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Showing posts from March, 2009

An Urban Legend

Reading online threads, blogs, testimonials, analysis and historical accounts about the fate of Fray Diego de Herrera and the crew of galleon Espiritu Santo leads me to conclude it as an urban legend. The characters are factual but the story was distorted, exaggerated and sensationalized.

Here is another version about the fate of Fray Diego de Herrera written by Fray Juan de Medina, O.S.A. in 1630 but printed in Manila in 1983. Please read...
"In these early years a disaster befalls the Augustinians, and somewhat dashes their hopes. This is the death of Diego de Herrera with ten priests who are coming, six from Spain and four from Mexico, to augment the missionary efforts. Of the thirty-six priests obtained by Herrera on his mission to Spain, but six set sail for the Philippines. The four from Mexico who join them are: Francisco Martinez, of the chair of writing in the University of Mexico, an excellent Greek and Latin student, who had been prior of the Augustinian convent in Li…

Maribina Falls

Maribina falls was named after the Barangays Marinawa and Binanwahan in the municipality of Bato. Perhaps, the most popular and widely publicized among the numerous waterfalls in Catanduanes. Of the numerous falls in the island, only a few were photograph and documented. Many are still waiting to be discovered because some locals don't want to share it with the outside world. One of the common fears by many locals for not sharing is, they want it exclusively for their family, close friends and relatives. Although this attitude is gradually changing.

Were There Two Galleons Named Espiritu Santo in 1576?

Although, I'm not a historian by profession, but reading the historical accounts about the fate of Fray Diego de Herrera and the galleon fascinates and intrigues me a lot. Two galleons struck a reef in April and May 1576, one in Ilocos and another in Batalay and all named Espiritu Santo. From: The Most Fantastic and Intriguing Tale of Chinese Pirate Lin Feng and Spanish Conquistador Juan de Salcedo by Keith Harmon Snow - ... Reports had reached Spain and Mexico of the great hardship and scant profit for those who risked their lives on the track of the Manila galleons. The loss of the Espiritu Santo, on 20 May 1576, confirmed the horrors: the galleon was shattered by typhoon on a reef near Ilocos and “those who did not drown were pursued by the natives and pierced with lances. From: Augnet - Your reference site to Saint Augustine of Hippo and the Order of Saint AugustineDiego de Herrera - 03 When in 1575 he sailed from Mexico, he had with him nine of the new volunteers of the O…

Who Was Martyred in 1576?

Eager to know why the Historical and Nautical Archaeology Foundation (HNAF) search vessel was scouring the depths along the northeastern shores of Catanduanes, instead on Nagngangang Buaya reefs in Bato, looking for the wreckage of galleon Espiritu Santo. I made my own research and was surprised to find some articles relating to Fray Diego de Herrera's life and death. "In 1569, it was the turn of Fray Diego de Herrera to return to Mexico. He was accompanied by Fray Pedro de Gamboa, since Herrera had suffered from poor health ever since they arrived in Cebu. Before Fray Herrera's departure he was elected the first provincial of Cebu, although there were no more than six Augustinians there. Fray Martin de Rada became his successor. A late-nineteenth-century Augustinian historian criticized Fray Herrera and his Augustinian colleagues for arbitrarily creating a province without consulting the head of Augustinian order. Nobody, however, questioned Fray Herrera when he presen…

The Batalay Shrine

The site of the first cross in Catanduanes, believed to have been constructed over the grave of the shipwrecked Fr. Diego de Herrera of the Augustinian order in 1576, who died in the barangay of Batalay. A well believed to have water with healing powers can be found in this shrine. From the town proper of Bato, it would take only 15 minutes to reach this place. Reading the online historical accounts about the fate of Fray Diego de Herrera and Espiritu Santo crew, I found some interesting yet inconclusive accounts as to what really happened. Located at the Southeastern coast of Catanduanes is a reef called Nagngangang Buaya which is linked by traditional with the place where a Galleon Espiritu Santo taken by Fray Diego de Herrera and nine other companies which embarked from Mexico suffered shipwreck on April 25, 1576 on their way to Cebu because of the negligence of the pilot of the ship and bad weather. - wikipedia In October last year, the Historical and Nautical Archaeology Fo…

Wildlife in Catanduanes

Moving around the island, particularly in the remote barangays located in the hinterlands, one can find unusual pets and not often seen animals, some were hunted down to near extinction.

Monkeys or "ukay" are teeming in some parts of the island, often a menace to small farmers' crops.

Wild chicken or "abukid" are at times sold as pets by ambulant vendors. The look is no different from a domesticated chicken but I think its smaller and lighter.

Long ago wild deers or "usa" can be found in the lowlands and some even tried domesticating this wild animal. But in later years their population had drastically diminished.

