Mass Schedules in the Philippines

December 18, 2010

Mass Schedules in the Philippines

When I make an itinerary and one of the days of the trip includes a Sunday, I always try to find out the mass schedules at the place we're visiting. In the Philippines, a website was created by volunteers to show the mass schedules around the Phlippines. If you need information on mass schedules go to Below is a screenshot of the website.

Blood Compact Shrine

December 17, 2010

The Blood Compact Shrine

What Kids Should Know:
For several years, this site was believed to be the place where the Blood Compact between Miguel Lopez de Legaspi and Datu Sikatuna was held. This place overlooked the Bohol Sea. A shrine was built to mark this place. For years, this shrine was the center of festivities of the annual Sandugo Festival which commemorated the famous Blood Compact.  In 2005, new documents revealed that the actual site is 17 km away from this place. The transfer of the shrine to the actual blood compact site is still under discussion. See my post on the Actual Blood Compact site.

Who made the sculpture:
National Artist for Sculpture, Napoleon Abueva, a Boholano

Where is it located:
Barangay Bool, Tagbilaran City

The Bohol Sea in the background
The site is by the roadside along the National Road

Baclayon Church, Bohol

December 15, 2010

Baclayon Church, Bohol
(also know as the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception)

There are so many churches in Bohol but I consider this Church a must see site. Kids would view it as just one of those churches and would take it for granted. But personally, the magnificence and the size of this Church made me realize that Bohol is considered by the Spanish colonial regime as one of the most important islands in the Philippines. They would not have constructed a Church of this size and detail if they didn't think that Bohol is a very important island. 

By this time, my other kids were already very tired. Only my son went up with me to the 2nd floor of the Church where we found the museum. What my son (being a violinist) found interesting  is the giant hymn book that we saw. It looked so medieval. It was extraordinarily large with square notes on it, as opposed to the usual round notes. 

After this trip, I read in the newspaper that Baclayon Church is the home of the recently discovered cantorales or libros de coro (choir books) sung during Mass in the 1800s.  That was the same hymn book we saw displayed at the Baclayon Church Museum. What was so important about the discovery is that these cantorales is a complete collection and the most intact.  Last May 2010, during the Philippine Heritage Month the hymns were performed by the Loboc Children's Choir at the Manila Cathedral.

For more details and to see a photo of the book, see Ceres Doyo's article ‘Misa Baclayana’: ancient beauty that sounds so new". It was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

What kids should know
  • Baclayon Church is the oldest stone church building in the Philippines

The altar

The play of light and colors is attributed to the stained glass windows of the Church

The mysterious image outside the walls of the Church. It is not manmade. It was caused by normal wear and tear due to environmental factors.

Note: The Church guards are very strict with the dress code. They provide shawls for girls/women in sleeveless tops.

See our next stop: The Blood Compact Shrine

See previous post:

Prony, the Biggest Python in Captivity

December 14, 2010

Prony, the Biggest Python in Captivity

What Kids Should Know

Date Captured: 
October 21, 1996. At the time of the capture, it's length is only 5 feet and it weighed only 5 kilos

When they weighed and measured it in 2005
Weight is 200 kilos
Size is 23 feet and 30 inches

What it can eat
A whole live pig

Sofronio, Jing Jing and Egin Salibay

Where it is located:
Sta Filomena, Albuquerque, Bohol

You can enter the cage and touch the python

The owner kissing the python

The snakeskin

My Tip: Buy peanut kisses here. They are sold at factory price.

See my next post: Baclayon Church

See previous post:

Where is the Actual Blood Compact Site?

December 13, 2010

Where is the Actual Blood Compact Site?

For a very long time, Tagbilaran City was believed to be the site where the Blood Compact was held. Findings in 2005 showed that the site was in fact located in a different place, around 17 kilometers from where it was believed to have been held for hundreds of years. In 2005, the National Historical Institute officially declared in Resolution 4, series of 2005 that the exact location of the blood compact site is in Loay, Bohol (not Tagbilaran City) and March 25, 1565 as the exact date when the blood compact was held/

What Kids Should Know

What is the Blood Compact?

The marker tells us what the Blood Compact is all about. I translated it into English as shown in the caption. 

The Blood Compact (Sandugo literally means One Blood in English): 
The Blood Compact happened on March 25, 1565 at the Bay of Hinawanan, Loay between Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna of Bohol, onboard the flagship San Pedro of Spain. The Blood Compact was made by drinking wine mixed with blood taken from a cut from the breast of the two leaders. This sealed and marked the friendship between Spain and the Boholanos and the start of Christianity in the Philippines.

