Day 1 of our Epic Siquijor Vacation Series: Oslob Stopover
Me, Kenneth, Nicko and Titus were already at the Cebu South Bus Terminal when I’ve told them to get to the Ceres Roro Bus with direct route to Dumaguete from Cebu while I pay the P5 terminal fee per person imposed by SBT. After securing our terminal fees, I walked back intending to board the bus but I found the three waiting for me at the lobby. Frowning and about to say a thing, Kenneth cut me before I could utter a word; she said ‘Are we not stopping by Oslob? We are stopping right?
Ah yah I remembered she mentioned it days before we left for our vacation. I should have known she’ll be persistent with the stopover. You see, Kenneth have urged me to take the trip to this southern Cebu town with her so we can have pictorial in the Oslob Cuartel.
Yep, the stopover was all for the love of pictures. I wonder if you can relate or have a sister just as persistent? Hehehe
So instead of the direct to Dumaguete Roro Bus, we took the Ceres aircon bus bound for Liloan via Oslob. Good thing we have the stopover for little did I know when we got down the bus the four of us were not feeling as tip top as when we arrived in SBT. Hahah. The snake road na parang bituka ng manok after Alcoy was the culprit. Titus says “Hindi na tayo sanay sa long bus rides baby” Heheheh
Aboard the Ceres Bus before the ride-induced headache hehe
Titus used to travel by bus from Ilocos to Laguna almost weekly when he was assigned there, so long bus rides were yakang-yaka to him then. I guess he has become a bit “Cebunized”, used to short trips to get everywhere in the city lol.
Anyhow we rested a bit when we got near the church. Sunday mass just ended and churchgoers in their formal Sunday’s best dresses were just leaving the church vicinity. We walked to the benches in the mini plaza observing the people leaving the church. We were also getting curious stares, us in our traveling attires.
Oslob is a typical quiet town. At our vantage point in the mini plaza, we can hear calm waves crashing through the breakwater nearby. Silent breeze gently uplifts our bus-weary selves, leaves on the trees gently sways with the wind. Things seem to be at standstill encouraging us to leave behind our hasty city ways. After a while kids starts to walk to the church. Their clothes are really formal and church appropriate. When we left Oslob church complex, we can hear the parish priest having mass in English. Probably a Sunday school for kids remarked Titus.
I was a bit surprised that mass was conducted in English at Oslob. I thought that only parishes in Metro Cebu conduct masses in English but I was apparently wrong. This is one of those instances when I’m happy to be proven wrong.
After we recovered from our long bus ride, Kenneth took out one of our cameras and start taking shots of anything that caught her fancy, such as this Police Jeep service.
She nudged me to get my butt off the bench so we can go explore the famous Oslob Cuartel, an unfinished structure facing the sea, just beside the church of Oslob.
The Cuartel was originally intended to be an accommodation or barracks for the Spanish guardia sibil during the Spanish Occupation.
Spanish Cuartel in Oslob
The cuartel is made of coral stone including its thick walls and arches. It’s a cause for celebration that a structure from the Spanish era stood the test of time and is being preserved by proper authorities and the community of Oslob today. This cuartel has also become one of the major tourist spots of this town, a heritage structure beckoning visitors and tourists to explore and take pride in.
Historical Marker on the Cuartel of Oslob
Kenneth rushed ahead to the place and climbed up on one of its ‘window’, ready for her pictorial. Lol kawawang Nicko, our youngest sibling, he is the designated photographer of Kenneth. Hehe.
Pictorialis Estoryahees sa Oslob ni!
Yes we fight and try to scratch each other’s eyes out (nung bata pa lol)
FTB with his signature Jump Shot
Oslob is wonderful. Visiting it is like jumping-in on one of the pages of our history books. I bet the view at this area during sunrise and sunset will make poets out of us.
The Church of Oslob formally called the Immaculate Conception Church faces the sea. On its right side, you can view the cuartel while on the left you can see the Baluarte. There is also a mini hall nearby which I suspect being used for community activities.
This church is part of the Suroy Suroy Sugbo Southern Heritage Trail, a government spearheaded tourism activity. Southern Cebu is one of the best places to visit for Visita Iglesia during Lent. The parishes of the southern towns showcase centuries-old beautiful churches with massive stone, lime or coral structures and with expansive plazas fronting the church. Making southern towns like Oslob very picturesque.
Immaculate Conception Church
Churchgoers waiting for the next mass
The Church faces the wide sea. It’s a huge complex and there is breakwater nearby. I will not be surprised if locals converge on the breakwater area every afternoon to pass away the time and to enjoy the wonderful scenery. I could imagine a perfect sunset from this vantage point.
When we visited it it was mid day and hot. The sky was clear and so blue, perfect for us visitors.
The Baluarte, most often referred to as Watchtower or Lantawan by local people, served as a station watching the sea for any threats like raiding Moros. What we can see now is the ruin but records show that in its place used to be a hexagonal watchtower with massive crenellated walls, gunslits and a narrow entrance.
Fronting the Baluarte stand the figure of the parish priest named Fr Julian Bermejo. Part of the marker dedicated to his statue reads “…Father Bermejo was responsible in devising a strong and effective coastal defense system (baluartes) made of coral stone and lime mortar that served as lookout stations in detecting the coming Moro pirate ships….”
Baluarte Ruins and Father Bermejo
Father Bermejo was also the prime mover in the construction of the Oslob Church. He is a well-loved and remembered priest by the Cebuanos for his contributions both on religious aspects as well as in military defense.
Father Bermejo looking out to the sea
Oslob is also blessed with white sand beaches as you can see from the image below. Aside from its wonderful sand and pristine waters, turistas are coming in droves for the Oslob Whale Shark Watching Experience in Brgy Tan-awan. We have not experience this yet. I am not 100% sure if I still want to experience this considering that this eco-tourism activity may pose a threat to the lives of these gentle creatures in the long run. But undeniably, this activity is one of Oslob Top Tourism draw aside from the Church complex and nearby facilities.
For those coming from Manila the easiest and fastest way to get to Oslob is if you take a direct flight from Dumaguete and take a motorized outrigger boats or pumpboats to get to Liloan which is a short ride away from the place for Butanding Whale Shark Watching and Interaction. If you travel from Cebu City, bus ride will take about 3 hours usually.
White sand at Oslob Church vicinity
Before we left the church vicinity, we were reviewing pictures and checking if we got our “it” shots. Lol.
That’s how we spent the first leg of our awesome Siquijor adventure. Yep we were still on Cebu soil hehehe. We arrived on Dumaguete afternoon of the same day. The morning after, we sailed to the island of fire.
Hope you enjoyed our pictures and mini adventure on the way to our epic Siquijor vacation! 🙂
You can check this post if you want to read: Siquijor the Mystical Beautiful Island
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