14
Oct
10

The Historic Centre of Macau – A Walking Tour

On our first day, we explored the Macau city proper on foot. If it’s your first time there, let me guide you on a walking tour and explore the city on your own. You don’t need to spend a dime on those packaged tours which you have to endure with a few other tourists. Its better to discover the city on your own, trust me. First, a brief description of what to expect…

The Historic Centre of Macau is a living representation of the city’s historic settlement, encompassing architectural legacies interwoven in the midst of the original urban fabric that includes streetscapes and piazzas. These major urban squares and streetscapes provide the linkage for a succession of over twenty monuments and places of worship. These altogether make up “The Historic Centre of Macau”.

Don’t worry there are signposts all around Macau which will point you to the right direction. Wear comfortable walking shoes and keep a map nearby in case you make a wrong turn and find yourself lost in an alleyway. This walking tour takes about 3-4 hours on foot if you don’t go taking photo-ops at every inconceivable corner. :)

1) A-Ma Temple – we started our walking tour by requesting the taxi to drop us at this temple, located on the south-western tip of the Macau Peninsula overlooking Barra Square and the seashore. If you have personal wishes and favors you want to ask the deities, this is the temple to go to. The variety of pavilions dedicated to the worship of different deities in a single complex make the A-Ma Temple an exemplary representation of Chinese culture inspired by Confusianism, Taoism, Buddhism and multile folk beliefs.

A-Ma Temple

2) Moorish Barracks – is just around the corner of the A-Ma temple situated on Barra street. The Moorish Barracks was constructed to accommodate an Indian regiment appointed to reinforce Macau’s police force back in the early 1874. We didn’t go inside since it was closed at the early hour of 8AM. :)
Moorish Barracks

Lilua Square

3) Lilau Square - further up the road, the narrow street from the Moorish Barracks suddenly opens to the first Portugese residential quarters in Macau. There are even some houses there that still have inhabitants living and probably maintaining the houses there.

Lilua Square

4) St. Lawrence’s Church – as we went further up the road, Barra street connects into Padre Antonio St. and Lourenco St. where the St. Lawrence’s Church stands. It was a beautiful, church built by the Jesuits in the mid 16th century and one of the three oldest churches in Macao. I love the neo-classical structure and Baroque decorative inspirations of the church, and I found out that the neighborhood where the church is located used to be fairly wealthy thus explaining the scale and wealth of the architectural treatment. Its just too bad that it is not permitted to bring cameras inside the church.. the inside is just as grand as it is on the outside.
St. Lawrence's Chruch

5) St. Augustine’s Square - walk alongside the granite wall on Prata St and the adjoining Seminario St. and you will arrive at the junction of Gamboa Lane. Climb up the hill from there and the path will lead you to St. Augustine’s Square enclosed by a cluster of monuments. I just had to take a seat at one of the benches there and enjoy the surrounding views. I let hubby snap away with his camera while I take a much needed water break. Public toilets or comfort rooms can be found within the area ( I sense that you are going ask that on my comments section later on :).
St. Augustine's Square

6) Dom Pedro V Theatre – this is one of the monuments around the St. Augustine’s Square. It is the first western-style theatre in China with a seating capacity of 300.
Dom Pedro V Theatre

7) St. Augustine’s Church – another magnificent monument in the St. Augustine’s Square, this church was established by Spanish Augustinians in 1591. We were so thankful for our trusted tripod at this time that we just had to have a photo ops in it’s facade.
St. Augustine's Church

8)Senado Square - moving down Tronco Velho Lane to Almeida Ribeiro Avenue, the narrow streetscape opens into the main city square. It has been Macau’s urban centre for centuries and is still the most popular venue for public events and celebrations today. The place is crowded with tourists so be quick to pose and take that picture, no need to be shy since most people there want to do the same thing you are doing. :)
Senado Square

9) Leal Senado Building – situated at one end of the Senado Square, which has a commanding view overlooking the entire square.

Leal Senado Building

10) St. Dominic’s Church – at the junction of Senado Square and St. Dominic’s Square is the Lou Kau Mansion (which we didn’t explore and took photos of) and the St. Dominic’s Church. At the back of this church is a bell tower which has been modified into a small Museum of Sacred Art with a collection of 300 artifacts. If you like museums then its one of the nearest in the area.
St. Dominic's Square
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11) Ruins of St. Paul – from St. Dominic’s Square, ascend from the base of Mount Hill from this urban piazza along Palha Street and the bluestone cobbled road will lead you to the grand facade of the Ruins of St. Paul. One of the most known landmarks in Macau.

Ruins of St. Paul's

12) The Mount Fortress – just walk to the side of the Ruins of St. Paul and you will arrive at this fortress that covers an area of 10,000 square meters in the shape of a trapezoid with canons dating back to the 1800s.

