Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Philippines in DC

Where can you not find Filipinos around the world? Much like our Indian friends, Filipinos can be seen anywhere and everywhere. A Filipino became a starting pitcher for the 2010 Major League Baseball championship. One Filipino of four Black Eyed Peas played during the US's most watched sports spectacle this year. "Just the Way You Are" has been sung many times by American Idol contestants, and this song was composed by a Filipino. President Obama's appetite is ensured to be on high by a Filipino Chef. I wouldn't be surprised if there are Filipinos invited to the Royal Wedding. A Filipino is truly emerging among many races around the world.

The Philippines and the United States have long been related in history and development. The US, after the Spaniards have inhabited the Philippines for quite some time. During the War of the Pacific, the US liberated the country from Japanese rule. The US gave the Philippines its independence on July 4, 1946. The US also gave the influence of Basketball, reality shows and Lindsay Lohan...

Washington DC is one of the many melting pot cities in the US. You can see a lot of different cultures from every corner of the city. This is why everytime I stroll the Nation's Capital, I try to see if there are any monuments, objects, signs, or sights related to my beloved hometown. And I was surprised to see that there are places and sites in DC that highlights or mentions the Philippines.

Just across the Philippine Embassy to the United States along Massachusetts Avenue, there exists two (2) streets named after two Philippine places liberated by the Americans. Beside the Embassy there is the Bataan St., while across the rotunda there is Corregidor St. Bataan is a province in Region 3 of the Philippines where the infamous Death March started. The Fall of Bataan, or better known as the Araw ng Kagitingin is still being commemorated in the Philippines until today. On the other hand, Corregidor is an island off the coast of Manila Bay, which was an American stronghold during the second World War.

We have been strong allies with the US during the Second World War. This made us worthy to have our country's name etched in one of the pillars of the World War II Memorial, which is found just across the Washington Monument.

Etched on the "Pacific" side of the WWII Memorial are some Philippine provinces were much battle took place during the war. Places mentioned were Bataan, Corregidor, Leyte Gulf, Phillippine Sea, and Manila.

The name of our country can also be seen in the Korean War Memorial, located on the left side of the Abraham Lincoln Memorial. If we recall our history right, the Philippines sent the 4th largest troop under the United Nations command. Around 7,420 Fillipinos participated in the Korean War. Former President Fidel V. Ramos was among the soldiers sent to Korea.

Various Filipino-sounding names can also be seen in the name wall of the Vietnam War Memorial. The Philippines, just like in the two previous wars, participated in the Vietnam War, which took place from 1964-1973. Around 2,000 Filipinos participated in the Vietnam War.

The Iwo Jima Memorial, or the US Marine Corps Memorial, is located in Meade Street in Arlington, Virginia, just a few miles from Downtown DC. The monument depicts the flag-raising Iwo Jima island, much made famous by the Clint Eastwood movie "Flags of Our Fathers." The US Marines participated in what the United States call the "Philippine Insurrection," a more politically correct terminology for the US regime in the Philippines.

In the Arlington Cemetery, where the famous Tomb of the Unknown Soldier can be seen, there is a museum that features military decorations from all over the world. There, the Phillippines' Medal of Valor is exhibited. I have to brag that ours is one of the most beautiful military decorations. :)

It is also exhibited in the Cemetery the several plaques of appreciation and commemoration to the Tomb of the Unkown Soldier. In 2009, then AFP Chief of Staff Narciso Abaya and Army Chief Gen. Delfin Bangit offered their respective plaques. 

On matters of faith, of course the Philippines is famous for being the only Catholic country in East Asia. Here in DC, the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception houses many chapels of images of the Virgin Mary from many countries. Of course, the Philippines has its share of image. The replica of the image of our Lady of Antipolo can be seen in the beautiful crypt church at the basement of the Basilica. 


The paintings on both sides of the chapel were painted by the famous Blanco family of Rizal.

