NOW YOU KNOW: NIAGARA FALLS

Niagara Falls is the collective name given to a group of three spectacular waterfalls at the southern end of Niagara Forge, between the Canadian province of Ontario and the US state of New York. It is located on the Niagara River which drains Lake Erie into Lake Ontario.1

Niagara Falls - labelled-1                         Niagara Falls, picture taken from the Canadian side

Niagara Falls is located in a public place and you can take all the pictures and videos you want along the pedestrian walkway at the brink of the falls. It is open 24 hours, seven days a week, year round. However, park attractions are seasonal and have their own schedules.

I was able to visit the Canadian side on July 2019, and it is indeed an awesome beauty of nature. See my personal experience in my post: NIAGARA FALLS, THE CANADIAN SIDE: AN AWESOME SIGHT TO BEHOLD.

For more information about the falls, visit www.niagarafallsstatepark.com.

Before you go to my personal visit to the falls, here are 18 interesting facts about Niagara Falls:

1. The largest of the three waterfalls is Horseshoe Falls, or Canadian Falls. It is the most powerful waterfall in North America, as measured by flow rate, and drops an average of 57 meters (188 feet) into the Lower Niagara River. It straddles the international border between Canada and the USA.67926969_347169562860893_1535789689829588992_n

The smaller American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls lie entirely within the USA. Bridal Falls are separated from Horseshoe Falls by Goat Island and from the American Falls by Luna Island.American Falls-Bridal Falls

The falls are 27 km (17 miles) north-northwest of Buffalo, New York, and 121 km (75 miles) south-southeast of Toronto, between the twin cities of Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Niagara Falls, New York.

The height of the American Falls ranges between 21-34 meters (70-110 feet), taken from the top of the falls to the top of the rock pile at the base, called the talus slope. The height of the falls from the top of the falls to the river is 57 meters (188 feet). Its crest line is approximately 260 meters (850 feet) wide.

The crest line of the Canadian Falls is approximately 670 meters (2,200 feet) wide. The plunge pool beneath the falls is 35 meters (100 feet) deep.

2. Now what is the thing called the Whirpool in Niagara Falls?

The huge volume of water rushing from the falls is crushed into the narrow Great Gorge, creating the Whirpool Rapids that stretch for 1.6 km (1 mile). The water surface here drops 15 meters (50 feet) and the rushing waters can reach speeds as high as 9 meters per second (30 feet per second)!

Whirlpool_aerial_view-Zwergelstern-wikiNiagara River: Whirlpool (aerial view). The outskirts of Niagara Falls and the Niagara Glen-View Park is in the lower left, and the Whirlpool Golf Course is in the upper right – own work, Zwergelstern – commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Niagara_Falls_Whirlpool_aerial_view.jpg

The Whirlpool is a basin 518 meters (1.700 feet) long by 365 meters (1,200 feet) wide, with depths up to 38 meters (125 feet). This is the elbow, where the river makes a sharp right-angled turn.

In the Whirlpool, you can see the “reversal phenomenon“. When the Niagara River is at full flow, the waters travel over the rapids and enter the pool, then travel counter-clockwise around the pool past the natural outlet. Pressure builds up when the water tries to cut across itself to reach the outlet, and this pressure forces the water under the incoming stream.

Whirlpool_Spanish_Aero_Car-CmgleeThe Niagara Whirlpool with an approaching Spanish Aero Car – own work, Cmglee – en.wikimedia.org/wiki/Niagara_Whirlpool#/media/File:Niagara_Whirlpool_Spanish_Aero_Car.jpg

The swirling waters create a vortex, or whirpool. The,n the waters continue their journey to Lake Ontario. If the water flow is low (water is diverted for hydroelectric purposes after 10pm every night), the reversal does not take place; the water merely moves clockwise through the pool and passes to the outlet.

3. Can you believe that Niagara Falls is not the tallest waterfall in the world, although it looks so huge? Nonetheless, what is so impressive and breathtaking is the combination of height and the volume of flowing water.

Just imagine that the combined falls have the highest flow rate of any waterfall in North America that has a vertical drop of more than 50 meters (160 feet).

Horseshoe Falls-1

More than 168,000 cubic meters (6 million cubic feet) of water go over the crestine of the falls every minute during peak daytime tourist hours!

The rapids above the falls reach a maximum speed of 40 km/hr or 25 mph, with the fastest speeds which occur at the falls themselves reaching 68 mph.

The water through the Whirlpool Rapids below the falls reaches 48 km/hr or 30 mph, and at Devil’s Hole Rapids 36 km/hr.

The International Boundary Waters Treaty stipulates the minimum amount of flow over the falls during daytime, nighttime, and the tourist season.

4. Now, where do you think all the water comes from? Let Tita S tell you. The Great Lakes is the world’s largest surface freshwater system, containing about 18% of the world’s supply. If spread out, the volume of water in the Great Lakes would cover North America in  about 1 meter (3.5 feet) of water,

The water flows from streams and rivers that empty into the Great Lakes, from Lake Superior, down through Niagara to Lake Ontario, then into the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean. Water always flows down to the sea, and the land slopes downward through the Great Lakes Basin, from west to east, but the Niagara River actually flows north!

Today, less than 1% of the water of the Great Lakes is renewable on an annual basis (precipitation and groundwater). The rest is a legacy from the last ice age, or “fossil“ water. There is still water in the Great Lakes because they rely heavily on replenishment or renewal from precipitation (rain, sheet, snow and hail) and groundwater.

5. Did you know that there is a brown foam below Niagara Falls? What causes it?

The brown foam below Niagara Falls is a natural result of tons of water plummeting into the depths below but it is not dangerous! The brown color is clay, which contains suspended particles of decayed vegetative matter, mostly from the shallow eastern basin of Lake Erie.

6. With such a large amount of flowing water, one cannot help but ask how the water is used.

The waters of the Niagara Rover are used by a combined Canada-USA population of more than a million people, for a wide range of purposes, such as drinking water, recreation (boating, swimming, bird-watching), fishing, industrial cooling water supply, receiver of municipal and industrial effluents, and hydro-power generation (Sir Adam Beck Station in Ontario and New York State Power Authority).

7. So, how much water from the Falls is diverted?

The level of water flow from Lake Erie into the Niagara River has been regulated by the International Joint Commission (USA and Canada) since 1910, based on the 1950 Niagara Treaty. The treaty requires that during the daylight hours of the tourist season (8am-10pm local time, April 1-September 15) and 8am-9pm local time from September 16-October 31, the flow over Niagara Falls must not be less than 2,832 cubic meters per second (100,000 cubic feet per second). At other times, the flow must not be less than 1,416 cubic meters per second (50,000 cubic feet per second).

The treaty specifies that all water in excess of that required for domestic and sanitary purposes, navigation and the falls‘ flow may be diverted for power generation.

8. Boat cruises are available for tourists to be ferried to the falls. The American side offers the Maid of the Mist Boat Cruise, while the Hornblower Niagara Cruises services the Canadian side.

ships2-2Maid of the Mist (American boat – to the left, with passengers wearing blue raincoats) and the Hornblower (Canadian boat – to the right, with passengers wearing red raincoats)

9. There is a part of the pedestrian walkway at the brink of the falls of the Canadian side which is wet due to the mild mist or drizzle from the falls so many miles away! I experienced this when we were walking near the Horseshoe Falls. For those of you who went to the American side, is there such a part of the viewing walkway too?

pedestrian walkway-1                     Part of the pedestrian walkway, Canadian side, summer 2019

10. I was told that Niagara Falls ices up and the most recent occurrences were in 2014 and 2017. I could not imagine that such a large body of water could be frozen.

