town is just too jolly! Maybe because it was their fiesta?

The local guide says… it is the abundance of cool waters everywhere in town! Really?! Intriguing!

Oh well, am coming back!


For a chronology of the stories in this trip, click the following numbers:
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12


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