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Reflection park draws thousands of pilgrims

By Jose P. Sollano (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Thousands of pilgrims from different towns and cities flocked to the 200-hectare Q Park in Compostela town last Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

Nestled atop the hills of the Compostela, Q Park is gaining recognition among adventure seekers, family trippers and pilgrims alike.

It is situated some 35 kilometers north from Cebu City and fully owned by the Quisumbing family and the Norkis Group of Companies led by its chairman Dr. Norberto Quisumbing Jr.

The park covers the barangays of Buluang, Canamocan and Tubigan. Its attractions include Stations of the Cross, a Nativity cave and the saints, retreat house and cottages, heroes' hill, as well as camps for girls and boys.

Quisumbing said he was happy upon seeing thousands of pilgrims visiting Q Park since Wednesday morning.

A one-legged man from Bulacan was one of the visitors over the weekend. The man said he was informed by a neighbor about this meditation park in Compostela and this prompted him to visit the place.

Quisumbing, on the other hand, said he decided to develop Q Park not for himself, but for other people - to show them the importance of faith.

Quisumbing recalled that during the Lenten season in 2005, when Q Park opened, some 30,000 visitors walked and prayed the Stations.

In 2006, the number of visitors more than tripled, growing to P100,000. The number, he said, is increasing every year.

According to Quisumbing, a regular visitor of Q Park was the Filipino visionary named Ma. Emma de Guzman. It was during De Guzman's very first visit to Q Park on Holy Thursday in 2007 that she reportedly experienced the sacred "stigmata" there.

The incident was accordingly witnessed by pilgrims present at the time, some of them employees of Norkis Group.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma earlier said Q Park is an ideal place for meditation, soul-searching and reflection.

"Those who lost their way are welcome and the faithful can strengthen their faith in God by meditating at Q Park. Let this Q Park be an inspiration to all people," Quisumbing said.

DENR allocates P35.4M for mangrove rehab

By Phoebe Jen Indino

DAANBANTAYAN, Cebu- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 is set to allocate P35.4 million for the rehabilitation and recovery program of disaster stricken areas in Central Visayas.

The 2014 Work and Financial Plan for the rehabilitation programs, subject for the approval of the DENR Secretary Ramon JP Paje, include mangrove rehabilitation, plantation establishment, and beach type forest plantation in Central Visayas areas hit by the worst natural calamities last year.

“Region 7, next to region 8, was most affected by the typhoon Yolanda and Bohol province experienced the 7.2 magnitude earthquake. Through these proposed programs, we hope to restore our devastated mangrove plantations and put up new plantations to areas identified as vulnerable to landslide, flooding and most importantly storm surges,” Montejo stressed.

Of the P35, 459, 000 allocated amount for the region, around P10, 504, 000 will be intended for Cebu province, P16, 972, 000 for Bohol, another P 6, 164, 000 for Negros Oriental and an amount of 1, 819, 000 for Siquijor Province.

Earlier, the DENR 7 has released an initial amount of P20 million to the affected areas in Northern Cebu used for the Cash for Work Program including the assessment and establishment of the 85-hectares of mangrove plantations in Camotes Island, Bantayan Island and Northern Cebu mainland (Daanbantayan, Medellin, Bogo City and Borbon).

Domestic ports record 47,209 departures on Good Friday -- Coast Guard


MANILA, April 18 (PNA) -- The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) announced that 47,209 seagoing passengers have departed from the country's various domestic ports Good Friday morning.

Cmdr. Armand Balilo, Coast Guard spokesperson, said that this tally is as of 6 a.m. Good Friday.

Coast Guard District National Capital Region-Central Luzon recorded 2,100 departures and all of this are from Manila.