11. On the Canadian side, you can access the falls through Queen Victoria Park which features manicured gardens and walkways offering views of both the American and Horseshoe Falls.

Queen Victoria Park is the main parkland in Niagara Falls Canada, considered the centerpiece of the Niagara Falls recreational tourist area. It is opposite the American and Canadian Horseshoe Falls, established by a Provincial Park Act in 1885 and opened in 1888. It is operated by the Niagara Parks Commission.

It is known for its outstanding flower displays of daffodils and roses in-season. It is also the focal point for the annual winter Festival of Lights.

Tesla-1The Nikola Tesla Monument, Queen Victoria Park, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada – I was too tired to cross the street so I just zoomed to take this statue. I salute Tesla for the electrification of the world through his modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system design. This statue shows Tesla standing atop an AC motor by sculptor Les Drysdale, unveiled  on July 9, 2006. You might ask, why this tribute? Well, Tesla designed the first hydro-electric power plant at Niagara Falls and, with George Westinghouse, started the electrification of the world.1

12. Clifton Hill is a major tourist promenade, with its main road leading to Niagara Falls and the Niagara River. It stretches from the River Road on the Niagara Parkway and intersects with Victoria Avenue. It offers a major amusement area and center for day and night life for all ages, with its gift shops, wax museums, haunted houses, video arcades, restaurants, and themed attractions. See a related post: Clifton Hill, Niagara: A Mecca of Fun.

13. The Niagara Falls International Rainbow Bridge, commonly known as the Rainbow Bridge, is an arch bridge across the Niagara River gorge which connects the cities of Niagara Falls, New York, USA (to the east), and Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada (to the west). It was designed by architect Richard (Su Min) Lee, constructed at a cost of US$4 million, and officially opened on November 1, 1941 (77 years ago). It has a total length of 1,450 feet (440 meters) with a height of 202 feet (62 meters). It is maintained by the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission.

Rainbow Bridge-Collage                                 Rainbow Bridge, different perspectives, July 2019

14. The first time you actually see this wonderful natural attraction, you wonder how it was formed and how old it is.

Well, it was formed when glaciers receded at the end of the Wisconsin glaciation (the last Ice Age, about 10,000 years ago), and when the ice melted, the water from the newly formed Great Lakes carved a path through the Niagara Escarpment, en route to the Atlantic Ocean.

Southern Ontario, 18,000 years ago, was covered by 2-3 km thick of ice sheets and the latter advanced southward and gouged out the basins of the Great Lakes. They then melted northward for the last time and released vast quantities of melt water or fossil water into these basins.

The Niagara Peninsula became free of the ice about 12,500 years ago. The ice retreated northward, its melt waters began to flow down through what became Lake Erie, the Niagara River and Lake Ontario, originally with 5 spillways, at the escarpment at Queenston-Lewiston, and from there, the falls began its steady erosion through the bedrock.

Through time, the glacial melt waters were rerouted, but about 5,500 years ago, it once again routed through Southern Ontario, restoring the river and falls to their full power, and the falls reached the whirpool. A geological phenomenon occurred which left behind a 90-degree turn in the river we know today as the Whirlpool, and North America’s largest series of standing waves called the Whirlpool Rapids.

15. The Falls has moved back 7 miles in 12,500 years, and may be the fastest moving waterfalls in the world.

16. If you go close to the water you will see that it is green. Now, I wonder why it is so?

The green color of the Niagara River is proof of the erosive power of water. An estimated 60   tons of dissolved minerals are swept over Niagara Falls every minute! The green color comes from the dissolved salts and “rock flour“, i.e.,  very finely ground rock, picked up primarily from the limestone bed, but probably also from the shales and sandstones under the limestone cap at the falls.

17. Did this thought ever cross your mind while sitting at the edge of, or taking a picture along, the pedestrian walkway of the falls: What if I fall past the guardrails, can I swim and survive Niagara Falls?

Basically, you cannot survive, that is why some people atempt (and succeed) in committing suicide by falling there. Remember, 6 million cubic feet of water rush over the falls every minute during peak daytime hours, at 25-68 mph (above the falls-over the brink), and chances are, you will hit rocks!

If you do miss the rocks, your next threat are the bubbles. You see, the plunge pool under the waterfall is like a big surf and there is so much air mixed with the water so you cannot swim in it. Everything goes black in big surf because the sunlight is blocked out by the bubbles.

However, if you are so lucky and you survive the bubbles, the turbulence and darkness underwater would probably disorient you, and just hope and pray that you get pushed up! You also have to reckon with the debris around you; you will definitely get bashed underwater.

Well, if it is still not your time to go to heaven and manage to surface and float in a bruising current, the cold will hit you. Niagara’s waters are around 30ºF and it takes about 3 minutes before you black out, or the shock of cold water can trigger a heart attack.

The task force gives you less than 15 minutes in water that is freezing or below, and 15-30 minutes in water up to 40ºF. Pray that they rescue you before that!

Need I say more? Be careful, will you?!

18. With such a strong and powerful water flow every second 24/7, one cannot help but think of erosion and the future of Niagara Falls!

It seems that below the hard-rock formation, comprising about two-thirds of the cliff, lay the weaker, softer, sloping Rochester Formation (Lower Silurian). This formation was composed mainly of shale though it has some thin limestone layers and ancient fossils.

In time, the river eroded the soft layer that supported the hard layers, undercutting the hard caprock, which gave way in great chunks. This process, repeated countless times, eventually carved out the falls.

Alas, nothing lasts forever and the falls continues to erode but the rate has been greatly reduced due to flow control and diversion for hydro-power generation. Recession for at least the last 560 years has been estimated at 1-1.5 meters per year.

Its current rate of erosion is estimated at 30 cm (1 foot) per year, and could possibly be reduced to 1 foot per 10 years, a difficult responsibility of the International Joint Commission. Some major factors to reckon with include, among others: the abrasive action of the softer shales by fallen limestone boulders and no one knows when the next major rock falls will occur; climate change which may dry up the Great Lakes Basin and affect the water flow through the Niagara River; and, the action of frost from the spray and the dissolving action of the spray itself.

All things considered, scientists speculate that perhaps 2,000 years from now, the American Falls could dry up. The Canadian Falls will notch back for about 15,000 years, traveling back about 4  miles to a softer riverbed, after which the rate of erosion will change significantly, and the falls could be replaced by a series of rapids.

Fifty thousand years from now, at the present rate of erosion, the remaining 20 miles to Lake Erie will have been undermined. There will not be a falls anymore, but there will still be a river at work.

Let us all pray that the plans of the institutions responsible for the falls will succeed in this regard. Thank God it will not happen in our lifetime so, dearest Seniors, if you have not yet seen Niagara Falls, visit it soon and marvel at its beauty and power!

The information was obtained from the following Wikipedia pages: Niagara Falls, Ontario2; Rainbow Bridge (Niagara Falls) 3; Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls4; Skylon Tower5, and Queen Victoria Park6, as well as the websites – https://www.niagaraparks.com/visit-niagara-parks/plan-your-visit/niagara-falls-geology-facts-figures/, www.popularmechanics.com/adventure/outdoors/tips/a6960/how-to-survive-an-accidental-plunge-over-niagara-falls/ and www.cliftonhill.com

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you re other facts you might want to add to this post, or comment on the above facts. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post. Do visit my post: NIAGARA FALLS, THE CANADIAN SIDE: AN AWESOME SIGHT TO BEHOLD. Thank you.

