Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Roadside beach [Watery & Outdoor Wednesday]

Noticed this scenery from the highway on our way to Vigan, Ilocos Sur on Saturday morning.  We were on the road for almost 8 hours and needed some fresh air---this place has plenty of it.  This is located in a town called Santa in Ilocos Sur, 387 kilometers north of Manila, not far from the Gabriela Silang Memorial Park.  The beach faces the South China Sea and across the highway is the denuded Ilocos Range.

"The mountain in the east, the winding, roping river in the north, and the immense sea in the west make Santa a poetic town."  ~ by Governor General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. when he visited Santa in 1925

Port of Manila [My World-Tuesday]

The Port of Manila is the largest seaport in the Philippines, and the premier international shipping gateway to the country.  Viewed from the Manila Ocean Park  is the Manila South Harbor, the main international port of Manila that houses several customs-bonded warehouse and multi-cargo port operators facilities.  There are no railway lines within the port area, and cargo is transported from the piers by trucks and barges.

The port of Manila dates back to pre-Spanish colonization of the Philippines.  As far back as 9th to 12th century, the country had trade relations to its neighboring countries like Japan and China, with ties to India through the areas that are now Malaysia and Indonesia.  The port was also a staging point for the Manila galleons, a Spanish-controlled shipping line running to Acapulco and back, which operated continuously from the 16th to the early 19th century. 
Pier 14 is the terminal of SuperFerry, a local shipping line that operates the largest fleet of inter-island vessels in the Philippines.  SuperFerry has ports of call across the Visayas and Mindanao.  Being an archipelago, the most economical way to travel here is by boat.  It is slow, yes, but more enjoyable (as long as there are no typhoons and/or the ship is not overloaded!)--and traveling by boat is one of the things I miss.  With shorter vacation time, I no longer have the luxury of traveling by boat.  But as a young girl up until high school, I traveled  by boat with my grandmother from our home province to Manila during summer vacation--it was a fun 17-hour trip.  And up to this day, my mother prefers to travel by boat--she feels it's more leisurely than flying, and she can bring as many boxes as she can!:p

Port of Manila at dusk

Posted for My World Tuesday

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Framed [Photo Hunt]

Kwebang Lampas, Pagbilao, Quezon

Framed by a cave's mouth

P.S.  I won't be able to visit your site this weekend---I'll be out of town.  Thanks for the visit.

Posted for Photo-Hunt

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sail on... [SWF]

On coming ships at Manila Bay

"I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving - we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it - but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor."
-- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Posted for Sky-Watch Friday

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Beef with broccoli

Beef with broccoli at the Hong Kong Emperor Seafood Restaurant in Mall of Asia

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lakeside eco-trail [Watery & Outdoor Wednesday]

Part of an 18-kilometer eco-trail surrounding Lake Danao in Camotes Island.  Best for biking and hiking activities...birdwatchers will also be thrilled to see various species of birds here.

The world turns softly
Not to spill its lakes and rivers,
The water is held in its arms
And the sky is held in the water.
What is water,
That pours silver,
And can hold the sky?

~ Hilda Conkling, Water

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Rizal Diorama [My World-Tuesday]

As promised in my last week's Luneta post, I returned to the park on Saturday afternoon to see the Rizal Diorama.  The Rizal Diorama is the actual location of his execution on December 30, 1896.  It is located on the north side of the Rizal monument, in a small enclosed section of the park. 

The area is protected by a  stone wall, a moat with a stone bridge.  The small bridge leads to a black marble wall where Rizal's poem "Mi Ultimo Adios" is engraved.
The poem, "Mi Ultimo Adios" (My Last Farewell), was written by Rizal on the eve of his execution as many believed.   The poem was actually untitled, undated and unsigned when Rizal's sisters found the folded paper hidden in a small alcohol stove.  On the afternoon of December 29, 1896, a day before his execution, Rizal was visited by his mother, sisters and two nephews.  When the family was about to leave, Rizal told his sister Trinidad, in English (the Spanish guards didn't understand English), that there was something in the small alcohol stove.   The Rizals reproduced copies of the 14 five-line stanzas and sent them to friends in the country and abroad.  The poem was published in the first issue of La Independencia in 1898 entitled "Ultimo Adios", thus Rizal's poem became popularly known as "Ultimo Adios" or "Mi Ultimo Adios".

Before and after Rizal, many innocent Filipinos have been executed in this area of Bagumbayan (the old name of Luneta) by the Spanish colonizers.  Falsely accused of masterminding the Cavite rebellion, the 3 priests, Fathers Gomez, Burgos and Zamora were garroted here in 1872.  In 1897, 13 Filipinos were also executed in Bagumbayan---casualties of Spanish pressure against the revolutionary Katipunan, an anti-Spanish revolutionary society.  Many unsung heroes died in Bagumbayan--patriots from Bicol, Capiz and other parts of the country were brought to Manila and executed in Bagumbayan.  The Spanish version of the "Killing Fields".

Larger-than-life dioramas show Rizal's final days in captivity and his death at the hands of his countrymen.  The Spanish authorities used Filipino, not Spanish, soldiers for his firing squad.  I was awed by the size of these bronze statues--they're about 8-10 feet tall.  It costs about 22 cents to see this diorama; about a dollar to see the light-and-sound  presentation at 7 pm.  I wanted to see the light-and-sound presentation but the gate-keeper said that there were only 6 of us who wanted to see it, they needed at least 15 people.:(
I have read some articles that Rizal's last act of defiance was to face away from his Filipino firing squad.  That is a bit incorrect because his statue here is supposed to represent him spinning away from the firing squad in a last effort to die looking up to the sky, instead of breathing his last facing down.

