Sunday, September 30, 2012

Casa Gorordo

Casa Gorordo

The Casa Gorordo in Cebu City is a fine example of an elegant Filipino home from the mid 19th century. It incorporates some architectural designs which are intrinsic to this period such as the zaguan on the ground floor which was used as storage space and carriage parking, the sliding Capiz shell windows, the statement staircase which announces the social and economic standing of the homeowner, the kitchen window with an area for drying plates and utensils, and the intricately carved arches dividing the rooms. The house also has a long azotea (terrace) which not only served as an extended living room, it also providied a natural cooling system for the upper story allowing the breeze to circulate freely through the rooms. 

Zaguan (storage space)

The Casa Gorordo was the home of four generations of Gorordos, one of whom was the first Filipino Bishop of Cebu, Juan Gorordo. The Casa has a little chapel so the bishop could pray there during the days he visited with his family. 

John the Baptist baptizing Jesus

This painting is on the ceiling of the chapel. It's not a fresco nor a mural as you can see from the folds in the canvas. It is a stunning piece of art from this era along with well preserved pieces of furniture and objets d'art.


There is a small fee to enter Casa Gorordo which has been declared a national historical landmark. It is owned and managed by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation.
Casa Gorordo
35 Lopez Jaena
Cebu City
032 255 5645

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Images by Charie


Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Marian Hills


Monastery of the Holy Eucharist

The Monastery of the Holy Eucharist or "Birhen sa Simala" as it is locally known is a 2 hour drive south from Cebu City through narrow roads and lush countryside. It's a slow ride considering tricycles ply the roads between the small towns along the way and occasionally, a fiesta or a school celebration may result in traffic jams.

In the barangay of Lindogon, the road leads uphill. My first impression when I saw the Monastery was that it seemed out of place in these rustic surroundings. The architectural style is more aligned with European cathedrals. There's no semblance at all to Spanish colonial churches which are predominant in the Philippines. That said, the interior of the church follows the traditional colonial Baroque style.

I was caught by surprise when a security guard stopped me from entering the Monastery grounds. He told me that sleeveless dresses were not allowed inside the Monastery.  I wasn't aware of any dress restrictions  and had brought nothing to cover my arms with. Luckily, there were enterprising women renting shawls for $.75 but I decided to buy my own silk shawl from a stall just outside the gate for $2.40.

 
Main altar with the Virgin of Simala

My friend and I walked barefooted on gleaming hardwood floors as no shoes are allowed beyond the entrance to the back of the main altar where the miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary is on view. This statue was observed to have shed tears in 1998 and 1999. It was a special moment to place my hand on the glass frame encircling the statue and pray for special intentions. 

On the way down we stopped to see the collection of statues of the Virgin Mary representing different countries and various portrayals of her as Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of China among others.

St. Michael, the Archangel guarding the hillside

Before leaving, I lighted a pink candle, a symbol of thanksgiving and joy. There were so many colors to choose from like gold for healing or white for enlightenment but I chose pink because I have so much to be grateful for.

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Images by Charie



Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Brave Lapu Lapu


Lapu Lapu

How brave and valiant Lapu Lapu was! He stopped Ferdinand Magellan in his tracks right here on Mactan Island, Cebu on April 27, 1521, effectively repelling European incursion into Philippine shores (at least until 1565 when Miguel Lopez de Legazpi arrived in Cebu and established a settlement). Magellan and his men were armed with guns and swords. Lapu Lapu's warriors had bamboo spears.

The Lapu Lapu monument is located at the Mactan Shrine in Punta Engaño, Mactan Island. A marker indicates the spot where Magellan was killed by Lapu Lapu and his men. One of Magellan's men, Juan Sebastian Elcano, escaped the battle and continued the journey back to Spain. He arrived at San Lucar de Barrameda on September 6, 1522 marking the first circumnavigation of the earth.

There are stalls both inside and outside Mactan Shrine selling danggit (tiny salted dried fish, great with breakfast), local delicacies like ampao (rice crispies), dried mangoes, bukayo (shredded coconut mixed with brown sugar and packaged inside a coconut husk), among others. You can also find beach accessories and handicrafts.

Sutokil is an area with restaurants and can be found behind the handicraft shops. Here you can choose your main entreé from an array of fresh seafood. The fish are particularly colorful.

The best way to get to Mactan Island from Cebu City is by taxi. Or if you're staying at a hotel in town, they can arrange a guided tour for you. Bring a hat or an umbrella to protect your face from the fierce sun.

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Image by Charie