1. Summertime in Manila: Blue Skies and Scorching Heat.

    These photos are from 2012. I realized I haven’t walked around the city for a long time since I started my preparations for something so there.

     
  2. So last March 19, Thusday the DOTC presented (as it always do) to prospective investors some of the big mass transport projects already out of the Feasibility Stage. When I say big, it’s really big, ambitious and costs a lot of money. When I say a lot of money, all of the projects presented bust cost US$ 9 Billion.

    Finally, one of these is the Integrated Luzon Railway System.

    Well the project consists of rehabilitating the old PNR North and South Mainlines, reviving the Nueva Ecija line (possibly an extension to Cagayan Valley terminating at Tuguegarao City) the Batangas Line and the long overdue extension to the end of Luzon in Sorsogon. See it here http://ppp.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Project-Brief-Invest-Transport-PH-18Mar2014.pdf

    My opinion on this is:

    • The rail gauge should be all changed to Standard Gauge. The Current PNR South operates on Narrow Gauge, making the track unsuitable for upgrade to the High Speed trains. Changing the gauge to Standard conforms the tracks to the international standards and will make it cheaper for us to upgrade to Bullet trains in the future.
    • Everything should be built in double tracks, not in single track. Currently only Tutuban to Alabang is in Double Track, everything else is single track. By double tracking the railroad, more train trips are done, more revenues for the train services and more people and goods are moved.
    • I think this is a better plan than during the Arroyo Administration of bidding and building the North and South Lines separately. I like it that the project is more of a unified plan for the whole of Luzon.
    • The PNR Charter was last enacted on 1964, and is set to expire this year after a 50 year concession. If not extended, then bye bye to our dreams of a national railway system. As of now, only PNR is mandated by law to establish and maintain the railway system. Maybe this charter renewal of PNR must include the legalization of the private sector to take part in the establishment of the railway system.
    • DOTC is so inept at this, so better establish another cabinet position just for railways or yes, transfer PNR, MRT and LRT to DPWH because it’s a mainly engineering thing.
    • We still don’t know if a Philippine company has the financial clout to implement this project that costs 250-300 billion pesos unless under the so called PPP scheme there will be sharing of the construction cost between the National Government and the Private Sector partner. (So see how the 60-40 ownership limits of the constitution restricts us to even expand this?)
    • Even a layman knows that the possible extension to Cagayan Valley is feasible. The Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon as we know is the main crop producing regions of Luzon. Think of all the volume of agricultural products that will be transferred from these regions to the urban centers of Luzon and how will introducing freight trains reduce the cost of food here in the Metro. The long term gains of railway transport to agriculture must be looked very closely by the NEDA.

    Also, we should ask updates from the DOTC regarding the Mindanao Railway System. The growth of Mindanao can’t be stopped by now, so the best way to further extend this growth is to establish their own railway system in the soonest possible time.

     
  3. I wouldn’t mind if the government demolishes the current Palacio del Gobernador in favor of a more appropriate edifice. Plans for the post-1863 earthquake Palacio del Gobernador still exists though unbuilt at all.

    With the completion of Ayuntamiento de Manila, this will be the first time since the 1863 earthquake that the three major edifices of Intramuros will be complete. That’s 150 years. Yep, the Ayuntamiento Building is my favorite among all Old Manila buildings.

    I can’t wait to explore the interiors of the said building when it formally opens.

    First Photo Source

     
  4. Rural Scenes 1

     
  5. Chinese New Year Photowalk 2014

    A Program at the Plaza of Binondo, an afternoon blast off with dancing Lions and Dragons. This kicks Chinese New Year Photowalk 2013’s ass, which was uneventful.

    Thank you to the people who joined us this year! Looking forward to the next Jaywalkersph event.

     
  6. National Museum of the Philippines - National Art Gallery 

    I went to the National Museum yesterday to take advantage of my long break from Review Classes and to enter the museum for free. Like last year, some Galleries are still in the works, in renovation (for example, the gallery of the other paintings by Juan Luna). But still, the museum keeps getting better and there is a very new Gallery dedicated to National Artist for Sculpture Guillermo Tolentino’s works. But still, they need to work on brochures, and clearer directional signs throughout the building.

    Aside from the National Art Gallery, I also visited the Museum of the Filipino people but maybe due to the impending construction of the Museum of the Natural History in the DOT Building, the collections there are still not curated properly. Anyway, those will be the subject of the succeeding posts here.

    I also have previous posts regarding my visit last year, click this link to see them.

    http://theurbanhistorian.tumblr.com/tagged/nationalartgallery

     


  7. LOBOC TOWER. This is what remains of the historic Church of San Pedro tower in Loboc, Bohol province, after a major 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck the region on Tuesday, leaving scores dead and destroying churches and buildings in and around one of the Philippines’ major tourist hubs. LOBOC VICE MAYOR PABLIO SUMAMPONG/CONTRIBUTOR

    Source

     
  8. Million People March 8/26/2013
    Quirino Grandstand, Manila

    This is not your usual protest. The count was 400,000 people attended. Usual faces during protests, first time to attend a protest and some attended their last protest when President Estrada was ousted from Malacanang.

    Some of them are the usual protesters with flags, effigies and their fists in the air.

    Some are students from the grossly underfunded Public Schools and State Universities.

    Some are private school students automatically paying 12% VAT on every item they buy.

    Some are medical workers from Underfunded Public Hospitals.

