Beckoning Boljoon

      I want to be adamant with my belief that if a person should travel, he or she must first explore the wonders around him. I'd like to translate my belief by traveling locally all over the province of Cebu before going somewhere to travel. It's nothing crazy though. It is already given that traveling gives one a deeper sense of knowledge and understanding about the place that he/she is traveling in.
In that sense, I want to understand myself as a pure Cebuano by immersing myself with Cebu's grandeur. Moreover, I always find pleasure in meeting new people and trying out new things by means of traveling.

      By the summer of the year 2014, I have found the courage to travel alone. I packed my travel essentials and head north going to the island of the captivating Camotes. It was one of my most memorable travel experience and I promised myself to travel again somewhere alone. Why would I like to travel alone,you may ask? It's not only because I am annoyed with people who would like me to take their photos all the fcking time. lol Nothing's wrong with taking somebody's photo, I just prefer to enjoy the view of the place that I am exploring instead of spending my time taking somebody else's photo. That depends on the person I am traveling with though. Not everyone are narcissistic AF. Also, I prefer to be alone whilst traveling as it gives me time to reflect with my past decisions and future plans. It also gives me time to be more comfortable with my solitude and to be comfortable with the me that I am living in in the best possible way. After all, man's greatest company is himself.

     For some reasons, I wasn't able to travel alone last year. For this year though, I managed to finally go travel again solo. This time, I went to the southern part of Cebu. A place unspoiled by time and preserved by its people ingenuity. A place which we call Boljoon.
You can see the pristine waters of the south even while you are still in the bus. The proud coconut trees won't also fail to summon the eternal summer within you. :)
Boljoon (also Boljo-on, pronounced "bull-who-on") is a fifth income class municipality in the province of Cebu, Philippines. It is bounded to the north by Alcoy, to the west by Malabuyoc, to the south by Oslob, and to the east by Bohol Strait. (wikipedia)

It is believed that Boljoon was a pre-Hispanic settlement of Malay immigrants who have found a route to from Panay to the area. Historical records revealed at least five renditions oof the name of the town. it is refered to as  Bolhon, Bolhong, Bolhoon, Bolhoong and the current name and spelling of Boljoon. Boljoon is one of the oldest towns of Cebu province, and was established by the Augustinian friars in the year 1599. (Boljoon Tourism and Heritage Council Office)

    I am born and raised in Cebu City. The idea of going places is always within me even as a child. I have been to the southern part of Cebu last year, but I always know that there are still so much for me to explore. When I went whale watching in Oslob last year, we (my colleagues and I) passed through Boljoon. That was the time when I had the glimpse of its beauty. I promised myself then that I should read more of its story.

    I spent only a day in Boljoon,but I am beyond ecstatic that I was able to get in touch with its treasures that will beckon you or any soul to discover the place as well.
Ili Rock
The second most popular landmark in Boljoon next to the Parish Complex. It is a natural rock formation which serves as an impressive backdrop to the simple dwellings of the Boljo-anons. 

        You'll know you are already in Boljoon once you get a view of the famous Ili Rock. I actually aimed to climb on top of the rock and take a great look of the picturesque view of the south but unfortunately, when I went there the rock isn't suitable for any sort of climbing activity as a construction was going on. However, I do hope that I would be able to climb on top and let the gentle breeze of the south carry my worries away.
Patrocinio de Maria Church
Over a 400 year old church, Patricio de Maria Church puts you across on the Spanish era. The church is enriched with intricate carvings and paintings and bass relief. In 2001, the National Museum declared it as a National Cultural Treasure.
      One of the most historical landmarks in Boljoon. This is a very enormous house of worship. I would really love to see what it looks like inside too but, unfortunately, the church was being renovated at the time when I visited Boljoon (that explains the net and the mat in the photo) so the church wasn't available for any kind of viewing. But according to my previous search, the church has a breathtaking wall paintings inside. Maybe next time. lol
Escuela Catolica
Escuela Catolica used to be a dormitory for children taking their first communion, built in 1940.

