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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Inabanga River

Inabanga River

         The wide and winding Inabanga River is of a deep turquoise-green shade maybe due to river grasses on the soil bed or moss. Lush tropical vegetation, mostly of tall coconut palm trees, nipa palms, bananas, ferns and thick shrubs line the banks of the riverThe pristine waters of Inabanga River is mesmerizing and often beckons children and adults alike to take a dip especially during the hot summer months. Daring fellows are often seen jumping from overhanging trees to dive towards the water below. Others are contented sitting on roots of trees at the bank of the river with fishing lines stretched towards the deep in the hope that they will get their day's catch for a hearty fish meal.

The Inabanga River, in the town of Inabanga, is the largest river in the island of Bohol. it is 25 kilometers long and is seven to ten meters deep. It is similar to the Loboc River in its beauty however it is wider and even deeper.
The Inabanga River also serves as a river highway wherein people travel there on canoes or small bancas to bring their produce to the town market and likewise bring any purchases that they would make back to their home barangays.
More often than not,the river plays host to "Ilig Riders"; these are boys, ranging from 10 to 12 years old, who ride improvised rafts made out of long bamboo poles which they eventually sold at the town market. They then go home to their barangay at Datag, about 12 kms away from the town center, via terrestrial road.
The boys' trip is not easy mind. From Datag, they have to travel overnight thru the circuitous Inabanga River, which spans a distance of some 20 kilometers. With the river's current and in darkness, they have to maneuver skillfully along the way which requires stamina, strength, quick thinking and lots of determination.
With the boom of tourism in Bohol, Inabanga has its share of tourists who go for the river cruise and then visits the Inabanga Nature Park and Fishing Village where they are treated to fish meals; fishes which they themselves will catch in a fishpond. If you don't feel like fishing, other fresh seafood and native dishes are available to choose from.
Another must-see area along the river is the Macaban Cave and underwater cave. The cave’s entrance can be seen just above the water level. The place is also called Macaban City by the local residents of the town. The area was believed to be the abode of supernatural beings or engkantos.


Before population grew in Inabanga, the river was infested with crocodiles. Yet with this hazard, the people still go to bathe in its waters. Every year though, a life is always lost whether through drowning or crocodile attack. The people of Inabanga, being so superstitious, believed that this yearly loss of life is the people’s rental, or "abang" in the local dialect, for the use of the river.
And so the river was eventually called by the local folks as "Inabangan River" meaning "Rented River". However, at the arrival of the Spaniards, they found it difficult to pronounce the name of "Inabangan". "Inabanga" was easily uttered and often used and so the name remained to this day.

Getting There

To get to the Inabanga River and the Nature Park and Fishing Village, one takes a bus ride or rents a vehicle for hire from Tagbilaran City. Those coming from the Tubigon port may also get the services of vehicles for hire from the pier or take a bus ride from Tubigon to Inabanga.
In Inabanga town proper,take a tricycle ride from the bus terminal to the entrance of the fishing village at the back of the St. Paul the Apostle Church. For those who hired vans or have their own rides go straight to the entrance. Motorized bancas are available there for the river cruise.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


                   Inabanga, Bohol

The Municipality of Inabanga is located at the northern coast of Bohol, 71 kilometers from Tagbilaran City. Considered a 3rd class municipality, the town covers a total land area of 13,166 hectares, Bohol’s 3rd largest town. It has a population of 43,331 people according to the 2007 census in more or less 7,867 households..
It is politically subdivided into 50 barangays, to wit: Anonang, Bahan, Badiang, Baguhan, Banahao, Baogo, Bugang, Cagawasan, Cagayan, Cambitoon, Canlinte, Cawayan, Cogon, Cuaming, Dagnawan, Dagohoy, Dait Sur, Datag, Fatima, Hambongan, Kauway, Ilaud, Ilaya, Ilihan, Lapacan Norte, Lapacan Sur, Lawis, Liloan Norte, Liloan Sur, Lomboy, Lonoy Cainsican, Lonoy Roma, Lutao, Luyo, Mabuhay, Maria Rosario, Nabuad, Napo, Ondol, Poblacion, Riverside, Saa, San Isidro, San Jose, Santo NiƱo, Santo Rosario, Sua, Tambook, Tungod, U-og and Ubujan..
The town of Inabanga is blessed with natural attractions with rolling terrain, hills and mountains, Inabanga River, the largest river of Bohol, Ilihan Falls and the Macavan Cave. Other attractive sights are the centuries old Inabanga Church which is dedicated to Saint Paul and whose feast day falls on June 30. Getting its share of visitors is the Inabanga Nature Park and Fishing Village..
The people of Inabanga are industrious. Many are engaged in fishing, mat weaving, the making of nipa thatches and seafood conservation such as salted sisi, litub, tagimtim and kaykay. The women folks are adept also at saguran weaving, the weaving of blankets and the making of hats, bags and baskets..
Others are engaged in trading, especially those located at the town proper. Establishments available are bakeries, lending institutions, gasoline stations, stores selling construction materials, and more..
Yet with all these occupations, Inabanga is still one of the impoverished towns of Bohol. To alleviate the economic situation of the town, various projects are being implemented by the town’s local government unit..
One such endeavour is the establishment of the Seaweeds-Farming project in Hambongan Island for marginalized fishermen which is funded with a grant from the municipal government. The Sea Kaunlaran Association (SKA) was formed and they initiated the planting of the Eucheuma seaweeds, locally known as “guso”, in deep seawaters. Planting at a staggered basis on staked areas, the fishermen can then harvest one area after another guaranteeing a continuous harvest and thus a steady income. .
Another laudable venture is the establishment of a 20-hectare site to be used for the planting of lakatan bananas, a variety which is quite in demand nowadays. The inhabitants of Barangay Ilihan were the recipient of this project and were rallied to plant and nurture this banana variety for commercial purposes. The project has been launched by the Local Government Unit, led by the incumbent Mayor..
An association of differently-abled persons was formed also in Inabanga known formally as the Inabanga Association of Differently-abled Persons (IADAP). The members of the association were recipient of yet another project; a livelihood project wherein 33 of them received eight (8) chickens each for fattening, breeding and eventually for sale to boost their family’s income. The project is funded by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) thru its Tulay Program while the construction of poultry houses was sponsored by the LGU of Inabanga..
Other projects are in the offing, waiting for the necessary funds for it to be implemented. It is only a matter of time and the municipality of Inabanga will overcome the inherent problem of poverty and thus raise its economic viability to a higher level. Nothing is impossible if, with concerted efforts, the people will unify and do their utmost to achieve their goals.

