Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What was in your mind when you recited "Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas...?

The illustration above probably by Fernando Amorsolo is vintage mid-1920s, a quarter century after the fall of the new republic to the Americans, when the public schools were no longer teaching the conjugation and proper use of the Spanish verbs like estar and ser but were training pupils to read, write and speak in impeccable English.

The subject was the 'patriotic pledge of Filipino school children,' which a million of them could recite instantly, a report said, because it was part of their lessons on patriotism.  We don't exactly know when the first mass recitation occured.  But it was Camilo Osias (born 1889), president of National University at that time (1921-1936), who wrote the original pledge and featured it in the Philippine Readers (a rare 1924 copy is on sale at eBay), his compilation of reading materials that served as textbook of elementary schools for a very long time: 

I love my country, the Philippine Islands, and I love my people, the Filipino people.  I intend to be a good Filipino citizen and be loyal to the cause of my country and people.  I want my country to be free and independent, and I want my people to be happy and prosperous.

I believe in good, strong clean government.  As a citizen, I deem it my duty to bear my share of the sacrifice and burden and responsibility.  I will obey the law and help the government officials enforce the law.  I will try to be honest, self-supporting, serviceable.

I love peace, but I will gladly fight for the sake of right, of freedom, and of justice.  I love my life, but I will gladly die for the sake of my family, my people, and my God."

The pledge followed the singing of two national anthems--the Land of the Morning and the Star-Spangled Banner--when the flags were hoisted up one flagpole, the Stars-and-Stripes above the Red-White-and-Blue.

In 1955, the pledge was revised following the passage of Republic Act 1265, which required its recitation in all public or private schools 'that are meant for or of which majority of the students are Filipinos.'  Since we were taught English from day one in the primary grades with the Pepe and Pilar basic readers, post-war babies like us sang both the national anthem  and this new pledge in English during the morning flag rite --

I love the Philippines.  It is the land of my birth.  It is the home of my people.  It protects me and helps me to be strong, happy and useful.

In return, I will heed the counsel of my parents. I will obey the rules of my school. I will perform the duties of a patriotic, law-abiding citizen.

I will serve my country unselfishly and faithfully. I will be a true Filipino, in thought, in word, in deed.

We do not know if the school children who went to school during the Japanese regime ever recited the Osias  pledge or a revision thereof to reflect the imperial design of the invasion forces.  We surmise that when the schools reopened after liberation, they went back to the pre-war pledge until it was revised in 1955.

What's glaring in the post-war edition is the deletion of the entire credo of believing in a good, strong and clean government, and of the citizen's vow of helping make that happen.  This time though the last line expresses a very strong conviction of becoming "a true Filipino in thought, in word and in deed."

We don't remember when the shift to Pilipino happened in both the anthem and the pledge. We know that in our entire high school we sang Bayang Magiliw and recited the Panatang Makabayan.

As we think about it now, we sang the pledge or recited the panata by rote during our age of innocence and had no vision yet of ourselves as adult citizen.  Did our years of pledging define what we are now and what roles we play (or neglect to do or share) in community or nation-building?  How effective was/is it as a tool to teach patriotism?

We think one paragraph in the pre-war pledge is very meaningful today: "I believe in good, strong clean government. As a citizen, I deem it my duty to bear my share of the sacrifice and burden and responsibility. I will obey the law and help the government officials enforce the law. I will try to be honest, self-supporting, serviceable."  Should it be restored? And how can it be made a conscientious, living commitment? 


P.S.  Among those who pledged "I love peace, but I will gladly fight for the sake of right, of freedom, and of justice. I love my life, but I will gladly die for the sake of my family, my people, and my God" in the primary schools included Ferdinand Marcos (born 1917) and Imelda Romualdez (b.1929), Fidel Ramos (b. 1928), Benigno Aquino, Jr. (b. 1932) and Corazon Cojuangco (b. 1933).  There were also the pensionados and self-supporting students in American universities who did not tarry any longer in the US but returned 'to work and save, live and serve' a country gearing for full independence, and those who went to war against the Japanese.

