Cebu-Kota Kinabalu in a Week
ITLog No.4
(February 26 – March 4, 2011)

Did we ever travel to different places in a week?

A lot of travelers do, and try to visit as much as they can… but for us we were about to revisit two places namely Cebu and Kota Kinabalu. We visited Cebu a year ago to witness the Sinulog Festival, and Kota Kinabalu just last January.

Thanks to those airline promos that give cheap rates, which gives us travelers on a budget to travel almost every month, but what we did not foresee that we are going to two places with just one day in between them.

After doing overtime work at the office the night before, going home and packing my daypack for this trip, stuffing my cameras in my camera bag and a tripod stuck on my back pack while bringing all my new clothes for this trip, because as I learned we were booked at Hilton Hotel (a five-star hotel), and it would be our first time to travel and being booked at a five-star hotel (we almost always travel and stay in cheap but really nice places like backpackers do).

Being at the airport by 0500hrs and eating breakfast, we left Manila by 0700hrs and upon arriving in Cebu, we checked in at Hilton Cebu Resort & Spa, went up to our room and tried to feel what staying in a five-star hotel would feel like. We had breakfast at 0900hrs, and by 1400hrs, we got on the shuttle to take us to SM Cebu where we had lunch of cebu lechon, chorizo and puso rice, then went around and bought some pasalubong.












We headed for Tabo-an. Talk about the motherload of dried, semi-dried and fermented fish. The Tabo-an (Taboan, Tabuan) Market near downtown Cebu is one of the most massive and pungent dried fish markets in the South. I suppose there are many such markets in all major provincial cities but this was just impressive in scale, volume of goods and staying power of its utterly pungent aroma (it literally sticks to your clothes in the same way that Japanese food seems to do as well). I have never seen anything like it. Here is where we went around and got some dried fish to take back home and by 1900hrs we headed back to the hotel where we went around and took some photos of the hotel grounds.







We woke up late (really like the softness of the pillows) and by 1000hrs took the shuttle to SM Cebu then took a cab going to Santo Niño Basilica to hear mass. The convent of the Sto. Niño de Cebu, was founded by Fr. Andres de Urdaneta on April 28, 1565, the very day the Legazpi-Urdaneta expedition arrived in the island. On May 8 of the same year, when Legaspi and his men planned the urbanization of the city, they allotted a “place for the church and the convent of San Agustin, “where the Santo Niño image had been found.” In 1599, the convent was made a house of studies of grammar, headed by the Visayan linguist, Fr. Alonso de Mentrida. It also served as a rest house for missionaries working in the province and as a retirement home for the aged and the sick, usually attended to by a lay brother. The church has always been the Sanctuary of the Sto. Niño, which was under the custody of the Augustinians. The number of priests assigned to the church varied from three to five aside from one or two lay brothers.

After hearing mass, we headed to Ayala where we ate lunch at Café Laguna, then walk around the mall because it was raining outside. We took the shuttle at 1800hrs back and we asked to be dropped off at Mactan Shrine to eat dinner at one of the Sutukil (literally means Suga, Tula or soup, Kilaw) there.

When you’re in or anywhere near Lapu-Lapu City in Mactan Island, you have to try sutukil. Sutukil is a portmanteau of the three ways fish are cooked in eateries near the Mactan Shrine: Su is for sugba or grilled, tu is for tula or prepared into a soup and kil is for kilaw or turned into a raw fish salad.

Sutukil restaurants let you choose whatever you want cooked from stalls of fresh fish, prawns, crabs, seaweeds, shells, clams and even lobsters. These seafood are as fresh as seafood can be and the crabs and lobsters on display are still alive as you pick which ones you want cooked. Sutukil eateries get their daily supply of fresh seafood from fishers in nearby islets.






Going around the stalls, we bought some souvenirs to bring home. We rode the jeep back to the hotel and after freshening up had some drinks at the atrium and hear the band play.


Woke up at 0700hrs where I went walking to Mactan Shrine, which is dedicated in honor of Lapu-Lapu, Ferdinand Magellan, and the Battle of Mactan. Going back to our history, Lapu-Lapu was the native chieftain of Mactan Island, and he resisted the efforts of Magellan to subdue his people and to be converted to Christianity and to be subjected to the throne of Spain. The subsequent battle on April 27, 1521 between the Spaniards and Lapu-Lapu and his men resulted to the death of Magellan. The shrine was erected on the supposed spot where the battle took place.

