Sinulog Festival

Posted on March 27, 2008

Ever since I was a kid, an occasion I look forward to every year, even more than I do Christmas or New Year, is the Sinulog Festival in Cebu City. The nine-day celebration, in honor of the Holy Child Jesus, culminates every third Sunday of January with a Grand Parade that meanders through the festooned city streets, with elaborately dressed dancers, magnificent floats and colorful ‘higantes’ (papiér-mache giants), all moving to the infectious rhythms of tribal dance and heralding “VivaRead More

Manila Ocean Park (Oceanarium)

Posted on March 16, 2008

The buzz-worthy upgrade to Manila’s tourist belt is the new Manila Ocean Park, the country’s first world-class oceanarium and the first in the world to include a boutique hotel, mall and open water habitat (all still under construction). This is probably the best thing that has happened to the city since the Planetarium. The oceanarium, situated in stark contrast above the unappealing waters of Manila Bay, opened last March 1. With an area of 8,000 square meters, the spacious park boastsRead More

Zamboanga City

Posted on March 16, 2008

Nestled on a southern peninsula of the Philippine archipelago is Asia’s Latin City, which boasts of a rich Hispanic heritage, evident in its local Creole tongue called Chavacano, a distinct mix of Spanish and FIlipino dialects. A symbol of Zamboanga City’s cultural heritage is Fort Pilar, a 17th century Spanish fortress built to protect the settlement from pirates and invaders. Today, this military bastion is an outdoor shrine and museum in honor of the patron Virgin of Spain, Our LadyRead More

Quiapo: Faith & Frenzy

Posted on March 11, 2008

If you can handle the nitty-gritty of Manila, holler your way through the rowdy streets of Quiapo–the labyrinthine downtown of the Philippine capital–where a plethora of goods are sold at most probably the best bargains in the metropolis. This includes, yes, photographic goodies like vintage cameras and film! R. Hidalgo Street (Map here) is considered to be the photographer’s Mecca, where, if you’re patient (or lucky) enough, you will stumble upon a true-blue lomographic camera (like a second-hand Lubitel 166B)Read More

Pawikan Festival (Morong, Bataan)

Posted on March 9, 2008

Let’s go to turtle town! Along the western coast of the historic peninsula of Bataan sits the sleepy town of Morong, where every late November local townsfolk celebrate marine turtle conservation with their annual Pawikan Festival. Its sandy shores are vital nesting grounds for the endangered Olive Ridley species, the smallest of the world’s eight sea turtle species. Interestingly, what was once a site of rampant poaching and illegal egg collecting has become a successful community of environmental advocates for theRead More

Argao Capilla: Forsaken and Found

Posted on March 6, 2008

Argao, my mother’s hometown, is one of the most charming towns in southern Cebu. Known for its baroque-rococo Church of St. Michael the Archangel that boasts of detailed ceiling frescoes and a grand retablo, all within the well-preserved colonial town plaza, we’ve frequented this place for years for quick vacations and to visit relatives, both living and dead. The town, established in 1608, is one of the oldest in Cebu. Along the eastern coast of the island, it is approximatelyRead More