Thursday, November 15, 2007

Baguio: Baguio Country Club's famous raisin bread

When family and friends hear you're on your way to Baguio Country Club, one pasalubong request stands out: raisin bread! The next day, we had breakfast in the Raisin Bread Shop of the BCC. And of course, I bought their signature raisin bread and banana bread to take home.

Don't miss out on their equally famous blueberry muffins among many other muffins. I'm sure their cakes are equally mouth-watering. In fact, the cake display case beckons to every customer who enters. But I had enough sugar for the morning. Also available in the bread shop are deli sausages and cheeses among many other products.

I had wanted to stay an extra night but I had to rush to an evening meeting in Makati. So that ends my 3 weeks of non-stop travel. It's back to school. In a way, it's time for a vacation from my vacation. Hahaha!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Baguio: Old Baguio charm at the Baguio Country Club

There are still a few patches of serene and picturesque areas amidst the urban chaos of Baguio City. And the Baguio Country Club (BCC) is most definitely one of those remnants of Baguio City's old charm. It was a great opportunity for me to relax after a tight schedule the last two weeks.

As soon as I arrived in Baguio, I went straight to the BCC since I wanted to rest before my cousin's wedding. I had a late lunch at the veranda and chatted with my relatives who were also billeted there. Then it was a power nap before proceeding to the church.

The reception was at the ballroom of the BCC. The food was great! But I had to eat in moderation. Sigh! Anyway, I woke up late the next day since I didn't have any sleep the night before.

After lunch at the veranda, it was time for some recreational activities at the club's many facilities. I was toured around the golf course on a golf cart by the facilities manager. Then we passed by their new driving range and golf academy. It's an unusual driving range since it isn't flat. This is so that you could familiarize yourself with the terrain of the BCC golf course. And yes, I was given lessons at the golf academy. Looks like I'll try that more often.

Later in the evening, I went bowling at the bowling alley at the basement. Then I met up with my brod Jaysie at the veranda for dinner. Then I went back to the driving range for more practice shots. Then went back to the bowling alley, this time with my cousins, Carlo and Michelle for more frames. I was definitely maximizing my stay at the BCC. Haha! If I only knew there was a heated pool and jacuzzi, I would have brought some swimming gear. Anyway, after all those activities, it was off to bed for me.

Here is a photo from Carlo and Michelle's wedding reception at the ballroom of the Baguio Country Club...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Benguet: The waterfalls along Kennon Road

Finally, a trip I can really call a vacation! I drove up to Baguio a few hours after I had arrived from Iloilo City. I was rushing up to attend the wedding of my cousin at the Baguio Country Club.

The trip up Kennon Road was very refreshing. The views were so picturesque and it was only now that I noticed there were so many waterfalls. So I stopped several times to take photos of them. Two of them are quite popular namely Bridal Veil Falls and Colorado Falls. In fact, you could actually swim in Colorado Falls as the water is very clear and there are basic facilities in the area.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Iloilo & Antique: Church overload in Iloilo and Antique

The day after the conference, we visited the towns of Southern Iloilo and Antique, my 59th province. From the hotel, we took a van and stopped by the towns of Tigbauan and Guimbal, which I was not able to visit during my previous visit, to check out their churches. We then proceeded to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Miag-ao Church and the cemetery chapel, also in the same town.

In the next town was a National Cultural Treasure, the San Joaquin Church. But equally impressive was the well-preserved cemetery which has maintained its old and uncrowded look.

From there, we drove down to Antique. But we stopped over first at the junction point called Tiolas to have lunch. I got myself an order of batchoy. From there, we took the road less traveled to the southernmost point of Panay Island, the town of Anini-y.

The Anini-y Church was very much intact and I hope that it is declared a National Cultural Treasure soon. It was most definitely worth the visit.

Our companions had to drive back to Iloilo City since they were leaving that night, but Archt. Richard Bautista and myself opted to stay behind to continue further up north to visit the other towns of Antique. Transportation was scarce and we had to wait for 30 minutes for the next jeep to arrive. Our next stop was the town of Hamtic since the cemetery chapel there was quite intact.

From Hamtic, we took another jeep to the capital of Antique, San Jose de Buenavista. After taking photos around the Antique Capitol, we rushed to get a jeep to Patnongon to check out more heritage structures there. Although in ruins, the church, casa real and an old bridge are still standing and I hope it remains that way. We had to rush back to San Jose to try to get a bus back to Iloilo City. If we got stranded in Antique, we were prepared to stay for the night. But good thing we were able to find a bus back and got back to Iloilo City.