Ramon Magsaysay (b.1907) and Diosdado Macapagal (b.1910) were already in high school when the pledge came out in the Philippine Readers; they could have learned it with a more conscious appreciation.  Elpidio Quirino (b. 1890) and Carlos P. Garcia (b. 1896) were contemporaries of Camilo Osias, and they did not declare their patriotic fervor as school boys.

Joseph Estrada (b. 1937), Mike Velarde (b.1939) and Jose Ma. Sison (b.1939) probably recited both pledges in their youth.

Those who swore to be 'a true Filipino in thought, in word and in deed' include Jejomar Binay (b. 1941), Richard Gordon (b.1945), Eddie Villanueva (b. 1946), Bayani Fernando (b.1946), Gloria Macapagal (b.1947), Manuel Villar (b.1949), Nicanor Perlas (b.1950), Edu Manzano (b.1955), Jay Sonza (b.1955), Mar Roxas (b.1957), Jamby Madrigal (b.1958), Loren Aldeguer (b.1960), Benigno Aquino III (b. 1960), Gilbert Teodoro (b.1964), and Juan Carlos de los Reyes (b.1970). 

Likewise, Gregorio Honasan (b. 1948) and the RAM boys, Antonio Trillanes IV (b. 1971) and the Magdalo boys; also Efren Penaflorida (b. 1981) and Datu Andal Ampatuan, Jr. (b. 1982).

Monday, January 18, 2010

Have You Seen the "Philippine Memorial to William Atkinson Jones" in Warsaw, VA?

Warsaw, VA is about 107 miles from Washington DC, two and a half hours by car via I-95S and US 17-S, if we want to visit the monument that is officially called “William Atkinson Jones Mausoleum,” also known as the “Filipino Memorial Tribute to William Atkinson Jones,” the “William Atkinson Jones Memorial Monument,” and the “Philippine Memorial to William Atkinson Jones.”

It's very likely that this Philippine memorial doesn't appear in the must-see list of kababayans in Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC when there are guests from the old country or other states to tour around.  We've visited practically all the historical and touristic sights in the two states and the capital, but we don't recall any of our dear friends mentioning this monument at all.

In its July 1926 issue, The Philippine Republic featured the memorial in the cover, calling it "The Filipinos' Tribute to the Memory of a Friend" erected by the Filipino people in honor of the late Representative William Atkinson Jones, of Virginia, author of the law which has become historic in Philippine-American history because it contained the promise of independence as soon as a stable government could be established in the Philippine Islands."

William Atkinson Jones was born in Warsaw on March 21, 1849. A Democrat, he served as a Congressman of Virginia for fourteen continuous terms from 1890 until his death on April 17, 1918.

On his death, the Philippine legislature appointed the Jones memorial commission composed of the Senate president Manuel L. Quezon, Jaime C. de Veyra and Teodoro Yangco, who were resident commissioners in Washington DC at the time of their appointment.  Funds were appropriated for the mausoleum, Don Mariano Bentliure of Madrid, Spain was commissioned to do the memorial, which he built in Spain and shipped to the United States for erection in Warsaw.

This "Gift from a grateful Filipino People," the marker on the monument states, was dedicated on June 20, 1926. It cost the Philippine government $35,000 [Php70,000 at that time - LFR] with donations from Filipino school children of their precious sentimos at that time. In Manila, the old Puente de Espana (Bridge of Spain) between Binondo and the city proper was rebuilt in 1916 and renamed in his honor--the Jones Bridge.
It was reported that around 8,000 Americans and Filipinos attended the dedication ceremonies.  The monument was unveiled by two young grandsons of Jones. Senator Sergio Osmena presented the memorial to the United States and Senator Carter Glass of Virginia accepted it.  The women in the delegation of Filipino officials lent color to the occasion in their native dress.

