Sunday, July 24, 2016

Hidden Adventures in Tubungan

the scenic view of Barangay Igtuble, Tubungan, Iloilo

The most popular destinations in the province are getting to be more crowded than ever. Fortunately for you, there are still a lot of ‘hidden gems‘ in Iloilo that can give you exactly what you want. The province is filled with off-the-beaten-track, out of the ordinary destinations that offer the same excitement with a fewer number of visitors abound. Whether it is due to geographical location or turbulent military history, the town of Tubungan has amazing sights and cultures to offer but have stayed under the radar.

Tubungan, Iloilo is an isolated agricultural town with a mountainous location and offers a taste of pre-tourist-boom life, connecting itself with the rest of the towns in the First Congressional District of the Province of Iloilo. 

the trail going to Bato Sumpit Falls

Getting around could be politely called a challenge. For some, the town is the last place one would go for a fun time. But in reality it has charming sceneries dominated by verdant mountains where locals and visitors alike can spend the day wandering on elevated trails and soaking in its natural atmosphere.

There are areas that offer a break from the city environment, a chance to get out into nature for a day. For some city dwellers, the best thing about these slopes is that they feature challenging hiking trails and stunning scenic views. Hiking enthusiasts will surely enjoy hike along cliff-top trails.

Pinihakan Daraga serving as backdrop of Barangay Igtuble

Approximately 11.1 kilometers away, passing through seven barangays from the town center is the scenic and peaceful upland barangay of Igtuble, a boundary barangay of the towns of Igbaras, Tubungan and Leon. It is home to the Bukidnon Tribe comprising of 236 families with a population of 1,249.  They annually celebrate their Religious Festival in April 30 in honor of San Vicente Ferrer where activities such as boxing, cock-fight, Paupas Kabayo and Motor Trail are observed. The tribe is headed by a chieftain, a Barangay Kagawad in the area, the very accommodating Hon. Recto Tacaisan Taghap. He manages a homestay, ang Kamalig with two rooms good for 10 persons each and charges them with a very minimal fee of P50 for an overnight stay that includes beddings.

The barangay takes pride of their rich organic produce such as corn, banana, coconut, sweet potato, carrots, peanuts and papaya. But real charm of this barangay is its cave, rock formations and waterfalls. Most visited is the 45-minuter medium hike trail to Bato Sumpit Falls, the centerpiece of this barangay’s natural attractions.

There are also some intriguing historic sites in Tubungan. The Cruz sa Balabago in Barangay Batga around 7.50 kilometers away from the town center. On Holy Thursday, the Panait ritual is re-enacted near the Cross sa Balabago where Babaylans from neighboring towns and provinces gather on the site they call the holy well or El Pozo Santo which still exists even up to this day. Rituals are performed to ask for good weather, rain or to thank the ancestral spirit for good harvest and energized themselves.

The St Anthony the Abbot Parish Church at the town center is of Romanesque architectural style. The old church was built in 1844 and the materials used were adobe stones that were found in the rivers and hills around the area. It was however destroyed during World War II. The belfry was constructed in 1958 and completed in 1960. The parish was turned over by Mill Hill missionaries to the seculars In Aril 23, 1962.

The Eco-Park in Barangay Bacan, 3 kilometers away from the town center is a living classroom and laboratory for environmental education and aims to be a center for biodiversity conservation in Iloilo. It has nurseries for indigenous trees and vegetable seedlings, screen houses for vegetables, goatery/ piggery, clonal chambers, Farmer’s Learning Center, Bio Control Laboratory and Vermi Composting Areas.

Coconut is this town’s One-Town-One-Product and through its Coconut Industry Development Project in Barangay San Jose, 5 kilometers from the town center, the town had been a pioneer producer of Geonet in the province of Iloilo. The process involved collecting the husk, decorticating or processing the husk into fiber or peat, twining and weaving. A roll of Geonet costs P3,000 – P4,000 with a regular size of 1meter in width and 50 meters long. Geonet serves as drainage liners designed to complement or replace sand, stone and gravel. They are used for erosion control, foundation wall drainage, landfill leachate collection in landfill liners, leak detection, caps and closures, methane gas collection, pond leak detection, roadway and pavement drainage and other subsurface drainage system applications.

So, if you wish to go places where you have not been and regale your friends with your backpacking tales of far off barangays when you get back, definitely, Tubungan is it.

To get to the town, one can take a Tubungan jeepney at the Don Benito Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary in Barangay Mohon, Oton or when in the city, at the market situated at the back of Robinsons Place Iloilo. To get to Barangay Igtuble, two jeepney trips at 9 and 9:30 a.m. are available at the market terminal at the back of Robinsons Place Iloilo Mall. From Barangay Igtuble to Iloilo City, one jeepney trip at 4:30 is available daily. For homestay at the barangay, Please contact Hon. Recto Tacaisan Taghap at 0995670068.  For more information, please contact Mrs. Marlyn Tagudar at 09152893395 or at 3960754.

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