I went on a short trip to Siquijor last November (really a short trip because it did not last more than 24 hours) to bring candles, flowers and prayers for my loved ones who have departed. It is a tradition in our country to commemorate our dearly departed on the first two days of November. As I’ve said here, there are still many unexplored portions of the island, mostly coves and beaches that luckily have not yet been converted to beach resorts. These beach strips are our version of paradise.
Bazaars are popular this Christmas. They’re everywhere. But they’re not the ones I’m looking for. I am glad Zero Three Two organized Mercado Central, the kind of “bazaar” I am into to. The businesses are local and small and most sell handmade products. The food were also delicious, homemade and of high quality, and we were entertained by a group of ukelele-playing musicians. (If you don’t know, I used to play ukelele when I was young. It’s my kind of music).
Nov. 25 is designated by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Despite being one of the most liberated countries in the world, the Philippines continues to be a double-standard society, where certain acts of men are accepted and tolerated, while the same acts of women are frowned upon. My only solution to the complete elimination of violence (physical, sexual, mental and economic) against women is empowerment and the only tool I know that could lead to empowerment is education.
One weekend, my boyfriend and I dropped by The Henry Hotel to check out art at the QUBE Gallery. They were selling art pieces from Cebuano and Boholano artists, proceeds of which would go to the survivors of the Oct. 15 earthquake that hit Central Visayas, most especially Bohol. I was interested in Sio Montera piece above but it was sold already. There was also a floral canvass painting that interested me but it was already wrapped in plastic ready for the new owner. Beside the gallery, we found another cube, which made for good photographs.
Toledo is an economic hub — home to Atlas Mining, Carmen Mining, and now fertilizer plants. The neighboring towns also benefit from their city neighbor’s economic progress as industries expand north to Balamban and south to Pinamungajan. Toledo is also where my boyfriend’s maternal grandfather came from. One weekend in October, we went to Toledo to attend the burial of my boyfriend’s uncle. Because we had little time for sightseeing, I only made sure to at least do two things: (1) meet with my college classmate who brought us the original Balamban liempo, and (2) visit my “Toledo secret.”
One of the reasons we visited Bais City was the Central Azucacera de Bais. At the height of Ondoy, my family went to the town of Mabinay in Negros Oriental, and along the way, we passed by several towns, including Bais and Tanjay. What drew me to come back to the azucarera was the tree-shaded street in between the small gated compound of houses that used to accommodate the azucarera’s owners.
Argao is a place where many great people hailed from. The incumbent governor of the province of Cebu, Junjun Davide, for one, traces his roots to Argao. His father, Hilario Davide, was former chief justice of the Philippine Supreme Court. The late Cerge Remonde, press secretary to former Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, was also from Argao.
One of our favorite places to visit when in Argao is Alex Kafe, a home cafe owned by the Kintanar family of Argao. Alex, from whom the cafe is named after, is already dead but the cafe still lived on.
Baguio is a very long ride from Manila. And a very long trip coming from Cebu City. But Baguio and the rest of Benguet have been in my thoughts and dreams ever since I was a child and happened to read short stories on the region. I was curious and was just very happy when a group of friends invited my boyfriend and I to go with them to Baguio. In order to cut out expenses we book our flights five months earlier than our time of travel and booked our hotels and accommodations two months before the time of travel. I have to admit that because the trip to Baguio was very long (about six hours aboard the deluxe Victory Liner bus), I slept during most of our DIY tour the day we arrived.
The Banilad Town Center (BTC) Sunday market is one of the earliest farmers’ market I know in Cebu. This is where I learned that organic farming is not just a trend in Cebu but a sustainable livelihood for many farmers. This is where I learned that Cebu does not just have many local diners and restaurants, but also artisans who can make authentic regional and foreign food.
The municipality of San Remegio is located in northern Cebu. After we stayed at Bunzie’s Cove for two days, we proceeded to Bogo and then to San Remegio to stay at another beach resort. The weather was gloomy by the time we arrived, but I was keen to exploring the town (or at least the areas near where the beach resort was located) because I spotted a sign of an archeological site.