Now You Know: SIQUIJOR’S 6 ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCHES

Siquijor is an island province1 of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas2 Region (Region3 VII)4. It has 6 municipalities5: Enrique Villanueva, Larena, Lazi, Maria, San Juan, and Siquijor (the capital, and yes, it has the same name as the province). See related posts: (I will place links here)

The province1 has a long-time reputation as a place of magic, sorcery, and mystical traditions, way before the Spaniards arrived in the Philippines. The island then was the home of the Kingdom of Katugasan (from the word tugas, or Molave trees, that cover the hills, found all over the island). The people lived in caves, traded with the Chinese, and developed the art of traditional healing and witchcraft belief systems. Datu Kihod was their last reigning monarch, sometime during the 16th century. It is also well known for its festivals that focus on healing rituals.

In 1565, this island was discovered by Esteban Rodriguez and Juan Aguirre of the Legaspi6 expedition. Founded in 1783 under the administration of secular clergymen, Siquijor became the first municipality5 as well as the first parish to be established on the island. Siquijor was, from the beginning, administered by the Diocese of Cebu7. That is how the local people started to become Roman Catholics.

The first Augustinian Recollect8 priests arrived in Siquijor in 1794. Several years later, a priest of the same order founded the parishes of Larena (initially called Canoan), Lazi (formerly Tigbawan), San Juan (Makapilay), and Maria (Cang‑meniao). With the exception of Enrique Villanueva, the other five municipalities5 were established as parishes in 1877. No wonder the province has some of the oldest churches in the Philippines. To-date, ninety-five percent of the island’s residents are Roman Catholic.

This province1 showcases the unique culture of blending Catholicism with traditional religious practices – a major part of its people’s cultural heritage, identity and character. Siquijor is a mystical island and it also has 6 Roman Catholic churches9: Let us know more about these centuries-old churches:

1.Our Lady of Divine Providence10 Church (Santa Maria Church) – This is the parish church11 of the town of Maria, established in 1887, known for its famous replica of Santa Rita de Cascia12, or the Black Maria, as the locals call it.

Santa_Maria_Church-Maria-SiquijorSource: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Santa_Maria_Church_(Maria,_Siquijor).jpg – Franz Miko Verzon – own work

2. Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church (Mount Carmel Church) – This is the parish church11 of the town of Enrique Villanueva, along the island’s Circumferential Road, in honor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel13.

Mount_Carmel_Church-Enrique-Villanueva-SiquijorSource: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mount_Carmel_Church_01.JPG – Lawrence Ruiz – own work

3. St. Augustine Parish (Macapilay Church) – This is the parish church11 of the town of San Juan, built in 1863, in honor of St. Augustine of Hippo14.

San_Agustin_Parish_Church-San Juan-SiquijorSource: https://commons.wikimeida.org/wiki/File:San_Agustin_Parish_Church.jpg – Franz Miko Verzon – own work

4. St. Francis of Assisi Church (Siquijor Church) – This is the parish church11 of the town of Siquijor, located very near the port, and established under the patronage of St. Francis de Assisi15 on February 1, 1783. A Philippine historical marker16 was issued on May 19, 1984.

St._Francis_of_Assisi_Church-Siquijor-SiquijorSource: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/St._Francis_of_Assisi_Church_(Siquijor,_Siquijor) – Franz Miko Verzon – own work

5. St. Isidore the Farmer17 Church (Lazi Church), or San Isidro Labrador Parish Church – This is the parish church11 of the town of Lazi, founded in 1857 by the Recollects8, and declared a National Historical Landmark18 by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines19 in 1984, and a National Cultural Treasure20 by the National Museum of the Philippines21 in 2001. It was also nominated to be part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites22 Tentative List since 2006, under the collective group of Baroque23 Churches of the Philippines (Extension). See my post: (I will place a link here). It also has one of the largest convents in the Philippines, located at the opposite side of the street, facing the church. A Philippine historical marker16 was issued on May 19, 1984.

Lazi_Church-SiquijorSource: https://commons.wikimedia/wiki/File:Lazi_Church_01.JPG – Lawrence Ruiz – own work

6. Saint Vincent Ferrer Church (Larena Church) – This is the parish church11 of the town of Larena, erected on June 14, 1836, with the advocacy of San Vicente Ferrer24.

St._Vincent_Ferrer_Church_in_Larena-SiquijorSource: https://commons.wikimedia/wiki/File:St._Vincent_Ferrer_Church_in_Larena.JPG

The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Siquijor”25, “List of Historical Markers of the Philippines in Central Visayas”26 and “List of Cultural Properties of the Philippines in Central Visayas”27

You can read related posts about my Siquijor tour: SAN ISIDRO LABRADOR PARISH CHURCH AND CONVENT, SIQUIJOR, PALITON BEACH: THE LITTLE BORACAY OF SIQUIJOR, GET BEWITCHED AT HAPITANAN, SIQUIJOR, Now You Know – SIQUIJOR: ITS LEGEND, HISTORY, TRADITIONS, AND BELIEFS, ENCHANTING 400-YEAR-OLD BALETE TREE AND FISH SPA, SIQUIJOR, TAKE A TARZAN-LIKE DIVE AT CAMBUGAHAY FALLS, SIQUIJOR!, and SERENE AND SPONTANEOUS SALAGDOONG BEACH, SIQUIJOR.

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1A province is the primary administrative and political division in the Philippines. It is the second-level administrative sub-division of a region3. There are 81 provinces (called “lalawigan”) in the Philippines. Each province is governed by an elected legislature called the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and by an elected governor. Remember, a province in the Philippines is divided into cities28 and municipalities5 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays29, formerly called barrios. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Provinces of the Philippines.”30 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE PROVINCES IN THE PHILIPPINES?

2Visayas is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It covers 3 administrative regions3: Central Visayas4, Eastern Visayas and Western Visayas. It consists of 6 major islands (Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Negros, Panay and Samar), mostly surrounded by the Visayan Sea, and is composed of 16 provinces1, according to Wikipedia page “Visayas”.31 Visayas is located at the middle part of the country; the 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines are Luzon (in the northern part) and Mindanao (in the southern part).

3A region is the first-order administrative division in the Philippines. There are 17 regions in the Philippines, based on geographical, cultural and ethnological characteristics. It is further subdivided in provinces1, composed of cities28 and municipalities5 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays29. The regions were initially identified in 1972, through Presidential Decree No. 1 of President Ferdinand Marcos. Since then, other regions have been created and some provinces have been “transferred” to another region. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”32 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE THE REGIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES?

4Central Visayas (Region VII) of the Philippines is a Philippine region3 located in the island group of Visayas2, with Cebu City as its regional center. It has 7 local government units33 (LGUs): Bohol, Cebu, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”32

5A municipality is a small, single urban administrative division, or local government unit (LGU)33, in the Philippines which has corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by law. It is a unit under a province1, subdivided into barangays29, and is called town, or bayan. In the Philippines, a municipality is headed by a mayor, a vice mayor and members of the Sangguniang Bayan (legislative branch). It can enact local policies and laws, enforce them, and govern its jurisdictions. It can enter into contracts and other transactions through its elected and appointed officials, and can tax as well. It enforces all local and national laws. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Municipalities of the Philippines.”34

6Miguel Lopez de Legazpi (1502-August 20, 1572), also known as El Adelantado and El Viejo (The Elder), was a Spanish navigator and governor who established the first Spanish settlement in the East Indies when his expedition crossed the Pacific Ocean, from the Viceroyalty of New Spain, in modern-day Mexico, and arrived in Cebu, in the Philippines. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Miguel Lopez de Legazpi.”35

7The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cebu is a Roman Rite36 archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines, and one of the ecclesiastical provinces of the Roman Catholic Church in the country. It is composed of the entire civil province of Cebu. It is the Mother Church of the Philippines, established as a diocese on August 14, 1595, and as an archdiocese on April 28, 1934. The jurisdiction, Cebu, is considered as the fount of Christianity in the Far East. The seat of the archdiocese is the Metropolitan Cathedral and Parish of Saint Vitalis and of the Immaculate Conception, more commonly known as the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cebu.”37

8The Recollects were a French reform branch of the Order of Friars Minor created at the end of the 15th century, commonly known today as the Franciscans, best known for their presence as missionaries in various parts of the world. They wore gray habits and pointed hoods, took vows of poverty, and devoted their lives to prayer, penance, and spiritual reflection. In 1897, Pope Leo XIII officially dissolved the Recollects order and integrated it as a part of the Franciscan order, officially changing their name to Friars Minor. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Recollects”.38

9https://www.tripzilla.ph/siquijor-visita-iglesia-guide/102

10Our Lady of Divine Providence is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus, often traced to Her intervention and foresight for Jesus’ first miracle, turning water to wine at the wedding in Cana, to avoid an embarrassing situation for the newlywed couple. She is identified as Queen of the Home, with Her feast day celebrated on November 19, and devotion to Her originated in Italy. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Our Lady of Divine Providence”.39

11A parish church, or parochial church, in Christianity, is the church which acts as the religious center of a parish in many parts of the world. The parish church, especially in rural areas, may play a significant role in community activities, often allowing its premises to be used for non-religious community events. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Parish church”.40

12Saint Rita of Cascia, born Margherita Lotti (1381 – 22 May 1457), was an Italian widow and Augustinian nun venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. She joined the Augustinian community of religious sisters after her abusive husband was murdered. There, she was known for the efficacy of her prayers, often portrayed with a bleeding wound on her forehead, understood to indicate a partial stigmata, with various miracles attributed to her intercession. She was canonized on May 24, 1900 by Pope Leo XIII, and her feast day is celebrated on May 22. She was bestowed the title of Patroness of Impossible Causes, and also came to be known as the patroness of abused wives and heartbroken women. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Saint Rita of Cascia”.41

13Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Her role as Patroness of the Carmelite Order since the first Christian hermits lived on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land during the late 12th and early to mid-13th century. Readers, you can pray to Her for protection from harmful and dangerous situations, and deliverance of souls from Purgatory. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Our Lady of Mount Carmel”.42

14Saint Augustine of Hippo (13 November 354 – 23 August 430) was a Roman African, early Christian theologian and philosopher from Numidia (a Roman province on the North African coast), whose writings influenced the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy. He was Bishop of Hippo Regius (the ancient name of the modern city of Annaba, in Algeria) in North Africa and is viewed as one of the most important Church fathers in Western Christianity for his writings. He is the Patron of Augustinians, and is the Patron Saint for brewers, printers, theologians, and the alleviation of sore eyes. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Saint Augustine of Hippo”.43

15Saint Francis of Assisi (1181/1182 – 3 October 1226), informally called Francesco, was an Italian Catholic friar, deacon and preacher. He founded the men’s Order of Friars Minor, the women’s Order of Saint Claire, the Third Order of Saint Francis, and the Custody of the Holy Land. He was canonized on July 16, 1228, and designated as the Patron Saint of Italy, and later became associated with the patronage of animals and the natural environment. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Saint Francis of Assisi”.44

16A historical marker, commemorative plaque, historical plaque, or simply plaque, is a plate of metal, ceramic, stone, wood, or other material, typically attached to a wall, stone, or other vertical surface, and bearing  text or an image in relief, or both, to commemorate one or more persons, an event, a former use of the place, or some other thing. Many modern plaques are used to associate the location where the plaque is installed with the person, event, or item commemorated as a place worthy of visit. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Commemorative plaque”.45

17Saint Isidore the Farm Laborer, or Isidore the Farmer (c. 1070 – 15 May 1130/1142) was a Spanish farm worker known for his piety towards the poor and animals. His feast day is celebrated on May 15, and is the Patron Saint of farmers, agriculture and day laborers. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Saint Isidore the Farm Laborer”.46

18A National Historical Landmark of the Philippines is a place or an object that is associated with an event, achievement, characteristics or modification that presents a turning point or stage in history. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Category: National Historical Landmarks of the Philippines”.47

19The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) is a government agency of the Philippines which promotes Philippine history and cultural heritage through research, dissemination, conservation, sites management, and heraldry works, thereby inculcating awareness and appreciation of the noble deeds and ideals of our heroes and other illustrious Filipinos, instilling pride in the Filipino people, and rekindling the Filipino spirit through the lessons of history. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Historical Commission of the Philippines”.48

20A National Cultural Treasure (NCT) of the Philippines is a tangible (movable and immovable) or intangible heritage property declared by the National Commission for Culture and Arts49 and other cultural agencies such as the National Museum of the Philippines21, National Library of the Philippines50, and National Archives of the Philippines51. Such declarations are authorized under the National Cultural Heritage Act of 200952 and recognized within the Cultural Properties of the Philippines53 by the Philippine government. The title of NCT is the highest designation given to a “unique cultural property found locally, possessing outstanding historical, cultural, artistic and/or scientific value which is highly significant and important to the country and nation”.54 The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Cultural Treasure”.55

21The National Museum of the Philippines is a government institution in the Philippines which serves as the educational, scientific and cultural institution in preserving the various permanent national collections featuring the ethnographic, anthropological, archaeological and visual artistry of the Philippines. It was formed on October 29, 1901, with headquarters in Padre Burgos Avenue, in Rizal Park, Ermita, Manila. Since 1998, it has been the regulatory and enforcement agency of the national government in restoring and safeguarding important cultural properties, sites and reservations throughout the Philippines. It is under the Department of Education and the National Commission for Culture and Arts49. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Museum of the Philippines”.56 Visit its website: www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph

22A UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS) is a unique landmark, or geographically and historically identifiable place which is selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as having cultural, historical, scientific, physical or other form of significance, and is legally protected by international treaties. Sites are demarcated by UNESCO as protected zones. The list is maintained by the International World Heritage Program administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 state parties which are elected by the General Assembly. Under certain conditions, listed sites can obtain funds from the World Heritage Fund. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “World Heritage Site”.57

23Baroque architecture began in Rome, Italy, in the late 16th century, which conveys grandeur and drama, most often used in palaces and churches. It includes curving forms, oval shapes, and a combination of concave and convex forms that make walls seem to undulate, or appear wavy, with a strong sense of motion. It groups things together like columns and decorative flourishes on building surfaces. Architectural elements are repeated across a surface. It uses distortion to make figures elongated, broken, or manipulated in some manner to make them stand out. Buildings have columns, sometimes topped with capitals and large volutes, scroll, or spiral forms. Sculptural wall elements will often project from the surface which is full of forms to increase the interplay of light and shadow across them. Inside, Baroque structures will often have ceilings painted in bright colors, made to fool one’s eye into believing one is looking at the sky. Buildings also have very rich surface treatments, including interiors with stucco58, various colored marbles, and gold gilt or thin sheets of gold applied to surfaces. Most Baroque churches have vaulted ceilings, supported by a series of interconnected arches.59

24Saint Vincent Ferrer (23 January 1350 – 5 April 1419) was a Valencian Dominican friar who gained acclaim as a missionary and logician. He is the Patron Saint of builders, prisoners, construction workers, plumbers, fishermen, and Spanish orphanages. He is honored as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church and other churches of Catholic traditions, like the Iglesia Filipina Independiente. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Vincent Ferrer”.60

25“Siquijor,” accessed March 8, 2019, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siquijor

26“List of historical markers of the Philippines in Central Visayas”, accessed March 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_historical_markers_of_the_Philippines_in_Central_Visayas

27“List of Cultural Properties of the Philippines in Central Visayas”, accessed March 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Cultural_Properties_of_the_Philippines_in_Central_Visayas

28A city is the local government unit33 in the Philippines headed by a mayor elected by popular vote. A vice mayor serves as the presiding officer of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (city council), which acts as the city’s legislative body. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines.”61

29A barangay in the Philippines is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines, headed by a barangay captain, aided by a Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Council). It is the native Filipino term for a district or village. It was formerly called a barrio. In a metropolitan area, a barangay is an inner city neighborhood, a suburb, or a suburban neighborhood. The word barangay originated from the term “balangay”, a kind of boat used by a group of Austronesian people who migrated to the Philippines. A number of barangays grouped together is called a district. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Barangay.”62

30“Provinces of the Philippines,” accessed July 17, 2018,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provinces_of_the_Philippines

31“Visayas,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visayas

32“Regions of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regions_of_the_Philippines

33A local government unit (LGU) in the Philippines is divided into 3 levels: provinces1 and independent cities63; component cities64 and municipalities5; and, barangays29, according to Wikipedia page “Local government in the Philippines”.65

34“Municipalities of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Municipalities_of_the_Philippines

35“Miguel Lopez de Legazpi,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miguel_Lopez_de_Legazpi

36The Roman rite is the most widespread liturgical rite in the Catholic Church as well as the most popular and widespread Rite in all of Christendom. It has been adapted over the centuries and the history of its Eucharistic liturgy can be divided into 3 stages: the Pre-Tridentine Mass, Tridentine Mass, and the Mass of Paul VI (the current form of the Mass in the Catholic Church). The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Roman rite.”66

37“Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cebu,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholic_Archdiocese_of_Cebu

38“Recollects,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recollects

39“Our Lady of Divine Providence,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Divine_Providence

40“Parish church,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parish_church

41“Saint Rita of Cascia,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Rita_of_Cascia

42“Our Lady of Mount Carmel,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Mount_Carmel

43“Saint Augustine of Hippo,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Augustine_of_Hippo

44“Saint Francis of Assisi,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Francis_of_Assisi

45“Commemorative plaque,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commemorative_plaque

46“Saint Isidore the Farm Laborer,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Isidore_the_Farm_Laborer

47“Category: National Historical Landmarks of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:_National_Historical_Landmarks_of_the_Philippines

48“National Historical Commission of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Historical_Commission_of_the_Philippines

49“National Commission for Culture and Arts,” accessed October 16, 2018,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Commission_for_Culture_and_Arts

50“National Library of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Library_of_the_Philippines

51“National Archives of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Archives_of_the_Philippines

52“National Cultural Heritage Act,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Cultural_Heritage_Act

53“Cultural properties of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_properties_of_the_Philippines

54www.primer.com.ph

55“National Cultural Treasure,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Cultural_Treasure

56“National Museum of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Museum_of_the_Philippines

57“World Heritage Site,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Heritage_Site

58Stucco refers to the cement-based and fine plaster used for coating wall surfaces or molding into architectural decorations. It hardens into a highly durable material that requires little maintenance and can be used to obtain different textures and finishes.67

59https://study.com/academy/lesson/italian-baroque-architecture-characteristics-examples.html

60“Vincent Ferrer,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_Ferrer

61“Cities of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cities_of_the_Philippines

62“Barangay,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barangay

63An independent city is a type of city28 in the Philippines which is administratively and legally not subject to a province1 so it does not share its tax revenues with any province. The national government and its agencies serve such a city through sub-offices of the region3 it belongs to. It is subdivided into 2: highly urbanized city68 or independent component city69. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”61

64A component city is a type of city28 in the Philippines which does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city68. It is under the jurisdiction of a province1. If such a city is located along the boundaries of 2 or more provinces, it shall be considered part of the province of which it used to be a municipality5. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”61

65“Local government in the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_government_in_the_Philippines

66“Roman rite,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_rite

67https://www.thebalancesmb.com/choose-right-stucco-mix-844655

68A highly urbanized city (HUC) is a type of city28 in the Philippines with a minimum population of 200,000 as certified by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and with the latest annual income of at least 50 million pesos, according to Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”.61 There are currently 33 such cities in the Philippines (see link – Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?).

