I was in fourth grade when I first visited the Nayong Pilipino. I lived with my aunt in Quezon City and went to school at the Mater Carmeli School on D. Tuazon, so the Nayong Pilipino seemed to be a far-away place, several hours trip on the big school bus. Our itinerary was the Planetarium at the Rizal Park, The Rizal house in Calamba, Laguna, and the Nayong Pilipino. There are photos of that trip somewhere my classmate Letty de Guia-Elgincolin’s baul, which I hope she will unearth soon.
Now that we are back in my father’s house the Nayong Pilipino is a 20 minute brisk walk away, and it is where Sam goes to jog in an attempt to lose some unwanted kilos. We took Maia for a walk there a couple of years back but what we saw of the Nayong Pilipino was far from what I remember in my grade school days.
Decoding a Promise Forgotten
NAYONG PILIPINO shall enshrine the rich National Heritage of the Filipino through the authentic depiction of customs and traditions of natural and historical legacies.
NAYONG PILIPINO shall steadily develop more and better facilities and services, provide for the effective maintenance of its present edifices as well as continue to commission and/or undertake researches and studies that contribute to the enrichment of national heritage and national indentity.
The Visayas and Mindanao regions have disappeared, overgrown with untended trees and weeds and fenced off to avert accidents to park goers. What is left of it has become a airsoft war games venue, and a few square meters of grass. The replica of the Mayon Volcano still stands, with signs to the four winds that are ignored by children and not-so-grownups.
I suppose there is nothing to be done, since the “only cultural park in the country” and what was once known as “the Philippines in miniature”, is closing to give way to the international airport’s expansion. I just find it sad that this place that we knew to be quite special in our childhood has gone to ruin and will soon be gone.
Vigan House as it was 2 years ago (inset) and as it is now.
There is a new Nayong Pilipino at the Expo Filipino in Angeles, Pampanga, but based on the photos and comments of those who have been there, it doesn’t do justice to the original theme park.
The Ifugao Village in 2006 (above) and in 2008 (below)
There is also another one to be built along Macapagal Avenue by Manila Bay (or what’s left of it after the reclamation) but if it goes the way of the one in Clark, it’s going to be a disappointing future for field trips for this and later generations of school children.
These photos were taken last Sunday, February 10, 2008. The photos in comparison were taken exactly two years ago. More photos of the Nayong Pilipino’s slow death may be found here.
The sun has set on the Nayong Pilipino. It will die under bulldozers, its gardens to be buried under tarmac, trees decades old fallen to chainsaws. There is no decent way to say goodbye to the Nayong Pilipino except to lament her destruction by the vehicles of progress and they who always claim that the new is always better.