Trip to West Rizal with law school friends

Trip to Wawa Dam in Rodriguez, Rizal w/ Law School Classmates

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April 20, 2012. Some friends from law school and I took a day from our summer break to go on a road trip east of Metro Manila to the western towns of Rizal.

Our first stop was the town of Rodriguez, just half an hour’s drive from Quezon City, to frolic in the waters of the the abandoned Wawa Dam and its reservoir.

Situated upstream from Marikina River, Wawa Dam is an American colonial-era infrastructure nestled at the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountains flanked by two majestic natural limestone walls covered in lush foliage. It used to supply water to Manila until the building of the Angat Dam in Bulacan. By legend, it was the infamous Bernardo Carpio who caused the separation of the limestone mountain which stood right where the dam is, as he was breaking free from bondage, and thus resulted in the flow of water creating the river that leads to Marikina.

Wawa Dam, Rodriguez, Rizal

Trip to Wawa Dam in Rodriguez, Rizal w/ Law School Classmates

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Antipolo Church, Rizal w/ Law School Classmates

We proceeded to Antipolo, further upland into Rizal where we paid a visit to Antipolo Church, a famous pilgrimage site, and to some waterfalls made infamous by a popular folk song, Hinulugang Taktak.

The falls, however, have all but lost its traditional charm, and nowhere is it near its folk song glory, having turned into a massive catch basin for detergent and other sewerage from residents upstream.

Before heading out of Antipolo, we dropped by the ‘pasalubong center’ to sample some local rice cakes to take home.

Restaurant near Masinag Market, Antipolo, Rizal Restaurant near Masinag Market, Antipolo, Rizal Antipolo Church, Rizal w/ Law School Classmates Antipolo, Rizal Town Proper w/ Law School Classmates Antipolo, Rizal Town Proper w/ Law School Classmates Hinulugang Taktak, Antipolo, Rizal

We were supposed to drive further east to the town of Tanay to end our day trip in the waterfalls of Daranak and Batlag, but my classmates didn’t think it was a good idea, as it was getting dark late in the afternoon.

Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Nemiranda's Art House, Angono, Rizal Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal

As an alternative, we proceeded south of Antipolo to a town along the banks of Laguna Lake, Angono, famous for its artisan families. We ended our trip with some drinks at Nemiranda’s Arthouse’s restaurant.

Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal

Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal

Around old and downtown Manila (Part 6)

From Intramuros, we crossed Jones Bridge another time on foot, this time proceeding to Binondo, where pedestrians will be greeted by the Filipino-Chinese friendship arch at the starting end of Quintin Paredes St. Upon descending form the Bridge from the Intramuros side of the Pasig, one shall be at Plaza Moraga, which according to this website, was the site of the first ice cream parlor in the Philippines (useless information, sorry). To your right, you will see Escolta, which as many of us might know, was once upon a time the premiere shopping and business center in Manila. That day, the entire place was just deserted.

We passed through the arch and walked along Quintin Paredes till we reached the end where a small plaza and a statue of Roman Ongpin can be found, and of course, where Binondo Church stands. There was a mass baptism going on at the church when we were there.

After taking random photos at Plaza San Lorenzo, we proceeded to this hole-in-the-wall, almost run-down restaurant in one of the back streets of Binondo, Dong Bei, which served authentic and fresh Chinese dumplings. The place is run by an immigrant couple from northern China, and their menu card claim that since many of the Chinese in the Philippines come from southern China, our concept of Chinese food is largely limited to Cantonese cooking, so one should try them out because they are different.

We had a plateful of their staple, steamed dumplings, I forget what they are called exactly, but they’re stuffed with ground pork and some green vegetables. These dumplings are prepared right within the servers’ own table at the dining area. We also ordered xinjiang chicken, which are cubes of chicken deep-fried and specially-flavored with, what, some northern Chinese spices and sesame seeds? It was good. It was my second time at the place, the first one was more than two years ago during an impromptu walking tour withIvan Mandy and a brod, Ivan Henares.

Around old and downtown Manila (Part 4)

From Manila Cathedral, we walked a few blocks to another historic site, the San Agustin Church, still in Intramuros. San Agustin is the oldest stone church in Manila, and is one of four Filipino baroque churches in the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Out of several visits to the church, it was the first time I noticed the Chinese stone lions that guard the church’s entrance, which I found peculiar at first. Upon searching through the internet, I found out that these stone lions were gifts from Catholic-converts among the Chinese.

