Share Your World: Week 16


Hard to imagine how the weeks are just flying by! At least I’m done with taxes (last minute!) and now it’s the birthday month in a two weeks time and in lieu of presents, I’m hoping to raise money for charity: water when the time comes without chasing anyone away from my blog!  Thanks, Cee, for these wonderful thought-provoking questions!

How many places have you lived? You can share the number of physical residences and/or the number of cities.

I’ve lived in only a handful of places.  In the Philippines, we lived in Davao City, Cebu City, and Manila.  Then it was off to Los Angeles for me, with the briefest of stays in New York and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Inside my head, I’ve lived in so many more places like London, Paris, Madrid, and Dublin.  Unfortunately that’s just inside my head…

What type of music relaxes you the most?

I love Buddha Bar type music the best – a mix of lounge, chill-out and world music as well as certain relaxation classical music and soundtrack pieces like this one from BBC’s North & South mini-series, composed by Martin Phipps.

If you’re wondering what ‘world music’ is, well I like songs like this one from Ekova, called Starlight in Daden played to illustrate the wild vintage fun of hooping.  I dare you to sit still while listening…

This version of the song appeared in the Buddha Bar II CD set, which I unfortunately no longer have 😦

If you could instantly become fluent in another language, what would that language be and why?

I could say Khuzdul, because if I get pissed at someone, I can say a few curse phrases and they’d never know what I was saying – unless they were a Tolkien Erebor dwarf.  But for a real world language, I’d pick Spanish.  I’m only 1/8 fluent in Spanish before my mind shuts down listening (since I understand written Spanish more) and trying to catch up with what everyone is telling me.

If you could fly or breathe under water what would you prefer?

I’m no water baby, and I’ve always dreamed of sprouting wings and flying, swooping down with the wind against my face so hands down, it’s flying.

However, when Man from Atlantis aired when I was younger, I really thought I could breathe under water.  I sure was in for a shock when that didn’t quite work out…

Patrick Duffy as Mark Harris, believed to be the last survivor from Atlantis and Belinda Montgomery, as Dr. Elizabeth Merrill (I had a major girl crush on her because she was a doctor!)
Patrick Duffy as Mark Harris, believed to be the last survivor from Atlantis and Belinda Montgomery, as Dr. Elizabeth Merrill (I had a major girl crush on her because I just loved that she was a doctor!)

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

This week went by so fast and the little one was with me the entire time because he’s on spring break (but school starts again this Monday – hooray!) so it kinda flew past me in a blur.  But I’m definitely grateful that we are all healthy and doing well.

As for next week, well, May is coming up which means it’s my birthday month, and charity: water just reminded me that I can start fundraising for my birthday starting today (in lieu of receiving gifts) to help provide access to water in developing countries.  I’m looking forward to another week of slowly getting back to exercising and being healthier, and hopefully without allergies, which have been plaguing me with the high winds we’ve been having here lately.

I Is For the Indios, Ilustrados and Intramuros


During the Spanish colonial era, a “caste” system was established in the islands for taxation purposes.  The “indio” was a term used to describe those of Austronesian descent, people from Southeast Asia and Oceania which included the major ethnic groups of Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei and even the Polynesian peoples of New Zealand and Hawaii. (via Austronesian peoples – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)

Indios paid a base tax while the other castes, such as the mestizos de Sangley (people of mixed Chinese and Indo descent) paid double the base tax and sangleys (people of pure Chinese descent) paid quadruple the base tax.  Blancos or whites paid no taxes at all.

Blancos had their own sub-classifications.  Peninsulares were those of pure Spanish descent born in Spain, while insulares or filipinos were those of pure Spanish descent born in the Philippines.  Children of mixed Autstronesian and Spanish ancestry were called mestizos de español, and tornatras were those born of Autstronesian, Chinese and Spanish ancestry.

