In remembrance: 10 Ways Bohol Feeds Your Heart and Soul (Click the City)

The beautiful Philippine province of Bohol was struck this morning, 15 October 2013, by a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that left scores dead and badly damaged a number of government, historical, and tourism structures. One of the most badly hit was Baclayon Church, completed in 1727 and considered one of the oldest churches in the Philippines.

Another popular landmark that was destroyed is the viewing deck of the world-famous Chocolate Hills in Carmen, the epicenter of the Bohol quake. It was heartbreaking to see the state of the viewing deck, and to know that the people of the Philippines–not just the people of Bohol–have lost a number of cultural and historical treasures around the Philippines because of the quake.

As my way of mourning for Bohol’s loss, and to commemorate the enchanting beauty that Bohol so selflessly shared with everyone who entered her doors, I’m sharing here excerpts of my retro travel post on Bohol.

10 Ways Bohol Feeds Your Body and Soul

(Published on January 6, 2012 in ClicktheCity.com)

Cafe Lawis' charming facade, behind the Dauis Church (Bohol, Philippines) | Photo by Niña Terol-Zialcita
Cafe Lawis’ charming facade, behind the Dauis Church (Bohol, Philippines) | Photo by Niña Terol-Zialcita

4. Café Lawis: Perfect for soulful coffee. conversations and romantic sunset strolls. As we wandered into the picturesque, tree-lined street right behind Dauis Church in Panglao, we chanced upon a 19th-century-inspired structure and realized that Café Lawis is one of those not-yet-popular pit stops that reflect the true, quiet charm of Bohol. Serving a curiosity-inducing fusion of European and Filipino flavors (Pork humba Panini or freshly baked Tsokolate eh soufflé cake, anyone?), its interiors show Old World-Filipiniana details as well as a showcase of Dauis life and Boholano handicrafts. The real treat of this destination, though, is its expansive garden that opens up to a breathtaking view of the sea. The garden’s focal point is a large acacia tree whose leaves form a laced canopy, and—since we went there in December—was adorned with rectangular capiz lamps that gave the effect of large fireflies in an enchanted forest. It is best viewed at around sunset, with your loved ones (or at least the memory of them) by your side.

A romantic twilight view at the garden behind Cafe Lawis (Bohol, Philippines) | Photo by Niña Terol-Zialcita
A romantic twilight view at the garden behind Cafe Lawis (Bohol, Philippines) | Photo by Niña Terol-Zialcita
Dauis Church Complex {Bohol, Philippines) | Photo by Niña Terol-Zialcita
Dauis Church Complex {Bohol, Philippines) | Photo by Niña Terol-Zialcita

5. The churches of Bohol: Culturally, historically divine. Bohol’s many churches are not only testaments of the island province’s deep connection with the Christian faith, they are also, in themselves, cultural gems that give us a glimpse of the Philippines’ architectural past. The Baclayon Church, for instance, is considered one of the oldest churches in the Philippines and was completed in 1727. Its main structure was built with coral stones that had been crushed and made into building blocks, while its cuadro paintings were made in 1859 by a famous Filipino painter, Liberato Gatchalian. The Dauis Church, meanwhile, has evolved from light materials such as nipa into its current Gothic-inspired structure, and features a ceiling that has been painted to give the illusion of having three-dimensional coffer designs. The Dauis Church is also home to “Mama Mary’s Well”, a deep well located right below the church’s altar, from which Holy Water may be obtained and bought for a small donation.

A portion of the Baclayon Church which, according to locals, shows a miraculous image of Padre Pio... Do you see it? (Bohol, Philippines) | Photo by Niña Terol-Zialcita
A portion of the Baclayon Church which, according to locals, shows a miraculous image of Padre Pio… Do you see it? (Bohol, Philippines) | Photo by Niña Terol-Zialcita

This is an excerpt only. Read the full post HERE.

For updates and details on how to help the earthquake victims, follow the hashtag #earthquakePH on Twitter.

