my heart bleeds for bohol

An earthquake with energy equivalent to “32 Hiroshima bombs” jolted the Visayas, and parts of Mindanao and southern Luzon early Tuesday morning, causing centuries-old churches and modern buildings to crumble, disrupting power and phone services, setting off stampedes and killing at least 97 people.

The nuclear bomb dropped over Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug. 6, 1945, packed power equal to 20,000 tons of TNT.

The 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck at 8:12 a.m. with its epicenter at 2 kilometers southeast of Carmen town in Bohol province, known for its chocolate hills and tarsiers.

Offices and schools were closed for a national holiday—the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha—which may have saved lives.

Bohol and Cebu have declared a state calamity as the death toll rose to 97 in the two provinces, including a 9-year-old girl who died in a stampede that broke out at the queue for the cash transfer program in Pinamungahan town, Cebu.

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Panglao is probably my favorite place in the world. My siblings and I were just in Bohol in late August, enjoying the food, the trip down the river, the fine sand of the beach. My siblings, who were visiting Bohol for the first time, fell in love with the place. Less than two months later and the Baclayon Church is ruined, the Chocolate Hills ravaged. I grieve the fatalities, and the ruined churches and national landmarks.

Many roads and bridges were reported damaged, but historic churches dating from the Spanish colonial period suffered the most. Among them is the country’s oldest, the 16th-century Basilica of the Holy Child in Cebu, which lost its bell tower.

A 17th-century limestone church in Loboc town, southwest of Carmen, crumbled to pieces, with nearly half of it reduced to rubble.

Bohol Administrator Alfonso Damalerio said two other churches in Maribojoc and Loon were destroyed.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council of Bohol also received reports of damage to old churches in Loay, Clarin and Baclayon as well as the belfry in Panglao.
Read more:


Photo: The new look of the famous Chocolate Hills in Bohol...
Source: Philip Pepito on Facebook
Photo: It breaks my heart to see our famous #ChocolateHills in this state. My deepest sympathy for Cebu and Bohol. Be strong, God has plans for all of us. Never lose hope. #earthquakepH
Source: Gina Lopez on Facebook
From Robert Michael Poole on Twitter, via PDI
View image on Twitter
From Jed Cortes on Twitter, via Rappler

bohol on a rainy weekend

I organized this trip and therefore stressed over this trip from the day I booked the flight in March until before the plane landed safely back in Manila on Monday. (But then, who am I kidding? I stress over everything. Just ask J.)

This is my third time in Bohol, my second with J, and my first time with my siblings. Now I only want to travel during the rainy season: less people, less expensive hotel rooms due to the off-peak season, no painful sun rays to ruin your skin, no time limit at the beach, and no need to take three showers a day just to feel like a human being! Downside (or upside?) is you’ll leave a home in Manila, submerged and alone to defend itself. Another downside is the possibility of getting your flight cancelled.

So I stressed over cancelled flights, planes overshooting the runway, and sudden thunderstorms, but things turned out well.

Flights were with Cebu Pacific. Before the flight, my brothers and I stayed at J’s place. Here we are at the airport. CebuPac now has a web check-in service. Hallelujah. It helps save time at the counters. Another help is the fact that the terminal fee is already incorporated into the plane tickets.



My resort of choice is once again Dumaluan Beach Resort. (They call it Dumaluan 2, “the one with the pool.”) They offer tours, but of course the packages are expensive. I poked around in the interwebs and found a highly recommended tour guide named Tatsky.

 Jesser “Tatsky” Cubero:

  • Globe – 0915-7945556
  • Sun – 0922-3671051
  • Smart – 0912-7472737
  • Email :

I texted his Globe number (better to text – he’s usually out on the field most days) and was glad when he replied quickly. The tour fee is 2,300 for the five of us. Though he tours visitors himself, he handles 20 or so tour guides, so he referred us to Jojo for the Saturday tour. Kuya Jojo was on time at the airport, and very polite throughout the trip. Two thumbs’ up!

Recommended start time, by the way, is 8AM. We got to Bohol at nearly 10AM, so we just did the best we can with the day.

The last time J and I were here was in 2010. A lot has changed since then. Baclayon Church (third oldest church in the country, following the San Agustin Church and Paoay Church) looks brighter inside.


Tarsiers, which used to be housed nearly side by side in open huts, are now in their natural habitats. Entrance fee is now PhP 60 (as opposed to a PhP 20 peso donation three years ago), and you had to climb up steep steps to see the primates in the trees. Better for the tarsiers, though the local government should really consider just giving night tours so the tarsiers can sleep during the day.

