Urban Hiking Adventure

I got tired of seeing the same view every day in my jogging route so I wanted to go elsewhere to break the monotony and at the same time to satiate and quench my thirst for adventure.

So instead of wide avenues or even the rubberized tracks , I decided to take the paths less taken. The maze and labyrinth of urban slums, and to make it more challenging,  I chose the uphill terrains.

Together with a 14-year old nephew and another  cousin, we started our trek in San Antonio Village of Barangay Apas at around 4pm and snaked our way through unfamiliar alleys, asking directions as we go along. Then we passed through a valley within a military reservation park , crossed a makeshift wooden bridge, went down a gorge then up again to converge in Transcentral Highway.

We continued our walk uphill, by this time the  sun’s rays were already getting weaker, overwhelmed by the cold mountain breeze. In the distance, the skyscrapers of Cebu Business Park are visible but looked like miniature toys which reminded us of the elevation we’re at. So its time to head home before it gets dark.

Sweating profusely, contented but a bit sad. We’ve seen a lot today, a different part of Cebu that perhaps very few of you have seen. Yes, the view of majestic mountains is spellbinding. But looking around there is another scenery.

The contrast and disparity of life between the haves in their lofty condominiums perched in the mountain side and the have nots in makeshift houses made of tarps along riverbanks and creeks.

Sometimes you cannot help yourself get emotional. You want to change the world but then reality hits you back with the fact that you are merely passing by. A transient caught in between the widening gap of rich and poor.

Exercise goals achieved yet the enormity of inequality remains.

Whew, what an afternoon…….what a life!




Remember September

Official  Observances for  the month of September:

Non-working Holiday:  September 13: Id-ul-Adha( Feast of Sacrifice)

Non-holiday Observances only: 

Monthly Observances:

-Anti-Rat Campaign Month (Proclamation No. 179, s. 1955)
-Health, Safety and Sanitation Month (Proclamation No. 115-A, s. 1966)
-National Clean-up Month (Proclamation No. 244, s. 1993)
-Civil Service Month (Proclamation No. 1050, s. 1997)
-Development Policy Research Month (Proclamation No. 247, s. 2002)
-National Peace Consciousness Month (Proclamation No. 675, s. 2004)
-Social Security Month (Proclamation No. 682, s. 2004)
-Rule of Law Month (Proclamation No. 713, s. 2004)
-Public Relations Month (Proclamation No. 1357, s. 2007)
-Peoples Management Month (Proclamation No. 1614, s. 2008)
-Blood Diseases Month (Proclamation No. 1833, s. 2009)
-Cybersecurity Awareness Month (Proclamation No. 2054, s. 2010)
-National Teachers’ Month (September 5-October 5) (Proclamation No. 242, s. 2011)
Weekly Observances:
Weekly observances with specific dates:
September 16 – 22: Cerebral Palsy Awareness and Protection Week (Proclamation No. 588, s. 2004)

September 17 – 23: World Clean and Green Week (Proclamation No. 244, s. 1993)

Weekly observances without specific dates:
Week 1:
National Crime Prevention Week (Proclamation No. 461, s. 1994)
Obesity Prevention Awareness Week (Proclamation No. 162, s. 1999)
National Epilepsy Awareness Week (Proclamation No. 230, s. 2002)
Week 2: Education Week (Proclamation No. 409, s. 1953)

Week 3:
Medical Technology Week (Proclamation No. 1181, s. 1973)
Design Consciousness Week (Proclamation No. 1259, s. 1974)
National Building Management Industry Week (Proclamation No. 12, s. 1998)
Chemical Engineering Week (Proclamation No. 1365, s. 2007)
Week 4: Medicine Week (Proclamation No. 439, s. 1957)

Last Week:
Family Week (Proclamation No. 60, s. 1992)
National Tourism Week (Proclamation No. 894, s. 1996)
Daily Observances:
Daily observances without specific dates:
Third Saturday of September: International Coastal Clean-up Day (Proclamation No. 470, s. 2003)

Third Monday of September: World Health Day (Proclamation No. 144, s. 1963)

Last Friday of September: National Maritime Day (Proclamation No. 866, s. 1966)

