Tuesday, November 17, 2015


When Cebu Pacific had a Piso sale, I took the opportunity to buy tickets to Ozamiz which I have never been to yet. Then I noticed in the map that the nearest airport from Ozamiz was Pagadian. Since I have never been there yet also, I decided that I will fly back to Manila from Pagadian, in that way, I will be able to go to two provinces in just one trip: Misamis Occidental and Zamboanga del Sur. The ticket from Pagadian to Manila was  even cheaper than that of Ozamiz. Bought also tickets for my friends Ronnie and Mark, whom I was sure would come along. We were met at the airport by Julian, the driver of my classmate Msgr. Max Naron who is the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Ozamiz.   When I texted Max the week before that I will be visiting Ozamiz he assured me that I will have a car and a driver-guide who will bring me to places I would like to go. From the airport we went directly to the Archbishop’s residence where we were billeted. Took breakfast and placed our things in our room.  The second floor of the residence has a good number of rooms as the priests would usually stay there every Tuesday's. The bishop and the resident priests are staying downstairs. Abp. Dosado was not there  when we arrive as he was in Cebu for his eye checkup. The first thing we noticed was the good number of doors at the residence. Even just to go to the dining room  from the lobby we had to pass by at least three doors.

We were told by Julian that Msgr. Max prepared for a beach outing as I requested. So after breakfast we right away went for our short city tour so we could catch up with Max. We first visited the cathedral. We also went up the choir loft to look at the pipe organ that was recently repaired. By its size, I think this would be biggest pipe organ outside of Manila. Aside from the keyboard near the organ, another keyboard was placed near the altar where the choir now usually sing. Met for a moment the parish priest who is also the diocesan oeconomus. 

We made a short stop at the Gaisano mall to buy some shirts.  Then we went to the port where we visited the Cotta or Virgen sa Cotta which is a shrine of the Immaculate Conception,  the bas relief of which is attached to the wall of the fort. It is like the outdoor shrine of Pilar in Zamboanga. Known to be miraculous, the Cotta attracts several pilgrims every day. The feast day of the Cotta is every July 16 which is the feast of the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Our guide was saying that since the place is a public land masses before  were  said not only by the Catholics but also by the Aglipayans. Now, the Aglipayans just retained their donation box which is situated at the entrance to the image of the Immaculate Conception, while that of the Catholics is at the exit of the shrine.

Took some pictures at the entrance of the fort just beside the Cotta which is called Fuerte de la Concepcion y del Triunfo built in 1756.

Airport of Ozamiz. 

The chapel in the Archbishop's residence of Ozamiz. 

A hall at the second floor of the Archbishop's residence where priests usually gather every week. 

The garden at the Archbishop's Residence. 

One of the halls at the second floor of the residence. 

Ozamis City, Misamis Occidental
Founded: 1811

The facade of the Cathedral of Ozamis

Inside the Cathedral. 

The pipe organ of the Cathedral was newly repaired. It is said to be the second biggest pipe organ in the country. 

The pipes of the organ. 

The main keyboard. A smaller keyboard was also installed near the altar where the choir usually would stay. 

A tall statue of St. Augustine at the left side facing the Cathedral to commemorate the Agustinian recollects who were among the missionaries of Ozamis. 

The statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola on the right side facing the Cathedral in commemoration of the Jesuit missionaries who evangelized the place. 

The facade of the Cathedral with the statue of the Immaculate Conception below the pediment. 

The Shrine of the Virgen sa Cotta. 

The Shrine is part of the park just near the sea 

Many pilgrims would visit everyday the Shrine. 

A family praying before  the image of the Virgen. 

Just beside the Cotta sa Virgen is this main entrance to the fort called Fuerte de la Concepcion y del Triunfo. 

