Rural Road Trippin’: Tabuelan, Philippines

Nobody has ever heard of the little town of Tabuelan, except my family and friends, but that is a given. Locals know about Tabuelan and is popular in its own “little” way because of its white sandy beaches. There are a handful of resorts scattered about or you can just pick your spot outside private property boundaries and set up your picnic there, old school style.

No, this post isn’t about the resorts nor the beaches because we didn’t go there this time. Besides, I don’t have a current photo of them.Β This post is about my overnight stay at Tabuelan with my family and the trip to get there.

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St John the Baptist church located at the Old Poblacion

Tabuelan is located in the Northwestern part of Cebu Province. It is a tiny municipality (note: this is the correct classification. I just used town because it sounds more fitting. ha!) where my mom and her side of the family lives. My mom moved to the city when she was in college, met my dad and we have lived in the city ever since.

I grew up vacationing in Tabuelan almost every summer and occasionally on All Saints’ Day/All Souls’ Day.

I loved its rural simplicity, the fresh air, the sea breeze, its openness plus I could go out and play with my friends and cousins.

So, it is only expected that I should at least visit this place every time we come home to the Philippines.Β Because our travel schedule was super hectic, I could only manage one day.

We took a different route going there this time around. The usual one just takes forever to get there because of the heavy traffic nowadays.

As always, I love going on road trips! Maybe this was how my wanderlust was born. When we were young, our parents took us to see our grandparents at least once a year. So we were pretty much used to traveling, locally that is.

The scenery that unfolds always amazes me, from the bustling traffic of the city with the jeepney, tricycles and people intermingling and weaving this way and that to the sparse wide open spaces of the lush green countryside.

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Jet lagged and tired from my previous Singapore and Thailand trips, I thought I was going to fall asleep while on the road. But how can I? When you have THIS before you?

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(These photos were taken from a moving vehicle so it was quite a challenge to get it right!)

There was this pretty cool red bridge that we passed by just before we got to Tabuelan.

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And then before we knew it, it was my old hometown once again. Seeing familiar roads, houses, sceneries, faces….

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…. oh but, wait! There are a lot of new changes too!

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How many times can you take a picture of one sign?

This one is new. I found it cute. A lot of places are doing this now and I can see why. It makes for good souvenir shots.

Our old ancestral home that my grandfather built in the early 1900s is now abandoned and dilapidated. We still own it but nobody lives there now. All we get are whispers from neighbors that at night, something enchanting happens.

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Battered by past typhoons, its beautiful shell windows broken and the roof and walls in dire need of repair. Vegetables and fruit trees are in abundance around the yard so my auntie who is the caretaker still visit it from time to time.

Memories of us running around its shiny wood floors and looking out the window to the Plaza in front where people play tennis and basketball and the kids run around. This used to be the “town center” where the Municipal Hall, Health Center and Parish Church was and everybody converged. Now, the municipal officials moved its building to a pretty hill overlooking the ocean. What remains are the Health Center and the church. I do not see a lot of kids playing. I guess nobody plays basketball or tennis anymore?

At the end of this brief trip down memory lane, after doing all our usual sightseeing and catching up with relatives, I always look forward to seeing this at my auntie’s balcony….

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Good night, Tabuelan!

36 thoughts on “Rural Road Trippin’: Tabuelan, Philippines

  1. Beautiful, beautiful pictures! Love the red bridge πŸ™‚ I feel the same about my home town. I grew up on a farm in NZ (still here, but I don’t live on the farm no more!) and it’s such a beautiful place. I need to get back, with my camera!

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    1. It is amazing how such simple places bring out such joy in people! Sometimes, we all need to step back a little and enjoy the simple things in life. Thank you for your beautiful comment! I hope you get to go back and play with your camera, they are such lovely creatures too. πŸ™‚

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  2. Great to be able to reminisce with you. loved the pics of your grandfather’s house.
    i want to know more about why the locals say that at night it is enchanting and magical. what happens to make it so??? πŸ™‚

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    1. Ah, the million dollar question! hehe. I don’t know where to begin as this house and the place itself has always been a superstitious lot. I grew up listening to ghost and scary stories from my grandfather to my friends. All of them credible people. The most recent one being this last visit when the locals were saying that one night, a local town official was patrolling the streets with his wife. They decided to take a picture of our ancestral home and when they looked at the picture on their phone, it disappeared and its place was a huge palace with beautiful gardens! *okay, I’m stopping now because it is sending shivers down my spine, again!* πŸ™‚

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      1. I don’t think it was quite as chaotic – the traffic was a LOT worse in the 1990’s than the 1970’s – although I suspect it’s worse again now. Many other things probably haven’t changed – although thankfully the leadership has. I once saw Mrs Marcos shopping in a department store in Manila – not sure if she was buying shoes or not…

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        1. I’m surprised she didn’t have the department store closed for her. I heard when she went shopping in New York (think it was Macys?) she had the entire store closed. Yeah, traffic is pretty bad now. Lots of vehicles, small roads.

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  3. What a post, your pictures are beautiful and I loved the ride to your home place πŸ™‚ Your ancestral house… that’s a place you should be writing about, both scary and … inspiring! is it true, the story of the picture? Brrrrr….

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    1. Thank you so much! I’m happy to have taken you on a virtual ride to my home place. Actually, you’ve given me the idea for a future halloween post – my grandfather’s house! Oh the stories I could tell… hehe. As I was typing my response last night to a comment about the house being enchanted, I could feel shivers running down my back so it really gives me the creeps. I don’t even want to stare at “those windows”. Funny because we grew up there and spent many a summer with my parents, cousins and other relatives. But the stories still just keep on coming. The story about the picture is just one of the more recent ones (I haven’t seen it, they said the owners have deleted it because they got too scared) and to think it is now the modern times and people still believe in those things!

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      1. Brrrr…. you are giving me the creeps but I cant wait to read all about it !!! Love those kind of stories actually, when I read them at day time with lots of people around though

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    1. You made me laugh! I’m glad that you can relate, I’m such a shutterbug that it drives my husband crazy because it slows us down when we are traveling. Is it my fault I see beauty everywhere? πŸ™‚ You should visit my home country. It is very beautiful. Let me know and I will help you plan it.

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    1. Thank you! It is quite huge as was the style of the Spanish influenced homes in that era. And it is made of hardwood too, so beautiful! As for rebuilding it into a resort/villa, that would be super! But we were thinking of just renovating it, however, that would take lots of money especially if we want to preserve its basic structures. It would be nice to win the lotto someday…. πŸ™‚

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