Traveling the World through Reading

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Reading takes you places. As Dr. Suess said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Where in the world will your next book take you?

When I was young, I dreamt of seeing the world. Coming from the back country of the Philippines, I was curious to know what other places look like. I did not get out of Batangas, my home province till I went to college in Manila. I always had that nagging feeling to go abroad and widen my horizon.

When I went to college, I thought of majoring in Foreign Service or Journalism so I could get out of the country. But Dad got a different idea and I ended up in Accounting. He needed an accountant in the family. But that did not thwart my dream of going abroad. I pursued my dream and in 1966. in spite of my fear of flying, I left the Philippines on my first trip abroad when I went to Hongkong and then Japan. There’s an interesting story about that trip which should be an interesting post for later. A year later, in 1967, I left for New York.

While working in the business world, I had no time to read. So fast forward to 2011 when I retired to South Carolina. I started reading in earnest. Here are a few of the books I read which took me to interesting places:

1.      Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd – United Kingdom

2.     Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett – 12th Century Feudal England

3.     A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford – England

4.    At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen – Scotland

5.     A Monk Swimming by Malachy McCourt – Ireland

6.    Helen of Sparta by Amalia Carosella – Paris and Troy

7.     The Bells by Richard Harvell – Switzerland, Austria, Italy

8.    Raised from the Ground by Jose Saramago – Portugal

9.    Winter of the World by Ken Follett – Germany, England, Russia and Washington DC.

10.  The Amber Keeper by Freda Lightfoot – England Lake District and Russia

11.  One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn – Russia Federation, Soviet Union

12. The Archimedes Codex – Constantinople, Greece, England and New York

13. The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly – England, Africa

14.Through a Glass Darkly – Karleen Koen – England, France

15. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carre – England, East Germany

16.Hawaii by James Mitchener – Hawaii, Bora-Bora

17. Day of Infamy by Walter Lord – Pearl Harbor

18.   The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck – China

19.The Fall of Japan by William Craig – Okinawa and Tokyo, Japan

20.   Rescue at Los Baños by Bruce Henderson – WWII Philippines

21. Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder – Peru

22.  The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers – Iraq

23.    The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini – Afghanistan

24.    Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande – India and New York

25.   Don’t Fall off the Mountain by Shirley Maclaine – Virginia, New York, California Africa, India and the Himalayas.

26.   Inside the Dream Palace: The Life and Times of New York’s Legendary Chelsea Hotel by Sherill Tippins – New York

27.   Brooklyn by Colm Toibin – New York and Ireland

28.   A Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert – Wisconsin, Kansas and New York

29.   The March by E.L. Doctorow – Georgia to the sea and up the Carolinas (Civil War)

30.  The Only Way to Cross: The Golden Era of the Great Atlantic Liners – From the Mauretania to the France and the Queen Elizabeth 2 by John Maxtone-Graham. – Atlantic Ocean Voyage

 

There you have them – 30 of my most memorable books that I read and travelled worldwide. I hate plane rides and ocean voyages but I have travelled the world through books, experiencing new authors and cultures along the way. I will keep on reading because as Irwin Shaw said, “There are too many books I haven’t read, too many places I haven’t seen, too many memories I haven’t kept long enough.”

 

Until next time. Stop and Smell the Roses.

Rosalinda

 

 

INTRAMUROS – A CITY WITHIN WALLS IN MANILA

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It seems like cities built walls around them for fortification against invaders and attacks during local uprisings by its own people. China has the famous Great Walls of China. Rome has the Aurelian Walls built between 271 AD and 275 AD in Rome, Italy, during the reign of the Roman Emperors Aurelian and Probus. England had the walled city of Londinium during the Roman times. Quebec had walls surrounding Old Quebec. New York had earthen walls on the northern boundary in the early days of its history which is the reason downtown New York has Wall Street today. Intramuros (a city within walls) was built in Manila in the 16th century by an Spanish explorer, Miguel Lopez de Legaspi. 

Intramurous was a medieval European-style walled city laid out as a pentagon but with its uneven sides, it more resembles a triangle. Originally, the seat of the Spanish empire was in Cebu but was later transferred to Manila. Before the walls were fortified, the city was attacked by Lim Ah Hong, a Chinese  trader. They were almost successful. Formerly surrounded by wooden palisades, Intramuros was fortified with massive stone walls after the attack to thwart future attacks from foreign legions and also from Filipinos who were unhappy due to the unjust treatment towards them by the Spaniards. Later on, a moat was added in 1609.

Following Legaspi’s blueprint for the capital, succeeding Spanish governors built imposing churches, chapels, and convents. The most imposing building was the Manila Cathedral, a Romanesque structure constructed of adobe. Inside were statues by Italian artists of various saints that Manileños paid special devotion. Among them were: St. Andrew the Apostle, on whose feast day in 1574, the Spanish repulsed the attack from the Chinese invaders, and St. James the Greater, patron saint of Spain and the Philippines. Another prominent church was San Agustin Church, the only structure in Intramurous not bombed in World War II. The church façade is noted for its combination of styles with Doric lower column and Corinthian upper column with twin towers, one of which became the victim of earthquakes in 1863 and 1889. The main door is carved molave, a Philippine hardwood with panels depicting St. Augustine and his mother.

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The Spanish governors also built schools, a hospital, grand government offices, printing press, university, palaces for the governor-general and the archbishop, soldiers’ barracks, and opulent houses for the assorted elite: the Spanish and their mestizo offsprings. Natives were moved to other areas, and immigrant Chinese were required to live outside the walls. The city’s seven gates were closed by drawbridges at night.

Copyright © 2014. By Rosalinda Morgan, author of “BAHALA NA (Come What May) – A WWII Story of Faith, Love, Courage, Determination and Survival”.

