My 6-year-0ld Lover has been going around the house today, singing Frère Jacques (probably due to the Paris Mouseketeer episodes of Tom & Jerry where the little gray French mouse Tuffy belts out an off-key and breathless original rendition of the rhyme) while “playing” her toy violin:
Frère Jacques, frère Jacques,
Sonnez les matines! Sonnez les matines!
Din, dan, don. Din, dan, don.
—very old French nursery song, commonly translated to:
Are you sleeping, are you sleeping,
Brother John? Brother John?
Morning bells are ringing! Morning bells are ringing!
Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong.
(Not sure if it’s just my naturally dark inner self, but I’m always free associating old nursery rhymes with some shadowy part of history)
Right now the shadowy part of my story is what I don’t show in these pictures of Antipolo City’s Hinulugang Taktak: the sickeningly appalling garbage, the evil smell, the foamy waste water, yadda yadda yadda—all that jazz. Well, I’d read that there are actually on-going official efforts to be true to its legal status as a “National Park,” but I feel compelled to state here that this once-an-ethereal-beauty is currently in no state to visit (just so you don’t say I didn’t warn you in case you do).
But, hey. If you can hold your breath (literally!) and sing Frère Jacques in your head, and if you are curious enough about the most famous waterfall near Metro Manila (which I definitely was), maybe you could spare a minute or two.
Legend has it that the waterfall’s name, “Hinulugang Taktak,” which translates into “Where The Bell Was Dropped,” was on account of a local priest (with unknown name, but I would love to call him Frère Jacques) , sometime in the 15th century, dropping the church bell into the waterfall upon demand by the townsfolk who found all the raucous bell-ringing during Angelus too unbearable. The Angelus, incidentally, is a Catholic prayer traditionally recited by the Church 3 times daily— at 6 a.m., at noon, then at 6 p.m.— and accompanied by the “Angelus bell.” Don’t ask me why said priest didn’t just stop the offensive ringing instead of actually throwing the bell into the waterfall, which must have required a lot more money, time and energy (my guess is that it must have felt better!). I have no more of an idea of that, than why this place has become the dumpster that it is now.
Just thinking….it may not even be around when my children are old enough to go on their own and chase waterfalls…..
(Pardon me as I howl from the depths of consummate desolation.)
Well, there will always be an inexhaustible supply of things to be happy about. Yes, I state that as a matter of fact.
To prove it, only about 10 minutes upwards the same Taktak Road where this waterfall is found, we drove to this little-known “Swiss Home” — the sweet and chirpy Vieux Chalet of Antipolo. Been around since 1984, although I’ve never heard of it before last week.
And what a treat it is for the heartsick! A charming little garden, vintage knickknacks, a bottle of wine by the window, with the day’s last rays of the sun streaming cheerily into the cozy and rustic little room—really, what’s not to fall in love with?
So maybe you can just completely skip the waterfall and just go straight up to this bed and breakfast “secret.” I wouldn’t blame you.
Antipolo City lies in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range (the longest mountain range in the Philippines). Its higher elevation relative to Manila gives a fantastic view of the metropolis.
In my head, I am singing Frère Jacques now. To tell you the truth, it is pretty hard to be melancholy at the same time.
How about you?
Do you have a go-to song in your head when you’re (figuratively) down in the dumps?
Thanks for stopping by! 🙂
See you again,