Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Quezon Heritage House: A Place of Refuge and Comfort

I have a confession to make: I do not know much about the late President Manuel Quezon--aside from seeing him on a twenty peso bill, knowing it was during his time that Commonwealth law had been implemented and that it was after him that the city where I live got its name. Apart from those I've mentioned, I knew very little about this guy most commonly known as Don Manuel. I recently went to the Quezon Memorial Circle and found out there's something new in there that's worth checking out for--especially those who want to find out more about the late Philippine President Manuel Quezon. The newly built Quezon Heritage House speaks more about the great president's character as well as that of his family. 

The Quezon family once lived in a house originally located in Gilmore Street, New Manila. The ancestral house stood as mere witness to the trying times of the late President and the resilience of his family after his passing. It is the only house associated with the Quezon clan, a testament to the bygone era so inextricably entwined with the birth of an independent nation. The Quezon City local government unit heads together with the descendants of President Quezon had put on all their efforts to rebuilt and transferred the original house to the newly constructed Quezon Heritage House found in the heart of Quezon Memorial Circle. From the huge doors, the bed linens, the good 'ol treasure trove or what we Filipinos call "baul" or treasure trove, bathroom tiles, all the way to the wooden floorings--they were all original--they were builtin each and every piece, just like a puzzle to make sure that the Quezon Heritage House will look exactly as it was in its original location. Of course, there had been some changes among the items that can no longer be retrieved such as the jalousie window that was damaged, as well as the images of Jesus and Our Lady of Miraculous Medal which the Quezon family decided to keep (so guests can only see photos of the said images instead of the real thing). 

Coming to the Quezon Heritage House is like going to your grandparents' house in the province. But it feels like getting to know Don Manuel and his wife Dona Aurora for the first time. It gives one a taste of history, an idea how the First family lived and in the process learn bits and pieces of the Quezon family's secrets. Did you know that President Manuel Quezon married his own cousin? Yes, you read that right. Dona Aurora and Don Manuel were cousins. Dona Aurora Aragon Quezon was not only the country's first lady but she was also the Philippine National Red Cross' founder. She was a key leader during her time. 

President Manuel Quezon's so-called Achilles' heel was his being a chain smoker, thus he later developed tuberculosis. Thus, when you come and visit the Quezon Heritage house, you'll find two rooms with a common rest room: one for Don Manuel and the other for Dona Aurora. The Quezon Heritage House also shared the late president's favorite recipe called Cocido Espanol--a heirloom chicken recipe which every guest can actually try to cook at home since the Quezon Heritage House had the special recipe posted on the walls (in English and Filipino). 

There were so many things I've learned about the great man where my city got its name. The late president Quezon isn't no longer just someone I see on my twenty peso bill. He became real to me more than ever after visiting an imitation of his original ancestral home. He's like a "lolo" to me. I feel proud to live in a place named after the great man that he is. 

Come and visit, former Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon's Heritage house located at the Quezon Memorial Circle. Yes, just a stone's throw away from his final resting place--The Quezon Tower (that symbolizes Birth, Life and Death) at the heart of the Quezon Memorial Circle. At this time, entrance to the Quezon Heritage House is still FREE. But according to the tour guide, the management are still thinking if they'd be asking for a fee in the future for house's maintenance. 

Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this post. Opinions expressed are my own.

Revisiting Residence Inn in Tagaytay

If you've noticed, the Philippines had been experiencing cold weather lately due to polar vortex in other parts of the globe. If you're like most Filipinos who's a sucker for cold climate, you'd surely be rejoicing by this time since seldom do we experience such kind of climate since the country is a tropical one. Most of us would either go to Baguio City, but for the ones who do not like to travel that far, Tagaytay is the best option. After all, Tagaytay is just a few hours away from Manila. Known for its scenic sights and fresh produce, Tagaytay is also home to Residence Inn. 

I've been to Residence Inn a couple of times. The first time was when we had our field trip in my junior year in high school. I remember how much we had fun. Then, it also became a witness to one love story--my ex boyfriend and I once dated at the Residence Inn. So to be honest, there have been a whole lot of memories brought back to me when I revisited Residence Inn again after a long time. I wasn't surprised to see a lot of changes and improvements throughout the place. 

Exotic animals, birds, and serpents will be meeting you at Residence Inn. You can have your pictures taken with a friendly cockatoo, an awesome white owl like Harry Potter's Hedwig, an iguana or if you're brave enough, even with a serpent should you wish. There's no need to fear though as all these animals are trained by Residence Inn animal trainers to interact and welcome Residence Inn's guests and visitors. 

Kids will also be amazed with different animals' tricks during the special show where equally talented Residence Inn staff showcase their singing,dancing and even acting abilities. At the end of every show, guests can also interact with the different animals featured during the said show. 

For the more adventurous ones who like to fuel up their hunger for something extreme, they can try the zipline and cable car at Residence Inn. A breathtaking and scenic view filled with verdant field on a hill and the beauty of Taal Volcano and Taal Lake awaits you when you take the zipline. While you're up there, don't forget to smile on your right side, someone's taking your photo--say "Cheese!" You may claim your picture later for a minimal fee and take home a printed copy as a keepsake or a little souvenir of your Residence Inn zipline adventure. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Paradizoo: Power of Three-Festival Bloom of Agriculture

Mendez in Cavite may not be your usual go-to destination for families in need of some good R and R. That's why it came as a surprise that a small signage, which read, "This way to Paradizoo" would lead to this charming, quiet and eclectic paradise comprised of a vast garden foliage, amazing flora and faunas, some farm animals, butterfly area, bee kingdom, pet cemetery and a mini zoo. From Miniature horses to a thoroughbred one, one hump camels, albino water buffalos or carabao, local goat, wild boar, to different plants, kitchen and medicinal herbs and scented colorful flowers--you'll be seeing all these and more at this hidden paradise called Paradizoo.

In celebration of the year of the International Family Farming, Paradizoo presents the "Power of Three"--a Floral, Vegetable and Agri-Livestock Fair. Starting January 18 up to January 25, Flower Festival will be held covering topics on basic knowledge on caring for a bonsai plant, biotechnology products, health, fitness and wellness, vermi composting technology, pineapple jam making and aquavermiponics-the latest innovative in gardening. As you immerse yourself through all the said workshops, your kids can pick a spot on the lush garden, and get comfy in a hammock (there are for rents, but you can always bring your own). And for that special bonding moment, bring some picnic foods you can share with the rest of the family. 

From February 1 up to February 8, the Vegetable Festival teaches one how to propagate and maintain bamboo, topics on Urban Agriculture technology will also be discussed as well as the Vetiver Grass System. You and your kids will be taught how to milk a goat (and it is indeed a nice experience!) your kids can ride a horse, witness a chicken lay an egg, plant a coffee, basil leaves, a lettuce or a flower--there are also available on sale which you can bring home with you. 

For the Livestock Festival, topics will be from Farm selection to breeding goats and sheep in the country. Food safety will also be lectured on February 22. And on March 2, there will be a culminating activity which will feature an amazing horse parade. After enjoying the outdoors, your family can have a feast of Paradizoo's sumptuous local dishes with organic fresh produce straight from their vegetation. Try their version of lemongrass (tanglad) iced tea. My nephew Kyle simply can't get enough of it! 

Paradizoo is an ideal venue for picnics, educational field trips, outdoor and group outing programs. It is a fascinating paradise for the whole family. 

Get these wonderful experience and more, visit www.zoomanity.com.ph for more information. Call them at 899-9828 or 08. 899-9595 local 347.