Saturday With Neil @ Fort Santiago

To a kid, Fort Santiago may be difficult to equate with fun. Boring is a more expected word. But I wasn’t surprised when Neil agreed that we visit the place. Somehow, I knew my son to be more matured than other kids his age. I’m not saying that it makes him better but I think it’s part of his personality. He’s a deep thinker.Anyway, it was a sunny summer Saturday morning. After having breakfast, I was tempted not to push through the activity and suggest that we hit the mall instead. But I learned that breaking a promise to a child is one of the biggest crimes a parent can do. Besides, I thought that a historical trip is a good way to divert his thoughts from yellow-haired ninjas.

At Fort Santiago, ticket prices are at P75 for adults and P50 for children and students.

Inside are the preserved ruins of the 400-year old Spanish fortress. The fortified walls and stone pavements throbbed of history and reminded me of postcards and history books.

I was wondering what was going on in my child’s head as he explores the place. It’s really interesting whenever he stops and read the posters around. Is he absorbing all these?
Neil and the Italians
One funny thing, though, Neil lingered after these two Italians and their loud tour guide. I observed he was listening intently to the guide. He got himself a tour guide — for free! Practical kid.
The main attraction is the Rizal Shrine where personal articles of the national hero are preserved in glass cases.
The original book El Filibusterismo
His vest
Where Rizal secretly placed his farewell poem Mi Ultimo Adios
Reminded us of Cinderella’s coach
Tracing Rizal’s footsteps from the chapel to his execution at Bagumbayan
View of the Pasig River
When the Italians rode away in a carriage, we rested for a few minutes in the play ground. He showed me some of his “athletic” moves in the monkey bars.
I checked the time and obliged him to go home cos we might have a hard time catching an FX back home if we stayed longer.
As we headed the exit, he said, “Ang saya.” The trip was a bit tiring but knowing Neil had fun made it all worth while.
He will probably visit the place again more than once in the near future, when they have a school field trip or a requirement for History class but I can never underestimate the impact of this day for him.

If there’s one important thing I learned from the great hero’s life, it’s this: Once, Jose Rizal was a kid like Neil. And at that crucial season, one person helped mold his personality and character. His first teacher and mentor, his mother, Teodora Alonzo.

Parents, we help mold the future of our children. As for me,  I will take up the challenged bestowed upon me, trying to make every day a teachable moment for him and leading him into the great purposes God has for him.
But in their generation today, we have a gigantic competitor — TECHNOLOGY. It’s scary to think that such humongous enemy comes in tiny hand-held electronics and that the wrong influences can get to them at one tap of the finger. Fear not, though, for we have a bigger God. We have one very powerful weapon readily accessible to us: PRAYER. No matter what it takes, let’s not give up without a fight. Commit your child everyday to the Lord, trusting Him to work in and through his/her life. And remember to lead him to know and live a life like that of the greatest hero ever, Jesus Christ.
I believe Neil will one day be like Jose Rizal, or greater.

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