SKYCYCLE in Davao – Provocative!

After ZIPLINE comes the SKYCYCLE!

Skycycle Davao

It was my first Zipline (I know, it has been around for a decade already!) and if not for a good friend visiting from Cebu, I may not have the chance to do another cable-adventure. The Zipline at Eden Nature Park and Resort in Davao was a good idea but at the combo price of PHP 300.00, the SKYCYCLE was enticing!!!

Skycycle Davao

At an elevation of 60-feet and 400-meters back and forth, the SKYCYCLE is by far my best cable-adventure experience after Ngong Ping 360 .

Upon release, I have to pedal to the other end and how fast or slow the pedaling determined how short or long I want my heart to pound with drama but as soon as I got the hang of it – the feeling was placid. It was not scary – it was HEAVEN! At center is stable but approaching both ends maybe a little bit shaky. I was never shaken. :) Doing it again is a definite YES! Recommended!

Skycycle Davao

There might just be some anxiety on “how did they do that” at least on the wheels. For everyone to know and feel safe or somehow have the thought of “ok will try that,” see pictures below on how the wheels of the bike steadily clutch the cable. See the gap on the wheels? There’s the trick! :)

Skycycle Davao

After the SKYCYCLE, the Zipline (they call it in “Skyride”) was already no sweat! :)

The SKYCYCLE in Davao is only the second in the country, the first being in Bukidnon.

Great! Try this when in Davao and be Skycycled!

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Trip The Islands: An Interview

Trip the Islands is an online portal promoting the Philippines as prime tourist destination to the rest of the world. It contains up-to-date travel resource and provides a platform for local tourist-businesses to promote their services.

Some of my photos have been featured in its “photo of the day section” and have been interviewed primarily because of this blog featuring destinations in Ilocos.

tornsblog@triptheislands

Read full interview HERE. To Trip the Islands, my honor and privilege! Keep on TRIPPIN’ !!! torn-signature

Posted in A. ILOCOS, Biag (Life of Ilocano's) | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Vikings Davao – at SM Lanang Premier!

vikings davao signage

Vikings Buffet Restaurant – the luxury buffet for every Juan and a feast from the Sea has recently opened its 4th Branch and 1st outside Metro Manila at the SM-Lanang Premier in Davao City. On its third-week of promo period and introductory offer [as of 2nd-week of October 2013] at 30-50% off the regular price, Davao buffet-dining will soon evolve into a new experience the way Vikings changed Manila’s smorgasbord scene!

Vikings Davao!

For its Davao Branch, regular price are the following

  1. Regular weekday lunch – Php 688;
  2. Regular weekday dinner – Php 888;
  3. Weekends and Holidays lunch and dinner – Php 888;
  4. Children between 3-feet to 4-feet 6-inches – discounted;
  5. Children below 3-feet – free;
  6. 75-years old and above -50% discount.

Open for LUNCH from 11AM – 2.30PM and DINNER from 5.30PM-10PM.

Price is considerably more generous than Manila and don’t be surprised, there is more of everything in Vikings Davao!

I had the chance to be invited by a good friend way back in Manila, Chef Anton for Vikings Davao initial run. I know what to expect – Vikings is a hit in Manila but I was still overwhelmed here in Davao! Food is great from appetizers to main course; beverages from soft drinks, juices, wines and beer overflowing; desserts mouth watering – this is the Vikings experience and be prepared to indulge in over 200-dishes, drinks and desserts Davaoenos!

There is good food in Davao, we all know that, but Vikings lifts even more the local palate to a notch higher! Intrigued why it’s called Vikings? I have discovered it and you be the next! :)

Below are few images of Vikings Davao interior with Chef Anton – taken on my first invite.

vikings davao by constantine agustin

For more info on Vikings Davao and their contact numbers click links below:

1. Vikings Davao FACEBOOK Page [Tel Nos: (082)  2853888/2854888]

2. Vikings Buffet Restaurant official WEBSITE

Read more of Chef Anton -[@ canlubang golf and country club][@ home with the chef] [his fried halo-halo][barbecue][mongolian][@ baguio].

Great to see you in Davao Anton!

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Posted in B. BEYOND ILOCOS, Davao, Food, Visayas | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CARCAR CITY: My Walk of the Heritage City of Cebu!

My Carcar City walk was a breeze. Short, sweet, a little overcast but it did not dampen in any way my Carcar walk! In less than 2-hours, this is the shortest heritage walk I’ve done so far and with that said, it did not make any less my discovery of Carcar City – the Heritage City of Cebu![See complete set of photos of my Carcar Walk in my Flickr]

Before embarking, I did a brief research of what to see in Carcar. Being a heritage city [the other three are Vigan, Silay and Taal], I knew I am going to travel back in time with structures of historical, cultural and artistic significance. There are a lot written about Carcar heritage houses and I listed them, checked google-map for location, jotted down my directions and I was ready! Took a bus and in less than an hour, I reached Carcar. I started my walk as soon as I got down the bus.

Bus to Carcar City Cebu

FIRST STOP – ROTUNDA AND PUBLIC MARKET: From first sight, the Kiosk of the ROTUNDA is intricate and there are a lot to see! It has 4-stairs from all directions going up the platform. Its dome is donned with tiny complex details and design, topped with 2-women statues interpreted to be America guiding the Philippines. Noticeable is the ARCH design of the Kiosk [typical design on top of old houses’ windows] which I interpreted to be either “sunrise” or a “fan.”

Callazo

I have also observed that the design has somehow become the City’s “insignia.” It is evident in buildings and other public structures which I have noticed including that of the Dispensary [now Carcar Museum]. You can see the arch design in the Public Market, waiting sheds, the City Hall and few private buildings like that of Jolibee near the Rotunda. I have to ask why but I was not provided with an answer. The only thing I was told was that it’s called CALLAZO but google cannot provide what it means. As to why it is being incorporated in public buildings remains unanswered.

Carcar City Cebu Rotunda

Walking distance from the Rotunda is the PUBLIC MARKET and nearby are some PASALUBONG KIOSKS selling native delicacies like Ampao and the must-try Carcar Chicharon. Don’t leave without it! Below are pictures of the Public Market and Pasalubong Kiosks around the Rotunda.

Carcar City Cebu Public Market & Pasalubong Kiosks

SECOND STOP – PLAZA: From the ROTUNDA, I walked north along the NAT’L. HIGHWAY [Natalio B. Bacalso South Nat’l. Highway] to the CITY PLAZA which is on top of a hill. Along the way is an old white and blue house to the left and at the four-corners at the intersection going up the Plaza are heritage houses, evidently preserved notwithstanding commercial establishments on the ground floor. I was thinking, it may work well in its preservation.

Carcar City Cebu Old Houses

Going uphill, there is the monument of LEON KILAT to the left. Leon Kilat was a native of Negros Oriental but became the revolutionary leader in Cebu against Spain. On top of the hill, the monument of JOSE RIZAL is the centerpiece. To the right is the CITY HALL and LEGISLATIVE BULDING. Next is the CARCAR MUSEUM [a.k.a. DISPENSARY], the ST, CATHERINE’S COLLEGE, the CARCAR CHURCH, and the UPHILL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL rounding the Rizal Monument. The Plaza itself has a lot of heritage structures and if you have a very limited time, the Plaza is already a good stop to experience Carcar City.

Carcar City Leon Kilat and Jose Rizal Monument
Carcar City Hall Cebu
Carcar City Cebu Museum Carcar City Cebu St Catherines Administration Building

Carcar City Cebu Church
Uphill Elementary School Carcar City Cebu

THIRD STOP – STA. CATALINA STREET: Going downhill, I walked straight to STA. CATALINA STREET where most heritage houses can be found. I enjoyed this walk and I suggest try the side streets. I may have missed other old houses but these were what I saw along the way and have greatly appreciated. As of my walk, there are old houses undergoing improvements and some still needs the same. Houses along Sta. Catalina Street below: 

Carcar City Cebu Old Houses in Sta Catalina Street

After Sta. Catalina, I thought I was done with my Carcar Walk but there was one last stop!

