Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Two Travel Books

I recently purchased travel related books on the Philippines at the National Bookstore in Cubao. Some were on bargain and two recently launched: Street-Bound Manila on Foot by Josefina Manahan and Connecting Flights edited by Ruel S. De Vera.

First article I immediately read was my English teachers' "New York First Encounter." This is part of the compilation of travel stories in "Connecting Flights Filipinos Write from Elsewhere." Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo writes about how she was enamored by the place which put "its best foot forward" for her and her husband in 1987.

The pleasure of reading the article is the writer’s vivid description of the dynamics in her mind reconciling the attractions embedded in her memory through movies and pictures and the actual sight of the icon. This is how she describes it in her style “The thing about visiting a place one knows only too well – from books and films and TV shows, not to mention other people’s spirited descriptions – is that it seems to offer no surprises. Even the people one meet’s walking down the streets look familiar. But of course that’s all an illusion, just street magic. New York surprised us. Again and again.”

Upon completing the story, I immediately wanted to email the story to friends and relatives who can relate to the magic of the place, the 1st time around.

Manila by Foot is a practical reference on how to go about and appreciate historical and symbolic icons and attractions in Metro Manila. Tips are given by writer and walker Josefina Manahan who has personally visited the places like University of the Philippines in Diliman, Ayala Museum, Binondo, R. Hidalgo streets among others. Maps, classifications and time frame of the walk accompany each article. Book was written 2001 and may need updating particularly on directions going to the locations. LRT 1 and 2 and MRT can be cited as alternative efficient means of transpo in the cities.

Travel articles that I fancy inform, describe and provide insights. They validate if I share the same experience, open possibilities if I missed some attractions. If I drop the book and hop in to a bus, the article moved me.

Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo, “New York: First Encounter,” in Connecting Flights, Filipinos Write from Elsewhere ed. Ruel S. De Vera, 131-142. Manila: Anvil, 2010

Josefina P. Manahan, Street-Bound: Manila by Foot. Manila: Anvil, 2001. Reprint, 2009

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