28 March 2015

Good morning from Moalboal, Cebu

A Basket Case in Antequera

A year after the Big Quake of 2013, Bohol is starting to stand on its feet again to welcome tourists to the island. 

The towns painfully re-introduce their festivals so there would be a reason for visitors to come, buy and make lives whole again.

The Roman Catholic Church of Antequera could no longer be used  due to the massive damage brought about by the earthquake of 2013

So is the case of Antequera, one of those badly hit by the quake.

In an effort to bring a festive mood to its charter day celebrations, the local government held the First Basket Festival in the town. Several government personalities from the province and the region were invited to grace the event. It was a three-day affair and to end on their Charter Day with a parade, competitions and fanfare. 

The first Basket Festival of Antequera opened last March 15, 2015

The newly refurbished municipal display center that was heavily damaged by the earthquake was opened to the public, thanks to donations from local and foreign entities. There, the best of their products were displayed for prospective buyers. 

There was also a booth competition where different barangays (villages) showed their harvests and other materials worth showing and be proud of. 

And then there was a basket competition. 

But sadly, the baskets of Antequera have not actually improved. Some on display were old or recycled products. Some of them even got moulds and mildew. In short, there was no quality control, a sad realization that must be instilled in the minds of small entrepreneurs and SMEs. 

Antequera, by the way, has long been a recipient of several programs from DTI, local and foreign funding agencies. So there is no excuse for below average products. (I would like to deduce that those were leftovers from bulk buyers who came earlier, as if a religion, to Antequera’s market every Sunday dawn.) But still… 

I hope those who are planning to make other festivals in the coming months must make sure that quality matters in all products, especially if we are inviting the public to come and buy them. 

It will reflect 100% to the town. It will make or break them.


Antequera is a 4th class municipality of Bohol. The town was created on March 17, 1876. It is known for cottage industries, especially basket weaving, due to the abundance of materials in the area. Mag-aso Falls is also found in this town.

Products of Antequera

Antequera is about 18 kms from Tagbilaran. Regular bus and mini buses ply the route from Tagbilaran but when time is concerned, there is no definite hour. You have to be very patient if you are taking public transport.

Most advisable is a hired van or private car. It will take you about 15 mins to get there. As most of the island of Bohol has, habal-habal are available when you get to the town center. You can hire one to take you to Mag-aso Falls. Haggle for a price before hopping in.

05 March 2015

What I love about Zubuchon (and it's not even lechon!)

I am not a fan of pork or its products. But I am a fan of Zubuchon! That means one thing- they are not serving pork lechon ONLY!

I love Zubuchon in many ways. The place is clean, very welcoming, just like another home. The staff are courteous and they know what they are doing and what they are serving. Fast and efficient.

This is how I eat my Dinoldog- on top of rice.

Zubuchon's Dinoldog, squash and shrimps cooked in coconut milk, is my favorite of the veggies in their menu. And of course, there is Saguyon, that crispy-fried small fish from Mindanao. It goes well with an ice-cold beer.

Oh, mighty Saguyon, why are you so yummy? You're even exceptional
when there is cold beer around. I hate threesomes!

Lately, I learned that their Kamias Shake has evolved- Kamias Shake Margarita! And I totally have gone out of my mind!

Kamias SHake Margarita!


Zubuchon originates from ZUBU, the old name of Cebu and CHON, from lechon, that roasted pig. It was founded by the famous Marketman (Joel Binamira in real life) of Market Manila.

Zubuchon has branches in One Mango Avenue (032-2395697), Escario Central (032-2540247), Mactan (inside Mactan Marina Mall [032-2661310] and at the Mactan airport pre-departure area [032-5110005] and at The Walk (032-2368256) in IT Park, Lahug.

Price ranges from 50 pesos up to 550+ pesos, depending on what you order. You can even order a whole lechon and can be brought to Manila or anywhere in the Philippines you want it to be delivered. For a fee, of course. For a complete price list, you can browse their Facebook account.

They are introducing ZUBUDAGAT in two of their branches as of now- Mactan Marina and Escario. Zubudagat, (DAGAT is sea) as the name implies, offers seafood! That's the reason I can be at their Mactan and Escario branches anytime.

Zubuchon is given the Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor.

Zubuchon's website can be accessed here.

11 October 2014


On October 15, 2013, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the island province of Bohol and the nearby island of Cebu at 8 in the morning, sending people out of their homes in fear and panic. The epicenter of the quake was in the town of Sagbayan but almost half of the island lay shattered and devastated. The old churches, Bohol’s pride, were hugely damaged, some of them crumpled to the ground, as were the case of Loboc, Loon and Maribojoc.

Tubigon was one of the towns greatly hit by the earthquake
(Photo grabbed from

Bohol has never seen this much destruction. The earthquake that struck in the eastern part of the island sometime in February 1990 did not brought this much calamity. The major road networks all over the island were also severely damaged. Bohol, being considered a major tourist destination in the Philippines, has just completed the concreting of most road networks around the island. Considered new, the quake toss them off. Mountains, bridges, buildings, houses and the lives of all Boholanos were never the same again.

Bohol's icon, the Chocolate Hills, looked like a kid was having tantrums here
(Photo grabbed from ABS-CBN)

But the Boholano spirit could never be put down. 

When the earthquake struck, already the social media was unusually abuzz with lots of activities. Boholanos from all over the world started updating friends, soliciting aid, assisting in the deployment of manpower and equipment to the area most affected, helping relatives find their loved ones. Today, social media is forming another platform among Boholanos as they find ways to boost tourism in the island.

Tourism, a major industry in the province slowed down a bit after the quake. But a few months after, the creative Boholanos took pride in what remained of the devastation. The ruins has become another tourist destination. Piece by piece, the coral stones that became the symbol of Boholano religiosity were gathered and cataloged, in the hope of making these historical stones a future showcase of ingenuity.

Loon's Catholic church crumpled to the ground killing a parishioner or two
(Photo grabbed from Cebu Daily News)

To date, majority of the tourism zones have recovered. Panglao Island, although shaken and stirred, remains a favorite escape for the sun-lovers of the world. Like a good martini. People now flock to its beaches and drink their blues away.

Some new adventure sites have also opened their gates to locals and other tourists visiting the island of Bohol. New restaurants and cafes have opened and the old ones are reinventing their menu for new gustatory adventures. Some even are branching out in nearby Cebu.

Photo grabbed from

And as we commemorate this painful event in our lives, we put aside our politics, our religion, differences, even our work, to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the quake. We give honor to those who dedicate their time, give financial support and extend efforts so we can recover. Boholanos are sending out our grateful hearts, forever indebted in their kindness, to all the generous donors all over the world.

And mostly to the Boholano pride that has kept us all as one big family, we salute you.


Updates on the earthquake, according to the government, can be accessed here.

What you can do

Infographics provided by Sun*Star online

Recovery efforts are still undergoing in Bohol. Some are still living under tents or temporary houses. Many students are still doing their classes in makeshift tents. The Batuan Light Bringers (BLB), a group of young people from Batuan, Bohol are still accepting donations, cash or in-kind, for the reconstruction of the houses of those affected in Batuan. Part of your donations are also given yearly to the poor elementary pupils especially in the villages of that town. BLB gives out school supplies during openings of school year and sponsor feeding programs for the malnourished children of Batuan. You can contact the author, or visit Batuan Light Bringers’ FB page and send them a message if you want to donate.