While Coast Guard District Central Visayas reported 20,648 seagoing passengers leaving from its areas of jurisdiction:

-Cebu -- 19,809

-Tagbilaran -- 372

-Dumaguete -- 467

Coast Guard District Southwestern Mindanao recorded 3,559 departures and these are from:

-Zamboanga -- 1,998

-Jolo -- 931

-Bongao -- 630

While Coast Guard District Southern Tagalog posted 6,051 passenger departures and these can be divided from:

-Batangas -- 3,819

-Calapan -- 1,610

-Lucena -- 608

-Mamburao -- 14

Coast Guard District Western Visayas recorded 8,516 and these can be broken down into:

-Iloilo -- 4,774

-Bacolod -- 252

-Caticlan -- 3,490

Coast Guard District Southeastern Mindanao reported 1,942 departures and all of these are from Davao.

While Coast Guard District Bicol recorded 361 and all of these from Sorsogon.

Coast Guard District Northern Mindanao reported 3,012 departures and these can be broken down into:

-Cagayan De Oro -- 1,178

-Surigao -- 121

-Iligan -- 565

-Butuan -- 136

-Ozamiz -- 1,012

While Coast Guard District Eastern Visayas recorded 1,020 and these are from:

-Catbalogan -- 424

-Ormoc -- 390

-Maasin -- 206.

Cebu's second oldest church gets makeover

By Garry B. Lao (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu's second oldest church, the St. Catherine of Alexandria Church in Carcar City, is undergoing repair in order to preserve its historical, cultural and religious value.

Fr. Brian Chavez Brigoli, the parish priest who is leading the retablo restoration, said the purpose of renovation is "to bring back the original fabric elements of the old church and to stop the retardation that may cause further deterioration of the elements."

The church's retablo, admired for its Greco-Roman design, consists of three elements. These include the niches, the tabernacle and the iconographies.

The niches refer to the semi-arch places where the statues of the saints are enshrined. The tabernacle is the repository of the blessed sacrament after the mass while the iconographies refer to the signs and symbols of faith.

Some examples of iconographies are the sun and the moon "which portray the sovereignty of the power almighty of God," and the figures placed side by side of the sun and the moon symbolize the authority of the Church.

"It is the altar piece, a backdrop behind the altar table. We are not making new elements of the church but we are restoring the original elements of it," Brigoli said.

Brigoli said they are expecting to finish the restoration by the end of June. The work started early this year with estimated cost pegged at P1.2 million.

City Information Officer Candice Acuña said the project is being supported by Carcaranon families, including those who are not even living in Carcar. Support comes in the form of monetary donations and pledges.

However, Acuña said the primary source of funds is parishioners' donations, as well as donations from the chapel base, with each chapel giving their weekly contribution to the church.

"Wala ta mangayo og funding sa laing mga lugar nga dili sakop sa Carcar kay tungod makaya ra nato diri sa Carcar nga suportaan ang maong proyekto," she said.

The church was built by the Augustinians between 1860 to 1875. The architecture of the church features various influences, particularly of Greco-Roman and Islamic cultures.

The ceilings were painted by local artists in the early 1900s. The structures are likewise admired for its Byzantine architecture, Greco-Roman altar and twin-bell towers having a minaret shape.

Its columns are accentuated by life-sized statues of the twelve apostles.

Carcar City celebrates its annual fiesta celebration in honor of St. Catherine every November 25.

Buses asked to prioritize PWDs, elderly and pregnant women

By Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon with Juliet C. Cardente, CNU Intern, GMR (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu Provincial Board has urged the Land Transportation Office and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to enforce seat preference to senior citizens, persons with disabilities and pregnant women during Lenten trips.

Contained in an approved resolution sponsored by PB Member Miguel Antonio Magpale, the request came out in anticipation of the influx of passengers going to provinces starting today.

Magpale’s resolution also reminded bus public utility drivers to put the safety of the passengers as their main priority.

The PB also urged LTO and LTFRB to strictly enforce regulations in relation to the over speeding and overloading as some drivers would take the chance to have a bigger income and have more trips.

The LTFRB-7 and LTO-7 have jointly conducted yesterday a joint inspection of buses at the Cebu south and north bus terminals.

