Sunday, January 13, 2013

Celebrities join Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo Aklan

The Ati-Atihan Festival of Kalibo, Aklan, Philippine
AKLAN, Philippines -- A livelier and more upbeat celebration of this year’s Ati-Atihan Festival – widely-known as the “Mother of All Festivals” – is set to happen this Monday, January 14, 2013.

The Ati-Atihan Festival is a feast held annually in January in honor of the Senior Santo Niño (Infant Jesus), concluding on the third Sunday, in the island and town of Kalibo, Aklan in the Philippines.
Organizers said hottest stars from Manila will also come to participate in the spectacular fete.

A Kapuso Night (a night with GMA artists) filled with dancing, music and other merry-making activities takes place at the Pastrana Park at 6:00 PM. Set to lead the celebration are lovely Kapuso leading ladies Kris Bernal and Louise delos Reyes, together with Party Pilipinas mainstay Mark Bautista.

Last January 11, two homegrown hearththrobs, Aljur Abrenica and Mark Herras, graced the “Mutya Ag Lakan It Kalibo 2013 Grand Pageant Finale and Coronation Night” which happened at the Gov. Augusto B. Legaspi Sports and Cultural Center.

Aljur serenaded the female contestants while Mark acted as one of the event’s judges. In this year’s pageant, a total of 24 finalists vied for the crown and titles of Mutya and Lakan of Kalibo Ati-Atihan.

Local celebrities from GMA network joins the event
GMA Iloilo Station Manager, Mr. Jonathan Cabillon, says “GMA Network is very much excited to take part in one of the most colorful and rhythmic Philippine Festivals, the Ati-Atihan. Our artists have prepared long and hard for their participation, and we look forward to the Kapusong Aklanons’ delight.”
The full details of the Network’s participation in the 2013 Ati-Atihan Festival will be featured in the weekly travelogue “Let's Fiesta” airing on January 27 via the Network’s regional stations in Bicol, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Dagupan, Ilocos, GenSan, Bacolod, and CDO.

Meanwhile, the name "Ati-Atihan" means "to be like Aetas" or "make believe Ati's." Aetas were the primary settlers in the islands according to history books. They too are the earliest settlers of Panay Island where the province of Aklan is situated.

The festival consists of tribal dance, music, accompanied by indigenous costumes and weapons, and parade along the street. Christians and non-Christians observe this day with religious processions. It has inspired many other Philippine Festivals including the Sinulog Festival of Cebu and Dinagyang of Iloilo, both adaptations of the Kalibo Ati-Atihan Festival.

The phrase "Hala Bira! Pwera Pasma!" is originally associated with the Sto. Nino Ati-Atihan Festival as the revelers and devotees keep on going with the festivities all over the town from morning to the wee hours of the next morning, rain or shine, for one week or even more. They believe that the miraculous Child Jesus will protect them from harm and illness.

The highlight of the festival occurs on the last day, the third Sunday of January, when groups representing different tribes compete for tourists' attention and prizes. The festival ends with a procession of thousands of people carrying torches and different kinds of images of the Santo Niño.

The Ati-Atihan was originally a pagan festival from this tribe practicing Animism, and their worshiping their anito god. Spanish missionaries gradually added a Christian meaning. Today, the Ati-Atihan is celebrated as a religious festival. (Ricky Bautista)

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Feast of the Black Nazarene: Devotees flood Manila streets

Devotees of the Black Nazarene flooded the streets of Manila
QUIAPO, Manila -- The main streets of Manila turn into ocean of people as the entire Filipino nation celebrates today, January 9, 2013, the Feast of the Black Nazarene.

Every year on this date, the city of Manila – the capital of the Philippines and being worldwide known being a catholic country turns into ocean of Filipino devotees joining the procession along the streets of Manila, one of the popular piety or tradition in the country.

As this developed, the government prime security groups such as the police and its multipliers, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has deployed thousands of its men to ensure the safety of the devotees.

