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Cebu Philippines Travel

Tañon Strait | Madridejos: Thriving Market and Kota Park Sunset Sights

Bantayan in northern Cebu is also the northern tip of Tañon Strait protected area. Other than Sta Fe and the Virgin island, we visited Madridejos found north of Bantayan Island facing the Visayan seas. A town formerly known as Lawis, it was the first settlement north of the island. In 1917, the town was renamed Madridejos in honor of Benito Romero de Madridejos the former Archbishop of Cebu. Prior to World War II, Madridejos enjoyed being the “Little Alaska of the Philippines” because of its rich fishing ground. The first canning factory in the country was also here until it was bombed during the war. Our visit with Oceana Philippines seeks to observe and capture the communal richness of Tañon Strait with the people of Madridejos.

Sunset at Bontay Boardwalk
Sunset at Bontay Boardwalk

Kota Park Sunset

Less than half an hour further north is the Kota Park. This place holds a lot of appeal for history buffs as the Kota Ruins is located in the park. Though our attention were on the coast where a large portion of the reef were exposed during the afternoon low-tide. A 187 meter Bontay Baywalk footbridge leads to a watch tower, the same place where the original watchtower dating back to the Moro marauders era where natives would yell “Bantay! Bantay!” to oversee their approach. With the low-tide, it was easy to walk over the exposed reef towards a small lighthouse. A rugged landscape of water-filled shallow cavities and sea grass covered rocks. Look closer and there are shells scoured by locals and tiny colorful fishes tracked by local kids to fill their transparent aquarium-like bottles.

Madridejos is a fascinating portrait of a community living by the bounty of the sea. I was enliven by the local kids at play, the adults turning to the sea for their day’s meals and simply sitting by the boardwalk and enjoying the view overlooking the landscape of a thriving fishing village along its coast.

Collecting tiny fishes in a bottle
Collecting tiny fishes in a bottle

About Oceana Philippines

Oceana Philippines seeks to restore the health, richness, and abundance of the Philippine oceans. By working closely with civil society, academics, fishers, and government, Oceana Philippines will promote the use of sound science based policies to help ensure sustainable fisheries and vibrant marine ecosystems.

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Madridejos lighthouse
Madridejos lighthouse
Wading through the shallows
Wading through the shallows
Scouring for shells
Scouring for shells
View from the boardwalk
View from the boardwalk
On the 187 meter boardwalk heading back to shore
On the 187 meter boardwalk heading back to shore

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