Posted by: buntuan72 | June 1, 2015

. . . Night Of Heritage . . .



Over the weekend, I joined an annual cultural event in Cebu called Gabii sa Kabilin or the “Night of Heritage.”
During this six-hour event, numerous museums and heritage sites across Metro Cebu open their doors (or gates) to local and foreign visitors. Guests have the opportunity to enjoy cultural shows, exhibits, activities, food fairs, and even contests during this annual even. Buses and tartanillas or horse-drawn carriages are available for guest to get from one site to another. Guests can also walk to participating sites located close to each other.

The event was inspired by the Lange Nacht der Museen or Long Night of the Museums in Germany. The Gabii sa Kabilin was launched in 2007 and was the only metropolis to hold such an event in the Asia-Pacific region during that time. The first run of the event was limited to three museums. This gradually expanded, adding more museums and heritage sites into its itinerary. Currently it involves over thirty museums and heritage sites spread across the four major cities of Metro Cebu.

Gabii sa Kabilin 2015

The Gabii sa Kabilin is held on the last Friday of May as part of the celebration of the Philippine National Heritage Month. While there are seven routes guests can choose from, guests can actually jump from one route to another depending on which site they may want to visit.

This is actually the third time I joined the event, and I still get goose bumps whenever I visit the participating sites, especially those sites that do not normally open their doors to visitors the rest of the year.

When I first joined the event in 2012, I was able to check out the Museo Sugbo, the Museo Parian – Jesuit House, the Iglesia Filipina Independiente Cathedral, the Casa Gorordo Museum, Plaza Parian, Fort San Pedro, and the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House. Since some of these sites were close to each other, I opted to walk from one site to another.

Gabii sa Kabilin 2015

Last year, I was able to visit the Chapel of San Pedro Calungsod, the new Talisay City Hall, the Archdiocesan Shrine of Sta. Teresa de Avila Parish in Talisay City, the Sugbu Chinese Heritage Museum, the University of Southern Philippines Foundation-Rizaliana Museum, and the United Church of Christ of the Philippines-Bradford Memorial Chapel.

For this year, I was able to take some pictures at the Cebu Provincial Capitol, the Fo Guang Shan Chu Un Temple, the ANTHILL Fabric Factory and the Cebu City Museum. I spent most of my time at the Fo Guang Shan Chu Un Temple since the organizers presented a short musical play on the life of Siddharta Gautama, also known as Gautama Buddha. The play was a preview of a bigger presentation set to be staged in SM City-Cebu within the year.

I would have wanted to visit more of the participating sites but the six hours allotted for the event is definitely not enough to be able to visit all or at least most of the museums and heritage sites here in Cebu.

While there are some areas for the organizers to improve on, it was generally a great event for history and heritage lovers, as well as anyone interested to know more about the rich cultural heritage of the Queen City of the South and its neighboring cities.

Posted by: buntuan72 | July 29, 2012

End Of The Road For A Repository Of Knowledge

“without libraries what have we? we have no past and no future” – Ray Bradbury

What Ray Bradbury said is quite fitting for this post since an icon of the past will disappear forever, never to be seen again. I recently learned that the library of my alma mater has been condemned around a week after a couple of my batchmates and I took pictures of it for our yearbook. Apparently the structure is in danger of collapsing due to some cracks found on the ceiling of the building.

The cracks were only discovered after the building was check to see if additional floors can be added to it. It was a bittersweet discovery because if it was not checked, something might have happened to the people using the structure if another strong earthquake, like the one that happened last February 6, would hit the region. It also meant that this icon of our past will soon become a part of history although it appears that another building will be made on the site to replace the ageing structure.

I’ve had some fond memories of the UPCC library, since it was one of the best places to sleep study in. Although the materials and references were not quite up to date during our time (which was a long time ago), it did offer the latest newspapers and magazines. It was also very conducive for sleeping studying since only a few people would go there to do their research (it was also quite airy since it did not have any other tall buildings surrounding it)

Well, here are some of the pictures that I was able to take a week before this repository of knowledge was condemned by officials of the university.





Posted by: buntuan72 | July 28, 2012

Lazy Afternoon At The Mall

“coffee and cigarettes, that’s one of my weaknesses” – Jason Behr.