FOURTH STOP – MANCAO PANUNCIALMAN HOUSE: I did not walk to see Mancao Residence, it’s quite far from downtown. Hired a tricycle for 10P going to Gaisano Mall. Mancao Residence is immediately before the Mall. The Residence is huge and it is marvellous! The caretaker toured me but unfortunately cameras are not allowed inside. It was alright.

Carcar City Cebu Mancao-Panuncialman House

From the Mancao Residence, I waited for a bus going to the Cebu City – and that officially ended my Carcar Walk of Spanish-American edifice and structures.[See complete set of photos of my Carcar Walk in my Flickr]

constantine agustin carcar city cebu

[See complete set of photos of my Carcar Walk in my Flickr]

SUMMARY OF MY STOPS:

First Stop: Rotunda/Public Market

Second Stop: Plaza

Third Stop: Sta. Catalina Street

Fourth Stop: Mancao-Panuncialman House

MAP OF MY STOPS:

Carcar Map

READ MORE ON CEBU – THIS BLOG:

My Cebu City Heritage Walk [2013]

Jesuit House 1730 Cebu City [2013]

My Sinulog 2012 Photos

My Mantayupan Falls – Cebu [2011]

My Cebu 2010

OTHER WALK TOURS – THIS BLOG:

Iloilo City: Downtown

Iloilo City: Jaro

Iloilo City La Paz

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Posted in Cebu, Photos, Visayas, Walk Tour Series | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

CEBU CITY: A Solo Heritage Walk! [Cebu Walk Tour Series]

OB in Cebu, May 26-28, 2013. Arrived 10AM on a Sunday, dropped my things at the hotel along Osmena Boulevard, had lunch and rested a bit. At about 1PM, I started my Solo Cebu Heritage Walk! With my reliable sandals, sunscreen, map, cellphone, little cash, my camera and a 3-fold umbrella for whatever purpose it may serve, I was ready. I wished it to be sunny and I was provided with more than what I asked for – it was hotly sunny!

I have been in Cebu on several occasions but this is the only time that I am doing a walk on heritage sites. I contacted via FB a walk-tour guide a day before but he never replied. Well, I was going solo again! I know it would be long and I was ready. Very ready!

FIRST STOP: DOT REGIONAL OFFICE [Central Visayas] at the corner of M.J. Cuenco Avenue and Magallanes Street. It was Sunday and thought it might just be open for tourists but it was not. That was fine, I had my map anyway. Across Cuenco is the PLAZA INDEPENDENCIA and FORT SAN PEDRO in one compound. At the back of Fort San Pedro is the MALACANANG SA SUGBU [Malacanang of Cebu] which you can see from Plaza Independencia.

Cebu DOT Plaza Independencia Fort San Pedro Malacanan sa Sugbu

Plaza Independencia had several names depending on who the colinizers were.The obelisk at the center is in honor of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, the first Spanish governor-general of the Philippines. When the road tunnel beside it was constructed in 2006, several artifacts were discovered which are now on display at the Museo Sugbo.

Fort San Pedro was built by the Spaniards in 1738 to repel aggressors. It is triangular, two sides facing the sea and one facing inland.

Malacanang sa Sugbu [Malacang of Cebu] was built in 1910 and used to be [the old] Customs Building. It now serves as the official house of the President in the Visayas.

[See more pictures of Plaza Independencia, Fort San Pedro & Malacanang sa Sugbu in my Flickr here]

SECOND STOP:From fort San Pedro, I walked to PLAZA SUGBU. I went out of Plaza Independencia and walked to M.C. Briones Street, across Cueno, in between Caltex and Eastern Shipping. Plaza Sugbu is where the CEBU CITY HALL, MAGELLAN’S CROSS, and STO. NINO BASILICA, SHRINE AND MUSEUM are. In front of the Sto. Nino Church is the Shine and at basement is the Sto. Nino Musuem [cameras not allowed]. See more pictures of the Sto. de Cebu Basilica and Shrine in my Flickr, and you may read my previous post in 2010. You may also want to see CARBON MARKET, CHINESE HERITAGE MUSEUM and COMPANIA MARITIMA RUINS at the back of the CITY HALL.

Cebu Cityhall Magellan's Cross Sto. Nino Basilica and Shrine

THIRD STOP: From the Sto. Nino Basilica, I walked to Legazpi Street  [just a block away] to see the CEBU METROPOLITAN CATHEDRAL. Close to the cathedral are the CATHEDRAL MUSEUM OF CEBU and RAJAH HUMABON PLAZA.

Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of Cebu, an immaculate huge Spanish-colonial edifice with floral relief on its facade. See more pictures of the Cathedral in my Flickr.

The Cathedral Museum of Cebu is a repository of various religious artifacts of the province of Cebu. Interesting is the carved portion of the floor in the lobby showing original flooring/s of the structure from pre-Spanish to the present – 5 including the present flooring. The silver-etched altar at the Chapel is intricate and the Mercedez Benz that Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Vidal used when the Pope visited is displayed on the way to the garden at the back. See the Benz here: [1], [2], [3]. See more pictures of the Museum in my Flickr.

The Raja Humabon Plaza is dedicated to Rajah Humabon, the first Filipino Chieftain to have been converted to Christianity by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521. See more pictures of the Humabon Plaza in my Flickr.

Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral and Museum Rajah Humabon Plaza

FOURTH STOP: From the Rajah Jumabon Park, I further walked along Sikatuna Street to go to PARIAN DISTRICT. Two blocks away is the COLON OBELISK which marks the start of Colon Street from Sikatuna. Few steps away from the Obelisk is the CEBU HERITAGE MONUMENT. Around the monument are the JESUIT HOUSE 1730 along Zulueta Street, the YAP-SANDIEGO ANCESTRAL HOUSE along Mabini Street and the CASA GORORDO MUSEUM along Lopez Jaena. Parian District, I must say is a 1-stop heritage shop!

Heritage of Cebu Monument is a tableau of Cebu’s history depicting rich culture and diverse heritage which was completed in 2000 after 3-years of construction.

 

Heritage Monument of Cebu

[See more pictures of CEBU HERITAGE MONUMENT in my Flickr here]

Jesuit House of 1730 is the latest addition to Cebu’s heritage houses. This was discovered by accident in 2004 by the patriarch of Sy family, present owner, while reading Jesuit history books in a reunion at the Ateneo. He was surprised to discover that the stone house utilized as “warehouse” even before he bought the property is the house of the Jesuit Superior of Cebu until they were expelled by the Spaniards. Located inside a warehouse compound and hardware [Ho Tong Hardware] , the structure is now well-preserved with all-original walls, floor, posts and roof. Fixtures and accessories inside are the owner’s personal collection. I was informed that the whole compound shall soon be converted into a heritage destination, a replica of Colon Street being built around it as of writing. Personally, what makes this house distinct and appealing is its location – a warehouse/hardware. I don’t know if its nobility will be the same if the whole compound will be converted and refined, sans the warehouse. Read my separate post of Jesuit House 1730 here.

Jesuit House 1730 Cebu

[See more pictures of the Jesuit House 1730 in my Flickr here]

The Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House was built in the late 17th century by Chinese merchants in Cebu and believed to be the oldest Chinese house outside China. The house is a feast for the eyes, I must say. Lots of antique collections, accessories, drapes, utensils, etc., etc., etc. There are lots of pieces to look at from the floor, to the walls and up to the ceiling. The master’s bedroom has “banig” all over the floor and you have to take off your footwear when you get in. It was represented by the guide that the owners still go home and sleep in the house on weekends. I personally felt this is a “girlie” ancestral house which your sister and mother will love!

Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House

[See more pictures of YAP-SANDIEGO ANCESTRAL HOUSE  in my Flickr here]

Casa Gorodo Museum was built in the 19th century and bought by a Spanish merchant in 1863 named Juan Isidro de Gorordo. Four generations of Gorordo family lived in this house including Juan Gorordo, the first native bishop of Cebu. It has undergone extensive renovation before it opened to the public in 1983, a contrast to Yap-Sandiego which has not undergone any major improvement that definitely adds to its charm and authenticity.

Casa Gorordo Museum Cebu

[See more pictures of GORORDO MUSEUM in my Flickr here]

FIFTH STOP: Further down Lopez Jaena, I turned left to J.M. Cuenco Avenue for a 4-block walk to MUSEO SUGBO. This is the provincial Museum of Cebu and used to be a prison for 135-years before it formally opened as a museum in 2010. It houses artifacts excavated in 2006 at Plaza Independencia when the tunnel connecting to SRP was being constructed.

Museo Sugbo Cebu

[See more pictures of MUSEO SUGBO in my Flickr here]

SIXTH STOP: From Museo Sugbo, I took a jeep going to COLON STREET for P7. Colon is the oldest street in the Philippines established in 1565 by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. It is Manila’s Divisoria, Davao’s San Pedro and Iloilo’s JM Basa [Calle Real]. What is always nice traversing a downtown commercial street is the diversity of goods being sold but what is interesting is the VISION THEATER with a historical mark which reads that the structure “should be” declared as a heritage building because of its classical design and strong foundation. Unfortunately, there appears to be no effort to maintain and push further the claim as it now houses several stalls selling cellphone accessories.

One significant observation, there’s no Chinatown in Cebu. I said this because I have not seen any visible Chinese Arch that usually marks it unlike in Manila, Davao or Iloilo.

Colon Obelisk Street Vision Theatre

[See more pictures of COLON STREET in my Flickr here]

SEVENTH STOP: Upon reaching Metro Mall in Colon, I turned right going to JONES-OSMENA BLVD. Few blocks away is the BRADFORT CHURCH [Matilda L. Bradfort Memorial Chruch], the oldest Evangelical church in Cebu, built in 1912. This is one small and very simple church, nonetheless very charming!

Bradfort Church Cebu

[See more pictures of BRADFORT CHURCH in my Flickr here]

I continued my walk to FUENTE-OSMENA CIRCLE, and went further down Osmena Boulevard to the CEBU PROVINCIAL CAPITOL. That ended by SOLO CEBU HERITAGE WALK! Quite long but glad I did it! With that walk, all systems go for work the next day. :)

Fuente-Osmena Cebu Provincial Capitol

Total walking time – 5-hours. You may want to divide your walk in the morning and afternoon especially when you want to stay longer in one stop. If you have limited time, you may wish to cut down on the places you want to visit or do just 1 or 2-stops. Entrance fees to Museums, 30-50P.

[See COMPLETE SET of my solo Cebu heritage walk in my Flickr here]

Here’s a SUMMARY of my stops:

First Stop: Plaza Independencia – Fort San Pedro – Malacanang sa Sugbu.

Second Stop: Cebu City Hall – Magellan’s Cross – Sto. Nino Basilica – Sto. Nino Shrine – Sto. Nino Museum.

Third Stop: Cebu Metropolitan Church – Metropolitan Cathedral Museum – Rajah Humabon Plaza.

Fourth Stop: Parian District: Obelisk of Colon – Cebu Heritage Monument – Jesuit House 1730 – Yap-Sandiego Heritage House – Gorordo Museum.

Fifth Stop: Museo Sugbo

Sixth Stop: Colon Street

Seventh Stop: Bradfort Church – Fuente-Osmena Circle – Cebu Provincial Capitol.

[See COMPLETE SET of my solo Cebu heritage walk in my Flickr here]

READ MORE ON CEBU – THIS BLOG:

My Carcar City Heritage Walk [2013]

Jesuit House 1730 Cebu City [2013]

My Sinulog 2012 Photos

My Mantayupan Falls – Cebu [2011]

My Cebu 2010

OTHER WALK TOURS – THIS BLOG:

Iloilo City: Downtown

Iloilo City: Jaro

Iloilo City La Paz

Here’s a MAP of my 7-stops [click to enlarge; click to make it larger]:

mycebuheritagewalkmap

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Posted in B. BEYOND ILOCOS, Cebu, Photos, Places, Visayas, Walk Tour Series | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

JESUIT HOUSE 1730 CEBU CITY: Suddenly Surprising!

If there was one heritage house I’ve visited in Cebu lately that made me suddenly interested [just like when I saw the Sanson y Montinola Antillan Ancestral House in Jaro, Iloilo City, it’s the Jesuit House 1730 in Parian, Cebu City. It is located inside Ho Tong Hardware along Zulueta Street, near the Parian Heritage Monument. I am fortunate to see it before the whole compound is converted into a heritage destination and the hardware shall [or may?] already be a part of its history.

[See more photos of the Jesuit House 1730 in my Flickr]

Jesuit House 1730 Cebu Ho Tong Hardware

Located inside high walls of Ho Tong Hardware, it can never be seen from the street. I have to get inside, pass through construction materials, implements and effects, trucks and men working. Once I got inside and listened to the narrative of my guide, on our way to the second floor, it was only then I became more interested and amazed! I was surprised, not really on what my eyes have seen but on how it was discovered. All along, this house has been utilized as warehouse of previous owners, including the present, a patriach of the Sy family of Cebu, until he discovered while reading some Jesuit history books in a reunion at the Ateneo in 2004 – the very house that served and serving as “bodega” was the home of the Jesuit Superior in Cebu until they were expelled by the Spaniards out from the country in 1768! Built in 1730, the Spaniards auctioned the house to its known first known owner, the Alvarez family and has passed on to different owners, one of them the Villa family, until it was acquired by its present owner, the Sy family. [See more photos of the Jesuit House 1730 in my Flickr]

Jesuit House 1730 Cebu

The entrance to the house is the back door. Looking at the house before I entered, there appears to be 2-entrances. The one to the right is the entrance of the tour [House A], the left being the exit [House B]. The two houses is connected by a covered bridge in the second floor. On the first floor, it seemed like an ordinary museum to me with some written facts about Chinese merchants’ migration to the country, encased replicas of boats they used, old picture of Parian, etc.

Jesuit House 1730 Cebu

Once we got to the main entrance going to the second floor on the other side of the house, my guide started to narrate its history. The staircase leading to the second floor is already a replica but the whole structure which includes the wall, roof, floor and posts are all original. The fixtures and other accessories inside belong to the owner as part of his personal collection. Honestly, even only with the structure, I was already entertained and informed, again not on what I saw but in the manner on how it was discovered! Add to that its location-I have not seen of late a heritage house of such significance inside very uncommon premises. [See more photos of the Jesuit House 1730 in my Flickr]

Jesuit House 1730 Cebu

As of my visit, a replica of Colon Street was being constructed around the compound with the intention to convert the whole place as a heritage destination. I applaud the present owner for preserving the house and his plan to make improve even better the whole compound but I started to ask myself – would the appreciation be the same? Or would it be some other heritage houses that have undergone full make-over? It’s different when you see a thing of great significance the way it was and the way is should really be. I like it the way it is now but I am not the owner. :)

Jesuit House 1730 Cebu

Visit Jesuit House 1730 before the hardware is taken out. The charm is there. The thought of a challenge to maintain the house even with it is even more interesting.

[See more photos of the Jesuit House 1730 in my Flickr]

Caveat: This is my personal account as of date of writing only. Things may have changed in time.

MORE OF CEBU – THIS BLOG:

My Carcar City Heritage Walk [2013]

My Cebu City Solo Heritage Walk [2013]!

My Sinulog 2012 Photos

My Mantayupan Falls Cebu [2011]

My Cebu City [2010]

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Posted in B. BEYOND ILOCOS, Cebu, Photos, Places, Visayas, Visayas | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

JARO ILOILO ON FOOT: A Solo Jaro Walk! [Iloilo Walk Tour Series]

After my Lapaz Batchoy lunch at the first Deco’s and ice coffee with pandesyosa at Madge Cafe, both located in La Paz Public Market, I was ready to do my Jaro Walk!,

[See my complete set of my Jaro Walk photos in my Flickr here]

First Stop: ST. CLEMENT’S CHURCH [Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish]. Unlike most churches in Iloilo, this is quite modern, all white, clean and very simple, inside and out. Completed in 1931 and managed by the Redemptorists or Congregation of the Most Holy Rosary Redeemer.

