Explore Borbon: Must-see spots in this tranquil northern Cebu town

Borbon is a small and peaceful coastal town in the northern part of the province of Cebu. | CDN Photo/ Emmariel Ares

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Approximately 78 kilometers from Cebu City is the relatively small town of Borbon in the north.

Its name is believed to have come from a misinterpretation by Spanish soldiers who received the reply of “Bonbon,” the local dialect for pebbly sand, after asking locals the town name many years ago.

While most vacationers plan their trips to places like Tabuelan and Camotes famous for their pristine waters, Borbon offers a different kind of experience for those looking for a slower pace kind of rest.

Arriving at the town proper, you will be greeted by the typical sight of a provincial town – ordinary houses, schools, small eateries, and lots of greenery.

And yet, there is a certain charm to this small town that entices travelers to make a stopover and discover for themselves what Borbon has to offer.

For your next trip to the northern town, here are a few spots where locals love to spend their time that might be worth a visit:

St. Sebastian Martyr Parish Church

St. Sebastian Martyr Parish Church in Borbon, northern Cebu | CDN Photo/ Emmariel Ares

Similar to the practices of most Cebuanos, Borbonanons are devout people who are dutiful to their religious beliefs and traditions.

Every Lord’s Day, locals converge at the St. Sebastian Martyr Parish Church – located in a grassy area at the town center just beside the Borbon National High School.

The church is dedicated to the town’s patron, St. Sebastian The Martyr, in a celebration called the Silmugi Festival.

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Parishioners enter the contemporary structure through a long walkway that leads to the two-level church. A small separate structure to the left of the church is the “dagkutanan” where locals can light candles in prayer.

The church’s grounds is a very wide space that allows children to run around and it provides ample parking space for vehicles.

While it may not be as big and known as other churches in neighboring towns, the St. Sebastian Martyr Church is still visited by a significant number of devotees during the annual Visit Iglesia.

Moreover, attending mass at the church and grabbing a simple breakfast afterward has become a precious tradition for many Borbonanons.

Borbon Recreational Park

A playground and tennis court at the Borbon community park | CDN Photo/ Emmariel Ares

A new spot for locals to relax is the recently opened Recreational Community Park, located next to the high school. At the front, there’s a playground for young kids and some seating areas where students can enjoy their lunch under the shade of the trees.

For adults who want to play games, a tennis court is open all day. In the mornings, some adults also gather there for lively “zumba” dance sessions.

Silmugi River


A view of Borbon’s Silmugi river | CDN Photo/ Emmariel Ares

One of Borbon’s original attractions is the Silmugi River. This beautiful, cool river was once a shortcut for people visiting the parish church on Sundays and holidays.

It also served as a marketplace where locals traded bush snails (“Takyong”), freshwater shrimp (“Uwang”), and Nipa strips for roofing.

The river’s striking emerald color and nearby mangroves created a peaceful vibe that captivated both locals and visitors.

Until recently, the annual “Silmugi Festival” on January 20 celebrated the river’s significance and honored the town’s patron saint.

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However, a typhoon destroyed the boardwalk, footbridge, and jetty along the riverbank. Despite this, the Silmugi River, considered by many to be enchanted, is still worth visiting for its natural beauty.

Tagboanan Beach

Tagboanan Beach Resot in Nipa, Tagnucan, Borbon town | CDN Photo/ Emmariel Ares

The town of Borbon has its own share of beautiful beaches where locals frequently go to cool down on hot summer days.

Several beach resorts line the roadside, offering visitors a quiet and serene place to enjoy the cool water.

One of these is Tagboanan Beach Resort in Nipa, Tagnucan, near the town’s border with Tabogon.

Recently opened and mostly known by locals, visitors enter through a small gate and pay an entrance fee of only P20 and a parking fee at the front.

Families and friends can rent cottages for P500.

After descending a small hill, guests are welcomed by the refreshing sight of the blue ocean at this cozy beach resort.

A young local spends her afternoon by the beach during the summertime. | CDN Photo/ Emmariel Ares

What makes the beach even more appealing to locals is its quiet atmosphere, providing a short escape from the busy road. It’s the perfect spot for friends, families, and couples to enjoy a day of fun and relaxation in the summer weather.

Master’s Dragon Peak

The Master’s Dragon Peak, located in a mountain barangay in Borbon, is a new attraction offering amazing scenery views. | CDN Photo/ Emmariel Ares

If you enjoy hiking for scenic views, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the top of this mountain in Sitio Mango, Barangay Bili, Borbon.

The newest attraction, Master’s Dragon Peak, features a large ship perched at the highest point.

The view atop the ship resembles pirate ships, possibly inspiring its design. | CDN Photo/ Emmariel Ares

Guests climbing up to the viewing decks of the vessel, reminiscent of a pirate ship, enjoy incredible views of green trees and surrounding mountains.

To visit the ship, sometimes called a Noah’s ark lookalike, visitors follow dirt roads guided by signs to the peak. Upon arrival, there’s an entrance fee of P99 for adults and P50 for children/senior citizens.

