November 30, 2009

Private party

The elegant, old world-style private dining room (or function room, as we call it here) of restaurateur Larry J. Cruz's Filipino restaurant Abe (ah-beh), named after his father Aguilar. The rest of the restaurant uses more modern wood, rattan and fabric chairs. No photos of the food this time (Jacob and Marley, you can rest easy now—I don't want you gaining weight because of me) but I do want to say that it's very, very good. Forget the diet if you ever have the chance to eat at Abe—some of their best dishes are deep fried or feature pork veined with fat (melt-in-your-mouth delicious!).

private dining room at Abe restaurant

November 29, 2009

A staff to lean on

The two saints beside the stairs leading into the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish Church are Saint Anthony Mary Claret and Saint Jude Thaddeus. St. Anthony Claret is the founder of the Congregation of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which runs this parish in Quezon City. St. Jude is the patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes, which makes him a very popular saint in the Philippines.

Saint Anthony Mary Claret and Saint Jude Thaddeus

November 28, 2009


I've already posted a photo of Fully Booked in Bonifacio High Street during the day. At night, it is a veritable beacon for book lovers like me.

Fully Booked at Bonifacio High Street at night

November 26, 2009

I spy…

Masks! At the Masquerade themed party of Sofitel Manila's 7Pecados by the Bay bar and club last Wednesday.

With a lovely ice bucket.
mask decorations at the masquerade themed party of 7Pecados

Under glass with a bottle of cognac.
mask decorations at the masquerade themed party of 7Pecados

Over the stage.
mask decorations at the masquerade themed party of 7Pecados

On the bar.
mask decorations at the masquerade themed party of 7Pecados

In a silver bowl of ice with champagne.
mask decorations at the masquerade themed party of 7Pecados

The last World Wide Wednesdays @ 7Pecados themed party will be on December 2. It will be a Marker Party where guests will be given white shirts and markers. Care to guess what you're supposed to do?

November 25, 2009

Proudly Pinoy

Way back in June of 2008, I posted a photo of one of my favorite mall stores which specializes in Philippine handicrafts. Happily, I discovered a similar shop, albeit smaller and therefore with fewer choices, very near our house. The Turista Shop sells small handcrafted wooden furniture and home accessories, woven baskets and mats, handmade paper, jewelry, soap and candles, and bottled delicacies and non-grape wines from all over the country. I love going there every now and then just to see what's new.

The Turista Shop

November 24, 2009

Nine for two

My husband and I finally tried one of the many Korean restaurants that had recently sprung up near our neighborhood. Woo Ri Jib means 'our house' so I guess that basically means home cooking too. The two dishes we ordered, a seafood noodle soup and vegetable-seafood pancake, were very good but what popped my eyes were the free appetizers. Nine! And as soon as we finished one (the bean sprouts—mmmmm!), it was immediately refilled. That taught us quickly not to clean out any other dish.

appetizers at Woo Ri Jib Korean restaurant

November 23, 2009

An early Christmas

Like last year, and the eight years before that, our office organized the Lights for Hope Christmas outreach party for young children in the poor communities and public schools that various organizations in the Ateneo de Manila University are involved with. This year, though, we also opened the event to the children of university employees who suffered from typhoon Ketsana (known as Ondoy locally). Last Saturday, about one thousand children spent the afternoon in a large field in the university. There was a program with games and prizes, and Jollibee himself (his fastfood chain provided the kids' afternoon snack) dancing for the kids. He is probably the most famous and best-loved animal mascot in the country and up close, it's easy to understand why—he has the cutest shy smile! He's a pretty good dancer too.

Jollibee dancing during the Lights for Hope Christmas outreach

For those who didn't care for dancing or parlor games, there were two large inflatable slides. The college students who volunteered to help did a fantastic job of keeping the waiting lines orderly.

inflatable slides during the Lights for Hope Christmas outreach

Canon Philippines provided a photo booth. Pose with the Canon snowman and get a free print, a souvenir of the afternoon. Filipinos are usually shy about asking strangers anything and people probably thought this was just a display booth, so two officemates and I got things going by being the first to get our picture taken. We posed together but we each got a copy. And, no, I'm not posting that photo here. No way.