       Another place worth of visit is the Escuaela Catolica. It's actually just a few minutes away from the church so you won't have a hard time going to this place. Look at how glorious its architecture is! It was used as a dormitory for children before but now, though the place is still fully functional, it now serves as a meeting place for the women serving the church. And nope, I wasn't able to go upstairs and check out what' above. People were busy inside and I don't wanna disturb them. By the way, contrary to what many people thought, the two stairs aren't classified as entrance and exit stairs. The staircase on the left is intended for boys,while the one on the right is for girls. :)

El Grande Baluarte
El Grande Baluarte believed to have been built by Fray Julian Bermejo on 1808 and it is the main fortress on the church complex’s fortification which is now a bell tower.

     Again, I wasn't able to go and check out what it looks like in the bell tower above because the priest who holds the key wasn't around at that time. Ugh... Anyway my tour guide told me that the bell tower has been very useful to the Boljoanons especially during the times of war. It serves as a signal or warning for the people to prepare.

Plaza Cemetery
This served as the first Christian burial ground in Boljoon, probably constructed together with the first stone church in the 1760s. The cemetery gates are made of cut coral stones with a symmetrical gateway. It has an arched opening with a three-layer pediment decorated by finials on the two lower layers and a stone relief of a skeleton on the top layer.
The ancestors of many Boljoon residents are buried in the cemetery. (from

     Another picture perfect site in Boljoon is its Plaza Cemetery which is also located beside the Patrocinio de Maria Church. A mysterious yet astounding place as it is, it attracts a number of tourists. Sadly, and again?! wasn't able to go inside because they don't have the key lol. Maybe it's with the same priest? lelz Was able to take some shots though. Hmmm...looking at the place was quite creepy btw, especially when I did it alone. lol And there was absolutely no one around the area at that time. haha
Boljoon Parish Museum
Located inside Patrocinio de Maria Church, Boljoon Parish Museum boasts historical artifacts replete with background that will take you back to what Boljoon is centuries ago. 

I wouldn't tell you what exactly are the things that I saw inside the museum, but let me assure that they are all worthy of visit. What makes those items more interesting are the stories behind them that can leave you with your mouth open. Not kidding. The visit the in museum is actually one of my favorite part of my short trip. And what's best is that someone will take you inside the museum without any pay. So yes, going inside the museum is absolutely free of charge so if you wanna go to Boljoon, don't miss out visiting the museum.
 Dr. Dionisio Niere Ancestral House
Built in 1928, the house has a formal symmetrical facade with a truncated main roof. its distinctive characteristics is a protruding vestibule which extends up to the second floor. During the second World War, the house was used as headquarters by the Japanese Imperial Army. Dr. Dionisio Niere was the first Boljoanon Doctor of Medicine and master of the 1935 constitutional convention.

          It is a wonderful thing to know that there are Filipino who really did something for our country. I really wanted to go inside the house but unfortunately, we can only view it outside. According to my tour guide, one reason why tourists and other people aren't allowed to roam around the house is because it's no longer safe. It clearly needs a renovation. By the way, the house is empty. There's nothing inside the house, so we might as well be contented in admiring its outside structure.

Cirilo Sestoso Ancestral House
The oldest house in town built by "Kapitan Iyoy/Atang Iyoy" Sestoso in 1881. It has a rectangular shape of plan. It features detailed ornamentation at the gutter. It has a patched geometrical center wall in between window panels.
The owner was a Gobernadorcillo of Boljoon during the Spanish period and one of the  prominent worker in the construction of what is now present-day Boljoon Church.

       It is impossible not to fall in love with this house. Just take a good look at its details. Amazing won't suffice to describe the beauty of its architecture and design. Sadly, people aren't allowed to go inside the house too because the relatives of the house won't allow anyone to go inside the place. They said one reason is that it is hard for them to sustain money for its maintenance. 
Patricio de Maria St.
It is a pleasure to be able to walk along the oldest street of Boljoon! I am glad that the people are restoring the history behind the street by keeping it constantly clean.
Banyo sa Poblacion
Believed to be the site of the town's first encounter with the Spanish colonizers.

           My tour guide told me that no matter how hot the weather is, the spring will never run out of water. That even though drought has taken over the place, it will still continue to bring life and sustain the needs of the people. How I wish people are like the spring of Boljoon too, especially those who are in government offices.
 Tubigan sa Molobolo
This is where town's folks gathered to wash their clothes and bathe with the cold springs that run down to the sea.