The most prominent monuments in Mactan Shrine, is a bronze statue of Lapu-Lapu holding a bolo and shield and an obelisk dedicated to Magellan, which was erected in 1866. In Google Maps, the obelisk is the one in the center of the circle while Lapu-Lapu’s statue is at the the square area 50 meters north, beside the shore where the Battle of Mactan is reenacted yearly in the Kadaugan sa Mactan festival. Between the two monuments stands the Philippine flag, and to the east of the obelisk is a small building housing a plinth with plaques on both sides, one about Lapu-Lapu, and the other about Magellan. Behind the plinth is a painting depicting the battle. Here I took some photos, then headed back the hotel and ate breakfast by 0900hrs, after eating we walked around the hotel taking photos and by 1000hrs was packing our bags and waited till 1400hrs for our transfer to the airport. We were in the air by 1530hrs and headed back to Manila.










Did some chores on the morning of our departure for Kota Kinabalu and by 1200hrs we took the cab and headed for Makati where we ate lunch at SM. By 1400hrs we were headed for the airport where we checked in our bags and lounged around, by 1800hrs we were on the plane headed for Kota Kinabalu. Arriving at 2000hrs at Kota Kinabalu International Airport, and took a cab to Winner Hotel to check in our bags then headed out to the Filipino Wet Market where we ate dinner, I miss the mangoes with amoy powder. Heading back to our hotel by 2300hrs to rest and plan our trip the next day.



Waking up at 0600hrs and ate breakfast by 0700hrs, by 0830hrs we headed for Wisma Sabah to inquire about the Island tours but was advised to just head for Jesselton Point where there are boats there to take you where ever you want to go, and it cost cheaper than to go with the tour. Heading to Jessleton Point and paid for our trip to Manukan Island. Riding the fast boat, we arrived at Manukan Island before 1000hrs and then swam and took pictures. We bought our lunch at the store and ate at the tables near the beach. We met a girl there and learned that she was a Filipina and took photos of her (later I learned that she was one of the finalist of the White Castle Girls). By 1330hrs we headed back to Jesselton Point passing by Mamutik Island and after dropping off some passengers in Shangri-La resort, while heading back to Jesselton, we were stopped by the Malaysian Police and learned that the boatman who was manning the helm was not the owner of the boat, thus was impounded by the police after we were dropped off at Jesselton Point. Passed by the grocery to buy stuff and then headed back to our hotel to rest where we had a power interruption and when the power came back on, our room had no electricity, so we were transferred to another room. We ate dinner at a Chinese restaurant then rested for the day.
















Woke up early and ate breakfast by 0700hrs and then walked around the city taking photos till 0930hrs. By 1000hrs, we headed to Centerpoint Mall and went around, eating lunch past 1100hrs then went shopping and looking around. Ate some snacks at KFC then headed back to the hotel to get our back, and by 1400hrs, we were headed to the airport where we checked-in our bags and waited at the lounge area. By 1800hrs, we were on the plane headed back to Manila








In this trip I wanted to go out more and see other places I have not gone but since carol got sick and had to take care of her limited our going around. It is hard getting sick when you are in a different place because you could not go to places you wanted to visit. Hopefully we would not get sick on our next trips

Till the next trip…

All photos are owned and copyrighted by Joey Rico (also known under these names: alien_scream).
All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use, copy, editing, reproduction, publication, duplication and distribution of the digital photos, without his explicit permission, is punishable by law

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.


A Week In My Life: A Second Lease in Life

It started out as an ordinary Thursday morning, my daily routine after waking up is to watch the morning news while eating breakfast, then taking a bath and prepared to go to work, taking the bus and commuting to work, then started working early. Having worked most part of the morning when I felt a pain on my right side tummy, below the ribs, which started the night before, but becoming unbearable, and was growing weaker as time goes by, and by lunch time, I ask Carol to take me to the Hospital and have it checked.

Arriving at the Emergency Room, I was attended by the doctor, had my blood test and was scheduled to take an ultra sound on my tummy, and when the results came back all my organs were normal and they said that the pain was from an inflamed intestines and prescribed some medicines and was sent home.

