Skip to main content

Follow The Yellow Brick Road, Part 2

The second leg of our trip to the north was the Aquino Center in Luisita. Out of President Cory Aquino's sense of propriety, the centre was built after her term. It houses memorabilia from the life of her husband Ninoy, from the time he became Mayor of Concepcion to the time of his assassination. A quarter of the exhibit are photographs and gifts from world leaders during her presidency.
The museum is open to the public for a minimal fee of P100. We were given a guided tour by Karen Carrera and she shared with us interesting trivias about Ninoy Aquino. Much has been written about his life as a politician and a hero, but what inspired me the most was how he became a better man during his incarceration under Martial Law. He questioned God why he had to go through much suffering, yet it was during those lonely days and nights that he realised how blessed he was to be the youngest Mayor, Governor and Senator of his time. That dark period in his life has brought him closer to God and he learned to pray the Rosary. He came out a selfless man.

The beautiful acacia lined avenue from the SCTEX Luisita exit to Aquino Center.

The Aquino Center

Group shot.

The atrium of the Aquino Center.

Karen Carrera, center, gave us a guided tour of the museum.

After our tour of the centre, we headed to the hills of San Jose to visit the Monasterio de Tarlac. I've visited the shrine of the relic of the Holy Cross a couple of times before but it was the first time my friends were able to see it.


Popular posts from this blog

Vintage Valera

A couple of years ago, Roselyn Tiangco brought me her mother's Ramon Valera bridal trousseau and asked if we can cut the train and use it for her wedding gown. It was a Philippine terno in ivory satin, with bugle beads cascading down the front like waterfalls and a 5 meter train trimmed with Guipure lace and tons of pearls. I was aghast with the thought - no, I wouldn't dare desecrate a Valera. Roselyn and I agreed not to touch the vintage gown, we collaborated instead on simple Dior inspired gown for her wedding.
Early this year, Roselyn's mom Mrs. Linda Tiangco brought the Valera gown again, this time it would be for her wedding anniversary. The 50 year old gown gown still fits her perfectly but the bodice was already discolored and some parts of the train were moth eaten. Mrs. Tiangco told me to take my time to study the gown and see what I can do with it. For a month or so, I was just looking at the gown on the dress form, hoping Mrs. Tiangco would change her mind and…

The Cojuangco Ancestral House

Our next journey takes us to a historic town in Bulacan, thirty minutes north of Manila. My road trip buddies, my college friends who all share with me the same fascination for heritage houses were privileged by an invitation from Melecio Cojuangco to visit their ancestral house in Malolos. Mel, his cousin in law Marissa Lopa, Rima Datuin and Evelyn Bautista and I discovered each other's funny bonebecause of our love for the ice cream served in a huge bowl at Peninsula Manila's lobby. One evening, to justify our appetite, we pretended it was my birthday and we had the string quartet play happy birthday for me, from then on, we became good friends. Mel's grandfather, Jose Cojuangco was born at the Malolos house, very near the Barasoain Church. Jose's mother traded rice from Nueva Ecija, sacks transported by boat via the river at the back of the kamalig to Binondo, Manila. Like most turn of the century houses, the Cojuangco house uses piedra china stones for the ground …

Yes Meding, Grapes Grow In The Philippines!

I got a viber message from my friend Dom Hernandez asking if I'm free Monday for a day trip to La Union to look at vineyards. My first response was "we grow grapes in the Philippines?" and he replied with a photograph of three happy people clowning under the grape vines. I immediately marked my calendar and moved a few appointments to the evening. This was my kind of trip, only Julie Andrews can stop me from going.
The visit to the vineyards was arranged by the Department of Agriculture. The department's charming undersecretary Berna Romulo-Puyat invited food writers and wine connoisseurs to look at the many possibilities of these locally grown grapes. Avelino Lomboy started planting grapes in Bauang, La Union in the 70s. President Corazon Aquino visited in 1988, picking grapes herself from Mr. Lomboy's lovely vineyard. Today, there are more vineyards in La Union. You can see them in between mango orchards and tobacco plantations. The province has wisely diversifi…