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1www.teslasociety.com/victoria.htm

2“Niagara Falls, Ontario,” accessed August 6, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naiagara_Falls,_Ontario

3Rainbow Bridge (Niagara Falls),“ accessed August 6, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow_Bridge_(Niagara_Falls)

4“Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls,“ accessed August 6, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clifton_Hill,)Niagara_Falls

5Skylon Tower,“ accessed August 6, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skylon_Tower

6Queen Victoria Park,“ accessed August 6, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_Victoria_Park  

Now You Know: THE SAN PEDRO BELL OF BAUANG, LA UNION: RETURNED AFTER 115 YEARS

Did you know, dearest Senior Citizens, that there was another Philippine church bell taken by the Americans during the Philippine-American War1 in 1901?

Yes, there was! It is called the San Pedro Bell, taken from Saints Peter and Paul Church in Bauang2, La Union3, one of the oldest Catholic churches in the Philippines.

Sounds like Balangiga4, right? Well, not exactly. Let Tita S tell you about it because you might want to visit it this year and appreciate it more.

The San Pedro bell is the church bell5 that was originally presented to Friar Mariano Garcia on behalf of the Church of Saints Peter and Paul in 1883 by Governor Mariano Balancio, and Hilario Calica.

san pedro bell-CBCPNewsSource: CBCP News

Named after one of the patron saints of Bauang, Saint Peter (“San Pedro” in Tagalog), the bell is made of copper, gold, and silver, and weighs 883 pounds.

sanpedrobell-newsinfo.inquirer.netThe San Pedro Bell of Bauang, La Union, Philippines – Source: newsinfo.inquirer.net

It remained in the church belfry until 1901 when it was removed by US forces stationed in the Philippines.

The circumstances surrounding the removal of the bell and its journey to the USA remain lost in history.

However, US Military Academy (USMA) Chief of Staff Colonel Wayne A. Green recalled that the San Pedro bell was almost destroyed at the outbreak of the Philippine-American War1 in 1899, when bells were being melted down and made into guns. The Americans claimed that the advance of American forces in La Union3 “saved” the bell. Thus, the bell remained intact and the Americans brought it to the USA as a war souvenir.

General Thomas Barry, a West Point graduate from Class 1877, was one of the American Army officers who served in the Philippines during the Philippine-American War1. In 1915, he became the USMA’s 21st Superintendent, and during his time there, he presented the bell to the US Military Academy at West Point, New York, where it remained for the next century.

“But after its arrival in West Point, the San Pedro bell remained in the belfry of the Most Trinity Chapel for years, unhung, unrung, sitting in silence. It was discovered in 1959, during the chapel expansion, and for several years, it rested outside the chapel, proudly sitting in a place of honor ….”

In 2015, Former United States Navy officers Dennis Wright and Dan McKinnon were part of a group of American Veterans who re-discovered the bell in West Point. These American ex-servicemen, along with Dr. Rolando Borrinaga of the Philippines’ National Commission for Culture and the Arts, “campaigned to have the bells repatriated”.

Subsequent research identified that the bell belonged to the Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Bauang2, La Union3. The American veteran group then worked with Fr. Ronald R. O. Chan (the parish priest of Saints Peter and Paul Church in Bauang2, in La Union3) and Mayor P. de Guzman III to formally request that the bell be returned to its home church.

Filipino cadet Don Stanley Dalisay of Tigloy, Batangas, an economics and operations research junior, helped to establish the bell’s history by taking pictures and sending them to two University of Santo Tomas (UST) professors who were enlisted in 2015 to research the subject.

Obviously, no one in West Point knew about the bell’s history until USMA’s Superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen, Jr. received a letter on November 10, 2015 from Fr. Ronald Chan.

Based on the UST Professors’ research, the letter basically requested the USMA to return the bell. After verifying that the markings on the bell matched the descriptions provided by Fr. Chan, the superintendent responded two months later: “While we have been honored to guard and display this bell for the past several decades, we would be glad to return the bell to its rightful home.” He added that this was being done as a gesture of goodwill and in recognition of American’s enduring friendship with the Philippines.

Special recognition and thanks were extended to the following: Lieutenant General Casten, Jr., Captain Dennis L. Wright (USN, Retired), Rear Admiral Daniel W. McKinnon, Jr. (SC, USN, Retired) and Captain John P. Gilmer (USMA ’74), and Ambassador Raul R. C. Rabe.

Appropriate arrangements were eventually made for the bell’s transfer, culminating in a valediction ceremony that was held at the Most Holy Trinity Catholic Chapel on April 29, 2016. Around a hundred members of the Filipino-American community, Philippine Embassy officials, diplomats and scholars, and US Military Academy (USMA) cadets, staff, officers and guests, gathered for the send-off.

USMA Chief of Staff Colonel Wayne A. Green remarked that sending the San Pedro bell home was “the right and honorable thing to do.” He added: “And so we are here today, in the spirit of friendship and cooperation with our friends from the Philippines, to say farewell to the San Pedro bell, which has been part of the West Point community for many years, and return it to its rightful place.”

Consul General (Ret.) Sonny Busa, who represented the Filipino American community, the US-Philippine Society, and the West Point Society of the Philippines, at the hand-over, pointed out that “the bell would have seen many momentous historical events in the history of America: two World Wars, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, Desert Storm, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The bell has seen thousands of America’s finest young men and women pass by. It has rung for their weddings. It has tolled for their funerals. It has rung for their homecomings. It has tolled for their departures.”

A choral rendition of Bayan Ko (“My Country”), led by a dozen members of the Washington, DC based-Philippine American Foundation for Charities (PAFC), followed Busa’s remarks, and the Filipino cadets and several guests joined in the singing.

After the mass, the chaplain rang the bell, while others gathered around the bell, and took turns to ring it too. The bell was then unbolted from its base, carted off by a half dozen professional movers, loaded on to a flat bed truck, and taken to a warehouse where it was crated for shipping.

After a few days, the San Pedro bell was airlifted to Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines, then finally transferred to its original home – the Church of Saints Peter and Paul – where a big celebration was set on May 23, 2016, according to the Wikipedia page “Bauang”.6

San_Pedro_bell-common.wikimedia.orgSource: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:San_Pedro_bell.jpg

The return of the San Pedro bell revived the interest for the return of the three Balangiga bells7 to the Eastern Samar8 town of Balangiga4. The latter event happened after two years. See a related post: THE BALANGIGA BELLS–A TIMELY HOMECOMING AFTER 117 YEARS!

Most of the information was obtained from www.globalnation.inquirer.net.

Did you find this post informative? Have you been to the Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Bauang, La Union? Have you seen the San Pedro bell? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to “Leave a Reply” and enter your comment in the box. Please scroll and click the “Like” tab and “Facebook” to share this post. Do not forget to follow me by clicking “Follow” on the lower right corner of your device.

