Southwest Cebu Heritage Trail: GINATILAN

Did you know that our blessed San Pedro Calungsod traced his roots in Ginatilan? According to Glynna Jomuad, Sangguniang Bayan secretary who leads the team tracing the Calungsod family tree, the earliest baptismal record of a Calungsod was in 1850 when Victoria Francisca Calungsod was born in this town. The earliest record of a death was that of Catalina Calungsod who died at 80 years old in 1858. Last September 2012, Jomuad's team was able to trace who could be the oldest Calungsod alive. They found Urbana Calungsod Gonser Mayorita in the town of Boljoon. She was 94 years old and was born on July 20, 1919. Urbana's parents are from Ginatilan. (Source: Inquirer Visayas, Wednesday, October 17th, 2012.)

Little is known about this municipality in southwest Cebu. But it is rich in heritage and culture. This town was once a barrio and part of Samboan. It was originally called “Hinatdan” which means "where things are brought" during the Spanish regime. However, Spanish officials found it difficult to say the word “Hinatdan”, so they changed it to “Ginatilan”.

Holy Trinity College
Holy Trinity College

The road to the Municipal Hall
The road to the Municipal Hall

The first structure you will see in this town is the Holy Trinity College. There is no data on how old this building is but it was used as Casa Real and as a military hospital during the Spanish occupancy that extended during the Japanese invasion. In 1945, it was established as a secondary school and is now the pioneering secondary school in South Cebu. There's a road that leads to the town church and to the new municipal hall from this school.

Bantayan sa Hari
Bantayan sa Hari

Puerta Dela Marina
Puerta Dela Marina

Ginatilan Plaza
Ginatilan Millennium Plaza

The town was originally enclosed by a fortified wall. The watchtower, Puerta Dela Marina and the front wall are what's left of the framework used to protect the people from Moro intruders. Further, the Ginatilan Millennium Plaza provides a view of the Tañon Strait bounded by the Negros Island on the west and was put up for people to relax while waiting for the sun to set.

Heritage Houses
Ferolin Ancestral House

Heritage Houses
Ferrarens Ancestral House

Ginatilan has several heritage houses, including the Ferolin Ancestral House built in the 17th century. It was known as the first Spanish school. The four-century old house is well preserved and I was lucky enough to be able to have a short chat with one of its descendants. The other ancestral house is owned by the Ferrarens and was used as a Casa Real just like the Holy Trinity College.

Old Municipal Hall
Old Municipal Hall

The old municipal building was put up in 1917 and has been converted to a police station. Adjacent to it is the new municipal building that has four floors and a roof deck. I made my way to the roof deck that had an overview of the town proper.

St Gregory the Great Parish Church
St Gregory the Great Parish Church as seen from the top of the Municipal Hall

The top of the municipal building gives a great view of the town church -- St Gregory the Great Parish Church -- with the rolling hills on the backdrop. Construction started on February 2, 1829 as an extension of Samboan Parish. It was given a parochial status only on October 5, 1847. It has a Baroque architecture though its facade is deprived of any interesting ornamentation. The graduated tier belfry wedged on the top by a pointed roof was added between 1880 and 1890 gives the church a unique and intriguing appeal.

The next pictures show the external and internal features of the town church

St Gregory the Great Parish Church
St Gregory the Great Parish Church

St Gregory the Great Parish Church
Coral-Stone Facade

St Gregory the Great Parish Church
Inside St Gregory the Great Parish Church

St Gregory the Great Parish Church
Altar and Retablo

St Gregory the Great Parish Church
Thick Coral-Stone Walls and Stained Glass Designs

St Gregory the Great Parish Church
Choir Loft

St Gregory the Great Parish Church
View from the Choir Loft

Utazo at St Gregory the Great Parish Church
Utazo at St Gregory the Great Parish Church

Travel Notes on Samboan-Ginatilan Trip:


Fare from Cebu City to Samboan - Php 168.00
Around Samboan - Php 200.00
Overnight - Php 800.00
Food - Php 400.00 (estimate)
Fare from Samboan to Ginatilan - Php 8.00
Ginatilan to Inambakan Falls - Php 80.00 (round trip)
Ginatilan to Cebu City - Php 162.00

Total Expense for 2 day trip - Php 1,818.00

How to get there:

Samboan and Ginatilan are both accessible from Cebu City and Dumaguete if you're coming from Manila.

