A vast field of mangroves filled more than half my vision as I start my way down a two story rocky stairway. Somewhere beyond this 1,400 hectares of mangrove at Cogtong Bay, Anda, Bohol is Lamanoc Island, a small limestone island enveloped in an eerie veil of tales of a banished witch and a place where shamans congregate. Why would I visit such a spooky island? Because within its shallow caverns and lush tangled vegetation are remnants of a fascinating culture dating far beyond the pre-colonial era.
Having one of the oldest monuments in the Philippines in the form of the impressive San Juan Bautista Church, I wasn’t surprised that there were more to discover in this predominantly Catholic municipality of Jimenez, Misamis Occidental. We met with our local guide from the DOT office to give us a tour of the town. Visiting the church, it was a good idea the tourism installed a few boards showcasing the other attractions in town. Particularly noticeable were the heritage houses, a cemetery and a mysterious tree by the river.