The Loboc River Cruise is now PhP 450, but you know what, the cruise redeemed itself for me this year. Tatsky’s group recommends Riverwatch, and it is so worth it. The food was so good.

By the way, Loboc now has a waiting area for those going on the cruise. It’s airconditioned, with cable TV and computer terminals with free Internet connection.




The fee includes a buffet lunch and a ride down the river.




The Chocolate Hills has a new attraction: navigating the hills via ATV. I am not interested, but my siblings gave it a go.



While they’re enjoying the terrain, J and I had mango-flavored carabao milk!


Now off to the viewing deck for us:





Another attraction is traveling via zip line or cable car over the Loboc River. Nope. Nope. No can do. I’m sitting this one out. Fee is PhP 350 for zip line, 250 for cable car, and 350 for combo (zip line one way, cable car for return). I would have tried the cable car with J, but the counters were already closing when we got there, and a cable car ride takes 7 minutes.




My kind of adventure is sitting indoors with a book. You know how it is.

After buying pasalubong, Kuya Jojo drove us to Dumaluan, which is located on Panglao Island and shares the same white beach shoreline as the more expensive Bohol Beach Club.

I reserved an Executive Family room.

Executive Family – 4,500 Php Per Night – good for 4 persons
Fully air conditioned room, with solar powered water heater, refrigerator,
cable T.V. and breakfast for two persons.
Extra person is Php 400.00 per night inclusive of mattress and breakfast.

Okay. There was no water heater, so I don’t know what happened there. There is a refrigerator and cable TV though. And there’s a tree in the washroom!


We liked the room. It’s homey.


Here’s the view of the room from outside.


Washroom in the morning.


We woke up early to visit the beach at low tide.



What say you of my sleepwear/beach attire?



We had breakfast and enjoyed the beach. We also saw this film on cable and were so enamored we nearly skipped lunch.






Tiny crab.




We moved to the pool, where I FINALLY LEARNED HOW TO FLOAT. Take that monsoon rains! I’m ready for you, flood!

Actually no, I’m not.







My sister, who woke up late, finally decided to join us.


Failed jump shot.






Evidence that I finally learned how to float after ten years. (Literally; I’ve been trying to learn since high school.)

The secret is to relax, and as mentioned, I don’t relax. You can’t float while making to-do lists in your head, I guess?




Last night in Bohol.




Morning before the flight back.


Till next time!


bohol, day 3

Last day. Grabbed our final meals by the beach and just lounged around and camwhored, waiting for the van to pick us up.

We also saw this big-ass display of a page from the Inquirer. I didn’t bother approaching it when we first arrived, but on the last day I thought, why not take a picture.

I wanted to see the byline, and YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW EXCITED I BECAME WHEN I SAW


Here’s Jaykie for scale:

Dapat kapag pumunta ka ‘dun Ate Kate, libre ka na! Haha.

The flight back home scared the crap out of me, but we arrived alive and well at NAIA 3. My thanks to organizer Jme, also known as Xena the Warrior Princess:

HGC peeps and honorary HGC peeps: I had fun with you guys, sa uulitin. ;)

Back home, Jaykie and I went to MOA. The boyfriend’s birthday is in June and I bought him a pair of glasses as a gift. (That’s what he asked for LOL.) We took a long time trying to choose a frame within (my) budget, but I finally found a pair that’s perfect:

I like! <3

Epic weekend. :D

bohol, day 2

Snorkeling and diving was scheduled for Day 2, but I was sure, with my lack of swimming skills and my tendency to panic in deep waters, that I would do NEITHER. So I just enjoyed the beach.

We took a van to Alona Kew. We didn’t like their shoreline too much, it was rocky and in the span of 30 minutes we saw a jellyfish, a sea urchin, and a starfish with spikes. Yikes.

But still, beautiful spot yeah?

We waited for the divers to come back and took a boat ride to Balicasag Island for snorkeling.

The island! (Gasp.)

I didn’t snorkel, just flapped around in the water and made Jaykie nervous. Gah. Haha.

Back to Dumaluan for dinner and more beach and a game of Bluff and Pusoy Dos and tsismisan!

Jaykie shoots an imaginary ball:

bohol, day 1

I remember Jme mentioning Bohol the very first time Jaykie introduced me to her and boyfriend Beej, and was I glad this trip pushed through. I had crazy fun, even though I’ve been there before.

Overnight at Jaykie’s

Jaykie lives near NAIA 3, so Jme, Phil, Beej and I stayed over Thursday so we could make the early Friday flight. Played Mario Kart on the Wii. Realized I sucked at Mario Kart. I also had some mango cream pie that I loved so much I wanted to marry it.

