Showing posts with label Panglao. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Panglao. Show all posts

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Bohol: Visita iglesia, heritage churches & watchtowers

Loboc Church (San Pedro Apostol) was built in 1734. If was founded as a Jesuit mission in 1596.
Bohol is a province of rich heritage. It has the largest number of well-preserved heritage churches in the country if I may say. Yes, the history of the churches in Bohol has been respected by most of the local clergy, especially in the Diocese of Tagbilaran (the other Bohol diocese is the Diocese of Tubigon). And visits to these exquisite churches are enriching experiences, as they give us a glimpse of our colorful folk art, Philippine Baroque as many call it.

Here are three routes with interesting churches. The first two, 1a and 1b can be combined into one grand route. It can be accomplished in a day if you rent a car or van (but you have to start early). You may also opt to enjoy the beaches in Anda and stay overnight or start from Anda and make your way back:

Route 1a: Tagbilaran, Dauis, Panglao, Baclayon, Alburquerque, Loay, Loboc (enjoy the Loboc River Cruise or proceed to Chocolate Hills from here)
Route 1b: (from Loay) Lila, Dimiao, Valencia, Garcia Hernandez, Jagna, Duero, Anda
Route 2: Tagbilaran, Cortes, Maribijoc, Loon, Calape, Tubigon (proceed to Talibon if you have time)

Tagbilaran Cathedral (St. Joseph the Worker)
Dauis Church (Assumption of Our Lady) is a National Cultural Treasure and National Historical Landmark. The present church dates back to 1863.
The interior of the Dauis Church features the illusion of a Renaissance artesonado or coffered ceiling. The paintings inside the church are attributed to Ray Francia and Canuto Avila (and his children). Notice the small well on the floor in front of the main altar
The Dauis Watchtower is a National Cultural Treasure. It was built in 1774 as a lookout for Moro pirates
Panglao Church (San Agustin) is a National Cultural Treasure. The present church was built between 1894 to 1897. Notice the ruins of the old church nearby
Ceiling murals inside the Panglao Church
The Panglao Watchtower built close to the sea in 1851 is also a National Cultural Treasure
Baclayon Church (La Purisima Concepcion de la Virgen Maria) is a National Cultural Treasure. The present church dates back to 1727. The interior of the church, particularly the retablo mayor, is one of the best examples of Philippine Baroque.
Alburquerque Church (Santa Monica) dates back to 1885
Loay Church (La Santisima Trinidad) is a National Historical Landmark. The church, built on top of a hill,  dates back to 1822. Other historic structures in the church complex include the belltower, convento and two schoolhouses. Across the plaza is the old tribunal or municipal hall.
The ceiling murals of Loay Church are attributed to Ray Francia. The sanctuary is unique in the country for its lace-like design.
The ceiling murals of the Loboc Church are attributed to Canuto Avila, Ricardo Avila and Rey Francia.

Dimiao Church (San Nicolas de Tolentino) is a National Cultural Treasure. The present church was built from 1800 to 1815. Beside the church is an old walled cemetery which the locals call ermita
The interior of Dimiao Church
While there is nothing remarkable about the facade of the Valencia Church (Sto. Nino), the interior features ornate wooden floor patterns
The facade of the Jagna Church (San Miguel Arcangel) is heavily renovated. But the interior is fortunately intact.  The ceiling features paintings of Rey Francia
Duero Church (Immaculate Conception) is considered one of the gems of Philippine architecture in wood. Yes, the church is made of wood and dates back to 1874
Anda Church (Sto. Nino) may look unimpressive outside, but is richly decorated inside. Splendid ceiling murals by Rey Francia adorn the ceiling
The Anda Church ceiling murals were painted on tin sheets

Cortes Church (Santisimo Nombre de Jesus) dates back to 1892. The painted ceilings inside are by Rey Francia.
Maribojoc Church (La Santa Cruz) is a National Cultural Treasure. The present church was built in 1852
Inside Maribojoc Church are five magnificently carved Gothic retablos decorated with Mudejar stars. The ceiling murals were painted by Rey Francia.
Punta Cruz Watchtower in Maribojoc is a National Cultural Treasure. The fort, known as Castillo de San Vicente, was completed in 1796.
Loon Church (Nuestra Senora de la Luz), among the grandest churches in the Visayas, is a National Cultural Treasure and National Historical Landmark. The current church was constructed from 1855 to 1864.

Now for visita iglesia near Metro Manila, you could visit churches in Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, RizalQuezon, Pampanga, Bulacan, Bataan and Pangasinan. Click on the links for detailed itineraries.

For detailed information on Bohol churches, I highly recommend that you get a copy of Visita Iglesia Bohol: A Guide to Historic Churches by Regalado Trota Jose.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bohol: Panglao Island and Chocolate Hills

Panglao Beach looks so much better during low-tide since the expanse of white sand is wider. The view of the beach during breakfast was relaxing. Too bad we couldn't go for a swim since we had to start driving early. Today, we were covering the eastern part of Bohol, most of which I have not seen.

