Wenceslao: The mountains

·3 min read

We held the annual outing of my wife’s relatives in Catmondaan in the town of Catmon more than 50 kilometers north of Cebu City. During trips like the one we did, I usually end up looking beyond the roadsides and to the mountains overlooking the coastlines.

I have always been in awe of the very mountainous terrain in this part of Cebu province. When I was younger, we once trekked from the mountains of Catmondaan to the mountains of Cebu City. That trek provided me with “learning experiences” about the terrain of the island. The additional “learning experience” was provided by that trek we did from the Osmeña peak, which can be reached from Dalaguete town in the south to Kawasan falls in Badian town in the west.

The terrain in the south reminded me of that portion of Bohol near where the famed Chocolate Hills are located. The mountain is dotted with hills that form numerous rivulets and valleys that trap rain water. No wonder some of Cebu’s popular water-based tourist attractions are found in the south.

In contrast, the terrain in the north consists of towering peaks and cliffs. The number of rivers is fewer but these are big and the valleys are deeper. I have a feeling that the tourism potential of the northern mountain ranges is still to be tapped fully. As it is now, only the northern coastlines are being promoted for tourism even if these are rocky. The white sand beaches are in the islands of Camotes and Bantayan and in Daanbantayan town in the island’s northernmost tip.

The farmers in the northern mountains are poorer than those who live in Cebu City. I could see that in the marketplaces or “taboan” in some parts of the northern mountains. These can’t be compared with the places in the city’s mountains where “tabo” is held.

Which reminds me of one thing that I observed in the mountains of Minglanilla, one of the towns in the south. The hillsides are barren and only grasses grow there. I think this is because many of the people living there come from the plains and do not have farming experience and culture.

The people in the mountains of Cebu City always find a way to make the hillsides productive. This is one aspect that the Department of Agriculture needs to focus on. That was why I helped my friend Tony del Socorro when he ran for Minglanilla councilor in the recent elections. He was formerly with the Department of Agrarian Reform and is an agriculture graduate. Sadly, he lost.

Cebu might be known as an urban center. But its mountains are no different from those in the other islands of the archipelago. They have long been neglected by the government. When will that situation change?

That will be up to Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and the other officials who have been given a fresh mandate. They should introduce a paradigm shift in governance by focusing more on rural development. The neglect of agriculture needs to end if we want our agriculture to survive.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting