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.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

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.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

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

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.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

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

TAKE A TARZAN-LIKE DIVE AT CAMBUGAHAY FALLS, SIQUIJOR!

Cambugahay Falls is a famous tourist destination in the island province1 of Siquijor2, in the Central Visayas3 Region (Region VII)4 of the Philippines. It is a three-tiered waterfall that flows naturally into a lake. Said lake, I was told, apparently has healing powers.

This is the fifth stop (out of six) of our one-day Siquijor Coastal Tour. At the port of Siquijor2, we rented an air-conditioned van owned by Yane’s Adventures Van Services5. We had a very friendly, cheerful and accommodating driver, Jimmy Bueno.

And now, for my experience in this destination:

Cambugahay Falls can be accessed from the Siquijor Circumferential Road, in the town of Lazi6. It would be best to visit this place during weekdays and to go early to avoid the large number of people.

The parking area is on the opposite side of the street. The parking fee is PHP30 per vehicle.

Just cross the street from the parking area and you cannot miss the sign announcing Cambugahay Falls.

1-entrance-okEntrance, Cambugahay Falls – I hope the local tourism officials can improve its appearance and the local police can monitor groups to prevent the vandalism of signages

And guess what? There is no entrance fee to use this facility! You will then be offered the services of a guide or lifeguard, and it is up to you how much to give him as service fee. We opted to have one guide since we had a 7-year-old child with us. If you and your companions can swim, then you may not need avail of this service.

Thereafter, simply go down around 140 cemented steps made with large smooth stones. The downward trek is approximately 10 minutes, depending, dearest Senior Citizens, on the pacing of your steps. Be careful when you go down since there are no handrails. Hold on to a younger companion while going down the steps, just to be sure, dearest Seniors!2-stepsI strongly recommend that handrails be installed along the steps so that children, elders, and other persons who have difficulty going up and down these uneven steps can safely do so.

Your brief journey downwards will be rewarded by a captivating view of the third (bottom) level of the waterfalls, the biggest and deepest of all three levels.3-view-3rd levelThe third tier of Cambugahay Falls, with three diving spots (left of picture, middle with green slope, and right, with man seated)

These three swinging areas offer different heights to fall from, and you start to wonder, after seeing so many tourists doing a Tarzan-like jump, if you could also be brave enough to do so. If I were younger, I guess I would have jumped too!

This is where you will be amazed with the daring jumps of local and foreign tourists swinging from a long rope in three different parts of the falls.

6-cross bamboo-okYou just need to cross this narrow wooden bridgelike structure over the shallow, flowing water to get to the area where you can stay and later, decide to swim, Tarzan-dive, and/or proceed to the two other levels of this falls.

Then, live your best life at Cambugahay Falls, swing, swing some more, let go, and prepare for your splash! 

 

Most tourists just stay on this level of the falls. Some younger tourists repeatedly do the jump challenge, using different techniques of jumping. Some simply swim and enjoy the cool water.5-swim-ok

So, adventurous, younger, and more fit Seniors, why not take the Tarzan-Swing-Dive Challenge? My two younger male companions took the challenge, used different styles of jumps from the rope to the water, and made wonderful splashes on the cool, refreshing waters. I was told that if you pay PHP20, you can have unlimited jumps. Should you prefer not to jump, then, enjoy the view, swim, breathe in the fresh air, and take lots of pictures, just like what I did!7-3rd level

Of course, your best option, dearest Seniors, is to swim and enjoy the bluish, and oh so cool, spring water. For non-swimmers, you can rent a life vest for PHP50. We rented a life vest for the 7-year-old, and for the hesitant non-swimmer in our group. Bottomline: do not miss the chance to try the refreshing water.8-rental-life-vest-ok

There are makeshift bamboo tables, free of charge, where you can leave your belongings while you swim. It would be best to designate someone from your group to watch over your things.

9A-wooden tables-pls crop-okNotice the bamboo tablelike structures to the right of the life vest rental where people are seated? Those are the makeshift tables I mentioned which you could use to place your things while you swim or Tarzan-dive. Remember to place sunblock 30 minutes before sun exposure.

I noticed that there are no food stalls but saw a group of tourists being served food and drinks, delivered to their bamboo table. So, inquire about such services, if needed. However, I suggest you just bring your own snacks, since you will probably stay here for only 1-2 hours anyway, and then to find a decent restaurant in between stops.

Seniors, if you feel energetic and adventurous, why not proceed to the two higher tiers? These levels are more serene because fewer tourists go there. You can also swim in these two levels and I was told that the water is shallower in these two basins. It just so happened that I was not feeling well that day so I did not venture to see these two higher levels. If you did during your Siquijor tour, please tell me about it, ok?

There is no washroom, restroom, nor changing room in this place so some of us changed quickly behind a large bath towel (held by companions), while some opted to just exit the area without changing.

We only stayed here for about an hour, since it was also starting to get crowded and we had to proceed to our last, and final, destination – a beach called Salagdoong Beach7 – where we intended, anyway, to swim again.

A word of caution, dearest Seniors: leaving Cambugahay Falls entails that you climb all the way up to the entrance, about 10-15 minutes, on the same steps you used going down to the falls. Remember, there are no handrails, so pace yourself, or better still, hold on to a younger person. Take your time; you just swam for an hour so just rest after several steps. Accidents occur when you are in a hurry. Just tell you younger companions to be a bit patient and I am sure they will wait for you at the top.

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

You can read a related post about my Siquijor tour – SERENE AND SPONTANEOUS SALAGDOONG BEACH, SIQUIJORGET BEWITCHED AT HAPITANAN, SIQUIJORNow You Know – SIQUIJOR: ITS LEGEND, HISTORY, TRADITIONS, AND BELIEFS and ENCHANTING 400-YEAR-OLD BALETE TREE AND FISH SPA, SIQUIJOR

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you regarding your visit to captivating Cambugahay Falls. Did you take the Tarzan-Swing-Dive Challenge? 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.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

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 municipalities10 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays11, formerly called barrios. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Provinces of the Philippines.”12 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE PROVINCES IN THE PHILIPPINES?

2Siquijor is an island province1 of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas3 Region (Region VII)4. Its capital is the municipality10 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”.13

3Visayas 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 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).

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 units15 (LGUs): Bohol, Cebu, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor2. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”16

5Yane’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.

6Lazi, formerly called Tigbawan, is a coastal municipality10 in the island province1 of Siquijor2, 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 Landmark17, a National Cultural Treasure18, and included in the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage Sites19 under the Baroque20 Churches of the Philippines-Extension), the Convent in front of it (one of the largest convents built during the Spanish colonial era21), the 400-year-old enchanting balete tree with fish spa, and Cambugahay Falls (see above). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Lazi, Siquijor”22 and “Siquijor”13. Visit this site for more information: http://www.phtourguide.com/municipality-of-lazi-in-siquijor/

7Salagdoong Beach is a popular tourist destination in the town of Maria, on the southeastern side of the island province1 of Siquijor2, in the Central Visayas3 Region (Region VII)4 of the Philippines. This beach is known for swimming and cliff diving. It has crystal clear waters and white sand shores.

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 into provinces1, composed of cities9 and municipalities10 (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.”16   See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE THE REGIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES?

9A city is the local government unit15 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.”23 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?

10A municipality is a small, single urban administrative division, or local government unit (LGU)15, 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 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.”24

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.”25

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

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

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

15A local government unit (LGU) in the Philippines is divided into 3 levels: provinces1 and independent cities26; component cities27 and municipalities10; and, barangays11, according to Wikipedia page “Local government in the Philippines”.28

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

17A 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”.29

18A 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 Arts30 and other cultural agencies such as the National Museum of the Philippines31, National Library of the Philippines32, and National Archives of the Philippines33. Such declarations are authorized under the National Cultural Heritage Act of 200934 and recognized within the Cultural Properties of the Philippines35 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”.36 The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Cultural Treasure”.37

19A 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”.38

20Baroque 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 stucco39, 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.40

21The 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 Revolution41. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “History of the Philippines from 1521 to 1898”.42

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

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

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

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

26An independent city is a type of city9 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 region8 it belongs to. It is subdivided into 2: highly urbanized city43 or independent component city44. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”23

27A component city is a type of city9 in the Philippines which does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city43. 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 municipality10. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”23

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

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

30The 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 Philippines33, National Historical Commission of the Philippines45, National Library of the Philippines32, National Museum of the Philippines31, 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”.46 Visit its website: www.ncca.gov.ph

31The 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 Arts30. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Museum of the Philippines”.47 Visit its website: www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph

32The 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”.48 Visit its website: www.web.nlp.gov.ph

33The 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”.49 Visit its website: www.nationalarchives.gov.ph

34The 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”.50

35The Cultural Properties of the Philippines refers to the cultural properties listed by the National Commission for Culture and Arts30, National Historical Commission of the Philippines45, and the National Museum of the Philippines31 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”.51

 36www.primer.com.ph

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

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

39Stucco 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.52

40https://study.com/academy/lesson/italian-baroque-architecture-characteristics-examples.html

41The Philippine Revolution is the revolution that started on August 23, 1896, when the Spaniards discovered the Katipunan53, and ended on August 13, 1898. The Filipinos were victorious and this resulted in the expulsion of the Spanish colonial government, as well as: the signing of the Pact of Biak-na-Bato54 in 1897; the resumption of hostilities during the Spanish-American War55 in 1898; the establishment of the First Philippine Republic56; and, the outbreak of the Philippine-American War57 in 1899. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Philippine Revolution”.58

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

43A 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”.23 There are currently 33 such cities in the Philippines (see link – I will place a link here).

44An 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 city43. 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”23

45The 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”.59

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

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

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

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

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

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

52https://www.thebalancesmb.com/choose-right-stucco-mix-844655

53The Katipunan was the Philippine revolutionary secret society founded by anti-Spanish Filipinos in Manila in 1892 which aimed to gain independence from Spain through a revolution, according to the Wikipedia page “Katipunan”.60

54Pact 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 Revolution34, 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”.61

55The 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 Paris62, signed on December 10, 1898. Said treaty 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”63 and “Treaty of Paris of 1898”64.

56The First Philippine Republic, or the Malolos Republic, was a nascent revolutionary government in the Philippines, established after the Philippine Revolution41 against the Spanish Empire (1896-1897) and the Spanish-American War55, 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”.65

57The Philippine-American War, the Philippine War, the Philippine Insurrection, or the Tagalog Insurgency, was an armed conflict between the First Philippine Republic56 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 Paris62, under which the US took possession of the Philippines from Spain, ending the short Spanish-American War55. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Philippine-American War”.66

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

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

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

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

62The 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 War55. 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)”.64

63“Spanish-American War,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_American_War

64“Treaty of Paris,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Paris.

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

66“Philippine-Amercian War,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine-American_War

SERENE AND SPONTANEOUS SALAGDOONG BEACH, SIQUIJOR

Salagdoong Beach is a public beach located in the town of Maria, on the southeastern side of the island province1 of Siquijor2, in the Central Visayas3 Region (Region VII)4 of the Philippines, known for cliff diving and swimming. I was told that the beach is part of a government-owned resort and managed by the Provincial Tourism Office.

It is easy to reach this destination because there is a sign along the main road that will lead you to it. It is best, and more practical, to avail of an island tour and negotiate the places you want to visit, like this beach. You also get to see a manmade molave5 forest before you reach this beach.

This beach was my group’s last stop during our one-day Siquijor Coastal Tour (post to follow). 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 cheerful and accommodating driver, Jimmy Bueno.

And now, for my personal experience in Salagdoong Beach:

1BeFunky-1-collage-entrance                                Entrance of Salagdoong Beach from access road

The entrance fee is PHP25 per person (inclusive of a PHP10 environmental fee and PHP5 Red Cross fee) and the parking fee is PHP25.

1-BeFunky-2-collage-parking

Our driver, Jimmy, parked the van in a designated area near the individually-roofed tables lining the edge of the paved area by the easement leading to the beach below.1-BeFunky-collage-jimmy-ok

The well-maintained beach offers fine white sand shores and clear blue waters.1-BeFunky-collage-waters-ok

You can see several large inflated plastic objects, which, I guess, could be rented and enjoyed by you and your group.1-H-inflated-labelled-ok

I was also told that the resort offers rooms and cottages with complete amenities to interested guests.1-BeFunky-collage-housing-ok

If you walk onwards from the parking area, following the cemented border to the left, you will immediately see a blue painted slide at the far left, but during our visit (March 2019), it was under renovation and cannot be used.1-BeFunky-collage-slide-ok

You can head up the cemented steps near the slide till you reach a gazebo-like structure.1-BeFunky-collage-steps-ok

X-L-gazebo-1-ok

The cliff-diving area is to the far left. You will see two diving boards at different heights, with the left one placed several feet lower than the right one, more than 65 meters in height.1-BeFunky-collage-slides-ok

If you are brave enough, you dive and have your picture and video taken by your companion. As for me, I am not that brave, so I just took a picture of the white sand beach from that elevation.1-N-elevated pic-beach-1-ok

I was also told that there was a tourist who got a minor scratch at the lower cliff-diving area. He hit the rocks at the bottom because his jump was not far enough. So, if you, or one of your companions, decide to cliff-dive, ask if it is high tide, and be sure to jump as far as possible from the board since the water directly below is not that deep. Perhaps, start with the left board, and for more excitement, try the right board too!

For smokers, the rear part of the gazebo is the smoking area.

As you get down from the gazebo, you will see a restaurant-dining area, at about your 11 o’clock position. It was very hot afternoon, and I found my way to the restaurant, went over their menu, and decided to order shakes, a couple of clubhouse sandwiches, and popsicles for the young and young-at-hearts.1-BeFunky-collage-resto-ok

The service was slow because of the large volume of tourists, but the helpful and hospitable staff more than compensated for the delay. I was allowed to bring the orders to our shaded table overlooking the secluded beach. The fresh breeze was so nice to enjoy with our light snack. I saw to it that I returned the china and silverware we used.1-P-tables-labelled

A secluded, partially-shaded beach beckons near the cliff area. This is where local and foreign tourists sit on the sand to sunbathe, or wade in the shallow, clear waters.1-BeFunky-collage-beaches-ok

By the way, always secure your belongings by assigning a companion to watch over them while the rest of the group swim, sunbathe, snorkel, or cliff dive. A tourist lost her belongings during our visit.

We only stayed about an hour on this beach. We had to proceed back to the pier for our trip back to Dumaguete7 through Oceanjet8.

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, SIQUIJORGET BEWITCHED AT HAPITANAN, SIQUIJOR, TAKE A TARZAN-LIKE DIVE AT CAMBUGAHAY FALLS, 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.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

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 region9. 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 cities10 and municipalities11 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays12, 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?

2Siquijor is an island province1 of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas3 Region (Region VII)4. Its capital is the municipality11 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”.14

3Visayas is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It covers 3 administrative regions9: 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”.15 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 region9 located in the island group of Visayas3, with Cebu City as its regional center. It has 7 local government units16 (LGUs): Bohol, Cebu, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor2. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”17

5Molave is a large Philippine timber tree (Vitex parviflora), known for its dense, durable, yellow wood. It was once used extensively in furniture, boats, etc. as a valuable construction material, but due to habitat loss and overharvesting, it is now classified as endangered by the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Vitex parviflora.”18

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.

7Dumaguete is the capital city10 and main port of Negros Oriental, a province1 in Central Visayas (Region VII)4, of the Philippines. This laid-back university town is called the “City of Gentle People”. It has a charming sea-front boulevard, the most popular destination in the Philippines for retiring abroad, and among the top 10 tourist destinations in the country. The information was obtained from the Wikivoyage page “Dumaguete”.19

8Ocean 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 destinations in the Philippines – Bacolod (Negros Occidental), Camotes Island and Cebu City (Cebu), Dumaguete7 (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.”20 Visit its website: www.oceanjet.net/

9A 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 municipalities11 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays12. 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.”17 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE THE REGIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES?

10A city 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 city’s legislative body – the Sangguniang Panlungsod (city council). The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines.”21 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?

11A 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 barangays12, 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.”22

12A 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.”23

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

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

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

16A local government unit (LGU) in the Philippines is divided into 3 levels: provinces1 and independent cities24; component cities25 and municipalities11; and, barangays12, according to Wikipedia page “Local government in the Philippines”.26

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

18“Vitex parviflora,” accessed March 8, 2019,https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Vitex_parviflora

19“Dumaguete,” accessed March 8, 2019,https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Dumaguete

20“Ocean Fast Ferries,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_Fast-Ferries

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

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

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

24An independent city is a type of city10 in the Philippines which is administratively and legally not subject to a province1so 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 region9 it belongs to. It is subdivided into 2: highly urbanized city27or independent component city28. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”21

25A component city is a type of city10 in the Philippines which does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city27. 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 municipality11. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”21

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

27A highly urbanized city (HUC) is a type of city10 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”.21 There are currently 33 such cities in the Philippines (see link – I will place a link here).

28An independent component city (ICC) is a type of city10 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 city27. 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”21

Taal, Batangas, Philippines: THE MIRACULOUS WELL OF STA. LUCIA

The Miraculous Well of Sta. Lucia is a spring-fed well where two women saw the reflection of the Virgin of Caysasay. The well is located in Barrio Caysasay, in the heritage town of Taal, in the province of Batangas, in the Philippines.

It can be accessed from the San Lorenzo Ruiz Steps of the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay. A narrow walkway from the steps leads visitors to the well.

I joined a heritage tour of the town of Taal and this well was part of the itinerary. My group consisted of my college buddies and their partners. It was late morning when we walked up the many steps of the San Lorenzo Ruiz Steps from the shrine to the well. The walk up was tiring due to the temperature and humidity.

It is best to bring bottled water, a hat or folding umbrella, or even a battery-operated hand fan, especially for those who sweat easily. Bringing an extra t-shirt or blouse is also advisable since the heritage tour entails a lot of walking as well as going in and out of air-conditioned museum-houses. All of these items could be stashed in a small backpack.

A-Shrine-6-postAt some point along the steps, we were instructed to turn left where we had to go over a knee-high concrete boundary (see cemented elevation, right part of photo). Members of our group supported each other by helping those who found it difficult to step up then down the said boundary.

BeFunky-collageThis led to a shaded pathway going along private houses. Signs showed the way and indicated that we were nearing our coveted destination.

Z-well-4Along the way to the well, you will see a statue of Our Lady, with rosaries left by devotees

Z-well-5                       The Prayer to Our Lady of Caysasay, on the wall near the well

Z-well-6-okLots of flowers offerings … You can also buy candles from the peddlers in the Shrine, light it, and leave it nearby, on your way to the miraculous well

I was sweating but was keen on reaching the miraculous well with my buddies. I estimate that it took us about 15 minutes to reach the well from the shrine.

Anyway, we finally reached the site. We went up through a narrow passage, then downward towards the well. There were many people around the well.

BeFunky-collage (2)On a shallow, cemented, and exposed portion of the well, two men were scooping water using buckets attached to long wooden-poles and then pouring the “miraculous” water into a container for religious visitors to dip their handkerchiefs or hands.

Devotees then dabbed the precious water on any part of their bodies that needed healing. I must confess that I dabbed water on almost all over my body to make sure I did not miss any spot. I figured it will not hurt me to do so since I traveled all the way to get there, so what the heck!

A small container was available for voluntary contributions to the men who continuously scooped water from the well.

Some people bring a small container and fill it up with the water to give to anyone far away who cannot go to the well themselves, so they may, in turn, also avail of this “miraculous water”. Thus, for the more elder senior citizens in the Taal Heritage Tour who feel that they cannot physically undergo this experience, I suggest they just wait at the shrine and ask someone to fill a small water container from the well for them.

Here are 3 facts about theMiraculous Well of Sta. Lucia:

  1. Since its discovery, many have attested that the spring water has miraculous healing and therapeutic powers.
  2. The spot in the well that reflected the image of Our Lady, is marked by a coral stone arch with a bas relief image of the Virgin on its face. The arch was built in early 1600.
  3. The site of the well is known as “Banal naPook” (Sacred Site) and vestiges of the spring running close to the well is known as “Banal na Tubig” (Sacred Water).

I paid for my tour so this is not a sponsored post.

The information was obtained from my hardworking and knoweledgable tour guide, Mr. Art Mojica (09165378973 and atmojica660@yahoo.com) and the Wikipedia page “Our Lady of Caysasay”.* Contact Art for an enlightening heritage tour of Taal.

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you. Have you ever been to this well? Did any miracle happen to 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.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

“Our Lady of Caysasay,” accessed July 3, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Caysasay.

Taal, Batangas, Philippines: THE ARCHDIOCESAN SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF CAYSASAY

The Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay is located in Barrio Caysasay, in the heritage town of Taal, in the province of Batangas, Philippines. It belongs to the Archdiocese of Lipa.

A-Shrine-2-post

I was able to go to this shrine and touch the wooden statue of Our Lady of Caysasay. See a related post: Taal, Batangas, Philippines: OUR LADY OF CAYSASAY– The “Queen of the Archdiocese of Lipa”

A-Shrine-7-post                            The altar of the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay

A-Shrine-8-post                                               Look up … and this is what you see

For religious tourists, do not miss this shrine and the experience of touching the miraculous statue.

A-Shrine-19-post

Here are 12 facts about the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay:

  1. It is a chapel made of coral stone, built in 1639 by Fr. Alonso Rodriguez (minister of Taal). It was completed in 1640 and dedicated to Our Lady of Caysasay, to serve as a perpetual shrine.
  2. Bricks and wood were also used to build this parish church.
  3. The shrine is 50 meters (160 feet) long and 10 meters (33 feet) wide.
  4. Behind the main altar lies the sacristy and a stairwell that leads to the room of the Virgin, where devotees could venerate.

A-Shrine-1-postThe stairwell leading to the sacristy (accessed by turning right from the altar) where you can touch the miraculous statue of Our Lady of Caysasay

5. The church was first built around 1611 by the Chinese. It was constructed using light materials and was located near the river where the miraculous wooden image of Our Lady of Caysasay was found. An arch made of coral stone with a bass relief of Our Lady of Caysasay was built later on. On February 24, 1620, the Augustinians issued an order to construct a church in Caysasay, as a visitaof Taal. It has been verified through serious investigation that the Most Holy Virgin appeared there. This Marian apparition was given the title Nuestra Señora de la Misericordia.

6. The roof of the church was partly destroyed in 1754 by the boulders and ashes from Taal Volcano but was quickly repaired.

 

7. During the earthquake of December 24, 1852, the walls of the church cracked and the towers fell. Fr. Celestino Mayordomo improvised a large makeshift shelter at the town plaza where the image of the Virgin of Caysasay was enshrined temporarily. Fr. Mayordomo also started the reconstruction work, which was completed in 1856. The twin towers rose again, the interior was newly painted, and the stone fence was completed. Once more, the image was solemnly enthroned in her home.

8. The sanctuary was damaged anew by tremors in 1867. Fr. Marcos Anton repaired the minor damages, installed a new altar and a presbytery floor, and constructed an iron balustrade around it. The interior was decorated under the direction of Italian decorator Cesar Alberoni.

9. In 1880, Fr. Agapito Aparicio installed an organ bought from the famous organist Don Doroteo Otorelin of Palencia, Spain.

10. Fortunately, the earthquake of 1880 did not cause serious damage to the sanctuary.

11. Other renovations followed: a coat of stucco2 cement was applied to the front wall and to the towers; and, the stone and brick wall was scraped clean to reveal its original color.

12. The Miraculous Well of Sta. Luciacan be accessed via the San Lorenzo Ruiz Steps4 from this shrine.

A-Shrine-6-postYou go up these steps (San Lorenzo Ruiz Steps) from the shrine, go up that cemented elevation to the right, to reach the pathway leading to the Miraculous Well of Sta. Lucia.

A-Well-Collage             Just follow the pathway which leads to the Miraculous Well of Sta. Lucia

Most of the information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay”5 and some information was given by our tour guide, Mr. Art Mojica (09165378973 and atmojica660@yahoo.com). Contact him for an enlightening heritage tour of Taal.

I paid for my tour so this is not a sponsored post.

