18th Annual Martino A. Abellana On-the-Spot Painting Competition

18th Annual Martino A. Abellana On-the-Spot Painting Competition

18th Annual Martino Abellana On-the-Spot Painting Competition showcases Carcar's Heritage Houses to cap May's National Heritage Month.

For the first time a local NGO organizes Cebu's most prestigious art competition and biggest yearly art event bringing together Professional and Amateur Artists.

CARCAR CITY, CEBU May 22, 2008 -- The 18th Annual Martino Abellana On-the-Spot Painting Competition for professional and amateur artists will be held on Thursday, May 29, 2008 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm in Carcar.

The competition is open to all professional and amateur artists with prizes for the top three Professional and Amateur winners plus five finalists in the biggest and most prestigious on-the-spot painting competition held yearly in Cebu in honor of the late dean of Cebuano artists Martino Abellana. This year's subject is Carcar's heritage houses.

Registration is free and starts at 8:00 am to 9:00 am on the Top Floor (Conference Hall) of Carcar City Hall. After the end of the formal competition, judging and awarding will follow.
For 2008, previous Grand Prize Winners in the Professional and Amateur categories can again join this year's competition.

International award-winning artists Romulo Galicano will chair the panel of five judges composed of two artists, one businessperson and art collector and one photographer.

Galicano won the Draper Prize, a prestigious international art competition held in Washington, D.C. in 2005. He was the first Filipino since Juan Luna in the 1880s to win a grand prize in an international art competition.

The Carcar Heritage Conservation Society (CHCS), a local NGO, is the organizer of this year's Abellana On-the-Spot Painting Competition. The competition draws artists from Cebu, the Visayas, and Mindano for this one-day competition in Carcar.

The CHCS and competition organizers chose to focus on Carcar's heritage to culminate their activities for the Philippine's National Heritage Month and International Museum Month of May.

The CHCS is organizing this year's Abellana On-the-Spot painting competition in memory of the dean of Cebuano painters Martino Abellana. Abellana was Carcar's most famous painter, teacher, and mentor to some of Cebu and Manila's most prominent artists today.

The Carcar Heritage Conservation Society, Inc. (CHCS) is a Carcar City-based NGO composed of heritage house owners and concerned Carcaranons dedicated to preserving Carcar's rich architectural and cultural heritage.

For more information contact:
Jerry Martin Noel Alfafara
Public Relations Officer
Carcar Heritage Conservation Society (CHCS)
mobile: 0915.915.6376
e-mail: jmnalfafara@gmail.com

For inquiries, please contact:

Gabriel Abellana, tel. no. 032/254-6933
mobile 0906/367-4005

Val Sandiego, tel. no. 032/513-8000


National Heritage Month

USC Museum

A vast collection of artifacts ranging from Spanish Colonial heritage to various species of Philippine animals and insects is housed in the University of San Carlos Museum.

The most notable display is the Manunggul jar which dates back to the late Neolithic Period. Other burial urns and covers are also on display at the Archaeological Gallery.

May was declared by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2003 as the National Heritage Month. Various activities are already lined up in conjunction with this annual celebration. The Gabii sa Kabilin on May 30 is one of the highlights of the celebration in Cebu. One ticket will allow a visitor entrance to four museums namely: the Casa Gorordo, Cathedral Museum, Santo Niño Museum and Fort San Pedro – National Museum. All four musems open 'til midnight on that day.


Food tripping Iloilo: La Paz Batchoy, Molo Bibingka & Talaba

La Paz Batchoy
Deco's Batchoy. Satisfying comfort food. Match this with prewar pandesal and Coke Zero for a complete meal. 55 pesos for the supersize of steaming broth on noodle and topped with chopped meat and entrails, chicharon, toasted garlic and spring onions.

Molo Bingka
Unlike the usual bibinka that we are used to. Thin and young coconut strips make it soft in the inside. Sold warm within the Molo church grounds at 20 pesos a pack.

Iloilo Talaba
I thought I'd never eat talaba again but this one made my mouth salivate. Dipped in hot water to open the shells. Order hot rice and spicy calamansi-soy mixture and you're good to go. Safe and clean but most of all so cheap at 30 pesos per bowl.


