Amazing Facts That You Should Know About Sandugo

Every Filipino is accustomed to prepare for festivals. Filipinos are known to be hospitable, warm and accommodating not only to friends and families but also to everyone around the globe. It was this certain homey vibe that most tourists would definitely look forward to when visiting any of the 7,107 islands we have. The island of Bohol is definitely one place that is impossible to miss.

One festival to look forward to is the Sandugo Festival of Bohol. This is not only a festival of sights and sounds but also of historical value. Sandugo, or Blood Compact, is celebrated during July to commemorate the friendship forged between Captain General Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, the Spanish King Conquistador, and Datu Sikatuna in March 16,1565.

 

How it all Began

 

Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, being Conquistador, set foot on Boholano soil sometime in 1565 and was warmly received by the reigning Datu, Rajah Sikatuna. The sands of time would reveal that the two leaders were able to forge a unique bond when the Rajah decided to swore allegiance to the crown of Spain.

 

The Blood Compact

 

To formalize the forged bond between the two leaders, they had undertaken the sharing of wine sprinkled with their own blood or “Dugo” in the local Visayan dialect, coming from their left arms, thus strengthening the pact that promoted friendship and brotherhood for both nationalities. Signing of the treaty was done at the southwest coast of Bohol during that fateful day in 1565.

 

Sight and Sounds

 

Today, we celebrate Sandugo Festival not only to attract tourists but also, for commemorating the First Treaty of Alliance and Friendship between the Spaniards and the Filipinos. Not only does the festival have a historical value, but it also promotes culture to the younger generations. Sights, sounds, colorful decors, a myriad of activities and the famous reenactment of the “Blood Compact” are some of the highlights of the festival.

 

Boholano Resilience Amid Calamities and Tragedies

 

For the recent years, the Boholanos were subjected to various natural calamities that shook the very foundation of the island, and also of their own individual selves. For many, this is a time of uniting everyone who is a true blue Boholano. Tagbilaran City not only rejoices its Charter Day on the month of July but also the Province of Bohol which became a separate politico-military province on July 22, 1854, thereby creating a festive mood for the whole month. The festival, originally celebrated in March, is set for July 22 to 27, 2015, coincides with the Tigum Bol-anon Tibuok Kalibutan (TBTK) on July 24 to 27, a gathering of Boholanos from all over the world. This showed the whole nation that in times of distress, unity and the desire to help will still rise above anything else.

 

DOT Regional Director Rowena Lu Montecillo stated through a public newspaper that hotels and resorts are most likely to be fully booked as influx of tourists and locals would increase foot traffic in the island.

 

Fun. Fabulous. Finds

 

This year, the Sandugo festival will showcase the best of the regions’ creativity and produce, focusing on Tourism as the focal point on the said festival. Wanting to check more than the usual gift ideas you bring in from Bohol? Then it’s already a GO for Sandugo! Craftsmanship, Innovation, Ingenuity and Originality will spruce up the festival this year. DTI, working hand in hand with DOT, is expecting an influx of brand new ideas and tour packages from world renowned hotels and resorts that offer only the best from the island.

 

A Gem of the Visayas

 

In general, Sandugo Festival in Bohol is just a cherry on top. If you would really immerse yourself in the festivities, you will definitely realize that it is a hidden gem in the Visayas. Bohol holds a certain charm that is different from the other islands. Being able to touch base with the locals, partake in a gastronomical feast, visit the Sandugo or Blood Compact Site, getting a feel of the old world charm with the old churches that remained steadfast amid being devastated by earthquakes and being mesmerized by the Chocolate Hills, all these create a worthwhile experience that will be forever etched in one’s reverie.

 

Sources: Inquirer, Islands of the Philippines

 

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7 People You Should Be With When Travelling

 

1. The Camera Addict

 

They do not mind taking your pictures. What’s even great is that, they use DSLR to take good quality photos. They will give you the best angle, lighting, exposure, so that, it would be your next profile photo. They will go beyond the average travelers photography efforts, making it sure that it would be Instagram worthy.

Cons: Carrying too much equipment for the shoot. Longer time in staying in a particular area.

 

2. The Itinerary Guru

 

Your trip schedule from sunrise to lights-out are already planned out by this friend. You do not have to worry where to eat, where to go or even how to go there. Everything is already planned. Some of them even have the itinerary made in Excel file or PowerPoint slides.

Several hours are spent to make this itinerary close to perfection, so make sure to acknowledge it.

Cons: They sometimes get cranky when the schedule is not followed.

 

3. The On-the-Go-er

 

Sleeping in a hammock? Eating scary local delicacies? Cliff Diving? No Problem! Easy to go with people with no hesitations in saying yes in all the adventures presented to them. No time will be wasted thinking if you guys should do this and that, they will jump right in and ——YOLO!