Those should cue us to something very important that we learned in our Philippine history classes in high school and in the university regarding our struggle for independence during the American regime -- the Jones Law, which he authored as the Philippine Independence Bill and signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson, also a Democrat, in 1916.
He was already ill around that time, but he could still passionately say before his colleagues in Congress: “Fervently believing with that great apostle of human liberty, Thomas Jefferson, ‘that the people of every country are the only safe guardians of their own rights,’my prayer is that the day is not far distant when we shall see arise in the Far East a free and independent Christian nation, to be known throughout the world as the Republic of the Philippine Islands.”

On August 18, 1916, Manuel Luis Quezon, Philippine Resident Commissioner in the US Congress paid him this tribute before the entire congressional membership:  "Mr. Jones, I have witnessed your untiring work on this bill; I have seen your unselfish devotion to the cause of Philippine independence, honestly believing that it was demanded by God’s own law, but also by the interests of your nation and mine. As the chairman of the Committee on Insular Affairs, you have considered it your paramount duty to write into law the covenant of your fathers and the spirit of America – freedom for all. By this bill, which is the result of your hard labor – labor you have carried out at the risk of your own life, for you have been working in spite of ill health—you are entitled, in my estimation, to a prominent place in the list of the advocates of human liberty. Surely your name will be written in letters of gold in the history of the Philippine Islands. You have earned not only the eternal gratitude but the love of every individual Filipino. God bless you.” 

"I can die happy now," he told Manuel Luis Quezon, Senate President, "because by this bill I have assured the independence of your country."

In grateful appreciation, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce presented him a gold tablet worth $10,000 [Php20,000 then - LFR] with a touching inscription, and Quezon gave him a cup that became famous, which were conspicuously diplayed in the Jones mansion near the memorial.  We wonder if the mansion is open to the public today so that Filipino visitors can look at these Jones gifts too.

With the Jones Law, legislative power was given to the Filipinos under a bicameral structure - a Senate and a House of Representatives. All members were elected except two Senators appointed by the American Governor General to represent the non-Christian sector.

The hard struggle for full freedom continued until the Tydings-McDuffie Act was unanimously accepted by our legislature in 1934, and the Commonwealth inaugurated in 1935. The countdown of ten years for independence began but we all know that the Japanese violently intruded into our national life.

Eighty four years ago, Vicente Albano Pacis, who was still active in the Philippine media in the 1960s, wrote that "the mausoleum is a wonderful piece of art ... and should prove to be a popular Mecca for Filipinos visiting the national capital."  Before the second world war when Jones was still in every Filipino's memory, Warsaw, VA could have really been a must to visit before they return to the homeland. 

Perhaps it is time to rebuild historical memories again.  Perhaps we can make a tour of the Philippine history imprinted in the American landscape -- for example, the relics of the Philippine-American war taken home as souvenirs of conquest in the Presidio in San Francisco, the Balangiga bells somewhere in a military camp in the midwest, the Jones Memorial, etc. and those of the diaspora of the Filipinos in America like the old Manila towns in Stockton, San Francisco, Louisiana and the Gran Oriente and Caballeros de Dimas-Alang Masonic lodges .  

Note:  For details of the dedication of the Jones Memorial, please click on the hyperlinks to full features in the 1924 and 1926 issues of The Philippine Republic, which are in the digital library collection of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Where are Guillermo Tolentino's "Rizal's Dreams" and other patriotic works?

Guillermo Tolentino could have created "Rizal's Dreams" when he was still a student at the Royal Italian Academy of Fine Arts or when he had just graduated from there with honors.  A young Filipina woman looking far away was his sculptural interpretation of the fourth stanza of the national hero's Mi Ultimo Adios (My Last Farewell) --

Mis sueños cuando apenas muchacho adolescente,
Mis sueños cuando joven ya lleno de vigor,
Fueron el verte un día, joya del mar de oriente
Secos los negros ojos, alta la tersa frente,
Sin ceño, sin arrugas, sin manchas de rubor.

