Saturday, December 7, 2013

Missing the Golden Tara

While the Golden Tara is no longer in the possession of the Philippines, it will always be remembered by the people of Agusan. This landmark of the Golden Tara in Butuan City remains as a reminder that there was once a Golden Tara in this part of Mindanao.

Note: The original 21-karat gold figurine is presently kept at the gem room of the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History in the USA.  -Butuan Branch Museum,

Paseo de San Franciso Suites

Paseo de San Francisco Suites, one of the accommodations I stayed in recently. I stayed in one of the rooms facing the National Highway. In the afternoon, aircon cannot overcome the heat from a setting sun. Curtains cover the windows facing the west. Makeover in the evening because the highway outside is a nice view. I like the sliding windows because those are another form of fire exit in case of an emergency aside from the regular door.

Location: National Highway, Barangay 4, San Francisco Agusan del Sur

Telephone: (085) 343-8048
Mobile: 0999-309-1065/ 0919-470-6363

Friday, November 29, 2013

Butuan National Museum and Its Crocodile in a Fridge

I visited Butuan National Museum yesterday to look for anything historical therein. The post at the gate of the museum says that it is closed for renovation. Huh! After the tuk-tuk driver almost misled me to a place I already knew before, that's what I got. 


I entered the compound looking for anything beautiful or something to treasure as I leave for Manila in the afternoon. I approached a man wearing shorts and slippers and knew that he is the security guard. Thanks to him because he ushered me inside the museum just to show me two freezers in the lobby. 

Lolong's head
Lolong's skin

One freezer contained the head of Lolong while the other one, its skin. Lolong is the world's largest crocodile caught and was held in captivity in the town of Bunawan in the outskirts of Butuan City. The crocodile died before I was able to see it in that man-made niche.

Now, I see the crocodile in the fridge.

The lagoon


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Peatland Before Super Typhoon Yolanda: Leyte Sab-a Basin

Needs rehab even before the typhoon Yolanda
I am into an advocacy that aims to rehabilitate the endangered peatland in Leyte. The peatland is named Leyte Sab-a Basin that stretches as far as the towns of Sta. Fe and Alangalang, Leyte. It is one of the two identified peatlands in the Philippines. I have visited the area for about three times. I am sharing pictures of the beauty of nature that I took before the super typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) hit these areas.

Flowing peatland water
One might think the sight is so nice. Well, it's not. It is not a good view for an environmentalist who knows the nature of a peatland. Where are the species now?

The Leyte Sab-A Basin supposedly holds vast amount of water  thereby prevents them from flowing. The picture above shows an actual opening of the peatland. See the nearby bridge. From here water flows as far as the nearby town of Palo. Palo town in Leyte is famous for its landing, a place where American General Douglas McArthur landed. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

De Palma Hotel in Kuala Selangor

When people hear of Malaysia, they often think of Petronas Towers and Kuala Lumpur. How about getting far away? I went far from Kuala Lumpur when I was in Malaysia for a training. I loved the place because it was so tranquil to stay in there. The place is called De Palma Hotel in Kuala Selangor. 

Swimming pool area
De Palma Hotel is a place to me as a person who lives in a rural province. I did not hear cars when I stayed in there. I listend to birds chirping and enjoyed nature. 
Thanks to a Malaysian friend for this picture.
Together with representatives from the ASEAN member countries, there were only two of us from the Philippines - myself (3rd from left) and Dr. Paul Cabahit (2nd from left) of Leyte. In De Palma Hotel, I stayed in a chalet with two women from Vietnam. I enjoyed the bonding with fellow citizens from ASEAN nations. 

Thanks to Dr. Paul Cabahit for this photograph.

Monkeys are everywhere in the hotel complex. You'll see them hanging in the trees or walking side by side with you. These monkeys remain untouched as the Malaysian government and the people care for them. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

San Juanico Bridge

Built during the dictatorship era, the San Juanico Bridge is the longest in the Philippines with a length of two kilometers.

Feeling a little bit nervous.

When I went to Tacloban, I visited San Juanico Bridge. I felt the bridge swaying every time a car passes through. The bridge, for me, is ideal to joggers. Stopping by anywhere in the middle of the bridge is not allowed. Just walk by yourself in order to feel its magnificence. 

Behind the huge steel 
Behind the magnificent steel bars, try to look below and far apart. What an amazing view of Leyte!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Bridge and Logs

Butuan City

What could be more beautiful to see huts and bridge in one?

Butuan City

Then looking further, I see logs floating.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Once There Was A Train

Let me say once there was a train. Yes, once there was a train to Bicol from Metro Manila. The latest trip was on October 2012. Until now, I long for the train to be back.

The train to Bicol was so friendly to local tourists. It takes about 12 hours from Tutuban terminal to Naga City. My last stop supposedly is Legazpi City. Until now I am still hopeful that one day, train from Metro Manila will be able to reach Legazpi City - the Mayon Volcano country.

