All posts tagged: history

(Just a little) Love, Actually

Sometimes, we really should listen to friends. Like when they say, “Bring an umbrella because it always rains in London,” you MUST grab an umbrella even if the sun is bright and shining when you leave the apartment to explore. Because those Londoners are right – it always rains in their corner of the Earth. Another thing that’s always in London are tourists — all 17 million of them spending £11 billion like London wasn’t the sixth most expensive city in the world. Last year, London ranked the second most visited city, after Hong Kong.     At Heathrow alone, prepare to queue an hour or two for immigration clearance. It’s nothing like that famous opening scene in “Love Actually,” when Hugh Grant says in his perfect Love-me-I’m-British accent: “Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that… If you look for it, I’ve got …

The House of a Forgotten Heroine

Actress Gretchen Barretto was here before me. So were Sharon Cuneta and Judy Ann Santos, both superstars, which probably explains why the receptionist-cum-tour guide’s question, as she ushered our group into the pre-1850 ancestral house, was: “Did you watch MMK (Maalala Mo Kaya) last night?” Um, no, we didn’t. “Well, this is the house where they shot that episode, with Gretchen. She even had a scene in the bathroom. A lot of movie stars have been here,” she said proudly. That’s how Casa Villavicencio is introduced these days—an old house that makes for a great movie set. Luckily, guests to this popular destination in Taal, Batangas are asked to watch a short video that introduces the house for what it was—a refuge for Philippine revolutionary heroes and home for a couple who largely funded the work of those heroes. The yellow-and-sea green stone mansion still standing at no. 33 Marella Street holds a treasure of stories not normally found in history books. Few Filipinos are familiar with a woman named Gliceria Marella de Villavicencio, dubbed …