Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Philippines: Day 3 (Last Day)

Our last day in the Philippines, we spent driving around the city of Manila and seeing some of the historical sites. We also got to see a lot of the city.

One of our stops was Fort Santiago, a Spanish fort within the walled city of Intramuros, built in 1571 when the Philippines was under Spanish control.This door isn't an original, but is in the original style, with very translucent shells instead of glass in the windows.Look how awesome this huge chain on the anchor is. The links are graduated so they get smaller in size towards the end of the chain.

Within the fort there was a shrine to the Our Lady of Guadalupe.

This is a memorial to the Philippine National Hero, Jose Rizal. Jose Rizal was an important figure and martyr in the Philippine Revolution, when the Philippines liberated itself from Spain.

This is the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. It is the largest cemetery in the Pacific for soldiers killed during WWII and holds 17,206 graves, of which 36,282 are unknown for soldiers who were missing in action. It is so sad to see this many graves in one place and to know that it is only a fraction of the lives lost. As we have been traveling, I have realized more and more how grateful I am to be an American and at what a high cost the freedoms I enjoy have been paid.
This chapel at the memorial had a beautiful mosaic that was probably at least 25 feet tall.A view of Manila from the cemetery.

This is at Saint Augustin's Cathedral. It was closed so we didn't get to go in, but I was happy just to be able to see these doors. The cathedral was built in 1607, and these are the original doors. They are hand carved from Narra (local variety of mahogany) and are over 400 years old. They were beautiful.

This is inside the Manila Cathedral. Catholics sure do know how to build beautiful churches. I could look at the stained glass windows forever.This mosaic was beautiful. I wished I had been able to get closer for photos, but there were some women praying there and I didn't want to be disrespectful. I already felt bad taking pictures inside a church.
This carved wood cross was exquisite. There was a tiny relic in the center, but I don't know what of. I do know this cathedral houses some relics of St. Therese, but I'm not sure where or what they are.
I love all the stained glass windows, but I wish they had cheat sheets of the stories so I knew better what the images were depicting.

This mosaic was especially gorgeous. The gold of the tiles was really luminescent and seemed to glow.

These were the carved wood outer doors. I'm such a dork, but all I could think about when I saw these was what great examples of relief sculpture they would be for my three dimensional design students!
We packed a lot into this last day and had a great time. Overall, out trip to the Philippines was wonderful.
I do want to tell you about a couple of random, but funny stories from our trip.
Our driver was very catholic (80% of Filipinos are). He asked us a few times if we had children. We said "no, not yet." He asked why not. We just told him that we would soon. Well, when he dropped us off at the airport for our flight back to Guam, his last words to us were, "Well, you don't know, maybe you made a baby in the Philippines!"
I of course burst out laughing because I thought it was so funny, but he was dead serious and didn't even crack a smile. It was Ssooooo funny.
Another funny thing that happened with our driver was when he asked where we were from. We told him Arizona. He was silent. We said, "The USA".
"Oh" he said, "Where in USA?"
We replied, "Arizona".
He asked, "Is that an island?"
We said, ", its surrounded by land. Its a desert. We have very little water."
He seemed unable to fathom the idea. "Well what do you eat?"
We told him that we didn't eat much fish, because we had no nearby ocean. He could not even understand. Unimaginable to him was the idea of no fish.
He still had no clue about Arizona. Then he asked, "What is Arizona's Baseball team? I like Baseball."
We told him the diamondbacks.
Then all of a sudden he knew something about Arizona. It was so funny.
He asked us how far it was from New York. We told him about 3 or 4 days driving. He seemed like he thought it impossible and I'm not sure he believed us. The idea of being able to drive that far was crazy to him. He had a hard time imagining life not on an island.
I too had a hard time imagining life in a place like the philippines. What would it be like to live in a place where you really could live off the land? Coconuts, pineapple, mango trees, banana trees and a bunch of other fruits I don't even know abound. They grow wild. You could just pick fruit whenever you want. What would that be like???
We enjoyed the conversation.

I loved our trip to the Philippines and will not soon forget our experiences there. It is nice however, to be back on American soil. There really is, no place like home (even if I'm still on Guam and not back in AZ yet).

Stay tuned to see what we brought home!


DesertCreations said...

I really enjoyed the story from your driver. It makes you really appreciate what you have. I've enjoyed the photos especially of the ocean and the stained glass windows and look forward to your new adventures.

Sandra Lee Hendrickson said...

I enjoyed all the wonderful photos and chats. How exciting! You got to travel at last! Hope to see you soon.

The Filipina Beauty said...

Wow! Its our place.. tagaytay :)

Thanks for visiting! I Enjoy reading your blog.

- Jho