Postcard #25: Rizal Park: Remembering Jose

By on November 1, 2012
rizal park
Rizal Park

I’ve been postcrossing for some time now and privately exchanging with other enthusiasts too. Some time ago, a group of enthusiasts had an eyeball and they sent me a postcard of the Rizal Park – which I knew more as Luneta – during their trip to the post office.

So who is Rizal? Very few of today’s generation (in my home country of course) know what the significance of Pepe and Bagumbayan are. The Jose Rizal and the Luneta Park are just things that are talked about in history class and learned in walking tours. The Park is not just a place for family picnics or romantic weekend trysts for couples though, it is full of historical relevance. Going back to the time of Pepe and Bagumbayan will give people visiting the Park a whole new perspective of one of Manila’s most popular tourist attractions.

Pepe is the nickname of Jose Rizal. He has been declared as the Philippines’ National Hero in recognition of his role in sparking the Philippine Revolution that ultimately led to our independence. His non-violent approach, making use of the pen instead of arms, set him apart from other revolutionaries. His quiet yet potent messages for reform against Spanish rule earned the ire of the Spaniards. He was imprisoned and later on executed in Bagumbayan on December 30, 1896. (We celebrate this day every year as a national holiday.)

Bagumbayan is today’s Rizal Park. It was a marshy town that was cleared right around the mid 1700’s in a strategic move by the British military. When the Spaniards came, the area was called as the Bagumbayan Field and was transformed into a soldiers’ barracks and a military hospital. The park just outside the walled city of Manila and west of Bagumbayan Field was completed in the early 1800’s and was known as the Paseo de Luneta. More than just a plaza that served as a center of social activity, this park eventually became the site of public executions. Jose Rizal, along with other national heroes such as the three martyr priests Gomez, Burgos, and Zamora, was executed through a firing squad in this place.

The Rizal Monument that stands in Luneta was erected and unveiled in 1913. The bronze statue was made by Robert Kissling, a sculptor from Zurich – it actually took him 12 years to finish the sculpture. The place where the monument stands also houses the mausoleum where Rizal’s remains are kept. There is also a marble plaque beside the monument, marking the exact spot where Rizal fell to his death. His last piece of writing, Mi Ultimo Adios or My Last Farewell, is also inscribed in a plaque near the monument.

The structures and the guards at the Rizal Park and the Rizal Monument are not there simply to amuse local and international tourists. Every Filipino who visits the place should feel that patriotic twinge, knowing that the hero whose remains lie inside the monument is the reason why we Filipinos can speak our minds and live our lives as we wish today.

I would love to go trailblazing Rizal around, had I the means I would visit all the cities he’s been to. There are some markers in Vienna about where Rizal stayed and those, some of them I’ve already documented too…There are many more markers around Europe; Heidelberg for one where he had stayed for quite a long time.  Trailing Rizal would be another adventure on my bucket list…but, I guess a columnist on Philippine’s Daily paper already did a lot of that. ^_^

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Postcard #24 – Aalen, Germany

By on October 2, 2012

I received this postcard like half a year ago. ^_^ Been meaning to post this for the longest time but…many things in between happen, even meeting the sender of this postcard in a distant city.

Aalen is a small city near Stuttgart, Germany. Honestly, I only came to know of it through Rachelle, a blogger friend I’ve been chatting with for almost everyday. (I know, our sad virtual life could be like that. lol) Kidding aside, the region is quite a peaceful one to look at.

This is a view of Aalen in winter, perhaps from an observation deck high up the mountains. It’s an interesting point of view, seeing how the rails are almost full of snow and the scenery below laden with whiteness as well. The river Kocher to which the city is situated looks frozen.


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Philippines | Postcards

Postcard #23 – Vigan’s Hispanic Charm

By on July 22, 2012


UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has designated five World Heritage Sites in the Philippines. The UNESCO World Heritage Sites are places of importance to cultural or natural heritage as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. I am fortunate enough to receive a postcard of one of those designated sites…Thanks to a blogging friend Vix of for this postcard depicting a street in Vigan, the capital of Ilocos Sur. Although deserted with a glimpse of a lone calesa (horse-drawn carriage), one can see the old world charm that attracts both tourist and locals to this city. The churches, the houses and the streets speak Spanish influence and you might even want to stay in an old-style hotel that will take you back to experience how it was a century before.