Definitely not a party pooper!

Cons: They’re very active and chill vacations may not be suitable for them.

 

4. The Haggler

 

They are perfect buddies when you go to night market, souvenir shops and local food stalls. They have the mindset that sellers usually have high profit margin, especially to the tourist. They will use their persuasive skills to get their money’s worth. Who knows, maybe the money changer would also give you a higher rate.

Cons: Longer time spent for shopping.

 

5. The Navigator

 

Google Maps offline? Tripadvisor? Yes! They have it all! Every travelers need is all in their smart phone. Yup! They remember the route effortlessly, so you are sure you will be back in your hotel in no time! When uncertainty arises, they are quick thinker, optimistic and determined to have a smooth trip. They love to talk to locals, and ask them for stories, directions, and suggestions. They become handy, when you are the shy type person.

Cons: They usually like to walk a lot!

 

6. The Travel Book-er

 

Xiexie! Salamat! Makasih! Not only they know some of the phrases of those country, they’ve also read the history of it. You do not need a guide anymore to tell you the history of the Ming Dynasty or how the greatwall of china was built. They will share you all of the stuff they’ve read and learned. They also know some secrets of which place should you guys go to fully appreciate what the country can offer.

Cons: They talk a lot! (which is not usually a bad thing!)

 

7. The Backpacker

 

Always overweight? No problem, being friends with backpackers will surely be at your advantage. Group check-in would be your best friend! Backpackers are very particular in what they bring. It may be a light weight towel, ultra-thin jacket, etc. They do not compromise what they bring, instead they buy travel friendly items.

Make sure they didn’t pick the no-baggage option.

Cons: They ask toiletries from you.

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How to Pack Like A Professional Travel Blogger

 

My traveling stint took me back more than 20 years ago when I embarked on my first journey to our province. Imagine a 5 or 6 year old kid tasked to bring all of her stuff and be in the mountains for 2 weeks or for the entire summer break [which spans up to 2 months]. Back then, when computers, laptops and cellphones are thing of the future, I had learned the value of taking care of your equipment and valuables above everything else.

 

However, being exposed to different jobs and interests, while following my passion for the outdoors and also being able to take the Basic Mountaineering Courses, I learned how to pack effectively for all my travels. And that includes everything that I need in my length of travel. Being self contained makes me save money in my travels. Carrying my pack most of the time instead of portering definitely made me save extra money that I can have as a buffer/contigency fund.

 

Here are some things that we need to understand while packing up:

  1. We are only allowed to carry ⅓ of our total weight. That means, choose a backpack after you had checked your total weight. Most of the backpacks are measured in Liters, not in kilograms, though when roughly translated, 1 KL is equivalent to 1 L. Then again, you have to bear in mind that the human body can lift only ⅓  of our average weight comfortably. So for overnights or 3 day travels, you can definitely carry a 30L or 40L pack snug-fit.
  2. Always make sure to compress your stuff and place bulky ones at the bottom of the pack. It will definitely help if you roll your garments too. Sleeping bags, windbreakers/rainbreakers can be placed in the bottom.
  3. Make a list of the things that you are packing. As a digital nomad, we need to pack out our chargers, laptops, mobile phones, power banks and flash drives so that we won’t miss a thing or two with our created memories. Neatly coil up the wires to prevent from being tangled and always make sure to provide name stickers on your gadgets.
  4. Waterproof all of your stuff. Having a suitcase or a backpack, you can always individually pack it via Ziplocks or use a thick translucent garbage bag to waterproof your stuff. Just line up the inside compartment with the bag to make it waterproof. Unexpected downpours might come when traveling so it is better to be safe than sorry.
  5. Lastly, always share your itinerary with close family and friends. You will never know what lies ahead but it will be better if a person or two would know where you are heading so that they will have an idea whenever emergency situations happen. In my climbs, we would always appoint a person that will check on us from time to time. Someone who has a list of our “In Case of Emergency” contacts. This is very crucial in every travel.

