2016 in Summary: What A Year That Was!

It is the last day of A.D. 2016!

This only means that it is the best time to publish the obligatory year-end post where I will look back to the year that was.

The Obligatory Year-End Post

2016 is the year when my second child – our Little Samantha – came to us and filled our home with fun.

2016 is the year where my firstborn – our Little Samuel – has plenty of milestones. Our little boy is learning fast and he is advancing to the delight of his Lolo and Lola.

2016 is the year when this blog went to the backburner due to my busy days as a Father, Husband, Employee. The office-stress and the sleepless nights when caring for our children took a toll to my creativity. The result is almost-a-year-long Writer’s Block. I only published 24 blog posts, which is the lowest since I started blogging in 2007.

2016 is the year when I withdrew from other activities like my involvement with pro-life groups because I focused most of my energy in taking care of the family.

2016 is the year when I started my journey for financial freedom. I purchased a life insurance which I hope will help my family save and grow our money. I don’t trust life insurance companies in the past because of the issues with CAP and other pre-need insurance firms but a good friend convinced me to think otherwise.

2016 is the year when I finally finished my post about my adventures in Thailand. This is a major achievement for this blog since I was posting about Thailand since 2012. It took me four years! Now I wonder when can I post about my adventures in Malaysia, Indonesia, and other great places around the Philippines.

That’s the highlight of my 2016. I do hope that we will see each other again next year.


Special thanks and mentions to the following bloggers to this blog who is always present in the combox.

Arthur Wee (a.k.a. Suitapui)
Thank you also to all of my suki (and those who are shy to leave a comment) and subscribers to this blog. Please continue patronizing my blog and I do hope that you start to leave comments next year.


Read all of my twenty-four blog posts for 2016



Nothing Special at Uncle Cheffy Nuvali Park
The Issue of Tipping and Service Charge at Filipino Restaurants


Visita Iglesia 2016: The Ruins of the 400-Year Old Church of Vinzons, Camarines Norte
And We Will Call Them Sam-Sam


Malunggay Wars! TaiChi vs Natalac vs Mega Malunggay
The Return of Ishmael (I Hope)


Happy Toothbrushing Time with Tiny Fangs
5 Reasons Why Bangkok is Better than Manila


Enroute to Manila: Waiting A Little in Suvarnabhumi Airport (Bangkok)
The Bear is Going Home
The Daddy Chronicles: 13 Things that Your Toddler Can Do that You Can't


It’s Cebu Again for the Nth Time!
A Foretaste of Cebu in Mactan Cebu International Airport


Laag-Laag sa Cebu (Part 1): My Boat Ride Under the Bridges of Mactan Channel


Laag-Laag sa Cebu (Part 2): Finding Consolation in Consolacion Church
Laag-Laag sa Cebu (Part 3): Feasting on Consolacion’s Fresh Talaba
Laag-Laag sa Cebu (Part 4): Bagacay Point Lighthouse


#PaskuhanSaLRT1: Riding the Christmas Train to Carriedo

I was in for a big surprise when I boarded an LRT-1 train this morning.

#PaskuhanSaLRT1 - Inside the Christmas Train

The whole place is shouting “MERRY CHRISTMAS!”

The handle bars were dressed as candy canes and they even placed a big parol.

#PaskuhanSaLRT1 - Parol sa LRT Train

The train windows were designed to look like capiz windows of old Filipino homes.

#PaskuhanSaLRT1 - Capiz Window of LRT Train
(Photo by Rommel Lopez)

I was so amazed with the transformation that I forgot my worries during the whole train ride. It really felt like Santa Claus will suddenly appear to give us gifts (even though I was a was naughty boy this year).

#PaskuhanSaLRT1 - Christmas Stars in LRT1

The Christmas Train is part of LRT-1’s #PaskuhanSaLRT1 Christmas celebrations.

Aside from giving the passenger good vibes, LRT-1 also gave passengers a chance to win 5,000-peso worth of Beep Card load whenever they take their selfie inside the Christmas Train.

