Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Beautiful Carriedo Fountain

* the entirety of the Carriedo Fountain; notice that ugly graffiti on the border of the fountain

Trips to Quiapo would not be complete without visiting first Sta. Cruz district, especially the church. And aside from that, the old buildings around the area allow your mind to slip into the past and imagine what the place looked like before. And the Carriedo Fountain just outside Sta. Cruz church is another structure that would give you that Spanish feel of the place. Appreciation of the fountain is good at the onset. But in digging in further, it seems that Carriedo Foundation has a ‘long’ past as well. A short online note reveals that it was not originally located there.

* a closer look at the fountain; it looks to me that those are Roman/Greek gods/goddesses

* cherubs with their jars; notice the trident on the left, that is actually held by a cherub too (it looks like a fusion of Christianity and Roman/Greek mythology)

* a closer look at that cherub with a jar

The construction of the fountain began when a long-lost will of Francisco Carriedo y Pedero, giving a certain amount for the construction of the water systems for Manila. (Thinking about it now, it’s a wonder how we have progressed so slowly – the water is still a problem in Metro Manila as it was back then). A certain Fr. Felix Huertas pushed for the utilization of the money allotted in the will of Carriedo. But before that, the money was not immediately used. The Municipal Government ruled that the money be used first in the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade. Fortunately, the investment of the money turned out good that the original money plus the income from the Galleon Trade were collectively used for the construction of the water systems including the fountain.

* the old building of Monte de Piedad; found at the plaza where Carriedo Fountain is situated

* a zoomed-in image of the façade of the building housing the Bank of Philippine Islands near Carriedo Fountain

* another zoomed-in image, this time of a statue most likely of a revered Manileño

The fountain was originally installed at a place called Rotonda de Sampaloc (at the Nagtahan intersection). The administration of the water systems in Manila evolved into what is now called Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System or MWSS and when its main office were transferred to Quezon City, the Carriedo fountain was brought along too.

Efforts by then Mayor Alfredo Lim to bring back the fountain to Manila were successful with one condition: a replica was to be left to MWSS. National Artist Napoleon Abueva was then commissioned to do the replica. Now there are calls for the fountain to be installed back to its original place but that’s another story. For now, while it still stands there in Sta. Cruz, I urge you to visit this artifact from the past.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Circuiting Manila 9: Paraiso ng Batang Maynila

* a monument erected for Apolinario Mabini; found in the corner of A. Mabini Street and President Quirino Avenue just behind Manila Zoo

It is apparent now that this Manila series won’t be seeing its last entry yet. There is much more to discover (and share about) in this historic city of Manila. Digging into my files, I saw these few photos we took while walking those unknown Manila streets at that time. We just came from Roxas Boulevard and we decided to embark on an uncharted walk. Our wandering took us to the area of Manila Zoo (see my blog entry about Manila Zoo here) and Paraiso ng Batang Maynila.

Translated as “Paradise of Manila Children” it is actually a park composed of swings, seesaws, and slides for the kids. It is strategically placed; visitors from Manila Zoo can have further treat in this park. It’s just too bad that the searing heat in the late morning would discourage any frolickers to the place. Another eyesore too is the presence of vagabonds making the most of the shades of trees lining the perimeter of the park. I think the city administration should put them to more humane places.

* Dakota Gateball, yeah!

* lucky 9

* the players of the game

* the ball and the goal

What caught my attention is the play area called Dakota Gateball. The game/play resembles golf but instead of holes for the balls metals bent to allow ball entry are used. The name Dakota is certainly foreign and I am wondering whether its origins can be traced back to a foreign country. But given the apparent ingenuity used to come up with the game, it looks to me that this is a Filipino idea.

Can anyone share information but this one?

