Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Rizal @ 150 Celebrated with One Peso Commemorative Coins

It was December of 2011 when I first heard that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) would come up with new one-peso coins commemorating the 150th birth anniversary of the Philippine national hero Jose Rizal. But it was only today that I actually saw one when a coworker gave me two pieces. Although these are commemorative coins, I believe that they would be in full circulation too.

The obverse side shows an image of Jose Rizal with his face in full view. The image, I think, is taken from his last studio shot in Madrid, Spain. The tails side shows a new design/logo of BSP.

For starting coin collectors, it would be good to keep a few clean and blemish-free copies of these coins.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Noontime Break at General Paciano Rizal Park, Los Baños, Laguna

A sudden need to process some documents in the municipal hall of Los Baños, Laguna opened up a chance to visit General Paciano Rizal Park in Los Baños-Bayan, Laguna. The park has a commanding view of Laguna de Bay (Laguna Lake), the coastal areas of Calamba and Los Baños, and the mountainous parts of Rizal province on the other side of the lake. The park was named after Jose Rizal’s only brother Paciano through Ordinance no. 2003-182 on March 10, 2003 as an honor to him. On July 2009, a two-hectare extension project was started to include indigenous flora and recreational facilities.

* Los Baños Therapeutic Massage Center and Health Spa
and the playground in Paciano Rizal Park

* a panoramic view of Paciano Rizal Park

The Paciano Rizal Park was designed for people both children and adult alike to have a breather. A play area has been built complete with seesaws and swings for the kids’ enjoyment. Then for the elders, a spa can be found nearby. There is also a basketball court for the big boys. A large part of the park is still open grounds and so it is safe to assume that more amenities will still be added in the area. A main stage being built has unfortunately succumbed to deterioration due to weather and the disappointing vandalism of kids. I actually witnessed two young people – most probably high school students judging from their uniforms they were wearing – scribbled names on the remaining posts of the stage.

* what remains of the Yatco pier

* this looks like a rest area for the fishermen

* a view of Mayondon Hill

The noontime heat time (dampened only by the foreboding nimbus clouds) and the strong winds did not prevent local folks to brave the rocky shores and hope for some fish catch.

* a view of Laguna de Bay from Paciano Rizal Park

* a vandalized post in Paciano Rizal Park;
don’t we love scribbles?

* local folks trying catch fishes on the shore near Paciano Rizal Park

The park is aptly named after the famed Filipino fighter and general not just for the bravery and courage that the name evokes but also for the chance to be reminded, every time one visits the place, that what we see on that part of Laguna de Bay was probably the same view that General Paciano Rizal saw during his last days in his Los Baños home.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Revisiting the Town of Padre Garcia, Batangas

* collective symbol of Padre Garcia – cowboy hat and plow

* Padre Garcia Livestock Auction Mall / Market

Padre Garcia is a town where you can actually breathe in the essence of the people’s living. It’s not meant to disparage or anything but the common sight of cow wastes on the streets tells any visitors that livestock rules supreme in this town. A brief side trip to Padre Garcia enabled me to look closer at its lay-out and at any remaining structures from the past.

* stone fence of the Padre Garcia church

* St. Joseph and the church named after him

* church’s main door

* huge buttresses of the Padre Garcia church

* huge stones piled just below the church bell tower

* an upcoming garden site inside the church premises

* the church tower

* the bell and the cross: close-up views

* Padre Garcia church façade

Beside the ever-busy market place of Padre Garcia and the nearby livestock auction market/mall, the town proper is relatively serene. It is relaxing to walk through its narrow streets (particularly if the sun is not lashing out its heat) and see old and modern houses interspersed along the length of the streets.

* a monument for Padre Vicente Garcia;
behind him is the town hall

* Trailer Pransis meeting Padre V. Garcia

* a wagon display on the ground of the town hall

* an unnamed monument for what looked
like a fighter in the Philippine-American war;
is he Miguel Malvar? I wonder

The church, I found, is undergoing renovations. Just below the bell tower huge stones were piled. They most likely came from the dismantled stage found nearby before. Beside the church is a garden of sort in the process of completion. It seems like prayer garden, a solemn place where one can pray or simply reflect.

* Holy Trinity School, Padre Garcia, Batangas

* houses in Padre Garcia, Batangas

* says its all!

A few tasks I have set for myself the next time I visit Padre, Garcia: 1) witness (or if possible participate) in the livestock auction, and 2) dig in more about the priest behind the town’s name. And perhaps rummage for some old photographs of the place when Padre Garcia was still Rosario.

A Peek Inside Basilica de San Martin De Tours in Taal, Batangas

Just made a recent visit to the tranquil town of Taal, Batangas. I will be sharing about the town’s main treasure: its ancestral houses which have been surprisingly preserved in the place. And also about the town’s history and its prominent people. I took a short video of the interior of the Basilica de San Matin de Tours to provide the viewer a sense of space inside which cannot be conveyed by photos alone.

Sights and Scenes on the Feast Day of Saint Paul the First Hermit in San Pablo City, Laguna

*‘Welcome to the fair!’’; a sleeping fair area
as the sun rises over Mount Banahaw
early morning of January 15

* banderitas over Rizal Avenue

All the festivities and events in San Pablo City, Laguna this week trace their origins in the feast of Saint Paul the First Hermit. And so in the early morning hours of the feast day, I took the liberty of visiting the city proper to see all the busyness.

