Loon Bohol Travel Guide
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Welcome to Loon, a flourishing town located on the western coast of Bohol, Philippines. With its accessibility and captivating coastline views, Loon is an ideal destination for travelers seeking natural beauty and rich cultural traditions.
Getting to Loon is convenient as it is located 25 km northwest of Tagbilaran City, the capital of Bohol. Public utility buses, jeepneys, and vans-for-hire regularly travel along the wide cemented road, making transportation easy. The town is situated between the municipalities of Maribojoc and Calape.
Loon offers stunning beaches along its coastline, allowing visitors to enjoy the beauty of the Bohol Strait. As you travel along the road, you'll be treated to captivating views of the coastline.
To explore the town, inter-barangay accessibility is facilitated by a network of well-maintained barangay roads. Tricycles and "habal-habal" (motorcycles) are readily available for transportation within the town.
1. Poblacion Park and Cultural Center: Poblacion Park and Cultural Center is a lively gathering place that reflects the vibrant cultural heritage of Loon. The park is beautifully landscaped, with lush greenery, colorful flowers, and paved walkways. It serves as a venue for various cultural events, performances, and exhibitions, showcasing the talents of local artists and performers. Visitors can immerse themselves in the local arts, music, and dance while enjoying the park's serene ambiance.
2. Inang-angan: Inang-angan is a remarkable grand stairway composed of coral stone blocks, consisting of 212 steps. Recognized as a National Cultural Treasure, this architectural marvel showcases the craftsmanship of the past. As you ascend the stairs, you'll appreciate the intricate details of the stone carvings and the historical significance of this iconic structure. Inang-angan is not only a beautiful sight but also a symbol of the town's rich heritage and the resilience of its people.
3. Sombria Bridge: Sombria Bridge is a captivating stone bridge that holds the distinction of being the highest elevated colonial bridge in the province. Its sturdy construction and unique design make it a remarkable architectural feat. As you cross the bridge, you'll be treated to panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes and the meandering river beneath. The bridge stands as a testament to the engineering skills of the past and provides a picturesque spot for photos and moments of tranquility.
4. Napo Ruins: Nestled in the town of Loon, Napo Ruins are believed to be the remnants of a watchtower from the Spanish colonial era. These ancient ruins evoke a sense of mystery and intrigue, as they stand as silent witnesses to the town's history. Exploring the Napo Ruins allows you to imagine the fortress-like structure that once guarded the town against potential threats. The site is a fascinating glimpse into the past and a reminder of the rich historical heritage of Loon.
5. Ferandos House: Ferandos House, an ancestral house built during the American period, offers a glimpse into the architectural style and lifestyle of the past. This chalet-style house showcases elements of American influence, with its spacious verandas, wooden accents, and nostalgic charm. Stepping inside, you can imagine the vibrant gatherings and stories shared within these walls. Though partially destroyed by the 2013 earthquake, Ferandos House still stands as a testament to the town's past and its enduring spirit.
6. Gabaldon Building: The Gabaldon Building serves as the main building of Loon South Central Elementary School, constructed in 1915. This historic structure is an excellent example of the Gabaldon school building design, which was prevalent during the American colonial period in the Philippines. The building's architectural style is characterized by its wooden construction, high ceilings, and large windows, allowing ample natural light to flood the classrooms. The Gabaldon Building stands as a symbol of the town's commitment to education and its heritage.
7. Loon Public Plaza: Loon Public Plaza is a charming and inviting open space where both locals and visitors can gather, relax, and enjoy the surroundings. The plaza features well-manicured gardens, shady trees, and comfortable benches. It's an ideal spot to take a leisurely stroll, have a picnic, or simply unwind while savoring the peaceful atmosphere. The plaza often hosts cultural events, concerts, and festivities, providing a glimpse into the lively community spirit of Loon.
8. Big Cross: Positioned on the slopes of Cabug, the Big Cross is a significant pilgrimage site in Loon. Standing tall and proud, it offers a breathtaking view of the Cebu Strait and the surrounding landscapes. The site is marked by a large cross that serves as a symbol
of faith and spirituality. As you stand before the Big Cross, you can take a moment for quiet reflection, enjoy the panoramic vista, and appreciate the natural beauty of the area.