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

1The Philippine-American War was an armed conflict between the First Philippine Republic9 (FPR) and the US. It lasted from February 4, 1899 to July 2, 1902. Filipino nationalists viewed the conflict as a continuation of the struggle for independence that began in 1896 with the Philippine Revolution10, while the US government regarded it as an insurrection. The conflict arose when the FPR objected to the terms of the Treaty of Paris11 under which the US took possession of the Philippines from Spain, ending the short Spanish-American War (April 21, 1898 – August 13, 1898). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Philippine-American War”.12

2Bauang is a first class municipality13 in the province14 of La Union3, in the Ilocos Region (Region 1)15, in the island of Luzon16, in the Philippines, according to Wikipedia page “Bauang”.6

3La Union is a province14 in the Philippines located in the Ilocos Region (Region 1)15, in the island of Luzon16, in the Philippines. Its capital is the city of San Fernando, which also serves as the regional center of the whole Ilocos Region. This province is bordered by Ilocos Sur to the north, Benguet to the east, Pangasinan to the south, and to the west by the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “La Union”.17

4Balangiga is a fourth class municipality13 in the southern coast of the island of Samar facing Leyte Gulf, in the province14 of Eastern Samar8, in Eastern Visayas (Region VIII)18, in the Philippines. It sits at the mouth of the Balangiga River. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Balangiga”.19

5A church bell, in the Christian tradition, is a bell rung in a church for a variety of reasons and can be heard outside the building. Examples are: to call worshippers to the church for a communal service, to announce the time of daily prayer, to signify special occasions like wedding or funeral service, and some believe to drive out demons. This cup-shaped metal resonator, hung within a steeple or bell tower of a church or religious building, has a pivoted clapper hanging inside which strikes the sides when the bell is swung. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Church bell”.20

6“Bauang,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bauang.

7The Balangiga bells are three church bells5 taken by the United States Army from the Church of San Lorenzo de Martir, the town church of Balangiga4, diocese of Borongan21, province14 of Eastern Samar8, in the Philippines, as war trophies22 after reprisals following the Balangiga massacre in 1901 during the Philippine-American War1. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Balangiga bells”.23

8Eastern Samar is a province14 in Eastern Visayas (Region VIII)18, in the Philippines, which occupies the eastern portion of the island of Samar, according to the Wikipedia page “Eastern Samar”.24

9The First Philippine Republic, or Malolos Republic, was a nascent revolutionary government in the Philippines, formally established with the proclamation of the Malolos Constitution on January 21, 1899, in the city of Malolos, province of Bulacan. It ended during the capture of President Emilio Aguinaldo by the American forces on March 23, 1901, in Palanan, Isabela. The information was obtained from theWikipedia page “First Philippine Republic”.25

10The Philippine Revolution was a revolution that began in August 23, 1896 when the Spanish authorities discovered the Katipunan, an anti-colonial secret organization, and ended on August 13, 1898, after Emilio Aguinaldo issued the Philippine Declaration of Independence on June 12. This information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Philippine Revolution”.26

11The 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 War27. 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)”.28

12“Philippine-American War,” accessed November 2, 2018,

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine-American_War.

13A municipality is a small, single urban administrative division, or local government unit (LGU)29, in the Philippines which has corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by law. It is a unit under a province14, subdivided into barangays30, a town, and is locally called “bayan”. In the Philippines, a municipality is headed by a mayor, a vice mayor and members of the Sangguniang Bayan (legislative branch). It can enact local policies and laws, enforce them, and govern its jurisdictions. It can enter into contracts and other transactions through its elected and appointed officials, and can tax as well. It enforces all local and national laws. There are almost 1,500 municipalities in the Philippines. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Municipalities of the Philippines”.31

14A province is the primary administrative and political division in the Philippines. It is the second-level administrative sub-division of a region32. There are 81 provinces (called “lalawigan”) in the Philippines; see a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE PROVINCES IN THE PHILIPPINES?. Each province is governed by an elected legislature called the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and by an elected governor. The information was  obtained from the Wikipedia page “Province”.33 

15The Ilocos Region (Region 1) is a Philippine region located in the island group of Luzon16, with San Fernando (La Union) as its regional center. It has 5 local government units (LGUs)29: Dagupan, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union3 and Pangasinan. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Ilocos Region”.34

16Luzon is one (of the 3) major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It is the largest (ranked 15th largest in the world), most populated island as well as the economical and political center of the country. It is composed of 8 regions32: Bicol, Cagayan Valley, CALABARZON, Central Luzon, Cordillera, Ilocos15, MIMAROPA and the National Capital Region. The 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines are Visayas35 and Mindanao36. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Luzon”.37

17“La Union,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Union.

18Region VIII, called the Eastern Visayas Region, is a Philippine region32 located in the island group of Visayas35, with Tacloban as its regional center. It lies on the east central section of the Philippines and faces the Philippine Sea to the east. It has 8 local government units (LGUs)29: Biliran, Eastern Samar8, Leyte, Northern Samar, Ormoc, Samar, Southern Leyte and Tacloban. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Eastern Visayas”.38

19“Balangiga,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balangiga.

20“Church bell,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_bell.

21Borongan is a component city39 and the capital of the province of Eastern Samar, in the Eastern Visayas Region18, Philippines. It was founded on September 8, 1619 and became a city on June 21, 2007, according to the Wikipedia page “Borongan”.40

22A war trophy is an object or souvenir taken from a battlefield after a victory, and displayed as a cultural object, and becomes the property of the state to which the soldiers responsible for the capture belonged. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “War trophy”.41

23“Balangiga bells,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balangiga_bells.

24“Eastern Samar,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Samar.

25“First Philippine Republic,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Philippine_Republic.

26“Philippine Revolution,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Philippine_Revolution.

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

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

29A local government unit (LGU) in the Philippines is divided into 3 levels: provinces14 and independent cities42, component cities39 and municipalities13; and, barangays30.

30A barangay 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 the Wikipedia page “Barangay”.43

31“Municipalities of the Philippines,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Municipalities_of_The_Philippines.

32A region is the first-order administrative division in the Philippines. There are 18 regions in the Philippines, based on geographical, cultural and ethnological characteristics. See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE THE REGIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES? NOTE: It is further subdivided in provinces14, composed of cities and municipalities13 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays30, formerly called barrios. The information is obtained from the Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines”.44

33“Province,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Province.

34“Ilocos Region,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilocos_Region.

35Visayas is one (of the 3) major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It covers 3 administrative regions: Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas18 and Western Visayas. It consists of 6 major islands (Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Panay and Samar), mostly surrounded by the Visayan Sea, and is composed of 16 provinces. The 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines are Luzon16 and Mindanao36. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Visayas”.45

36Mindanao 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 ARMM. It is composed of 22 provinces14 and 33 cities47. The 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines are Luzon16 and Visayas35. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Mindanao”.46

37“Luzon,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luzon.

38“Eastern Visayas,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Visayas.

39A component city is a type of city47 in the Philippines which does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city48. It is under the jurisdiction of a province14. 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 municipality13. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”.49

40“Borongan,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borongan.

41“War trophy,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_trophy

42An independent city is a type of city47 in the Philippines which is administratively and legally not subject to a province14so it does not share its tax revenues with any province14. The national government and its agencies serve such a city through sub-offices of the region32 it belongs to. It is subdivided into 2: highly urbanized city48 orindependent component city50. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”.49

 43“Barangay,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barangay.

 44“Regions of the Philippines,” accessed November 2, 2018, http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regions_of_the_Philippines.

45“Visayas,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visayas.

46“Mindanao,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindanao.

47A city is the local government unit (LGU)29 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.

48A highly urbanized city (HUC) is a type of city47 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. There are currently 33 such cities in the Philippines; see a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”.49

49“Cities of the Philippines,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cities_of_the_Philipippines.