69An independent component city (ICC) is a type of city28 in the Philippines which is autonomous from the province1 in which it is geographically located and has a charter that explicitly prohibits its residents to vote for provincial officials (unless allowed to do so). It does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city68. There are 5 such cities in the country: Cotabato, Dagupan, Naga, Ormoc, and Santiago. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”61

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now You Know: THE SIX MUNICIPALITIES OF SIQUIJOR

Siquijor is an island province1 of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas2 Region (Region3 VII)4, Philippines. Geographically, Cebu is to the north, Negros to the west, Bohol to the northeast, Camiguin to the east, and to the south, across the Bohol Sea, is Mindanao. The people are called Siquijodnons. See a related post: ____________________________

Ph_map_siquijorSource: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siquijor#/media/File:Ph_map_siquijor.png

This province has 6 municipalities5: Enrique Villanueva, Larena, Lazi, Maria, San Juan, and Siquijor (the capital, and yes, it is also called Siquijor).  Let Tita S briefly tell you about each of them:

ENRIQUE VILLANUEVA

 Enrique Villanueva is a coastal municipality5 in the northeastern part of Siquijor, in the Central Visayas4. It was adorned with mangroves when we passed along the Circumferential Road. The town of Larena is located to the west and Maria to the south.

Ph_locator_siquijor_enrique_villanuevaSource: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Maps_of_Siquijor#/media/File:Ph_locator_siquijor_enrique_villanueva.png – Mike Gonzalez (TheCafe) – English Wikipedia

It was formerly a barangay6 of Larena, and was called Talingting, after the local term for the abundant fish caught there, called Talingtingon.

It has with 14 barangays6 and a land area of 28.6 square kilometers, making it the smallest municipality5 of the province1 both in terms of size, and of population. The municipality of Maria is located to its south.

This municipality5 was named after a former governor of the province1 of Negros Oriental, Enrique Cayetano Teves Villanueva, who served during the era of the American Occupation of the Philippines, (i.e., his term of office was from 1916 to 1925, when Siquijor was still part of the said province), and was responsible for upgrading it as a municipality, according to Wikipedia page “Governor of Negros Oriental”.7

Enrique Villanueva is known for the following destinations: Tulapos Marine Sanctuary – go snorkeling or diving in this 14-hectare marine sanctuary, established in 1986, complete with white sand beach, coral reefs and mangroves; Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish Church; the Bitaug, Isa, Napayong and Olave Caves – go spelunking in these caves; and, Cang-Isok House – the oldest surviving house in Siquijor province.

You can also have a snack at Lilibeth’s Pan de Bisaya, a simple roadside bakery at Barangay6 Bino-Ongan, and try its signature Pan de Bisaya, a bun filled with bukayo (sweetened grated coconut), best enjoyed with hot coffee. You can also try their other products: bibingka (rice cake), ensaymada (sweet, spiral-shaped pastry), salbaro (coconut-flavored biscuit), and other baked items. Contact 0926-2019485.

LARENA

Ph_locator_siquijor_larenaSource: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Maps_of_Siquijor#/media/File:Ph_locator_siquijor_larena.png – Mike Gonzalez (TheCafe) – English Wikipedia

Larena is a municipality5 of Siquijor with 23 barangays. It is located in the northwestern tip of the province. Enrique Villanueva is to the east, Siquijor is to the southwest, Maria is to the southeast, and Lazi is to the south. Formerly called Canoan, it was made the head town for the whole island of Siquijor during the Spanish period, and has since maintained this position as the hub of business activities in the province1, with its port, commercial banks, and other commercial establishments, according to the Wikipedia page “Larena”.8

Governor Demetrio Larena, the first Filipino governor of Negros Oriental and Siquijor (term: 1901-1905), changed the municipality’s name from Canoan to Larena, making it his namesake. This change was duly approved by the Philippine legislature, according to the Wikipedia page “Demetrio Larena”9 and “Larena”8.

When Siquijor became an independent province1 on September 17, 1971 by RA 6396, the municipality5 of Larena was chosen as its capital. A year after, the capital was transferred to Siquijor town, by Proclamation 1975.

You can visit the following destinations in Larena: the Siquijor Butterfly Sanctuary, Saint Vincent Ferrer Parish Church, Cangbangag Falls, Sandugan Beach and Siquijor State College. The Canoan Festival, held every last week of April, celebrates the humble beginnings of this municipality5.

LAZI8

Lazi, formerly called Tigbawan, is a coastal municipality5 in the island province1 of Siquijor, with 18 barangays6. It is located in the mid-southern part of the island, with the town of Larena to the north, Siquijor to the northwest, San Juan to the southwest, and Maria to the east. This town was founded in 1857.

Ph_locator_siquijor_laziSource: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Maps_of_Siquijor#/media/File:Ph_locator_siquijor_lazi.png – Mike Gonzalez (TheCafe) – English Wikipedia

It is known for the following attractions: the 400-year-old enchanting balete tree with fish spa (see related post: ENCHANTING 400-YEAR-OLD BALETE TREE AND FISH SPA, SIQUIJOR), Baeran Cave, Banahaw Cave, Cabangcalan Cave, Cadamel Cave, Cambugahay Falls (see a related post: TAKE A TARZAN-LIKE DIVE AT CAMBUGAHAY FALLS, SIQUIJOR!), Cantino Cave, Catiray Cave, Catugasan Cave, Dalili Cave, Hapitanan (see a related post: GET BEWITCHED AT HAPITANAN, SIQUIJOR), Ilihan Cave with Antique Coffin, Kagusuan Beach, Kalumbuyan Cave, Kawasan Cave, Lahong Cave, Lazi Convent and Lazi Church or San Isidro Labrador Parish Church (see a related post: SAN ISIDRO LABRADOR PARISH CHURCH AND CONVENT, SIQUIJOR), Libo Cave, Sambolawan Cave, Tagmanocan Cave, Talayong Cave, and Talisay Cave.

The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Lazi, Siquijor”10, “Siquijor”11, and http://siquijor.islandsphilippines.com/siquijor_caves.php. Visit this site for more information: http://www.phtourguide.com/municipality-of-lazi-in-siquijor/

MARIA

 Maria, formerly called Cang-meniao, is an eastern and coastal municipality5 of the island province1 of Siquijor, with 22 barangays6. The town of Larena is to the northwest, Enrique Villanueva is to the northeast, and Lazi to the southwest.

Ph_locator_siquijor_mariaSource: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Maps_of_Siquijor#/media/File:Ph_locator_siquijor_maria.png – Mike Gonzalez (TheCafe) – English Wikipedia

This town is known for Bacong Beach, Kagusuan Beach, Kanglayawis Cave, Lapac Cave, Lugawan Cave, Mainit Cave, Marianico Cave, Olang Art Park, Our Lady of Divine Providence Parish Church, and Salagdoong Beach (see a related post: SERENE AND SPONTANEOUS SALAGDOONG BEACH, SIQUIJOR), Salagdoong Forest Reserve, and Salagdoong Cave.

SAN JUAN

San Juan is a town of Siquijor with 15 barangays6. It was called Makalipay during the Spanish times till the mid-19th century, in 1863.

This town is located in the southwestern part of the island. Siquijor is to the northeast and Lazi is to the southeast.

Ph_locator_siquijor_san_juanSource: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Maps_of_Siquijor#/media/File:Ph_locator_siquijor_san_juan.png – Mike Gonzalez (TheCafe) – English Wikipedia

You can visit the following destinations: Bulalakaw Forest Reservation, Cambasia Cave, Canghaling Cave, Cansilla Cave, Capilay Spring Park, Lapac Cave, Lugnason Falls, Marelle’s Underwater World Museum, Napo Cave, Paliton Beach (see a related post: PALITON BEACH: THE LITTLE BORACAY OF SIQUIJOR), and St. Augustine Parish Church, San Juan Beach, Solangon Beach, Tubod Beach and Marine Sanctuary.

SIQUIJOR

 Siquijor is a municipality5 located on the western part of the island of Siquijor, with 15 barangays6. Larena is to the northwest, San Juan is to the southwest, and Lazi is to the southeast.

Ph_locator_siquijor_siquijorSource: https://commons.wsikimedia.org/wiki/Maps_of-Siquijor#/media/File:Ph_locator_siquijor_siquijor.png – Mike Gonzalez (TheCafe) – English Wikipedia

This town is known for: Ambakag Baki Cave; Bandilaan Cave and Mountain View Park, Nature Centre and Nature Park; Boljo Cave; Canghunoghunog Cave; Cangmatnog Cave; Cangmohao Cave, Cantabon Cave (said to be the most visited cave in the island); Dacanay Cave; Eugenia Cave; Guiwahon Spring Park; Kanheron Ranch Museum; Lunas Cave; St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church with Siquijor Belltower, Sam-ang Cave; San Antonio Cave; Siquijor Beach, Tamsis Cave, Tulawog Cave.

I also got information from people I talked with during my Siquijor tour.

I expected a lot of beaches since this province is an island, but I was surprised with the number of caves – 32! Gosh, this island can also be called the Spelunking Island of the Philippines! I hope they can fully explore each cave and certify them safe for tourists, develop them as tourist attractions, train professional cave tour guides, and market this interesting activity in the island!

I just realized that there are so many things to do and see in this island so you can easily stay for six days, one day per town! This certainly motivates me to return to this province. Have you ever been to Siquijor? Well, if you answered negatively, what are you waiting for? Read related posts about my Siquijor tour:

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you re Siquijor’s municipalities5. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post. Thank you.

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1A province is the primary administrative and political division in the Philippines. It is the second-level administrative sub-division of a region3. There are 81 provinces (called “lalawigan”) in the Philippines. Each province is governed by an elected legislature called the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and by an elected governor. Remember, a province in the Philippines is divided into cities12 and municipalities5 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays6, formerly called barrios. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Provinces of the Philippines.”13 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE PROVINCES IN THE PHILIPPINES?

2Visayas is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It covers 3 administrative regions3: Central Visayas4, Eastern Visayas and Western Visayas. It consists of 6 major islands (Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Negros, Panay and Samar), mostly surrounded by the Visayan Sea, and is composed of 16 provinces1, according to Wikipedia page “Visayas”.14 Visayas is located at the middle part of the country; the 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines are Luzon (in the northern part) and Mindanao (in the southern part).

3A region is the first-order administrative division in the Philippines. There are 17 regions in the Philippines, based on geographical, cultural and ethnological characteristics. It is further subdivided in provinces1, composed of cities12 and municipalities5 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays6. The regions were initially identified in 1972, through Presidential Decree No. 1 of President Ferdinand Marcos. Since then, other regions have been created and some provinces have been “transferred” to another region. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”15 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE THE REGIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES?

4Central Visayas (Region VII) of the Philippines is a Philippine region3 located in the island group of Visayas2, with Cebu City as its regional center. It has 7 local government units16 (LGUs): Bohol, Cebu, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”15

5A municipality is a small, single urban administrative division, or local government unit (LGU)16, in the Philippines which has corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by law. It is a unit under a province1, subdivided into barangays6, and is called town, or bayan. In the Philippines, a municipality is headed by a mayor, a vice mayor and members of the Sangguniang Bayan (legislative branch). It can enact local policies and laws, enforce them, and govern its jurisdictions. It can enter into contracts and other transactions through its elected and appointed officials, and can tax as well. It enforces all local and national laws. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Municipalities of the Philippines.”17

6A barangay in the Philippines is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines, headed by a barangay captain, aided by a Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Council). It is the native Filipino term for a district or village. It was formerly called a barrio. In a metropolitan area, a barangay is an inner city neighborhood, a suburb, or a suburban neighborhood. The word barangay originated from the term “balangay”, a kind of boat used by a group of Austronesian people who migrated to the Philippines. A number of barangays grouped together is called a district. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Barangay.”18

7https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governor_of_Negros_Oriental

8“Larena,” accessed March 2, 2019, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larena

9“Demetrio Larena,” accessed March 2, 2019, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demetrio_Larena

10“Lazi, Siquijor,” accessed March 2, 2019, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lazi,_Siquijor

11“Siquijor,” accessed March 2, 2019, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siquijor

12A city in the Philippines is the local government unit16 in the Philippines headed by a mayor elected by popular vote. A vice mayor serves as the presiding officer of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (city council), which serves as the city’s legislative body. Congress is the only legislative entity that can incorporate a city in the country. Upon receiving its charter, a city also receives a full complement of executive departments to best serve its constituents. There are 145 cities, as of 2016, in the country. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines.”19 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?

13“Provinces of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provinces_of_the_Philippines

14“Visayas,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visayas

15“Regions of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regions_of_the_Philippines

16A local government unit (LGU) in the Philippines is divided into 3 levels: provinces1 and independent cities20; component cities21 and municipalities5; and, barangays6, according to Wikipedia page “Local government in the Philippines”22

17“Municipalities of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Municipalities_of_the_Philippines

18“Barangay,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barangay

19“Cities of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cities_of_the_Philippines

20An independent city is a type of city12 in the Philippines which is administratively and legally not subject to a province1 so it does not share its tax revenues with any province. The national government and its agencies serve such a city through sub-offices of the region3 it belongs to. It is subdivided into 2: highly urbanized city23 or independent component city24. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”19

21A component city is a type of city12 in the Philippines which does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city23. It is under the jurisdiction of a province1. If such a city is located along the boundaries of 2 or more provinces, it shall be considered part of the province of which it used to be a municipality5. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”19

22“Local government in the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_government_in_the_Philippines

23A highly urbanized city (HUC) is a type of city12 in the Philippines with a minimum population of 200,000 as certified by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and with the latest annual income of at least 50 million pesos, according to Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”.19 There are currently 33 such cities in the Philippines (see link: Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?).

24An independent component city (ICC) is a type of city12 in the Philippines which is autonomous from the province1 in which it is geographically located and has a charter that explicitly prohibits its residents to vote for provincial officials (unless allowed to do so). It does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city23. There are 5 such cities in the country: Cotabato, Dagupan, Naga, Ormoc, and Santiago. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”19

A GLIMPSE OF PHILIPPINE FOOD SAFETY STANDARDS

I have been taught in my undergraduate course, BS HRA at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, to observe food safety at home and, possibly in a restaurant, in a future food service career.

Allow Tita S to summarize the highlights of food safety standards in the Philippines as per the 1987 Philippine constitution and Republic Act No. 10611, or simply called the Food Safety Act of 2013.

1. The 1987 Philippine constitution declares that the State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them. It also provides that the State shall protect consumers from trade malpractices and from substandard or hazardous products.1

Towards these ends, the State shall maintain a food safety regulatory system to ensure a high level of food safety, promote fair trade and advance the global competitiveness of Philippine foods and food products.1

2. Specifically, food business operators shall have the following responsibilities under the said law2:

(a) Food business operators shall be knowledgeable of the specific requirements of food law relevant to their activities in the food supply chain and the procedures adopted by relevant government agencies that implement the law. They shall adopt, apply and be well informed of codes and principles for good practices. Micro and small industries shall be assisted to facilitate their adoption of such practices.

(b) If a food business operator considers, or has reason to believe, that a food which it produced, processed, distributed or imported is not safe, or not in compliance with food safety requirements, it shall immediately initiate procedures to withdraw the food in question from the market and inform the regulatory authority.

(c) Food business operators shall allow inspection of their businesses and collaborate with the regulatory authorities on action taken to avoid risks posed by the food product/s which they have supplied.

(d) Where the unsafe or non-compliant food product may have reached the consumer, the operator shall effectively and accurately inform the consumers of the reason for the withdrawal, and if necessary, recall the same from the market.

3. Good hygiene must be consistently practiced by all food establishments to ensure  that the conditions and measures necessary for the safety and suitability of food at all stages of food production-service.2

4. Hazard Analyses at Critical Control Points (HACCP) is an important science-based system to identify, evaluate, and control physical, biological and/or chemical hazards which are significant for food safety at critical points during a given stage in the food production-service chain.2

5. Risk analysis must be practiced, consisting of 3 steps – risk assessment, risk management, and risk communication, so there will be no likelihood of any adverse health effect, following exposure to a hazard.2

Risk assessment refers to the scientific evaluation of known and potential adverse health effects resulting from human exposure to biological, chemical and physical hazards.

Risk management refers to the process of weighing policy alternatives to accept, minimize, or reduce assessed risks, and if necessary, to select and implement appropriate prevention and control measures.

Risk communication refers to the interactive exchange of information and opinions during the course of risk analysis on the hazards and risks among risk assessors, risk managers, consumers, food and feed business operators, academia, and other stakeholders.

6. The Department of Local Government (DILG) and the local government units (LGUs), i.e., the barangay and town/city) shall have the following responsibilities under the said law2:

The DILG, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Health (DOH) and other government agencies, shall supervise the enforcement of food safety and sanitary rules and regulations as well as the inspection and compliance of business establishments and facilities within its territorial jurisdiction.

DILG shall also support the DOH and the DA in the collection and documentation of food-borne illness data, monitoring and research. The DILG and the LGUs shall participate in training programs, standards development and other food safety activities to be undertaken by the DA, the DOH and other concerned national agencies.

The LGUs shall have the principal responsibility for food safety in food businesses such as, but not limited to, activities in slaughterhouses, dressing plants, fish ports, wet markets, supermarkets, school canteens, restaurants, catering establishments and water refilling stations. The LGU shall also be responsible for street food sale, including ambulant vending.

Specifically, the LGUs shall be responsible for the enforcement of the “Code on Sanitation of the Philippines” (Presidential Decree No. 856, December 23, 1975), food safety standards and food safety regulations where food is produced, processed, prepared and/or sold in their territorial jurisdiction.

7. Regular inspection of food business operators shall be performed by the Food Safety Regulatory Agencies (FSRAs) or the control bodies delegated to conduct the activity. In addition, the following rules shall be followed in the conduct of inspections2:

(a) Inspection shall take into account compliance with mandatory food safety standards, the implementation of HACCP, good manufacturing practices and other requirements of regulations;

(b) The frequency of inspections shall be based on the assessment of risks. Establishments producing high risk foods or carrying out high risk activities shall be inspected more frequently;

(c) Inspectors shall have defined skills on risk-based inspection and shall be regularly evaluated based on suitable procedures to verify their continuing competence; and

(d) Appropriate procedures shall be in place to ensure that the results of inspection are interpreted in a uniform manner.

A food safety officer is appointed by a food safety regulatory agency or by the local government units (LGUs) in accordance with the appropriate civil service rules and regulations to inspect establishments, i.e., the examination of food, food production facilities or establishments, and the management and production systems of food businesses, including the examination of documents, finished product testing and registration, and of the origin and destination of production inputs and outputs to verify compliance with legal requirements and food safety regulations. Food safety standards must be observed.2

8. Food-borne illness monitoring, surveillance and research are mandated by this law. The FSRAs must identify hazards in the food supply chain and assess the levels of exposure to these hazards.2

You can visit related posts: SAY, SAY, SAY: FLY INFESTATION IN RESTAURANTS and SAY, SAY, SAY: ARMY NAVY BURGER AND BURRITO, CONCEPCION, TARLAC.

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you re other facts you might want to add to this post, or comment on the above facts. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”.

Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post. Thank you.

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1Section 15 of Article II and Section 9 of Article XVI, 1987 Philippine constitution3

2Republic Act No. 10611 or Food Safety Act of 20134

3https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/2013/08/23/republic-act-no-10611/

4https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/constitutions/1987-constitution/

 

Craving for Cheese? Go to Melt Grilled Cheesery

LOCATION: Molito Lifestyle Center, Madrigal Avenue corner Commerce Avenue, Alabang, Muntinlupa City

I was craving for cheese and it so happened that a relative of mine drove me and my group to Molito1 in Alabang, on a hot, humid and early evening of May 2019. We were walking leisurely in this spacious and relaxing commercial complex while appreciating the landscape as well as the numerous dining and retail outlets all around. See its Facebook account: https://www.facebook.com/MolitoAlabangPH/

BeFunky-collage-Molito-okThere are lots of trees and the well-maintained open space was so refreshing. It was early evening and when it became dark, the lights all around were lit and so beautiful.

