The beautiful "twin towers" in Cebu owned by one of the members became a cozy locus of the HNU's secular pilgrims bound for Manila, Baguio City, and Subic Freeport in Zambales. Obviously, any trip-be it land, aerial, fluvial, or whatever — requires stamina, determination, commitment, diligence, and concern on the part of the "tourist." Well, repeat, the primordial purpose was for bonding and camaraderie. Be this criteria as may be, but, oh, there was nothing to worry. All of these requisites were duly had by Drs. Dede Saturinas, Jemma Jay, Carmen Decierdo, Grace Samson, Daniel Lao, Roque Bongcac, Ed Babor, Engr. James Uy, Amie Caballo, Pruds Mondragon, Engr. Juliet Espiritu, and Celia Samson. The group's visit to Sto. Domingo and San Augustine churches gave them the guarantee that God will surely abides them in their journey.
With the vigilant eyes of the tour organizers namely, Dr. Jemma Jay, Amie Caballo, and Engr. James Uy, there was diametrically nothing to worry about. The tour in Manila, especially in the Intramuros Area which unmitigatingly included the museum in Fort Bonifacio that kept everything memorable about Jose Rizal, helped the AAC members a lot to have a better focus on the pages of the annals of our history, especially when it comes to the minute details of our national hero.
You maybe worried, but it is true. The group left Manila for Baguio at 10:00 P.M. and arrived in Baguio City at past 2:00 A.M. That’s what we said earlier, you need a graceful stamina for you to prosper in your desire to engage in a tour. Of course in Baguio, the miraculous statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary on top of the almost 300 steps of cemented pathway up requires, again, a call for endurance — just the same, stamina. Wow! Only Drs. Roque Bongcac and Ed Babor were able to claim conquest over those almost 300 steps up to the summit of the hill where Mother Mary's image amiably stand. Later, in several minutes (not exactly an hour), Drs. Carmen Decierdo and Daniel Lao made a curious attempt to climb the same. Drs. Roque Bongcac and Ed Babor were no longer aware if, indeed, the duo reached the top.
Opps! I know what's in your mind. You are thinking about Philippine Military Academy (PMA). Yes, the group went there. They made it clear that they will never go back to Manila if they cannot have a souvenir pose with the gentle and courteous cadets in the academy. After the delightful and pompous PMA compound stroll, the group proceeded to the Bell Church, also frequented by tourists since it is the China Town in Baguio City.
From Baguio City, the ever unfatigueable HNU administrators descended to Subic for another scenic and memorable bite of what the Philippines can offer to them. Yes, the huge Subic area – rumored to be bigger than Singapore – gladly welcomed its Boholano visitors. The Ocean Adventure that packed the shows of Sea Lions (One of them named "Simba" — probably the smartest — immediately became Dr. Roque Bongcac’s source of parody, and of course, laughter and ease to all of us as Roque spontaneously mimic its poses, facial expressions, among others that only Roque knows). The show also of the seem-to-be-intelligent whale sharks amused the Boholano tourists. After the Ocean Adventure extravaganza, the group headed to Royal Duty Free to buy anything which they believed can help them prove to their friends and loved-ones they left behind that they truly have been to Subic.
The Subic affair was followed by rather a religious and highly spiritual experience among the group, since they visited the renowned Tierra De Maria house of Meditation and Enrichment in Tagaytay City. Beyond any cloud of doubt, a different spiritual experience was had by all of us. In the same venue, the group visited the so-called "Palace in the Sky" and a brief visit to the Divine Word Seminary. After the spiritual encounter, the group shifted to another mundane engagement, i.e., brief stop and snap shots at the very entertaining Enchanted Kingdom.
The following day, i.e., April 04, 2008 (take note when did they start the trip), the HNU tourists were more than eager to have an aesthetic view of Manila Hotel, Museum and Library at the Malacañang Palace, and a mobile tour of the Ayala and the Makati areas.
Manila Hotel, home to consuls, ambassadors, and other dignitaries, did not refuse entrance to its Boholano guests. Thanks to our well-placed tourist guide and thanks also to our University Registrar since through her each of the AAC members had a good bite of Manila Hotel made "ensaymada," we didn't care anymore how much did it cost to our generous and capable-to-pay companion. While munching and chowing the delicious "ensaymada," all were vigilant of their respective watches. Why? At 9:00 A.M. all of them are determined to see all the nooks and corners of the Malacanañang Palace Museum and Library. Yes, our blunt curiosity was truly filled with utter satisfaction. In Latin, we say: Res ipsa loquitor (The thing speaks for itself). Everything we saw inside the museum was unspeakably "living" artifacts that confess the beauty, the scandal, the devils, the heroes, the villains, and the noble figures in the annals of our history as a people.
Now, the final route. Yes, you are right — the airport. The domestic wing of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport was an envious locus of the unity, bonding, authentic camaraderie, trust, and concern of all the AAC members after their week-long romance with the scenic spots of the Philippines.
Welcome back to HNU local tourist from your trip to the local North (The writer emphasized the term "local" because the group is thinking of going somewhere not local and not necessarily North — probably next year).
Visit the gallery for pictures of the tour.