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you. Have you ever been to this Shrine? 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.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

1A visita, or chapel of ease, is a church building other than the parish church, built within the bounds of a parish for the attendance of those who cannot reach the parish church conveniently, according to the Wikipedia page “Chapel of Ease”.6

2Stucco is a decorative coating for walls and ceilings, basically made of lime and sand. It is also used as a sculptural and artistic material in architecture, according to the Wikipedia page “Stucco”.7

3The Miraculous Well of Sta. Lucia is a spring-fed well located in Barrio Caysasay, in Taal, Batangas, where two women saw the reflection of Our Lady of Caysasay. It can be accessed by way of the San Lorenzo Ruiz Steps4 of the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay. This information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay”.5

4San Lorenzo Ruiz Steps is a stairway of 125-granite steps leading up to the center of the town of Taal. Originally, the steps were made of adobe stone, but these were later replaced with granite, or batong song-song, in the year 1850, by Fr. Celestino Matordomo. Formerly called Hagdan-hagdan, the stairway has since been renamed and is now dedicated to the memory of San Lorenzo Ruiz. An inconspicuous narrow walkway from the steps takes visitors to the well. This information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay”.5

 5“Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archdiocesan_Shrine_of_Our_Lady_of_Caysasay.

6“Chapel of ease,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapel_of_ease.

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

Taal, Batangas, Philippines: GALLERIA TAAL

Z-Galleria-Taal-1 - A                                           Picture c/o Galleria Taal brochure

Galleria Taal is an ancestral Spanish-era house turned into the only camera museum in the Philippines. It is located in Calle Agoncillo, the main street in the heritage town of Taal, in the province of Batangas, in the Philippines.

Z-Galleria-Taal-3 - B                                 Location Map, Galleria Taal (from brochure)

This camera museum is for camera/photography fans and enthusiasts. It is open Tuesday to Sunday, from 8:00 am to 5 pm, with an entrance fee of PHP100 for adults and PHP50 for students.

Z-Galleria-Taal-2 - B                                             Picture c/o Galleria Taal brochure

I went to this interesting house with my college buddies and was able to obtain 4 facts about Galleria Taal:

  1. The house was the ancestral home of Domingo Ilagan and Maria Martinez-Ilagan in the 1800’s.

It is composed of two sections: the early house located at the back portion which has a distinct tiled roof and was built in 1870, and the facade fronting the main street which was built 30 years after, roofed with GI sheets.

Candida married Antonino Barrion, a lawyer and the 1st District of Batangas delegate to the 1935 Constitutional Convention, and had 3 children: Nellie (Inumerable), Corazon (Rodriguez) and Charito (Ahorro). She paid off her siblings and moved into this house in 1944 after their conjugal home in Batangas City was burned down by the Japanese Army.

Z-Galleria-Taal-2 - A                                             Picture c/o Galleria Taal brochure

After Candida’s death, this house fell in disrepair until 2004 when a grandson, Emmanuel (Manny) Inumerable initiated the restoration of this stately ancestral home, with assistance from his brother, Bobby, a civil contractor.

  1. Manny Barrion Inumerable opened this house on March 2010 to showcase his vast collection of vintage cameras from the late 1800’s till the 1900’s.

Z-Galleria-Taal-3 - D                   Manny Barrion Inumerable (picture c/o Galleria Taal brochure)

This museum features so many camera brands: Canon, Graflex, Kodak, Leica, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Rolleiflex, and Sanderson, among others.

Interesting pieces like accordion-type cameras, a Minox-Spy Cam, and a limited edition Nikon F2A-1977 camera in celebration of Nikon’s 25th year anniversary are also exhibited.

Z-Galleria-Taal-1 - B                                                 Picture c/o Galleria Taal brochure

A 1984 24K gold-plated Nikon FA Gold, with matching gold-plated lens, covered with lizard skin, and encased in a wooden box, is the most expensive camera in the collection. Only 2,000 units were ever made, in celebration of Nikon being declared as the European camera of the year.

  1. It also serves as a gallery of Philippine antiquarian photographs depicting early Philippine photography in the Spanish and American eras. Rare photos of Manila before and after the Japanese occupation, Marcos era, and EDSA Revolution are also exhibited.

Z-Galleria-Taal-3 - C                                               Picture c/o Galleria Taal brochure

Z-Galleria-Taal-1 - C                                           Picture c/o Galleria Taal brochure

The exhibit also includes a reproduction of the only known existing photograph of Jose Rizal’s execution. The original photograph is kept in a Cavite museum.

4. And you know what? All cameras are well-kept and in good working condition! Click!

Z-Galleria-Taal-3 - A                                             Picture c/o Galleria Taal brochure

The Museum Caretaker is Ms. Dolores Bautista, with contact numbers: 09067632449 and (043) 4081775. You can also contact the Proprietor, Mr. Manny Inumerable, at mobile number 09189124051 or email him at mannyinumerable@yahoo.com

Some information and photos were obtained from the brochure distributed during the tour and other information were given by my hardworking tour guide, Mr. Art Mojica (09165378973 and atmojica660@yahoo.com). Contact him for an enlightening heritage tour of Taal.

I paid for my tour so this is not a sponsored post.

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you. Have you ever been to Galleria Taal? 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.

Taal, Batangas, Philippines: OUR LADY OF CAYSASAY– The “Queen of the Archdiocese of Lipa”

Our Lady of Caysasay is a wooden statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary venerated at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay and the Taal Basilica, in the town of Taal, in the province of Batangas, Philippines.

                A-Shrine-0                 Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay facade and altar

I saw this image at the altar of the said shrine as part of the heritage tour of Taal, with my college buddies.

Upon entering the shrine, our tour guide asked us to sit on pews beside the painting of the depiction of the recovery of this statue located at the left wall, about four meters from the shrine’s entrance.

 

A-Shrine-5-post

He gave a history of the statue and shrine, then directed us to start walking and to turn right at the altar, go to the side of the shrine, and climb the stairs.

 

A-Shrine-1-post

This led to the back of the altar where the statue was enshrined.

We were asked to write our petitions and we gave a voluntary donation. There were many people who were there when my group arrived, and we fell in line to have the chance to touch the miraculous statue.

During my turn, I was able to hold the back of its garment. I did not attempt to reach out to touch the statue for fear of its fragile state. I just said a prayer and asked blessings for myself, my family, friends and our beloved country as a whole.