For the past few years, I have had increased my liking for that strong-flavored brewed beverage that comes from the roasted seeds of a coffee plant. Even as I would crave for my daily caffeine fix every morning, I normally satisfy this craving at a coffee shop somewhere in the city (nothing beats a freshly-brewed coffee in the morning)

Of all the coffee shops that I was able to visit, I found the hot mocha latte at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf as among the best I’ve ever had. I normally judge the quality of the brewed beverage in coffee shops through their plain-brewed offerings and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf was right on the button. The aroma, the richness and the taste was right on the button.

Sadly there are only four branches of this shop in the city, which means that I would have to be contented with any coffee shop in the area that I may find myself in at any given time.

Last Saturday I found myself going around a not-so-new mall north of the city and sadly it did not have any branch of my favorite coffee shop. Due to this, I had to satisfy my caffeine craving at Bo’s Coffee shop. Since I was already able to try their plain-brewed coffee in the past, which was not as good as that of CBTL, I had their own version of the hot mocha latte of my favorite coffee shop.

Well, it was good enough although nothing beats the hot mocha latte at CBTL. To make a short story shorter, I spent around an hour or so at the Bo’s checking my mail for any updates from one of my two online bosses. At least I was able to find another coffee shop that offers something to satisfy my daily caffeine fix.

Posted by: buntuan72 | April 27, 2012

Stress Relief


For the past few weeks, I have seen a marked change in my life It appears that my stress level has gone down to a significant degree that I can  sleep soundly at night.

I also lost some weight and hoping to add an ‘s’ to the ab in the future.

One of the ways that I deal with stress is to eat, eat and eat.

My comfort food list is actually rather long but since I was worked in an academic institution, I would not get to go out much . . . being a model for the students and all.

So my comfort food during that time can be found in the school canteen.

On the top of the list of comfort food from the school canteen is ‘lechon paksiw‘. I lean more to the ‘lechon paksiw’ with a little bite to it or with a good amount of vinegar to it. Its basically leftover ‘lechon‘ or roasted suckling pig that is cooked again with a good amount of spices and of course a good does of vinegar. By the way Anthony Bourdain declared sometime ago that the best-tasting lechon can be found right here in the Pearl of the Orient.

Another comfort food that I normally eat t0 deal with stress is ‘sisig’, which is not only a good match with rice but is also a great  ‘pulutan’ in a drinking session.

During times whenever I get stressed after work, I would normally get a slice whole pizza for myself, specifically the thin crust Shakey’s Special paired with a mug pitcher of beer.

Of course another entry to this list is Dim Sum, particularly dim sum from Harbor City here in the Queen City of the South. If the Chicken Rice is available, that would be the first thing that I would order paired with Quail’s Egg Siomai and the Empress Roll.

These are just some of the comfort food that some other people may also have on their lists. (Although I have a lot more in mind, including the Hamburger Steak and Beef Stew at Brutus, the Zinger and Twister from KFC, the King of Chicken . . . umh . . chicken, and many more . . . like what I said the list is rather long)

But since stress has apparently left my life following my decision to change my life and let go of my 8 to 5 job to concentrate on blogging and freelance writing, I have not seen a hint of stress for the past few weeks.

I am hoping confident that the decision of leaving my comfort zone would prove to be the best decision I made since I am currently enjoying my new-found ‘freedom’ so far.

Posted by: buntuan72 | January 13, 2012

Puerto Princesa . . .

For some time now, I have been longing to travel to live in this quite intriguing place along the South China Sea (or the West Philippine Sea). From what I know of this place (or what I’ve read about it on blogs and the news), it may be the only city in the archipelago that is right beside a forest . . . a REAL forest.

Due to this, Puerto Princesa City is probably the cleanest city in the entire archipelago. One of the tourist attractions of the city was recently put on the world stage with the search for the  New Seven Wonders of the World.

Although the results of the voting has yet to be published, it appears that the Puerto Princesa Underground River has made it to the initial list of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

According to Wikipedia:

Folk etymology attributes the name “Puerto Princesa” to a princess-like maiden who in the early days is said to have roamed around the place on certain nights of the year. On the other hand, practical people attribute the name to the geographical advantages of the place as a seaport – naturally protected the whole year round and endowed with a depth that can accommodate any size of shipping – a royal haven for vessels or a virtual princess of ports as thus indicated by Spanish Colonizers on the country’s map.

I can’t say that I know more about this place but I’m currently planning to finally visit the place and probably live there for a while.

