Monday, April 28, 2014

Bahay Nakpil-Bautista - Quiapo, Manila

At high noon, I was sitting in an over a hundred year-old furniture watching a 12-minute film directed by Peque Gallaga. The narrator says something about what your house is made of. While so many people are busy outside perhaps haggling for some bargains around Quiapo area and many churchgoers attending holy mass at the Quiapo Church; I was being ushered by a Bonifacio Visual Artist inside a nearby historical house, the Bahay Nakpil-Bautista.

The Bahay is a masterpiece of traditional Filipino architecture.
The Bahay Nakpil-Bautista, referred to as Bahay, was built in 1914 by the famous architect, Arcadio Arellano, for Dr. Ariston Bautista and his wife, Petrona Nakpil, on the site of a previous Nakpil house.

The Bahay is a masterpiece of traditional Filipino architecture: a wood and stone style house (bahay na bato at kahoy). To resist earthquakes, the upper storey is made of wood, its foundation is made of stone. It has large windows, high ceilings, sliding window panels. Its geometric grillwork and cut-outs were inspired by the Viennese art movement in the 1900s, the Secession.

Geometric grill work and cut-outs were inspired by the Viennese art movement, Secession.
In the Bahay, there once lived people who were active in the Filipino struggle for freedom, in the Propaganda Movement and in the Katipunan: Dr. Ariston Bautista, who distributed the writings of his friend, Jose Rizal, and was arrested; his brother-in-law Julio Nakpil who was one of Andres Bonifacio's most trusted soldiers; Gregoria de Jesus, Julio's wife, whose first husband was Andres Bonifacio. Gregoria, also nicknamed Oriang, organized the women of the Katipunan, and was known as the "Lakambini" (princess).

Sala that served as home for the original Parisian painting, now in the National Museum.

 (Left, bigger tiles) Piedra china, used for balancing galleon. 
(Right, smaller tiles) Machuka tiles from Mexico
Today, the Bahay Nakpil-Bautista still stands. It has evolved into a historical house and a cultural center of Quiapo. 

The Bahay Nakpil-Bautista is located at 432A Bautista Street, Quiapo, Manila. Entrance fees are 80 pesos for adults, college and university students; 50 pesos for senior citizens, groups of 10 or more and grade school or high school students while free for infants and children from one to five years of age. For online references, please visit

Text credits: Bahay Nakpil-Bautista

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Dos Montes Spring Resort

Dos Montes Hillside Spring Resort, Malilipot, Albay
My family live just few meters away from the famed black sand beaches in Bacacay, Albay. Aside from regularly going into the shore (except me), we also try a new and different thing. This time - we are visiting a nearby natural spring resort.

About five kilometers away from our provincial residence, Dos Montes Resort is located in the next town of Malilipot. It is a hidden natural spring resort at the foot of a mountain. The town of Malilipot, aside from having two island barangays, is also known for its lowland and upland barangays. The resort is not far from the national highway going to Tabaco City. In fact, if one is not bringing a lot of stuff (baon) it is so nice to walk toward the area. If one does not prefer to walk or just commuting, pedicabs will bring you from the highway to the resort. 

A few meters away from Dos Montes is the famous Busay Falls. The falls is maintained by the local government. The way to Dos Montes and Busay falls, aside from having concrete clean roads, have lots of lush and greens. The scarce fresh air in Metro Manila is super abundant there.

The water that flows in the swimming pools of Dos Montes come from natural spring from the mountains. In fact, the resort management says that it is potable. Indeed, the water is so cold.

My family had to bring several termos (thermostat) so that while swimming, we stirred our coffee and sip from time to time. Then, plunge on the pools again. 

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel grotto
Extreme caution should be observed for children. The resort is made of concrete infrastructure mostly of materials from Mayon volcano (gravel, sand), perhaps the best material on the planet. Children must not be allowed to run in the area to avoid slippage and injuries. Besides, the resort's entrance area is sufficient for running as colorful fishes greet the guests.

For Catholics [I bet the owner is Catholic too], there is a huge grotto on the side of the mountain overlooking the entire resort - Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. From whom my name came from, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is the patron saint of the town of Malilipot, where Dos Montes is located.

Philippine National Police Academy: Silang, Cavite

The hallowed parade ground and grandstand.
I was once a frequent visitor to the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) several years ago. This year I am returning to the country's premier academic institution after two years since my last visit there. 

My latest discovery: I will not be able to read Kalasag anymore. Kalasag is the magazine of the cadets (in other words, school organ). Although I didn't like the version of Kaydet Girl, I still appreciate Kalasag in its entirety. (By the way, Kaydet Girl was a regular page in the Kalasag magazine that features girlfriends [sometimes their mothers too] of the cadets, usually students and civilian girls.) Aside from that, I also learned that the rest of the corps publication are gone. Anyway, the disappearance of the corps publication is not my concern. I am grateful that I have a keepsake of those publications that I compiled years ago. I read all of them including the passages in the memento notebooks.

Situations really change but the fact that PNPA has become a tourist spot for Silang town in Cavite province is undeniable. PNPA is the academic institution where future leaders and defenders of the Filipino people come from. Cadets in the academy are in full government scholar for a four-year degree course Bachelor of Science in Public Safety (BSPS).

Upon graduation, the graduates are automatically commissioned as officers of the tri-bureau public safety services under the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). These are the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

The rostrum where the President of the Philippines speaks before the graduates.
PNPA is situated inside Camp General Mariano Castaneda. The proximity of the place to Tagaytay City makes it a very ideal place to drop by and worth for a postcard. My recommendation: the best way to enjoy the place and visit Tagaytay City at the same time is to have a car. In that way, you can drop by to various fruit stands, buy some Japanese corn along the way or have some other short stop in nearby restaurants and spots like Paseo, honeybee farm, Nuvali and others.

Before, it was a long blue line. Color of uniform changed; now it's a long maroon line.
Of course, an ideal way to make the most of PNPA (aside from considering it as a tourist destination) is to encourage relatives and friends to take the entrance examination to the cadetship program. Specific qualifications apply while forms can be downloaded as you visit their website,