Archive for mindanao

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.

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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.

the vanguard island: madridejos

Posted in artifacts, culture, food, history, locales, nature, people, tradition, travel with tags , , , , , , on December 6, 2009 by mijodo

(preceding story: https://letsgopinas.wordpress.com/2009/11/14/the-vanguard-island-bantayan-proper/)

Island gatekeeper. You then haggle with your guide to bring you to your final destination – Madridejos, specifically at the Kota Park. This is where you get to see vestiges of fortifications that had been all around the island during the Spanish Era.

The island during the 17th century had several mortal and coral watchtowers and two fort settlements which were protecting other neighboring islands such as the whole Cebu Island, Leyte, Masbate and even other islands in Mindanao from seaborne Moros hence the appellation  “Bantayan” (to guard).

But you need to wait for the sunset at its coastal line to appreciate the incredible beauty of the area. There you get to make out silhouettes of people as they pick some crablets for dinner from rockstones where the seawater has receded. It can be a powerful picture of the quintessential coastal life. And the long newly constructed way to its viewdeck just enhances the drama of the beach.

Daing for pasalubong. As you end your travel, with very inexpensive daing na danggit (dried fish) just bought from the market at Bantayan Proper as homecoming treat, and as the sea changes its hue from aquamarine of the shallow waters to blue cobalt of the deep ocean while taking a ferry out of the island, then you realize that Bantayan is only a memory that will linger for many months to come.

through a foggy road to gethsemane

Posted in lifestyle, locales, nature, people, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2009 by mijodo

picturesque gethsemane

It was an early morning drive. My cousin and travel partner, Ate Mae Hipolito were en route to Bukidnon from Davao City. Ate Mae’s sister, Ate Betsy and her husband Dr. Ezranelson Alojado (Nong Nene) volunteered to drop us off near the quaint Seagull Inn and Resto at Kitaotao area along the Davao – Bukidnon Hiway. But just before we reached the inn, we had planned to have a stopover at Gethsemane, the Alojado family retreat area, nestled in the boondocks of Marilog District of Davao City.

The trip should probably take an hour to the Garden of Gethsemane, using  the beautifully cemented road going up the mountain area. It had been an easy drive until about 20 minutes just before we arrived at the junction where an adjoining road at the right proceeds directly to my cousins’ place.

As the sun slowly appeared on the horizon, the road was blanketed by heavy dense fog. There was practically zero visibility for the drivers still zooming along the road. Driving in such condition could be dicey, but for me, it was an exciting and thrilling ride, reminiscent of those treks to Baguio and Tagaytay.

We were lucky that it was not raining thus we opted to roll down our car windows.  Here I got to experience right away the brisk, nippy weather as the car gradually advanced to our destination, thanks to the good driving skills of Nong Nene.  Even in September, it was Christmastime climate in Marilog Hills.

It almost bewildered me. The fog was so thick that I could not remember if I had experienced the same in my travels to climate cold places in the Philippines, including Banaue.  In that substantial mist up in the hills, I could sense a difference in the ways of living in the area.  Children, in woolen sweaters, amble about towards school in an almost deserted road as jeepneys and other small public conveyances don’t ply the route. Young men still on the same road brought pots and vats of potable water as some of the residences in the area have no  access to clean water yet.  “These scenes could be featured on a National Geographic tv documentary,” I told myself.

Along the road, the area was so oozing with remarkable and natural beauty such that the place seemed remote and alien to citydwellers. Yet let it be known that  Datu Salumay is just one small locality of one big Davao City.

Amidst the fog, we tried to locate the access road that forks out from the main hiway. It was tricky, yet we found it  (a waiting shed would be the landmark to make that right turn). But what was trickier was the short drive, through rocks and gravel. A four-wheel drive car or truck was deemed necessary to get to the place. Then all of a sudden, the smooth cemented road appeared until we reached exactly the destined place, Garden of Gethsemane.

Pepito, the caretaker, welcomed us warmly, and told us that classes had been suspended in the area. I never thought that fog could even stop classes.

But at the place of my cousins, the gods of  Gethsemane perhaps cleared the fog for me. Immediately I got enthralled with the postcard prettiness of the place. The meandering stairway steps. The cascading waterfalls. The several pools and ponds – for swimming and for koi watching. The hanging bridges. The faux logcabin. The soaring pine trees.  The hundred blooms of dahlia, sweet honey, and lillies all over. The biting cold temperature (even during summers, I am told)  just enhanced the picturesque location, considered to be more than one hectare in land area.

I felt proud of my Ate Betsy, who has judiciously tended their resthouse gardens almost on a weekly basis.  I was told that people in Davao City have been wanting to stay for a night or two to camp out in the area. “Almost every weekend, particularly during summers, there were people renting our place. There is a hut that can accommodate ten to twelve people. But some would still opt to put up a tent, ” she said with glee.

“Some would use the karaoke machine until early morning. But if it were me, I would rather commune with nature in silence,” Ate Mae interrupted.

But I knew if I had the chance to stay, I would read lots of books, and commune with the interesting folks in the area, and forget for a moment my tv.

Too bad, Ate Mae and I had to cut short our visit at Gethsemane, as we wanted to be in Malaybalay, just before noontime. Nong Nene and Ate Betsy brought us at Seagull  Inn, about a kilometer away from the junction. At the inn, it was easier to take the bus. The fog was a little less dense at that time, but still considerable. We bade our good hosts goodbye, and were able to take the public ride in no time.  We were off again, still through the same foggy road, but this time – to Bukidnon.

 (For those wanting to have a weekend getaway at the Garden of Gethsemane, please call (082)2271628 or 09178119641 (Ms. Betsy Alojado).)

fields of dreams

Posted in artifacts, events, history, lifestyle, locales, people, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2009 by mijodo

ladies of the night in colorful wigs

This may not be the place that our Department of Tourism promotes to travellers abroad as through the years, the area has created quite a “reputation.”

The stretch of Fields Avenue, even without the American soldiers now in Clark Airbase, still packs an impact to the newcomers. The iridescent lighted neon signs during the evenings, the boombastic sound of rock or discotheque music echoing from the bars, and the alluring body movements within the confines of such nitespots, tempt the man, not just to peek but  probably to savor the offerings of such establishments. 

Young ladies, many coming from far-flung areas  in Visayas and Mindanao are still the biggest come-ons of Fields Avenue in Angeles where an ample number of foreign male tourists have been top customers. Many would easily condemn such nubile women for eking out a living through lascivious manner. But in such desperate lives, who knows, true prince charmings may just pick them out from their dreariness, and probably have successful and happy lives, somewhere else. Such stories have happened many time over, but of course, there also have been horrid stories of abuse and doom. And yet we just pray that somehow, something magical can come out from this avenue which should lead them to a dreamy place of true transformation and contentment.