Friday, 8 February 2013


 An oasis just 42km's from Cebu City. Carmen has something special for nature lovers.

The quiet, unassuming town of Carmen, located some 42 kilometers north of Cebu City, is rich in history and a virgin nature protected by time and its people.
While Carmen is mostly known for its sinamay industry, a Sunday trek to the heart of its lush mountains and small barrios brought me to the soul of this old town, which was founded in 1870.
The roaring, carefree water of its Mangitngit Falls was a gracious, refreshing welcome after our hike from the barrio’s main road. Its cold water was like a balm that soothed my red, sun-kissed cheeks and arms.
Together with the officials of the Department of Trade and Industry and the Carmen local government, we drove through the trails into the private hacienda of M. Lhuillier, another Carmen wonder.
The hacienda was a hodgepodge of wildlife, flowers, trees and vegetables. It has a zoo and viewing park that has a deer house, fishpond, horse rodeo area, and a hut on a cliff that gives guests a four-window view of the surrounding mountains and seas.
It was a leisurely, idyllic drive while Moon River played over the car radio. Carmen town Mayor Virginio Villamor, an environmentalist, has hundreds of hectares of protected land where he has been planting trees since in the 1970s. No wonder Carmen is a refuge for those who can’t stand the heat and dust of the city.
Carmen is proud of its many caves. While I had no sweat getting into Hinagdanan Cave in Bohol a couple of years ago because its passage was made easy, Carmen’s Titip Cave literally made my knees shake and left minor bruises on my arms. Getting into the cave required body strength, flexibility and courage.
When the cave guide asked all of us to turn off our flashlights, there was total darkness. I held my breath in fear and thrill.
When we turned on our lights again, I was fascinated to see the crystal clear water of a subterranean pool and the cave’s stalactites and stalagmites that speak of its age and grandeur.
From my adventurous climb at the cave, we drove to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima nestled at the peak of natural rock in Corte (one of Carmen’s barangays) where a panoramic view of Lapu-lapu City awaits. It was a serene, chilly place to be. Pine trees are everywhere.
Carmen gets as cold as 15OC during its coolest months of November and December.
Before the sun set in, we ended our trip at St. Benedict’s Monastery, a place of worship in the mountain, some six kilometers from Carmen municipal building to behold the grand finale of our day -- bat watching.
Around one million wrinkled-lip and fruit bats (locally known as kabyaw) inhabiting the Kabyawan Cave come out in batches daily and paint the twilight sky with black dots. They showed up and looked like crushed Oreos spreading in the sky.
So breathtaking, that watchers would want to freeze them and have them stay, but they fly away to neighboring islands like Bohol and Negros and don’t return to their home cave until before sun up the following day.
A less than two-hour drive from Cebu City, Carmen (formerly called Bugho before the Spaniards came) is a third class municipality with close to 40,000 settlers in a land area of some 8,210 hectares.
The town’s local government has strong advocacies protecting the environment. Among its treasures are the Mangrove Pocket Forest, Villamor Tree Farm, turtle habitat at Cantumog River, a monkey sanctuary with an estimated 200 monkeys at Magtakup Cliffs, and Batong Diyut Fish Sanctuary, a 20-hectare marine protected area with sunken Japanese warships and colorful marine life.


Invest in Carmen and get incentives

OFFICIALS of Carmen in northern Cebu agreed to grant tax incentives to companies so they can attract investors to their town.

They also reclassified some lands from agricultural to industrial, and some areas as economic zone as part of their efforts.

The Carmen Municipal Council approved an ordinance providing local tax incentives to businesses engaged in manufacturing whose annual gross receipts is at least P20 million.

The ordinance, proposed by Councilor Gerard Villamor, was approved last Aug. 10 and certified urgent by the councilor’s father, Mayor Virginio Villamor.

A copy of the legislation was received by the Provincial Board and referred to commit tees for review in yesterday’s regular session.

In the resolution, the councilors agreed that they need to attract investors, so they must give tax incentives for the municipality to have a “business-conducive environment.”

Tax holidays on business permit fees, annual business axes and real property taxes will be given for a period of 10 years for qualified companies who will invest in the town.

Covered in the tax holidays are export companies sending 70 percent of their products abroad, and “indirect” export companies supplying services or products to export companies.

Earlier, all congressmen in Cebu also filed a bill in the House of Representatives to declare the entire Cebu Province, including Bantayan and Camotes islands as economic zone.

The declaration, if approved into law, will give tax incentives to investors.

The bill, however, has yet to go through the usual process of law making in the House and the Senate.



Carmen is politically subdivided into 21 barangays.
  • Baring
  • Cantipay
  • Cantumog
  • Cantucong
  • Caurasan
  • Corte
  • Dawis Norte
  • Dawis Sur
  • Cogon East
  • Hagnaya
  • Ipil
  • Lanipga
  • Liboron
  • Lower Natimao-an
  • Luyang
  • Poblacion (Main Barangay of Carmen)
  • Puente
  • Sac-on
  • Triumfo
  • Upper Natimao-an
  • Cogon West



Uragay cold spring, others may call it Uruguay spring, located in Carmen Cebu. From the city you can reach the place in 1hr. through public buses. Fare is php35 per head, from Carmen you have to ride a motorcycle known ashabal-habal, php15 fare per head to reach the spring.

The spring water is so cold and clean. Some says Nature's Spring Bottled Water Company get thier mineral water from there source. It's a perfect place to relax and get away from the hot summer.





                   MANGITNGIT FALLS

The roaring, carefree water of its Mangitngit Falls was a gracious, refreshing welcome after our hike from the barrio’s main road. Its cold water was like a balm that soothed my red, sun-kissed cheeks and arms.


                                DURANO ECO FARM                                                                              
                             SPRING RESORT

Not only is the resort kid and family friendly, it is also packed with so much goodness mother nature has to offer.
Tucked neatly away from the hustle and bustle of city life, the eco-farm and resort is like no other. It is nestled in the mountains of Carmen. Its pools rest quietly beneath the lush greens of age-old trees. And the sound of raging rapids just a stone’s throw away from its pools satisfies not only the senses but also the weary soul.

Clear perfect pool for your kids
Cold spring facing the mighty river which runs through barangay Corte.
The fifth pool facing in a beautiful rock formation

A wooden hand made web.A perfect resting area if you are already tired .
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The fifth pool facing in a beautiful rock formation

A wooden hand made web.A perfect resting area if you are already tired .

The Sinulog is an annual festival held on the third Sunday of January in Cebu CityMaasin CitySouthern LeytePhilippines and Balingasag, Misamis Oriental[1] The festival commemorates the Filipino people's pagan origin, and their acceptance of Roman Catholicism.
The main feature is a street parade with participants in bright coloured costumes dancing to the rhythm of drumstrumpets and native gongs. Smaller versions of the festival are held in various parts of the province, also to celebrate and honor the Santo Niño. There is also a "Sinulog sa Kabataan" performed by the youths of Cebu a week before the parade. Recently, the festival has been promoted as a tourist attraction, with a contest featuring contingents from various parts of the country. The Sinulog Contest is usually held in the Cebu City Sports Complex.

A popular theme among Sinulog dances is Queen Juana holding the Santo Niño in her arms and using it to bless her people who are often afflicted by sickness caused by demons and other evil spirits.

Fluvial Procession is held at dawn with a statue of the Santo Niño carried on a pump boat from Mandaue City to Cebu City, decked with hundreds of flowers and candles.


  1. Are there any Hotels or Reorts in Carmen? Thanks.

  2. Are there any Hotels or Reorts in Carmen? Thanks.