Aloguinsan I: How Ecotourism Changed A Quiet Town

8 Aug
Beautiful View at Aloguinsan's Viewing Deck

Beautiful View at Aloguinsan’s Viewing Deck

I’d like to blog as much in a week so I can catch up with what I haven’t been posting just yet. (I am excited for this post too!!)

There is a lot more to Cebu than what we already know. Thanks to online presence and Social media, all sorts of information can be accessed easily. Every week, there’s another food and travel destination waiting to be explored. And explore I did.

Hermit's Cove - Aloguinsan

Hermit’s Cove – Aloguinsan

It was early this January when my college friends and I were lucky enough to get the chance to go snorkeling (it was still on its trial period) and river cruising in Aloguinsan, a quiet town in Midwestern Cebu. It was for one of our barkada’s birthday. They call Aloguinsan the Jewel of the Midwest. Why? You’ll see.

There are so many ways to get to Aloguinsan these days. For us, we took the route through Carcar, which took us only two hours – but the road was smaller than that of the highway (of course, lol) and could only be accessed either through a special trip of a Van for hire or private vehicles. You can always get to Aloguinsan through riding a bus at the Cebu South Bus Terminal going to Toledo City. From Toledo City, public transportation is available going to Aloguinsan. You can also take the route through Pinamungajan but that will take you more travel time than the other two I have mentioned.

Briefing on how to use proper snorkeling gear

Briefing on how to use proper snorkeling gear

I say it’s best to stay in Aloguinsan overnight so you can do everything – from snorkeling (it’s not available through online booking as of the time this entry is published, but we got our first dibs on it!) to the Farmhouse tour and the Bojo River Cruise. As of the time being, the town has yet to complete their impending project to provide more rest houses so people can enjoy their stay in Aloguinsan for more than a day. So far, guests can stay at the local pension house – Al Maxi Apartelle – and dine at the numerous eateries/carenderias near the town public Market. In case of beaches like Hermit’s Cove, a tent on the beach will do :). Lucky for us, ahem, we got to stay at our friend’s house – the wonderful abode of Morenos – Mayor and Vice-Mayor of Aloguinsan.

the mouth of Bojo River - Aloguinsan

the mouth of Bojo River – Aloguinsan

It was a great opportunity for us because we had first-hand information on how Eco-tourism in Aloguinsan paved the way for the townspeople to find more means of generating income – other than fishing. If you asked the local government, they take pride in these projects not because of prestige or political inclination, but because it had helped tons of people in the community. Prior to these projects, the townspeople were largely fisherfolk and lived only through whatever they catch for the day. Other than that, they only depended on crops and local produce. With the ecotourism projects of the local government, members of the community took turns in manning the local tourism projects and others could generate income from the tourists that get to visit the area.

Welcome drinks at Bojo River Cruise tour

Welcome drink at Bojo River Cruise tour

Mayor Cynthia Moreno had that much passion in her to establish these projects in Aloguinsan. It has been years in the making and it sure paid off. She even took it to a higher level and studied in the US so she could implement it in Aloguinsan. As I recall, she would reiterate in our conversations the foundations of Ecotourism (which I have already forgotten, haha). But I believe that a main part of it was on making it educational and sustainable. So if you try to interview each tour guide you meet on any of your tours, you will really know that the local government had never been stingy in giving the people the right resources and training to equip them the information they need to educate the tourists as well. For the Morenos, it was the government’s (technically, the people’s) money well-spent on these training and equipment because in the future, the townspeople are the only ones who will benefit from it. They further reiterated that the local government DOES NOT get any dime from the income that these eco-tours earn. The income goes directly to the people in the community. This is true.

The Farmhouse in Aloguinsan

The Farmhouse in Aloguinsan

My feature on Aloguinsan will take on many parts as it would be hard to put them in one lengthy entry – BORING! It will also do justice for the many sights and information you need to know about Aloguinsan, Keep posted you guys for these battery of posts 🙂

With Mayor Cynthia Moreno

With Mayor Cynthia Moreno

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