Reconciliating History and Art – Philippines’ National Museum and Paco Park

“To foretell the destiny of a nation, it is necessary to open the book that tells  of her past.”

(May 29, 2016) I am walking somewhere today I said on Instagram capturing my feet on a reddish cemented floor. There started a random walk along Manila particularly Luneta.

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I planned to go visit National Museum when I read an ad saying that the whole month of May is free entrance. And so, why not? I’ll only spend for transportation and I won’t afford to lose opportunity like that. As always, I went alone.

My initial plan was to attend mass at Manila Cathedral in Intramuros (I haven’t been there. Next stop.) I got into MRT Taft then LRT United Nations. Upon looking at the stations map, I realized that UN comes first before Central Station, where Manila Cathedral is. It was almost 10am and I should get off the train quick or else I’ll be late for the mass. Luckily, I searched through google map the other churches near the area. I found Paco Park at UN station then Gen. Luna St. What gets me excited to see this park is it became a shooting location for Starting Over Again (Toni Gonzaga and Piolo Pascual). I was expecting for the fountain, of course.

I got inside the church just as the mass was about to start. It’s a dome shape and I like how its small space made me feel closer to the strangers around and to God. I walked around after. At the marker of GomBurZa, I saw three men in costume – 2 guardia sibil and 1 like Rizal in black or was he a priest? I don’t know. Just examine the photo and tell me. Then, doves. It was nostalgic because I felt like I was in Boso-boso church in remote Antipolo again. However, I didn’t stay long. There’s still the main thing I have to do.

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I rode a jeep again then alighted at a road crossing the National Museum. I asked the entrance and a man pointed at a building. I approached it. At the door, the guard asked me if I have a companion. I said no. She jokingly told me that she will give me companions and guys behind me overheard the conversation. They asked me to go with them and I said I’m fine alone (haha). I’m not a snob. I just prefer being alone in places like that. I wanted to stare more.

I went around that building (2nd to 4th or 5th floor?). I came across Spanish era, Filipino tribes and Filipinas among others. At the end, I wasn’t able to see what I was there for. Asan ang Spoliarium? (Where’s the Spoliarium?) Mission : A backfie with Luna’s Spoliarium. I asked a guard and he said, it’s in the other building. Whoooah, I was in the wrong building! That shouldn’t be the first (Museum of the Filipino people). Anyway, I went to the main Museum.

A long spiral line was at the entrance when I arrived (2pm). I got inside and yes, the Spoliarium is really glorious! I stayed more minutes in front of it and when I can’t ask somebody to take a photo of me, I decided to go into the galleries. Pure paintings, sculptures, arts are into those exhibits. Okay, I was captured by F. Amorsolo’s sketches. I was inspired somehow with what I sometimes do though, I wasn’t that good. I can do abstract sketches?hahaha

Back to the main exhibit, I really hoped I can get my mission fulfilled. With a glimpse outside, the rain already poured. I stayed longer and just watched people went by.

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I was out by 4pm. I endured my rumbling stomach. And guess what? Mission failed. That’s a con for a soloist. Maybe, I’ll try harder next time. And I might consider one companion, too. I walked under the rain and went the way I was.

I treated myself to a super late lunch (or dunch) and a movie (Love Me Tomorrow) when I got home. It may not be 100% done as planned but hey, I really had fun.

 

Where to next? (I’m still on track with my Tungko Church visit.)

 

–Roma Pi

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Church Hopping

The title sounds fun right? Actually, it is called Visita Iglesia. I’ve been doing it in 5 years. I started it last 2010 with my friends in preparation for our CPA Board Exam.

For 2 consecutive birthdays, I’ve done a series from Manila to Quezon city trailing the MRT Line 2. It begins in U-Belt in Manila and would end up in Katipunan, QC.

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St. Francis Chapel (Mandaluyong)
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St. Anthony Parish (Bustillos) which celebrates my birthday(hehe) It’s a feast day actually.
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the Mendiola Peace Arc (@ U-belt)
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St. Jude (U-belt) / where we spent most of our Thursdays when we were at the review
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St. Therese of the Child Jesus (Broadway)
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St. Therese Chapel
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Mt. Carmel Parish (where I like to stay most)
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A wedding was due that day (Mt. Carmel Parish)
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Mt Carmel’s Glass Window
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A Parish in Katipunan where you can offer eggs and donate your pencils after the board exam.
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Sta. Clara Parish

 

It is also by this doing that I did my solo out-of-town trip. I went to Lucban Quezon.

