Rizal Arts Festival 2010

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The 2nd Rizal Arts Festival proved to be a showcase of Rizal Province's best artists. Organized by famed artist Nemi Miranda of the Nemiranda Arthouse Gallery and SM City Taytay, the exhibit was opened in February 24 at the mall's event center and will run until March 13, 2010. Gracing the launching and ribbon cutting of the arts festival was Rizal's First Lady and supporter of the Rizal Artists Group, Andrea Bautista-Ynares, and Taytay Mayor Joric Gacula.

2010-02-24 Rizal Arts Fest (8)

2010-02-24 Rizal Arts Fest
Me with SM City Taytay's Manager Mr. Jason Alvarez and Mr. Nemi Miranda

Featured Rizal artists in this festival include Nemiranda's ART CAMP, the Rizal Bonsai Club, the Eastern Rizal Photographers guild, Taytay couturiers Gener Gozum and Merlino Cruz, the Neo Angono Artists, and tattoo icon Butch Bautista.

2010-02-24 Rizal Arts Fest (3)

2010-02-24 Rizal Arts Fest (2)

2010-02-24 Rizal Arts Fest (4)

2010-02-24 Rizal Arts Fest (9)

 Below is the schedule of the Art Workshops that will be happening during the Rizal Arts Festival 2010:

Art & Sektching Lessons by Nemiranda's ART CAMP
March 1 - 5 (Monday to Friday), 4 PM at the Event Center.

  • Open to all ages.
  • Participants should bring own art materials (drawing paper, craypas/oil pastel, and pencil/charcoal).
Ceramic Painting Workshop
February 26-28, March 5-7, March 12-14 (Friday and Saturday)during Mall hours at the Event Center.

  • Open to all ages.
  • Materials are available at the venue.
Bonsai Making Workshop
February 26-27 (Friday and Saturday), 3 PM at the Event Center.

  • Open to all ages.
  • Materials are available at the venue. 
Photography Workshop
March 6 (Saturday), 3 PM at the Event Center.

  • Open to all ages.
  • Materials are available at the venue.
The Art of Tattoo by Butch Bautista of Fine Line Tattoo
March 6 (Saturday), 4 PM at the Event Center.

  • Open to all ages.
  • Materials are available at the venue. 

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Cebu Pacific Now Flies to Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur

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Cebu PacificStarting April 27, 2010, Cebu Pacific will be flying passengers from Cebu to Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur. Known as the Little Hongkong of the South, Pagadian City officially celebrates Chinese New Year to honor the contributions of its Chinese community.

Cebu-Pagadian flights are on sale for as low as Php 688 from now until February 25, 2010 only. Travel date is from April 27 to July 31, 2010.

Manila-Pagadian flights will be available starting June 9, 2010. Fares are at Php 1,088 for travel from June 9 to July 31, 2010.

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Chocolate Hills Complex, Bohol

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First stop of our Bohol Countryside Tour, Day 2 in Bohol.

Chocolate Hills, Bohol

Back when I was in grade school, we would study about the different places of interests in the Philippines and Chocolate Hills would always be my favorite. It never ceased to amaze me. I often wondered how the beautiful mounds came to be. Whenever we were asked to draw hills for a seatwork or an assignment, it would be automatic for me to draw one looking like a Chocolate Hill.

The Chocolate Hills in Bohol is really an unusual geological formation. There are more than a thousand of these hills spread across the towns of Carmen, Batuan, and Sagbayan.

From our El Portal Inn in Tagbilaran City, our driver drove more than an hour to the town of Carmen where the Chocolate Hills Complex is located. We paid 25 pesos each for the entrance fees. The facility is government regulated and it has a viewing deck that allows guests to view the Chocolate Hills in all its splendor. Our driver had to leave us and drive back down by the entrance gate as cars are not allowed to park in the area.

Going up to see the Chocolate Hills

My dad didn't want to go all the way up to the view deck because he has become scared of heights. Since my mom was also suffering from a sprained ankle, we left her and my dad inside the cafe of the complex. We then ventured into the flight of stairs which led us to the viewing deck where we saw the famous Chocolate Hills. Too bad that the hills did not look "chocolatey" at all and were rather green when we visited. We were told that the best time to see the Chocolate Hills is during the summer when the grasses and ferns of the hills dry up.

