Saturday, November 7, 2009

Manila Bay Sunset: Still the Most Beautiful in the World

Manila Bay sunset is still the most beautiful in the world. It never fails to mesmerize tourists and locals alike.

Thus I made it a point to finish our rounds at the Manila Ocean Park just in time to witness the world-famous Manila Bay sunset.

They say that what makes Manila Bay's sunset spectacular than any other sunset is because there is no land in the western horizon. So that when the great big orange sun drops from watercolor skies, it looks like it plunges into the deep-deep ocean.

I remember a time when the entire Manila Bay area turned red as the red sun unquietly slipped into the watery horizon, making a spectacular exit, accented by black stripes of graceful coconut silhouettes.

I just love my beautiful, beautiful Manila Bay sunset.

Star City, Manila!

Star City is every child's destination in Manila. It is located along Roxas Boulevard near giant landmarks such as the Cultural Center of the Philippines and Aliw Theater.

Bea and I tried exploring the place on our own on foot, and found out that it is actually farther than in the map, so we took a taxi that unfortunately conked out on us, forcing us to walk the remaining kilometer or so.

We paid the PhP250 ride-all-you-can entrance fee, and started trying the themed chambers such as the Peter Pan adventure room.

I enjoyed the flight simulation so much, the black wrought iron railings looked almost invisible against a black sky made me feel like Wendy flying along with Peter. I loved it so much that we re-entered the room again just to experience the thrill of night flight.

However, Bea gives a two thumbs down for the Pinoy themed horror house.

And we wasted so much time at the Peter Pan room that we just breezed through the Egyptian tombs.

Star City also has classic rides such as these rotating floaters, the boat version of bump cars.

I will never, ever ride this Viking Ship again! And in the future, if ever, a roller coaster. It gave a little consolation that, at the last minute, I decided to sit beside Bea who chose to sit on one end of the giant pendulum of a boat suspended in midair. We ended up panicking and terror-stricken in the middle of the horror ride, practically begging the operator to let us off but instead he made it even swing a little faster we almost swooned in our drool.

Recovering from our daze, Bea wanted to try wall climbing, a prize awaited at the top if she could climb it within a time limit...

... but she made it only up to this level, and went back down on the rapel.

The classic merry-go-round was most comforting we rode on it twice.

There were other rides and throws that made us crazy just figuring out how to win the ultra big and cute stuffed toys that I forgot to snap some pictures, or maybe my battery went low already.

But the memories will always remain, our fun memories of Star City.

Museo Pambata

Museo Pambata in Manila is a very educational place for children to visit.

We just accidentally stumbled upon it while studying the area from the hotel my daughter and I were billeted for the McDonald's Champion Kid 2008 for the Summer Olympics in China.

Museo Pambata is just located along Roxas Boulevard. From where we were, we crossed the street and enjoyed a whole afternoon of educational fun and learning.

Upon entering, we were automatically whisked back in time when our Philippine heroes of old lived, and died for their country.

Then we tried on for ourselves traditional Filipino costumes, the baro't saya for women and the barong tagalog for men, although the picture below does not depict the correct costume for men. It looks like a revolutionary soldier on barefoot, which is a shame.

This is Museo Pambata's mini version of the Manila Cathedral, a very important landmark of Old Manila.

Another famous icon of the Manila of old is this tram, later replaced by horse-driven calesas or karitelas and motorized vehicles.

The Science section of Museo Pambata is a very educational and exciting portion. It splits into two: your choice of The Human Body and The Science Lab (my title because I forgot what they were really called).

First, we tried The Human Body by entering the mouth of a really big face, as if we were being eaten alive and introduced into the digestive system.

We traveled along the esophagus and into the circuitous path of the digestive track, learning how food is broken down along the way. The picture below shows us running along with the blood in the giantess' veins.

As each person is unique, so are we in this interactive mirror exhibit.

After coming out like happy poops, we proceeded to The Science Lab of Museo Pambata, which reminded us of our trip to Singapore's Science Center. Although the latter was more hi-tech and amusing, still the Philippine version was amazing and educational.

A self-timed camera with a mini stand turned out very helpful when everybody else is busy tinkering with the science exhibits and their respective cameras.

We obviously had a lot of fun in the interactive science exhibit section of Museo Pambata, as in this large piano played by our feet.

Too bad we missed one section that had to be renovated at the time. It was the sports section and it smelled of enamel paint.

We then toured the typical Filipino Community section and tried on smelly firemen costumes...

... pretended to be barbers, rice, fish and meat vendors...

... and went home to our mini bahay kubo complete with kitchen facilities and no bathroom.

We had a fun treat with the traditional Filipino music and dance of Mindanao.

If you think our dance steps are funny, well, we were just following the dance template of the Pangalay (offering), a beautiful traditional offering dance.

This is a mirror with traditionally muslim-designed frame, facing each other to create the illusion of an endless tunnel. As I child, I always wondered what it felt like to be in a hall of mirrors. This one comes closest to my mirror fantasy.

There were many other sections of Museo Pambata that show concern for the environment, such as a typical rainforest scene.

And what it feels like to live in a tree house.

There is also a giant sewer, visually explaining to children where garbage ends up, so that they will have to be more responsible about waste disposal.

At the exit, a real junk helicopter painted in bright colors bid visitors goodbye. Unfortunately, I lost that picture. Perhaps, it's for you to find out when you visit the one place that you should not dare miss with your child when in Manila. I highly recommend Museo Pambata.

Overcome, Not Become

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." -- John 16:33 (NIV).

Jesus has warned us that there will be trouble in this world, and that peace is only in Him. It is only in Him that we can overcome the world, as He has overcome it.

Sadly, rather than overcome, some become what God has not planned for them. I am not spared by this becoming, it is and always been a constant struggle. And truly, one cannot lean on his own understanding. It is always fallible, no matter how well-thought, how smart it may seem, as God has proven time and again that His thoughts are not our thoughts.

It is only through faith that we can see what is unseen and find rest in His peace.

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