Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The National Museum of the Philippines: sending your kids to "school"!

The National Museum of the Philippines is our country's official repository of fossils, artifacts, and other objects of scientific, artistic, cultural, or historical importance to our people. Established 113 years ago today, this center for culture and the arts located in Ermita, Manila started out as a natural history and ethnography museum. It now has four sections: The National Art Gallery; the Museum of the Filipino People; the National Museum of Natural History, and; the National Planetarium.

Perhaps some of the museum's most famous possessions are Juan Luna's Spoliarium and the Laguna Copperplate Inscription. The museum also has priceless artifacts from sunken ships of yore, gold and silver jewelry, traditional clothing, preserved endemic plants, insects, and animals, works of art, and so much more. And to compensate for the lack of dinosaur fossils (those giant prehistoric lizards were not known to have trod our soil), the museum has an enormous skeleton of a sperm whale, large enough to send gleeful chills down your children's spines.

To commemorate the museum's 113th anniversary which falls today, our family is sharing photos of our visit there two years ago (October 30). And we would also like to take this opportunity to encourage all Filipino parents to bring their children to museums from time to time, in order to immerse their young minds into our country's beautiful tangible heritage and rich history. One good way of teaching your kids about culture and the arts is by bringing them to museums. Because real education is beyond textbooks. And beyond the four walls of a classroom. I do remember my classroom back in the sixth grade which only had three walls, though. Haha. But that's beside the point. Touring your kids to the National Museum of the Philippines is like sending them to school already, but in a fun-filled way. A child's mind is like a sponge: it easily absorbs everything it sees. And teaching them the importance of culture and the arts at an early age will inculcate in them more good breeding because the stock of national treasures stored in our museo nacional gives one a sense of identity. Remember that culture is power which frees us from ignorance, apathy, and what I'd like to call "Vice Ganda Culture" (sue me). Anyway, just bring the whole family with you to this museum and be mesmerized by the items there which you only get to read in books and magazines. Admission is free up to the 31st.

¡Feliz aniversario al Museo Nacional de Filipinas!

My kids enjoying an actual Ifugáo house.

My wife was so thrilled to see the La Laguna Copperplate Inscription for the first time.

Juan Luna's massive Spoliarium (oil on canvas, 1884) which measures 422 cm x 767.5 cm, much larger than a passenger jeepney!

El Asesinato del Gobernador Bustamante y Su Hijo (oil on canvas, 1853) by Félix Resurrección Hidalgo

At the senate session hall of the Old Legislative Building. This edifice was proclaimed a National Historical Landmark four years ago. It now houses the National Art Gallery.

Legendary statesmen such Claro M. Recto, Cipriano Primicias, Enrique Magalona, Mariano Jesús Cuenco, and a host of other great minds once guided the state of the nation from within this spacious hall. My kids turned it into a resting place afterwards.

Las Lavanderas (oil on board, 1932) by Fernando Amorsolo.

Momay and Jefe are so amazed at the size of this sperm whale's preserved skeleton! See this and other interesting preserved flora and fauna at the National Museum of Natural History.

So true!
Click here for more photos!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Celebrating our blog's first anniversary at Jamboree Lake!

Our newest family member, Junífera Clarita, was sound asleep the whole time during her first real travel with us this afternoon. Perhaps she remembers all the sensations she must have been feeling during her in utero travels with us, when we were inside fast moving buses and jeepneys and tricycles going through rickety and long and winding roads filled with traffic noise. Yes, she's been traveling with us time even before the day she was born (we didn't know that Yeyette was already pregnant during our Christmas afternoon stroll almost a year ago).

Incidentally, we are also celebrating today this travel blog's first anniversary. And we were so blessed to have sunny skies (the sky has been gloomy all morning and it has been drizzling for days).

So where did we go? Right here...

Jamboree Lake, Muntinlupà City. A monument featuring Lady Justice is at the middle. We will feature more about this place in a future blogpost.

Our trip to Jamboree Lake, considered as the country's smallest lake, was just a brief respite from all the stress that has been bugging us lately, but it was all worth it. My sons had a grand time soiling their hands and shirts, and we all had a breathe of fresh air.


We were supposed to visit Intramuros, the first place which this blog featured. But problems in logistics due to a recent crisis prevented us from doing so. Besides, Yeyette still couldn't travel long distances because of what happened to her. But as I have said, our Jamboree Lake trip was worth it since all of us in the family are nature lovers. We were glad that highly urbanized Muntinlupà City still maintains a sanctuary such as this: beautifully rustic and serene. Hopefully, other cities in Metro Manila will follow suit.

¡Pitó na camí!