At one point, a niece told me that they previously dined at Melt Grilled Cheesery and enjoyed their orders. I thought, great! I can satisfy my craving and it would be interesting to see what cheese dishes they will offer other than the usual cheese sandwich and fondue!

Melt Grilled Cheesery is a cozy, gourmet restaurant that specializes in all things cheese, from appetizers, soups, salads, fondues, pizzas, grilled cheese sandwiches and dishes, pastas and desserts. It also offers hot and cold, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to complement your food orders.

Chef James Torres, the owner of Melt, was inspired by his wife Chessie’s love for cheese.

Here is its menu:

BeFunky-collage-menu-cover-ok

DRINKSIMG_5055-drinks-ok

APPETIZERS, SOUPS, SALADS, MELTING POT FONDUEIMG_5056-appetizers-etc-ok

GRILLED CHEESEIMG_5057-Grilled-Cheese-ok

PIZZAS AND PASTASIMG_5058-pizza-pastas-ok

ENTRÉEIMG_5059-entree-ok

CHEESECAKES, SWEET GRILLED CHEESE, MELTING POT FONDUEIMG_5060-cheesecakes-etc-ok

COCKTAIL MENU

It also has a cute, special, colorful, ring-bound cocktail menuIMG_5062-cover-cocktails-ok

IMG_5063-cocktail-1-ok

IMG_5064-cocktail-2-ok

IMG_5066-cocktail-3-ok

IMG_5067-cocktail-4-ok

This Molito branch opened in 2017. Here are its operating hours: IMG_5061-operating hrs-ok

Melt also has an outlet located at the 3/F Uptown Place Mall, 9th Avenue corner 36th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, open from 11 am till 10 pm daily, with mobile contact number 0917-8924377. It opened in 2016. I was told that another branch will open in EDSA Shangri-la sometime 2019.

And now for my dining experience at MeltMolito:

The entrance is facing the lighted four-tiered tiled waterfall and you cannot miss this restaurant since its name is well-lit as well, and can be seen from afar at night.   IMG_5047-facade-Melt-x

It has glass walls so you can satisfy your curiosity and look at the interiors, especially its high ceiling. BeFunky-collage-interiors-ok

We were warmly greeted by smiling wait staff, and led to a table with a combination of cushioned seats and comfortable wooden seats with good back rests. There are round tables with yellow upholstered chairs for four, or rectangular tables for 6-8.

BeFunky-collage-tables-okI wonder why the chairs with the round table are yellow? LOL

The spacious and cozy dining area is U-shaped, with a long middle portion featuring a marble counter with bar stools.IMG_5075-bar-ok

To the bar’s left is the entrance to the unisex rest room which is well-maintained and well-stocked.

The interior temperature was just right, even on a hot and humid early evening. The wait staff was very professional and cheerful, and expertly suggested options.

Deciding what to order with companions on a no-sugar, low-carb diet was difficult, until we all decided to cheat for that dinner. Yes!

We ordered the following and found them Instagram-worthy:

1.TRUFFLE CHEESE FRIES (PHP290) – This is a favorite of my 7-year-old grandson. After tasting it, it is also my favorite.What with its melted mozzarella, cheddar cheese and truffles, served with bacon bits and sour cream? Quite a satisfying appetizer!

IMG_5209-truffle fries

2. MELTING POT FONDUE (PHP485) – Of course, we had to order Melt’s house blend of melted cheese, served in a heated pot, with grilled sausages and chicken. The cheese was so creamy, and with the grilled meat, was a winner! NOTE: My niece requested the regular order of gnocchi and marbled potatoes to be replaced with grilled chicken, and it was! See how they are very accommodating? Our verdict: it was delicious!

IMG_5206-fondue-ok

3. BACON MAC & GRILLED CHEESE (PHP395) – This grilled cheese was definitely a treat for us. The maple-glazed bacon strips and 3-cheese mac and cheese were sandwiched between slices of grilled-smoked and buttered sourdough bread, that, when drizzled with maple syrup, was so good! The sweet potatoes were crispy, and along with the sandwich, resulted in a very satisfying dish.

Mouthwatering, generous, overflowing melted cheeseBeFunky-collage-swich-ok

4. WINEY CHICK (PHP380) – This grilled paprika chicken dish has pesto mashed sweet potato with melted mozzarella, string beans, and wine-infused demi-glaze. The tender chicken, with all the different tastes and textures, was enjoyable.

IMG_5070-use-ok

The men in my group ordered San Miguel Pale Pilsen (PHP90) and San Miguel Light (PHP90), and the drinks were served well-chilled.

I looked around the table while waiting for our orders. I noticed a small square box of MEALTIME PRAYERS. This is great for religious customers, or perhaps, for a family with kids. A kid who is able to read could be asked to choose a prayer and read it for all to hear before eating. Nice touch for families with kids!IMG_5091-prayer-ok

Melt also offers something for those on a date. It has CHEESY DATE QUESTIONS you can ask each other while waiting for your orders. Cheesy indeed! IMG_5092-date-questions-ok

My group wanted the dessert in the nearby restaurant called Souv!2 – the Crumbled Baklava Frozen Greek Yogurt and Wildflower Honey Frozen Greek Yogurt (PHP165 each).

IMG_5080 -cropped-dessert-souv-ok

We asked the wait staff if this was possible and you know what? They easily complied, hurriedly went next door to Souv2, brought the menu card for us to see, got our orders, and after a while, served our orders, and got our payment. Now that is genuine pampering! Thanks to the wait staff of Melt!

BeFunky-collage-souv-dessert-ok

Here is our verdict re Souv’s frozen Greek yogurt: The orders were served in a paper coffee cup, which reminds me of the classic New York cup.

We loved the Crumbled Baklava Frozen Greek Yogurt. It was SOUV-ery satisfying with its combination of textures and flavors. The Wildflower Honey version was SOUV-ery creamy and just right in terms of sweetness.

The service is definitely very good in MeltMolito. The orders are served at the right temperature and as promised (I asked how long the wait would be and they did serve on time thereafter).

Some people might find this restaurant pricey so, dearest Seniors, do not forget to bring your Senior Citizen IDs. Please check prices with the restaurant before visiting this restaurant.

Cheese is like a comfort food for me so this is definitely a cheat meal, but was guilt-free. Melt made our tummies happy!

So, cheese lovers, especially for those going on a date, why not indulge in this restaurant?

I will come back and try their other cheesey and interesting offerings, on another cheat day, like The Big Buff, Burrata!, Butternut Squash Soup, Good Morning Chorizo, Angus and Cheese, Pot Roast Cheese Toast, Risotto Balls, Truffle Pasta, Chocolate Chip Oreo Cheesecake, and Dulce de LeCheese.

Contact information: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/meltgrilledcheesery; Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/meltgrilledcheesery/

This is not a sponsored post. I paid for my visit in this restaurant.

Did you find this post informative? Did you also dine in Melt-Molito? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to “Leave a Reply” and enter your comment in the box. Please scroll and click the “Like” tab and “Facebook” to share this post. Do not forget to follow me by clicking “Follow” on the lower right corner of your device.

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1Molito Commercial Complex is a lifestyle center located in the heart of suburban Alabang, at Madrigal Avenue corner Commerce Avenue, in Muntinlupa City. It opened sometime 2017 and offers spacious relaxing ambiance and layout to chill with family and friends, especially at the end of a stressful workday. It hasa refreshing water fountain area, trees and greenery, al fresco tables and chairs, and hassle-free parking. There are so many establishments to choose from:

Dining Establishments (cuisine/specialty)

  1. Brera Delicatessen (European, American)
  2. Bungalow Café (coffee)
  3. BurgerGeek (Burgers + Sides + Shakes)
  4. Canton Club (Chinese)
  5. Chairman Wang’s Prime Beef Noodle House (Chinese)
  6. Chichario Peri Peri (Latin American)
  7. Chow King (Chinese fastfood)
  8. DBCafé by Designer Blooms (coffee)
  9. Designer Blooms Café (Asian, coffee)
  10. El Cocinero (Mediterranean, Italian, Spanish)
  11. Exchange Alley Coffee House (coffee)
  12. Fiftea (beverage shop, tea)
  13. Frankie’s New York Buffalo Wings (American)
  14. Group & Boiler Coffee Co. (coffee)
  15. Hen Lin (Chinese, dimsum)
  16. Jollibee (sandwiches, chicken, fastfood)
  17. Just Thai (Thai)
  18. McDonald’s Desserts (ice cream)
  19. Manam (Filipino, coffee)
  20. Mang Inasal
  21. Melt Grilled Cheesery (American)
  22. Miyazaki (Japanese)
  23. Park’s Bread & Cake (bakery, café)
  24. Nana & Co. (European, desserts, ice cream)
  25. Nathaniel’s (buko pandan, bakery, desserts, Filipino)
  26. Omakase (Japanese, sushi)
  27. Ooma (Japanese, sushi)
  28. Pancake House (American)
  29. Paper Moon Tokyo (café, bakery)
  30. Parmigiano Pizzeria Ristorante (Italian)
  31. Pepi Cubano (sandwiches)
  32. Ramen Yushoken (Japanese, ramen)
  33. Recovery Food (Filipino)
  34. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (desserts, coffee)
  35. Souv! By Cyma (Greek, healthy food)
  36. Starbucks (coffee)
  37. Thomson Road Chinese Bistro (Chinese)
  38. Torch (Italian, American, Spanish, ribs and steaks)
  39. Un Cuenca (Spanish)
  40. Wooden Horse (steak)
  41. Yoree Korean Barbeque Dining (Koran, barbecue)
  42. Yushoken Ramen (Japanese, ramen)
  43. Zubu Chon (Cebu lechon, Filipino)

Bars and Drinks Shops (specialty)

  1. Barcino Wine Resto Bar (Spanish, bar)
  2. Draft Gastropub and European Food (American, Asian, European, bar)
  3. Perfect Pint (Filipino, Italian, Spanish, bar)
  4. Ralph’s Wines & Spirits (wine bar, international)

Banks

  1. Bank of Commerce
  2. BDO
  3. Citibank (ATM)
  4. HSBC, Metrobank
  5. Robinsons Bank
  6. Security Bank

Other Services

  1. Acts Manila (ballet, dance and music school)
  2. Alter Station (garments alteration)
  3. Cebuana Lhuillier (pawnshop)
  4. CopyTown (xerox, printing and digital services)
  5. Eye Level (learning center)
  6. Galerie Roberto (art gallery)
  7. Gran Trail Cycles (bicycle shop)
  8. Habitat Crossfit (fitness gym)
  9. Kumon (learning center)
  10. Philam Life (insurance company)
  11. Puregood (supermarket)
  12. Re/Max Real Estate Associates (real estate)
  13. Santis Delicatessen (deli store)
  14. 7-Eleven(convenience store)
  15. Sip & Gogh (paint and sip studio)
  16. Smart (mobile network)
  17. TechnoPop! (cell phone accessory store)
  18. The Playground (sporting goods store)
  19. Titan(basketball specialty store)
  20. Tokyo Healthlink (medical and diagnostic center)

Contact information: (02) 808-6401; Website: www.molito.com.ph for the map, layout of the establishments, promos and events, features and contact page; Instagram: #MolitoLifestyleCenter; FB/Twitter:MolitoAlabangPH; Tumblr: molitolifestylealabang

2Souv! is a Greek restaurant which specializes in spit-fired meat, and a member of the Cyma restaurant group of Chef Robby Goco. The term is short for “souvlaki”, grilled Greek skewered meats.

Turning Japanese at Omakase

LOCATION: Connecticut Carpark Arcade, Greenhills Shopping Center, Ortigas Avenue, Greenhills, San Juan City, Philippines

Omakase is a Japanese restaurant owned by brothers-in-law Ed Encisa, a former chef in a Japanese restaurant abroad, and Rico Rosales. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, homesick Ed seriously considered going back to the Philippines. They then came up with the plan to start a business during one of their conversations, the needed push for Ed to finally go home.1

The term omakase is Japanese for “I’ll leave it up to you”, from makaseru, Japanese meaning “to entrust”. This term is used by patrons of sushi2 restaurants to leave the selection to the chef, as opposed to ordering a la carte.  Customers who order omakase-style expect the chef to be innovative and surprising in the selection of dishes, and the meal can be likened to an artistic performance by the chef. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Omakasa”.3

They started with a small takeout counter in Quezon City in 2002, serving three kinds of maki4 at affordable prices for office workers and students.The counter eventually became known for its affordable sushi2 rolls. Ed and Rico initially split the capital of PHP80,000.1

After six months, Omakase expanded its space for dining tables. Prices were slightly increased until daily earnings spiked to PHP10,000. After a year, their relatives chipped in to open the first restaurant in Libis, Quezon City (now closed).1

Ed continued to concoct different sushi2 rolls, ebi5 tempura6 with salmon skin, salmon with cream cheese, and deep-fried soft-shell maki4.1

Omakase eventually opened branches in:

  1. Ayala Triangle Gardens, Paseo de Roxas Street corner Makati Avenue corner Ayala Avenue, Makati City (now closed)
  2. ESJ Building, Mayor Gil Fernando Avenue, San Roque, Marikina City
  3. Molito Complex, Madrigal Avenue, Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa City
  4. 3/F, Ayala Malls Feliz, Dela Paz, Pasig City
  5. G/F, Banawe Lifestyle Center, Banawe corner Don Manuel Agregado Street, Sto. Domingo, Banawe, Quezon City
  6. G/F. Il Terrazo Mall, Tomas Morato Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City – Tel. No.: (02) 332-4115
  7. Pwesto Community Mall, 56 Holy Spirit Drive, Don Antonio Heights, Quezon City – Tel. No.: (02) 285-9089
  8. Connecticut Carpark Arcade, Greenhills Shopping Center, Ortigas Avenue, Greenhills, San Juan City (this is the branch I recently visited and will blog about)

The Greenhills branch is open from 11 AM to 10 PM.

greenhills.com.phPhoto from http://www.greenhills.com.ph

It offers a wide variety of Japanese dishes as well as set meals and party trays. Hot, cold, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are available too. The menu card has 22 pages, with inviting colored pictures of its specialties!

Here are the specific dishes offered (pictures from menu card):

APPETIZERS IMG_5008-appetizers

SALADS IMG_5011-ok

SOUPS AND NOODLES 

IMG _5033-SOUPS-ok

SUSHIIMG_5013-sushi-ok

MAKIMONOIMG_5016-makimono-1-ok

IMG_5017-makimono-2-ok

MAIN DISHES IMG_5019-ok

TEMPURA6, FURAI8 AND DONBURIIMG_5020-ok

SET MEALS, PARTY TRAYS, DESSERTS IMG_5023-ok

SIDE ORDERS, BEVERAGES IMG_5025-ok

Omakase is also promoting the Torikatsu Sandwich, served with coffee and fries on the side as well as Kani Mango Sandwich. Perhaps, I will taste them on my next visit. IMG_5006-promo-ok

Omakase-Greenhills also offers Buffet Packages and Cart Catering

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IMG_5027-ok

My husband, my son, and I, accompanied a niece and her 7-year-old son to Greenhills. For our dining experience on May 2019 – we ordered:

1.SEAFOOD TEPPAN (PHP 470) – A seafood platter consisting of pan-fried salmon, tuna, shrimps, and squid. It was served with garlic rice. This order can be shared by 2-3 persons and the tasty seafood was enjoyed by all the members of my group. The seafood was fresh and served hot for us to savor with the accompanying dipping sauce.

IMG_5030-ok

2. MISO SOUP (PHP65 per single serving) – This soup was served hot, tasty, a bit creamy, and is not salty.

3. EBI5 TEMPURA6 (Shrimp Tempura, PHP370 for 5 pieces) – This crispy, coated, deep-fried shrimp dish is a staple order in any Japanese restaurant. I found the shrimps small, based on the selling price. I also wished that the dip had more daikon10.

IMG_5032-ok

4. GYUDON (PHP305) – This donburi9 dish consists of sliced beef, mushrooms, onions over rice, topped with an egg, served on a bowl. We asked for two orders. It was served hot and the amount of rice was very generous. The beef was tender and the accompanying onions and mushrooms cooked with the beef made this dish more enjoyable.

IMG_5028

5. CHICKEN TERIYAKI (240) – This order consists of grilled chicken, cooked in teriyaki sauce, a favorite of our dearest 7-year-old grandson. I personally find the serving portion a bit small. However, it was very tasty and well appreciated by our 7-year-old kid. The proof? He finished it all! Bottomline, Omakase dishes are also good for kids.

IMG_5029-ok

We arrived sometime 7:00 PM and the main dining area at the second floor was already full. The place looked a bit old but well-maintained.

Fortunately, the smaller function room at the ground floor was available and that was where we dined. We were asked to wait a bit at the second floor, go over the menu card, and after about 10 minutes, we were ushered to the function room below. It was clean, tables were set, ventilation was comfortable, and the room smelled good.

I must say that the wait staff was accommodating despite the large number of guests at the upper floor and the function room was soon fully occupied. Our additional orders were a bit delayed but were worth the wait.

The prices are reasonable, and we got discounts with our Senior Citizen IDs. Cash and credit cards are accepted. Please check prices before visiting this restaurant.

I did not have the chance to visit their rest room so I cannot comment on this matter.

By the way, Omakase is now available on GrabFood11 so you can have your favorite Japanese dishes delivered to your doorstep!12

Contact information: Telephone Number: (02) 470-9807 (table booking is recommended); Cellphone Number: +63 9302523575; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iloveomakase; Twitter/Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/iwantomakase

This is not a sponsored post. I paid for my visit in this restaurant.

Pictures used in the cover picture collage were obtained from the menu card of Omakase Greenhills (starting from top right, clockwise): Sushi Cake, Seafood Yeppan, Tuna Tataki Salad, Mixed Nigiri and Salmon Sashimi

Did you find this post informative? Did you also dine in Omakase? Which branch? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to “Leave a Reply” and enter your comment in the box. Please scroll and click the “Like” tab and “Facebook” to share this post. Do not forget to follow me by clicking “Follow” on the lower right corner of your device.

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially those not familiar with Japanese and Filipino terms, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1https://news.abs-cbn.com/business/07/15/16/meet-the-pinoys-behind-omakase

2Sushi is a Japanese dish made of specially prepared vinegared (medium grain white rice or brown) rice, usually with some sugar and rice, combined with a variety of ingredients (e.g., raw/cooked seafood, vegetables, tropical fruits), served as an appetizer or as a main dish. Fillings, toppings, condiments (shoyu16, wasabi18, Japanese-style mayonnaise) and preparation vary widely. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Sushi”.13

3“Omakase,” accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omakase

4Maki, short for makizushi, is rolled sushi2 formed into a cylindrical piece using a bamboo mat called a makisu. It is generally wrapped in nori (dried seaweed) then cut into 6 or 8 pieces, for a single roll order. Information is according to Wikipedia page “Sushi”.13

5Ebi is the Japanese term for shrimp. Thus, ebi tempura is shrimp tempura6.

6Tempura is a Japanese dish, usually consisting of seafood (e.g., shrimp, squid rings) or vegetables (e.g., strips of carrot, eggplant, onion) that have been battered and deep fried. It is eaten hot immediately after frying, and may be sprinkled with powdered green tea and sea salt, or yuzu and salt, before eating. It is commonly served with tentsuyu sauce (about 3 parts dashi14, 1 part each of mirin15 and shoyu16) and grated daikon10. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Tempura”.17

7Makimono, makizushi, or norimaki is a kind of “rolled sushi2”, according to the Wikipedia page “Sushi”.13 It is called maki4, for short. Makimono is Japanese for “rolled thing”.