Why is the Blood Compact important:
It is the Philippine's First International Treaty of Friendship.

Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna of Bohol

Where It Is Held:
On board the flagship San Pedro docked at the Bay of Hinawanan, Loay, Bohol

How was the Blood Compact performed:
NOT by drinking each other's blood. They took a small amount of blood taken from a cut on the breast of the 2 leaders (not from the cut on the arm as some people think) and mixed it in wine. Then the 2 leaders drank the wine to seal the treaty of friendship.

At the left is the marker, at the center is the platform where the blood compact was held, and at the back of the platform is the well.

The site is by the roadside.

The well is at the back of the platform

Sikatuna's Well: 
This is "the well between the rivers" mentioned in the latest document. It was where the soldier's of Legazpi fetched water. It was built around 1200 AD and is 20 meters deep

This is the replica of houses seen by the Spaniards built near the bay where the flagship San Pedro docked.

Divisoria With Kids

December 1, 2010

Divisoria with Kids

Every year, during sembreak, I bring my kids to shop at Divisoria. Divisoria, in the Philippines,  is known as a place where you can shop for all kinds of goods at rock bottom prices. Divisoria shopping means shopping the streets of Divisoria in Manila to get the best bargain in all kinds of goods, from clothes to cellphone accessories. 

This is not the Divisoria shopping I brought my kids to. The Divisoria shopping I'm talking about is shopping at the 168 mall at Soler Street. You get almost rock bottom Divisoria prices without the inconvenience that usually accompanies a trip to the streets of Divisoria.

Why bring kids to Divisoria?  I find that despite the hassle of traffic, parking space and hordes of people around you while you shop, it's still is worth it for me for the following reasons:
1. Christmas gifts for my kids' numerous friends are completed in only one shopping trip. The sheer number and diversity of products sold at 168 mall make this possible. 
2. My kids are able to choose gifts for friends and not be worried about not affording it. 
3. My kids also shop for clothes and shoes at 168 mall. Since kids so easily outgrow their clothes, it is logical to shop at Divisoria for clothes that they will not wear long enough to ruin them. Divisoria clothes are not reputed to be sturdy.  
4. Even after completing their shopping, my kids are amazed  they still have a lot of money left over from the trip.
Why go to the 168 Mall?
If you have kids with you, it's more convenient and safer to shop at 168 mall than bring them to the streets of Divisoria. You still get Divisoria prices, but without all the inconvenience of shopping at Divisoria.
1. Security is tight. They have guards at the doors and guards that roam around the building with German shepherds. 
2. The place is fully airconditioned. 
  • There's no danger of kids getting sick because of the heat when shopping along Divisoria streets.
3. There are numerous toilets scattered around the building that are cleaned almost immediately after use.
4. There are 2 fast food courts that can cater to both adult and children's tastes. 
  • This means you have the familiar McDonalds, Jollibee, Chowking, Tokyo Tokyo, etc. 
  • And for adults like us, who are essentially tired of eating in these places, there are other food options like Thai, Cantonese, and Filipino food.
HERE IS MY STRATEGY for a hassle-free and organized shopping trip with kids at Divisoria
1. Choose a date with less traffic and people.
In our case, we decided to go the Sunday before November 1. Why?
  • Sundays in Manila has the least traffic. That takes care of traffic beyond Divisoria area.
  • We went there during sem break. That takes care of traffic in the vicinity of Divisoria. Several universities are near Divisoria. When there are classes, the streets of Recto are teeming with students trying to get a ride or walking down the streets. 
  •  Since the date is before November 1, there are less people in 168 mall because the money most people have at this time of the year is goes to spending for flowers and candles for All Saint's Day and not for Christmas shopping.
2. Arrive at 168 mall at opening time, so you can leave immediately after lunch when most people arrive. 
3. Organize a buddy system within your group.
One adult should supervise one child, or if the child is a bit older, the configuration could be one adult to supervise 2 children.
By grouping them, the kids can go on separate shopping trips with at least one adult to go with them. Since the adults have (at most) 2 kids to shop with, they can finish shopping in a shorter span of time
The money given to the kids can be taken cared of by the adult.
4. In case you don't have a driver, you can drop off your kids, with their partner adults at the mall entrance, and agree to meet 11am at the food court where McDonalds is located.
Just in case you don't see each other along the corridor between the stalls, you can just proceed to the agreed meeting place and time later. Just in case the kids get lost or separated from their companions, they know they will see you 11am at the food court.
5. Have your lunch 11am or earlier.
This ensures you have  tables and seats that you can reserve for your group. The table and seats will not only be used for dining but can also serve as a rest stop for tired companions or a place to leave your things in case some of the people in your group have not finished shopping by lunchtime. 
6. The kids should leave their cellphones at home or in the car.
7. Make sure to arrive at Divisoria with money broken down into small peso bills.
This saves you the trouble of having to wait for change. I found that having 100 peso bills make it convenient for me to shop in Divisoria.
Location of 168 Mall

