Sunday, 5 September 2010

Manila War Memorial- The Story

I have been extremely lazy recently to post blogs. Call it ... just laziness. I am more inclined to zzzz at times and despite having a camera loaded with pictures of Manila... meh, i am just lazy. Anyway, if you don't start you kinda start backing log the back log.

I have been in Manila for around a month and a 1/2 already on work. It's a city of contrast i call it. At one end you have high end fashion, high city living, while walk like 2 steps out of that area, you get slums right around the corner. Goes to show that gap between the poor and the rich is quite big. Can i say i like the city... hmm... verdict is still out on this topic...Depends...Some part i like .... some areas are just scary.

I was also here at the height of the Hong Kong crisis. Funnily that time, when the fiasco was happening at Rizal Park, I was still at work or reaching the end of work and it was pouring heavily that night.  I read about the incident in the  early morning but never imagined that it can end in such a disaster. It was sad though, that many people perished unnecessarily in that incident. The whole incident was like a dumb and dumber episode of mishap, misplanning and being at the wrong place at the wrong time. And that incident kind makes you a little more cautious how you go around in town to avoid any problems. Thank god i skipped Rizal park a few weeks back as well, because looking around the place i can't see anything really touristy to look at.  

Manila-War Memorial-0092
Then it would be pretty funny to go to the War Memorial? :)  Well, i wanted to kill 2 birds with one stone. See the War Memorial and go to Fort Bonafacio. By the way, you can see this place if you are landing at Ninoy Aquino Airport and the view is pretty magnificent from above the sky. If you think if this is the infamous Manila cramped and multi story cemeteries actually this is not. It's for the soldiers both American and Filipinos killed during world war 2 in New Guinea and the Pacific.  I was drawn to this place because I love historical places and the non touristy places didn't really entrance me, i wanted something unique to see. Yes, i did get some funky comments this is boring but i always think you do what floats your boat and not what others think it is great.I reached the place around 9am thinking i would be the only one strolling around here but found that a lot of photographers were already hanging around in this place.Heck, i found it strange that a place to rest the dead is a haunt for photographers.

What i found fascinating is that, there is a large group of apartments( and mind you pricey apartments ) surrounding the cemetery.Imagine, waking up in the morning, throw open the curtains and look down.... ... Probably in KL this would be a not so good location to buy houses.
Manila-War Memorial-0089

Was it creepy to walk in this place? Not really. Aside that it was a bright and rather hot day, the walk through the rows of white ivory rows was like a walk ( at least for me ) through history. Funnily enough, you feel as if you have walked into their time zone, stuck in some second world war time zone.  For me, i can feel some lingering of the people long gone but have not left but not in the least scary way. There are at least 18,000 people buried here of both Americans and Filipinos and how they died, it is no wonder sometimes residual memory lingers around this area. I find the place reminds me of how many people sacrificed their lives for many others to be able to live the life the currently have. Googling, this on the net, i found alot of people have that same profound  feeling.(P/S:  I also only edited the photos in the daytime ... in case... hehehe )
Manila-War Memorial-0087

This immensely manicured cemetery was commissioned and maintained by the American Battle Monument commissions. Besides the Cemetery, there is also a chapel here and 25 mosaic on the many battles that took place in the Pacific, Burma, China( this one i didn't know ) and India during the 2nd world war. So you get an instant History class here at the same time in case you are not ... sure what happened during the 2nd world war. I took a pic of the one i am most familiar with ... Battle of Midway. This is what History Channel does to you when you watch too much of it :P
Manila-War Memorial-0111

Manila-War Memorial-0114
The plane! The plane!
While that one singular column represents the chapel, the curve of slabs of limestone piers are the engraved with the names of people who were killed in the war effort. And those that bodies were never found but were found later again, they had this little star next to their name.
Manila-War Memorial-0103

I found this one particular grave that was littered with flowers from one tree in the entire cemetery.  Thought it made a pretty shot.
Manila-War Memorial-0120
I spent about another 1/2 hour sitting at the limestone piers listening to the bells that toll at 10am playing some Church hymns... and decided to call it quits when the sun was too hot. 

Would i recommend people to come here? Yup definitely.  Is it Creepy? Nope, and the grass is super trimmed that you can walk on it barefoot with no problems. Do you need to pay to get in? Nope, it's free but if you want a quick history lesson, this is one place to be. Oh, there is dress code here though, no spaghetti straps no short shorts be properly dressed to respect the dead. And no running on the grass T_T...

For more pictures - go to my flickr link here.


  1. How long more will you be in good old Manila? Learning Tagalog as well? :) Take care there.

  2. @bact: got learn ... hehehe. Yeah i am fine here just have to be less blur and more aware of your surroundings

  3. So you're still there or back already?

  4. @jason: still there :)

  5. So you gonna spend your hari raya there in Manila. How nice~
    How's the weather there? Just like KL?

  6. Awesome pictures waiyee!!

  7. Wow, absolutely gorgeous photos!

  8. @Joyce: Thanks :)
    @AIC: Thanks and thanks for dropping by



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