 

A-Shrine-3-post                                      Suggested prayers to Our Lady of Caysasay

For religious senior citizens or PWDs, take your time to climb/go down the stairs, and ask a younger member of your group to hold and guide you.

In summary, here are 8 facts about Our Lady of Caysasay:

  1. This wooden statue measures about 272 mm (10.7 inches) and shows the Virgin as tilting slightly forward, with hands clasped across her breasts below her right shoulder. Its crown has 13 stars. One eye is slightly bigger than the other.

A-Shrine-19-post

2. The image, which depicts the Immaculate Concepcion, is believed to be one of the oldest in the country, having been found in 1603 by Juan Maningcad, who was fishing in the Pansipit River, a small river that is the sole drainage outlet of Taal Lake.

 

It was found wearing a simple, red tunic gathered above its waist creating huge folds around the ankles, and clad in a green shawl. The image had a heavenly luster, even though it was waterlogged, causing Juan to prostrate himself and pray before the statue. He then brought it home.

There are different versions how the statue landed in the river. Regardless, news of the image began to spread until it reached the parish priest, Fray Juan Bautista Montoya, and the vicar that represented the reigning King of Spain. They went to Juan’s house to verify the story, and upon seeing the image, knelt down and venerated it.

3. Doña Maria Espiritu, the widow of the town’s judge, was assigned as the image’s camarera (caretaker). She ordered a precious urna (a wooden, canopied shrine that sometimes has glass panes) to be made for the image and kept it in her home.

Every evening, she noticed that the image went missing from its urna, but then in the morning, it would be back in its usual place. Worried, the widow told the story to the priest, who accompanied her back to her house and saw that the urna was empty. The urna suddenly opened and the image appeared before them. The priest decided to gather volunteers to keep vigil beside the image, and during the night they did see the urna open by itself, and the image leaving and coming back again.

Finally, the priest decided that the villagers should now come with lighted candles and follow the image the next time it left. When this happened, the image led them to Caysasay, to the place where it was originally found.

The priest decided to take the image to the Basilica of Saint Martin de Tours for safekeeping, but the image continued to leave the church until one day, it disappeared and was nowhere to be found.

4. Years later, 2 girls, named Maria Bagohin and Maria Talain, were gathering firewood, and saw the image reflected in the waters of a spring near where Juan Maningcad had found it. They looked up and saw the image of Our Lady of Caysasay on top of a tall sampaguita bush, flanked by 2 candles and guarded by several casay-casay (silvery kingfisher, Alcedoargentata) that abounded in the hillside area, thus called Caysasay by the Spaniards.

The two girls reported what they saw to the parish priest, who, with the people, concluded that it was the Virgin’s wish to stay in Caysasay. A makeshift chapel was built on the very spot where the image was found, and native devotion to the Our Lady of Caysasay started even without official church sanction.

Fr. Pedro Murillo Velarde, SJ, in his Historia de Filipinas and other 18th century Spanish chroniclers put the year 1611 as the year when natives began reporting strange visions on the hillside. This was also the year, according to Fr. Pedro G. Galende, Director of the San Agustin Museum in Intramuros, that the first makeshift church was reportedly built there.

5. The subsequent Marian apparitions documented by Spanish colonial church leaders were the first in the country, and devotees today continue to attribute miracles to the Virgin.

6. The image was canonically crowned1 on December 8, 1954, by Pope Pius XII, and was later given the title the “Queen of the Archdiocese of Lipa”.

A-Shrine-22-ok

 

7. Its feast day is celebrated every December 8 by the barangay where it belongs, Barangay Caysasay. That evening, the statue is transferred to the Taal Basilica through a fluvial parade. However, since the Pansipit River is only waist deep, the residents pull the banca till they reach the bridge of Taal. This is followed by a parade to the Basilica. The statue stays in the Basilica till the next day, the fiesta of the town of Taal. It is then returned to the shrine through a procession or through a prepared carriage.

8. Originally, the image spent half the week in the Shrine of Caysasay, and the other half at the Basilica de San Martin de Tours, to satisfy the needs of the locals and followers. However, nowadays, the statue is housed in the shrine and is only brought to the Basilica the night of December 8 till December 9.

Most of the information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Our Lady of Caysasay”2 and some information was given by ourtour guide, Mr. Art Mojica (09165378973 and atmojica660@yahoo.com). Contact him for an enlightening heritage tour of Taal.

I paid for my tour so this is not a sponsored post.

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you. Have you ever been to the Archdiocesan Shrine of Caysasay and experienced touching the image? 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.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

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 canonical coronation is a pious institutional act of the Pope, duly expressed in a Papal bull3 in which oftentimes a Papal legate4 or Papal nuncio5, or at rare occasions, the Pontiff himself designates a crown, tiara, or stellar halo to an image with a specific devotional title that is prominently venerated in a particular diocese or locality, according to the Wikipedia page “Canonical coronation”.6

2“Our Lady of Caysasay,” accessed September 7, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Caysasay.

3Papal bull is a type of public decree or charter issued by a Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, according to the Wikipedia page “Papal bull”.7

4A Papal legate, or Apostolic legate, is a personal representative of the Pope to foreign nations, or to some part of the Catholic Church, according to the Wikipedia page “Papal legate”.8

5A Papal nuncio, Apostolic nuncio or nuncio, is an ecclesiastical diplomat who serves as an envoy, or a permanent diplomatic representative of the Holy See to a state or to an international organization, according to the Wikipedia page “Papal diplomacy”.9

6“Canonical coronation,” accessed September 7, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canonical_coronation.

7“Papal bull,” accessed September 7, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papal_bull.

8“Papal legate,” accessed September 7, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papal_legate.9“Papal diplomacy,” accessed September 7, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papal_diplomacy.

Metro Manila’s Newest and Most Delectable Museum: THE DESSERT MUSEUM

Location: Units 124, 126 and 127a, Coral Way, S. Maison Mall (located below Conrad Hotel Manila, near Starbucks S Maison), Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines

0-facade

Hello, dearest Filipino Seniors! Admit it, you miss your grandchildren, right? Are you thinking of a new place to bond with them? A place that they will surely enjoy — complete with unlimited Instagram-able picture-taking opportunities — and, one that will satisfy their sweet tooth too? Well, I have a suggestion for you and it is in the Mall of Asia1 (MoA) Complex: THE DESSERT MUSEUM!

