BALANGA City, Bataan- The Plaza Mayor de Balanga in Bataan has become a regular promenade every day for students, children and old alike seeking relaxation late afternoon until nightfall.
“Enjoy po kami, maganda, parang na sa ibang bansa,” said students sipping drinks Thursday afternoon.
Children and adults are either seated on steel benches around the plaza or plain going around and enjoying the sceneries like the passing of the replica of a trambia. At a certain portion of the plaza is a mini-playground for children.
“Malaki ipinagbago ng plaza. Magandang pasyalan at palipasan ng oras,” 69-year old Sergio Lozagay of Camacho, Balanga City said. He was with his 5-year old grandchild. The old man recalled that adjacent to the old plaza then were small stores and the public market.
The new plaza, called Plaza Mayor de Balanga, is sandwiched between the tall Galeria Victoria of Jerry Acuzar, Aquino Building, Center Plaza Mall/Jollibee of former Consul Eduardo de Guzman, Balanga Cityhall/Library and the elegant St. Joseph Cathedral.
The buildings except the cathedral have the same structural façade and color. City Mayor Jose Enrique Garcia III said the plaza is patterned after Salamanca, Spain.
“Maganda ang unipormadong kulay, parang na sa colonial period sa Europa,” Lozagay said.
The old man said even those eating on fastfood chains and food stalls nearby enjoy the beautiful transformation of the plaza. “Habang kumakain sila at nakadungaw ay siyang-siya sila sa kanilang paligid.”
Nearby are Jollibee, Greenwich, Chowking, Max, KFC, Inasal, among some other food stalls.
At about 5:45 in the afternoon, the surroundings begin to be flooded with beautiful lights as church bells from the St. Joseph Cathedral ring.
At exactly 6:00 p.m., traffic and people temporarily stop as the Angelus from the cathedral is prayed. This also signals the opening of the multi-colored dancing fountain much to the enjoyment of children and adults.