Some historians wrote that Rizal's last request was to be shot facing his executioners, but the Spaniards refused, citing a Spanish law that seditionists are to be shot in the back.  Legend has it that as bullets hit his back, with superhuman effort, Rizal spun himself so he could die facing the sky.

I sat on the concrete stool and contemplated  at the horrible scene...I almost cried.  I  regret that I never paid much attention to my Rizal classes in school.  His books "Noli Me Tangere" and "El Filibusterismo" are obligatory for high school students in the Philippines, and truth be told, I only read those books because I needed to.  I think it's about time I reacquaint myself with the works of Rizal.

The Rizal monument viewed from the stone bridge.

P.S.  Across the Rizal monument, at the Quirino grandstand grounds,  a hostage crisis involving a dismissed police officer and a bus with more than 20 tourists from Hong Kong happened today.  The hostage crisis ended after a 10-hour negotiations, the police assaulted the bus, and the hostage-taker killed by a sniper's bullet earlier this evening.  At least 7 wounded hostages were brought to the hospital.  Aside from the 9 hostages released earlier today, there are no news on others survivors.  A sad day, indeed.

Posted for My World-Tuesday

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bridges of Eastwood City [Sunday Bridges]

@ mirandablue

Foot bridges in the middle of an urban jungle called Eastwood City, connecting the mall to residential and commercial buildings.  I like coming to this mall because of the pet-friendly environment--my dog loves walking around the air-conditioned mall.  There is a pond/water garden with dancing fountains and a small park where dogs and people can enjoy live performances.  

@ mirandablue

@ mirandablue

Posted for Sunday Bridges

Friday, August 20, 2010

Manila Bay at dusk

Luscious skies at Manila Bay viewed from the railings of the Manila Ocean Park last Saturday at dusk.

It is written on the arched sky; it looks out from every star. It is the poetry of Nature; it is that which uplifts the spirit within us.  ~ John Ruskin

Posted for Sky Watch Friday

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tuna Salpicao

My dinner three nights ago---Tuna Salpicao with shrimps and mushroom toppings (optional),  Java rice and mixed veggies at Texas Roadhouse Grill.  This was quite delicious!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Green reflections [Watery & Outdoor Wednesday]

By the banks of Lake Danao in Camotes Island

The trees reflected in the river---they are unconscious of a spiritual world to near to them.  So are we.

- Nathaniel Hawthorne

Monday, August 16, 2010

Luneta by night [My World-Tuesday]

The bronze and granite Rizal monument at Luneta Park is one of the most famous sculptural landmarks in the Philippines, and a major tourist attraction in Manila.  This 48-hectare park was used to be called Bagumbayan (or New Town) during the Spanish regime, then Luneta for the park's half-moon shape.  It was officially renamed Rizal Park as a tribute to Jose Rizal, the national hero, who was executed here on December 30, 1896.  But to most Filipinos, this park is popularly known as Luneta.

Luneta is not my usual weekend destination--for one, it's a bit far from where I live.  For some, visiting Luneta is unglamorous, and most of my friends would  laugh if I'd invite them to visit the Rizal monument.  I don't know if a Parisian would react  in the same manner when asked to visit the Eiffel Tower on a given day.   Many city dwellers consider Luneta as an oasis on hot and humid days and nights, a picnic ground for folks who  prefer open spaces or couldn't afford to go to the malls.  There are gardens, playgrounds, an open-air concert hall, an artists' sanctuary, historical markers, a light-and-sound theater, a grand stadium and fountains in this park.

Ironically, it was raining when we walked around Luneta on Saturday night.  My friend and I pigged out at a restaurant in the nearby Manila Ocean Park, and we decided to walk off the calories in Luneta.

When I took photos of the Rizal monument, I crossed the metal chain  to get a closer shot, then I heard a  persistent whistle.  It was the security guard signaling me to  step out of the perimeter fence.  We asked why there is a perimeter fence when it is a public monument.  The guard explained that people tend to leave their trash near the monument, the perimeter fence also protects the monument from vandals and vagrants.  The Rizal monument is continuously guarded by ceremonial soldiers, known as Knights of Rizal.  It reminded me of a family anecdote about an uncle who had the penchant  to tickle the on-duty ceremonial soldiers when he had one too many.

Across the Rizal monument is a marker with a white ball---the Kilometer 0.   Similar to ancient Rome's Milliarium Aureum, Kilometer Zero is the point of origin to all other cities in the Philippines.

the wet and deserted Roxas Boulevard across Kilometer 0

Rizal Park (or Luneta Park) is at the northern end of Roxas Boulevard, overlooking Manila Bay.  It is a walking distance to the historic Manila Hotel, the National Museum of the Filipino People, the National Library, the neoclassic Department of Tourism building, the Orchidarium and Butterfly Pavilion, the Planetarium, and the walled city of Intramuros.

I promise to revisit the park again soon...at day time, to show you better photos.:p

Posted for My World-Tuesday

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Foot bridge in Sagada [Sunday Bridges]

These are photos from my archives---a wooden foot bridge crossing a gorge near the rice terraces at the outskirts of Sagada.  The stream under the bridge is coming from the nearby Bokong waterfalls. 

Scattered all over the Cordilleras are the rice terraces--carved out from the mountains by the Igorot more than a thousand years ago.  The terraces were our ancestors' way of maximizing farm lands and prevent soil erosion in this mountainous region.


Posted for Sunday Bridges