During the 2017 State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Rodrigo R. Duterte asked the United States of America to return the Bells of Balangiga. It might be helpful to give a short introduction about the Bells of Balangiga for the benefit of those who have no idea about the subject. Not so long ago, from 1899 to 1902, the Philippines was at war with the United States of America. The Philippines became the colony of the US. On 28 September 1901, Filipino guerrillas, who resisted the repression of the foreign occupiers, attacked US troops in the town of Balangiga, Samar. Around 48 US soldiers and 28 Filipinos died. In retaliation, US General Jacob Smith gave the following order: “I want no prisoners. I wish you to kill and burn; the more you kill and burn, the better it will please me. The interior of Samar must be made a howling wilderness.” The General ordered the killing of everyone capable of bearing arms, including boys above 10 years of age. The Balangiga Massacre followed. Filipino historians placed the death toll of Filipinos, in Samar alone arising from the Balangiga incident, at around 50,000. The three church bells of Balangiga were taken by US troops as war trophies. There is a movement for the return of the Balangiga Bells to the Philippines. Watch this short video (9:11 minutes): Continue reading The Bells of Balangiga: A Short Documentary (Watch Video)
The Pacific Ocean; the largest ocean in the world, birthplace of typhoons, and home of the deepest part of any body of water, the Marianas Trench. If you can’t imagine the raw power that comes out of the Pacific Ocean, just remember the strongest recorded typhoon to have hit land, Typhoon Yolanda (International Name: Haiyan), which hit the Philippines some time ago. Now imagine if you’re a piece of rock protruding at the edge of the Philippines, facing the Pacific Ocean and receiving the brunt of its strength, what happens to you? If you’re brave enough (and can’t move because, well, you’re a rock), you get polished, you grow beautiful. That’s what you’ll see when you get to the Biri Rock Formation (Norther Samar), a beautifully alien world that should remind you that things of beauty, like diamonds, are created under the harshest conditions. So, hang tough. Photo courtesy of Makoy Ruizo (check his Instragram acount, @makoysworld, for more photos). Click the photo to enlarge.
Pop quiz: What’s the tallest bridge in the Philippines? Nope, not the San Juanico Bridge. Just because the San Juanico bridge is featured here, doesn’t mean it’s the tallest bridge. That distinction belongs to another bridge in Southern Leyte, the Agas-Agas bridge. San Juanico bridge, on the other hand, holds the distinction of being the longest bridge in the Philippines, 2.16 kilometers in length, traversing the San Juanico Strait and connecting the big islands of Samar and Leyte. It’s part of the Pan-Philippine Highway (also known as the Maharlika Highway), the one you use to travel by RoRo (Roll-On, Roll-Off ships) from any point of Luzon to Mindanao, via Visayas. That’s a route that cuts across the entire Philippines. Photo courtesy of Jhe Rizada (check his Instragram acount, @jheography, for more photos). Click the photo to enlarge.
We sometimes wonder what’s on the other side. Dark to light, light to dark, pretty much like the balance in the Force. We need not dwell on the realm of imagination, like the movies, and instead experience the transition in the real world, like how the light becomes a welcome sight after some time in a dark cave. Try the Sohoton Cave in Basey,cSamar, as shown in this photo courtesy of Cals Dizon Dantes (check his account, @calsdizondantes, for more beautiful photos). Even the Rogue One will like it here. Click the photo to enlarge. Continue reading Give in to the Dark Side at Sohoton Cave: Photo of the Day
She doesn’t say much in describing herself in instagram: CEBU | travel | coffee | music. She’s even more tightlipped when it comes to her name — she calls herself, quite simply, toot (rubbitoott). But when it comes to to traveling, this lovely lady takes a decidedly long-distance view. She recently went to Biri Island in Samar. How far? “Travelled a long way to get here, sailed 12 hrs to Samar and a never ending roadtrip/boat trip towards the Northern part is all worth it. A must!” Good things come to those who wait (and travel), right? Anyway, as you marvel at the beautiful rock formations and imagine the power of the waves, it might be helpful to remember that Biri Island is the frontline to the Pacific Ocean — the birthplace of typhoons, including the most powerful typhoon to make landfall in recorded history, super typhoon Yolanda or Haiyan. Here’s the photo (click to enlarge): Continue reading Photo of the Day: Biri Island
Many places have a delicacy not found in other places. You buy it as pasalubong from a specific place and it seems to lose its soul, or the distinct taste, when sold in other places. It adds to the uniqueness to the place. Take the binagol, for instance, found in Samar and Leyte. Continue reading The Sweet Binagol of Leyte and Samar
We’ve previously mentioned that the Philippines is broken down into regions, one of which is Eastern Visayas (Region 8). Eastern Visayas is composed of 6 provinces — Biliran, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Samar, Northern Samar and Eastern Samar. Here’s a video promoting tourism in Eastern Visayas. Continue reading Eastern Visayas (Region 8)