50An independent component city (ICC) is a city47 in the Philippines which is independent from the province14 in which it is geographically located. It has a charter that explicitly prohibits its residents to vote for provincial officials. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”.49

SAN ISIDRO LABRADOR PARISH CHURCH AND CONVENT, SIQUIJOR

The Lazi Church, or San Isidro Labrador Parish Church, is a Roman Catholic church in the municipality1 of Lazi2 (formerly Tigbawan), in the province3 of Siquijor4, Philippines.

1024px-St_Isidore_the_Laborer_Church_in_Lazi,_SiquijorGreg – originally posted to Flickr https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lazi_Church#/media/File:St._Isidore_the_Laborer_Church_in_Lazi,_Siquijor.jpg

It is under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Dumaguete5. It became an independent parish on August 8, 1857. The sea stone-wood, neoclassical-style6 church was built in 1884 by Filipino artisans, followed by the bell tower the following year, under the direction of Recollect7 priest Father Toribio Sanchez. The church has two pulpits, and has retained its original retabloand wood floorings.

This church was my group’s fourth 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 Siquijor. We were lucky to have a very cheerful and accommodating driver, Jimmy Bueno.2-parking-Jimmy-cropped

I wanted to enter this 135-year old church, see the belfry, light a candle, and take pictures, including the grotto, but when we visited it on March 25, 2019, it was closed for renovation. Perhaps, this is one reason why I should return to this island province3.1-Lazi-Church-constructionGreat news, target date of completion is May 21, 2019! Please give me feedback if this target was met.

Anyway, at the opposite side of the street is the church’s big convent. The construction of this U-shaped, bahay na bato10 convent was made with coral stones and hardwood, commenced in 1887, and completed in 1891, also under Fr. Toribio.

1024px-Lazi_Convent_ColorThe Lazi Convent in 2012 (Carmelo Bayarcal, own work created June 10, 2012, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lazi_Church#/media/File:Lazi_Convent_Color.JPG)

1-Lazi-trees-afar-ok

It is one of the largest convents built during the Spanish colonial era11, at 42 meters by 38 meters (138 ft. by 125 ft.). The ground floor has stonewalls and the second floor has wooden panels. A street sweeper I talked with said that this convent is the largest and oldest in Asia. I need to research to verify that claim.

The convent is funded by donations from parishes and missions of the Recollects7. Partitions of the convent were removed, but the original structure was maintained. It now houses the Siquijor Heritage Museum which has collections of important church relics and paraphernalia.

Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to enter this convent. I merely took pictures of it from the road. I also admired, took pictures, and touched the three trees along the street which look like at least a hundred years old. BeFunky-collage-Lazi Trees

Lazi Church was declared a National Historical Landmark12 by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines13 in 1984, and a National Cultural Treasure14 by the National Museum of the Philippines15 in 2001. It was also nominated to be part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites16 Tentative List since 2006, under the collective group of Baroque17 Churches of the Philippines (Extension), together with the churches of Patrocinio de Maria in Boljoon, Cebu; La Immaculada Concepcion in Guiuan, Eastern Samar; San Pedro Apostol in Loboc, Bohol; and San Mattias in Tumauini, Isabela. In 2014, the government announced its plan to nominate this church in the World Heritage List.

800px-Allan_Jay_Quesada_-_Lazi_Church_DSC_2365Lazi Church in 2016 (Allan Jay Quesada, own work, 20 April 2016, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Allan_Jay_Quesada_-_Lazi_Church_DSC_2365.jpg)

The information was obtained from the Wikipedia pages “Lazi, Siquijor”18 and “Siquijor”19.

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

You can read related posts about my Siquijor tour: TAKE A TARZAN-LIKE DIVE AT CAMBUGAHAY FALLS, SIQUIJOR!, ENCHANTING 400-YEAR-OLD BALETE TREE AND FISH SPA, SIQUIJOR, SERENE AND SPONTANEOUS SALAGDOONG BEACH, SIQUIJORGET BEWITCHED AT HAPITANAN, SIQUIJOR, PALITON BEACH: THE LITTLE BORACAY OF 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 historical church and convent. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post. Thank you.

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

 1A municipality is a small, single urban administrative division, or local government unit (LGU)20, in the Philippines which has corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by law. It is a unit under a province3, subdivided into barangays21, 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

 2Lazi, formerly called Tigbawan, is a coastal municipality1 in the island province3 of Siquijor4, with 18 barangays21. 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 (see above), the Convent in front of it (see above), the 400-yo enchanting balete tree with fish spa (see my post: ENCHANTING 400-YEAR-OLD BALETE TREE AND FISH SPA, SIQUIJOR), and Cambugahay Falls (where you can accept the Tarzan Swing-Dive Challenge; see my post: TAKE A TARZAN-LIKE DIVE AT CAMBUGAHAY FALLS, SIQUIJOR!). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Lazi, Siquijor”18 and “Siquijor”19. 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 region23. 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 and municipalities1 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays21, formerly called barrios. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Provinces of the Philippines.”25 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE PROVINCES IN THE PHILIPPINES?

 4Siquijor is an island province3 of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas Region (Region VII)26. Its capital is the municipality1 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 where incantations are sung, while the old folks make potions out of herbs, roots, insects, and tree barks. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Siquijor”.19

5Dumaguete is the capital city24 and main port of Negros Oriental, a province3 in Central Visayas (Region VII)26, 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”.27

6Neoclassical architecture is an architectural style that began in the mid-18th century, characterized by grandeur of scale, simplicity of geometric forms, dramatic use of columns, Greek/Roman detail, and a preference for blank walls.28

7The Recollects were a French reform branch of the Order of Friars Minor created at the end of the 15th century, commonly known today as the Franciscans, best known for their presence as missionaries in various parts of the world. They wore gray habits and pointed hoods, took vows of poverty, and devoted their lives to prayer, penance, and spiritual reflection. In 1897, Pope Leo XIII officially dissolved the Recollects order and integrated it as a part of the Franciscan order, officially changing their name to Friars Minor. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Recollects”.29

8A retablo is the altarpiece, the main feature of old Roman Catholic churches. This upright panel, intricately carved, gilded, polychromed, and highly decorated, has a wooden frame and contains ledges and panels behind and above the altar. It is embellished with decorative features like rosettes, grapevines, scrolls, and cherubs, crafted by native artisans. It has several niches for the patron saint, usually located in the topmost portion, while other saints, affiliated to the religious order which takes care of the church, occupy both sides of the second and third levels.30

9Yane’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.

