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Follow her as she prepares and partakes the "bread for the stomach" in http://beforesixdiet.blogspot.com/ . And while you are full at it, she offers you the "bread for the soul" in her travels by foot and by thoughts in http://footandfire.blogspot.com/ Happy Reading!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Stopping by the sea-fronting Boljoon Church, its Rectory and Escuela Catolica


Perched beside the national highway, the Church of Boljoon, its Rectory and Escuela Catolica are all a wonderful stopover when one is from Cebu City going to Oslob; it is just about two hours from Oslob. Aside from its oldness, the church ground has been an archaeological site for Japanese goods that dates back before our pre-historic period. (I will be featuring the museum in the next entry.) When one is in the side of the church one can look beyond the highway and lavish at the sight of the blue oceans and white sand aside from the giant karsts and hills standing in protection and beside it. 

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Inside the Boljoon Church.

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The history of the Church of Boljoon

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I don't know if this shot will still make the code effective. 
Please try and let me know.
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The Escuela Catolica which is still used 
by old women teaching catechism today.

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The church and the hills and karsts...

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The hills, karts and the ocean lining the town of Boljoon.

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Sunrise in Oslob, Cebu


The people of Oslob are early risers because the whale sharks locally called "butanding" are hungry and feeding them is the easiest way to the snorkeling tourists and the ever-ready camera! For a fee of P550, one can swim with the whale sharks and have his unlimited photos taken by the assigned photographer and later bring them  home in a cd. This is the flourishing tourist attraction in Oslob. When we got there one long holiday of April 2015, there were hundreds of tourists, local and foreign.

But rising up earlier than the tourists is the key. The sun may not have shone from the mountain's side this time but seeing it rising from the ocean is phenomenal for me as seeing meteor showers are for other people. I joked that in this side of our archipelago, my kindergarten drawing of a nipa hut against the backdrop of two mountains with the rising sun and fluffy clouds in between them is not correct. Amazing grace it is to feel the early sun on my face, to receive the light, to feel divine grace. One early morning in Oslob.



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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Brought home coffee table book entitled "Boljoon: A cultural sketch"


Bolhoon -- A Cultural Sketch
By Paul Gerschwiler
2009, 172 pages including annexes

For five hundred pesos, this coffee table book authored by a Swiss Paul Gerschwiler who is married to a Filipina and published in 2009 by The Boljoon Heritage Foundation, Inc. went home with me. It is sold in the Museum annexed to the Church of Boljoon.  

The book has ten chapters that revolves on the cultural development in the quiet southern part of Cebu; they are the pre-Spanish settlement, the pueblo of Bolhoon, the Moro defence, Nuestra Senora del Patrocinio - the church, saints, of houses and men, livelihood, education, customs and traditions, roads and transportation and the 11th part are the annexes.

I have yet to progress to chapter three on Moro defense because I lavished on the quoted portions from the diary of Antonio Pigafetta and Antonio de Morga. Our world history in high school mentioned them but only in passing and I have yet to read the full translated versions. So this secondary source is quite an interest to me and kicks off my interest on the journals (shall search the web on them later) . As we may recall, Antonio Pigafetta was the one who wrote the "Report of the Ist Circumnavigation of the World, 1519-1522" while Antonio de Morga wrote "Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas" about 80 years after Pigafetta.

Just like any other places in our beloved archipelago, history before the Spanish period cannot be told with exactitude. Because our houses were not made of stones but of light materials such as bamboos and nipa that easily merges with earth in time, because history is oral and changes throughout generations, and because our nation is divided by the seas rather than by land borders which is much easier to access, observations on Filipino's early culture can only be recalled through these journals and then by oral traditions and then by evidences of trade relations as well as early tools found in excavation sites.

What is interesting about Boljoon is that its church ground has been a burial ground and there were unearthed pieces that proves trade relations with Japan, pieces that dates back before the spanish conquest and these pieces are not found yet anywhere in the Philippines.  The museum houses the pieces. See my next blog entries on the museum pieces.

That is all I have to tell and please wait till I finish the next eight chapters. By the way, the Annexes are pretty interesting because they are excerpts from the journal/report of Pigafetta and Morga. 




Saturday, May 23, 2015

Said a prayer at Monastery of the Holy Eucharist in Simala, Cebu


During our visit last April 2015, the monastery has been undergoing renovation as well as additional construction, as evident in the side bridges and towers being added. Hence, my photograph of the same is not that enchantingly beautiful as I have first seen it in photos. But of course, the photo is just one of my reasons to see this monastery built in honor of a four-feet miraculous Mary (I am not sure whether it is the one in the roofing or the one standing after the gate entrance). It is a place to say prayers for the sick so we said our prayers while traversing easy steps up the hill towards the chapel.

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"This crown structure is memorial of the victorious and powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mother thru the Penitential Rosary Walk in 1998, against the killer epidemic that struck the place, where several lives of poor children and infants had died."

"Built to honor Mary on the 8th year anniversary of the Monks' arrival in Lindogon. Blessed on the 27th day of February 2004." 


Blessed Virgin Mother at the entrance.



Blessed Virgin Mother on top of the main chapel. 


