Tag Archive: Aklan

This list was emailed to me. Have been to, seen and photographed some but not all. Thought I’d throw in some of these photos here for a photowalk — to inspire us all to visit each site. It’s just around the corner! NEED HELP. IF U HAVE PHOTOS AND WANT TO SAVE ME THE TRIP, PLEASSSSSSEEEEE SEND ME. THANKS.

Oldest Steel Church

Despite the discrepancies in the dates of its founding, the San Sebastian Church is the only steel church in Asia built in the late 18th century. It should have celebrated its centennial around 1991. Yet, it seems that not even the Catholic administration paid any interest in its historical significance or in the fact that it was Alexander Gustave Eiffel who designed it.

San Sebastian Church

Oldest Restaurant

New Toho Food Center (1888, 422 Tomas Pinpin Street, Binondo, Manila) Five Chinese friends set this up in Binondo, Manila, where the restaurant still stands, in a newer structure also on Tomas Pinpin (formerly San Jacinto) Street which was built after a fire razed the wooden building back in 1984. That explains the slight change in the name. It used to be called the Toho Antigua Panciteria.

Oldest Province

Aklan, originally known as Minuro it Akean, is considered as the oldest province in the country and believed to have been established as early as 1213 by settlers from Borneo. Its first ruler was Datu Dinagandan. In 1399,Datu Kalantiaw grabbed the throne. In 1433, Kalantiaw III formulated a set of laws that is known today as the Code of Kalantiaw.

These days, Aklan is better known as the province to which Boracay belongs.

Oldest Town

Unisan, Quezon could be the oldest town in the Philippines. The people of Unisan claimed that their town is now 481 years old, having been established in 1521, the same year that Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Philippines. All other towns in the country were established not earlier than 1565, when Spain formally occupied the Philippines as a colony.A Malayan queen named Ladya reportedly founded Calilayan, the old name of the town. In 1876, Calilayan was renamed Unisan which was derived from the Latin word uni-sancti, meaning “holy saint”. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Shoreline of Unisan, Quezon

Oldest City

Cebu City is considered as the oldest city in the country, as this was the site of the earliest European settlement established by Spanish conqueror Miguel Lopez De Legazpi in 1565.


Oldest Fort

The first Spanish settlement in the country, Villa del Santisimo Nombre de Jesus, was located inside Fort San Pedro in Cebu City. The fort’s construction began in 1565.


Oldest Street

Calle Colon in Cebu City is considered as the oldest street in the country. Named after explorer Christopher Columbus, Calle Colon was first constructed in 1565 by men of Miguel Lopez De Legazpi.

Oldest Stone Church

The Baclayon Church in Bohol is considered as the oldest stone church in the Philippines. But some historians disagree, claiming that San Agustin Church in Manila deserves the title.

Inside Baclayon Church in Bohol

Church historians claim that the cornerstones of San Agustin Church were laid as early as 1571, 25 years before Baclayon Church was built in 1596. But most people believe the title should be kept by the latter, since it is situated in the island first occupied by the troops of Miguel Lopez De Legazpi, the country’s first Spanish governor general.

Bohol was where a friendship was sealed with blood between Chieftain Rajah Sikatuna and Legazpi. The event is known today as”The Blood Compact.”

Oldest Hospital

The San Lazaro Hospital could be the oldest hospital in the country. According to Pampango historian Zoilo Galang, the San Lazaro hospital was established in 1578; Enfermeria de Naga, 1583; and Hospital de San Juan de Dios, 1596.

Oldest Church Bell

The oldest church bell in the country is said to be the one found in Camalaniugan, Cagayan. That bell was reportedly forged in 1595.

Oldest Bridge

The Jones Bridge, formerly known as Fuente de Espana, was first built in 1701. It was rebuilt by the Americans in 1916 and renamed after Atkinson Jones.

Oldest University

The University of San Carlos (U.S.C.) in Cebu City is considered as the oldest school in the country and in Asia. Formerly known as the Colegio de San Ildefonso, it was founded by the Spanish Jesuits on August 1, 1595. This makes the Cebu-based university older than theUniversity of Santo Tomas (1611) in Manila andHarvard University (1636) in the United States.

The University of Santo Tomas, however, contests this title. Formerly known as the Colegio de Nuestra Señora Del Rosario,U.S.T. was the first school, which got a university status in 1645. U.S.C. became a university in 1948. UST also claimed that the original U.S.C. was closed in 1769 as a result of the expulsion of the Jesuits. It reopened in 1783 under a new name and ownership. But the USC officials stick to their claim. The university observed its 400th foundation day on August 21, 1995.


Oldest Vocational School

The Don Honorio Ventura College of Arts and Trades (DHVCAT) inBacolor, Pampanga is said to be the oldest vocational school in Asia. Augustinian Friar Juan Zita and civic leader Don Felino Gil established the vocational school on November 4, 1861.

Oldest Company

Ayala Corp., one of the largest conglomerates in the country, is also the oldest existing company around. It was established in 1834 by sugar barons Domingo Roxas and Antonio de Ayala. It was later renamed as Casa Ayala, then as Ayala y Compania and recently as Ayala Corp.

Oldest Bank

In 1881, Domingo Roxas, an ancestor of the Ayala family, became one of the first directors of Banco Español-Filipino De Isabel II,which was founded by virtue of a royal decree issued by Queen Isabel II. The bank issued the country’s first currency notes the following year. Considered as the first private commercial bank in the country, the bank came to be known as the Bank of Philippine Islands in 1912. The oldest savings bank was Monte de Piedad, which was established in 1882.