8Furai is a Japanese dish made of deep-fried fish, shrimp or seafood, coated with a thin layer of panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), and served with a tangy sauce.19

9Donburi is a Japanese rice bowl dish consisting of fish, meat, vegetables, and other ingredients simmered together and served over rice. It is sometimes shortened to “don”. Information is according to Wikipedia page “Donburi”.21

10Daikon, literally “big root,” is a mild-flavored winter radish. It is originally native to Southeast or continental Asia. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Daikon”.20

11GrabFood is a service of Grab, a Singaporean transportation network company operating in the Philippines, which allows (as of May 2019)  BGC, Makati, Mandaluyong, Manila, Ortigas, Pasay, Quezon City, and San Juan residents to satisfy their food cravings, by delivering orders from their favorite restaurants daily, except holidays, from 9 am – 9 pm. It is so easy: through your cell phone, launch the Grab app and select “Food” from the product selection menu at the top of the app, enter your delivery address, select your favorite restaurant (within a given distance from your location for speedy deliveries, for now), select a meal, add to your basket (no minimum purchase), complete your order, wait for an assigned GrabFood delivery partner to pick up your orders for you, and deliver it to your doorsteps.22

12https://www.facebook.com/weloveomakase/

13“Sushi,” accessed July 5, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sushi

14Dashi is a class of soup and cooking stock used in Japanese cuisine. The most common form of dashi is a simple broth or fish stock made by heating water containing kombu (edible kelp) and kezurikatsuo (shavings of katsuobushi – preserved, fermented skipjack tuna. It forms the base for miso soup, clear broth, noodle broth, and many kinds of simmering liquid. It can also be mixed into flour base of some grilled foods. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Dashi”.23

15Mirin is an essential condiment used in Japanese cuisine. It is a type of rice wine, similar to sake, but with a lower alcohol content and higher sugar content. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Mirin”.24

16Shoyu is the Japanese term for soy sauce, according to the Wikipedia page “Soy sauce”.25

17“Tempura,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tempura

18Wasabi is the green, highly pungent, paste served as a Japanese condiment for sushi2 and sashimi26, made from the wasabi plant.

19https://pogogi.com/japanese-deep-fry-furai-little-cousin-tempura-and-tonkatsu

20“Daikon,” accessed July 5, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daikon

21“Donburi,” accessed July 5, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donburi

22https://www.grab.com/ph/food/

23“Dashi,” accessed July 5, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dashi

24“Mirin,” accessed July 5, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirin

25“Soy sauce,” accessed July 5, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soy_sauce

26Sashimi is a Japanese dish consisting of thinly sliced, fresh, raw fish or meat, often served as the first course in a formal Japanese meal but may also be served as the main course. It is garnished with long thin strands of daikon (white radish) or single leaves of the shiso herb (perilla). It is served with soy sauce as a dipping sauce, along with condiments – wasabi paste (the hot Japanese green paste made from the wasabi rhizome), grated fresh ginger, and ponzu (Japanese dipping sauce made of fish flakes, lime juice, soy sauce and vinegar). The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Sashimi”.27

27“Sashimi,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sashimi

Always A Happy Tummy at Hossein’s!

Hossein’s Persian Kebab is a favorite cheat place for me and my companions every time we go to Metro Manila1.

hosseinPhoto from: https://www.facebook.com/hosseinspersiankebab/photos/a.226129307478327/1138618449562737/?type=1&theater

This restaurant specializes in halal2 Persian, Arabian, Indian, Iranian, and Eastern Mediterranean3cuisine. It is one of the first Middle Eastern4 cuisine restaurants in the Philippines.

Chef Hossein Sohrabi is the person behind Hossein’s. He wanted to showcase his Persian culture and history as well as his family’s traditions, adding his own modern twist, along with Arabian, Indian, Mediterranean5 and South Asian6 specialties.

IMG_4877 - CopyChef Hossein Sohrabi (Photo from:  https://www.facebook.com/hosseinspersiankebab/photos/a.226129307478327/1138618449562737/?type=1&theater)

He established his first restaurant – Hossein’s Persian Kebab – in 1985 on Jupiter Street, in Makati City, with just three tables. He was the cook, the wait staff, the marketing department, the dishwasher, and the janitor, all at once. He would be cooking the orders in front of his guests, and serving it to their table. Then, after his guests have finished eating, he would clear the tables, buss the dishes, and wash them once he gets to the sink. He had burned hands from grilling kebabs, cut hands from slicing garnishes, bruised hands from washing dishes, and body aches from carrying supplies – all in a day’s work. No one in Metro Manila then knew what kebab was, or if there even was a market for it. He just did what he loved to do, seven days a week, 364 days a year.

He later moved to the ground floor of LKV Building in Makati Avenue which is now Habibi7, his shisha8 bar. The second floor, renovated in March 2018, became the main restaurant, with his son as architect. The walls of the stairs leading to the second floor has a Persian rug design, painted by a British painter.9

There are now has six outlets in Metro Manila1, all open daily from 11 AM till 12 MN:

  1. MAKATI AVENUE – 2/F 7857 LKV Building, Makati Avenue (right across Burgos Street), Makati City – Tel. (02) 890-6137, 890-5928; Fax (02) 890-5803
  2. MAKATI AVENUE – HABIBI SHISHA BAR – 1/F, 7857 LKV Building, Makati Avenue (right across Burgos Street), Makati City – Tel. (02) 890-9174, Fax (02) 890-5803
  3. GREENBELT – 2nd Level, Greenbelt 3 (above Starbucks), Ayala Center, Makati Avenue, Makati City – Tel. (02) 729-0266; Fax (02) 729-0267
  4. SERENDRA – 2nd Level, C-201 Serendra, Bonifacio High Street (in front of Fully Booked), Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City – Tel (02) 856-0632, 856-1278; Fax (02) 916-0056
  5. TRINOMA – Unit 4005, Level 4, Trinoma Mall, EDSA North Avenue, Quezon City – Tel (02) 901-5613
  6. ALABANG – Unit F &B007, Cluster 2, The Street, Alabang Town Center, Muntinlupa City – Tel (02) 511-8899

977924_460542687370320_823213007_oPhoto taken from: https://www.facebook.com/hosseinspersiankebab/photos/a.438484959576093/460542687370320/?type=3&theater

I have dined in three outlets (Makati Avenue, Greenbelt and Serendra) and all my dining experiences were satisfying, but my favorite is the Makati Avenue branch at the second floor (see above).

Let me share with you my latest dining experience (May 2019).

My group of five decided to have an early dinner to meet up with a relative later in the evening in Makati so we sped to the said branch. Parking was available in front of the building because we came early. IMG_4899-ok

Use the side stairs to go to the 2/F dining areaIMG_4898-ok

IMG_4900-ok

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We went up the stairs and upon entry, we were greeted and ushered to a comfortable table for five with very good ventilation on a hot and humid late afternoon.

The interiors, lighting fixtures and decorations show the Middle Eastern4 influences and exude a very relaxed dining experience.BeFunky-collage-1-interiors-ok

IMG_4908-okThe bar, Hossein’s Persian Kebab, Makati Avenue

The layout of the dining area allows for intimate dining for pairs and groups of 4-6.BeFunky-collage-2-interiors-ok

We were given menu cards and let me share with you the menu (pictures taken from the menu card):

APPETIZERS – MEZZE10IMG_4878-appetizers-ok

SALADS, SOUPS, BREADIMG_4879-soups-salads-bread-ok

KEBAB11 SPECIALTIES

IMG_4882-kebab-ok

CHELOU12 SPECIALTIESIMG_4884-chelou-ok

MIDDLE EASTERN4 SPECIALTIES AND RICE SPECIALTIESIMG_4886-ME Specialties-ok

CURRY AND SOUTH ASIAN6 SPECIALTIESIMG_4887-Curry-South-Asian-1-ok

IMG_4888-Curry-South-Asian-2-ok

SANDWICHES AND SHAWARMA,13  BEVERAGES, SHAKES AND JUICESIMG_4889-SW-Shawarma-ok

DESSERTS, TEA AND COFFEE1-desserts-tea-coffee

ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES

1-bevs

We selected a relatively light meal, in anticipation of more food to follow when we meet up with our relative. Two of the members of the group were dieting – low carb and no sugar– but were willing to cheat a bit so we ordered:

1.Roti Channai, a Malaysian puffed sweet bread, served with a special sauce made with a blend of Indian spices (PHP 140 each)

IMG_4897-bead-okSorry, 1/4 of the roti was already taken before I could take a picture.

OMG! I am so in love with this flaky, moist flatbread, and that is why we had three orders! It was served hot, and after you pull a piece and dip it in the sauce, it was so satisfying. Its texture – a combination of soft, flaky layers with crisp-chewy parts, along with the delightfully sweet-oily taste is enough for me to eat it plain – without a dip. The dip is like icing on the cake for me. You need to try this, trust Tita S!

2. Mega Kebab I, a chelou12 specialty which is a Persian kebab11 platter consisting of 2 sticks each of beef kubideh14, beef shish kebab15, chicken kebab, with grilled tomatoes on the side, and served on a bed of biryani16and saffron rice (PHP1,755)

IMG_4896-kebabs-ok

This order is ideal for a group of four to five people, depending on your level of hunger and other orders. The beef and chicken kebabs were so tasty, tender, and cooked just right. The combination of rice and grilled tomatoes with small amounts of grilled onions complemented the kebabs to the max!

3. Tabbouleh, the customary Syrian salad made of a mélange of bulgur17, delicately chopped parsley, and diced tomatoes, dressed with lemon juice and olive oil (PHP525, family size) 

IMG_2416-ok

This bulgur-vegetable dish was so refreshing with just the right amount of dressing. This is a wonderful side order with any kebab11 choice in this restaurant.

A male member of the group ordered two bottles of San Miguel Beer (PHP108 per bottle), all served well chilled.

You might find this restaurant a bit pricey but it is worth it. So indulge when you can, treat yourself, you deserve it! And, do not forget your senior citizen cards for your discount! Please check prices with the restaurant before visiting this restaurant.

The service was very professional. Orders were served as promised, at the right temperature, and with appropriate accompaniments. Water glasses were immediately refilled.

I went to the restroom and it was well-maintained and well-stocked, with good water pressure, and smelled really good. There is a separate cubicle for males and females.

The bill was promptly presented upon request and our senior discounts were deducted.

Bottomline, I recommend Hossein’s for (dieting or cheating) seniors and non-seniors! I counted their dishes and it totaled 251, along with 66 kinds of beverages, so there is definitely a dish and a drink for everyone! Absolutely a happy tummy always!

Information and some pictures were obtained from the website: www.hosseins.com and https://www.facebook.com/hosseinspersiankebab/

This is not a sponsored post. I paid for all my visits in the different branches of this restaurant.

Did you find this post informative? Do you also dine at Hossein’s? What outlet/s do you frequent? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to “Leave a Reply” and enter your comment in the box. Please scroll and click the “Like” tab and “Facebook” to share this post. Do not forget to follow me by clicking “Follow” on the lower right corner of your device.

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

 1Metro Manila is the official and administrative urban area in the southwestern portion of Luzon surrounding Manila, established in 1975. It is the center of culture, economy, education and government of the Philippines. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Metro Manila”.19

2Halal is the Arabic word which means “permissible” in English, with food particularly prepared in accordance to Islamic law, especially meat processed and prepared in accordance with those requirements (e.g., Allah’s name must be pronounced during slaughter; the animal must not be unconscious; the animal must have been fed a natural diet that did not contain animal by-products; the instrument must be very sharp to ensure humane slaughter and the animal must be slit at the throat; the animal must be hung upside down and allowed to bleed dry; eating blood is not halal). These steps must be accomplished by a Muslim or the People of the Book (Christian or Jew).20, 21

3Eastern Mediterranean countries are geographically to the east of the Mediterranean Sea, and include Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Syria, and Turkey. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Eastern Mediterranean”.22

4Middle East is a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia23, Turkey and Egypt. It consists of the following countries: Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Middle East”.24

5The Mediterranean countries are those that surround the Mediterranean Sea. Southern Europe25, the Levant26 and North Africa27 regions border the Mediterranean, in addition to two island nations – Cyprus and Malta. Here are the countries and territories bordering the Mediterranean Sea: (1) Southern European coast: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Italy, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Slovenia, Spain, and Turkey; (2) Levantine coast: Cyprus, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine (Gaza Strip), and Syria; (3) Northern African coast: Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “List of Mediterranean countries”.28

6South Asia, or Southern Asia, is the term used to represent the southern region of the Asian continent, bounded on the south by the Indian Ocean, and on land (clockwise, from the west) by West Asia23, Central Asia29, East Asia30, and Southeast Asia31. It consists of the territories of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “South Asia”.32

7The term habibi is an Arabic term that literally means “my love”, but sometimes translated as “my dear,” “my darling,” or “beloved”.33

8Shisha is the term used in the Arab Peninsula (Algeria, Bahrain, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tunesia, UAE, Yemen), Egypt, Sudan, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, by the Moroccan immigrants in Spain, and the Arab and Indian communities in Southeast Asia32) for the single- or multi-stemmed waterpipe used to vaporize and smoke flavored tobacco, where vapor or smoke is passed through a water basin, often glass-based, before inhalation. People in the Arab world and the Middle East4 smoke these waterpipes as part of their culture and traditions, Social smoking is held during parties, small get-togethers, and in (Middle Eastern) cafés. Hookah is the Indian term for shisha. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Hookah”.34  (I will insert 2 pics from Wiki here and give proper credit)

9www.primer.com.ph/food/cuisines/indian/hosseins-persian-kebab-in-makati

10A meze, mezze, or mezza, is a selection of small dishes served as appetizers in parts of the Middle East4 (as a multi-course meal), the Balkans35 and Greece (as snacks while drinking or talking), and North Africa27. It is generally accompanied by distilled drinks like arak, mastika, ouzo, raki, rakia, or tsipouro. It may also be consumed with beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Meze”.36

11Kebabs are various cooked, skewered or not skewered, (cut up or ground) meat (or seafood) dishes, sometimes with fruits and vegetables, with origins in Middle Eastern4 cuisine, with variants throughout Asia and even worldwide. In the Muslim world, a kebab is any of a wide variety of grilled (cooked on a skewer over fire) meat dishes. It can also be grilled, baked in a pan in an oven, or as a stew, and served with various accompaniments. It is traditionally made of mutton, but regional variations use beef, goat, chicken, or fish. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Kebab”.37

12Chelou, or chelow kebab, is an Iranian dish consisting of cooked rice and one of many varieties of kebab11. It is considered the national dish of Iran. It is served with accompaniments such as butter, sumac powder, basil, onions, and grilled tomatoes. The traditional beverage which accompanies chelou is doogh, an Iranian yogurt-based drink, sometimes made of carbonated water. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Chelow kebab”.38

13Shawarma is a Middle Eastern4 meat preparation based on the Turkish döner kebab39, originally made of seasoned mutton. Modern versions are also made of beef, chicken, turkey or veal, cut into thin slices, and stacked in a cone-like shape on a vertical rotisserie. Thin slices are shaved off the cooked surface as it continuously rotates. Spices added include cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, paprika and turmeric. It is commonly served as a sandwich or wrap, in a flatbread such as pita40 or laffa41, often garnished with diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions, pickled vegetables, and tahini42 sauce or amba43 mango sauce. Some restaurants may offer additional toppings like grilled peppers, eggplant, or French fries. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Shawarma”.44

14Kabab kubideh/koobideh/kubide is an Iranian meat kebab11 made from ground lamb or beef, and less commonly chicken, often mixed with parsley and chopped onions. Salt, garlic, black pepper, celery powder, sumac, very finely grated onion and one egg yolk per pound of meat are added. All ingredients are mixed, covered, and left to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. It is then grilled on skewers, traditionally over hot coals, and is served with polo (Iranian rice pilaf with oil, salt and saffron), accompanied by grilled tomatoes and onions. Sumac (a reddish-purple powder for a tart, lemony taste) is usually served as a tableside garnishing spice. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Kabab kubideh”.45

15Shish kebab is a type of Middle Eastern kebab11traditionally made of grilled cubes of lamb, with other versions like beef, veal, swordfish, and chicken meat. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Shish kebab”.46

16Biryani, biriyani, biriani, birani, or briyani, is a mixed rice dish of the Muslims made of Indian spices, rice, meat (beef, chicken, fish, goat, or prawn), vegetables, or eggs, with regional differences. The condiments and spices used may include ghee (clarified butter), bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, garlic, ginger, green chili, mace, mint leaves, nutmeg, onion, pepper, saffron, and tomato. The dish consists of two layers of rice with a layer of meat (or vegetables) in the middle. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Biryani”.47

17Bulgur is a cereal food made from the cracked parboiled groats of several different wheat species, most often with durum wheat, with a light, nutty flavor. It originated in Middle Eastern4 cuisine. It is a common ingredient in cuisines of many countries of the Middle East and Mediterranean5. It does not require cooking, although it can be included in cooked dishes; soaking in water is all that is needed. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Bulgur”.48

19“Metro Manila,” accessed May 9, 2019,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metro_Manila

20“Halal,” accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halal

21https://www.thekitchn.com/good-question-what-is-halal-me-60979

22“Eastern Mediterranean,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Mediterranean

23Western Asia includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Georgia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Western Asia”.49

24“Middle East,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_East

25Southern Europe, or Mediterranean Europe, is the southern region of the European continent, consisting of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Corsica, Croatia, Cyprus, Gibraltar, the East Thrace of European Turkey, Greece, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, Slovenia, and Spain. Andorra, North Macedonia, Portugal, San Marino, Serbia, and the Vatican City are also often included, despite not having a coast in the Mediterranean. It can also include mainland Southern France and Monaco, which are otherwise considered parts of Western Europe. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Southern Europe”.50

26 The Levant refers to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean3, primarily in Western Asia23. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Levant”.51

27North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, but the most commonly accepted coverage includes Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, and Tunisia. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “North Africa”.52

28 “List of Mediterranean countries,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Mediterranean_countries

29Central Asia is a region which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China in the east, and from Afghanistan in the south to Russia in the north. It consists of the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It is also colloquially referred to as “The Stans” as the countries generally considered to be within the region all have names ending with the Persian suffix “-stan”, meaning “land of”. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Central Asia”.53

30East Asia is the eastern subregion of Asia, defined in either geographical or ethno-cultural terms to include China, Japan, (North and South) Korea, Vietnam, geographically and geopolitically to also include Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and Mongolia. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “East Asia”.54

31Southeast Asia, or Southeast Asia, is a sub-region of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China and Japan, east of India, west of Papua New Guinea, and north of Australia. It is bordered to the north by East Asia30, to the west by South Asia6 and the Bay of Bengal, to the east of Oceania and the Pacific Ocean, and to the south by Australia and the Indian Ocean. It consists of 11 states (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, and Vietnam), two Australian external dependencies (Christmas Island and Cocos/Keeling Islands), and two internal dependencies (Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Southeast Asia”.55

32“South Asia,” accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Asia

33https://www.dictionary.com/e/slang/habibi/

34“Hookah,” accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hookah

35The Balkans is a term used more generally for the region, including states in the region, which may extend beyond the peninsula, and is not defined by the geography of the peninsula itself. The Balkans are usually said to comprise Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Balkans”.56

36“Meze,”accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meze

37“Kebab,”accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kebab

38“Chelow kebab,” accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chelow_kabab

39Döner Kebab is a type of Turkish kebab11 made of seasoned meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie. The outer layer is sliced into thin shavings as it cooks. The sliced meat may be served on a plate with various accompaniments, stuffed into a pita40 or other type of bread as a sandwich, or wrapped in a thin flatbread such as lavash57 or yufka58. It inspired similar dishes like the Arab shawarma13, Greek gyros59, and the Mexican al pastor60. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Döner Kebab”.61