9. Virgen de la Paz Hermitage: The Virgen de la Paz Hermitage is a tranquil sanctuary that provides a retreat-like experience for visitors. Situated on a cliff overlooking the mangroves and marine sanctuary in Tangnan, the hermitage offers an unobstructed view of the sea and the majestic mountains of Cebu. The serene surroundings and the soothing sound of the waves make it an ideal spot for contemplation, prayer, and finding inner peace.
10. Solar-powered Lighthouse: Located in Punta Baluarte on Cabilao Island, this modern lighthouse serves as a beacon for maritime safety. It stands beside the old lighthouse, which has been retained for its historical value. The solar-powered lighthouse demonstrates the town's commitment to sustainable practices and serves as a reminder of the importance of navigation in the area's coastal waters. Visitors can appreciate the picturesque view from the lighthouse and learn about its significance in guiding seafarers.
11. Punta Baluarte Eco-Museum: The Punta Baluarte Eco-Museum is a unique attraction on Cabilao Island. It was once a Spanish-era bulwark that has been transformed into an eco-cultural museum. The museum showcases the island's natural beauty, biodiversity, and cultural heritage. Visitors can explore exhibits on marine ecosystems, local traditions, and the history of the area. It provides a fascinating insight into the interplay between nature and culture in the region.
12. Mesina House: Mesina House is the only remaining ancestral house of its design in Loon. It serves as a testament to the town's history and architectural heritage. The house showcases traditional elements and architectural features, allowing visitors to appreciate the craftsmanship of the past. Mesina House offers a glimpse into the lifestyle of the families who once lived there and stands as a tangible link to Loon's rich past.
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1. Church of Nuestra Señora de la Luz:
The Church of Nuestra Señora de la Luz is a remarkable architectural gem and a National Historical Landmark. Recognized as a National Cultural Treasure, it stands as a testament to the town's rich heritage and the enduring faith of its people. The church's impressive architecture showcases a fusion of different styles, with influences from Spanish colonial and neoclassical designs. Its grandeur and intricate details, both inside and out, leave visitors in awe. The Church of Nuestra Señora de la Luz is not only a place of worship but also a cultural icon that represents the town's deep-rooted religious traditions.
2. Spanish-Era Mortuary Chapel:
The Spanish-Era Mortuary Chapel is a significant structure designated as a National Cultural Treasure. This chapel reflects the Spanish colonial influence on the architecture of Loon. With its ornate details and unique design, the chapel stands as a testament to the customs and practices surrounding death and mourning during the Spanish colonial period. Visitors can appreciate the historical significance of this chapel and its role in preserving the town's cultural heritage.
3. Spanish Colonial Cemetery:
The Spanish Colonial Cemetery in Loon is a captivating site that provides a glimpse into the town's history and customs. Dating back to the 1800s, the cemetery holds the remains of early settlers and notable figures from the past. The tombstones and mausoleums display intricate craftsmanship and reflect the Spanish colonial influence on funerary art. Walking through the cemetery, visitors can contemplate the lives of those who came before and gain insights into the town's social and cultural fabric.
4. Christ the King Monument:
Standing prominently on the church plaza, the Christ the King Monument is a powerful symbol of faith and devotion. The monument features a figure of the Risen Christ atop a multi-layered circular base, representing the triumph of Christ over death. It serves as a focal point for prayer, reflection, and reverence. The Christ the King Monument offers a serene and spiritual atmosphere, inviting visitors to find solace and inspiration in its presence.
5. The Grotto:
The Grotto in Loon is a serene and picturesque spot that depicts the scene of Mary's apparition to Bernadette in Lourdes, France. This tranquil setting provides a place for quiet contemplation, prayer, and reflection. The Grotto's peaceful atmosphere, surrounded by lush greenery and adorned with statues, invites visitors to connect with their spirituality and find solace in the tranquil surroundings. It is also a popular location for photography, capturing the beauty and serenity of the scene.
