Jun 23

Your Backpack And Your Dreams

Avenue of stars

Avenue of Stars

Avenue of stars

 

When you chase your dreams, you don’t need to take everything with you. All you need is a light backpack and a heart full of passion for adventures and new beginnings.

Avenue of stars

Avenue of Stars

Jun 19

UP Singing Ambassadors Captivated Bohol On Independence Day

Hand in hand with the Provincial Government of Bohol as well as the Bohol Center for Culture and Arts Development, the Philippines Academy of Family Physicians (Bohol Chapter)  brought UP Singing Ambassadors to Bohol for its Behold Bohol concert last June 12, 2017. UPSA prides itself as among the four Filipino chorales to compete for the European Grand Prix, and was the first Asian to win the grand prize of the 2001 Guido d’Arezzo, which is the most prominent choral contest in Italy.

IP Singing Ambassadors Ed Manguiat

Photo Credit: Bohol Eyes

The crowd went all smiles when the gate of the Tagbilaran City Cultural Center opened. And as I’ve expected, the Cultural Center was packed with excited faces, waiting for the concert to start.

I was all eyes and ears as the chorale paraded on stage in their Filipiana and suits. At first, I thought it would just be a typical concert. But once the group’s founder and conductor, Dr. Ed Manguiat, waved his hands before the singers, mixed emotions took place. No wonder Dr. Ed Manguiat has won  5 Grand Prizes, 23 First Prizes and other special awards in 18 European choral competitions and is now called as an Honorary Son of Bohol.

UP SInging Ambassadors Ed Manguiat

Founder and Conductor Dr. Ed Manguiat

It was supposed to be Independence Day, but Dr. Ed Manguiat’s hands were like wands casting some magic to the ensemble, and potion to crowd. And yes, I was one of their captives, enthralled by their roller-coaster performance. Every piece was a pleasant surprise. I laughed. I cried. I sang along.

I’ve never been to a concert like that. The repertoire was properly lined-up. From classical to songs of worship to modern genre, every piece was a pleasant surprise. I laughed. I cried. I sang along. I admit, it was the first time I’ve heard of “Tong Song”. And when the show was over, I yelled for more. But what has moved me the most was that the group went to the crowd and personally thanked every guest for watching the show.

In commemoration of their 37th anniversay, the UP Singing Ambassadors Behold Bohol concert was part of the Lakbay Musika concert tour. Proceeds of which will be for the benefit of the medical and psychosocial health of Inabanga and Clarin residents.  The UPSA is confidently a world-class performer with a heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 10

2017 South East Asian Figure Skating Challenge At SM Seaside City Cebu

I am a woman with big dreams. One of those things in my bucketlist is to learn figure skating. So when I got an opportunity to watch the 2017 South East Asian Figure Skating Challenge at SM Seaside City Cebu last June 2-4, 2017, I went crazy.

The icy floor was cold and calming, but as nineteen figure skaters from the Philippines, 5 from Malaysia, 4 from Thailand, and 2 from Indonesia showed off their chassés and toe loops, the crowd  went into a delirium of awe and cheers.

 

2017 south east asian figure skating

Ballerina on Ice captured by Roh Tadina of baliwagenews.info

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Joined by four SEA countries, the first ever figure skating competition in South East Asia aims not only to prove that the Philippines is ready to host grand international skating events. The 2017 South East Asian Figure Skating Challenge is also geared towards spreading awareness on the sport. In cooperation with SM Skating, this year’s SEA Figure Skating Challenge organizers hope to invite more and more people to take part of the growing number of skating enthusiasts in the country.

2017 south east asian figure skating

Participants from the Philippines are Ariel Pascual, Celine Tansipek, Czerine Ramos, and Hayden Balucating for the Juvenile Category. Sophie Hernandez and Cailyn Bangug competed for the Pre-Novice Categories. Skaters Kate Orrock, Nicole Dritsas, Sofia Cu, and Shaniah Yu were the Philippine team’s contenders for the Basic Novice A Category. Figure skaters AJ Ariones, Skye Chua, and Sky Patenia completed the roster for the Basic Novice B. Meanwhile, Gabby Panlilio, Steph Angeles, Mariel Mendoza, Misha Fabian, Bianca Vinarao, and Jules Alpe competed for Advance Novice, Basic Junior, Junior, Elite Junior, Basic Senior, and Elite Junior Men respectively.

