One Sunday morning, me, my cousins, and a few other friends needed to scratch some wanderlusts' itch. And off we went to Hermit's Cove in the midwestern town of Aloguinsan in Cebu, Philippines a place slowly becoming popular among local tourists in Cebu and around the Philippines, thanks to social media and government promotion.
|Me and my gang at Hermit's Cove in Aloguinsan, Cebu, Philippines|
The Journey On The Road Less Traveled
We had two choices of which road to take from Cebu City to Aloguinsan. The easier but longer route would have been to travel via Naga passing through Toledo City and Pinamungajan before reaching Aloguinsan. Since we already left the city in the mid-morning, we decided to take the shorter route through Carcar City and Barili. It wasn't a bad road to take. Although there were a few rough stretches, most of the way was paved anyway. Only the unfamiliarity of the road was a challenge. We didn't know how to get to Hermit's Cove as it wasn't mapped on Google. The closest we could find on Google Maps was Kantabogon Road.
The town of Aloguinsan is not yet very well mapped out on Google Maps. When using Google Maps and heading to Hermit's Cove, we suggest to type in Bojo River Cruise, you will take the same road but Hermit's Cove is further ahead where you turn right where you see a directional sign for Hermit's Cove.
For those who are commuting, it is best to take a bus from the Cebu South Bus Terminal to Pinamungajan as buses to Aloguinsan are rare. From Pinamungajan, one will have to take a habal-habal or motorcycle for hire to get to Hermit's Cove. Ride only on habal-habal motorcycles that are accredited by the Aloguinsan Tourism Office as indicated by their identification cards. Fares for habal-habal rides are indicated in the photo below.
|Fare rates to and from Hermit's Cove in Aloguinsan, Cebu, Philippines|
Show 'Em The Money
Just like any touristy place, entrance to Hermit's Cove is not free. A parking fee of PhP 15 was collected for our Mitsubishi Fuzion. Each person then had to pay an admission fee of PhP 50 which will already cover the use of a cottage, the grill, the toilet, shower, and the beach. A pail of clean water for bathing and washing is available near the portable toilet for PhP 20.
|Cottages at Hermit's Cove in Aloguinsan, Cebu, Philippines|
City Gang Getting Some Orientation
Hermit's Cove is an ecotourism site and locals are tasked to manage and preserve the natural beauty of the place. So after we paid for the fees, Manang Odie who was one of the caretakers asked us to stay for some orientation for first time visitors.
|Orientation at Hermit's Cove in Aloguinsan, Cebu, Philippines|
Manang Odie is part of the Kantabogon Ecotourism Association (KEA), the group tasked to manage Hermit's Cove. The KEA envisions the place to be a wholesome place to commune with nature and as such several activities are not allowed. Here is a list:
- No smoking
- No liquor
- No gambling
- No karaoke or videoke
- No harming or touching of corals, turtles' nests, or other wildlife
- No graffiti-writing
- No bonfires or open-fire cooking
- No sleeping on tables
- No leaving of non-biodegradable materials
- No wasting of water on toilet and shower
- No loud and unnecessary noises
Visitors are enjoined to respect the local culture and way of life, to dispose of waste properly, to respect the privacy of other guests, to be responsible for personal belongings, and to immediately report accidents and injuries to the community.
Tarpaulin posters where these community guidelines are printed on are placed conspicuously at the hut near the parking area before one descends on the stairway toward Hermit's Cove and at the base of the stairway.
What's In a Name: Why Hermit's Cove
According to Manang Odie, a hermit once discovered this beautiful place owing to it being called Hermit's Cove. The name of the hermit was Tabogon thus the barangay was called Kantabogon, a shortened version of Kang Tabogon which literally means owned by Tabogon. This explains why the barangay where the hermit lives is now called Kantabogon.
Eye Candy: The Beach at Hermit's Cove
We parked on top of a hill and we had to descend through an 87-step stone and wood stairway to get to the beach. Once we started our descent, a nice overhead view of the beach was revealed to us.
|Hermit's Cove in Aloguinsan, Cebu, Philippines|
Ooops! We Forgot To Buy Food Ahead
While I was driving, everyone else was asleep save for my brother Nathan who was helping me navigate through Google Maps. We were so focused on navigation that we totally forgot to buy food and remembered only when we were a few meters away from our destination. Thankfully, there were some vendors at Hermit's Cove selling some barbecue. We bought some dolopapa (a type of barbecued squid) and some pork barbecue.
|Dolopapa at Hermit's Cove in Aloguinsan, Cebu, Philippines|
In the afternoon, we snacked on some fried cassava chips locally known as caycay sweetened with latik or caramelized sugar.
When We Were Almost Bored: More Things To Do At Hermit's Cove
After enjoying the cold waters of the beach at Hermit's Cove, we were just about to get bored. So I approached one of the vendors and asked about what other possible things we can do aside from swimming or bathing in the beach or just basking in the hot afternoon sun. They suggested that we do a boating tour that will allow us to explore the rocky Aloguinsan coastline and get a glimpse of the Bojo river delta. We took the suggestion but got the scare of our lives with the big ocean waves. On days with better weather, we could have gone further to bathe in another beach,do some turtle watching and even some early morning dolphin watching at the Tanon Strait.
Another association also facilitates snorkeling at Hermit's Cove with trained snorkeling guides but on the day we went, they weren't there as it would be dangerous to do snorkeling with strong winds whipping up big waves.
Important Contacts at Hermit's Cove
Here are some telephone numbers that tourists can call to inquire about Hermit's Cove in Aloguinsan, Cebu, Philippines:
Aloguinsan Tourism Office: (032) 469 9042
Kantabogon Ecotourism Association: 0922 331 3885
|Me at the beach of Hermit's Cove in Aloguinsan, Cebu, Philippines|