Saturday, May 31, 2008

Cultural Citizens & North-South Dialogue 2008

As soon as I arrived from Spain (and after speaking at R.O.X. about backpacking), I went straight to our Pre-Departure Orientation for the Cultural Citizens Program and North-South Dialogue 2008. I didn't even have time to rest and get some sleep! The program is sponsored by the US Department of State, Northern Illinois University and IVP Philippines. And thirty young Filipino leaders were selected nationwide from close to 200 applicants to participate in the first batch.

Part of the activities were out-of-town trips hosted by our colleagues. Last Thursday, we were in Lipa City, Batangas. Most of the day was spent at the Summit Point Golf and Country Club. We passed by the farm and stables of the Leviste Family called Levely Manor, before proceeding back to Manila. This was the location of the now defunct Charley's Farm Dining.

Friday, May 30, 2008

One lucky person will win six SEAIR gift-certificates to Busuanga!

We are giving away not one, not two, but six SEAIR gift certificates to Busuanga to one lucky person! This is the biggest give-away of Ivan About Town and the SEAIR Adventure Club ever! You and five friends can fly from Manila to Busuanga with six SEAIR airfare gift certificates up for grabs!

SEAIR has been providing the longest-running uninterrupted service to Busuanga, and now provides the fastest flights with its Dornier 328 aircraft.

So how do you join? All you have to do is tell us why you want to go to Busuanga via SEAIR, by Friday, 20 June 2008, at 8:00 p.m. You can use your personal blog, Multiply, Friendster, or any other social networking site, or any website for that matter for as long as your entry has a link to the SEAIR website. The entry which best captures the attention of our judges will get the 6 gift certificates!

To let us know you joined this contest, post the link of your entry as a comment in SEAIR starts 35-minute flights to Northern Palawan. Like the previous raffle, make sure you place your full name in the name field since you will need a valid ID to claim the tickets if you win. The winner will be notified by e-mail so make sure you double check your e-mail address before submitting your comment. Tickets will be valid from now until 15 October 2008. Good luck!

4D 3N Baler surfing packages for as low as P9,034
For as low as P9,034 per person (double/triple sharing), you can enjoy a 4D 3N surfing trip to Baler, Aurora. All packages include round-trip airfare via Seair (Manila-Baler-Manila); 4 days/3 nights accommodation at Bahia de Baler, Bay's Inn or Amco Beach Resort; daily breakfasts; a half-day surfing lesson; round-trip airport transfers and 12% EVAT. So what are you waiting for? Book now!

For reservations, please call SEAIR-LEP at (632) 843-7308. Rates are subject to change without prior notice.

SEAIR P2,999 all-in promo tickets available until June 2!
SEAIR is offering a special rate of P2,999 roundtrip all-in for flights to Boracay, Busuanga, Baler and Daet from June 16 - October 12, 2008. Selling period is from May 26, 2008 to June 2, 2008.

For inquiries and reservations please call SEAIR reservations at 8490100.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Spain: Crossing the Greenwich Meridian

All good things have to come to an end. I took this photo of the arch marking the Greenwich Meridian while on the way back to Madrid by bus from Barcelona. That's the end of our Spanish adventure. We're now in Doha, Qatar for an eight hour layover before flying back to Manila. But I won't be in Manila for long because in a few days, I'm flying to Chicago!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Spain: Girona along the Riu Onyar

On the way back from Figueres, we made a stopover in Girona, a charming old town along the Onyar River. One of it's imposing landmarks is the Catedral de Santa Maria Mare de Déu said to have the widest Gothic nave in the world at 22.98 m (75.39 ft), and the second widest nave after the St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Sad to say, we didn't go inside. It just irks me when they charge an entrance fee to visit a church.

It was a pity we only had an hour to explore the city. Add to the fact that it was raining. And since we arrived during siesta, shops were closed and there was nothing much to see. But it was a well-preserved old town, very much worth the visit.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Spain: Dalí Theatre and Museum in Figueres

If you plan to do an out-of-town trip while in Barcelona, the museum of Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dalí i Domènech in Figueres is at the top of the list. So for our last full day, we made sure to visit. They say that the Dalí Theatre-Museum is the largest surrealistic object in the world. And inside, one would find the the striking and bizarre images Dalí is known for in his surrealist work

The museum was created by the artist himself while he was still alive in the former Municipal Theatre of his hometown Figueres. The building was destroyed at the end of the Spanish Civil War and on its ruins, Dalí built his museum.

