October 29, 2010

Magellan's Cross and Basilica Minore del Santo Niño

Just a few yards away from the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, the Magellan's Cross, found inside a small Chapel, is the Symbol of the Province of Cebu. It is a Wooden Cross placed by Ferdinand Magellan and the Spanish Explorers when they first set foot on the Province of Cebu. It symbolizes Roman Catholicism in the Philippines.

Magellan's Cross Shrine
Magellan's Cross, Symbol of Cebu

Ever since my Childhood days, the Magellan's Cross has long been my marker for Cebu. I told myself before that If ever I will be traveling to Cebu, the first thing I should go to is the Magellan's Cross because if ever I will not get the chance to see it, then I'm doomed, it's like I have never been to Cebu at all!

So as we arrived at the Basilica for prayer and for some pictures, I asked the Security Guard just outside the church on how we can go to the Magellan's Cross from there. Then I was surprised to know that we need not have to ride a jeep nor have a long walk because the Cross is just a few yards away from the church, just beside it actually, at Magallanes Street (Magallenes, named after Magellan's Spanish Name) So as we walked along the road from the church to the Convent and till we reach this Arch like structure, there it was, the Magellan's Cross.

Magellan's Cross
Magellan's Cross - A cross of Tindalo Wood Encases the Original Cross Planted by Ferdinand Magellan On This Very Site April 21, 1521

They say that the Original cross is inside this Cross of Tindalo Wood to preserve and protect the Original Cross of Magellan which is said to be chipped out by Tourists before to be kept as souvenirs while some Locals say that the original Cross was destroyed or lost even during the Spanish Times and this was just made to commemorate the said Cross. Either way, what's important is how we remember the Christian Roots of the Philippines and the Magellan's Cross is a big statement to that.

Me at Magellan's Cross
Me at the Magellan's Cross - Now I can proudly say I have been to Cebu

As tradition, whenever we travel to different places around the country, the first thing we look for and visit is the town's or the City's church. So on our first day at Cebu City last August together with my older brother and cousin, after a couple of hours' rest at the Hotel, we went directly to the Santo Niño Church or officially known as the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño. It is the oldest Church in the whole country built on 1565 by the Augustinian Priests and later rebuilt into hard stone by the Governor of Cebu on the 18th Century.


Facade
The facade of the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño

As stated from the Marker, the Basilica Minore was burned down twice during the 16 Century but was built up again ad again from then on. The Convent is situated just beside the Church where the friars lived before and part of it is now converted into a Museum where tourists and travellers can visit and experience the History not just of Cebu City but the Christiandom of the Ciudad.

Marker

From our Hotel, we took a Taxi and went directly to the church. All you have to say to the Driver is to take you to the Santo Niño Church and you'll be there in a breeze. Jeepneys are the primary means of transportation in Cebu but it might be quite hard since these Jeepneys are number coded but of course, the Friendly locals will truly be nice to give you the directions on what Jeepney to ride! But you should always remember to be careful because the Cebu Cathedral is also located directly in front of the Basilica so you should be specific as to what Chrch you would like to go to but for us, of course, we visited both. Also, the Magellan's Cross is also located just behind the Basilica so it's like three Historical Attractions in one place!

Basilica del Sto Nino
A Local Cebu Jeepney passing through the road at the side of the Basilica

Many locals and tourists alike visit the Basilica to pray and of course to visit the Santo Niño de Cebu, the original image of the Child Jesus brought the the Magellan Expedition during the Spanish discovery of the Philippines. The Santo Niño de Cebu is housed inside the church and devotees can visit and pray to the Santo Niño. The line to the image was quite long during our visit but of course, it was all worth it when we finally saw the Santo Niño de Cebu. We took a while and prayed and we went off to give way to the next devotees.

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Korean Tourist taking some photos with the fountain inside the Convento.

Many tourists visit the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño not just to venerate and pray to the Santo Niño but also, to capture the beauty and history of the Church. By experience, I did not just saw history through the walls and the paintings and the memorabillas on the church but I really felt like I have been swooped into the Spanish Era of Cebu City. So if you are planning to visit Cebu City or the Province of Cebu itself, be sure to make Basilica Minore del Santo Niño your very first stop. Daghang Salamat Cebu!

October 6, 2010

Loboc River Cruise and the Philippine Tarsier

The Municipality of Loboc is situated in the Southern Part of the Beautiful Province of Bohol. Just 24 kilometers away from the Capital City of Tagbilaran, it was the very first stop during our Bohol Island Day Tour last August 2010. The town is famous for a number of things including the Philippine Tarsier, which was already featured on my past posts, the World-Famous Loboc Children's Choir, the Magnifical Loboc Church and my feature for today, the Loboc River.

