Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Independence Day and its Multitude of Meanings

It’s amazing how we, as a nation, were able to maintain this annual celebration of our independence. We have our own history to brag about, when we were able to break the occupation of two foreign rulers after the Spaniards. Every year comes with a challenge to uphold this freedom, the democracy that we literally enjoy in different aspects at this time.

I feel proud personally seeing our national flag being displayed in many different places. We must enjoy it as much as we can. For those who interpret the Independence Day in a different way, let them. The alleged subordination of the country to a Western superpower is to a large extent subjective and sort of misses the essence of the celebration. Looking back in those last years of 19th century, the declaration of independence (although quite problematic given all those problems being faced by the Aguinaldo’s group at that time) was a pivotal event in the struggle towards a free archipelago. It was a trophy like no other for all those who fought for the centuries-long bondage from a foreign rule. And the present generation should definitely treasure this. We can reserve the other sentiments on the different concepts of independence for other days. June 12 is a day of celebration.

There is however a rather inconvenient truth about our Independence Day celebrations as pointed out by a weather reporter on TV earlier: that no matter how many Independence Day trivia we share amongst most of the Filipinos, they seem to trivial to be remembered; Pacquiao’s loss on his bout last Sunday seem more important to them than any historical detail. There is a tinge of comic truth in this but it is actually disconcerting. I hope there will come that time when we will freely and easily discuss history as easily as we talk about Pacquiao or showbiz gossips in public places. There is more to history than meets the eye.

*This blog also appears in Viole(n)t Mugs blog

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Big Beehive Up a Tree

A few months earlier we were attending a public ceremony sponsored by the city government. As the usual series of speeches were being done, my attention was captured by this big tree (calling Patrick Gozon to identify this tree). On looking closer, I saw that a big beehive was attached to one of the tree’s branches. The sheer size of the hive is evidence enough that those bees have been living there for quite some time already. I entertained the idea of throwing stones at it but it was, I think, way too high for stones to reach it. Better not disturb them.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Bridge Shots in Lipahan, San Juan, Batangas

I have been longing to pass through the short cut road from San Juan, Batangas town proper to Tiaong, Quezon and the worry that we might soon find ourselves in the dark compelled us to pass through it. True enough, the roadsides were mostly covered mostly with vegetation and rice fields and there were no lamp posts to guide us in case dusk finally run us over. But that did not stop me from enjoying the rural scenes, and it was too bad that our digital camera could not fully capture the sceneries right before our eyes.

* view of the river from both sides of the bridge

All tiredness due to bumps in travel were set aside by the breath-taking (and I mean breath-taking!) view of a river from this high bridge. Internet search revealed that it was just past the village of Lipahan in San Juan but I cannot really say if it is already within the bounds of Quezon or not.

* a candid scene! a carabao getting entangled with the greeneries

In any case, it was a moment to behold. Photo shoots are the only thing we can do and just enjoyed the scene. The setting sun only added to the intensity of the scenery despite the darkening colors around.

* Trailer Pransis striking his usual poses

In these brief moments of pleasure, it only gives you this realization that we can enjoy nature even in not-so-far-away places.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Bunga Falls in Nagcarlan, Laguna

* behold the Bunga Falls!
* an afternoon scene in Bunga Falls

* all rocks and all rocks

A seeming endless hot days and a limited budget: these were the motivations for our unplanned trip to Bunga Falls in Nagcarlan, Laguna. Tucked in the rural parts of Nagcarlan close to the mountains in Calauan, the falls is a place to behold. One only has to watch out for the small road leading to the place. And oh, parts of the road are still rough so better bring extra wheels or air pump in case of you get flat tires.

* view of some of the bamboo cottages

* curious looking roots near the water

The most salient feature of the falls is that it is a twin falls, made possible by a big protruding rock cutting through the incoming waters. An entrance fee of 5 pesos is required for every visitor (exempting I think the small kids). The area near the falls is generally hot during midday. And this is where most of the swimmers frolic. However, there are rocky parts several meters downstream guaranteed of shade from the trees but it should be noted that that is where most of the waters (and dirt) from the area near the falls go. There are also bamboo cottages being rented for a fee amounting to 200 pesos. Better take the rocky sides if you are in a tight budget.