Indeed, a trip to the museum was a unique experience for me. I got to experience and enjoy the unusual work and thought of this artistic genius. As Dalí himself explained: “It’s obvious that other worlds exist, that’s certain; but, as I’ve already said on many other occasions, these other worlds are inside ours, they reside in the earth and precisely at the centre of the dome of the Dalí Museum, which contains the new, unsuspected and hallucinatory world of Surrealism.”

The museum opened in 1974. He was later buried in a cryot in the museum after his death in 1989. Entrance to the museum is 11€ which includes the Dalí Jewels exhibition. The trip from Barcelona to Figueres is about two hours. Trains leave the Passeig de Gracia and Barcelona Sants station and start at 8,55€ depending on the class and type of train.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Spain: FC Barcelona's Camp Nou

Since we were in Barcelona, I made sure to visit Camp Nou, the home of FC Barcelona. Completed in 1957, this UEFA 5-star rated stadium is the largest in Europe with its capacity of 98,772 people.

In Camp Nou, one can find the FCBotiga Megastore where you can find tons of FC Barcelona paraphernalia and items. If you're a big football fan, make sure to get tickets for the Camp Nou Tour and Museum which cost 13€.

The Barcelona Bus Turistic conveniently stops in front of the stadium. While the Collblanc (L5) and Palu Reial (L3) Metro stations are 8 minutes away.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Spain: Montjuïc and the 1992 Barcelona Olympics

Barcelona hosted the 1992 Olympic Games. The Opening Ceremony is still vivid in my mind, especially the archer who shot a flaming arrow immediately over the cauldron high above the stadium to light the Olympic Flame, the first time the lighting of the flame deviated from the usual torch run to the top. Thus, seeing the Olympic Stadium, the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, and the cauldron on top when I visited Montjuïc was exciting.

Montjuïc (or Hill of the Jews) has a storied past having been selected to host the 1929 International Exposition (World's Fair). The surviving buildings from this event are the Palau Nacional, a grand structure which now houses the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC), a museum that holds the largest collection of Catalan art in the world; Estadi Olímpic (the Olympic stadium); Font Màgica fountains; and the Poble Espanyol, a showcase of architecture from all over Spain (just like Nayong Pilipino without the cheap and ugly replicas), among many others. The Olympic Stadium was said to be poised to host an anti-fascist Olympic Games as an alternative to the 1936 Berlin Olympics when the Spanish Civil War erupted.

For a time, Montjuïc also hosted Formula One racing. The Spanish Grand Prix was held there for four times until a terrible car crash in 1975 that killed four spectators. After the 1992 Olympics, the Olympic Stadium has been the home of RCD Espanyol football team since 1998. The Miro Foundation can also be found in Montjuïc.

Barcelona Bus Turístic
For two days, I got to ride on the Barcelona Bus Turístic, a tourist bus with an open-air second floor. It was a really good decision. It may seem expensive at first (it's 20€ for a day pass and 26€ for two days), but it is very convenient and a good deal! The bus ticket allows you unlimited rides on the three lines (Blue, Red and Green). The bus stops within meters of all major tourist attractions so it saves you a lot of time from walking. Although the Metro may be cheaper, the some stations were quite a distance from major attractions. So this is highly-recommended especially if you have a limited time in Barcelona.

Spain: Picasso's Barcelona and La Ribera on the Picasso Walking Tour

Museu Picasso is another must visit when in Barcelona. Although there are several Picasso museums, the one in Barcelona is the first and only one established on the express wish of the artist. But as an introduction to the museum, I decided to join the Picasso Walking Tour in order to experience and understand Picasso more by visiting places he frequented in Barcelona during the many years that he was there.

Discovering the bohemian Barcelona where Picasso lived, walking its streets, hearing anecdotes of the famous painter's friends as well as the events that influenced his life and artistic career was a great way to understand the Picasso story.

We visited Els Quatre Gats, a restaurant in a modernista building frequented by Picasso and intellectuals of his time; the friezes on the facade of the Col-legi d'Arquitectes, his only piece of public art in Barcelona; as well as the Llotja de Mar, the building which housed the art school where he studied, among many other sites.

