On the third day of my slated 7-day DIY solo trip to Cebu, I went my way to South Bus Terminal to catch an early ride to one of South Cebu’s most visited towns, Oslob. The island of Cebu is divided in two main regions, North and South. They say that the northern part is for the laid-back wanderer where most of the pristine white sand beaches can be found. I have been to the beach many a times because when we were young, my siblings and I mostly had our summer vacations in my father’s hometown of Bauan, Batangas and every summer won’t end without us going to the beach. And while the southern part of Cebu is for the adventurous and more active traveler, I thought, hey! I also have an adventurous spirit in me and journeying to the south might just let me explore it even more.
Upon arrival at South Bus Terminal, I was looking for a Ceres Bus going to Bato. Unfortunately, one just left so I patiently waited for the next one to leave. There are two routes going to the municipality of Bato, one is via Barili which travels to all the towns in the west coast and the other one is via Oslob passing through towns in the east coast. Since I was going to Oslob, obviously I need to take the latter. Then after a short while, the bus scheduled to leave at six in the morning started boarding passengers. As soon as all the seats were filled, the bus started to roll out of the terminal and it was time to bid farewell to Cebu City, the city that I have learned to cherish and will surely want to go back to.
While on the bus, I was feeling excited and worried at the same time. Excited for the adventures and experiences that the new day in Oslob has in store for me and worried that something wrong might happen or will not go as planned like what transpired during my first day in Cebu City.
There are times that it was the unexpected little things that made my solo travels, in a way, unique even if there were others before me that have been to the same place. Like when I went on my very first solo trip to Coron, Palawan and got stranded with a local named Jason at Mt. Tapyas when the heavy rains poured in. I became like an “I-Witness” documentarist trying to get to know the story of then 18 year-old Jason who was sleeping in Coron Public Market.
Off to Oslob
It can take about three and a half hours (depending on which part of town) on a bus to travel from Cebu City to Oslob and I thought that it wouldn’t be practical if I would go back to the city every single day. So, I searched for an affordable place where to stay in Oslob since it is situated in the middle of the other municipalities in South Cebu that I wanted to visit for its majestic and mesmerizing waterfalls.
The bus conductor started to issue the tickets and collect the fare. He asked me (in Cebuano) where I was going (I didn’t really understand him, I just assumed that it was what he said). I answered (in Tagalog) that I was going to Tumalog Falls but he was saying something in Cebuano which again, I didn’t understand. I repeated myself that I was going to Tumalog Falls. I asked the local seated next to me if she can translate it for me, which she did, but the conductor and I were still not understanding each other and the both of us were already getting frustrated. He then gave me a ticket amounting to Php 177, which later on I realized that he may have charged me for the farthest destination. 🙁
Lesson Learned: I should have said that I was heading to the town of Oslob where Tumalog Falls is located. I should have not assumed that everyone knows in which town all the tourist destinations in South Cebu can be found.
Normally, I do not sleep during long drives (or at least try not to) because I wanted to see the scenic views along the way plus I was worried that I might oversleep and miss my stop. But because of my frustration with how my interaction with the bus conductor turned out, I slept it off. I woke up when the bus stopped for a pee pee break somewhere between the municipalities of Sibonga and Argao. To make sure that we have not went past Oslob yet, I opened my phone and checked the map of Cebu that I have saved on my screen. I was very relieved to know that I haven’t missed my stop yet but we were already half way there so I kept my eyes wide open to be on the lookout for any signs and markers of our location outside the window.
Change of Plans
The itinerary that I laid out for that day was to visit Tumalog Falls as soon as I arrive in Oslob. Then make my way to Bancogon Port to travel to Sumilon Island by 11 AM as I have made a reservation with them for a day tour. The Old Spanish Cuartel and Immaculate Conception Church were the last stops before heading to the backpackers lounge where I have booked to stay in Oslob.
We were journeying through Boljoon at that time and according to my map, the municipality of Oslob is right up next. A few minutes later, I spotted the “Welcome to Oslob” marker and my eyes were already glued to the window to make sure that I would not fail to spot the road sign to Tumalog Falls. But instead of the falls I saw something else, and then the bus stopped and the conductor hollered, “Poblacion, Poblacion” (main town). I stood up from my seat and hurriedly descended the bus. The sign reads Cuartel and Immaculate Conception Parish Church with an arrow pointing across the street.
The original plan looked very efficient but nothing is written in stone. As I was not sure where to find the jump off point to the falls, I have decided to alter the itinerary a bit and went to Cuartel and Immaculate Conception Parish Church first. From there, I was hoping to find someone that can lead me to Tumalog Falls. Nevertheless, I had successfully reached my target destination of Oslob .
Blast from the Past
I walked to the opposite side of the national road and headed to where the sign was pointing at and it led me to Calle Aragones, the oldest street in Oslob. According to the historical marker, “Calle Aragones was built in 1879 and was named after the parish priest, Father Jose Aragones. It also used to be the main processional route during the Spanish Era.”
Along Calle Aragones lies Immaculate Conception Parish Church also known as Oslob Church. The whole exterior of the church was built with coral stones. It has a huge four-storey octagonal belfry standing at 30 meters high. The church had suffered destruction due to a couple of fire incidents and it has been restored a few times right after. The renovations were quite obvious in its interior as it already seemed modernized. The grounds where the church was built is fenced with thick stone walls that served as its protection from MORO raiders during the olden days. In front of the Oslob Church is a park and another Spanish-era structure built in 1788, Baluarte or Watch Tower. The façade of the church, together with the park and Baluarte are facing east with the immense Cebu Strait just a few meters away. It must be a sight to behold to watch the sunrise from here.
Across the church is the Ruins of an Old Spanish Cuartel. Its construction began in 1860, just like the church, it was made up of coral stones. The Cuartel was supposed to be the barracks of Spanish soldiers in Oslob but was left unfinished until the end of the Spanish colonization in the Philippines in 1898.
A bus stopped in front of the Old Spanish Cuartel moments after I’ve arrived but thankfully there were only a few foreign tourists in the bus and the place did not get too crowded. Locals of Oslob also visit the church and cuartel on their bikes and motorcycles once in a while. During the day, the Old Spanish Cuartel was a gorgeous structure even in its unfinished state. I wonder how it looks at night? Luckily, I was staying near the area so, I planned a come-back just before they turned the lights off.
Liked this post? Pin it and Share it!
How about you? Have you been to Oslob? Have you visited Oslob Church and the Old Spanish Cuartel? How was your experience? We would love to hear from you? Share your thoughts.