From the sea, the rock looks like a ship moored near one of the cliffs in the municipality of Poro in the Camotes group of islands.
Legend has it that the crew of a Spanish battleship fired at the rock in the mist believing it was aiming at an enemy vessel. They missed the rock and hit instead the cliff near it, creating a gaping hole. Thus the name Boho (which means hole in the Porohanon dialect).
For decades, Boho has become one of the popular swimming sites, especially during the feasts of St. Paul and Sts. Peter and John. There, people would bring food and frolic in the crystal waters around the rock. In the ’90s, town officials even set up a resort there (see photo).
Some 10 kilometers away, in the adjacent town of Tudela, is an equally interesting site: an underground cave with clear water flowing in it. Called the Bukilat Cavern, its name was taken from a village leader who sought refuge there when he was pursued by enemies.
A missionary from Holland, the late Fr. Joseph Weirtz (Father Jose to Tudelanhons) served Tudela for 28 years and helped develop the town into what it is now. He transformed Bukilat Cavern into a popular picnic site for locals. In the ’70s and ’80s, he sometimes held masses there to ensure that the cave would be well maintained.
The Central Visayas Regional Development Plan formulated by the Regional Development Council in the ’90s included Camotes as among the areas to be developed as major tourist destinations. But judging from the situation in the islands, local government units seem to be implementing the plan on their own with only a little help from national government agencies.
Poro and Tudela are part of the island of Poro in Camotes. The other islands are Pacijan, where the town of San Francisco, famous for its white beaches, is located and Ponson, where the municipality of Pilar is. Much of the attention of the Cebu Provincial Government, however, is in San Francisco mainly because of its vast tourism potential.
Poro, a fifth class municipality, has a population of more than 20,000 people spread in 17 barangays. Basically agricultural with rice, corn, cassava and coconut as farm produce, Poro is peopled by marginal fishermen.
Tudela, which is a sixth-class municipality, has a population of more than 10,000 people spread in seven barangays. Like in Poro, the townspeople in tudela engage in agriculture and fishing.
Known as Tag-anito before the coming of the Spaniards, Tudela was originally a barangay under Poro until its residents succeeded in creating a separate town.
A fast craft plies daily the Cebu City-Poro route. Pumpboats, meanwhile, ply the Danao City (in mainland Cebu) to Poro route. Problems crop up within the islands, though, because the common mode of transportation are motorcycles-for-hire (habal-habal) with sky high fare rates.
–Excerpts from my article published by The Freeman Magazine in its January 1994 issue