Remembrance of Things Past* From My Childhood

I wanted to retrace the footsteps of my childhood, which meant a trip to the Paco district of Manila.  As with everywhere in Manila, I do not recognize much of the place anymore with traffic and people everywhere…and I mean LOTS and LOTS of people.

The Paco Park and Cemetery is where I would sometimes go with my family for Sunday mass.  The church is still beautiful but definitely beginning to show its age.  It was once known for concerts, called “Paco Park Presents,” and it is also the place where Filipino patriot Jose Rizal was buried.  The serene beauty of this place still haunts me.  It is hard to imagine that this place provided refuge for the Japanese during World War II as they retreated from advancing American troops.

Saint Pancratius Church at Paco Park
Saint Pancratius Church at Paco Park
Old Spanish municipal cemetery that outlines the church
Old Spanish municipal cemetery that outlines the church

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Not too far from Paco Park is my old school, Paco Catholic School.  The guard kindly let us have access to the school’s church even though it was closed for the day.  It was funny to see the little girls and boys by the school premise, thinking I was one of them many years ago.  Back then, I had no clue where my future life would take me. It is almost surreal to visit my old school with my husband and two girls and share with them part of my past that was integral part of my daily life.

My old school, renovated and expanded
My old school, renovated and expanded

The school church The school church

The following day we went to see Taal Volcano, which is about two hours from Manila. Taal and the Tagaytay region where the volcano is located is at a higher elevation than many neighboring towns, providing a nice respite from the heat.  In fact, many Manila residents go here for a quick weekend getaway.

Taal Volcano, a small but fierce volcano
Taal Volcano, a small but fierce volcano

Sampling the pineapple from local fruit stand

Bananas in the Philippines range from finger to plantain size
Bananas in the Philippines range from finger to plantain size

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* Borrowed from Marcel Proust’s book title

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