Who is our national hero? We all know the National Hero is Jose Rizal, but do you know that the designation is not official? The same is true for other national symbols like the national animal (kalabaw), national fruit (mango), national dance (tinikling, later changed by DepEd to carinosa), national house (bahay-kubo), national vehicle (jeepney), national food (adobo), national clothing (baro’t saya for women and barony tagalog for men). As of this writing, there are only 10 national symbols that are officially sanctioned: (1) Pambansang Awit or National Anthem: Lupang Hinirang; (2) National Symbol; (3) National Flag; (4) Pambansang Wika or National Language: Filipino; (5) Pambansang Bulaklak or National Flower: Sampaguita, sought to be changed to waling-waling; (6) Pambansang Puno or National Tree: Narra; (7) Pambansang Ibon or National Bird: Philippine Eagle; (8) Pambansang Laro or National Sport: Arnis; (9) National Gem: South Sea Pearl; and (10) National Motto: “Maka-Diyos, Maka-Tao, Makakalikasan, at Makabansa“. While you’re berating yourself for not knowing that there’s a national motto, watch this news video: Continue reading Getting to Know the Philippines’ National Symbols
We know that there’s a National Heroes Day in the official list of public holidays throughout the Philippines. We know there’s supposed to be no work or school on National Heroes Day, just like any holiday. When we dug deeper, we realized that there’s more confusion surrounding this holiday. Continue reading Confused About the National Heroes Day?
Some things, seen or experienced separately, are beautiful, and even more beautiful when combined with other elements. For instance, the magical interplay of various colors, we call a rainbow, is created when light hits water droplets. Now, in addition to the combination of light and water, what do we get if we add sound and fire?
We get something nice like the Light and Sound Show at the Rizal Park, formerly Luneta / Bagumbayan, found at the heart of Manila City.
And it’s absolutely free. Luneta is a public park, frequented by families for picnics (and, uhm, lovers who are at home with the anonymity afforded by its vast expanse). The Light and Sound Show, which runs continuously from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., is open to the public (even to love birds who presumably care less about the display).
Many are familiar with Luneta as the place where Jose Rizal, the national hero, was executed in 1896. The site, just like adjacent places including the Fort Santiago where he was imprisoned before facing the firing squad, is an integral part of Jose Rizal‘s life.
It’s the premier public park in the Philippines, although the usual visitor, like us or even foreign dignitaries who lay a wreath at the Rizal Monument as a sign of respect, gets to visit and see only the front portion facing Roxas Boulevard. This is where the Rizal Monument is found.
The other half of visitors, a good mix of families and love birds, know Rizal Park as a picnic place. And there’s the negative perception that Luneta is frequented by the masa and jejemons, which is unfortunate given the significance of the place and quite untrue given the good mix of people that we observed while dropping by to see its latest attraction.
We saw the huge throng of people, concentrated at the vast open space at the back of the Rizal Monument, for the first time last weekend. In the middle of this mass of humanity is the Light and Sound Show.
We’ve seen a number of light and sound shows. There’s one in Sentosa (Songs of the Sea). although one need not go far because there’s now a light and sound show at the Manila Ocean Park (see Magical Fountain Show). These are nice shows, with eye-catching laser effects, accompanying sounds and narration, and short storyline.
These shows naturally charge an entrance fee, of course. The Lights and Sounds Show in Luneta is free.
We all have a rightful expectation that something we pay for should be worth it, and so we have a similar expectation that a show, just like the Lights and Sounds Show in Luneta, is simple and far from spectacular.
But while it’s far from spectacular, it’s not true that it’s lousy. The show at the Rizal Park has the basic ingredients for an interesting sight. The fountains dance with the music. The lights hit the fountains, creating various shapes and texture, adding emotions to the music flow. Fireballs occasionally light up the darkness and put emphasis with explosive sounds.
It is, in short, a show that would provide enough entertainment for the family. Luneta Park is surrounded by establishments that cater to people in vacation (restaurants, hotels, the Manila Ocean Park, among others). It’s a place of historical significance. It’s a place worth visiting. Enjoy.
We expect long weekends, consistent with the holiday economics of the previous administration, to be rare under the Aquino government. This is one of those rare long weekends — from 18 to 20 June 2011 (Saturday to Monday), as June 20 was declared a special non-working holiday to commemorate the 150th Birth Anniversary of the national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. So, since we’re given this rare long weekend gift, perhaps it’s only right that we think of what Rizal means to each of us and to our country in general. Please use the comment section below. Continue reading Remembering Jose Rizal at 150: Monday (June 20) declared a Holiday
The Philippines has just celebrated Independence Day, June 12. The primary place of celebration is, as it should be, in Kawit (Cavite). This is where the Declaration of Independence was made by General Emilio Aguinaldo, and where the existing form of the Philippine flag was also unfurled for the first time, on 12 June 1898. Continue reading The Historical Barasoain Church (Bulacan)
“That’s where Gabriela Silang was hanged,” said a friend referring to a spot somewhere along the national highway in Santa, Ilocos Sur. The place overlooks the sea, with what looks like a historical marker erected beside the road. It is indeed a marker, although painted gold, the only one we’ve seen, in contrast to the usual historical marker with white letters and black background. On the other hand, it turned out that this is not the place where Gabriela Silang was hanged. Continue reading Pasong Diego-Gabriela Silang (Santa, Ilocos Sur)
“On this site Andres Bonifacio and one thousand Katipuneros met in the morning of 23 August 1896 and decided to revolt against the Spanish colonial government in the Philippines. As an affirmation of their resolve, they tore up their cedulas which were symbols of oppression of the Filipinos. This was very first cry of the oppressed nation against Spain which was enforced with use of arms.” Continue reading Ang Sigaw ng Pugad Lawin (Cry of Pugadlawin) Shrine
“You haven’t been to Fort Santiago?” And so my wife started chiding for not having visited Fort Santiago, like it’s a national sin. Last weekend I had my unplanned tour of Intramuros, particularly Fort Santiago. I made a quick stop to search for Kilometer 0 and to take photos of the Cory/Ninoy Aquino Shrine. Continue reading Exploring Fort Santiago and Rizal Shrine in Intramuros, Manila City
The Philippines celebrate Rizal Day in honor of its national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal. Rizal Day is traditionally celebrated every 30th of December, but recent laws which favor movable holidays “fixed” Rizal day on the “Monday nearest December 30”. It is a movable holiday and its exact date is determined through a Proclamation issued by the President (see List of 2010 Holidays). Why do we celebrate Rizal Day on the 30th of December? Continue reading Rizal Day: National Holiday in the Philippines
Among the legal holidays in the Philippines is Bonifacio Day, traditionally celebrated every November 30. This was changed, however, under Republic Act 9492 (an Act rationalizing the celebration of national holidays), which moved the official holiday to the Monday nearest November 30 (which is why December 1, 2008, a Monday, is a holiday). Continue reading Bonifacio Day (November 30): In Honor of Andress Bonifacio