As usual, millions of Filipino devotees attended the mass ceremony at Quirino Grandstand and at around 7 o’clock in the morning of January 9, the procession moves on to the main streets of Manila. Many believe that by joining this religious activity their ‘wish’ will be granted by the miraculous Black Nazarene.

Devotees normally wear maroon shirts and walk barefoot with the image as an act of penance and a sign of humility while yelling “Viva Senor”. Devotees hold the rope pulling the image’s carriage.

During the procession, people are reaching for the rope and the image of the Black Nazarene. Other people also throw towels in the image. It is said that people who have touched the image, or those towels have been healed, cured from the disease.

This occasion is also a great opportunity for the small time entrepreneurs who sell various religious souvenirs such as printed shirts, icons, towels and other items. Lawless elements such as pick-pocketers and salisi group also take opportunity in this event.

The Black Nazarene icon

Filipinos believed the icon is miraculous
The Black Nazarene is a life-size statue of Jesus Christ carrying a cross. It is said that the icon was brought by an Agustinian Recollect priest of Acapulco Mexico to the Church of San Juan Bautista in Bagumbayan, Philippines on May 31, 1606.

It is said that the statue of the Black Nazarene has a fair complexion and turned black only after a fire in the galleon vessel on its arrival in the Philippines. After the said incident, historians said, many Filipinos believed it to be miraculous. In 1608, the icon was moved to a bigger Recollect church of San Nicolas de Tolentino in Intramuros. On January 9, 1787 it was transferred to Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila where the image is still currently kept.

Historian Xiao Chua said in his Unang Hirit appearance today the celebration reunites the people carrying different purpose and hopes. A lot of the devotees identify themselves with the passion of Jesus Christ.
Devotees relate life struggles underwent by Jesus, as represented by the image. A lot find the image miraculous, and that is the reason why a lot of sick people or those who are praying for a sick family member participate in this event asking for healing and miracle.

The 2013 Feast of the Black Nazarene is one of the biggest and the longest procession in the Philippine history. Last year, the parade took 22 hours to complete the route as planned from and back to the Quiapo church. It recorded close to 10 million devotees who joined the celebration. (Ricky Bautista)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hospital Ship USNS Mercy visit Samar Philippines

The USNS Hospital Ship Mercy

CATBALOGAN CITY -- The San Diego-based Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy is now in Samar Philippines as part of their four-month humanitarian mission to four Asian nations.

Accordingly, the vessel would complete to visit Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam in the seventh year of a program called Pacific Partnership, according to the Navy.

Today, while parked at Calbayog City territorial sea, several surgical operations on board and medical and dental visitation to Samar municipalities, particularly in this city, have been scheduled. The MEDCAP includes services on medical, dental, optometry, women’s health, and general out-patient consultation.

On June 15, the medical team of the USNS Mercy will hold its “press briefing” at Ciriaco Hotel in Calbayog to members of the tri-media based in Eastern Visayas.

From June 18-24, the enlistment of possible patients will take place as Surgical Civic Action Programs (SURGCAP) will only be held in Calbayog City. Actual surgeries will be performed on-board the USNS Mercy ship after the enlistment.

In this city, Health authorities’ city said medical consultations and free check-ups will be held on June 25 to 30 this year. With the assistance of the City Health Office, the MEDCAP in this city will be at the Silanga Elementary School, Barangay Silanga, among other locations in Catbalogan City.

City Health Officer Dr. Amalia Tirazona said the MEDCAP is set to cater at most 400 patients per day and will further be assisted by Registered Nurses for Health Enhancement and Local Service (RN HEALS) nurses stationed at the City Health Office.

Catbalogan Councilor Stephany Tan also revealed there were also a series of sub-activities relative to the Pacific Partnership 2012 scheduled in this city in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the goal of the program is to build relationships that will help in the event of a natural disaster.

"A lot of planning and coordination among host and partner nation governments and military, civilian organizations and agencies have gone into getting us to this point," said Capt. James Morgan, the mission commander.

The team was guided with the theme: ‘Preparing in calm to respond in crisis.'