0-map-cite source-pk                 Location Map. The Dessert Museum (from http://www.dessertmuseum.com)

The Dessert Museum is a 12,000 sq. ft. venue of different desserts, consisting of 8 mouthwatering and colorful rooms of sugar-filled happiness (in order of entry): the Raining Donuts Room, the Room of Ten Thousand Marshmallows, the Candy Cane Groves, the Ice Cream Room, the Room of Never-Ending Bubbles (or Bubblegum Room), the Gummy Bear Room, the Cotton Candy Forest, and the Cake Pops Carnival. This is the only museum you’ll ever (literally) slide into!2 I wish I used the slide, but I was the designated photo- and video-grapher!

This museum opened on February 10, 2018.2 The tour takes about two hours, depending on how long the kids want to enjoy each room, sample the goodies, and pose non-stop for pictures to be posted in various social media apps. However, you are advised to stay in each room for a maximum of 15 minutes and to go through the museum once, and only move forward.2

This museum is open from 10 am till 10 pm. Take note, last tickets are sold by 8 pm.2 It is recommended for all ages who enjoy taking selfies and group photos. It is for kids and the kids-at-heart, and is a great family-bonding venue, especially for those with young kids and IG-savvy teenagers! If you have a PWD in your group, good news! The venue is wheelchair-accessible! Sorry, though, no pets are allowed.

For Seniors who are pre-diabetics or diabetics, you can still go as long as you do not partake of the complimentary sweets – just pose with your grandchildren, claim your share of the sweets, and give them to your grandchildren! What the heck! This is a new and exciting venue for solo, group, and whole family picture-taking! Just think of the smiles and laughter of your grandchildren – so precious!

This museum is located within the MoA1 complex so you can easily opt to eat before, or after, your tour.0-facade

There are more than 200 restaurants in the said complex to choose from!2

The (walk-in) entrance fee is PHP799 (for ages 2-yo onwards), which some might consider pricey, so do not forget your Senior Citizen/PWD cards.

For a hassle-free and cheaper option, I recommend you go online, at least one day before your intended visit, to either:

(1) www.thedessertmuseum.com, and pay only PHP699 per person – you can pay via (a) PayPal or credit card (using PayPal, even if you do not have a PayPal account and you do not need to sign up) or, (b) Dragonpay, which allows BPI, BDO (online banking and over the counter), LBC, and Cebuana; or,

(2) Metrodeal or Klook, and avail of a 25% discount (then pay only PHP599).

Kids below 2-yo are free to enter but are not entitled to a wristband (see 6 paragraphs below), ergo, they will not be given complimentary sweets.

If your group consists of 10 or more members, email: events@thedessertmuseum.com

What’s that I hear that you do not know the location of MoA2? No worries, use WAZE/UBER: and look for “Starbucks Reserve, Conrad Hotel Manila”.2

If possible, go on weekdays since weekends and holidays could be crowded. We went early on a Saturday and there were only a few people with us on the second batch of the day. More groups arrived thereafter.

0-entrance-okThe view upon entry (the registration desk is to the left); stools to sit on to wait for your group to enter; a fairy gives a brief welcome; the fairy leaves and your group goes up the same stairs where she stood, all pass through the large pink doughnut; and, a difficult choice comes next: will you slide your way to the Doughnut Room or do you use the yellow steps? Your choice … regardless, your sweet adventure begins! Enjoy!

It is not so cold in the rooms so be sure to wear light cottony, sporty clothes and comfortable footwear. Go to the rest room before the two-hour tour to be sure you will not be inconvenienced therein (remember, you cannot re-enter). Just to be on the safe side, people with allergic rhinitis, should take an antihistamine tablet beforehand.

Do not make kids wear any expensive jewelry or other accessories that might hinder their enjoyment of each room. I suggest non-slippery footwear for kids to avoid accidents, but these should be easily removable to enjoy the ball pit in the Ice Cream Room, for example, and worn again to proceed to the next rooms.

Fully charge your cellphones and power banks for lots of photos and videos! The use of photoshoot equipment like tripods, lighting materials and props are strictly prohibited unless your group will avail of the museum’s photo shoot package (see end of this post).2

Do not forget to bring water since you will definitely need it after tasting each complimentary sweet. Water is for sale but is a bit pricey at PHP50 per regular-sized bottle.

Visitors are asked to sign a waiver form (sorry, I cannot say anything about this since a niece of mine registered for us). Do inform the staff if any person in your group has an allergy to eggs, fruits, milk, peanuts, soy, tree-nuts, wheat, etc.

Assign a person in your group to keep an eye on gadgets and other valuables while the kids are playing in each room.

Bring Wet Ones to clean the hands of the kids before and after they eat the sweets in each room, after touching the different parts of, or decorations in, each room, and to wipe away bits of sweets on their faces. Instruct the older kids to dispose of garbage in designated trash cans.

The museum provides lockers for rent to secure your large bags and keep baby carriages/strollers safe during your 2-hour tour. I paid PHP150 to secure a backpack and a stroller.0-lockers-ok

There are tours every 10 to 15 minutes, starting at 10:15 am. I suggest you come early so your group will have more time to pose for as many photos, and for as long, as you want, and need not wait too long for your turn to pose in front of certain backgrounds – there are just so many to choose from!

For those who booked online, be there about 15 minutes before your reserved time slot. If you arrive late, you could be subjected to a rebooking fee per person (PHP50 per person, 3 days prior to arrival; PHP200, 4 days prior to arrival), or lose your slot for the day. For unused tickets, email tickets@thedessertmuseum.com to change dates, depending on availability, subject to PHP200 rebooking fee. However, slots or tickets that remain unused after 7 days from the booked date will be forfeited. All tickets are non-refundable.2

Each visitor is given a pink rubber wristband which you will need to present for electronic scanning to avail of a complimentary sweet in 5 to 7, out of the 8, rooms.0-wristband

I would like to caution you, dear visitors, be sure to secure the wristbands of the kids since it easily gets loose and might get lost during the tour. The wristbands need to be surrendered to a security guard at the end of the tour and each lost wristband will cost you PHP300.0-exit

In our group, my husband collected the wristbands of all the kids and the yayas3 and presented these to the staff per room for scanning to claim the complimentary sweets. The kids, attended by the yayas3, freely enjoyed the swing, slide, seesaw, giant gumball machine, trampoline, plastic ball pit, etc., without worrying about the wristbands.

