Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

A visit to Catmon

Saison Dampios, Jr. - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The town of Catmon is little known to travelers. But, certainly, it doesn’t mean to say that the place has less to offer to visitors. The town has its hills and rivers for exploring by adventure seekers as well as resorts for those after fun or serenity.

Before the visitor can start to enjoy the many things that Catmon is about, he or she first has to get there.  One may take a bus at the North Bus Terminal in Cebu City for the 58-kilometer ride to the town. The trip takes about two hours, at less than P100 fare per person on a non-aircon bus.

The name “Catmon” takes from a local tree species said to grow in low and medium altitudes. The tree can grow up to 14 meters high and produces flowers with white petals. Katmon trees grow from seeds, its fruits edible and its wood strong enough to be used as building material.

There is a volcano in Catmon, although it has been inactive, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. The town’s Mt. Tabayag is one of the recorded 355 inactive volcanoes in the country. The presence of this dormant volcano explains Catmon’s hilly landscape and its hot springs. Mt. Tabayag also offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the Poblacion below.

The town has several accommodation facilities for visitors. These include Las Flores Country and Beachside Hotel, Imelda Aroma Waterpark Resort, Recuerdo Beach Resort, Huna-Huna Cliff Resort, and Aroma Beach Resort. These resorts offer clean and comfortable servce at moderate rates.

Interesting spots abound in Catmon:

Mt. Tabayag and Mainit Hot Spring. Located in barangay Duyan, the double attraction have been drawing visitors for different reasons. Some trek to the mountain for adventure and to experience its sheer beauty, while others visit the hot spring to take a dip in its therapeutic waters.

Mt. Kapayas. This mountain is claimed to be the second tallest peak in Cebu. An added attraction is the presence of wildlife – plants and animals – in the mountain. From the highest point of Mt. Kapayas, called Lantawan Peak, the neighboring islands of Negros, on the west, and Leyte, on the east, can be seen.

Lumanoy Cave. This cave, found in Mt. Kapayas, is a favorite destination for spelunking.

 Mamig Falls. This hidden falls, in barangay Cambangkaya, draws adventurous nature trekkers and wildlife lovers.

KM 47 Beach. This public beach is unarguably the most popular attraction that put Catmon on visitors’ maps. The popularity of the beach is believed to have inspired the emergence of beach resorts in Catmon.

Other interesting sites not to be missed while in Catmon are the Bantayan sa Hari in barangay Catmondaan, Padre Miguel de Jesus Park, and the Roman Catholic Historical Stone Church.

And Catmon has a famous delicacy – the “Budbud Kabog,” a ‘suman’ made from millet seeds cooked in coconut milk and wrapped in banana leaf. Millet grows wild and in abundance in the Catmon mountains, mostly in Barangay Agsuwao, and the local people are ingenious enough to think up a good, delicious use for it. The special delicacy is so called because millet seeds are the favorite food of cave bats, which are locally known as “kabog.”

The Budbud Kabog is so much a part of the town’s identity that on February10 every year, during the town fiesta, Catmon holds a dance festival characterized by movements depicting the process of cooking the delicacy.

One would not be short-changed on a visit to Catmon. There’s quite a lot to experience in the town. And all at a modest cost. (FREEMAN)



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