The place opens at 7 a.m. and closes as late as 9 p.m. when there are many visitors.

Visitors take photos at different spots around Master’s Dragon Peak. | CDN Photo/ Emmariel Ares

A winding path leads guests to smaller attractions before reaching the ship at the top, offering a stress-relieving view.

Visitors take photos at different spots and enjoy the fresh air of the countryside. If you get thirsty, you can grab dragonfruit juice at the small store below the ship.

More refreshment stalls and a restaurant will soon open. Despite being far from town, Master’s Dragon Peak promises a unique sailing experience worth the trip.

William’s Nature Park and Farm

The steps leading to the William’s Nature Park and Farm in Borbon | CDN Photo/ Emmariel Ares

Just a few meters ahead of the exit of the road leading to the Masters Dragon Peak is another attraction that is frequented by many locals.

Surrounded by lush green trees and an open-air space on top of a hill located by the side of the road in Barangay La-aw is William’s Nature Park and Farm.

Some photo spots at the nature park frequently visited by locals and tourists | CDN Photo/ Emmariel Ares

Another photo spot at the William’s nature park | CDN Photo/ Emmariel Ares

Benches can be found across the park for visitors to rest on. | CDN Photo/ Emmariel Ares

As guests climb the hill’s many steps, they encounter murals of nature scenes, including koi fishes and water lilies.

Bring a camera to capture the colorful spots and enjoy taking pictures with friends and family. Children can also have fun at the playground designed just for them.

A colorful playground for kids to spend their time in at the park | CDN Photo/ Emmariel Ares

For only P65 for adults, P60 for students, and P50 for kids/senior citizens, you can explore a world of nature and colors at this lovely park. It is usually open from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Golden Manok Restaurant

The Golden Manok Native and Seafood Restaurant in Barangay La-aw, Borbon | CDN Photo/ Emmariel Ares

What better way to end a day of family bonding and fun with friends at the park than to enjoy a scrumptious meal together.

Guests would not need to look any further as they can dine at the Golden Manok Native and Seafood Restaurant located at the entrance to the compound leading to the park.

The quaint little restaurant features dishes made from organic fresh native chickens from their own farm and a variety of other seafood dishes.

Their best selling dish in the menu is the golden manok organic native chicken with azuetes. They also serve native chicken tinola, native fried chicken, pinakbet, bam-i, and more.

If you’re craving for seafood, they also offer dishes like gambas, calamaris, and sweet and sour fish.

Moreover, you can buy other items like apple mango, native chicken eggs, and dragonfruit seedlings at the store.

From 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day, locals, park visitors, and even motorists taking a break from their long drive enjoy a satisfying meal at this small restaurant by the roadside in Borbon.

Borbon’s Tuba Festival 

Unbeknowst to many, Borbonanons used to celebrate the “Silmugi Festival” as its town fiesta in honor of the wondrous Silmugi River.

This was until the year 2019 when the local government decided to change the town festival to “Tuba Festival” in order to highlight the main livelihood of locals which is the production of “tuba” or coconut wine.

“Tuba” is a sweet, fresh or mildly fermented sap taken from tapping the young expanded flowers of coconuts which are the rampant in farms in Borbon.

This wine is widely produced by locals in the area and shared among families and friends during birthdays, town fiestas, and other special gatherings.

To further showcase this product, the local government of Borbon has launched a new product that was never seen before in the province – the tuba ice cream.

Borbon’s very own tuba flavored ice cream launched during the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo Northern Escapade | CDN Photo/ Pia Piquero

This new flavor, mixed with tuba, provides a refreshing sweetness with hints of non-alcoholic coconut wine aftertaste. Note that consuming tuba in large amounts can make you drunk.

The sweet treat was introduced during the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo Northern Escapade tour on January 25, 2024.

Dec Ann Mondigo Anudling, Borbon’s tourism officer, mentioned in an interview with CDN Digital that the launch is just the beginning of the LGU’s plan to introduce more of this new product.

Guests got to enjoy the new tuba ice cream in Borbon. | CDN Photo/ Pia Piquero

For now, you can order tuba ice cream by the gallon at the municipal hall for home delivery. Three gallons cost P1,850, and four gallons cost P2,100.

Anudling mentioned they’re planning to open a store where customers can buy smaller containers of tuba ice cream for more frequent enjoyment.

The municipality of Borbon is located approximately 78 kilometers from Cebu City. | CDN Photo/ Emmariel Ares

Unlike many municipalities surrounding Borbon, this town is a more quiet and peaceful place home to a community of hardworking and hospitable locals.

Given the opportunity, visiting Borbon is sure to evoke feelings of warmth and serenity, giving you a glimpse into provincial life.

Over the years, Borbon has been growing, with new establishments emerging for the convenience of both locals and tourists. However, it still maintains its charm as a peaceful coastal community.

If you’re seeking a serene getaway from the busy city life, come and experience the tranquility of Borbon. /clorenciana

TAGS: Borbon, Borbon town, Cebu Tourism, destinations, Travel
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