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Posts tagged "philippines"

We’ve just received an unexpected report from the Little Mail Carriers, all the way from the Philippines! We don’t know exactly when they were there as mail has been slow to leave the country in the past year… but we’re definitely not complaining — there’s so much to see in this amazing country, and it’s a treat to get a glimpse of it through the eyes of our little intrepid wanderers. Join us for another fantastic report of their travels!

Our host Jom (aka jugatmos) told us that the late Carlos Celdran (a popular cultural activist and performance artist) used to say: “If you can’t find beauty and poetry in Manila, you’ll never find it anywhere.”

Manila is commonly used to refer to the whole metropolitan area (Metro Manila), which includes not just Manila City itself but also Makati, Quezon City and 14 other cities, merged together in a huge metropolitan area. Today we’re focusing on the City of Manila itself, the place with most of the historical and iconic landmarks in the Philippines.

Little P waves in front of the National Museum of Anthropology

In order to learn more about the history and culture of the country, we’ll make a stop at the National Museum of the Philippines, which is actually a group of different museums housing the nation’s treasures. First on our list is the National Museum of Anthropology, formerly known as the Museum of the Filipino People, located in the Rizal Park.

Laguna Copperplate inscription

Here we can see the Laguna Copperplate, a document that shows the use of mathematics, inscribed in the Shaka year 822 (corresponding to Monday, April 21, 900 AD) and the earliest known calendar-dated document used within the Philippines Islands. This document is demonstrative of pre-Hispanic literacy and culture, and is considered to be a national treasure.

Baybayin writing script

Baybayin can be seen on the windows of the museum! Have you heard of it before? This is one of the Philippines many ancient writing systems, used before the popularization of Latin characters in the archipelago.

Filipino traditional dresses Filipino traditional dresses

And look at that these traditional attires — they’re made of piña, which are the fibers from pineapple leaves. Early Filipino clothing used several different fibers, including piña, jusi and abaca. The Maria Clara gown on the right, sometimes referred to as Filipiniana dress or traje de mestiza, is a traditional dress worn by women in the Philippines. It is composed of four different parts: a blouse, a long skirt, a cloth to wear over the shoulders, and a knee-length over-skirt.

Fabric weaving demonstration

Live demonstrations of fabric weaving from the Maranao and Maguindanao people were taking place on the day of our visit, to a really interested crowd — look at how colorful those fabrics are!

After the National Museum of Anthropology, we took a detour to the National Museum of Fine Arts, to marvel at its architecture and take a peek at some famous paintings…

National Museum of Fine Arts — architectural details National Museum of Fine Arts — architectural details

…like the “Parisian Life” by Filipino painter and revolutionary activist Juan Luna, or “The Progress of Medicine in the Philippines” by visual artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco. This mural was specially commissioned for the entrance of Philippine General Hospital and was later declared a national cultural treasure.

The Parisian Life The Progress of Medicine in the Philippines

The last stop on our Museum tour is the Museum of Natural History, a building with striking architecture where we met Lolong, the world’s largest crocodile to ever be measured. After he died in captivity in 2013, he was brought to the museum, where his remains were taxidermied.

Natural History Museum in Manila Natural History Museum in Manila - skeleton of Lolong

No visit to Manila would be complete without a stroll in Intramuros, the walled city within the city of Manila (intra = inside, muros = walls) which today remains rich and intact in its cultural significant. It was considered to be the educational and religious center in colonial times, where original campuses of the University of Santo Tomas (the oldest university in Asia) were once located. As Filipino writer Nick Joaquin would say, “Intramuros! The Old Manila. The original Manila. The noble and ever loyal city…”

Casa Manila in Intramuros Historical Café Barbara's

Inside the walls of Intramuros we stumbled on Casa Manila, a museum depicting colonial lifestyle during the Spanish colonization, which is a copy of an 1850s San Nicolas House that was once located in Calle Jaboneros. We took a rest at the packed heritage café Barbara’s nearby, before gearing up to visit the magnificent Manila cathedral as well as the San Agustin Church, the oldest stone church in the country and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Manila Cathedral San Agustin Church

Below you can see the gates of Fort Santiago. Built in 1590, it remains as one of the most important historical sites in Manila, as many significant events took place in it throughout the years.

Fort Santiago gates

One of these was the imprisonment of national hero Jose Rizal. Rizal’s writings partly inspired the Philippine Revolution, although he was not involved in its planning. He was held in Fort Santiago before being executed by the Spanish colonial government in 1896 for the crime of rebellion, and did not get to see his home country gain independence just 2 years later.

Jose Rizal cell at Fort Santiago Jose Rizal memorial steps

Rizal spent his last 24 hours in a chapel converted into a prison, before marching to his execution in Bagumbayan (now Rizal Park). There’s a memorial trail that traces his steps to the park, which we followed as night fell. There we found Rizal Monument, the final resting place of this martyr.

