Monday, April 21, 2014

First Beach Trip of the Year

       I went to the province of Batangas last Friday for a one-day beach trip with peers. I must say that it feels good to be back in the beach. To feel the sun, sand, and sea after not being able to do so last year. Yeah I just didn't know why this didn't happen in 2013 hehe.

       Anyway, the beach that we went to is in Putingbuhangin in San Juan. The family of our friend Don has a property by the Tayabas Bay and it was really very nice of him to invite us and  even drive for us all the way to Batangas.  That actually made this trip pretty bohemian - fun and frugal for most of us. LOL.

      There were 7 of us in this trip. I rarely travel but when I do it's usually with these long-time friends of mine who are from around my city. Indeed any place is a good place to be as long as there's good company. ^_^

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Paschal Greeting

Christus Resurrexit! Resurrexit Vere!

    On Resurrection Day, it is customary among Orthodox Christians, also among some Catholic and Protestant Christians to greet each other by saying "Christ is risen!", and the response is "He is risen, indeed!" Cool, huh?

     When someone greets me "Happy Easter", I usually say "Happy Resurrection Day". It sounds more about Christ. "Easter", on the other hand sounds pagan. Now I'm not trying to be a hard-core Christian here, as I am quite appreciative of artful pagan stuff. But if today's occasion is the most important day for us Christians because it meant our salvation, then we should greet each other in a way that will remind us of Him who by dying destroyed our death and by rising restored our life. 

      Have a blessed Resurrection Day, guys!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Old Churches of Pampanga:
Santa Rita Church

      So this is the 7th and the last church I visited in Pampanga with blogger friends Don Triviño of and Fitz Villafuerte of Our church tour took place in February 27, 2014, starting at the municipality of Angeles, then San Fernando, Bacolor, Guagua, Lubao, and finally Santa Rita.

     You would think that this church is abandoned when you look at the facade with its weathered-off paint and ferns growing on the crevasses. Well I actually like it. Santa Rita de Casia Church looks even older than the other historical churches in Pampanga. This structure was completely built in 1868.

     The interior of the church look pretty rustic. 
The municipality of Santa Rita is after all a farming town.

          Of course a church in a rural town can still have their dome ceiling artistically painted.

      The main feature of this church is this reliquary with an affluent gothic style retablo located at the left wing, facing the altar.

       At the chest of this half-body statue of  St. Rita is a first-class relic. The relic is from the flesh of the Saint which was part of the last batch extracted from her incorrupt body in 1972. Saint Rita (1381-1457) was an  Italian Augustinian nun. She's often depicted with a stigmatic wound on her forehead. She is the patron saint of heartbroken women and widows.

         See more photos HERE.

        And so this concludes my coverage of the historical churches of Pampanga. I hope it inspired you to visit these beautiful edifices of worship. May you travel safe in your Visita Iglesia and have a Blessed Holy Week.

Old Churches of Pampanga:
Lubao Church

     I just love the adobe and terracota exterior of this church in Lubao. Also known as Saint Augustine Church, it is the oldest church in the province of Pampanga. 

     Lubao Church was built from 1614 to 1630. It was occupied by the Revolutionist in 1898 and was used as a military hospital by the U.S. Army in 1899.  Japanese shelling destroyed it in 1942. Repairs began in 1949 and was completed in 1952.

          The brick walls in the interior adds a rustic charm to this church just like Liliw Church in Laguna.

      Tiered retablos are very much the trademark of very old and well preserved churches in the Philippines.

See more photos HERE.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Old Churches of Pampanga:
Immaculate Conception Church

     With its painted white facade you wouldn't think that the Immaculate Conception Parish  was actually built in 1772. It stands serenely amidst the busy urban town of Guagua.

        The interior is quite simple. A clean classical look with a few baroque accents.

     I like the architecture of the retablo but I think another color needs to be added to make the columns stand out. Sorry, didn't mean to criticize.

       I have to admit they have fabulous windows. Nice cornice and draperies! Maybe this emerald green color is what I'm looking for at the retablo.

See more photos HERE.

Old Churches of Pampanga:
Betis Church

     The fourth church that my friends and I visited is the church in Betis Area that is also known as the Parish Church of St. James the Apostle. It is my favorite church in Pampanga because of its marvelous interior. This church built in 1770 was declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines and the NCCA in 2001.

     A Natural Treasure like this must be preserved and protected indeed. Iron gates safeguard this intricately carved door that is probably more than 200 years old.

      Paintings in the form of murals and trompe l'oeil cover the majority of the walls and ceilings. Simon Flores, one of the most celebrated Filipino painters of the 19th-Century, as well as Macario Ligon and his nephew-apprentice Victor Ramos, also Daning Henson and a Mr. Pangilinan, all contributed to the breath-taking beauty that emanates inside Betis Church.

       This is the ceiling painting above the nave. There's a museum at the left side of the church and there you'll find infographics about the artworks found inside the church.

        Betis is like the Paete of the North - home to many professional Pinoy woodcarvers. The intricate details of this Baroque retablo and the solid wood rebultos resonate the fine craftsmanship of Betis sculptors.

See more photos HERE.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Old Churches of Pampanga:
San Guillermo Church

     The third church in Pampanga that I visited, with a couple of friends,  is located in Bacolor.  When I first saw it, I thought that it is a rather low-rise church compared to the first two that we visited earlier.