My dreams, when life first opened to me,
My dreams, when the hopes of youth beat high,
Were to see thy loved face, O gem of the Orient Sea,
From gloom and grief, from care and sorrow free;
No blush on thy brow, no tear in thine   eye.
          -  Tr. by Charles Derbyshire, 1911.

Tolentino could have included this work in his sculpture exhibition that opened at the Casa d'Arte in Rome on April 24, 1924.  It was reported that "the Royal Princesses, Giovanna and Mafalda, paid Tolentino the honor of attending his exhibition, and were lavish in their praises of his work, obtaining for the young Filipino sculptor considerable favourable publicity in the Rome newspapers and art journals."

We have not yet seen any reference to this inspired creation in existing webpages about the National Artists of the Philippines, in general, or Guillermo Tolentino, in particular. 

Except for an article in The Philippine Republic (1924), there is nothing else also on the "Peace" statue that he did while he was a waiter in Washington DC to commemorate American President Woodrow Wilson's struggle for peace, and which he presented to the president himself on August 21, 1921.  

Millinoire Bernard Baruch was inspired to send the struggling Filipino artist to study in Italy after Wilson showed him the art piece. He paid for Tolentino's expenses there for two years. 

Neither are there references to his patriotic creations in Rome that could have been in his public exhibition there in 1924 like "The Philippine Republic" and "The Filipinos."  The first one had three figures, one of them representing a Filipina and the other two, the forces that saved the Philippines from the Spaniards. Tolentino intended this for consideration in a proposed monument in Malolos, Bulacan to commemorate the short-lived republic.  The second piece represented "a group of powerful Filipinos, who by their united strength, are able to successfully carry a great rock on which appears in bas relief a map of the Philippine Islands."

Tolentino could also have carved "The Philippines" in Rome, it's picture was in the cover of the January 1924 issue of The Philippine Republic.  The caption said that it was "the creation of a young Filipino sculptor, Guillermo Tolentino. He molded it with loving hands, inspired by the hope it might prove (sic) an urge to the American Congress to grant his country’s independence."

After his graduation in Italy, Tolentino made plans to go home to the Philippines soonest and possibly put up an exhibition in Manila.  It would be very interesting to know if the works exhibited in Casa d'Arte in Rome came home with him, and if they did, where are they now?

A report said that "Tolentino has been made a tentative proposition to design an elaborate and costly chapel and monument to be erected in the Manila Cemetery for one of the most prominent and wealthy families of the Philippines."   This could not have pushed through because there are no citations of it in any Tolentino literature.  Otherwise this would be listed alongside his popular statues -- the Oblation of the University of the Philippines (UP) and the Bonifacio monument in Caloocan City.

The Oblation, dedicated at the original UP site in Manila in 1939, was inspired by the second verse in Rizal's Mi Ultimo Adios --

          En campos de batalla, luchando con delirio
          Otros te dan sus vidas sin dudas, sin pesar;
          El sitio nada importa, ciprés, laurel ó lirio,
          Cadalso ó campo abierto, combate ó cruel martirio,
          Lo mismo es si lo piden la patria y el hogar.

          On the field of battle, 'mid the frenzy of fight,
          Others have given their lives, without doubt or heed;
          The place matters not-cypress or laurel or lily white,
          Scaffold or open plain, combat or martyrdom's plight,
          'Tis ever the same, to serve our home and country's need.
                -  Tr. by Charles Derbyshire, 1911.

What we see today at the back of the pedestal are not these inspirational verses in Spanish or English.  It's Rizal speaking in Pilipino through the translation (pagsasalin) of Andres Bonifacio:

Saan man mautas ay di kailangan,
cipres o laurel, lirio ma'y patungan
pakikipaghamok, at ang bibitayan,
yaon ay gayon din kung hiling ng Bayan.

