History: Blood Compact

Datu Sikatuna was the Datu (lord) in the island of Bohol in the Philippines. his real name is “Katuna” but “Si” was added to his name as this is a nominative marker for a Filipino. He made a blood compact and alliance with the Spanish explorer Miguel López de Legazpi on March 16, 1565.


Blood compact (in Spanish: Pacto de sangre) was a ritual in the Philippines where tribes would cut their wrist and pour their blood into a cup filled with liquid and drink each other’s blood as part of the tribal tradition to seal a friendship, a pact or treaty, or to validate an agreement.

An example of the blood compact was called Sandugo, which took place in the island of Bohol in the 16th century. The ritual was made between the Spanish explorer Miguel López de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna the chieftain of Bohol. A blood compact was also made between the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and Rajah Humabon the chieftain of Cebu.


Travel: Magellan’s Cross in Cebu

Magellan’s Cross is a Christian cross planted by Portuguese, and Spanish explorers as ordered by Ferdinand Magellan upon arriving in Cebu in the Philippines on April 8, 1521.

This cross is housed in a chapel next to the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño on Magallanes Street (Magallanes being the Spanish name of Magellan), just in front of the city hall of Cebu City. A sign below the cross describes the original cross is encased inside the wooden cross that is found in the center of the chapel. This is to protect the original cross from people who chipped away parts of the cross for souvenir purposes or in the belief that the cross possesses miraculous powers.[1] Some people, however, believe that the original cross had been destroyed or had disappeared after Magellan’s death, and the cross is a replica that was planted there by the Spaniards after they successfully colonized the Philippines.

Portraits: Sunrise Silhouettes

[Tata and Tiwin Pre-nup]

[Tata and Tiwin Pre-nup]

Silhouettes are a wonderful way to convey drama, mystery, emotion and mood to the viewers of your photos and often stand out in an album because of the combination of their simplicity but also the story that they convey. I love them because they don’t give the viewer of a clear picture of everything but leave part of the image up to their imagination to wonder about.

Events: Wedding… Filipino Style

[shot at Liloan Parola, Liloan, Cebu Philippines]

Traditionally, wedding expenses are paid for by the groom’s family in the Philippine setting, unlike in some western cultures. But more and more couples are giving their share from their hard-earned savings. Other couples even shoulder the entire wedding expenses themselves. It normally follows that whoever foots the bill has the final say on the size of the wedding; he or she also has the ‘majority stake’ on guestlist.


It was a tradition for the bride to hold an heirloom rosary with the bridal bouquet during the Nuptial Mass. This practice is now being revived by some brides to honor our Catholic heritage and respect the solemn occasion.


 Instead of a bouquet toss, some Filipina brides opt to offer the flowers to a favorite Saint or to the image of Virgin Mary at the church. Some even go out of their way to offer the bouquet at the grave of a lost loved one.


 Using rice grains as confetti are discouraged in most churches in keeping with the austere times.


 Some Catholic churches don’t allow Sunday weddings.


 A Catholic Filipino wedding ceremony is held with a full Mass that runs about a hour.


 Aside from the exchange of rings, the giving of the arrhae (earnest money in the form of 13 pieces of gold or silver coins) is a part of Filipino weddings as the groom’s pledge of his dedication to the welfare of his wife and children.


 The arrhae/arras is carried by a coin bearer who marches with the ring bearer during the processional and recessional.


 If the couple intends to write their own wedding vows instead of reading the standard vows provided by the church, they should inform the officiating priest and ask for his approval.


 Most Filipino brides prefer a custom-made wedding gown than
having it ready-made or buying off-the-rack.


The most popular month for weddings in the Philippines is December (until early January) rather than June.
UPDATE: On August 2006, the National Statistics Office announce that for four consecutive years, MAY, the month of flowers and fiestas, was consistently the peak month for getting married here in the country.


 Filipino bridegrooms also walk down the aisle, either alone or with his parents.


