Bohol and its History


Map of Bohol

Bohol Island has much to offer in terms of history.

Bohol’s contact with other civilizations antedates the Spanish “discovery” of the Philippines. Among the early settlers were people who used gold jewelry, death masks and who “beautified” their women by flattening and shaping their skulls.

The Chinese traders frequented Bohol before the 5th century. Boholanos profited from them as middlemen. They took Chinese wares as far as the Moluccas and returned with spices, honey and trinkets they used for bartering.

Before the Spanish came to Bohol, the main population center may have been on stilts between Panglao Island and the mainland. Legend says that the town was razed by Portuguese sailors who abducted one of the queens. As a result, Sultan Sikatuna and his people moved to Bool, which is just outside Tagbilaran City. Other sultans moved their people to Dapitan and other areas of Mindanao.

In 1521, Panglao…

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Bohol – Home of the Chocolate Hills


Chocolate Hills0004 

Bohol has become synonymous with Chocolate Hills located northeast of Tagbilaran, the provincial capital. Clusters of these cone-shaped mounds are scattered over about 50 square km. (about 30 sq. m.) around Sagbayan, Carmen, and Sierra Bullones in Central Bohol. Numbering 1,268 in all, the hills are formed of sedimentary limestone, shale, and sandstone in an area once covered by ocean. Each hill rises 30-120 meters (100-400 ft.) above the flat terrain. The hills are green during wet weather, but after a dry spell, which is most likely to occur in April and May, the sparse grass cover turns dry and brown so that they resemble chocolate drops, hence the name.

The explanation of their geological formation remains a mystery. Some theories postulate prehistoric, submarine volcanic eruptions and the action of sea currents, but most geologists believe that weathering is the main factor. Curiously, although they’re regarded as an example…

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Romblon and its Place in Philippine History


Romblon Map

In Romblon, the remote Mount Guiting-Guiting Natural Park is a living testament to the ice age. Its geology and geography stand as evidence of the big freeze, with ancient teak trees and unique species of birds and monkeys. It is biodiversity at its best here.

Romblon’s strategic position made it an important way station on the sailing lanes between Manila and the Visayas. The Spaniards visited Romblon as early as 1582. Recollect missionaries came in 1635. The ruins of Spanish watchtowers and forts testify to the islands’ former vulnerability to the raids of slave-seeking Moro pirates. Dutch warships also attacked the islands during the early Spanish era. In 1853, Romblon was made a politico-military comandancia. It was linked to Capiz prior to becoming a separate province.

The mountainous province is fragmented into about 20 islands, with Romblon, Tablas and Sibuyan as the main islands. Romblon, the provincial capital has…

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Marble in the Philippines


Marble by Pineapple Supply Co. Marble – Photo Credit: Pineapple Supply Co

The Philippines is the only country in Southeast Asia with commercially viable marble deposits, and most of these are in Romblon, hence its description as “Marble Island” or “Marble Country”. Marble can also be found on Alad and Cobrador Islands, and at the north end of Tablas. The quarries have been worked since the 18th century, and the marble industry is a major source of employment.

Romblon topography is rich in marble and other rock types, supplying materials for sculpture. Marble is the most significant mineral deposit of Romblon and is the most renowned product of the province. Based on statistics, Romblon marble is of very high quality and comes in shades of white, green, pink, red and black. The Mines and Geosciences Bureau has estimated that Romblon is endowed with about 150 million metric tons of marble. At current rates of…

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The Battle of Lepanto – Part 4


Battle_of_Lepanto_1595-1605_Andrea_VicentinoThe Battle of Lepanto by Andrea Vicentino (c. 1600, Doge’s Palace, Venice)

To complete the series on “The Battle of Lepanto”, I have to include this beautiful poem by G.K. Chesterton which provides a series of poetic visions of the major characters in the battle, particularly the leader of the Christian forces, Don Juan of Austria. It closes with verses linking Miguel de Cervantes, who fought in the battle, with the “lean and foolish knight” who he would later immortalize in Don Quixote. Miguel de Cervantes, a soldier for Habsburg Spain, was so severely wounded in the hand at Lepanto that he became a writer. He lost the use of an arm in this battle and henceforth he is known as el mano de Lepanto (the one-armed man of Lepanto) in the Hispanic world.

White founts falling in the Courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling…

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The Battle of Lepanto – Part 3


Juan Luna and The Battle of Lepanto painting

Luna Battle of Lepanto
The Battle of Lepanto painting by Juan Luna at the Palacio del Senado, Centro Madrid
Photo Credit – Wikipedia

The Battle of Lepanto (Spanish: La Batalla de Lepanto) is a painting by a renowned Filipino painter, Juan Luna, who was one of the first Filipinos to excel and earn recognition in the international field of arts and culture. Another one was Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo. Painted by Luna in 1887, the masterpiece is about the Battle of Lepanto of October 7, 1571.

Luna’s “The Battle of Lepanto” features Don Juan of Austria in battle while at the bow of a ship. It provides significance to the Spanish victory against the Turks. It was also a Catholic victory over the invading forces of Islam. At Lepanto, a coalition of Catholics defeated the forces of Islam who were attempting to conquer and subdue the…

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The Battle of Lepanto – Part 2


Copper Mining in Mankayan and the Battle of Lepanto

Lepanto Mining Company by lepantominingdotcom

Photo Credit –

Mining has been practiced in many lands for centuries and copper was the first metal mastered by man. Copper is interwoven closely with the history of every advanced nation of modern times. The Egyptians were the first miners and used copper 5000 years before Christ and the copper mines of Sinai were the most ancient mines in history.

Copper is first of all the electrician’s metal. Without it the amazing progress in electrical science would have been impossible. Most places in the world run a network of copper wires transmitting electricity to carry cable, telephone and telegraph messages, to furnish light and power, to run streetcars and trains. In addition, copper has many other important uses, in peace and war, on land and sea.

Men early on learned to work copper, for like gold and silver it…

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