St Clements Church Iloilo

From the church I continued my walk heading to ABS-CBN where the LOPEZ BOATHOUSE MANSION and LOPEZ PINK CASTLE MANSION are located.You have the option to take the jeep going to Jaro and get down at  ABS-CBN.

The Boathouse has a themed-architecture, modern-nautical inspired edifice with round port-hole windows and has a wide deck resembling that of a ship. The whole view is distracted by acacia trees, however, but you can see that it looks like a ship even when it’s popularly referred to as “boat” house. With its appearance, it didn’t seem to have been built in 1935 to me.

Lopez Boathouse Iloilo

Immediately next to the Boathouse is the Lopez Pink Castle Mansion. It’s all pink from top to bottom including the fence. However, you cannot see more than what you can see from the road. The fence is high and the facade does not face the road. The gate seems interesting though. Next to the Pink House is another Lopez Mansion but I did not bother to take a look because it’s in the interior of the compound. I remember then in 2010, I was in a taxi and I asked the driver why the mansion is painted Pink and he said – “agi ang may ari” – but I don’t think so.

Lopez Pink Castle Mansion Iloilo

Second Stop: Not too far from the ABS-CBN Studios is the NELLY’S GARDEN, again, it belongs to the Lopez’s. It was built in 1928 by a Lopez patriach and named it after his eldest daughter, Nelly. The Mansion accepts tour bookings, check them out at Facebook. I asked the guard on duty if I can step in a bit from the gate but I was refused. I should have booked, I was informed. Here are some shots I took from the road. I took the pictures of the mansion from exactly the same vantage point when I was here in May 2010.

Nellyis Garden Lopez Mansion Iloilo

[See my complete set of my Jaro Walk photos in my Flickr here]

Next to Nelly’s Garden is the SANSON y MONTINOLA ANTILLAN Heritage House, built in early 1900’s. It’s not intricate. It’s not lavish. But it’s simply gorgeous! From the road, you can see its full glory and I can just imagine if this structure is restored! It would really be awesome!!! If there was one structure that lingers in my mind after my Jaro walk, it’s this house. I’m no archi-person but I like its charm and perceived nobility.

Sanson y Montinila Antillan House Iloilo

Third Stop: Continuing my walk, I passed by JALANDONI MANSION before reaching JARO CATHEDRAL. Built in 1928, the mansion now houses a life-size statue of Our Lady of Lourdes and regularly paraded in a procession of the Jaro Cathedral every February. Not too far is another LEDESMA MANSION [there's another one in downtown Iloilo] across the Jaro Plaza and close to Jaro Cathedral. It’s all concrete and appears not to have been restored of late [as of writing, May 2013].

Ledesma and Jalandoni Mansion Jaro Iloilo

Jaro Cathedral Iloilo

After taking some pics of the Jaro Cathedral, I checked my map for the first BISCOCHO HOUSE and the CASA MARIQUIT. It was already [very high!] noon. Hence, I decided to take a pedicap and asked if manong pedikaber can take me to Biscocho House and  Casa Mariquit. Agreed fee – P40, to and fro, with waiting time, not bad. Gave him few extra.

First Biscocho House Iloilo

CASA MARIQUIT is near the Biscocho House although manong pedikaber was somehow lost at first. Casa Mariquit is another mansion that can be traced to the Lopez’s. It belongs to Fernando Lopez, Sr., and was named after her wife, Mariquit. Claimed to have been built some 200-years ago, it then makes it the oldest heritage house I’ve seen in Iloilo. It also served as a bank back then by the father of Fernando Lopez, Sr., the former vice-president of the Philippines, Ramon Javellana, who was a banker. The vault of the bank was located in the masters bedroom concealed by wooden floor planks.

Casa Mariquit Iloilo

Interesting is the servant’s quarter which looked fancy but charming – it’s like a birdhouse! Ayie, the caretaker was very nice to tour me around the mansion and charged P50 but I gave her a little extra.

Fourth Stop: Looking at the map and having been informed that the LIZARES MANSION [now Angelicum School] is quite far [although there are PUJ plying the route], I decided to take a cab, asked the driver to wait for a while then back to Jaro Plaza for P100, 2-way.

Lizares Mansion Angelicum School Iloilo

There goes my Jaro Walk! From Rizal Street in La Paz, I walked the remaining stretch of Luna Street, straight to Eugenio Lopez. It’s more than double my walk in downtown Iloilo but would never exchange it for anything even when there was an almost a fainting episode in the middle of my walk because of heat. Cold water and few minutes of rest were all I needed. Total walk hours – 4 [inclusive].

[See my complete set of my Jaro Walk photos in my Flickr here]

MY JARO WALK STOPS:

First Stop – St. Clement’s Church – Lopez Boathouse – Lopez Pink Mansion [along the way are ABS-CBN Studios, Western Visayas University, Jaro National High School/Iloilo High School]

Second Stop – Nelly’s Garden – Sanson Y Montinola Antillan House [along the way are Jalandoni Mansion and some old buildings]

Third Stop – Jaro Plaza – Jaro Cathedral – first Biscocho House – Casa Mariquit [Jalandoni Building, Evangelical Church and some other old buildings]

Fourth Stop – Lizares Mansion [Angelucum School]

READ MORE OF ILOILO THIS BLOG:

Iloilo City on Foot: A Solo Downtown Walk Tour [Iloilo Walk Tour Series]

Iloilo Esplanade: Celebrating Ilongo’s love for their River!

La Paz Iloilo: MADGE CAFE inside a public market and DECO’s the first branch that served La Paz Batchoy! [Iloilo Walk Tour Series]

OTHER WALK TOURS-THIS BLOG:

Cebu City: A Solo Heritage Walk

HERE IS A MAP OF MY STOPS [Click to enlarge. Click again to make it larger]:

JARO WALK MAP

biagkensiak@jaroiloilo
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Posted in B. BEYOND ILOCOS, Iloilo, Places, Visayas, Visayas, Walk Tour Series | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

ILOILO CITY ON FOOT: A Solo Downtown Walk Tour [Iloilo Walk Tour Series]

From a 2-day OB in Gensan, I flew to Iloilo for another 3-days of extended OB. Before flying, I was searching for some guided walk tour which I may to do after work. There was none. I know how rich and grand the heritage of Iloilo is and I would like to do a walk to see, learn and appreciate Iloilo as far as my foot can take me with my limited time.

Iloilo Regional Tourism Office

Touchdown Iloilo at 3PM, May 15, 2013. From the airport, I checked-in at Century-21 Hotel along Quezon Street, rested, and ready for work the morning after. After work the next day, I already wanted to do the walk. Not being familiar with the city and no one to accompany me, I went to the Department of TOURISM Regional Office [For Western Visayas] along Bonifacio Drive, some 3-blocks away from my hotel. At the tourism office, I was entertained by Third and Pam, big thanks to them for accommodating me and for being generous to give me a city map and some flyers. After informing them that I am doing a solo walk of the downtown, they marked establishments, places and landmarks of historical and cultural significance I shouldn’t miss. While I originally planned for a downtown walk tour only, I continued to ask places I should see in JARO as well. I know I can walk it too which I actually did the next day after work, including LA PAZ.

With my pair of dependable sandals, some sun protection, cellphone and few cash checked, most importantly camera loaded and charged, I was ready for my SOLO WALK of downtown Iloilo City!

[See complete set of my downtown Iloilo City Solo Walk Tour in my Flickr here.]