Jose Rizal National Monument

Entitled "Motto Stella” (Guiding Star), the monument by Swiss sculptor Richard Kissling is composed of a standing bronze sculpture of Rizal in overcoat holding a book that represents his novels Noli Me Tángere and El Filibusterismo, with an obelisk commonly understood as Rizal’s masonic background with its three stars standing for Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao (the three main island groups), set on a granite stone base inside of which his remains are interred.

There are at least 118 Rizal monuments in the Philippines with an exact replica in Madrid, Spain. Other similar monuments can be found in Wilhelmsfeld (Germany), Jinjiang, Fujian (China), Cherry Hill Township (New Jersey), San Diego (California), and Seattle (Washington), Reforma Avenue in Mexico City (Mexico), La Molina in Lima (Peru), Litomerice (Czech Republic), and Singapore to name a few.

We were told the monument has a “photo bomber”, an ugly residential building that peeks out on the right side, spoiling a lot of the photos… So we’re glad we decided to take our selfie there at night! 😜

This report is getting long already, but there’s still so much more we have to show you, so much to discover in the Philippines… So stay tuned for further broadcasts!

PS – Our huge thank you to jugatmos for this fantastic report, and for taking the time to show the little guys around so many interesting places!

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Willa (aka PostcardPerfect) is an enthusiastic postcrosser from the Philippines. She does Postcrossing with her two sons, and enjoys shopping for postcards everywhere she goes! :)

Here is what she had to say to our interview questions:

How did you come across Postcrossing? What got you hooked?

I discovered Postcrossing through a blog called Postcards From Miss Igorota, owned by a fellow Filipino who lives in New Jersey, USA. At the time, she was offering to send a free postcard for those who wanted to received one and I was so curious and delighted when I received her postcard.

I followed the Postcrossing link there, signed up and sent my first 5 postcards. Later I found out that another blogger whose blog I frequently visited, was one of my recipients and I was so happy when I saw my postcard on her blog (you can see it here)! Since then, sending and receiving postcards became part of my daily life.

Show us your mailbox, your mailman/mailwoman, your postoffice or the place where you post or keep your postcards!

Since I’ve been in two countries already, I can share photos of both post offices where I’ve sent my postcards from. Here’s the one in Canada:

Canada Post Office

And my current post office in the Philippines:

Philippines Post office Philippines Post office
Show and tell us about your favorite received postcard to date, and what makes it special.

This is a tough question and I’m sure a lot of postcrossers would agree. It is really hard to pick a favorite and even I we do, it takes a lot of thinking and convincing and sorting! :)

Gotochi cards

But ok, my most favorites are Gotochi from Japan, which I think are quite special. It says so much about the Japanese culture – and I know how hard to get these postcards is, because they can only be bought from their place of origin. I’m so thankful that I have a friend in Japan, Clarissa, who sends Gotochi cards to me from time to time whenever she’s on a family vacation.

Royal couple postcards

Another favorite is the Royal Couple, Will & Kate. I wasn’t a fan of royalty at all, until I saw how beautiful they are! When I was in Canada, I followed everything about their engagement and wedding and everything else. Not to mention their wedding date falls on the same date as my birthday :D. I just thought that they are the most beautiful couple in the world, and maybe someday, I might be able to meet or just to see them in person! (wishful thinking! :D)

Mickey Mouse postcards 1

Then there’s Mickey Mouse, just to satisfy the kid in me. :)

Have you inspired anyone else to join Postcrossing or start collections of their own?

Postmarking his postcards Quite a few actually! I’ve helped my two sons, aged 8 and 12, sign up on the website, because they decided they wanted to received postcards of their own. And then lots of my fellow bloggers got curious when I shared my sent and received Postcrossing cards on Facebook, so they ended up signing up as well.

What is it your favorite part of the Postcrossing process?

First thing that comes to mind is… shopping! I mean, who doesn’t love shopping? Really! :D Whenever I go, I always look for a bookstore, hoping to find some good postcards.

There’s also the friendship of course – who would’ve thought that good and kind people still outnumbered the not-so-nice ones!

And lastly, seeing different places, discovering cultures and history, learning about other people who live on the other part of the globe, and to find out that all of us have one thing in common… that we love postcards! :D

Have you been surprised by any place that you have received a postcard from or sent a postcard to?

Definitely!!! Like Norfolk Island for example, I did not know they were a country! :D And Dracula’s Castles from Romania never failed to amazed me! Oh… how about Lithuania, Latvia, Moldova or Croatia? There are so many of them I want to see. My bucket list of the places to visit just keep growing each day I received a postcard from a “new” country!

Have you met any other members in real life?
Postcrossing meetup

Yes! When I moved back here to the Philippines in October 2011, I help organized the first meet up and we’ve been doing them ever since. Our last meet up was on April 05, 2014, and just like on all the previous meetings, none of us wanted to go home early because there are so many postcard and stamp related stories to tell. And every after meet up, we all realize we need more time! :D

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