A Tour of Buhatan River

Buhatan , Sorsogon City , Sorsogon province -Philippines

Buhatan River Eco-Adventure is an initiative of the people of Barangay Buhatan, its council and the Samahan ng mga kababaihan ng Buhatan (a newly formed people’s organization).

Buhatan river with nipa palms

This eco-adventure offers kayaking, floating cottage with restaurant that traverse the 5 kilometer river from the local tourism post up to Sorsogon Bay area. Night Cruise is also becoming popular since there are fireflies sightings along the river banks .

floating cottages along the Buhatan river

Floating cottage restaurant also offers local kakanin such as hinagom, linukay, taro chips and chocolate tablea. Other activities that one can enjoy are recreational fishing like bentol (local way of fishing using a modified square fish net) and bingwit, mangrove planting, bird and firefly watching.

Kayak costs around Php100 pesos per hour for 2 persons while floating cottage is around Php1,500 pesos for 10 persons. If there are less than 10 people , It is considered as a private tour .

road widening project

There are a lot of bright prospects happening with the area. There is also the road widening project which aim to ease the vehicular traffic within the province.

muscovy ducks

Buhatan River Eco-Adventure was launched last  April 6, 2015 . They are inviting everyone who wants to experience, support ecotourism spots and projects of Buhatan. The 5km river traverse will take around 4-5 hours (almost half-day) so, plan ahead and contact +639399381215

Purok Roxas

We also visited Purok Roxas for a brief tour and meeting with the relatives of my aunt who lives within the area. We ended the visit with a positive vibes .

Note: All photos are all from the author

Old Pili Tree in Barangay Sugod, Bacon Sorsogon

404 Barangay Sugod , Bacon , Sorsogon province -Philippines

Canarium ovatum

We visited Yaya Saling who lives in Barangay Sugod , Bacon , Sorsogon .  Bacon is another town within Sorsogon province and before entering her house we saw a large Canarium ovatum, commonly known as pili growing within the property. Almost everyone within Barangay Sugod knows her and the old pili tree.

Mr. Raymond L. De Vera , Yaya Saling and Mrs. Nenita L. De Vera on a group photo

She was born on December 26, 1936 and according to her , The pili tree is already there growing and bearing fruit which  means that the tree age is about 85 to 100 years-old!  Until my next post.

 

Sisigon Matnog Chapel : Restoration and Dedication

Barangay Sisigon, Matnog, Sorsogon province -Philippines

 

Sisigon – Matnog chapel circa July 1977 ( family photo archive)

This is a private chapel built within the property of my maternal grandparents . According to family records and accounts , the purpose of building a chapel is for the people within the area to visit at least everyday and on special occasions like fiesta , Christmas , new year or holy week. Even if this is in private land, there are people in nearby towns which would visit the chapel .

 

 Notice the straight cemented stairways leading to the main entrance in the 1970’s

There used to be a smaller chapel made of wood . The current chapel was built in the middle part of around May or June 1977 when my grandmother and aunts decided to have a small chapel built . They made some planning and a small portion of the property was allocated for worship since a big percentage of the people living in the place were Catholics.

 

inauguration of the chapel circa July 1977 – notice the young palm fronds used as decoration 

The nearest chapel is located several kilometers away and people would not have the convenience to walk  that far . The chapel is located on a sloping terrain with a curving road in which people can visibly see the chapel on ideal location.

 

inauguration  of the chapel

Local and foreign tourists would sometimes flock to the chapel for some photo opportunities , the location is a good vantage point for taking photos of scenic spots and coconut plantations.

 

chapel viewed from main road ( photo courtesy by : Mr. Raymond L. De Vera )

There was also light which illuminates the place and serves as guide for motorists visiting the port of Matnog ( which is just 4 barangays away ). One can climb comfortably at the chapel with its 29 staircase made from cement.

 

 chapel ( circa February 16, 2016 )

Materials were sourced locally like stones, gravel, sand , cement and galvanized roofing were added . Most of the benches and wooden beams were made from local hardwoods.   Since the chapel was made in the late 1970’s, no further improvement were made except for the cement stairs that were eroded due to heavy rains and erosion from the surrounding mountains  . The contractor decided to follow the natural contour of the land.  The curve cement stairways were later rebuilt in 1998 .

 

chapel interior

The main altar have 3 Santos ( saints) made from different materials, soft wood, hardwood and plaster of paris  . Based on the arrangement of the images. The chapel is dedicated to Nuestra Señora de Salvación ( main altar ) other images included Santo Niño and Saint Jude Thaddeus . Unfortunately all the 3 statutes were in a very sorry state and the Nuestra Señora de Salvación wood image was eaten by termites! According to the caretaker, the chapel is dedicated to Saint Jude Thaddeus since there is also a chapel dedicated to Nuestra Señora de Salvación a few barangays away.

 

L-R Santo Niño , Nuestra Señora de Salvación and Saint Jude Thaddeus

There was a minor repair done in the early 1980’s due to strong typhoon which hit the place and no other restoration was done . Only the caretaker had kept the small bronze bell  and the chapel is only open a few times every year .

 

chapel with new iron door and being painted

It had been over 30 years since it was first restored and due to the recent typhoon which hit the area, some parts of the roofs are leaking, side entrance to the chapel and main  wooden door entrance of the chapel have either rotted away or eaten away by termites.