With a map on hand, I started as soon as I stepped out of the tourism office. Instead of turning left going downtown, I turned right to Forbes Bridge [1-block away] to take a day view of the Iloilo River – the bridge is 1 of 5 crossing the river. Looking at the Iloilo River, I can only wish that I was looking at Pasig River. I am amazed and must applaud the city government and its people for their concerted efforts to maintain the river despite industrial and commercial establishment along the riverside. In fact, a promenade was established to showcase the Ilongo’s love for their river. It’s called the Esplanade.

Iloilo River

After few moments in the bridge, I turned my way back to go downtown.  Along the way and before the tourism office, there is the CASTLE HOTEL to the right. It is no longer operational and I can only take pictures from outside. I asked if I can go inside even only on the grounds but I was refused. That was fine, photography ethics. This is actually the first of several structures that I was refused entry and only allowed take pictures from outside. Most ancestral homes in the city or structures with significance need appointment with an average fee of 100-200/pax, minimum of 5, as a rule of thumb. If you go solo, you may negotiate for the price. The Castle Hotel now houses a Korean Learning Center. There is a 2-storey wooden mansion just beside Castle Hotel – failed to take a picture but it’s the VILLANUEVA MANSION. It’s well-preserved. [Picture of Castle Hotel below].

Castle Hotel Iloilo

Continuing my walk past the tourism office is the MUSEU ILOILO and the PROVINCIAL CAPITOL [new and old buildings]. I took notice of the Museu Iloilo’s structure – quite a deviation from the old architecture that Iloilo is known for. It’s simple but looked modern, close to futuristic but not quite. An entrance of P15 is more than it’s worth if only to know first-hand the history, culture and heritage of Iloilo in one stop.

Museu Iloilo

Beside the Museu is the Provincial Capitol. The new building is facing Bonifacio drive while the old capitol [just beside the new one and good they preserved it!] faces Iznart Street heading downtown. In front of the old capitol and at the start of Iznart Street is a ARROYO FOUNTAIN also referred to as the starting point of KILOMETER ZERO [KM 0]. Kilometer Zero signifies the starting point of all roads from and to any point in Iloilo. [Photos below: Provincial Capitol-left; Arroyo Fountain/Kilometer Zero-right].

Iloilo Provincial Capitol

Walking through Iznart are commercial establishments like banks, restaurants, hardware stores, hotels, etc. At the end of it is the main intersection of Iznart, JM Basa, Ledesma and Arroyo Streets called PLAZOLETA GAY. At the center of intersection is a white obelisk-like structure with a dove perched on top. It was erected to honor an Iloilo ancestral family and may now be referred to as Iloilo’s freedom park (note: not Freedom Grandstand, it’s different) as it is usually the venue for rallies and freedom demonstrations.

Plazoleta Gay Iloilo

From the monument, I walked to JM BASA [also known as CALLE REAL] where old commercial buildings still stand and some even undergoing repairs and improvements while maintaining old and original fascade. If Divisoria is to Manila, Colon is to Cebu, San Pedro is to Davao, JM Basa is to Iloilo. Prepare to witness what is left of the City’s commercial grandeur during the Spanish Era along JM Basa and here are pictures along Iloilo’s main commercial street.

JM Basa Street Iloilo [Calle Real]

Just an observation, I noticed that when I was asking locals in the street where Calle Real is, most of them didn’t know. The reason maybe is because Calle Real is no longer used at present to refer to the main commercial street, now known as JM Basa.

[See complete set of my downtown Iloilo City Solo Walk Tour in my Flickr here.]

Along JM Basa is ROBERTO’S. It’s famous for its Siopao but they also serve basic chinese dishes like noodles and lumpia. Siopao made Roberto’s famous and Roberto’s has become part of Iloilo’s culture since 1972. I passed by around 2PM and there was a long queue of people ordering. I originally planned to take my snacks here but because of the long line, I temporarily forego with it and decided to come back after my walk.

Roberto's Iloilo

I went back at Roberto’s about 6.30PM but there was still a line! I had no choice, I need to taste the siopao that made Roberto’s famous and the siopao that has become part of an Ilongo’s way of life. Siopao prices start at P45, and the most expensive at P70. I ordered for a Queen because it has pork asado, eggs, Chinese sausage and ham but it was no longer available. I settled for the King without the ham at P70. It’s well-stuffed and the additional filling adds a little more excitement to the taste – that may have justified its price.

Interestingly, I saw this man along JM Basa. I wanted to talk to him when I passed by to ask how old is he but he was sleeping on his chair back on the wall. The second time I passed by later in the afternoon, he was busy doing something. If only I was able to talk to him, for sure he should have told me much more about JM Basa [Calle Real] than what my eyes have seen.

Old Man along JM Basa Iloilo

I continued my walk to the CITY HALL and passed by REGENT CINEMA, the oldest cinema in the province of Iloilo built in 1928. It’s still operational and now showing double movies – ST film during that time. Adjacent to Regent is the FREEDOM GRANDSTAND where the final stop of the Dinagyang Festival street dance competition is held every year. At the back of the grandstand is the Dinagyang Lounge where costumes of participating contingents from the recent Dinagyang are displayed and also houses the city tourism office. [Photos below, clockwise: Regent Cinema, Freedom Grandstand, Dinagyang Costumes, Regent Cinema].

Freedom Grandstand and Regent Cinema Iloilo

Few steps from the Freedom Grandstand is the new city hall but before that, I took a short right turn on the street immediately before the City Hall [Ortiz Street] going to Rizal Street for the LEDESMA MANSION. The mansion has eagles on its fence posts that made it grander. The manong whom I bought bottled water from refer to is as – “bahay na may agila!”

Ledesma Mansion Iloilo

I then headed back to the city hall. It’s not only new, it’s huge, and it’s green! I went inside and immediately to the left is the City Gallery. I had a little tour of the gallery and was assisted by Ice who also brought me to the city hall’s roofdeck. The first thing that was referred to me was the statue of a lady on top of the city hall’s dome. They call her LIN-AY, standing 15-feet on a 3-feet pedestal, the bronze statue that symbolizes Iloilo’s culture, heritage and prosperity is at 1.7-tons, sculpted by Ed Defensor and erected in 2011 during the term of incumbent and now re-elected mayor, Jed Patrick Mabilog [May 2013 as of date].

Lin-ay Iloilo City Hall

The view from the roof deck is breathtaking and I can only imagine Iloilo’s beauty at sunset. However, the city hall closes at 5PM and its impossible to spend my sunset here. From the top, I feasted on a 360-view of Iloilo City. From a view of JM Basa and downtown, turning right is MEULLE LONEY and the island of Lapuz District which Ice told me that it’s shaped like a nose. In Ilongo, nose is “irong” where the city’s name ILOILO is believed to have been derived. Turning farther right is a view of LACSON HERITAGE HOUSE and the JOSE PLACER CHURCH, in front of the city hall is the PLAZA LIBERTAD and completing the 360-view is the MASON TEMPLE and a glimpse of Guimaras Island.

[See complete set of my downtown Iloilo City Solo Walk Tour in my Flickr here.]

From the exit of the city hall, I continued my walk to places nearby and as I have seen from the roof deck. To the left are the Muelle Loney –a river wharf traversing Iloilo River, the OLD CUSTOMS BUILDING, Lacson Heritage House and beside it is the San Jose Placer Church. According to Ice, the church was where the Dinagyang started. Fronting the City Hall is the Plaza Libertad where the first Philippine Flag was hoisted after Spain surrendered her last city of Iloilo in 1898 and to the right is the Masonic Temple.

Iloilo 360-view from the City Hall Roofdeck

Other interesting facts about the city hall – I was also informed by Ice that 70% of the City Hall’s power is generated by solar energy and water supply for toilets are from deposited rainwater from the rooftop.