History of Inabanga


Way before the coming of the Spaniards, the place where the present municipality of Inabanga is located was once called by the local folks as “Inabangan” in reference to the river that flows thru the place and which was then infested by crocodiles. Yearly, a life was lost in the river either by drowning or due to an attack of crocodiles.
Being superstitious, the local folks thought that the deaths were yearly rental or “abang” for the use of the river and thus the river was called “Inabangan”or “Rented River”. Finding the word Inabangan difficult to pronounce, the Spaniards eventually called the place Inabanga and the name stuck to this day.
Eventually, a mission was founded in Inabanga by the Jesuits in 1596. The mission was located on an elevated area near the banks of the Inabanga River. Like Talibon, the settlement was administered from the Colegio de San Ildefonso in Cebu. The settlement became a parish in 1722 and dedicated to “San Pablo Aposto” or Saint Paul the Apostle.
The Spaniards ruled Inabanga with an iron hand. The natives were converted and forced to accept the authority of the church, the friars and the Guardia Civil. They surrendered their rights to their lands and rendered forced labor. Excessive tax collection and payment of tributes were imposed upon them.
In 1744, thru a series of events brought about by these oppressive acts, the people took up arms and rebelled against the Spaniards with Francisco Sendrijas, known by many as Francisco Dagohoy, leading the pack. A native of Inabanga, Dagohoy was then a Cabeza de Barangay or Barangay Captain of the town.
The Jesuit curate of Inabanga at that time was Fr. Gaspar Morales. He triggered the uprising when he refused to give a proper Christian burial to Dagohoy’s brother, Sagarino, who was called upon by the priest to chase a man who had abandoned his faith but unfortunately he died during the duel that ensued. The priest’s refusal to give a decent burial infuriated Dagohoy no end thus leading him to seek revenge.
The uprising spread like wildfire throughout the island and eventually the headquarters of Dagohoy’s men was established in the mountainous region of the municipality of Danao. Supported by more than 20,000 Boholanos, the rebels successfully defeated the Spanish-Filipino forces sent against them. The rebellion lasted for 85 years; the longest revolt in Philippine history.
24 years after the start of the uprising, in 1768, administration was passed on to the Augustinian Recollects and they remained the town’s pastors until 1898. An earlier church was built thru forced labor by the Jesuits but was probably burnt during the Dagohoy revolt. A new church was built and was completed in 1899 but again burnt down by the Americans in 1902.
A large stone church was then built with other materials in 1931 by then secular priest Fr. Quiterio Sarigumba. The church used gothic elements in the facade and has a portico in front of the entrance. Points of interest are an exquisite wooden tabernacle probably dating back to the Jesuits; and the murals on the ceiling done by the Garces brothers in the style of Canuto Avila and Ray Francia.
Inabanga in World War II
Inabanga Bohol suffered much from the hands of the Japanese during World War II. After Cebu surrendered and was occupied by Japanese forces in the early part of 1942, and the bombing of Getafe a few months after, Inabanga became a refuge of evacuees from Cebu and neighboring towns. Inabanga is the nearest point of Bohol across the Olango group of islands to Cebu City.
Most of the Cebuanos were Chinese and they occupied the abandoned homes of the town of Inabanga. There were also high government officials, national and provincial, who were in hiding in the rough heavily forested terrain in the outskirts of Inabanga.
After a lull in the attacks and a period of peace, the people came out from hiding and returned to their respective homes. They believed the Japanese would no longer invade Bohol and life in the town returned to normal. The people went back to their daily routine of tending the fields and raising crops and domesticated animals for food.
Time came when the town prepared for their fiesta which was in honor of Sts. Peter and Paul. As the usual practice, a beauty contest was launched in order to raise funds for further church improvement. On the 3rd week of June 1943, the last canvassing was held at the public emporium. It was well attended, mostly by thousands of supporters of each candidate.
At the height of the last balloting an undetermined number of unidentified men with white band on the head suddenly appeared. Most of them were Filipino undercover. A man grabbed the microphone while others, took hostage of each municipal official present, bolo battalion officers and prominent people of the town.
Other people scampered for safety and in the ensuing chaos, some were caught and held for questioning but were eventually released. The Japanese took over the town and occupied the Inabanga Central School. Check points were set-up. The Filipinos feared the Japanese and only a handful dared to face them.
This handful of Filipinos was surprised. The Japanese soldiers were not hostile. They were even friendly to the point of giving out packs of aki-buno cigarettes, rice, sardines, corned beef and more to the handful of people who passed by the check points. Eventually, news of the benevolence of the Japanese spread far and wide.
People started coming out from their hiding places and became friendly with the Japanese. Later, flyers were sent out to all bolo battalion officers calling for a meeting to find ways and means to establish peace and order in the town and to improve the economic condition of the people. All officers came and were ushered to the old municipal building.
Yet, no meeting was held. Instead, all were gang-chained and brought to the central school. By four, they were hanged one meter from the floor with both hands tied at their backs. They hanged there for one to two days without food and continuously beaten with a baseball bat.
The Japanese were after information on the whereabouts of Gov. Hilario Abellana of Cebu and Congressman Pedro Lopez and Dalaguete Mayor, Jose Almagro. Others were ordered to surrender any kind of firearms.
Some were killed when the lumber where they were tied gave way and broke. Some, who said that they have guns at home just to stop the beatings and were found without, were killed while the women were raped. Those who have only foodstuffs to surrender were released after hanging for two days.
A heavy patrol of Japanese and Filipino undercover, with local guides, were sent to the hiding places of the suspected Cebu officials. Finding no trace of the hunted persons, they massacred all they saw, including one of their guides. Massive and wanton destruction followed every occupation of the Japanese.
Because of the brutalities of the Japanese, the Boholanos retaliated and formed guerilla units to fight them. Many missions failed and some met with success. Four years under the Japanese were years of agony, pain and suffering; and the final liberation at the return of the American troops was greeted with great jubilation by all.