10Bahay na bato, literally “house of stone”, is the Filipino term for a type of building originating during the Philippines’ Spanish Colonial period11, with a rectangular plan, popular among the elite and middle-class. It is an elevated, overhanging wooden upper-story nipa hut31 with balustrades, ventanillas (small windows), and capiz32 shell sliding windows. It stands on Spanish-style solid stone blocks or bricks and posts as foundation, and not wood, bamboo stilts, or timber posts. Roofing is either Chinese tiled roof or thatch (nipa, sago, palm or cogon), many today have been replaced by galvanized, or other modern, roofing. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Bahay na bato”.33

11The 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 Revolution34. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “History of the Philippines from 1521 to 1898”.35

12A 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”.36

13The 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”.37

14A 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 Arts38 and other cultural agencies such as the National Museum of the Philippines15, National Library of the Philippines39, and National Archives of the Philippines40. Such declarations are authorized under the National Cultural Heritage Act of 200941 and recognized within the Cultural Properties of the Philippines42 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”.43 The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Cultural Treasure”.44

15The 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 Arts38. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Museum of the Philippines”.45 Visit its website: www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph

16A 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”.46

17Baroque 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 stucco47, 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.48

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

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

20A local government unit (LGU) in the Philippines is divided into 3 levels: provinces3 and independent cities49; component cities50 and municipalities1; and, barangays21, according to Wikipedia page “Local government in the Philippines”.51

21A 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.”52

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

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 provinces3, composed of cities and municipalities1 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays21. 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.”53

24A city is the local government unit20 in the Philippines headed by a mayor elected by popular vote. A vice-mayor serves as the presiding officer of the city’s legislative body – the Sangguniang Panlungsod (city council). The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines.”54

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

26Central Visayas (Region VII) of the Philippines is a Philippine region23 located in the island group of Visayas55, with Cebu City as its regional center. It has 7 local government units20 (LGUs): Bohol, Cebu, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor4. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”53

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

28https://www.britannica.com/art/Neoclassical-architecture

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

30http://www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph/nationalmuseumbeta/Collections/Retablo.html

31The nipa hut, bahay kubopayag or kamalig, is a type of native, stilt house of the indigenous people of the Philippines before the Spaniards arrived in 1521, similar to neighboring countries in Southeast Asia like Indonesia and Malaysia. It often serves as an icon of Philippine culture or, more specifically, rural cultures, designed to endure the climate and environment of the country. It was made from plant materials, like bamboo, which was easily accessible and acquired to rebuild it when damaged by a storm or earthquake. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Nipa hut”.56

32Capiz, or kapis, is the shell of the windowpane oyster (Placuna placenta), an edible, bivalve marine mollusk in the family of Placunidae. It is durable and translucent so it is used as a glass substitute for windows, and even decorative items like chandeliers and lampshades. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Windowpane oyster”.57

33“Bahay na bato,” accessed March 8, 2019,https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bahay_na_Bato

34The Philippine Revolution is the revolution that started on August 23, 1896 when the Spaniards discovered the Katipunan58, and ended in 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-Bato59 in 1897; resumption of hostilities during the Spanish-American War60 in 1898; the establishment of the First Philippine Republic61; and, the outbreak of the Philippine-American War62 in 1899. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Philippine Revolution”.63

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

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

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

38The 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 Philippines40, National Historical Commission of the Philippines13, National Library of the Philippines39, National Museum of the Philippines45, 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”.64 Visit its website: www.ncca.gov.ph

39The 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 is located in Rizal Park, at T. M. Kalaw Avenue, Ermita, Manila. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Library of the Philippines”.65 Visit its website: www.web.nlp.gov.ph

40The 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”.66 Visit its website: www.nationalarchives.gov.ph

41The 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”.67

42The Cultural Properties of the Philippines refers to the cultural properties listed by the National Commission for Culture and Arts38, National Historical Commission of the Philippines13, and the National Museum of the Philippines15 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”.68

43www.primer.com.ph

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

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

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

47Stucco 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.69

48https://study.com/academy/lesson/italian-baroque-architecture-characteristics-examples.html

49An 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 city70 or independent component city71. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”54

50A component city is a type of city24 in the Philippines which does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city70. 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 municipality1. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”54

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

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

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

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

55Visayas 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”.72 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).

56“Nipa hut,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nipa_hut

57“Windowpane oyster,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windowpane_oyster

58The 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”.73

59Pact 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”.74

60The 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 Paris75, signed on December 10, 1898, 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”76 and “Treaty of Paris of 1898”77.

61The First Philippine Republic, or the Malolos Republic, was a nascent revolutionary government in the Philippines, established after the Philippine Revolution34 against the Spanish Empire (1896-1897) and the Spanish-American War60, 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”.78

62The Philippine-American War, the Philippine War, the Philippine Insurrection, or the Tagalog Insurgency, was an armed conflict between the First Philippine Republic61 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 Paris75, under which the US took possession of the Philippines from Spain, ending the short Spanish-American War60. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Philippine-American War”.79

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

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

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

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

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

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

69https://www.thebalancesmb.com/choose-right-stucco-mix-844655

70A 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”.54 There are currently 33 such cities in the Philippines (Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?).

71An independent component city (ICC) is a type of city24 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 city70. 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”54

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

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

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

75The 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 War60. 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)”.77

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

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

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

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

Now You Know: CANG-ISOK – SIQUIJOR’S OLDEST KNOWN HOUSE

Cang-Isok House is known as the oldest surviving house in the province1 of Siquijor2, in the Central Visayas3 Region (Region4 VII)5 of the Philippines. This historical attraction is located in coastal Barangay6 Libo, in the municipality7 of Enrique Villanueva8.

Cang-Isok can be loosely translated as “the house of Isok”, but no one can tell me who Isok was, or even exactly how old this house is.

This house was built by Mariano Tejano, a Spaniard, in the 1800s. This could be the reason why it is also called the Tejano House. Perhaps, the living descendants of the Tejano family can shed more light regarding the history of this house and relate it to the municipal and provincial tourism offices for proper documentation.

Cang-Isok_House-SiquijorCang‑Isok house, Enrique Villanueva, Franz Miko Verzon – Own work, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siquijor#/media/File:Cang-Isok_House.jpg

As you can see in the picture, this house is all alone in the area, not well preserved, and has survived decades of exposure to the sea and changing weather.

It was built using molave9 for the walls and floors, and is located near the shoreline, on stilts to withstand high tides. The original roof was made of nipa10 but iron sheets have replaced some parts. The traditional wooden-capiz11 windows were used all over the house. Bamboo was also used to construct parts of this house.

The information was related to me during my trip to this island province1. Unfortunately, I was not able to stop and personally see this house, but the next time I do visit Siquijor, I will include this in my list of destinations.

I am calling on the government institutions responsible for the preservation of a precious structure like this house. Can it qualify as a National Cultural Treasure? If so, then this almost two-century house (if it were true that it was built in the 1800s) should be restored and preserved as soon as possible. The local government of Siquijor could officially communicate with the proper national authorities and agencies with supporting documents to substantiate their urgent claim for preservation.

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

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

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

1A province is the primary administrative and political division in the Philippines. It is the second-level administrative sub-division of a region4. There are 81 provinces (called “lalawigan”) in the Philippines. Each province is governed by an elected legislature called the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and by an elected governor. Remember, a province in the Philippines is divided into cities12 and municipalities7 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays6, formerly called barrios. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Provinces of the Philippines.”13 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE PROVINCES IN THE PHILIPPINES?

2Siquijor is an island province1 of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas3 Region (Region4 VII)5, blessed with white sand beaches, diving and snorkeling sites, waterfalls, century old churches, caves, unique culture, and hospitable Siquijodnons. It has 6 municipalities7: Enrique Villanueva, Larena, Lazi, Maria, San Juan, and Siquijor (the capital, and yes, it has the same name as the province). It is called the Mystical Island and Healing Paradise because even before the Spaniards discovered the island, the locals practiced mystical traditions and held festivals that focus on healing rituals where incantations are sung, while the old folks make potions out of herbs, roots, insects, and tree barks. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Siquijor.”14 It was dubbed as the “Marine Paradise of Central Visayas5” after it was proclaimed a marine reserve15 and tourist destination in 1978 by Proclamation No. 1810. In line with this, the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) was charged with converting it into a principal tourist zone.16

3Visayas is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It covers 3 administrative regions4: Central Visayas5, 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”.17 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).

