Chocolate Boobs, Yoda & a Cultural Experience

Bohol Travel Blog

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Malon house
I could sleep through Armageddon and move at an earthworm's pace when I'm back home. When I'm traveling, however, it's a different story. It was about 6.30am when the alarm went off and propelled me to get out of bed, grab my clothes and dash for the shower. Like the Tasmanian Devil minus the shambles, I was out of the bathroom before you could even say Tarsier. Nena was still half asleep at this point, I believe. That was alright though as she's a fast mover.

After breakfast, we took a drive in a hired car a few kilometers down the road to the Malon House - the first ancestral home we'd be visiting on this trip. There are approximately 67 ancestral homes in the historic town of Baclayon alone, dating back to the Spanish period up to the 20th century.
Going up
In 2002, a province-wide road-widening project threatened to  demolish many of these magnificent homes which stand along the national highway. Thanks to BAHANDI (the Baclayon Ancestral Homes Association), a self-help neighborhood organization, these houses that form part of  Bohol's (and our nation's) cultural heritage were preserved. BAHANDI  continues their efforts today by organizing various cultural events and  advocating the preservation of historical buildings in town. Some of  their members have even opened up their ancestral homes to both local  and foreign tourists as bed & breakfasts in order to familiarize  Boholano culture to outsiders.

Stepping inside the Malon house was like taking a trip back in time to the late 19th century when the house was first built.
Living room
The first thing I noticed were the shells that lined both sides of the stairs that lead to the main part of the house, exquisitely lit up by the sun's rays streaming in from a partly open window upstairs. On the foyer is a portrait of the matron of the house, Dona Ambrocia Ypong de Malon, a wealthy merchant - above a painting of the family tree. The Malon house is the biggest ancestral house in Baclayon and the site of many politial meetings with Bohol-born President Carlos Garcia when the patron of the house, Juan Malon, was working with the Baclayon Municipal hall. The house was originally T-shaped, but the wing facing the sea was destroyed by a typhoon in 1968. Today, it still serves as the home to the 6th generation of the Malon family and is also a musuem and a bed & breakfast.

Stepping back out into the real world, we drove to the town of Carmen, to the site of Bohol's most famous attraction - the Chocolate Hills.
Chocolate Hills
Hills, schmills. They've always looked like boobs to me. There's an estimated 1,268 of these babies, made of marine limestones over clay formations. They're green during the wet season (we oly have2 here in the Philippines) which turn brown during the dry and hence the name. Because of its composition, trees don't really last on these hills, which also explains the smoothness of their dome-like shape. The Chocolate Hills are rather famous, and let me just say that photos just do not do any justice to them. I didn't think I'd be all that impressed at their sight (I've seen tons of pictures), until I actually got to see them with my own eyes. Climbing up 214 steps to the viewing deck was so worth the effort where I was able to appreciate them in their full glory. Additional amusement was also provided by tourists making all sorts of jumping poses on the lower viewing deck.
Loboc Church


The rain started to pour again, it's a good thing we were already heading out and in the car. We decided to opt out of the Loboc River cruise since we really couldn't spare 2 hours through a river with food we had received mixed reviews about. Besides, the cultural entertainment on board I think would be much more entertaining to foreign rather than local tourists. I've had my share (as I'm sure Nena has) at the Singing Cooks & Waiters restaurant back home anyway.

We decided to go grab some lunch at another carinderia in Loboc. The town is known as the cadle of the Boholano soul, where the values of the Boholanos were first molded during the first hundred years of the Spanish occupation. The second oldest Christian settlement was founded in 1596 and, in 1600, the Jesuit missionaries in Baclayon moved their headquarters here after a Moro invasion.
Loboc Museum
In just a couple of  years, Loboc became a parish - the oldest in the island. Another two years later in 1604, the Jesuits established a boarding school for local boys which laid the foundation for Loboc's musical heritage, which is world-renown today in the form of the Loboc Children's Choir. The Jesuits stayed on until the mid 18th century when they were once again forced out by the needs of the time.

