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Arches (arko) were a common sight along national roads across the country. I have written about these arkos in previous posts including those with old photos that I took while on field work:
With all the road widening projects ongoing along many national roads, many arches have been demolished while new ones apparently have not been constructed (whether really new ones or those replacing the old ones). I still think these are good landmarks and an opportunity to feature products, traditions or whatever may represent or identify the city or municipality.
I was just writing about the arches you typically came across as you traveled by road around the Philippines. A former student of mine posted a photo of the arch welcoming travelers to Infanta, Quezon from Rizal province, and I asked to have a copy of the photo. He is an avid cyclist who goes on long rides. The arch bears the seal of the town but few other symbols (that I am familiar with) that could have represented the municipality. Here is a typical low-traffic highway with two lanes and dirt shoulders along either side of the road leading to something mysterious (see that fog/mist at the end of the road?).
Road to Infanta, Quezon [Photo credit: Dexter Cuizon]
I’ve been reading about how a lot of people seem to be ‘discovering’ the mountains around Metro Manila. It is not as if these have suddenly appeared or that many have been obscured by pollution. For the latter, perhaps if you lived some distance and pollution was so bad that the smog was thick enough to hide mountains then it would be easier to not see them. In reality, I think most of these people have just been too busy not to see these mountains and other landscapes when they happen to be in plain sight. Perhaps people were too distracted by their daily routines that they didn’t have time or relegated these to the background as if they were noise to be filtered. Parts of the Sierra Madre from Antipolo to San Mateo and Rodriguez (Montalban) are common sights that are not usually appreciated as people go on their daily commutes and are caught in traffic.
Here are some of the mountains that are visible from strategic locations. In my case, I live in Antipolo and an area near my home allows me to see well known mountain landmarks from different provinces.
Mt. Makiling in Laguna Province without the usual cloud cover of its peak
Mt. Banahaw and Mt. San Cristobal in Quezon Province are not usually visible unless its really one of those clear days.
Mt. Arayat in Pampanga Province is visible at the right side of the photo. The view though is marred by rebars sticking out from a house under construction.
Mt. Mariveles in Bataan Province with cloud cover serves as a background for the Metro Manila cityscape.
This is what Quezon City usually looks like with layers of smog making it difficult to ascertain any mountains that are visible on clear days.
I have photos of Mt. Natib, Mt. Malarayat and the Tagaytay Ridge that I will be posting here soon.
Kilometer Zero for the Philippines’ national road network is located at Rizal Park in Manila. Many people still think that this is designated at the flag pole in front of the Rizal monument at the park. The marker for kilometer zero is actually just across from the flagpole with an elegant kilometer post clearly showing it as KM 0.
The KM 0 post in front of the another monument on the Quirino Grandstand (west) side of Rizal Park. There are many other markers in the park other than those associated with Rizal and other heroes (e.g., Gomburza). There is also a bronze statue of St. Lorenzo Ruiz (the first Philippine saint) in the middle of the grounds across from the grandstand that was dedicated by Pope John Paul II to the Filipino people to celebrate the saint’s beatification in the early 1980s when John Paul II visited the Philippines for the first time.
Some people thought that the flagpole in front of the Rizal monument in Manila’s Rizal Park is the marker for kilometer zero. The flagpole is shown in the photo above with the Manila Hotel in the background.
The marker up close.