    Some are from the posh and gated villages paying business, income and real estate taxes from what they own and earn to the government.

    Some are from the middle class, paying so many taxes and contribution of government services, saving a little for themselves and the families they raise.

    Some are from the poor, those who badly need the care of the government.

    All Filipinos from all walks of life were represented in this protest and is rallying for a single cause: the abolition of the Pork Barrel in any name or mean and the prosecution of those who misused the public funnds. This is the biggest and the strongest protest so far in the Aquino Administration and the most memorable and significant commemoration of the National Heroes Day Holiday so far, in living memory.

    The real battle has began. The Executive Department already submitted the Proposed 2014 Budget with the PDAF (Pork Barrel) still in the details, and we, as taxpayers and the Filipino People must see to it that the taxes, the nation’s budget is well appropriated and well spent. The deliberations on the 2014 Budget is ongoing.

    If the Rizal Statue could talk, what is his reaction on this happening in front of him?

     

  9. "It is not up to the senators to determine whether an NGO is bogus or not. Alangan naman na kami pa ang magsasabi na, ‘Uy, bogus ‘yan.’ How will we know?"
    — 

    Sen. Jinggoy Estrada on the Ghost NGO’s.

    NB: He just gave away 300+ million pesos of his Pork to ghost NGO’s.

     

  10. "

    "Basta ‘wag lang manghihingi sa amin ang mga tao (Well, as long as people don’t ask assistance from us)!"

    "E ano’ng ibibigay namin? Hindi naman puwede yung pinaghihirapan namin dahil sa personal naman namin ‘yun, sa mga anak, sa mga pang-araw-araw na panggastos namin (What are we going to give them? I don’t think it’s fair to spend our hard-earned personal cash because we use that for our kids and our daily needs)."

    "
    — Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado on the Pork Barrel Abolition
     
  11. Manila’s getting a facelift. While the progress is slow, let’s say that there is progress. You don’t build a city in a jiffy, that’s for sure.

    1. San Agustin Church in exposed adobe finishing.

    2. Santa Cruz Church in new facade finishing.

    3. Ayuntamiento de Manila as if 1945 never happened

    4. Signs of Construction in San Ignacio Church ruins.

    5 - 6. Manila and Makati from the FEATI University view.

    PS: I haven’t been using my camera lately, so these are from my mobile phone. I’m always in Manila 3-4 times a week.

     
  12. Design of Street Lamps at the Govantes Bridge

    Looks very Vigan, made locally and more classy compared to the “Lollipop” streetlights we have in Metro Manila right now.

    Vigan City, Ilocos Sur

     
  13. Instamuros Shots

    I had these shots for the InstamurosMNL yesterday. Among the 18 shots uploaded, these are my favorites. This is my favorite spot in the Walled City, the Plaza Roma.

    To view my whole InstaMurosMNL sets, visit my Instagram (you can also follow me).

     

  14. My Love Affair with Museums

    I love going to museums since I went back to Manila as an adult. Maybe, as always, scared of the consumerist atmosphere of malls or I have a phobia for places with so many different people like malls!

    Last Saturday, May 18, the world celebrated the International Museum Day. Many museums opened their facilities to the public on that day with free admission. Of this year, I heard Lopez Museum, Ayala Museum, and National Museum among others that are open for the International Museum Day. I decided to visit Ayala Museum on that day, and I was with Alexis and Ian on that day!

    image

    And here are my buddies on that day, Ian and Alexis! (Source)

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    Here is a painting by National Artist Fernando Amorsolo, exhibited at the third floor of the Museum. The third floor of the museum exhibits creations of Fernando Amorsolo and Fernando Zobel. (Source)

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    Here is the diorama of the Battle of Mactan in the second floor of the Museum. The Second Floor exhibits dioramas of important historic events in the Philippines. (Source)

    Somewhat missing in the photo is the Crossroads of Civilization exhibit, which features some of the best archaeological finds in the Philippines. Golden ornaments and household items are made by our ancestors, very long before the Europeans set foot here. The finds also conclude that we already have a developed society long before and has learned the importance of gold.

    Ayala Museum is located at Makati Avenue corne Dela Rosa Street in Makati City. If you get lost, the nearest landmark is Greenbelt 5.

    Celebrating the loveliness of the museums, here are the links of the other museums I’ve already visited.

    National Museum - National Art Gallery

    Rizal Shrine, Calamba, Laguna

    Burgos Museum, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur

    Mabini Shrine, Tanauan City, Batangas

    Leon Apacible House, Taal Batangas

    Escolta Museum, Manila

    Casa Manila Museum, Intramuros, Manila

    Juan Luna Shrine, Badoc Ilocos Norte

    Quezon Memorial Shrine and Museum

    PS: All photos above are “patago” shoots from my mobile phone so don’t go on asking me on Ayala Museum’s photography rules. Photography in DSLR and Compact is strictly prohibited, I don’t know if the museum applies the same rules with mobile gadgets.

     
  15. We are still too preoccupied with the recently concluded elections that we  did not notice a great Theater Icon passed away. National Artist for Theater Daisy Hontiveros Avellana.

    More Reading here:

    Daisy Hontiveros Avellana–Why she will always be the ‘First Lady of Philippine Theater

    Daisy Hontiveros Avellana: A lifetime of theater

    Daisy Hontiveros-Avellana dies at 96

    PS: The video above, her famous breakdown scene in the Film Adaptation of Nick Joaquin’s “Portrait”.