From the cotta we went to the parish of Msgr. Max in Tudela which is only 11 kilometers away from Ozamiz. He was no longer at the convent when we arrived. So hurriedly we left for the MOAP (Misamis Occidental Aquamarine Park), which was just in the next town of Sinacaban where Max was already waiting for us. The MOAP has about 200 meters of concrete walkway towards the sea where a restaurant is open at the end.  Another building nearby on the sea was also being constructed to serve as a hall. This place was being operated by the provincial government. However our destination was to an island or sandbar about a kilometer or two away from the mainland. This was formerly called the Dolphin Island for until a year ago the place had tamed dolphins which was open to the public for viewing and playing. The place was closed due to a civil case filed against the investor. Apparently the place was entrusted by the former governor to an investor who developed the place. Conflict arose when the new governor who was an opposition no longer showed any interest in the place. The former governor and the investor were brought to court. While the case is pending the place was ordered closed by the court. The province in the meantime administered the place. However since no support was coming from the government the caretakers freed the remaining dolphins. Since the caretakers of the place were friends of Max it was there that we were brought.  So we had the whole resort to ourselves that day. A small engine boat with another paddle boat tied to the engine boat where our other companions were, brought us to the place. Since it had to carry another boat the speed was like that one paddling. The dolphin island is not really an island but just a sandbar. In fact when we arrived, there was no sand to speak of. The whole place was surrounded by water. It was only when we left as it was getting low tide that the sand bar started to appear.

       Had early lunch there and then went for snorkeling afterwards. We had two guides from the province for the snorkeling. We looked at the corals. There was a steady growth of soft corals at the concrete posts of the resort. Looked for the big groupers and snappers but we could not see them anymore. There were still 16 giant clams there. While we were eating we were regaled by spooky stories that the caretakers experienced while guarding the place at night. They said they would always hear some voices calling them in the evenings that would emanate from near the toilet and by the engine room. Once they said, they rescued a boat which capsized nearby. They brought the men to the resort, gave them some rice which they could cook at the other end of the resort.  About past midnight these fishermen went to caretakers asking permission to leave as they could not sleep because of strange sounds that they could hear.

The weather was just lovely that day. It was cloudy but the sun would shine mildly from time to time which was perfect as we were not able to bring sunblock. It did rain for a while while we were swimming. But it stopped when we took the boat for our trip back to shore.

Tudela, Misamis Occidental
Founded: 1938

Facade of the newly renovated  church of Tudela. 

Inside the church of Tudela. 

In the town of Sinacaban, they developed this place by the sea called Misamis Occidental Aquamarine Park (MOAP). 

The footpath leading to the restaurant. It is here where we will take off to the Dolphin island.

Some mangroves by the sea. 

At  the end is a restaurant. 

The MOAP as seen from the sea. 

This is the Dolphin Island. There were dolphins here before and many tourist would come. It  has been closed for already a year and the remaining dolphins were freed. 

The sand bar  appears on lowtides. 

Parking at the Dolphin island. 

Owing to the court case, the place has been left to delapidate. Bleachers for tourist to watch the dolphin show. 

It was here that the dolphins were kept. 

Spooky stories now being told on this part of the resort. 

The sand bar appearing at lowtide. 

Leaving the Dolphin island. 

Then we went to the town of Jimenez to see the oldest church in the province of Misamis Occidental. The ceilings still had geometric paintings. They also had a pipe organ. Went up the belfry to see the old bells and the weights which is part of the old church clock which recently stopped working because of a part that was stolen.

We also went  to the cemetery to see the centuries-old balete tree. From there we went back to Ozamiz to the Archbishop’s residence. There was a heavy downpour as we were going back.

Max came to join us for dinner at the residence. Had some beer prior to supper at the lounging room at the second floor where a billiards table was. 

Jimenez, Misamis Occidental
Founded: 1829

The facade of the Jimenez church. 

Church altar. 

The ceilings were painted with geometric designs. 

Inside the church of Jimenez. 

Old wooden posts inside the church. 

The belfry attached to the church. 

The marble holy water stoup has the year 1878 engraved on it. 

Wooded staircase leading to the choirloft. 

Pipe organ of Jimenez. 

The weights for the tower clock. 

One of the bells engraved in 1896. 

The centuries-old balete tree at the cemetery of Jimenez. 

After breakfast we left the Archbishop’s residence for our trip to Pagadian. Our first stop was the College Seminary of Ozamiz,  the St. John Paul College Seminary where they keep   the chair used by Pope John Paul in Manila when he came for the World Youth Day.