 40Pita is a Middle Eastern4 family of yeast-leavened round flatbreads baked from wheat flour, also common in neighboring areas. It is used to scoop sauces or dips, such as hummus62, or to wrap kebabs11, gyros59, or falafel63, in the manner of sandwiches. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Pita”.64

41Laffa, or taboon bread, is a Middle Eastern4 flatbread, traditionally baked in a taboon oven or a tannur, and is similar to the various tandoor breads in many parts of Asia. It is of medium thickness, slightly chewy, and does not tear easily. It is used as a base or wrap in many cuisines, and eaten with different accompaniments. It is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine worldwide. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Taboon bread”.65

42Tahini is a condiment made from toasted, ground, hulled sesame seeds. It is served by itself as a dip, or as a major ingredient in baba ghanoush66, halva67, and hummus62. Tahini-based sauces are common in Middle Eastern4 restaurants as a side dish or as a garnish, usually including lemon juice, salt and garlic, and thinned with water. The sauce is also a popular topping for meat and vegetables in Middle Eastern cuisine. It is used in cuisines of the Eastern Mediterranean3, the South Caucasus68, as well as parts of North Africa27. It is also used in Chinese and Southeast Asian55 cuisine. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Tahini”.69

43Amba, or anba, is a tangy mango pickle condiment popular in Indian and Middle Eastern4 cuisine, particularly Iraqi, Israeli and Saudi cuisines. It is typically made of mangoes, vinegar, salt, mustard, turmeric, chili and fenugreek, similar to mango chutney. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Amba (condiment)”.70

44“Shawarma,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shawarma

45 “Kabab kubideh,” accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabab_kubideh

46 “Shish kebab,” accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shish_kebab

47“Biryani,” accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biryani

48“Bulgur,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulgur

49“Western Asia,” accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Asia

50“Southern Europe,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Europe

51“Levant,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levant

52“North Africa,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Africa

53“Central Asia,” accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Asia

54“East Asia,” accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Asia

55“Southeast Asia,” accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southeast_Asia

56“Balkans,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balkans

57Lavash is a soft, thin, Armenian unleavened flatbread made in a tandoor (a cylindrical metal oven) and also eaten all over Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey. It is made with flour, water and salt. The thickness of the bread varies, depending on how thin it was rolled out. Toasted sesame seeds and poppy seeds are sometimes sprinkled before baking. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Lavash”.71

58Yufka is a thin, round and unleavened flat bread in Turkish cuisine, similar to lavash57, usually made from wheat flour, water and salt. It is about 18 inches (40-50 cm) in diameter. The sheets of yufka dough are baked on a heated iron plate called a sac for about 2-3 minutes, turned over once to brown the other side. Before consumption, dry yufka bread is sprayed with warm water. The moistened bread is covered with a cotton cloth and is rested for 10-12 minutes before serving. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Yufka”.72

59Gyro, or gyros, is a Greek dish made from meat (pork, chicken, ground beef, mutton, or veal), cooked on a vertical rotisserie, similar to shawarma13 (of the Middle East4). The roasted meat is sliced vertically in thin, crisp shavings when done. It is generally served wrapped or stuffed in a lightly grilled flatbread (like pita40), and rolled up with sliced tomatoes, chopped onions, tzatziki73 sauce, and sometimes, French fries. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Gyro (food)”.74

60Al pastor, or tacos al pastor, is the Mexican version of Turkish döner kebab39 and the Greek gyros59. It is a pork dish developed in central Mexico that is based on shawarma13 spit-grilled meat, brought by Lebanese immigrants to Mexico. Al pastor literally means “shepherd style” in Spanish. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Al pastor”.75

61“Döner Kebab,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Döner_kebab

 62Hummus is the classic Middle Eastern4 chickpea and sesame dip or spread. Cooked or mashed chickpeas or other beans are blended with tahini42, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. It is also popular in the Mediterranean5. It is rich in protein, fiber, B vitamins and minerals like manganese. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Hummus”.76

63Falafel is a Levantine77 and Egyptian deep-fried ball, or a flat or doughnut-shaped patty, made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both, commonly eaten in Western Asia23, most likely originated in Egypt. Herbs, spices, and onion relatives are commonly added to the dough of this vegetarian dish, considered a street food. The balls are commonly served in a pita40, laid over a bed of salad or pickled vegetables, and drizzled with hot sauce or a tahini42-based sauce. It can also be wrapped in a flatbread called a taboon. It can be eaten alone as a snack, or served as part of an assortment of appetizers called meze10. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Falafel”.78

64“Pita,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pita

65“Taboon bread,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taboon_bread

66Baba ghanoush, baba ganoush, or baba ghanouj, is a Levantine77 appetizer of mashed baked or broiled eggplant mixed with tahini42, olive oil, and various seasonings. It is a typical mezze10, often eaten as a dip with pita40 bread, and is sometimes added to other dishes. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Baba ghanoush”.79

67Halva, halvah, or halwa, is any of various dense, sweet confections, mostly made in the Middle East4, Central Asia29, and the Indian subcontinent80. It could be flour-based, made by frying flour (such as semolina, cornstarch, and rice flour) on oil (like clarified butter or ghee), mixing it into a roux, and cooking it with a sugary syrup, very popular in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Greece, India, Iran, Pakistan, Somalia, and Turkey. It could also be crumbly and nut butter-based, usually made from tahini42 or other nut butters such as sesame and sunflower, and sugar. Halva can also be based on other ingredients like beans, lentils and vegetables, like carrots, pumpkins, squashes, and yams. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Halva”.81

68The South Caucasus is a geographical region in the southern Caucasus Mountains on the border of Eastern Europe82 and Western Asia49. It roughly corresponds to modern Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “South Causasus”.83

69“Tahini,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tahini

70“Amba (condiment),” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amba_(condiment)

71“Lavash,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavash

72“Yufka,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yufka

73Tzatziki, cacik, or tarator, is a dip, soup, or sauce found in the cuisines of Southeast Europe25 and the Middle East4. It is made of salted strained yogurt or diluted yogurt, mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, sometimes with vinegar or lemon juice, and herbs such as dill, mint, parsley and thyme. It is generally served as a cold appetizer (meze10) or a side dish. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Tzatziki”.84

74“Gyro (food),” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyro_(food)

75“Al pastor,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_pastor

76“Hummus,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hummus

77Levantine cuisine is the traditional cuisine of the Levant26 which covers a large area of the Eastern Mediterranean3. The most distinctive aspect of Levantine cuisine is meze10, including baba ghanoush66, hummus62 and tabbouleh85.The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Levantine cuisine”.86

78“Falafel,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falafel

79“Baba ghanoush,” accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baba_ghanoush

80The Indian subcontinent is a southern region and peninsula of Asia, delineated by the Himalayas in the north, the Hindu Kush87 in the west, and the Arakanese88 in the east. Politically, it includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Indian subcontinent”.89

81“Halva,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halva

82Eastern Europe is the eastern part of the European continent, and although there is no common definition of its coverage, the United Nations’ Statistics Division included the following countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, and Slovakia, as well as the republics of Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine.90

83“South Caucasus,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Caucasus

84“Tzatziki,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tzatziki

85Tabbouleh is a Lebanese and Syrian vegetarian salad made mostly of finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, onion, mint, (soaked, not cooked) bulgur17, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Some variations add garlic or lettuce, or use couscous91, instead of bulgur. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Tabbouleh”.92

86“Levantine cuisine,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levantine_cuisine

87Hindu Kush is an 800-km-long mountain range that stretches near the Afghan-Pakistan border, from central Afghanistan to northern Pakistan, according to the Wikipedia page “Hindu Kush”.93

88The Arakan Mountains, or the Rakhine Mountains, are a mountain range in western Myanmar, according to the Wikipedia page “Arakan Mountains”.94

89“Indian subcontinent,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_subcontinent

90http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Eastern_Europe

91Couscous is a Maghrebi95 dish made of (3 mm or 0.12 in.) small steamed balls from crushed durum wheat semonila, traditionally served with a stew spooned on top. It is a staple food throughout the North African27 cuisines of Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Couscous”.96

92“Tabbouleh,”accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabbouleh

93“Hindu Kush,” accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_Kush

94“Arakan Mountains,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arakan_Mountains

95The Maghrebi is a major region of North Africa27 that consists primarily of Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia. It is also called Northwest Africa, Northern Africa, Greater Arab Maghreb, Arab Maghreb, Greater Maghreb, the Berber world, Barbary, or Berberry. It additionally includes the disputed territories of Western Sahara (mostly controlled by Morocco), and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla (both controlled by Spain and claimed by Morocco). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Maghrebi”.97

96“Couscous,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Couscous

97“Maghrebi,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maghrebi

PALITON BEACH: THE LITTLE BORACAY OF SIQUIJOR

Paliton Beach is a small beach in the island province1 of Siquijor2, in the Central Visayas3 Region (Region VII)4 of the Philippines.

Paliton_Beach-wikiChecawey, 18 February 2012, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Paliton_Beach,_Siquijor,_Philippines.JPG

It is located on the northeastern part of the municipality5 of San Juan, on the western part of Siquijor2.

 

Here is my experience in Paliton Beach:

We rented an air-conditioned van owned by Yane’s Adventures Van Services6 after we arrived at the port of Siquijor. We were lucky to have a very friendly, cheerful and accommodating driver, Jimmy Bueno.2-parking-Jimmy-cropped

This beach was my group’s first major stop during our one-day Siquijor Coastal Tour, right after the “I love Siquijor” sign where we just had a couple of pictures taken.Processed with VSCO with s2 preset

Perhaps, you can schedule this beach as your last stop for the spectacular sunset. However, this beach was part of our morning schedule in our day trip, so we could not do so. Maybe, the next time we visit Siquijor and stay overnight, we will schedule this place in time for sunset.

From the main highway, our van entered a narrow unpaved, cleared pathway and Jimmy still drove for a little over a kilometer before we reached this beach. There is no entrance fee but the parking fee is PHP10; swimming is free in this beach.

Jimmy, our driver, parked the van under a coconut tree for shade. There were several small stalls nearby selling refreshments and snack items. It was still early in the morning so we did not buy anything from these stalls. I must say that the area near the beach is not developed nor organized.

The easement was lined with coconut trees. The narrow beach has sand that is white and powdery so this place is called “The Little Boracay7 of Siquijor”. It also has clear and calm blue waters. The scenery was very peaceful that March 2019 morning, perhaps because there were very few tourists when we were there.

We decided not to swim this early in the morning and will just do so after lunch in the last two stops.

People sunbathe, swim and snorkel in this beach but I was told that the best time would be at high tide and during summer months. It gets crowded with locals during sunsets and weekends.

A marine sanctuary is somewhere near and there is a charge to swim or snorkel there. I was told it had a coral garden and small fish,and covers more than 6 hectares.

We just looked around and took pictures. We did not swim here and only briefly stayed on this beach, mostly admiring its fine white sand and coconut tree-lined shore and clear water.1-Paliton Beach - right

We did not get to explore this destination since we only set a day tour of the whole island-province of Siquijor.

I was attracted to a particular coconut tree that was leaning very low towards the water. I was told that you can take a picture on this tree and just give a donation, but no one from my group wanted to do so.1-Paliton Beach - left

We noticed that there were a couple of bancas2 docked on the shore.

We contented ourselves taking pictures and videos of this “Little Boracay3 of Siquijor” because of its fine, white sand and calm blue waters. 

We only stayed about 15 minutes on this beach. We had to proceed to the other sites to see more of this island province1.

We paid for our Siquijor Coastal Tour and all comments are based on my personal experience in this province1.

You can read related posts about my Siquijor tour: ENCHANTING 400-YEAR-OLD BALETE TREE AND FISH SPA, SIQUIJORTAKE A TARZAN-LIKE DIVE AT CAMBUGAHAY FALLS, SIQUIJOR!GET BEWITCHED AT HAPITANAN, SIQUIJORSERENE AND SPONTANEOUS SALAGDOONG BEACH, SIQUIJOR, and Now You Know – SIQUIJOR: ITS LEGEND, HISTORY, TRADITIONS, AND BELIEFS.

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you re your visit to this beautiful beach. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post. Thank you.

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1A province is the primary administrative and political division in the Philippines. It is the second-level administrative sub-division of a region8. There are 81 provinces (called “lalawigan”) in the Philippines. Each province is governed by an elected legislature called the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and by an elected governor. In the Philippines, a province is divided into cities9 and municipalities5 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays10, formerly called barrios. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Provinces of the Philippines.”11 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE PROVINCES IN THE PHILIPPINES?

2Siquijor is an island province of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas3 Region (Region VII)4. Its capital is the municipality5 which is also called Siquijor. This coralline island is predominantly hilly, and in many places the hills reach the sea, producing steep cliffs. Geographically, Cebu is to the north, Negros to the west, Bohol to the northeast, and to the south, across the Bohol Sea, is Mindanao. It has a long-time reputation as a place of magic, sorcery, and mystical traditions. It is also well known for its festivals that focus on healing rituals. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Siquijor”.12

3Visayas is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It covers 3 administrative regions8: Central Visayas4, Eastern Visayas and Western Visayas. It consists of 6 major islands (Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Negros, Panay and Samar), mostly surrounded by the Visayan Sea, and is composed of 16 provinces1, according to Wikipedia page “Visayas”.13 Visayas is located at the middle part of the country; the 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines are Luzon (in the northern part) and Mindanao (in the southern part).

4Central Visayas (Region VII) of the Philippines is a Philippine region8 located in the island group of Visayas3, with Cebu City as its regional center. It has 7 local government units14 (LGUs): Bohol, Cebu, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor2. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”15

5A municipality is a small, single urban administrative division, or local government unit (LGU)14, in the Philippines which has corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by law. It is a unit under a province1, subdivided into barangays10, and is called town, or bayan. In the Philippines, a municipality is headed by a mayor, a vice-mayor and members of the Sangguniang Bayan (legislative branch). It can enact local policies and laws, enforce them, and govern its jurisdictions. It can enter into contracts and other transactions through its elected and appointed officials, and can tax as well. It enforces all local and national laws. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Municipalities of the Philippines.”16

6Yane’s Adventures Van Services information – Address: Pangi, Siquijor, Siquijor; Contact numbers: 09052133123, 09069732330 and 09183124461, look for Jade Jumawan Pestillos, and request for our very accommodating and cheerful driver, Jimmy Bueno.

7Boracay is a small island at the northwestern tip of Panay Island, in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. It is administered by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) and the provincial government of Aklan. It is known the world over for its fine white sand beaches, and was repeatedly chosen and awarded as one of the top destinations in the world for relaxation. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Boracay.”17

8A region is the first-order administrative division in the Philippines. There are 17 regions in the Philippines, based on geographical, cultural and ethnological characteristics. It is further subdivided in provinces1, composed of cities and municipalities5 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays10. The regions were initially identified in 1972, through Presidential Decree No. 1 of President Ferdinand Marcos. Since then, other regions have been created and some provinces have been “transferred” to another region. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”15 Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE THE REGIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES?

9A city is the local government unit14 in the Philippines headed by a mayor elected by popular vote. A vice-mayor serves as the presiding officer of the city’s legislative body – the Sangguniang Panlungsod (city council). The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines.”18 Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?

10A barangay in the Philippines is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines, headed by a barangay captain, aided by a Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Council). It is the native Filipino term for a district or village. It was formerly called a barrio. In a metropolitan area, a barangay is an inner city neighborhood, a suburb, or a suburban neighborhood. The word barangay originated from the term “balangay”, a kind of boat used by a group of Austronesian people who migrated to the Philippines. A number of barangays grouped together is called a district. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Barangay.”19

11“Provinces of the Philippines,” accessed July 17, 2018,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provinces_of_the_Philippines

12“Siquijor,”accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siquijor

13“Visayas,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visayas

14A local government unit (LGU) in the Philippines is divided into 3 levels: provinces1 and independent cities20; component cities21 and municipalities5; and, barangays10, according to Wikipedia page “Local government in the Philippines”.22

15“Regions of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regions_of_the_Philippines

16“Municipalities of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Municipalities_of_the_Philippines

17“Boracay,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boracay

18“Cities of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cities_of_the_Philippines

19“Barangay,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barangay

20An independent city is a type of city9 in the Philippines which is administratively and legally not subject to a province1 so it does not share its tax revenues with any province. The national government and its agencies serve such a city through sub-offices of the region8 it belongs to. It is subdivided into 2: highly urbanized city23 or independent component city24. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”18

21A component city is a type of city9 in the Philippines which does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city23. It is under the jurisdiction of a province1. If such a city is located along the boundaries of 2 or more provinces, it shall be considered part of the province of which it used to be a municipality5. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”18

22“Local government in the Philippines,” accessed July 17, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_government_in_the_Philippines

23A highly urbanized city (HUC) is a type of city9 in the Philippines with a minimum population of 200,000 as certified by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and with the latest annual income of at least 50 million pesos, according to Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”.18 There are currently 33 such cities in the Philippines (see link – Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?).

24An independent component city (ICC) is a type of city9 in the Philippines which is autonomous from the province1 in which it is geographically located and has a charter that explicitly prohibits its residents to vote for provincial officials (unless allowed to do so). It does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city23. There are 5 such cities in the country: Cotabato, Dagupan, Naga, Ormoc, and Santiago. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”18

GET BEWITCHED AT HAPITANAN, SIQUIJOR

Hapitanan is a welcome stop between destinations in Siquijor1. It is located along the Circumferential Road, in the town of Lazi2, in the island province3 of Siquijor, in the Central Visayas4 Region (Region VII)5 of the Philippines.

1-map-Siquijor-HAPITANAN

I was told by one of its staff that hapitanan means “stop-over place”.

This place was my group’s third stop (out of six) during our one-day Siquijor Coastal Tour. We rented an air-conditioned van owned by Yane’s Adventures Van Services6 after we arrived at the port of Siquijor1. Jimmy Bueno was our very friendly, accommodating and cheerful van driver.

2-parking-Jimmy-cropped

There is a cleared area beside this establishment for parking, regardless of your vehicle.

You can briefly stop here for something refreshing, something sweet, something quick and tasty, something silog7, or something to wake you up. So, for those who did not take their breakfast, or are hungry at this stop, indulge! Because we were still full, we did not order anything from the menu. 1-menu-Hapitanan-labelled

1-right-Hapitanan

You can use the monoblock tables and chairs to the right of the counter.

1-middle-Hapitanan

This is what you see as you enter Hapitanan. I suggest you give your order and while waiting, you can do other things. Read on!

But wait, there’s more! You can also do the following:

  1. Take the Broomstick Challenge! Just give a donation, ask one of your companions or a staff member there to take your picture while you position yourself like you are flying with a broom, and jump as high as you can, with both feet folded. You can have several shots taken, with different poses, along with the broom.

1-Broomstick ChallengeDo not waste any time! Take the Broomstick Challenge, just go up these steps, to your right, upon entry. Do not forget to give your donation.

FB-Hapitanan Grill and RestobarHave a companion or someone from Hapitanan take your picture from below, and voila, achieve! You have passed the Broomstick Challenge! (Picture taken from the Facebook account of Hapitanan Grill and Restobar)

2. Walk a bit further outside the store and you can have a beautiful view of the town              of Lazi2.1-view

3. Have your picture taken on the wooden swing and tire swing too, with the beautiful          view as background.1-swings

4. Buy fresh buko8, sip using a metal straw (yes, they do not use plastic straws here) and you can even buy a set for yourself and/or for someone else as a gift. This is exactly what my group did; we also ordered a buko each. The buko I tasted was so sweet and refreshing! After you have sipped all the water, you can request the buko to be halved and you can then scoop the soft meat. The person-in-charge was so creative chopping a small scoop-shaped piece from the shell so you will not need a spoon to do so.