10 Ways Bohol Feeds Your Body and Soul (ClicktheCity.com Travel)

A year-ender trip to Bohol with my “writing sisters”, thanks to Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay Miles, re-introduced me to the island’s many charms, as well as to the benefits of being almost obsessive-compulsive about tracking one’s miles. There, I found the perfect place to let my hair down, catch up with friends old and new, and ground myself for the year ahead. As we begin another year of travel planning, I’d like to share my list of personal favorites from this island getaway—but don’t take my word for it. Head out there to explore Bohol the way you want to, and make sure to bring along your favorite people for a truly soulful ride.

Bluewater Panglao's pool makes you want to lounge the whole day
Bluewater Panglao’s pool makes you want to lounge the whole day

1. Bluewater Panglao: The perfect backdrop for detoxing from city stress.For three girls who had been working and beating writing deadlines all year ‘round (including weekends!), the accommodations and the ambience at Bluewater Panglao provided a fitting backdrop for stress-free mornings and all-night girl talk over wine and juicy morsels of gossip and life stories. A 30-to-45-minute ride from bustling Tagbilaran City, the resort is practically hidden from prying eyes and makes the perfect tropical retreat for couples, families, and intimate groups in search of some quiet time. The resort’s pool welcomes guests with its strategically situated lounge chairs, but what I enjoyed the most was waking up early in the morning to take a “Zen meditation” walk around Bluewater Panglao’s manicured garden. If I were to go back, I’d definitely try Amuma Spa’s Signature Hilot (Massage).

 

The author (center) with her writing sisters Nikka Sarthou and Ana Santos from Writer's Block Philippines
The author (center) with her writing sisters Nikka Sarthou and Ana Santos from Writer’s Block Philippines
Taking a Zen meditation walk at Bluewater Panglao's lush sprawling garden
Taking a Zen meditation walk at Bluewater Panglao’s lush sprawling garden

Bluewater Panglao Beach Resort
Address: Barangay Danao, Panglao Island, Bohol, Philippines
Website: www.bluewater.com.ph/panglao
Phone: (+63 38) 416 06 95 to 96

2. Aplaya Restaurant: Gustatory indulgence, Bluewater-style. From its honest-to-goodness smorgasbord of breakfast treats to its vegetarian-friendly dishes for the health-conscious, Aplaya Restaurant at Bluewater Panglao gives everyone a good reason to indulge and feed the tummy well. My healthy favorites were the Mixed green salad in guava vinaigrette and fresh fruitsand the Native fresh lumpia, while the meat-eater in me enjoyed the Minute steak in herb red wine sauce and the Pork roulade in cranberry sauce. For breakfast, I indulged in Cinnamon-sprinkled French toast; rich, darkSikwate (Filipino hot chocolate); deep-fried danggit and dilis; and all the other sinangag (fried rice)-based goodies that Pinoys love to pile on their plate. For those with sweet teeth, you have to try (and bring home) some of the Double-chocolate peppermint or the White Chocolate with pecan cookies. Since we were going on tour for the rest of the day, we didn’t mind piling on the carbs. The dishes and goodies were worth the calories!

Aplaya's Mixed green salad in guava vinaigrette and fresh fruits
Aplaya’s Mixed green salad in guava vinaigrette and fresh fruits
Desserts at Aplaya make you want to indulge and forget your diet
Desserts at Aplaya make you want to indulge and forget your diet

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This is an excerpt only. To read the full article, visit ClicktheCity.com’s website HERE.

Suite Vollard: Finally, Picasso Up Close and Personal in Manila (ClicktheCity.com)

One would expect that a monumental exhibit such as that of Pablo Picasso‘s Philippine debut would be accompanied by years of preparation and much pomp and fanfare. After all, Picasso is one of the world’s most important visual artists of the 20th century, and the Philippines is a country starved of exhibitions of such proportions. It is ironic, then, that the staging of the exhibit Suite Vollard—one of Picasso’s most important collections, preceding his world-famous Civil War piece, Guernica—took all of six weeks and happened purely by accident.

