Virgin Island | Cebu

December 25, 2009
After spending the night at Bantayan Island, the next morning following a quick breakfast, I went on a long walk along the long shore of the island. I passed through nearby fishing villages and other resorts surrounded by tall coconut trees. It was low tide and many fishermen and even young children from the nearby villages have come to harvest oysters and clamps with their bare hands.

Counting Chocolate Hills | Bohol

December 23, 2009
As a 3rd grader Markyramone, I remember being shown pictures of different places in the Philippines. The Banaue rice terraces, Taal volcano, the near perfect cone of Mayon volcano, Rizal statue at Luneta Park, the white sand beaches of Mindoro and of course the Chocolate Hills of Bohol.

I've kept all these images in my mind and as I grew older and gotten fascinated with traveling, I made it a point to go and see these places before my eyes, not as still photographs, but in person with me behind a camera taking an actual photograph.

Kara Hizon

Does Tourism Speed up The Philippine Tarsiers' Extinction?

December 20, 2009
When one mentions Bohol, the first and second thing that comes to mind are Chocolate Hills and Tarsiers, the latter is considered an endangered species. In Bohol, a continually dwindling number of Philippine Tarsiers can be found. It is also found in a few places like Leyte, Samar and some parts of Mindanao.

Mujee Gonzales

Magellan's Cross

December 19, 2009
One of the more popular landmarks in Cebu City is the Magellan's Cross. A simple monument situated beside the Basilica del Sto Niño. Many of us have seen the photographs of the cross in various angles, whether its online, on postcards or other travel books-it is still different when you're staring at it in person.

The shrine was built in a simple manner, with the cross housed in a small chapel where one can take photographs, light a candle and say a short prayer. The ceiling of the chapel is covered with murals that depicts Magellan and his exploration party making a landing on the shore of Cebu and meeting with some of the natives, the cross planting and the first mass held in the Philippines.

The original cross, according to the sign located beneath it says "This cross of Tindalo wood encases the original cross planted by Ferdinand Magellan on this very site April 21, 1521." Just a few days before the fateful crossing of the path with Lapu-Lapu on Mactan Island.

History tells us that the cross was planted when Ferdinand Magellan made the first successful conversion to Roman Catholicism, of the first batch of Filipinos who will embrace the faith up to this day. They were Rajah Humabon and his wife Queen Hara Amihan and along with a few hundred of their followers.

The shrine wasn't that grandiose but the importance of it cannot be neglected, as I remember in grade school when my teacher taught us about our early history, Magellan, Lapu-Lapu, Magellan's cross and so on, I only hear and read about it at that time. However this time, I was right there, at the site of where the actual event took place and as a big follower of history, It was just right being there and seeing with my own eyes, the very cross (even though it only encloses the original) that my history teacher have taught me early in my elementary days.

My First Travel Article Published in a Magazine

December 17, 2009
If you have time to grab a copy of the December - January 2010 Anniversary issue of the "7107 Island Travel Magazine" you'll read the article I contributed about Capones Island.

Kristina Hamdorf
Haven't seen the copy myself, just the preview page on the website of the magazine. But I'm happy with the layout of the lighthouse (which was taken from my Holga) and the cross tattoed Lot (my friend) overlooking the sea from the lighthouse tower.

The Sto. Niño Church in Cebu City | Cebu

December 14, 2009
I bet most of us grew up in a household that has an altar with the little red Sto. Niño statue. I remember how my mom would look after our Sto Niño, taking care of it, as if it was the most prized religious artifact there is. This memory lasted from my childhood until my early adulthood. We transferred houses a couple of times, my mom went abroad and our family was forced to live apart for a while and sadly, we've forgotten about our little Sto. Niño statue.

Reese Belarmino

Sitting Inside a Confessional Booth in Baclayon Church | Bohol

December 13, 2009
The Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is located in Baclayon, a fifth class municipality in Bohol. Many people now refers to it as Baclayon Church and is considered as one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. The church has a rich history spanning centuries, as it stood  witness to the eventual emancipation of the Philippines from the Spanish colonizers who built the church sometime around 1727 following the settlement of Spanish Jesuits mission in Baclayon around 1595.

Izah Morales

Fort San Pedro, Cebu City

December 13, 2009
The Fort San Pedro was first erected with logs in 1565 upon orders by Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. While the time when the actual construction of the stone fort remains in question, there are claims that suggests it began in 1630. Regardless, the Fort San Pedro currently claims the title of being the oldest and smallest fort structure in the Philippines. The Spanish built the fort as a mean of defending the city from bastion of hostile Muslim raiders who are against the rule of the Spanish colonizers, with the over all construction getting done by 1738, a little less than 200 years after it was first conceived.

The fort is triangular in shape, according to a 1739 report that was addressed to then Spanish King Philip II and was made of mortar and stones. The three bastions were called Ignacio de Loyola, San Miguel and Concepcion.

During the course of History the fort became under the Americans after the Spanish-American War and was used as a barracks by the Americans before it became a school for a lot of Cebuanos in the few years leading to World War II.

During World War II, the fort was used as living quarters of Japanese living in Cebu city until it became a hospital for the wounded during the war. It became a short lived military camp after WWII until Cebu Garden Club took over its operations.

Present day, the local government of Cebu takes care of the fort by naming it as a historical park with a museum that houses well preserved Spanish documents and artifacts as well as a garden that exhibits different kinds of plants.

Fort San Pedro is found in San Roque, Cebu City. A mere walking distance from Pier 1 of the Cebu City port and another landmark, the Plaza Independencia.

I was able to visit the fort after my trip from Bantayan Island. Upon disembarking from Pier 1 of the city port I decided to take a short walk before I get a cab - a walk which in turn took me to the Fort itself.

I had a wonderful time walking around the small fortress, looking at its old structures, the solid rock walls, visiting the museum and just imagining the scenes that used to happen in the courtyard, behind the walls when those skirmishes are happening during the old times. In a way it took me further back in time.

It's a wonderful opportunity as well, to learn from history while visiting landmarks such as the Fort of San Perdro. I'm glad that such place was preserved rightfully to serve as a reminder of our rich and colorful past.

Blood Compact Site | Bohol

December 12, 2009
The island of Bohol is the site of another historical event known as "Sandugo" or the blood compact between then ruler and chieftain of the island, Datu Sikatuna and Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legaspi held on March 16, 1565. History have told us that the arrival of the Spanish to the Philippines was anything but smooth sailing. We all knew how Ferdinand Magellan fell to the courageous men of Lapu Lapu in Mactan Island. Since then, succeeding expeditions sent by the kingdom of Spain to the Far East and eventually The Philippines met hostile resistance and was unable to convince local rulers that they had come in peace — but with intent of colonization.

Regene Ong