Whenever I go out of town with family, I keep wishing I had a better camera than my five-year-old-point-and-shoot Kodak. It has never captured the beauty of the country where I was born.
But then, again, what better camera can record those awesome, breathtaking scenes than the memory of the heart?
Memory and scenery are actually made more vivid not by the most expensive of cameras but by the warmest moments with those whom God assigned, through blood and genes, to be in our core circle.
Three days were all we had with visiting little Adrian and his parents to see two places we have heard about but never been to. To get there we hired a van to cram us all in. Unfortunately, JC opted to stay behind due to workload. That we were not 100% in one place all at once did nothing to stop the winds of grace to waft through our days.
First, to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan.
It is a community of old Philippines (18th to early 20th century). We were told that the 27 structures of yore were restored and rebuilt by the owner, an architect, for his private collection. But friends prevailed upon him to share it with others and so he relented—it is now a heritage resort complete with a batis (stream) for a swimming pool, an old bridge, and a shoreline of more old buildings from many parts of the country still being restored, plank by plank.
There are howls of protest from historians against uprooting historical buildings from where they were originally built. But between restoring in another place and rotting in situ, something has to give.
We went in and out of noble class mansions, house of stones (bahay na bato), wooden stilt houses that once were decaying architectural pieces where urban life has taken over.
Picturesque may be the best adjective to describe the setting amidst expansive rice fields, mountains, clear blue skies and a bluer sea. It was like breathing the air of a bygone era where horse-drawn carriages and resort staff in olden costumes authenticated the panorama.
Second, to meet and greet fauna of all kinds—Zoobic and Ocean Adventure—in Subic.
Again, there are howls of protests from conservationists who think animals belong to the wilds and the ocean, but on the other side of the equation, people—children especially—need to appreciate the beauty of creation through these predators and preys up close, and in the process, learn to help in their preservation.
Our rented van provided us spectacular vistas of more fields, skies, mountains, beaches, sunsets, and wide open spaces where migratory birds and endemic animals live together.
Adrian's shrieks of delight in both places and through the whole adventure was icing on the cake.
What we saw were just a fraction of a beautiful country, but they make you want to sing . . .
This is my Father's world,
and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings
the music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world:
I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.
Come to think of it, I have all the photos I will ever need in my heart's memory card.