Mt. Fortress Cannon Details

This is the last stop of our walking tour since we were already famished and lunch was just a few minutes away back to the Senado Square. :)

But if you still wish to continue the tour of the rest of the Historic Centre of Macau… from the Mount Fortress is the miniature Na Tcha Temple and Section of the Old City Walls. Further down the hill, the linear route ends at St. Anthony’s Church, The Casa Garden and the Protestant Cemetery. You can choose to hire a taxi or ride the bus to go to the Guia Fortress, Chapel and Lighthouse which stands on the highest hill of Macau which are all visible along the skyline of the peninsula.

Hope that helps you on your next visit to Macau. :)

Notable sources of info: “Macau Guide Book”  published by the Macau Tourist Office 

13
Oct
10

Macau – Pinoy Style

In our daily stroll around Macau, we’ve met a lot of kababayans there. They were practically in every hotel, casino and tourist spot we’ve ever been to. One of the friendly faces we met there was Edgar, an attendant at the Casa Real Hotel where we stayed. He was always with a ready smile and a warm “Welcome po..first time nyo po dito sa Macau?” At which we readily felt at home. He briefed us on must see places and common tourist traps in and around Macau. We were grateful to him since being first timers there, he provided a lot of useful information that made our stay really worthwhile.
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with Edgar at the Casa Real Hotel where the brochures have him as model! :)

On our first day, we headed off to Taipa, of course it wouldn’t be a good Macau experience if we didn’t indulge ourselves in a romantic Gondola ride at the posh The Venetian Hotel. Our gondolier was Nicola, a nice lady who spoke excellent English. She also serenaded us with Italian love songs which she sang so beautifully. With such raw talent, we were not surprised to know that she was Pinay along with the other gondoliers there. We were even happy to note that thirty percent of the staff at The Venetian were Pinoys. Imagine that?
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Nicola, our gondolier at the Grand Canal of The Venetian Hotel

Another thing we noticed is that most hotels have Filipino security personnel. Probably due to the fact that Pinoys abroad are known to be hardworking and notably trustworthy. Its just an added factor that we are an english speaking race so it was easier for them to communicate to almost all of the tourists visiting Macau.
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The smiling security personnel who informed us of the auto show at The Venetian..very nice gentlemen.

There was an instance when we were boarding the City of Dreams shuttle bus that we saw a The Venetian Hotel employee who was on his way to work (with his uniform, name tag and all) stopping by to help a group of tourists load their luggage in the hotel shuttle bus even if he was not yet required to do so. Again, it comes not as a surprise that he is Pinoy. That’s Filipino hospitality to you my dear readers. :)
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Another nice kababayan we met…(my apologies, didn’t get his name)

In this part of the world, fellow kababayans are providing the Filipino touch – giving excellent service and working hard, giving their 101% in everything they do. Most of them are even degree holders but sought to seek greener pastures abroad. 

In many countries they are given high regard for their professionalism and hardwork as well as the personal touch and compassion they have for their line of work.

We salute you – the Filipino worker. You continue to make us proud to be Pinoys wherever you are in the world. Mabuhay po kayo!
13
Oct
10

Historic Macau – East meets West fusion

Ruins of St. Paul's
The Ruins of St. Paul’s

This is the first blog I have of a place outside of our native Philippines which I intend to share with you for the remaining half of this month. Let me retrace our steps and lead you to a journey to MACAU…
“Ou Mun” is Macau’s former name which means ‘trading gate’ due mainly to its location at the mouth of the Pearl River Delta. During ancient times, the port city was part of the Silk Road with ships loading their wares with silk for Rome.
Today, Macau is a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. Like Hongkong, it benefits from the principle of “one country, two systems”. It is made up of the Macau peninsula, the islands of Taipa and the reclaimed area Cotai.

Upon arrival at the airport, you can see that Macau is a city where eastern and western influences have met and continue to coexist in harmony. The legacy of those glorious bygone days can be seen in pastel coloured palaces, baroque churches and exotic temples, imposing fortresses with silent canons, the Portuguese and the Chinese influences.

Mt. Fortress Cannon Details
Mt. Fortress canon details..which date back in the 1800s

Leal Senado Building
The Leal Senado, Portuguese for Loyal Senate, was the seat of Macau’s government (Legislative Assembly of Macau) during its time as a Portuguese colony.

Macau is a blend of cultures, people, aromas, flavours and styles, unique characteristics that distinguish it from its neighbors. In our evening walk around the hotel looking for a good restaurant, we came upon a quaint little Chinese restaurant serving exotic oriental food as well as McDonald’s and Starbucks. The choices for food alone are endless.
Outside The Venetian Resort Hotel
Outside facade of The Venetian Macao Hotel

Macau is a city where eastern and western influences have met and continue to coexist in harmony. The bequest of those glorious bygone days can be seen in the pastel colored palaces, baroque churches and exotic temples, imposing fortresses with silent cannons, winding narrow streets and the people. People who created a unique blend of two cultures, the Portugese and the Chinese.

Join us as we unravel the historic beauty and fusion that is uniquely MACAU...