1-bukoRefreshing fresh buko sold to the left, upon your entry. I think it costs PHP50 per buko.

1-buko-2Kudos, Hapitanan, for the metal straws but please be sure to soap, use a long, narrow bristled brush, and wash them well after every use. Thank you very much.

5. Look around at the other items for sale, like Siquijor souvenirs (e.g., wooden carved refrigerator magnets, herbal wine, key chains, voodoo dolls, love potions), and snacks (for you to bring to your next destinations).

1-goods sold

We only stayed less than 30 minutes in Hapitanan so we can proceed to the other sites of Siquijor.

At this point, I must say that all the people in Hapitanan were very hospitable, cheerful and made our brief stop very memorable.

For more pictures and information, see its Facebook account: https://www.facebook.com/pg/wherehappytanan/photos/?ref=page_internal

We paid for our Siquijor Coastal Tour and all comments are personal, based on my personal experience in this province3.

You can read related posts about my Siquijor tour: ENCHANTING 400-YEAR-OLD BALETE TREE AND FISH SPA, SIQUIJORTAKE A TARZAN-LIKE DIVE AT CAMBUGAHAY FALLS, SIQUIJOR!SERENE AND SPONTANEOUS SALAGDOONG BEACH, SIQUIJOR and Now You Know – SIQUIJOR: ITS LEGEND, HISTORY, TRADITIONS, AND BELIEFS.

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you re your flying broom experience and brief stay in Hapitanan. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post. Thank you.

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1Siquijor is an island province3 of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas Region (Region VII)5. Its capital is the municipality9 which is also called Siquijor. This coralline island is predominantly hilly, and in many places the hills reach the sea, producing steep cliffs. Geographically, Cebu is to the north, Negros to the west, Bohol to the northeast, and to the south, across the Bohol Sea, is Mindanao. It has a long-time reputation as a place of magic, sorcery, and mystical traditions. It is also well known for its festivals that focus on healing rituals.The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Siquijor”.10

2Lazi, formerly called Tigbawan, is a coastal municipality9 in the island province3 of Siquijor1, with 18 barangays11.It is located in the southeastern side of the island, between the towns of San Juan in the west and Maria from the east. It is known for its Roman Catholic church called San Isidro Labrador Parish Church (a National Historical Landmark12, a National Cultural Treasure13, and included in the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage Sites14 under the Baroque15 Churches of the Philippines-Extension), the Convent in front of it (one of the largest convents built during the Spanish colonial era16), the 400-yo enchanting balete tree with fish spa, and Cambugahay Falls (where you can accept the Tarzan Swing-Dive Challenge). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Lazi, Siquijor”17and “Siquijor”10. See related posts: ENCHANTING 400-YEAR-OLD BALETE TREE AND FISH SPA, SIQUIJOR and TAKE A TARZAN-LIKE DIVE AT CAMBUGAHAY FALLS, SIQUIJOR! Visit this site for more information: http://www.phtourguide.com/municipality-of-lazi-in-siquijor/

3A province is the primary administrative and political division in the Philippines. It is the second-level administrative sub-division of a region18. There are 81 provinces (called “lalawigan”) in the Philippines. Each province is governed by an elected legislature called the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and by an elected governor. Remember, a province in the Philippines is divided into cities19 and municipalities9 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays11, formerly called barrios. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Provinces of the Philippines.”20 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE PROVINCES IN THE PHILIPPINES?

4Visayas is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It covers 3 administrative regions: Central Visayas26, Eastern Visayas and Western Visayas. It consists of 6 major islands (Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Negros, Panay and Samar), mostly surrounded by the Visayan Sea, and is composed of 16 provinces3, according to Wikipedia page “Visayas”.21 Visayas is located at the middle part of the country; the 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines are Luzon (in the northern part) and Mindanao (in the southern part).

5Central Visayas (Region VII) of the Philippines is a Philippine region18 located in the island group of Visayas4, with Cebu City as its regional center. It has 7 local government units22 (LGUs): Bohol, Cebu, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor1. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”23

6Yane’s Adventures Van Services information – Address: Pangi, Siquijor, Siquijor; Contact numbers: 09052133123, 09069732330 and 09183124461, look for Jade JumawanPestillos, and request for our very accommodating and cheerful driver, Jimmy Bueno.

7Silog is the abbreviated fusion of the Tagalog words sinangag (fried rice) and itlog (egg, usually, sunny-side up). It is used as a suffix in combination with a prefix pertaining to the main dish for a set breakfast meal. An example is tosilog: to (short for tocino24) + silog = fried rice with tocino (sliced, cured, fried pork) and fried egg.

8Buko is the Filipino term for young coconut, sold in the Philippines especially in the countryside. The peddler can usually open the coconut for you, and even skillfully carve off the whole meat for you, with the water intact inside. Alternatively, it could be cut and enjoyed the way I described above.

9A municipality is a small, single urban administrative division, or local government unit (LGU)22, in the Philippines which has corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by law. It is a unit under a province3, subdivided into barangays11, and is called town, or bayan. In the Philippines, a municipality is headed by a mayor, a vice-mayor and members of the Sangguniang Bayan (legislative branch). It can enact local policies and laws, enforce them, and govern its jurisdictions. It can enter into contracts and other transactions through its elected and appointed officials, and can tax as well. It enforces all local and national laws. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Municipalities of the Philippines.”25

10“Siquijor,”accessed March 2, 2019, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siquijor

11A barangay in the Philippines is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines, headed by a barangay captain, aided by a Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Council). It is the native Filipino term for a district or village. It was formerly called a barrio. In a metropolitan area, a barangay is an inner city neighborhood, a suburb, or a suburban neighborhood. The word barangay originated from the term “balangay”, a kind of boat used by a group of Austronesian people who migrated to the Philippines. A number of barangays grouped together is called a district. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Barangay.”26

12A National Historical Landmark of the Philippines is a place or object that is associated with an event, achievement, characteristics or modification that presents a turning point or stage in history. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Category: National Historical Landmarks of the Philippines”.27

13A National Cultural Treasure (NCT) of the Philippines is a tangible (movable and immovable) or intangible heritage property declared by the National Commission for Culture and Arts28 and other cultural agencies such as the National Museum of the Philippines29, National Library of the Philippines30, and National Archives of the Philippines31. Such declarations are authorized under the National Cultural Heritage Act of 200932 and recognized within the Cultural Properties of the Philippines33 by the Philippine government. The title of NCT is the highest designation given to a “unique cultural property found locally, possessing outstanding historical, cultural, artistic and/or scientific value which is highly significant and important to the country and nation”.34 The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Cultural Treasure”.35

14A UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS) is a unique landmark, or geographically and historically identifiable place, which is selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as having cultural, historical, scientific, physical or other form of significance, and is legally protected by international treaties. Sites are demarcated by UNESCO as protected zones. The list is maintained by the International World Heritage Program administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 state parties which are elected by the General Assembly. Under certain conditions, listed sites can obtain funds from the World Heritage Fund. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “World Heritage Site”.36

15Baroque architecture began in Rome, Italy, in the late 16th century, which conveys grandeur and drama, most often used in palaces and churches. It includes curving forms, oval shapes, and a combination of concave and convex forms that make walls seem to undulate, or appear wavy, with a strong sense of motion. It groups things together like columns and decorative flourishes on building surfaces. Architectural elements are repeated across a surface. It uses distortion to make figures elongated, broken, or manipulated in some manner to make them stand out. Buildings have columns, sometimes topped with capitals and large volutes, scroll, or spiral forms. Sculptural wall elements will often project from the surface which is full of forms to increase the interplay of light and shadow across them. Inside, Baroque structures will often have ceilings painted in bright colors, made to fool one’s eye into believing one is looking at the sky. Buildings also have very rich surface treatments, including interiors with stucco37, various colored marbles, and gold gilt or thin sheets of gold applied to surfaces. Most Baroque churches have vaulted ceilings, supported by a series of interconnected arches.38

16The Spanish colonial era was the historical part of the Philippines from 1521, when European explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in the country, and ended in 1898, with the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution39. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “History of the Philippines from 1521 to 1898”.40

17“Lazi, Siquijor,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lazi,_Suquijor

18A region is the first-order administrative division in the Philippines. There are 17 regions in the Philippines, based on geographical, cultural and ethnological characteristics. It is further subdivided in provinces3, composed of cities and municipalities9 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays11. The regions were initially identified in 1972, through Presidential Decree No. 1 of President Ferdinand Marcos. Since then, other regions have been created and some provinces have been “transferred” to another region. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”23 Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE THE REGIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES?

19A city is the local government unit22 in the Philippines headed by a mayor elected by popular vote. A vice-mayor serves as the presiding officer of the city’s legislative body – the Sangguniang Panlungsod (city council). The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines.”41 Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?

20“Provinces of the Philippines,” accessed July 17, 2018,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provinces_of_the_Philippines

21“Visayas,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visayas

22A local government unit (LGU) in the Philippines is divided into 3 levels: provinces3 and independent cities42; component cities43 and municipalities9; and, barangays11, according to Wikipedia page “Local government in the Philippines”.44

23“Regions of the Philippines,” accessed July 17, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regions_of_the_Philippines

24Tocino is the Philippine variant of the Spanish bacon. A popular fried breakfast treat made from thinly sliced strips of pork belly, it is traditionally marinated using saltpeter, salt and sugar, although pineapple juice may be added for a slightly tart flavor. It can now be prepared by mixing the meat with anise wine, annatto, water, sugar and salt. The meat strips are stacked in a container, then covered and kept refrigerated for about three days to cure. Prior to serving, it is fried in oil until the fat is rendered. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Tocino.”45

25“Municipalities of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Municipalities_of_the_Philippines

26“Barangay,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barangay

27“Category: National Historical Landmarks of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:_National_Historical_Landmarks_of_the_Philippines

28The National Commission for Culture and Arts is the official government agency for culture in the Philippines, formed in 1987, with headquarters in General Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila. It is the overall policy making body, coordinating, and grants-giving agency for the preservation, development and promotion of Philippine arts and culture. Its parent department is the Office of the President of the Philippines and its sub-agencies are the: National Archives of the Philippines31, National Historical Commission of the Philippines46, National Library of the Philippines30, National Museum of the Philippines29, Commission on the Filipino Language, and the Cultural Center of the Philippines. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Commission for Culture and Arts”.47 Visit its website: www.ncca.gov.ph

29The National Museum of the Philippines is a government institution in the Philippines which serves as the educational, scientific and cultural institution in preserving the various permanent national collections featuring the ethnographic, anthropological, archaeological and visual artistry of the Philippines. It was formed on October 29, 1901, with headquarters in Padre Burgos Avenue, in Rizal Park, Ermita, Manila. Since 1998, it has been the regulatory and enforcement agency of the national government in restoring and safeguarding important cultural properties, sites and reservations throughout the Philippines. It is under the Department of Education and the National Commission for Culture and Arts28. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Museum of the Philippines”.48 Visit its website: www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph

30The National Library of the Philippines is the official national library of the Philippines, with over 1.6 million pieces in its collections. It is notably called the home of the original copies of the defining works of Jose Rizal (Noli Me Tangere, El Filibusterismo and Mi Ultimo Adios). It was established in 1901 and located in Rizal Park, at T. M. Kalaw Avenue, Ermita, Manila. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Library of the Philippines”.49 Visit its website: www.web.nlp.gov.ph

31The National Archives of the Philippines is an agency of the Philippines which is mandated to collect, store, preserve and make available, archival records of the government and other primary sources pertaining to the history and development of the country, as a result of the passage of Republic Act 9470 on May 21, 2007. It is the primary records management agency, tasked to formulate and implement the records schedule and vital records protection programs for the government. Its headquarters is in the National Library of the Philippines, in Rizal Park, at T. M. Kalaw Avenue, Ermita, Manila. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Archives of the Philippines”.50 Visit its website: www.nationalarchives.gov.ph

32The National Cultural Heritage Act is a law of the Republic of the Philippines which created the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property and took other steps to preserve historic buildings that are over 50 years old, signed into law on March 25, 2009, according to the Wikipedia page “National Cultural Heritage Act”.51

33The Cultural Properties of the Philippines refers to the cultural properties listed by the National Commission for Culture and Arts28, National Historical Commission of the Philippines46, and the National Museum of the Philippines29 through the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property (PRECUP), the official cultural property list of the country. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cultural properties of the Philippines”.52

 34www.primer.com.ph

35“National Cultural Treasure,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Cultural_Treasure

36“World Heritage Site,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Heritage_Site

37Stucco refers to the cement-based plaster used for coating wall surfaces or molding into architectural decorations. It hardens into a highly durable material that requires little maintenance and can be used to obtain different textures and finishes.53

38https://study.com/academy/lesson/italian-baroque-architecture-characteristics-examples.html

39The Philippine Revolution is the revolution that started on August 23, 1896 when the Spaniards discovered the Katipunan54, and ended in August 13, 1898. The Filipinos were victorious and resulted in the expulsion of the Spanish colonial government, as well as the: signing of the Pack of Biak-na-Bato55 in 1897; resumption of hostilities during the Spanish-American War56 in 1898; the establishment of the First Philippine Republic57; and, the outbreak of the Philippine-American War58 in 1899. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Philippine Revolution”.59

40“History of the Philippines from 1521 to 1898,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Philippines

41“Cities of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cities_of_the_Philippines

42An independent city is a type of city19 in the Philippines which is administratively and legally not subject to a province3 so it does not share its tax revenues with any province. The national government and its agencies serve such a city through sub-offices of the region18 it belongs to. It is subdivided into 2: highly urbanized city60 or independent component city61. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”41

43A component city is a type of city19 in the Philippines which does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city60. It is under the jurisdiction of a province3. If such a city is located along the boundaries of 2 or more provinces, it shall be considered part of the province of which it used to be a municipality9. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”41

44“Local government in the Philippines,” accessed July 17, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_government_in_the_Philippines

45“Tocino,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tocino

46The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) is a government agency of the Philippines which promotes Philippine history and cultural heritage through research, dissemination, conservation, sites management, and heraldry works, thereby inculcating awareness and appreciation of the noble deeds and ideals of our heroes and other illustrious Filipinos, instilling pride in the Filipino people, and rekindling the Filipino spirit through the lessons of history. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Historical Commission of the Philippines”.62

47“National Commission for Culture and Arts,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Commission_for_Culture_and_Arts

48“National Museum of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Museum_of_the_Philippines

49“National Library of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Library_of_the_Philippines

50“National Archives of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Archives_of_the_Philippines

51“National Cultural Heritage Act,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Cultural_Heritage_Act

52“Cultural properties of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_properties_of_the_Philippines

53https://www.thebalancesmb.com/choose-right-stucco-mix-844655

54The Katipunan was the Philippine revolutionary secret society founded by anti-Spanish Filipinos in Manila in 1892 that aimed to gain independence from Spain through a revolution, according to the Wikipedia page “Katipunan”.63

55The Pact of Biak-na-Bato was a truce between Spanish colonial Governor-General Fernando Primo de Rivera and the revolutionary leader Emilio Aguinaldo to end the Philippine Revolution39, signed on December 14, 1897, in the house of Pablo Tecson (a Philippine revolutionary captain who served as Brigadier General under General Gregorio del Pilar) in San Miguel, Bulacan. Aguinaldo and his fellow revolutionaries were given amnesty and monetary indemnity by the Spanish government, in return for which the revolutionary government would go on exile in Hong Kong. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Pact of Biak-na- Bato”.64

56The Spanish-American War was fought between Spain and the United States in 1898. Hostilities began in the aftermath of the internal explosion of USS Maine in Havana Harbor, in Cuba, leading to US intervention in the Cuban War of Independence. The Americans won and it resulted in the Treaty of Paris65, signed on December 10, 1898, and came into effect on April 11, 1899, when the documents of ratification were exchanged, with Spain relinquishing all claims of sovereignty over and title to Cuba, and ceded Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines to the US. The cession of the Philippines involved a compensation of $20 million from the US to Spain. The information was obtained from Wikipedia pages “Spanish-American War”66 and “Treaty of Paris of 1898”67.

57The First Philippine Republic, or the Malolos Republic, was a nascent revolutionary government in the Philippines, established after the Philippine Revolution39 against the Spanish Empire (1896-1897) and the Spanish-American War56, and was the first constitutional republic in Asia, with a comprehensive constitution duly approved by a partially elected congress. It was formally established with the proclamation of the Malolos Constitution on January 21, 1899, in Malolos, Bulacan, and endured until the capture of President Emilio Aguinaldo by the American forces on March 23, 1901, in Palanan, Isabela. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “First Philippine Republic”.68

58The Philippine-American War, the Philippine War, the Philippine Insurrection, or the Tagalog Insurgency, was an armed conflict between the First Philippine Republic57 and the USA that lasted from February 4, 1899 to July 2, 1902. The conflict arose when the former objected to the terms of the Treaty of Paris65, under which the US took possession of the Philippines from Spain, ending the short Spanish-American War56. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Philippine-American War”.69

59“Philippine Revolution,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine_Revolution

60A highly urbanized city (HUC) is a type of city19 in the Philippines with a minimum population of 200,000 as certified by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and with the latest annual income of at least 50 million pesos, according to Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”.41 There are currently 33 such cities in the Philippines. See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?

61An independent component city (ICC) is a type of city19 in the Philippines which is autonomous from the province3 in which it is geographically located and has a charter that explicitly prohibits its residents to vote for provincial officials (unless allowed to do so). It does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city60. There are 5 such cities in the country: Cotabato, Dagupan, Naga, Ormoc, and Santiago. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”41

62“National Historical Commission of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Historical_Commission_of_the_Philippines

63“Katipunan,” accessed October 16, 2018,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katipunan

64“Pact of Biak-na-Bato,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pact_of_Biak-na-Bato

65The Treaty of Paris was an agreement, signed on December 10, 1898, that involved Spain relinquishing nearly all the remaining Spanish Empire, especially Cuba, and ceding Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines to the US, thus ending the Spanish-American War56. It came into effect on April 11, 1899, when the documents of ratification were exchanged. The cessation of the Philippines involved a payment of US$20 million from the US to Spain. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Treaty of Paris (1898)”.67

66“Spanish-American War,” accessed October 16, 2018,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish-American_War

67“Treaty of Paris,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of-Paris.

 68“First Philippine Republic,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Philippine_Republic

69 “Philippine-American War,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine-American_War

Now You Know – SIQUIJOR: ITS LEGEND, HISTORY, TRADITIONS, AND BELIEFS

Siquijor is an island province1 located in the Central Visayas2 Region (Region VII)of the Philippines. It has 6 municipalities4: Enrique Villanueva, Larena, Lazi, Maria, San Juan, and Siquijor (the capital, and yes, the same name as the province).

It is the smallest province1 among the provinces of the said region5, and the third smallest province in the Philippines, next to Camiguin6 and Batanes7 (the smallest).

THE LEGEND OF SIQUIJOR

Legend tells of a King (or Datu) Kihod as the source of the island’s name. Before the Spaniards arrived in the Philippines, this island was the home to the Kingdom of Katugasan, from the word tugas (the local name for the Molave trees that covered the hills found all over the island). The early Siquijodnons used tugas to make posts for their homes because of its strength and durability. It was also used for making wooden plows to cultivate the rocky soil for farming.

