September 30, 2009

No flood here

I've always admired this house at the end of my sister-in-law's street. I like the wooden gate, the stone walls and accents, the landscaped gardens and the two story-high living room and windows. They can't be seen very well here, but it also has a magnificent chandelier and a grand curving staircase. I think it's a very lovely home.

lovely house with a two-story living room

Moongirl, a Filipina currently living in California, has compiled all of the different ways of giving to help the victims of typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) if you're abroad. I've shamelessly copied the online routes below but she also lists cities and towns that are accepting donations for the Philippines. Read her "Donating to Manila from abroad" article to learn more. Wherever you are, I hope you can find it in your heart to help the hundreds of thousands of Filipinos who have just lost their homes and everything else, and who still do not have power, water and food in their areas. And if you have already given, many, many thanks and may God bless you for your generosity.

September 29, 2009

Appropriate light

The head office of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines) is located along Roxas Boulevard in the City of Manila, right across Manila Bay and its beautiful sunsets. Their buildings (this is only one of several in the compound) are all unremarkable gray concrete blocks, but a golden sunset can make them look almost beautiful.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

Relief operations for the victims of Ondoy are going on all over the metro. I've been to two already, one for a large poor community just down our street where the waters reached at least chest-high and a much larger operation in my own university for the hard-hit cities of Marikina and Cainta, Rizal and other areas. For those abroad who wish to help, the Fil-Am website Barrio Siete has started a "Barrio Bayanihan for Ondoy Victims" and is accepting donations through PayPal which will all be turned over to the Philippine National Red Cross.

Barrio Bayanihan

September 28, 2009

He doesn't use a phone booth anymore

About ten minutes away from our house, there is a street corner that used to be notorious for purse-snatching. The robber was on a scooter and had victimized several people, including a friend of ours. Because of this, the barangay decided to put a security outpost on the corner. I have never actually seen a security guard posted there since it was finished, but neither have I heard about new purse-snatching incidents. I think the gaudiness of the outpost was enough to turn even the thief away.

security outpost

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Odd Shots Monday

September 27, 2009

Pierced heart

The San Agustin Church in Intramuros, built from 1586 to 1607, may have survived the ravages of time and war but the convent originally built beside it was completely destroyed during WWII. It was reconstructed in the 1970s as a church museum and is another must-see for those interested in church history and religious iconography. This is the doorway to the museum and the carved wooden arch ornament looks old enough to have been salvaged from the ruins of the original convent. The pierced heart of Jesus figures prominently in the symbol of the Augustinians. The banner for Urdaneta 500 is a holdover from 2008 when the Augustinians and the town of Ordizia, Spain celebrated the 500th anniversary of the birth of Andres de Urdaneta, the explorer, navigator and Augustinian friar who was among the first five Catholic missionaries to arrive in the Philippines with Miguel Lopez de Legazpi.

entrance of the San Agustin Museum

Whatever your religion, faith or belief, please say a prayer for all those who lost loved ones, their homes and possessions during the terrible floods in Metro Manila and Luzon yesterday. Tropical storm "Ondoy" (international name "Ketsana") lashed the northern part of the Philippines for more than twelve hours. Ondoy's winds were relatively weak but the rainfall was staggering, resulting in extensive flooding in the metro. Many people are still stranded because the flood waters in certain areas haven't receded yet. The Philippines experiences devastating typhoons every few years or so, but no matter how often it happens, coping with the destruction and losses never gets any easier.

September 26, 2009

Across another street

A view of the front of the Quezon City Hall compound from inside the Quezon Memorial Circle. I call this 8-lane road the wild, wild west (imagine trying to cross it!) and is the reason why I love Mayor Sonny Belmonte for creating the pedestrian underpass which links city hall with the memorial park. Of course, there's no way to hide that huge eyesore of an unfinished building behind city hall. Architect Reena of Reena's Thoughts said that she heard that the developer has a pending case in court over this building because Quezon City has a law which states that no structure at a given area around the Quezon Memorial should be taller than it. I've looked at the memorial, city hall and the eyesore from afar and I think she's right. City hall's tallest building is shorter than the memorial but the unfinished building is definitely taller than the memorial. Now I want to know who in city hall gave the developer a permit to build in the first place.

front view of the Quezon City Hall compound

I recently found out that My Manila made it as a finalist in the Best Photo Blog nationwide category of the Philippine Blog Awards! Whether I win or not, I'm just happy to have made it that far, especially considering the fact that many of the finalists are professional photographers or serious hobbyists. For me and my itsy-bitsy camera to be counted among them is a great honor.