A week before this, we were on a trip to Cagayan de Oro to celebrate my birthday with my mother, which we had not seen for a long time, and when we were there, we ate at some of the new restaurants which were not open yet the last time we were in Cagayan de Oro. My usual diet consist of a lot of meat, specially burgers and steak with lots of spices, and the pain on my side was on and off the whole trip but did not think of it that seriously.

Upon returning to Manila, we ate at a restaurant at Bonifacio Global City, which serves slabs of beef ribs, to celebrate my birthday, which I ate with my kids, and as usual eating meat again.





Being sent home from the Hospital, I was feeling OK and was back eating what I normally do, but still have not been able to go to the bathroom and have a dump. Then came Monday morning when I woke up with the pain back and a blotted tummy, I tried to go to the bathroom but still could not take a dump, then I started vomiting and was getting weaker, when I was brought back again to the emergency room, this time they did a CT scan on my abdomen and while waiting for my results I was vomiting and my tummy getting bigger.



When the results of the tests came back I was told that I had a blocked colon and the doctors suspected that it was cancer. Was admitted around 1700hrs and was scheduled for operation at 1730hrs the next day. I was inserted a tube through my nose to my stomach which they said would relieve the pressure in my tummy, but I had a hard time trying to insert the tube and was successful on the eight try. They measured my tummy, which measured around 110cm and looked like I was pregnant, and had not slept well because I was vomiting all the time.

The next day at around 1730hrs, I was wheeled into the operating room and was met by the anesthesiologist, and was talking to me and asking how I was, then all of a sudden I was out, and by 1200hrs was back at my room with a 12inch stich on my tummy and a bag hanging on my side to collect my waste. When the doctor came they said that they had removed a 10cm long of intestines to remove the blockage and clear it of all the cancer cells. I was not allowed to drink any liquids and was so thirsty.











Ever since my operation, I had changed my diet and the way I have eaten, no more meat, now I am eating lots of fruits and vegetable, drinking lots of vitamins and trying to be stress free. I will be spending a month on recovery and then will be going back to work. The doctors say that I will have this bag on my side for a year and after which, I would have another surgery to put my intestines back to normal.

For this I thank my family for the support, the help and the love they have given me, my friends which gave encouragement and my bosses, who gave word to get well and get my ass back to work.





Most photos were taken by carol

All photos are owned and copyrighted by Joey Rico (also known under these names: alien_scream).
All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use, copy, editing, reproduction, publication, duplication and distribution of the digital photos, without his explicit permission, is punishable by law

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.

a teaser for A Week In My Life

Video  —  Posted: December 16, 2014 in Blog, Events
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Need a Caterer in the Greater Batangas Area?

Cesca’s Kitchen Catering started out as a café and branched out to the catering service. Coffee has become more than just a beverage. From its ritualistic beginnings in Ethiopia to the massive proliferation of cafés worldwide, it has evolved into a kind of global culture.

Strange to think that in the 1800s, Lipa, Batangas used to be one of the top exporters of coffee in the world, until our Robusta crops were wiped away by the plant disease called coffee rust.
As a tribute to help preserve the great heritage of the Batangueňos, young entrepreneur Celeste Maralit-Lindog, decided to put up Cesca’s Kitchen & Catering Services (formerly H Kape & Catering Services and was located at Events Centre, Maharlika Highway, Purok II, Brgy. Sico, Lipa City, Batangas which opened last December 20, 2006). Cesca’s new home is found at Phoenix Gas Station, MK Lina St. (Balagbag), San Sebastian, Lipa City, Batangas. A coffee shop and a convenience store that is a first in Lipa, Batangas bringing the café scene closer to people living on the other side of the metro. Cesca’s is said to become the next “it” place in the whole province of Batangas. Cesca’s Kitchen & Catering Services is all about imagination, its coffee’s and cuisines is an art form crafted by the creativity of its owners bound by a common purpose. The mystery of its appeal inevitably unfolds as one experiences not only coffee drinking, but tasting the food in this place.
Both gastronomic and artistic hunger are satisfied once you see their menu, which Celeste conceived, keeping in mind the taste of the Batangueňos but bringing it forward to the modern times. The food at Cesca’s boasts of keeping the true Batangas spirit by using local produce and ingredients such as our signature dish, Sinaing na Tulingan Pasta in Olive Oil. True to its commitment, with unfailing good taste of the food, Cesca’s kitchen staff and Event Manager, will go to great lengths to please its patrons, even altering cooking procedures upon request.
Great coffee, great food and excellent service, a relaxed atmosphere—that is what Cesca’s Kitchen & Catering Services is all about!
Cesca’s Food and Catering Services, which is a sole proprietorship, which has its new address at Events Hub, Big Ben Complex, Mataas na Lupa, Ayala Hiway, Lipa City, Batangas, with its main kitchen facilities, located at Barangay San Felipe, Padre Garcia, Batangas, now concentrates mainly on the Catering Services. With more than 8 years of Catering Service has catered or rendered its services to some of the major events held in the city of Lipa, Batangas.