2010-01-30 Bohol Weekend Day 2 LR-16

I think we stayed for a couple of minutes more after having our photos taken before going down the stairs once again. On our way down, we saw the marker which declares the Chocolate Hills as as National Geological Monument.

Before heading to our next destination, we checked out the souvenir shops and bought some pasalubong shirts that were a bargain that day. All the other items were pricey, though.

The Chocolate Hills Complex is located in Carmen, Bohol. To go there, tourists can ride a bus to Carmen from the Dao bus terminal in Tagbilaran City (mainland). It would be best if you visit the Chocolate Hills as part of a van rental package. We got ours for Php 3,500 for 8 hours.

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Dauis Church, Panglao Island, Bohol

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Fifth and last stop of our Panglao Island Tour, Day 1 in Bohol.

Dauis Church

We were not able to pass by Panglao Church anymore as it was already late. Our driver decided to bring us to Dauis Church instead.

Dauis Church is one of the oldest churches in the country. It was built as early as the 17th century and has undergone many renovations until 1879. The church's interior is very beautiful with its intricate designs. The walls are painted with a cool light blue paint which made the church even more serene.

My dad, who recently recovered from a major stroke during the Christmas season of 2008, was with us. I know he prayed fervently to thank God for healing him and letting him walk again. My dad's left arm is still paralyzed, though and he has occasional lapses in memory.

Dauis Church
The caretaker must have noticed how I assisted my father while we were walking towards the exit. He led us to the back of the church where we were given bottled water which was collected from the well by the church's altar. I immediately remembered the church that was featured in Korina Sanchez's show and the caretaker confirmed that it was Dauis Church. He then led us to the altar and showed us the well where they get the water.

The caretaker related that they only collect water during the nighttime when the church is closed. They give the bottled water for free and they only accept donations. We left the church feeling blessed with 6 bottles of miracle water for my dad.

View more photos of our 2010 Bohol Weekend Trip here.

Dauis Church is located in Dauis, Panglao Island, Bohol. To go there, tourists can rent a tricycle from Tagbilaran City (mainland) or take a cab. It would be best if you visit Dauis Church as part of a van rental package. We got ours for Php 2,200 for 6 hours.

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Bohol Bee Farm, Panglao Island, Bohol

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Fourth stop of our Panglao Island Tour, Day 1 in Bohol.

2010-01-29 Bohol Weekend Day 1 LR-81

I've never been this close to bees in my entire life! But I did not let the opportunity pass so I went ahead and held that thing with the bees. See the nervous smile?

Bohol Bee Farm is actually one of the many resort hotels in Panglao Island. However, Bohol Bee Farm offers its guests something different from the rest - that is, providing organic food and products and exposing them to organic farm activities. Indeed, our tour inside the place is memorable and educational as well.

Bohol Bee Farm

After I paid our entrance fees (Php 20 per head), we were given straw hats to wear while we go tour the facility. After that, our guide brought us to the are where their potted herbs were displayed. She described each herb and its uses plus and she gave us leaf samples to smell, too.

Bohol Bee Farm

Next, we were brought to the area where they keep the artificial beehives. Our guide shared some trivia about the bees and their role in ecology while carefully taking out one compartment from the box. That was when the first photo above was shot.

Bohol Bee Farm
Bohol Bee Farm Crafts and Livelihood Center
Bohol Bee Farm Ice Cream Cone Factory

Then, we were brought to the farm's two livelihood areas. The first one was the Crafts and Livelihood area where we witnessed how the staff manufactured various handicrafts made of rafia. The second one was the food manufacturing area where we saw how their cassava ice cream cones were made. Their ice cream is homemade, too. Aside from the usual ice cream flavors, it also comes in exotic flavors such as durian and garlic. I loved the cassava ice cream cone because it isn't sweet unlike the sugar cones that I usually cannot devour.