I hope you can visit all the finalists but if you only have time for one, then I highly recommend the blog of Dennis Villegas, my favorite among the ten (yes, including mine—if I were a judge, he'd be the winner). I don't know who he is or what he does but his photo essays are an amazing, though very gritty, look at Manila.

September 25, 2009

Across the street

Taken around noon from the roofdeck of the Loyola School of Social Sciences of Ateneo de Manila University looking east towards Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City. The clouds are just beginning to gather in preparation for the rains that we experience every afternoon. Some of the university's roads and parking areas can be glimpsed through the acacia trees. The tallest building in the photo is Xanland Place, a residential condominium. It's the same building in my Evening sunlight post back in February when summer was just beginning.

the buildings of Katipunan Avenue as seen from the roofdeck of Ateneo's Leong Hall

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September 24, 2009

Not quite

The Greenhills Promenade in the City of San Juan isn't quite a mall. It has too few shops to be called such. What it does have is three cinemas, a theater and lots of restaurants. Except for the bookstore (another branch of Fully Booked), it doesn't really need stores. Promenade is in the same complex as the oldest and most famous tiangge (bazaar) in Metro Manila.

Greenhills Promenade

September 23, 2009


Adarna Food and Culture is a restaurant that specializes in Filipino historical, regional and heirloom recipes. It is located in a refurbished Spanish-style house along Kalayaan Avenue in Quezon City and the interior is full of beautiful heirloom furniture and decor. It's like having dinner in a mestiza grandmother's house. The food is not as good as Crisostomo's but neither is it as expensive, and when it comes to ambience, Adarna is definitely much more wonderful.

interior of Adarna Food and Culture

September 22, 2009

Mangue séchées

Made mostly in the province of Cebu, dried mangoes are one of the Philippines' export products. This particular brand seems destined for France or Canada. If you ever see any in your country, grab a pack. It's a real sweet treat, even for us when it's not mango season.

dried mangoes

How time flies! Only one more week and it'll be CDP Theme Day again. The theme for October 1 is contrast. Don't forget to vote for the November theme too!

September 21, 2009

Keeping things cool

The Humanities cultural gala Magis was staged at the Henry Lee Irwin Theater in the Ateneo de Manila University. Named after the American Jesuit priest from Connecticut who first came to Manila in 1921, the theater sits 1,100 people. I wandered behind it during the intermission and saw the compressors of the airconditioning system that keeps the place cool. There were four of these huge structures and the noise they created was tremendous.

airconditioning system of a large theater

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Odd Shots Monday

September 20, 2009

Spanish courtyard

Plaza San Luis in Intramuros is a small courtyard in the middle of a reproduction of a 19th century Spanish mansion. Fountains became a feature of these grand homes when running water came to Manila in 1882. During the Spanish colonial era, the entire complex would have belonged to one wealthy family with living quarters for their servants, a garage for a carriage or two and storage rooms. Today, the Plaza San Luis complex is a mix of cultural and commercial establishments. It has a small art gallery and souvenir shop, and the restaurant Barbara's, popular as a wedding reception venue for those who get married in the Manila Cathedral or San Agustin Church, is on the third floor and roofdeck. A large part of the building is occupied by Casa Manila, a colonial lifestyle museum which recreates a home of the privileged class of the era. It's a must-see for anyone interested in antiques, home design or the history of Manila.

Plaza San Luis in Intramuros, Manila

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Scenic Sunday

September 19, 2009

An homage to the humanities

As part of the Ateneo de Manila University's 150th anniversary celebrations, the Loyola School of Humanities staged "Magis" (Latin for "more," which summarizes the Jesuit ideal of the pursuit of excellence) on September 9. It was a three-hour cultural gala that celebrated and paid tribute to Philippine national hero Jose Rizal, the university's most eminent alumnus, and to the Ateneo's performing artists, composers, filmmakers, popular entertainers, journalists, outstanding teachers, National Artists, and recognized figures in Philippine theater, literature and visual arts. The show ended with a procession of the images of the Immaculate Conception and St. Ignatius, after which everyone, from the performers to the audience, stood up to sing "A Song for Mary," the Ateneo de Manila's alma mater song.

