21 May 2015

This used to be my playground

Photo courtesy of Ms. Elizabeth Adlaon-Dolotina

When a childhood friend shoot this picture of our land, I feel lonely while reminiscing of home. Home is where my heart is. Forever. Where is home? It's in Batuan, Bohol.

I did not have a good life when I was in Batuan.

With my mother, I woke up early mornings to go to our neighbor's farm to harvest their corn, rice or sorghum in exchange for twenty percent of what we have gathered. I slept late nights because we were tasked to tend our gardens or ricefields, making sure there was enough water so we can eat better. 

I have worked in farms, there was no child abuse law in my time. Kids, like adults, HAVE TO WORK with the family so we all can eat.

I've walked long distance to fetch water. I walked with sole-less slippers to school. In my time, we walk. I've walked from Dagohoy, Bohol to Batuan. That's about 24 kilometers of walking.

I've stayed with my foster grandparents in the forests of Cantigdas with only monkeys as playmates and fireflies as guiding lights when I went home.

But I have never regretted I had this kind of young life. My life experience taught me to be myself. To look back to where I have grown my roots. To be me.

We will never forget home.

20 May 2015

Seeking. Always seeking.

We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls. - Anais Nin

At Cebu's highest mountain- OsmeƱa Peak in Mantalongon, Dalaguete

For most of us, travel can be an ordeal, an exhausting activity only a few could afford. But for me, travel is one of the most exciting event worth noting when it happens in your life. Travel does not have to involve flying out from your place. We have of course, ideal places to dream of visiting. Batanes? Sulu? Paris? Rotterdam? It is good to dream. It's free.

Singapore's urban skyline is a good background for good friends who love each other's company

What's travel for me? Travel is not confined only in going abroad. Or going out of your province. Travel could happen right in your backyard. When you have forgotten what's the look of your garden when you used to go outside and whisper crazy things to your plants, try revisiting them again and be lost in their world. See that snail walking out, er, crawling out so slow? It was there just like before.

Try reading a book. Books are an exhilarating way to know other people, cultures and worlds. Remember Lilliputian? You don't? You did not read books! 

Or view a beautiful sunset. That's truly amazing. Or explore the carenderia at the corner street. You don't know they were serving some nutritious vegan food long ago. Or, better still, forget you have a lovelife and be yourself again.

Being with ancestors at Dahilayan Forest Park in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon

Travel is a transformation. Sometimes, within the confines of your inner self.

Let's go!

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.