Greetings Fellow MIUIers!
In this MIUI World Tour, I am very honored to share the beauty of my hometown, the Republic of the Philippines. Home of Miss Universe 2016 Ms. Pia Wurtzbach and World Boxing Champion Manny Pacquiao to mention a few.
Where is the Philippines? It is located in South East Asia, and is within the range of South China Sea. It is composed of 7,614 islands according to the latest count based on the official gazette of the Philippines, there used to be 7,107 islands, but there was a late discovery of 534 islands, making it a total of 7,614.
Today, we visit one of the most popular places in the heart of the capital of the country, Manila City. Luneta Park is one of the oldest parks in the country, it is near the beautiful Manila Bay, which is the port entry of all vessel bound for Metro Manila, be it passenger or cargo alike.
The pictures below show the busiest street in Manila City, Roxas Boulevard. This street stretches from Luneta Park all the way to Ninoy Aquino International Airport which is composed of a total of 7.6 kilometers to be exact.
You can see all kinds of vehicles traveling on this busy street every day, from kalesa (horse pulling a cart) to 40 foot containers. The kalesa was once the most popular means of transportation in the metro during the Spanish Era, but in the present time, its used to transport tourist along the national park.
Finally, we have approached Luneta Park, also known as Rizal Park since the monument of our National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. His full name is Dr. Jose Protasio Mercado Rizal y Alonzo Realonda. He revolutionized the Filipino people to revolt against the Spaniards thru his books Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.
The park proper is filled with many trees and grass, of course many figures of historical heroes from the past.
Here you go, the Rizal Monument! This is very much a top tourist attraction, most tour guides lead their troop to check out this very historic icon in the country. The monument is guarded by two soldiers from the army, they are not allowed to move an inch and is on parade rest while holding the rifle. I wonder how they can withstand the heat under the sun especially during summer which is a scorching 38 degree Celcius. Whew!
In front of the monument is a huge poll, carrying the Philippine Flag, you can see that there are many tourist taking photos here on this spot. Many tourists are from Korea, China on the day when I was there. There were many small polls beside the monument as you can see in the photos that I have taken with my Mi Note 2.
Its so relaxing to look at a field with green green grass, so quite and cool to the eyes, normally on a Sunday, Filipino families have picnic on the park, flying their kite and kids running around, this is their favorite past time during the rest day.
As I tour around the park, there were so many people of different races, some are sitting on the bench kissing each other, some are eating popcorn and sharing to the pigeons, some are rehearsing their dance number for school and some are jogging along the park.
This statue represents the Maria Clara of the olden days where girls are very conservative and shy. Unlike girls now who wear super short shorts, talk louder than megaphones like they dont care at all. We will sure miss those days indeed.
Our country is one of the top coconut producers in the world, as well as mangoes. Due to our tropical climate, where its either sunshine or rainfall only, we dont have to worry about getting hit by hail storms during winter, which is a blessing since having winter is not really fun at all wearing all those thick clothing.
One of the main attraction of the park is the water dance, wherein the water will follow the beat of the song being played. This only happens roughly 4 times a day if I'm not mistaken. I was enjoying the song as well as the beauty of the water dance while taking a rest drinking coconut juice. We call it Buko juice here, where buko is the Filipino name of coconut.
The very first hero of the Philippines, his name is Lapu-Lapu and he was the very first one who killed Magellan, a Spaniard who first set foot in the Philippines in quest to conquer the country. His troop was denied access and their leader got killed in the bloody encounter.
Here is a loudspeaker that has the shape of the ancient bolo hat that was worn during revolution between Filipinos and their colonizers the Spaniards. The Filipinos did their best but they still fall at the hands of the Spaniards, there were many casualties reported at that time.
This is the very very classic bahay kubo in full display at the park. This classical house is the very ancient model wherein there are stlll no cement and bricks, houses were made of straw. We have experienced going inside and the air circulation inside the bahay kubo is pretty good even on a hot summer day.
There is the pigeon hall, these pigeons are well trained to nice to guest as they ask for some little food to eat, I gave them some bread crumbs and they simply love it. There are around hundred pigeons inside that pigeon hall if im not mistaken.
This is the dungeon of death as they call it, people who were caught doing crimes during the Spanish era were sentenced to be jailed here in this dark tunnel, mostly never came out alive anymore based on stories. Kinda creepy...
Oh before I forget, this is called santan flower, this is one of the most abundant flowers inside the Luneta Park, everywhere I turn, I see this plant. Its easy to grow in a tropical country like the Philippines.