Posted by: buntuan72 | June 14, 2010

Back to where it all started . . . Butuan

Over the summer, I was able to go back to my hometown after a very long time. I cannot remember the last time I was there but it was nice to be able to go back home to Butuan. Actually, I was not planning to go back home due to my heavy work schedule. However, I got an SMS message from my mom telling me that one of my uncles was coming home to Butuan for the fiesta after ten years. As soon as I got the text, I immediately booked myself a flight home. Although the flight to Butuan was not quite as smooth as I thought it would be due to some glitches with the airline that I booked my flight with, I was able to reach Butuan in time for the fiesta. Unlike Bohol which have their fiesta for the whole month of May, the fiesta in Butuan falls on May 19 or during the feast of St. Joseph. Anyway, it was a nice reunion with my uncle whom I haven’t seen for a decade. And since I was in Butuan, my cousin brought me to two tourist sites in the city which I was not able to go to during my last visit.

One of the places that we went to was the Bood Promontory First Easter Mass Eco Park in Barangay Pinamanculan. Bood is a small hill in Butuanon language. According to

A promontory is a prominent mass of land which overlooks lower lying land or a body of water.

This was the historic site where Ferdinand Magellan planted a cross and celebrated the first mass in the Philippines on March 31, 1521. Although much debate has been made over the actual location of the first mass, as a Butuanon, I believe that this was the actual site where Magellan celebrated the first Catholic mass on the archipelago. Since the sun already set, I was not able to get a lot of pictures of the site.

Aside from the site of the first Easter Mass, I was also able to visit the Banza Church Ruins. According to the Butuan Government site, this was the site of the old poblacion of the city. A church constructed by the Recollect Friars in 1625 used to stand at site before it was destroyed by Moro pirates in 1753. The remains of the bell tower of the church is now enveloped by a balete or banyan tree. This just shows that sooner or later, nature will reclaim whatever structure man has built. This is the oldest stone church ruin in the whole island of Mindanao.

This was definitely a fruitful trip back to my hometown. Not only was I able to have a mini-reunion with an uncle whom I have not seen in a decade, I was also able to check out some of the tourist sites in the city of Butuan.

Posted by: buntuan72 | May 8, 2010

Fiestas, Tarsiers and the Chocolate Hills

Bohol is an island province in the Visayas known for fiestas,  tarsiers and the Chocolate Hills. This is one of the places I visit almost every year. Its popularity among tourists is due to a number of pristine white beaches, which can rival the best in the world, and a number of the best dive sites at this side of the archipelago.

I usually go to Bohol before the first day of May since this is the ‘visperas‘ for the month-long series of  fiesta across the island. In fact a good friend of mine, who is a ‘Bol-anon’, once said to me that you will never go hungry in Bohol during the month of May since there is always a fiesta happening in one of its 47 municipalities. He even says that they even welcome strangers to join the feast in their homes since they consider it ‘ma-ot’ if no one visits their house during the fiesta. And I was able to experience this . . . well only for about a week when I got to join the fiesta in at least ten different houses in a span of five days (Due to the overabundance of the food during the fiestas, we would eat just twice each day since we would not have enough time to digest our food before the next meal time comes). Bol-anaons are also known to return to their hometown during the fiesta.

However, Bohol is also known for the Philippine Tarsier or what locals call the Maumag, which is endemic only to the Philippines. This is one of the smallest primates in the world and is now considered endangered, although efforts have been made to make sure they do not disappear from the face of the earth. This conservation effort is spearheaded by the Philippine Tarsier Foundation. The foundation was able to acquire some land in Corella, Bohol to allow the tarsiers to live out in their natural habitat. A number of towns were also asked to donate some of their land for this effort. The area is protected by a seven-foot high fence which is meant to keep out predators. There are reports, however, about tarsiers scaling the fence to forage for food at night. Fortunately, they would seem to be observing a curfew since they would also return to the protection of the sanctuary before the break of dawn.

Tarsier in Corella, Bohol Tarsier in its natural habitat 180-degree head turn by a tarsier

Aside from the tarsier, the island, to which Boholanos refer to as the “Republic of Bohol”, is also known for the Chocolate Hills. Although this unusual geological formation can also be found in other places in the world, I don’t think any of those places can match the sheer number of these grass-covered hills which are spread out in an area of around fifty square kilometers. These limestone formations number more than a thousand according to the last count by the DENR, although there were rumors that one of the hills disappeared due to ‘human-induced’ erosion. During one of my trips to Bohol, we went to Sagbayan Peak, which was an alternative place to go to if you want to see the Chocolate Hills. I think this place is run by a private individual who really had a lot of spare money since its is more than just a place to view the hills, it also has its own mini-park and playground for the kids. Although the number of hills in the place is nothing compared to the one run by the Department of Tourism, this was more spacious and you would not have to tire yourself out in trying to get a good view of the hills.

