Showing posts with label parks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label parks. Show all posts

Friday, November 4, 2016

Lingayen Beach

My recent trip to Pangasinan afforded me a change in environment. I think I've been in the office too long and despite the outdoor environment provided by the university where I work, I longed for some fieldwork outside Metro Manila. Pangasinan has so many interesting places to visit that you would have to be satisfied with going to a few for such a short trip. Near Dagupan is the provincial capital of Lingayen, which is also along the sea, sharing the coastline with Dagupan. Lingayen Bay is both life giving and historic. Life-giving because of the bountiful seafood it provides a lot of fishermen, their families and other people who benefit from marine resources. Historic because it has been witness to a lot of events including those in World War II when Japanese forces landed here to start their invasion of the Philippines. The beach is now a public space and enjoyed by many who come here to relax or perhaps contemplate (mag-muni-muni).

The main road from the provincial capital makes the park and beach accessible to the general public. Parking is along one side of the road while the other side is occupied by food stalls. Either side of the road is lined with coconut trees.
The food stalls are mobile - most are carts like this of a coconut juice/water vendor
There's a lot of street food here and they are very popular.
Popular street food includes fishballs, kwek-kwek, isaw, etc.
We spotted this corn vendor and decided to get some for our healthy snacks. We went for plain corn instead of what seemed to be a popular order with grated cheese toppings.
I remember scramble being quite popular after school during my grade school years. Scramble though has taken a lot of bad PR as it has been associated with food poisoning, bad stomachs, diarrhea and has generally been regarded as dirty. Though we didn't sample the scramble shown in the photo above, we thought that scramble has gone a long way and remains popular. This version seems to be clean (read: prepared under sanitary conditions) and a lot of people enjoying it likely means no one's getting sick from consuming it.
Its not white sands but it is clean and cool to the touch. A lot of people weren't swimming despite what we saw were clean waters. Most people just stood and looked beyond, enjoying the cool wind and perhaps the ocean scent.
I was able to capture this beautiful sunset with what looked like the mountains of Zambales in the background.
The sound of waves hitting the shore is relaxing for me.
Footprints in the sand
The main access road to the beach is clear of motorized vehicles.

Lingayen beach is something that many people should be envious of. Not many towns can boast of access to the sea nor of clean beaches and waters. Not many towns have public spaces like Lingayen's beaches and parks. I think local governments should make a good and honest effort to develop or maintain public spaces.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

On open spaces for the general public

This long weekend is something a lot of people were looking forward to to have a break before the long Christmas season. Undas is a time for homecomings as people flock to their respective hometowns to honor those who passed away. These cemeteries and memorial parks become very crowded when, for most of the year, these are usually quiet areas where few people venture to. But what if we had more open spaces where people can enjoy walks, picnics or simply getting together or perhaps do some solitary time? We don't have much of these despite so much encouragement as well as studies and example pointing to such open spaces (e.g., parks) enhancing quality of life and health of people. What I wanted to point out here is actually that we need to have more public areas in our cities and towns, and local governments should invest in these for the welfare of their constituents.

Here is a couple of panoramic photos I took at Lingayen during a recent trip showing the expanse of the public park near the beach and the beach itself facing Lingayen Bay.

Lingayen Park behind the Pangasinan Provincial Capitol complex is a wide expanse where people converge to picnic or take a walk. There are no structures here, which I thought was not necessarily a good thing considering the area is very exposed to the environment. I guess the local or provincial government can design and construct a few structures for shelter but these structures need to be designed according to the locale and using native building materials. And then there is also the need for proper maintenance. Perhaps considering all these concerns help make a case against structures in the first place?
Sunset at Lingayen Beach - its not white sands like what attract tourists to Boracay, Bohol or Cebu but the beach is clean, the waters are also clean and warm. You can become envious of what people here have in terms of public open spaces. Historically, maybe its hard to imagine for some that these beaches were where Japanese forces landed en masse in 1941 during the Second World War as they invaded the Philippines, which was then under the United States. I can imagine these beaches and Lingayen Park swarming with soldiers and military equipment, and with warships filling the bay to provide naval support to landing troops.


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Old photos: Kegon no taki, Nikko National Park

I'm starting a new series of posts featuring photos I've taken quite some time ago. These are photos I took with my old camera, using good old film. My first camera was a Pentax 140mm point and shoot that had many other features. I got it during my first visit to Japan in February 1996. I remember I got it for about 36,000 yen or about 12,000 pesos given the exchange rate at the time. The camera survives today and I plan to use it again to take more photos. I just need to get me some film.

This is a panoramic photo of Kegon Falls I took sometime in 1997 during my only trip to Nikko National Park. I was actually invited to Utsunomiya University by a Dr. Mamoru Nagai, who was a Visiting Professor at the University of the Philippines Diliman when I was a newly hired faculty member there. When he learned that I was in Japan as a post graduate student, he invited me and a good friend to visit his university. His main researches were on transport and tourism and after some research presentations at his laboratory, we headed out to Nikko National Park. We stayed there overnight and enjoyed its onsen (hot spring spa). We also did some pretty serious hiking to see the various waterfalls, springs, lakes and other features of the national park.