8: 30 Flight MLA – TAG

Last year my high school friends and I had an evening flight to Cebu, the first time I’ve seen the NAIA Terminal 3. I prefer the evening flight because 1) it’s insanely hot here in Metro Manila in the morning and 2) there are fewer people.

But we didn’t have to wait too long so it was fine. Met up with the group (minus Mark and Guiz, who took the ZestAir flight).

The Cebu Pacific flight wasn’t delayed! WHOA. I was seriously impressed. Flight was smooth, but I thought our landing in Tagbilaran was a bit rough.

We had our luggage loaded in a separate van, to be taken ahead of us to the Dumaluan Beach Resort.

Then the tour:

Baclayon Church

I seriously love this church. But there’s this rule

so our legs (and arms, if we’re wearing a sleeveless top) had to be covered. (I was wearing shorts.) With guys it’s okay. Ah, the Catholic Church never fails.


This picture made me laugh:

I was raised Catholic. I do believe a sense of humor and some laughter is necessary in this religion.

Church interior (just click to enlarge):

These paintings fascinate me.


According to our tour guide Mark, tarsiers take just  3-10 seconds to make love. Poor little things.

Chocolate Hills

Nice weather.

River Cruise

Buffet lunch! I’ve been on the cruise before so all I could think of was foooood.

The light on the water looked gorgeous.


We got to the resort at around 5 p.m. Fixed our stuff, took a shower, slathered sunblock on ourselves, and off to the white sands and the sapphire sea!

I got this dress from Jaykie’s sister. Thanks! :)

Fair warning about Dumaluan Beach Resort: the drinks and rice are expensive. There’s no service water, and there are corkage fees, and the nearest Jollibee is possibly a bajillion miles away, so you have no choice but to shell out some moolah. Food is good though, and the viands can feed two people, so if you’re with someone, just split the bill.

This shot was supposed to be candid. Candid, I tell you.

Bakit ka naggo-glow? Cheka.

Crispy pataaaaaaaaaa.

I like Jme’s shirt.

We walked along the beach for a bit. Stargazed. There were no clouds and the moon was very bright.

Excellent first day. Now to some indoor camwhorage

and sleep. Recharge!

(Some of the photos were taken by Jme and Christian.)

cebu bohol cebu

So I’m writing this at home on a Sunday (Jan. 25), which feels weird because I work on Sundays and yet here I am typing nonsense and making myself fat after having stashed away the bags and the clothes. I’ve also done some laundry so I thought I might as well write about the trip. Blogging’s good practice for people with bad memory. Oh, and if you’re planning to go to Bohol you’ll love this. I’m Alt-Tab’ing to our itinerary and budget yes we have an itinerary and budget in pdf (na may WordArt) and Excel formats because my friend Grace is insane like that.

(At nagsalita yung hindi kumakarir ng blog post tungkol sa bakasyon.)

Here it goes.

Jan. 22 (Thursday)

Don’t you just love seat sales? We were able to purchase roundtrip tickets to Cebu at just 1000+ each from Cebu Pacific. (Ooh, a little disclaimer: The establishments/businesses that I’m going to mention here didn’t pay me to mention them.) We’re booked on the last flight out of Manila, but of course the flight got delayed, thankfully by just an hour. (See, I told you they didn’t pay me to mention them.) I don’t go around much, so that was my first plane ride ever. I know. Since I’ve never been to the terminal, when we got to NAIA it didn’t impress me much because I thought that’s how terminals were supposed to look like – clean and sparkling and new. But after speaking with a friend who’s been to the old terminal I began to appreciate the “changes”.




As for the flight, it was okay. It was like riding a cramped bus (as if may bus na hindi cramped), except that you’re several thousand feet above the ground and every now and then your ears pop. Gusto ko yung pag-internalize ng isang flight attendant during the life vest demo – mukha talaga siyang alarmed. Siguro first time din niya chos. The sight of the barf bag scared me, but I didn’t use it, thank goodness. There was one turbulence warning, which I spent marveling at a Kris Aquino White Flower ad in the in-flight magazine so I didn’t know how turbulence really was supposed to feel like. Si Kris lang pala ang katapat.



Window seat! To say that the city lights were breathtaking is an understatement.

We arrived at the Mactan International Airport at half past nine. From there we rented a van to the Apple Tree Suite.

Ate: 900 po ang rental, ma’am

Ghia: Hindi po ba pwedeng 800?

Ate: [rumadyo sa driver] Okay daw 850.

Kumusta ka naman, ate.

We stayed at two deluxe rooms at 1,500 per room. Wala naman akong reklamo sa kwarto.