The tour starts with a female staff, dressed like a fairy, who orients the visitors about the museum and briefly gives reminders regarding safety.0-fairy

All rooms are appropriately decorated and painted based on the theme, generally clean, attractive to all millennials, and definitely Instagram-able! Do not forget to add: #TheDessertMuseum in your pictures.2

The staff are generally accommodating and polite, and wear colorful costumes.

Read the amazing fun facts about each dessert on the wall with your grandchildren, especially those who have just started reading. This will make the tour more meaningful and unforgettable, and certainly a memorable learning experience for the kids!

An official in-house photographer can take your pictures so everyone in your group will be included in your pictures. I was in a hurry to leave the room so I just took this candid picture of a pair being photographed at the Candy Cane Groves Room.Z-photographer-ok

Then, you can have these pictures printed at the end of the tour while you go over the sweets and souvenir items sold at the dessert shop. Sorry, I did not check the prices of items for sale in the shop.0-store-collage-ok

Here are the photo packages:0-photo-packages

Before you leave each room, proceed to the dessert counter therein, have your pink wristband scanned, and enjoy the complimentary sweet!

Most of the time you have no choice as to the complimentary item but in a couple of rooms, you could be asked to choose: like in the Room of Ten Thousand Marshmallows, you will be given a giant white marshmallow on a stick, and asked to choose the flavor of the coating; and in the Ice Cream Room, my favorite, you will be asked to choose the flavor of your popsicle.

Take more pictures while savoring the sweets! I told you, non-stop picture-taking!

Here is a brief description per room:

The first room is called the Raining Donuts Room. Its walls are painted pale yellow, and decorated with small doughnuts in different colors and designs. The main feature of this room is the part with lots of huge pink doughnuts hanging from the ceiling. However, be aware that these hanging doughnuts are made from a hard material so be sure to protect the heads of the smaller kids. But I assure you, the pictures are very IG-able in this room, along with the 7 other rooms. Sorry, but we did not like the give-away in this room.

0-1-donut-rm

The Room of Ten Thousand Marshmallows is the next room. The walls are painted blue, and the room is filled with white marshmallows strung from the ceiling. Take wonderful photos again in this room! Visitors, upon scanning their wristbands, are given a giant white marshmallow on a stick, in a small white paper cup, and asked if they want Snowy Vanilla or Choco Loco coating with it, straight from the chocolate fondue fountains. Most of the kids chose, and enjoyed, the Choco Loco coating. I gave away my share.

0-2-marshmallow-rm

The room called Candy Cane Groves comes next. It is very colorful and offers a seesaw and swing, along with lots of multi-colored candy cane decorations and IG-spots! Get lots of photos and videos here too! The kids enjoyed the complimentary candy canes, resulting in them getting colored tongues! I gave away my share in this room too.

0-3-candy-cane-rm

The Ice Cream Room is a favorite of mine. Photos and videos are very picturesque, what with the combination of the multi-colored ball pit and the colorful air balloons. Personally, this room offers the best complimentary dessert: a choice of Frozen Avocado Cream or Mango Madness popsicles. I enjoyed the first one, but the latter is also good, according to my other group members.

0-4-ice cram room

The kids, and kids-at-heart, will enjoy the Room of Never-Ending Bubbles, or Bubblegum Room, which features a giant gumball machine with balloons of different colors being blown all over the inflated structure while about 8 people are allowed inside. Do not hesitate to take pictures and videos of the members of your family/group enjoying their two-minute stay inside that “machine”. I cannot recall any giveaway in this room.

0-5-bubble-gum-rm

The Gummy Bear Room is also very colorful. It offers a wall with 4 giant blue inflated gummy bears where your family/group can take beautiful and wacky pictures. I also enjoyed posing in one (of the three) colored bathtubs full of gummy bears and balls, surrounded by balloons in different colors. Sorry, I did not like the giveaway in this room because it had nothing to do with gummy bears!

0-6-gummy-bear-rm

The next room is the very attractive and picture-perfect Cotton Candy Forest, with predominantly pink cotton candy-like decorations. Everyone will surely enjoy the giveaway cotton candy!

0-7-cotton-candy-rm-ok

The Cake Pops Carnival Room is the last room of the museum, leading to the last stop, the Souvenir Shop. Your family/group can stand or sit on the giant cake pops and create beautiful pictures and videos with different poses per member. The room also offers basketball, with 3 hoops, using soft-rag balls. Two sides of the room have arches of various colors for one last time of picture-taking!

0-8-cake-pop-rm

Contact details -Website: http://www.thedessertmuseum.com; Telephone Numbers: (02) 838-7927; Cellphone Numbers: 0917-3005966 and 0999-2245687; Email – events@thedessertmuseum.com

Interested groups should inquire about their birthday promo, party package, teambuilding promo, private event package, and photo shoot package.

0-party packages                                        party packages, The Dessert Museum

 

This is not a sponsored post. All comments are personal and based on my only experience.

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you regarding your experience in this museum. 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!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

For the benefit of foreign readers:

1The SM Mall of Asia (MoA) is a shopping mall in Bay City, Pasay, in Metro Manila, Philippines, currently the largest shopping mall in the Philippines and the 12th largest in the world. It opened on May 21, 2006, and is located near the Manila Bay, SM Central Business Park, and the southern end of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA). It is owned and developed by SM Prime Holdings, the largest mall owner and developer in the Philippines. The complex covers 42 hectares of land area, a gross floor area of about 406,962 sq.m., with more than 600 shops, including 217 dining establishments which attract about 200,000 people daily, according to the Wikipedia page “SM Mall of Asia”.4

2www.thedessertmuseum.com

3A “yaya” is the Tagalog term for nursemaid, wet nurse, or a female household staff who takes care of a kid, usually one per kid.

4”SM Mall of Asia,” accessed September 3, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SM_Mall_of_Asia.