Boljoon /Bol-ho-on/ noun – a fifth class municipality of Cebu
synonym: Cebu’s Heritage Frontier
I don’t know about you, but whenever I hear the word Boljoon (pronounced as Bol-ho-on), there’s only one thing that enters my mind ~ heritage. Apparently, Boljoon is drawing thousands of pilgrims and students every week who’d go on a heritage and religious field trips. However, it seems that adventure junkies tend to exclude Boljoon in their usual itinerary when visiting the Southeastern part of Cebu. The reason of which could be ~ the overshadowing of its neighboring towns’ popular attractions such as Osmeña Peak (Dalaguete), Sumilon Island & Whaleshark Watching (Oslob), among others.
Whenever I travel down South, I only got a glimpse of this scenic historical town through the windows of buses passing by Boljoon. Curious about what’s in store for adventure enthusiast like me in such quaint town, I listed Boljoon as my next adventure destination and thought of embracing whatever it has to offer. With a very stressful work week, I always look forward to the weekend to escape from the urban’s chaos, go somewhere less crowded and savor that much needed respite. And so with the support of the #AdventureGrammer crew, that Boljoon trip has been materialized.
It was one fine Saturday and we got on a bus bound for Boljoon from the South Bus Terminal. We traveled from Cebu City along the winding coastal highway, and after three hours, an iconic landmark ~a giant limestone called Ili Rock ~ greeted us, thereby giving us an idea that we’re already in the town proper of Boljoon. Upon entry, our views were divided mainly in two:
- left side: the azure seascape that is so inviting you’d pause for a while and just appreciate its natural beauty; and
- right side: the centuries-old fortifications that are well-preserved you’d be taken back to Boljoon’s rich and beautiful past
Home to Spanish era man-made attractions, Boljoon also offers variety of natural spots that are unbeknownst to many people. With this, I rounded up 10 things to do or attractions to see when in Boljoon for two days and 1 night with a budget of PhP 700.00 or less (see sample itinerary and cost at the end of this post).
1.) Heritage Walk
Transport in time during the colonial period via the Heritage Walk. It is a “good old town” tour around the famous and historical icons in the seaside town of Boljoon. Explore heritage-rich Boljoon (founded in 1599) and marvel in the history of centuries old watch towers or ‘baluartes’, fortified walls or ‘morayas’, ancestral blockhouses, bridge, school and public baño. You can save when you ditch a guide, but don’t ever leave Boljoon without paying a visit to Cebu’s oldest Church and Boljoon’s National Cultural Treasure, Nuestra Señora de Patrocinio Parish Church.
2.) Beach Bumming and Seawall Platform Jumping
Boljoon boasts long shorelines, fine sand coasts, and clear waters. While most of the beaches are found in the vicinity of private resorts, there are also decent beaches that are publicly available for beach goers. Regardless, it’s not new if you find yourself sun bathing and dipping in Boljoon azure waters. While at the top of Ili Rock, you can have a panoramic view of Boljoon’s seascape and from there, you can choose the best spot to loaf in the beach. If you can see the town’s plaza, that’s where the seawall platform jumping activity is done.
3.) Hike at Ablayan Peak
Ablayan Peak is the highest Peak in Boljoon wherein you get to appreciate the immense mountain ranges of Southern Cebu. It is windy up in the summit and the cool breeze is definitely a refreshing welcome hug for hikers who’d trek and camp or travel via habal2x (Php 200-300 round trip package, including #4, #5, #7 & #8) through the rocky trail of the mountains. Plus, it’s even more marvelous when you bask under the picturesque view during sunrise
4.) Chase Waterfalls (Kan-amno, Gulas and Dayhag)
There are three waterfalls in Boljoon, at least known to the public. Kan-amno Falls and Gulas Falls are both located in Lower Becerril while Dayhag Falls is a five-tiered waterfalls located in Upper Becerril. Only Dayhag Falls is developed and regulated, thus it has an entrance fee amounting to Php 20.00 for the maintenance and further development of such tourist spot. It is a product of a volunteerism project initiated by the Municipal Tourism and Heritage Office together with Sangguniang Kaabataan as part of Cultural Mapping. Each level of Dayhag Falls is unique with its different cascades and plunge pool depth features.
ALSO READ: 111 Spectacular Waterfalls in Cebu
5.) Seclusion Feels at Escuela Catolica
Nahhh, you don’t get to live here in seclusion. It’s just the ambiance of the place looks and feels like one, and that’s a good thing I guess. Escuela Catolica is part of the Nuestra Patrocinio Complex aside from the church, museum and cemetery. It is used to be a dormitory for children taking their first communion who were required to stay at the Escuela the night before taking the Holy Communion. It was used as a school for religious teachings and for a time was a primary school. It now serves as a meeting place for the Parish’s various religious groups and a tourist attraction too.
6. Stay overnight at the White House in the Woods
Boljoon accommodations are not all coastal. White House in the Woods is the newest rest house in town that is tucked away in a tranquil woodland of the the rural town. With hotel-like amenities (plus extra features), nature-filled scenery, exclusive retreat for your group, with in-house assistant and name-your-price set-up, it is truly a special budget homestay in the South like no other.
For exclusivity and great value for money, I strongly recommend White House in the Woods to maximize your breakation. Take a tour HERE.
7.) Take a Selfie at the Rice Terraces
This one’s truly an eye catcher. Yes, this is yet another rice field terraces unbeknownst to many. Boljoon’s slopes claimed from nature has been cut into graduated steps that is just fertile for cultivation in the mountainous areas of Upper Becerril. This one reminds me of an amphitheatre which is, by the way, an instagram-worthy spot. And it’s totally FREE.
8.) Cool-off at various natural springs (Dayhag, Kolos and Tubigan)
Experience total breakation in this spring-filled paradise. Beat the heat of summer by dipping into the cold springs of Boljoon. There are three springs to choose from: Dayhag, Kolos and Tubigan, and yet each one is equally conducive for basking in the cool and rejuvenating mountain natural spring. Budget damage: NONE
9.) Encounter Wild Animals in the Mini Zoo
On our way to Ablayan Peak, we’ve seen the signboard of Palanas Farm and Resort. Later did we know when we got back to the White House (see #6 above) that there is a mini-zoo in said resort. The owner said there are farm animals like ducks, ostriches, horses as well as wild goats and sheeps. It gives me a reason to come back and encounter wild animals up close and personal.
10.) Choose your own adventure on top of Ili Rock
You’ve probably heard of Ili Rock many times but do you know what’s in store for you there? Ili Rock (Ilihan) is a natural rock formation that will greet tourists at the entrance of Boljoon’s Poblacion. This huge and jutting slab of white limestone is now undergoing transformation to address what the LGU claims as instability and landslide prevention. One must climb the steep stairways of Ili Rock to get to the top and have a good aerial view of the neighboring island’s seascape and Boljoon’s landscape. As per Master Plan, there will be rapelling, zipline and cafe very soon. Aren’t you excited?
What are you waiting for? Tick-off Boljoon’s activities above in your bucketlist. It doesn’t matter if you are a adrenaline junkie, a historian or a nature lover, Boljoon is a perfect place to relax, have some adventure and savor that much needed breakation without breaking your wallet. How many activities or spots have you tried or been to? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
And oh, before you head to Boljoon, you may want to consider this sample itinerary: 2D1N Boljoon Budget Breakcation_Sample Itinerary