All rights reserved. INTRAMUROS – A CITY WITHIN WALLS IN MANILA.

If you missed the Kindle Countdown promotion of my book on Jan. 27-31, 2014, you can borrow “BAHALA NA (Come What May)” at Kindle Lending Library anytime.

BAUAN CATHEDRAL IN BAUAN, BATANGAS

During the Spanish regime, the Spaniards tried to Christianize the Filipinos and they built great churches during their more than three hundred years regime in thePhilippines. The church in Bauan, Batangas has a long history.

The first church of Bauan was not located at the present site. Since the Mission of Bauan was a visita of Taal, the first church was built along the southern shores of Taal Lake in a place called Tambo. Bauan Parish was founded on May 17, 1590 as Luman Bauang and became an independent parish on May 12, 1596.

Since its foundation, the Bauan Parish has been relocated three times. To escape the violent eruptions of Taal Volcano, another church was built in 1667 by Fr. Jose Rodriguez in a place called Durungao, then relocated later to Loual in 1671 by Fr. Nicolas de Rivera. Another church was built in 1692 near the sea during the administration of Fr. Simon Martinez but was damaged during the typhoon of 1694. It was rebuilt from 1695 to 1697 by Fr. Ignacio Mercado. The church was damaged again. Fr. Blas Vidal built a stone structure from 1700 to 1710.

 Fr. Jose Victoria started building the present church in 1762 and construction continued for years. Fr. Jose Trevino added the convent in 1762 and also the magnificent, hexagonal domed bell tower in 1772. Fr. Alberto Tabores installed a huge bell in the tower in 1788. The present church was built in 1848 by Fr. Manuel del Arco who put the stone fence of the atrium with wrought iron columns. The tower and the choir loft were destroyed in 1870 and were repaired in 1874 and a clock was also installed. Its façade was completed by Fr. Hipolito Huerta who also worked on the transept and was completed by Fr. Felipe Bravo in 1881. Final decorations were applied starting in 1881 under the direction of Fr. Moises Santos and continued until 1894 under Fr. Felipe Garcia.  The Bauan Cathedral was the most artistically built church in Batangas at that time. However, the church burned down during the Philippine revolution against Spain in 1898 and then completely rebuilt. However, it was destroyed by fire again in 1938. Then it was restored again.

The church houses the Holy Cross of Bauan, the patron saint of the town. The cross was found in 1595 by local natives in a place called Dingin, near Alitagtag and installed later in Bauan Cathedral.

 

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In the book “BAHALA NA (Come What May)”, this is the place where Benjamin and Adelaide were married in 1943.

 

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This is the back where the Japanese stored all the cotton harvested by the townspeople and later shipped to Japan. Sources said that the Japanese built a tunnel from the church to nearby towns.

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This is the convent and the school attached to the church mentioned in the “BAHALA NA (Come What May)” where Adelaide and her sister used to help the nuns.

 

Copyright © 2013. By Rosalinda R Morgan, author of “BAHALA NA (Come What May”.

All rights reserved. BAUAN CATHEDRAL IN BAUAN BATANGAS

Taal Volcano – A Complex Volcano

Taal Volcano, a complex volcano and known as the lowest volcano is one of the smallest active volcanoes in the world. It is situated in the midst of Taal Lake, in the southern part of Luzon in the Philippines, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Manila, in the province of Batangas. It is located between the towns of Talisay and San Nicolas in the province of Batangas.

Taal Volcano, was once a huge volcano towering at 18,000 feet. It seems small now but it was one of the largest volcanoes in the world. The volcano has erupted several times, causing loss of lives and devastating damage to the areas surrounding the lake. Thirty three eruptions have been recorded since 1572 at Taal, mostly on Volcano Island. The impacts of these eruptions were largely confined to the nearby areas with occasional violent eruption such as the 1749 eruption that reached the Metro Manila area and accompanied by strong earthquakes.

Taal volcano has a crater containing several lakes of many-colored boiling liquids. Taal Lake is often referred to as “the lake on an island on a lake on an island”. Right in the center of the island is the main crater of Taal Volcano that holds a sulfuric lake. Taal Volcano is one of the active volcanoes in the Philippines, all part of the Pacific ring of fire. It is famous for having an island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island in the Pacific Ocean. Quite a description and that’s what makes Taal Volcano unique.

Since the formation of the caldera, subsequent eruptions have created another volcanic island, within the caldera, known as Volcano Island. This island covers an area of about 23 km., and consists of overlapping cones and craters. Forty-seven different cones and craters have been identified on the island. Volcano Island contains a lake about 2 km across, called Crater Lake. Within Crater Lake is another small volcanic island, called Vulcan Point. Vulcan Point is frequently cited in the Philippines as the world’s largest volcanic island within a lake on an island within a lake on an island, namely, Vulcan Point within Crater Lake, on Taal Island within Lake Taal, on the island of Luzon. Are you confused yet? It’s a brain workout!

Within the island are four craters. The main crater is in the center of the island while the dormant volcano crater can be seen at the edge of the island. The third and fourth craters are called “Twin Craters” which were formed during the eruption of 1965. I was still in the Philippines at that time when that happened. I remember when I heard the news. I was working for Upjohn Inc in the Philippines when the president of the company who was an Australian rushed out of his office with a camera and said he was off to see the Taal Volcano erupting. He said it was a rare opportunity for him that he did not want to miss. You can view the eruption from Tagaytay ridge. Actually, Tagaytay Ridge is the rim of the volcano! When the volcano was 18,000 feet high, Tagaytay ridge would have been only about a sixth of the way to the top of the volcano!!

Copyright © 2013. By Rosalinda R Morgan, author of BAHALA NA (Come What May.

All rights reserved. TAAL VOLCANO