Native Tree Walk at Arroceros Forest Park

Philippine Native Plants Conservation Society Incorporated (PNPCSI) volunteers and board members in partnership with several NGO groups together with Winner Foundation conducted a FREE native tree guided tour within Arroceros Forest Park on April 13, 2019 ( Saturday).

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 Arroceros Forest Park located between the Metropolitan Theater, Quezon bridge and the Pasig River, is an urban forest that is home to over 1,500 trees. It considered as the “last lung” of the City of Manila.

We arrived at around past 6:00 am at the park and after few minutes saw fellow members Mr. David Ples, Bobby Zapata, Maam Menie Odulio ( president), Mr. Anthony Arbias,  Ms. Irynn Alcantara Abano, Ms.Abigail Garrino, Mr. Ildefonso Bandoma Vista among others.

The group was divided into two group, One handled by Mr. Anthony Arbias and another one handled by Mr. David Ples between 20 to 35 participants per group.

Mature native trees such as Bagras (Eucalyptus deglupta aka Rainbow Eucalyptus), Bitaog (Callophyllum inophyllum), Narra (Pterocarpus indicus), Molave (Vitex parviflora) and Red Balete (Ficus concinna) thrive there while many other native species grow under the mature trees as saplings and young trees.

Mr. Howie Severino interviewed Ms. Chiqui Mabanta

The tour started at around past 8:30 am with Mr. Anthony Arvias leading the first group and followed shortly by Mr. David Ples. The group was followed by Mr. Howie Severino and crew of I-witness and we were able to identify at least a dozen native trees within the forest park.

After about an hour or so of walking around the park, the group had a souvenir group photo  before they finish the tour.

There are food bazaars, artists booth, tree planting and a lot of outdoor activities at the park.  I am glad to be back at the park, But there are several issues raised in this activity, One is the gradual lost of forest park, pollution, Manila bay reclamation and construction of a university gym within the premises. It seems that have a big building within the Mehan Garden formerly known as Jardin Botanico de Manila compound in not enough.

firefly group with author ( photo courtesy of Ms. Menie Odulio) 

Ms. Gemma Cruz-Araneta together with Ms. Menie Odulio

Bid farewell to some members of the group and left past 10:30am on my way to the Manila Central Post office for the Royal Postal Heritage Tour.

8 Historical Facts and Numbers on Freedom Trail March

Philippine Veterans Bank (PVB) in partnership with the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, Bataan government, Tarlac government, Philippine Army, Philippine Navy and Philippine Air force started a grueling 3-day march.

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The “Obelisk” at the Capas National Shrine

The march started  midnight of March 1 (Friday) started the kick off ceremonies in commemoration of the 77th year of the Death March and concluded at Capas Memorial Shrine in Tarlac on March 3 (Sunday) past 8:30 pm.

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Philippine Army and Navy marching along Bamban, Tarlac highway

Mr. Tomas Cloa, Jr. (PVB) Vice president said the original Death March lasted for four days after Bataan fell to the Japanese invaders on April 9, 1942.

8 Historical Facts and Numbers about the Freedom Trail March

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Death March Memorial Shrine in Capas, Tarlac province

1.)  Freedom Trail March, it retraces the 140 kilometers of actual route of the Death March from the ( zero) O- kilometer Death March marker in Mariveles, Bataan to Capas in Tarlac.

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Bamban bridge, Tarlac

2.) Death March is considered as one of the darkest days in the country’s history. There were 60,000 to 80,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war from Bagac and Mariveles towns in Bataan to Camp O’Donnell in Capas, Tarlac.

3.) About 2,000 living World War II veterans are still alive.

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4.) United States Navy Seal 21 members of the United States Navy Seal participated for the first time.

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5.) Epic Charity Challenge from the United States headed by its director Dr. Lance Cummings of California together with 17 members aimed to raise $100,000 this year to be given to athletes needing prosthetic and metal shoes.

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Cristo Rey High School students

6.) 77 Students from Cristo Rey High School which symbolizes the 77 years of Death March were at the lightning of torch. The school was known as O’Donnel’s Rettlement High School. The place is popularly called NAVY.

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Maj. Gen. Delfin Negrillo Lorenzana, AFP (Ret.) 

Secretary of Defense Delfin Negrillo Lorenzana led the torch lighting ceremony at the shrine.

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boodle meal

boodle meal dishes which included steam white rice, fried pork liempo, roasted chicken, salted duck eggs, slice tomatoes, slice mangoes, pork chicharon, steamed egg plant, steamed okra, steamed kangkong with bagoong and vinegar .

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7.) Boodle Fights– After a long day march, everyone enjoyed a hearty boodle fight meal.

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Mr. Roberto de Ocampo

8.) Philippine Veterans Bank is owned by Philippine war veterans and prime mover in commemorating the event. Mr. Roberto De Ocampo ( former Finance secretary during President Fidel Ramos term 1992 to 1998 ) is the chairperson of the banking institution.