Bank of the Philippine Islands Branch in Vigan

Oldest Rizal Monument

What can be considered as the oldest in the country is a 20-foot metal structure standing at a park in Daet, Camarines Norte. Its construction reportedly began on December 30, 1898 and was finished in February 1899. In comparison, the Rizal monument at the former Luneta Park was built in 1912.

Oldest Insurance Firm

Insular Life Insurance Company was established on November 26, 1910, becoming the oldest insurance agency in the country.

Boracay this summer?  So, who’s asking?

Many choose to fly straight into  Caticlan airport to take the 15 minute boat trip to the island.  My family has been here many times before, and each time flew to Kalibo, Aklan, rode the bus for 2 hours to Caticlan, and took the same 15 minute boat ride to the island. The extra 2 hours wasted on the drive is our penalty for not being too brave to take the more direct flight on a smaller aircraft.  Call us chicken!
I remember the kids hopping and leaping each time we arrived in Kalibo.  Never mind the sweltering heat and the long queue for the exit gate.  Years before,  we took the boat all the way to the beachfront. Boracay had 3 boat stations then numbered from 1 to 3.  The high-end, quiet side is in Boat Station No. 1.  The boats then would take us all to Boat Station No. 2 and from there, we just walked to our hotel on either side: left to Station 1, right to Station 2. These days,  all boats disembark in the jetty port on the other side of the island.  From here, one either gets picked up by the hotel or guesthouse or pay a pedicab (motorbikes with cabs) to drive them along the road nearest their lodgings.

Villa Simprosa @Station 2

Villa Simprosa in Boat Stn No. 2

Hardly anyone has heard of Villa Simprosa in the action-packed Boat Station No. 2 area. The owner of the guesthouse is a friend of my niece, and we were just too happy to get rooms good for 4 pax, air-conditioned, with a private toilet and bath with hot water at rates way cheaper than the other lodging places.  No fancy stars for this lodging place, but it’s value for money for a beachfront inn right smack where the action is.

The beachfront is shared with the likes of Red Coconut Hotel, Hey Jude Bar, Boracay Regency, and right off the corner, there’s HAPLOS 24-hour SPA.  Just a short walk along the beach and one finds himself at D MALL, an area littered with eating places with the broadest range of prices.  D Mall has spawned many restaurants which have since branched out in the Manila and Makati areas where the same beach afficionados cum urbanites patronized the place, perhaps reminiscing life on the beach there.  There is definitely no shortage of eating places, either in D Mall or along the beach, in and around Villa Simprosa.  Souvenir shops and tattoo shops littered the beachfront too.  Or just take a beach towel and wait by the shore for someone to come up to you offering an hour’s massage for less than US$7.

Memories of “Old” Boracay

I used to prefer the quiet and peace found in the lodgings nearer Boat Station No. 1.  But my nieces are right,  it is more fun to stay where the action is, in and around Boat Station No. 2.   After all, part of Boracay’s charm is its being a party island. And so, with music blaring from some of the pubs and open air bars, we happily strolled many nights along the beachfront and enjoyed our time here every visit we made. Peace and quiet?  You can still get it……if you wake up early enough.  While most others who partied the night before spend all morning sleeping in,  one can quietly sip his espresso by the beach and wait till the newspapers from Manila arrive in the island.

Taho for Breakfast?

Here in Boracay, we found a breakfast place near Villa Simprosa serving Filipino breakfast meals which consists of garlic fried rice, egg, and a choice of our local sausage or pork/beef slices. The breakfast meal includes coffee too, except that I can be quite picky with my coffee.  Plus I really do prefer a glass of “taho” more than anything else! Now that makes for a truly good morn.

Each time we visited, we would always check  new developments around the island….though this is one form of development that I don’t particularly welcome.  Even my nieces lament the fact that we have “lost the old Boracay” where there were just a handful of hotels beyond 2 storeys, no malls,  and no touts!  We look back to those days when we would linger around the grotto area near the place where Waling Waling Hotel now stands, and wait for the fishermen come home with their catch.  I absolutely enjoyed buying their fresh catch and asking some of the local folks to cook them for us.  There was one particular time we bought about 4 kilos of lapu-lapu (a local fish, called garoupa in some other Asian countries like China) and had it cooked four-ways: grilled, fried, sweet-sour, and with soup.  That, with tons of steaming white rice, made out for one of the best meals we ever had in this island!

Much has changed.  But we always head back. The kids frolic in the beach.  The girls enjoy getting their tan.  And I find myself always heading for the spa.  Oh what a way to spend a good hour and a half.   I love this, really really love this.  For only P300 or under US$7, you get an hour’s massage. It was so good I could not get myself up after an hour, and would invariably go for a half hour more of rubbing.  Now, this is the way to really pamper yourself.  It is definitely more comfortable than lying on the beach to get rubbed.  Here inside the “open air” spa, one still gets the breeze from the sea, but without the sand. You also get spared from all those beach touts who are always peddling boat rides, pearls or some other necklaces, ice cream bars, and seashells.

After a good rub, it is pure luxury to simply sit still by the beach and just waste away the hours reading. 

Here in the island,  it is the norm to take mid-afternoon lunch.  We observed that most others do too.  Either they wake up noon time after all that partying the night before, or they wake up early enough and lingered over their breakfasts as we always do, too full to eat lunch at noon.  One trip to Boracay, the kids were getting so confused that one had to ask repeatedly if he was having lunch or snacks.  Such is life in Boracay. Eat.  Swim. Sleep.   Il Dolce Far Niente. The Sweetness of Doing Nothing.

Postscript:  I checked out some old photos in boracay with the family. Had to smile,  those kids have grown……as did our waistlines! 😦