Try Sogod

Daniel Drake Galan (The Freeman) - October 17, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines –  This town some 60 kilometers to the northeast from Cebu City may seem uninteresting to most passers-by. But Sogod has quite a lot to offer those who care to stop by and look around. For starters, many interesting spots dot the municipal shoreline and uplands.

From the city, Sogod comes after the town of Catmon and before the town of Borbon.  Even complete strangers who want to go there wouldn’t have a problem – most buses going north of Cebu pass by Sogod. These buses are easy to find at the city’s North Bus Terminal. The one-way fare is less than a hundred pesos per person.

The town has 18 barangays within a land area of 12,413.35 hectares, two-thirds of which are plains. Oral history purports that Sogod already had its own local civil administration way back in the mid-1700s, under the Spanish provincial government on the island known as “Tribunal de Mestizos.” It was reportedly annexed to the town of Catmon in the early 1900s and was separated again by virtue of an act of the Philippine Assembly on New Year’s Day of 1921.

The origin of the town’s name has at least two versions. Sogod is a Visayan word meaning “start.” Some locals say that the town is so called because its shoreline is where the stretch of white sand starts and goes all the way northwards, from the dark-sand beaches of the preceding towns.

Another origin story has it that Sogod got its name owing to the fact that the Christianization of northern Cebu during the Spanish times started in the town. Young residents of the town have yet their own tale about the Sogod name. It could have come, they say, early during the American occupation, when some ranking American military officers declared that it felt “so good” to be in the place. Serious historians, though, find the story untenable. 

Sogod is where the popular Alegre Beach Resort is located, in a barangay close to the Borbon border. The other beach resorts are the Tabunok Garden View Resort in barangay Tabunok, and the Northsky Beach Resort in Barangay Bawo.  An equally fine public beach is found at barangay Calumboyan.

The town also prides of its number of caves, springs, falls, and rivers. The Bagatayam Spring, which supplies water to the town through the Sogod Waterworks System, is a favorite of visitors. Another fresh water attraction is the Binaliw Spring.

The over 170-year old St. James the Apostle Parish Church of the town attracts heritage lovers. Built in 1843, the church is one of several old structures still standing in the Poblacion.  In time for the annual town fiesta on July 25, the Panagsogod Festival is held. It is a colorful showcase of Sogod’s rich cultural heritage and natural attractions.

Sogod has of late been also a culinary destination in the north of Cebu. Many diners from the city take the close to two hours drive just to enjoy the culinary treat at Borussia Restaurant, owned by couple Jürgen and Chuchi Männchen. Some famous personalities have been to the restaurant, including former Tourism Secretary Ace Durano, his brother Danao vice-mayor Red Durano, and their father Danao mayor Ramonito Durano III, former governor Lito Osmeña and many others who learned of the place simply by word of mouth.

A favorite Sogod delicacy is the “Budbod Kabog,” made from millet seeds from the fields in town’s Nahus-an Hills. The millet seeds are also the favorite food of the “kabog” or bat, hence the name. On special occasions, some local families prepare the famed “Torta Sogod,” which has a unique dry taste and could stand for up to a week, and available by advance order. Both delicacies are good “pasalubong” items to bring home after a visit to Sogod.

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