4A region is the first-order administrative division in the Philippines. There are 17 regions in the Philippines, based on geographical, cultural and ethnological characteristics. It is further subdivided in provinces1, composed of cities12 and municipalities7 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays6. The regions were initially identified in 1972, through Presidential Decree No. 1 of President Ferdinand Marcos. Since then, other regions have been created and some provinces have been “transferred” to another region. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”18 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE THE REGIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES?

5Central Visayas (Region VII) of the Philippines is a Philippine region4 located in the island group of Visayas3, with Cebu City as its regional center. It has 7 local government units19 (LGUs): Bohol, Cebu, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor2. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”18 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE THE REGIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES?

6A barangay in the Philippines is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines, headed by a barangay captain, aided by a Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Council). It is the native Filipino term for a district or village. It was formerly called a barrio. In a metropolitan area, a barangay is an inner city neighborhood, a suburb, or a suburban neighborhood. The word barangay originated from the term “balangay”, a kind of boat used by a group of Austronesian people who migrated to the Philippines. A number of barangays grouped together is called a district. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Barangay.”20

7A municipality is a small, single urban administrative division, or local government unit (LGU)19, in the Philippines which has corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by law. It is a unit under a province1, subdivided into barangays6, and is called town, or bayan. In the Philippines, a municipality is headed by a mayor, a vice mayor and members of the Sangguniang Bayan (legislative branch). It can enact local policies and laws, enforce them, and govern its jurisdictions. It can enter into contracts and other transactions through its elected and appointed officials, and can tax as well. It enforces all local and national laws. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Municipalities of the Philippines.”21

8Enrique Villanueva is a coastal municipality7 of the province1 of Siquijor2, in Central Visayas5. It was formerly a barangay6 of Larena (another municipality) and was called Talingting, after the local term for the abundant fish caught there, called Talingtingon. It is the smallest municipality of the province in terms of population, with 14 barangays. It was named after a former (1916-1925) governor of the province of Negros Oriental, Enrique Cayetano Teves Villanueva, who was responsible of upgrading it as a municipality. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia pages “Enrique Villanueva”22 and “Governor of Negros Oriental”23. Aside from Cang-Isok house, it is also known for the following destinations: Tulapos Marine Sanctuary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish Church, and the Bitaug, Isa, Napayong and Olave Caves. Check out Lilibeth’s Pan de Bisaya.

9Molave 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.”24

10Nipa, nipa palm, mangrove palm, or Nypa fruticans, is a species of palm native to the coastlines and estuarine habitats of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Its long feathery leaves are used as roof material for thatched houses or dwellings, as well as in many types of basketry and thatching. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Nypa fruticans.”25

11Capiz, or kapis, is the shell of the windowpane oyster (Placuna placenta), an edible, bivalve marine mollusk in the family of Placunidae. It is durable and translucent so it is used as a glass substitute for windows, and even decorative items like chandeliers and lampshades. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Windowpane oyster”.26

12A city is the local government unit19 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.”27 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?

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

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

15A marine reserve is a type of marine protected area (MPA)28 that has legal protection against fishing or development, according to Wikipedia page “Marine reserve”.29  The removal or destruction of natural and cultural resources in prohibited. It is created for a variety of purposes: to protect the spawning grounds of certain species, and as an outdoor laboratory that allows scientists to compare the undisturbed areas of a reserve to those impacted by human activities.30

16https://dumagueteinfo.com/category/visayas/

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

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

19A local government unit (LGU) in the Philippines is divided into 3 levels: provinces1 and independent cities31; component cities32 and municipalities7; and, barangays6, according to Wikipedia page “Local government in the Philippines”.33

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

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

22 “Enrique Villanueva,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enrique_Villanueva

23“Governor of Negros Oriental,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governor_of_Negros_Oriental

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

25“Nypa fruticans,” accessed March 8, 2019, https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Nypa_fruticans

26“Windowpane oyster,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windowpane_oyster

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

28A marine protected area (MPA) is a protected area of estuaries, lakes, oceans or seas where a government has placed limits on human activity.30 The government restricts human activity for a conservation purpose, typically to protect natural or cultural resources. It can be a wildlife refuge to research facilities. It is protected by local, state, territorial, native, regional, national, or international authorities and differ substantially among and between nations, due to limitations on development, fishing practices, fishing seasons and catch limits, moorings and bans on removing disrupting marine life.34

29“Marine reserve,” accessed March 2, 2019, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_reserve

30https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/marine-reserve/

31An independent city is a type of city12 in the Philippines which is administratively and legally not subject to a province1 so it does not share its tax revenues with any province. The national government and its agencies serve such a city through sub-offices of the region4 it belongs to. It is subdivided into 2: highly urbanized city35 or independent component city36. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”27

32A component city is a type of city12 in the Philippines which does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city35. 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 municipality7. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”27

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

34“Marine protected area,” accessed March 2, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_protected_area

35A highly urbanized city (HUC) is a type of city12 in the Philippines with a minimum population of 200,000 as certified by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and with the latest annual income of at least 50 million pesos, according to Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”.27 There are currently 33 such cities in the Philippines (see link Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?).

36An independent component city (ICC) is a type of city12 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 city35. 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”27

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now You Know: SIQUIJOR’S 6 ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCHES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you re the six Roman Catholic churches of Siquijor. 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 region3. There are 81 provinces (called “lalawigan”) in the Philippines. Each province is governed by an elected legislature called the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and by an elected governor. Remember, a province in the Philippines is divided into cities28 and municipalities5 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays29, formerly called barrios. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Provinces of the Philippines.”30 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE PROVINCES IN THE PHILIPPINES?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

54www.primer.com.ph

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now You Know: THE SIX MUNICIPALITIES OF SIQUIJOR

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

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

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

ENRIQUE VILLANUEVA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LARENA

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

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

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

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

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

LAZI8

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

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

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

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

MARIA

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

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

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

SAN JUAN

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

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

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

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

SIQUIJOR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A GLIMPSE OF PHILIPPINE FOOD SAFETY STANDARDS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

THE LEGEND OF SIQUIJOR

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

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

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

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

BRIEF HISTORY

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

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

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

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

TRADITIONS AND BELIEFS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seniors, Now You Know: S.E.A. MOVEMENT – FIGHTING TO PRESERVE SIARGAO!

S.E.A. stands for Siargao Environmental Awareness Movement, a non-profit organization that is “a collaborative effort to help preserve the natural resources and beauty of the island which the local and the travelling community rely on for a simple, yet beautiful, life. It acts as a hub to connect networks of people with unique skills – surfers, artists, writers, journalists, IT experts, policy-makers – to contribute in solving the island’s environmental problems.”

The Movement wants to instill in everyone a sense of responsibility and ownership of the growing environmental problems, starting with young surfers.

BeFunky-collage-2               All photos were obtained from the Facebook account SEA Movement

A Brief History of S.E.A. Movement

The surfers behind the Siargao-born surf brand, Kudo Surf, started this movement as their “answer to the pressing issue in climate change, increasing tourism, and the need to educate local communities about the importance of ecological diversity. Protecting the environment is protecting their livelihood and their future.” Starting the brand allowed them to merge their passions – surf traveling, environmentalism and commerce – together.

