The Halls of the People of Cotabato City

Old Cotabato City Hall

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.

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Inside US Embassy Manila

USEmbassy001

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.

US Ambassador Henry Thomas Jr at Henry Mucci Balcony at the Chancery Building

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.

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La Farola de la Centinela: Corregidor Lighthouse

Corregidor Lighthouse

Corregidor Island is more associated with World War 2 and the American Colonial Era, due to the development of the island as a fortress, military area, and the place where one of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific Theatre of World War 2 happened. However, at the highest part of Corregidor, a beacon of light guides the mariners, as well as to signal impending attacks. The Corregidor Lighthouse or Faro de Corregidor is the only Spanish edifice in the entire island.

Going to where?

Just a few meters from the Topside area, Corregidor Lighthouse or Faro de Corregidor serves as the primary beacon for navigators entering and leaving Manila Bay. Perched on top of the hill more than 600 meters above the sea, it gives a complete 360 degree view of Manila Bay, Bataan, Cavite, and on a clear day—Metro Manila itself. The tall, whitewashed lighthouse sits on a red-orange plaza of souvenir shops and an office.

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The Crown of Valor and Glory: Corregidor’s Topside

Mile-High Barracks Corregidor

Last Christmas, I had an opportunity of visiting one of the bastions of Philippine history, Corregidor Island. As with my previous posts, from the beginning and towards the middle side area, this island has a lot of stories to tell, about valor of our forefathers who fought endlessly to defend our freedom from the invaders. Yet the highlight of that tour last December hasn’t been reached yet. As we reached high above the Manila Bay, the view of the nerve center of then-one of Asia’s best military camps, this island has still a lot to tell…from its head and all towards under its belly.

This is my tribute to the men and women who sacrificed their lives for the greater glory of freedom and for peace to prevail once more in this part of the globe. Today is April 9, Araw ng Kagitingan in the Philippines.

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The Sinulog Legacy

The Sinulog festival was initiated by the government to pay homage to a pagan ritual being done by Cebuanos, then and now, as a way of worshiping and praying for the intercession of Santo Niño de Cebú. Yet where did the dance that sparked the largest festival in the country today started? Two steps forward and one step backward, imitating the sulog or waves while waving a candle or an image of the Santo Niño. An ancient pagan ritual merged with Catholic beliefs—a form of syncretic Filipino folk Catholicism.

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