I thought my adventure will wait for hubby’s arrival but on the second day, before the convention proper, I was invited by a group of PICPAns who’s staying also at Gloreto Hotel for a half-day tour around Butuan. I learned that they had arranged for a multi-cab to bring us around for just P1100.
From Wikipilipinas: Butuan was the capital of Agusan del Norte until Year 2000 when Republic Act 8811 transferred the capital to Cabadbaran City. Prior to the division of Agusan into Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur by virtue of RA 4979, Butuan is the capital of Agusan from 1911 to 1967. It became a city in 1950 per RA523 as signed by President Elpidio Quirino.
With Butuan map as a guide, we were able to visit the following:
1. Bood Promontory and Eco-park – we had a hard time locating the area as most of the locals is not aware of the “Bood Promontory” term, it was when we asked for “Ecopark” that they finally pointed us to the right direction. The trip includes about 10-15 minutes of rough road and a short uphill drive.
From Butuan website This historic site is where Magellan and his men erected a cross and celebrated the 1st Mass on Philippine Soil on March 31, 1521. It is the highest elevation and promontory overlooking the whole of Butuan bay then. Today, the indigenous "Hadlayati Tree" still abound lording over a Clonal nursery and tree park, and the serpentine Masao River (ElRio de Butuan) amidst fishponds and archaeological treasures.
2. Balangay Boat Digging Site – unlike the Bood Promontory where no one is manning the area, the “digging site” has a tourist officer to assist and guide you around. Unfortunately, we failed to see the Balangay Boats as it lay flat underneath the water. We were informed that they have yet to pump-out the rainwater that filled the digging site.
3. Sto. Niño Shrine – before we proceeded to the Balangay Shrine Museum, we passed by Sto. Niño Shrine to pay homage to our Lord. It was constructed from 1995-1997 as a Parish of Libertad in honor of Señor Sto. Nino. In Year 2000, the Apostolic Nuncio during his pastoral visit dedicated the Church into a Shrine.
4. Balangay Shrine Museum – a cheerful tourism officer welcomed and toured us around the shrine. For me, the Museum already needs rehabilitation to sustain its purpose. <<more of the story here>>
5. Magellan’s Anchorage in Masao – about 15 kilometers away from the City or about 30 minutes travel halfway of which is unpaved. The poster near the anchorage reads:
Antonio Pigafetta and the official Chronicler of Magellan’s fleet wrote... “as we have seen a fire on an island (masawa) that night before, we anchored near it”. The bright light was the beckon in the darkness that guided Magellan’s fleet to the isle. “Masawa” means “bright” in Butuanon, the only language in the Philippines that contains the word. This site is believed to be where Ferdinand Magellan landed and made blood compact with Raja Siaiu.
6. Butuan National Museum – all my excitement of seeing the Golden Tara replica up-close was awashed when I saw the “sorry we are close” sign in front door. According to the museum personnel, they packed all items already to give way to the rehabilitation of the site. Frustrated and all, I pandered myself by the murals in the foyer.
7. Magsaysay Bridge – on our way to Banza Church Ruins, we crossed Magsaysay Bridge. It was built in 1950’s and inaugurated by President Carlos Garcia on May 19, 1953. The steel bridge is said to be the first to connect the east and west spans of Agusan and made land trip for the rest of CARAGA possible.
8. Banza Church Ruins – located in Brgy. Banza beside Agusan River. The poster says:
The site was one of the old poblacions of the city that lasted more than 200 years before transferring to Baug, now called Magallanes. The church was built in 1625 by the Recollect Friars but was reduced to ashes by the Moro Pirates in 1753. What remains of this church is its bell which is now enveloped by a banyan tree (balete). This was hailed as the most beautiful church in region before its tragic destruction. Today, it is the oldest ruin of a stone church in the entire island of Mindanao.
I was thankful that I joined the 10-ladies as some of the areas are accessible only by private transport. Thanks to kuya Del driver (0907339660) for accommodating all our request.
After our tiring tour, we treated ourselves with a lunch over “Lutong Bahay ni Aling Cora”, <<continued here>>...