            Boljoon is very rich in springs and other natural resources. Another major spring in town that I have visited is the one in Molobolo. Just like the one in Patrocinio de Maria, people also gather in Molobolo to take a bath and tend to their laundry. It's amazing to note that it is just a few steps away from the sea! It's a perfect place for swimming and for a picnic. 
        Took a short walk around the town and found myself enjoying the view of a random beach. It's pristine waters invited me for a dip but I must keep it for another day as I do not have any extra clothes with me. I didn't make me sad though because the sound of the waves and the silence of the deep sea are more than enough to make me feel at ease.
Foods and Delicacies in Boljoon
         I asked my tour guide what are their pride in their kitchens and she said that when you have to visit Boljoon, you have to taste their torta (a type of cake) and their egg yolk cookies. Of course, I did bought some for me and my family in the city. My tour guide added that their humba, a popular Filipino dish is also unique and it is also something that you should also try. 

Here's a quick guide that I have prepared if ever you want to visit Boljoon too. Thank me later! :D

***This information may alter as time pass but as of April 2016, I am holding the details here based on my personal experience of traveling to Boljoon alone.
  1. Go to South Bus Terminal in Cebu City.
  2. Look for a bus going to Oslob. Buses going to Oslob may stop at Boljoon. You just  have to inform the driver or the konduktor. You may choose an air conditioned bus or a bus with no air conditioner. As for me, I chose to ride in an air conditioned bus. The ride from Cebu City terminal going to my destination (Boljoon) costs me 120php.
  3. If you have no idea where to stop at Boljoon, just inform the driver to stop at the Boljoon Municipal Hall or at the Patrocinio de Maria Church. You don't have to worry though because both places can be easily spotted. Passengers going south can also assist you.
  4. Once you are in the Municipal Hall or the church, you are free to explore the place. Both places are ideal starting points of you tour. You may start exploring the church, then the museum, the cemetery, the watchtower, and the school. They are all located very near in each other. However, I would highly recommend for you to go to the municipal hall first. Ask for anyone inside the municipal hall for someone who can assist you in your tour. Boljoon's tourism office is located inside the municipal hall. They will immediately send someone to assist you with your tour, a tour guide, I shall say. And if you are worried how much it will cost you, do not fret, you don't have to pay your tour guide even for a single centavo. Your tour guide will go with you and lead you to different historical places in Boljoon. He/She will also talk to you about important facts about the places you visit.
My tour guide :)
I was a bit embarrassed and surprised when she said I don't have to pay her when I asked her how much should I give her. hahahahaha Look at how clean the street though! I wish the streets here in the city are as clean as the ones they have in Boljoon.
A random house we passed by during the tour. You know, I wouldn't mind living in a house like that. It's probably my idea of my dream house. White as dove, made of wood, basking in greens.
I hope you enjoyed this post. And hopefully, you shall find this purposeful. Travel frequently dear, as much as you can, life is short. Another perspective of viewing life is always worth the shot.

love lots,

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  1. It looks like such a lovely place and full of history. I would love that! I too enjoy traveling alone. I can set my own pace as I worry too much about whoever I am with and move as they do. When I am alone, I enjoy things just as much as I want to, eat when I want, go where I want, spend without being embarrased. Of course there is something else I like doing alone alot that you probably do not, something more personal, but I enjoy it by myself for many of the same reasons ;) Kisses and love dear!

    All Things Bright and Lovely

    1. hahah you are really funny Shamu!
      thanks a lot!

  2. Absolutely wonderful!

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  3. I commend your courage in traveling alone, not all people can do so! It is said that through such travels you not only immerse yourself in the experience but also get more in touch with yourself. Further, don't you think profound realizations usually happen in such occasion?

    Please continue to share your wonderful travel experience with us. Until then . . .

    Here's to more adventure,
    K.a Ibañez
    Treading through Tine's Line

    1. Thank you for your wonderful thought K :)
      and yes, I do believe we tend to think deeper as we travel

  4. I love how you describe the place and then insert your emotions right after. It becomes very personal as a blog post. While some just describe, you also add your inputs and personal choices. Thank you for letting us walk with you. It was like I was there walking and admiring those beautiful houses. I like things that are old, someday, will visit Boljoon.