The food which tastes awesome, using the latest innovation in cooking and using local ingredients to flavor their menu








With a competent staff to help you in you needs while eating and enjoying your planned celebration.





We also offer styling services to cater to your needs on your occasion.




For more inquiries, Visit us on the following:

Facebook: Cescas-Kitchen-Catering


Philippine World Heritage List: One More to Go!

Ever since I got hooked into Digital Photography, the more I became fascinated with old architecture, more so with old structures and churches. During our travels there is always a part in our itinerary to visit old churches and then it led to visiting Historical and Heritage Sites, this is where the Philippines World Heritage List comes in.

There are eight (8) sites listed in the Philippine World Heritage List and Twenty Nine (29) sites on the tentative list, which the Philippines Government intends to consider them for nomination in the future.

The Eight (8) sites includes the following:

• The Historical Town of Vigan, Ilocos
• Puerto Princessa Sub-terrainian River National Park
• The Rice Terraces of the Philippines, Banaue
• The four (4) Baroque Churches in the Philippines, which are: Miag-ao Church, San Agustin Church, Paoay Church, & Sta Maria Curch
• The Tubbataha Reefs National Park

on the eight on the list, the place which we have not yet visited is the last place in the list, which is The Tubbataha Reefs National Park and we are hoping to visit it in the near future, and if there are any would be sponsors out there who would like to fund out trip we would gladly appreciate and would gladly answer your questions.

The list start off with The Historical Site of Vigan… we visited the town of Vigan, when we joined a group for a tour to the Ilocos Region, where we had a chance also to visit two (2) of the Baroque Churches on the list.

The Historical Town of Vigan is one of the few Hispanic towns in the Philippines where its structures remain intact, and is well known for its cobblestone streets and a unique architecture that fuses Philippine and Oriental design and construction with Colonial European Architecture.

The town of Vigan can be considered an island because it is detached from the mainland by great rivers namely, the Abra River, the Meztiso River and the Govantes River. What is unique with Vigan is its extensive and only surviving historical city in the country that dates back to the 16th century Spanish colonial period.

Vigan was an important coastal trading post long before colonial Spanish gallions arrived, chinese junks sailing from the South China Sea came to Isla De Bigan through the Meztiso river, on board were sea-faring merchants that came to barter exotic goods from Asian Kingdoms in exchange for gold, beewax and other mountain products brought down by the natives from the cordilleras.

How Vigan got its name is told from an anecdote carried by the tongue of generation, which tells of a Spaniard walking on the banks of the Meztiso River, there, he met a native pf the place and stopped to inquire: “Como se llama usted de esta lugar?”

Not understanding a word in spanish, the native scratched his head and upon seeing the Spaniard was pointing to a plant, exclaimed in ilocano “bigaa apo”. Bigaa being Alcasia Marconiza, a giant taro plant belonging to the gabi family, which use to trive at the banks of the Meztiso River. From the name of the plant – Bingaa, hence Vigan derived its name.




Next on the list is, Puerto Princessa Subterrainian River National Park, which we visited recently. With a lot of other places to visit around Puerto Princessa, including a trip around Honda Bay, Firefly Watching near the Iwahig Penal Colony and lots of excellent restaurants to have your fill with some exotic food like crocodile meat and “Tamilok” or woodworm, which the locals eat.

Puerto Princessa Subterrainian River is one of the most distinguished protected areas of the Philippines, located some 360 miles (580 Km) southwest of Manila. It was established as National Park in 1971 primarily to protect and preserve the intact old forest growth, interesting wildlife, pristine white sand beaches, unspoiled natural beauty and one of the most impressive cave systems in the world.