Another thing I learned, thanks to this Honda City test drive, is that it is more convenient to rent a car if you want to visit these towns off the regular tourist route. I would have wanted to check out the church of Dauis in Panglao, as well as the many other colonial churches we saw along the way including those in Dimiao and Duero. We could not stop though since we had a tight schedule to follow. At least I know now which towns to visit if ever I go back to Bohol.

We drove as far as Trinidad in the north before driving down to Carmen for our first and only major stop of the day, lunch at the Chocolate Hills view deck. So much has been said about the Chocolate Hills, a National Geological Monument, so I won't talk about it anymore. But few people know that there is a hotel and restaurant at the view deck. So if you want to experience sunrise by the Chocolate Hills, that is possible.

After lunch, we made a brief stop at the Man-made Forest for some pictures before rushing back to Tagbilaran to catch our flight. It was a really hectic day but a lot of fun. Thanks to Honda for the invitation!

Part 1: Honda City test drive in Bohol
Part 2: Bohol by car (Day 1): Loboc River Cruise, Baclayon Church and Panglao Island

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bohol: Loboc River Cruise, Baclayon Church and Panglao Island

The last time I was in Bohol, I relied mainly on public transportation to get me around. It took quite a while to wait for the next jeep or bus, but I was able to cover a lot of ground. So when Honda invited us to test drive the new City in Bohol, I immediately said yes.

We arrived in Tagbilaran mid-morning. I was still groggy after that power nap on the flight (didn't get any sleep the night before as always) and continued sleeping in the van that took us to the Clarin House in Loay where we were going to have our orientation and snacks. So when we finally arrived, I was still disoriented.

The Clarin House is a heritage house declared by the National Historical Institute. I've seen it from the outside but this time, we were given a tour of the inside by the owner, a former mayor of Loay and descendant of the Clarin senators. I enjoyed the snacks they served in Cafe Olegario which consisted of local Boholano treats such as puto maya (now I know where "gaya-gaya, puto maya" came from) which is glutinous or malagkit rice with ginger served with hot chocolate; malagkit (the local kalamay or rice cake), torta boholana (similar to mamon and ensaymada) and kamote fries with latik dip.

After the briefing, we were given the keys to the Honda City for Day 1 of our test drive. Our first stop was the captive display of tarsiers in Loboc for an encounter with the smallest primate in the Philippines (they are primates contrary to what the tour guides and some people have been saying). Also on display are a pair of flying lemurs and some monkeys. Captive displays of these primates are actually an issue in Bohol since misinformed tourists can cause harm to these animals aside from the fact that they are not allowed to roam in their natural habitat.

From there, we drove to the new Loboc River Cruise Terminal. I looked forward to this trip because of the food, the music and the pristine Loboc River. But it was a shock to me that they installed lamp posts on both sides of the river bank! I was told the lights serve as a backdrop to an enchanting evening cruise. But during the day time, it looks horrible!

The lamps stick out like sore thumbs and don't blend with the natural surroundings. What's is more disheartening is that the wiring is exposed and you can see the orange PVC casings of the wires nailed to the rocks and trees! They also uglified the small waterfalls area by building conrete posts on it.

Another new attraction I don't remember seeing in 2006 is the ukulele ensemble that entertains visitors when boats make their way back to the terminal. Each boat docks at the makeshift stage that houses the ensemble of locals who serenade guests as they play their ukuleles. Now that's tourism creating jobs!

After the cruise, we made our way to Panglao Island where we were staying for the night. On the way, we stopped by the Baclayon Church and the Blood Compact Monument.

We checked-in at the Amorita Resort in the afternoon to give us time to relax and enjoy Panglao. I walked around the beach for a while. But since it was high tide and I forgot to bring my flip-flops, I decided to take continue my nap. I woke up just in time for our alfresco dinner by the beach.

Part 1: Honda City test drive in Bohol
Part 3: Bohol by car (Day 2): Panglao Island and Chocolate Hills

Monday, March 27, 2006

Bohol: More churches and nature in Bohol

For some reason, I wake up earlier when I'm traveling. I guess the excitement pushes you to get out of bed. Hehe! I was up by 6:30 a.m., took a quick shower, then went to the place called the Garden Cafe right by the cathedral which Lonely Planet had suggested. A themed restaurant, I didn't have the chance to explore their food that much. But what surprised me was their staff. When I got in, I was given a menu, a piece of paper and a ballpen. Hmmmm, so they don't take the orders. It turns out, most of the staff are deaf and mute! At least we have establishments like these in the country. Good job!

I then rushed to start my itinerary for the day. Took a minicab to the Integrated Central Terminal where jeeps and buses out of Tagbilaran are stationed. That was just PHP6. From the ICT, I took a jeep to the next town which was Baclayon. The Church of the Immaculate Concepcion there is a national historical landmark. That was PHP7.

