Exploring Maribojoc, Bohol, Philippines
There are times when the city life gets so jammed that we just want to get away from it all. Even Tagbilaran City nowadays is overwhelmed with a lot of people and some of the beautiful places in Bohol seems to be overcrowded with visitors and tourists as well.
Then, there are times when you just want to escape. Escape from the mundane, the city noise and the stress that goes along with it.
A recent Make My Trip destination shoot in the town of Maribojoc gave me the answer to the escape I was looking for. Not only I felt peace and tranquility, but the voyage made me feel like an explorer discovering paradise, an explorer finding a land full of promises and hidden surprises, an explorer trying to cross a path yet to be explored.
I’ve been to Maribojoc a couple of times before. The thirty minute ride to the town has always been a fascination. Seeing the ragged and jagged mountain ranges and the thick rows of Nipa palm which serves as an indication that behold, you have just entered the town! This peaceful town is also known for its cultural heritage sights like the Punta Cruz Watchtower built in 1976, the wooden cross planted by the Italian navigator Pigafetta, and the Maribojoc Church (Diocesan Shrine of St. Vincent Ferrer).
Now, where is the sense of being an explorer here if all I’ve mentioned are the places which made Maribojoc popular and visited? What I have discovered is more than that!
My adventure started as me together with the crew of Make My Trip was welcomed by the Maribojoc municipal tourism officer Mary Ann Jabines. She introduced the town and the activities we were bound to do and the highlight was to cruise the Abatan River on a bamboo raft. Together with the passionate Mr. Cooper Resabal who became our guide all throughout the cruise, and a bunch of enthusiastic kayakers headed by Gil Oceña of Bohol Extreme Sports.
Coming from the highlands of Atequera and Catigbian, the Abatan River flows through Balilihan and serves as the boundary separating the town of Cortes and Maribojoc before ending up its stretch in Maribojoc Bay. As we cruised along, the view was simply breathtaking. I couldn’t believe what I saw because it was exactly like the clips in National Geographic and Hollywood films on the Amazon River.
The river has a peaceful attitude. The slow raft cruise slowly unravels the wonders of everything around us, filming in the camera is not enough to capture the beauty of the place; you just simply have to be there to appreciate its beauty. The place was literally green all over; from the emerald green waters of the river, the green leaves and vines crawling to the trees. As we slowly entered deeper to the Postan Mangrove forest, Mr. Resabal told us to say “ tabi apo” or excuse me in any language we are comfortable with as we are about to enter into another realm. A realm where spirits reside, and what the people believed to be the keepers of the place. We are entering a sanctuary, he said. We tried hard not to make noise, and the silence made us feel the environment and every living thing surrounding us. We heard birds chirping, smelled the fresh air, and the cold breeze was like a lullaby hushing us to commune with nature and just be at peace. It was nature at its pristine.
The voyage helped us discover century old mangrove trees and nipa forests. Surely the sanctuary is one of the biggest mangrove areas in the country which cradles bountiful resources. I came unto a deeper appreciation of the cycle of life, that nature has its own way of preserving and it all happens in this unique mangrove ecosystem. This cycle should not be disrupted as its serves as habitat to species like fishes, crabs and clams which in turn gathered by the locals for food consumption. It is the circle of life, and we are all connected.
Truly the town is gifted with a river full of surprises. The best way to appreciate the bends and the curves of the river is to use a kayak, and our crew exactly did that. We were unmindful of the heat of the sun as we felt there are a lot of things to be explored in the river.
The trip to Abatan River was a conquest indeed, and Make My Trip was there.
For more information about the eco tours, please contact the Municipal Eco- Heritage Tourism, Culture and Arts Office at (038) 504- 9218.
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