Same with the wild pig or "opon", a delicacy for many because of less fat and tastier compared to hybrids. The look is very much different from domesticated pigs, mean looking, small and hairy.

A dreaded species of Philippine cobra or "haras" as the locals calls it, is found also in the island, but record of snake bites is …

Puraran Beach

Probably the most popular tourist destination in the island is Puraran in Baras Catanduanes. It is the home of the well-known “Majestic” waves with its awesome long-barrel-type surf. Offshore waves are in their utmost shape during the months of August to September.


The area around Puraran also shows marvelous view of mountains and bays. Photo enthusiasts could also get a great view of the sunrise in this area.

For holiday seekers, this place is for total relaxation, be in touch with nature, bird watch, camp and simply stargaze at night.

Puraran is accessible both by public and private vehicles. An hour and 45 minutes ride from the capital town of Virac, that passes through the old Bato Church and the longest bridge in the island. At the approach of the bridge, you can view the ruins of the old concrete bridge washed away by floods during one of the worst typhoon in this island's history.

Note that Catanduanes is considered to have the highest rainfall in the country. Best time t…

Endot: Paraw Fisherman From Catanduanes

The Philippines competed at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing and Qingdao, China. The country was represented by three athletes, sailors Pedro Sollique and Cherry Pinpin in the 2-person keelboat event, sailing and Adeline Dumapong for powerlifting. The Philippine Paralympic delegation was headed by the IPC-recognized NPC, PHILSPADA, with support from the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee.

The PHI SKUD helm: Endot, paraw fisherman from Catanduanes, said his mom liked to eat crabs when she was carrying him.

Bird Watching in Catanduanes

Many of the threatened and restricted-range birds of the Luzon Endemic Bird Area have been recorded on Catanduanes. Extensive lowland forests are reported to remain there, so it could support important populations of many of these birds. This is one of the few islands near Luzon where there has been a relatively recent record of Philippine Cockatoo, and Cream-bellied Fruit-dove appears to be particularly numerous there. Two of the restricted-range species are represented on Catanduanes by endemic subspecies, Luzon Bleeding-heart G. l. rubiventris and Grey-backed Tailorbird O. d. nilesi.

Philippine Cockatoo Cacatua haematuropygia 2008 IUCN Red List Category: Critically Endangered

Cream-bellied Fruit-dove 2008 IUCN Red List Category: Near Threatened

Luzon Bleeding-heart (Gallicolumba luzonica)2008 IUCN Red List Category Near Threatened

Grey-backed Tailorbird (Orthotomus derbianus) 2008 Red List Category Least Concern

Philippine Dwarf-kingfisher (Ceyx Melanurus) 2008 IUCN Red List Category: …

Catanduanes Watershed Forest Reserve

Site description: Catanduanes is an island of 182,300 ha which lies about 10 km off the tip of the Caramoan Peninsula in southern Luzon. The terrain on the island is hilly, particularly in the central portion, but the highest point only reaches just over 800 m. The substantial forests which remain in central Catanduanes are therefore all lowland dipterocarp in type, and are the largest remaining forest block in the whole of the Bicol Region. Forest is found above 490 m, and is estimated to cover a total of about 69,770 ha. It includes considerable areas of old growth dipterocarp forest (reported in 1997 to cover 5,876 ha), and closed-canopy forest in areas that show evidence of having been logged. These forest areas are the source of water for Catanduanes Province. One hydropower project is currently operational, that supplies power to urban areas of the island. The forest areas was proclaimed as a Watershed Reserve in 1987 because of these important function, the whole area is sta…

55 Doctors, Medical Personnel Join UST Medical Mission Here

No less than 39 doctors of varied specialties, including 17 from the United States, are among the 55 volunteers for the medical, surgical and dental mission sponsored by the University of Santo Tomas Medicine Class 1980 in Virac this Feb. 25-27.

Dr. Rene V. Reyes, mission coordinator for the Philippines, said that of the delegation headed by US coordinator Dr. Ferdinand Ramos, 38 are from Manila while of the eight of the 12 surgeons are members of the sponsoring UST alumni.

Here’s the composition of the group:

Medicine – Dr. Rene V. Reyes, Dr. Ramona P. Ozaeta, Dr. Peter Yu, Dr. Mansueto Silverman, and Dr. Jonathan Burgos; Anesthesia – Dr. Ferdinand Ramos, Dr. Evelyn S. Ramos, Dr. Theresa M. Alcantara, Dr. Carmelita S. Lunas, Dr. Renato del Carmen, and Dr. Ruby C. del Carmen; OB-GYN – Dr. Zeny Malilay, Dr. Lucia Tiangco, Dr. Lizza Santos, and Dr. Sharon G. Cruz;

Surgery – Dr. Juan P. Sanchez, Jr., Dr. Alex Erasmo, Dr. Ray Malilay, Dr. Norbert Guiab, Dr. Mario Guevarra, Dr. Francis Altare…

Mapping Catanduanes in Google Maps

Google Southeast Asia Head of Marketing Derek Callow reveals that Filipino users are now actively contributing to the Internet giant's user-generated map-making platform, Google Map Maker, which was introduced in 2008.

