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Spread the love! Malate love! (Malate, Manila)

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The past Valentine weekend was a busy one, full of fun and love! My wife Yeyette Perey de Alas and I spent most of it in Malate’s scenic bayside area. And like what I promised yesterday, I’ll be writing articles about beautiful Malate in the next few days starting today (ang dami rin casíng fotos, eh)

Malate is one of Manila’s 16 geographical units south of the Río de Pásig. It was once a part of extramuros or outside the walls of the original City of Manila which was Intramuros (within the walls). Since Malate was extramuros, it was known as an arrabal or district.

Malate is most famous for its historic and iconic baroque church, the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios (Our Lady of Remedies). Calle Remedios was named after the church’s patroness. Today, however, Malate is popularly known as Manila’s nightlife capital. Several bars and restaurants catering foreign delicacies line its colorful streets. Through the years, Malate also gained the notoriety for its flesh trade. Several politicians have tried to stop this foul image but to no avail. A young hooker even tried to sell me her “services” — right in front of Malate Church! Me and wifey were so amused and appalled at the same time, LOL!!!

Our Lady of Remedies, by the way, is the patroness of childbirth. The Virgin’s image, brought here from Spain in 1624, stands at the altar inside the sixteenth-century Augustinian church. The church was heavily damaged during World War II but was later restored. Below is a picture of how the church and its surrounding looked like hundreds of years ago:

View of Malate Church in 1831, from Frenchman Cyrille Pierre Théodore Laplace's Voyage autour du Monde par les Mers de l'Inde et de la Chine.

As you can see, the place where Plaza Rajah Sulayman now stands used to be a beach! And the site where the famous Aristocrat restaurant now stands used to have huts and foliage! Roxas Boulevard runs through what used to be Bahía de Manila‘s coastline!

Below are more Malate pictures! It was fun to see the romantic Baywalk as a convergence point of various Filipinos –Manileños in particular– doing nothing but enjoying the company of friends and family members. People from different walks of life mingle with the sea breeze. And me and my wife mingled with all of them: vendors, beggars, hobbyists, etc., greeting them as if we’ve known them for years.

It was a night filled with friendship, for friendship is love as well. We were spreading love the “Malate way!”

Spread the love, Malate love!

My beloved queen Yeyette Perey de Alas. Plaza Rajah Sulayman (Solimán in Spanish) is at the background.

Ped Xing, LOL!!!

The long wait to cross the famous boulevard.

Fast cars racing against Manila's urban twilight.

Finally made it! The romantic Roxas Boulevard Baywalk!

The sun had just set when we crossed the boulevard from the Plaza Rajah Sulayman.

Backpacker!

Pre-Valentine romance!

¡Sorbetes!

Our Sony Cyber-Shot® Digital Camera W220 in twilight mode.

The former King of the Road: the calesa

Yeyette posing with a shy nilagang manî vendor.

Fishing is a common hobby by the bayside. But that night, we found out that there was a fishing tournament going on!

¡Maíz! Lots of it!

Evelio Javier was one of many lesser-known oppositionists who were assassinated during the Marcos regime.

Dried calamares (squids)!

Eavesdropping! LOL!!!

A hammock between the bay and the boulevard.

A young-looking balete tree with my young-looking wife. -)

As mentioned in an earlier photo caption, little did we know that there was a recreational fishing tournament going on! I’m already familiar with recreational fishing going on in the Manila Baywalk area for years, but I didn’t know that there is already an angling organization! It is called the Manila Bay Angler’s Association. And on the eve of Valentine’s Day, they were having their first Open Tournament which also served as a fundraising activity for their group. The even started at exactly 6:30 PM. We had the opportunity to meet almost everyone who joined the activity, as well as the organizer’s of the group/event. Nice fisher folk!

First fish caught in the first ever Manila Bay Angler's Association Open Tournament Fundraising.

Manila Bay Angler's Association (Open Tournament Fundraising, 02/13/2010)

Posing with the friendly organizers and officers of the Manila Bay Angler's Association.

Trophies are in line for the best anglers!

Participants of the event line up most of the esplanade in the Malate area.

We met a very young couple selling roses for Valentine's Day. The young man's 21 and his wife's only 18! And their eldest daughter, almost as old as our daughter, was too shy to join the picture taking!

These two young street urchins kept on following us. I got fed up and so I took their pictures. They happily obliged...

...Wifey even joined them.

My wife's lovely hand over the waters of Manila Bay.

Can't get enough of ourselves, LOL!!!

¡Paá namán!

Ancient Malate Church looming behind us.

Posing with other participants in Manila Bay Angler's Association's first fishing tournament. They were the happiest of the bunch!