Daily observances with specific dates:
September 1:
Birth anniversary of Senate President Gil J. Puyat (1907)
September 2:
Birth anniversary of National Scientist Gregorio T. Velasquez (1901)
Birth anniversary of Chief Justice Fred Ruiz Castro (1914)
Death anniversary of National Scientist Geminiano T. de Ocampo (1987)
September 3:
Death Anniversary of Chief Justice Cesar Bengzon (1992)
September 4:
Birth anniversary of Speaker of the National Assembly Benigno S. Aquino, Sr. (1894)
September 5:
Birth anniversary of National Artist Ildefonso Santos Jr. (1929)
September 6:
Birth anniversary of National Artist Francisco Arcellana (1916)
September 8:
National Literacy Day (Proclamation No. 1886, s. 1979)
National Physical Therapy Day (Proclamation No. 15, s. 1998)
Birth anniversary of National Artist N.V.M. Gonzales (1915)
Death anniversary of National Scientist Pedro B. Escuro (2000)
September 9:
Birth anniversary of President Sergio Osmeña (1878)
Birth anniversary of Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives Quintin B. Paredes (1884)
September 10:
Anniversary of the Official Gazette (1902)
September 11:
Birth anniversary of Speaker of the National Assembly Gil Montilla (1876)
Birth anniversary of Speaker of the House of Representatives Cornelio T. Villareal (1904)
Birth anniversary of Speaker of the House of Representatives Daniel Romualdez (1907)
Birth anniversary of President Ferdinand E. Marcos (1917)
September 12:
Birth anniversary of National Artist Gerardo de Leon (1913)
September 13:
Birth anniversary of National Artist Amado V. Hernandez (1903)
Death anniversary of National Scientist Julian A. Banzon (1988)
September 14:
Founding anniversary of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Executive Order No. 125, s. 1993)
September 15:
Death anniversary of National Scientist Casimiro V. del Rosario (1982)
Philippine Medicine Day (Proclamation No. 407, s. 1953)
September 16:
Birth anniversary of National Scientist Geminiano T. de Ocampo (1907)
Death anniversary of Senate President Neptali A. Gonzales (2001)
September 19:
Birth anniversary of Senate President Arturo M. Tolentino (1910)
Death anniversary of National Artist Francisco F. Feliciano (2014)
Civil Service Commission (Public Law No. 5 of 1900)
Founding anniversary of the Order of Gabriela Silang (Executive Order No. 236, s. 2003)
Founding anniversary of the Order of Lakandula (Executive Order No. 236, s. 2003)
Founding anniversary of the Order of National Social Scientists (Executive Order No. 236, s. 2003)
Law Day (Proclamation No. 1477, s. 1975)
September 20:
Birthday of National Scientist Dolores A. Ramirez (1931)
September 24:
Birth anniversary of Chief Justice and Speaker of the National Assembly José Yulo (1894)
Birthday of Senate President Edgardo J. Angara (1934)
September 26:
Department of Justice (Decree of Aguinaldo, 1898)
September 28:
Birth anniversary of President Diosdado Macapagal (1910)
Death anniversary of President Ferdinand E. Marcos (1989)
September 29:
Birth anniversary of National Scientist Juan Salcedo Jr. (1904)

Founding anniversary of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (Republic Act No. 9160 of 2001)

Sea of Garbage 

​This is about garbage crisis and if you love Cebu, this should worry you. 

Calling the attention of Cebu city governmentMega Cebu , SRP locators and every true-blue Cebuano. 

The garbage collection schedule here in barangay Guadalupe is supposed to be three times a week. Now its once every three weeks!  

Few meters from my house is the once pristine Guadalupe river, now the dumping site of so many communities along the riverbank.

Unless we do something about it immediately, in less than 10 years, Mactan channel will be as dirty as Manila bay. 

Looking at those high-end restaurants in Il Corso, this thought scares me but I can guarantee, that panoramic view of the sea will soon turn into a view of sea of garbage. Very soon.

We’re talking of tens if not hundreds of tons of trash going into the very heart of your beloved city everyday. Guadalupe river serves as boundary between the north and south district barangays. 

You cannot blame the riverside communities. These informal settlers live in tight spaces with no room to spare to hoard their garbage. They have to dispose it everyday but the government can only collect it once a month! 

According to Daniel Basañez, Vice President of Sitio Sta  Lucia Homeowners Association, they don’t have much of a choice, with rat infestation and all, the river offers a convenient and practical place to dump garbage.

Mr. Daniel Basañez

The next rain will carry all these things straight to Mactan channel, to the vicinity of SRP in less than a day. From broken t.v’s to all sorts of plastics. The river, now a giant sewer,  never fails to deliver on time! 
There are so many plans you hear around from politicians to NGO’s about the river but until now, they remain as they are, grand and ambitious​ plans, while the dumping continue unabated. 

