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.
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.
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.
It is said that in Cebu, bird-watching is one of the reasons why photographers “flock” the island of Olango. However, its neighboring historical island of Mactan has a different kind of photographers or enthusiasts that takes photos of a different kind of birds, one that is man’s greatest achievements—the aircraft. And just yesterday, the “plane-spotters” visited the country’s second busiest airport to get a glimpse of the birds’ beauty in this resort city.
Because its the Halloween season or nearing Todos Los Santos, I’ll be featuring several Spanish era cemeteries of the province of Iloilo within this week. Known for their unique camposantos, construction and baroque features, these has stood the test of time and an addition to the heritage sites that manifested Ilonggo, Spanish, Chinese and mestizo creativity along with its century old churches and houses.
Located 59 kilometers southeast of Iloilo City towards the province of Antique, this laidback southernmost town of Iloilo of San Joaquin is our first stop for the tour. It was believed to be one of the places of the mythical “Barter of Panay” where Bornean datus traded the legendary golden hat and long necklace to the native Ati or Aborigenies for settling in the lowlands.
Being the farthest town down south, it has maintained its rustic charm with a century old church featuring the relief of the Battle of Tetuan. Maybe a manifestation of the Christian settlers here against the marauding Moro raiders during the Spanish colonial era.
Barely several months after the opening of the new Iloilo Airport in June 2007, the City of Smiles has also opened the newest gateway to Sugarlandia of the Philippines itself–Bacolod Silay Airport. In January 2008, the old Singcang Airport in Bacolod City has ceased operations and transfered to the new facility about 20 kilometers away from the Bacolod, located in Hacienda Bagtic in the City of Silay. In line with the upcoming Masskaracelebrations this October, here are some tips on how to get in and out of the new airport.
First time I’ve read about ngohiong was some issue in Tug-ani (UP Cebu’s Official Student Publication). Ngohiong was one of the “student foods for lunch” in Cebu, much as like instant pancit canton to dormers. I got curious since it looks like lumpia but crispier, and its ingredients are mostly made out of veggies. What is ngohiong? Then when I transferred to Cebu in 2006, I got a first taste of it and fell in love—and craving for it!
If you ask any elementary school student in the Philippines, the red tiled and almost circular house in the middle of the city, with a cross inside it, they’ll answer—Cebu! Then ask what it is, they’ll answer, Magellan’s Cross po! If Manila has its Rizal Monument in Luneta as its most important landmark, then Cebu City has its Magellan’s Cross. As what they say, “You haven’t been to Cebu if you haven’t seen it.” You can even see it in the City’s Official Seal. (Dong, wa pa gud ka kaanha sa Sugbo kon wa ka pa makahapit sa Magellan’s Cross!)
Toledo City in western Cebu Province is known for being a “mining city,” since one of the country’s largest copper-gold mines are located here. Most people have a picture of Toledo as an industrial city in the west, fueled by heavy industries and mining. Beyond these images, Toledo’s tranquility hasn’t hit the mainstream tourism industry that defines the entire Cebu Province—Malubog Lake.
It was Friday noon of June 29th, a cloudy day in Iloilo Airport. I picked up my fellow Geo-Advocate Wayne Manuel from the airport in Iloilo. It was his first time coming to Iloilo and I am glad to be at his service to have him greeted at the airport and send him to his hotel at the city. I was to finish several tasks that day, so we opted to take the easiest and fastest mode of public transportation between the airport and the city—the taxi.