It won’t be recognized as a first income class municipality for nothing. Balamban is indeed a place that has a lot to offer than what meets the eye. To quote its official website’s description, “Balamban is now the place to go, to live and spend the rest of the people’s lives”.
Brief History and Profile
Before the municipality earned the title “Ship Building Capital of the Philippines”, Balamban started as a Spanish-run pueblo or town which also comprised of Tuburan and Asturias (neighbouring places that are now considered as separate municipalities). In 1870s, it is said that the first name of Balamban was “balang-balang”, a term used to refer to the linked arms of natives that served as an improvised seat to carry Spaniards while crossing the river. This term was then shortened to “bang-bang” and eventually became Balamban.
According to the 2010 census, the municipality has a population of 71, 237 people. It is divided into 28 barangays, namely:
- Baliwagan (Poblacion)
- Magsaysay (Sunog)
- Pilit, Nangka Mahor
- Santa Cruz-Santo Niño (Poblacion)
Buanoy is a known barangay for it is the location of the well-renowned Tsuneishi Heavy Industries, the ship-making company that gave the title “Ship Building Capital of the Philippines” to Balamban. Barangay Magsaysay is also famous for it hosts Mount Manunggal, the mountain where the presidential plane of the late President Ramon Magsaysay crashed in March 17, 1957.
Balamban has grown into an industrial municipality, thanks to the huge shipbuilding industry that is located in Buanoy. Aside from this factor, this municipality is a go-to for the many interesting places that locals and tourists can enjoyably visit.
*Mt. Manunggal & Magsaysay Shrine
On a fateful afternoon on March 17, 1957, the presidential plane called Pinatubo, which carried President Ramon Magsaysay, seventeen presidential staff and a few news correspondents, crashed on Mount Manunggal . The crash site is now considered as one of the top trekking destinations in Cebu. Mount Manunggal, which is located in Barangay Magsaysay, has a height of 1,003 meters above sea level. An annual climb is held here to commemorate the death of the late President Magsaysay and 26 others. If you want to take part in an exciting trekking experience in this historical mountain, you could do so by starting your trail from the jump-off at Barangay Gaas. To reach Gaas from Cebu City, take a passenger van bound for Balamban at Ayala Center. The travel time is around 45 minutes and the fare is 110 pesos. From Gaas, you would then have to walk for an hour and 30 minutes or so to reach the campsite, the actual crash site and the Magsaysay Shrine, a monument that has the face of the late president as well as a list of the names of those who died on the crash.
The Cambuhawe Spring Swimming Pool is also one of the top destinations in Balamban. It boasts of an Olympic-sized flowing swimming pool that is chlorine and chemical-free. To enjoy the cold spring and experience a relaxing swim with your family and friends, hire a tricycle or habal-habal from Balamban proper and tell the driver to take you to the Cambuhawe Spring Swimming Pool. If you depart from Gaisano Town Center, travel time to the spring will be around 5-6 minutes. Your expenses would be 10-20 pesos for the fare and 10 pesos for entrance fee during weekdays or 20 pesos during weekends and 50 pesos at night.
Adventure Cafe is a famous zip lining destination located in Gaas, Balamban. The two-way zip lining adventure costs 100 pesos on weekdays and 150 pesos on weekends and holidays. Aside from zip lining, you can experience wall climbing and caving here. Caving and the guided waterfall tour cost 250 pesos per head and 650 pesos per head, respectively (both require a minimum of 5 pax). To book a tour, which should be done 3 days prior to your preferred date, get in touch with the Adventure Cafe through 0999-681-2339.
*St. Francis of Assisi Church & Convent
Located in Barangay Poblacion, this church was founded in 1857 under the Archdiocese of Cebu, Vicariate of Saint Francis of Assisi. The feast day of the patron saint is celebrated every 4th day of October. It recently underwent renovation and is definitely a stand-out structure in Poblacion, Balamban. To witness its beauty, go to the Market of Balamban, which is just right across St. Francis of Assisi Church.
Other must-go destinations in Balamban are the Old Ancestral House and the Mangroves Plantation. And of course, you should not dare miss an opportunity to taste Balamban Liempo , a special grilled pork belly recipe that made the name “Balamban” renowned not only in Cebu but also in other parts of the Philippines.