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Hello, there! I am still on my finals week while most of my high school friends have already graduated from college. (Nice one, UP, nice one!) I’m taking sometime to write about half of my weekend from two weeks ago just because I’m #medyobadass like that, lol, and since I am done writing my final research paper for an elective and it calls for a celebration.

032313From left to right: Iyay, Gen, Me, Avs, Neeca, Doane and Leandro.

Here’s my groupmates and I with (arguably) the most decent photo we’ve produced from this Philippine Institution 100 (PI 100) class field trip under the legendary Prof. Siao Campoamor. Behind us is Felix Hidalgo’s “La Trahedya de Gobernador Bustamante,” or “The Assassination of Governor Bustamante and His Son.” 

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While on it, there were tasks for us to accomplish, replete with running and walking and figuring out where to find bits and pieces of our own history under the searing heat of the Manila sun. I would love to divulge everything about the extreme efforts exerted for this activity, but  due to intellectual property and confidentiality reasons, I have to keep some details to myself.

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Before we proceed to the trip down the memory lane, first, a lecture: In 1956, Republic Act 1425, otherwise known as the Rizal law, was passed in the senate with former Senator Claro M. Recto as its main proponent. The law mandated all educational institutions in the country to offer courses dedicated to the study of Rizal’s life and works, particularly on his writings “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo.”

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Jose Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonzo Realonda, or Rizal for short, is considered as one of the national heroes of the Philippines. He was a Filipino nationalist who advocated for reform and education.

Despite rebuking the revolution, his novels exposed injustices and cruelties that pervaded in the country, which triggered the awakening of a greater sense of nationalism for the Filipino people and the battle for sovereignty even more. This, then, led to unjust accusations holding him accountable for the insurgency against the repressive Spanish Government.

While some people believe that Rizal is an American sponsored hero, ergo, a tool/figure to propagate the colonial mentality/policy, many people look up to him as the nation’s greatest hero. Thus, the importance of studying his life and works. (Can you tell how much I love this class already? Haha.)

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Rizal had a knack for the arts. Other than being a prolific writer, he also excelled in painting, sketching, wood carving, and sculpting.

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Photobombed three of his famous sculptures, from top to bottom: “Oyang Dapitana,” “El Ermitano,” and “Paghihiganti ng Ina,” roughly translated as “Revenge of the Mother.” (Pardon my face, ran out of wacky ideas and, unfortunately, ended up doing almost the same thing.. #FML.)

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We also chanced upon this new installation that I adored so much..

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..and I am pretty sure I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed this part of the museum.

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Uncanny, isn’t it?

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On the left side of this photo is Mich, who tagged a long with our group for her final photo project for her Film 110 class, and who, eventually, became our official group photographer. Thank you, Mich! 

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It was only when we moved to the other installation that I realized how I have forgotten to take photos of the nameplates again. (Tagged under: Failures that only happen to me.)

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Well, at least, I realized and made up for it. Thought, sadly, we were not able to stay long enough to check the other exhibits at the museum. I plan to go back sometime this summer, join me?

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Our second stop was the Walled City, which is also known as Intramuros. It was built during the Spanish occupation as a preventive measure of the Spanish and Filipino elites against intruders and invaders.

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Gen and her best impression of the oblation. (Alternative caption: Wide arms, wider skies. Or, #UPREPRESENT.)

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Walking around the place, you would see security guards who are known as the “rayadillos” garbed in this old style uniform.

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At the heart of Plaza Roma is the statue of King D. Carlos IV.

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For visiting tourists in the country, one should not fail to ride the “kalesa,”a horse-driven carriage introduced in the country during the 18th century. I have a friend who once told me that the reason why most of Binondo streets are narrow is that they were designed with kalesas as the only transport vehicle in mind. Gathering from past class discussions and observation, it must be true.

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We were all drenched in sweat but the fun never stopped..

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I kid you not.

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Remember that cheese ball of a phrase that says "behind every man is a woman?" That, my friend, is how significant Josephine Bracken is to Rizal.

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Another sculpture of Rizal known as the “Triumph of Science Over Death.” A larger version of this maybe seen at UP College of Medicine at UP Manila.

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Here is one of Rizal’s old clothes which got our group confused on his real height. We settled with the thought that he stood from around 5”0 to 5”2. By the way, that poncho was a hit to most of us.

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Finally, Rizal’s small alcohol stove—few hours before the execution, Rizal wrote his famous poem “Mi Ultimo Adios” as his farewell to the country and its people. For days, he kept the words and stanzas of the poem to himself to prevent other people, especially the guards who inspected his prison cell at random intervals, from seeing it as its discovery may sabotage its future publicity. Only at the last few hours was Rizal able to write the poem in a small piece of paper which he hid in this gas lamp. On the same night, he instructed her sisters to collect all his belongings after his execution. By sunrise, the stove, poem and his other properties were retrieved.

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The original manuscript of “Mi Ultimo Adios.”

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Ladies and gentlemen.. the University of the Philippines Class of 2013! (Almost, anyway.)

Note: Thank me for the length of this blog. Now you know better about our history. :P

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