I wrote something on a wall. I am one of the many who experienced inconvenience at the hands of someone I never thought would make me go through it. Breaking the silence and the inconvenience was difficult. It took me a long while before I could speak about it. My friends were surprised at the truth in my silence.
I was there for two days: the first and the last. While I have done that before, it’s nice to be reminded of the stark differences between first day and last day. During the first day: there are so many books, including rare tomes and limited editions from specialty stores—you just have to know where to look; some books have discounts and some do not; and you could bump into hardcore readers and/or hoarders. During the last day: book stocks have gone down significantly; the discounts could increase to somewhere between 30% and 50%; and you could bump into people fresh off the streets that are curious about the commotion in the center.
The exhibit is called The Spirit of Budo: The History of Japan’s Martial Arts. It was arranged by the Japan Foundation, Manila and runs until September 30, 2018. It also coincides with the Eiga Sai Festival, a showcase of Japanese films at select malls and theaters at certain areas of the country.
While silence is preferred at the gallery, they also invite all entering individuals to download an app on their mobile phones, which would serve as their tour guide in their ears for the paintings and the history depicted in them. The app scans a painting, which then starts a narration—best done with earphones or headphones on.
Up to the choir loft, we stopped to consider a mural of purgatory. While it still arches over the rose window, its beauty has long since dulled; from the pews of the church, there is no enticing artwork in that darkened space. There was a lone chandelier that hung from the ceiling, its appearance starkly different from the ones below. It is thought that it could be one of the original French oil lamps but could not be confirmed.
The museum houses the collection of Alfonso T. Yuchengco, the recently departed head of the Yuchengco Group of Companies, two of which are the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) and the Mapúa University (formerly Mapúa Institute of Technology). He was also the Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations and served different presidential administrations.
The more graves we passed, the more we noticed the differences between what was etched on grave markers during the Spanish colonial period and the modern Filipino times. Many used Spanish words, a few French, and one each in American and Filipino—if we counted them right. A number of markers meant for children bore only their first names or nicknames.
Viewing the collection from Senator Loren Legarda, it looked like a frozen fashion show. All the pieces were delicate and beautiful, like butterflies of plant materials caged by headless and armless mannequins.
I have heard of national hero and poet Francisco Balagtas mention that Laguna de Bay has nymphs in one of his poems, which I still could not find. But I have yet to come across anything that says that Pasig River has even one nymph.
Artwork greeted us as got through the door, as well as birds and flowers. Despite the heat, the garden looked good. There was also a chapel! That gave me a feast of religious art sans the usual grand stained glass windows.
The Pahingahan Cave was good. It would’ve been great had been drenched in rain water because it would have the rocks and walls would have a sheen to them. It got its name because it was a resting spot for the guerrilla forces that were on run from the Spaniards.