Inabanga Tourist Attractions

Inabanga Church of Saint Paul

Saint Paul's Parish Church of  Inabanga, Bohol

The Inabanga Church of Saint Paul, whose feast day is celebrated every 30th of June, is situated near the banks of Inabanga River. It is on an elevated area which is the highest point in the municipality and is protected by stone embankments.
The church was built in 1931 under the administration of Fr. Quiterio Sarigumba. It uses gothic elements in the facade and has a portico in front of the entrance. With modern interiors, the church boasts of an exquisite wooden tabernacle which dates back to the Jesuits era and murals done in the style of Canuto Avila and Ray Francia.

The Inabanga River, in the town of Inabanga, is the largest river in the island of Bohol. it is 25 kilometers long and is seven to ten meters deep. It is similar to the Loboc River in its beauty however it is wider and even deeper.
The wide and winding Inabanga River is of a deep turquoise-green shade maybe due to river grasses on the soil bed or moss. Lush tropical vegetation, mostly of tall coconut palm trees, nipa palms, bananas, ferns and thick shrubs line the banks of the river.

This two-hectare village is virtually new and boasts of a large garden with wading pools and fishing ponds and an organic farm. Hammocks are provided, strung on tall coconut trees, where one can take a breather and relax, whiling away the time. Picnic tables are spread around the garden, some near the pools, ponds and restaurant.
One feasts there on roasted organic quail or a roasted chicken, crispy shrimps, steamed crabs, squid and other seafood, which Inabanga is rich of. Other native dishes are prepared upon order. Local fruits, especially ripe mangoes, are for dessert. For a wholesome experience, fish first at the ponds and have your catch cooked for your lunch.
Inabanga mangrove forests are thick and wide and are part of a broad strip of coastal mangrove swamps and sandy mudflats lying between Tubigon and Buenavista. Mangroves and nipa palms also line the Inabanga River which is 25 kilometers long and seven to ten meters deep.
Macavan Cave
The Macavan Cave is located at Inabanga, Bohol, Philippines. The cave is found at Inabanga River with its entrance seen just above the water level. Local residents often call the cave “Macavan City Cave”. Superstitions folks believe that the cave is the abode of supernatural beings or engkantos.
Folklore has it that people make lists of things that they needed and would borrow and put the list at the crack of the cave. More often than not, the things listed were found at the opposite bank the next day. This practice stopped though when the people were not conscientious enough to return the things that they borrowed from the engkantos.
Ilihan Falls
Ilihan Falls is presumed to be found in Barangay Ilihan. I have not seen the falls yet it is listed by the Inabangons as one of their town’s attractions aside from the Macavan Cave and the newest attraction which is the Inabanga Nature Park & Fishing Village.

Inabanga Bohol Raffia Festival