We were also brought deep into La Ribera, a district which hosted Picasso's last studio before he departed for Paris. The district has a beautiful basilica namely the Santa Maria del Mar. We also got to pass by another basilica, the Mare de Déu de la Mercé, in Barri Gotic. Stops are quick so you can opt to come back if you want to explore the interiors.

The last stop is the museum which contains the world's most important collection of works from Picasso's youth and formative years. The whole cost of the tour is 15€ and this includes entrance to the Museu Picasso. And since tickets to the museum are given to you, there is no need to join the long lines to get one!

But if you just want to visit, a ticket to the museum and the temporary exhibition would cost 9€. Entrance to the museum is usually free on the first Sunday of each month.

Barcelona Walks
Aside from the Picasso tour, there are three other walking tours offered by Turisme de Barcelona (Barcelona Tourism Office). These are Barri Gotic, a tour of Barcelona's Gothic Quarter; Barcelona Modernista which takes you to the works of modernist architects Antonio Gaudi, Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Luis Domenech i Montaner; and the Gourmet Walking Tour, where you can experience Barcelona's cuisine. Check the tourist information kiosks for schedules.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Spain: Hospital de Sant Pau & Palau de la Música Catalana

The world has taken notice of Lluís Domènech i Montaner, another Catalan Modernista architect, whose works have also been inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Just a few minutes from the Sagrada Familia is the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, a sprawling hospital complex built between 1901 to 1930. It is in fact a functional hospital up to today.

Another work of Domènech i Montaner is the Palau de la Música Catalana, a concert hall built in the Modernista style with rich decoration on its facade. There are guided tours to the grand Modernist Concert Hall and other smaller halls at 10€ per person. But tickets have to be purchased at least one week in advance because there is a limit of 55 persons on each tour.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Spain: Gaudi overload in Barcelona: Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, Casa Batlló, Palau Güell, Casa Mila & Casa Vicens

When in Barcelona, make sure you visit the works of Antoni Gaudi, one of the foremost architects of the Modernista style (Art Nouveau). His unique and avante-garde works have become icons of Barcelona, many of which are inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List under Works of Antoni Gaudi.

Foremost of these structures is the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, the unfinished church we all know as Sagrada Familia, one of Spain's most popular attractions. Construction for the church began in 1882 and continues up to today. It is scheduled for completion in 2026, a century after Gaudi's tragic death.

Gaudi had worked on the project for 40 years until his death. When asked why the construction was taking so long, he was said to have remarked, "My client is not in a hurry." Gaudí had intended the church to be the "last great sanctuary of Christendom."

There is a chapel at the back which you can visit if you want a glimpse of the interior. But if you want to take the elevator up the towers (waiting time can be over an hour) or visit the museum in the crypt of the church where Gaudi is buried, entrance fee is 8€, an amount which goes to the construction of the church.

Palau Güell is a town mansion he designed for industrialist Eusebi Güell. At the moment, it's partially open to the public due to restoration, with limited access. I saw the outside of this building while touring La Rambla.

Casa Batlló is a building redesigned by Gaudi for the Batlló family. Also know as Casa dels ossos (House of Bones) because many parts resemble skeletal parts, this colorful home is remarkable and very representative of Gaudi's works. You need to pay 16,50€ to be able to enter but it's very much worth it.

Walking around its different rooms, the courtyard and rooftop made me realize the brilliance of Gaudi's mind. His creativity was indeed ahead of his time.

Casa Vicens, a home designed by Gaudi for industrialist Manuel Vicens, was his first important work. Since it is private property, visitors can only marvel at its exterior. In fact, the property is for sale. And you can own this World Heritage Site for 30 million euros!

Casa Mila is more popularly known as La Pedrera because it resembles a quarry. Gaudi designed this building-home for the couple Rosario Segimon and Pere Milà. The building is now owned by Caixa Catalunya.

They charge an 8€ entrance fee to visit the interior and wonderful rooftop. Since it was raining when I visited La Pedrera, I had to forgo going up to the roof.

Finally, another icon of Barcelona is Park Güell built on top of Carmel Hill. This is a Gaudi work which you must visit as well!

The park was supposed to be part of a commercial housing project of Eusebi Güell that did not take off. It was eventually purchased by the municipal government and converted into a park.

