Photos by Noel S. Villaflor
SO it’s Father’s Day today, and you need a quick treat for the big guy. Just take it easy, spontaneity is key – take dad out with the whole family for a road trip, and, of course, with you at the wheel. Let dad chill out in the passenger seat, show him you can hack long drives, and enjoy each other’s company. Head south of Cebu for some accessible but awesome destinations, as Sun.Star Weekend’s Freon L. Ollival will show:
Tumalog Falls in Oslob
Located some 128 kilometers from Cebu City, Tumalog Falls in the town of Oslob is not your usual waterfalls. Instead of a single cascade, the gushing stream from more than 30 meters above drops over moss-covered mushroom-shaped rock formations and create a curtain of raindrops or flow into smaller cascades into a knee-deep pool of freezing water.
The waterfalls sit in the middle of a forest of towering trees and thick vegetation. The location of the falls sounds far, but the trip with dad should be worth it. If you’re driving from Cebu City, the road leading to Tumalog is to your right, in the far end of Barangay Luka several meters before you reach the whale shark watching village of Tanawan. To make sure, you can ask locals for directions.
Once you make it to Oslob, getting to Tumalog is not that daunting since the road leading to the falls has been paved, although if you’re taking a car, you’ll need to park halfway by the roadside on the edge of a cliff.
You’ll know when you see the “guardhouse.” You can either opt to take a habal-habal ride or trek down the steep road then along a short trail all the way to the freshwater pool. You can hike back or ride the motorcycle.
Just make sure to rehydrate during the entire trip.
Now why not the day off tomorrow, book one of the many accommodations along the highway, and go whale shark watching? Normally, tourists go whale shark watching first in nearby Barangay Tanawan — the activity only runs from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. — then head to Tumalog straight after. But, hey, this is on short notice, so why not tweak your itinerary a bit?
Mantalongon: Cebu’s Vegetable Basket
City dwellers often yearn for life in a cool, rural setting and Mantalongon offers a short respite from the cacophony and pollution of urban living. After an 86-kilometer ride from Cebu City, watch out for signboards pointing to Cebu’s vegetable basket, where you need to ascend 15 kilometers of road with wonderful vistas.
Make a quick stop at the Mantalongon Public Market where the day’s harvest is unloaded, weighed and loaded at the vibrant trading center, a sight that will make dad want to forget the dull coldness of the grocery section of supermarkets. Then head the base of Osmeña Peak, where trekkers, campers and a small army of children who volunteer as guides converge. If dad is the outdoorsy type, a short hike up Osmeña Peak, Cebu’s highest point, might sound enticing. As long as he has good knees and a healthy heart, he can manage the 20-minute trek. If not, the drive to the base of the mountain is scenic enough and the sight of vegetable farms teeming with locals carrying fresh produce in oversized woven baskets on their backs is quite fascinating.
Tingko Beach in Alcoy
If Oslob sounds, too far, then Alcoy might do the trick. Alcoy is among the smaller towns in Southern Cebu but it is big when it comes to affordable recreation: it has one of the island’s best public beaches, Tingko Beach. The white sand shoreline stretches a relaxing 1.6 kilometers. The waters are clear and gently sloping before it reaches a drop, so it’s great for some wading and splashing. There might be some jellyfish, which are harmless but sting nevertheless, so wear a rash guard or put on jellyfish sting protection lotion. Also, since it’s a public beach, expect a small crowd, mostly families and groups just wanting to chill, camp out, or have a picnic. Since Tingko Beach is hidden below a cliff, the best way to find Tingko is to ask the locals where it is once you reach Alcoy. They’d happily tell you where it is.
Carcar and Its Famous Lechon
Now Cebu lechon is delicious as it is notorious. Carcar just took it a notch higher. How? By pouring flavorful drippings on every order of lechon, soaking the meat with slightly salty flavors and making the skin glisten in all its crispy glory. Paired with Carcar’s oversized puso, lechon this side of Cebu — the far end of the Carcar Public Market, to be exact — will surely take anyone to gustatory heaven.
Carcar’s lechon is arguably one of the best in the country, and what better way to celebrate Father’s Day than having a delightful serving of roasted pig. Again, just make sure the doctor does not forbid dad to indulge in some fat-laden goodness once in a while.