Monday, July 20, 2009

MacArthur Park of Palo

Manila to Cebu via Ormoc: Palo

Ah this was a trip like no other! There was no purpose. I just could not get a cheap flight from Manila to Cebu, so I decided to get one to Tacloban and take a bus going Ormoc then cross the sea via the fast crafts. Hmm, I found that exciting and there was no hurry for I had nothing urgent to do. Yeah!

Upon arrival at the Daniel Z. Romualdez airport of Tacloban, I walked out into the farthest end of the parking lot to catch a jeep. Yep, the spidercab driver I hired on a previous trip called out to me if I wanted to ride his cab again. I courteously said no and proceeded to find a regular/ordinary passenger jeep. Fare: seven pesos. Destination: the big rotunda where there is a Coke/Sprite/Royal plant so that instead of going to the Tacloban city proper, I would catch a bus and head for Ormoc.

Change of Plans
Impatience changed my planned Ormoc route! For some reason, I couldn’t find a bus or van that I wanted to ride in going to Ormoc (I knew I had the luxury of choice since there are a lot of them that ply the route). My rule for the day was “I must sit in front so that I would be able to see the places we pass by. Many other jeeps, buses and tricycles bound elsewhere kept passing. Some were going to the new Robinsons Mall, others to Tanauan, Dulag, Carigara, Jaro, Palo, etc., Hmm, whatever came to my mind, I said to myself, why not I go see Mac Arthur again, and if I liked it, the Mac Arthur Resort is just there anyway. So I asked passers– by what jeep should I take that enters the park (its still a bit of distance from the highway). An old man said I should take one going to Baras (take note it’s different from Marasbaras). So I did.

I was all smiles on my short ride to Baras from that rotunda. Seated in front, I was the only passenger! Yey! Driver asked me where I was headed and I told him I wanted to see my Uncle Douglas. He got it and laughed. As customary amongst Warays (yep, they’re friendly too) he started interviewing me as to where I was from etc etc – just to strike a conversation anyway. But I turned the tables! Every chance I got, I would immediately ask him a question like “since when has that mall opened” or “what is that building over there”. In no time, I succeeded and the driver was already cheerfully annotating my tour!

I have been in this area ages ago so I thought I was too bright that morning to have taken this detour. And I got excited. At a corner where the highway forked into two highways and a third but smaller road, driver told me that to our left was Philippine Science High School (eastern visayascamps) and to the right (as we turned left into the smaller road) was the statue in honor of unknown soldiers. Hmm, that thing was not in my consciousness. Once on the smaller road, Mr. Driver told me “this is the government center” where most of the national departments hold their regional branches in this area. First off was Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) just across PSHS. There is the civil service, coconut authority, DPWH, NEDA etc etc., There were even soldiers still jogging in the area and it was already midmorning.

Oh another thing new… as the jeep negotiated a smaller rotunda on this road, driver caught me staring at the statue of a cute little boy in the middle of it. He was quick to tell me that said statue is a memorial to all the Boy Scouts in the world. No particular scout is honored here as you would see at the corner of Morato and Timog in QC., He tells me that the statue is to honor the scouting spirit. Hmm, were I not lucky that morning?! I did not know that!

On approach at the corner across the memorial, the driver stopped and pointed me to my destination as if I did not know hehe since from afar we cold already see it. Even before I could pay, this accidental tour guide of a driver even said “salamat sir, ha”! Gosh! I got a tour guide along the way for a mere seven pesos (the fare hehe) and he even thanked me! Well, I said thank you too!

Oh hey, I have seen this memorial long ago and am sure those big bronze statues would have never changed, right? Mac Arthur, Osmena, Romulo are still their same statues so my interest was on the surroundings. Yep, I think they have spruced up the park since my last visit ages ago. The park now seems to be wider and well maintained. Oh yes, there were lovers (as usual) lackadaisically hanging out under the big trees, saying their sweet nothings, holding hands, boy laid on the ground with head on girl’s lap and so on! Ah this scene I always expect in parks! Looking out beyond the memorial, I could see some folks on the beach having a time of their lives. Otherwise, the Mac Arthur Park was just a breezy serenity. No, it was not “glowing in the dark” hehe!

Checked out the “eternal flame” that is no more! I knew that area has plaques (I call them lapida) installed every time a dignitary visits this memorial. So I got curious on who has been here lately. Ah there are now too many of them now. The one of Bill Clinton is dated October 20, 1994 but that one by QE II is undated. Has she been there? October 20 by the way is the anniversary date of this “I shall return” thing and it is always a big celebration.

Okay, that’s it! I was ready to move on… but I saw something… next blog entry please hehe


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