June is one of the most significant months in Macau as it reminds the
local community of its long-standing links with Portugal and the
intercession of St. John de Baptist that led to Macau-Portuguese forces'
toppling of Dutch invaders.
Macau, located on the Southern coast of China and 40 miles from Hong Kong,
is where East meets West. Portugal colonized Macau centuries ago. As early
as 1513, Portuguese explorer Jorge Alvarez first set foot in Macau.
Every June 10 is Portugal's National Day. The occasion is marked by
ceremonies held at Camoes Garden to pay tribute to the country's greatest
poet, Luis Camoes, who once settled in Macau.
On June 12, Portuguese converge for a big bash, including folk dancing and
fado at the Forum.
The feast of St. John the Baptist, observed on June 24 yearly, is another date
highlighted on the calendar.
On this date, in 1622 the attempt of Dutch invaders to penetrate Macau was
foiled. The Dutch, firmly based in Batava (modern-day Jakarta), had set their
eyes on Asia and Macau as their conquest. The Dutch invasion was carried
out using 13 ships with 1,300 men on board.
As chronicled in history books, Macau's power - 50 musketeers and 100
citizens seemed no-match against the Dutch who came in full gear and force.
To stand a better chance in the battle, Macau beefed up its contingency by
erecting forts to guard the sea approaches, but they had not been completed.
A single cannon-shot fired by a priest from Monte Fort hit the Dutch
gunpowder store destroying much of their ammunition.
With all their might and gear, the Portuegese hit back and they were able to
vanquish the Dutch with "St. John's aid," according to their belief. The slaves
who fought with the Portuguese were later given their freedom.
Tiny Macau has a quaint appeal, with a population of 455,000 and land area of
22 square kilometers.
Every year, at least eight million travelers and traders from all corners of the
globe visit the place which is a crossroad for cultures, cuisine and commerce.
Whatever your interest or specifications are, Macau - less than two hours from
Manila via Air Macau - will not disappoint you. It has a string of activities from
A-Z to make your stay memorable to the hilt.
Then, Macau was synonymous with glittery casinos. But travelers who had
been to Macau swear that there's more to it than casinos.
If you go for culture, history, entertainment, sports, shopping, etc. Macau
beckons. You will have a fill of historic period edifices, some have Portuegese
architecture, while the rest have Oriental touch.
There are different museums, temples, churches, forts, and landmarks to
marvel at. The different races are all must-see. If shopping is one of your
weaknesses, well, here you will really realize the real meaning of getting your
Devaluation is an alien word here. Bargain hunters: This is the place to wind
up for best buys.
MGTO's partner travel agencies are: Morning Star, China Tours, Marsman
Tours, Trans National and Thomas Cook. (Arlene Dabu-Foz)