The Park features a spectactular limestone or Karst mountain landscape and an 8.2 kilometer long underground river that flows into the sea. The lower half of it is brackish and subject to ocean tides, and the associated tidal influences makes it the most unique natural phenomenon of its type to exist. The presence of 11 minerals, scientifically and aesthetically unique speleothems, and a 20 million year old serenia fossil embedded on the walls of the caves justifies the declaration of the underground river as one of The New 7 Wonders of Nature.

The Park contains a full mountain to sea ecosystem and protects forests that are important to biodiversity conservation, which are the most significant in Asia, and is noted for high levels of regional and local endemism. The site is habitat to numerous endangered, rare and endemic wildlife species. In the coastal area, mangroves, sea grass beds and coral reefs are found.








The Third on the list is The Rice Terraces of the Philippines, which is located in the cordillera region. Our trip here was with a group of volunteers who distributed pencils and notebooks to the school children in the far-flung areas of Ifugao. There are a lot of terraces sites here including the terraces of Batad, Mayaoyao and Bangaan Rice Terraces, which is included in the UNESCO world heritage list.

The Philippines Rice Terraces was carved into the mountain over a 2000-year period, by the ancestors of the indigenous “Ifugao” people. The Rice Terraces commonly referred to as the Eight Wonder of the World is located approximately 1500 meter above sea level and covers about 6,487 square kilometers of mountains. They are fed by an ancient irrigation system from the rain forest above the rice terraces. The system comprises of dams, sluices, channels and bamboo pipes, which are open or closed in co-operation with each owner and are built using hand tools only. The locals here still plant rice and vegetable but wet weather causes damage and the steps need constant repair.

The Rice Terrraces are stone-walls which can reach as high as 50 feet and are constructed along the contours of the mountain side. The Terraces are then backfilled and another wall is built at a slightly higher elevation, this process is commenced from the valley floor upward. The Terraces require an elevated water source to flood the fields during the growing season. They also dam the water dirung construction to aid in moving boulders and earth. The irrigation water is channeled long distances by stoned lined channels or bamboo aqueducts that traverses the sides of the mountains.

Tourists prefer other locations nearby than that of the Terraces of Banaue, which include, Batad Rice Terraces, Mayaoyao Rice Terraces, Hapag Rice Terraces and the Kiangan Rice Terraces.








The next four on the list, are the four (4) Baroque churches in the Philippines, the first of which were built by the Spaniards in the late 16th century. Their unique architectural style is a reinterpretation of European Baroque by Filipino craftsman, which I had written in my blog.

Here they are in detail:

San Agustine Church

Concealed behind the walled city of Intramuros, built by the Spaniards in 1570, is the church of San Agustin. This church is a significant monument to the Spanish colonization of the Philippines, being the first religious structure built in the island of Luzon, after the Spanish relocated from Cebu in the south.

Built within the administrative center of the Spanish government, San Agustin church enjoyed privileges not commonly dispensed to most colonial churches. It was built by the Spaniard Juan Macias in 1586 and was completed in 1606. Luciano Oliver later renovated it in 1854. The book Great Churches of the Philippines points out that the church was designed “according to the plans approved by the Royal Audencia of Mexico and by a Royal Cedula.”

Jesus Encinas, who wrote San Agustin Manila, states that the design of the church was derived from other churches that were built by the Augustinians in Mexico. Pedro Galende, OSA, in his book San Agustin Noble Stone Shrine, adds that the Augustinians “who came from Spain and those born in Mexico had a great opportunity to observe and study the South American monastic architecture which they later used in the Philippines. They took into consideration the quality of the local stone and the weather conditions which required them to sacrifice aesthetic requirement for durability.”

This practical and banal approach to aesthetics is evident on the church’s facade. It may have been the most sought and copied facade in the colonial period, but its static appearance and dark adobe stone lack grace and charm. Even the Augustinians themselves were not too kind with the church’s displeasing appearance. In another book, Angels in Stone, Galende recalls the Augustinian historian, Agustin Ma. de Castro’s critical comment of the church’s facade: “It was of triangular form, very ugly and of a blackish color; flanked by two towers, one of which has no bells and does not serve for anything. Due to the frequent earthquakes in Manila, they (towers) have only one body, ugly and irregular, without elevation or gracefulness.”

