Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tandang Sora Shrine & Emilio Jacinto Memorial at Himlayang Pilipino, Quezon City

Tandang Sora in Quezon City is named Tandang Sora because the area was where Melchora Aquino de Ramos (known as Tandang Sora) actually lived. Tandang Sora aided the Philippine Revolution by caring for sick and wounded revolutionaries, and opening her home to secret meetings of the Katipunan. She was already 84 when the Philippine Revolution broke out and lived until the grand old age of 107!

Her house was located in Banlat, where the Resting Place of the Remains of Melchora "Tandang Sora" Aquino or the Tandang Sora National Shrine, was built in time for her birth bicentennial in 2012. Her remains were transferred from Himlayang Pilipino just a few kilometers away to the current location in Banlat. The actual location of the house, two alleys from the shrine, is marked by a bust and marker in what used to be a wide open space, but unfortunately has been chocked by informal settlers.

Since Himlayang Pilipino was just nearby, I decided to visit as well. The former tomb of Tandang Sora is still there. We really don't make shrines like they used to. There's no doubt, the tomb in Himlayang Pilipino is more elegant and more stately than the current Tandang Sora Shrine they built in Banlat. I don't know who approved the design of the current shrine. But I hope the Quezon City Government, which now manages it, raises the bar by upgrading and improving the shrine to make it more stately.

The tomb in Himlayang Pilipino is a scultural mural made by renowned sculptor Florante "Boy" Caedo. Made of concrete with marble dust and chips, the tomb captures the compassion of Tandang Sora for her countrymen. Even the wrinkles on her face convey such a strong message. I wish the current shrine could express as much emotion as the one in Himlayang Pilipino.

On the opposite end of the memorial park is the General Emilio Jacinto Memorial where the remains of the young general are still resting. Also made by Caedo, the sculptures on the tomb were cold cast in bronze. The setting is fantastic, located on top of a small hill with a large open space around it.

I really hope they make memorials and shrines like they used to. Who approves the new ones anyway? To them, it's pwede na, I guess. You have to visit Himlayang Pilipino to understand how powerful a message our monuments used to convey.

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