Friday, December 31, 2010

Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto

Mirador Hill, Baguio city
by lakwatserong tatay

Our last for that day, is the Lourdes Grotto, even though it rains our group proceeds to this sacred placed. Because one of the most frequently visited and revered sites in Baguio is the Lourdes Grotto. Situated atop Mirador Hill in the western part of the city, it draws an equal number of pilgrims and tourists.

Getting to the Lourdes Grotto is not difficult, as there is a well kept road that will take you directly to the grotto. Alternatively you use the cab and inform the driver that you want to go to the shrine.
Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto
Grotto's History Signage
As you reach the site, you will have to climb the 252 steps to reach the top and see the statue of the Lady of Lourdes. Even though it is a long way up, it is not a problem as there are stopovers along the way, and there are also benches installed there. There is also a rail on the sides and center of the steps.

Once you make the top of the Lourdes Grotto, you will come upon the image of the Lady of Lourdes. There you can say a prayer. Most bring flowers and candles, but if you don’t have any, there are plenty of vendors who will be willing to sell some to you. Not surprisingly, the site is very active not just during the summer but even during Holy Week, as pilgrims make the trek to pay homage and say prayers to the Blessed Mother.
Prayer's Candle Place
Flower fauna on this Hill
From this perspective you can see practically the whole of Baguio. If you visit the area in the morning and the visibility is good, you will even glimpse parts of La Union and Pangasinan.

The statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, indeed the whole Lourdes Grotto, was built to honor the memory and visions of Bernadette Soubirous, a poor peasant girl in Lourdes, France who, from February 11 to July 16 1858, began to receive messages from the Virgin Mary. Four years later in 1862, the Catholic Church declared that the messages and visions of the 14 year old girl were genuine, and the construction of the statue were allowed to proceed.
252 steps going down

252 steps going up
The Lourdes Grotto is not just the only attraction in the area; as you traverse the road to the grotto you will see Stations of the Cross, marked with various religious symbols. One of the most renowned is the statue in the 12th station, called the Our Lady of Divine Shepherd.
Holy Water font
The holy water font, which has flowing water and a plaque in white marble with the words of the Sign of the Cross, a reminder to all that the Lourdes Grotto is a sacred site and at the foot of the hill begins the pilgrimage up the hill.
Government Marker Signage
After you make the visit to the Lourdes Grotto, you can drop by the stalls located in the area. Here you can buy all kinds of religious items and relics, and some of the finest handicraft from Baguio.

Baguio's Bell Church

Along Magsaysay Ave., Baguio City
by lakwatserong tatay

Baguio City is a premier tourist destination in the northern region of the country. Aside from the majestic and amusing mountains, this pristine city is blessed with well-maintained and fascinating parks like Burnham Park and Wright Park. In addition, many foreigners visit Baguio City for its beautiful religious structures like Baguio Cathedral and Bell Church.
Baguio's Bell Church
One of the adorable and memorable spots in Baguio City, Bell Church has similarities with Cebu’s Taoist Temple that i've been too.Located north of Baguio along Magsaysay Ave., leading to the Capital town of La Trinidad, Benguet. This temple provides a peaceful, serene and refreshing atmosphere to Chinese people who want to meditate and reflect on their spiritual lives. In addition, the site has attractive features that reflect the history and culture of Chinese people.

Features of Baguio Bell Church:

Baguio Bell Church features a two well-crafted dragon structures at its entrance. It also features a wishing pond where people can throw coins as they say their wishes. Also at the entrance of the temple is a Taoist leader who predicts future events.
Viewof Two-well Crafted Dragons
One of the Two Temples
Temple's wishing pond
Taoist Leader
At its main temple, visitors can see attractive and colorful pagodas. The buildings inside this site have beautiful flags and bells, which are distinct features of Chinese temples. Most of the structures inside the temple reflect oriental culture.
A Center Pond
Another attractive feature of the tourist spot is its landscaped gardens where visitors can have quiet time with their loved ones. Inside the temple, people can see artifacts related to Buddhism. Visitors can see Taoist gods at the main altar of the temple. Above all, Bell Church houses collection of books and other forms of writing about the history of China.
Bell Church
Celebration of Spring Festival at Baguio Bell Church

