End of the Month Roundup - June 2013

The month of June is the busiest month that I had so far.  I was so busy with office works that I neglected my blogs. The result is that I only had four blog posts (one of them is a paid post) for this month.

Having most of my time eaten up by my work is disappointing. I feel that I lost balance and other important activities (religious life, wedding prep, blogging, pro-life activities, family time, etc.) can’t fit to my 24-hour daily schedule. If I can only forego sleeping then maybe I might be able to tackle non-work related tasks. :-(

I want to apologize to my fellow bloggers of whom I haven’t visited their blogs for a long while. I am glad that few of you kept on visiting my blog even though I failed to drop by your blogs. I will do my best to make it up to you in July.

I went to another beautiful place this month. A work-related activity gave me the chance to visit and tour the beautiful island of Bohol. I finally saw the world-famous Chocolate Hills.

Chocolate Hills of Bohol

Well at least all of my busyness and stress paid off.

I will talk about my Bohol trip next year after I finished all of my scheduled posts for my Thailand and Olongapo City trips.

I talked of two interesting places in Bangkok for this month. I featured the Holy Redeemer Church and the Lumphini Park.

Holy Redeemer Church in Bangkok
Holy Redeemer Church

Holy Redeemer Church is unique for imbibing Thai architecture styles. This is a beautiful church. My only complaint is that the altar is also in Thai style.

Lumphini Park is a big park in the heart of busy business district of Bangkok. Many people go here to relax and exercise. There are some interesting views here but the best things that I saw are the crows.

A Crow in Lumphini Park, Bangkok

I hope that I will be able to balance my time in July. I know that it will be hard because there are so many things that keep on coming my way. I pray that the Lord help me in everything.


P.S. I want to send my “thanks” to Average Jane for giving me the list that she used for her wedding prep. I’m very happy to receive it from you Ate Tin. Thank you very much for the big help. :-)

Lumphini Park in Bangkok

I was fascinated by the crows of Lumphini Park that I dedicated one blog post about them. I was talking too much about them that I noticed that I no more space to talk about the park where I found these big black birds.

Crows are not the only interesting things that visitors can see in Lumphini Park. The park is a haven not only for the black birds but also for the health buffs. Lumphini Park was the go to place of those who want to jog and to exercise.

How to Go to Lumphini Park

Map of Lumphini Park

Lumphini Park is located at the heart of the business district of Bangkok so it can be accessed by buses and taxi cabs. The best way to reach the park is by riding the underground MRT train and hopping off at the nearest MRT station to the park, which is the MRT – Silom Station. The exit of the MRT – Silom Station is located near the big statue of King Rama VI at the park's main gate.

Few Things about Lumphini Park

Lumphini Park is few of the wide open spaces in Bangkok. This place is precious for the residents of Bangkok because it is one of the rare spaces where they can enjoy nature. I bet that many Thais are thankful to King Rama VI, who donated the royal property to be converted to Lumphini Park.*

Statue of King Rama VI at the entrance to Lumphini Park
King Rama VI

My hunch is not incorrect because saw garlands and incense oferred to King Rama VI. There is even a kneeling cushion placed for those who want to honor their old king.

Monument for King Rama VI just outside of Lumphini Park

This is not the first time that I saw a statue of a Thai king to be laden with flowers and incense. I saw many Thais honor the old kings and even pray to them. I even saw similar practice done for the statues of local heroes and notable people. It makes me wonder if the Thais are worshipping their kings and heroes of old.

Lumphini Park was named after Lumbini, the birth place of Buddha in Nepal.*

The good thing about Lumphini Park is there is no entrance fee. Anyone, even foreigners, can enter this park without paying a single cent.

What to See and Do in Lumphini Park

An afternoon in Lumphini Park

As I had said, the park is a haven for health buffs. The place is very safe for joggers and many Thais and some expats go to this park to jog in the early morning or late afternoon. Lumphini Park has wide open spaces that are perfect for aerobics, tai chi and picnics. Lifts and other exercise equipments were set-up to be used by park visitors for free.

Swings in Lumphini Park

The park also has playgrounds for the kids.

Like Chatuchak Park, Lumphini Park has an artificial lake where one can “sail” using the pedal-boats for rent. Riding the two-seater boat is perfect for bonding for couples or father and child.

It seems like Thais like to have clock towers in public areas. I have seen one in Chatuchak Park, Chatuchak Weekend Market and even in Chiang Rai town of Northern Thailand. Lumphini Park also has a clock tower.

Clock tower in Lumphini Park

It is a pagoda-inspired clock tower. It actually looks good and I rank it as the best or second to the best clock tower I've seen in Thailand.

I enjoyed looking at it. I even toyed with my camera taking pictures of this clock tower.

Clock tower in Lumphini Park

The photo looks old, right?

Strolling around Lumphini Park, I saw Thai structures like this one:

Lumphini Park

Another weird thing that I saw is a big globe in the middle of greens.

A big globe in Lumphini Park

This is no ordinary globe. This is a sundial given as a gift to the current king's sixth cycle birthday. Can you guess what time did I took the photo of the sundial?

Lumphini Park sundial

These are the few things that I saw during my stroll in Lumphini Park. I know that the attractions are not enticing for tourists, especially those who have tight schedules. It is better that you go to grand tourist spots like the Wat Arun and Grand Palace instead of spending your time in Lumphini Park. But if you have some time, then I suggest that you drop by this place and relax a little before continuing your trip around Bangkok.