After strolling inside the church and at the courtyard, we crossed the street into Casa Manila, a reconstructed stone house recreating the atmosphere of Spanish colonial Manila through the home of an ilustrado. A fee is asked for those who would want to explore the insides of the home. Instead, we just lounged for a bit at the coffee shop for pasta and coffee before proceeding with our walk.

Around old and downtown Manila (Part 3)

After walking along the Pasig River, we decided to cross Jones Bridge and go to Intramuros, where we stopped by the Manila Cathedral and Plaza de Roma. It was a relatively long walk, though there wasn’t much traffic at all since it was a Sunday.

Manila Cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of Manila, which, during the Spanish occupation had jurisdiction over the entire archipelago. Fronting the Manila Cathedral is Plaza de Roma with a statue of King Carlos IV of Spain. At the southwest side of Plaza de Roma is Palacio del Gobernador, which used to be the seat of the Spanish Governor General of the Philippines. It now houses several government offices.

Around old and downtown Manila (Part 1)

Last week, one of my friends wanted to buy supplies at Divisoria in Manila. Because we had a previously botched road trip, I suggested we take the Divisoria trip as an opportunity to just roam around the streets of old Manila. Quiapo is where we started. Here are some pictures.

There was a time early when I was a freshman in college when I would just board a bus to Quiapo after my day’s classes, instead of going to my organizations’ tambayans in Mass Comm, or instead of simply going home. I would just walk around Plaza Miranda, buy DVDs at the stalls along Hidalgo, and there were times I would even cross Quezon Bridge on foot and take pictures at Lawton with my SLR camera with black-and-white film.

Ultimate Kapampangan Show-off Tour (II)

December 15, 2007. After visiting Bacolor Church, we proceeded to Guagua, Pampanga to visit Betis Church. It’s apparently one of the oldest churches in Pampanga, and it’s also certainly one of the most ornate. The church’s ceiling is painted with tableauxs of biblical scenes. Fortunately for everyone on the tour, we also witnessed the processional of some couple’s wedding. It must’ve been amusing for the foreigners with us.

Betis Church, Guagua, Pampanga IMG_7066.JPG Betis Church, Guagua, Pampanga Betis Church, Guagua, Pampanga IMG_7075.JPG Betis Church, Guagua, Pampanga

On the way to our next destination, we were treated to one of Pampanga’s best-kept secrets–buko sherbet from San Jose in San Fernando City. The stuff is only sold in gallons, so we had an entire barrel of shaved ice and salt, buried in which is a tin can with five gallons of cold buko sherbet. I must have had five servings of the stuff the entire day. Our next destination was an ancestral house in San Fernando City’s ‘heritage district‘ owned by the heirs of one of Pampanga’s old-rich families. It was a very pleasant visit. The Hizon family gladly welcomed us inside and toured us around their well-preserved and fully-functional home. I wish more heritage structures, particularly centuries-old houses, were like theirs–fully functional homes and not some museum filled with displays of antique items. I don’t think one could normally go inside the ancestral houses in the heritage district for visits. We were gladly welcomed in the Hizon home because one of our tour masters, Spanky, was a Hizon. Hehe.

IMG_7112.JPG IMG_7114.JPG IMG_7116.JPG IMG_7121.JPG IMG_7124.JPG San Fernando City, Pampanga

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Church for the poor?

We go to mass at the parish in UP Diliman. I was wondering why the famous running priest, Fr. Robert Reyes wasn’t saying mass there anymore so I caught news of what happened at yesterday’s Sunday Inquirer magazine. Apparently, he was transferred from the more prestigious parish to a more congested one, and there are a lot of speculations. Anyway, one thing I wanted to bring up here.

He traces what he sees as unequal treatment to materialism. “Some priests become friends with very rich families in prominent parishes. In fact, that is what keeps the church from being critical of tycoon Lucio Tan, Danding Cojuangco, and even (President) Gloria (Macapagal-Arroyo). It’s because of the secret liaisons that the church has with rich people. I just want to remind the church not to make statements about being a church of the poor when in fact so many of us really belong to the church of the rich.”

It depresses me, and makes me a little ticked off. I mean, look at any formal portrait of our Manila archbishop and see that big bejeweled necklace-cross he’s wearing, and all those jewelry in his hands. He lives in a luxurious mansion. He mingles with the politicians and other elite socialites sucking up to him. How hypocritical can he get? Reminds me too much of the Spanish friars in Jose Rizal’s novels. Click here for full article.