Catanduanes Beauty

This video highlights island's nature, people and places. It focuses on the unspoiled and awesome beauty of nature at its finest, photos were taken by several photo enthusiasts and tourists who visited this island paradise. Please watch the video entitled, Catanduanes Beauty.


Diamonds in the Rough

Diamonds are found among rocky terrains and mountains. Diamonds are hard to dig up and tedious to polish, but shines like no other stone.

The same is said about doctors willing to work in underserved communities with substandard qualities of life in the Philippines.

“They chose a simple life of service over luxury,” said Phi Kappa Mu Fraternity alumnus Dr. Jose Tiongco during his opening address at the fraternity’s “Diamonds in the Rough” (DITR) Awarding ceremony last March 3 in Century Park Hotel, Manila.

Tiongco said that we should be thankful for such doctors. “Sixty-two percent of Filipinos die without seeing a doctor, 88% of doctors and nurses are abroad,” he said.

The three major awardees are doctors from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. All have been progressively helping their communities in terms of the population’s health and well being.

Vietrez Panganiban David-Abella, M.D. is the winner from Catanduanes, Luzon. Mennie Cabacan, M.D. is the winner helping in Eastern Samar, Visayas.…

Catanduanes Hydropower Project Gets P860-M loan

The estimated P860-million mini-hydro electric power plant projects in Solong, Kapipian and Hitoma in the province of Catanduanes is now 65 percent complete, Sunwest Water and Electric Co. (Suweco) president Jose Silvestre Natividad said.

“This swift accomplishment was carried out even though Suweco stalled its bank loan and waited for the interest to come down before it availed of the loan since the April 2008 Department of Energy (DoE) approval of its operating contract. Investments and construction came first prior to any funding and financial closing from banks, civil works had been done at a very early time and all electro-mechanical items have already been purchased and ready for shipment anytime. All these were carried out from the company’s own internally generated funds,” Natividad stressed.

Suweco’s previous plan was to complete the project using its own funds but due to the present decrease of interest rates, it opted to avail of the financing from the Philippine National Ba…

DOT-5 Sets Aside P2-M for Tourist Facilities in Catanduanes

A total of two million pesos has been earmarked by the Department of Tourism (DOT) regional office in Bicol for the construction of tourist facilities and acquisition of equipment that will further boost tourism ventures in the province of Catanduanes.


According to Tourism Promotions Officer Carmel Bonifacio-Garcia of the provincial government of Catanduanes, the fund will be used to implement four projects that will energize domestic and even foreign tourist patronage on the island. A Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) has already been issued to this effect, with the breakdown of expenditures already known.

Out of the allotted fund, P500,000 will be channeled to the construction of the Visitors’ Information Center at Puraran, Baras while another P500,000 will be used for the purchase of surfboards. On the other hand, P500,000 has been set aside for the establishment of Gayon Bicol Bath House at Virac Seaport, and P500,000 more for the construction of Gayon Bicol Travel Café at V…

Make Graduations a Simple Celebration

With the upcoming school graduations, the Department of Education (DepEd) reminds public school heads, teachers and other education stakeholders to keep the graduation rites a simple celebration.

Education Secretary Jesli Lapus directed public schools not to collect any graduation fees or any kind of contribution for graduation rites. “We need to focus on ensuring quality education for all," he said.

In line with the government’s austerity program, DepEd issued DepEd Order No.15, s. 2009, which contained the department’s policy on conduct and collection of fees for the graduation rites.

Although PTA/PTCAs may solicit voluntary contributions from their members for graduation ceremonies, teachers and school officials should not be involved in the collection of these contributions.

Schools should not require extravagant special attire or extraordinary venue for the ceremonies, while contributions for the annual yearbook should only be on a voluntary basis.

The order also stated that &qu…

The PRA Business Guide

As a general rule, anyone regardless of nationality may invest in the Philippines. However, foreign nationals enrolled in the Retirement Program are, under the Authority’s existing Implementing Investment Guidelines, permitted after a holding period of 30 days from the issuance of the SRR Visa, to convert their time deposit/s into active investment/s in any or a combination of the following investment areas, to wit:
Purchase or acquisition of a condo unit anywhere in the Philippines;Long-term lease of house and lot for a period not shorter than 20 years; andPurchase of golf or country club shares.Investments by PRA retirees outside the PRA program using other funds separate and distinct from the qualifying dollar time deposit may be allowed depending on the business structures of their choice e.g. sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or branch office subject to compliance with existing laws and the Foreign Investments Act. Foreign ownership of up to 100% is allowed for exp…