I was born and raised in Manila. I thought I knew everything about it. From its dirty streets, its fun loving yet undisciplined people, the best and worst places you’d find in it, down to the dirty politicians running the city. I’ve been held up in Manila, got my heart broken in Manila, stuck in traffic in Manila, walked the floods of Manila; I’ve seen the richest and the poorest living in Manila. Heck, I even spent the last years of my student life inside the historic walls of Manila! I thought I knew everything about it it’s high time I go out of its comfort zone and discover life beyond Manila. And I did. I saw different cultures from both my country and its neighboring Asian countries in the few times I’ve been blessed enough to see the world from beyond the walls of Manila.
But I didn’t know that two Sunday trips in two of the well-known places in Manila would make me realize that I didn’t knew everything about my city at all.
outside The National Museum
Look at that damned pamabansang photobomber. Glad Luneta is regaining back its popularity!
This January, out of money for longer trips outside the city, I’ve decided to reacquaint myself with my city.
Hello, it’s me.
me taking a photo of Chris taking a picture of me.
Together with my friend Chris, we’ve revisited The National Museum in Taft and like little kids out on their first field trip, we checked out what was life back then.
Luna’s famous Spoliarium, a blurry photo by me, SMH.
H.R. Ocampo’s works
My absolute favorite among Luna’s paintings: Parisian Life
We also visited the art gallery and saw how talented Filipinos are in art. I’ve seen Luna’s Spoliarium the second time (Chris’ first time) and saw my favorite Luna painting for the first time in flesh: A Parisian Life. I don’t know why I like it, maybe because it’s mystic and has a lot of interpretations involved, but looking at it takes me back to the time when I was still in college learning about Philippine art and culture. Maybe because it always brings back a lot of memories?
It’s good to be back, Intramuros.
Manila Cathedral looks pretty at night!
Afterwards, we went on a side trip to Luneta and Intramuros, a place close to my heart. The walled city is where I spent college and it’s always good to come back. Sabi nga ni Rizal, “Ang hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan, hindi makararating sa paroroonan.” I marveled at the newly renovated Manila Cathedral and enjoyed every bit of walking on cobbled stones again (at least that part in San Agustin Church in front of Barbara’s).
Sta. Cruz Church in Binondo. Chris said some of the tiles in it are made from old tombstones. Haven’t verified this on Google yet, but pretty amazing and creepy at the same time!
A week later, Chris and I went on another adventure, this time, together with another friend, Neri. We revisited Binondo, Chinatown and ate ramen. The original plan was to go on a food walk, similar to what tour groups usually do, but we did it DIY style. Sadly, we didn’t know Binondo becomes a ghost town on Sundays so it was really a disappointment.
But we did catch the famous Manila Bay sunset so all was good. It was a good day. Neri and I had our dinner where we catch up on our lives and even the current state of our country.
jeepney ride to Luneta
contrary to popular belief, this is where Jose Rizal exactly stood when he was executed, not in the shrine where his famous monument stood.
I never knew two Sundays would make me rediscover Manila again. Sure, it’s still dirty and you could get stuck in traffic for hours at times, and there will always be people who will try to steal from you either while they are sitting in their office or with you in a jeepney with a knife staring back in your face. But this is what I realized: I will always be excited to visit and get to see what the world has to offer and be as far away as possible from KM 0, but nothing beats my excitement of going home to Manila. You are most definitely, my home. I love to hate you, that’s for sure, but I love you. Always.
Kilometer Zero in the Philippines. Am I xxx miles away from you? #hugotpateh
All photos with watermark logos are taken by Chris. Otherwise, taken by my phone. Visit his other works here: http://christoferfamero.wix.com/home