Tuburan: A Silent Jewel Up North of Cebu

Determination is my keyword. I usually persevere in times of trials and even in moments of failures. Maybe this “angel” in me toughened up and helped me deal with these earthly challenges. Starting up an article of determination is unquestionably manifested in this adventure – the founding of a jewel that lies in a silent and peaceful place of the northern Cebu, Tuburan.
"Inviting cold spring water of Molobolo Spring, Tuburan, Cebu"
Commute. Stop. Hurray!
“Where do I sleep?”, “Do I know someone from there?” those were the questions in my mind as soon I logged out from school. I smiled to myself and confidently assured my inner ego that “I can find ways.”

Riding nonstop from Liloan to Compostela then to Danao and finally thriving in an overloaded bus bound for Tuburan was an experience that both exhilarated and excited me. My adventure checklist for summer is slowly ticking up.

Tuburan Welcomed Me with a Song
The winding road seemed never-ending as I was still kilometers away from Tuburan. Finally, the 2-hour bus ride had come to an end and I was now breathing the Tuburan night air. A stage was set-up adjacent to the bus terminal. The resounding music of the 80’s serenaded the passersby of Tuburan, and at the same time, an indication that a pending program was about to start.
"Dance to the music of the Tuburanons"
“This is a lively town…” it was my first impression the moment I walked from the terminal up to the town market.   
“Asa ka moadto, Maam?” (Where are you going, Maam?) a huge male figure behind me said with a deep-toned yet friendly voice.

“Sa Molobolo Spring, Kuya,” I replied. “Naa ra bay ka-stayhan didto?” (Is there a place for me to stay there?) I continued asking the man who was determined to follow me.

“Naa ra man, Maam. Ako diay si Minty, Maam. Taga-Tuburan gyud ko. Pwede tika ihatud sa Molobolo, Maam,” (There is a place for you to stay there, Maam. By the way, I am Minty. I live here in Tuburan. I can take you to Molobolo.) he offered for a 35-peso ride for Molobolo Spring.

I was feeling tired from the trip and talking with Kuya Minty in a busy street was a relief for me. He suggested a barbecue house for me to take my dinner and even had a quick tour around the town before heading to Molobolo Spring.

Molobolo Spring and the Night
It was already half past 8 in the evening when Kuya Minty and I arrived in Molobolo Spring. He assured me that he would find a safe place for me to stay overnight. True to his words, he introduced me to the Barangay captain’s wife who manages a store in Molobolo Spring.
"Strolled around the beach at the break of dawn..."
Most of the rooms were occupied and if they weren’t, they cost a lot for a backpacker like me (700-1000 pesos for an overnight stay). What I did, I asked the wife if I could stay overnight in one of the cottages. Good thing that she agreed thus, I placed my things in the cottage and readied myself for an evening swim. (After thanking Kuya Minty, I asked for his number so I could contact him for tomorrow’s activity).
"Molobolo Spring is flocked with weekenders and vacationers during summer."
"Found this cute bloom near the spring"
The cold spring tickled my senses as it was amplified by the cold evening breeze. I was chilling for a moment but glad that my body managed to keep up with the waters’ temperature. Wading my legs and stretching my arms against the cold spring water was a reward of the chaos of work and commuting of that Saturday rush. Swimming in Molobolo Spring was a total rejuvenation. My whole self rejoiced with the stars and the night.

Dao Tree and the Stories it Stored
The following day, Kuya Minty sent someone to fetch me in Molobolo Spring. It was Kuya Gani whom I negotiated with to tour me around Tuburan. I opened up the idea that I wanted to visit Dao Tree and Marmol Cliff. He was nice to give his suggestions to me and we immediately agreed with the itinerary.
"I felt so little with this giant tree..." 
The Dao Tree (dracontamelon dao) in Brgy. Jagbuaya, Tuburan is believed to withstand time for approximately two hundred years. This tropical canopy tree is a witness of different stories for centuries and remains a significant symbol for Tuburan. I felt so small while trying to hug its roots and trunk. Truly a heritage in Tuburan!

The "Tuba" Vendor and the Warning
I asked Kuya Gani if I could stop by for lunch somewhere in the local market. Indeed, I had a sumptuous meal in a certain carenderia then I headed outside the eatery to get a view of the town. I saw vendors selling some "tuba" or coconut wine and with my curiosity, I walked towards them. 

I asked "Nanay" how much she is selling it for a glass since I was eager to taste this local drink.

"Tag-Singko lang dai," (Five pesos only) she replied.
True enough, I drank a glass of coconut wine and I was feeling talkative already.
"This is how much a 5-peso "coconut wine" looks like..."
"Asa man ka paingon, inday? Taga-dinhi ka?" (Where are you going? Are you from here?") she asked.

"Dili, 'Nay, taga-syudad ko," (No, Grandma. I am from the city.) I answered. "Adto ko sa Marmol Cliff," (I am going to Marmol Cliff) I continued while I sat beside her waiting for Kuya Gani to fetch me.

"Pag-amping, Inday ha kung moadto naka. Hilan baya na na lugar. Labi na nga dili ka taga-dinhi," (Take care if you are going there. The place is dangerous specially if you aren't from here.) Nanay was already starting up her story about different supernatural tales of Marmol Cliff.