Ancestral homes of capiz shell windows, souvenir stores, cafes and antique shops integrated into the landscape, lining up streets topped with cobblestones, calesas and pottery characterizes this lovely city. There are also a lot of museums to visit to help one learn more about Philippine and Vigan history in particular…

Aside from the historical significance and the Hispanic charm, Vigan is also known for delicacies such as longganisa, empanada and bagnet…that’s loclal sausages,  stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried and crispy pork belly, respectively. You might find yourself traversing those cobblestones in to a wonderful corner of the most delicious meal one could ever have…I’ve listed Vigan as one of the places to visit on my bucket list, you should too!

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Postcard # 22 – New York

By on May 26, 2012
Empire State Building towering over the New York Skyline
Empire State Building towering over the New York Skyline

This is another postcard I won from a giveaway of a blogging friend. Seen is the Empire State Building, a 1,454 ft (443.2 m) high building that was once the world’s tallest. The fourth-tallest freestanding structure in the Americas, the Empire State Building is also one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

I received a wedding invitation from a friend and would love to go especially since there are advertised New York Vacation Packages for the month of September, the set date for the wedding is on the 20th.

A package tour coinciding with the New York City’s US Open Tennis Tournament would be the most convenient deal. The deal includes accommodation for 2 nights and more at a Manhattan hotel of choice, tickets to 3rd round Men’s and Women’s action, food and other passes and also free admission to the Empire State Building Observatory, Museum of the City of New York and American Museum of Natural History, Metropolitan Museum of Art or Top of the Rock Observation Deck which are on my lists of to-dos. I just have to set that day off for the wedding and then go touring around the city again.

There are a variety of seasonal and holiday New York City vacation packages and special events that you and your family can book. Why go booking separately when you can have a complete vacation package; accommodation, food, sight-seeing and other activities? New York Vacation Packages are your hassle-free option for a grand vacation at the Big Apple, just choose which month to go and you’re sure to find a special event or holiday package that you’ll enjoy.

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Dubai | Postcards

Postcard #21 – Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai

By on May 20, 2012


Dubai has truly capitalized well on tourism securing its spot as one of the top tourist destination in the world. The list of tourist attractions in Dubai is very long and each deserve a feature. There are a lot of activities that will ensure a happy stay and the hotels, always on top when it cones to service and amenities are worth your booking. One of the hotels that always get a high rating from tourists is Atlantis, The Palm in Palm Jumeirah. I’ve featured another postcard of a famous hotel there, the Burj al Arab – which was, as this one, also sent by my friend over at

The Atlantis consists of two towers linked by a bridge with a total of 1,539 rooms. There are two monorail stations connecting the resort to the main section of the Palm Jumeirah islands. The resort also features 16 ha (40 acres) Aquaventure theme water park for the family and kids to ejoy, a 45,000 m2 (480,000 sq ft) conference center for those who came because of business, and a 1,900 m2 (20,000 sq ft) of retail space for shopaholics. There’s also has a Dolphin Bay in which guests can swim and interact with dolphins at Atlantis.

There are a lot to do in Dubai and booking at one of the top resorts as Atlantis is the first step for a memorable vacation.

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Postcards | Thailand

Postcard #20 – Tom Kha Gai , Thai dish

By on April 20, 2012
Tom Kha Gai, sent by Cheerful @

The cheapest way to travel to a certain city is through postcards…but the yummiest way is via food! So put these  together and you’re in for a wonderful adventure! I received this postcard from a friend in time for the leap year (Thanks sis!). (I know right, super late for the posting…) What better way to experience Thailand through food! Tom Kha Gai is spicy chicken soup with coconut milk. I cook a similar dish only not spicy and instead with pineapples for a sweet blend.

It would be wonderful if I could also enjoy one of the wonderful sunsets that Thailand is famous for or see the Wat Chaiwatthanaram after a hearty meal. Do they offer Tom Kha Gai in one of those Bangkok Dinner Cruise on the Chao Phraya River? I hope so.

Many flights thailand bound are priced affordably for holiday-seeking families and individuals. Here are some of the things you can do should you decide to pay a visit.

Wat Chaiwatthanaram
Wat Chaiwatthanaram

1. Cruise through the floating markets. Travel on a longtail boat through the Floating Markets Thailand is famous for and visit the rail bridge on the River Kwai while you’re at it.

2. Canoe through the idyllic scenery of Phang Nga Bay . If longtail boats not your thing, try canoeing through the Cave Explorer Phang Nga Bay from Phuket. Experience the James Bond – famous trek and swim or snorkel at the secluded beaches.

