Mirror of the world
ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago-Visaya (The Freeman) - May 25, 2019 - 12:00am

Some Facebook friends are posting photos that made us believe they are traveling outside the country, countries that we have visited already, or probably still part of our bucket list, or perhaps just in a dream due to budget constraints.

It can’t be denied that travel expands one’s horizons. This exploration of other places opens our minds to the many similarities and differences of arts, traditions, cultures, and in the process, understanding such diversity makes our world worthy of appreciation.

And although reading literature can fulfill such objective but it is in the actual presence in the place that allows us to experience idiosyncratically. But going to the actual places entails so much expense. And for young people and those still financially challenged, such an idea would remain a wish.

And in the Philippines, we can visit other places in the world without necessarily going out of the country. Just a few days, as a side trip, we were able to visit the Venice Grand Canal in Taguig City. It was a taste of Italy, one of the Megaworld's lifestyle malls around the metro and an extension of the Venice Grand Piazza. Gone are the days where malls are boxed in a building with stalls and boutiques at the sides. We enjoyed the ambiance of this mall as it features a replica of the famous Grand Canal. It has a bridge where love locks can be placed and a Gondola that sails around the man-made canal for a more immersive experience. We were lucky to witness a live duet performance from the balcony near the bridge.

As for the shops and restaurants, in the ground floor they serve Italian dishes or anything with pasta, pizza, coffee, wine, and more. For those on a budget, there is a food court inside which has a big seating capacity.

Our very own Nayong Pilipino, which translates to Philippine Village, and that is essentially what the park is about, takes us on a unique experience to learn the culture, heritage, natural wonders, and history of our country. At its peak the park was divided into six different zones or "regions"; Ilocos, Cordillera, Tagalog, Bicol, Visayas and Mindanao. Indeed, it gives us a bird's eye view of what you can see in the different regions.

As it aims to educate children and tourists about the history that continues to shape the Filipino nation, the Nayong Pilipino in Clark has old-style homes, the old Barasoain Church, and other historical places. There are also museums where you can learn about our Muslim brothers and sisters from Mindanao and how to use a sarong in various ways. There are also old-style jeepneys and other attractions. Souvenir shops offer a variety of local products. The local eateries offer delicious and authentic local dishes. Anything about Nayong Pilipino in Manila is now being captured in this place.

We don’t have to go far, just in our neighboring province. Located in Barangay Libjo, Sikatuna, Bohol, on its first phase of development as of this moment is the Mirror of the World for us to see the world’s greatest wonders and famous landmarks.

Expected to be completed in two years from now and soon to rise on this site are: the Golden Gate Bridge, the Petronas Tower of Kuala Lumpur, the Eiffel Tower, the Burj Khalifa of Dubai, the Sydney Opera Hall, among many others.

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes that appreciate the beauty of diversity.

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