Bursts of gunfire, bomb thuds and explosions from dawn until dusk and until the next dawn could tell the ears that folks would return to a wrecked village when the dark night fades.
But the scenic tread, with barely a trace of havoc, awed the government officials following the clearing operations.
Inabanga Mayor Josephine Socorro Jumamoy was in quandary of ideas how to rise from the biggest blow that hit her town on April 11.
A native of barangay Napo, Inabanga came home with 10 heavily armed Abu Sayyaf comrades in tow from Sulu- -a wakeup call.
One suggestion given to the mayor was to turn the site of the clash into a site of historical interest that would draw the attention of potential visitors.
This way, the townsfolk and the entire Bohol will forever be reminded of the people’s vigilance that thwarted a terror attack.
Other sites such as the adjacent river that had been significant in the entire infiltration process, the shield house occupied by the bandits may also be included in the package.
It would be an intergenerational reminder that Bohol has the innate vigilance of the people as fortress against any attempt to disturb the peace of the province.
Aside from the historical significance now attached to sitio Ilaya in barangay Napo, some officials found the contours and the landscape as a potential scenic attraction.
Barangay Bacani in the town of Clarin is also eyed to attract tourists as the site of the subsequent encounter that occurred on April 22, a day after the ASEAN meeting in Panglao wrapped up.
Joselito Melloria, the Inabanga native who brought the Abu Sayyaf sniper and bomb expert, was the first casualty in the second encounter.
Three of his fellow Abu Sayyaf men were killed in the second round of the gunfight that day.
The battlefield at daytime where Melloria was killed and the cave in Clarin where they had been hiding are eyed as sites of historical significance.
Initially, it is being dubbed as the place “Where the Traitor had Fallen”.
There is no mention, however, about the area in barangay Cabawan in Tagbilaran City where the only Abu Sayyaf caught alive, so far, had fallen early morning on May 5.
A person arrested in Tubigon early morning on Thursday last week introduced himself to arresting officers as Saad Samad Kiram, alias “Abu Saad”, a 36-year-old native of Tulayan, Luuk in Sulu, and that he served as boatman of the Abu Sayyaf who travelled to Bohol with Melloria.
After his interrogation, he was transported to the Bohol District Jail in barangay Cabawan, Tagbilaran City.
He allegedly escaped after being allowed to find a place to move bowel. He was killed after about two hours of hot pursuit when he allegedly grabbed a pursuing officer’s service firearm.
Col. Arnulfo Matanguihan, 302nd Infantry Brigade commander, clarified that the place where Saad had fallen is an area in barangay Cabawan closer to the Cortes side of the boundaries and not part of the town of Cortes.
Saad was buried in a private property beside the public cemetery in barangay Tiptip in Tagbilaran City, an area adjacent to barangay Cabawan.