When I was in high school, my siblings and I spent a summer in Manila. We stayed at Inday Miniang's Fe and Caridad Apartments along Arquiza Street to join Tita Luz and Tita Etta. (I heard Inday Miniang's heirs eventually sold the building and is now a hotel). Arquiza Street is four blocks away from the Rizal Park in Manila.
As the apartments were just next to the Ermita Church (Archdiocesan Shrine of the Nuestra Senora de Guia), Tita Luz would hear Mass early in the morning with Tita Etta, and I would join them in their stroll around the Rizal Park after. Even before 7AM, I remember a lot of people were already at the country's premiere park jogging, passing through, and strolling like us. We would walk the whole stretch of the Park and completed the stroll all the way to the US Embassy until we reached the apartments at Arquiza St. That summer, I greeted the statue of the Philippine's most revered national hero, Jose Rizal, a few times before breakfast.
And speaking of his statue, last week, I finally saw for myself the current controversy about the Jose Rizal statue, or what's behind it. Literally. Riding my friend Fay's car, and not strolling anymore, we passed by the statue and snapped a few shots. And as expected, what I got were photos - photobombed photos of the national hero's statue.
(Photobombing from the right)
(Photobombing behind Jose Rizal)
(Photobombing from the left)
I hope this photobombing is temporary. I could no longer go back to that summer when Tita Luz, Tita Etta and I strolled past Jose Rizal's statue and just looked up to him with the blue morning sky as his backdrop. After all, the national anthem goes "sa simoy at sa langit mong bughaw" (with the breeze and your blue sky), and not "sa simoy at sa building mong bughaw". Ha-ha-ha!
(Up close and vertical)
As Jose Rizal is the pambansang bayani (national hero), the building is the pambansang photobomb (national photobomb). Credit to the writer who coined this term.
With the legal cases filed by parties involved in this pambansang photobomb (national photobomb) controversy, will it be demolished soon? I hope it will be. I remembering seeing old postcards of the statue with clear blue skies as the perfect backdrop. Now, with that DMCI Torre de Manila structure behind the statue, I doubt if they want to print postcards with an apartment building as the main tourist attraction.
(The photobomber building as seen from the window of the National Museum of the Philippines)
Someday, when I fly back to Manila, I hope to stroll around the Rizal Park and greet the national hero once more. And just like any tourist, I want to have my photo taken with him alongside the simoy ng hangin, the langit mong bughaw, and nothing else.