Archive for January, 2010

two tall

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, history, locales, people, tradition, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2010 by mijodo

Lapulapu of Luneta Park. David of Davao City.

Two behemoth structures that call attention from their territory’s populace and guests. Two gigantic personas that awed and inspired their respective people at their respective time and place. One is from the pages of Philippine history; the other is  from the books of the Bible.

There is a replica of Michaelangelo’s statue of King David at the beachfront of Davao City. As written in the Old Testament, King David was the one who slung a rock at the forehead of the taller and much heavier Goliath who had been a menace  to Israelites.

And this tall structure made a commotion, a few years back among the politicians and the citizens of this economically progressive city of Davao. As the reproduction has David, nude and looming above the reflecting pool, some quarters wanted it removed; some, as a compromise, just required it to have some pants.

Apparently until now, the statue still depcits David in its naked glory, perhaps, just cooling his heels for the another round of fight, against censorship and prohibition, after the local elections this year.

Another controversial behemoth statue is the one at Rizal Park in Manila. Supposedly, this park should only honor, Jose Rizal, the Philippines’s national hero, and no one else as the park’s name implies, but apparently there is the great bronze figure of Lapu-Lapu, lording it over between the Department of Tourism and Department of Finance Buildings at the then known, Agrifina Circle of Luneta Park.

Some knowledgeable people of history and even landscape architecture raised voices against Lapulapu’s monument inside the national park. Some historians and chroniclers cited that Lapulapu had lead against the foreign invasion of the Spanish conquistadors, when the Philippines as a nation was not even created yet, hence Lapulapu should not be exactly called a Philippine hero yet. 

And some just didn’t like how the sculpture blends in with the aesthetics of the park, itself.  Lapulapu’s figure was too tall, and just did not create the balance and proportion with Rizal’s monument.

Apparently, regionalism deepened the controversy as some Cebuanos have taken the opposition to the marker as an insult to Visayans since Lapulapu had been a datu from Mactan, Cebu.

Whether such monolithic statues of King David or Datu Lapulapu have served well, in terms of beautifying and enhancing their respective places or not, there is no doubt such great people have affected other men and women to be wilfull and assertive against supposed enemies and antagonists.

crimson

Posted in artifacts, culture, events, history, locales, people, religion, tradition with tags , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2010 by mijodo

It was one day before the height of the activities for the fiesta of the Black Nazarene of the Quiapo Church, also known as Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene and St. John the Baptist Church. If you want to avoid the swarming of the crowd and the heightened passion for the reverence of the statue, then you better go there before January 9

And true enough, there were less people.  Last January 8, if you are around the vicinity of Quiapo Church, then you could  still feel  the anticipation of the devotees, milling around and inside the church, for the coming festivities. The church was full, during the almost hourly mass. Some had to contently wait outside the church premises. Security men, usually ardent followers of the Nazareno and in dark red shirts, were ready to make things orderly during the occasion.

Vendors were taking advantage of the need for Nazarene shirts, pendants, fans, face towels, hankies, and other chotskies, usually in predominantly maroon which is the color of iconic statue’s robe.

It is said that in 1606, the galleon ship from Mexico carrying the statue of the Nazarene burned (hence the Nazarene’s ebony color) on its way to the Philippines in 1606.   The statue’s survival, and the dramatic color change provided that mystic aura to the relic. Since then, people have sworn about the supernatural occurrences such as healing miracles, and positive changes in their lives  because of the Black Nazarene.  

Although the adoration for the Nazarene has been strong over several generations, it is in the last two decades that the media seems to have picked up the tumultuous, almost overzealous affection for the representation of the pitiable Christ, kneeling haplessly on his way to his Crucifixion.
There have been several mishaps, even deaths, related to the pushing, shoving and jostling for space near the truck that carries the life-sized statue from the start of the procession at the Luneta Grandstand, to the narrow streets of Manila, and eventually to its home, Quiapo Church .  Yet this obvious, almost fanatic devotion for the Christ’s image is how some Filipinos, clad in crimson shirts and barefooted, manifest willful need to show appreciation, and cleansing of past transgressions.

a journey into stillness

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, events, history, interior design, lifestyle, locales, people, religion, tradition, travel with tags , , , , , , on January 3, 2010 by mijodo

Happy year 2010, my dear readers!

It is a new year for all of us. And perhaps, we may want to start off the year and a new decade, with some introspection on how we have lived our lives for the last 10 years, since year 2000.

You may just want to hie off to bucolic Bukidnon, not only for some rest and relaxaton, but for some prayerful retreat as well.

In Malaybalay, there is a place, run by the Benedictine Monks who can guide people to a spiritual journey. At the sprawling compound of the Monastery of  the Transfiguration, you are greeted with the iconic and yet moderne church, created by National Artist, Architect Leandro Locsin. With the church’s pyramidal rooftop pointing to the skies above, you yourself are set to reach the heavens above, with some contemplation and worship.

With less than a thousand pesos a day, the Monks will take you in as a guest, where you get to have some simple and yet hearty meals, including meriendas, and get to sleep alone, (or share a room, if you’re with your hubby or wife), in a spartan yet comfy room.

With no television and internet to disturb your peace, there is only the beauty of the rugged natural surroundings, and church’s wondrous architecture to help you explore your mind and heart. You are highly encouraged to be still and quiet, and just meditate on guide questions provided by the retreat masters throughout the day. 

And you start and end the day with monastic exultations and prayers. At about 3 in the morning, the church bell peels to signal for you to get ready and partake in worship, with the monks through incantations and songs. And at the evenings, you are invited to a dimly lit church for vespers and more enthralling choir music.

With the hooded monks at your beck and call for direction, the room and board ready for healing the weary soul, and the monastery’s sounds and sights for inspiration, Bukidnon’s Church of the Transfiguration is a highly recommended travel, for a brand new year, a brand new decade, and a brand new you.