Baclayon Church is reputedly the best-preserved Jesuit church in the country and has the most intricately-carved retablos I've seen. When the Jesuits were expelled from the country, management was given to the Augustinian Recollects. One thing I like about Bohol's churches is they stand out like manificent fortresses facing the sea. And the space around it was preserved. No commercial establishments crowding out the churches themselves.

Outside the church was a nice tarpaulin billboard from Holy Name University reminding people to preserve Bohol's natural and cultural heritage. I'll suggest to the Center for Kapampangan Studies to do the same in Pampanga to increase awareness in the heritage sites themselves.

Next town was Alburquerque which also had a heritage church. Waiting for a jeep took like forever. And the morning sun didn't make it any easier for me. But finally, one passed by and I was on my way.

Boholanos call the town Albur for short. The
Church of Sta. Monica was another well-preserved church. I had to enter through the convent via a bridgeway that led to the choirloft. With all these antique thefts no thanks to unscrupulous dealers, churches have to keep close watch over their contents.

Again, a long wait for the next jeep to the next town, Loay. The Church of Santissima Trinidad of Loay is also a national historical landmark. I almost missed it since the church was up a hill, hidden from the national highway, had I not recognized the Clarin Ancestral Home which is a national heritage house. The church and its plaza were a stunning reminder of the grand architecture during the Spanish colonial period. The coral and limestone buildings around the church were still standing. Really nice!

After that, it was off to
Loboc. Again another wait. After a few or so minutes, a bus for Carmen passed by, and knowing how difficult it was to get a bus, I decided to go straight to Carmen and the Chocolate Hills and stop by Loboc on the way back. It was an hour away passing through the heart of Bohol island, a refreshing man-made Mahogany forest and stunning rural scenes.

Before reaching the town of Carmen is the stop for the Chocolate Hills viewdeck. To get up there, you took a motorbike for PHP20. Wow! The view from the top was stunning. But the trek up so many steps was tiring. Pant! Pant!

At the top, I got a pleasant surprise since I saw Mica Pineda, a friend from UP, who was touring with her family. She invited me to tag along since they were going to tour Loboc and go to Panglao Island after. Just great, that was my exact itinerary! So I joined them in the van. At least I was able to relax on the way down and the good thing was, I didn't have to wait for public transport!

When we arrived in Loboc, we went straight to the Loboc River Cruise. This is something you have to try out. The river is clear and pristine. The views are stunning while you have lunch on a house boat and are being serenaded as you cruise along the river. The food is buffet! Hehe!

At the end are small waterfalls where we were able to take some photos. Smaller boats could go further upstream to Busay Falls where one could take a dip. On both sides of the river, everything is green with flora. Really cool experience. It was a welcome respite to see things like these in the Philippines when media projects almost everything as dire.

After the cruise, we visited the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul in Loboc which is a national cultural treasure. It is really great that they've preserved this much in Bohol. And I hope it stays that way. We have to safeguard what makes the Philippines unique.

But talking about preservation, right beside the church is the biggest example of government stupidity! Notice the unfinished bridge on the left of the photo. Guess where it was headed? Yup, you guessed it, right smack into the church! Idiots! What was the DPWH thinking?! For them to even consider demolishing the church, that was the height of stupidity!

After the church, we went to visit some tarsiers. Finally, I get to see the small primates which inspired Steven Spielberg's E.T. Hehe! The is a new DENR directive that you could no longer handle the tarsiers, meaning no touch or putting them on you for pictures. Good thing! There was a group from the Philippine Christian University who were also on tour. By God! They started shaking the trees and scaring the tarsiers. Mica's mom got so mad that she scolded them reminding them that they are the future of the country and what eill the Philippines expect if they do not know how to care for nature.

And to think the tour guide from the Heaven Tour Company was just standing there! Shame! As a tour guide, it is your responsibility to properly educate your group about this endangered species, the fact that it is very difficult for them to reproduce since they only mate once a year and that is not sure to produce an offspring. Which is why they must be handled with care!

Anyway, after Loboc, it was off to Panglao for the beach. Woohoo! On the way, we passed by the Sandugo Monument in Bool, Tagbilaran City which memorialized the blood compact between Sikatuna and Miguel Lopez de Legaspi. Although controversy hounds the site since research points that the actual site may have been in Loay at the mouth of the Loboc River.

We passed by the town of Dauis which is also on Panglao Island. It has a heritage church as well but it was nearing sunset so we went straight for the beach.

Panglao is indeed a great beach, white sand, blue water, fascinating view! Watching the sunset from Pangalao was a perfect way to cap another day around the Philippines!

Have to rush now. On my way to Siquijor. And everyone's telling me stuff about the island. Just great since I'm arriving midnight. Hehe!

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