Monthly Archives: October 2013

Manila, why I keep forgetting about leaving.

image

It is easy to hate Metro Manila. If you’ve also been living here for almost fifteen years, you might have your own list of reasons why you want to leave. I only have to think of two words: public transportation. Since it’s too early for a Halloween post, I will not explain that anymore.

But once in a while, we give this city a chance, as it has also been giving us opportunities the past years.

Yesterday, my brother Juk and I had some bonding time with a challenge: spend less than 300 pesos. It was Sunday, so I told him we should go to the National Museum. There’s no entrance fee there on Sundays. 

image

In the Museum, we saw that Juan Luna’s The Parisian Life is getting attention from the visitors. A museum staff offered a lengthy interpretation of the symbols believed to be shown by the painting. That includes the representation of the Philippines by the woman on the painting: the figure seems to be a mirror image of the country’s map.

After the lecture, Juk and I had the same thought: “It could also be just a painting of some chick Luna met in Paris.”

image

My favorite works to look at are the studies made by the artists. Those rough sketches remind me that it takes practice to perfect the work. Above, you see Fernando Amorsolo’s sketches showing how the master seems to take time getting the hands drawn the way he wants.

image

The sculptor Guillermo Tolentino also made sketches before executing them on his medium. Some of them are drawn on graphing paper.

image

That’s my favorite playboy looking dapper as usual. In the Museum, Dr. Jose Rizal’s original Oyang Dapitana (plaster of Paris, 1894) is placed in the middle of the sculptures of the same figure made by Guillermo Tolentino (bronze cast, circa 1961) and Isabelo Tampinco (plaster of Paris, undated). Rizal’s terra cotta works, including A Mother’s Revenge (shown at the bottom right of the photo above), are also on display inside one of the halls.

image

After visiting the Museum, we walked towards Luneta, where hundreds of people gathered to watch the weekly musical fountain show. We had ice cream, foot long sandwich and softdrinks, while going around the park to look at the sculptures of lesser known heroes and patriots. All in all, this sibling bonding time made us spend less than 300 pesos. That’s inclusive of the 100 pesos we paid for three pieces of shirt from a nearby thrift shop.

Well, what can I say, Manila? There are so many reasons to hate you, but there’s a lot to love about you as well. And while we’re here, we’ll love you like home.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Life

Where we will be on Friday.

image

Leave a comment

October 14, 2013 · 4:30 pm

Home

I was born and raised in Morong, Bataan.

My hometown was declared a special economic zone in 1997, which means investors in the area enjoy tax and other incentives. Tourism is one of the primary sources of income there, that even the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant was turned into a tourist spot.

I’ve been based in Manila since 1999. But whenever people ask me if I’ve seen progress in the town, I say yes, of course.

I say yes, partly in jest, that we’ve moved forward because the kids there no longer know the taste of sea turtle egg. Then I go on to explain, more seriously, that the progress I am most glad to see is how we’ve learned to take care of the environment better.

Our town is home to the Pawikan Festival, which happens every November. Our generation may not be as lucky as our parents who experienced the joy of seeing the trees that used to line our town’s river. I still consider myself fortunate though, growing up at a time when information is easier to share across generations. Hopefully, this will help in teaching us lessons from the past.

Image

If you haven’t been to Bataan, I suggest you take the two-hour drive from Manila and go there one weekend. Spend a night or two at one of the beach resorts there. The photo above was taken at Bucco Bali at Barangay Sabang, Morong, Bataan.

Image

If you happen to spend time in Morong, don’t forget to try my hometown’s version of the hu tieu (Hu Tieu Nam Vang/Phnom Penh Noodle Soup). My favorite is sold at Tita Soly’s at Barangay Binaritan. There are also stores in the area where banh mi is sold. You can have your Vietnamese merienda there for less than a hundred pesos. Our town was once a settlement site for Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laosian refugees. There are still remaining marks of the site at the Bataan Technology Park.

I’m excited to see (and be part of) the reshaping of our town. There are projects already in mind, but right now, let me spend this Monday night with my bowl of hu tieu.

Leave a comment

Filed under Food, Life, Travel