Converted from an oil tanker in the mid 1980s, the Mercy first saw duty in the Persian Gulf War. Following that deployment, it left its berth at Naval Base San Diego.

However, the 2004 tsunami that struck Indonesia prompted the hospital ship to return to the area every year since.

The Mercy carries about 400 Naval medical personnel, along with civilian crew members with the Maritime Sealift Command. Crew members on the Mercy will provide medical, dental and veterinary care in the host nations and help with civil engineering projects.

Pacific Partnership also includes personnel from the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps; U.S. State and Justice Departments, Agency for International Development and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.

Japan will contribute a landing ship, helicopters, a medical team and representatives from the country's volunteer organizations.

Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Korea, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand will also deploy personnel in support of the mission.

Other organizations scheduled to take part include the UC San Diego Pre-Dental Society, a student-run free dental clinic; Project Hope, which launched the first civilian hospital ship, LDS Charities; and the University of Hawaii. (Ricky Bautista)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Samar climbers join world record try

CATBALOGAN CITY – In part of celebrating the country’s Independence Day and to help break a world record, nature lovers and mountain enthusiasts from Samar provinces will also join Filipino climbers from all over the country to summit various climbing destinations simultaneously on June 10-13, this year.

Dubbed as The Freedom Climb 2011, the event is aimed to create a new criterion in the Guinness Book of World Records and set a worldwide record for the most people to summit different peaks within 24 hours period.

The current record is: The largest number of people climbing mountains at the same time took place during the "Big Event" on September 10, 2000 when 600 people simultaneously scaled 112 mountains in the United Kingdom and Ireland in a day period.

The national organizers advised interested individual or groups to coordinate with the local offices of the Local Government Units (LGU), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Tourism (DOT), Philippine National Police (PNP), and a Local Mountaineering Group who will likewise endorse the participant and the assign mountain for approval.

In Samar Island, the Centro Outdoor Sports Unlimited (CENTRO), a non-profit, non government organization based in Catbalogan volunteered to gather interested participants from three Samar provinces for a united and systematic climb. The group is now inviting everyone (must be healthy and fit to climb mountain) to complete the 20 persons available slots.

The CENTRO group is known for organizing outdoor events in the entire island of Samar. For the past eight years, they had hosted “Annual Caving Events” which participated in by people from all over the country. It also helped the local government in marketing and promoting various tourism destinations of the province.

“An national organizers hine nga 2011 FREEDOM CLIMB en nag-aaro hin P300 nga rehistro ha kada tawo nga maapi - amo ine an pinaka importante nga rekisitos para han ngatanan nga maapi hine nga aktibidad. Pero ine nga Registration Fee nira kutob la an pagbayad yana nga Abril 30, 2011, lumahos na ngani han Abril 30, 2011 an rehistro en aada na ha P400 - ira ito patakaran dire kanan CENTRO.... Waray pagsusukton bisan piso an CENTRO, hi kita la an magtitirok para magkadurungan la kita pagsaka ngan paglusad ngadto ngan tikang ha Mount Kapudlusan,” Rommel Rutor of Centro Outdoor Sports told this Stringer.

Meanwhile, aside from nurturing national unity, the event aims “to promote environmental awareness, conservation, preservation and protection; to campaign advocacies for responsible sportsmanship, synergism among individuals and groups, and to unite the mountaineering community to achieve greater good.”
Another objective of the annual climb is: “to set new world records, plant trees in the mountains, promote tourism, honor the Philippine heroes, and to unite all Filipino mountaineers.”

In a Facebook page created for this purpose, the CENTRO group encouraged every Samareno to have a vital role on this event as “it is not only help boosting our national pride (but will also) uplift the morale of mountaineers and would-be enthusiasts, rejuvenate environmental awareness and create a positive image of you and the mountaineering community in the Philippines as it become a major player in the world when it comes to mountaineering.”

