With Holy Week just around the corner, it’s time once again to consult a map and contemplate on doing the rounds of churches for the annual Visita Iglesia. While you’re at it, it might be worthwhile exploring Rizal Province which is renowned for beautiful, mostly centuries-old churches with some dating back to the Spanish colonial period. This year, why not hop on your bike instead of walking so you can cover more ground? After all, you’d still be using your legs as some sort of sacrifice for the Lenten season while pedaling your way to municipality after municipality of quaint, old churches steeped in history. Let’s start our Siklista Iglesia.
Palawan’s allure never ceases to amaze. Coron and El Nido are both spellbinding with their stunning limestone rock islands and picturesque beaches. Puerto Princesa, considered the gateway to the last frontier, showcases equally impressive flora, fauna, and, natural wonders. The south of Palawan won’t be left behind though, as people are starting to discover the gem from down under. The municipality of Balabac is starting to make a name for itself. The southern archipelago boasts islands and islets with vast expanse beaches both pristine and raw.
The knife-edged-shape Ticao island is another fascinating destination for me. I’ve read articles and seen photos of this island, so I kinda know what to expect – stunning seascapes, rock formations, age-old settlements, and towering waterfalls pouring directly into the sea. And I finally got to see this for myself. After a day of interacting with whale sharks in Donsol, we rode a large outrigger boat to Ticao island, one of the three major islands of Masbate. It’s a 2-3 hours rocky boat ride but no rough waters can keep my excitement.
Visiting Bidibidi Cafe in Baao, Camarines Sur is entering the lush and vibrant world of artist, Bernadette De Los Santos, fondly called, BidiBidi. The signage “Cafe des Artes” seen along Rizal St marks the place of Bidibidi Cafe. Inside the gated walls is a beautiful garden interspersed with wooden sculptures. Vibrant murals envelope the facade of the house known as the home of the Burikbutikan Artist Collective, BidiBidi Enterprise Handicrafts and Bidibidi Cafe.
Leprosy has been eradicated in Culion since the 1980s but the stigma still remains. It didn’t help that World Health Organization (WHO) only declared Culion leprosy-free in 2006. So why not embrace this history of healing of this infectious disease? The structures, the research, the tools and the story of the people who lived while it was a leper colony still remains. Culion town is a witness on how a community persevered and healed.
The heat was overwhelming upon my first taste of Kuwaiti air in the 3rd quarter of the year. Even at night, the blowing wind felt like it was coming from the oven. During day, the sun intensifies the heat, reaching higher than 40°C. The only respite is the shade. But even under the shadows, I found myself still sweating buckets. It took a while for me to get used to this weather. Even if there are several malls with air-conditioners functioning at full capacity, I was looking for some green, cool, and open spaces. I found the recently open and on-going development of Al Shaheed Park fascinating. A modern city development to what seemed to be an oasis in the city.
For many culture, a broken mirror means bad luck in the unforeseeable future. But for Italian-born contemporary artist Lidia Qattan, seeing her daughter with scattered glass shards on the floor sparked a creative idea. To minimize her daughter’s wall doodling, Lidia started to place the mirror pieces on the wall with artistic patterns. This was the start of decades of work to transform her humble home in Kuwait as the only house in the world covered in mirror mosaic – the Mirror House.