Friday, July 7, 2017

Toledo Treasures

Forty-five kilometers west of Cebu City or a 1-hour/100-peso van ride that cuts across the width of the province lies the city of Toledo, where one can take a barge to get to the province of Negros Occidental. But wait, don't go aboard the barge yet. Spend some time checking out this city's little gems.

World War II Foxholes behind the unused Toledo City Hall

A pleasant surprise awaits history buffs in Toledo City. Sitting just behind the unused Toledo City Hall are World War II foxholes, silent witnesses to a significant time. These foxholes were built in 1942 and were used by the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE). You can read more about it here.

Unused City Hall

One of the three foxholes

ECAP (CEBECO) Consumers Park

This park by CEBECO (Cebu Electric Cooperative) is the local teenager's hangout. The park is not especially big, but it is free for use and has open cottages built over a pond. What charmed me though were not the open cottages nor the pond, but the island in the center of the pond: the island of Cebu! Every city and municipality of the province is represented and it was like touring the entire province in just a few dozen steps.

Providing electricity to the province

Now we're in the town of San Remegio

Then down to the southernmost tip of Cebu

Capilla Sta Ana and Museum
9AM to 12NN / 1PM to 4PM
Admission fee Php 100 for locals / Php 200 for tourists

This beautiful chapel is owned by a native of Toledo who now lives abroad. In the air-conditioned chapel is the owner's collection of antique religious items, and carvings and paintings of saints. (Taking photographs of the collection inside the rooms are prohibited.) Even the doors of the chapel are antique! If I ever get married, I want to get married here. But they don't do wedding ceremonies here, just renewal of vows.

Outside the chapel is a garden with a small hedge maze. Take my advice: Don't attempt to get in the maze in the boiling heat of the sun. It will take some time to get to the center of the maze and out the same way! But if you need to get your 10,000 steps for the day, be my guest!

Malubog Lake and Dam

Malubog Lake and Dam, located in Barangay General Climaco, is a one-hour jeepney ride from Toledo's Poblacion Market. There's nothing much to do at the lake but spend a lazy day picnicking, snoozing under a tree, and watching the locals fish. To get up close to the dam on the other side of the lake, rent a boat for Php 500 or find a passenger boat that ferries locals (weekdays only) for only Php 10 per person.

Directions to Malubog Lake: At Toledo Poblacion Market, take a jeepney to Malubog Lake. It's a 1-hour and 20-peso very slow ride. If you want to get there faster, find a habalhabal (motorcycle).

Malubog Lake

Malubog Dam

How many gallons per second?

Across the lake, up an embankment, through a tunnel, and down a few hundred steps, my friends and I stumbled into the locals' hangout: the tip of Hinulawan River. The locals were quietly fishing in their own little spot, and one or two were in the water swimming. I found it so beautiful and tranquil and I felt like Alice in Wonderland. (We went in March. I have read in blogs that this little wonderland is now closed to the public.)

Through the tunnel

Down a few hundred steps

I felt like Alice in Wonderland

Hinulawan River

Go fish!

Biga Pit

I have only seen the beautiful blue waters of Biga Pit while on a plane. I thought it was a lake and later learned that it was Carmen Copper Corporation's (formerly Atlas Mining) tailings storage facility or mine dump. And no, the pit is not for swimming! To see Biga Pit, one must have permission to enter the mining complex.

Biga Pit. Photo from the Atlas Mining website.

Big thanks to Andrew: friend, host, and guide!

This article is now available as a mobile app. Go to GPSmyCity to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article.

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