"a caterpillar doesn't just grow into a butterfly. a caterpillar must undergo metamorphosis, and a cocoon is where a caterpillar risks it all: enters total chaos, undergoes total rebuilding, and is born to a new way of living. only in taking the risk of entering that inert cocoon can the caterpillar go from dormancy to potency, from ugliness to beauty."

Saturday, October 08, 2011

once upon a photowalk: the nayong pilipino

"Enjoy the company of people who are in your life for a season or a reason. Not everyone needs to be in your life forever. That's reserved for the very few lucky ones."
-- from Travelife Magazine's Suitcase Tales

let me begin this by saying that i missed out on the glory days of the nayong pilipino but... uh... now, on to my story.

joining the walk
when an online notification called my attention to the walk that ate bambit was leading as part of scott kelby's 4th annual worldwide photowalk and that the venue she chose for this year was the nayong pilipino (english translation: philippine village), i got excited.

the nayong pilipino jeepney

i had two main reasons for my excitement: one, it's a photowalk! plus, i know ate bambit and i knew our d60krew friends were also signing up for it. thus, i had assurance that joining the walk wouldn't be daunting. two, i have this curiosity to satisfy where the nayong pilipino is concerned -- i wanted to check out the place which, back in my childhood days in mindanao, i only got to know mainly about through those colorful postcards required in our civics and culture classes.

to put that in a simpler and more straightforward statement, here goes: i've never been to the nayong pilipino and, quite naturally, i wanted to experience the place. that's the child in me speaking.

signing up for the walk
with postcard-inspired mental images of the nayong pilipino that i knew of, i followed the link for the walk and... my excitement level dropped a little.

whoa! the walk was already full!!!

see, each organized walk for scott kelby's worldwide photowalk can only accommodate 50 official walkers. when i signed up for the walk, i was already no. 20+ (i think) on the waiting list. attention, we're already talking about the waiting list!

actually, being on the waiting list was not so bad. it was not really a major problem since we still could join the walk but not as official walkers -- only as salimpusa or kuyog-baboy. (salimpusa is a filipino term while kuyog-baboy is a visayan/cebuano term. both terms are associated with different animals -- pusa is a reference to cats, baboy is a reference to pigs -- but both translate to one same thing/concept, which is analogous to... a joker in a deck of cards).

the swelling number of people on the waiting list was not lost on ate bambit so a request was made for a parallel walk at the nayong pilipino to be led by kuya andy, also a d60krew member. after quite a long wait (with hopes of securing the needed approval getting dimmer as the day of the worldwide photowalk got nearer), the parallel walk got approved.

as soon as i learned of the approval, i joined the parallel walk, had my name removed from the the waiting list of the main walk and...voila!!! yey, parallel walk with the d60krew!!!

what came next? getting to know more about the nayong pilipino. bow.

the nayong pilipino as i knew it
the nayong pilipino was, according to the old postcard photos and captions, a theme park housing close-to-faithful miniature replicas of the philippines' popular tourist attractions -- ifugao's banaue rice terraces, bicolandia's mayon volcano, bohol's chocolate hills, and cebu's magellan's cross just to name those that i could easily recall. i understood it to be as the one place in the country where one could drown in wanderlust and tour the philippines from luzon to visayas to mindanao (and back or in any preferred sequence) without having to worry about spending for airfare or boatfare to get from one island to the next just to be in one major attraction to the next.

the nayong pilipino's mayon volcano

that it was established in 1969, a 46-hectare facility, and, as a theme park showcasing tourist destinations and culture, the first of its kind in southeast asia -- these are details which i only learned recently when i did a quick online search to know more about the place.

the nayong pilipino then and now
the nayong pilipino implanted in my mind is an awe-inspiring village area of culture and postcard-perfect miniaturized philippine sceneries. the nayong pilipino that exists today is not anymore that. the theme park got neglected and the years and new directions towards "development" took their toll on this once-upon-a-time major tourist complex.

then, in hammering-the-nail-to-the-coffin fashion...

"In 2002, the then Arroyo administration stopped the park’s operations following the conversion of nearly nine hectares of the property into a parallel taxiway and service road connecting Naia Terminals 2 and 3."
source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/27569/airport-needs-nayong-pilipino-for-expansion

gone are the significant portions of the park. gone are visayas and mindanao. gone are the replicas of the chocolate hills and magellan's cross. gone, too, are the replicas of the vigan houses in ilocos sur and the banaue rice terraces of the cordilleras.

tangled. balete-wrapped trees of the nayong pilipino

nayong pilipino and bagong nayon
before i go on, allow me to make one thing clear. there is a new nayong pilipino more often referred to by its filipino name, bagong nayong pilipino, being developed by the philippine amusement and gaming corporation (that's better known as PAGCOR by you and me). i heard the bus attendants refer to it as "bagong nayon" (new village) and it is at the reclaimed area near the SM mall of asia. its developer's vision is to make it "a Las Vegas- or Macau- like gaming and entertainment center." clearly, that's not the nayong pilipino that i'm talking about here. i'm talking about the old nayong pilipino (or maybe i should say, THE nayong pilipino) right next to the airport.