Well, here’s my selfie inside LRT-1’s Christmas Train:

#PaskuhanSaLRT1 - Candy Cane

The good thing about #PaskuhanSa LRT1 is that LRT-1 didn’t forgot the reason for the Season. They placed a belen inside the Christmas Train.

#PaskuhanSaLRT1 - Nativity Scene
(Photo by Rommel Lopez)

Kudos to the management of LRT-1 for the #PaskuhanSaLRT1. I hope that you do the same (or better) Christmas gimmick next year.

Laag-Laag sa Cebu (Part 6): The Colorful Lighthouse of Lilo-an

Porter Lighthouse in Lilo-an, Cebu

The town of Lilo-an, aptly dubbed as the Light of the North, has two lighthouses. The old light tower, erected by the Americans, is located on Bagacay Point. The other one, which is more recent (and I daresay more colorful) is located inside Porter Marina Bar and Grill.

I really wanted to visit the lighthouse when I first heard about it. So, despite the bad weather, I hopped on a habal-habal and went to the marina.

It was a 15-minute ride on rough road. The motorcycle passed through places that have more talahiban than houses. The place is so remote that I expected to be ambushed by commie NPAs.

The place is closed and almost deserted save for the security guard, who welcomed us and brought us to his boss.

After a few minutes of chat and asking their permission, the owners of Porter Marina allowed us to visit the lighthouse without paying the entrance fee.  (Yey!)

We found an orange buoy on our way to the lighthouse.

Buoy in Porter Marina in Lilo-an, Cebu

A buoy is a floating device that is used to mark shallow areas. Some of the buoys are lighted so as to help ships navigate during the night.

Lo and behold! We finally saw the colorful Porter Lighthouse up close.

Porter Lighthouse in Lilo-an, Cebu

We discovered that the lighthouse was named after the parents of the owner of the marina: Capt. Edward James A. Porter and Rear Admiral Norma Y. Porter.

Memoriam to the Porters at the Porter Lighthouse in Lilo-an, Cebu

Captain Porter and Rear Admiral Porter were members of the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary, which is a sort of a reserve force of the Coast Guard. The Porters were very active in promoting the safety of life at sea as shown in this news article. 

This means that the lighthouse not only serves as an attraction for the marina but also as a true lighthouse that guide ships going to the Port of Cebu. The proof of it is the plaque placed by the Philippine Coast Guard on the lighthouse.

Plaque from Philippine Coast Guard showing Porter Lighthouse's registration in the agency

I read in some blogs that Porter Marina offers seafood delicacies. Visitors can also catch their own fish in the lagoon and in open sea. I saw pictures of people catching bangus and lapu-lapu just using their fishing rod.

The marina near Porter Lighthouse in Lilo-an, Cebu

Too bad that we didn’t do any of those activities. The truth is that visiting the lighthouse was my only objective.

The two-storey building, where the lighthouse stands, serves as function room and can be rented for events.

Porter Marina also has facilities for fixing boats and yachts. Thus, I was not surprised to see some yachts docked in their marina.

Yachts parked near Porter Lighthouse in Lilo-an, Cebu

We were allowed to go near Porter Lighthouse. So, I had a close up photo of the colorful lighthouse…

The colorful Porter Lighthouse in Lilo-an, Cebu

…and a good view of Magellan Bay, which is the place where I boarded the boat when I journeyed along the Mactan Channel. The bay was so named because it the place where the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan clashed with Mactan chieftain Lapu-Lapu. In fact, the Lapu-Lapu Shrine is located along Magellan Bay.

Magellan Bay as viewed from Porter Lighthouse (Lilo-an, Cebu)

Those who wish to visit the Porter Lighthouse or do some fishing can visit the Porter Marina at Sitio Baybayon, Brgy. Calero, Lilo-an, Cebu. They may be contacted at telephone numbers (032) 406-9239 and (032) 318-8807.