Archeological proof – in the form of pottery and old tools excavated in the island’s caves, as well as Chinese ceramics and other objects – substantiate the supposition that, prior to the discovery of using tugas as housing material, the island’s natives lived in caves, and, that they were already in contact with Chinese traders during the pre-colonial era. The art of traditional healing and witchcraft belief systems also developed during this time.

This island province1 is indeed mysterious! First is the origin of the island. They say the island surfaced from the depths of the ocean during a great storm which once engulfed the region5. This storm was followed by a strong earthquake that shook the earth and sea. Amidst the lightning and thunder, an island rose from the depths of the ocean and became Siquijor island. In fact, how can you explain that during modern times, farmers have unraveled giant shell casings under farm plots?

Siquijor is commonly associated with mystic traditions. It is widely believed since the olden times that the natives of this island were men of mystery and magic who can conjure and control spirits. There are folk healers whose practices include spiritualism, along with the preparation of brews and herbal concoctions for love and health problems. See traditions and beliefs below.

BRIEF HISTORY

This island was discovered by Esteban Rodriguez and Juan Aguirre of the Legaspi8 expedition in 1565.

During the Spanish colonial period in the Philippines, the Spaniards called Siquijor Isla del Fuego (Island of Fire) because the island gave off an eerie glow at night from the great swarms of fireflies that lived in the branches of the abundant tugas or molave trees.

Siquijor was founded in 1783 and was under the province1 of Bohol9, part of Negros Oriental10 (1854-1892), then a sub-province of Negros Oriental (1901), and eventually, an independent province on September 17, 1971 by RA 6396, with the municipality4 of Larena as the capital. A year after, the capital was transferred to Siquijor town, by Proclamation 1975.

The municipality4 of Siquijor was the first parish, established in 1783, under the administration of secular clergymen. In the years that followed until 1877, the parishes of Canoan (Larena), Tigbawan (Lazi), Makapilay (San Juan), and Cangmenlac (Maria) were founded by Augustinian and Recollect11 priests.

TRADITIONS AND BELIEFS

The Siquijodnons are predominantly Roman Catholic yet their island province1 is still known as the Mystical Island. Healers and herbalists all over the country annually come together in this island during Holy Week to perform healing, and to participate in the preparation of concoctions made from a variety of tree barks, roots, herbs, insects and other ingredients. These are gathered from the forests, sea, caves, and cemeteries during the 7 Fridays of the Lenten season. The resulting brews are deemed to have healing powers.

The Festival starts on Holy Wednesday with the gathering of the final ingredients. This day is known as pang-alap. Activity on Maundy Thursday is called pang-adlip, or the chopping of different tree barks and other ingredients, said to be more than 200 kinds. On Good Friday, healers and herbalists concoct amalgams for black magic or occult practices. This is part of the villages’ secret knowledge, and no outsiders allowed to observe.

In contrast, the Black Saturday activity is open to spectators. This time, the herbalists, healers, and spectators gather together in a circle, taking turns to produce mixtures that also include herbal potions. When the brews are ready, they are bottled and sold. This village tradition started before the 1930s, according to the people of San Antonio and Cantabon, and has been handed down from the predecessors of some famous healers.

Siquijor partly owes its famous mystique to its “traditional doctors” and their variety of folk healing and divination rituals, with the bolo-bolo as the most popular form. Bolo-bolo is performed with the use of a glass of water, a (magical black) stone, and a (bamboo) straw.

bolo-bolo session begins with the healer feeling the pulse of the patient to determine if the ailment is brought about by evil spirits or by natural causes. Some healers treat only patients whose illnesses are deemed due to supernatural elements, while others treat illnesses of both origins.

Notwithstanding popular belief in the curative powers of the bolo-bolo and other folk healing practices in Siquijor, these same practices have fanned so much speculation to the extent of becoming, in fact, the subject of several scholarly studies. Whether you believe it or not, one thing is certain, it has become one of the Siquijor’s major attractions.

The information was obtained from https://pia.gov.ph/provinces/siquijor and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siquijor

Please read related posts about my Siquijor tour: ENCHANTING 400-YEAR-OLD BALETE TREE AND FISH SPA, SIQUIJORTAKE A TARZAN-LIKE DIVE AT CAMBUGAHAY FALLS, SIQUIJOR!SERENE AND SPONTANEOUS SALAGDOONG BEACH, SIQUIJOR and GET BEWITCHED AT HAPITANAN, SIQUIJOR.

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you re Siquijor’s legend, history, traditions and beliefs. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post. Thank you.

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1A province is the primary administrative and political division in the Philippines. It is the second-level administrative sub-division of a region5. There are 81 provinces (called “lalawigan”) in the Philippines. Each province is governed by an elected legislature called the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and by an elected governor. In the Philippines, a province is divided into cities12 and municipalities4 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays13, formerly called barrios. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Provinces of the Philippines.”14 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE PROVINCES IN THE PHILIPPINES?

2Visayas is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It covers 3 administrative regions: Central Visayas3, Eastern Visayas15 and Western Visayas16. It consists of 6 major islands (Bohol9, Cebu, Leyte, Negros, Panay and Samar), mostly surrounded by the Visayan Sea, and is composed of 16 provinces1, according to Wikipedia page “Visayas”.17 See the 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines: Luzon18 and Mindanao19.

3Central Visayas (Region VII) of the Philippines is a Philippine region5 located in the island group of Visayas2, with Cebu City as its regional center. It has 7 local government units20 (LGUs): Bohol9, Cebu, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Negros Oriental10, and Siquijor. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”21

4A municipality, or town, is a small, single urban administrative division, or local government unit (LGU)20, in the Philippines which has corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction, as granted by law. It is a unit under a province1, subdivided into barangays13. A town is locally called “bayan”. In the Philippines, a municipality is headed by a mayor, a vice mayor and members of the Sangguniang Bayan (legislative branch). It can enact local policies and laws, enforce them, and govern its jurisdictions. It can enter into contracts and other transactions through its elected and appointed officials, and can tax as well. It enforces all local and national laws. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Municipalities of the Philippines.”22

5A region in the Philippines is the first-order administrative division in the Philippines. There are 17 regions in the Philippines, based on geographical, cultural and ethnological characteristics. It is further subdivided in provinces1, composed of cities12 and municipalities5 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays13. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”21 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE THE REGIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES?

6Camiguin is the second smallest province1 in the Philippines, both in population and land area, after Batanes7. This island province is located in the Bohol Sea, geographically part of the Northern Mindanao Region (Region X)23, and formerly part of Misamis Oriental province. The provincial capital is Mambajao, also the province’s largest municipality4 in area and population. It is famous for its sweet lanzones (see related post – Savoring Pinoy Delights: THE LUSCIOUS LANZONES) to which the annual week-long Lanzones Festival is dedicated, held every third week of October. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Camiguin.”24

7Batanes is the smallest province1 in the Philippines, both in population and land area. This archipelago25 province is the northernmost province of the country, and is located in the Cagayan Valley Region (Region II)26. Its capital is Basco, located in the island of Batan. The entire province is listed in the UNESCO tentative list for inscription in the list of World Heritage Sites27 (see a related post – Seniors, Now You Know: WHAT ARE THE WORLD HERITAGE SITES IN THE PHILIPPINES?). Seven intangible heritage elements of the Ivatan28 are undergoing a process to be included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists29 between 2018-2025. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Batanes.”30

8Miguel Lopez de Legazpi (1502-August 20, 1572), also known as El Adelantado and El Viejo (The Elder), was a Spanish navigator and governor who established the first Spanish settlement in the East Indies when his expedition crossed the Pacific Ocean, from the Viceroyalty of New Spain, in modern-day Mexico, and arrived in Cebu, in the Philippines. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Miguel Lopez de Ligazpi.”31

9Bohol is a province1 located in the Central Visayas Region (Region 7)3, consisting of the island itself and 75 minor surrounding islands, and considered the 10th largest island in the Philippines. Its capital is Tagbilaran. To the west of Bohol is Cebu, to the northeast is the island of Leyte, and to the south, across the Bohol Sea, is Mindanao19. It is known for the Chocolate Hills, its beaches and resorts, and the smallest primate in the world called tarsier (see a related post – Short and Simple: THE PHILIPPINE TARSIER). The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Bohol.”32

10Negros Oriental, Oriental Negros or Eastern Negros, is a province1 located in the Central Visayas Region (Region 7)3 of the Philippines. It occupies the southeastern half of the large island of Negros, and borders Negros Occidental, which comprises the northwestern half. It also includes Apo Island, a popular dive site for both local and foreign tourists. Its capital is Dumaguete City, the seat of government and the most populous city of the province. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Negros Oriental”.33

11The Recollects were a French reform branch of the Order of Friars Minor created at the end of the 15th century, commonly known today as the Franciscans, best known for their presence as missionaries in various parts of the world. They wore gray habits and pointed hoods, took vows of poverty, and devoted their lives to prayer, penance, and spiritual reflection. In 1897, Pope Leo XIII officially dissolved the Recollects order and integrated it as a part of the Franciscan order, officially changing their name to Friars Minor. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Recollects”.34

12A city in the Philippines is the local government unit20 in the Philippines headed by a mayor elected by popular vote. A vice-mayor serves as the presiding officer of the city’s legislative body – the Sangguniang Panlungsod (city council). Congress is the only legislative entity that can incorporate a city in the country. Upon receiving its charter, a city also receives a full complement of executive departments to best serve its constituents. There are 145 cities, as of 2016, in the country. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines.”35See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?

13A barangay in the Philippines is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines, headed by a barangay captain, aided by a Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Council). It is the native Filipino term for a district or village. It was formerly called a barrio. In a metropolitan area, a barangay is an inner city neighborhood, a suburb, or a suburban neighborhood. The word barangay originated from the term “balangay”, a kind of boat used by a group of Austronesian people who migrated to the Philippines. A number of barangays grouped together is called a district. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Barangay.”36

14“Provinces of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provinces_of_the_Philippines

15Eastern Visayas Region (Region VIII) is a Philippine region5 located in the island group of Visayas2, with Tacloban as its regional center. It has 8 local government units20 (LGUs): Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Ormoc, Samar, Southern Leyte, and Tacloban. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”21

16The Western Visayas Region (Region VI) is a Philippine region located in the island group of Visayas2, with Iloilo City as its regional center. It has 8 local government units20 (LGUs): Aklan, Antique, Bacolod, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, Iloilo City, and Negros Occidental. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”21

17“Visayas,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visayas

18Luzon is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It is the country’s largest (ranked 15th largest in the world) and most populated island, as well as its economical and political center. Luzon is composed of 8 regions5: Bicol, Cagayan Valley, CALABARZON, Central Luzon, Cordillera, Ilocos, MIMAROPA and the National Capital Region. The 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines are Visayas2 and Mindanao19. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Luzon.”37

19Mindanao is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It is the second largest island of the country and covers 6 administrative regions: Caraga Region, Davao Region, Northern Mindanao, SOCCSKSARGEN, Zamboanga Peninsula, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). It is composed of 22 provinces1 and 33 cities12 (27 provinces and 33 cities, if associated islands are included). The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Mindanao.”38 See the 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines: Luzon18 and Visayas2.

20A local government unit (LGU) in the Philippines is divided into 3 levels: provinces1 and independent cities39; component cities40 and municipalities4; and, barangays13, according to Wikipedia page “Local government in the Philippines”41

21“Regions of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regions_of_the_Philippines

22 “Municipalities of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Municipalities_of_the_Philippines

23Northern Mindanao Region (Region X) is a Philippine region5 located in the island group of Mindanao19, with Cagayan de Oro as its regional center. It has 7 local government units20 (LGUs): Bukidnon, Cagayan de Oro, Camiguin, Iligan, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental and Misamis Oriental. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”21

24“Camiguin,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camiguin

25An archipelago, island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster, or collection of islands, or sometimes, a sea containing a small number of scattered islands, according to the Wikipedia page “Archipelago”.42

26The Cagayan Valley Region (Region II) is a Philippine region5 located in the island group of Luzon18, with Tuguegarao as its regional center. It has 6 local government units20 (LGUs): Batanes7, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Viscaya, Quirino, and Santiago. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”21

27 A World Heritage Site (WHS) is a unique landmark, or geographically and historically identifiable place, which is selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as having cultural, historical, scientific, physical or other form of significance, and is legally protected by international treaties. UNESCO mandates a nomination process. It starts when a country lists its significant cultural and natural sites to form a Tentative List. It can then place sites selected from that list into a Nomination File which is evaluated by the International Council on Monuments and Sites and the World Conservation Union. These bodies then make their recommendations to the World Heritage Committee. The Committee meets once a year to determine whether or not to inscribe each nominated property on the World Heritage List, and sometimes defers or refers the decision to request more information from the country that nominated the site. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “List of World Heritage Sites in the Philippines”.43 See a related post: Seniors, Now You Know: WHAT ARE THE WORLD HERITAGE SITES IN THE PHILIPPINES?

28The Ivatans are a Filipino ethnolinguistic group predominant in the islands of Batanes7 of the Philippines, known for their stone houses of coral and limestone, designed to protect against the hostile climate in Batanes7. Their origins remain untraced among scholars, but they are known to be an Austronesian group, i.e., a group of various peoples in Southeast Asia, Oceania and east Africa that speak Austronesian languages. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Ivatan people”.44

29The UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists consists of important intangible cultural heritages45 worldwide, established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), to ensure better protection for these treasures and the awareness of their significance. The list was established in 2008 when the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage took effect. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists”.46

30“Batanes,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batanes

31“Miguel Lopez de Legazpi,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miguel_Lopez_de_Legazpi

32“Bohol,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bohol

33“Negros Oriental,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negros_Oriental

34“Recollects,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recollects

35“Cities of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cities_of_the_Philippines

36“Barangay,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barangay

37“Luzon,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luzon

38“Mindanao,” accessed January 29, 2019,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindanao

39An independent city is a type of city12 in the Philippines which is administratively and legally not subject to a province1 so it does not share its tax revenues with any province. The national government and its agencies serve such a city through sub-offices of the region5 it belongs to. It is subdivided into 2: highly urbanized city47 or independent component city48. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”35

40A component city is a type of city12 in the Philippines which does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city47. It is under the jurisdiction of a province1. If such a city is located along the boundaries of 2 or more provinces, it shall be considered part of the province of which it used to be a municipality4. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”35

41“Local government in the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_government_in_the_Philippines

42“Archipelago,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archipelago

43“List of World Heritage Sites in the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_World_Heritage_Sites_in_the_Philippines

44“Ivatan people,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivatan_people

45An international cultural heritage (ICH) is a practice, representation, expression, knowledge, or skill, as well as the instruments, objects, artifacts, and cultural spaces that are considered by UNESCO to be part of a place’s cultural heritage. The Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage was drafted in 2003 for its protection and promotion. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Intangible cultural heritage”.49

46“UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UNESCO_Intangible_Cultural_Heritage_Lists

47A highly urbanized city (HUC) is a type of city12 in the Philippines with a minimum population of 200,000 as certified by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and with the latest annual income of at least 50 million pesos, according to Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”.35 There are currently 33 such cities in the Philippines (see link – Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?).

48An independent component city (ICC) is a type of city12 in the Philippines which is autonomous from the province1 in which it is geographically located and has a charter that explicitly prohibits its residents to vote for provincial officials (unless allowed to do so). It does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city47. There are 5 such cities in the country: Cotabato, Dagupan, Naga, Ormoc, and Santiago. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”35

49“Intangible Cultural Heritage,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intangible_Cultural_Heritage

ENCHANTING 400-YEAR-OLD BALETE TREE AND FISH SPA, SIQUIJOR

The famous and majestic 400-year old Balete tree is located in Barangay1 Campalanas, in the town of Lazi, in the island province2 of Siquijor3, in the Central Visayas Region (Region VII)of the Philippines. It is reputed to be the oldest and biggest tree in this province.

Some people believe that balete5 trees are mystical, possess spiritual powers, and are dwelling places for supernatural beings called “anito”6, like diwata7, kapre8 or tikbalang9. Local folklore reveals that sorcery rituals are performed inside the chambers formed by these sacred trees. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Balete tree”.10

For what it is worth, just in case you believe in such beings and feel uneasy about a particular new place you visit, elders used to tell me not to point my fingers or hands, especially towards old houses for fear that beings there might play tricks on me and/or join me when I leave the place. If by chance you feel odd thereafter, and you realize that you are going in circles and cannot leave a particular town or place, just remove your shirt/blouse and wear it, inside out. For severe cases, sprinkle salt on your vehicle and do not go straight to your house. Make “pagpag”11 by stopping anywhere, like a store, to leave such beings behind.

I recall my childhood days in New Manila, Quezon City, where we resided on a major street perpendicular to, and near, the famous street called Balete Drive, named after a huge balete5 tree that used to stand in the middle of that street. Since the 1950s, the tale of a white lady who hailed taxis at night further added to the haunted image of this street and was the subject of so many hair-raising stories. Well, come to think of it, I spent 30 years of my life there, and did not see any kind of “anito”6 or white lady.

My group did not go to Siquijor4 to experience the so-called sorcery side. We wanted to discover and appreciate its natural beauty all in one day, so all my posts regarding this island are about nature-tripping (its flora, beaches, etc.), a cultural stop (the Lazi Church), and the cheerful and hospitable Siquijodnons.

Now for my experience at Siquijor’s old enchanted balete5 tree and fish spa:

My group left Dumaguete City12 port early and took a ferry ride aboard Ocean Jet13, to the town of Larena, where the Siquijor3 port is located. We arrived after an hour, disembarked, walked to the main gate of the port, and negotiated the rental of an air-conditioned van for a day trip called Siquijor Coastal Tour for PHP3,500.

We chose Yane’s Adventures Van Services14 and were lucky to get a very cheerful and accommodating driver, Jimmy Bueno.

Alternatively, you can hire a multicab15, tricycle16, or motorcycle to do the same service as a “special trip”, depending on your budget and the number of people with you. You can also opt to ride along with the locals, and pay the regular rate, but I guess this might be difficult at some stops and might create delays. Our group consisted of seven people, including a 7-year-old kid, so it was more convenient to hire a van.

Our driver, Jimmy, handed us a laminated map of Siquijor, showing all the possible destinations to be squeezed into our day tour. We opted to see only 6 major destinations of the island province, and this 400-year old tree cum fish spa was our second stop.

The property where this imposing, majestic tree is located is clean and well-maintained. It also has an open parking area fronting the main street of Siquijor3. Our driver parked in front of the souvenir shop.

1-entrance

2-parking-JimmyJimmy Bueno, our cheerful and expert driver in Siquijor (Yane’s Adventures Van Services)

3-facadeA restaurant is located at the 2nd level and assorted items are for sale at the ground floor

The shop offered a wide variety of pasalubong17 and goodies, from snacks and cold refreshments to ease your immediate hunger and thirst, to assorted local products like Siquijor3 t-shirts, key chains, bracelets, love potions, miniature voodoo dolls, mystic herbal wine, as well as other products like native bags and delicacies from nearby places.1-store-collage-ok

5-siquior-goodies-collage-okTake your pick – Love Potions, Voodoo Dolls, and Mystic Herbal Wine

To the right of the shop is the table with local government representatives, where the entrance fee of PHP10 is collected.6-entrance-fee-ok

When one walks further on, the huge quadricentennial tree can be accessed to the left; the nearby man-made fish spa area stands to its right.7-tree-fish-spa

It is quite surprising that this enchanting and enthralling tree did not look scary at all to me. People take turns taking pictures under this tree, and we patiently waited for our turn to do so. After seeing your solo or group pictures taken under this tree, you will realize how small you are in comparison. But you feel one with it. It is definitely not creepy at all!

