3 rea­sons to re­visit Awe­some Ar­gao this sum­mer

3 rea­sons this south­ern town should be in your sum­mer itin­er­ary

Sun.Star Cebu Weekend - - Contents - Pho­tos & Text by N.S. Vil­laflor

AR­GAO is fa­mous for its torta and Ar­gaoanons vouch that they make the best torta in the coun­try. Yet Ar­gao is more than just this del­i­cacy: it’s a heritage town blessed with won­drous nat­u­ral sites.

Many trav­el­ers, though, usu­ally drive past Ar­gao to more known des­ti­na­tions fur­ther South of Cebu, which this time of year is over­flow­ing with tourists try­ing to es­cape the me­trop­o­lis. Ar­gao, sur­pris­ingly, seems more laid back these days, but that doesn’t mean it’s less in­ter­est­ing.

Here, Sun.Star Week­end gives you a teaser of sorts on why Ar­gao de­serves a spot in your itin­er­ary this sum­mer: three must-see and do sites and ac­tiv­i­ties in this quaint south­ern town. Make sure you drop by the Ar­gao Tourism Of­fice first so you can be briefed prop­erly on ba­sic wilder­ness safety and garbage dis­posal and help the town in its eco­tourism sus­tain­abil­ity ef­forts.

Mt. Lan­toy

Stradling all three barangays of Con­alum, Tabayag and Catang, Mt. Lan­toy is one hand­some karst moun­tain in a pro­tected for­est area of Ar­gao. It is said to be the home of Maria Ca­cao, the moun­tain god­dess or en­gkanto who grants the wishes of low­lan­ders.

Ritche Nuevo, a pro­fes­sor from the Cebu Tech­no­log­i­cal In­sti­tute (CTU) Ar­gao Cam­pus who is study­ing the area and a pro­po­nent of the town’s agro-eco­tourism projects, says Ar­gao’s other main nat­u­ral at­trac­tions are within a ra­dius of less than a kilo­me­ter of the 600-me­ter Mt. Lan­toy. These in­clude the Bu­ga­sok Falls and the Balay sa Agta, which re­quires guides ac­cred­ited by the Ar­gao Tourism Of­fice and safety gear as the trail go­ing to the cave goes along a nar­row cliff.

Bu­ga­sok Falls

At the base of Mt. Lan­toy is Bu­ga­sok Falls, a sin­gle drop cas­cade that gath­ers into a clear la­goon bounded by smooth rock faces. The wa­ter that flows through Bu­ga­sok is from the Ar­gao River. The pic­turesque area makes the hour-long road trip from the town cen­ter worth it.

If you want to take a dip in the falls, you need to rap­pel down the la­goon. This is also one rea­son you need to co­or­di­nate with the tourism of­fice, so you can have the com­plete na­ture ad­ven­ture ex­pe­ri­ence in Ar­gao.

Hablon Weav­ing

Okay, watch­ing some­one weave isn’t every­one’s idea of an ad­ven­ture, but have you ever won­dered how it’s like to be in the weaver’s seat? That is ex­actly what you can do at the Shared Ser­vice Fa­cil­ity for Hand­loom Weav­ing at the CTU Ar­gao Cam­pus on Ed Kin­ta­nar St. in La­macan. Here, you’ll get a quick ed­u­ca­tional tour on how the tra­di­tional cloth called hablon is wo­ven.

A project of the Depar­ment of Trade and In­dus­try along with CTU, the weav­ing fa­cil­ity of­fers a glimpse of tra­di­tional Ar­gaoanon liveli­hood as well as what the craft has to of­fer to the new gen­er­a­tion of weavers. Dr. Jore­lyn Con­cep­tion, Ex­ten­sion Ser­vices di­rec­tor of CTU, said the fa­cil­ity ex­plores the many pos­si­bil­i­ties of hablon, such as in fash­ion. “We are get­ting valu­able sup­port from in­dus­try prac­ti­tion­ers such as fash­ion de­signer Dex­ter Alazas, who uses hablon in his Amano Craft Cre­ations and ad­vo­cates its use,” says Con­cep­tion.

At the fa­cil­ity, you can see the broad range of fin­ished prod­ucts from pil­low cov­ers to gowns, and you can also try your hand at the metic­u­lous craft of weav­ing hablon.

*The Ar­gao Tourism Of­fice is open from Mon­day to Satur­day, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. They can be reached at 485-8063 or 09198099291. Also, check out more of the town of Ar­gao in Sun.Star Cebu’s South Plus Sec­tion in the com­ing weeks.

AR­GAO RIVER. The Ar­gao River snakes through the val­ley be­tween Mt. Lan­toy and the One-kilo­me­ter Cliff.

Mount Lan­toy

Hablon

Bu­ga­sok Falls

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