Many of the park elements are characterized by multi-colored tile mosaics. Entrance to the Park Güell is free. And for those who had been watching America's Next Top Model, they did a fashion runway show there in one episode.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Spain: Barcelona's Barri Gòtic and La Rambla

Hello from Barcelona! We finally arrived this morning after a five-hour early morning bus trip from Valencia. After settling down, lunch and a short siesta, it was time to explore this cosmopolitan Spanish city. And the best place to start is by walking along La Rambla and exploring Barri Gòtic!

An iconic and busy central street of Barcelona, La Rambla (also called Las Ramblas or Les Rambles) is a 1.2 kilometer tree-lined pedestrian mall. And it sure had character!

I enjoyed watching the many street performers in colorful and creative costumes, the various souvenir stalls, pet shops (which sold turtles), flower stands and the artists' makeshift studios among many others. And there were just so many people!

Rambla in Catalan, as well as in Spanish, means an intermittent water flow, derived from the Arabic ramla which means 'sandy riverbed.' It was a very charming street and I very much agree with Spanish poet Federico García Lorca when he said that La Rambla was "the only street in the world which I wish would never end."

Along La Rambla is the entrance to another iconic attraction of the city, a street market called the Mercat de la Boqueria. I enjoyed the many tastes, colors, and scents inside the market, indeed a feast for the senses with its diverse selection of goods. I tried out the chocolates and candies as well as the fresh fruits.

After exploring La Rambla, I went deeper into Barri Gòtic, Barcelona's Old Quarter. The district stretches from La Rambla to Via Laietana, and from the Mediterranean seafront to Ronda de Sant Pere.

Don't miss the many fabled structures including the covered Gothic walkway above Carrer del Bisbe Irurita, the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia where her remains are buried in a magnificent crypt, and Placa Sant Jaume where the Casa de la Ciutat (Ayuntamiento) and Palau de la Generalitat are located.

In the Cathedral, you'll notice thirteen geese in the central courtyard of the cloister. The number represents the age of Santa Eulalia when she was martyred in the 4th century. Magnificent chapels are scattered around the cathedral. Aside from Santa Eulalia, another popular saint buried in the Barcelona Cathedral is St. Raymond of Penyafort.

It would be best to get a free map and suggested walking routes from any tourism office or kiosk conveniently located around the area in order to maximize your trip to Barcelona. The brochures I got were a big help.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Spain: Port America's Cup Marina in Valencia

Valencia hosted the 32nd America's Cup, the most prestigious regatta in the world, in 2007. The race is usually held in the country of the defender or the winner of the previous race. Alinghi, a Swiss team won the 2003 race. And since Switzerland is a land-locked country, Valencia was chosen to host the next America's Cup. The 2007 regatta also marked the first time since it was first held in 1851 that the race returned to Europe.

The Port America's Cup Marina was built to host the race. And since a lot of people had suggested we pass by since there are a lot of great restaurants and bars there, we decided to do that for our last night. Sad to say, the place was empty on a Thursday night. It turns out, since the race was completed, activity slowly died down.

We got to see the boat yards of the different teams. But that was all. Restaurants and bars were closed that night. I wonder though how it looks like during weekend nights. So we just walked over to neighboring Paseo Neptuno for a light dinner and some drinks.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Spain: Alicante, a vibrant Mediterranean getaway

Alicante is such a charming Mediterranean city and a popular tourist getaway being the center of Costa Blanca. After exploring Elche in the morning, I decided to breeze through Alicante in the afternoon before proceeding back to Valencia. Ever since I was a child, Alicante had been very familiar to us since we had a granduncle, a retired diplomat, who lived there. Sadly, he passed away last year even before I could meet him.

The capital of Alicante (Alacant) Province, the city was described by the Valencian author Joan Fuster as the most pleasant city in the Valencian Region, “the city you would choose to live in if you had to exchange your village for a town.” Its more than 3,000 years of history was evident in its rich architectural heritage.

I immediately noticed the Castillo de Sta. Barbara perched on top of Monte Tossal. There are buses that take you up the hill to visit the castle. The city hall of Alicante is a gem of Baroque civil architecture. Equally impressive are Alicante’s churches, particularly the Concatedral de San Nicolas de Bari and the Basilica de Sta. Maria with its impressive Baroque façade. They were closed when I got there so I had to wait until late in the afternoon to see the interiors.