Canon photo booth during the Lights for Hope Christmas outreach

Instead of just our regular one goody bag, all the children went home with four bags. Our blue tote bag had biscuits and other snack foods, a rubber ball and slippers. The Ateneo High School Class of 1967 provided a knapsack full of school supplies, including a Tagalog-English pocket dictionary. And ABS-CBN, one of the largest media companies in the Philippines which was also one of the largest relief operations centers during the typhoon, provided two bags of relief goods: rice and canned goods, and clothes. The Ateneo High School and Grade School basketball teams helped us distribute all the bags, help that was much appreciated because just before distribution I thought we didn't have enough hands. The high school boys even helped the smaller ones carry all their 'loot' back to their picnic area.

distributing goody bags and relief goods during the Lights for Hope Christmas outreach

None of these would have been possible without the generosity and hard work of so many people, so indulge me as I thank others not mentioned above: all the alumni who gave donations to pay for the afternoon's expenses; Culinary Exchange for its free-flowing coffee to keep the volunteers going; Blue Christmas, the college group that organized all the kids and their facilitators; and, of course, the entire Office of University Development and Alumni Relations, especially Marijo and her team. Thank you, everyone, and may God bless you all.

November 21, 2009

The castle and the lion

The abbreviated Spanish coat of arms above the main entrance of Fort Santiago, built in the late 16th century soon after the conquest of the islands. The major elements are the Pillars of Hercules, the Spanish royal crown, the lion rampant of the Kingdom of León and the tower of the Kingdom of Castile. Philip II was the king of Spain at the time, which is why the islands were called Las Islas Filipinas.

the Spanish coat of arms above the main entrance of Fort Santiago

November 20, 2009

Funky boxes

The low buildings of Bonifacio High Street, with upscale shops on the first floor and offices on the second floor, remind me of modern, artsy gift boxes. I really like them.

the buildings of Bonifacio High Street

A message for City Daily Photo bloggers:
Firstly, the simpler announcement—our December 1 theme is Waiting. Secondly, there's a poll of sorts and a discussion going on in the blog authors' forum about what our January 1, 2010 theme will be. Traditionally, the theme for the first day of the year has been the Best of the Past Year but there are now suggestions to move the date for the Best theme and have a different theme for January 1. Please vote and/or join the discussion and help spread the word. Demosthenes and others would like to hear our views about it.

November 19, 2009

Against all odds

When land is expensive, as it can be in many parts of Metro Manila, people buy small cuts and use the entire space for the house and garage, leaving nothing for a garden. The only soil this house had left was in a built-in planter in front of the wall that separates it from its neighbor. And from that cramped space, this bougainvillea was cascading over both driveways.


November 18, 2009

Grand entrance

I've already shown you the colonnade and porch of the Museum of the Filipino People, which used to be the government Finance Building. Now let's step inside and see its beautifully restored grand entrance hall.

entrance hall of the Museum of the Filipino People

Each doorway in the hall is topped by an arch with a stained glass window featuring the seal of the Department of Finance and the coat of arms of the Republic of the Philippines.

arched doorway with stained glass at the Museum of the Filipino People

Here is a closer look at one of the stained glass windows featuring only the seal of the Department of Finance. I couldn't find any information about it so I don't know what they all mean, but the elements include the sun rising above a pair of marine lions holding a shield containing balance scales and a key. Under and around the marine lions (also a symbol of the City of Manila) is a scroll and three stars which represent the three major geographic areas of the country: Luzon (where Metro Manila is), Visayas and Mindanao.

arched stained glass window over a door at the Museum of the Filipino People

Some of the stained glass windows can also be seen from the hallway of the second floor, where they are protected by more of the beautiful black iron grills that we saw at the porch.

arched stained glass window with black iron grills at the Museum of the Filipino People
To appreciate both the architecture and exhibits of the National Museum of the Philippines, especially if you're a first-time visitor, I highly recommend the museum tour of John Silva. Aside from his vast knowledge about architecture, history, art and archeological artifacts, he also has an insider's stories about the restoration of the buildings, the hard work required to breathe life into its musty halls and exhibits, and the struggle to preserve the heritage of the Filipino people.

