It is said that in Cebu, bird-watching is one of the reasons why photographers “flock” the island of Olango. However, its neighboring historical island of Mactan has a different kind of photographers or enthusiasts that takes photos of a different kind of birds, one that is man’s greatest achievements—the aircraft. And just yesterday, the “plane-spotters” visited the country’s second busiest airport to get a glimpse of the birds’ beauty in this resort city.
“Typhoon (insert name here) is estimated XXX kilometers east of Baler, Aurora…”
Most of us Filipinos have heard or read about this announcement every time there is an upcoming weather disturbance in the Pacific, and the capital town of Baler in Aurora Province is the reference point. PAGASA, the state meteorological agency of the Philippines, has a weather station in this laid back town, and is one of the town’s ‘must visit’ attractions.
Bukidnon Provincial Capitol stands majestically in front of a wide football field, backed up by pine-covered hills, misty after rains. While we look to Luzon and Visayas for anything colonial heritage structures, Mindanao has handful of them as well. In Northern Mindanao, we thought that most civic structures were built during the contemporary times. We were wrong. …continue reading
In “El Pueblo,” as the local Zamboangueños call their city center or downtown, is an edifice that is synonymous to the city and perhaps throughout the history of Mindanao. The Zamboanga City Hall stands majestic amidst the well-groomed parks of Plaza Pershing (named after the American general John “Black Jack” Pershing) and Plaza Rizal. The edifice itself became Mindanao and Sulu’s bastion of power (the capital city) for several years during the American colonial era, making Ciudad de Zamboanga the capital of the whole southern islands itself!
When we say San Juan in Batangas, everyone would say–Laiya! Yup, this strip of cream white sand beach at this town has made this town a pilgrimage site for sun and sea lovers. From an obscure town in the southeastern portion of the province, it became an instant celebrity. Yet a lot of tourists or perhaps people in general took for granted the other San Juan, before Laiya went boom. Yes, I know it’s boring for the most, but the town center or poblacion itself is a treasure worthy of cultural recognition due to numerous heritage ancestral houses and buildings.
Cotabato City was and is still one of the most important political cities in the country, historically holding several edifices that handle such vast and wild land. The Stone Fortress itself was a palace-fortress—made to become a political center of Central Mindanao. I have already made an article about the Old Provincial Capitol of the “Empire” Province of Cotabato located beside PC Hill—and a lot doesn’t know that it even exist!
It was a lightning rush tour—seemingly opposing my “local integration” with just sightseeing. Kulang sa time. It’s a good thing I was accompanied by locals Chris and Jam along the way in this city that is still alien to me.
Cotabato City was a bustling urban area, teeming with life and people from different places, speaking different languages. Moro, Kristyano and Lumad cultures mix and intermingle, creating a seemingly distinct culture in the heart of Mindanao. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, a white-washed edifice watches over the city like a sentinel. According to Simeon Millan’s book, 1952 Cotabato Guidebook, it was the “acropolis” that governed not just Cotabato City, but once the largest province in the country. It is the old Cotabato Provincial Capitol—half a century ago.
The US Embassy Manila is the office of the United States of America government in Philippine soil, located just besides the old Dewey Boulevard, now Roxas Boulevard. The Ambassador of the United States to the Philippines makes this as his office, and at the same time this is the first gateway for Filipinos who like to see, study, work, or even live in the US. The US Embassy in Manila is more than just a diplomatic office and a visa entry; it has history to share in the formation of what is now the Philippine Republic.
I got invited by the US Embassy to join Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. for an event celebrating Internet Freedom last March of 2009. It was my second time entering US territory…in the Philippines. My first time was when I was a kid when my dad has an engineering project. The US Embassy in Manila has one of the toughest security measures in the country, given the United States’ prominence in world affairs—no photos are allowed within the premises, nor even take photos outside the compound (reason why I have limited photos here)—except on special permission or areas that are allowed to take photos. Cellphones are also not allowed inside, except with permission coming from the upper management of the embassy.
Indeed, Quirino Grandstand in Luneta, central Manila, capital of the Philippines, is one historical place. It was here where several presidents took their oaths, celebrate the independence of the country from the United States, concerts and a whole lot more. It is a landmark dedicated to the former President Elpidio Quirino. The Grandstand that I guess all Filipinos know and synonymous to Luneta and Rizal Park–just several meters away from the place. On August 01, 2010, the 15th President of the Republic of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino III, took oath here. On August 23, 2010–a massacre unfolds as a former policeman took hostage of Hong Kong nationals in a stand-off that left the hostage and several hostages dead, and a mark of trauma in the image of the Philippines in the international community. Luneta has seen another blood spilt over her domain.