singing the Song for Mary at the end of Magis, the Loyola School of Humanities' cultural gala

September 18, 2009

For my soul

After spending almost the entire week indoors at the Ateneo Art Gallery looking at some very strange artwork, let's step outdoors for a breather, shall we? Just another beautiful day looking at the boats docked at the Manila Yacht Club. This photo is from the archives. After three weeks of almost constant rain, my soul is yearning for some bright blue skies.

a bright, blue day at the Manila Yacht Club

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September 17, 2009

AAA 2009: Precious junk

I've already shown you all three winners of the 2009 Ateneo Art Awards in the three previous posts. Now let me show you my favorite out of the twelve short-listed artists. Michelline Syjuco's "Armadillon" was originally exhibited at the gallery of Mag:net Bonifacio High Street from August 8 to October 8, 2008 and the entire piece is currently on display at the Ateneo Art Gallery although in a more compact version. The two winged figures are made out of wood and beaten rusty scrap metal. In the display case are mannequin's hands carrying various kinds of handcrafted jewelry made not only out of precious metals and semiprecious stones, but also ordinary metals and rocks, and even hardware. Michelline caught many of my favorite things in her piece: science fiction and fantasy, earth tones, chunky jewelry, wood, stone, metal and texture—so it's little wonder why I immediately fell in love with it. I've again written the gallery's notes of the artwork below but this was one piece where I didn't need to read the notes to know that I like it.

Armadillon by Michelline Syjuco
The problem with modern art pieces like this (and those of the three winners, actually) is, I can't imagine them outside a gallery or museum. If the artist is willing to break up the parts though, I wouldn't mind having this spiky, rusty winged warrior in our living room. My dear Dogberry just might protest though. 2009 ATENEO ART AWARDS SERIES #4 OF 4

Armadillon by Michelline Syjuco

Design and merchandise are part of the language of function, and they figure prominently in this installation of hand-crafted objects. All pieces are molded or else made for the functions of the body. Or so it seems. Syjuco proceeds to subvert our ideas about functionality foremost by addressing the divide between precious and 'worthless' materials. These are exquisite pieces of jewelry rendered from gold, silver, coral and amethyst, but also common metals, stones, flawed pearls and even hardware materials. What she achieves is design informed by conversation, where the quality of each element is brought out in contrasts and combines of intricate yet hard-edged details. Even rust is employed here, its color adding depth to embossed and beaten metal plates.

Syjuco promotes "Armadillon" as her own imaginary world. It is sheer baroque extravagance recalling the grandeur of churches and church ornaments, but clearly she is most inspired by the production design of epical fantasies, drawing on themes of magic and warriorhood.

What Syjuco attempts in her ornamentation are translations of beauty and danger; avid introspections on material and spiritual flight.

September 16, 2009

AAA 2009: Memories of martial law

The third artist who won in the 2009 Ateneo Art Awards is Kiri Dalena, who is also a film-maker, for her installation at the Lopez Memorial Museum's "Keeping the Faith: Acts of Mediation" exhibit from November 13, 2008 to April 4, 2009. Dalena's art installation was titled "Barricade, book of slogans, erased slogans and isolation room" and is her interpretation of the Philippines' martial law years, which she didn't experience because of her young age. Of all the pieces in the current exhibit, I feel that the small portion from Dalena's installation which was transported to the Ateneo Art Gallery does not do her original work justice. In the Lopez Museum, she had an entire room for her installation, which was much more complex than what is in the gallery right now. If you care to understand her original piece more, please read the gallery's notes below. 2009 ATENEO ART AWARDS SERIES #3 OF 4

Barricade, book of slogans, erased slogans and isolation room by Kiri Dalena

Dialogues between archives and contemporary art practice are inevitable as induced tensions. Museums and libraries are repositories of memory and they are appointed as sites for preservation and education , where silence, stasis and stringent controls on tangibility and visibility are imposed. The artist enters this realm and causes a disruption of order. Within this context, installation art offers avenues to liberate memory from reliquary confines.