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The 2017 SEA Challenge is an international figure skating competition jointly hosted by the Figure and Speed Skating Association of Thailand, Singapore Ice Skating Association, Ice Skating Association of Malaysia, Federasi Ice Skating Indonesia, and the Philippine Skating Union. At the helm of this competition is the Asian Skating Union.

For the list of winners of the 2017 South East Asian Figure Skating Challenge, follow SM Skating on Facebook and @smskating on Instagram.

Jun 01

Sunrise At Banat-i Hills

banat-i hills

I was a little bit anxious to climb Banat-i Hills alone (and for the first time). But my feet have a mind of their own so I didn’t have much choice. I brisked to a concrete road to a rocky one that led me up. The 35-minute walk was supposed to be boring but I met Kuya Frank, a frequent climber of Banat-i Hills. He became my tour guide first, and eventually became my friend.

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I stopped when I reached the HNU retreat house because I thought it was the peak. But this energetic 70-year guy encouraged me to keep going so I could see the beautiful scenery up there. Kuya Frank was right all along.

 

 

banat-i Hills

Standing 146 meters above sea level, Banat-i hills is a paradise. Up there, I found a resting place as comforting as a hammock.

banat-i hills

I also had a clear view of the Bohol Sea, the mountains of Maribojoc, and the strait of Panglao Islandbanat-i hills

And of course, I was able to see the impressively beautiful sun revealing right before my eyes.

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Apr 14

Mmmmmmm Stands For Chef M

Dinner was already served but my tastebuds are still looking for something. I have already taken my coffee but it looks like my fourth cup for the day wasn’t enough.

In an attempt to let the idea of gorging on leftovers slip my mind, I scrolled the gallery of my phone. At first, it was effective. But when I came across some photos of Chef M delicacies, my cravings came back and doubled up.

Chef M

Chef M’s mouth-watering special torta

I bit my lips as I recalled how cheesy their ensaymadas and tortas are. And the memoire of their special silvannas that once melted in my mouth has made me drool. Their special mamons that come in four different flavors, topped with cheese and butter are tempting me. I remember how I gobbled a few slices of their spongy chiffon cake. All of their specialties have matched my taste and I’m dying to savor them once more. (Geee!!! What’s going on with my hypothalamus right now? And why it has to be on a Good Friday?)

chef m silvanas

Special silvannas that melt in your mouth

Choco and Berry flavored silvanas

Choco and Berry flavored silvanas

If I have aroused your appetite, I probably owe you some information about Chef M. Chef M bakes with love and caters happiness not only to consumers in Tubigon, Bohol but also to locals from neighboring towns. Lining up on their shelves are freshly baked breads, cakes, pastries, and even butter toasts and garlic sticks.
IMG_20170219_081248For inquiries and orders, they can be reached on 09177193777 or 09328555416 email them at chefmfoodspecialties@gmail.com. Or if you are living nearby, you may visit the bakeshop in Tubigon Commercial Complex, Tubigon, Bohol.

I’ll give these delectable pastries a miss for now. For now, I’ll just keep my faith on the adage mind over matter”. Perhaps, I’ll just dream about them for now.

Apr 13

The Pull of La Luna Sangre

abstract eclipse photo

abstract photo resembling an eclipse. A manipulation by Edsel Manapsal

The moon never fails to fascinate me, whether it’s a quarter or half or full. But when it’s big and round and near, it gives me an unfamiliar, mystical chill. It may be its gravitational pull that makes me literally uneasy (oh gosh…is this normal?). Or maybe I’m just overly reacting and imagining things.

Last night’s pink moon reminded me of the flash fiction I’ve written over a year ago. Red Blood Moon is about an ordinary mortal, Luna Fletcher’s dramatic physical change into a strangely winged chameleon, struggling yet proud to be called the Mistress of the Moon. I couldn’t remember what has moved me to write about it, but I’m sure it wasn’t done merely to frighten readers with paranormal transformation. I believe it was about embracing the change.

 

The pink moon has also prompted me of an upcoming Filipino paranormal melodrama romance TV series by Cathy Garcia-Molina. La Luna Sangre (The Blood Moon) is Lobo’s third installment starring the young loveteam, Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo. As a sequel to 2010’s Imortal, I bet most of La Luna Sangre’s scenes are full of shapeshifters’ duels, with both characters grappling, standing up for their respective packs while fighting against a bizarre pull toward each other.

