Tag Archive: Heritage Trail

The Sweetness of Doing NOTHING. I know. It’s been over a year of NOTHING-ness. That’s why it’s all sweeter to step out of our sanctuary to enjoy the Baguio breeze in perfect harmony with Nature, your travel and foodie buddies and some moments of reflection. Never mind the hassles of antigen tests prior to the trip. Nor the “isolation” since we stayed the whole time in MJV Retreat House except for 2 trips for lunch and snacks. There was simply no need to explore Baguio since MJV alone is enough. The Heritage and Eco Park with its rock gardens, outdoor sculptures, pine trees, bamboo grove, labyrinth and flower gardens are more than adequate to soothe your nerves. Truly a balm for the soul.

Our morning hike a la Camino de Mirador was like a hiking retreat replete with narratives brushing up on local history and recent events. There were many meditation spots, sitting/rest areas, and scenic views. There is also the option of going up and down the nearby Lourdes Grotto. After the hike, MJV’s coffee nooks and many viewing decks and terrazas are ideal relaxation spots whether the sun’s out or it’s all fogged out. Or one can visit the Iñigo Cafe to savor their baked goodies, refreshing fruit juices and aromatic brew while enjoying the views and the cool temps. Shutterbugs will have a heyday snapping photos here and there. To be honest, you don’t even need company to stay happy here 😇

While here, I found it pure luxury to hear live masses and to actually take communion. Those online masses have become the norm and to actually sit on the pew, listen to the homily and line up for communion seemed nearly surreal. The Vigil Room at the corner of the Retreat House provided a view of the Torii Gate on a promontory overlooking the city. Just lovely. A borrowed photo below confirms this. Hard to imagine MJV under the Japanese occupation during World War II, but this iconic gate symbolises that war’s end (75 years since 1945 when it was inaugurated in 2020).

Ctto: Rick C
Mirador Jesuit Villa Retreat House

My room here overlooks the flower garden and labyrinth. Seated on the bed, one can actually wait for the fog to clear and watch cars offloading the guests and also those circling the labyrinth in prayerful meditation. Every nook and corner here has coffee/tea stations and the flowers not only adorn the meditation spots with their beauty but with their fragrance. In another area, men are busy constructing a barbeque/grill area overlooking the “3 rings” which symbolise the Holy Trinity. In a separate area stands an impressive sculpture of Christ’s Redemption. The Rock Gardens and Bamboo Grove have a hiking trail thoughtfully marked with clear signs and gentle reminders. Over time, the Mirador Heritage and Eco Park has become a major Baguio attraction for tourists and local families to enjoy. It’s a site best coupled with a hike up the Lourdes Grotto.

Just 2 of the 3 rings, symbolising the Blessed Trinity

Another day here wouldn’t hurt. Another visit even hoped for. I heard the persimmon farm has a November harvest schedule. 😋 A retreat may sound like one’s perfect excuse. But truly, you need not have a reason to visit here. Nothing isn’t bad. It may even be sweet. And really, all you need to do is listen. It’s the best prayer. 🙏

If you don’t have the time and the resources to visit all the Lakbay Jose Rizal@150 Sites, or at the very least want a glimpse of what you can find there, you may wish to do this.

One morning I visited the National Museum,  I found myself way too early before Museum hours and so I lingered around. First off,  I checked out the Balangay Diwata ng Lahi behind the National Arts Gallery. Looking at this sea vessel makes you wonder how our ancestors rode the treacherous waters in open seas back then.  Also reminds us that the ancient Pinoys were really a seafaring people and competent boat builders! Can you imagine them sailing based on their ancient methods of reading through the stars, cloud formations, and bird migration patterns?  

Balangay Diwata ng Lahi @National Arts Gallery

An hour before the Museum doors opened to the public, and having viewed the Balangay,  I wandered off behind the 2 Museum Buildings and found myself walking around the Agrifina Circle where one also finds the lovely Department of Tourism Building.  Standing guard over all these art-deco buildings is a huge bronze statue of Lapu Lapu.  Our likely first hero way before the Spaniards ruled the land, and most certainly way before the Americans “guided” us in choosing our heroes. ;-)

Lapu Lapu Statue Standing Guard Around The Valencia or Agrifina Circle

Off on one side a few meters away is a man-made pond where a huge relief map of the Philippines is to be found, right beside the Children’s Playground. All around this pond are glass-encased photos of various Rizal heritage sites named in the Lakbay Jose Rizal@150. Aptly called One-Stop Heritage Trail, it was unveiled only last May 2011. There is no excuse now not to learn more about these sites, if only to know our national hero better, appreciate his journey through life, his struggle, and his heroism.

Relief Map of the Philippines with the LapuLapu Statue in the Background

I found myself moving from one encased photo to the next.  Tried to get a decent photo, but this amateur had problems with the reflections on the glass.  Epic fail.  But I read through some of the relevant and interesting  trivia on each encased photo and thought I’d share with you just the same these awful shots I took. Just think I’m saving you the trip.  Or perhaps you can be motivated to go to get a ‘better picture’. 

Rizal’s boat, the S.S. España arrived in Dumaguete City. Dr. Rizal went ashore, visited Governor Regal of Negros Occidental, visited a classmate Herrero Regidor and operated on the captain of the Civil Guard.

The same  boat, the S.S. España, arrived at Iloilo where Dr. Rizal had the chance to visit Escolta and the Church of Molo in Iloilo. 

Then the  S.S. España docked in Cebu on August 2, 1896 for a routine one-day stop over. After breakfast on board, Commander Carcinero took Rizal under custody to the Spanish Military Commander of Cebu, Gen. Adulfo Montero in the Military Headquarters located in Fort San Pedro.

The official residence and administration building of the politico-military governor of the district, Rizal lived there from July 17, 1892 to March 1893 before he was transferred to Talisay, now the Rizal Dapitan Shrine.

A National Cultural Treasure in Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte.  Rizal created this map as an aid in teaching history and geography to the locals while in exile from 1892 to 1896.


I took notice of this lamp post. Love the base with the calesa design. Thought this lamp post is far better than all those multi-colored cheap-looking lightposts you find all over Metro Manila.  

There were more photos on display around the pond where you see the relief map of the Philippines. But it is now time to head back to the Museum.