After visiting places around the city hall, I then continued my walk to FORT SAN PEDRO, my last stop. The walk from the City Hall to the Fort is quite a long walk but you can take the jeep with signboard CPU for P7, just tell the driver to drop you at the Fort or just be observant. If you see lamp posts along a paved sidewalk overlooking the sea to the right [there is an island and that’s Guimaras] with a statue of Christ the King at the farther end, and shanties to your left, it’s already Fort San Pedro. I opted to still walk. Upon reaching the Fort, it was nostalgic. I was here in 2010 [left photo], my first visit in Iloilo and in my second [right photo], I tried to recreate a photo I have taken 2-years back. I think I failed :(.

Sunset Fort San Pedro 2011 & 2013

Below are [recent] photos taken from Fort San Pedro:

Fort San Pedro Iloilo

There goes my SOLO Iloilo downtown city walk tour. It started from the  FORBES BRIDGE [near the regional tourism office] and ended at FORT SAN PEDRO. Four[4] major stops and 3-hours [inclusive] of walking under the scorching heat of Iloilo sun. I saw, I witnessed. I learned, I was entertained! Tired but never gave me second thoughts to proceed with my JARO WALK including LA PAZ the next day. I am not given ample opportunity to do things like this every time and I make the most out of it when given a chance. Thank you durable sandals!

MY 4-MAJOR STOPS:

First Stop: Regional Tourism Office-nearby are the Provincial Capitol, Arroyo Fountain/Kilometer Zero [round fountain] Forbes Bridge and Castle Hotel.

Second Stop: Plazoleta Gay, JM Basa, Regent Cinema Freedom Grandstand and Ledesma Mansion.

Third Stop: City Hall, Muelle Loney, Lacson Heritage House, San Jose Placer Church, Plaza Libertad and Masonic Temple.

Fourth Stop: Fort San Pedro.

Some observations I have noticed during my walk: It’s hot – I have to buy an umbrella the next day! It’s clean and roads are wide. Food is generally marked-up than the usual. Example – 1-serving of meat dish which I can get for P25-P30 in Davao, Cebu or even Manila is P50 in Iloilo. One serving of batchoy at Deco’s is P70, A siopao at Roberto’s can cost P70. My observation was seconded when an officemate confirmed that indeed, food in Iloilo is generally more expensive. Public utility jeeps are cool! 24-seater lowered locally assembled at 300K on the average. Anti-smoking ordinance  implemented.

[The sunset photos above were taken the next day as I arrived quite early at the Fort after my downtown walk].

[See complete set of my downtown Iloilo City Solo Walk Tour in my Flickr here].

READ MORE OF ILOILO THIS BLOG:

Iloilo Esplanade: Celebrating Ilongo’s love for their River!

La Paz Iloilo: MADGE CAFE inside a public market and DECO’s the first branch that served La Paz Batchoy! [Iloilo Walk Tour Series]

Jaro Iloilo: A Solo Walk Tour [Iloilo Walk Tour Series]

OTHER WALK TOURS-THIS BLOG:

Cebu City: A Solo Heritage Walk

Map below indicating my 4-stops. Click to open. Click again to enlarge:

Downtown Iloilo Map

At the City Hall Tourism Lounge

At the City Hall Tourism Lounge

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Posted in B. BEYOND ILOCOS, Iloilo, Photos, Places, Visayas, Walk Tour Series | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

LA PAZ ILOILO: MADGE CAFE inside a public market and DECO’s the first branch that served La Paz Batchoy! [Iloilo Walk Tour Series]

This is a prelude to my solo walk tour of JARO ILOILO.

A cafe called MADGE CAFE located in inside the public market of La Paz was referred to me by the tourism office. Nearby is the first DECO’S restaurant where the main menu in all its branches started to be served and loved – the La Paz Batchoy!

Jeep going to La Paz Iloilo

From downtown, I took a jeep going La Paz and asked the driver to drop me at La Paz Public Market, corner Rizal and Hervana Street, at the back of Grand Dame Building. Short ride at P7. I first saw DECO’S along Rizal and immediately took photos being the first branch and where its batchoy started. Now I know why it’s called La Paz batchoy – because the first Deco’s that served it is located in La Paz!

The restaurant is a small and very simple, a far cry from its high end branches in the city. I Looked at the menu and ordered the Extra at P70. I am familiar with the taste and aroma of batchoy and I exactly got what I wanted. Delicious! Eating in a place where it all started even made my meal better!

Deco's La Paz Batchoy

From Deco’s, I went inside the public market [entrance along Hervana] and looked for MADGE CAFE. Just ask for directions inside the market and they know. Madge Cafe is carinderia-style in appearance and very neat! It was quite windy when I was there that made my visit very relaxing. I ordered ice coffee at P30 – tall glass and “pandesyosa” –  toasted bread with butter at P20.

Madge Cafe Ice Coffee and Pandesyosa

While waiting for my ice coffee [they brew their own coffee by the way – selling point of the cafe] I was talking to Aling Julieta, the present owner and cashier. She is in her 70’s and the name MADGE was taken from her mother-in-law, MARGARITA. Aling Julieta and her husband inherited the cafe when the parents of her husband passed away. Since it started, Madge Cafe has been serving good coffee for 70-years, about Aling Julieta’s age. She also informed me that they have a newly opened branch in the Diversion road, air-conditioned but with price mark-up. I like it better in the public market, honestly.

Madge Cafe Iloilo

My ice coffee was good with pandesyosa! If I was not thinking of my Jaro walk that afternoon, I should have stayed longer.

Full with batchoy from the first Deco’s and ice coffee from Madge, I was ready to do my JARO WALK!!!

See few more pictures of Madge Cafe, Deco’s and La Paz Public Market in my Flickr here!

READ MORE OF ILOILO THIS BLOG:

Iloilo City on Foot: A Solo Downtown Walk Tour [Iloilo Walk Tour Series]

Jaro Iloilo: A Solo Walk Tour [Iloilo Walk Tour Series]

Iloilo Esplanade: Celebrating Ilongo’s love for their River!

OTHER WALK TOURS-THIS BLOG:

Cebu City: A Solo Heritage Walk

Here’s the location of La Paz Public Market where Deco’s and Madge Cafe are. Click to open. Click again to enlarge:

La Paz Public Market in Iloilo

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Posted in B. BEYOND ILOCOS, Food, Iloilo, Visayas, Visayas, Walk Tour Series | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

ILOILO ESPLANADE: Celebrating Ilongo’s love for their River!

After my solo walk tour of downtown Iloilo [to be posted later], I wanted to take photos of the sunset as I always do with best efforts :) in every place I go to. From the airport to my hotel in downtown, I passed by a place called ESPLANADE and I thought it would be a nice venue for sunset shoot being along the river.

Esplanade Iloilo

Inaugurated in June 1, 2012 by Pres. Pinoy, the Esplanade was constructed to celebrate Ilongo’s love for their river and promote environmental awareness while providing venue for various leisure activities. The existing 1.2-kilometers of promenade from the Diversion road to Carpenter’s Bridge in Mandurriao was designed by the same architect of Singapore quay and river esplanade. There is a proposal to extend the project to 2-more phases.

Esplanade is Iloilo’s “baywalk” or should I say – “riverwalk.” Establishments are still being constructed and being relatively new [as of date-May 2013] all you can do for now is to walk, jog, take pictures, or just let time pass while enjoying the breeze of Iloilo especially in the afternoon. There are no open restaurants when I was there but saw some being put-up. When fully developed though, I see a MOA Seawall in Iloilo riverbanks!

Esplanade Iloilo

Unfortunately, the venue is not good for sunset shoot. The view is distracted by “bakawans” and constructions. It is a good vantage point though to take photos of the river and the bridge. As the sun was setting and still looking for a better place to take a shoot, I ran back to the main road and to the far end of Jalandoni Bridge where I think I got a better view of the sunset than in the Esplanade.

Sunset Iloilo

Here’s the location of Iloilo Esplanade. Click to open. Click again to enlarge:

Esplanade Iloilo Location

See you again, someday, Esplanade!

See few more pictures of Iloilo Esplanade in my Fickr here!

Know more about Iloilo Esplanade in Explore Iloilo.

