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MIXED FEELINGS…

I was BLANK – As I looked at my examination number printed under the list of successful examinees it’s as if those numbers slowly filled my vision.

Then COMPREHENSION – I’m in! I passed!

Followed by JUBILATION – the world is beautiful again and I can`t stop smiling and calling and talking to anyone who will listen.

Then DISBELIEF – as it sank in that I am truly one of the new students. How can it be? I’m so ordinary. So unexceptional.

Then GRATEFULNESS – for the answered prayers and support of everyone around me.

Then DREAD – for what is ahead. Questions of whether I’ll be able to fulfill what’s expected of me swirled in my mind. Whether I’m qualified for something like this. Am I ready? Will I ever be ready? I wonder…

And finally EXCITEMENT – for the new journey laid in front of me.

All these and more I felt as I beheld the ordinary piece of paper plastered on the glass wall at the entrance of the School of Letters.

I,  apparently got accepted for the PhD program for Linguistics of Nagoya University…

Nagoya cityscape as seen from my favorite study carrel.

I’m supposed to be finishing up my report instead I keep on taking pictures. I bet the kids practicing baseball below thinks I’m some kind of a stalker (that is if they ever do notice me). Anyway, the view is the only reason why I kept on requesting this study carrel even if the sun does hit it in the afternoon as it sets. The view more than make up for the discomfort.

ACCIDENTAL TOURISTS

I was supposed to write this ages (years) ago but for some reason was not able to. Still, I loved this experience with my friends so much  and I really want to write something about it. I guess recounting it makes me feel I’m back home…

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It wasn’t in the plan. Salve, Sherma and I were supposed to just attend a book launching courtesy of Armine. The thing is we were late and Sherma was the only one who heard part of the program (she heard the part where the author informed her guests that lunch will be served after the program!). But owing to Armine’s clout (she personally knows the author) we met with the author, conveyed our apologies for being late, bought her book and had it signed, had our picture taken with her and ate the free lunch. ;-)

Afterwards, since none of us wants to go home yet and malling did not appeal to any of us we decided to go on a belated tour of Old Manila.

Starting with the National Museum

I am particularly interested in this area of Manila since one of my professors in college once remarked that the original plan of this area was to resemble that of Washington D.C. where major government agencies of America are located. The person who designed the layout was the architect Daniel Burnham – the same person who mapped out the City of Chicago, Cleveland, San Francisco and Washington D.C. Incidentally, he was also the architect of the building that currently houses the National Museum. As interesting as it’s history and architecture maybe, the treasures within are also of great value. But since I do not want to go on and on about the artifacts and paintings and wealth of information one can gain here just try and visit it for yourself. The place however does not house the works of great Filipino masters such as Amorsolo, Juan Luna etc. It’s still in the old museum which is quite a disappointment. It would have been great to see the Spolarium once again. sigh…

Luneta… perceived by contemporary Filipinos as a place to be avoided. For some reason it’s just not cool to go there. I however do not agree, the park has so much to offer – great sculptures, at least three gardens (which I wouldn’t have known existed if not for Lakbay channel!) and rich history. The place has witnessed a great number of events marking our history through the ages.

A virtual plethora of sculptures dotted the park but I was particularly drawn to this sculpture. Although it embarrasses me to admit it I forgot the title of this particular piece. When I tried searching the net for any info I was unsuccessful. Apparently there is no inventory of sculptures found in Luneta. The emotions that the piece evokes was what  has drawn me to it. Sadly it’s not prominently displayed where more people may be able to admire it.

Gardens Galore

An Orchidarium that I think would really be spectacular if we came at a time when all the orchids are in full bloom and not raining. There’s a falls there though – called Cascade falls. I’m not sure if it’s man-made or not. Actually we went there in search of good food… and found the restaurant closed!

So off we went to another garden. Who knew that there’s an incredible array of gardens to be found in Luneta. I certainly don’t!

Japanese Garden, as the name suggests, it evokes the same atmosphere as the gardens found in Japan. The same serenity which is incredible owing to its location – smack dab in the middle of Metro Manila. It has a pond with a bridge crossing through it. Its simple lines echoing the Japanese aesthetic.