Here in these sculptures, we see Tolentino portraying a Motherland as a young Filipina embodying Rizal's dreams, happy after being freed from Spanish tyranny and yet fettered in struggling for independence from the United States, and her native son offering his life for country and people.

There has been a very wide gulf of changes since Tolentino's patriotic statements in stone, marble or bronze. Are they still relevant to ponder as the May 2010 election approaches.  Has the Motherland achieved her dreams? Is she happy--or frustrated--with her sons?


Note:  Except for the picture of the UP Oblation, which we took ourselves, all the other illustrations and historical information in this article about National Artist Guillermo Tolentino were taken from articles in the January, May and August-September 1924 issues of The Philippine Republic, a magazine published in Washington DC.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Where's the Rizal bust installed in Washington DC in 1925?

We came across the Rizal bust (photo above, encircled in red) in The Philippine Republic in its special Rizal Number of December 1925.  Published in Washington DC as 'the magazine that's "telling America" about Filipinos and the new Philippines,' it had Jose Rizal as the iconic symbol in its strong advocacy for Philippine independence.

"At last," the magazine enthused, "there is a beautiful bust of Rizal on display in Washington, America’s capital. It has been placed at the Philippine Press Bureau, 905 Investment building, and will ever be a source of increased inspiration to the Filipinos of Washington."

"The bust," the report continued, "was brought to Washington by the Philippine delegation from Manila, the work of sculptor Velarde, and the direct result of the enterprise of the Filipino Community Center of Washington, D.C."  It would be the first ever to be unveiled in that city.

Prominent Filipinos and Americans were present during the the installation ceremonies.  Then Senator Sergio Osmena,  chairman of the Commission on Independence, was there, so was Hon. Teodoro M. Kalaw, executive secretary and chief adviser of the Commission, who delivered the dedication address. 

We tried googling Velarde's bust of Rizal with a lyre to see if there are references to it and its whereabouts at this time, but there was nothing at all.  We also tried to see if Velarde became well-known like Guillermo Tolentino, who was studying in Italy around that time.  The search also did not yield an answer.

What we saw were references to Rizal busts in cities around the world like the one installed at the Plaza Filipinas in Santiago, Chile; Earl Bales Park in Toronto, Canada; North Beacon Hill in Seattle, Washington; Piazzale Manila in Rome, Italy (inaugurated as part of the centennial celebration of Philippine Independence in May 1998); and Rizal Park in Lima, Peru (Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was guest during the unveiling in November 2008), among others. 

Our interesting google finds were two busts (pictures below) done by two well-known sculptors--Guillermo Tolentino and Anastacio Caedo.

Patrick Eugenio bought the bust on the left from a Cubao thrift shop in 2006.  He learned that this was Guillermo Tolentino's gift to Caedo, his apprentice at that time and his model for this work. Caedo would also be his model for the UP Oblation. 

We found the Rizal bust on the right from the blogsite of Danny Villegas. He says that this is the original marble bust that Caedo sculpted, and it was found in the sculptor's original atelier.  It would be interesting to know how many copies were molded from this for displays in public plazas, schools and city or town building, etc.

We did not know who Rizal was when we first saw his bust mounted on a column probably thrice taller than us at the center of our hometown plaza.  We were in high school when it had to be moved when the municipal auditorium was relocated to the plaza itself.  Rizal now adorns one side of the auditorium.  This bust does not look like Caedo's hence it must have been molded from another sculptor's work.

During our vacation in California last year, a good friend in Torrance said he will bring us to their Luneta.  We thought there was really a place of that name in Carson City until we saw a bust of Rizal mounted on a low pedestal (picture at left) facing the Seafood City and Chow King restaurants on Main St., at the edge of a parking lot.

This Rizal monument serves as the gathering or meeting place of Filipinos in the area. We were not told if commemorative ceremonies are performed there during Rizal Days or Indepence Day.