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Philippine Living History members

Mr. Robert Hudson, vice-president of Filipino-American Memorial, said the Death March markers are well-maintained, now with the assistance of the Department of Public Works and Highways.

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souvenir items for sale

souvenir items for sale, These included black and white color shirts ( Php 400 each), marble obelisk kilometer marker- Php 150 and refrigerator magnets.

A big salute to all the soldiers and to the organizers of this annual freedom run .

Public Declaration of Philippine Post Office Building as Important Cultural Property

The Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) aims to inspire Filipinos to protect, preserve and promote these exceptional and outstanding cultural properties in partnership with the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA), concerned public, private and civil society stakeholders.

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Manila Central Post office compound  viewed from Jones bridge

Aside from declaring the main post office as important cultural property of the country. The Main post office was designed by well-known Filipino architects Tomas Mapua, Juan Arellano and Ralph Harrington Doane.

It took almost 10 years study before the actual construction began and the building is one of the most iconic neo-classical building built in 1926.

Biography

Ralph Doane graduated from MIT in 1912. In 1916, he was appointed consulting architect to the Philippine government, where he remained until 1918, having designed several public buildings, including the public library in Manila (now the Museum of the Filipino People). He returned to Boston in 1919 and opened his own architect’s office. He remained a sole practitioner until his death.

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l-r Postmaster General Joel Otarra , Mr. Dojie Lutera, Mr. Hans Baecker, Mr. Jimmy Ang and Ms. Zenaida Trambulo

The left portion of the side will be converted into postal museum and philatelic resource center.

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l-r Mr. Dojie Lutera, Mr. Hans Becker, Mr. Isidro Tan and Mr. Robert Tan with some invited guests ( photo courtesy of : Ms. Zenaida Trambulo )

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l-r Ms. Carrie Junio, Ms. Zenaida Trambulo, Mr. Hans Becker, Mrs. Josie T. Cura and Dojie Lutera ( Photo courtesy: Ms. Zenaida Trambulo )

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“Public Declaration of the Philippine Post Office Building as an Important Cultural Property”, “Unveiling of Museum Ceremonial Groundbreaking Marker” and “Launching of the Year of the Pig Stamps to celebrate the coming 2019” To culminate the 251st Anniversary of the Philippine Postal Service, and National Stamp Collecting Month (NSCM), the iconic Post Office Building shall now possess an “exceptional cultural, artistic and historical significance, officially recognized as an essential part of the patrimony of the Filipino people. 

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This will also be the venue for the launching of the Year of the Pig stamp to welcome the coming 2019 as well as an exhibit featuring modern and classical stamps.

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Among the special guest of honors included Mr. Rico Pableo Jr., Executive Director, National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Mr. Ludovico Badoy, Executive Director, National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Dr. Anna Labrador, Assistant Director, National Museum of the Philippines (NM) Postmaster General Joel L. Otarra PHLPost Board Chairman Norman Fulgencio.

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group photo

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2019 Year of the Pig stamps

Year of the pig stamps are available at Manila Central Post Offices and major post offices in the country.

Tales from La Sampaguita Mansion

La Sampaguita Mansion is another ancestral house that is located within in poblacion area. It had a strategic location which is near the Saint Micheal of Archangel church and few meters away from the municipal town hall.

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La Sampaguita mansion

 The original owner is Dr. Mendoza around 1908. The current mansion had several commercial stalls located in front of the old house. One cannot clearly see the details of the house unless one enters the premises.

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Photo courtesy of Mr. Gilbert Diño

It was in 1925 when Ms. Lydia Paulino opened the famous Sampaguita Bakery was named after her favorite flower and she had several planted at her properties in Barangay Salangan. Another feature of the house were the sampaguita designs at the eves of the house.

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Certificate of award from Manila Carnival 1930

Another piece of document of the Philippine Food (Bread) History – a diploma of award of the Manila Carnival of 1930 from the Philippine Carnival Association conferred to E. Paulino for the SINAMPALOK BREAD as grand prize winner. SINAMPALOK BREAD is a cylindrical log about 6 inch that reveals a yum-like sweet tamarind filling. On the otherhand, Sampaguita Bakery was named by the owner after its famous and best selling biscuit SAMPAGUITA – a white six-sided, flower-shaped biscuit from the same family as the uraro cookies. It has a firm and creamy texture that crumbles in one bite….well, those were the days for San Miguelenyo. -Jimmy Corpus-

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Mrs. Lydia Paulino viyuda Del Rosario ( courtesy of Sir Gilbert Diño)

Old magazines and newspaper clippings would show that she is a philanthropist, entrepreneur, devoted mother and greatly loved by the community.

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commercial stalls in front of  La Sampaguita mansion

She use to be Propagation of Faith ( president) which sponsors free communion services to children.

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door leading to the grand staircase

The architectural styles and furniture inside the ancestral house is a combination of bahay na bato, neo classical, art deco and modern elements. The most notable are the iron grill works, wooden calado, altar pieces and period furnitures inside.