LTFRB-7 regional director Ahmed Cuizon said that during their inspection, one bus was found to be dilapidated and no longer allowed to travel.

Cuizon said other minor violations were noted such as non-posting of signages.

“Kay minor violations ra man, they are still allowed to travel. But the operators were given summons to appear at our office after the Holy Week, to see if these minor violations were already corrected,” Cuizon said.

During the inspection, neither colorum bus nor mini-bus was found, said Cuizon.

Cuizon reported 100 special permits for bus and mini-bus so far were issued by his office while 60 were issued to public utility jeepneys.

The special permits are issued to public utility vehicles who wish to travel outside their regular route during the Holy Week.

To get a special permit, one has to pay P130 per unit which is good for three days while a payment of P260 per unit for six days.

Cuizon said the LTFRB-7 is also putting up help desk at these terminals to issue special permits on-site.

Cebu ports, bus terminals ready for influx of passengers for Holy Week


CEBU CITY, April 15 (PNA) -- Cebu’s ports and bus terminals are now ready for the influx of passengers going to their hometowns for the Holy Week celebration.

Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III said he has directed Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT) administrator Vicente Dejoras to take the necessary measures, including security at the terminal.

Davide said the number of passengers at the CSBT is expected to swell by Wednesday morning or afternoon.

The number of passengers started to increase the CSBT Monday and Tuesday, said Julieto Flores, spokesperson of Cebu Provincial Bus Operators Association and Cebu South Mini-bus Operators Association.

Flores said they expect the influx of passengers starting Wednesday.

Davide is also set to inspect the province-owned terminal on that day.

Officials of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7 will also inspect bus terminals to make sure buses are in good running condition and are roadworthy.

The LTFRB 7 and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) 7 will also put up passengers help desks at different bus and jeepney terminals.

Earlier, transport officials said they will make sure colorum buses will not take advantage of the influx of passengers.

Flores also assured they have enough buses and minibuses to ferry passengers.

The Cebu Port Authority (CPA) is also doing preparations to secure passengers going to other provinces.

“We are ready with the influx of passengers as well as our security measures are already in place,” said CPA spokesperson Yusuf Uckung.

Uckung said they have already put up help desk to ensure that passenger’s complaints or concerned are immediately attended to.

Uckung said the a team composed of personnel from the Philippine Coast Guard, the Philippine National Police-Maritime and other law enforcement agencies is likewise ready to look after overloaded vessels.

Cebu water firm readies water sources to counter El Niño

By Phoebe Jen Indino

CEBU CITY, Cebu- The Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) is advising the public to brace for high temperatures this summer and to prepare for the effects of the El Niño phenomenon that is expected to hit the country by mid-year.

Because of the hot weather, MCWD said its water production may decrease by about 10,000 cubic meters a day. MCWD is urging the public to conserve water and to stock up during off-peak hours or at times when fewer people use water.

MCWD’s daily production of 206,000 cubic meters may lower significantly by the middle of the year as El Niño happens, said MCWD production and distribution department manager Astrophel Logarta. The 10,000-cubic meter volume deficit was also MCWD’s average daily deficit in water production when the country experienced El Niño in 2010.

But Logarta assured that only the Buhisan Dam and Jaclupan Weir will be affected by the dry spell and that about 95 percent of MCWD’s water comes from groundwater sources.

The 102-year-old Buhisan Dam in Cebu City is MCWD’s only surface water source. It produces about 10,000 cubic meters of water a day during the rainy season while the Jaclupan Weir in Talisay City, on the other hand, has an average yield of 30,000 cubic meters of water a day and is considered surface water-dependent.

To counter the effects of El Nino, MCWD is working on three wells, one in Canduman, Mandaue City, another one in Barangay Guadalupe and one in Barangay Camputhaw near the University of San Carlos North Campus, both in Cebu City. The wells, which should be ready in July, have a combined volume of around 2,500 cubic meters of water per day.