 

changing of old galvanized roofs and repainting ( photo courtesy : Mr. Raymond L. De Vera) 

When Typhoon Melor ( Bagyong Nona ) hit the province last year December 14, 2015 .  It also left portion of the chapel with roof leaking and badly needed some rehabilitation. We saw a lot of trees, coconuts and houses along the highway that were topped down due to the typhoon . Recovery is still on its way in many places.

 

repainting of the chapel

It started with the change of chapel door ( from wood to steel last January 2016 ) and then change in parts of the roof and repainting of the chapel ( both interior and exterior ) . The work within the chapel had already progress with the delivery of building materials last February 17 . The project time table is between 3 to 5 days and hopefully within this week, the project will be completed .

There are plans to install electric lights within the chapel and if all things goes well, the chapel will be fully furnish before the end of this week.

The wife of the mayor had pledge a divine mercy frame to the chapel and those who wanted to donate religious icons and images are gladly accepted.

Just email me at L_rence_2003@yahoo.com

Cellphone : 0928-6604819 SMART

Sinapot : A Bicolano favorite snack

Sorsogon City , Sorsogon province -Philippines

sinapot

Sinapot is one of the must try merienda snacks when you are in the Bicol region . Since saba or plantain banana is very abundant in the province, This is one of the local favorites. The price range about Php 8.00 to Php 15.00 per 4 piece banana.

Sinapot literally translates to Dinikit-dikit or sticky  in Tagalog / Filipino language . This is similar with Maruya that is sold in almost every part of the country.

Unlike the Metro Manila counterparts which uses ordinary  flour with little or no egg as batter mixture. The authentic sinapot involves using sticky rice flour and eggs as binding mixture. Very few people uses egg and rice flour as binding mixture since the cost of the sinapot can rise by at least a few more peso. ( some people may also add a little toppings like grated coconut meat or confectionery sugar ) depending on one own taste and preferences.

It is good that someone have given us an authentic recipe of the sinapot and I am glad to share this traditional recipe to my readers.

The banana is normally gathered when the fruit is just half ripe (manibalang )  with (greenish and yellowish color) . Ripe bananas, especially over ripe ones, tend to soak up more oil when it is deep fried  and the water content is too high it soaks up the breading fast losing the crispness faster too ( it tends to get soggy after cooling down ) . An almost ripe banana on the other hand when fried makes that crispy crust, not soggy, and not too sweet.

The cheaper ones that is being sold at the local market tend to use flour batter mixture rather then rice power , Due to economic reasons, majority being sold  and peddled within Sorsogon City  uses flour mixture as batter.

There are quite some similarities between the Latin American fried bananas recipe and the one that is being sold in the Philippines ..

Ingredients and Preparations:

4 to 5 plantain/ saba bananas sliced lengthwise

4 to 5 tbsp rice flour ( if not available ) or ordinary flour

5 to 6 tbsp water

oil for frying (could be deep fried or pan fried)

1 to 2 eggs per 10 pieces plantain

Combine rice flour and water in a bowl and mix until there are no visible lumps.Add 1 to 2 piece egg per 10 pieces of plantain.

Put at least two banana slices side by side with a two barbecue sticks, if coconut skewers are not available. Meanwhile, preheat the oil under medium heat. Coat the skewered banana with the rice flour , eggs and water mixture. When oil is hot, try to put the coated bananas and fry each side until golden brown and crispy.

This is best served hot with hot chocolate , coffee or tea is perfect combination .

LEGO PILIPINAS, TARA NA ! exhibit

Atrium -SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City

Lego Philippines in cooperation with SM Mall of Asia , Department of Tourism staged the first ever Philippine map complete with scenic spots  fully made by Lego.

18 Feet X 30 Feet Relief Map of the Philippines

The event is well-received by the crowd and even legion of foreigners were amazed on the exhibit.  One of the foreigner said that the exhibit is very colorful.

Lighthouse in Basco, Batanes

Paoay Church , Bangui Wind Mills in Ilocos Norte

colonial houses in Vigan , Ilocos Sur complete with horse drawn carriages 

World Famous- Banaue Rice Terraces

SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City

Mayon volcano and Butanding (whale shark )

Another eye catching exhibit was the attraction from  Bicol region , the region  is world re-known for their Mount Mayon and Cagsawa Church ruins,  also on display is the Pating – Bulik  popularly called Butanding  on display . Whale watching had become a favorite tourist attraction in the towns  of Pilar, Donsol in Sorsogon province.

crocodile farm in Palawan

Social Responsibility

  Aside from creating awareness about the beautiful tourist spots in our the country , The exhibit also allowed  visitors to make a concrete contribution to our country through the SM Foundation. In the “Brick House for Children” corner, guests are asked to donate P1,000 and in the donor’s name, a Lego house is displayed to symbolize the donation. The SM Foundation will be the lead agency to identify Department of Social Welfare and Development or DSWD’s centers for children who will benefit from this project. According from a reliable source,  the event had already collected more than one hundred thousand pesos !

Bohol chocolate hills and tarsier

Museo Iloilo

Davao Pearl Farm , bust of  Davao Eagle  , Samal houses and Bukidnon provincial capitol

close-up view of vinta from Zamboanga

stilt houses of Sitangkai , Tawi-tawi province

The colorful lego exhibit is until August 27, 2011 and everyone is invited to come and see the many tourism spots , festivals , natural  ,  architectural and man made  wonders of our country. A friend who collects a lot of lego toys  invited the author to come to the opening of the event last August 12, 2011 but the author manage to went to the  venue   a few days later.

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