Hugosan is a four-column platform serving as the main gate of the church. This structure holds significant cultural and religious importance, particularly during Easter Sunday rites. It serves as a backdrop for religious processions and plays a crucial role in the town's religious traditions. The Hugosan gate exemplifies the town's deep-rooted religious fervor and its commitment to preserving and celebrating its faith.
1. Loon Coastal Geomorphic Conservation Park: Nestled along the coastline, the Loon Coastal Geomorphic Conservation Park is a sprawling conservation area covering 417 hectares. This natural marvel came into existence as a result of the 2013 earthquake, which caused the intertidal zone to uplift. The park showcases a diverse range of coastal and marine ecosystems, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts. Visitors can explore the park's mangrove forests, seagrass beds, and coral reefs, marveling at the intricate balance of life in these vibrant habitats. The park also serves as an important breeding ground and refuge for numerous marine species, contributing to the preservation of biodiversity in the region.
2. Loon Macaques: Located in the picturesque area of Cantomocad, Loon Macaques have become a beloved attraction for both locals and tourists. These playful and charismatic crab-eating mangrove monkeys can be observed in their natural habitat, swinging through the trees and foraging along the mangrove forests. Visitors can take guided tours or boat trips to observe these fascinating primates up close, gaining insight into their behavior and social dynamics. It is a unique opportunity to witness these agile creatures in action and appreciate the ecological significance of their presence in the mangrove ecosystem.
3. Cabilao Island: Just a short distance from Loon, Cabilao Island beckons with its pristine beauty and remarkable natural attractions. The island is renowned for its breathtaking dive sites, offering divers a chance to explore vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life. Experienced divers can encounter fascinating species such as colorful reef fish, sea turtles, and even the elusive hammerhead sharks. Cabilao Island is also blessed with white sandy beaches and inviting sandbars, providing opportunities for sunbathing, beachcombing, and relaxation. Nature enthusiasts can explore the island's interior, home to the enchanting Cabilao Island Lake. This serene lake, surrounded by lush greenery, invites visitors to appreciate the tranquility and natural splendor of the island.
4. Tubig-Loon Spring Park: Nestled amidst verdant surroundings, Tubig-Loon Spring Park offers a serene and refreshing escape. The park is centered around a natural spring, its crystal-clear waters gushing forth, providing a soothing ambiance and a respite from the tropical heat. Visitors can take leisurely walks along the park's well-manicured paths, enjoy picnics amidst the lush greenery, or simply sit back and relax while listening to the gentle sounds of nature. The park also features amenities such as benches and shaded areas, making it an ideal spot to unwind and rejuvenate.
5. Mangrove Gardens: Tangnan, Pig-ot, Basdacu, Napo, Cogon Norte, Basac, Tajang Causeway, and Sandingan are barangays in Loon that boast serene mangrove gardens waiting to be explored. These mangrove forests serve as vital habitats for a diverse range of plant and animal species. Visitors can embark on guided tours or rent kayaks to navigate through the peaceful waterways, immersing themselves in the tranquil beauty of these brackish environments. Marvel at the intertwining mangrove roots, observe various bird species, and witness the fascinating ecological interactions that occur within these thriving ecosystems. The mangrove gardens of Loon offer a unique and enriching experience, connecting visitors with the wonders of nature.
6. Caves: Loon is home to numerous caves, including Cantam-is Baslay and many upland barangays, which beckon adventurous souls to uncover their secrets. These underground chambers are a haven for spelunking enthusiasts, offering a journey into the depths of the Earth. Explore narrow passageways, marvel at stalactite and stalagmite formations, and witness the
hidden beauty that lies beneath the surface. The caves in Loon provide a thrilling and awe-inspiring adventure, allowing visitors to connect with the raw geological wonders of the region.
7. Mount Canmanoc: Aspiring hikers and nature lovers will find delight in Mount Canmanoc, a picturesque mountain that stands tall within Loon's landscape. Embarking on a trek to the summit rewards adventurers with breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding terrain. The lush greenery, rolling hills, and captivating vistas create a sense of serenity and awe. Whether hiking through dense forests or traversing open trails, the journey up Mount Canmanoc offers an opportunity to immerse oneself in nature, appreciate the beauty of the region, and embark on a memorable outdoor adventure.
