Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Balanga City Center Quickly

The morning after my memorable Dambana Ng Kagitingan visit, I arranged to go with some friends who call themselves “birders”. I am not a birder but I know that is how they call themselves, being bird watchers. I must add – avid and serious bird watchers. I went with them just for the experience on what they do as bird watchers, and the assigned meeting place was this fastfood chain branch at city center. Most of them would have come driving from Manila that early morning so the fastfood meeting must have also been a most desired breakfast.

I was out quickly at the agreed time and txtd I would just roam around the church, plaza and city hall areas while they had breakfast. The reply was a serious “NO u hv 2b here n listen 2d briefng, bsides sum1 here can tell u all about Balanga”. Gosh! So I heeded! And did get quite a story from one of the friends about the city's central district.

The church for which I only caught a distant photo from the plaza, is generally referred to as the Balanga Cathedral but its real name is St. Joseph Cathedral. I am told its an old church, even used by the Japanese Imperial Army as stock area for the artillery used to bombard the remaining strength of the Filipino and American soldiers holed up at Mt. Samat in their last but futile defense that led to the Fall of Bataan. I almost let out a loud laugh when I heard this “its more than 200 years old, nearing 300, but you wont see any hints of those in our cathedral. inside and out its newly refurbished, modernized, and I'm sure that is not what you are looking for”! Thank you doctor, for that very encouraging description hehe!

Same thing with our city hall which was a beautiful old municipal hall and ditto our city plaza, which, as you can see is even undergoing another wave of facelifts. Ewan ko ba, since this place became a city, the authorities seem to be in a mad rush to transform it from a flintstones to a jetsons. and the good doctor ended that rolling his eyeballs as if in disgust. Thus, I had to rest my case hehe. He did follow that with at least our capitol is still about the same, but I guess you will have already seen it since that's just near your hotel. OMG I did not hehe!

I gathered further that even Balanga’s cityhood also seemed to be chasing something. It was hurriedly declared a city on the last days of Y2K, as if it would instantly become another Singapore or magically transform into some fantasy Disneyland if inaugurated within the year 2000, so says the doctor!

It looked like there was nothing much to see at city center for me. At least according to my source, a long time resident and a practicing medical doctor. Or perhaps next time I come around, there'd be something else?! Maybe I should avoid the doctor hehe. Peace dok, peace!


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