“Para han mga taga Isla Han Samar, an nakalista nga sasak-on nga bukid, upod han Climb Marshalls han Centro, amo an Mount Kapudlusan nga nahimumutang ha bungto han Maydolong, Eastern Samar,” Rutor said.

During this day, an official “Adjudicator” and representative of Guinness World Records will be coming over to the Philippines from the United Kingdom to announce and authenticate the historic feat. Every participating group will be given certification and special recognition coming from the organizers and Guinness World Records.

Interested participants joining this significant event, the Centro Climb Marshalls gave their contact numbers such as 09207675444 (Ricky), 09292235130 (Rommel) or search the Facebook Page “Freedom Climb 2011 (Samar Island Forum)” for other details and reservation.

Agas-Agas Bridge Zipline offers “Superman” fly experience

The Agas-Agas Bridge in Southern Leyte
TACLOBAN CITY -- The province of Southern Leyte, the home of the country’s tallest Agas-Agas Bridge, is now offering another man-made tourist attraction for everyone who has brave souls.

In last friday's opening, April 15, 2011, the LGU officially launched its “Agas-Agas Bridge Zipline Adventure” letting everyone experience soaring at a high speed, flying by wire like Superman does in his movies. This was first introduced by the local officials last August 9, 2009.

Newsmen from all over the region, including some known tour operators were treated by the organizers for a day free rides with a briefing that on this day, the province will be known as the central of "Adventure Destination in Eastern Visayas."

Constructed between two mountains, the Agas-Agas Bridge Zipline or locally known as “Zipline Leyte” offers an extra-ordinary experience on cable rides that traverse the Mahaplag-Sogod section of the Tacloban-Liloan Road giving a rider full view of the breathtaking panorama and complete refreshing on the bridge’s sky-scraping height.

The organizer led by Governor Damian Mercado are hopeful that last Fridays’s opening would bring in more tourists to witness its opening as well as tested its unique features.

The potential of the bridge, which provides a significant link to motorists traveling from Luzon to Mindanao, was noted when it was inaugurated two years ago and endorsed it by the DPWH to turn it into a haven for sports enthusiasts who are into bungee jumping, paramotor, downhill skateboarding and zipline rappelling and other extreme sports.

The bridge which is constructed through the Philippine-Japan Highway Loan Project has a natural tourist attraction and the construction is very modern.

Since the bridge is situated in a mountainous area, it is regularly reported that movements of loose soil or landslides take place whenever it rains heavily, much more when typhoon strikes the province.

Thus, the viaduct was constructed in 2006 primarily to help motorists avoid the mountainous sections that are prone to landslides and road slips and prevent life and property losses.

According to a DPWH official, this bridge is by far the tallest pier or column that the government has constructed. It involves the construction of a 350 linear meter bridge, with a mix of steel and concrete, supported by two piers from the ground and has a height of 292 feet above ground.

Meanwhile, zip-lines in the country are fast drawing a big crowd of action and adventure seekers from all over the world.  The extraordinary thrill of being suspended on a cable at considerable heights or the joy of zipping through the woods at a high speed makes zip-lines an action-packed activity.

The zipline in Southern Leyte is the third zipline attractions in Eastern Visayas. Recently, the Caluwayan Island Resort in Marabut Samar and the Leyte Park Resort in Tacloban City officially offered a zipline adventures to its adventure seeking clients.

Known as a flying fox, foefie slide, zip wire, aerial runway, or aerial rope slide, a zip-line consists of a pulley suspended on a cable mounted on an incline. It is designed to enable a user propelled by gravity to traverse from the top to the bottom of the inclined cable, usually made of stainless steel, by holding on or attaching to the freely moving pulley. Zip-lines are used in varied ways, and come in various forms.

While others used it as a means of amusement and entertainment, others showcase zip-lines as an adventure activity option.  Accessing remote areas, such as a rainforest canopy would require longer and higher rides.  You may not know it, but in some malls in the country, children’s recreation centers make use of small, indoor zip-lines. (Ricky Bautista)

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Filipinos celebrate 107th Sto. Niño feast

BASEY, Philippines (January 9, 2011) -- Eucharistic celebrations, street dancing festivals, colorful parades, fluvial processions, and other festive commemorative rites will be held in this municipality and in many parts of the country in celebration of the Feast of the Sto. Niño, every third Sunday of January, the month of the Holy Child.