READ MORE OF ILOILO THIS BLOG:

Iloilo City on Foot: A Solo Downtown Walk Tour [Iloilo Walk Tour Series]

Jaro Iloilo: A Solo Walk Tour [Iloilo Walk Tour Series]

La Paz Iloilo: MADGE CAFE inside a public market and DECO’s the first branch that served La Paz Batchoy! [Iloilo Walk Tour Series]

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Posted in B. BEYOND ILOCOS, Iloilo, Lugan (Ilocos Transpo), Places, Visayas | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

FEATURED: My Photos!

On this post are some of my photos featured in several travel sites, international or local. I love to take pictures of anything and everything everywhere I go. I take time to choose which snapshots to show and find time to share my humble images through Flickr, Facebook and this Blog. I am always flattered and at the same time humbled every time I get a message asking permission or informing me that my images will or have been featured. I am only equipped with the basics and this is my passion. Here are some of them:

My photo from Madge Cafe in Iloilo City in ATLANTIC WIRE:

my coffee photo at atlantic wire

In IFLYMAGAZINE.COM: My Kadayawan Festival Photo:

myphoto@iflymagazine

In LITRATOPILIPINAS: My photo of Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol in Laoag City:

torn's blog @ litratopilipinas

In TRAVELACCESS: My photo of T’boli lass in Lake Sebu:

torn's blog in travelaccess

Featured in TRIPTHEISLANDS.COM. Photo featured was taken in 2011 at Isla Reta Resort, Talicud Island, Samal, Davao:

My photo at triptheislands.com

Featured in LIVINGDAVAO.COM. Photos are from my Kadayawan 2012 Photos:

My photos as livingdavao.com

Featured in DAVAOTOURISM.COM. The photo featured was my 2nd Place photo at DPP Kadayawan Photocontest [2011]:

My photo at davaotourism.com

Featured in VAGABOND.COM. Video of Vagabond in Youtube at 5:24 mins/secs. I Have featured this earlier in this Blog:

The Peak Hongkong

Featured in TRIPSIDERS.COM (unfortunately, without proper credits and now with broken link). Photo from my New Israel: Makilala, North Cotabato:

new israel photo at tripsider.com

Life is a Photo!

From ARCHITECTURE REVIEWED: My photos of China Bank Tower Hong Kong:

torn's blog @ architecture reviewed

In HUB PAGES: My photos of Hong Kong 360 Cable Cars:

torn's blog @ hub pages

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MARBEL/KORONADAL CITY: B-Walk, Jims Resto Bar, Apareja Buko Halo-Halo, Marang Atbp.

Koronadal City, formerly and still popularly known as Marbel is the capital city of South Cotabato with mixture of various culture, evident in the diverse dialect spoken by its people – Ilonggo, Hiligaynon, and yes Ilocano [again!]. Being from Ilocos, and temporarily now based in the South, I am really amazed that my Ilocano dialect is noticeably spoken in Mindanao.[See photos of Marbel/Koronadal City in my Flickr here].

From Davao, took a 3-hour non-stop YBL [Yellow Bus Line] to Gensan and another hour or so to Koronadal. This is already my second trip to the city, the first being in Feb 2012 when I went to see the famous seven-falls of Lake Sebu [Read my Blog on Lake Sebu].

Koronadal YBL

When I reached Koronadal,I hailed a tricycle that took me the public market to meet a college friend who has a store and has always been a willing host. Tricycle fare is at P8/head around the city. After the store closed at about 7PM, we had dinner at a place few steps away from the market – they call it B-Walk. B-walk is a line of barbecue stalls with dining areas serving inihaw na manok, liempo, fish and all others that can be barbecued. I came to realize later that the “B” stands for “barbecue” and whoever thought of the name is smart!

B-Walk Marbel/Koronadal

B-Walk also serve soup like sinigang na hipon and clamps, various seaweeds (i.e. guso)for appetizer and beverages. Service was good, cooking was quick, taste was perfect and whether you like it or not, it’s very affordable if you don’t find it even cheap! To give you an idea, we got sinigang na hipon, nihaw na tilapia and 3-cups of rice on my first night, good for two and we paid not over 100-pesos! Second night, we got clamps soup, inihaw na liempo, inihaw na bangus, 3-cups of rice, good for three and we paid only almost 200-pesos!!! Almost the same price for 2-inihaw na paa(thigh) ng manok and 30-sticks of assorted barbecue. I don’t know if we were given discount because the owner of the stall is a relative of my friend but I don’t think so. I was told, the price is what is really is it! If only this place is open 24-hours, I don’t mind having to take my meals all day here. B-Walk is open only for diner. Highly recommended![See photos of Marbel/Koronadal City in my Flickr here]

B-Walk Marbel/Koronadal

After dinner, dropped my things at my friend’s house, rested a bit then visited his brother for some few moments of sing-along before capping the night at the newest bar in the city – Jims Resto Bar! It is a sing-along bar located in Brgy. San Gabriel, quite a distance from downtown. Appeared like an improved warehouse to me but with its high ceiling, it is airy. Smoking is not allowed inside the bar [Note: Koronadal has also prohibited smoking in public and other selected places like Davao] Sound system was good, stage and lighting is ok, service was good, price is affordable (6-bottles of San Mig Lite in a bucket is at P200 and a dinner plate of french fries at P60). With the place and my company, it made me barely notice that the chairs are white monoblock but did not matter at all. The CR needs improvements, however. I was told that Jims Resto Bar used to be another bar called Lambat and has been transformed by the owner into a completely different bar with no traces of the old one.

Jims Resto Bar Marbel/Koronadal

In Mindanao, I have yet to see an old church like those in Luzon and Visayas. Everyone knows the reason why. This is Mindanao and we have been thought that Islam was pre-dominant in this part of the country. Be that as it may, the Christ The King Cathedral in the city is a landmark and continues to be improved. It is newly built and you may just want to see how it looked like before rebuilding-click here to see!

Christ the King Cathedral and Del Rio Splash Resort Marbel/Koronadal

Being an inland city, Koronadal has several water-fun resorts. Del Rio Splash Resort is one but unfortunately didn’t have the chance to test the waters because of limited time. Kids and big groups will enjoy here. There are 3-big malls and convenience stores in Koronadal which may take care of your basis needs.[See photos of Marbel/Koronadal City in my Flickr here]

Before I left Koronadal and go back to work the next day, my friends brought me to Apareja Buko Halo-Halo in Brgy. Sarabia, along the highway going into the city. Too bad it’s not in downtown and if you don’t have a private car, you may be forced to take the tricycle for more than extra fare because of distance. Even then, its distance from the city proper adds to the charm of the place (sasadyain mo talaga) aside from its main menu – the buko halo-halo. Nothing spectacular about the taste, however, well at least for me. It is your ordinary restaurant halo-halo with the usual ingredients, topped with a scoop of ice creme for P60. If at all, what makes Apareja more interesting is the free and bottomless buko juice!

Apareja Buko Halo-Halo Marbel/Koronadal

Apareja is one place that will surely become part of the city’s heritage by the way locals patronize and talk about it. They also sell chicharon and other pasalubong delicacies. I was told that there used to be a line of buko halo-halo stores along the same location but only Apareja managed to stand still until now.[See photos of Marbel/Koronadal City in my Flickr here]

Marbel/Koronadal City

Lastly, the Marang fruit! When I first tasted Marang in Davao, I knew I am going to like it. I did, I do and will surely like Marang. I like Durian but in case you have some prejudice against the king of fruits in Mindanao, the Marang is the best option. It has scent not as potent as the Durian and best eaten when not ripened thoroughly. It has a thick but softer thorny skin than a jackfruit with mass of seeds covered with generous sweety and creamy white pulp. I want my Marang chilled a bit because the taste becomes more refreshing and I eat it straight from the fruit if a fork is not handy.

Marang Fruit

There are still a lot I missed in Koronadal which give me more good reasons to be back. I will be back Koronadal! You’re simply Marbel-ous!

