Nov 22, 2017
Exploring Cambugsay Healing Hills with Lars Jensen
Location: Cambugsay Healing Hills, Ubay (municipality), Bohol (province), Philippines
I met Lars while exploring Sinandigan Boardwalk on our bikes. It was a 2-minute small talk where we exchanged contact info. Later that day, he emailed inviting me to see Cambugsay Healing Hills. It was already on my 'to do' list, so I naturally said yes. It would have been a 35km road bike for me on the hot sun, so I opted for a 4x4 road trip instead.
Malingin Park is an open outdoor space by the Malingin Dam (Mother Dam, Ilaya Reservoir), 17 kms from Ubay proper.From the main highway, it was about a kilometer of narrow dirt road to the entrance into a park (I'm not sure if there is a name for this park, so I'm just calling it Malingin Park after Malingin Dam). The park is by the Ilaya Reservoir and offers a little shade and a few benches - nothing more. Admission is free - as there is no administrator, no office and no staff. When we arrived, only a handful of students (obviously on a date) were there. I could imagine, there are more people when it gets dark and cooler. The reservoir is essentially a man-made lake formed by damming a river for irrigation use (not hydro-electric). It is one of a few in the area. The park together with the body of water is peaceful and offers refuge from city burden.
According to Lars, who has been here about a year ago, walking tours were offered along coffee trees along the banks and a restaurant was still there. It would seem that it has been closed.
Cambugsay Healing Hills
From the park, you could see nearby hills, but it's not clear which is Cambugsay Hills. There are no posters in the park pointing to Cambugsay Hills or an explanation why it's a "healing" hill. Is it just marketing hype to drum-up tourism? Is there a folk-legend behind it?
Lars and I started trekking up the hill through a dirt road that seemed abandoned. Along the way, we took a brushy trail going further up with a nipa hut on the summit. The trail was already taken over by tall grass and shrubs about hip-high - it wasn't pleasant blazing our way through it. Where it cleared a bit, a view of the reservoir could be appreciated.Finally, at the top, we took rest by the hut. It would have been a perfect lookout point, but it was too brushy to appreciate whatever view there was.
There wasn't much else to do after that, so we left and headed out to buy some refreshments at Bohol Dairy, a retail arm of the Ubay Stock Farm. Ubay Stock Farm is essentially a carabao farm where they sell fresh carabao milk. They also sell ice cream, bread and pastries using carabao milk.Drinking cold and freshly processed carabao milk was so refreshing. It is interesting to note that carabao milk is the milk used to make Mozzarella cheese for pizza. It has a higher fat content but lesser cholesterol, lesser water content and rich in protein, calcium and minerals.
I hope they spruce-up the place with more tables, more shade and offer coffee or sikwate to make it a dairy cafe - the first of its kind!
It would seem that Cambugsay Hills have seen better days. Sure, it is still being looked-after and maintained operationally but from a tourism perspective, I see the potential but not the effort. If at all, I saw more effort and attention to the Bohol Dairy.
Thank you for taking me along, Lars!
Next stop: Visiting Bayongan Lake
Ubay, Bohol, Philippines
Ubay Travel Info / Tips
- Jewel's Nook is the only cafe in town - a/c, serving only espresso P50 but NO WIFI
- you can buy Bahalina (aged, decanted and alcoholic coconut sap) at the Public Market for P75/half gallon
- there are 2 stores serving good P10 sikwate (native chocolate drink) and P10 puto-maya at the Public Market...just ask around
- tricycle ride around the city is only P8/pax
- trisikad ride around the city is only P5/pax
- laundry is only P25/kilo, minimum of 3 kilos, for pick-up after 2 days
- Southern Buses at the Public Market leave Ubay for other parts of Bohol
- market day is Monday
- Ubay-ubay Festival is the town fiesta held every January 28-30
Ubay to Cebu City by boat (as of July 2017)
- M/V J&N Carrier - 10am Monday-Saturday, 12am Sunday
- M/V J&N Ferry - 10pm Sunday-Friday, no Saturday trip
Ubay to Leyte by boat (4-5 hours) (as of July 2017)
- Ubay to Bato
- M/V Lady of Smile (or Lady of Charity or Lady of Guadalupe) - 1pm daily
- MBCA Star Sirius (or Mama Mary or San Isidro 9) - 8:30am daily
- MBCA Neriboy Allen Rey (or Mama Mary Irvin or San Isidro 5 or San Isidro 6) - 10am daily
- Ubay to Hilongos - M/V Leopards Sea Runner or Leopards Adventurer 1, 9am daily
Ubay to Pitogo (Bohol) by boat (as of July 2017)
- MBCA Bobong B - 11am daily
- MBCA Bobong A - 4pm daily
Carlos P. Garcia Island
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