Bohol Bee Farm

The last leg of our Bohol Bee Farm tour brought us to the viewing deck facing the sea. It was a very beautiful sight! It is also the area where guests can avail of the traditional hilot (massage) using virgin coconut oil infused with different herbs. Rap and I went down the stairs and dipped our feet in the water. There's no white sandy beach there but guests can still swim especially when it's low tide.

All of a sudden, I felt bad that we did not push through with our hotel reservation. It made me really want to come back and stay in Bohol Bee Farm even just for a night so we can also get to try their organic food.

View more photos of our 2010 Bohol Weekend Trip here.

Bohol Bee Farm is located in Dauis, Panglao Island, Bohol. To go there, tourists can rent a tricycle from Tagbilaran City (mainland) or take a cab. It would be best if you visit Bohol Bee Farm as part of a van rental package. We got ours for Php 2,200 for 6 hours. You can also avail of the the free hotel to airport/seaport transfers if you will be staying in the place.

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Alona Beach, Panglao Island, Bohol

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Third stop of our Panglao Island Tour, Day 1 in Bohol.


Alona Beach is a one and a half kilometer stretch of white sandy beach in Panglao Island, Bohol. Being in Alona Beach brought back memories of Boracay back when I was younger and the waters were cleaner.

We chose to have some snacks at Trudis' Place while Rap went for a dip in water. Swimming in the beach is free, it would be up to you if you choose to stay and dine in one of the many snack bars and restaurants of the tourist inns surrounding the beach.


As with any other beach front, expect to be frequently visited by peddlers of sunshades and beach accessories, massage therapists, and boatmen who offer a tour to Balicasag Island which is an hour's ride away. If only we had more time, we would have agreed on riding on one of the boats. We'll probably do this the next time we come back and spend more time in Panglao Island.

Alona Beach, Panglao Island, Bohol

After having our snacks, we walked towards Alona Kew resort which was on the opposite side of Trudis Place. The beach front over there was wider and the boats were fewer which made it better for swimming in the beach. We stayed for a while to relax in the sand and have some pictures taken. I bet it's better to stay there in the evening for some stargazing by the beach.

View more photos of our 2010 Bohol Weekend Trip here.

Alona Beach is located in Tawala, Panglao Island, Bohol. To go there, tourists can rent a tricycle from Tagbilaran City (mainland) or take a cab. It would be best if you visit Alona Beach as part of a van rental package. We got ours for Php 2,200 for 6 hours.

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Daks and Gams Wildlife Park, Panglao Island, Bohol

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Second stop of our Panglao Island tour, Day 1 in Bohol.

Daks and Gams Wildlife Park

From Hinagdanan Cave, our driver brought us to Daks and Gams Wildlife Park in Tangnan, Panglao Island. It was just a few minutes drive away from where we came from. We paid an entrance fee of Php 15 per person to see the "wildlife" in the "park". Isn't it obvious that I'm a little disappointed?

Pardon my utter disappointment but I was expecting a wildlife park or, somehow, a mini-zoo where we can see wild animals in cages. Instead, what greeted us were a handful of live animals and a lot (and I say a lot!) of stuffed dead animals!

Daks and Gams Wildlife Park
Stuffed dead frogs playing basketball.

Daks and Gams Wildlife Park
Stuffed dead birds.

These are only the stuffed dead animals. I think we saw a dead crocodile under the murky waters of their makeshift crocodile cage! Meanwhile, below are some of the live animals that we saw that day.

2010-01-29 Bohol Weekend Day 1 LR-45
DogMonCat: A dog, a monkey, and a cat living in one cage.

Daks and Gams Wildlife Park
Flying lemurs... I guess.

Daks and Gams Wildlife Park
Don't know what bird this is as there wasn't a sign to describe what it was!

Daks and Gams Wildlife Park
Hen and rooster with curly feathers.

There was not a single guide to tour us around the place. Quite a bummer for a place that collects an entrance fee, eh? Fortunately, I can share something about the history of the place. Thanks to a big marker near the stuffed birds that tells the story of how the place began.