8. Mount Tan-awan: Towering above the town, Mount Tan-awan claims the title of the highest point in Loon. For those seeking breathtaking panoramic views, a trek to its summit is a must. The challenging ascent is rewarded with sweeping vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see. From the summit of Mount Tan-awan, visitors can marvel at the undulating landscapes, the azure waters of the sea, and the surrounding towns and barangays. It is a perfect spot for nature photographers, adventurers, and anyone looking to be captivated by the beauty of Loon from a new perspective.
9. Waterfalls: Piong and Kabantian Falls offer captivating natural beauty, enchanting visitors with the sight and sound of cascading water. Piong Falls is a hidden gem nestled within a lush forest, accessible via a trek through verdant landscapes. The falls plunge into a serene pool, inviting visitors to take a refreshing dip and bask in the natural splendor. Kabantian Falls, on the other hand, boasts multiple tiers of cascades that create a mesmerizing spectacle. Surrounded by verdant foliage and rock formations, this waterfall provides a tranquil escape from the bustling world, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the soothing embrace of nature's beauty.
The Church of Our Lady of Light in Loon, Bohol is the largest church in the province. It was originally established as a chapel in 1753 during the term of Fray Manuel de Elizalde. Later, in the 19th century, the Augustinian Recollects replaced the chapel with the current church, which is designed in the Ionic and Corinthian architectural styles.
The church features two octagonal bell towers and has a symmetrical design. It is located on a plateau, about fifty meters above the shore level. The original town of Loon was situated near the shore but was later moved to its present location by the Recollects in 1768.
Constructed with finely cut coral, the Our Lady of Light church is a triple-naved structure. The central nave is separated from the lateral ones by sturdy piers made of coral. The facade of the church, designed by Domingo Escondrillas, a government engineer, exhibits a combination of Baroque and Neoclassical styles.
The facade of the church features intricately carved acanthus decorations on the capitals of the twined columns. Biblical texts and dedicatory phrases are inscribed on plaques between the columns. The composition of the facade is enhanced by twin towers on either side.
The Church of Our Lady of Light in Loon is a remarkable example of 19th-century church architecture in Bohol. Its grandeur, fine craftsmanship, and balanced design make it a must-visit attraction for those interested in cultural and architectural heritage.
1. Visit the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Luz:
Explore the grandeur of the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Luz, the biggest church in Bohol. Admire its stunning architecture, intricate details, and religious artifacts. Attend a mass or take a moment for quiet reflection in this historical and spiritual landmark.
2. Explore Heritage and Historical Sites:
Discover the rich heritage of Loon by visiting its heritage and historical sites. Walk through the Poblacion Park and Cultural Center, where you can learn about the town's cultural traditions. Marvel at the Inang-angan, a grand stairway made of coral stone blocks, and visit the Sombria Bridge, an impressive stone bridge with colonial charm. Don't miss the Napo Ruins, possibly the remnants of a watchtower, and explore the Ferandos House, an ancestral house from the American period.
3. Immerse in Nature at Loon Coastal Geomorphic Conservation Park:
Experience the beauty of nature at the Loon Coastal Geomorphic Conservation Park. Explore its vast intertidal zone, home to diverse marine and coastal ecosystems. Take a guided tour to learn about the park's conservation efforts and witness the wonders of mangroves, seagrass beds, and coral reefs.
4. Relax at Tubig-Loon Spring Park:
Unwind and enjoy nature's tranquility at Tubig-Loon Spring Park. Take a leisurely stroll through the park's serene surroundings, have a picnic amidst lush greenery, or take a refreshing dip in the natural spring. Breathe in the fresh air and let the peaceful ambiance rejuvenate your senses.
5. Discover Caves and Waterfalls:
Embark on an adventure to explore the caves and waterfalls of Loon. Visit Cantam-is Baslay and other upland barangays to delve into subterranean wonders, marveling at the formations within the caves. Take a refreshing dip or admire the natural beauty of Piong and Kabantian Falls, which offer picturesque settings for relaxation and appreciation of nature.
