Sunday, November 21, 2010

[MANILA] Rizal and Lapu-Lapu, Spotted!

What followed was a long walk from the Post Office to the vicinity of Rizal Park. Do yourself a favor and take a jeep. In my case, it was the classic case of "Everything seems so near!" phenomenon. You see several landmarks close to one another and then you assume that they are within walking distance. Well, that is true to some extent, but group them together and you'll be surprised how far the landmarks from both ends are from each other!

I took the road along SM. Taft Avenue. Is it called Taft Avenue all the way or does it have a split personality like Quezon Avenue/España? Anyway, I was able to see the Philippine Normal University along the way. Picture! Cross Taft Avenue to get to the park, which I think is Lapu-Lapu’s.

By the entrance is a pond which displays a map of the Philippines. It does not make sense from a normal vantage point. Perhaps you will be able to appreciate it if you have the ability to levitate or fly. The view might be better from the LRT. Good luck in thinking of ways to stop the train so you can take a clear picture. Emergency breaks?

Lapu-Lapu’s giant statue is the highlight of this park. I have no idea when all these were constructed. All I can remember is that in the 90’s there was just Rizal surrounded by grass, or perhaps we just did not explore the area along Taft Avenue. Anyway, you just have to cross the street to get to Rizal Park. The funny thing is that there are various parks within the park itself, or maybe it would be better to call them gardens. There is a Japanese Garden and a Chinese Garden. Of course there is a Filipino Garden, and then an Orchidarium. Death by plants.

The two identical buildings housing the National Library and the Department of Tourism are also within the area on opposite sides. Rizal’s monument is on the Roxas Boulevard side. This particular area usually gets crowded with tourists, mostly East Asians and students. It is unknown if Lapu-Lapu hates this fact, although there has not been any report of a catfight between the two heroes on opposite sides of the park. Or maybe that is the very reason why they were placed on opposite sides of the park. Who knows! What I know is that the carabao on the other side of Roxas Boulevard does not give a damn because its monument enjoys dominion over the wide field of grass in front of Quirino Grandstand.

Yes, the Quirino Grandstand is just on the other side. No need to be ecstatic though, it is just an old  grandstand. What you'll probably enjoy is the field in front of it. As long as the weather permits there are usually a lot of people there doing various activities ranging from flying kites, making out, and taking a piss. Are you tired yet? Lay down on the grass. Enjoy the view. Fall asleep if you like, but do not blame me if you find your wallet missing afterwards.

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