Being the lucky ducks that we were, the rain had subsided by the time we were done. We were able to go in and around the church right before a funeral procession arrived for a mass. The church was first built in 1602 and destroyed by fire some thirty years later. It was rebuilt in typical Jesuit colonial fashion shortly after on the site beside the original one. The Agustunian Recollects took over the church after the Jesuits had moved back to Baclayon and a built the free-standing bell tower, the arcade facade, the mortuary chapel, the stone buttresses, and the three-storey convent.
Loboc Church
The interiors of the church are just stunning as the history that surrounds it, from the stone carvings to the ceiling murals. Sadly, the church is also in a deteriorating state, annually threatened by floods and negligence.

Behind the church is the Loboc Museum which we were unfortunately unable to enter as it was only open in the mornings on Sundays, which today was. Across from the church is the biggest, if not the only eyesore in the town - Bohol's version of a bridge to nowhere. It's the most wonderful example of the local government's brilliance - an  unfinished bridge that would've ran right smack through the church. More brilliant still is the fact that they wanted to demolish the  church in order to complete the bridge. Be damned, all ye politicians!

With that, it was time to see those little critters who are only cute because they're small - the tarsiers! We stopped by a roadside tarsier place and though I've seen photos of them, it was only then that I realized how much they look like Yoda! I could almost hear Frank Oz's voice in the background as they would turn their heads 180 degrees to check you out.
Wakey, wakey!
And the highlight of this little visit -- I got to feed one a cricket! I asked the guy if he was sure I could since little monkey Yoda looked like he was fast asleep. But the guy insisted I just bring the cricket real close to his mouth, which I did. And man! How the little guy with the huge eyes just snapped the poor cricket off the skewer in one go! Oh, and you could hear the crunch too. Cool.

Next stop was the Clarin House in the town of Loay. This was the residence of former Bohol governor, Don Aniceto Velez and  his son, former senate president, Jose Butalid Clarin. The house is  typical of rich Boholanos of the time. Collections of the family dating  back to the American period are on display as it has has now been  converted to a museum.
Clarin House
Nevertheless, the place is in need of repair and  a P20 entrance fee/donation is required.

On the corner from this place I noticed this old, gigantic and decrepit building. As Nena wanted to take photographs of the Town Hall on the opposite end of the street, I decided to check out this seemingly haunted place (I just love to spook myself out!). It turns out to be a school that seemed abandoned, where even ants don't dare walk. So I walked up the stone steps, looking behind me every so often and making sure I didn't hear any paranormal voices cry "help me" in my ear. I walked to the left to get a peek at the window. My skin crawled as I saw that the children had left their belongings there. There were still stuff posted on the walls and a clean blackboard. And all of a sudden, strange and eerie thoughts were running through my head.
What looms there?
What aweful and blood-curdling events took place here? I took a couple of shots, expecting my camera to register something my eyes couldn't see, and ran back down towards the town hall. It started to rain again and back in the car we went.

I asked the driver about the school, I wanted to know everything - how many children were killed/rapped/massacred and by whom? And why? And when? And why were their books still there left on top of their desks? Has the place been blessed since? Are their souls in peace?? To my disappointment (yes, I'm mentally ill), all the driver said was, "Ay ma'am, bukas pa ho yan." (The school's still in operation.) Wenk, wenk, wenk, wenk, wenk....Nice going, Nancy Drew. What a dumbass, the books should've already been a dead giveaway, but nooooo, I was so convinced that something emotionally disturbing had happened there.
Albuquerque Church


ANYWAY. We next stopped by another impressive church which we noticed on the way to the Chocolate Hills. It was the Albuquerque Church in the town of...Alburquerque - Bohol! The parish was established in 1869 after being separated from Baclayon. An 1886 report indicates that the church was built of light  materials, however, the convento beside it described as "de grandes dimensiones" was already standing. It's too bad that the church was closed when we got there and were unable to explore her interiors, I'm sure it would've been as grand on the inside!

With that out of the way, we were now headed towards our last stop, the Dauis Church before having our dinner at Panglao beach.
Luza house living room
However, we were side-tracked along the way. We stopped by a house to buy some Bohol-famous ube, or purple yam, when the charming old lady looking out the upstairs window invited us to come see the place. It was only then that we realized that this was the Luza House - one of the houses featured on the calendar on Baclayon's ancestral homes that we bought at the Malon house earlier. Talk about a double delight! The calendar describes it as a "large turn-of-the-century home of wealthy and influential local merchant, Fortunato Luza and his wife, Maria Ginete. Expansive large capiz windows and artistically wrought iron ventanillas lend this house an elegant flair. Currently the home of well-known Boholano artist Lutgardo Labad, it also offers B&B accommodations." Hmm, I'm not too sure about its current resident though as the lady pointed out a portrait of her parents who built this house in the early 1900s.
Blood Compact site
At least that's what I think she said. My memory really sucks.