Mr. Basañez ​promised to support any initiative that will provide alternative to the current situation.For instance, if they have the resource and means, on their own they are willing to collect the garbage in their community on a daily basis so this can be properly disposed.

Improvised motorcycles like the one in the picture below is perfect for inner city settlements with narrow roads. 

With the urgency at hand, intervention  is of utmost importance. The rest of those grand plans can easily follow.

We cannot change the world, but we can make a difference, one community at a time.

For those willing to help, just leave  a message.

For further readings on the matter:

Guadalupe river rehab (Sunstar June 2015) 

Island of trash ( The Freeman March 2016)

DENR Asks help for river clean-up

5 Reasons Mayor Tom is in the headlines 

​Since his return to the city hall, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña made headlines not for new projects initiated but for the things he stopped or recalled.

Some look at it as indication of a strong and decisive leader, others call it, the pinnacle of arrogance.

5 things that make the comebacking mayor controversial. Here we go:

1. Mega Cebu membership Cebu city is the heart of the metropolis, exclude it and there is no Mega Cebu to envision or even dream about. They call it CCexit, I simply call it blackmail.

I don’t have anything to do with Mega Cebu. It is Mega Cebu now minus one,”Mayor Tom 

Read here: Sunstar: City backs out of Mega Cebu

2. Recall of City owned vehicles

​Recalled for ‘inventory purposes’, these vehicles previously issued to the barangays serve various purposes. Confiscating it for an indefinite period of time hampers the delivery of basic services. 

Read here: Cebu Daily News: Tom taketh away

3. Police reward and allowance

​He started early and strong in the campaign against drugs, giving outright reward for every criminal and druglord killed but Mayor Tom backpedals when the city police chief was replaced without his consent.  

“Kamo na lay magbuot…”  –Tom O.

Read here: Sunstar: Tomas stops reward

4.Sinulog sa Kabataan 

​Sinulog has always been participated by students. Without them, Sinulog will not be this popular today. Its like halo-halo minus the ice. 

“Who are the models of Sto. Niño? The night high school students who are trying to study or the other people out the street making noise so these people (night students) cannot study ”          –Mayor Tom

Read more: CDN: No more Sinulog sa Kabataan

5. Miss Cebu

​After 32 years, the annual beauty pageant showcasing the beauty and  talent from Cebu city’s barangays will no longer be a title to covet. No more crown to aspire!

“Ms Cebu will be canceled. Why? (It’s a) waste of money. It’s very elitist. It’s only for the rich,”

 – Mayor Tom

Read more: Sunstar: Time to stop Miss Cebu

Its just the second month of his fresh term, Mayor Tom is only warming up. For sure, this list is far from complete.

-photo credit to the rightful owners

Metro Stores growing fast

Homegrown supermarket brand,  Metro Stores, is riding the waves of exponential growth as it nets P262M for the past 12 months.

Recognized as the market leader in the Visayas for the hypermarket segment, Metro Retail Stores Group continue to position itself as the dominant player in the region with the opening  of new stores in key cities and fast-growing towns.  

Metro Stores recently entered a contract with Ayala Malls for the operation of four (4) supermarkets and/or department stores in upcoming Ayala developments in Cebu, Negros Occidental and in Metro Manila.

Negros Oriental will also have its first Metro Store soon as the company inked a partnership deal with the local government unit.

Growing 26% year on year, the company is showing strong indications that it is gearing towards becoming a major player in the retail industry, this time, not only in the Visayas. 

Indeed, there’s something for you at the METRO! 

Cebu Railway Project


At this very moment, major thoroughfares in Metro Cebu are choked once again in a worsening traffic comparable to that of Metro Manila already. So this news about mass transit system in Cebu  may at least give us a dose of hope.

.Singapore experts in Cebu for railway study


A project of this kind is long overdue for a metropolitan area of 2 million residents.  The past years there was a long discussion and excitement about Cebu BRT. But that project  is yet to hit the road. But this was before Duterte became president.



The new Philippines

This is still the Philippines, our beloved country. No head or tail, all regions are equal.

For so long a time, our perspective and perception towards our nation seem to reflect with our map orientation. Luzon being on top.

Mindanao was clearly left behind in government attention and resources. Bottom dweller Mindanao has always been lagging behind in terms of development and progress.

But today things are taking  a complete turn-around. While the first Mindanaoan President is delivering his first SONA, listening attentively  behind are Senate President Koko Pimentel and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. Both hails from Mindanao.