Blancos lived within the walled city of Manila, called Intramuros, a fortified city within a city, while the rest lived outside its walls.  The unbaptized Chinese or Sangleys lived in Parian while Catholic Sangleys and mestizos de Sangleys lived in Binondo.  The indios made their home outside of these segregated communities.

A portrait of Manila in 1684 by Alain Mallet
A portrait of Manila in 1684 by Alain Mallet

Intramuros was the fortified city within the city of Manila, the seat of the Spanish colonial government.  Frenchman Paul de la Gironiere describes Intramuros in his book Adventures in the Philippine Islands.

The city is divided into two sections—the military and the mercantile—the latter of which is the suburb. The former, surrounded by lofty walls, is bounded by the sea on one side, and upon another by an extensive plain, where the troops are exercised, and where of an evening the indolent Creoles, lazily extended in their carriages, repair to exhibit their elegant dresses and to inhale the sea-breezes. This public promenade—where intrepid horsemen and horsewomen, and European vehicles, cross each other in every direction—may be styled the Champs-Elysées, or the Hyde Park, of the Indian Archipelago…

….In the military town are all the monasteries and convents, the archbishopric, the courts of justice, the custom-house, the hospital, the governor’s palace, and the citadel, which overlooks both towns. There are three principal entrances to Manilla—Puerta Santa Lucia, Puerto Réal, and Puerta Parian.

At one o’clock the drawbridges are raised, and the gates pitilessly closed, when the tardy resident must seek his night’s lodging in the suburb, or mercantile town, called Binondoc.

via Adventures in the Philippine Islands. Paul de la Gironiere

The 1851 map of Intramuros
The 1851 map of Intramuros

With Manila being a bustling and profitable port for the Spanish government, the Spaniards built Intramuros bordering the ocean one side and land on the other, its thick walls taking decades to be completed and with its borders and design often reflecting each succeeding governor-general.

Manila is divided by the Pasig River into the north and the south sides; on the south bank are the old Walled City and the districts of Ermita, Malate and Paco, while on the north side are the Escolta, the principal business section, and the districts of Binondo, San Nicolas, Tondo, Santa Cruz, Quiapo, and Sampaloc.  The Escolta is the main business artery of Manila, and on it are located the chief business houses of the city.  The junction of the Escolta and the Bridge of Spain is the principal center, and at this point cars may be taken for nearly any part of the city or suburbs.

via Full text of “Manila, the pearl of the Orient; guide book to the intending visitor”.

Intramuros in 1932
Intramuros in 1932

I just found this clip and I’m so excited to have found it!  A look at the past of what was the Manila of yesteryears, including the walled city, Intramuros.

Intramuros would remain one of the most beautiful cities in Southeast Asia until 1945, when it was declared an open city and bombed by the United States Air Force to drive out the Japanese occupation forces.  The foreground of the photo below shows the Manila Cathedral.

Photo by Private Glenn W. Eve. Private collection
Photo by Debra Eve
Photo by Debra Eve

Intramuros has since been restored by the Philippine government with the help of the United States and Japan.  These days, portions of the great walls still mark the boundaries of old Intramuros, as do old residences and portions of its old streets.

Present-day Intramuros
Present-day Intramuros

While segregation of the people depended on social and economic factors, another class of people arose in the 19th century.  These were the ilustrados (Spanish for learned and enlightened ones), young men and women who were educated in Spanish (Spanish was not taught to the natives during the colonial era) and exposed to Spanish liberal and European nationalistic ideals.

juan_luna_studioIt was composed of the middle class, native-born individuals who at first sought reform and “a more equitable arrangement of both political and economic power” under Spanish rule. The ilustrados would pave the way to independence for the Philippine islands, with martyred hero Jose Rizal being the most noted of all.

Three prominent Ilustrados in Spain: José Rizal, Marcelo H. del Pilar and Mariano Ponce (from left to right). Photo was taken in Spain in 1890.
Three prominent Ilustrados in Spain: José Rizal, Marcelo H. del Pilar and Mariano Ponce (from left to right). Photo was taken in Spain in 1890.

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