* floaters for rent and food for sale;
there are also makeshift changing areas for 5 pesos only

Bunga Falls is an example of a natural recreation area. But with this gift comes greater responsibility. If today lay people enjoy this essentially for free, the local government has to act now and make the necessary improvements to the place. This is not to say that they have to commercialize it altogether; I am well aware of its dangers. But seeing that heap of garbage just being burned in the late afternoon, it was bothering indeed. And so some form of regulation and proper administration of the place should be done.

* an ugly scene

But that should not get in the way of enjoying the beauty of Bunga Falls.

* Trailer Pransis in a variety of poses

[How to go to Bunga Falls, Nagcarlan, Laguna: From Manila you have two options: 1) via San Pablo City – board a bus bound for Lucena then drop off in San Pablo; take a jeep bound for Nagcarlan and Liliw and turn left (if you have your private car) after reaching Nagcarlan town hall. Go straight until you reach the corner with the sign pointing to Bunga Falls. 2) via Calauan, Laguna – board a bus bound for Sta. Cruz, Laguna then drop off in Bay, Laguna. Board a jeep to Calauan then drop off at the town proper. I am not aware of any public vehicles plying the short cut to Nagcarlan but if you have a private car, then it should be fairly easy. Just follow the road to Nagcarlan and turn left on the corner with the Bunga Falls marker.]

The 11th Liliw Gat Tayaw Tsinelas Festival 2012 Experience

* Liliw-Tsinelas, Tsinelas-Lilw, that is undisputed

* the poster for the 11th Liliw Gat Tayaw Tsinelas Festival 2012

* the first place winner in
“Disenyo: Maganda at Malaking Tsinelas 2012”
expressly made Xozy/Lachica

* tsinelas and more tsinelas
* flowers for sale in Liliw;
too bad it was almost dark during our visit

After a weekly activity we’ve been attending for the past few months, some of my friends decided to make a brief side trip to Liliw, Laguna. We were fortunate to have the visit on the last day of the 2012 Gat Tayaw Tsinelas Festival.

* a street scene during the Tsinelas Festival 2012

* a covered court in town used in the evening programs

* some of the old houses I saw during the Tsinelas Festival

Liliw, as always, was in a festive mood, only this time it was more intense. There were booths along one of the most popular streets in town – Gat Tayaw Street – selling newly released shoes and sandals, flowers, and food. The street was literally packed with visitors. We learned that there were also night booths for more food and drinks. But that, I think, was mainly for the townsfolk and for those who opted to stay longer in town.

* Pransis and friends before a sudden rain stranded most of us in town

I soon found out that there were more old houses in town than when I first took pictures of some of them. Perhaps another visit in order, plus a visit to the famed Arabella. Let’s see.

Taal, Batangas Tours (Part 6): The Heritage and Ancestral Houses of Taal

In concluding my Taal series, it would be appropriate to ponder more on the importance of preserving these remaining heritage and ancestral houses.

* Casa Conchita Souvenir and Gift Shop

Much has been said about preservation, protection, and giving importance to what have been handed to us, present generation, as heritage treasures. But we have to go deeper and study more keenly the history that goes with them. The actual building of those houses perhaps. Or the sources of lumber that were used. The inspiration for the details used in the houses. Or the people themselves – architects and carpenters – and how they were trained in their respective crafts during those times.

Even as I think about these prospective lines of study or research, I get so excited. They may be small things only but they can truly enrich our appreciation of these old houses. How I wish I would have the luxury of time and resources to do all those things. But they don’t have to be hindrances for we can do our own self-imposed studies. Traveling is one step forward. And one should be proud to have that drive to go to different places and learn more about our country, its people, and its historical treasures.