The next day, it was raining hard so I was too lazy to get up. Our plan was to go around Central Iloilo. But we decided to continue our church and cemetery tour since it looked like the weather was improving.

From the hotel, we took a cab to La Paz for lunch. Where else to try batchoy than where it was born! We ate at Deco's. From there, we took a jeep to Jaro, where we boarded another jeep to Cabatuan. We got off at the cemetery a few kilometers from town. The walls and chapel was still intact.

We then took a tricycle to the town proper. The church was gargantuan with two exaggeratedly large belfries on either side of the facade. Its stone retablo is said to be the tallest in Iloilo after the Oton Church was destroyed during the 1948 earthquake.

From Cabatuan, we took another jeep to Janiuay. After visiting the ruins of the church, we took a tricycle to the cemetery. I've seen photos of this all the time but was quite disappointed when I got there. It was quite neglected. To me, the best cemetery I visited is the one in San Joaquin which I heard was recently restored.

From Janiuay, we took a jeep to Pototan and transferred to another jeep to Dingle to visit the church. Good thing there was English Mass.

We were planning to visit Duenas but since we had a flight to catch, we took a jeep straight to Iloilo City. They sure know how to stuff the jeepney! There were three passengers in front plus the driver, thirteen on either side, plus about eight in the middle, and even some holding on outside!

In Iloilo City, I took some photos in Jaro before we proceeded for a quick dinner in one of the chicken inasal restaurants. It was then a mad rush to the airport and we got there just in time since I got my favorite front row seat. Hehe!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Manifesto for Heritage Conservation in Philippine Towns and Cities

Straight from Boracay, I proceeded to the Sarabia Manor Hotel to check-in and wait for the vehicles from City Hall to pass by for me. We were off to the airport to meet the other members of the Heritage Conservation Society who arrived yesterday. And we went there in style, breezing through Iloilo's rush hour traffic with four motorcycle escorts. Hehe!

As soon as they arrived (their flight was two hours delayed), we went straight to Robinsons for the Opening Cocktails of the 2nd Philippine Towns and Cities Seminar hosted by Mayor Jerry Trenas. The night wasn't over since after that, I went to Smallville to meet up with the Ateneo alumni in Iloilo and my SSEAYP batchmate Councilor Winwin Sanchez.

Today, we had the seminar at the Sarabia Manor Hotel. I was emcee for the day. Here is the manifesto we drafted at the end of the seminar. We hope each LGU would adopt this as a provincial, city or municipal resolution:

Manifesto for Heritage Conservation
in Philippine Towns and Cities

The 1987 Constitution (Sections 14, 15, and 16, Article XIV) declares that the State shall foster the preservation, enrichment, and dynamic evolution of a Filipino culture based on the principle of unity in diversity in a climate of free artistic and intellectual expression. It shaIl conserve, promote and popularize the nation's historical and cultural heritage and resources, as well as artistic creations. Further, all the country's artistic and historic wealth constitutes the cultural treasure of the nation and shall be under the protection of the State, which may regulate its disposition.

In the pursuit of heritage conservation as a strategy for maintaining Filipino identity, we, the participants of the 2nd Towns and Cities Seminar in Iloilo City assembled shall pursue the following objectives:

1) Protect, preserve, conserve and promote the nation's built heritage resources in our localities;
2) Establish and strengthen national and local cultural institutions;
3) Vigilantly implement national and local laws on the protection of heritage;
4) Integrate heritage conservation of built heritage and cultural sites and landscapes in all the master development plans and zoning ordinances;
5) Implement safeguards to protect local heritage by creating heritage zones and declaring heritage sites at the provincial, city, municipal and barangay levels through local ordinances and resolutions;
6) Increase heritage awareness among the youth by including preservation of heritage and local history and culture in the curriculum;
7) Maintain the appearance of streets, parks, monuments, buildings, natural bodies of water, canals, paths and barangays within heritage zones;
8) Promote the adaptive re-use of built heritage property to generate economic activity that will ensure sustainability;
9) Document and sustain all socio-cultural practices such as traditional celebrations, historical events, and the revival of customs that are unique to our localities; and
10) Expand the concept of heritage to include knowledge and collective memory, situating the study of heritage within a broad time frame connecting the distant past to the present, and a vision of the future.

2nd Seminar on Philippine Towns and Cities
Iloilo City, 9 November 2007
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