Sunday, May 5, 2013

Puebla City, Puebla, Mexico: All Things Beautiful

Puebla had me at hello. Oh how I cursed countless times the first hour of our meeting. And the next... And the next.

Have you felt the same way with some place depressingly beautiful?

Been a long time coming. But it seems today is the day that I speak of a ciudad that I hold dear in my heart. Today because it's Cinco De Mayo (fifth of May). A patriotic holiday that commemorates the implausible victory of the badass Mexican army over French troops at the Batalla de Puebla (Battle Of Puebla) on May 5, 1862. In the United States, it's a shindig wherein Mexicans celebrate their ancestry and culture.

Templo de San Francisco. Puebla's rich with stunning churches.
It was day 183 of our 2011-2012 round-the-world trip that I fell hard for the city. I remember stepping out of the deserted Hostal Santo Domingo and into boots-clad foot traffic. The Christmas buzz was heady, and its rush resembled that of the Philippines'. It left a slight pang of homesickness.

My longing, however, dissipated faster than you can say Cuetlaxcoapan (area where the city was founded in the 16th century) the more we inched through the tiled streets. Truth is, we didn't want to be anywhere else. The hubby and I soaked in the merry atmosphere. I know our toddler Luna did too.

Cafes and restos surround the Zócalo.
Everywhere I laid my eyes on, there was some kind of visual treat. A flower-printed poncho. A ruby red poinsettia. A huge bunch of character balloons. A stranger's infectious smile. Multicolored walls. Oh those buildings I ran out of adjectives for!

So I resulted to cursing.

The historic center of Puebla is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And that says a whole darn lot about its colonial mansions, old monasteries and churches. When I think of the city, I remember how all things are beautiful. Let me count some of the ways.

Museo Amparo

As with most sightseeing itineraries I constructed, our start line in Puebla was a museum. Museo Amparo is housed in two linked colonial-era buildings, which were formerly called Hospitalario for the obvious reason that they once served as a hospital.

Banderitas at Museo Amparo's courtyard.
It has an impressive collection of pre-Hispanic and colonial Mexico artifacts. Could be underwhelming though if one has already visited Mexico City's National Museum Of Anthropology. My fave exhibit's a timeline of civilizations from different continents.

Free admission on Mondays.

Now that's an awesome timeline!
Puebla Cathedral

This Roman Catholic cathedral's black limestone surface is in stark contrast to that of the nearby buildings' brightly painted facades. The cathedral's construction began in 1575, completed in 1690, and is currently looking well-preserved.

Puebla Cathedral dedicated to Immaculate Concepcion.
No words, people. No words.
Lackluster it may appear on the outside, but its interiors can surely cause even the hardest to please jaw drop.

Teatro Principal de Puebla 

One of the oldest theaters in Mexico, and is the oldest still in use as a theater.

Avenida Cinco De Mayo

Boutique shops got way more character than stalls in a colossal department store.
Holy Mole! 

In a restaurant named Fonda De Sta. Clara, we had a dish of chicken mole poblano that made us weak in the knees. And let me tell you, we gobbled quite a lot of different moles (sauces).

Chili and chocolate, a match made in heaven.
 Las Ranas.

Also in Puebla, the hubby found his fave restaurant in Mexico. Budget-friendly Las Ranas, whose divine al pastor's to die for, is considered a local institution. I wanna cry just thinking about their tacos and the whole shebang on the resto's menu.

Oh those buildings I ran out of adjectives for!

I know, I already mentioned that.

The city is also famous for its colonial buildings embellished with azulejos (ceramic tiles).

So after all that's been said and shown, I reckon you could easily fathom why Puebla is one of my favorite cities in the world. Because seriously, I got nothing more to utter but profanity.

Round-The-World Trip 2011-2012, Ola Mexico:

Teotihuacan, Mexico: Where Gods Were Born... And Where We Lost Our Pram
Morisco Kiosk And Museo Del Instituto De Geologia De La UNAM
Photo Essay: National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City
Metropolitan Cathedral Of The Assumption of Mary, Ciudad De Mexico
Jade Guesthouse, Mexico City
Prospero Ano Nuevo
Feliz Navidad
Ola Mexico


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maria millado said...
May 7, 2013 at 6:37 AM

wanna go there.

ian | going places said...
May 7, 2013 at 3:00 PM

All of the colonial buildings are colorful... all pleasing to the eyes! And I'm in "awe moment" with Puebla Cathedral's altar. No words to describe. I think I won't be easily tired strolling Puebla City with all these eye pleasing sights.

I'm curious with the combination of chocolate and chili of mole poblano. How was it?

Jeffrey Rilles said...
May 10, 2013 at 10:31 AM

Nganga ako sa mga shots- the colors en angle... ang ganda Gay!

paul | walkflypinoy said...
May 11, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Mean mole that probably was! Haaay. If only Mexico and the rest of Latin America were a short three-hour plane ride away, then I would book a flight to cities like Puebla right here and now. :)

Gay Emami said...
May 11, 2013 at 2:59 PM

I'd be shuttling to and fro, as often as I could!

Gay Emami said...
May 11, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Thanks Jeffrey! Photogenic lang talaga ang Puebla :)

Gay Emami said...
May 11, 2013 at 3:01 PM

The 'mole' only has a hint of chocolate and the taste of chili but not spicy at all. It's so hard to explain. It's darn goooood.

Gay Emami said...
May 11, 2013 at 3:01 PM

Hope you do someday, Maria!

Dennis *** said...
May 12, 2013 at 8:10 AM

Puebla is one historic city I'd like to go back again. It's where I had my first 'hola!' with mole - heavenly sauce with a rather stark color compared to everywhere else there!

Edmaration said...
May 13, 2013 at 10:37 PM

Hispanic heritage overload! It is interesting to know that this place has a special day "Cinco de Mayo" -- kasi in Vigan ate Gay, there is "Tres de Mayo" which is Vigan's most popular day because of the many cultural activities that is happening. Wala lang, relate ko lang, hihihi...

Gay Emami said...
May 13, 2013 at 11:10 PM

Thanks for the info! Sana madaluhan ko yang Tres De Mayo someday.

Aileen Siroy said...
July 17, 2013 at 7:27 AM

Wow. This makes me want to put Mexico up in the number spot on my list of places to go. I enjoyed this entry, Gay (like I enjoyed ALL your entries. haha) and I loved the pictures! said...
July 18, 2013 at 3:19 PM

Haha! Thanks so much Aileen!

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