Dalena embarks on this dialogue by referencing photographs of protests and rallies during the period of Martial Law and adjuncts this to present-day extrajudicial killings. The sentiment is just to be expected. A portrait of state brutality in these past visual journals resonates in the unsolved and unresolved executions and disappearances that the artist deals with in her advocacy work. But this is not simply an emotional confrontation between past and present. Dalena had chosen instead to employ a conscious placement of transcriptions within a setting of school chairs and tables. Read as evidence after the fact, the transcripts are regarded in the texts removed from the photographed placards which have then been transferred into little red books. A pile of chairs recall the barricades built during the First Quarter Storm, of which one arm had been detached and reattached to cradle a copy of the book. Fallen clay bodies are strewn among the rubble, their outlines repeated on the wall. The museum's storage is transformed into an isolation room for one more crouching figure where the texts are again transcribed as a haunting recitation.

The installation sums up what the artist admits to as borrowed memories which she cannot help but manipulate within her own sphere of meanings. By transferring archive into transformative action, Dalena not only opens a renewed awareness of the past. She makes us confront our comfortable tendency to bury history within its silent and stately demarcations.

September 15, 2009

AAA 2009: A silent ode to Bach

"Death to the Major, Viva Minor" was the opening exhibit at the new Silverlens Lab (SLab) art gallery from October 16 to November 22, 2008. Twelve pieces using various media were created by artist Patricia Eustaquio (b. 1977) for the gallery which used to be the location of a piano school. And it was for this exhibit that Patty was chosen as one of the three winners of the 2009 Ateneo Art Awards. Three of the pieces are in the current exhibit at the Ateneo Art Gallery. Again, the gallery's notes on Patty's exhibit is below. 2009 ATENEO ART AWARDS SERIES #2 OF 4

Arteria Axillaris, ceramic
Arteria Axillaris by Patricia Eustaquio
Untitled (Piano), carved leather and ceramic
Untitled (Piano) by Patricia Eustaquio
Psychogenic Fugue, layers of crochet lace and epoxy
Psychogenic Fugue by Patricia Eustaquio

Dissonance transposes into harmony within the location of a former piano school where SLab's gallery now stands. Eustaquio's suite of works is read as an installation of very different objects united not by a message but by the artist's harmonious manipulation of what constitutes the skin, bone and organs of these crafted objects.

The artist's allusion to Johann Sebastian Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier, equally a suite of short and progressive piano pieces that utilizes all 24 major and minor keys without perceptively going out of tune, is suggestive of an interest in tempering or harmonizing divides firstly between art and craft, given her practice as both a maker of art and a maker of clothes. She meanders through this discourse through fragments, wholeness and overtures on historicity in works of canvas as well as constructed and found materials.

What she aims to put together is not easily deduced; these are not visual translations of music. The process does not deign to parallel the making of music nor the sensation of music. As Eustaquio admits, she knows nothing about music and it is exactly this ignorance which allows her to experiment freely. Yet the works are evidently studied; there is nothing arbitrary in the play of color, texture and pattern. These are astute works of design, achieving sensuality and quiet elegance while evoking mixed memories and an unfolding of possibilities. Undoubtedly, it is a collection that comes together as a well-composed and thoughtful piece.

September 14, 2009

AAA 2009: A tumor and an alien

As I promised last month when I posted a photo of the 2009 Ateneo Art Awards event, I visited the Ateneo Art Gallery where the short-listed pieces are on exhibit until September 19. There are three winners and these are what I will show in the next few days. Among the winners, two of the four art residencies were granted to one young artist, Jan Leeroy New (b. 1986), for his installation at the 2008 Singapore Biennale. Titled "Terratoma II: War of the Worlds," the large tumor-like growths and aliens were fastened onto the Singapore City Hall from September 11 to November 16, 2008. For the current exhibit, only one tumor and one alien were installed on an exterior corner of the Rizal Library, where the gallery is located, but it is still quite startling when one first notices it. And for those of you who, like me, are modern art-challenged, the gallery's notes on New's art installation is below. 2009 ATENEO ART AWARDS SERIES #1 OF 4

Terratoma II: War of the Worlds by Jan Leeroy New

New's Terratoma was exactly that, jutting out like an organic growth on top of Singapore's City Hall during the 2008 Singapore Biennale. To some habitués of this bustling city state, the humongous fiberglass tumor was a stranger sight than the alien figures surrounding it, emanating it seems from the saucer-shaped dome of the building. A shared language is at work here, an unquestioned memory shaped by science fiction and extra-terrestrial fascinations.

Such a figuration of aliens serve an expected prototype, but to this artist, aliens are part of his exploration of hybrid forms where deities and supernatural beings from various cultures meld into curious creatures that nonetheless retain the iconic pose and placements of their origins. The stance paradoxically reconnects us with its intrinsic narratives, the world of myths made tangible and explored anew through accessible industrial-grade materials.

