Flight chronicles of the backpacker Tutubi, with travelogues, pictures/photos/videos, travel guides, independent and honest reviews, affordable, recommended resorts and hotels (including inns, guesthouses, pension houses, lodges, hostels, condotels, bed and breakfast and other cheap accommodations), commuting guides, routes (sometimes street maps and GPS coordinates/waypoints) and driving directions to answer "how to get there" questions, information and tips on tourism, budget travel and living in Philippines, Exotic Asia and beyond!
Backpacking, independent travel, and flashpacking are cheaper than the "cheapest package tours" and promotional offers around but you can also use travel information for family vacations, even romantic honeymoon destinations.
More than the usual tourist spots and "places to see," this blog advocates heritage conservation, environmental protection, and history awareness for Filipinos, foreigners, and ex-pats wishing to explore Paradise Philippines and Exotic Asia!
A Jordanian's Jose Rizal Shrine in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya
It's unusual for Tutubi to come a place unprepared i.e. without his usual list of interesting places or noteworthy restaurants featuring local specialties and delicacies since he found out that the still promoted yet already extinct Salinas Salt Springs is not worth a visit. In a recent visit to Solano, Nueva vizcaya, he was taken to this place, called Jordanian by the locals, that turned out to be a newly-built shrine in honor of Jose Rizal and 15 other national heroes located in barangay Casat, Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya near the road that leads to Mt. Pulag.
The Jose rizal Shrine features a nice hillside park with a fountain, some retail space, winding road (that puts poorly-maintained national roads to shame), nicely manicured garden, an obelisk, helipad and some sort of clubhouse, still unfinished in front of the Jordanian's mansion. The centerpiece of the Rizal Shrine is the (now second) largest Jose Rizal monument built with fiber glass covered by a bronze-colored metal layer. The body weighs 1.2 tons while the base weighs 1.3 tons, according to Mahmoud Asfour, the naturalized Filipino developer of the park.
Jose Rizal Shrine in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya:
a national heroes obelisk
the now second largest jose rizal monument covered in bronze-colored metal. Note the presence of a NHCP (National Historical Commission of the Philippines, formerly NHI) marker
the huge Rizal Monument with a person on the frame to add scale
a nice view of the green fields of Bayombong from the hillside park
About Mahmoud Asfour:
Mahmoud Asfour was former vice president of Citibank International and a former official of the International Monetary Fund.
His "utang na loob" to a Filipino was rooted sometime when he was stranded for two days in middle of the desert in Saudi Arabia before the Gulf War without food and water, when he was found and rescued by a "good samaritan" Filipino truck driver.
He has since married a Filipina and settled in Nueva Vizcaya (Tutubi even met the good man and his son, a newly-minted computer engineering graduate) and helped put up business and charitable works in addition to the new Rizal Shrine. He was granted Filipino citizenship in July 2005.
The Jose Rizal Monument in Nueva Vizcaya held the title of "largest Rizal monument" for a short time only due to the construction of the giant Jose rizal monument in front of Calamba City Hall in Laguna, the birthplace of Jose Rizal, which was made taller by about 5 feet from this monument upon the orders of local politicians who've heard of the presence of this monument.
Tutubi, in one of his lucky days, chanced upon Mr Mahmoud Ashfour, sporting a Rizal t-shirt, personally supervising workers of his Rizal Shrine. He asked him his nationality, to which he promptly replied Filipino, and why was he building such a nice place. His reply turned a quizzical look on Tutubi and is not worth publishing here.
Jose Rizal Shrine and Monument
Barangay Casat, Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya
Coordinates: N16 31 07.6 E121 08 30.2
road map here with the POI and road network personally added by Tutubi (mapping places is another one of his advocacy and worthwhile pastime)
Other Jose Rizal related posts (you may also click the Jose Rizal Category on the navigation pane):