But with 300 days of sun every year, one of the city’s main highlights is its Mediterranean coast, especially the Playa de Postiguet, an urban beach located on the city’s sea front, and Marina Alicante with its many yachts and sailboats docked in the area. In fact, there was a competition ongoing while I was there.

It was fun walking along the Explanada de Espana, the city’s paseo par excellence bordered by date palms with a spectacular tile mosaic floor. On one end of the Explanada is Casa Carbonell, an enduring edifice that has become a symbol of Alicante’s Mediterranean vibrancy.

When the bells of the co-cathedral and basilica tolled at 6 p.m., it was a signal for me to walk back to marvel at their interiors. High up the main altar of the co-cathedral is an image of the Virgen del Remedio. Behind the main altar is a chapel to the city’s patron, San Nicolas. Below the image of San Nicolas is the reliquary bust of Santa Felicitas of Alicante which houses her bones.

The city’s oldest church, the Basilica de Santa Maria, is dedicated to the Asuncion de la Virgen, and was recently elevated to Basilica Minore by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006. The Baroque main altar is as grand as its façade. After visiting the two churches, I still had time to spare since my bus back to Valencia was still at 9 p.m. So I made some last minute exploring.

As an aside, it surprised me that the ALSA bus ticket to Valencia from Alicante (17,60€) costs more than the bus from Elche (10,94€) which is even farther! The ticket counter explained to me that the bus from Elche stops in a lot of towns while the one from Alicante is direct. But not exactly since it had one stop in Benidorm.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Spain: Palmeral de Elche, a palm forest within a city

Elche (Elx in Valencian) is host to two cultural treasures, the Palmeral de Elche (Elx Palm Groves) which is in the UNESCO World Heritage List, and the Misteri d'Elx which was declared one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. And the good thing was it was just two hours and 30 minutes from Valencia. So I decided to make a day trip to Elche and Alicante.

The RENFE (train) ticket to Elx-Parc cost me 13,45€. I got on the 7:04 a.m. trip arriving at 9:32 a.m. Had I gotten an earlier trip, it would have posed a problem since the first trips on the Metro usually start at 6 a.m. And I would have been forced to take an expensive cab! Trains leave on the dot so don't even try to arrive a minute later.

As soon as I arrived, I immediately looked for the tourism office to get a map. Elche's old quarter is an easy walk and the map conveniently suggests two routes around the city center and the palm groves.

Indeed, Elche is an urban forest of palm trees which creates a very unique cultural landscape. It has some interesting buildings as well including the Alcasser de La Senyoria, Basilica de Sta. Maria, Mercat Central and Ajuntament among many others.

But the main attraction of the city is the different palm groves, parks and gardens. Check out the Huerto del Cura and its Palmera Imperial (Imperial Palm Tree), a 170-year old palm tree with eight arms attached to the main trunk. The garden also sells dates and date sweets in its souvenir shop.

You should take the route around the palm groves which is a little over 2 kilometers if you want to explore this cultural treasure some more. Shortly before lunch (that's 2 p.m. in Spain), I proceeded to the bus station to catch a bus to Alicante, which is just 30 minutes away. I spent 1,80€ for that.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Spain: Valencia Cathedral and the Holy Grail

Within the old city walls of Valencia alone, there are dozens of old churches all stunning in their own right. At the center of all these churches in the Catedral Basilica Metropolitana de Santa Maria or the Valencia Cathedral. Founded in the 13th century, it incorporates several architectural styles (its exterior is mostly Gothic but the main entrance is lavishly Baroque), and houses a large number of artistic and religious treasures.

One of those treasures is said to be the Holy Grail which has a long history. Legend has it that St. Peter transferred the grail to Rome in the first century. It was then brought by St. Lawrence to Huesca, Spain together with Pope Sixtus II in the 3rd century when they escaped the persecution of Emperor Valerian. The cup was hidden in various places during the Muslim invasion that started in 712 A.D., finally finding itself in the monastery of San Juan de la Peña. It was given to King Martin of Aragon who kept it in the royal palace in Saragossa, and later in Barcelona when he died. His successor, King Alfonso transferred it to the palace in Valencia. During his stay in Naples, it was transferred together with other relics to the Cathedral where it finally stayed.

