Wednesday, March 23, 2016


It was almost a year ago since I had been to Belgium, and I love the place!

There were already talks about the security of Belgium after the Paris bombing in January 2015, and I had some apprehensions. Brussels is the De Facto capital of the Europe and thus, may be prone to the threat!

But, coming from a place with a travel advisory, I knew I shouldn't be judgmental... and indeed, I did feel Belgium was one of the safest places to travel alone! What do I mean? I was able to walk  ALONE around Brussels, Leuven and Vilvoorde even reaching midnight with helpful folks (of course, trying to choose the most friendly ones) when asking for directions. 

In my two-week stay, I learned... I prayed... I enjoyed... I met the most awesome people... and I learned to love Belgium!
At the Breast Center of the Universitaire Zeikenhuis Leuven (UZ Leuven)

At the Carmelite Monstery in Vilvoorde, Belgium with Sr. Carmela Omandam and the Filipina sisters
My beautiful memories of Belgium came back after the news of the raid for terrorists a few days ago, but indeed, flooded back after the twin bombings in Brussels a day ago! 

And the most iconic symbol of Belgium is the MANNEKEN PIS.
From Wikipedia: Manneken Pis (About this sound [ˌmɑnəkə(m) ˈpɪs] , meaning "Little man Pee" in Dutch) is a landmark small bronze sculpture (61 cm)[1] in Brussels, depicting a naked little boy urinating into a fountain's basin. It was designed by Hiëronymus Duquesnoy the Elder and put in place in 1618 or 1619.[2]

The famous statue is located at the junction of Rue de l'Étuve/Stoofstraat and Rue du Chêne/Eikstraat. To find it, one takes the left lane next to the Brussels Town Hall from the famous Grand Place and walks a few hundred metres southwest via Rue Charles Buls/Karel Bulsstraat.
History and Legends
The 61 cm tall bronze statue on the corner of Rue de l'Etuve and Rue des Grands Carmes was made in 1619 by Brussels sculptor Hieronimus Duquesnoy the Elder, father of the more famous François Duquesnoy. The figure has been repeatedly stolen: the current statue dates from 1965. The original restored version is kept at the Maison du Roi/Broodhuis on the Grand Place.
There are several legends behind this statue, but the most famous is the one about Duke Godfrey III of Leuven. In 1142, the troops of this two-year-old lord were battling against the troops of the Berthouts, the lords of Grimbergen, in Ransbeke (now Neder-Over-Heembeek). The troops put the infant lord in a basket and hung the basket in a tree to encourage them. From there, the boy urinated on the troops of the Berthouts, who eventually lost the battle.
Another legend states that in the 14th century, Brussels was under siege by a foreign power. The city had held its ground for some time, so the attackers conceived of a plan to place explosive charges at the city walls. A little boy named Julianske happened to be spying on them as they were preparing. He urinated on the burning fuse and thus saved the city. There was at the time (middle of the 15th century, perhaps as early as 1388) a similar statue made of stone. The statue was stolen several times.
Another story (told often to tourists) tells of a wealthy merchant who, during a visit to the city with his family, had his beloved young son go missing. The merchant hastily formed a search party that scoured all corners of the city until the boy was found happily urinating in a small garden. The merchant, as a gift of gratitude to the locals who helped out during the search, had the fountain built.
Another legend was that a small boy went missing from his mother when shopping in the centre of the city. The woman, panic-stricken by the loss of her child, called upon everyone she came across, including the mayor of the city. A city-wide search began and when at last the child was found, he was urinating on the corner of a small street. The story was passed down over time and the statue erected as a tribute to the well-known legend.
Another legend tells of the young boy who was awoken by a fire and was able to put out the fire with his urine, in the end this helped stop the king's castle from burning down.

A young gracious Filipino lady, Diane and her friend, James Luke offered to show me around Brussels (one of the main reasons I love Belgium!) shared that we shouldn't expect any giant statue and indeed as emphasised by Wikipedia, a 61 centimeter sculpture!

The real Manneken Pis is indeed so small!... I think I might not find this place by myself!
But yes, you will find so many other Mannekin Pis around... at the waffle store, the candy store, the restaurants and everywhere!!!
My gracious guides, the Jadine (they actually introduced me to the love team!) of Brussels, but better yet, Ja-Di (for James and Diane)!!! 
This is a giant Manneken Pis! ... at the Waffle Shop...yes, Belgium is famous for their WAFFLES!

But after the Brussels bombing this March 21, 2016, the Manneken Pis is now the symbol of resilience following attacks! as written by Mary Boweman in USA Today Network.

Indeed, let the Manneken Pis be the Manneken PEACE!

I feel for Brussels and praying that none of the people I've met were hurt. I feel for those who lost their loved ones... 

I feel for all countries now with heightened alert, with the threat of terrorism again a reality!

I feel for my beloved Zamboanga City, where threats continue to hover around, whether founded or unfounded! 

Why would anyone want to hurt anybody? 

This is something I cannot understand... but as the trending goes, so do most of the people! And if we cannot understand, more so the young children!! As we adults could not even grasp the psychology of terrorism, how then can we explain this to them?

After the Zamboanga Siege of 2013, there were some who left Zamboanga City and most of them, feared for their parents and the elderly and feared for their young kids, who are most helpless in situations like this.

But, if it terror happens in the Philippines, in the Middle East, in the United States, in Paris and now in Brussels, then it means it can happen anywhere! 

I don't know the answer... 

Many say political will is necessary (in our our country... as the elections are closely approaching)! 

BUT, I do know PRAYERS are needed!!!

This Holy Week 2016, let us all include in our prayers, PEACE and GOODWILL throughout the whole world!


  1. Did not think the Manneken pis is so small.

  2. The terror in Belgium these days shows how vulnerable the world is.