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Complete address of the Monastery of the Holy Eucharist:
Upper Lindogon, Simala, Sibonga, Cebu, Philippines!


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The ground taken from the top veranda. 
Note the Blessed Virgin Mary located at the entrance.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Revisiting Cebu Sites and Sights



A Visit to the Philippine Taoist Temple in Beverly Hills, Cebu City is one of the highlights of a city tour of Cebu province. One can pray there and make their wishes there as per instruction made at the door of the temple. I didn't get to try because I do not want to disturb the peace of the pilgrims, the atmosphere in the Taoist Temple is very much unlike the Buddhist temples I had been where they welcome everyone inside. Photos of the Altar Temple is also prohibited. I had been here in 2009 and even before that but still I enjoyed the visit because I am showing it to my aunt whose visit was the first time. (Free entrance)

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This is the Cebu Zoo which still undergoes renovations to make it interactive. It houses birds, crocodile, monkeys and some snakes. Since, it is just a little farther up from the Taoist Temple, it is a worthwhile stop, especially when one has take-out or packed lunch because the have tree houses and tables under the trees. This is my first visit. (Entrance P25/pax)


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A visit to Cebu is not complete without going to Lapu-Lapu City, the hometown of our local hero who conquered Magellan in 1521. My previous visit to this place is captured here.


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A visit in Cebu City is never complete without dropping by the Sto. Nino Church which is just beside the Magellan's Cross and the old-timer La Fortunata Bakery as well as the City Hall. I am no Catholic but a visit to a church is always in my list just like temples and hopefully I can visit a mosque someday. I had been here for many times already. Please check my previous visits here  and here.



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We were not able to go to the Fort San Pedro, Cebu City which houses a museum. Check out my past blog here re Fort San Pedro.




Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Cellist of Sarajevo


The Cellist of Sarajevo
By Steven Galloway
227 pages, Novel


There is nothing spectacular about this novel. I almost decided so because we all feel bad when there is violence or war; I believe that empathy is embedded in our genes. But I was wrong because empathy is not automatic in all of us, but still, I concluded that this book is spectacular because the writer presented to us many moral issues when we are placed in the middle of violence or war.

While I am reading this novel, the present violence occurring in Libya, Ukraine and Syria appear in my mind; the hardship and constant fear of the people caught in between the violence. I just wish those who hold firearms would get hold of this novel too.

This novel was inspired by a story of Serajevo's renowned cellist Vedran Smailovic who in real life played Albinoni's Adagio in G Minor for 22 days in honor of the 22 people lining up for bread in the market died after several mortar shell struck. But the story does not revolve around the cellist but the people around the cellist.

I was able to see things through the eyes of Arrow, a lady sniper who cannot just kill for the sake of killing. To her, the "them against us" rationale is not enough for her to pull the trigger. She lost her father in war and her skill sent her to a morally challenging role of a sniper. Her conversation to her self is what I wanted to understand, and the novel presented them in a way that leaves the reader to be in deep thinking too.

Kenan, who has a family to keep, struggles for his dear life every time he fetches water in a reservoir. Through his seemingly ordinary task, I felt his need to bring water to his family and I also felt his need to survive because he cannot let any of his children die from the shelling while on his way to the reservoir. His personality may be submissive but the violence around him turned him into a hero for his family.

The story is also told through Dragan who let his wife and daughter escape but decided to stay to keep their apartment. He seems to be friendly during the peace time but he ends up partly aloof  during the war. He considers himself a coward because he cannot have himself enlist in the army unlike a friend whom he communicates with from time to time. He was also able to meet the friend of his wife whose interaction with her made him rethink what he can do to help during the time of war.

What I can't forget about this novel is the dreams of the three characters for a normal life, that is, a life without war during the times when war becomes what is normal. They dream of things people during peace time forget to be a blessing, like enough water and electricity or at least shaving. They all dream to see their children grow up and enjoy their youth, eat in a restaurant, and walk the streets without fear. This novel reminds us of the gift of peace and why war should not be an option.

I felt so naive in saying the last sentence. But I am not taking it back. I just have to retell a story of two plane fighters during the World War II. One is from US and the other from France (I am not so sure). One hit the jet of the other but it was a good thing that other one survived. During the recent years, the survivor  looked for his "enemy" and finds out that he is a baker and a good father just like him.

With this true story I read in Reader's Digest, I am not hesitant to declare that, "this novel reminds us of the gift of peace and why war should not be an option."

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Revisiting the cave of Malalison Island, Culasi, Antique


Malalison Island is only a small island with a population of 750 and registered voters numbering to 400. The only populated area is concentrated at the back of the sand bar which serves as entrance to  the Island. There, the barangay hall is located as well as the basketball court which serves as their plaza as well. It was a quiet afternoon in November when I visited Malalison the first time and I can sense that the water was not as high as when I revisited the cave part in April shortly just after noon. What I immediately noticed about the rock is the a human head bust in the rock formation. Also, I sensed immediately that the summer sun dried out the same and it looked lifeless, unlike the rock I first visited. See the difference here. At any rate, here are the quick snaps I managed to get featuring the cave!


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