[How to go to Paraiso ng Batang Maynila: From the Gil Puyat LRT Station, you can board a jeep bound for SM or Quiapo (or alternatively, you can ride the LRT bound for Carriedo). Drop off at Quirino Ave. (or Quirino Ave. LRT Station if you rode the LRT). From there, you have two choices: 1) you can turn left and walk straight to Paraiso or, 2) hail a pedicab to take you there. I don’t have idea however how much they would charge you.]

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Late Afternoon Walk in Calamba, Laguna

* a Jose Rizal monument inside the school near the Rizal Shrine

* a surviving bahay-na-bato not far from Rizal Shrine

* a closer look at a side-door of the bahay-na-bato

* the roof

* most likely an American period house; found as one approach Rizal Shrine

* the house of intrigue – the house across Rizal Shrine; I have always wondered what could possibly lay beneath the place; I have read in a book that the quarters of the guardia civil in Rizal’s time was just across their house; who knows, there may be artifacts still buried under

Sometimes one doesn’t have to go too far to appreciate things in life. This may sound a little optimism but I pertain specifically to artifacts from the past – houses, markers, among others. If we could only look closer around, we might be surprised to know that there are a lot to know and learn in not-so-far-away places.

This has been true in a recent late-afternoon walk through the streets of Calamba, Laguna. The not-so-sultry air and a borrowed camera were our motivations to take a little walk after a day’s walk. This walk brought us to the streets leading to Calamba-Bayan. I have seen some old houses before in the place but I never had the occasion to observe them closer until our walk.

* the patio leading to the St. John the Baptist Church in Calamba

* the interior of the St. John the Baptist Church

* the bell tower as the sun sets

* a failed attempt in using an exposure feature in the camera

* another failed attempt in using the exposure feature of the camera;
amidst all the blur are skaters

* another old house we saw as we head back home

Trips to Calamba-Bayan usually end in Rizal Shrine or in the adjacent church. This time the St. John the Baptist Church was our end point. We witnessed people lining up for kumpisal (confession). The coming of the night did not hinder the devout from exercising their religious beliefs. We then proceeded to the park across and witnessed Calambeños take a breather after a week of activities.

That walk, however strenuous to our legs, was a respite to us as well. For in those brief moments, we came to appreciate even the simplest human activities. It is my belief that if we cannot find rest even in this world of constant unrest, then we cannot hope to find it anywhere, not even in the comfort of religious beliefs. But that’s just me speaking for myself.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Revisiting Childhood in Manila Zoo

* a Manila Zoo signboard

* Mali, the resilient elephant

* the Reptile House

* a closer look at a snake

* a coiled snake; I’m not so sure if this is a reticulated python

* sailfin water lizards

* the friendly ostrich

On July 25, 1959, the Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden opened its doors to the public. It serves as one of the educational centers in the country where the viewing public can observe, discover and learn interesting facts about the beauty of Philippine fauna and flora.

Manila Zoo has a land area of 5.5 hectares and has a current population of about 500 animals. There are 106 species, among which are 30 different kinds of mammals, 63 reptile species and 13 types of birds. In addition to popular zoo occupants such as elephant, tigers lions and the hippos, Manila Zoo also houses several endemic and indigenous species of animals like the bearcat, long-talied macaques and crocodiles.

- text from MyZoo Volunteer Group

The 52-year-old Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden certainly is alive and kicking. No amount of Manila heat or volume of dust impedes the visitors to flock to the place and get a feel of nature in this 5.5-hectare space in Manila.

* Philippine deer, commonly known as pilandok

* croc! – Philippine crocodile

* monkey; a hole was deliberately made on its cage in order for visitors to feed them food

* Bengal tiger’s den

* “Off limits” – visitors better take heed of this warning as this is the rear part of the cages of the tigers; this is where the keepers of the tigers enter to feed the hungry cats

* a white-breasted sea eagle; I first saw this eagle near World Trade Center Manila

* Abeforth Dumbledore’s patronus – a goat!

