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Townhopping 2013: The Unkept Inambakan Falls (and Few Lessons on Cebuano)


“Daghan lagig basura sa ubos,” I tried to sound as friendly as I could to the entrance fee collector upon handing out a twenty-peso bill.  Disposals were discarded in the river and found their way between boulders. No trash cans or sacks in sight. In many cases, the LGU never wavers in collecting entrance fees without delivering the service.

“Naa diay, Ma’am?” Feigning ignorance is not foreign to me. I often fall prey to it too to avoid responsibilities or reprimands that I know would follow suit. The trash are actually days- or weeks-old.

All popular spots in Cebu and the Philippines are victims of vandalism as well.  Jean was here or Marie ♥ Jake are carved on rocks or walls. All. And I want to be proven wrong.

“Magbutang unta mog basurahan. O di ba kaha karatula.” She only nodded.  Where there are people, there are always rubbish. That often makes me guilty. My only consolation: the side pockets of my backpacks are full of trash.


Earlier, Midori waded through the shallow waters while I looked at the fall. It was her idea to include a place that I’ve never been to.  Of course, I chose a river, a falling river.  Because I need a constant reminder that there are deliriums greater, scarier than mine. A deluge that is a river.

A deluge can be a cataclysm or a beautiful downpour.


“There is entrance, Ma’am! Ten pesos!” a woman in her 40s informed.

“Unya nalag lakaw namo. Kadiyot ra ‘mi!” I said. They looked surprised. Another scorched Korean scenario.

My dream to travel to Sitangkai seems dimmer: the terrorists who are mythically rampant in the southernmost reaches of the Philippines abduct foreign tourists. Can my Asian (the other kinds of Asians) features—except my skin color—easily deceive them? Regardless of the dangers involved, being kidnapped seems a rich material for writing. Ah, the things we are tempted to do for our craft.

I’m digressing. This entry is about Inambakan and Ginatilan.


Pico Iyer and the five-peso frozen fruit salad are some of the little memories I have of this equally little southern town.  We made a short stop on Palanas Beach —a confined beach along the national highway—where I read Pico Iyer’s collection of travel essays last year.

Ginatilan is derived from hinatdan  taken from a  Cebuano root word hatod meaning to send and hinatdan means an act of sending something. According to its LGU’s web site, Ginatilan used to be a barrio of Samboan that had a number of parishioners. The priest had his needs sent to him. Hinatdan. Back then, when a local asked someone where are you going? It would be answered with “Adto kos Hinatdan!”

Words like babaw or ubos are not mere prepositions indicating small places, say babaw sa aparador (above the closet) or ubos sa hagdanan (under the stairs); rather, in the countryside, it can mean an entire barrio or a neighborhood 100 or 200 meters from one area. In our place, if we say adto kos babaw, everyone has one place in mind: the place where men play billiards and volleyball, the place near the second poso (manually run water pump).

That is the countryside for you.

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We left the sunny Tingko at 10:30 and waited for the bus. Before we reached the first curve from the beach, the sky opened while streaks of blue highlighted the horizon above the blurry, blurred Negros. The sky and its cohorts—the clouds and the sun—seemed indecisive. The sun showed up again before we reached Boljoon‘s boulevard. Gone was the seaside park where I plunged into the water with the local kids as pinkish clouds fashioned the dusky horizon. Pablo‘s tsunamic waves made a good job in wrecking it clean. We changed bus in Santander. We dozed off. The tapping on my shoulder woke me up.

“Ginatilan na ni,” the conductor informed. We got off while rubbing the sleep off.

“Porener, bay.” I heard a voice somewhere.

“Inambakan, mi, noy,” I said.

“Ay, Bisaya di ay.”

Part of the Townhopping Project 2013: Alcoy’s Tingko Beach | Ginatilan’s Inambakan Falls | Badian’s Kawasan Falls 



Tingko, Alcoy—Santander : P55 (as of January 2013)

Santander—Ginatilan : P15 (as of January 2013)

Habal-Habal Fee: P30

Length of trip— around one hour


Jona of Backpacking with a Book

Hi there, I’m Jona! I’m in my early 30s and is currently based in Ha Noi, Vietnam.I primarily write poetry and short stories in Cebuano and lengthy travel essays in English. Blogging has become an outlet to think out loud. I live the life I set for myself. I try to live an unapologetic life. For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at Find me somewhere else!

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  1. hana says:

    lawm diri mega??
    di man ko khibaw mu langoy…but ganahan ko maligo diri 🙂

  2. Lakbay Diva says:

    ay bisaya diay. discriminating lagi sila sah? hahahaha…

  3. doi says:

    wahehehe. nalingaw ko. i wonder if i would also mistake you for a porener if magcross ato paths nga wa pa jud ta nagkakita jon. 😉 excited to meet you na!

  4. Mike Cubillas says:

    Hi! Would you mind giving commute details to this falls from Cebu City? 🙂

    • Hi ther, Mike! My apology if you can’t find any guides in this entry.

      Take a bus bound for Santander via Barili at South Bus Terminal. Just ask the conductor to drop you off at Ginatilan, near its parish church. From there, you can hire a habal-habal to Inambakan for P30/person.

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