Sunday, December 10, 2006

Fort Santiago, Intramuros

One of the places I was able to briefly pass through was the headquarters of the Philippine Army. The grass and shrubbery were trimmed and the entire base was clean. I learned that Andrés Bonifacio, a national Filipino hero, was buried nearby. I was able to see a portion of the IT facility and was surprised to see new and sleek computers and servers. However, the structure of the facility itself was a bit old and so were the barracks. It seems the buildings have not undergone as much renovation as the equipment. It reminds me of some of the older portions of the NASA space centers in the U.S. where they too had sophisticated equipment housed in buildings from the 1960's. But, I guess there's nothing wrong with that as long as it is not crumbling, and the architecture is also a piece of history anyways, which brings me to my next site.

The other place I was able to visit (though only very briefly, and only a small portion) was Intramuros. It was an old fort-like city, the oldest district of Manila, and was originally a Malayan Muslim settlement before the Spanish period in the Philippines. The first things that I took note of were the high walls enclosing the area, the old Spanish architecture, the stone roads, and the kalesas or horse-drawn carriages. Fountains and eye-pleasing shrubbery beautified the area. José Rizal's (another Filipino national hero) "footsteps" (the spaces between each step were quite tiny) could also be found trailing the roads. In fact, there was a museum dedicated to Rizal within Intramuros that I had the opportunity to view, though I wasn't able to fully read and take in everything as I was rushing. Taking the steps up the walls behind the Rizal museum raised me to a view of the Pasig River and the surrounding Manila area. Based on hearing others refer to the Pasig as "Shit River", I was expecting to see and smell Manila's ripped open entrails. Well, the river didn't look that great. But at least I was not able to smell anything foul. I sat on the wall for a little while and looked around. It was quite a relaxing place, it was too bad the scene could not complement the serenity with beauty. Skyscrapers could be seen. And the shanty squatter homes beside them were also apparent, like piles of trash that have been defenestrated. Again, here is the extreme wealth gap again manifesting itself. In my mind, I saw a comparison to the human body. If we provide and feed our cells the nourishment they need and reduce or eliminate the toxins taken in, cleaner and more efficient bodily systems will flourish to promote a stronger, healthier, and happier mind and being. If we don't, free radicals run wild providing symptoms and sending signals to do something to fix our impaired systems, and if it lasts long enough and as more free radicals accumulate, they begin to cause destruction, disease, and cancer that eventually kills our body. I signed and donated for the maintenance of Intramuros. There are a few of these donation posts throughout the historical areas that allow for people to give monetary assistance for upkeep and cleaning. The only problem is that what is being done now is like brushing one's teeth so that it looks nice and white, yet their body wreaks of all sorts of poisons. This cleaning act needs to be extended to all of Manila and all of the Philippines and needs to be noticed by more potential donors (or make it a tax on income at a percentage rate) for it to have a beneficial effect for the nation. However, once extended, the idea is good as it also promotes the livelihoods of the poor by providing them with jobs and can thus help in alleviating the extreme wealth gap.

Let us remember that the sword of Andrés Bonifacio would have never been drawn without the pen of José Rizal, and the pen of José Rizal would have accomplished nothing without the sword of Andrés Bonifacio.

Sampaloc, Fort Bonifacio, Philippine Army Headquarters, Taguig City, Intramuros, Manila Pictures / Photos:


Anonymous said...

i think we have the responsibilty for our country and it nice that you donated some for the maintenance of intramuros. If we do not have a clear acts or systems for the reservation of our surrounding such as the pasig river(as you have mentioned)whose been witnessed to our history(if he can only speak to us maybe he will tell all his beautiful experiences those days that is not yet polluted compared to now, maybe he will cry out for help). Let's say we have that transparent clear acts if we have government officials who are corrupt and think only for their welfare, i think dave this will gonna be a hopeless endeavor of every Filipino who is hoping and aspiring for a clear and polluted free environment.We need a healing government not to the extend that we need to change our government system such the CON-CON and CON-ASS(maybe not clear to me the essence of it) as the administration wanted to pursue but a united Filipinos who work for good and betterment of everyone. As you mentioned in your AFTERMATH article, we also need to give attention to the craft mentality and jealousy attitude of some. Anay lang sila sa lipunan.And if this happen healed land will be soon in our reach.

Almazanse (:

Anonymous said...

wow..I live just a couple of minutes from intramuros..and I visit it at least 3x a year... it is indeed beautiful...

