Basilica Minore de Santo Nino de Cebu

Then it all Came Down: The Fall of Basilica Santo Niño Belfry

When the earth shook violently that Tuesday morning at Cebu, we thought everyone was safe from harm. We were wrong. The power of social media, and thanks to the stability of communication in the city, information steadily streamed my tab. Offices were immediately evacuated. That morning, we thought we will be seeing only minor damages, but never had we known that it has become Visayas’ most powerful in more than 20 years and has toppled several buildings. However, I was moved when I saw the photo of the belfry of Santo Niño de Cebu Basilica, ruined. I was stunned, shocked, and a bit teary-eyed.

Basilica Minore de Santo Nino de Cebu
Basilica Minore de Santo Nino de Cebu’s belfry ruined by the quake

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Oslob Cebu

Old Oslob: More than Just the Whale Sharks

The rustic and laid-back coastal town of Oslob in Cebu is something worth visiting. Aside from the deluge of visitors looking forward to swim with the whale sharks, the town has a unique charm of its own for cultural and art aficionados—the Spanish-colonial era La Iglesia de la Imaculada Concepcion, the Cuartel and the watchtower, all within the town’s old core.

Oslob Cebu
Oslob

Several years ago, I visited the southern town of Oslob in Cebu. Back then, it wasn’t at the limelight of tourism—except maybe of the few and those who visit Sumilon Island. It was our visita iglesia in one of Cebu’s largest Spanish-colonial churches. What surprised us with this town was aside from its church were the ruins of the Army Barracks called Cuartel, and the once towering watchtower, slowly eroding in the beach.

Oslob then was a very laidback town…even up until now.

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Southwestern Bohol churches

Southwestern Bohol Churches: The Off-Beaten Visita Iglesia

Bohol is famous for Chocolate Hills, tarsiers, beaches, and several of its notable centuries-old Catholic Churches. The churches at Baclayon and Loboc are already included in the usual tours in Bohol, since these are in between Chocolate Hills and Tagbilaran City-Panglao Island area. These two churches receive waves of tourists everyday—and the crowning jewel of Bohol’s heritage churches. However, just like in Cebu and Iloilo, Bohol is a repository of centuries-old churches. The southwestern portion, between Tagbilaran City and Tubigon, has several notable churches worth visiting during visita iglesia, the off-beaten way.

Southwestern Bohol churches
Southwestern Bohol churches

I’ll just give some glimpse of the tour…and be ready to have your Salonpas, Efficascent, or Omega Pain Killer on your neck! I bypassed Tagbilaran’s Church due to lack of time. (more…)

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Tugu Jogja

Matur Nuwun Jogjakarta!

It was my second time going out of my home country, and of all places, I landed in a city so vibrant of its culture, that I have the inkling of going back and experiencing it once more—Yogyakarta. This city of three million (in its region) is known to be the gateway to the great ancient temples of Borobudur and Prambanan. However, there is more to being the gateway of ancient civilization than it meets the eye in Jogja.

Tugu Jogja
Tugu Jogja

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Hanging Coffins of Sagada

The Hanging Coffins of Sagada

My previous posts on Sagada were focused on activities and places outside the town proper. However, Day 1 in this town always starts at the poblacion or the town’s center. Of course, the bus terminal and the tourism office are located here! However, within the urban core it lies some of Sagada’s cultural and historical treasures—and yes that includes the famed Hanging Coffins!

Hanging Coffins of Sagada
Hanging Coffins of Sagada

The Hanging Coffins is the first destination to go whenever someone goes to Sagada. It’s in every guide book, magazine article, and blog posts! It may be a bit creepy (or as some say, Goth) as it may sound, but this cultural site has important significance to the Sagada Kankana-ey Igorots.

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Cebu's Magellan's Cross Late at Night

A Night of Cebuano Heritage

Cebu is known for being the oldest European settlement in the Philippine Islands, home of Magellan’s Cross, the Santo Nino, Sinulog, and where Lapu-Lapu once ruled and killed a Portuguese explorer-conquistador. However, there is more to Cebuano history and culture than meets the “mainstream” eye, even for the locals themselves. Hence, the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Incorporated (RAFI) initiated “Gabii sa Kabilin” or “A Night of Heritage.”

Cebu's Magellan's Cross Late at Night
Cebu’s Magellan’s Cross Late at Night during Gabii sa Kabilin. Click the photo for more images of 2013 Gabii sa Kabilin

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Lin-ay

The Story of Lin-ay, Lady from the South

Every time I go home, I see this woman on top of a building in the city-a woman aglow in gold who stares forwardly towards the sea, the green hills of Guimaras, and beyond. She holds stalks of rice against her bosom while a scythe on her left. Dressed simply with her traditional patadyong and covered her hair with the hablon, she stands guard on a pedestal that brought her to new heights. She’s a farm girl from the fields of Panay.

Lin-ay
Lin-ay, the Lady on top of Iloilo’s City Hall, symbolic of Ilonggo people. The bronze statue was a creation of Ilonggo artist Edward Defensor

Though she may look simple and unassuming, but behind her eyes and stand is a story of rise, fame, power, vices, betrayal, damnation, and redemption. She is a mother who once shaped an entire civilization. Her name is Lin-ay, the lady of the south.

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Visita Iglesia: Basilica Minore de Santo Niño de Cebú

Basilica Minore de Santo Nino de Cebu
Basilica Minore de Santo Nino de Cebu

While traditionally it has been seven Catholic Churches that has to be visited during the Visita Iglesia on Holy Week, I’ll be featuring only two…yet these are the closest to both my heart and soul. The first one would be the Philippines’ first Catholic Church, a pilgrimage site, a historic site, and a bastion of devotion for millions—Basilica Minore de Santo Niño de Cebu.

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GoodAM_Malaybalay0062

Bukidnon Provincial Capitol: Heritage, Governance and Cool Mountain Air

 

Bukidnon Provincial Capitol

Bukidnon Provincial Capitol stands majestically in front of a wide football field, backed up by pine-covered hills, misty after rains. While we look to Luzon and Visayas for anything colonial heritage structures, Mindanao has handful of them as well. In Northern Mindanao, we thought that most civic structures were built during the contemporary times. We were wrong. (more…)

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