 

Over the years of traveling and with the help of experience, here are my “things to bring” and my take on how to pack like a professional blogger:

 

[Clothes]

  1. 1 set of decent blouse/polo shirt/slacks/skirt for dinner parties
  2. 1 pair of trek pants [khaki/black ones] can be worn either on formal or informal meetings
  3. 3 pairs of trek shorts
  4. 3 pairs of black leggings
  5. 3 pairs or more of two piece bathing suit
  6. 6 dri fit shirts
  7. 1 long-sleeve  dri fit shirt [this will work
  8. 1 pair of flip-flops
  9. 1 pair of sneakers
  10. 4 pairs of socks [depends on the number of days that you will travel]
  11. 1 pair of black dress socks
  12. 1 pair of dress shoes
  13. 3 pairs or less of undies
  14. 1 microfiber towel [less bulky and dries easily]

 

Toiletries: These travel sized buddies are packed in one mesh pouch

 

  1. 1 small bottle of shampoo
  2. 1 small tube of toothpaste and mouthwash
  3. 1 small toothbrush
  4. 1 small sized deodorant
  5. 1 small bar of soap or 1 bottle of shower gel
  6. 1 small tube/bottle of lotion
  7. 1 pack of pantyliner/pads
  8. 1 small bottle of cologne
  9. 1 small bottle of sanitizer/alcohol
  10. dental floss

 

First Aid Kit: A must have in every travel

  1. cotton buds
  2. cotton balls/squares
  3. Povidone-Iodine Solution
  4. band aids
  5. AntiBacterial Cream
  6. Anti burn ointment
  7. oral meds like paracetamol, anti histamine, pain relievers, anti motility, anti colds, anti vomiting, nasal decongestants, etc [2 tabs/caps for each]
  8. elastic bandage [3x5 in diameter]

 

Gears: Though I seldom bring this all when I am up in the mountains, still when I travel elsewhere, I bring these.

  1. Camera [either point and shoot or DSLR]
  2. Mobile phone with Camera
  3. Chargers
  4. Power bank
  5. Laptop /Tab
  6. Universal Power Converter
  7. Tripod [optional]
  8. LTE devices/wifi sticks
  9. ear phones/headsets

 

Packing stuff might differ from one person to another and the list of the”must haves” are endless. It will be always helpful to bear in mind your needs and as well as how prepared you are for the trip. And while you’re at it, do not forget to bring your other essentials like Passport, Visa, pocket money in different currencies [when traveling internationally], a TSA padlock to secure your pack, additional ziplocks and eco friendly bags or perhaps, assault packs [tiny backpacks attached to big outdoor packs].

 

Another thing to consider is snacking on little proportions the healthy way. Dried fruit and nuts are a great way to fight hypoglycemia while walking around exploring places. And also, always hydrate with water. It helps flush out toxins and maintain a healthy pinkish glow on your skin. It also helps regulate body temperature.

 

Hope you did learned a lot from this. Happy packing! 🙂

Sources:

 

http://travelfashiongirl.com/blogger-packing-lists/

http://fathomaway.com/postcards/stuff/expert-packing-advice/

http://www.refinery29.com/travel-writer-packing-tips

http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/packing/

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Cebu!

 

Cebu is one of the country’s top destinations that come to mind when travel is talked about. Not only can Cebuanos boast of very beautiful scenic spots but they also have a lot of local culture to share. Their culture is more Filipino than what you get from people in Manila who may be regarded as more Americanized in mindset and practice. There are different ways on how one can get around and discover more of what Cebu has to offer. One can move along with the conventional way of city tour where a guide explains the sites with detailed history and one can also join the new form of city tour where guests just walk to go around the city to feel more immersed in the local environment. Because of the surge of the new mindset in travel, guides have also evolved to keep up with the demands of the market in terms of guiding. Now, not only do guides have to be knowledgeable about the place but they also have to be very resourceful and artistic to make sure that they keep their guests entertained. They can do this by humanizing their stories by injecting personal stories and making it more real for their audience.  Apart from the conventional tours, there has also been a continuous discovery of off the beaten destinations and activities that are not conventional.

 

One of them is the biking adventure trail that Cebu Mountain Bike Adventures can offer. Fear not that this activity is only for professional bikers because even beginners can also join in. There are different tracks for different levels of expertise from beginner to professional ones. Their guides are really friendly and accommodating, I remember how one of our friends did not know how to ride a bike and he was even given a crash course on how to maneuver a bike.  We went on the hills that looked more like New Zealand than Philippines with the view of cows and lush greenery down to the lake and a very sumptuous Boodle meal that is really very Filipino. Nowadays, it is hard to find a place where they serve the traditional local Filipino kind but I have to say the house we stayed at for lunch and the way Nanay (Term used for old women) cooked the roasted pork really made me go back in time and remember what being Filipino was all about. This is really one memorable experience.

 

But Cebu can’t be Cebu without food and delicacies, one of the hidden gems in this city is cottage industry turned big time business, Ralfe Gourmet Chocolates or The Chocolate Chamber which serves and sells different kinds of flavored Hot Tsokolate and truffles that are truly Filipino. They also have a Museo de Tsokolate-only one in the Philippines where people can interact and see the whole process of how cocoa is turned from plant to consumable ready chocolate.  

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