Sedate and direct to the point, the facade follows the style of High Renaissance. The symmetrical composition are prefixed by pairs of Tuscan columns that flank the main door of the two-tiered facade. The vertical movement of the paired columns is adapted at the second level by equally paired Corinthian columns. At the second level, mass and void alternate in a simple rhythm of solid walls and windows. The two levels, are emphasized by horizontal cornices, are then capped by a pediment that is accentuated with a simple rose window. The facade’s hard composition are held together by two towers; unfortunately, the missing left belfry further exaggerates the lackluster facade. It was taken down after a destructive earthquake hit the church in 1863 and 1880, splitting the tower in two.

The facade has a touch of Baroque by the ornately carved wooden doors that depict floras and religious images. Baroque is also evident in the carved niches that quietly reside between the paired lower columns. The church is bequeathed with Chinese elements in the form of fu dogs that emphatically guard the courtyard entrances.







Santa Maria Church (Nuestra Señora dela Asuncion Church)

Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion: Municipality of Santa Maria, Province of Ilocos Sur Built in 1765 under the direction of the Agustinian order, the ensemble resembles a citadel sited on the crest of a solitary hill rising above one side of the Santa Maria town plaza. The architectural ensemble presents its side and detached pagoda-like bell tower rather than its façade to the town. Thick contrafuetes (buttresses) are attached to the walls, reinforcing the structure against earthquake damage. The bell tower is constructed a distance away, protecting the main church structure from possible earthquake damage. Approached on foot by ascending a long, wide flight of Piedra china, steps that rising from the edge of the town plaza, the small, cramped plaza at the top of the steps is bounded by the church façade that faces the convento, enclosed by an arcaded bridge that connects both structures.








Paoay Church (San Agustin Church)

The best-known earthquake Baroque church in the Philippines is Paoay Church, which has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. The cornerstone of the church, was laid by the Augustinian Missionaries in 1704, while the cornerstone of the belfry was laid in 1793. The people already used it even before completion in 1894,but it was formally inaugurated on February 28,1896. It is said that large coral stones were used for the lower level of the church structure, and bricks were used for the upper levels. The walls, which were made of coral blocks, tree sap, lumber and stucco-plastered bricks are 1.67 meters (more than 3 feet) thick, and are supported by 24 massive buttresses of intricate design. The church was partially destroyed twice by earthquakes in 1706 and 1927.In the restoration, permanent columns were built to support the ceiling. Today, this uniquely beautiful church still stands, wowing tourists with its majestic structure of Oriental, Gothic and Baroque influences.
The belfry stands a few meters from the church. As in other belfries of Ilocos churches, Katipuneros used the belfry as watch point in the 1896 revolution, and guerrillas of World War II also used it to check out coming enemies.






Miag-ao Church (Sto. Thomas de Villanueva Church)

The town’s first church building was constructed in Ubos by Nicolas Pangkug, the first capitan of the town. The church was completed three years before the first Spanish priest came in 1734, but this was burned by the Muslim pirates in 1741. Miag-ao was officially created as a parroquia on May 15, 1734.
The second church was constructed under the leadership of Parish Priest Fray Fernando Camporedondo (1746-1747). This church was also burned and looted by the pirates. The raids discouraged the people from building another church. But they needed one not only as a house of worship but also as a stronghold against pirate attacks. So they decided to build a third church in Tacas where the townsfolk have a commanding view of the mouth of the Miag-ao river, the usual route followed by the pirates in entering the town. This church still stands after defying elements and catastrophes for two centuries.
Construction of the present Miag-ao Church was started on a Saturday, the town’s market day, in December 1786, half a century after the founding of the Miag-ao parish. The parish priest at the time was Fray Francisco Maximo Gonzales and the town head was Capitan Domingo Libo-on. When it was finished in 1797, Fray Gonzales was still parish priest and Tomas Paguntalan was the town capitan.
The blocks of stones used in the construction of the church were quarried at Sitio Tubog in nearby San Joaquin town and in the mountains of the town of Igbaras. Work was supervised by a certain Matias, a fore-man from Igbaras, who later on was replaced by a certain Aquino from Alimodian, Iloilo, when the former was called to direct the church construction in his own town.
In baroque-romanesque style, the church sinks six (6) meters deep into the ground with walls, one-and-a-half (1 1/2) meters thick and buttresses thrice thicker in size. A truly ‘Philippine Church’, it exudes a native touch. Its artistic facade is decorated with a relief sculpture of St. Christopher carrying the Christ child amidst coconut, papaya and guava shrubs. A large stone image of St. Thomas of Villanova, parish patron saint, dominates the center. Carved life-size statues of the Pope and St. Henry with their coat-of-arms above them flank the main entrance. Supporting the facade are the twin belfries, one towering two-story and the other three-story high.
When finished in 1797, the left tower was lower than the right. In 1830, thirty-three (33) years after it was finished, an additional structure was added to the left belfry to make them equal in height. Fray Francisco Reyes was then the parish priest and Capitan Bernabe Paguntalan was the towns-head.
Now 206 years old, Miag-ao Church is one of the few remaining old churches in the country. The earthquake of January 24, 1948, the strongest ever to hit Panay, toppled the bell tower of Jaro and the old church of Oton as well as many other Spanish-built churches in the island, but not the Miag-ao Church. Only a small portion of its concrete beam gave way sending some stoneblocks loosened by heavy tremors.
While Miag-ao Church stood the test of time and calamities, it did not somehow escape the trauma of two wars. It was burned during the revolution against Spain in 1898 and during the Japanese occupation from 1942 to 1944.
When liberation came in 1945, the people of Miag-ao undertook the herculean task of reconstructing the church. Led by then Reverend Father now Msgr. Wenceslao Enojo, parish priest, contributions came readily and it was not long after that the church was put back in shape.
When Msgr.Fernando Javillo took over as parish priest in August 1959, he not only continued the rehabilitation work but also expanded the repairs and renovations. Msgr. Javillo renovated and restored the church facade and the twin towers that were left untouched for more than one century and a half.