To those very few who have been following this humble family travel blog of ours since its inception last year, our heartfelt thanks! We had a strong start but things got slow because of a death threat and Yeyette's life-threatening childbirth. We're hoping for the best for our second year, and for the years to come. And we hope to bring you guys with us someday so that we'd be able to share with you our joys of exploring our beautiful country!

Y muchas gracias por orar por nosotros, Santa Clara de Asís. Nunca dejas de ayudarnos a disfrutar de buen tiempo. =)

God bless you all! Till our next travel!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Historic birthday lunch at Dekada

For Momay's 10th birthday last summer (May 13), we treated him to a modest Filipino-style lunch at Dekada in Glorietta 3, Ayala Center.

Dekada prides itself with the tagline "Historic Filipino Cuisine".

Dekada is taken from the Spanish word "década" which means "decade", thus suggesting an ambiance of historicity in its menu. And true enough, the names on the food list comes as a mouthwatering reminder of Filipino History because they are a mixture of both familiar Filipino meals and historical names.

La Laguna salad. Because we're Lagunenses. =)

Pancít bihon guisado (with lechón caualì).

Lechón manóc (whole).

Palitáo (flat, sweet rice cakes made from malagquít rice) with muscovado sugar.

Buco halo-halo especial with condensed milk for dessert.

Saráp to the bones! (apologies to that other place).

We got Momay's birthday cupcake from nearby Vanilla Cupcake Bakery.

Customer service, at least on this branch, is fantastic! The smiles from the staff are genuine. Before we ordered our food, my wife asked permission if we could eat the birthday cupcake we bought from another establishment (Vanilla Cupcake Bakery) because it was for Momay's birthday. This would have been a problem for other establishments (we've already had our share of experience of it, that's why Yeyette had to ask permission), but not with Dekada. And while we were already enjoying their superb meal, the staff surprised us with a birthday gift: a chocolate ice cream for Momay! And they even sang a hearty "Happy Birthday" for him, bringing tears of joy to Yeyette who is easily moved to heartwarming deeds.

Happy birthday, Momay!

What do Momay and this friendly waiter have in common? Their first names are both José, and they both share the same birthdays! Happy birthday, Momay and José Balón!

Even the set up of the place is unmistakably Filipino. The decors piled up in various corners remind one of those old cluttered shelves in homely ancestral houses. The design of the tiled floor entrance is similar to those seen in a bahay na batóBooks, a vintage radio, old records, and other trinkets will make you feel as if you are eating in your own ancestral home. The cushioned seats are designed with familiar Filipino images such as old cameras and faces of patriots.

All in all, Momay's birthday lunch in Dekada cost us only ₱1,246. And the six of us were already stuffed!


Our verdict:
Food: ★★★★★★★★★★
Ambiance: ★★★★★★★★★★
Customer service: ★★★★★★★★★★
Value for money: ★★★★★★★★★★

Dekada is located at the second level of Glorietta 3 in Ayala Center, Macati City. Special thanks to Manager Gerald de la Cruz and all the staff for making our brief stay there very enjoyable and memorable. For the complete photo album of Momay's 10th birthday, click here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Junífera Clarita's first "paseo"

We finally brought out Junífera Clarita for her very first "paseo" (or "pasyál") last Sunday afternoon on her 48th day. Since Yeyette cannot travel to distant places yet due to her recent life-threatening surgery, we just strolled to a not-oft visited hideaway within La Laguna Province's newest city.

To many, this place is nothing fancy. It's not a resort, it's not a park, not a tourist attraction or anything like that. But it's a green haven tucked deep within a city that is still in its urban infancy. Such locations are a rarity these days in urbanized areas. That is why me and my family are mighty glad that the City of San Pedro Tunasán still has pockets of natural gardens scattered throughout its domain.

My three boys enjoying the sloped grounds!

My three girls enjoying the bamboo shade!

Very observant and curious!

Instead of bringing Junífera Clarita to a mall or a concretized park, we opted to do this. The colors and scent of nature stimulates the brain of a developing infant. Other than that, my three boys needed time out to run around and play since they've been in "captivity" for most of the time. Yeyette and I had the delightful privilege of enjoying nature in our respective hometowns (Abra de Ilog and Unisan) during our youth. Our kids, sad to say, never had the same experience. Besides, like tangible cultural heritage, nature nowadays is fighting for its very survival. That is why it is important for us that we bring our children to places such as this one: to enjoy them while they're still there.

¡Muchas gracias Señor Dios por este sitio! The best things in life are indeed free. =)


This bamboo grove here is our li'l kingdom!

Golden sunsets: more precious than gold nuggets.

Click here for the complete photo album!