Posted by: hoz49 | April 15, 2008

The Houses of the Dead pt 3

These “Houses of the Dead” are built to LAST. Concrete block, cement, plaster, steel and polished marble.

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Posted by: hoz49 | April 15, 2008

The Houses of the Dead pt 2

As you walk towards the back of CemPark the crypts and mausoleums get bigger and bigger.

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Posted by: hoz49 | April 15, 2008

The Houses of the Dead

Near where we are staying is Cebu Memorial Park or Cempark, some call it the Chinese Cemetery. It is a nice place to go walking, clean, quiet and no one to bother you. It also has many interesting crypts and mausoleums as it seems the Chinese like to be especially ostentatious in burial

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Looks like a regular cemetery doesn’t it?

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Posted by: hoz49 | April 15, 2008

The Manila American Cemetery and Memorial

Despite having visited Manila before I had never been to the American Cemetary. I asked Rita to bring me there on our day tour.

The Manila American Cemetery and Memorial is located within Fort Bonifacio on 152 acres. The property is maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission and is immaculate. With 17,206 graves it is the largest cemetery in the Pacific dedicated to the men killed during WWII. The cemetery also holds war dead from the Philippines and other allied nations. When we entered I noticed the gates are manned by US Embassy guards.

 


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Posted by: hoz49 | April 15, 2008

Intramuros (Manila)

While in Manila Cousin Rita took us on a site seeing tour. Our first stop was Manila Cathedral at Intramuros (the Walled City). Originally built in the 1500’s it has been rebuilt eight times, the current incarnation in 1958, after American bombs destroyed the previous cathedral in the Battle for Liberation during WWII. I was more interested in taking pictures of the plaza surrounding the church so while Fe and company went inside I wandered around looking for interesting subjects.

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Posted by: hoz49 | April 15, 2008

The Saigon Hotel and our tour guides

We stayed at the Saigon Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City , across the street from the newer Saigon Hilton, on Dong Du just off Dong Koi and south of Le Loi in District One. The 3 star hotel is a classic, very clean and well kept. It exhibits French influence with high, vaulted, trayed, ceilings, crystal chandeliers (even in the rooms!) and natural woodwork. A friendly, competent staff stands ready to help. Communication is no problem as most of the staff spoke enough English to get by.

(Picture from above website)

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Posted by: hoz49 | April 12, 2008

Antonios of Tagaytay

After Vietnam we flew to Manila to visit Fe and Lisa’s two cousins Rita and Louisa. Rita lives in Magallenes Village near Makati and also has a “mountain home” overlooking Taal lake and volcano in Tagaytay .

On a day trip to Tagaytay Rita treated us to lunch at Antonio’s, owned by Chef Antonio Escalante. Chef Tony has converted an old family home into a garden restaurant and, combined with his signature French cooking, has produced a truly amazing dining experience. While we were there Chef Escalante made two appearances to greet his guests and inquire on their experience. He seems a warm and caring person who enjoys his calling, cooking and serving delicious food in a stunning setting.

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Posted by: hoz49 | March 25, 2008

The Reunification Palace Saigon

We also visited the Reunification Palace in Ho Chi Minh City . The Palace has a long history but was the home and workplace of the presidents of South Vietnam during the “American War”. We all saw the palace in the news when Saigon surrendered and Viet Cong tanks crashed through the gates. Today it has been restored and is offered as a tourist attraction.

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Posted by: hoz49 | March 25, 2008

Ben Thanh MarKet

The last place on our Saigon tour was the famous Ben Thanh Market. We had short circuited our tour by visiting the market on our own the evening prior. Still, we had them drop us off and said we would catch a cab back to our hotel later. Our guide and driver, both named Tung, Tong or Thong (I never got it right, they are not related), graciously offered to take our bags of souvenirs back so that we wouldn’t have to carry them around the marketplace.

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Posted by: hoz49 | March 20, 2008

Notre Dame Basilica and Central Post Office

Two jewels in District 1 of Saigon are the Notre Dame Basilica and the Central Post Office. They are just across the street from each other so when you visit one it’s easy to view the other. The Cathedral is small but nicely kept and quite beautiful. Built between 1863 to 1980 by the French it brings Catholicism to the predominately Buddhist nation.

It is interesting that all the materials used in building the church were imported from France. The bricks were made in Marseilles and have retained their original beauty through more than a century of tropical heat and humidity.

Across the street is another French masterpiece, the Central Post Office. At first glance you might think it is a train station with it’s huge clock over the arched entryway. Inside is the grand hall with an arched ceiling accentuated with dark stained woodwork. A picture of Ho Chi Minh hangs at the far end.

On the plaza outside you will find many people selling souvenirs, books and post cards of Saigon. Spend a little time in friendly haggling and you will be sure to get a bargain. I bought 12 picture postcards for a dollar and mailed a few back home to friends.

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