Sunday, May 13, 2012

Trip to the Philippines, April 21 to 23 (Day -1 to Day 1)

April 21, Friday (Day -1) - Nine of us boarded a plane from Winnipeg to Vancouver in the evening of April 21, 2012. Travelling with us were: RWB Doug Webster, SGW, and Lady Valerie Webster; RWB George Mann, PDDGM, and Lady Joanne Mann; WB Roy Van Luven; WB Grant Jago and Bro Raul Bulaong. Our Air Canada flight was delayed for a little over two (2) hours. The layover at Vancouver was originally three (3) hours so we made it to our connecting flight from Vancouver to Manila. Well, there were a lot of Winnipeg passengers on the Manila flight so Philippine Airlines (PAL) waited. It was a 13-hour flight from Vancouver to Manila. We had two (2) meals and two (2) snacks and a lot of time to sleep and prepare for our trip-of-a-lifetime. The main objective of the trip was to attend the 96th Annual Communication of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of the Philippines to be held in Naga City from April 26 to 28.

In these first two (2) pictures, our co-travellers looked refreshed after almost 12 hours in flight.
In the back of the picture above are, from L to R: Bro Raul Bulaong (L, standing); RWB George Mann; and Sis Joanne Mann. In the foreground of the picture above are Sis Valerie Webster (L) and RWB Doug Webster (R).
In the second picture are WB Roy Van Luven (L) and WB Grant Jago (R), showing the books they started to read.

April 23, Monday (Day 2)
We arrived in Manila at past 6 AM, "losing" a day in the flight to the west.
It was an easy going through Immigration but it took a long time to retrieve our luggage. There were two (2) other big flights from the U.S. at around the time our plane landed.
We checked into the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City and had our first buffet breakfast.
Bro Conrad Cabrera, who was already in Manila, joined us for breakfast. He was at the airport to meet us but since our flight was delayed and it took so long to get our baggage, he was not able to wait for us. He then met up with us at the hotel.

After checking into our rooms, we had a half-day tour of Manila. Our first stop was the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Fort Bonifacio, which, with a total 17,206 graves, is the largest cemetery in the Pacific for U.S. personnel killed during WW II. It also holds those from the Philippines and other Allied nations who passed away during the war.

On its walls are inscribed the names of 36,282 of the Missing who gave their lives in the service of America and who rest in unknown graves.
You can access more information about this beautiful memorial by clicking here.

Bro Conrad Cabrera points to a Cabrera listed on the wall.

Here are pictures of the Chapel in the Cemetery.

Our next stop was the Rizal Monument at the Luneta Park.

Our last tour stop that afternoon was Fort Santiago in Intramuros.

 This is a picture of the courtyard inside the Fort.
The last footsteps of Bro Dr Jose Rizal are marked on this path.
He was detained in a cell in the Fort from November 3 to December 28, 1896, charged with rebellion, sedition and formation of illegal societies (including Masonic Lodges). His court sentence was read at 6 AM on December 29, after which he was kept in an improvised chapel until he walked to Bagumbayan Field, where he was executed.

Siamese (twin) cats? These were just outside Rizal's cell.

Here is a picture of the copy of the Filipino translation of Rizal's poem written on the eve of his execution, Mi Ultimo Adios (My Last Farewell).

Inscription: "The Sovereign Grand Lodge of the Philippine Archipelago, AASR of Freemasonry, successor of The Grande Oriente Espa├▒ol in the Philippines donates and dedicates this picture (shown below) in memory  of our loved Brother, foremost Hero and Martyr, Dr Jose P Rizal. Ninety-Third Birth Anniversay, June 19, 1954.

A view of the Pasig River taken from the rooftop of the Fort.

Bro Conrad Cabrera points to a bamboo shoot.

Following are pictures taken on our way back from Intramuros to our hotel in Makati.
The rotunda at the Mall of Asia (MOA).
Korean Karaoke in Pasay City, along the way to the hotel.
That is our hotel for the next two (2) nights before we go to Naga. We will also stay there on our last four (4) nights prior to going back to Winnipeg next week.

In the evening of April 23, Monday, we all attended the Eyeball to Eyeball (EB2EB) of the Pinoy Masons Yahoo Group at Golden Fortune Restaurant. There were Brethren from Virginia, DC, California, Illinois and other States.

The EB2EB was coordinated by VWB Alex Go (L) and Kuyang Roland (Maven) Biscarra (R).


That evening was the first time for our non-Filipino companions to taste San Miguel beer.
It was a very long day for all of us from Winnipeg. Thus ended our first day in the Philippines - an excellent start of our two-week sojourn.

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