And the last on the list which we are hoping to visit in the near future would be the Tubbataha Reefs, hope to see this pristine place before it is lost. More detail on this part when we have visited it and will be posting photos for sure.

All photos are owned and copyrighted by Joey Rico (also known under these names: alien_scream).
All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use, copy, editing, reproduction, publication, duplication and distribution of the digital photos, without his explicit permission, is punishable by law

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.

Fortune Island Trip
April 26-27, 2014


One of the places to visit in my bucket list is to see the ruins in Athens, Greece, and the next best thing near to it is to visit Fortune Island, part of Nasugbu, Batangas. A friend of ours suggested we try to visit this place long before, and this chance came and learned that we would be visiting the place in a weeks time. We prepared for this trip like our other trip, searching the net on how to get there and what to expect. Packing a tent with bedroll and minimal change of cloths plus other provisions including 3 water bottles, since there would be no source of drinking water in the island.

Fortune Island is a resort island in Batangas Province in the Philippines. The island was long owned by Jose Antonio Leviste, a former governor of Batangas Province Leviste opened the Fortune Island Resort Club on the island in 1995. The beach resort was built along a 20-metre (66-foot) stretch of pristine white sand. Several rest houses facing the water. The resort features a salt-water swimming pool, clubhouse, cabana, basketball court, helipad, desalinator for freshwater consumption, and a small serpentarium a reptile zoo for snakes. The beach also has an acropolis with Grecian pillars and statues on the edge of the island overlooking the sea. There is also a museum dedicated to the San Diego, a Spanish warship that sank off the island (see below).
This island has since been parceled out into seven lots reportedly titled in the names of three companies: Fortune Resort Club, Inc., Meridian Pacific Hotel Corp., and Batangas Bay Development, Inc. Leviste holds either majority stocks or has interests in these companies.
Some government officials believe that Leviste’s ownership of Fortune Island underwent “scheming procedures” to acquire both judicial and administrative titles. These officials believe that these titles should never have been granted for two reasons, firstly, the island is classified as a marine reserve under Proclamation 1801, issued in 1978 by President Ferdinand Marcos and, secondly, Section 16 of Presidential Decree 705 (the Revised Forestry Code), which provides that “areas less than 250 hectares which are far from, or are not contiguous with, any certified alienable and disposable land” are “areas needed for forest purposes and may not, therefore, be classified as alienable and disposable land.” Some government officials further contend that subdividing Fortune Island into lots was a “ploy” to skirt environmental and other pertinent laws.

It was near this island (approximately 900 meters (3,000 feet) northwest of the island) that the galleon San Diego was sunk on December 14, 1600 by the Dutch warship Mauritius under the command of Admiral Oliver Van Noort. The shipwreck was discovered in 1992 by French underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio.