Opening Hours in 2010

How to get there
Check out the instructions on how to commute to 168 mall.
Where to park

1. Mall parking

The new automated parking structure at the back of the mall can accomodate at least 180 cars. You can see from the video below how they retrieve the cars from the top level by using a vertical lift.

2. Outside parking
There's a big parking lot along Alvarado Street. See map below

Other Important Services and Facilities
1. ATM machines
The location of the ATM machines

2. Food Court

Food Court 1

Food Court 2

Up Close and Personal with the Tarsiers of Bohol

November 30, 2010

Up Close and Personal with the Tarsiers of Bohol

Why you shouldn't miss seeing the Tarsiers of Bohol
You cannot find it anywhere in the world except where it is endemic, like in Bohol. They cannot be transported anywhere like other animals because they are so sensitive and easily traumatized. Those who have attempted to smuggle them outside their habitat were unsuccessful. The Tarsiers are so sensitive, they commit suicide and die when they are touched. Therefore you cannot find it in different zoos around the world. 

What Kids Should Know
  • What are Tarsiers
  1. They are the world's smallest primate. They have similar physical characteristics as the monkey. 
  2. They are also one of the oldest land species, existing for almost 45 million years
  • Where can it be found
  1. The Philippines (in Bohol, Leyte, Samar and Mindanao) 
  2. Indonesia (in Sulawesi, Borneo, Sumatra) 
  • Interesting facts about the Tarsiers of Bohol 
(taken from
  •  They are nocturnal animals (meaning they are active at night and sleep during the day) and should not be disturbed at day time  
  • Their main diet is insects and should not be fed with meat. 
  • They commit suicide during captivity due to trauma from touching and loud noise. 
  • They’re one of the slowest fetal growth rates of any mammal, taking 6 months to reach a birth weight of 23 grams. 
  • A single tarsier needs at least a hectare of space per individual 

1:30PM -1:45 PM: Traveled from the Loboc River to the Tarsier Sanctuary

1:45 PM-215pm: Saw and fed the Tarsiers of Bohol

They sleep during the day.

This is how close we were able to see the Tarsier.

No touching!
My daughter pretending to touch the Tarsier.

See our next stop: The Actual Blood Compact Site

Lunch at the Loboc River Cruise

November 29, 2010

Lunch at the Loboc River Cruise

What Kids Should Know
  • Where it is located: at Loay-Loboc River
  • Why is the river important in the history of Loboc: the Loboc River is important because most of the inhabitants pf this town live near the river before the Spaniards came and established the town.
  • What the river cruise boat is made of: The river cruise boat, which is also a floating restaurant, is made of 2 boats with a platform on top.
  • What to expect:  The cruise takes you along the Loboc River. While on the cruise, you dine with Filipino food, buffet style, and are entertained by locals dancing and singing Filipino songs on a platform built on one side of the river. At the end of the river is a small waterfalls.
11:30 AM -12:00 PM: Registration at the terminal of the Lobor River Cruise

Our guide, Tatsky, recommended Riverwatch Floating Restaurant. 

The Menu of Riverwatch: Pork Barbecue, Grilled Fish, Grilled Squid, Crab, Kutsinta and Suman, Ginaling, Malagkit, Fresh Mango, Mix Vegetables, Bamboo Shoots, Pancit, Pinakbet, Etc.

The ticket
Free wifi at the terminal
The new rates as of May 1, 2010

 12:00 PM -1:30 PM: Loboc River Cruise

Boarding the floating restaurant

The floating restaurant built on top of 2 large bancas

Dining at the floating restaurant

The end of the River where the boat takes a u-turn

A small performance was made by the locals singing Filipino songs on a platform on the side of the river.