 The proximity of the ceremony and reception venues is a major consideration for guests’ convenience, taking into account the Manila traffic and parking concerns.


Traditionally, wedding invitations have an insert/page that includes all the names and roles of each member of the the bridal party.


 Reception cards are not so popular in the Philippines since it is usually expected that a wedding invitation covers both the ceremony and the reception.


Aside from the bridesmaids and groomsmen, three additional pairs of wedding attendants stand as secondary sponsors who assist in the [a] wedding candle, [b] veil and [c] cord ceremonies held during the Nuptial Mass.


The candle sponsors light the wedding candles located at each side of couple. The flame from the candles symbolizes God’s presence within the union. The lighting of a unity candle (of Protestant origin) is sometimes integrated as a variation.


Next, the veil sponsors drape and pin the veil (a long white tulle) on the groom’s shoulder and over the bride’s head. This symbolizes the union of two people ‘clothed’ as one.


Finally, the cord sponsors stand up with the cord (a silken rope, a string of flowers or links of coins) in the form of a figure-eight, placing each loop loosely around the neck/shoulder area of the couple. This symbolizes the infinite bond of marriage.


The veil and cord ceremonies have the marrying couple ‘tied-up’ together while kneeling for almost half the time during the nuptial Mass (it isn’t as hard as it sounds, really).


 Soon-to-weds do not arrive at the ceremony venue at the same time. The groom is expected to arrive several minutes (an hour even!) prior to the set time of the wedding to receive guests. The bride on the other hand, usually stays in the bridal car and only alights from the vehicle just in time for her bridal march.


 As part of the ceremonial dance at the reception, some couples incorporate a ‘money dance’ where guests pin peso (or dollar!) bills on either the bride or groom in return for a chance to dance with them.


 Newlyweds release a pair of white doves during the reception to signify a peaceful and harmonious marital relationship.Catchers find themselves going home with a new feathered pet.

Captured Moments: Sinulog Festival 2011 Sidelights

Meet The Philippines Mother of All Festivals… Sinulog!

[People hear mass at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño Church, you can witness this every hour If you are going to the basilica, expect it to be always jam-packed with people. During the Sinulog Festival, expect the basilica and its rounds to be filled with devotees and tourists. During the festival, the Holy Mass is celebrated on the open space in front of the Basilica so as to accommodate the hundreds of people who want to attend the feast]

Sinulog is a dance ritual in honor of the miraculous image of the Santo Nino. The dance moves to the sound of the drums and this resembles the current (Sinulog) of what was then known as Cebu’s Pahina River. Thus, in Cebuano, they say it’s Sinulog.

More than just the meaning of the word is the significance of the dance. Historians now say that Sinulog, which is of pagan origin, is the link between the country’s pagan past and its Christian present. Let’s trace its history.

the Sinulog Grand parade can now be seen live in international audiences thru live TV broadcast and Webcast, reaching out as far as US mainland, Australia , some parts in Europe and some parts in Asia. Website, http://www.sinulog.ph has also been updated regularly and promotional videos uploaded in Youtube and internet. At present the word Sinulog and the logo is now patented and registered in the Intellectual Property Office, the first ever granted to a Festival.

Crowd control has been the Sinulog organizers’ perennial headache. Varied, tried and tested, the approach and strategies have so far been elusive, however. And yet, this could be the dark side of the moon, the light side being that as the crowd swells year after year by millions, the Sinulog parade and activities became bigger and better. This made Sinulog …the country’s biggest and grandest cultural festival.

For More Info visit Sinulog Official website:  http://www.sinulog.ph

Portraits: Silhouette of Sunrise [Pre-Nup]

“We have the greatest pre-nuptial agreement in the world.  It’s called love.”  ~Gene Perret

Taken during sunrise at Liloan Parola in Cebu Philippines.
A Photos that they can treasure everyday and for the rest of their lives.

It was all worth it, waking up early in the morning to have this photo taken together with this lovely couple.

