Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Barili, Cebu

December 2005

Barili is a a town 60 kms. south of Cebu City. From the provincial capital, you travel on the eastern coast, pass by Talisay City, Naga, San Fernando, other coastal towns; you can see Bohol island across the sea. At Carcar town, you turn right to cross the mountain range going to the western coast, where you will see Negros island. The road infrastructure is generally good and smooth even in the winding and mountainous parts.

Among the interesting places to see in this town are: (a) Sayaw beach, (b) viewpoint overlooking a cliff, a mangrove plantation, and and fishing village, (c) Mantayupan Falls, (d) Bolok-bolok spring and swimming pools, and (e) the old church in the poblacion center.

Sayaw beach has white sand and gravel. The swimming area though is rocky, you have to bring a beach sandal or slipper if you do not want to step on some rough rocks and coral formations in the seafloor. Nevertheless, the sights are cool and you will find some colorful fishes when you go snorkelling. Entrance fee is P10 per head and bamboo cottages are P100 per day. Since we stayed for only 2 hours, we haggled and rented the cottage for only P50. The beach is about 4 kilometers from the municipal bus terminal, Shamrock restaurant and bakeshop.

From Barili town proper to Sayaw beach, you will pass by the viewpoint area; it's good to stop for a few minutes to see the cliff, wide sea, mangrove plantation, a fishing village. Good for picture taking too.

Mantayupan Falls is tall and beautiful. There are actually 3 waterfalls; the first two are about 1-2 storeys high, and about 20 meters away from each other and share the same pool. The third is high, maybe equivalent to a 4- or 5-storey building, and waterfalls are strong. The swimming pool is wide and deep in the center. To get near where the strong water falls, there are bamboo rafts for rent, P150 per hour (we were able to haggle and bargain for only P100) that can carry 10-15 people. There is a rope that raft passengers can use to pull themselves closer to the waterfalls. It rained hard 2 days before we arrived there (December 28), which probably explained the strong gust of water falling from the top.

At the moment, the water has 2 main uses: for a mini-hydro electric power plant, and for irrigation of rice fields. There is no entrance fee -- yet. The provincial and municipal governments will develop the site into an eco-tourism park, and a public toilet is being constructed already. The waterfalls is just around 2 kms. from the town proper, passing by less than a kilometer of dirt road.

Bolok-bolok spring is around 3 kms. from the poblacion center, near the waterfalls. It has 2 cold, running water swimming pools; entrance fee is P10 per head.

The municipal church is big; the interior design is not as elaborate as the famous churches, but the white and bright-color paint and paintings make the church's interiors appear bright and spacious.

Many buses pass by Barili. Ceres bus is the dominant bus line, but Librando Transit, vans and other smaller vehicles put up a good and healthy competition to Ceres bus. Further south of Barili are municipalities known for good dive sites -- Moalboal, Dumanjug, etc.