This island has also been the site of modern shipwrecks. On December 13, 1995, the MV Kimelody Cristy, a passenger ferry owned and operated by Moreta Shipping Lines Incorporated, caught fire and sank off Fortune Island as it was on its way to Mindoro, leaving 17 people dead and 16 people missing. On September 18, 1998, the MV Princess of the Orient, a passenger ferry owned by Sulpicio Lines, sailed during a typhoon on its way to Cebu City from Manila and sank off Fortune Island, resulting in the deaths of 70 people.

Meet-up time would be at 0400hrs, and like most travelers, would be the meet-up place early, arriving at the place and bought ice for the cooler and then waited for others who would be joining the trip, packing all our things in the van and by 0530hrs we were on our way to Nasugbu, passing through Kaybiang Tunnel at Mt. Palay-palay. We arrived in Nasugbu around 0730hrs, and headed for Jollibee to meet up with chris, who is our contact for our trip to the island and eat breakfast. After eating breakfast and buying provisions, including lots of water, we headed to the Public Market and bought fish and meat that we would be cooking in the island, parking the van at a resort and then we boarded the banka, leaving the shores of Nasugbu at around 0830hrs. While traveling in the banka, seeing big ships passing through, I was surprised when the operator of the banka slowed down almost to a halt, then I realized why when a strong wave created by the passing ship hit the banka, which I did not see and I was sitting in front of the banka. Now every time a big ship pass, I could see the waves and know when it would hit the banka.

Arriving at Fortune Island at around 0930hrs, and was greeted by Loret, where he showed us where our spot would be and unloaded our things and made camp, there were also another group which arrived earlier than us and shared the place. We then started cooking for our lunch and we grilled the meat we bought in the market earlier. Eating lunch at around 1130hrs, and rested after where in we could feel the heat of the noon sun bearing down.






By 1500hrs, others were already swimming in the beach while I walked around and tried to discover the place, which was still hot at this time of the day so it did not take long before I headed back to camp, where our model to be is having her make-up done, and by 1600hrs, we were shooting for a pre-nup and others.












I really wanted to shoot the sun setting but the place where the statue was did not permit me to compose a good shot of the sunset but I did the best that I could do and transferred to other locations. We started cooking for dinner at around 1900hrs bringing our headlamps out for lights, and we were grilling a big slab of steak (which I did not have the chance to take a photo of). Eating dinner was literally eating meat with our bare hands. After a bit of rest, we then started drinking with sisig as pulutan, by 2300hrs it was rest time for most of us. Entering the tent was like entering an oven because it was hot and humid, I was sweating laying down till I fell asleep and hearing footsteps all night walking all over the place, learning the next day that it was just Loret checking.













My alarm went off at 0500hrs, and got my camera and headed up to the ruins to shoot the sunrise, taking a lot of photos till the sun was high above and headed back to camp where we started cooking by 0600hrs, we broke camp at around 0700hrs and I packed all my things and placed in one place to be picked up later where we ride the banka. While the other have gone swimming, I had a chat with chris, where he told me a story about a foreigner who was a girl dared him to jump with her from the lion statue down to the water, but the girl would jump first, and then she jumped chris could do nothing but to jump also.







Leaving the island past 1000hrs and arriving in the shores of Nasugbu an hour later, where we showered off and then packed our things in the van then headed for Chowking to have our lunch 1230hrs, and by 1300 hrs we were traveling back to Manila.




This trip was something different for me because, first my travel buddy, Carol, did not go on this trip with us. Second, this would be the first time to travel with this group of friends and they are inviting me to join them on another adventure in the island of Tingloy, which I would be looking forward to.

Till the next adventure, Happy Trails.

Thanks to my companions on this trip:

Mike Trinidad
Ron Alban
Alvin Javier
Richard Miling & Ianne Clemente-Milling
Gerly Casinto
Ria Robles & Rex Bautista

Our Contact

Chris – 09087225628

Thanks also the Loret – lone caretaker of Fortune Island

All photos are owned and copyrighted by Joey Rico (also known under these names: alien_scream).
All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use, copy, editing, reproduction, publication, duplication and distribution of the digital photos, without his explicit permission, is punishable by law

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.

Lets start the summer with a Pool Party with DJ Arra Pascual



Image  —  Posted: April 3, 2014 in Blog, Events, Uncategorized
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