Also, thank God for stores like the Manila Oriental and Fiesta Oriental, where we buy our stock of Stik-O, Lucky Me Pancit Canton, Choc-Nut, Patis, Sinigang Mix, Tocino, and Pan de Sal, we wouldn't have to be uber-homesick after all.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sing Forever - Bukas Palad US+Canada Concert Tour

I'm so blessed to have had the opportunity to watch the soulful concert of one of my favorite choral groups, the Bukas Palad Music Ministry, who recently held a US and Canada concert tour in commemoration of their 25th anniversary. Wow, 25 years of lovely original Filipino spiritual music for us to enjoy, reflect on, and pray with. They spent their last leg of their tour in Virginia, held at The State Theatre in Falls Church.

The Bukas Palad Music Ministry is a collaboration of music lovers from Ateneo: Academicians, professionals and students, who wish to serve the Lord and the church by singing beautiful music originally composed by their members. Founded by musical geniuses Fr. Manoling Francisco, Jandi Arboleda and Norman Agatep, Bukas Palad is now on it's 25th year, alongside several volumes of CDs and music books, continuing to serve the Lord and the entire Ateneo community through its beautiful music of praise and prayer. 

I was lucky to have watched them here in the Metro DC area. It made me feel so much at home. Back, in the Philippines, I attended 1st and 3rd Sunday masses at the Ateneo, and most of the time, Bukas Palad sings in those masses. Their songs give me the needed atmosphere for reflection and prayer, that is why I always loved going to mass during these days.

Bukas Palad sang around 22 of their famous hits, plus a bonus performance of the "Hotdog" medley. Their singing simply gave me a flurry of goose bumps, plus some moments of tears when Jandi and the rest of the gang sang my favorite "In Him Alone."

It felt good to be in the theatre watching Bukas Palad. For a time, I felt I was back in the Philippines. I was surrounded by Filipinos speaking the native language, and I was surrounded by Ateneans, young and old. And of course, I felt the mighty and loving presence of God through the entire show. The 2-hour event gave me the needed relief, comfort, joy. Indeed, God was watching that night. 

I also had the opportunity to meet my former teacher who was part of Bukas Palad. Sir Lui Morano, it was good to see you! Bubbles was also able to meet one of her former classmates back in AJSS. 

Bukas Palad also left me with a few lines to reflect on everyday:
In Omnibus, Amare (In everything, love)
In Omnibus, Servire (In everything, serve)
In Omnibus Amare et Servire Domino (In everything, love and serve the Lord).

Mabuhay, Bukas Palad! Here's to many more years of prayerful and powerful music! 

Here are some pictures:


Student and Mentor

Here's a short clip of Tanging Yaman from the concert: 

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Philippine National Anthem

Why do Filipinos keep on bastardizing the Philippine National Anthem? Some sing like it's R&B, some try to "balladize" it, some forget the lyrics along the way. Noypis, for the love of country, please, STOP revising the national anthem. When you sing the national anthem, always remember that the Philippine National Anthem is a MARCH. It's supposed to be happy. It's neither a Jingle nor a Ballad. It's definitely not a Novelty song. please, sing it right. Also, the title of our national anthem is LUPANG HINIRANG, and not BAYANG MAGILIW. If you guys really love your country, you need to start somewhere. And what better way to start loving your country than to begin loving the right national anthem. Don't try imitating Americans with their renditions of the Star Spangled Banner. We have our law on how the song is sung. And we have a reason why the song needed to be sung that way.

Here are two correct versions of Lupang Hinirang:

Here's a newer video, made by Filipino Channel 7:

How difficult could it be?

I just don't get it. Sorry about the rant.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Island - Theodore Roosevelt Island, DC

Another good thing about DC is that you just need to drive a little less than 4 miles from downtown and you can experience mother nature. One of DC's must-see parks is this island-park-trail named after the United States' 26th President. Runners, bikers and nature-lovers would definitely love to stop by and enjoy the natural cool of the island enveloped by the big trees and natural wildlife.