6. Enjoy Outdoor Activities at Mount Canmanoc and Mount Tan-awan:
For outdoor enthusiasts, hiking and trekking at Mount Canmanoc and Mount Tan-awan provide thrilling experiences. Challenge yourself with the ascent to the summits and be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. Capture stunning photographs, embrace the serenity of nature, and revel in the adventure of these majestic mountains.
7. Experience Cabilao Island:
Take a boat trip to nearby Cabilao Island, known for its dive sites, white beaches, and sandbars. Dive into crystal-clear waters to explore vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life. Enjoy sunbathing on pristine beaches or embark on a relaxing stroll along the sandy shores. Don't miss the enchanting Cabilao Island Lake, nestled amidst the island's interior, offering a serene retreat surrounded by nature's beauty.
8. Engage in Cultural Experiences:
Immerse yourself in Loon's rich cultural heritage by participating in local festivities and traditions. Attend the town's patroness' festival, the "Festival of Lights" or "SidlaKasilak," celebrated every September. Explore the town's public plaza, where cultural events and concerts are held. Engage with the warm-hearted locals and gain insights into their traditions, music, and dance.
9. Discover Wildlife at Loon Macaques:
Visit Cantomocad to witness the captivating Loon Macaques, crab-eating mangrove monkeys, in their natural habitat. Observe their playful antics and learn about their ecological significance in the mangrove ecosystem. Capture memorable photographs and cherish the opportunity to witness these fascinating creatures up close.
10. Indulge in Local Cuisine: Sample the local flavors
of Loon by indulging in its traditional cuisine. Try delicacies such as kinilaw (ceviche), adobong saang (spider shell adobo), and binagoongan (pork stewed in shrimp paste). Savor the unique blend of flavors and spices that represent the culinary heritage of the town.
Remember to respect the natural surroundings, adhere to conservation guidelines, and follow local regulations to ensure the preservation of the cultural and natural treasures of Loon.
Agriculture and fishery form the backbone of the town's livelihood. Additionally, other industries such as tourism, transportation, and cottage industries thrive in Loon. Don't miss the opportunity to witness the unique sight of corn and cassava crops growing on the rocky slopes of barangay Basdio, creating a fascinating tourist attraction.
Loon has its own seaport in barangay Catagbacan Norte, which has been envisioned as a cruise port as part of the Strong Republic Nautical Highway program by the Philippine Government.
As a second-class municipality, Loon is subdivided into 67 barangays, the highest number among all towns in Bohol. The majority of Loonanons are Roman Catholics, and the town's old church, dedicated to Our Lady of Light, is a significant religious landmark. The town celebrates the "Festival of Lights" or "SidlaKasilak" every September in honor of its patroness, and barangay fiestas are also celebrated.
Loon's tourism industry is booming, offering not only beautiful beaches but also captivating waterfalls, springs, caverns, gardens, and heritage sites. Some notable attractions include Tubig-Loon Spring, which is a bountiful source of spring water, Cabilao Island with its stunning dive sites, and Cabilao Island Lake, the only natural lake in Bohol located in the middle of the island.
Education is highly valued in Loon, with both government and private schools providing quality education. Sacred Heart Academy, located beside the church, is one of the renowned private institutions in the town.
Loon is home to vibrant public markets and a variety of establishments, catering to the needs of both locals and tourists.
With its picturesque coastlines, natural waters, and diverse topography, including hills, plains, plateaus, and valleys, Loon has gained recognition as an emerging giant in Bohol's eco-cultural tourism industry.
Prepare to be enchanted by Loon's natural wonders, warm-hearted people, and rich cultural heritage as you explore this delightful town on the western coast of Bohol.
With its coastlines and natural waters and its relatively rolling topography consisting of moderate hills, rolling plains, sparse plateaus interspersed with valleys, and some ravines, Loon has attracted some of the travelers attention. It is even called the emerging giant of Bohol’s eco-cultural tourism industry.