Kegon no taki
I have been able to recover negatives from that first 'expedition' in Japan in 1997. I will be posting those soon. I think this trip to Nikko and others like it around Japan were among my most memorable. It's a good thing that I have some left despite the losses due to the Typhoon Ketsana in 2009.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Hinulugang Taktak

The Antipolo City Government in partnership with the Provincial Government of Rizal and other groups recently reopened the Hinulugang Taktak National Park. Hinulugang Taktak (literally Taktak Falls with "taktak" translating into "sprinkle"). I believe we were among the first few who checked out the park and the famous falls that's been part of Antipolo lore along with the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. The national park is along the way to the church where we hear Mass on Sundays and so we were already anticipating its reopening from the time we transferred residence nearby.

People used to go to Antipolo not just to visit the shrine but also to bathe in the waters of Hinulugang Taktak. However, due to the rapid, unplanned and uncontrolled development of the city, the waters feeding the falls immediately became polluted and at one point, the water fall was literally "taktak" or only a sprinkle (if not a trickle) of water. I'm sharing photos I took last weekend at Hinulugang Taktak for people to see how much progress has been made to rehabilitate the falls and the national park environs.

Sign outside the park

Quick info on the projects and initiatives for the national park
A view of the newly constructed walkways in the park. The old walkways are still there and you can compare how steep the old ones are.
Efforts were obviously made to make the park accessible to most if not all people.
A view of the swimming pool (not yet for use by visitors) from the walkway to the falls.
We saw this group comprised of senior citizens making their way back up from the falls. We learned that Antipolo City provided enough staff to assist senior citizens as they walked up.
A nice view of the falls from one of the more strategically and conveniently located tables in the park.
The picturesque Hinulugang Taktak is getting back to what it was like during its glory days.
"May amoy pa ba?" - yes, there is still a distinctive smell from the spray and mist. The streams and other waters leading to the falls are not yet that clean as evidenced by the bubbles and the soap suds accumulating at the foot of the falls.
A look at the gardens and the network of walkways at the park.
A view of the falls from the quadrangle in the middle of the park.
The park is clean and there are staff taking good care of the park grounds as well as garbage bins encouraging segregation.
There were already a lot of people at the park as most tables were taken. There is a meditation area and more tables on the other side of the park across from the river.
We saw some cottages near the park administration office that look like they will allow people to stay overnight at the park. We didn't inquire about this so we're not sure about it. It would be nice though if accommodations are available once the park becomes a popular spot again.
Downstream of the falls and away from the crowds are parts of the park that are still under development.

Park rules and regulations
Hinulugang Taktak is located along Taktak Road, the old Daang Bakal and about 200 meters from the intersection with Sumulong Highway (near Robinsons Place Antipolo). It is a short tricycle ride from the Rizal Provincial Capitol and along the way to the Parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Entrance is currently free but perhaps they will start charging fees to cover the costs of maintaining the park as well as making sure it is safe and secure for visitors. My only suggestion at this point is for the city to also manage parking as certain people and especially kids from the nearby communities have appeared at the parking area to become informal parking attendants. I think the city should at least deputize people in coordination with the barangay to ensure safety and security for visitors bringing their vehicles to the park.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Preserving views - some thoughts on history and heritage

Much has been written about the Rizal Monument in Manila and the view of the monument being ruined by the construction of a high-rise condominium behind Rizal Park. While it is a very sensitive issue to many people especially those who are concerned with heritage conservation, some people tend to take the issue for granted; likely due to an ignorance or the utter lack of appreciation for history and heritage. So when I had the chance to take some photos of the monument I did so even though it was just a quick pass along Roxas Boulevard on board a vehicle.

A photo of the Rizal monument as we traveled along the northbound side of Roxas Boulevard
Another photo of the monument moments after the previous one and showing DMCI's Torre de Manila in the background
While the approval of the high rise condominium speaks volumes about how bad land use or zoning controls are not just in Manila but in many parts of the Philippines, it also says a lot about contractors, architects and planners in this country. Perhaps this is indicative of the times with people generally not giving a damn about history and heritage? Are people in general and professionals like architects and engineers in particular needing more education about history and heritage conservation?

I also chanced upon another view that was ruined by the same condominium. The same condo can clearly be seen in the background of what is an iconic view of Manila City Hall's clock tower. I don't have a photo of it yet but I will likely get one the next time I pass by the area. This is basically the same if not a worse case compared to the high rise condo behind Quezon City Hall, which for a long time remained unfinished due to many issues that hounded the developers. Have we learned our lessons from these experiences or shall the same mistakes be made once again elsewhere?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Parks, open spaces and dating options

It was Valentine's Day again and rather than write about why the Clairvoyant and I didn't necessarily celebrate this cheesy day I am writing about ideas on dating. Call it unsolicited advice but it seems that in this age of materialism and malling, of social networks and android phones, old fashioned activities like taking a stroll along the park or going somewhere except the mall is lost to many of the current generation.