"Uu, 'Nay. Ako na hinumduman. Salamat," (Yes, Grandma. I will take that in mind. Thank you!) I bid goodbye to the coconut wine vendor since the motorbike driver had arrived but again, I was even more cautious since I heard the stories of Nanay vendor.

Trek. Draft. Climb.
I was oriented earlier that we wouldn't be riding the motorbike going to Marmol Cliff since it rained heavily the previous day. The terrain would become muddy and slippery plus the driving on a river basin would be inconvenient for us. 
"The beginning of our trek down to Marmol Cliff..."
I understood what Kuya Gani explained and I knew that I would have a safe trip if I would follow his instructions and, not to mention what "Nanay" told me - "be careful." So instead of insisting, I asked him for the better option. He told me that we would be hiking and river trekking. Hearing his words, I instantly became overwhelmed with twinkling eyes.
"Hiked down to this river that connects Marmol Cliff and Adela..."
"Wow!" I exclaimed.
"Unya, Maam, okay ra nimo na molakaw?" (Will it be fine for you to walk?")  he asked.
"Wala jud nay problema, Kuya," (No problem, Kuya!) I genuinely smiled at him while setting my mind for a trek.
"Nature's wonderful creation..."
Indeed, the place was stunning after I had an hour of trekking. I gaped at the huge and smooth limestone which mightily stood right before me. Metaphorically an insignia of a humongous  gate that separates our world to the other. 
"The bamboo raft is a means of transpo for the residents here..."
It was enchanting. I was then transported to a world where I was both mesmerized and bewitched. I thought was in a different world separated from this Gaea. Then I recalled what "Nanay" told me - "to be careful."
"The locals bring goods from the town crossing Marmol Cliff."
I was short for words describing the scenery. But there was something interesting about the place. It truly served as a passage between two barangays. The river extended its reach from the adjacent barangay connecting it to Adela River in Poblacion. 

Again, the adventurer soul in me never ceases to exist. I climbed one boulder after another. I asked the spirits of the rock to take care of me when I stepped on them one by one. I was feeling in one with nature. I was totally in awe with its wonder. 

My Way Home
The sky was signalling a rainfall minutes before I decided to go home. It was still 2 in the afternoon and Kuya Gani and I needed to walk back from where he left the motorbike for us to ride back to the town. 

"Paspasa nimo mo lakaw, Maam," (You walked fast, Maam.) Kuya Gani said when we arrived at the town.
"Salamat, Kuya. Nalingaw man jud ko," (Thanks, Kuya. Because it is fun.) I reasoned out. 

Finally, Kuya Gani and I parted ways. I was thankful of having a kind and I must say, adventurous motorbike driver and guide who was totally trustworthy. 
"Tuburan Church is also a beautiful architectural structure..."
After touring Tuburan, I felt that I was a successful archaeologist. I just excavated an important jewel whom I didn't want to unveil. I wanted to be selfish for a while because I wanted to keep the beauty for myself and quench with it a little longer. I could finally say that I found a jewel up north of Cebu - the peaceful and quiet town of Tuburan. 

Insights from the "archaeologist" in me:
1. Digging for information about Tuburan and its beauty spots wasn't that difficult since the power of social media is already an overwhelming source of information however, I only read the beauty it possessed but not the problem it gained throughout time. 

Environmental dilemma: A few meters away from Molobolo Spring, I saw a dump of garbage near the seashore. It emitted stinky smell and some of them were already floating in the sea. (Imagine swimming together with ladies pantyshield over your head.)

Economical issue: I stayed in the cottage of Molobolo Spring overnight and we agreed that I'd be paying a certain amount for my stay. I religiously paid it while asking for an official receipt. The caretaker handed me a scratch paper with a figure written in it. I asked back if I could have their official receipt but he said, "Wala man miy official receipt, Maam." (We don't have any official receipt, Maam.) I hope that the barangay can provide us with an official receipt so we may know that the business is legal and paying its dues to the barangay. 

2. I am happy that I visited Dao Tree in Brgy. Jagbuaya and I loved that the officials are preserving its century-old heritage. I hope that it wouldn't change all throughout time. Remember, the present is the key to the past. Holding this nature's memento imposes a great value in History and even, in Science. 

3. Obey and follow the local and old folks even if you don't believe in superstitions. Nonetheless, being careful is a manifestation of obeying the place's culture and even to nature. When in Marmol Cliff, try not to make unnecessary noise 

Getting there:
1. From North Bus terminal, take a bus going to Tuburan. It will take 2 1/2 - 3 hours from the city. Since I commuted from Liloan to Compostela to Danao and then to Tuburan, so I paid different fare. In my case, Danao to Tuburan costs Php75.00 only. 

2. From Tuburan Bus station, motorbikes (habal-habal) are readily available. Normally, the fare is Php30.00 pesos while the trike is Php20.00. I had mine for Php35.00. I didn't mind it at all because Kuya Minty was a great and trustworthy guide plus it was evening time when he had to bring me to Molobolo Spring. In addition, he never left Molobolo Spring until I had a place to stay. 

3. The tour I had with Kuya Gani cost Php240.00 that includes fetching me in Molobolo Spring, stopping by Brgy. Jagbuaya for Dao Tree, trekking to Marmol Cliff and even touring me to Adela River since I still had enough time. However, I opted to drop by at the Town's Church and waited at the terminal for the bus bound to Cebu.
"A scenic consolation for me while waiting for the bus..."

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About Marie Angelique Villamor

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