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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How to Get Out of Clark International Airport?


Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (Clark), Pampanga

It was my first time using Diosdado Macapagal International Airport or more known as Clark International Airport (IATA: CRK) on my flight back from Cebú from Sinulog Festival. The first question of a first timer commuter is: How do I get out of the airport? I have been here a few years ago, but just until the waiting area. We walked from CM Recto Highway (near UP Pampanga) and it was a bit far from the airport terminal itself. Given the time constraint (I have work at Manila by 11PM, I arrived Clark at 7PM and Manila is almost a hundred kilometers away!) I have to leave as soon as possible. Now here are some of the options on how to get out of Clark Airport and head on to Angeles or Manila:

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La Conquista de Corregidor: The Guns and Christmas 1941


All right, all right…you may be wondering why the introduction for this article was with Felipe De Leon’s Christmas Carol “Payapang Daigdig?” Nope, its not that I’m forcing it to fit on Christmas (or this article was meant to be posted on Christmas eve). The song was made out of bombardment of Manila in 1945, when the maestro woke up one morning with such devastation that engulfed the whole city-world’s second most destroyed. We also have to remember that it was during Christmas of 1941 that the Philippines was invaded by the Japanese imperial troops and bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. These stories of melancholic Christmas intertwined with Corregidor’s embattled past. As we head on for our tour, one December morning, I can feel the sirens and the cool breeze…however with more tension.

Battery Way

Our first stop was the Middleside area of Corregidor. Its a plateau between Topside and the coastline. It is here were you can find the second longest military barracks in the world at that time, the MiddleSide Barracks, which houses several Filipino and American troops at that time. Near it was a reservoir disguised as a tennis court. A few meters away from it, is the ruined building of the YMCA. The area is a camping ground for most excursionists and scouts.

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