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mini altar

We were greeted by the current owner upon entering the house, despite last minute arrangement. Although this is my 5th time entering the ancestral mansion.

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grand staircase

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old photos with wooden calado

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Christ the King inside urna

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art deco style lighting fixture inside the main living room

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sala set and colored windows

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Saint Micheal of Archangel church

The window also overlooks the historic Saint Micheal of Archangel church and other ancestral houses within the town.

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painting and plateria cabinet

Mrs. Lydia Paulino died in 1996 leaving the old La Sampaguita bakery without anyone to manage. The ancestral house and some of her properties were assigned to her caretakers.

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old bedroom with furniture and fixtures

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wooden calado allows the circulation of air inside the house

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a side room where old photos, certificate and period religious statues were kept.

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religious statues

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certificate of recognition

There are many juicy stories and tales behind the four corners of this ancestral house. The ancestral house is well kept by the current owners.

The current owner of the ancestral house is the family of Mr. Mark Adduru

Note: We would like to “Thank” Mr. Ervin Garcia, Adduru family and San Miguel municipal town tourism officers for arrangement and facilitating the tour inside the ancestral house.

References and Sources:

Personal interview with Mr. Gilbert Diño, Mr. Ervin Garcia, San Miguel municipal hall employees and current owner of the ancestral house.

SMDMKATKKK : https://smdmkatkkk.wordpress.com/

Aling Lucy Payawal Art of Atchara Making

Aling Lucila “Lucy”Payawal who is in her mid-70’s is known for her famous achara/atsara/atchara and kalamay sa latik native recipes.

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Aling or Tita Lucila ” Lucy” Paywal

Heirloom Recipes

Aling Lucila ” Lucy” Payawal brother is the father of Mr. Edward Payawal who is the proprietor of Thumbs Up restaurant, while the mother of Ms. Kat Garcia( wife of Sir Ervin Garcia) is the sister of Aling Lucy who hails from the Payawal clan.

According to Sir Lebon Ong and some local food historian, local atchara/achara / atsara was originally an Indian pickle dish with an alternate spelling called “achaar”. These are from pickled vegetables or fruits. Similar pickled vegetable are also found in neighboring southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Also called ” Acar” or ” Atjar, in Dutch.

Vegetables or fruits are finely chopped and marinated in brine or edible oils along with different Indian spices and food coloring.

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atsara/ atchara/ achara

But the Philippine version is a hybrid of both Indian and Southeast Asian, minus the spiciness but with stronger vinegar and adding achuete/atsuete/ annatto as coloring.

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atsara/ achara/ atchara

Since the late Spanish and American administration, San Miguel town is already popular for her achara/ atsara/ atchara, preserve minamis na santol and dayap, kalamay, pastillas de leche. These are normally serve on special occasions like fiesta, birthdays or visiting tourists.

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Ms. Cristina Gonzales – a local atsara/ achara/ atchara, kakanin maker and seller from San Miguel, Bulacan together with Architect Ervin Garcia

I would remember that my dad would always bring locally made achara / atsara from San Miguel. The atsara / achara from the town taste milder and the papaya is grated finely compared to the ones being sold within Metro Manila.

In some parts of the country the ingredients may vary depending on the availability, some may use jicama,picama/singkamas , cucumber (pipino ), slices of ginger, onions or shallots ( sibuyas tagalog).

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Aling Lucila Payawal

She also does her pickled papaya and creates Kalamay sa latik (sweet glutinous sticky rice) with latik.

This start with choosing the right ingredients since not all varieties of papaya can be use for making achara/ atsara. Sir Lebon Ong shared that the preferred ones are called ” susong matanda” papaya, These papayas are elongated shaped like breast of an old woman, hence the local common name.

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Aling Lucy Pawayal folding the cheese cloth with grated green papaya

She also uses cheese cloth/ katsa, grater, sweet green syrup, carrots, raisins, onions, red bell pepper.

She is also careful in handling the young papaya. She would soak them in water with salt to minimize the papaya getting brown and make her hands itchy.

She also uses a small amount of alum power (tawas) just before squeezing the water content. She does heirloom recipes that is worth sharing and publishing in recipe books.

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bottled atchara/ atsara/ achara made by Aling Lucy Payawal

Aling Lucy Payawal special heirloom atsara/ atchara/ achara is available at Arki’s Grill and Thumbs Up restaurant and upon reservation.

Phone no: 09158653540

Contact Person: Mr. Edward Payawal

Contact Persons: Sir Ervin or Mrs. Kat Garcia

  Phone no. 0935 889 1003

References:

Personal interview with Aling Lucilla ” Lucy ” Pawayal, Ms. Cristina Gonzales, Sir Lebon Ong.

Arsana, Lother (2013). “Authentic Recipes from Indonesia”. Tuttle Publishing. pp. 31–32. ISBN 9781462905355. Retrieved 9 February 2015.

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