My very own Red Blood Moon and ABS-CBN’s La Luna Sangre aren’t identical. But these two unrelated fictions have one thing in common. Both of them demonstrate a supernatural transformation with the blood moon playing a big factor. And whether the connection between the moon and paranormal activities is a fact or a myth, I still love that huge ball illuminating the earth at night.

Apr 11

4 Ways To Fall For Ingkumhan Falls

 

Wondering how far your Php20 can go? Imagine this.

Hiding in the middle of a woodland in Barangay Bauhugan, Dimiao, about five kilometers away from the poblacion, is the unexplored Ingkumhan falls. Streaming from approximately 30 meters above, Ingkumhan Falls is the most distinct waterfall that I have seen, so far.

The Caves

The calm lagoon where the clear emerald green water drops are fenced with trees, making it look enchanted. Guarded with nature-carved rocks forming like caverns , Ingkumhan Falls looks captivating yet mysterious.

Ingkumhan falls

ingkumhan falls

The Fun

Water rafting is one of the activities that this ecotourism spot has to offer. And if you are gutsy enough, you can take your excitement to the next level by diving from trees into the depths of Ingkumhan’s natural pool. The rope-swinging and somersaulting is also a heart-pounding adventure you don’t want to miss.

Ingkumhan falls

 

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If you just want to sit back and relax, cottages are available for rent. But my favorite nook was up there, where the water comes from – where I can rest my feet and get an unobstructed sight of swimmers, divers, and swingers without them knowing.

The Other Side

A few meters away from the rapid is a diverse scenic point that promises to give you a some sense of inner peace – a perfect spot for soul-searching or solitude or for some yoga, blogger or goddess poses.

ingkumhan falls

Photo taken by Rjane Alcantara of WhenInBohol

 

The Challenge

Getting there wasn’t as easy as I thought. We had to work our way down to the base. But the trod along a narrow path and the descent on a hundredish-step rock staircase was so worth it. Though it was a little challenge, every muscle pain was paid off by a magnificent view.

Captured by Keats Ronquillo of BoholEyes

Photo by Keats Ronquillo of Bohol Eyes

Photo by Keats Ronquillo of Bohol Eyes

Ingkumhan Falls is just one of Bohol’s nature wonders waiting to be explored and known – a virgin place that is worth discovering.

Apr 09

One Summer Morn In Astoria Bohol

I seldom see the sun as it rises (only when I work all night long until daybreak). I’m not an early riser, so to speak. But waking up at four in the morning to get myself ready for a visit to Astoria Bohol was worth it.

 

Astoria Bohol

 

Astoria Bohol is just 10 minutes away from Tagbilaran City and about an hour and half away from my hometown. Boasting its lap pool that’s facing the Mindanao Sea, the resort has become one of my go-to summer destinations in Baclayon, Bohol.

astoria bohol

Along the long stretch of white, fine sand in Barangay Taguihon is where the resort’s beach chairs and dining tables stand, making it easy for beach bums to grab some carbs before getting a tan.

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20170326_064604The resort serves delectable Filipino and international breakfast buffet, from lugaw to maruyang saging to tropical fruits.

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Astoria Bohol breakfast

Astoria Bohol breakfast

And of course, adding up the fun was the company of great friends, friends I am willing to give up my beauty sleep for..

astoria bohol

Beaches are best explored with great friends.

Astoria Bohol can be reached on +632 335-1111 or email at rsvn@astoriabohol.com. Their Manila Sales Office is in Astoria Plaza 15 J. Escriva Street, Ortigas Business Center, Pasig City and can be contacted thru +632 687-1111 / 335-1123 loc. 8302/ 910-0557.

Mar 26

And the race is back on! Tour de Cebu is Returning to Bohol

Panglao Island, Bohol, March 26, 2017–   And the race is back on! Tour de Cebu will be returning to Bohol on October 20-22, 2017 for its 4th Tour de Cebu – A Touristic Rally Across the Visayas – another round of regularity race consisting of vintage cars made in 1972 or older and is driven across the nation where the goal is precision; not who finishes the race first.