Let me take one last view of the Luneta Park as I headed to the Manila Bay to show you some of the best scenery beside the bay, This Luneta Cinema is one of the oldest cinema house in the country and is quite considered a legendary building already. They still do show films from old times and maintained its old look to be part of the history. I also took a photo of the vicinity map of the Luneta Park as well for your reference.
As I cross the road and walk toward the bay, here is Mr. Carlos P. Romulo, one of the famous Filipino Diplomat who was better known as the President of the United Nations Assembly during 1949 - 1950.
More coconut tree along the road, this is one of the most common trees here in Roxas Boulevard as it shows that this is one of our primary export product. The water fountain is another nice view and scenery where many people stop by to take some selfies of themselves to be posted into their twitter account.
Here is a panoramic view of the park beside the Manila Bay, isnt it just simply breathtaking?
Now this is the beauty of the Manila Bay, sit down and take out your fishing rod to maybe catch a fish for hobby. Or sit down with your loved one to watch the beautiful sunset along the bay. Did you know that there is a cruise along the bay which takes around 1 hour ride to tour you around Manila Bay for around 1500 Pesos or simply equivalent to 30 USD, this includes dinner and music in the mini ship cruising along the bay.
As I headed to South Batangas to check out another history place, we can see all sizes of containers in the container yard along Manila Bay.
I happened to pass by Manila Cathedral Church, one of the ancient iconic church in the Spanish Era which is located at Intramuros Manila, just 10 minutes away from Luneta Park. I got married in this historic church back in 2009.
We took the South Luzon Expressway to be able to arrive at the National Shrine of Padre Pio in Sto Tomas Batangas City. Roughly a 3 1/2 to 4 hour trip from Manila, inclusive of traffic and stopovers like this in a gasoline station just to cool down from the tiring long drive.
Finally arrived at the destination area, the sun was hot and the weather outside was around 35 Celcius. It brought me to sweat as I cruised around the park looking for a parking space till I found this!
Lucky me, there is a free parking space wherein this is not common in Manila, you are charged almost 1 USD for every 3 hours parking in the street in Manila.
Now let me give you a short introduction to Padre Pio, he is a famous saint in the Catholic Church who is known for his stigmata. Lifted from Wikipedia: Padre Pio had his first occurrence of the stigmata: bodily marks, pain, and bleeding in locations corresponding to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ. This phenomenon continued for fifty years, until the end of his life. The blood flowing from the stigmata smelled of perfume or flowers, a phenomenon mentioned in stories of the lives of several saints and often referred to as the odour of sancity.
The long ride sure takes a toll on me as I need to rest for a few moments to continue my trip down the park. Let me zzzzzz for 10 minutes will ya?
These were the saints inside the sacred church of Padre Pio and there were many tourist taking photos here and there as well. Saint Mary and Jesus Christ were the centerpiece of the statues among all the saints that were present in the area.
The tower of baptism is one of the good attraction here as people used to get baptised here in this tower, It is only done once in a while now here in the current timeline according to the people who maintain the place.
Sometimes, walking in holy places like this really lift your spirit they say, you find peace in your mind, before you hit back to the metro and go back to your daily life. Its nice to do this once in a while to find inner peace, especially people now who are very techno-savy always attached to their phones.
Finally arrived at the place where Saint Padre Pio statue is located, there is Mama Mary on top of the roof and an angel in front to greet you. We can really see the impact of the Spanish Colonization has in our country as we are heavily introduced to catholic religion by the Spaniards.
The blessed Saint Padre Pio statue, He is in a form of blessing someone who wants his blessings.
Here is another statue of Saint Padre Pio holding his beads, below him is water flowing infinitely.
This is my last stop, the big statue where Saint Padre Pio is seen taking to the crucified Jesus Christ. This is a very sacred place as Catholic devotees yield the sign of the cross as they pass by this figure.
Some beautiful flowers that I have came across the way during my walk back to the parking area, as you can see there are coconut trees again. One of the most popular in the country.
Saying goodbye to the beautiful city of Batangas as I head back to the Metro. You can see the most common transportation in the city, its called the tricycle, its a modified motorcycle with a carrying side to accomodate 2-3 passengers. This is pretty popular in the provinces. We can also see the huge mountain of Mt. Makiling in front of my windshield. This is where we do our hiking and camping when I was young and with the Boy Scouts of the Philippines.
Its another 3 1/2 hour ride home for me, till next time as I share another MIUI World Tour article with you MI Fans again.
Mitch002 Signing Off!
Would You Like to Visit the Philippines?
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