We thanked her for the ube and the tour of the house and made our way to the Dauis Church. On the way, our driver pointed out the site of the blood compact that took place between Miguel Lopez de Legazpi of Spain and Rajah Sikatuna of Bohol. We were side tracked once again! History has taught us that on March 16, 1565 both Legazpi and Sikatuna drew blood from their arms, collected it in a single cup, and slurped it up in one go - an act which boldly signified their gayhood. Or wait, was it peace and friendship?

Anyway, after a couple of shots there, we finally made it to the Dauis Church on the island of Panglao.
Dauis Church
It's too bad that a mass had started right when we stepped it, making it disrespecful to take photos inside. I was able to sneak a few shots, but in my haste they came out blurred. Haha karma! But anyway, there wasn't much to do after that so we headed to the famous beach for dinner.

I was rather disappoined to find the place a mini version of Boracay. I'd mentioned reasons for my dislike in another blog here so I won't repeat myself. Let's just say that Nena and I had quite an enjoyable dinner of  grilled seafood, pork barbeque, an ice-cold coke and a beer to cap it off!

What a daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyy!

sunstroke says:
great blog! ;)
Posted on: Jul 01, 2008
blurbmoi says:
This is a really nice blog. Hahaha so funny re the school still being used and manong had to burst your eerie bubble;-)
Your pictures are great, so proud of ya fellow Filipina!
Posted on: Jul 01, 2008
planisphere says:
i am so loving your blog. wait, loboc church is different from baclayon?
Posted on: Jun 21, 2008
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Malon house
Malon house
Going up
Going up
Living room
Living room
Chocolate Hills
Chocolate Hills
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Museum
Loboc Museum
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Wakey, wakey!
Wakey, wakey!
Clarin House
Clarin House
What looms there?
What looms there?
Albuquerque Church
Albuquerque Church
Luza house living room
Luza house living room
Blood Compact site
Blood Compact site
Dauis Church
Dauis Church
Panglao Beach at dusk
Panglao Beach at dusk
Malon House
Malon House
Malon boy
Malon boy
Malon family tree
Malon family tree
That santo gives me the creeps...
That santo gives me the creeps...
...I can imagine it roaming here a…
...I can imagine it roaming here …
Living room
Living room
Traditional Filipina clothing, or …
Traditional Filipina clothing, or…
I love old books!
I love old books!
Floor decor
Floor decor
Dining room
Dining room
China cabinet
China cabinet
I would love to have breakfast here
I would love to have breakfast here
Antique bed with matching...
Antique bed with matching...
...antique dresser
...antique dresser
Our guide Emie & the lady of the h…
Our guide Emie & the lady of the …
Going down
Going down
Float
Float
Nena: Blehh...they dont seem too …
Nena: Blehh...they don't seem too…
A-coochie-coochie!
A-coochie-coochie!
Thats more like it!
That's more like it!
Good God, woman, what are you doin…
Good God, woman, what are you doi…
Shoot that poison arrow through my…
Shoot that poison arrow through m…
I wonder what that babys menal he…
I wonder what that baby's menal h…
How Korean tele-novela-ish
How Korean tele-novela-ish
Kyut ka sana
Kyut ka sana
Whats on that deck over there?
What's on that deck over there?
Chimmy of course!
Chimmy of course!
Chimmy enjoying her day-off
Chimmy enjoying her day-off
Nena!
Nena!
Tree
Tree
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church - see the casket in t…
Loboc Church - see the casket in …
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Loboc bell tower
Loboc bell tower
Loboc bell tower