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the Chapel at Kamay ni Hesus (Lucban, Quezon)
And also recently to Manaoag, Pangasinan
Our Lady of Manaoag Shrine

 

Colorful Candles, Happy Life!

The experience was so rejuvenating that aside from detoxification from urban air, I also acquired spiritual purity and restrengthened my faith.

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Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (Antipolo)
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Boso-boso church (Antipolo) / Along with a friend, I was surprised how far we went just to see it.

I do side trips once in a while like tasting local food, talking to strangers, and a photography habit.

 

If in Europe they enjoy museums, well I suggest for this country with rich religious culture, visit our churches and shrines. They are worth seeing and may be you’ll have an answered prayer (that I believe.:) ).

NEXT STOP..Tungko Church! Who doesn’t like castles?

Be the Compass

You have this wanderlust and you won’t be contented staying in one place. You need to go out but friends and office mates aren’t available. You are also afraid you’d be lost somewhere remote or some unprecedented mishaps happen. To top it all, you’re somehow don’t get along with directions. Then, what now?

All things begin with a single step.

I dared. I went to Lucban, Quezon myself. It may not be a big deal for those who normally travel but for me, it is. It wasn’t easy feeling I’d be lost. Actually, I wanted to go to Kamay ni Hesus, a  pilgrimage site. It was a plan over a year and I told myself I should go during or before holyweek. I browsed the web to gain knowledge on how to get there. I came across geejaytravellog and printed the information from the blog. I also read several other blogs for me to know how even being safe going there. I am someone who overthinks that at a point when I step up into a bus, a scene of being rob, on fire or accident is already playing on my head. Anyway, it helps being contingent at the same time.

So there – I set the date, budgeted (time and money), printed a copy of the blog article, readied my backpack and went off. I rode a Jac Liner bound to Lucena in Kamias, QC.It was a bit traffic on a Sunday for me to reach Lucena in 4.5 hours. Rather being bored and stuck in traffic, I busied myself acquainting with local views namely, Mt. Makiling and Mt. Banahaw. It was fantastic how my bus was just like going around these mountains.

Here, take some look on what caught my attention on the way.

Before lunch, I was able to reach Lucena terminal. From there, I rode a jeep to Lucban. I didn’t know how to get off at grotto (I am short of some inquiring attitude that time). Luckily, there were other passengers going there too. The grotto is only at the highway.

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Do you know Fr. Joey Faler? I was amazed when I saw him at the chapel presiding a healing mass. He is the founder of the pilgrimage site.

Aside from the healing mass, I did hiking. Yes, I did. The grotto of Ascending Christ is situated at the top of a hill with 300 plus steps. Imagine going up at 11:30am to 1:30pm. It was a lot of sweat but the experience was worth reaching the top. A 50-ft statue stands tall and a view of Mt. Banahaw welcomed me there. People, of various localities and intentions also warmed my feeling of the holy week.

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On calculation, I decided going home at 3pm. I bought Lucban longganiza and other native delicacies and I didn’t pass to have a taste of their Pansit Habhab – that which you only eat by a banana leaf ( technically eating with your bare hands, but i had fork).

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In 4 hours again, I went my way home – going the way I came. I knew from jeepney drivers in Kamay ni Hesus that there is an other way via Sta. Cruz, Laguna but of course, I didn’t take it. That’s out from my itinerary. Maybe some other time (haha).

Okay, I went home safe and sound. With an idea, an ounce of courage and a lot of determination, I did it. So maybe, you can too. It’s just fine being lost (though I didn’t). All you need is to will it.

Plan.

Grab your backpack.

Get going. 

You have four directions to go. It is your freedom to choose where to head to but don’t forget to bring your common sense and aim to be safe always. The world out there is both wild and nice. There’s no choice but to walk in there or you’ll never get far.

Good luck and God bless on your soon-to-be adventures!

 

Roma Pi