Doing this revisit was like being a child again: seeing the same elephant (named Mali) near the entrance and hearing the same intermingling noises of the children and the animals. There were however a few disappointing observations. One is the apparent tolerance regarding the cleanliness of the cages. Some were quite smelly and deters closer approach by potential visitors. Another thing was the stationary and ambulant vendors inside the zoo. I understand their plight and motivations for selling food and snacks, but I think they are quite an eyesore. I don’t know if they are sanctioned by the administrators of the zoo but this aspect, I think, should be given proper actions. Manila Zoo may be one of the oldest zoos in Asia but we don’t want to live up to the connotations of being old – deteriorating, etc. – do we?

But in general Manila Zoo is a good place to visit for your children to explore and learn more about the animal and plant world. Other amenities of the place include boat rides in the lagoon, photo ops with some animals, food shops, souvenir shops, to name a few.

Manila is located at Adriatico Street, Malate, Manila.

[How to go to Manila Zoo: The Gil Puyat LRT Station would be a good reference point. From that place, one can board a jeep, or alternatively a LRT, and drop off at Quirino Ave (or Quirino Ave. LRT Station). From there, you can turn left and walk towards Adriatico Street or hail a pedicab that would take you to Manila Zoo.]

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Conquering Corregidor Island 11: Battery Grubbs

* the arched entrance to Battery Grubbs

* a recess found inside Battery Grubbs
* the ruins of Battery Grubbs
* a closer view of a structure support in Battery Grubbs; it gave me goose bumps realizing that it was the same support which was originally constructed there

* rusting rails[?] found on the ceiling of a structure in Battery Grubbs

Battery Grubbs in another well-maintained battery in Corregidor Island (at least among the ones we visited). Its position has a commanding view of the Bataan Peninsula and the body of water separating the island from Bataan. Constructions were done on 1907 to 1909 and the transfer (most likely of the guns and other necessary installations) was done in 1911.

* silent corridors of Battery Grubbs

* spare barrel?
* looking into the eye of the gun

* a bridge from the battery to a hill[?] located adjacent to the battery

* stairway leading up to the first gun of Battery Grubbs

The Battery was not actually manned prior to the outbreak of World War II. But with the transfer of Battery “C” 191st CA to the place in early April 1942, it obtained the necessary manpower to be operational. Battery Grubbs was not so lucky. On April 6, 1942 a direct hit knocked Gun no.2 of the battery out of service (the gun which visitors would see first upon climbing the stair nearest the battery entrance). Gun no.1 was never used due to mechanical problems (particularly in its recoil).

Despite its strategic place, Battery Grubbs was made inoperable due to the damages to the guns. In surveying the place, its position must have been a factor in its early wreckage. It was quite an open area and elevated. The attacking Japanese must have made the place a good target for their bombs and other firearms. This formative observation gains logic when Battery Grubbs is compared to Battery Way which is well-hidden. It can be recalled in an earlier entry (Conquering Corregidor Island 10: Battery Way) that Battery Way was the last operational battery in the island.

* a scenic view of the Bataan Peninsula from Battery Grubbs

* an island seen from Battery Grubbs

* view of gun no. 2 of Battery Grubbs the barrel of which was already detached from the main gun body
* a Battery Grubbs gun no. 2
* Trailer Pransis striking his usual serious pose

Battery Grubbs details:
- named after 1st Lt. Hayden Y. Grubb
- has two (2) 10-inch disappearing guns (model 1895M1 guns on model 1901 disappearing carriages)

In my first visit, our tour guide discussed the condition of the guns in Battery Grubbs. It was said that the barrels were detached from their main bodies because the soldiers stationed in the battery removed the trunnion caps after which they fired the guns causing the barrel to “jump” back. They did this so that the Japanese will not be able to use them again. This detail was echoed too by the tour guide in my second visit.

However, I came across an article at corregidor.org discussing the falsity behind that particular information. It seems that it was not the case after all. Read it the article clicking here. It would be good to read the analysis of the documented photos and the state of the battery for yourself.

Finally, my Corregidor series is finished!