November 17, 2009

Trash and laundry

I posted photos of North Park's congee last year. Now here's a photo of their funky lamps. I actually like them but they also kind of remind me of a crumpled ball of paper. And the ceiling drapes, good for diffusing light and improving acoustics in a box-like room, remind me of bedsheets hung out to dry. Or maybe I'm just feeling domestic right now.

orange lamp at North Park

I recently discovered a lovely photoblog about the Philippines. Bobby Wong Jr. likes to travel around the country and takes the most gorgeous photos and posts one every week. Looking at his images of this beautiful country, I was reminded once again why I haven't given up on the Philippines. And as my thanks to Bobby, I invite you all to visit his blog:
Postcards from Manila

November 16, 2009

Golden eggs

Not from a goose but from a shark—the Whitespotted Bamboo Shark (Chiloscyllium plagiosum), to be exact. Found among the coral reefs of the west Pacific, including the Philippines, this small, one-meter, nocturnal shark lays eggs that are five inches long. These back-lit eggs showing the fascinating development of the shark inside are in the Ang Kalaliman (The Deep) section of the Manila Ocean Park. I assure you that these sharks are very much alive. In fact, the guy in the middle was wriggling so much I had to take several shots before I got one with both his head and tail in the photo.

Whitespotted Bamboo Shark eggs

Find more Odd Shots—or post your own—at Katney's Kaboodle.
Odd Shots Monday

November 15, 2009

Vermilion tears

Walking along the mossy ramparts of the historic Fort Santiago in Intramuros, I spied a statue of Philippine National Hero Jose Rizal through the branches of a flowering Caballero/Flame Tree (Delonix regia) in a gated and locked room inside the roofless ruins of a former Spanish military barracks. Rizal was incarcerated at Fort Santiago before his execution in Bagumbayan (Luneta or Rizal Park) in 1896.

statue of Jose Rizal in a locked room in the ruins of Fort Santiago

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

November 14, 2009

Something's missing

The gold-painted rattan Christmas trees and balls in yesterday's post were also The Podium's decorations inside the mall. Even with the addition of more gold-painted ornaments on the trees, however, the decorations hanging from the skylight of the atrium just doesn't strike me as being festive enough. I don't quite know why though. Some traditional green and red, perhaps? What do you think?

Christmas decorations inside The Podium

November 13, 2009

Sunny Christmas

Gold-painted rattan Christmas trees and balls on the glass driveway canopy of The Podium, a mall in the Ortigas Center of Pasig City.

Christmas decorations on the driveway canopy of The Podium

Visit the Sky Watch Friday home page and tour the skies of our beautiful world.
Sky Watch Friday

November 12, 2009

Black iron

These are the doorways and windows of the Museum of the Filipino People just off the porch created by the colonnade which I posted on Monday.

doors and windows of the Museum of the Filipino People

I really like the beautiful ironwork of its many windows. The sculpted ornamentation on the walls and ceilings are quite simple but still pretty.

arch over a doorway of the Museum of the Filipino People

The plaques under the wall lamps identify the people involved in the reconstruction of the building, formerly the Finance Building of the Philippine government, which was completed in 1950. They feature the coat of arms of the Republic of the Philippines and lists foremost the President under whose term the building was reconstructed: Elpidio Quirino. Tiny lettering carved into one corner of the metal identifies the maker of the plaques: Crispulo Zamora & Sons, Art Sales - Manila.

plaque under a lamp of the Museum of the Filipino People

November 11, 2009

Crystal rainbow

The crystal-beaded walls that so fascinated me at Sofitel's 7Pecados turned out to be made of clear beads behind clear glass panes.

crystal-beaded wall of 7Pecados, clear

The colors were coming from lights built into the wall (I think). It was an unchanging red during "Casino Royale" but for "Knock Out Night" the light cycled through all the colors of the rainbow. I thought it was wonderful!

crystal-beaded wall of 7Pecados, red
crystal-beaded wall of 7Pecados, orange
crystal-beaded wall of 7Pecados, yellow
crystal-beaded wall of 7Pecados, green
crystal-beaded wall of 7Pecados, blue
crystal-beaded wall of 7Pecados, blue-violet
crystal-beaded wall of 7Pecados, violet