Anonymous said...

intramuros means "walled city" built by the spaniards for the raiding moros and the revolting chinese. it eventually did not work out because it could not adapt to the development that was going beyond its walls at the time when manila became a buzzling "city". it's a good piece of history but as they alwasy say, filipinos do not have a sense of history and we are alwasy bound to destroy or forget to remember our past...evident in the way we "preserve" or "restore" our pieces of history. "ala naman kasing pera sa preservation, e," is what i think goes in the minds of our public officials...unless of course it has something to do with tourism na siyang isa sa mga agenda ng administrasyon ngayon. ewan.

Anonymous said...

buti ka pa naiisip u pa yong mga ganyan bagay sa sobrang busy ko di ko na napapansin yong mga yan. Lagi ka update about sa atin bansa. It serves as my gazettes or newspapers anyway yong blog mo and I am learning from you.

Anonymous said...

Intramuros is a nice place.. I have been there so many times. keep up man!

Anonymous said...

Honestly maganda un shirts na suot mo..
Ang galing nyo po talaga designer, poetic, photographer, programmer, valedictorian, MENSA qualified, and many more, all in all gifted child.. Sana magtagumpay kayo sa lahat ng hangarin nyo sa buhay...


Anonymous said...

hi david, i read your article especially the last paragraph, ang ganda talaaga , what a poetic, ang ganda nd pag ka construct mo ng idea sa last paragraph, galing it really struck me. i wish ganyan ako mag sulat kacing brilliant mo thanks a lot

ABJ said...

Hey dude,

Happy New Year.

I admire your guts for doing what you think would make your life meaningful and satisfying.

Living with what our beloved country the Philippines has to offer might be a tough journey to everyone including you but you will survive like any other Filipinos in many ways you have never imagined.

Rediscovering the Philippines with this journey of yours will give you lots of opportunities in gaining deeper insights of what the Philippines is all about and I just have this weird feeling that you are going to use this experience in your future "political" life or whatever future life you choose to be in, be here in the Philippines or back in the US.

Just remember, make sure you do not fall into the "corruption trap" that engulfs almost all Filipinos that you are back to a place where it is a common way of life ever, now and in the future. It takes lots of determination and courage not to fall in the "crack" due lack of support from the people around you. And besides, there is not a whole lot of people would praise you and admire you for being a good and non-corrupted individual. Those types of "good persons" are not popular anymore. They do not have a place in Philippine society. They do not hold important government positions since they do not get elected if they run for office.

Nowadays, honesty and fairness no longer exist in Filipinos' minds. They just don't care anymore. All they care is where to find money for their basic needs and food to eat. These things have roots in the popular Filipino mentality of "Survival of the Fittest". It unfortunately brings nasty competitiveness among themeselves to lead inorder to survive. And all these involve corruption, killings, cheating, fraud, bribery and so forth whenever they can just like you mentioned in your previous blog entries.

This is true in Philippine politics where too much fragmentation of politicians or players caused them to play same game of "Survival of the Fittest" just to stay in power. There are no "structures of unity" in the Philippines where people feel each other's needs and fill them in inorder to progress as one country and as one nation.

I can't wait to read the book (your book) that is going to come out out of this "coconuter journey" of yours and be able to learn more about the Philippines and its people from yur hands-on experience and insights. We need more people like you who will study the Philippines more and hopefully will do something about them to make a difference.

Money donations to support your cause will follow shortly.

Thanks for sharing us your experience and will be looking forward to hear more from you.

From your Friend,
ABJ of Brownsville, TX

Anonymous said...

try to visit u.s.t manila... it's nice there, surely you can enjoy it... oldest university in asia. older than harvard. it's magnificent...

Peter Allan said...

Hello there. It's me again. I'm a Metro Manileño and also a history buff. Intramuros is a great place, it had a very rich collection of Spanish colonial architecture that rivals the rest of the country. Until American forces carpet-bombed the area to flush out the Japs during WW2. Manila was the 2nd most devastated city in the world after Warsaw. Sadly it was never rebuilt but abandoned.

You mentioned a tomb for Bonifacio. I would just like to correct that Bonifacio never had a tomb because he was executed in 1897 due to a conflict between him and Aguinaldo's faction (Magdalo) and his body was left in the mountains. Though, it was exhumed and placed in an urn in the Legislative Building (now National Museum on the P50 bill) but was lost forever as the building was also bombed out during the "liberation" of Manila of WW2. Thus the tomb may just be a shrine or memorial to his memory. Mabuhay!

Pardon the lengthy explanation. :)

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