There are many nature and historical sites in Argao that are worth a visit, and the most accessible of this is what Argawanons refer to as the "El Pueblo Hispano Antiguo de Argao (old Spanish town of Argao)" or simply "Cabecera de Argao (town center of Argao)."
A unique historical and heritage landmark, the cabecera - which represented the town center during Spanish colonial times - was once an iglesia/convento/casa real/plaza complex heavily fortified against Moro raids.
Argao's cabecera followed the Spanish crown's blueprint for its settlements in the colonies, which specified a center made up of the church, rectory, town hall, plaza and with natives living nearby or "bajo el sonido de la campana (under the sound of the bell).
Structures within the cabecera, as it stands today, date back to the late 1700s and early 1800s.
Worthy of note are the church of the San Miguel Arcangel Parish, attached rectory, Casa Real or town hall, capilla mortuario (mortuary chapel), paso or Way of the Cross stone wall, and two of four massive gates that remain of the heavy fortification around the cabecera as defense against Moro attacks.
SAN MIGUEL ARCANGEL PARISH. The San Miguel Arcangel as viewed from the patio of Casa Real. This church is among the most beautiful churches in Cebu. Found on its ceiling are beautiful paintings of Biblical stories.
More information about these historical landmarks can be gleaned by scanning the quick response (QR) codes on the markers placed near the structures. Click on the map button at the bottom of the page for instructions on how to get to the cabecera and the individual structures.
The church museum is the repository of Argao's rich religious past and staggers the mind with the grandeur of its contents, said the Balaanong Bahandi, a book on the "Sacred Treasures of the Cebu Archdiocese."
The book added that the Augustinian friars of old had lavished the San Miguel Arcangel Church with ecclesiastical treasures.
Inside the museum are massive candelabras, silver altar frontals, ivory images, and liturgical vessels from precious metals. Don't forget to check out Mass vestments made of finely wrought inuod (wormlike) gold thread embroidery.
The museum is located in the ground floor or what used to be the zaguan or bodega of the rectory.
Very close to the cabecera is the Argao Nature Park, which sits on a property owned by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
The park was built by the Argao Municipal Government for the town children and youth. It charges a minimal entrance fee of P5 per person for park upkeep.
Argao Nature Park offers canopy walk, ziplining, wall climbing, and boating activities for a fee of P30 or less. Visitors can also relax in the open cottages under the trees, check out the mini zoo, or play chess using huge wooden pieces.
The park is a few meters from the highway and just across the popular eatery Carmen's Carenderia. Click on the map button at the bottom page for instructions on getting to the park.
The Riverstone Castle is a resort that offers accommodations but also accepts day tours.
It is an actual castle, complete with drawbridge, towers, battlements, small moat, and torture chamber. It also has a mini-zoo featuring birds and rabbits and a swimming pool with a barbecue area.
Day visitors can take a tour and use of the swimming pool for a fee. Castle viewing fees are P60 for adults and P40 for kids.
The resort is owned by the Galeos brothers Edgar and Edsel, who had it constructed in 2002. It was designed by Belgian national Raphael Lemmens, a friend of the family.
Coal Mountain Resort is a relatively new eco-tourism facility that started out as a rest house of the Caminero family.
The resort, which is located in the mountains of Barangay Linut-od, offers accommodations and day visits. It is 23 kilometers or an hour of travel from the town center.
Resort accommodations can accommodate 50 overnight guests and come in the form of native huts like the bahay kubo.
Amenities include pools fed by water from a mountain spring, multi-purpose covered court, and a resto-bar.
The different activities offered by the resort include a 220-meter cable car ride (P100 per person), 220-meter zipline travel (P100 to P120), 475 feet coal mine tunnel exploration (P30-P80), and canopy walk.
This guide to Argao is a collaboration among InnoPub Media, Smart Communications Inc., the Municipal Government of Argao, Cebu Provincial Government, Department of Tourism, Marco Polo Plaza Cebu and The Island Group.