Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Agusan River Cruise

In the summer of 2005, I participated in the Agusan River Cruise hosted by the Department of Tourism. We started the day at around 8AM. We hopped on the specially painted motorized bancas and headed upstream. I am always in awe of the mighty Agusan River. Loboc River in Bohol pales by a mile in comparison. We rode up to the NIA complex in Bit-os enjoying the view of lush greenery along the river banks, passing by the construction site of the new Butuan Bridge (completed in 2007). We turned back in Bit-os and headed towards Banza, where a local high school choir awaited us. There, we were treated to local snack delicacies and various Butuanon songs.

The next stop was Magallanes. After docking, we were brought by land to the century old Bitaug tree. This tree is recognized by the DENR as the Philippine Centennial Tree. If this tree could talk, it surely has a lot of stories to tell!

Then we went to the Holy Rosary Parish Church. I went inside to say my prayers and later joined the rest of the pack at the Magallanes Marker. This marker was built in 1872 under to commemorate the celebration of the first mass in Mindanao held on April 8, 1521. Then, we had lunch right there in the mini-park surrounding the marker. After feasting on seafoods and local desserts, we continued with our photo ops until we were herded back to our bancas to head back to Butuan City.

Our day continued with a trip to the Regional Museum, after which, we were brought to the Balanghai Shrine in Libertad. These two stops should always go in tandem for a better appreciation of Butuan's history.

Our last stop was at the Buod promontory in Pinamanculan. This eco-park is believed by a lot of historians to be part of the lost isle of Mazzaua, the island which Ferdinand Magellan visited in 1521 where the first Christian mass on Philippine soil took place.

This experience is interesting enough as it is. This is made more exciting with recent news that future tourists and balikbayans will now enjoy the cruise in style. They will be cruising in balanghai replicas!

Read about it here: Balanghai River Cruise and here: DOT Supports New River Cruise in Mindanao.


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