Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Please Help Rebuild Bohol and Cebu

Basilica del Santo Nino
Cebu
I watched the news in horror as the tv screen panned to scenes of destruction caused by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Bohol and Cebu, yesterday morning. These two places hold a special place in my heart as they were my destinations for my first ever plane ride after I developed a mild case of fear of flying. In spite of my aviophobia, Bohol and Cebu made the trip worth it. I returned to these historic places this year, and they were beautiful and charming as ever.

Loboc River Cruise with Buffet Lunch
around Php500
Despite the bad news of Bohol local celebrity Prony (short for Sofronio), allegedly the largest python in captivity, dying just two days before the trip, my mood in the plane was not dampened. The weather was good and the plane ride was smooth and uneventful. Just the way I like it.

After touching down in Bohol, I again had a bountiful lunch while cruising down the Loboc River. For about Php500, you get to enjoy an entertaining river cruise and feast on traditional Filipino cuisine. An added bonus is a quick stop  at a riverside stage where a group of locals perform folk music and dances specially for the river cruise guests.

The highlight of this river cruise for me though is when I caught a glimpse of the dog pack swimming along the bank of the Loboc River. When I saw them last year, I thought it was by pure luck. When I saw them the second time around, it dawned on me that swimming along the river is a regular thing for this group of dogs, and they genuinely love doing it. I think this is simply amazing. These dogs are awesome.

No beach was on our itinerary last year so I was glad I got to stay in Panglao this time. Panglao Island in Bohol besides being famous for its rich dive spots, is a seafood haven. Here, tourists and travelers can party the night away while feasting on the freshest catch of the day against best ambiance nature has to offer: the sandy white beaches of Panglao.

Factory Fried Chicken
Php175
Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu
Php185
From Bohol, a 2GO fastcraft took me to Cebu in under two hours. Unlike last year's trip, I did not stay in Cebu for long. But I did get to go around Ayala Mall Cebu in Cebu Business Park, something I was not able to do the last time. I was amazed at how Cebu Business Park bears a striking resemblance to Madrigal Business Park where Alabang Town Center is located. I felt like I am just in Alabang when I went there. In the mall, I had lunch at The Dessert Factory, where I got to like the red velvet cupcake I talked about in an earlier post.

Scenes from Baclayon Church in Bohol
Image of Padre Pio on the wall and image of Mother Mary and Child Jesus over the door 
(Pareidolia or not, they certainly add character to Baclayon Church.)

These fond memories of Bohol and Cebu make this calamity even more heart-breaking for me. I am deeply saddened by the lives lost as well as the damage done to property and livelihood. The destruction of the centuries-old churches most definitely struck a cord with me, too, especially since I was fortunate enough to see them in all their glory last year.

Scenes from Basilico del Santo Nino in Cebu
Despite this, I have faith in the strength of the people of Bohol and Cebu and with our help, I believe this strength will see them through this tragedy. Please visit http://www.redcross.org.ph/ for more information on what you can do to help.

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