Crows Surrounded Me in Lumphini

I still have a couple of hours of sunlight after I shopped in Siam Center. The time is long enough so I used it to visit two places in the City of Bangkok. These places are the Holy Redeemer Church, which I talked about in the previous post, and Lumphini Park.

I read in a tourist guide booklet that Lumphini Park was created according to the wishes of King Rama VI. The park was then named after Lumbini, the birth place of Buddha in Nepal.* The park is a popular place for joggers, bikers and other health enthusiasts. The best thing is that there is no entrance fee for this park.

Lumphini Park
An afternoon at Lumphini Park.

Silence prevailed in Lumphini Park. I had a moment to take a rest, to breathe. Looking at the lake and slow movement of the swan boats somehow soothed me. Indeed it is good to sit and relax some of the time.

I'm enjoying the silence until a pair of crows started fighting for some trash. It is one of the rare times that I see this noisy bird. I watched the crows peck and scratch one another then another crow came then another and another then the whole place became very noisy. There are crows on the trees. Crows on the ground. Crows on the benches. Crows everywhere!

Three crows on a tree in Lumphini Park

I made a move to take a photo but they suddenly flew away. It seems like these “harbingers of death” are still afraid of humans.

I noticed, as I walked around, that Lumphini Park is a crow territory. Other birds, like pigeons, may be seen in the park but the crows dominate them all. The crows like Lumphini Park because it is wide enough and human visitors provide food.

Crows in Lumphini Park

It is my first time to photograph crows and I had a hard time because they keep on moving. Now I know why photographers of National Geographic have “ultra-zoom” cameras. Animals can be photographed well if the photographer is very far away.

I think I should invest well in cameras and lenses if I want to become a professional “nature photographer”.

Of the many photos that I took of the crows, I think that this is the best:

A crow in Lumphini Park playing with stick

This is one cool crow playing with a stick.

I'll be talking about Lumphini Park in the next blog post.


*Wikipedia article for Lumphini Park.

Holy Redeemer Church in Bangkok

What comes to your mind when you hear the words “Catholic church”?

I bet that one of the recurring images in your head will be similar to this:

An old Catholic church in Danao City, Cebu
An old church in Danao City, Cebu.

The basic formula would be Catholic churches = European architecture. This is mostly true since the history, culture and developments in Europe are intertwined with Catholicism. Christianity was spread throughout the world by European missionaries and they took the European culture with them.

Majority of Catholic churches in Thailand follow this simple formula. Examples of this are the Bangkok Cathedral and the Kalawar Church located near Chinatown.

However, there is one Catholic church in Bangkok that defied the “simple formula”. This is the Holy Redeemer Church that is being run by the Redemptorists. This church used the native Thai architecture normally used for Buddhist temples.

Holy Redeemer Church in Bangkok
Thai-style Holy Redeemer Church

According to the church’s website, the architectural style of the Holy Redeemer Church was suggested by Venerable Fulton Sheen. The construction of the church was under the supervision of a Catholic named Acinelli.*

It seems like everything in this church followed the Thai architectural style. The ceiling of the church looks similar to the ceilings found in Buddhist temples.

Thai-style ceiling in Holy Redeemer Church, Bangkok

Even the doors of the church are in Thai style.

Thai-styled door of Holy Redeemer Church, Bangkok

It seems like the interior of the Holy Redeemer Church has semblance to the normal Catholic church.

Interior of Holy Redeemer Church, Bangkok
Interior of the Holy Redeemer Church

I’m glad that the Redemptorists decided to stick to the pews instead of making churchgoers sit on the floor as in Buddhist temples.

The Stations of the Cross located on the side walls also were unusual. The scenes of Jesus’ suffering and death were presented as two continuous murals.

Modern-styled Stations of the Cross in Holy Redeemer Church, Bangkok

The story of our Lord's suffering and death flows like water as presented by the mural. I think that it can also be presented by using the styles of Thai traditional paintings that I saw in some temples. I bet that it will make this church more unique.

It seems like the Redemptorists of this church don’t want to have any “traditional” styles so they chose Thai and modern styles. I have no problem with their preference. I’m ok with Thai style exteriors, Thai-styled ceiling and doors and modern Stations of the Cross. What I don’t like is the Thai-styled altar.

Altar of Holy Redeemer Church, Bangkok

The image of Jesus Christ at the altar is golden like Buddha statues! The tabernacle was designed using Thai art of gold and red. The altar table is just a simple four-legged table.

Golden image of Jesus Christ in Holy Redeemer Church, Bangkok

I'm not pleased with it.

I still prefer the crucified Jesus Christ at the altar because it has more impact to churchgoers. I still prefer an altar that fosters reverence and cultivates the “sense of the sacred”. The altar of Holy Redeemer Church may be unique but it fell short of its purpose.

How to Go to Holy Redeemer Church

I may have some complaints against Holy Redeemer Church but I think that it still worth a visit, especially because of its not-the-usual architectural style for a Catholic church.

Map to Holy Redeemer Church
(Source: Google Maps)

Holy Redeemer Church is located along Ruam Rudi Avenue. It can easily be reached by riding the BTS train and going down the BTS - Phloen Chit station. To reach the church, just walk about 100 meters westward from BTS - Phloen Chit Station so you can reach the Ruam Rudi Avenue. Follow Ruam Rudi by walking around 1 kilometer and you'll see the Holy Redeemer Church to your left. You can also opt to ride the taxi if walking is not appealing to you.

Going to this church is easy because it is located within Bangkok. You should take in mind, however, that taxi drivers might not know the location of this church because it is not a popular spot in Bangkok.


*Holy Redeemer Church website.