This one does not look like Caedo's.  It has no lyre like the 1925 bust of Velarde.

We learned that the Investment building in Washington DC was completed in 1924, the year before Velarde's work was installed there. Years later, the building was remodelled with only the outer shell retained. That means that the Philippine Press Bureau moved to another place with the Rizal bust. How many times did they transfer through the years? Where was the bust finally got deposited?

Friday, January 1, 2010

White islands hopping in southern Philippines

We've scratched out Boracay from our list of must-revisit places.  The second trip turned us off.  The white sand beach was still there but we felt something has gone wrong with the environment and eerily, that the island is ruined forever. 

We have just gone to the white island off the town of Jasaan, Misamis Oriental and it's worth revisiting with a picnic box and snorkeling gears.   Jasaan is about an hour and a half drive from Cagayan de Oro, and the boat ride from the old shipbuilding port to the island takes less than an hour.

There's an army outpost on the island that serves as a lighthouse at night, but its primary purpose is to protect the farm of endangered giant clams (Tridacna gigas, taklobo to Visayans and mel-let to Ilocanos).  They're being raised for their preservation.  These came all the way from Bolinao in Pangasinan where a similar farm is also being maintained by the UP Institute of Marine Sciences.  We asked if there had been poachers because we read about the theft of the clams in Bolinao sometime in 2009.  We were told a couple had been stolen sometime ago too.

The white island farm was very shallow--knee-high--during our visit. While we could see the taklobos, it was best to don the snorkeling gear for a close-up look of the blueish and greenish flesh and the gaping round mouth of the giant clams.  Folk stories about pearl divers came to mind, but we did not see any precious stone resting on a giant clam flesh. 

We wore wading shoes because there were plenty of sea urchins.  There were long seaworms too that we thought at first were sea snakes.  We were cautioned that these are itchy so we contented ourselves with holding up blue and orange starfishes for close-up photographs.  It was just too bad we did not have a discardable underwater camera for the close-ups of the worms and the taklobos.

During the last Holy Week, we spent one morning swimming at the white island off Camiguin. It was a very short boat ride away.  This was the marine counterpoint to our holiday of hot and cold spring water pools in the big island.

No hotel or a cottage has been built to destroy the pristine beauty of this island.  People go there for sheer enjoyment of the swim in clear shallow waters or a nap on very clean, properly maintained white sand beach.  Very un-Boracay!

A couple of years ago, our very good friend in Cebu City brought us by speedboat from Alegria town of Cebu to the Manjuyod (Negros Oriental) white sand bar in the middle of North Bais Bay.  It was not a short trip from Alegria, and thinking about it now, it would be more convenient for revisiting the place from Manjuyod itself if ever we go to Dumaguete City.

We remember the cottages on the sand bar and the myriad of sea life in the shallow waters.  We rented one of them for the lunch picnic, and we read lately that there are carboys of fresh water to buy for the rinsing after a good swim.  There are no comfort amenities in the cottages and that means one must have a very healthy stomach before embarking on a trip to the Manjuyod white sand bar.

It's a dream at the moment but hopping on these three white islands would be a quality family-oriented un-Boracay trip during the summer.  And that's our third wish list items for friends and readers in 2010.

Walk on treetops at Initao-Libertad (Lasang) forest in Misamis Oriental

Our next 2010 wish list item for friends and readers is a green venture: walking on top of trees at the Lasang Secret Adventure, a project of the Misamis Oriental provincial government covering several hectares of forest in the Initao-Libertad protected area on lease from the DENR.

At this time, there are just five viewing stations yet at the forest canopy, which are connected by hanging bridges. The vision is a wide expanse of forest to explore at the top; hence, they are building more stations and bridges.

Lasang may not be Pandora but we felt like a Na'vi in crossing the bridges.  They don't sway and unless one is suicidal to jump over the rails, there's is no way of falling from the canopy of predominantly talisay gubat trees. 