* San Pableños attending the early morning mass on January 15

* the man behind the festivities – Saint Paul the First Hermit

* candle vendors on the church patio

There was the usual mass and, I think, a freshly organized competition of drum and lyre bands. The streets were abuzz already, with all those vendors – locals and visitors alike – preparing their goods along the sidewalks. Those sidewalk stalls were indeed the heart of the city busyness for without them the city proper would not be that lively.

* lamps being sold along a street in the city proper of San Pablo

* a sea of stalls and people

* rice delicacies being sold just
outside the San Pablo Cathedral

* ferris wheel in action

The evening came with equal intensity as the main stage roared again with sounds and lights. Fireworks were given as a treat later in the night. The concrete streets were replaced with a sea of heads who were either in for some all-night drinking or just simply observing the night celebrations.

As I have not been able to document all the Coco Festival activities, I can only refer you to the Facebook Account of the City Information Office of San Pablo (be sure to log in with your Facebook account though). The account is loaded with photos of the activities in San Pablo City.

Friday, January 13, 2012

January 13, Mardi Gras Day and Special (Non-Working) Holiday in San Pablo City

It’s a holiday today in San Pablo City, Laguna!

No talks about Friday the 13th being an unlucky day can hinder San Pableños to celebrate the Coconut Festival and the famed Mardi Gras (pronounced as maa-di’graa) Street Dancing Competition. And to make things enjoyable, a proclamation from Malacañang [Proclamation No. 312] has been issued declaring January 13 as a special (non-working) day in the city. This is good so that more people would be able to see the parade of dancers and floats along Rizal Avenue.

* Photo Credit: City Information Office of San Pablo City, Laguna

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dance Performance at Isdaan Floating Resto-Fun Park

Watch my video of a dance performance at Isdaan Floating Resto-Fun Park, Calauan, Laguna. I have just opened a YouTube account and I will be using it to post future videos from my travels. Enjoy!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Come Celebrate the San Pablo City Coco Festival 2012

From its simple beginnings in the 90’s, San Pablo City’s Annual Coco Festival (or Coco Fest) has grown into an anticipated event in the country due to its attractive, and indeed lavish, line up of activities (particularly the Mardi Gras). The Coco Festival is usually held in the week leading to the city’s high feast day, January 15, when San Pableños celebrate the feast of Saint Paul the First Hermit (San Pablo ang Unang Ermitanyo). This year’s schedule is fortunate as the last day of the Coco Festival would coincide with January 15. For sure, activities for this day will be made as grand as possible.

Shown below is the schedule of activities for this year’s Coco Festival. I got this from sanpablocity.net website.

January 7
- 10:00 AM (SM City Atrium) Pre-Pageant of Munting Lakan at Mutya ng San Pablo
- 1:00 PM (SM City Atrium) Pre-Pageant of Lakan at Mutya ng San Pablo 2012
- 7:00 PM (City Plaza (Main Stage) United Pastors Council (UPC) Night

January 8
- 4:00 PM (SM City Atrium) Grand Fashion Show of Munting Lakan at Mutya, Coco Star, and Lakan at Mutya ng San Pablo 2012
- 7:00 PM (City Plaza Main Stage) DepEd / TESDA Night

January 9
- 4:00 AM (ABS-CBN Studio) Umagang Kay Ganda (UKG)
- 7:00 PM (City Plaza Main Stage) Sangguniang Panlunsod / SK Night

January 10
- 8:00 AM (City Plaza in front of Library Building) Sapol sa Singko (TV 5), Opening of Coco Trade Fair 2012
- 6:00 PM (City Plaza Main Stage) Munting Lakan at Mutya ng San Pablo 2012 Grand Coronation Night

January 11
- 8:00 AM (Pamana Hall) Coco Cook Festival
- 6:00 PM (City Plaza Main Stage) Lakan at Mutya ng San Pablo 2012 Grand Coronation Night

January 12
- 7:00 PM (SM City Atrium) Battle of the Bands

January 13
- 11:00 AM (City Plaza Main Stage) Coco Carnival Queen, Float Parade, Annual Street Dancing Competition
- 7:00 AM (City Plaza Main Stage) BM Angelica Jones Alarva, San Miguel Night

January 14
- 7:00 AM (City Plaza Main Stage) Gov. Jeorge “E.R.” Ejercito Estregan’s Night

January 15
- 1:00 PM (City Plaza Main Stage) BANDA SIKLABAN
- 7:00 PM (City Plaza Main Stage) Mayor Vic Amante / Sponsors’ Night (Fireworks Display)

[For more information regarding the Coco Festival, please contact the City Administrator’s Office at (049) 503-1522.]

Hopefully I would be able take some time off to roam th city plaza in the coming nights and take some photos to be shared here.

The Curves of a Maiden: Mount Maquiling (Makiling)

Ever since I first heard about Mount Maquiling (found in the province of Laguna and Batangas) shaped like a lying maiden, I have always sought to figure out the curves of that mythical woman. But up to now I am still having a hard time doing so. And so this chance shot from Santo (Sto.) Tomas, Batangas (in particular from the Malvar Shrine which I will be sharing here soon) compelled me to think longer about the mountain’s contours. At least from this view one can imagine those peaks at the left side as…her breast. Just sharing.

An Eerie View While in Transit

I’m not easily frightened of talks or of experiences of the supernatural but this shot I made leisurely while aboard a bus definitely got on my nerves. There is something spooky with the way the hair of a female passenger flew as the bus passed a dark part of a hilly road. Fright crops up in unexpected places particularly while in transit.