Loboc bell tower
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Church & Museum
Church & Museum
Loboc Museum
Loboc Museum
Loboc Museum plaque
Loboc Museum plaque
Loboc Museum
Loboc Museum
Loboc Museum
Loboc Museum
Loboc Museum
Loboc Museum
Loboc Museum
Loboc Museum
Loboc River Cruise
Loboc River Cruise
Tarsier
Tarsier
Kamon, dont shy...
Kamon, don't shy...
Shyder is Yoda
Shyder is Yoda
Snabero pati!
Snabero pati!
Feeding time...
Feeding time...
...for Yoda!
...for Yoda!
A flying lemur...
A flying lemur...
...plus one...
...plus one...
...makes two!
...makes two!
Boholano scarecrow...
Boholano scarecrow...
...guzzling down some rum.
...guzzling down some rum.
Oist, gimme!!
Oist, gimme!!
Singage
Singage
Clarin House
Clarin House
Clarin House
Clarin House
Plaque
Plaque
Living Room
Living Room
Living room
Living room
Photo wall
Photo wall
Peechurs
Peechurs
I wonder if these rock on their o…
I wonder if these rock on their "…
Flag
Flag
Antique gas lamp
Antique gas lamp
A chess table...
A chess table...
...but not any ordinary chess tabl…
...but not any ordinary chess tab…
Master bedroom
Master bedroom
The Gov. & Mrs. Clarins wedding s…
The Gov. & Mrs. Clarin's wedding …
And look at that rusty tack on the…
And look at that rusty tack on th…
A trapdoor to make it easier for t…
A trapdoor to make it easier for …
Pretty, pretty
Pretty, pretty
Moonie-moonie corner. Thats a spi…
Moonie-moonie corner. That's a sp…
Bedroom view of the Loay Town Hall
Bedroom view of the Loay Town Hall
Bedroom
Bedroom
A birthing chair from the old days
A birthing chair from the old days
Bedroom entrance
Bedroom entrance
More sayas on display
More sayas on display
Bedroom 2
Bedroom 2
Bed frame detail
Bed frame detail
Posh bed
Posh bed
More posh beds from the time
More posh beds from the time
Bedroom
Bedroom
Bedroom shrine
Bedroom shrine
Bedroom
Bedroom
Study
Study
Websters Dictionary...
Webster's Dictionary...
...the first ite, of interest in t…
...the first ite, of interest in …
Dining room
Dining room
Antique kitchenware
Antique kitchenware
Antique china
Antique china
Dining room
Dining room
Forgot what this is called
Forgot what this is called
The garden / Olegario Cafe
The garden / Olegario Cafe
Garden
Garden
Bottles
Bottles
More bottles
More bottles
Turtle bath, anyone?
Turtle bath, anyone?
The Clarins loved chess!
The Clarins loved chess!
Wheres Sadako?
Where's Sadako?
Monkey see, monkey do
Monkey see, monkey do
The haunted school
The haunted school
Creepy!
Creepy!
Oohhh...
Oohhh...
Aahhh...
Aahhh...
Lets play detective
Let's play detective
Who goes there?
Who goes there?
Ngyaar! (Trans: Gasp!)
Ngyaar! (Trans: Gasp!)
The children left their stuff behi…
The children left their stuff beh…
Loay Town Hall
Loay Town Hall
Loay Town Hall
Loay Town Hall
Albuquerque Church
Albuquerque Church
Albuquerque Church
Albuquerque Church
Albuquerque Church
Albuquerque Church
Albuquerque Church
Albuquerque Church
Albuquerque Church
Albuquerque Church
Albuquerque Church
Albuquerque Church
Albuquerque Church
Albuquerque Church
Albuquerque Church
Albuquerque Church
Albuquerque Church
Albuquerque Church
Albuquerque Church
Albuquerque Church
Albuquerque Church
Albuquerque Church
Albuquerque Church
Albuquerque Church
Albuquerque Church
Albuquerque Church
Luza House
Luza House
Luza House
Luza House
Living room
Living room
between Legazpi & Sikatuna
between Legazpi & Sikatuna
Cheerio!
Cheerio!
Nena takes a swig
Nena takes a swig
Ill raise my Tabo to you, oye!
I'll raise my Tabo to you, oye!
Dauis Church
Dauis Church
Dauis Church
Dauis Church
Dauis Church
Dauis Church
Dauis Church
Dauis Church
Dauis Church
Dauis Church
Dauis Church
Dauis Church
Dauis Church
Dauis Church
Nena & I - our only photo together
Nena & I - our only photo together
Bohol
photo by: ted332