Mindanao Map Koronadal City

[See photos of Marbel/Koronadal City in my Flickr here]

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KIAMBA: Sarangani Province

Kiamba is a 2nd class coastal municipality located in Sarangani Province, 1-hour ride from Gensan, 2-hours from Koronadal and 4-hours from Davao – all straight driving. Over the holy week, I, together with new found friends from Marbel (old name for Koronadal City) trooped for an overnight trip in this quaint municipality down South. [See other photos of Kiamba in my Flickr here]

Kiamba Sarangani Province

Road was good throughout with scenic view of Celebes Sea and lush mountains. If only I had my way, I could have halted in places I wanted to take images of but with few others whom I just met that day, reservations knocked not only once, but twice, and even more! :)

Kiamba has been recognized once as cleanest and greenest municipality and has been consistently known as child-friendly town. Aqua-culture is the main source of livelihood in this place and one treasure is has is the Tuka Marine Sanctuary composed of 4-coves named “Tukas” 1,2,3 & 4 – only Tuka 2 is open to the public. Boat rent to the marine sanctuary is from P500 – P1,500, depending on the capacity, to and fro. Tuka is white sand (bordering to cream) with coral gardens - snorkling allowed. Found these blogs on Tuka informative: (1)West Coast Sarangani Expedition: Tuka Bay Marine Sanctuary; and (2)Kiamba’s Children Park and Tuka Marine Santuary.  This is also the hometown of Jinky Pacquiao and winning vice-governor this coming election is no longer a question at least in this town.

Kiamba Sarangani Province

The public market is an old edifice with the second floor still made of wood, a complete opposite of the well-developed public plaza and children’s park called Lourdes Park where the Municipal Tourism Office seats and the jump-off point to Tuka Marine Sanctuary. Observed a lot speaking the Ilocano dialect and I am not surprised, having been based in Mindanao for almost 3-years where Ilocano is spoken by many. [See other photos of Kiamba in my Flickr here]

Most beach in Kiamba is ordinary grey, accessible in a few minutes from the plaza. No spectacular rolling white sand but good enough for people who don’t mind about the view but the company. There are a lot of resorts to stay in the day or overnight and we ended in a beach very near a fishing village. Interestingly, there is an ice plant (Aquino Ice Plant) few steps from our cottage that has a conveyor ramp from the plant to the sea. It may have been built for convenience and neccessity for fishermen to maintain freshness of their catch. Found it worthy and asked permission if I can walk through the ramp to see how ice is transported via the conveyor until its dropping point.

Kiamba Sarangani Province

We Stayed in an ordinary fan room cottage at 700/night with CR good for 8. However, water supply at that time was outside, coming from a pipe with continuous spring water – not bad at all, shower was in commune with nature! Dinner was perfect with an all-fresh fish menu from the public market and a few more from the village - bought, cooked and devoured fresh!

Kiamba Sarangani Province

Below are satellite maps showing locations of Kiamba in Mindanao, the ice conveyor and the cottage we stayed, and the Lourdes Park where the Tourism Office is located.

Kiamba Map

Ice Conveyor Kiamba Map

Lourdes Park Kiamba Map

To end, Kiamba celebrates its foundation anniversary every Valentines Day called “Timpuyog,” an Ilocano word which means gathering. KIAMBAhan Na!!! [See other photos of Kiamba in my Flickr here]

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DAVAO CITY: Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague

The Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague Davao City

The Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague in Davao City – destination for my Palm Sunday Mass, March 24, 2013. For this year’s Holy Week starter, I wanted to attend the Palm Sunday Mass and there was no better place to have my palm blessed but in a shrine on top of a hill in Davao City. It’s called The Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague in Shrine Hills, Matina. [See more photos of the Shrine in my Flickr here.]

Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague Davao City

I took a cab from downtown Davao and requested the driver to get me there. Paid P185 and before I got down and having noticed that there are no visible public utility vehicles in the street, I asked the driver if cabs are available going back. The answer was NO and he politely asked if I wanted him to wait for 10-minutes. I courteously answered NO because I am attending a mass, have time for myself and take photos. Cabs are seldom in the area but there are tricycles for P7/head to get you down the highway where cabs and jeeps are available to any point in Mindanao :).[See more photos of the Shrine in my Flickr here.]

Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague Davao City

It was Palm Sunday and from the entrance, the first I noticed were devotees sitting in monoblock chairs under the trees and within the premises of the vast lawn to the left. Straight ahead is the main chapel where masses are held. Further left and the rest of the area are about 4-other minor chapels. A candle offering canopy is located the back of the admin building.[See more photos of the Shrine in my Flickr here.]

Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague Davao City

Almost anywhere around the shrine is a good place to meditate. Being on top of a hill, the wind is cool and with birds chirping, this is your moment (and enjoy it!) choosing your bench under huge mango trees. It’s a perfect place to be alone, meditate and free your thoughts from the world down under. Surrender – that’s what I did but whatever it was, I will keep it to myself. Hoping that the spiritual power of the shrine will be enduring enough until I have completely overcome what I surrendered! (Kayak ko to!)[See more photos of the Shrine in my Flickr here.]

Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague Davao City

There are signs disallowing videotaping, group meetings and group activities – please go to Sta. Catalina (Gardens and Restaurant) which is on the opposite side of the shrine with a separate entrance. It’s actually good for functions. Not the A-class garden and function venue but you have a good view of the Davao Gulf.

From the highway of Matina, you may want to trek going up passing through several subdivisions until you reach the Shrine. Approaching the Shrine, there are stations of the cross on the side of the road. Long trek but worth it. If you want to own the place, going there on a weekday may be a good option and there is a mass everyday at 4PM and Sundays at 7AM, 12NN and 5PM.[See more photos of the Shrine in my Flickr here.]

Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague Davao City

Have a blessed Lenten Season everyone!

[See more photos of the Shrine in my Flickr here.]

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KADAYAWAN FESTIVAL 2012

Kadayawan Festival 2012 Photos. Over a hundred photos captured in Ten Tribes One Vibe Kadayawan Festival 2012. More colors, more fun is Kadayawan! CLICK HERE FOR MY PHOTOS OF KADAYAWAN FESTIVAL 2012 IN MY FLICKR! More photos are being uploaded. Bookmark for more pictures later!

CLICK HERE FOR MY PHOTOS OF THE KADAYAWAN FESTIVAL 2012 ON FLICKR!

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Schedule of events and photos will be uploaded here.This is my third year in the king of festivals and will keep you posted. Plan now and bookmark this page for useful infos.

More fun in Kadayawan!!! See you there!!!

UPDATED SCHEDULE AS OF JULY 30, 2012:

LIST OF ACCREDITED EVENTS:

Related Topics:

Kadayawan Festival 2011 Photos

Kadayawan Festival 2010 Photos

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LAKE SEBU: The Seven Falls

This gallery contains 8 photos.

Time to hit the famous Seven Falls of Lake Sebu! After lunch at Punta Isla Lake Resort, we took another habal-habal ride to Brgy. Lake Seloton where the seven falls seat, or rather stand, or better yet falls! :) It … Continue reading

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LAKE SEBU: Punta Isla Lake Resort

This gallery contains 18 photos.

Lake Sebu is not in Cebu, for those who know. For those who don’t, now you know that Lake Sebu is not in Cebu, it is in South Cotabato. Having spent Christmas last year with friends Edwin and Mike, both … Continue reading

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NEW ISRAEL: Makilala, North Cotabato

This gallery contains 6 photos.

New Israel, Makilala, North Cotabato.Before I came to this place, I had only 2-things in mind: the Moncadistas and the Monkeys. Little did I know that there were more to see and witness that truly opened my heart and soul … Continue reading

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MANTAYUPAN FALLS: Cebu!

This gallery contains 21 photos.

MANTAYUPAN FALLS in Cebu is located in the Municipality of Barili, 61-kms from the City and about 1 – 1 & 1/2 hours drive. In one of my official trips to Cebu last quarter of the previous year, I planned … Continue reading

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