Guess where I took my kid for a walk?
Even my wife, Tina had no word to explain what got into me when I decided to bring Gabby to this park on one weekend morning. Perhaps, I wanted a breather between our usual routine of going to malls, coffee shops and restaurants or maybe I just wanted our son to experience a different space that may enhance his appreciation of things. Either way, we both enjoyed our 30 minutes in Paco Park, Manila.
It has been ages since my last visit to Paco Park. It was during those Holy Weeks back in the early 80s when we started to accompany my mom in her annual Visita Iglesia in 30 churches (Yes, you read it right–thirty churches including St. Pancratius Chapel inside Paco Park; probably it’s also the reason why I sort of memorized the sidestreets and main thoroughfares of Metro Manila).
Paco Park was initially a cemetery. So when I told Gabby that I’m bringing him to a park and a former burial ground, he was puzzled and just shrugged his shoulders.
The charm of this former cemetery lies on its architecture. It’s circular in shaped with thick hollow walls; old as history.
In 1912, burial or interment at the Paco Park ceased. It had been the burial ground for several generations and descendants of those who were buried in the park had the remains of their ancestors transferred. (Sourced via Wiki)
Walking through these walls reminded me that change is inevitable. The previously built cemetery for aristocratic Spanish families has been accessible for years now as a recreational garden for all and at present can be enjoyed for as cheap as FIVE PESOS ENTRANCE FEE.
There’s an area formerly dedicated to angels…
But the most famous Pinoy secretly interred after his execution at Bagumbayan in Paco Cemetery is no less than Dr. Jose P. Rizal. Note that his initials at the cross was written in reverse to hide his remains’ identity.
Gabby asked me who RPJ is and I just simply replied he’s our National Hero. Although I got 1.50 in Philippine History and 1.25 in Rizal, the subject (1.0 being the highest) back in my pre-Med days in FEU, I cannot explain his works and life in few statements to my almost-6-year-old kid; I’ll let him discover who Rizal is as Gabby studies Philippine History when he grows up.
The St. Pancratius Chapel inside Paco Park is one of the favorite wedding venues of most Pinoy couples. I think it depends on one’s perception of the place; either you feel creepy about it or be lured to its uniquely amazing aura. Every Friday afternoon, there’s always a free concert held titled Paco Park Presents.
As our half-hour stroll in this park came to a close, it was then Gabby became more fascinated and at ease with it. He ran and jumped around the lifeless fountain; he sat and assumed his favorite yoga-like pose; and probably began to absorb a little sense of the place.
Gabby requested if he can have his favorite drink. So guess where we ended up our morning? We went to the nearest mall, Robinson’s Place Manila and he savored a grande of chocolate frappuccino.
The odd weekend became usual again in a blink sip. 🙂
Have you been to Paco Park? What do you think of the place?