It is during the Spring Festival or what is more commonly known in the West as the Chinese New Year that local and foreign Chinese tourists flock to the Bell Church. Like all Chinese festivals, the date of the new year is determined by the lunar/solar calendar rather than the Gregorian calendar. The observance of the holiday falls on a different date each year and it usually varies from late January to the middle of February. This Chinese public holiday is usually observed for 3 days although the festival traditionally starts with the new moon on the first day of the new year and ends on the full moon 15 days later. The 15th day of the new year is called the Lantern Festival which is celebrated at night with lantern displays and children carrying lanterns in a parade.
It's been xplored
It is on the sixth to the tenth day of the 15-day celebration of the Chinese New Year that the Chinese visit the temples to pray for good fortune and health. New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are celebrated as a family affair and it is a time of reunion and thanksgiving. The celebration is traditionally highlighted with a religious ceremony given in honor of Heaven and Earth, the gods of the household and the family ancestors.
Lsat look of Bell Church
Baguio Bell Church surely reflects Chinese culture and history. This temple serves as refuge to Chinese people who are in need of spiritual guidance. Many tourists in the city like to see the temple because it contains literature that mirrors the religious traditions and beliefs of Buddhists and Taoists. With all the historical and religious structure inside Bell Church, it is definitely one of the most recommended spots that travelers should see when they visit the beautiful city of Baguio.

Mines View Park

by lakwatserong tatay

Lunch time arrived and our next destination is Mines View Park, i've remembered the first time i've visited this site, there were just only stalls, even restaurants. You will really view the beauty of Cordillera mountain ranges upon approaching the park. But although now it is really crowded with different souvenir shops and restaurants. It still behold the beauty of nature, this ridge is located at the extreme northeast side of the city, past The Mansion & Wright Park, its boast a scenic view of mining sites of Benguet's Gold & Copper Mines Corporation plus the Cordillera mountain ranges that sprawl as far as the eyes could see. Mines View Park is doubtless a favorite among visitors who take the trouble to trek up Baguio just to see this site again though seen a countless times before.

The view from Restaurant
Group lunch @ Mines View Park is still the best specially seeing on your side a green mountain ranges and together with air breeze. It will definitely get your tired off. I forgot the name of the restaurant we dine-in, our group ordered for 2 bowls of Bulalo, 2 bowls of Pinakbet and super many rice, some of my group had additional orders on their own. But for me im contented with the food choices that they ordered.

Still choosing...hehehe...
Standing 1,500 meters above sea level, Mines View Park is among the coolest parts of the Pines City. It is part of the vast range of the Cordillera Mountains. If we just look hard enough we’d see part of Camp John Hay across from it. But the majestic mountains are just among interesting things the site can offer. Just look around our immediate milieu and we’d see other features.

Welcome signage of Mines View Park
After having our lunch, of course, we strolled around the area where you could find somewhere near are sounds of grilled corn popping and filling the air with sweet aroma. There are jumbo hotdogs on sticks, too, and a box container of cool softdrinks. Across the street opposite the entrance to Mines View Park are big souvenir stores selling big wooden sculptures, swords, souvenir t-shirts, native wallets, brooms, beads, curtains, hats, caps, wooden dining sets, strawberry jams, earthen pots, and what-have-you.

I really wanted to have a dog that is big as St. Bernard...hehehehe...
Looking down directly below we see a steep almost vertical wall of hard and sharp granite all the way down about 100 or so feet to level ground. Igorot boys run up and down there with great speed without holding on to anything. They’d dare us to throw coins they’d run after like crazy. Their black huge dogs do likewise. Mines View Park is getting popular for this, too.

At the back of the Mines View Park deck there’s also a lazy white horse we can sit on while having our pictures taken for a fee. Both kids and adults go crazy for this. In fact, sometimes they completely forget about Mines View. Best of all, there are the small huts and stalls in and around Mines View Park where thousands of interesting souvenir and miscellaneous items are displayed.

View from view deck of Mines View Park
Another thing that visitors are beginning to discover and really love is the freshly baked creamy and tasty ube jam home-made by nuns of the Good Shepherd Seminary within walking distance from Mines View Park. The pies there are also super.