Guimaras bounces back

Mention Guimaras and instantly what comes to mind is the sweet and delectable golden fruit that’s touted to be “the sweetest mango in the world.”

Slowly rising from the ashes of the devastating oil spill in August 11, 2006 the island of Guimaras is now spreading its wings and ready to reclaim the glory it once had. A mecca for the weary Ilonggos and foreigners alike, the island is more alive than ever with tourist flocking the island on weekends to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

A short 15-minute ride will take you to enchanting Guimaras in the town of Jordan which is the gateway to the island’s hotspots. The local tourism office maintains a booth within the vicinity to assist you in your journey in the island. A minimal fee is charged for the transportation to take you to anywhere in the island. Don’t forget to stop by Jordan’s market to grab some mangoes to take along.

The scenic journey around the island takes you around large mango plantations and many secluded coves and beaches. Islets also dot around the island of Guimaras. The beaches are one of the island's attractions enticing beach goers with its fine white sand that would rival that of the more popular beaches of Boracay.

Life is laidback. Time is easily forgotten. All good memories indeed but lest we forget the tragedy that haunted this enchanting island in the past. Let's be responsible tourists and keep the beauty of Guimaras this way.


The Coffee Break Experience

Seattle, Cebu and Iloilo. What do these cities have in common? The coffee experience of course.

While Seattle, Washington has Starbucks and Seattle's Best, and Cebu the origin of Bo's and Coffee Dream, Iloilo on the other hand is the birthplace Coffee Break.

The cheaper alternative to the well-known brands today. They offer a menu that's suprisingly affordable. While others cost a hundred for a medium sized cup theirs cost only 65 pesos for a single size serving of Coffee Crumble. No upsizes here so you never get confused what to order.

Need a coffee fix? There might just be a Coffee Break nearby.

Gen. Luna
University of San Agustin
Robinson's Place
Plaza Jaro
Mary Mart
New Iloilo Airport
- ICVB( Iloilo Convention Visitors Bureau) Lounge
- 3rd floor pre-departure area

For additional information visit their website: coffeebreak.com.ph


Pilgrimage to the 4 Baroque Churches in the Philippines

There are only four World Heritage churches in the Philippines declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Baroque architecture in a true sense but with a touch of Filipino, these churches were built in the 16th century. Three of these can be found in Manila, Santa Maria, Paoay in Luzon and one in the Visayas in Miag-ao town.

Philippine colonial churches have always fascinated me even as a child. I often wondered how these colossal stone structures stood the test of time.

Nuestra Señora (Sta. Maria Church)

I had the chance to travel many parts of Luzon on September 2007. The first stop on the three-day journey was Santa Maria church. We arrived very early then as our bus left Manila at around 10:00pm the previous night. Also known as the Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion church, this massive structure stands on a hill overlooking the mountains of Ilocos Sur. Built in 1765 by the Augustinians but only earned the UNESCO enscription in 1993.

Sur San Agustin (St. Augustine Church)

Our last stop on the second day was another imposing structure, the second Baroque church bearing the UNESCO enscription, the Sur San Agustin or the Paoay church in Ilocos Norte. The 24 massive buttresses is the first thing you will notice, these help the structure stand against the strong force of an earthquake. Like the Sta. Maria church the belfry is also detached from the church. The Augustinian friars had this constructed in 1694 but was only completed in 1704. It was later re-dedicated in 1894.

San Agustin Church

Within the historic walled city of Intramuros is the San Agustin church. Completed in 1607 this is considered to be the oldest standing church in the Philippines. A notable feature of this church is its intricately carved door and the granite sculptures of lions, which had been gifted by Chinese converts to Catholicism. My visit here was a brief one and a first in the walled city. There were so many things to see.

Miag-ao Church

My so called pilgrimage ended in the church of Santo Tomas de Villanueva in Miag-ao. The scenic journey took about an hour from the city of Iloilo.

The imposing stucture whose construction commenced in 1786 and was completed in 1797. Made entirely of sandstone sourced from the nearby towns, this church boast of a facade so ornate it is likened to a retablo. Oval windows adorn each side of the facade along with some uniquely Filipino embellishments copying the papaya, coconut and guava trees on the design.

The Baroque churches are must-see churches to learn our architectectural wonders. Even if my pilgimage is complete there are still many things to see in our country.