“We are grateful to Mother Earth for giving us great waves and the raw materials to make our products. We just gotta do our business and live our lifestyle responsibly. We believe that businesses should be more eco-conscious and we do our part by contributing to the improvement of environmental issues in Siargao, where our headquarters is.”

Projects of S.E.A. Movement

1. Monthly Beach Clean-Up and Placard Posting – This project started on October 2015. Volunteers are asked to clean up the beach.This shows the locals how much garbage is thrown carelessly all over the island. The local municipal office helps in the monthly beach clean up by providing a garbage collection truck.

The Movement also makes placards set up in public areas where people can be reminded: “Ayaw Paglabog Ug Basura” (Don’t Litter), “Barura Dili Marajaw” (Garbage is Not Good), and “Plastic is Not Fantastic”.

2. Plastic Bottle Campaign – S.E.A. encourages Siargao business owners to provide water stations and re-usable water bottles to reduce, and eventually, eliminate the use of single-plastic bottles in the island.

3. Her Planet Earth for the Women of Siargao – This is an environmentally-conscious program which “aims to train and equip underprivileged women with the tools and skills to sell bags and other fashionable items made with recyclable materials gathered from the sea”.

“This project simultaneously provides the community with a livelihood opportunity and reduces plastic waste and pollution in the oceans, thus, empowering the community of warm and friendly people by creating awareness around gender equality and visibility of men and women’s contributions to society and teaching responsibility towards environmental preservation.”

This program is the collaborative effort of S.E.A. Movement, Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), the local government of General Luna, Siargao Masaya, and other partner agencies and NGOs.

4. Solid Waste Management Localized Videos – S.E.A. has created, and will create, videos aiming to help educate and teach people, especially children about Solid Waste Management (SWM) and how important it is to segregate wastes.

So, for the techie readers of this post, why not volunteer to create fun/animated and educational videos!

5. S.E.A. Movement Awareness Campaign – It would be awesome to help spread the word about this Movement and the campaigns they are working on. Calling on experienced marketing professionals or social media experts, your help or advice would be very welcome.

6. Other Projects
a. Read-Aloud – In 2016, a US-based NGO, Bagong Kulturang Pinoy, donated eco-awareness-specific children’s books so volunteers read aloud to groups of children in their classrooms, or at the beach, for the latter to learn about the environment, how to love reading, and how to have more meaningful relationships with buddy volunteers.

b. Segregation and Recycling Stations – A big project of the Movement so there will be a proper waste disposal system in the island, leading to zero-waste management.

c. SEA and Public Schools – General Luna public schools have opened their libraries to house the SEA Movement’s eco-books. They also initiated tree-planting and a clean-up drive with the students.

d. Short Film on Eco-Awareness – The Movement plans to make an entertaining and educational short film that will inform the local community of Siargao and its business and government sectors about the importance of eco-consciousness.

e. Fund Raising – The Movement is a non-profit organization so it needs to generate funds for their projects. Some activities are: SEA Movement Shirts and Canvass Shopping Bags to help spread the Movement’s agenda and reduce the usage of plastic bags; Let’s Get it OM! (Benefit Yoga), a by-donation yoga session led by volunteer yoga teachers; and Crowd Funding, i.e., the acceptance of donations of any kind from kindred souls.

I hope I did my small share by writing this post in my blog.

Let us all help to preserve the natural resources and beauty of Siargao Island!

The information was obtained from http://www.seamovement.ph and http://www.mylifeonboard.net.

Contact information: Facebook account: SEA Movement; Tel. No. 0945-837-9202; Instagram: @s.e.a.movement

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Now You Know: THE MANILA ZOO IS CLOSED IMMEDIATELY AND INDEFINITELY

Dearest Filipino readers, when was the last time you went to the Manila Zoo? Personally, I have not visited that place for decades. Why? I got feedback from those who went there about the miserable state of the animals, how dirty and smelly the surroundings are, the condition of the facilities, even the toilets – all these and more, which break my heart because I only have fond memories of this zoo when I was in elementary. My father even taught me how to fish and distinctly remember catching a lot of tilapia in the lagoon which we brought home, cleaned, cooked and enjoyed as a family.

Well, it seems that the Manila Zoo will be indefinitely closed starting today, January 23, 2019. 1, 2, 3,4,5  This was ordered by Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, weeks after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) tagged it as one of Manila Bay’s major pollutants1, 2, 3 as it has supposedly been draining untreated sewage into one of the estuaries leading to that body of water.2, 3

In a one-page memorandum issued on January 21, Mayor Estrada ordered that “full support and cooperation be extended to the national government for the rehabilitation of Manila Bay.”1,4

Mayor Estrada said the temporary closure would allow the city government to conduct a proper assessment and study of the zoo in preparation for its rehabilitation, upon the recommendation of the Office of the City Administrator and Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW).1,3,4

The management of Manila Zoo explained that way back during its opening, in 1959, the zoo was not required to have a sewage treatment plant.2,3

Two weeks earlier, the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), one of the agencies tasked to rehabilitate Manila Bay, said that the zoo and 16 other establishments around the bay had not complied with the 1997 concession agreement signed by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System and two concessionaires, Manila Water Company Inc. and Maynilad Water Services Inc., requiring all enterprises in Western and Eastern Metro Manila to put a wastewater treatment facility. Jas Garcia, the officer-in-charge of the public operations bureau of Manila Zoo, said the zoo only had septic tanks which remove contaminants in wastewater.5

Manila Zoo is connected to the Estero de San Antonio Abad which DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu said had coliform level of 1.3 billion per 1,000 ml per most probable number (mpn), higher than the bay’s 330 million. These fecal coliform levels are way above the standard of 100 ml per mpn.5

The city government of Manila vowed to fully support the government’s move to rehabilitate the nearly 2,000-square-kilometer Manila Bay. Mayor Estrada directed the city and zoo officials to address the problem.3

The mayor also ordered the DEPW and the Department of Public Service to submit a program of work for the construction or installation of water treatment facilities or sewage plants in the zoo and other city facilities,1, 2, 3,4,5 which according to the DENR, will take a couple of months.2

City Administrator Jojo Alcovendaz earlier said that two water treatment plants might be installed in Manila Zoo within three to four months, after Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu accused zoo officials of dumping untreated water into Manila Bay. The DENR gave the city government four months to construct a wastewater treatment facility.5

The zoo’s employees will not lose their jobs because the zoo will only be closed to the public but will remain in operation for them to take care of the animals.3  

Personally, I agree with the closure of Manila Zoo, not only to comply with the required water treatment plants to save Manila Bay, but the next three or four months would be an opportune time to improve the state of the zoo in terms of animal care, facilities, cleanliness and sanitation of the premises, among others. I am still hopeful that the zoo will reopen, with the proper water treatment plants and cleaner, well-maintained, and improved facilities.

Did you find this post informative? Have you been to the Manila Zoo before it was closed? Can you share what me your experience there? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to “Leave a Reply” and enter your comment in the box. Please scroll and click the “Like” tab and “Facebook” to share this post. Do not forget to follow me by clicking “Follow” on the lower right corner of your device.

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1https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1076213/manila-zoo-closed-indefinitely

2https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/metro/682356/manila-zoo-to-be-temporarily-closed-starting-january-23/story/

3https://www.philstar.com/nation/2019/01/23/1887315/manila-zoo-shut-down-indefinitely-due-untreated-sewage

4https://news.mb.com.ph/2019/01/22/manila-zoo-closed-in-view-of-manila-bay-rehab/

5https://www.manilatimes.net/manila-zoo-shuts-down/500599/