3. Go Kayaking from Koh Samui. If canoeing is still not for you, venture into hidden lagoons and caves or go sea kayaking at Ang Thong National Marine Park  and other beaches.

4. Be one with the elephants. If you’re the adventurous type, go on an elephant ride and jungle trek tour from Pattaya. It’s not often that you get to ride them after all.

5. Be one of the locals. Experience riding Thailand’s famous  motorized rickshaw, the Tuk Tuk…you’ll be in for a big surprise at one what the city has in store for your camera to shoot at.

6. Skinny dip. Yes, you’re free to do that, be in Phuket or in any other beaches…

7. Go temple-hopping. Yes, the temples are worth seeing and taking photos of…don’t forget to pose like a buddha when you’re there. ^_^

There are a thousand more reasons why you should visit Thailand…food is still my first reason but I hope those listed above will convince you to go.

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Postcard # 20 – Thai Farmers

By on March 8, 2012


Carabaos, my kids weren’t aware of these domesticated buffaloes until 2 years ago. That was when we came home to the Philippines to attend my brother’s wedding. We passed buy a few of those carabao-stores selling handmade furniture.

So I got this postcard, rather my son received this from a good friend, Raya, who’s based in Thailand.

Carabaos are indigenous to Southeast Asia so this scene can actually be seen in the Philippines too.

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Philippines | Postcards

Postcard #19 – Subic Bay

By on March 4, 2012


When one thinks of Philippine beaches; Boracay, Laiya, Palawan comes to mind. I was totally surprised when I received this lovely, bluish, semi-panorama postcard from my good friend Joy.

Subic bay is one of the more popular tourist and local destination in the Northern part of Luzon. It has been developed as an industrial and commercial area when the United States Navy left the bases.

Aside from dipping and getting a tan (which we, with brown skin really don’t need), you can also shop at Subic Bay. I am not so sure if there’s a membership fee. If you’re a nature lover you can visit parks around the city and you can get to be close to the tigers  at the Zoobic Safari. They also have a mini-zoo featuring a number of animals for viewing and petting. Then there’s the Ocean Adventure theme park where guests  have the opportunity to enter the water and swim with the dolphins and perform different tricks with them. If you’re the more adventurous type, hike and be lost as a jungle survivor and experience ziplining too.


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Postcard #18 – Reno

By on February 28, 2012
biggest little city in the world

That famous arch reads The Biggest Little City in the World. No, this is not from hubby who took the trip to Las Vegas last autumn but this is another postcard I won from a blog contest. Told you I got a handful. Like Las Vegas, Reno is known for its casinos and gaming industry. Just looking at this postcard, you know that nightlife thrive so lively here.

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Palau | Postcards

Postcard #17 – Palau

By on February 7, 2012


I received a postcard from Kuya Obey, the scholar who travels around the world and who last year this month was with us going about the city, exploring it, enjoying the views and doing some work. Little work I say…research mostly but he was anyway most of the time wandering (harhar). When he was here, he took some weeks off to visit Amsterdam, bits of Italy too. He went back to Japan a few weeks after the big quake and stayed to volunteer around Fukushima. Not too long after he went to Norway for a two-week convention and went back to Japan again. This guy’s really restless…he went to Namibia afterwards—how do I know you might ask….well, he’d either send me postcards (most of which are now in my daughter’s box) or he’d post photos on facebook for us to see.

Like you’d think he’d settle? No…coming back to Japan from Namibia he only stayed a few weeks and went to Palau. And where else he went to I’m not too sure, I think he also went home to the Philippines twice within that year span.

So he sent me this postcard from Palau and I’m thankful, you see there aren’t much post offices there…there’s just actually one. So when you have to receive or send stuff you go to do both to save time. The postcard depicts a typical home in Palau…I say it’s like the hut we have near our house when I was a kid. Classic, simple and charming…

Now Palau is at the farther east side of the Philippines but an island archipelago all its own. It is actually one of the youngest (and smallest) sovereign states in the world.

palau beach

Being that, it is I’d say unadulterated and clean as Maldives is. I borrowed this photo from Kuya Obey, this was taken at Rock Island…since the islands are smaller than those of the Philippines, the shores are cleaner…less cluttered and may seem like a sanctuary for soul-searching. I may not have the chance to visit Palau, not in the near future but I’m thankful that through photos I was able to take a peek of this lovely archipelago. Thanks for bringing me there Kuya Obey…here’s hoping to see you soon in Austria or Germany. 🙂

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