Facing the nation in a momentous occasion, our three highest leaders are all from Mindanao. This will go down in history as the epic day our map swings around. Today, Mindanao is the new north.
Sometimes we need to take an upside down look at things just to  realize or perhaps recognize our true coordinates.

Uswag Pilipinas!

Cebu: Nowhere to expand but up


Cebu has a limited buildable space, only eight percent (8%) of its total land area is flat and this is spread along the coastline of an elongated island. You only have two options, go north or south.

In the 60’s, southward development started in San Nicolas Mambaling area. Subdivisions like Ma. Gochan with its fruity streets Avocado, Bayabas, Caimito, etc. Then Labangon, Punta Princesa and Tisa became residential areas with corn and peanut fields giving way to housing structures.

The 70’s saw expansion reaching the barangays of Pardo in the South and Mabolo in the north. During this time, the city of government of Cebu realized the scarce land resource and to address the need requirement by a rapidly growing city like Cebu, planning started for the North Reclamation project which eventually became the home of SM’s first mall outside Metro Manila

During the 80’s, expansion continued filling every available space from Guadalupe to Pardo in the South and and in the north, Lito Osmena started to move farther north the haven of the ultra-rich, Maria Luisa Subdivision. Yes, Banilad at that time was considered very far from the city. I’m not that old yet but I still remember buying Japanese corn in what would become  Gaisano Country Mall.

The 90’s saw an unprecedented growth in Cebu. Dubbed “Ceboom”, the tandem of governor Lito Osmena and Mayor Tom Osmena opened Cebu to opportunities never seen before. Manila developers went on crazy shopping for space. Ayala cornered the provincial lot utilized as golf course while SM secured the greatest chunk in the new reclamation. The residential expansion now extends from Talisay city to Mandaue city. The northward expansion shifted westward to Mactan island after plans for a 2nd bridge floated.

To continue the legacy of his father, Tom Osmena proposed the South Reclamation project even before the North was completely sold-out. Also called the age of malling, Cebu saw three giant malls opening within an 18-month period. Gaisano Country Mall broke ground late but was the first to open followed by SM then by ACC. How these stores almost killed the business in Colon will be a good separate story

Condominiums started out in Cebu not as housing solution but as status symbol for the rich. This was however short-lived with the onset of the Asian Crisis in 1997-98. The slowdown in real estate activities continued into the new millennium.

Ceboom part 2 started around 2006 and growth went exponential since then. Two things happened, residential properties now pushed farther north in Liloan and down south in Naga city., and traffic has become an ever worsening occurrence.

Traffic and scarcity of land  indicate one thing , there’s nowhere to go but up. If you buy a house in Liloan for example with a monthly amortization of 15,000 pesos , you would need more or less the same amount monthly for you and your family to commute to the city. Not to mention the amount of time you need to bear in daily traffic.

Traffic will get worse, believe me. With just one major road going north and one going south, daily snarl will be as predictable as the sunrise. We can always build a new highway but where? Slice it in the mountains or erect a viaduct above the sea?

Cebu’s topography is telling us, its time to buy a condo in the city.

Nowhere to go but up, a skyscraper city in the making.



photo credit to :romanslerz/skyscrapercity



African Safari in Cebu?

Imagine yourself  aboard a  top-down vehicle enjoying a view of African gazelles grazing side by side with the zebras. Different species of deer running and jumping recklessly by the roadside are being watched by a pair of rhinos nearby. A family of giraffes are also   observing in the distance. The afternoon breeze is filled with unfamiliar sounds of different animals,   but one thunderous sound is distinctly recognizable- that of a roaring lion!

No…..you are not dreaming. The sounds and animals are real but you’re not in an African Savannah.

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Welcome to a wild  African safari ………..in Carmen, Cebu..  A sprawling  100+ hectare conservation park is being developed by the prominent Lhuillier family for several years now. Located in the northern town of Carmen, the park is slated for opening in early 2017 as hundreds of different animals are still arriving from the tropical plains of Africa.

The highly secured nature park will also feature one of the largest aviary in the country and a swan lake where visitors can also take a boat ride.

dtl.francophoto credit to dtl.frasco

 Tourists keep coming back  as there is always something new in Cebu.  By the way, have you tried swimming with the whale sharks of  Oslob already?, what about the thresher sharks of Malapascua or the dancing sardines off Moalboal. How about our mountains and caves? Balay sa Agta in Argao, Mt Kapayas in Carmen, Bukilat cave in Camotes island…..and a whole lot more.

For the adventurous, I recommend mcpb, Cebu’s number one.