A serendipitous start According to Chaco Molina, Executive Director of the Fundación Santiago, which co-organized the exhibit with insurance giant MAPFRE and the Metropolitan Museum of the Philippines, the exhibit that was supposed to be launched at the Met in November was a series of photographs by Spanish and Filipino photographers depicting Filipina women from the 19th century to the present. Entitled Mujeres Filipinas, the exhibit was composed of pieces to be collected from different photographers and subjects. However, several weeks before the exhibit was set to open in Manila, Fundación MAPFRE called Chaco to inform him that it was impossible to meet the deadline.

Mr. Jose Ricardo Molina, Director-Fundacion Santiago and Shirley Banquicho –Executive Director,European Affairs-DFA
Mr. Jose Ricardo Molina, Director-Fundacion Santiago and Shirley Banquicho –Executive Director,European Affairs-DFA

“They realized that they couldn’t bring it (to the Philippines) on time because it wasn’t their collection,” Chaco recounts, “Then they asked us, ‘Would you settle for our own collection of a hundred prints of Picasso’?”

This is an excerpt only. To read the full article, visit the ClicktheCity.com website HERE.

A Makati Museum And Gallery Hop: The Perfect Rainy Day Getaway (ClicktheCity.com)

When a Milan-based friend called me to say that her boss, celebrated Italian visual artist and sculptor, Carla Tolomeo, was going to be in Manila for a few days and wanted to experience Philippine art and culture, I knew that I had my work cut out for me. The diversity of this archipelago means that the definitions and expressions of “art” and “culture” would be as vast as our seas, and that it would not do the Philippines justice to limit one’s experience of the country’s cultural gifts. Still, with only three half-days (and a lot of Manila traffic) to organize the tour, we prepared an itinerary that proved to be as full of surprises as it was with artistic juice.

Ayala and Yuchengco Museums: Proud bearers of Philippine history, art, and culture

Any museum and gallery hop in Makati ought to have, first and foremost, two of the country’s largest and most celebrated museums: the Ayala Museum(open Tue-Fri, 9AM-6PM; Sat-Sun, 10AM-7PM) and the Yuchengco Museum(open Mon-Sat, 10AM-6PM).

Inside the Ayala Museum with Italian artist Carla Tolomeo and Joice Gabriel | Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita
Inside the Ayala Museum with Italian artist Carla Tolomeo and Joice Gabriel | Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita

The Ayala Museum is perhaps the best the Philippines has ever seen, with historical dioramas, ethnic artifacts, and an exhibition of pre-Hispanic gold (many dating to a thousand years) that will leave its viewers in utter awe and amazement of everything that Filipino ancestors had been able to create and amass before the Spanish started labeling us “indios”. In the midst of our tour, our Italian guest, Carla, exclaimed that this was probably the best collection of gold she has ever seen. For someone who breathes art and who lives in the continent of museums and historical artifacts, you can tell that this is no exaggeration.

A sneak peek at the Ayala Museum's famed gold collection | Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita
A sneak peek at the Ayala Museum’s famed gold collection | Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita

Meanwhile, the Yuchengco Museum, while more modest in its assets and approach, is by no means a cultural lightweight. Its Masters Collection houses pieces from some of the country’s most celebrated maestros, including Juan Luna, Fernando Amorsolo, and Carlos “Botong” Francisco; as well as pieces by National Artists Vicente Manansala, Ang Kiukok, Napoleon Abueva, Victorio Edades, Cesar Legaspi, and Jose Joya; among others. Our group also witnessed the homecoming exhibition of Edd Aragon (who you will find has an interesting connection to the museum’s patrons), who uses ultraviolet (UV) light to make his works come alive.

Tess Pasola's hanging rock garden at the Yuchengco Museum | Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita
Tess Pasola’s hanging rock garden at the Yuchengco Museum | Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita

This is an excerpt only. To read the full article, visit the ClicktheCity.com website HERE.