MCWD also expects additional 18,000 cubic meter water from the Cebu Provincial Government and the Cebu Manila Water Development Inc. The additional supply will serve consumers in northern Cebu, specifically Compostela, Liloan, Consolacion, part of Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City.

Moreover, MCWD is also rehabilitating a reservoir in Cebu Business Park which was turned over to the water district several years back but was not utilized. MCWD distribution division manager Edgar Ortega said the reservoir can store some 3,000 cubic meters of water. It will be filled during nighttime and the water will be distributed in the morning.

LTFRB 7 to inspect buses, subject drivers to random drug tests as part of 'Oplan Biyahe'


CEBU CITY, April 13 (PNA) -- The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7 will start inspecting buses on Monday in line with the "Oplan Exodus Ligtas Biyahe 2014" of the Department of Transportation and Communications during the Holy Week.

LTFRB 7 Director Ahmed Cuizon said this is intended to ensure that buses plying in the different routes are road- worthy.

Cuizon said the inspection will also be made to ensure no "colorum" buses will take advantage of the season because of the expected influx of passengers during the Holy Week.

Bus drivers and conductors will likewise be subjected to random drug testing, he added.

Cuizon said the LTFRB 7 will issue special permits to allow buses to operate out of their regular routes.

Joint help desks of the LTFRB 7 and Land Transportation Office (LTO) 7 will be put up in selected bus terminals to assist passengers, issue special permits, and inspect road-worthiness and franchises.

Earlier, regional police officials have also assured that it’s all systems go and security measures are now in place in Cebu province for the Holy Week.

Cebu’s natural wonders: Rein in summer spending with budget-friendly trips

By Carlo S. Lorenciana (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - While taking summer trips could sound so pricey, the province of Cebu actually has a lot of wonderful nature attractions that are budget-friendly and perfect summer itinerary for the locals or even foreign tourists who want to keep their summer spending at bay.

Having only enough to spend is not a problem as there are vacation places--resorts, falls, springs and parks for outdoor activites--in the city and province of Cebu that cater to tourists.

Some of these nature’s places are newly discovered while others are starting to make a name in the tourism industry and to grab the awareness not just of the locals but the foreign visitors as well.

While people have the freedom to go to their favorite destinations this season, several families, friends, organization members and even neighbors look somewhere to enjoy the summer’s atmosphere on a tight budget.

Cheap fun

Find the cheap place and never fail to enjoy the outing, this according to Gelbolingo family who recently visited the famous Obong Cold Spring in the town of Dalaguete.

At the South Bus Terminal, there are two routes for the buses: Oslob and Carcar (both pass by Dalaguete). The fare is just P95 per head.

With 20 people comprising of family members, friends and neighbors, Gelbolingo family in the town of Argao only spent more or less P2, 200 for transportation, food, cottage and entrance fee.

The entrance fee to the spring is only P5 and the rental fee for its cottage costs P150: “Low cost gyod siya kay una ang bayad pa lang sa pagsud barato na unya mag-enjoy gyod ka, di ka magmahay,” said Sunshine Gelbolingo, who is based in the city.

Obong is a fresh water spring located near the sea and is now deemed as Dalaguete’s pride and has been included in the destination list of Suroy-Suroy Sugbo, the provincial government’s tourism advocacy program.

“I would say it was inexpensive fun,” Gelbolingo shared. “I guess what truly matters is you are with your family. The place is just secondary.”

The FREEMAN has compiled some of the low cost summer getaway destinations in Cebu specifically for the local tourism market:

1. Obong Spring. Located in the southernmost part of the town of Dalaguete, the cold spring has been a chosen trip destination for most domestic tourists who are looking for an inexpensive summer getaway. The entrance fee is obviously low: P5 for adult and P2 for kids under 10. The huge 400-year-old dalakit tree makes the atmosphere in the spring very cool amid the sunny, hot days.

Quick facts: Dalaguete is known as the “Vegetable Basket of Cebu” because the town’s foggy hillsides are right for growing healthy greens. Tons of fresh vegetables are harvested in Dalaguete’s farms everyday and transported to Cebu City’s Carbon Market.