Sagbayan Peak main entrance The Viewing Deck at Sagbayan Peak Long walk to the Viewing Deck at Sagbayan Peak The Chocolate Hills at Sagbayan town

There are actually a lot more places to visit in Bohol which I hope to write about in one of my future entries. So if you get to visit the Philippines, Bohol should be in your ‘to go to’ list, especially if you come here in the month of May. Bohol – the land of fiestas, tarsiers and the Chocolate Hills.

Posted by: buntuan72 | January 16, 2010

Solemn Procession

Solemn Procession - January 16, 2010

Every third Saturday of January, a solemn procession is held in the streets of Cebu to commemorate the coming of Christianity to this side of the world. The route of this year’s procession was longer compared to last year. And judging from the crowd itself, the number of of faithful who joined the event most likely passed the one millionth mark.

Virgin Mary

The procession started at around 1:00 PM and from my vantage point along the route, the front part of the procession passed by at around 1:20. Led by the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic faithful in the City of Cebu showed their undying faith to the Christ Child who has become the source of hope and love for the Cebuanos. Students, nurses, government officials, and ordinary people joined the procession that lasted for several hours. The slight drizzle did not dampen the spirits of the people.

Ever since I started to witness the event a couple of year ago, I noticed that there is always a slight drizzle during the procession. It seemed to show that heaven is showering its blessings to the people who have remained steadfast in the faith to the Sto. Niňo.

Sto. Niňo

As the procession moved on, the crowd simply got thicker and thicker. And as the image of the Sto. Niňo passed by, people started waving as if trying to call out the Christ Child, thanking him for the blessings that he shared with them. The image of the Sto. Niňo was escorted not only by the authorities but civilian volunteers as well. The solemn procession is the religious aspect of the celebration at this time of the year in the City of Cebu.

Posted by: buntuan72 | January 2, 2010

Fried Itik . . . Anyone?

In one of my trips up north together with some college buddies, we passed by a small stall at the side of the road that sold fried “itik” or fried duck. The word “itik” is a Tagalog word that has the same etymological origin as the Malay “itik” and both of these words simply means duck. This stall, Jehan’s Fried Itik, apparently had several branches all over the province of Tarlac, as well as Nueve Ecija, Pampanga, Zambales, La Union and Bagiuo City in Benguet.

The preparation for the dish is quite simple but time-consuming. First thing to do is to simmer the “itik” in water mixed with some simple ingredients  (salt, ginger and celery stalk) for one and a half hours or until it (the “itik”) becomes tender. After simmering, drain and dry the cooked “itik” on a paper towel. The second and last step is to deep-fry the “itik” until golden brown. After this, serve with whatever sauce that you like to dip the dish into (I prefer the old-fashioned “suka with asin” or vinegar with a dash of salt).

We bought a couple of servings of the fried “itik” just to keep our hunger at bay while traveling to our destination way up north.

Posted by: buntuan72 | December 22, 2009

Dawn Masses

Simbang Gabi, Misa de Gallo, or Aguinaldo mass, whichever way you call it, it is one of the most unique Christmas tradition here in the Philippines. The dawn masses run is a novena or a devotion that Filipinos practice in preparation for the coming of the Lord. It starts nine days before Christmas day and is unique to Philippine culture. No other Catholic country in the world practices this Christmas tradition, although I heard has already been “exported” to other countries that have a big Filipino community.

According to, this Filipino tradition started during the Spanish period where the priests would celebrate early dawn masses for the farmers who need to attend to their crops but were given the opportunity to attend a nine-day novena mass during the Christmas season. These masses were held from 3:00 to 4:00 in the morning.

Today, this tradition is still being practice in the country where the Catholic faithful would fill churches to the brim each time December comes. The nine-day novena masses begin on December 16 with the last mass being celebrated on December 24. People share the belief that if you complete all nine days, you would have one wish granted after the nine days.

This is one of the traditions that I wait for each time Christmas comes. Although it would involve a good amount of sacrifice on my part, its worth it since this will be a good way for me to prepare for Christmas. I have been doing this for the past 16 years, although I was not able to complete the nine days half of the time.

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