      I didn't  know that this church is actually half-buried in volcanic ash from the eruption of Mount Pinatubo. The volcano erupted in 1991 but typhoon waters in October 1995 created a mudslide and tragically buried the entire town with over 6 meters of volcanic ash. See a photo of the church before the disaster here.
      The original 1576 church was destroyed by earthquake in 1880 and was rebuilt in 1886. This is indeed a very old structure.

       Inside the church, the floor is now at the same level as the base of window arches. Because the windows are buried, dormers  on the roof provide light and ventilation.

     The altar, as well as the central and side retablos were painstakingly excavated and restored. They are after all  centuries-old heritage of  the town of Bacolor.

      The church also has a museum. Though also half-burried, it has a large floor area that dramatically exhibits the parish' memorabilia.

  See more photos HERE.

Old Churches of Pampanga:
San Fernando Cathedral

     The second Church I visited in Pampanga, with friends Don and Fitz, is the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Fernando.

     The original church made of wood and thatch was built by the Augustinian friars in 1755. The construction of the present church started in 1788 and was completed in 1808.  The church and convent was burned by the Philippine Revolutionary Army in 1899. Another fire damaged the church in 1939 and restoration was done in 1948.

     Taken from the elevated parking of a nearby mall, the church dome shares the frame with the distant Mount Arayat, an extinct volcano.

     The town and it's church is named after their patron saint, the King Ferdinand III of Castile, the Medieval kingdom which today is part of Spain.

         When we came, the retablos were being refurbished. Accents were being re-gilded. The interior is really elegant with it's Baroque style that is not too heavy on ornamentation.

      See more photos HERE.

Old Churches of Pampanga:
Santo Rosario Church

     It's Holy Week! If you plan to do a Visita Iglesia outside the Metro, how about seeing the historic churches of the Pampanga? I went to the province with blogger friends Don and Fitz late in February and this is the first of seven churches that we visited.

      The Santo Rosario (Holy Rosary) Parish in Angeles City was constructed from 1877 to 1897 by forced and unpaid labor of native male Filipino people under the Spanish colonial government. For a year in 1896 the backyard of the church was used as execution grounds for shooting down Pinoy rebels and suspects. The church was also used as military hospital in 1899 to 1900 by the U.S. Army. Yup, this church also had its share of bombing damage during WW2.

Dried up algae on adobe walls echo the church's long history.

The construction of the second half of the church 
and the dome was completed in September 17, 1891.

Doors within the main double doors on which the Via Crucis is carved.  

The local folks call this building "Pisambang Maragul"
which means "Big Church".

See more photos HERE.

Have Coffee like a
Batangueño at Cafeño

        I was in San Juan, Batangas last Sunday and spent most of the day in my friend's ancestral house. While showing me around town his folks brought me to this nice coffee shop that is along Gen. Luna St. at the corner of Rizal St.

         Cafeño opened only in 2006 but the house where it is situated is probably from the 30's. In the late 40's a gas station used to operate here - Mobilgas, the very first in town.

     I just love the charmingly rustic interior with the checkered floors and old sewing machine tables.

     If you get to visit, try their Spiked Barako. It's iced kapeng barako, a coffee varietal, spiked with lambanog, a kind of vodka made from coconut. A large glass is only Php 100. Both coffee and liquor are distinct products of the province of Batangas. Oh try also their Tamales, a kind of suman (rice cake). Goes well with a hot cup of barako. ^_^

Saturday, April 12, 2014

New BuhayBohemio Shirt:
The King of Weed T-Shirt

     Here's another new design, my King of Weed T-Shirt. The design is taken from the King of Clubs. 

     So we have here a dread-headed monarch holding a sword on his left hand and a bong on his right hand. Really, the concept of the ganja leaf as a card suite really isn't new but I made an effort to give this artwork some originality.

      This shirt is available for men and ladies and you can also have the print in green. If you want this shirt, contact me! See more t-shirts at ^_^

New BuhayBohemio Shirt:
The Rasta-Britannica T-Shirt

     I've been seeing a lot of shirts, and other items, with British flag prints out there lately. I wonder what started the trend.  Well I don't usually follow trends but I wanted to adopt the design for BuhayBohemio. It is after all a timeless design. You'd have to admit that the UK flag is nicely designed because of the lines, contrasting colors and symmetry - making it quite a "fashionable" flag.

      So this is my version and I call it the Rasta-Britannica t-shirt. Celebrating the British Rastafarians and  reggae musicians. 

      If you are not into reggae, the print is also available in the original Union Jack colors. Also in black and silver. If you want a shirt like this send me a message. See more of my shirt designs at ^_^

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The BuhayBohemio Online Catalog

     I finally made public the BuhayBohemio Online Catalog last Monday. I call it a "catalog" because it only showcases my products plus the information. It's not an automated online store where you can order and make a payment right away. It would be awesome if it were, I know. But for now, one has to contact me to buy something that is posted there. 

     You know, I had been working on this since December last year. Yeah, it took that long. It went through a series of trial-and-error while I tried to modify the Blogger template (Vasiliki by Best Theme). Preparing and posting the images was a lot of work too. Oftentimes I had to put it aside to work on other projects. I'm not completely satisfied with what I've done so far, but nonetheless, this template and layout pretty much does the job. Will just have to find the time to make improvements.

     Click on the photo above to take you to You will find new t-shirts designs and also something new about old designs. Check them out! ^_^