    1. Thank you Sir and you are welcome as well. And yes, you should visit Boljoon someday too! hehehw

  5. Hahah, I guess we couldn't travel together as sometimes I even get on my nerves with wanting to captivate everything in photos :) Thankfully my boyfriend is patient enough :D I like capturing places in photos because through years from now on them I'll be able to relive the memories I created:).
    I loved this post a lot, Tin. You did such an amazing job by writing about each place that you visited. I love the architecture (it is so unique) and how each place has it's story. Thank you for letting me be with you in this journey virtually.
    I have never tried to travel solo, but I am afraid I wouldn't like it much, because I feel the best when I am surrounded by my people, I like sharing experiences with them and reminiscing in memories after the trip. But I guess everybody is different, right? :)

    1. hahahaha thanks a lot Maddie! lmao but I think we can travel all along just fine, I would love to take your photos anyway!It's fine to travel solo or with some friends, I guess both are rewarding, it just depends on our personal preferences, depends on the people we are traveling with too!

  6. Hello Tin! Personally I don't like to travel solo, when I visit new places I always do this with my fiance. But I really admire people, who are able to travel alone, good to know that you're that person too. What's more, you did AMAZING job on this post, it's really informative and I love that you described each detail of your trip, that place looks great and it has rich history! Have an amazing Friday, dear friend!

    1. Thank you so much dear! Maybe I'd travel anywhere with my fiance too once I have one! lol
      Have a wonderful day dearest, thanks a lot once again :)

  7. Great post hun! I like this so much.

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  8. What incredible pictures, just wonderful!!
    Have a lovely weekend :)
    Rosanna x
    Rose's Rooftop

    1. Thank you dear! :) have a lovely weekend as well <3

  9. Some of these places look magical, Tin. Traveling alone isn't the worst thing, I like it, because you are your own boss, you can do whatever you want to, visiting what you like and doing what you like. Happy Friday, honey.

  10. Awesome pictures..loved all!! <3

  11. It's been ages since I went to Philippines but I'd love to visit once again. Boljoon looks incredible, full of rich history. And though you might not enjoy travelling alone, I love it. I wish I could do it <3

    xx Bash |   go say   H E Y   B A S H

  12. To be honest, I dreamed of travelling alone to some far away place! I think when one travels alone, one learns the most. When we travel with company, we tend to spend our time with them so we don't get to know the locals so well and we interact with other people less. Who knows maybe some day I will travel someplace alone! I would love that.

    I really enjoyed this virtual visit to Boljoon! So kind of you to take us with you in this way. I see that Boljoon is a very interesting place with a rich history. It was so nice to see all those old buildings. Too bad that church wasn't open, but as you say maybe next time you'll have more luck.
    The nature there is spectacular!

    So nice that the touristic biro there gives everyone a free guide. That's such a smart move. If I could, I would love to visit this place. I can understand why travelling alone to this place was a wonderful experience for you. You got to concentrate on the area, learn about history and enjoy your walk by the sea.

    My dream house is white too! I guess my ideal one should be build of rock not wood, but I doubt that I will be able to live out that fantasy. Well, one never knows!


    Thank you for this post! I enjoyed it so much!

  13. I would be afraid to travel alone and I would be so scared that I could not enjoy the jorney! :/
    But you shoud be so brave!
    And what wonderful places you visited dear! ^-^

  14. That's amazing!
    Have a nice week-end!
    Gil Zetbase

  15. i love how it seems so remote there!!! and yes for travelling alone!! if there was one thing i regret not being able to do when i was still living in the PH, is the fact na I wasn't able to discover more of Luzon (where I'm from). hopefully, i can do it one day when i visit back.

    Thank you for sharing these experiences and images! so inspiring!

    Have a great week ahead!
    Animated Confessions

  16. Hope you're having great Monday so far, dear Tin :)

  17. How nice to decide to travel home before abroad. We really neglect to enjoy what we have and are always willing to see the beauty elsewhere. Traveling alone can be so much more peaceful too. :)

    Olive Needs Popeye