We are quite fortunate that we have advanced means of communication. Couples who are geographically apart such as those with loved ones abroad no longer have to sulk as they wait (eagerly) for a letter, a greeting card or an expensive long distance call. With the internet and advanced telecommunications, there are so many options now for long distance relationships (LDR) to be established and nurtured. Among the more popular options now include Facebook, Skype, BBM, and the various promos (e.g., Unlitext, Unlicalls, etc.) now available for texting and calling offered by the competing telecom companies. Yet there is still a need to have actual contact (face to face? EB or eyeball?) rather than the relatively impersonal chat online.

It's sad that Metro Manila and many other cities in the country have few parks where people can enjoy the outdoors. Most people now go to the malls. Likely, this might be to window shop and during summers, perhaps to enjoy the airconditioning of the mall. In the smaller towns in the provinces, the town plazas are still the places for a stroll. And there are some cities that have taken steps toward walkability including Marikina (Riverbanks area) and Iloilo (river front). Quezon City prides itself with the Quezon Memorial Circle, Parks and Wildlife and the La Mesa Eco Park. Manila still has Rizal Park, the promenade stretching along Roxas Boulevard and parts of Intramuros (Fort Santiago). But these examples are more the exceptions than part of the norm. We need more parks and other open spaces where people could take a walk or just find a place where they could sit and perhaps spend some time reading a book or simply doing nothing. I read somewhere that parks and open spaces serve as lungs for a city.

The University of the Philippines campus in Diliman, Quezon City is one of few places in Metro Manila where the public can enjoy open spaces. UP's Sunken Garden and Lagoon are havens for faculty, staff, students and other people coming to UP to enjoy these public spaces. On Sundays, the Academic Oval is closed to motorized traffic and more people flock to the campus to walk/stroll, cycle, play games/sports, or picnic.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

A view of Taal

The Taal Vista Hotel still is probably the best place to see the Taal Volcano. The following photos we took do not do justice to just how close one could seem to be when standing at the viewing deck/balcony of the hotel, which has provided great views for so many people since the hotel was constructed in the late 1930's, when it was built as the Taal Vista Lodge. My first memory of Tagaytay and a view of the volcano was when we had a brief stopover in the then undeveloped town back in the 1970's, en route to the beaches of Nasugbu where my father's office was having their summer excursion. I even remember our old Volkswagen Beetle almost losing a hub cap as we negotiated what was then a fairly rough road at the ridge.

Taal volcano as seen from the ledge at Taal Vista Hotel.
A view of the lake, volcano and the town of Laurel, Batangas
Volcano island where there is another lake - a lake within Taal Lake
What looks like THE volcano in the middle of the photo is actually one of many craters of an active volcano
Taal has been the subject of a lot of photos due to the constantly changing lights, clouds that provide different backgrounds everytime. That's Mataas na Kahoy at the back in the background.
Another photo of Taal taken from the ledge at the vacant lot being used for horse riding attractions beside the hotel.
The town of Laurel, Batangas

Sunday, February 19, 2012

SF Redux: Hyde St. Pier

Just across the street from the Argonaut Hotel where we stayed in and which shares the building with the SF Maritime Museum is the Hyde St. Pier. The vessels docked at the pier are actually museum pieces. The pier is located (surprise! surprise!) at the end of Hyde Street, where the Powell & Hyde cable cars terminate. Hyde Street Park is a nice area by the bay where people can relax, perhaps read a book or just spend time picnicking with family and/or friends. The latter activities deserves a post of its own so I will refrain from writing more about them.

Following are a few more photos the Clairvoyant and I took during one lazy afternoon while burning time before our pick-up to the airport.

Take 1 at the Hyde St. Pier - I'm squinting because of the sun. It was a sunny day but it was also a cool one (around 16 degrees C that time)
Take 2 at the pier, this time with my sun glasses
The pier is just beside a beach where people could walk on barefooted. The sand and the water were clean. I didn't spot any flotsam or jetsam like what we are used to seeing in Manila and elsewhere in the Philippines near commercial harbors.
A popular vessel is an old ferry boat that used to take people to and from destinations around the Bay. There are many ferries doing this at present, reducing travel times significantly for those who choose to leave their cars at the nearest ports to their homes. I can imagine it is the equivalent of leaving one's car in Binangonan to ride a ferry to Guadalupe and the take public transportation to the office in Makati.
The Clairvoyant poses before the ferry - the old ferry boat is popular with visitors including school children often taken here for educational trips.
That's me reading about the ferry boat and with an old anchor on display beside the panel
The pier is an active one with lots of other boats docked. Many are fishing, crab and shrimp boats similar to the one you probably saw in Forrest Gump
Posing beside a solar boat on display at the pier

Guess what this is? Yup, it's the wheel that propelled many riverboats and similar vessels around the bay
View of the Hyde St. Pier with a schooner (sailing ship) and steamboat from where we sat at Hyde St. Park

There are other vessels docked at San Francisco's picturesque harbor that are preserved and open to visitors wanting to have the experience of boarding these One curiosity is the USS Pampano, an old submarine now docked near Fisherman's Wharf. Again, I can only imagine that we could also have similar exhibits and attractions in the Philippines. I'm sure we won't run out of material that can also serve to educate people about maritime transport and history. Now if only there would be people willing to support such an endeavor...