I took several shots of the different parts of this captivating tree and, in my crazy and imaginative mind, I wondered what this old tree could possibly tell me, if it could talk. I just felt contented holding the tree’s trunk and other parts I could reach. I thanked it for giving me fresh oxygen, the same way it has given to the people of the barangayfor centuries. I thanked it too for allowing the spring water to flow beneath it – the water being essential to the relaxation tourists felt during their fish spa experience.8-tree collage

9-tree-collage-ok

Dearest city-dwelling and stressed Senior Citizens (SCs), you do not have to hug a tree. Trees are good for our health, and you just have to be near them to breathe the pure and fresh oxygen they emit and be energized with their presence as well.

Can you recall any of the following people-tree connections: Buddha’s enlightenment under a fig tree; Plato teaching his students under an olive tree; and, Isaac Newton forming his theory of gravity after observing an apple fall to the ground?

Well, what are you waiting for? Go to Siquijor3 and see this gigantic and enchanting balete5 tree!

Admittedly, I spent a longer time in the souvenir shop, so I was late in reaching the fish spa area. By that time, my companions were comfortably seated on the edge of the pool, enjoying the fish spa.

It was interesting to observe that a spring emanates from the base, or roots, of the baletetree, and flows into a cemented man-made pool, turned into a fish spa area, where willing tourists can remove their footwear and soak their feet in the flowing spring water, and where eager (and I guess, hungry) fish of different sizes take turns nibbling on their dead skin.

The design of the cemented pool was convenient for people to converse and sit side-by-side along the edges, with Dr. Fish nibbling on their feet. The pool is well-maintained, so you need not worry where to sit or place your footwear.

Is the practice of fish spa sanitary? I researched a bit worldwide, and found out that some countries ban them while others do not. The local Siquijor3 government is maintaining the area, and nothing happened to my companions,so I guess it is safe. Perhaps, this could be a future topic for my “Say, Say, Say” section in this blog.

I am no scientist, but I surmise that the small Dr. Fish are called garra rufa18 or nibble fish. These fish have no teeth, so they just suck the dead skin from submerged feet. However, I was surprised to see large tilapias19attacking the feet of my companions and decided not to soak my feet in the water. Why? Because tilapias have teeth. But I guess it was fine since they only felt a very gentle scratching on their feet. Talk about natural feet exfoliation!

10-fish-spa-tilapia

I was content taking pictures and videos of my companions’ dangling legs and soaked feet during their fish “pedicure”. My companions were so relaxed, and I zoomed in on the numerous fish nibbling on their feet to remove dead skin.

The large number of people relaxing and enjoying the fish spa only proves that the superstition about balete5 trees is not applicable in this case. And you know what? This is good for the tourism industry of this beautiful island province2.

The location of the enchanting balete5 tree and fish spa along the main street did not diminish the peace and relaxation of our stay.

By the way, there is a small stall that sells fresh coconut at the rightmost part of the fish spa area. A coconut was priced at PHP30. That would have been so refreshing indeed, but we had a hearty breakfast and still felt full!12-buko for sale

We only stayed for barely an hour – shopping for souvenirs and t-shirts, taking pictures with the old balete5 tree, and my companions soaking their feet for a fish spa. Besides, the place was getting a bit crowded, it was almost late morning, and we wanted to explore the other destinations of this island.

13-comfort roomThere is a a comfort room for males and females

We paid for our Siquijor Coastal Tour and all comments are personal and based on my experience in this province2.

You can read related posts about my Siquijor tour: TAKE A TARZAN-LIKE DIVE AT CAMBUGAHAY FALLS, SIQUIJOR!GET BEWITCHED AT HAPITANAN, SIQUIJORNow You Know – SIQUIJOR: ITS LEGEND, HISTORY, TRADITIONS, AND BELIEFS, and SERENE AND SPONTANEOUS SALAGDOONG BEACH, SIQUIJOR

Writing this post reminded me of Thich Nhat Hanh (October 11, 1926, Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist), reflecting on a leaf:

“One autumn day, I was in a park, absorbed in the contemplation of a very small but beautiful leaf, in the shape of a heart. Its color was almost red, and it was barely hanging on the branch, nearly ready to fall down. I spent a long time with it, and I asked the leaf a lot of questions …

I asked the leaf whether it was frightened because it was autumn and the other leaves were falling. The leaf told me, ‘No. During the whole spring and summer I was completely alive. I worked hard and to help nourish the tree, and now much of me is in the tree. I am not limited by this form. I am also the whole tree, and when I go back to the soil, I will continue to nourish the tree. So I do not worry at all.’ As I leave this branch and float to the ground, I will wave to the tree and tell her, ‘I will see you again very soon.’

… That day there was a wind blowing and, after a while, I saw the leaf leave the branch and float down to the soil, dancing joyfully, because as it floated it saw itself already there in the tree. It was so happy. I bowed my head, knowing that I have a lot to learn from the leaf because it is not afraid – it knew nothing can be born and nothing can die.”20, 21

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you re your visit to this enchanting balete tree and fish spa. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post. Thank you.

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1A barangay in the Philippines is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines, headed by a barangay captain, aided by a Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Council). It is the native Filipino term for a district or village. It was formerly called a barrio. In a metropolitan area, a barangay is an inner city neighborhood, a suburb, or a suburban neighborhood. The word barangay originated from the term “balangay”, a kind of boat used by a group of Austronesian people who migrated to the Philippines. A number of barangays grouped together is called a district. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Barangay.”22

2A province is the primary administrative and political division in the Philippines. It is the second-level administrative sub-division of aregion23. There are 81 provinces (called “lalawigan”) in the Philippines. Each province is governed by an elected legislature called the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and by an elected governor.  In the Philippines, a province is divided into cities24 andmunicipalities25 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays1, formerly called barrios. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Provinces of the Philippines.”26  Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE PROVINCES IN THE PHILIPPINES?

3Siquijor is an island province2 of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas27 Region (Region VII)4. Its capital is the municipality25 which is also called Siquijor. This coralline island is predominantly hilly, and in many places the hills reach the sea, producing steep cliffs. Geographically, Cebu is to the north, Negros to the west, Bohol to the northeast, and to the south, across the Bohol Sea, is Mindanao28. It has a long-time reputation as a place of magic, sorcery, and mystical traditions. It is also well known for its festivals that focus on healing rituals.The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Siquijor”29

4Central Visayas (Region VII) of the Philippines is a Philippine region23 located in the island group of Visayas27, with Cebu City as its regional center. It has 7 local government units30 (LGUs): Bohol, Cebu, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor3. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”31

5A balete tree, balite or baliti, refers to several species of the trees endemic to the Philippines, from the genus Ficus (with large, thick, or stiff leaves), of the family Moraceae. Members of this genus are characterized by a white to yellowish latex, a unique inflorescence, and a distinctive pollination system, i.e., involving a specific wasp species (i.e., fig wasp of the family Agaonidaeas pollinators). Its aerial roots, which reach the soil, grow into it and thicken into additional trunks. The growing roots encircle the host tree and appear to strangle the latter. The host tree eventually dies and rots, leaving a hollow cylinder of roots, which have now become the trunks of the balete tree.32

6An anito,or anitu, refers to ancestor spirits (veneration of guardian spirits of a family or ancestors), nature spirits (deities in charge of the forces of nature), and deities in the indigenous animistic religions of pre-colonial Philippines (900-1521), used in Luzon33. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Anito.”34

7diwata, in Philippine mythology, is the term for a deity or spirit, traditionally used in the Visayas24, Palawan, and Mindanao28 regions, the counterpart of the anito6, the term used in Luzon33. These spirits reside in large trees, such as acacia or balete5, and were understood as the guardian spirits of nature, casting blessings or curses upon those who brought benefits or harm to the forests and mountains. In modern times, the term “diwata” is sometimes loosely used to refer to a generic type of beings, like elves or fairies. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Diwata.”35

8kapre is a Philippine mythical creature that could be characterized as a 7-9 feet, black, hairy, muscular tree male giant or demon, wearing a bahag (loin cloth) and smoking a cigar or tobacco pipe. It is said to dwell in big trees like acacias, balete5, bamboo, and mango, usually seen sitting under those trees, with a strong smell that attracts human attention. It often wears a belt which makes it invisible to humans. It is believed that the kapre holds a magical white stone, a little smaller in size than a quail egg, and should any person happen to obtain this stone, the kapre could grant wishes. It is believed to be nocturnal and omnivorous but not necessarily evil. Kapres may be seen with big, red, glaring eyes at night, and may turn vengeful when the tree that it inhabits is cut down. A kapre can make contact with people to offer friendship, or if it is attracted to a woman. It can also play pranks on people, frequently making travelers become disoriented and lose their way in the mountains or woods, or even in their own familiar surroundings. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Kapre.”36

9tikbalang, or werehorse, is a creature of Philippine folklore said to lurk in dark, sparsely populated, foliage-overgrown areas in forests and mountains of the Philippines. It is a tall, bony humanoid creature with the head and hooves of a horse, and disproportionately long limbs, to the point that its knees reach above its head when it squats down.  It can be a ghost which assumes a variety of forms. In some versions, it is a transformation of an aborted fetus, sent to earth from limbo, or it can transform itself into human form or turn invisible for humans. It scares travelers, leads them astray, and plays tricks on them, such as making them return to an arbitrary path no matter how far they go or turn, counteracted by wearing one’s shirt inside out, or asking permission out loud to pass by or, not to produce too much noise while in the woods, in order not to offend, or disturb it. It is usually found standing at the foot of large trees, beneath bridges, in bamboo clumps or banana groves, and atop balete5 trees, looking around for anyone who dares to bestow malignancy on its kingdom’s territory. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Tikbalang.”37

10 “Balete tree,” accessed March 8, 2019,https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balete_tree

11Pagpag is a Filipino term with different meanings. For this post, it refers to the superstitious practice of never going directly to one’s home after attending a wake or funeral, to avoid the possibility of the soul of the deceased tagging home. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Pagpag.”38

12Dumaguete City is the capital and most populous city24 of the province2 of Negros Oriental39. It is nicknamed The City of Gentle People because of the hospitality of the locals. It is also called a University City because of the presence of 4 universities and a number of colleges, prominent of which is Siliman University, the first Protestant and American university in the country and Asia. It is also known for its beach resorts and dive sites, dolphin watching, and Apo Island’s giant turtles and awesome corals. It was also named The Best Place to Retire in the Philippines for 2018 by the Philippine Retirement Authority. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Dumaguete.”40

13Ocean Jet is the term for the high-speed water craft, owned and operated by Ocean Fast Ferries, Inc., a wholly owned Filipino corporation, offering ferry services to 10 destinationsin the Philippines – Bacolod (Negros Occidental), Camotes Island and Cebu City (Cebu), Dumaguete10 (Negros Oriental), Iloilo City (Iloilo), Ormoc (Leyte), Larena (Siquijor2) and Tagbilaran (Bohol), Batangas City (Batangas), and another in Calapan (Oriental Mindoro), with a fleet of 17 vessels. It was founded in 1995, then called Socor Shipping Lines (till 2001), with headquarters in Cebu City. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Ocean Fast Ferries.”41 Visit its website: www.oceanjet.net/

14Yane’s Adventures Van Services information – Address: Pangi, Siquijor, Siquijor; Contact numbers: 09052133123, 09069732330 and 09183124461, look for Jade Jumawan Pestillos, and request for our very accommodating and cheerful driver, Jimmy Bueno.

15A multicab is a small, lightweight and narrow truck in the Philippines that is usually used as public transport, with a fixed route, or hired for a special trip, ideal to navigate through narrow streets. It has a seating capacity for 11 to 13 persons. Smaller versions can seat less than 11 and typically have three-cylinder engines. It is similar to a jeepney42 but has a cleaner and less noisy engine. It is typically assembled in a factory in the Philippines, with surplus parts from Japan and South Korea.The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Multicab.”43

16A tricycle, or motorized tricycle, is an indigenous form of the auto rickshaw, and is a common means of public or private transportation, especially in small towns and cities in the rural areas of the Philippines. It can ply a set route, or be for-hire like a taxi, and can be painted colorfully like a jeepney42. It is built in a variety of styles, which differ from city to city, and usually made locally by building a sidecar, and affixing it to an imported motorcycle. Usually, both the motorcycle and sidecar are covered, but not always by the same roof, and can be completely enclosed in heavy plastic covering in rainy weather. A passenger tricycle can accommodate 4 to 6 passengers, or more, excluding the driver. Goods can be placed at the back or on the roof. One or two passengers can sit behind the driver, while several more can sit in the sidecar, depending on the design. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Tricycle.”44

17 Pasalubong is the Filipino term for the tradition of giving gifts or souvenirs, from a destination visited by a Filipino, to family and friends upon one’s return home.

18Garra rufa, red garra, doctor fish or nibble fish, is a small species of cyprinid fish that is native to rivers, streams, ponds and lakes in Anatolia and the West Asian regions. When this fish forages sloughed dead skin, they seek food, which in the wild consists of periphyton, a complex mixture of algae, cyanobacteria, heterotropic microbes, and detritus that is attached to submerged surfaces in most aquatic ecosystems. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Garra rufa.”45

19Tilapia is a freshwater fish which inhabits shallow streams, ponds, riversand lakes. The Nile tilapia (O. niloticus) was one of the first fish species cultured. Today, all commercially important tilapia outside of Africa belong to the genus Oreochromis, and more than 90% of all commercially farmed tilapia outside of Africa are Nile tilapia. The scientific names of tilapia species have been revised a lot in the last 30 years, creating some confusion. The scientific name of the Nile tilapia has been given as Tilapia nilotica, Sarotherodonniloticus, and currently as Oreochromis niloticus. It is shaped much like a sunfish or crappie, but can easily be identified by an interrupted lateral line characteristic of the Cichlid family of fishes. It is laterally compressed and deep-bodied with long dorsal fins. The forward portion of the dorsal fin is heavily spined. Spines are also found in the pelvis and anal fins. There are usually vertical bars down the sides of fry, fingerlings, and sometimes, adults.46

20https://www.patheos.com/blogs/americanbuddhist/2015/10/thich-nhat-hanh-on-an-autumn-leaf-life-death-continuation.html

21https://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/2015/09/09/people-and-trees-intimately-connected-through-ages#

22A barangay in the Philippines is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines, headed by a barangay captain, aided by a Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Council). It is the native Filipino term for a district or village. It was formerly called a barrio. In a metropolitan area, a barangay is an inner city neighborhood, a suburb, or a suburban neighborhood. The word barangay originated from the term “balangay”, a kind of boat used by a group of Austronesian people who migrated to the Philippines. A number of barangays grouped together is called a district. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Barangay.”47

23A region is the first-order administrative division in the Philippines. There are 17 regions in the Philippines, based on geographical, cultural and ethnological characteristics. It is further subdivided in provinces2, composed of cities and municipalities25 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays1. The regions were initially identified in 1972, through Presidential Decree No. 1 of President Ferdinand Marcos. Since then, other regions have been created and some provinces have been “transferred” to another region. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”  See a r4elated post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE THE REGIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES?

24A city is the local government unit30 in the Philippines headed by a mayor elected by popular vote. A vice mayor serves as the presiding officer of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (city council), which acts as the city’s legislative body. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines.”48 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?

25A municipality is a small, single urban administrative division, or local government unit (LGU)30, in the Philippines which has corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by law. It is a unit under a province2, subdivided into barangays1, and is called town, or bayan. In the Philippines, a municipality is headed by a mayor, a vice mayor and members of the Sangguniang Bayan (legislative branch). It can enact local policies and laws, enforce them, and govern its jurisdictions. It can enter into contracts and other transactions through its elected and appointed officials, and can tax as well. It enforces all local and national laws. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Municipalities of the Philippines.”49

26“Provinces of the Philippines,” accessed July 17, 2018,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provinces_of_the_Philippines.

27Visayas is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It covers 3 administrative regions: Central Visayas4, Eastern Visayas and Western Visayas. It consists of 6 major islands (Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Negros, Panay and Samar) mostly surrounded by the Visayan Sea, and is composed of 16 provinces2, according to Wikipedia page “Visayas”.50 Visayas is located at the middle part of the country; the 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines are Luzon (in the northern part) and Mindanao (in the southern part).

28Mindanao is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It is the second largest island of the country and covers 6 administrative regions: Caraga Region, Davao Region, Northern Mindanao, SOCCSKSARGEN, Zamboanga Peninsula, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). It is composed of 22 provinces2 and 33 cities24 (27 provinces and 33 cities, if associated islands are included). The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Mindanao.”12 Mindanao is located in the southern part of the country; the 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines are Luzon (in the northern part) and Visayas (the middle part).

29“Siquijor,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siquijor

30A local government unit (LGU) in the Philippines is divided into 3 levels: provinces2 and independent cities52; component cities53 and municipalities25; and, barangays1, according to Wikipedia page “Local government in the Philippines”.54

31“Regions of the Philippines,” accessed July 17, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regions_of_the_Philippines.

32https://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Balete

33Luzon is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It is the country’s largest (ranked 15th largest in the world) and most populated island, as well as its economical and political center. Luzon is composed of 8 regions23: Bicol, Cagayan Valley, CALABARZON, Central Luzon, Cordillera, Ilocos, MIMAROPA and the National Capital Region. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Luzon.”55 Luzon is located in the northern part of the country; the 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines are Visayas (the middle part) and Mindanao (the southern part of the country).

34“Anito,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anito

35“Diwata,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diwata

36“Kapre,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kapre

37“Tikbalang,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tikbalang

38“Pagpag,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pagpag

39Negros Oriental, Oriental Negros or Eastern Negros, is a province2 located in the Central Visayas Region (Region 7)4 of the Philippines. It occupies the southeastern half of the large island of Negros, and borders Negros Occidental, which comprises the northwestern half. It also includes Apo Island, a popular dive site for both local and foreign tourists. Its capital is Dumaguete City12, the seat of government and the most populous city of the province. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Negros Oriental”.56

40“Dumaguete,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dumaguete

41“Ocean Fast Ferries,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_Fast_Ferries

42A jeepney, or jeep, is the most popular means of public transportation in the Philippines, a symbol of the country’s culture and art because of its colorful decorations. It was originally made from US military jeeps, left over from World War II. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Jeepney”.57

43“Multicab,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multicab

44“Tricycle,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tricycle

45“Garra rufa,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garra_rufa

46https://thefishsite.com/articles/tilapia-life-history-and-biology

47“Barangay,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barangay

48“Cities of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cities_of_the_Philippines

49“Municipalities of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Municipalities_of_the_Philippines

50“Visayas,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visayas

51“Mindanao,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindanao

52An independent city is a type of city24 in the Philippines which is administratively and legally not subject to a provinceso it does not share its tax revenues with any province. The national government and its agencies serve such a city through sub-offices of the region23 it belongs to. It is subdivided into 2: highly urbanized city54 or independent component city59. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”48

53A component city is a type of city24 in the Philippines which does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city54. It is under the jurisdiction of a province2. If such a city is located along the boundaries of 2 or more provinces, it shall be considered part of the province of which it used to be a municipality25. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”48

54“Local government in the Philippines,” accessed July 17, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_government_in_the_Philippines

55“Luzon,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luzon

56“Negros Oriental,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negros_Oriental

57“Jeepney,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeepney

58A highly urbanized city (HUC) is a type of city24 in the Philippines with a minimum population of 200,000 as certified by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and with the latest annual income of at least 50 million pesos, according to Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”.48 There are currently 33 such cities in the Philippines. See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?

59An independent component city (ICC) is a type of city24 in the Philippines which is autonomous from the province2 in which it is geographically located and has a charter that explicitly prohibits its residents to vote for provincial officials (unless allowed to do so). It does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city58. There are 5 such cities in the country: Cotabato, Dagupan, Naga, Ormoc, and Santiago. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”48