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I cant help but feel sorry that Rizal has to die early without seeing how much the Philippines has changed over the years. But even if he didnt die out of the execution he cant live that long to witness the philippines today. I hope he is watching somewhere, pleased or displeased, with heavenly made popcorns on his lap.

I can do a lot of things in one day. My trip to Luneta was my first all my life. I have been going to Manila for the Nth time but never have I thought of setting foot on Luneta Park until my mom decided that it's a perfect gloomy day to experience an adventure most Filipinos might have already experienced, exccept us of course.

The pictures I've posted were taken from inside the Park a couple of yards away from the monument. I've forgotten the name of this portion of the park as I was amazed at how much the dioramas were able to capture part of Rizal's life story from the time he wrote his novels to the moments just before he was executed, until the moment he was taken to his last stand.

Conversing in Spanish is difficult but thanks to the friar interpreter in front of me.
I hope that the Philippine government would seriously consider
putting back Spanish as part of the educational curriculum.

I was trying to convince Rizal that most of the youth today can not
understand nor speak Spanish so he better write some of his novels in Tagalog.

I was caught in a heated discussion while having coffee with Rizal, the blends the
friars were serving in those days are way better than the 3 in 1's of today,
I think even better than the brewed coffees of Starbucks. :)

I couldnt help but again be amazed at how much greeneries one can see from a metropolitan city that is quite smogy. The gloom of the day matched my weird feeling of how much different it feels to spend a sunday in Manila than in my home city in the south. Adding up to the weirdness that consumed me were the sight of Korean tourists. I heard someone making side comments about the disturbing increase in their numbers here in the philippines. You can find them anywhere from Apari perhaps to Julo, malls, beaches and villages in Cebu and I've seen quite a small seemingly large enough place to be called a barangay that's beeing occupied by them in Angeles City, its like a small china town. I hope they enjoy their visits though.

With my best bud Dondie (in black) as we stroll along the the greeneries of Luneta

Don: It's really nice seeing you again. I missed the south so much. Am, just so drained from work, I can even barely relax.

Rey: Things change Dons and we have bigger roles to play now. You've got a wonderful career and I think you wouldn't be anywhere else than in your work right now.

Don: Still feels like the old times. Has things changed a lot since the time I went to the south?

Rey: Change is inevitable I believe that, but I never thought of the south changing rapidly. Remember those big trees that provide a lot of shade on our front yard? Those were already gone and in place of them now are tenants and their stores.

Don: So our childhood memories are gone with those trees? I surely miss those midday games we play after we get back from school and how your mom would cook us chocolate porridge for snacks. How's your mom by the way? I see she always dress up in black?

Rey: Mom's fine, I think spending the holidays here made it easier for her to move on. This is our first Christmas without dad so its a little bit difficult for us both. The vacation made it easier. She's still mourning secretly and silently, she'll be wearing black until dads first death anniversary. Mom's a little bit traditional and she wants to show the people that she is still in the grieving process with that ensemble she's wearing.

Don: Your being here takes away half of the burden I carry. What can I do? You know I've got bills to pay and a nephew to support.

Rey: Dons I think finding happiness in life is not dependent on how much often you can stop by to smell the flowers or enjoy the scenery around you, it depends on how much you can make other people happy. Enjoying the scene doesn't mean that you have to stop and look around. Try picking up those flowers along the way and enjoy their smell while you journey on your life. There's a whole lot of people out there who doesn't even have a definite path to journey on. yours is quite fascinating. :) You're a blessing Dons, to your friends and to your family. It's your calling so be happy about it. The more you complain about how heavy the burdens you carry the more you wont enjoy life.

Don: Thanks...

Rey: Anytime Dons, I've consider you as that brother I never had. I just want you to be happy.

Don: Right! This calls for a celebration. Lets go to the fort and grab some krispy Cremes!

Rey: That's the spirit! :)

Luneta Park (officially Rizal Park in tribute to the Philippine National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal) can be found in the heart of Manila city. It is at the north end side of Roxas boulevard looking over the famous bay of Manila.

Luneta’s first days began sometime around the year 1800 during the Spanish colonial rule. It was known to the people at that time as Bagumbayan or New Town in the English translation and was then later known as Luneta. As to history, the park's shape was that of a small moon, Lunette (French Lunette, meaning “little moon”), hence the name Luneta.

A place where one of the significant moments of the Philippines happened, Luneta is quite a popular site for local and international tourists to see. Rizal Park is like Manhattan Park to NYC, though maybe in size and scenery the two parks completely differ, but both are such a symbol respectively, a landmark.

The Monument is also serving as the “point of origin” or KILOMETRO ZERO to all other cities in the Philippines.

The site is guarded 24 hours a day for 7 days a week by ceremonial Soldiers, known as the “Kabalyeros de Rizal” (Knights of Rizal).

The Monument in the park is not a product of a Filipino sculptor but by a Swiss named Richard Kissling who was then only the second placer in the international art competition held between 1905 – 1907 for the design of the monument.

These are the events that happened in Luneta Park during the Spanish Colonial days:

1. Execution of Gomburza (Filipino priests; Fathers Mariano Gomez, Jose Apolonio Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora) on February 17, 1872.

2. The execution of Dr. Jose Rizal on December 30, 1896 and whose martyred death earned him the title of National Hero of the Philippines Revolution.

The lawns of Rizal Park,
just a little further is the Rizal monument blending well in the background

workers cleaning out the front area of the park, this side is facing Roxas Boulevard
with the monument blending well in the background.

Post Spanish Colonial Events:

1. The declaration of Philippine Independence from American Rule on June 4, 1946

2. Political rallies for former presidents Ferdinand Marcos and Corazon Aquino.

3. A Mass was held here by Pope John Paul II for the World Youth Day on January 15, 1995.

4. The venue of the opening ceremony for the 2005 Southeast Asian Games at the Quirino Grandstand on 27 November 2005. It was held at an open-air park instead of a stadium, a historic first for a Southeast Asian games' opening ceremonyand was again used on December 5, 2005 for the games' closing ceremony.

Source: wikipedia
For further readings visit www.wikipedia .com

My two moms in the background

Manila Ocean Park is the Philippines' first state-of-the-art Oceanarium, open water marine habitat, boutique mall (where one can buy a lot of souvenirs), restaurants serving great meals and function facilities that are all located in one big complex just right at the back of Quirino Grandstand.

Click on the images above for a larger view

Above are some of the scenes that one can see upon entering the complex. Upon publishing this post, the establishment's construction is still half way though the oceanarium is already open to the public as well as the souvenir shops and the restaurants within the complex.

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