Getting there is not that difficult. Parking lot is situated along G. Washington Memorial parkway. The brown signs along the highway help bigtime. From the parking lot, you will need to walk via a foot bridge towards the island. Bikes are not allowed to enter the island so you have to leave it in your car. or in the bike racks along the parking lot.

I took a half-hour tour of the island and saw how some people would enjoy simply walking along the trails with their pets. When I went there, I saw a family taking a walk with their daughter, about 3 or 4. Perhaps they wanted their child to see how beautiful it is away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Because it is not a paved road, there are some areas where puddle accumulates so make sure you wear appropriate foot wear when you visit the place.

In the middle of the island there stands the statue of President Teddy Roosevelt, who is himself a nature-lover, and greatly appreciates and prioritizes earth-friendly policies during his Presidency.

Foot Bridge

Potomac River

Far View of Georgetown

Theodore Roosevelt Island is one of the nearest and cheapest ways to escape busy DC.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Eastern Market

For food and "tiangge" lovers like Bubbles, one will surely enjoy the weekend flea markets of the Eastern Market in downtown washington DC. The Eastern Market is located just more than a mile away from the US Capitol. The Eastern Market proper is open daily, while the weekend markets are, obviously, open on weekends only.

Inside the Eastern Market, there are food stands where one can have his lunch, meryenda, or dinner. One of Bubbles' colleagues tipped that the Market's crabcake sandwich is a winner, so we immediately tried it out. And indeed, it was the best I tasted so far. I also tried their fried shrimps and fish and they were also good. The crab cake sandwich, though, was exceptional. We're definitely going back for more!

Indeed we did go back! When my good friend Jayvee came to Washington last week, we took him to Eastern Market to buy a crab cake sandwich to go so he could have a meal on his way back to his sister in New Jersey. In just a few minutes, he already texted me and provided rave reviews about the sandwich! He mentioned that he should have bought two sandwiches. It was the epitome of the Filipino term "bitin." :)

We'll go back to Eastern Market one of these days to shop for food that we can cook at home.

 A few pictures (taken using my BlackBerry Bold 9780):

Hat Sale

Posters, paintings, and all others artistic

The Happy Missus


Sunday, April 03, 2011

Reminiscing the Happy Days

I miss the goofy times with my old friends and family... Sometimes I reminisce those times when we just fool around, crack jokes about each other and about anything under the sun , enjoy good beer and cholesterol-heavy food, just plain and simple fun. When you are about to breach the 20's level, lots of things change around you, including how you handle life and its complexities. This is when maturity grabs you by the balls.

That is why kids of today should cherish the moments when life is much simpler. Take as much photos and savor as much memories so that when the time comes that life gets harder, you can go back to those happy, simple times.

Thanks to the age of online video, we get to store a few goofy moments on cam. Here's one:

We goof around with the incoming bad weather by making a weather report. We almost weren't able to ride our boats because of bad weather and rising tides. Luckily, we got home safe. :)

Here's another one, inspired by the Blair Witch Project:

C'mon, that gave you a smile now didn't you?

Now, on to the happier days of married life. :)


Friday, April 01, 2011

Air Force Memorial - Arlington, VA

One good thing about being the the Metro DC area is that you have a monument, park or memorial in at least 5 miles of your vicinity. As for us, the towering Air Force Memorial is very visible from our place. But it's only last week that I was able to see it up close.

The structure was huge! it was said that it stands at 270 feet, and resides on the edge of the hilly area of Columbia Pike so that all the commuters and drivers from Virginia will be greeted by this structure upon entering Washington DC.

Here are some pictures (Taken using Canon Powershot A590is):

Address: Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA

It Works!

Once again, the GM Diet helped me cleanse my body of impurities even for a few days. And because of that I lost at least 7 pounds and I'm still on Day 4!

Bananas and Milk... Waaaaaaaahhhhh!

And this is no April Fool's...