The Catholic Church in the Philippines sets the Holy Child as “an example of humility and as a celebration of the Incarnation of Christ.” The church has approved special liturgical texts for the Feast of the Child Jesus.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

SPECIAL REPORT: Grave violations on children during armed-conflict in EV continues


AMID the existence of an international humanitarian law that supposedly protect the minors in armed-conflict situations, still, grave violations against children continue to be committed in the Eastern Visayas.

In this part of the region, number of civilians killed and displaced, mostly minors continue to increase due to rebels’ attacks or clashes with the government forces. With or without a truce, government soldiers and the rebels conducted its own offensives operations that, most of the time, resulted to the killings of civilians.

Monday, December 20, 2010


The Island of Samar has its own share of nature’s bounty. Among the nature’s jewels which enchantingly lure tourists and local folks includes unexplored mountains and caves which are inhabited by exotic wildlife, pristine shores rimmed by unspoiled coral reefs, cloud-hidden lakes of blue surrounded by multi-colored flowers and beautiful beaches and waterfalls nestled beside a mountain.

Here are some of Samar Island’s beautiful spots I highly recommend to all of you!
(CREDITS: Some of the pictures were contributed by a blogger of and not by anybody else as claimed)

Tarangban Falls, Calbayog City, Samar

3-tiered Pinipisakan Falls in San Jorge, Samar

Marine Rock Formations, Marabut, Samar

Amandaraga Falls, Lawaan E. Samar

Mantikawol Falls, Gamay N. Samar

Pinipisakan Falls, Las Navas N. Samar

The Marine Sanctuary of San Vicente N. Samar

Maharlika Falls, Taft. E. Samar

Lulugayan Falls, Calbiga, Samar

Langun-Gobingob Cave, Calbiga, Samar

Canmaaghit Cave Spring, Can-avid E. Samar

Historic Balangiga Church, Balangiga E. Samar

Binaloan Spring, Taft E. Samar

Camparina-Bito-Burabud Caves, Calbiga, Samar

Belat Pool, Biri N. Samar

KM3 Caves, Las Navas N. Samar

Bangon-Bugtong Falls, Calbayog City, Samar

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


For CLIMBERS: 2 Days 1 Night

Day 1: Journey by road through the countryside, along the ridges of the Crocker Range ends at the Kinabalu Park.

- registering for the climb, and in the company of a mountain guide, the trek begins at the Timpohon Gate
- The trek takes you through the Upper Montane Forest which gradually gives way to sparser vegetation corresponding to the harsher environment and altitude.
- Stop for your packed lunch along the trails. The trek for the day ends at Laban Rata.
- Overnight accommodation is in dormitories.

Day 2: Conquest of the summit, Low's Peak (4,095.2m) begins in the wee hours of the morning to beat the early morning mist and to catch the unforgettable kaleidoscope created by the sunrise from the summit if weather permits.

- A late breakfast at Laban Rata before the final descent back to the Park where successful climbers will receive a certificate to prove their conquest. After lunch and a short rest, depart for Kota Kinabalu at 4.00 pm.

Recommended items to bring for the climb:
- Sturdy walking shoes, rain gear, hat, sun block, warm clothing, a change of clothes, cotton gloves, torchlight and bottle for drinking water.
* Persons with high blood pressure, diabetes and weak hearts are advised not to attempt the climb.


Hi there guys, just an update lang po.

I am organizing an International Climb to Mount Kinabalo sometime next year, maybe on April's Holy Week's time. Just in case, anyone would like to join, you can inform me or contact me for more details about possible requirements, budget estimates, routes and other details. Of course, this matter is exclusively for those who love the outdoors and has healthy minds. hehehe!

Here's my number for direct access: 09207675444