You know that feeling when something so simple captures your imagination and pulls at the soul? It was how I felt when I saw these two little birds hopping and flying by. It reminded me once again that I am in harmony with His beautiful masterpieces, that I am part of the earth that still breathes.
Sometimes, it’s nice to think of silly things.
Like whether the clouds shape themselves purposely into horses,
or whether the clouds and the sun play patintero in the sky. The clouds would try to suppress the sun and the sun would try to get away from the clouds.
Like whether the sun would laugh at the clouds when it is able to find its way out,
or whether the clouds get lost in the vastness of the skies.
Like whether the clouds love the play of colors when the sun sets,
or whether the clouds are mesmerized by the golden sunset.
Posted 3 weeks, 2 days ago at 12:34 pm. 26 comments
Like many Filipino girls, these girls go to school. But unlike many Filipino girls, these girls live in school—them and about three thousand more. They are from the Sisters of Mary Girls Town in Talisay, Cebu.
They were sought out by the Sisters from the poorest of the poor families in Visayas and Mindanao. Here, they are taught academic subjects as well as technical-vocational skills. After high school, most of the girls get an NCII accreditation from TESDA, preparing them for a life in college or an opportunity to land a job after high school.
The girls attend classes almost year-round. They only get a two-week vacation during the year. Sometimes, many of them choose not to return to their homes for vacation but instead stay in the school dormitories.
That day—the day I took these photos—was a special day for the girls. It was the day the school campus was filled with smiles and laughter, and some crying, too. It was the day the school ground turned into a big picnic ground. It was the day—the only day during the year—the school opened its gates to allow visits from the girls’ families.
I saw mothers and daughters hugging and laughing and crying together. I saw fathers and daughters hugging and laughing and crying together. It was a happy day for many of the girls.
But when I happened to pass by one of the dormitories, I heard some sobbing. I couldn’t help but ask some of the girls walking by me about the sobbings I’ve heard. “Ate, wala po kasi silang bisita eh.” “Bakit?” I asked. “Wala po sigurong pamasahe ang mga kamag-anak nila para pumunta dito sa Cebu,” they replied in halting Tagalog.
It broke my heart because I knew how they felt. During my four years in high school, I had to live with a relative in Manila so I can continue my schooling. I only got visited twice by my parents. Well, thrice, if I were to include my graduation day. My worst enemy at the time was homesickness. Also, I had no one to turn to when I needed comforting. The only means of communication I had with my family back in the province was snail mail.
I admire the girls for their determination and I admire the institution for caring for these children. But I wish there will come a time when no girls would leave their homes just to have the opportunity to attend school, receive nourishment, and endure homesickness for a chance at a better life.
Posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago at 7:52 pm. 12 comments
These, these made me wish I was looking through a telephoto lens so the jets would look bigger and closer.
For a change, it’s all photos for today, folks. So you won’t get tired with my words haha! Enjoy!
Photos taken at the Philippine Hotair Balloon Festival, Omni Aviation Complex, Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga.
Posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago at 5:31 pm. 15 comments
It was early 1800s. The first cholera pandemic in the world which started in India in 1817 had reached Manila and frequently visited the Philippines until around 1824. Thus, a cemetery in Manila, which was started upon by the Dominican priests in Manila in 1814, was completed and opened in 1820 to intern the casualties. It was named Cementerio General de Dilao.
The cemetery has a circular structure. Lined on its walls are niches that were used as tombs.
There used to be five tiers of niches. But it was reduced to three when the floor was raised due to flooding.
In the late 1800s, the cemetery became a resting place for the well-off families in the walled city of Intramuros. Later, it accommodated those that came from nearby places such as Binondo, Sampaloc, Malate, Ermita, and Quiapo. The growing population in these places prompted the building of an outer wall.
Here’s a picture to give you an idea how thick each of the the wall is.
On February 17, 1872, the remains of the three martyred priests implicated in the Cavite mutiny—Fathers Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora—were buried here.
On the early morning of December 30, 1896, another body of a man was interred secretly in the cemetery immediately after his execution by musketry. It was buried between the two walls, in an unmarked grave.
The dead person’s sister searched for his body among other cemeteries in Manila. She eventually found out that his body lied at the Cementerio General de Dilao. According to historical accounts, she bribed a gravedigger to mark the grave with R.P.J., the reverse of his initials.
The man’s body remained at the cemetery for almost two years, until it was dug up by his family in August 17, 1898 and kept in an urn at the family’s home in Binondo. On December 30, 1912, his remains were transferred to the base of the Rizal monument in Luneta (now Rizal Park).
Internment at the cemetery was stopped in the early 1900s. The remains of those who were buried there were transferred by their descendants. During World War II, the Japanese forces used the cemetery to house their supplies and ammunitions. It was an ideal place because of its thick walls.
Today, the well-trimmed grass lawns and plants, the tall trees that surround it, the century-old acacia tree in the middle of the park, and the Catholic chapel that’s a favorite wedding venue betray its past. The walls that have once sheltered remains are now silent witnesses to family picnics, musical soirees, weddings and receptions, and lovers’ quiet moments.
Cementerio General de Dilao is now known as Paco Park, a National Historical Shrine. It is located along General Luna St. and at the east end of Padre Faura Street in Paco, Manila. It can be reached via LRT (alight at UN station and then walk or ride a padyak); jeepney (those plying Taft Avenue, alight at the corner of UN Avenue); or taxi.
This trip to Rizal Park is part of my Lakbay Rizal@150. The Rizal Park, Rizal Monument, Rizal Fountain, and the site of Rizal’s execution are four of the sites included in the Lakbay Rizal @150 of the Department of Tourism.