Inside the cathedral, aside from the main altar, there are close to three dozen chapels, each housing its own treasures. Just looking at every one of them, absorbing the rich history of these artistic masterpieces, was an enriching experience.

In two of those chapels, you'll notice skulls and bones enshrined in reliquaries. One chapel houses the tomb and remains of Sto. Tomas Villanueva. While another belongs to San Luis Obispo. Behind the altar, you can find the arm of San Vicente Martir. But in the Cathedral Reliquary, there are even more saintly remains including those of San Juan Ribera, San Luis Bertran (a hand that is the only part of his body that is entirely kept), San Luis de Anjou and other saints as well as other recently beatified Valencian people.

Finally, there is El Miguelete or El Micalet, the Cathedral bell tower that has become a symbol of the city. You can climb its 207 steps to see the various bells and a great view of the city.

They usually charge 4€ to enter the Cathedral. But since there was a fiesta, I got to enter for free.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Spain: Virgen de los Desamparados of Valencia, Spain

Every second Sunday of May, Valencia comes alive with the feast of the Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados. Our stay coincided with the big celebration, most of which are centered in the Plaza de la Virgen. It would have been a really great event with religous festivities and bullfights scheduled. But it was raining. And it never rains during the fiesta! Is this global warming at work? It was good though that some major events still pushed through. Festivities usually begin the night before the fiesta or the visperas.

The bullfight or corrida I was supposed to watch in the afternoon was canceled even if it was not raining since the ground was too soft and therefore not safe for the matadors. In fact, the matadors were all dressed for the event.

So I then proceeded to the Cathedral to check out the festivities. And I got to attend a Mass celebrated by His Eminence Agustín Cardinal García-Gasco y Vicente, Archbishop of Valencia.

It was good the weather cooperated up until the evening events were completed. The program at the Plaza de la Virgen started with a concert by the Banda Municipal de Valencia. As soon as the bells of the Miguelete signaled 11 p.m. the band played various classical songs from Spain. What struck me was the strong patriotism of the crowd when the band played the patriotic songs. As soon as they heard the first notes, the crowd erupted in applause, some were even teary-eyed. You could see people silently singing together with the orchestra. I wonder when Filipinos will react the same way upon hearing Pilipinas Kong Mahal or Bayan Ko being played. Let's admit it, many young Filipinos today even consider singing patriotic songs corney in fact! I hope that changes.

For the last song, the conductor faced the crowd and everyone started singing with fervor the Himno de Valencia. As the last part of the song was sung, you could feel the power of the crowd: "¡Glòria a la Pàtria! ¡Vixca Valencia! ¡Vixca! ¡¡Vixca!! ¡¡¡Vixca!!!" Indeed, it was a spectacle we should learn from. The concert ended at exactly midnight as the bells of the Miguelete tolled anew.

The Dansà followed with dozens of locals in intricate regional costumes. Just like the Philippines where many cities used to dance the rigodon de honor the night before a fiesta, the Dansà is performed for the same reason, in honor of the feast of the Virgen de los Desamparados. It was great we got a good position to watch the performance. And I captured some videos using my Sony Ericsson K850i camera phone.

The next day, I was supposed to attend the morning events at the Plaza de la Virgen. But it was still raining. So I was content with watching the festivities on TV. After the morning Mass, the Virgen de los Desamparados is transferred from the Basilica to the Cathedral in a fervent procession called the Translado. It was heart-warming to see the faithful raised on the shoulders of other people in impromptu bursts of poetic praises to the virgin. The image is brought out in a Quiapo-like procession, showered by a deluge of petals from the buildings as it passes by. But what is peculiar about the Translado is that it's women and children trying to touch the image. It scared me seeing parents pushing their babies and young children, screaming and crying, in order for them to touch the image during the morning procession.

Early in the evening, a grand procession is held. The streets of Valencia were decorated for the grand event with symbolic banners hanging from balconies and flower ornaments to match. It would also have been a great opportunity to witness the intricate fiesta costumes of Valencia. But the procession was canceled at the last minute since the archbishop was afraid it would rain. But ironically, it didn't rain! It's a pity since all the falladoras were all dressed-up in lavish gowns for the procession.

Update: The procession pushed through the week after. But sadly, we were already in Barcelona by then. The video above is from YouTube.
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