It even has a gate that usually, in Japan that is, heralds the existence of a temple but in this case it merely serves as an architectural feature which nonetheless adds to the general air of being not in the Philippines but in another land. Hmmmm… the gate does however marks an important site – it marks the area where 13 patriots were executed during the Spanish Period known in history books as the “trese martires.” The engraved words in the marker are as follows:

Trece Martires de Bagumbayan

Here 13 patriots were executed by the Spanish authorities on January 11, 1897. Ten were masons, namely: Numeriano Adriano, Jose Dizon, Domingo Franco, Eustacio Mañalac, Geronimo Cristobal  Medina, Ramon Padilla, Antonio Salazar, Moises Salvador, Luis Enciso Villareal, and Faustino Villaruel . Benedicto Nijaga, Braulio Rivera and Francisco L. Roxas died with them. All were patriots.

The 13 paid the highest price possible for the freedom and independence of their country having perished for so great a cause. They deserve to live on in the hearts of their grateful countrymen, to their memory this marker is raised.

The Chinese Garden, on the other hand, exudes a different air all together. Whereas, the Japanese Garden is defined by its tranquil environs,  the Chinese Garden is full of motion and energy. Straight off, you’ll see people roaming around the intricate layout of the garden as opposed to the meditating people in the Japanese Garden. The designs both at the gate and the various cottages dotted throughout the garden is both lavish and rich.

After the gardens, we decided to go to “The Walled City of Intramuros,” which is quite near. And what better way to get there than go there on a “calesa.” Our first ever “calesa” ride, an exhilarating one at that. You would also find your kutseros to be polite and extremely knowledgeable of the history attached to the whole area and of various buildings.

“Calesa” is a horse-drawn carriage that has it’s origins during the Spanish Period. “Kutsero” [ku·che·ro], on the other hand, refers to the person who handles the “calesa.”

Intramuros

From the latin words “intra” and “muros” which literally means “within the walls.” Intramuros was build in 1571 and was the old capital of Manila (Maynilad back then) - a city within a city. It’s historical significance for the Philippines cannot be emphasized enough. Who hasn’t read accounts featuring the place from history textbooks. And if you’re like me (which I doubt) you would have wondered what it would feel like to actually be there. Stand there and retrace a prisoner’s footsteps in Fort Santiago.

And end up in the very cell where a national hero – Jose Rizal – was incarcerated for the last time. The very place where he wrote his poem. The very place that witnessed his anguish, fear and acceptance.

Thinking back, it was truly an escape for us. One that did not cost us much but paid us outstanding dividends in terms of satisfaction. All Pinoys, I think should make this journey. It’s one way of looking at our past as a country. Hopefully by looking back we will find something to look forward to in the future (eventhough there is not much to look forward to now. Still, one can always hope). I assure you, you won’t regret it!

A MOMENT IN TIME…

Gone were the milling people around me. It was as if I was alone… free to luxuriate and immerse myself in this special world. There was both a feeling of wonder and calmness. I felt I could stand there for eternity and never feel the passing of time.

And I thought…

So this is what it feels like to witness firsthand the work of a master!

It was Claude Monet’s Soleil l’evant (日の出).

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NOTO BENE:

The ScRibbLeR attended the Impressionist Exhibit with her friend Kaishi at Nagoya City Art Museum (名古屋美市術館). Unfortunately, taking pictures inside was prohibited (which is as it should be!) :-).

What more can one ask?

Yet again, I’m playing paparazzi (evil grin :-)) Took the picture in one of my lunch breaks fall of last year. It was at the amphitheater in front of Meidai’s main library. Sigh, the fall leaves were wonderful! then lo and behold, I heard the pleasant strains of a guitar being played. The best thing was – the guitar player was quite good looking (well from afar anyway. don’t know if the same will be true up close!) hmmm…. and don’t ask me who he is, coz I simply don’t know ;-).

NATURE VS. MAN

I wonder who wins… Nature is the ultimate artist. The way it shapes the land and colors everything. I just wish I have a smidgen of talent to give it justice. Some people do have it though…

In the photo: An Ojiisan at Kamikochi, Nagano. Trying his hand at immortalizing one of nature’s masterpiece.

So, who do you think won?

CLICK!

The ScRibbLeR at Kamikochi, Nagano. A day-trip with friends for Kouyou (紅葉). Kouyou literally means colored leaves or autumn foliage. Autumn is the time for Japanese to go to the countryside and the mountains to enjoy nature as the leaves turned from green to red, yellow and orange.  It’s a really interesting period and a much awaited one. Weather reports will usually include the best time for it. It’s a breathtaking sight and a wonderful opportunity for camera enthusiasts (like yours truly and a bunch of my friends).

Photo taken by Ronel (I think) or it could be Chi-chen :-)

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