St. Augustine's Church
The Pinay travelogue blogger and photographer at the St. Augustine’s Church

29
Sep
10

Trappistine Monastery of Our Lady of Mt Matutum..a Place of Solace and Peace

Deep in the highlands of Landan in Polomolok, South Cotabato lies a quaint monastery run by the Trappistine nuns. These nuns are under the Cistercian order which started in France around the year 1098. The Trappistine Monastery of the Our Lady of Mt. Matutum is a place of prayer, meditation and reflection. They open their doors to the public once a week during the offering of the Sunday mass.

Its refreshing to note that such a place exists in the middle of pineapple fields and rolling hills in faraway Landan. The steep drive up the monastery leads to their guest house (not one where you can book your vacations mind you). The guest house as it is aptly called houses the monasteries’ visitors who are on retreat or recollection. They find solace in prayer at the Trappistine Monastery since the place is so close to nature. The breathtaking view of the towering Mt. Matutum and the huge trees and foliage around it brings an atmosphere of peace and perfect commune with our Creator.

Since the Trappistine nuns live a life of solitude and prayer, they only ask their visitors to observe utmost silence within their grounds. Small children are not encouraged to be brought along especially inside the chapel during the offering of the Holy Mass. The nuns of the order follow a disciplined life of prayer and work. They support themselves by selling pastries, prayer books, posters and other religious artifacts. Their rum balls and mango tarts are personal favorites and they are a very good “pasalubongs”.

I personally love the simple but fine lined architecture of the monastery. Its red tiled roofings and modern feel of its edifice. It never fails to surprise our bakasyunistas whenever we have the chance to take them there. They are often astonished that such a place exists in remote but very accessible town of Landan. But oftentimes I have to remind them that it is a place of “worship” not a tourist spot so we have to be discreet in snapping photos and maintain the atmosphere of silence within its grounds.

To go to there, one can ride a motorcycle from Poblacion Polomolok or from Bgy. Cannery, Polomolok. A taxi from GenSan or a rented van would also work out fine since Landan is roughly about 13kms from Poblacion Polomolok. The Trappistine Monastery schedules its masses at 10AM every Sunday. For retreats or recollections or for orders of their yummy treats and souvenir items, you can reach them at this number: 63 920 4377367

view on the way to landan..
26
Sep
10

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25
Sep
10

GTX 1st Lawihan Street dancing and Fish Fest sa Fishport

It has been a successful Tuna Fest so far with the advent of exciting activities such as the Fish Fest sa Fishport and the 1st Lawihan street dancing competition. Unfortunately I wasn’t present during these events so I can only give you a general view of what went on during the activity so you have something really wonderful to look forward to for other upcoming events of this year’s Tuna Fest.

The 1st Lawihan Street dancing competition was participated by the local fishing and tuna canneries in the area. They paraded early on in their colorful costumes all brandishing the mighty tuna.

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1st Lawihan Street dancing showdown with a crowd of onlookers, bloggers and photographers.

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One of the contingents giving reverence to the Tuna in a dance showcase

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The fish port area served as stage for this year’s Lawihan street dancing

17
Sep
10

Gensan Camera Club Photo Exhibit…. their own GenSan TunaFest Experience

I really love the guys and gals of the Gensan Camera Club or GCC if you may. They’re a band of photo enthusiasts cum hobbyists cum professionals who share their love for the art of the captured image. Photos for me has always been “frozen memories” a living diary of what transpired, a record of moments..but being around these photo hobbyists in the GCC made me see the real art that they see in each of their camera frames. At this day and age, a photograph is not merely a recording of events or “photo journalism” but it is a work of art. It takes not only the ability to frame your subject but the expertise on knowing how to maximize the use of your DSLR camera or post processing to come up with an artistic photo.

Ribbon cutting at the GCC Photo Exhibit at KCC, with GCC president, Omar S. Gallinero are sponsors from KCC and Fuji Perfect Image and members of the GCC (photo courtesy of Mr. Ronald Rivera)
So it comes not as a surprise that the GCC was invited to have a photo exhibit at one of the leading malls here in GenSan, the KCC Mall of Gensan. They showcased their works of art centering on photos taken during previous year’s Tuna Fests.

Even before the ribbon cutting, people in the mall were already viewing their photos. I even saw some taking photos of the exhibit in their own cellphone cameras (I guess that includes me! :). “It’s fine” as one member said, “just as long as they recognize copyright and not use the photos they took of our photos on display for public viewing” hahaha! yeah right. I saw one onlooker taking a photo of the only portrait in the exhibit resizing it in his cellphone..probably a fan. :)  Nonetheless, it was nice to see the Generals admiring the works of their fellow General.

If you are within the area and you have time this weekend, come visit their exhibit at the upper ground level of the KCC Mall of Gensan. And see for yourself how talented the contingent of the Gensan Camera Club really are. You don’t have to take my word for it, come see their works of art on display. Words afterall won’t give them justice. See you all there and have a GenSan Tuna fest eXperience with us!

Thank you to KCC Mall of Gensan and Fuji Perfect Image for sponsoring this event!



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