Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

Gentle Ginatilan Saison Dampios, Jr.

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - There’s a beautiful town some 130 kilometers from Cebu City. It’s located at the southwestern side of Cebu province. The place is the hometown of the newly canonized San Pedro Calungsod. But despite its natural beauty, Ginatilan remains modest. It does not fall in the ranks of local destinations that are a big talk among travelers. Which is exactly what some travelers like about the town – it is equally amazing, yet does not have the bustle of the more talked about places.

It may only be a matter of time, though. Word of the pristine beauty that beckons visitors to the town is sure to get around. And, expectedly, Ginatilan will soon be in every traveler’s itinerary.  

Oral history has it that the name Ginatilan comes from “Hinatdan,” which used to be one of the barrios of Samboan. The word “hinatdan” itself has a story.

During the early years of the Spanish occupation of the islands, the friars assigned to the place were actively Christianizing the natives, seeking to cover the entire area. They held holy masses everywhere, even at the far-flung, out-of-the-way districts.

One of those districts was so out of the way, that it took a major effort for implements needed for the celebration of the holy mass to be brought there, all the way from the fledgling town center. The local word for the verb “to bring something somewhere” is “hatud,” the root word of “hinatudan,” which means “a place where things are brought to.” In popular speech, the word has become “hinatdan.”

Increased population and the establishment of a church in Hinatdan is said to have made way for the eventual separation of the barrio from the town of Samboan. In effecting the conversion of Hinatdan into a new town, Spanish officials reportedly had difficulty pronouncing the word and so they decided to change the name of the place to Ginatilan.

The town is blessed with various attractions.  To mention just a few:

Marine Sanctuary. Recommended for divers, this underwater spectacle teems with lush marine life.

Inambakan Falls. It is the favorite of people who love the majestic beauty of nature. The three-level waterfall is located in Barangay Calabawan. A dip in the falls’ cool waters is such a refreshing trest.

Kampael Falls. Standing at a height of about 15 meters, it is located just above  Inambakan Falls.

Bugnawan Falls. This one is about 20 meters high and has a catch basin that is about 8 feet deep.

Lighthouse. This spot is really romantic and very peaceful. And it offers a panoramic view of the surrounding areas.

Millennium Park. Located at the town center, the park is a proud favorite of promenaders, visitors and locals alike.

Saint Gregory the Great Church. Basically an age-old structure, the church is proof of the penchant for grandiosity and art of the Spanish friars of the town’s past.

Other attractions in the town include the Jomuad Ancestral House, the Ancestral House of Capitan German Ferraren, the Bantayan sa Hari (old watchtower), the Old Municipal Building, Puerto de la Marina, and the Millennium Park, where to watch the dreamy sunset.

Over at the Municipal Auditorium, visitors may chance upon a performance featuring the talents of the town. There are several resorts in the town that offer comfortable accommodation and serve good meals. Visitors may ask the friendly locals for guidance or assistance as to where best to go to.

Ginatilan is a four-hour exciting bus ride from the South Bus Terminal in the city. One may take the bus bound for Bato via Barili. The fare is less than P200 per person, one way. To enjoy Ginatilan the most, it is best to inquire at the Municipal Tourism Office located at the town hall. (FREEMAN)


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