THE nayong pilipino can be easily reached by taking a MIA-bound bus from EDSA. the airconditioned ride from magallanes to just right before the airport terminal 2 checkpoint (which is just across the gates of the nayon) cost me 12 philippine pesos only.

the nayong pilipino as i found it on 1st of october 2011
upon passing through the gates of the nayon and as i walked past the spacious parking lot to get to the orchidarium coffee shop, i assessed my impression of the place. i perceived that, indeed, it has seen better days.

the nayong pilipino that i entered is a large compound with the atmosphere of an old family park -- the vibe was country-like with the trees and the greens but there were tell-tale signs of neglect and abandonment (the imposing presence of the philippine village hotel building is a difficult-to-ignore example).

walk this way in the nayong pilipino

i found the place interesting -- it's somewhat run-down but not exactly unkempt, it's old but fascinating, undeniably dying in more than some aspects but still breathing with much in some, too.

i could not resist wondering how it must have been like to be there 20, 30 or so years ago. i could not provide the answer on my own. too bad, huh, i was born late and it took me long before i could make a visit -- i missed out a lot.

a case of better late than never
i am glad that i signed up and showed up for the photowalk last saturday despite the gloomy skies due to typhoon quiel's arrival. true, it was quite a challenging time for taking pictures but i am grateful that i got my opportunity to explore the nayong pilipino, appreciate what's in it, and got insights on what it could become.

after going through the registration and exchanging hi's and hello's with ate bambit and joseph, the volunteer registration officer by the time i arrived, i took steward and putiX -- my nikon d60 and my sony ericsson xperia x8, respectively -- for a walk.

i took some photos of the lotus plants that caught my attention and the shaded pond where they thrive before walking some more.

pink lotus flowers

the pond in the orchidarium

i eventually found myself looking at what would turn out to be everyone's favorite subject that day -- the beautiful replica of the mayon volcano.

this beautiful replica of mayon volcano dominates the nayong pilipino landscape

i walked some more and saw portions of the park in sad state.

i saw the "under renovation" sign

since there was a scheduled presentation prepared for us by atty. apolonio b. anota, jr., director of the nayong pilipino foundation, i made way back to the orchidarium coffee shop to catch the latter part of his talk -- about the nayong pilipino, rehabilitation efforts, and the initiative of cultivating orchids and goal of housing thousands of them in the park.

now, the orchids of the nayong pilipino are testimonies of patience and dedication and they are wonderful to behold.

take time to enjoy the sight of flowers when in nayong pilipino

don't miss out on these beauties particularly the
ninoy aquino orchid (with white flowers) and
the cory aquino orchid (with yellow flowers).

towards the end of the walk, i joined the rest of the d60krew who also signed up and showed up for the walk. it was reunion time!

one last "field trip" before calling it a day
after having lunch and spending some bonding time at the park's concession area, i and some d60krew members (ate bambit, royskie, geh, and gina) agreed to go to the ifugao portion of the nayon where there is an on-going reconstruction of traditional ifugao houses complete with carvings.

it was "field trip" time because from "bicol" we were going to "ifugao." but first, we made a stopover at the building that once housed via mare and kamayan restaurant. it's under renovation but entering it seemed necessary as it's a vantage area for a breathtaking view of the nayong pilipino's mayon volcano and the big pond.

the building as seen from a distance

when we got to "ifugao," it started to drizzle but this didn't stop our small group from taking more pictures and moving further to the park's aquarium complex.

ifugao house. reconstruction in progress.

sadly, the aqua tanks, which used to house the different fishes that can be found in philippine waters, are no more.

aquarium area in ruins: no more fish, no more tanks

there are 4 big (and relatively new) tanks in the area, however, that are teeming with golden tilapia. they look like koi but that's according to my untrained eye.

golden tilapia collection

i learned from ate bambit that fishing at the big pond (the one dominated by the replica of the mayon volcano) is allowed for PhP20 per fishing rod (perhaps one can think of it as unlimited fishing for PhP20). apparently, part of the rehabilitation plan is that once the big pond is cleaned up of the "old" fish species and what-have-you's, the golden tilapia will be freed there.

after exploring the aquarium part of the nayong pilipino, it was time for our small group to call it a day. we already took the pictures that we could and typhoon quiel's "advance party" was already upon us -- the combo of overcast sky, rain, and strong wind.

hey, wait. i fulfilled a childhood dream that day. then, there's more. i have another "something to look forward to"...

aside from i could try fishing, i have a reason to go back to the nayong pilipino soon: biking!

biking where you could have the mayon volcano for a backdrop, anyone? ;-)

'til my next update!

(1) this one's a bonus! during the photowalk, i met an online friend, kuya chris, in person for the first time after 7 years of virtual interaction with him via ibalita, yahoo! messenger, and blogging. awesome!

(2) i own ALL the photos before this jump. this group photo, however, is from geh lusterio's camera: 

group photo of the official main and parallel walk participants 
of scott kelby's worldwide photowalk 2011 at the nayong pilipino. 
in addition to those already mentioned, the d60krew members who showed up:
bangge, ryan, john, carlo, andrew, olee, karla, art, kuya andy and d60krew godfather, sir rolly

1 comment:

  1. Sayang ang Nayong Pilipino! I'm thankful na nakapunta pa ako doon back in my Elementary days. I remember, tuwang-tuwa ako! It was a great park. Ang Indonesia kay okay gihapon ilang Taman Mini. Sayang lagi ning sa ato. :-(


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...