All these extra features add to the already luring appeal of Mines View Park. These days, it’s not only about awesome views of mine-rich mountains and spectacular sights, it’s also about daring boys, lazy horses, sweet corns and hotdogs, souvenir items, and home-made ube jams and pies.

The Mother & Son tandem photo opps....peace!!!!!
How to Get There:

By private transportation: From Sesion Road, climb up and turn to Leonard Wood Road, past Teachers Camp and Botanical Garden, past the Pacdal Rotunda, and go straight up C. P. Romulo Drive past Wright Park Riding Circle and the The Mansion.
As the road climbing up curves left you will be on Outlook Drive (you will see Baguio Townhouse to the right and do not take the road going straight down to Itogon, Benguet) and Mines View Park will be at the top.

An alternative route will be to pass Gibraltar Road, which is to the left of Wright Park Riding Circle. When you see the Good Shepherd Convent to your left, Mines View Park is just a few meters away. This route is actually more direct, but C.P. Romulo Drive is way prettier, and you get to pass by some more popular Baguio attractions along the way.

By Public Transportation: Public jeepneys are also available using the Plaza-Mines View line. You may also hire one of our many taxis cabs to take you there, and contract the driver by the hour or for the day. If your group is large, it may be better to hire a jeepney instead.

You may visit some other attractions that are very near Minew View Park:
Wright Park Riding Circle, Wright Park, The Mansion, Good Shepherd Convent

Lakwatserong Tatay w/ other tourist...hehehehe

The PMA Musuem

by lakwatserong tatay

This is one spot inside the Philippine Military Academy that i was really amazed. It's not my first time to visit PMA, but i do remember the first i visited this place. The only museum available are placed on the outside grounds of the academy. But this time our tour guide....kuya (?)..sorry po forgot the name....He walked us to this musuem at first i was not really aware what will i find inside because of seeing some of the others relic used by our Armed Forces of the Philippines like helicopters, plances, tanks and big & small machine guns. But when i entered this museum, it all changed.....naks....hehehe..

Philippine Military Academy Musuem

This museum was refurbished in 2009 as the new shelter of the PMA Museum that reflects the Academy's history tracing its roots back to the Academia Militar to Philippine Military Academy. This musuem is inagurated during the incumbency of Major Reynante B. Peñaprof (PMA Command Historian ) on October 19, 2009.

Official Seal & Inaguration Marker of PMA Museum
As you will enter the PMA Museum premises, you will see some of this handmade woodcrafts, that corresponds with cadet's batch name or their symbol. I'm sorry because im not really aware, what is the used of those woodcrafts inside the PMA Museum. The museum has an entrance fee of P20 (for tourist) and P10 (for students). Our group was lucky that day because they don't have available ticket for we paid just P10 each.

PMA batch sysmbols curved in Woodcrafts
PMA Logo made of Kapis
The museum's collection are divided into four parts/categories: Pre-War, Post-War, War & Weapons and Alumni. The collections include photographs, uniforms, small arms, model arms, barracks and camping equipments as well as heirloom pieces and other priceless relics that been donated by some of the alumni's. Below are some of  the artifacts you could find in Pre-War Gallery, including the Battle of Bulacan.

The Battle of Bulacan
Next part of the museum was Post War Gallery, on this part is some of the old photos taken after war era....different seal logo's and a view of typical cadet's room.

Lakwatserong Tatay @ PMA Museum

Cadet's Room
The third category that you could find in this room is the War & Weapons Gallery, this is the placed were i was really amazed because im really thinking, how really old are those weapons that been displayed on this gallery. Seeing those relics really fascinated me, that why i did this separate entry, to share what i have seen inside of this room.

I'm just wandering....saan saan kaya nila nakuha toh.....
 The last part of this room is for the PMA Alumni's, on this part of this room you will see the different classes, different seals, who are they're commanding officers and many more. And inside the room also you could find different manikin that with different cadet uniforms.

The PMA Museum goals is to preserve the memories of the sacrifices and devotions to duties of the men in uniforms who have served and fought for our country.

The different Class Seals of PMA'ers


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