 

Last year’s 3rd Tour de Cebu’s route kicked off in Cebu making its way to the port of Tubigon in Bohol. Thirty-three beautiful vintage cars made its way through the scenic route of Bohol’s landscape and capping each end of the Bohol route at BE Grand Resort in Panglao Island, a triple A luxury resort, whose one of the active members is BE Resorts Group’s President, Grand Benedicto. Behind the wheels were the crème de la crème of the nation’s businessmen and professionals alike such as  James Deakin , (CNN Philippines’ Automotive Journalist) who stole the show driving Grand’s  550 Porsche Spyder, world-renowned designer, Kenneth Cobonpue, and businessmen tycoons Michael Lhuillier, Darren Deen, and Congressman, Red Durano, to name a few. First-time and youngest participant, Martin Aguilar, took home the trophy as the champion for the 3rd Tour de Cebu

tour de cebu

TDC 2016 Signed Poster

 

On March 25th, eleven out of the 33 riders made its way back to Bohol for a fun drive and at the same time, identify the routes for this year’s rally and capping it off once again at BE Grand Resort. Returnees were Kenneth Cobonpue, Michael Lhuillier, Jay Aldeguer, Glenn Soco, Tony Lozada, and Lui Alvarez, to name a few – who have a shared passion and enthusiasm for cars.

 

Major Bohol media were also invited to the Resort for a casual press conference over breakfast on March 26th wherein they got the chance to get the first & latest scoop for the upcoming Tour de Cebu. This prelude to Tour de Cebu aims to relay the message to the public as early as this quarter as this is a community-engagement activity. This also aims to continually promote tourism in Bohol and position the province as the best tropical rally destination in Asia.

Breakfast Press Conference

Breakfast Press Conference

“The reason why we’re coming back is because it was just so phenomenal last year [the Tour De Cebu event] in Bohol; from the amazing hosting of the local government and kids [students] – the local support was high,” raved Michael Lhuillier, the new appointed Chairman for PACE.

 

While the date is already set for the 4th Tour de Cebu, they are still working on the routes as there are so many great roads and towns in Bohol. Over 50 participants are expected to join including international groups from Hong Kong and Singapore.

 

BE Grand Resort, Bohol, a 208-room resort is owned and managed by Cebu-based property developer Enrison Land, Inc. (ELI), a family-owned corporation that shares the values of Filipino excellence for global recognition.

 

 

For more information, visit www.beresorts.com.

PRESS CONTACT:

Karen M. Ello

Asst. Communications Manager

T: +63 38 412 9000

F: +63 38 412 9088

M: +63 995 510 0832

E: karen.ello@beresorts.com

 

Mar 21

Getting High at Osmena Peak

Some 85 kilometers away from Cebu City, in the town of Dalaguete, is the Mantalongon Mountain Range. Part of this ridge is the province’s highest point, standing at around 1,000 meters above sea level – the Osmena Peak.

osmena peak

Osmena Peak got its name from one of the province’s prominent families, the Osmena’s. Taking pride of its uniquely spiked hills stretching to the shoreline of its neighboring town, Badian, Osmena Peak has become a must-climb spot not only for pro mountaineers but also for amateur hikers.

We were halfway there.

We were not there yet.

osmena peak

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How To Get There

From the Cebu South Bus Terminal, take a bus or van going to Bato or Oslob or Liloan, Santander and get off at the Dalaguete Public Market. A habal-habal will take you to the peak’s foot from there.

Travel Time

The bus/van ride from the City to the town’s public market will take around 2 hours. Travel time from Dalaguete to Mantalungon is approximately 45 minutes.

Expenses

Fare from Cebu City to Dalaguete is around Php150-Php200.👦👦 The fare for a habal-habal ride is negotiable, but paying Php100 per passenger per way is pretty fair. 

Onsite, an environmental fee of Php30 will be collected from each adult hiker (children are free).

Not a mountaineer?

No worries! Young tour guides are eagerly waiting for you there. They won’t charge you. They will only ask for a tip.

The guide, giving Pierre a piggy-back ride

The guide, giving Pierre a piggy-back ride

Best Time To Climb

While Osmena Peak is accessible all year round, it is best to be up there when the sun is up for two reasons – safety and optimum photoshoot session.  It was a little cloudy when we went there. The trail wasn’t slippery but the foggy weather gave us a murky view. Still, the peak’s magnificence prevailed.

mountains are beneath us, clouds behind us...we are on the top of the world

mountains are beneath us, clouds behind us…we are on the top of the world

 

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