2. Island in the Sky. People can actually escape the sweltering heat this summer by going to the mountainous part of Cebu like the Gaas in the town of Balamban, known for its chilly uptown barangays. This is where the other Queen City of the South’s “Little Baguio” is located--the Island in the Sky resort. Entrance fee to the mountain resort is P60 for adults and P25 for children.

“The cool weather is the best thing the place can offer,” said Kulet Estrella, one of the resort investment assistants. “This is God-given place although part of it is also man-made.”

Guests can enjoy various outdoor activities such as the cable car which is close to 400 meters long and costs P150 per ride. Visitors can also experience the cold pool for P50. The place can be reached by riding a Van-for-hire from JY Square in Lahug heading to the topmost Trancentral Highway of barangay Gaas; the ride would only cost P60.

“The temperature here is 8 to 10 degrees lower than in the city,” Estrella told The FREEMAN. “You can fully see the whole city, you can’t see that in other places.”

3. Adventure Café. Aside from the food it offers, this café also offers zipline ride which costs only P150; wall climb is P100; and stress wall activity (where a person throws and breaks plates to relieve anger and stress) is P25 per plate.

Rodrigo Manrique, the zipline’s officer in charge, said if an individual rides twice, the second ride would only cost P100, giving their customers a discount.

4. Tumalog Falls. Considered to be a newly discovered eco-tourism destination in the town of Oslob. Also called as “Toslob Falls” or “Mag-ambak Falls”, the Tumalog falls are visited by more and more local and foreign tourists because of its primeval look and, of course, the cheap entrance fee: P20.

Mother and daughter Ting and Bea Gomez, 19, recently visited the must-see nature attraction spending only a practical amount of money but was able to enjoy the beauty of nature.

The road going to the falls is just along the highway. So from the main road, the mother and daughter rode a habal-habal for only P30 heading to the topmost parking area and took a 5-minute walk down to the hidden paradise.

5. HK Resort. It is located in the municipality of Moalboal in the southwest coast of the province of Cebu. The public white sand resort’s entrance fee is only P25. But the resort’s caretaker Jhoey Abella said if a group or family rents a cottage which costs P600, the entrance fee is already free.

6. Tubod Flowing Water Resort. This has been a regular summer stop for most local tourists because of its budget-friendly amenities fee and the “pang-masa” trademark, said 37-year-old Mary Joy Bienes, Tubod’s senior receptionist. Located in Minglanilla, Cebu, Tubod resort’s entrance fee is reasonably affordable to the mid-earners: P120 for adults and P60 for kids. Aside from enjoying the pool, visitors can also roam around the resort’s Bird Sanctuary to see for themselves the different indigenous birds in the Philippines.

Different leisure activities can also be done inside the resort such as basketball, billiard and videoke. It offers 20% discounts for senior citizen clients.

Apart from these spots, the province of Cebu still has a lot of nature offerings waiting to be discovered.

Mactan airport officials assure passengers of safety


CEBU CITY, April 11 (PNA) -- Officials of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) have assured passengers preparations are in place to ensure their safety and convenience at the airport during the Holy Week.

MCIAA general manager Engr. Nigel Paul Villarete said every Holy Week, the airport has its own preparations in coordination with other law enforcement agencies.

But Villarete said they did not expect a huge volume of passengers at the airport during the Holy Week because most people travel by bus or passenger vessels to their hometowns and nearby provinces.

Villarete said June and July are the peak months in passenger volume at the Mactan airport.

Villarete said the airport is always prepared and ready to assure the public of its "good services."

Airport police and aviation police personnel have been mobilized to secure the airport and the passengers, Villarete said.

Earlier, the Department of Transportation and Communication announced it will establish an assistance center in all airports, ports and bus terminals to address the problems and concerns of passengers.

The DOTC is also closely coordinating with ship owners, bus operators and airline operators.

Cebu Province Archived News

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