Travel: Sugar Beach Bantayan Island

Sorry but You can’t eat it.

Bantayan island, the shining tropical paradise in Asia is commonly known as an island paradise in Philippines. Tourists as far as Europe fall in love with its fine white sand and crystal clear blue waters.

When you get to cool, crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, pleasant town folk and delicious sea foods … you’re in the island of Bantayan. Coming to Bantayan is like coming out of a time machine. It’s like entering the time and place when life was simple and quiet.

The people in Bantayan island is mostly Christian, aside from the fact that it has the oldest church in the Visayas and Mindanao, it is also named as the Lenten capital of the Visayas. Many people from Cebu and as far as Manila go to Bantayan not only for a swim and relaxation but also to witness the holy week procession and to observe the most solemn practice of faith. Because of this, almost all resorts double their rates at this time of year.

Travel: Colon Street

Colon Street is a crowded street in downtown Cebu City that is often called the oldest street in the Philippines. It is named after Christopher Columbus. It traces its origins to the town plan by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, the Spanish conquistador who arrived in the Philippines to establish a colony in 1565.

Colon, a bit run-down now, was the site of fashionable shops, offices and movie houses. It was once the heart of Cebu City’s shopping and business activity, but in recent years much of this activity has shifted inland to uptown areas.

Travel: Loboc River

The Loboc River is a river in Bohol Island, Philippines. It is one of the major tourist destinations of Bohol, local and foreigners alike. The winding river plays host to cruises on board of small bancas or floating restaurants. Visitors are treated to a vista of lush tropical vegetation such as nipa palms, coconut trees, banana groves, and bushes.

The river plays a significant role in the history of Loboc before the Spaniards established the town in 1602. The early inhabitants made homes along the river.

It was in early 1980s that the idea to promote the Loboc River as a tourist destination started.

Travel: Kawasan Falls

Just 130 kilometers southwest of Cebu City and about three hours bus ride, the Kawasan Falls is located inside the mountains of Barangay Matutinao, Badian. From the entrance you will have to trek uphill for about thirty minutes, depending on your pace, to get to the first waterfall.

Kawasan has three waterfalls. The first one is mainly the largest of the three, and is usually the most crowded. An uphill climb for fifteen minutes will take you to the second falls, and another, to the third. You may bring in food, or buy from the resort’s restaurants. Cottages and tables are also available for rent, as well as rooms for overnight stay. You may rent a raft to take you around the “pool” or for a refreshing “shower massage” under the falling water. Life vests are also available for a very affordable price.

The pathway may be very dark once the sun sets so its best to have a flashlight at hand. One should be extra careful in going down the slope especially those descending from the second or third falls to avoid mishaps or accidents.

Kawasan Falls is a popular get-away destination in the southern part of Cebu to locals and foreigners alike. With its lush tropical trees and plants everywhere, peaceful flow of the river as it gracefully rushes to the distant sea, the sound of the waterfalls on the background, friends and loved ones enjoying the cool and deep fresh water, everything around just seems so relaxed, simple and very serene.

Just nature as it should be.

Travel: Maraetae, Auckland New Zealand

Maraetai is one of the towns which make up Manukau city and is the easternmost suburb of greater Auckland in New Zealand.

The closest town Beachlands lies approximately 4km to the West. Its name is Māori meaning “enclosed sea”, or “courtyard of the tides” which derives from the sheltered courtyard enclosure of a Marae and “Tai”, meaning tide(s) or tidal passage(s). Maraetai was the original name for the smooth, calm tidal passage now known as Tamaki Strait, which is sheltered by Te Motu Arai-roa (“The Long Sheltering Island”) now called Waiheke Island by non-Maori speaking New Zealanders. The site of present day Maraetai suburb was formerly the Pā and kāinga (village) settlement known as Pohaturoa. To the Pākehā people Maraetai means “Meeting place by the sea”. One of the better known functions of a Marae is to facilitate Hui (tribal gatherings).