From Cebu City:

Take the Ceres Bus plying the Bato-Barili route from the South Bus Terminal in Cebu City. It is a 3-hour bus ride from Cebu City. The earliest trip is 2AM which is ordinary bus. the first trip for aircon bus is 5AM. Bus leaves every hour, but be there at least 30 minutes before your intended departure because all seats may be taken already by the time the bus leaves. Last trip back to Cebu City is 7PM from Samboan.

From Dumaguete:

From the neigboring island of Negros Oriental, it is a 20-minute fast craft ride from Sibulan to Liloan, Santander or Tampi to Bato, Samboan.

From Liloan, Santander, you can reach Samboan by taking the Ceres Bus going to Bato then take the hired motorcycles (habal-habal).

From Bato, Samboan you can reach Samboan town proper by hired motorcycles (habal-habal)

Where to Stay:

Villa Isabela
Ponong Samboan, Cebu
Tel No. (032) 516-9037
Mobile No. 09163709104

Shiratani Beach Resort
Sitio Guilungsuran, Barangay Poblacion, Ginatilan, Cebu
Tel No. (032) 5161 485

Suggested Itinerary (via Cebu City):

Day 1

0230H Arrive Cebu South Bus Terminal (come early)
0300H Bus leaves (full already most of the time)
0615H ETA Samboan Town Proper, breakfast, roam around
0730H Look for a guide in the municipal hall or in the kiosk
0800H ETD for Brgy Palanan for Da-o Falls
0830H ETA Brgy Palanan, start trek
0900H ETA Da-o Falls
1000H ETD back to jump-off and town proper
1100H ETA town proper, head to Brgy Tangbo for Aguinid Falls
1115H ETA Aguinid Falls
1230H ETD for Bato Wharf
1300H ETA Bato Wharf,lunch
1400H ETD for Brgy Bonbon, Hidden Falls
1500H ETA Bonbon Hidden Falls
1600H ETD for town proper
1700H ETA Town proper, find accomodation.
1800H Dinner

Day 2

0630H Wake up, prepare
0730H ETD for Ginatilan
0800H ETA Ginatilan, roam around, see heritage sites, brunch
1100H ETD for Inambakan Falls
1130H ETA Brgy Calabawan,
1145H ETA Inambakan Falls
1300H ETD for Kampael Falls
1315H ETA Kampael Falls
1430H ETA Bugnawan Falls
1530H ETA Inambkan Falls
1630H ETD for town proper
1700H ETA town proper
1800H Sunset
1830H Take bus back to Cebu City

Related Links:

Chasing Waterfalls in Ginatilan, South Cebu: Inambakan, Kampael & Bugnawan

Southwest Cebu Heritage Trail: SAMBOAN

South Cebu Heritage Trail: OSLOB

South Cebu Heritage Trail: BOLJOON PART 1

South Cebu Heritage Trail: BOLJOON PART 2

South Cebu Heritage Trail: DALAGUETE

South Cebu Heritage Trail: ARGAO

South Cebu Heritage Trail: SIBONGA

South Cebu Heritage Trail: CARCAR

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  1. Ganda ng Church! Nice shots also! Sarap bumalik ng Cebu for visita Iglesia

    1. maganda lahat old churches sa cebu lalo na yung sa southwest side na may mga painting ang ceilings

  2. hi! i just want to ask.. saan kayo nag overnight? it's very cheap. thank you!

    1. i stayed in one private resort arranged by a friend.