Our next stop was the  Hoyohoy Highland Stone Chapel and Adventure Park in Hoyohoy, Tangub City. We rode on the zip line which traverses the mountain belonging to Tangub and the other mountain on Ozamiz. One way is 1.25 kilometers and going back is 1.1km at 850 meters in height. The zip line experience was uneventful. We enjoyed more the buggy ride back to the first station. Over craggy rocks and sudden turns and flights the buggy car maneuvered well.

St. John Paul College Seminary of Ozamis. 

The chair used by the Pope John Paul II when he visited Manila for the World Youth Day is kept at the seminary. 

This seat can now be considered as a second class relic of St. John Paul II. 

The road to Hoyohoy Highland, Tangub City. 

The stone chapel at Hoyohoy Highland. 

Inside the chapel. 

View from the entrance of the chapel. 

The mountain that is crossed by the zipline. The other peak belongs to Ozamis City. 

We found the buggy ride more exciting than the zipline. 

The Panguil Bay in Tangub.  

At the other end is already Lanao. A bridge which will connect Tangub with Lanao will be built near this place. 

We went next to the port in Tangub where the proposed Panguil Bay Bridge will be built which will cross over to Lanao. Visited the parish church of Tangub. Had a short break by the church of Bonifacio where we bought some longkong lanzones and mangosteen.
Had lunch at a self-service restaurant  in Molave, Zamboanga del Sur. Then we went up to the Eriberta Spring Resort in Brgy. Diwan, Molave, Zamboanga del Sur,  about 5 kilometers from the town proper on an unpaved and rocky road. We took the opportunity to take a short  dip at the cold waters.

Tangub City, Misamis Occidental
Founded: 1935

Facade of Tangub church. 

Inside the church of Tangub. 

Church altar of Tangub. 

The Parochial school of Tangub just beside the parish church. 

Bonifacio, Misamis Occidental
Founded: 1940

Facade of the church of Bonifacio. 

Inside the church of Bonifacio. This will be the last town of the province Misamis Occindental in the south. 

Church altar. 

Tarpaulin of the Parochial school of St. Vincent High School in Bonifacio. 

The public market of Molave, Zamboanga del Sur. 

Eriberta Spring Resort, Brgy. Diwan, Molave, Zamboanga del Sur. 

The resort has several pools. 

Upon  reaching  Pagadian  we first  visited the cathedral. Went to the C3  and the Gaisano Malls and rode their tricycle which is uniquely built as the passenger seat is at an angle of almost 45 degrees.  It was already evening when we arrived at the Bishops residence where we were staying for the night. Supper was ready. We met two of the priests who were staying at the residence. The bishop was still out as he had an invitation.  I noticed that one of the priest was sick perhaps from a recent stroke. He still had an speech impediment and his left hand was not that strong yet. While we were eating a Nigerian priest of the Spiritans Order and assigned in Iligan joined us.

The bishops residence was built by the bishop is such a way that it would be cool all the time. Hence there are no aircons in the rooms. The windows had screens but  with bigger holes for the air to enter. Hence every bed had mosquito nets already in place as they were already tacked at the end of the bed by tubular poles surrounding the bed.

The following day, as I was taking coffee before leaving for the airport I met Bp.  Cabajar who was also departing for Iligan for a Bishops-Ulama meeting. I met also their vicar general and superintendent of catholic schools who is residing at the residence. My flight was still at 9:20 am but Mark's and Ronnie's was at 7:20.  I joined them on the ride to the airport in the hope that my flight could be changed so I could join them on the early flight. I was denied. However just for consolation they transferred my seat which was already checked in online to a better window seat near the front.

Since I still had time to spare, with Julian we went back to the city for a short sightseeing. Went to a lookout which had a beautiful view of the whole city of Pagadian. The building though was under construction and we reached just the second floor as the tower was closed. Then went to the city port and took some pictures of the salted-fish market before going back to the airport. 

Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur
Founded: 1938

Inside the Pagadian Cathedral. 

A simple altar with a Crucifix at the center. 

Typical tricycle in Pagadian. The passenger seat is inclined about 45 degrees since most of the roads in the city are hilly. 

Bishop's Residence in Pagadian. 

Dining room at the Bishop's residence. 

Bishop's Residence in Pagadian. 

Pagadian City hall. 

Pagadian is famous for its dried fish. 

All kinds of  fish are dried and found in the market of Pagadian. 

Dried fish market of Pagadian. 

Airport of Pagadian. 

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