Monday, April 18, 2011

Church tripping in Bohol

It's been weeks since my family and I took a week-long stay in Bohol. It's my parents' home province and my daughter and I got the chance to see the wonders that it beheld.

Visiting relatives aside, our stay in Bohol was marked by a road trip around Tagbilaran, the capital city, and its neighboring towns. Of course, going to Chocolate Hills and Panglao Island was included in our itinerary, but one other thing I enjoyed during my stay in Bohol were visiting its centuries-old churches.
Our Lady of the Assumption - Dauis, Bohol
The first church we went to was the Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Dauis, Panglao, Bohol. It's a really huge church (well, I think all the main churches in Bohol are colossal) with painted ceilings (another main fixture in Bohol churches).
The altar of the church in Dauis
The painting at the altar area
If you notice, the altar has a staircase that allows devotees and other people to come close to the images. That's also what all the churches in Bohol have.

What made Our Lady of the Assumption interesting is that it had a well inside the church, near the altar.
The well inside the church
The well is like 20 feet deep, and there's water in it. The water is said to have some healing properties, and since there are also a lot of people who want to get water from the well, the church staff have taken it among themselves to put the water from the well into some bottles and give them to the people, in exchange for a monetary donation (regardless of how much you want to give).

Next stop for us was the oldest church in Bohol: The Immaculate Conception Cathedral, or more known as the Baclayon Church.
The famous Baclayon Church
It was constructed during the 1700s and is one of the most visited spots in Bohol. It also has a baroque-style architecture, stained glass windows, and painted ceilings.
The lights were turned off, as there was no Mass heard that day.
Stained glass windows (apologies for the crappy photo quality)
Images on the left side of the altar
The painting by the altar
Baclayon Church also has a museum beside it that features all artifacts and items that it has used since the church was erected. Unfortunately, due to their delicate condition, cameras were not allowed inside.

We also visited St. Joseph Cathedral in the capital city.
St. Joseph Cathedral from the side (didn't get to take a facade shot)
The altar of St. Joseph Cathedral in Tagbilaran
Weird, I kinda got shy taking photos of the inside. There were too many people and the elders were looking at me weird. Or that was just me.

Our last stop was the Church of San Pedro Apostol in Loboc.
Church of San Pedro Apostol, Loboc
Unlike St. Joseph Cathedral, the church in Loboc was empty. Too empty, in fact -- there was no guard or a member of a church staff even in the office area. Might I add, it was a creepy experience for me: an empty church, a dilapidated museum at the back, an iron wrought gate that was left open, and a dark back door entrance were all it took to send shivers down my spine.

But when we got inside, I found the church to be pretty awesome.
The altar of the Loboc church (sorry for another crappy and dark shot)
The pipe organ
A section of the church's fully painted ceiling
The painting by the altar
There were still some old churches that we have failed to go to, as it was already far from the city. The next time I'll be there, I'll try to drop by these other churches.

Hmm, I think I had my Visita Iglesia quite early, don't you think? But hey, if you're visiting Bohol, visiting these old churches proves to be a great experience. As I have learned, there's more to Bohol than just the Chocolate Hills.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sucker Punch: Prepare to disbelieve

Zack Snyder, director of 300 and Watchmen, comes up with an original story wherein he can put in a mix of action, anime, and sexy girls. The result: Sucker Punch.

Plot layering seems to be the trend in movies nowadays, after the success of the mind-boggling film that was Inception. In this particular movie, the story begins with Baby Doll, a young orphaned girl who was sent by her stepfather to a girl's hospital for the mentally insane. Here, she meets 4 other women: Sweet Pea, Rocket, Amber, and Blondie. Baby Doll is to be lobotomized, but the scene is suddenly cut, revealing the same group of people, only in a brothel. Suddenly the mental patients become dancers, and Baby Doll is the newest girl to be included (imprisoned?) in their roster.

Wanting to get out of the place that held her, Baby Doll finds the answer when she gets entranced while dancing. Here, she meets a wise man who told her to find 5 things to attain freedom. Baby Doll then comes up with a plot to set her and the 4 other girls free.

And if you think the plot layering stops here, wait till the girls perform their "mission" one by one. As Baby Doll performs each of her dances, you're sucked again in another story, this time filled with guns, bombs, robots, and Nazi zombies.

And then you're reeled once again to the brothel afterwards. Or was it to the asylum?

Suddenly you're thinking, what is the movie's reality and the fantasy? Obviously the action sequences were the fantasy, wherein each blasts and slashes describe each of their missions. But when you come back to the brothel scene, were they back in the real world? Or still trapped in a dream?

Plot-wise, Sucker Punch held up in the mind-game aspect, as the viewers are provided a reality, then get sucked up by a fantasy, and then pulled up to the reality once again. The actors deliver as well, as each of them exuded a whole lot of sexiness and toughness. One thing I liked about the film is its soundtrack, perfectly giving life to every move and sequence in its battle scenes. Techno and rock provided the perfect ambience as the girls carried on each step towards freedom.

If you plan to watch this movie, I'd suggest to suspend disbelief. As its catchphrase goes, "You will be unprepared." So come prepared. Leave all logic behind when you go inside the cinema and just enjoy the ride.