The canopy is a perfect place for birdwatching.  We learned that a survey has been completed and seventy four bird species, two of them in the list of endangered ones, have been identified.  So far, they've seen a pair of Philippine eagles in residence there too.

Adventuring at the forest floor is not in the park program so there's no way for a chance encounter with poisonous snakes, monitor lizards and other wildlife there.  We were advised though that the best time to visit is in the morning when the monkeys come down -- an amusing company to Na'vis going up the 74-steps spiral staircase to the first station, crossing the bridges and gliding down the rope back to the park gate from the last station.

Lasang is less than an hour drive from Cagayan de Oro, and the entry point is right by the roadside.  Bring your family, and go have some fun atop a green spot of Mother Earth!

Fly High in 2010 at ZipZone in Bukidnon

Here's our first wish item for all our adventurous friends and readers in 2010.  We'd like them to feel like the jacksully avatar or a derivative Superman or Batman (Wapakman too?) while they spread their wings up in the air and hover over a deep canyon and some forest covers in just about one minute!

The trick is to make sure there is a morning or early afternoon to spare if anyone has a business or leisure trip to Cagayan de Oro or any place else in Misamis Oriental or Bukidnon.  That's for hieing off to fly at the ZipZone Dahilayan Adventure Park in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon, around one and a half hours drive from CdeO.  As our pictures tell, it's flying by wire.

The park is just about four months old, but already the booking is heavy.  They can only take three hundred flyers a day, Wednesday to Sunday.  When we went the first time on 27th December, the place was teeming with daring souls.  Our party of six could not be accomodated because there were still spill-overs from the previous day.  So we had to book for the 29th, and already we were on the 8th slot.  Thus anybody who wants to fly has to make a reservation in advance (simply google ZipZone for the numbers to call).

There are three events--the 350 meter, 120 m and 840 m ziplines, in that order.  The flying rates are still promo/introductory:   Php200 for the 350+120m; Php400 for the 840m (Asia's longest at this time); and Php500 for all rides.

Our advice: go fly while the rates are still promo and wallet-friendly, which we suspect may be over by summer next year esp. during the Holy Week.

Sad to say, but there are height and weight requirements before one can be wired for the flying.  For safety engineering reasons, one must not be less than 52" tall and not more than 75" tall, and must be between 80 lbs and 250 lbs. 

We were fortunate to meet the ZipZone owner, Elpi(dio), one of ten Paras siblings; likewise, his brother Jess, the Department of Agriculture Undersecretary, who owns the all terrain vehicle (ATV) segment of the park.  Another sibling takes care of horseback riding and the Cowboy Grill restaurant.  Another has opened a botanical garden with a cafe, and another is setting up a wedding center atop a rolling hill. 

USec Jess told us that the amusement park is intended to be family-oriented.  And he's putting the finishing touches to his green villa that has rooms for rent for families who intend to extend their quality time up there in the mountain barangay of Dahilayan. 

It's Baguio-like up there. If one has been missing pine trees in the northern Luzon city, he'll find plenty in this Bukidnon park, and in the neighboring Mountain View Farm and Park of the Xavier family.  Dahilayan might yet metamorphose into the Baguio of Mindanao considering all the a-planting and a-building up there.

Of course, going up to Dahilayan from CdeO takes one past the iconic giant pineapple landmark of Del Monte Corporation, through the Camp Phillips residential areas of wooden chalets and then the vast pineapple plantations.  During early mornings, one would pass by clusters of plantation workers eating their baon breakfast or doing their assignments out there in the open field (at this time, they are tending very young plants) or families plodding their way home and trying to hitch a ride (we didn't see any public transport plying the plantation road).  

We'd like to believe that a time will come (and it should be soonest) when we will no longer drive past destitute houses along the road between the corporate plantation and the adventure park no matter if they're made bit brighter by vari-colored flowering ornamental plants like roses, anthuriums, lantanas, etc. in the front yard.  But this is another story.

Go fly high!