They said they're into recreational fishing just to avoid boredom. And it's a fascinating hobby for them. At least, they're not into something vile. So good for them. =)

Malate Love continues tomorrow! May pasoc pa mámayang gabí, eh, LOL!!!

Malate love!

Restless in Mendiola

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Last Wednesday’s violent lightning rally organized by a combined group of various militants (Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, etc.) reminded me of the oratorical piece below which I wrote in early 2003 if memory serves right. It was supposed to be delivered in some college contest but it never materialized when the Adamsonian who was to deliver it (I forgot his name) chickened out. So now I give it the dignity it rightfully deserves.

And when I reread this piece earlier, it seemed to me that it was written not by a student-activist Pepe Alas but by some melodramatic highschool nerd, ha!

I dedicate today’s blogpost to Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr., another illustrious Filipino who fought for freedom and the downfall of both oligarchy and dictatorship. His death from a cowardly bullet is commemorated today.

And if not for his death, we wouldn’t be paid double today (peace, that’s just a joke).

But seriously, the indignation within shall never fade.

MENDIOLA MASSACRE

RESTLESS IN MENDIOLA
Unveiling a Strong Republic
José Mario S. Alas

Today, Chino Roces Bridge, with all the urban hullabaloo that an impassive Manila brings to it, remains restive. Amidst the honks of vehicles and roaring engines, underneath the unfeeling treads of human and vehicular traffic, in the thick exhaust fumes surrounding the area, the uneasiness, the passion, of that hallowed spot awaits a change –a change that will forever clear the blurry path of this country towards political Canaan.

Today, I feel that Chino Roces is still burning inside. It swells with the blood of those thirteen poor souls who craved for nothing more but social justice for the peasantry. The place still boils with the blood of countless others who had yearned for a soothing hand from a government that is supposed to be caring and free from suzerainty and blame. Today, despite the belittled and almost helpless cries of protesters which Chino Roces still witness from time to time, that historic little thoroughfare is still anticipating for the better.

But through the thick industrialized air, I could smell the impatience of that anticipation. Suddenly, I was very much surprised to realize that the restlessness thriving in the place is within me. The ghost of Chino Roces, which is historic Mendiola, possessed me with an ardor so great I could almost hear the long-dead voices of thousands upon thousands of dissidents from turbulent years past.

When I walked in the very same spot where the cries for the redress of grievances were answered by cowardly bullets, the restlessness transformed into indignation — a volcano ready to spew fires of rage. I said to myself that I shouldn’t be alone in this. I shouldn’t be the only one possessed. I shouldn’t be the only one crying inside.

With such earnestness and patriotic blithe, the sick urbanities of Mendiola seemed to me very distant. Here lies no longer the schools, the police outposts, the commercial establishments, nor the bridge and the vagabonds. During that contemplative walk, I fancied that Mendiola was a battlefield, complete with our soldiers — the soldiers of change. In Mendiola shall the setting of an epic battle for Filipino freedom and democracy be recognized.

It matters not whether this battle should be taken figuratively or otherwise. What is important is that there is a battle to be fought and won, a battle wherein a conviction for social change is necessary, and a mission to exorcise this country of malice, devious usurpers, and potbellied masters.

Most of all, there must be a strong conviction that this nation, the republic to be more precise, is never weak, was never weak, and can never be weak. Philosophically, a republic is just a universal idea, but it should be treated with high regard and evaluation. Why? Because semantically, it infers to something universally good. A republic is incorporated into reality through practice, and serves as the people’s embodiment for a humane society. In addition, the view that at the center of human polity, particularly Filipino polity, is the idea of a republic, is what binds our sociality and civility within the borders of civilization.

What is weak, therefore, is not the idea but the practice.

And this practice, the vile corruption of the utilization of a body politic, is what makes us think that our republic, our government, our country, is nothing but a decrepit pile of bricks. We were, in some way or another, made to believe that the system is feeble and weak-kneed. Thus, it twisted our concepts of self-determination, independence, stability, and nationhood as a whole.

In the process of this unholy circumstance, the Filipino people have grown tired and hopeless. Their confidence towards political stability has become abjective and stale. What most Filipinos are unaware of is that our republic, strong as it really is, is being exploited shrewdly by the devils in parliament. It is they who use the strong powers of our republic to their desired design and control. But save for a select few Filipinos, the legacy of Mendiola’s firepower and its defiance against tyranny and oppression lives on. And this restlessness shall never be pacified until the true worth, strength, and dignity of La República Filipina has been unveiled.

Mendiola, where many a great nameless heroes contributed to the concept of a country of practical imperativeness rather than a dependency on the country itself, shall inspire the change that I feel. And I am confident that a lot more Filipinos are gradually waking up, heeding the calls of this implacability to unveil a strong republic.

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