5 things you may not know about Argao 

By: Cris Evert B. Lato-Ruffolo October 21,2019 - 11:22 AM

You know Argao for its 3Ts: torta, tuba and tablea. While we enjoy this town’s culinary heritage that highlights every visit, food is not the only reason why you should visit Argao. 

In a recent trip to this southern Cebu municipality, located 60 kilometers from Cebu City, we were regaled by sights, sounds and stories which made us list down these give things you may not know about Argao:

1. Capilla Mortuario 

It’s not a grand edifice compared to its neighbor, San Miguel Arcangel Church M, but this chapel recorded to have been built in the 1700s is an important part of Argao’s culture. In his book “Argao: In Search of a Usable Past,” Paul Gerschwiler wrote that the chapel serves as the venue for funeral wakes of deceased Argaoanons. The chapel was hidden in obscurity for many years by the outpatient building of a hospital but it was once again exposed in 2007 since the area was cleared. Don’t miss this chapel, which sits beside the Puerto Marina on the way to the sea. 

The main chamber of the 110-year-old Capilla Mortuario, which is now restored to as close to how it looked when it was built in 1906. (CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

2. Youth tour guides 

The future is not lost in the youth in Argao as the local government unit rolled out the Argao Youth for Heritage Society (AYHS) in 2016 initially as a summer activity to inspire and encourage the youth and children to appreciate the town’s culture and heritage sites. The project metamorphosed into a tour guiding initiative that enabled the youth to earn a side income while they are growing to be socially conscious and culturally aware. Head on to the Argao Tourism Office to know more about this project.

Novem Lao, 19, (left) and Aimie Rumaguera, 18, (right) are one of the youth tourists guides of Argao. | Delta Dyrecka Letigio

3. Pipe Organ

It was silent for 40 years until in 2017 when music was played again with Argao’s pipe organ. Argao’s pipe organ is made of metal. The restoration was facilitated by Diego Cera Organ Builders Inc., which also maintained the bamboo organ in the St. Joseph Parish in Las Piñas City. Experts from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, which funded the restoration alongside the Department of Tourism, said the pipe organ was installed in the 1800s by Padre Diego Cera, an Augustinian Recollect priest from Graus, Spain.

The centuries-old pipe organ sits on top of the side balcony of the Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel in Argao town. CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO

4. Maria Cacao and Mount Lantoy 

There are different versions of the Maria Cacao story that is likened to Maria Makiling and Maria Sinukuan of Luzon. There are also different versions of the Maria Cacao story that involves Argao’s famous, Mount Lantoy. The basic story is that Maria Cacao has a cacao plantation in Mount Lantoy. She lives there along with her partner, Mangaw. One version of the story says that when it rains, it means that the boat of Maria Cacao and Mangaw is sailing to sell tableya to other parts of the world. You will hear more fascinating versions of this story in Argao too. 

5. Breathtaking sunrise 

Argaoanons wake up to a breathtaking sunrise and enjoy a painit (pre-breakfast meal) of sikwate paired with puto or torta. Argao’s sunrise makes it an ideal place to live because the mornings are filled with hope for a brighter and better days. The town is a perfect choice to buy a residential abode or a vacation home. The town’s sunrise is best viewed from the comforts of Argao Royal Palms, a relaxing enclave in Barangay Suba Poblacion, where you can very well just sit down with hot or cold drinks and some nibbles to while away your weekend. 

Argao is home to exciting stories and splendid gastronomic treats. You will not run out of things to discover and experience in this part of southern Cebu.

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This article is written in partnership with Primary Homes, the developer of Argao Royal Palms. Contact Primary Homes at (032) 254-7188.

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