L’Nor Marine Services, which is the company inside the marina the deals with repairing yachts, may be contacted at telephone numbers (032) 406-9239 and (032) 406-0378, and mobile number 0917-305-0218, and email lnormarine@hotmail.com

No trespassing warning at Porter Lighthouse is Lilo-an, Cebu

Trespassing is strictly prohibited in Porter Marina so you better enter through the front gate unless you wished to be shot (and survivors will be shot again).



Laag-Laag sa Cebu (Part 5): The Mysterious Church of Lilo-an

Legend says that in a place called Silot, there is whirlpool created by the flow of the water in and out of the bay. Lilo is the Cebuano word for whirlpool thus the town which surrounds Silot Bay is now called as Lilo-an, which means a place where there’s a lilo.

I thought that that legend is all there is. There is nothing mysterious about a bay with a whirlpool. I even mused that the Bagacay Point Lighthouse was erected by the Spaniards to warn galleons of the whirlpool in the area.

However, everything turned bizarre when I researched about the old church in Lilo-an. The legend of the whirlpool, it turned out, has a deeper mystery and the old church is at the center of it.

San Fernando Rey Parish Church in Lilo-an, Cebu

The church of Lilo-an was built in 1847, which is two years after the establishment of the town as a new parish.

Lilo-an Church is unique because it was built not facing the sea. All of the churches in Cebu built during the Spanish Era are facing the sea like the churches in Danao City, the Cebu Cathedral, and the Minor Basilica of Santo Niño.

Door of Lilo-an Church in Cebu

Many speculated that the church was built not facing the sea to avoid the heat of the sun during morning masses. Another speculation was that the church was built towards the direction of Spain, which is the home of the town’s patron saint.

Piratical attacks by Moros is a common narrative in the early history of old towns in the Visayas. These Moro pirates raided Christian settlements, looted and destroyed churches, and enslaved their victims. The piracy was so severe that it lasted all throughout the Spanish Era. It was estimated that pirates enslaved around 500 people every year.

It is not surprising then why the people of Lilo-an chose San Fernando Rey as their town’s patron saint and intercessor.

Ferdinand III of Castilia
San Fernando Rey (painting by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo).

San Fernando Rey, officially known as Ferdinand III, is the king of Castilia from 1230 to 1252. He initiated the Reconquista, which is a military and diplomatic campaign against the Islamic caliphate in Southern Spain. His Reconquista was so successful that he liberated the whole of Spain from Muslim invaders.

Inside Lilo-an Church (Lilo-an, Cebu)

The church’s interior is quite simple. It is not as grand as the Minor Basilica of Santo Niño. Its ceiling is bare. The walls are bare. Even the altar is almost bare save for the tabernacle, the holy table, and the lone image of San Fernando Rey.

Altar of Lilo-an Church (Lilo-an, Cebu)

Don’t let the simplicity of the altar fool you because, according to a legend, the altar wall is hiding a secret entrance to an underground cave. It is believed that the secret cave runs under the foundation of the church and has an opening to the channel connecting Silot Bay and the sea. They say that if you will feel that the ground is hollow if your jump in the area behind the church.

Bell tower of Lilo-an Church in Cebu

If I just knew about this secret during my last visit to Lilo-an then I will make sure to jump like a fool behind Lilo-an Church. I might even try to locate the said mysterious cave entrance.

ImmortalUndead and Swerver of Liloan Trippers investigated the mystery of Lilo-an Church but they got inconclusive information. They even interviewed the parish priest but they failed to get an authoritative answer.

Legend also said that the underground cave is inhabited by a mysterious creature. Some said that the cave is inhabited by a kugtong. Others say it’s a giant squid. A few says it’s a mermaid. I say it’s the Loch Ness Monster.

Kugtong is a lapu-lapu that grew to a size of a car. Apparently, this fish is not mysterious since some fishermen of Antique caught one last year.

Silot Bay in Lilo-an, Cebu
Channel of Silot Bay where the lilo is said to occur.

Whatever it is, people blame the mysterious creature for the drowning of many people in Silot Bay. They say that this creature creates the lilo whenever it opens its mouth to suck in its victims.

If the legend is true then Lilo-an Church’s mysterious creature is older than the town itself!