November 10, 2009


So we went back to 7Pecados at Sofitel Philippine Plaza last Wednesday for the second of its World Wide Wednesdays themed parties. As I mentioned after the first one, the theme was Knock Out Night and sure enough, it was all about boxing. Very timely, as Manny Pacquiao, the "Pambansang Kamao" (national fist), fights for his seventh world title in a seventh weight division against Miguel Cotto this weekend. The stage where the band performs was set up like a boxing ring and a video documentary about Pacquiao was being shown onscreen.

stage set up like a boxing ring during Knock Out Night at Sofitel's 7Pecados

Boxing gloves were hanging from the ceiling. At least, the parts that weren't tiled in mirrors. I didn't notice it the first time, but the ceiling at the center of the room isn't mirrored. The huge pillar beside the bar is though, which made for more interesting reflections.

mirrored pillar at the bar during Knock Out Night at Sofitel's 7Pecados

The members of the band Blind Curve were dressed up in athletic gear. Ummm, sort of. I doubt if trainers allow stiletto-heeled rubber shoes in the gym.

Blind Curve band members in athletic gear during Knock Out Night at Sofitel's 7Pecados

Even the servers were in shorts, tees and jackets. I hope this doesn't get them into trouble, but I found it funny-cute that between waiting on customers, they were playing around with the iMacs, either surfing the web or having fun with Photo Booth.

servers playing with an iMac during Knock Out Night at Sofitel's 7Pecados

And as I promised myself, I didn't get knocked out on Knock Out Night. I was a good girl and only had one glass of Singapore Sling (gin, cherry brandy, pineapple juice, lime juice, orange liqueur, herbal liqueur and grenadine syrup). I can't promise I'll be as good on the 18th, the next WWW@7Pecados party with its theme of Masquerade. I'm looking forward to that one and really hoping that it's Venetian. I wonder though, will it be masks on or masks off?

empty glass of Singapore Sling during Knock Out Night at Sofitel's 7Pecados

November 9, 2009

Neo-classical Corinthian

Built in 1940, the former Finance Building in the City of Manila was designed principally by the Filipino architect Antonio Toledo, who received his training at the Brooklyn Institute of Technology, Ohio State University and Cornell. Toledo was a member of the Bureau of Public Works, the agency which was in charge of the construction of all government buildings during the American colonial era. He also designed the Manila City Hall. Heavily damaged during WWII, the Finance Building was rebuilt after the war by the construction and engineering company of A. M. Oreta. In 1998, it was renovated again in time for the Philippine centennial, this time to house part of the collection of the National Museum of the Philippines. That part was the museum's collection of Philippine archeological artifacts and what used to be the Finance Building is now the Museum of the Filipino People.

neo-classical Corinthian columns of the National Museum of the Filipino People, formerly the Finance Building

This post is dedicated to our good friends Vic Oreta, one of A. M. Oreta's grandchildren, and his wife Cecile.

November 8, 2009

A god's plaything

If Jupiter (Zeus) decides to take the form of your husband, will you be able to tell the difference? Alcmene didn't when Jupiter appeared to her as her husband, the Theban general Amphitryon, in Heinrich von Kleist's 1807 play. Mostly a comedy but one which raises metaphysical questions, "Amphitryon" was translated into Tagalog by Jerry Respeto and it was performed by the University of the Philippines' resident student theater group Dulaang U.P. last September as their third play of the season.

stage set of Dulaang U.P.'s Amphitryon

November 7, 2009


I didn't even know that Manila had a shop dedicated exclusively to Murano glass until I saw this in the lower ground floor of Sofitel Philippine Plaza. I didn't go inside for fear of breaking something, but even through the windows, the glass was breathtaking.

Murano store in Sofitel Philippine Plaza

November 6, 2009

After life

This would have been more appropriate for All Souls' Day last November 2, but as they say, better late than never. This is the Sanctuarium, the largest columbarium that I know of in Metro Manila. Aside from at least six levels of vaults for cinerary urns, it has three levels of wake chapels, a Buddhist temple, and it also offers funeral and cremation services.


I apologize for the lack of visits this past week, but my schedule and work load has been a bit crazy again. I hope that things will normalize soon so I can see everyone's wonderful photos. In the meantime, I wish you all a very happy weekend!