Subject to the play of Biennale tastes and motives, the installation emitted an appealing universality; but further on, the challenge of fastening the work on top of a state edifice takes on enduring themes of justice, heroism and struggle. Science and fiction is a paradoxical mix, but as New opines, this is part of the human exercise of explaining the unexplainable. It is a mythology that continues to contemporary times, just as there will always be constructs to attain the unattainable.

September 13, 2009

First five

The Spanish conquistadores who conquered the Philippines in the 16th century arrived with Catholic missionaries and through three hundred years of colonial rule firmly established the Philippines as the only predominantly Roman Catholic country in Asia until the independence of East Timor in 2002. This group of badly damaged and neglected sculptures in front of the ruins of the San Ignacio Church in Intramuros represents the first five Catholic religious orders that arrived in the country. The sign posts are decorated with each order's symbols but the plaques describing them are long gone. When the Intramuros Administration rebuilds the San Ignacio into a museum, I hope they also rebuild the statues and the plaques.

statues of the first five Catholic religious orders in the Philippines located in Intramuros

1. Augustinians
Fray Andres de Urdaneta and four other Augustinians landed in the province of Cebu on April 27, 1565 after sailing to the Philippines from Mexico with Miguel Lopez de Legazpi himself. The first Augustinian mission house in Manila was established in 1571. Source: Augnet

Agustinians, first Catholic religious order to arrive in the Philippines

2. Franciscans
The Ordo Fratrum Minorum (OFM), the First Order of Franciscans, Friars Minor, arrived in Manila on July 2, 1578. Source: OFM Archives Philippines

Franciscans, second Catholic religious order to arrive in the Philippines

3. Jesuits
First arrived in 1581, expelled in 1768 as a result of the suppression of the Jesuits in Europe in 1767, and returned to Manila in 1859. Source: Ateneo de Manila University

Jesuits, third Catholic religious order to arrive in the Philippines

4. Dominicans
The first fifteen missionaries of the Dominican Order, also known as the Order of Preachers (OP), arrived from Spain by way of Mexico on July 21, 1587. Source: OP Holy Rosary Province

Dominicans, fourth Catholic religious order to arrive in the Philippines

5. Recollects
The volunteers of the Order of Augustinian Recollects (OAR), also known as Discalced Augustinians because of their practice of walking barefoot and who follow a more austere and ascetic lifestyle than their other Augustinian brethren, boarded a ship in Cadiz, Spain in July 1605 and arrived in the province of Cebu in May 1606. By 1608, they had a priory in the walled city of Intramuros. Source: Recoletos Communications

Recollects, fifth Catholic religious order to arrive in the Philippines

September 12, 2009


Because of WWII, very few Art Deco buildings remain in the City of Manila and most of the other cities of Metro Manila are too young to have had any. One of those still standing is the old Capitol Theater in Escolta Street. During the Spanish and American colonial eras, Escolta was the commercial district of Manila. The Capitol was one of the country's first cinemas, and one of the few air-conditioned ones too, and was designed in the 1930s by Philippine National Artist for Architecture Juan F. Nakpil. By all accounts, the interior of the cinema was one of the grandest at the time too, with murals by other National Artists. It is now an abandoned, empty shell and only a hint of its former beauty remains in its facade which features a beautifully patterned window grill flanked by reliefs of the Muses of Film and Music.

the Art Deco Capitol Theater in Escolta, Manila

September 11, 2009

Across two cities redux

The same view of the Ortigas Center skyline from the top floor of Fully Booked in Bonifacio High Street as the photo I posted two weeks ago, but at night. The huge cloud looming over the city had dispersed by then.

Ortigas Center skyline at night

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September 10, 2009

Funky floor

The Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theather is the home of Dulaang U.P., the student theater group of the University of the Philippines – Diliman. Guerrero (January 1917- May 1995) was a Filipino playwright, director and teacher and was declared posthumously as a National Artist for Theater in 1997. The theater is located on the second floor of Palma Hall and surrounded by classrooms. I couldn't find information about Palma Hall but I think it is one of the campus' oldest buildings, and the Diliman campus was established in 1949. The tiles of the second floor lobby look like they are still the original.

Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater lobby

September 9, 2009

Dancing fountain

About two weeks ago, I showed you a picture of the new Eastwood Mall. The bridge in that photo goes over a water feature located in the middle of the square surrounded by the mall and residential and office condominiums. What I liked best about the water feature is its dancing fountain, digitally programmed for musical performances. I wish I knew how to add music to this post, but it would be useless anyway because I can't even remember what the song was! My memory's hopeless. All I remember is that it was fast dance music.

dancing fountain of Eastwood Mall
dancing fountain of Eastwood Mall
dancing fountain of Eastwood Mall
dancing fountain of Eastwood Mall

Natural or man-made, take a refreshing dip in Watery Wednesday.
Watery Wednesday

September 8, 2009

Siesta time

Because of the Philippines' hot and humid weather, taking a siesta after lunch is common practice especially if your work requires laboring under the sun. What made me smile about these construction workers is the fact that they were building a new library in the Ateneo de Manila University. When I was still a student, a friend and I would always take noon naps in the library. We never got caught.

construction workers taking a siesta

September 7, 2009

Meals on wheels

The customized motorcycle and bicycle side car designs in Manila can be very ingenious. I've already shown you what our neighborhood water filtering station uses to deliver 5-gallon bottles. This man has a gas stove and an eating counter attached to his bicycle.

lunch counter on a bicycle side car

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Odd Shots Monday

September 6, 2009

The way to the palace

Postigo del Palacio (postern of the palace) was one of the main entrances into the walled city of Intramuros during the Spanish colonial era. It was built in 1662 and took its name from the fact that it was the way closest to the palaces of the Governor-General and the Archbishop. This was the path that Philippine National Hero Jose Rizal took when he walked from his prison cell inside Fort Santiago to Bagumbayan (Luneta or Rizal Park), where he was executed in 1896. It was damaged during the Battle of Manila in 1945 and restored in 1968. The gate is usually closed nowadays but if it were open, it would just lead to the Club Intramuros Golf Course, an 18-hole golf course built around the beautiful and historic stone walls of the old city.

pathway of the Postigo del Palacio in Intramuros and the Club Intramuros Golf Course

Urban or rural, natural or man-made, take a sightseeing tour of our world's diverse scenery!
Scenic Sunday

September 5, 2009

Retail therapy

Many of the largest malls in Metro Manila have a section dedicated to health services: clinics, skin care centers, gyms and such. Healthway has clinics in several malls (this one is in The Block at SM City North EDSA) and it offers medical, dental and skin care services. And these are full services—they have general practitioners (family physicians) and specialists, including surgeons and anesthesiologists since they have several small operating rooms for minor procedures. I've used both their doctors and dentists several times and I'm quite happy with their services. If your medical insurance doesn't cover them, they have inexpensive annual packages that are good enough for general health care. I like the fact that they're located inside malls too. Aside from being open seven days a week, if I have to wait for a doctor to arrive or for the results of a laboratory test, I can relax at a café or go window shopping. And after spending a couple of grueling hours in a dentist's chair or being poked and prodded by a gastroenterologist, what better way to reward yourself for being a good girl (or boy) than by doing a little shopping?

Healthway medical clinic in The Block

September 4, 2009

I breathe it everyday

The view of Metro Manila from Timberland Sports and Nature Club which I posted for the City Daily Photo theme day on Tuesday was just one of several which I took that day. The club's pool is located one level below the dining room and has the same magnificent view. If you enlarge the photo, you can just make out a large body of water in the distance. That is the La Mesa Dam reservoir, which supplies most of the metro's water. The area has also been developed into an ecopark, but I have yet to visit it.

view of Metro Manila from the Timberland Sports and Nature Club

The club is only one part of the mountain development that is Timberland Heights, which offers lots for residences and farm estates. Here we see some of the homes that have already been built and a section of the hill nearer the clubhouse that is still being developed. Unfortunately, the trip to the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountain range made it quite obvious just how polluted Metro Manila's air is. Just look at that pall of thick smog over the metro!

view of Metro Manila from the Timberland Sports and Nature Club

The pollution became even more pronounced when the sun hid behind some clouds. I wish I could say that this was just rain but it didn't start pouring until late in the afternoon and I took this mid-morning.

view of Metro Manila from the Timberland Sports and Nature Club

I don't know why it was so, but by early afternoon the sky over Metro Manila, though still a bit hazy, was much clearer. Like the sun had burned off some of the smog.

view of Metro Manila from the Timberland Sports and Nature Club

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