Calamba by Bike. Rizal @ 150!

What I discovered recently is how its so much better traveling around old towns in a bicycle. It won’t always be possible as tehre are limitations in the number of places you can reach but nothing  beats the health benefits (which I desperately needs!) and the mobility it affords.

Since I was expecting some rain (I usually check weather satellite reports) I counted on clouds keeping  the weather mild. I figured with that it would not be that hard to pedal my way from Muntinglupa to Calamba.

I passed by Binan, Sta. Rosa and Cabuyao with relative ease. There were no significant increase in elevation. I bought some liquids and apples along Sta. Rosa. As noon time drew closer the heat became more and more intense.

The heat was almost summer-like. I caught a break when it rained but it didn’t last long. Paid a high price as the sun scorched my skin and flesh on my way back home.

In Calamba, the city government is installing overpasses for pedestrians. It appears similar to the one you find in Alabang. Several roads were closed and re-routed. I had to  push my bike and walk alongside people in narrow pathways for pedestrians. Traffic was terrible.

I find it funny when you ask people for direction. They’ll always tell you “malayo pa” (still far) but I would usually find out that its not. Filipinos are a friendly bunch. I’ve never been denied assistance in my years of traveling.

From Calamba crossing, Rizal’s house is just a few blocks away. There are several bahay na bato around. The city government must tap into the potential of promoting them as sites to visit in Calamba.

I lost count how many times I visited Rizal shrine. A lot of people are bothered with what NHI did a couple years back. Coloring the house light green (I’ve seen this in most part of Asia, paint is a good preserving agent). I see nothing wrong with it. I just hope that they’re using the right paints. Otherwise, it would do more harm than good.

Ever since the 150th birth anniversary celebration the visitors has increased in number. And there’s good business to be had in selling Rizal souvenirs and books. I like the “Rizal Haligi ng Bayan” logo so I bought some stuff bring back home (two fridge magnet and a grocery bag).

I hope they’ll go beyond the lessons they learned from the house museum. Rizal’s a fascinating man. His life story is full of contrast, contradictions, of passion, of beliefs and fate, sacrifice –  for me, he’s the most amazing genius that ever walked the Filipino earth.

Like all Filipino heroes, Rizal, his life and his works, has been subjected to political and academic manipulation. Groups in the past and even today continue to cash in on his reputation and honor. Over time Rizal’s true message has been diluted by hidden agendas and conspiracies.

We need to look back and ask one question, Did we really follow his lead?

NHI don’t get a  lot of funding but with the way they continue restoring and protecting heritage houses they deserve to be commended. I particularly remember the trial house in Maragondon where they extended their resources most fully. Of course, there’s a lot work to do, as there always is. I hope they’re up to the challenge because we are losing a lot of these historical houses at a very rapid rate.

Some photos I took:

My first stop. Sta Rosa. Bought some refreshments and ate two medium sized apples (10 pesos each). A beggar came to me and asked for some change. Gave her two pesos. She wasn't happy with that. Blame your government for diluting the value of your currency lady, not me 🙂

Crossing Calamba bridge. People still wash clothes and take bathes here. I can only imagine how cleaner it was decades ago.

They call it "Mercado de Calamba". People are now beginning to understand the historical value of the Spanish language. Its strange that some historians made it appear that Rizal was against the use of Spanish as a language when it was he who wanted it to be used as a tool for Filipinos to exercise their freedom of speech, arts and their other liberties. The Rizal spoke Spanish in their home. According to a great grandson, Jose is addressed as "Don" in their Calamba home.

Rizal spuvenirs anyone?

Rizal @ 150 ala Warhol. This image is from his last studio portrait. I believe he was 29.

Aside from souvenirs, people that maintain the place sells "Mabolo" a smelly fruit that can be found all over the islands. There are several Mabolo trees around the shrine. There are thousands of places in the country named after this humble tree.

The Bahay na Bato has an architectural style that cannot be seen anywhere else.

I like the name, "Lecheria", the name suggest that this barrio is where dairy products were produced in Calamba. The hills is also the site of Calamba's ancient cemetery said to be reserved for non-Christians.

Rizal's Monte de Maquiling at a distance.

23 July 2011

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6 responses to “Calamba by Bike. Rizal @ 150!

  • Pransis

    Just saw your last photo Kuya. And sa kanto ‘to ng Letran where I am currently based. Wish we could have met para makita ko na in person the man behind With One’s Past. So long sa bike escapade Kuya! The best of luck.

    • De AnDA

      Hey Francis! Sure. If you bike we can go around. I’ll let you know in advance next time when I’m in the area. Congratulations on you site. Very well written articles. I’m enjoying it. I’m sure a lot of people do. Your bringing people close to places you visit. Your giving them a feel of the travel, of your subjects. More importantly, sharing with them historical facts. Its good that your staying away from the glam and glittery travel blogging. Let the materialistic and consumerist people do that. OK. Enough of my rant and annoyance.

      un abrazo,

      De Anda

      • Pransis

        Thank you Kuya for the compliments.

        With the regards to the biking, I don’t have a bike to use (laughs). But I can’t imagine doing what you are doing without the bikes of course. Hope you could do a bike tour of the Laguna de Bay shore.

        As with the other travel bloggers, they may be having different motivations. But I think travelling without getting to know the past (read: the history) of the place, they are definitely missing more.

        But in any case, I take pride with those people such as you and your friends who really take the time to dig in about history. You are all inspiration to budding history enthusiasts like us. And I hope more people would come and travel to places not just to see n o r m-designated tourist spots but also to learn history first hand. I hope I made some sense here. See you soon Kuya. Mabuhay.

  • Pepe

    Muntinlupa to Calambâ… on a bike?! I’m now convinced that you’ve totally lost your mind. 😀

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