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Loboc River, as seen from the Balsa

Loboc River has been hailed for so many years as the Philippine's Cleanest River. The water might not be that clear when we went there but it surely is Clean! It was deep according to the guides on our Balsa or raft which is being pushed by this small speed boat and give you a good tour along the river for about 30 - 40 minutes. Of course, Loboc River Cruise will never be complete without it's buffet Lunch.

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The Buffet Table at the Middle of every Balsa filled up with Native Filipino Dishes

Just for Php400.00, the Cruise caters native Filipino Dishes like the famous Pancit or Stir Fried Noodles, Pinakbet, Kare-Kare, Pork Barbeque, Fried Chicken, Unripe Mangoes in Bagoong and a lot more. For dessert, Fruits such as Watermelons and Pineapples are served together with traditional ricecakes such as the Putong Puti, and my favorites Kutchinta and Peche-Peche. Together with your wonderful view of the Riverbanks and the life that surrounds it, A Small Live band serenades you with different songs ranging from the Kundimans to Air Supply and they even sang Traditional Korean Songs for the Korean Guests that were with us during the Cruise.

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Loboc People Singing traditional and popular songs for the Tourists and Travelers

As the Balsa made its way at the end of the River where a small waterfall was, we thought it was the end of the cruise and we are just on our way back. But as we passed by where we have been earlier, There is another Balsa but this time, the Balsa was stationed by the river filled with Boholano children and women in their colorful Pink traditional Baros all waving at us hello. Then our Balsa suddenly made a halt in front of that Balsa and open the doors of ours. Some of the Tourists came to the Balsa of the Singers as they started singing songs with their synchronized choreography. Here, it was the best part of our whole Bohol Trip and I am going to share it with you.

As the Choir started singing a Mellow Song and the tourists started singing along and some are taking photos of them, I started to feel something. I am not feeling sad at the moment but I can't stop the tears falling in my eyes (this is when my Wayfarers are of great use). While watching these Performers sing, at that very moment, I was feeling very very proud again to be a Filipino. I have always been and will always be proud but at that very moment, it reached top heights. Seeing all these Foreigners and Local Tourists enjoying the songs make me feel a bit guilty. I am a Filipino, these are my People! These Boholanos are my people and I should not be here just watching them. I should be there presenting how great the Filipinos are. 

At that very day, I realize that my Love for the Filipino people, My People will never ever Linger. Whenever people scrutinize or just plainly make fun of Filipinos, I get truly hurt. Maybe it's not that I am emotional, It's because I just love my People so much. And if only Pinoys like me would Love our Country as we love ourselves, then our brothers and sisters from other nations would learn to see the beauty and greatness of the Filipino People.

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Me at the end of the Loboc River

To the Filipino People, we must learn to love our Country. We can be Doctors or Engineers or Teachers like me or even Beggars and Orphans but one thing is for sure, we will ALWAYS be FILIPINOS! If we could only learn to love our own, that is when other Nations will start to look upon us. And to our brothers and Sisters from other Nations, I have always have this Big Love for all the Cultures of the World and I have so much respect for all of you, and in this way, I hope that you will also see how beautiful my Country is through this blog, its sights and sounds but most of all, the best thing about the Philippines, the FILIPINOS!

***

Called Maumag in the Visayas region, the Philippine Tarsier is one of the smallest Primates in the world. It is endemic to the Philippine Islands of Leyte, Samar, Mindanao and where this photos where taken, in the province of Bohol. During our Visit in Bohol last August, it was one of our first stops, the Tarsier display where this Tarsiers can be seen on this little shrubs for free, you can give your donations if you like.

Strange Tarsier
A Tarsier looking strangely into the tourists on a branch

The Philippine Tarsier is one of the two primary icons of the Province of Bohol together with its Magnificent Chocolate Hills. According to the IUCN, it is classified it is classified as Nearly Threatened. Although this Tarsiers are a sight to see, we must always remember that these are also creatures that lives a life so we must treat it with much respect as we treat other people.

Me and the Tarsier
Me showing how tiny the Tarsier is. It could actually fit on my mouth

The Tarsiers feasts on live insects such as bugs, spiders, crickets and even grasshoppers. Though they are particularly a prey to larger animals such as wild cats, larger birds and of course, us Human Beings. These cute little primates are nocturnal meaning they are shy and sleepy during the day but much more active during nighttime.

Sadly, the Philippine Tarsier carries only one child per gestation so their reproduce quite poorly especially in captivity so it is true that these Tarsiers are very cute but we should also remember to take care of them by saving their natural habitats and the Tarsiers themselves as well.

Tarsier
Save the Earth, Save the Philippine Tarsier!


 I just hope that the time will come that the next generations would still have a glimpse of this beautiful creatures live! Let's not wait wherein the only chance they can get to see these Tarsiers are just by photos and blog posts like these.