After dumping our bags, we headed over to Larsian. It’s this 24-hour barbeque place where, the moment you enter, the owners of the different stores will converge and approach you and beckon you to them, as though they were Edward and you were Bella. I didn’t know this then so the sudden incessant psst-ing surprised me. I was so hungry I could only think of Twilight references.

We chose the stall with an electric fan. Electric fan lang talaga ang criterion ano.

For rice they had what they called pusó (not “heart”; put stress on the second syllable), na parang konti pero mabigat pala sa tiyan. Cost was 2.50 per.


They don’t have utensils so they’ll give you a clear plastic bag that you’ll put over your right hand. Kung meron lang matinong hugasan magkakamay na lang ako. Madulas kasi.


We only spent 75 per for all those food, pusó and drinks included. Solb.


Jan. 23 (Friday)

Very early in the morning (like just a little after 4), we headed over to the pier to get to Bohol. There was some promo, so the ferry ride cost only 836.25, two-way (Cebu-Tagbilaran, and back) kasama na terminal fees.

I also expected to experience motion sickness but I didn’t. We even went up to camwhore, yehess.



The ride to Tagbilaran was long, almost two hours.

Pagdating doon, ayan na ang walang katapusang countryside tour. Parang wala siyang katapusan kasi ang init sa Tagbilaran (at 8 am pa lang yun ha) at atat na akong mag-beach, hehe.

Here be a bunch of pictures:








And then: Panglao.

A thing of beauty, etcetera, etc. At one point I said, “’Wag na tayong umuwi. Dito na lang tayo tumira.”










We stayed at the Dumaluan Beach Resort. Deluxe rooms cost around 3k each, inclusive of breakfast. Food is expensive (We had to buy dinner; actually okay
naman ‘yung price, ‘yung ulam 200-300 and good for two, BUT they sell rice at 22 per cup I mean, come on) but the beach will more than make up for it, don’t worry.

Get up early, like around 6, to see the beach at low tide.

Jan. 24 (Saturday)

Back in Cebu at 6 in the pm. We weren’t able to do much, just went to SM Cebu (o dumayo pa ng Cebu para mag-SM) to buy stuff and was stunned by the fact that the taxi drivers actually give you change down to the last centavo. While inside the mall there was a commotion at the entrance. I didn’t see it myself, but Kuya Wendell said halos kuyugin na ng guards yung isang taxi driver na namimili ng pasahero. My goodness, nabibili kaya yung mga guards na ‘to? I’ll bring them by the truckload to Metro Manila.

Oh, I forgot to say, on our way inside, I had this conversation with one of the security guards:

Guard: [while checking my bag] Samting samting samting bag samting samting samting check samting samting

Me: [blank stare]

Guard: Samting samting

Me: Ay naku sorry po, hindi ko po kayo maintindihan.

Guard: Ay Tagalog lang po ba, ma’am? [smile] Kaya pala.

Me: Hehe.

Bakit nag-assume na siya na Tagalog ako. E kung sabihin ko kaya, “No, no, Malaysian.” Chos.

Jan. 25 (Sunday)

At the Apple Tree Suite, we were given two rooms that faced each other on the third floor. So nakabukas yung pinto ng parehong kwarto because we’re shuttling back and forth across the corridor (Well, at least si Maricon, na parang di mapirmi sa kwarto). At one point a cranky tourist (Didn’t see him, but I guess he’s American, judging on the accent) passed by and said, in a booming voice: “Can you please shut the doors? This is a hotel.”

Possible comebacks that we weren’t able to say because this was real life and not the movies:

Well, this is our country, so can you shut your mouth?

Oh, so you mean you don’t close your doors at home?

Hotel na ba ‘to, kuya? Hindi ba inn?

No, no, Tagalog onli.


I’m sorry, I just can’t imagine myself being in a foreign country and telling the locals to shut their doors, haughtily, scolding them as if they were my unwanted children. Hello, mister, this isn’t your colony anymore. (Tapos biglang sa kanya pala yung Apple Tree ano. Eh basta, kaasar siya. Sana makatapak siya ng sea urchin.)

Our flight back to Manila wasn’t delayed, isn’t that cool? The morning flight gave me a view of clouds, some islands, and the back of the head of the guy next to me because I wasn’t able to get a window seat.

And then we’re home. :)

If you’re lucky enough to avail of sales and promos (and you have seven other people with you), you’ll spend around 4k. Hindi pa kasama food and incidental commute fares and souvenirs and pasalubong, so just prepare around 7k. That’s more than enough.

* * *

Now, about sungazing:




(Photos from my camera and Grace Anne/Wendell’s camera and Ghia/Ed’s camera.)

(Special thanks to Ghia for blow-drying my hair on Friday hehe.)

(I’ll upload more pics at my Multiply.)

(EDIT: Uploaded!)