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The Basílica Menor de San Sebastián, better known as San Sebastian Church, is a Roman Catholic minor basilica in Manila, Philippines, Completed in 1891, San Sebastian Church is noted for its architectural features, it is the only all-steel temple in the Philippines, and is the only prefabricated steel church in the world.

The prefabricated steel sections that would compose the church were manufactured in Binche, Belgium. According to historian Ambeth Ocampo, the knockdown steel parts were ordered from the Societe anonyme des Enterprises de Travaux Publiques in Brussels. In all, 52 tonnes (51 long tons; 57 short tons) of prefabricated steel sections were transported in eight separate shipments from Belgium to the Philippines, the first shipment arriving in 1888. Belgian engineers supervised the assembly of the church, the first column of which was erected on September 11, 1890. The walls were filled with mixed sand, gravel, and cement. The stained glass windows were imported from the Heinrich Oidtmann Company, a German stained glass firm, while local artisans assisted in applying the finishing touches.

The church was raised to the status of a minor basilica by Pope Leo XIII on June 24, 1890. Upon its completion the following year, on August 16, 1891, the Basílica Menor de San Sebastián was consecrated by Bernardino Nozaleda y Villa OP, the 25th Archbishop of Manila.

According to Jesús Pastor Paloma, an Agustinian Recollect priest, the structure was also supposed to have a prefabricated retablo (reredos) altar, which was lost at sea when the ship carrying it from Belgium capsized in a storm; a wooden altar was made locally in its stead. Paloma also noted that the bottom part of the church was designed to resemble a ship’s hull, so that it would sway during an earthquake.

San Sebastian Church is one of the country’s last remaining churches that has preserved its original interiors; original parts of the church that can still be found today include its metal doors, wall ceilings, decorative paints, and glass windows.

Now this Majestic Steel Church is now badly needing repairs, a hundred years after being constructed, it is being destroyed by rust and corrosion, and if not taken cared of and repaired, it might topple down

With the help of San Sebastian Basilica Conservation and Development Foundation, Inc. they are rehabilitating the church back to its original state which would take time to do, to find out the root cause of the rust and corrosion then to fin ways to fix it and then to implement the repairs.

The Church which they say is constructed like an inverted ship with its hull on the roof looks amazing on different times of the day, even the lights inside the church when open gives it a yellowish hue but with natural lighting shows the green color of the original paint to give an impression that it is made of marble

With these significant elements, San Sebastian Church is indeed the Philippines’ treasure to behold. In general, the basilica remains its beauty and is still preserved. Apart from being a special architectural and historical interest, its splendor and warmth have placed it among the most beloved wedding churches in Manila.

San Sebastian Basilica Conservation and Development Foundation, Inc.

San Sebastian Church (Manila)









































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.



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.


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

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



2012 in review

Posted: January 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,600 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 9 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Mga Salamin at Bakal

Posted: August 24, 2012 in Blog, Uncategorized

Mga Salamin at Bakal


Ang Buhay ng tao ay parang Salamin at Bakal na mula sa bagay na nang gagaling sa lupa, ito ay hinuhubog para maging maganda, makinis at makinang sa mata natin. Tulad din ng tao, mula sa pag silang, tinuturuan at pinangangaralan tayo para makayanan at tugunan natin ang mga pag subok at pahirap sa buhay.

Ang kaibahan ng Salamin sa Bakal ay, ang Salamin ay marupok at maselan, konting banga o tama sa kanya ay nag kakaroon sya ng lamat o tuluyan na syang mabasag at maging piraso-piraso, na tulad sa tao na pag dumating na ang pagsubok ay nawawalan na sila ng pag asa at parang gusto na nilang tapusin ang kanilang buhay. Ang bakal naman ay matibay, kahit anong hampas mo sa kanya, sya lang ay nagkakaroon ng mga bungi o yupi, tulad sa tao na kahit anong pagsubok ang dumarating sa kanya kaya nyang tugunan at ihaon ang kanyang buhay.

Ngunit sa pag tagal ng Salamin at Bakal, sila ay nagiging luma, nawawalan ng kinang, kinakalawang at nilalagay nalang sa isang tabi na parang wala ng silbe at gamit, tulad din sa buhay natin na pag lumipas na ang mga taon tayo ay tumatanda at nagiging walang silbe sa lipunan.

Sana, gaya din ng mga Salamin at Bakal, and buhay ng tao ay pwedeng ulit tunawin at ihubog para magkaroon tayo ng bagong buhay.

Ano ka…
Salamin o Bakal?