My family sleeper couch.
Naga City Railway Station

When the Philippine National Railways' trains are still available Bicol-bound, I tried to board the family sleeper. It was a couch for a family of four with two double deck spaces. I counted the number of stones thrown to us as we passed by slum areas totaled to more than 10 before we reached Laguna. It can be noted that one will not enjoy sightseeing because the windows are screened as protection from stone-throwing.

Inside the train that I long to ride again.

Despite the sounds of stones that I feared might pierce through the windows, I enjoyed the ride. The train was so clean and so cold inside. Two police men were on duty roving during the entire journey. Alcoholic beverage is not allowed. 

I was disturbed by a group of 40 local tourists who did not sleep in the night but just enjoyed jamming inside the train. Nevertheless, I understood that they were just having fun as it was the only longest train journey in the country during that time. 

Now, I long to have the train back. I hope that I can try the executive sleeper. Indeed, train system boosts tourism and I wish that we can have it back soon. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Remnants of the Past

This muscovado mill in Sugar Regulatory Administration in Quezon City may not be as historically important to new generation. However, the Philippines' long history of sugar industry is meant to be remembered by having this landmark put in a visible place. 

Thanks to Bruce Curran for his latest article in Enrich magazine. Sugar is really sweet while Piecing the Looney Puzzle. 

Muscovado - a type of unrefined sugar with a strong molasses flavor. Also known as "Barbados sugar", "molasses sugar" or "moist sugar", muscovado is very dark brown and slightly coarser and stickier than most brown sugars. -Wikipedia

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Floating Health Center

Floating Health Center and Library (Talacogon, Agusan del Sur)

Ever heard of a floating community? Then ever heard of other facilities floating as well? Yes, I have seen a floating health center.  

In Agusan del Sur, famous for its marshlands in the Philippines, I got a picture of this boat. I thought it was an ordinary boat in the municipality of Talacogon. Getting closer, there are people inside the boat. Yes, it is a floating health center. As a health center it is a birth center, a clinic and a library too.

Decongesting EDSA

EDSA – Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue. This is the freedom avenue where the world’s most famous bloodless revolution took place in 1986 – the Philippines’ People Power Revolution.

Look at EDSA during holidays like Christmas, New Year, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and like this one, during All Saints and All Souls Day. People rushing to the provinces leave Metro Manila with less cars and congestion. 

EDSA, Philippines

Those are the only seasons when I see a spacious EDSA. So nice to the eyes. Friendly for motorists. Less cars. No heavy traffic. Long stretch of road is decongested of cars. How I wish, EDSA will always be like this.

How I wish that one day, people in stilettos or in coat will be passing by in their bikes and will use the subway trains to a work in Makati, in Quezon City or in Ortigas. An underground railway system is what I dream of for Metro Manila. Such that we will be focused more on preserving EDSA, remembering its world’s historical value rather than seeing it as a sore to the eyes when one is in a hurry.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Short Stop in Museo Sugbo

Bell made of wood (Museo Sugbo)
My first time to Cebu City was never enough. For four days, I spent my two days in Waterfront hotel and my three nights in a not so far hotel. There are plenty of hotels in Cebu to choose from. No wonder, you will never get out of bed when you get there anytime. When I come back to Cebu in the future, I want to try another hotel and another hotel and another hotel and more hotels.

Whenever I sojourn to a new place, I look forward to not only the hotel and the bed. I look forward to the history of the place. In Cebu, there are good historical places to visit. I visited only two - never enough. I was alone in my walking shorts and boarded the taxi to Museo Sugbo.

Entrance landmark of Museo Sugbo

I am a fan of museums. I love to see remnants of the Philippine history. If you love to visit museums like me then we may go together. I may not go to the mall but if you date me to a museum, that is what I love so much.

Inside a former jail, now Museo Sugbo

I first saw the jail for Jose Rizal in the City of Manila and my tears rolled without me noticing it. Now, I am seeing a "bartolina". I wonder how many inmates were there who shared a small opening for oxygen. I've been to some present day jail facilities in the country but this is the second old jail facility of the past that I came across with.

The "bartolina"

There are lots to expound further in an article inside the Museo Sugbo.  There are more to say that Cebu is so Spanish.

The wall coated with millions (?) of egg whites in order to be preserved.
It is more fun visiting the Philippines. It is also more fun to visit the sites that show us where we came from. It is more fun to visit museums in the Philippines.

Museo Sugbo is located at M.J. Cuenco Avenue, Brgy. Tejero, Cebu City, Philippines. It is Cebu Provincial Museum but it was formerly the Cebu Provincial Jail. For inquiries you may call 516-2205 or visit their Facebook page, Museo Sugbo.  


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Treasures of Kidapawan City

I only knew of man-made steam bath in Wensha and other spa in Metro Manila. I never did expect that I will ever see nature treasures as that in Kidapawan City. Located at the foot of Mt. Apo, Philippines' highest, this is indeed a paradise to me.