Monday, September 21, 2009

Poro Camotes Visit


From Tudela, we moved forward to the town of Poro and in just about 10 minutes, including a brief stop by the seaside highway with majestic views, we were already by the entrance to the town’s pier. Whoa, so that is where I arrived at last night via the fastcraft. Its bigger than Tudela’s and has more sprucing up underway. There are wire-mesh fences and gates, parking spaces and perched on a street-island even some kind of a slender pillar with a clock on top that is obviously new but non-functional. The clock said 08:35 but I took that pic at exactly 10:34. Unless Poro follows a different time zone hehehe! there was a boat (probably a RORO) docked at the time we passed by, so at least this is a real functional port and in use!

We went to see the church. My my, they have an interestingly old looking church. Not too big like Boljoon or Bantayan but I thought it was already huge for the population of this town. The bell tower that is a separate structure standing beside the church is a tall solid concrete. And there was a man on its very top, probably tending to some minor repairs to the roof. Oh, like at Tudela, the church was closed so I had no chance to peep in. Judging from the external views, this insides of that church might probably be interesting too. Then again, I had no chance of looking in. Maybe next time...

I instead turned around at the very same garden I was standing on, to view Poro’s town hall. It’s a fairly standard building that looks like a school and there is prominent signage that it was built in 1982. Yep, just nearly 3 decades standing. I wasn’t able to ask anyone as to where might have been their old municipal hall or if it was the same structure just modernized in 1982. Its position though is ideal, sitting by the side of a hill fronted by a wide expanse of grass and trees before the main road where the more imposing multipurpose center by the sea faces it. As with many small towns in the country, the biggest structure in this town seems to be that multi-purpose center. And there was a basketball tournament in progress, that probably was one reason why there were not too many people on the streets.

Randy even went to say a few quick hellos to some of the folks in the gym. He comes from this place and tonight his basketball team has a scheduled game in that tournament. Hmm, I must say he is one famous dude in the islands and knows quite a number of people. I even joked that he should become mayor! While we drove around and inched forward to San Francisco, Randy told me of many other things about Poro… some natural, some historic and all were interesting!

Examples? This town has ‘Mount Three Peaks’ which is purportedly the highest point in the Camotes Islands. To see the entire island group, the top of that mountain can be reached via a trek and it passes via a waterfall, whoa! He says that sunsets are best viewed from up there. But Buho Beach too is a wonderful place to watch sunsets. And I like the story of how it came to be known as “buho”. Interesting! Am not sure though if that hole (buho) is the making of a cannon or even mortar hehe! I also liked the story of how in the 1500s, the town proper of Poro came to be. It’s a unique story of cooperation and compromise amongst our forebears! Thanks to an elder named Panganuron for which the waterfall was named after him. Here’s more, even before I went, I already kept wondering why this island group belongs to Cebu instead of Leyte where its nearer… and I got my answer… Camotes was in fact part of Leyte administered by the friars, but in 1902 government transferred it to the administrative control of Cebu. Why? They thought Cebu’s center of government (Cebu City) was nearer than Leyte’s center of government (Tacloban). And I think in fact it really is so! I checked that out on google earth just now. Plus, in the olden past, it was more comfortable to travel by sea (to Cebu) than by land (western Leyte to Tacloban). Oh so that’s the reason! Now we all know!

By the way, driving northwards from Poro town center, you reach a fork in the road with big trees. Going right is back to My Little Island Hotel and going left is the way to the causeway that connects to Pacijan Island that is the town of San Francisco.

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