So, in 2001, the Diez family acquired the lot where the wildlife park now stands. They were supposed to build a residential abode away from the beaches of Panglao Island. However, while clearing the lot, they discovered living creatures inhabiting the place such as monitor lizards, snakes, rodents, birds, butterflies, turtles, frogs, and many more. This started the hobby that eventually became a lifelong pursuit of creating a habitat park and bird sanctuary in Bohol. Daks and Gams was named after the couple's sons. "Dako" means older son while "Gamay" means younger son.

I can only imagine how beautiful the place was when it started. The place needs a major renovation. Should you visit the place? I think so. Just don't expect too much. Your 15 pesos will make a huge contribution to the animals' feeds. Then again, I hope the management can make some improvements so as not to disappoint future guests.

View more photos of our 2010 Bohol Weekend Trip here.

Daks and Gams Wildlife Park is located at Tangnan, Panglao Island, Bohol. To go there, tourists can rent a tricycle from Tagbilaran City (mainland) or take a cab. It would be best if you visit Daks and Gams Wildlife Park as part of a van rental package. We got ours for Php 2,200 for 6 hours.

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Hinagdanan Cave, Bohol

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The first day of our short Bohol trip last January 29 to 31 started with our Panglao Island tour. We arrived in Tagbilaran City around 10 in the morning and, after having a quick but yummy lunch at El Portal Inn where we were billeted, our van arrived at 11 in the morning.

From Tagbilaran City, our driver slash tour guide drove for twenty minutes to the island of Panglao. Our van crossed the bridge that connected the island to the mainland. We were informed that there was no bridge yet a few years back. The only way to reach Panglao was to ride boats.

Hinagdanan Cave in Dauis, Panglao was our first stop. This destination is maintained by the provincial government of Bohol. After paying Php 15 per person for the entrance fees plus another Php 15 parking fee, I was given tickets that looked like postage stamps. Then, we proceeded to the entrance of the cave where we were greeted by our guide, Norman.


Hinagdanan Cave

Hinagdanan Cave was named as such because of the flight of steps (hagdan) that brings visitors down into the cave. The cave was a haven to the swiftlets or balinsasayaw birds. These birds build their nest between the crevices of the cave and their nests are prized as they are the main ingredients in making Bird's Nest or Nido Soup.

Hinagdanan Cave

As Norman toured us inside the cave, he pointed towards the different formations that looked like significant forms from afar. For instance, there was a group of rocks that looked like the Holy Family. We were very careful walking inside the cave as the floors is slippery because of the moisture. During high tide, the cave's floor also becomes covered with water from the pool.

Hinagdanan Cave
See the white spots on the water? Those are bird poop, lol!

It was so tempting to take a dip into the clear waters of the pool inside the cave if it were not for the bird droppings that I saw floating above it. Apparently, the water can be as deep as ten feet but we still saw the floor underneath.

Hinagdanan Cave

Norman was the one who took all these shots. Surprisingly, our tour guide is a trained photographer! He related that they were trained to take shots inside the dimly lit Hinagdanan Cave that's why he knew the ISO, aperture, and shutter speed settings to use. I was lucky that I didn't have to tinker with my Nikon before handing it over to him. Plus, I get to be in the shots!

Hinagdanan Cave

Before heading out of the cave and up to ground level, Norman showed us some paintings that were drawn on one side of the cave by the entrance. He told us that the paintings were not ancient and that they were painted there as part of the set of a foreign movie that was shot inside the cave a couple of years ago.

Hinagdanan Cave is a well-kept tourism spot in Panglao Island, Bohol. Tourist guides are more than willing to show guests around to tell them bits and pieces of the history of the place and to take souvenir photos of them as well. Although tips are unnecessary, we gave Norman a little tip for a job well done!

Souvenir shops are strategically placed around the site's parking area. We did not buy pasalubong from there yet since it was still our first day. Nevertheless, I think the prices here are within the normal price range of souvenir items compared to those sold in the Chocolate Hills Complex.

View more photos of our 2010 Bohol Weekend Trip here.

Hinagdanan Cave is located at Bingag, Dauis, Panglao Island, Bohol. To go there, tourists can rent a tricycle from Tagbilaran City (mainland) or take a cab. It would be best if you visit Hinagdanan Cave as part of a van rental package. We got ours for Php 2,200 for 6 hours.

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