December 31, 2011

Simple blessings

Catharanthus roseus
Madagascar Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus) grows in our garden all year round with absolutely no effort on our part. White is more common but we get pink ones like this every now and then.

Wishing you all a beautiful and peaceful 2012.

December 30, 2011


handwoven coin purses from Bicol
Colorful coin purses made of handwoven fabric from the Bicol Region. Selling in the streets of Manila for six pieces for one hundred pesos—about 38 U.S. cents per piece, or less than five dollars for the dozen in this picture.

December 28, 2011


ornate mirror at Café Ysabel
The ornate mirror, ceiling and angel sconces at Café Ysabel in the City of San Juan. Unfortunately, the effect is a bit marred for me by the presence of the flanking speakers and large airconditioning units.

December 27, 2011

Not under

Honda Cars Philippines showroom
Instead of a gadget that can fit in your pocket, how about a Christmas gift that can fit you inside it? The Christmas tree itself will fit inside some of them.

At the Quezon Avenue showroom of Honda Cars Philippines.

December 26, 2011

For your white and blue

blue and white parol hanging from the cupola of the Ateneo Church of the Gesù
Blue and white parol hanging from the cupola of the Ateneo Church of the Gesù. The title is a line from the alma mater song of the Ateneo de Manila University, whose school color is blue.

December 25, 2011

O holy night!

The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth.
~John Sullivan Dwight

our Christmas tree
May your homes shine with the light of the Star of Bethlehem and your hearts be filled with the joy that the birth of our Savior brings.

Christmas Blessings

Exie & Hilda

December 24, 2011


Nativity scene at the Ateneo Church of the Gesù
The belen, or nativity scene, in the Ateneo Church of the Gesù. It looks like Jesus will be born in the woods this year.

December 23, 2011

Under the Christmas tree

small Christmas tree and Apple logo at Liteware Computers
A new toy for Christmas, anyone?

Liteware Computers is an authorized Apple seller and service center, and is housed in two small converted apartment units along Kamias Road in Quezon City—a rather noisy and dingy area full of tiny shops selling hardware and automotive supplies. However, it offers some of the best prices for Apple products in Metro Manila. I guess their overhead costs are not as high as those big and fancy Apple stores located in high-end shopping centers.

December 22, 2011

The carol of the winds

Banda Zapat performing in front of the Ateneo Church of the Gesu on the first day of Simbanggabi
Simbang Gabi (night mass) or Misa de Gallo (Spanish, which literally translates to rooster's mass and means dawn mass), is a traditional novena of masses before Christmas that many Filipino Catholics practice. Among Catholics, a novena is a nine-day devotion to obtain special graces. Simbang Gabi at the Ateneo Church of the Gesù started on December 15 with a performance of Filipino and foreign Christmas carols by the Banda Zabat brass band a few hours before the evening mass. Banda Zapat comes from Gapan City in the province of Nueva Ecija, 92 kilometers away.

December 21, 2011

A most welcoming host

tree with different plants growing on its branches
I like how some people grow plants on the branches of trees. The trees don't seem to suffer for the presence of their guests and the variety of leaf shapes make everything even more interesting. Just don't ask me what tree or plants they are, okay? :)

December 20, 2011

Silver snakes

extensible exhaust tubes at Ye Dang Korean Restaurant
It took me some time to realize what these silver tubes hanging from the ceiling of Ye Dang Korean BBQ Restaurant were. I'd never seen extensible exhaust tubes before. Necessary in a restaurant where the barbecue is grilled at your table.

December 19, 2011

Sun and rain

looming storm clouds and a golden sunset
I guess this photo is a good summary of the kind of weather we have in the Philippines—sun and rain, that's it. It's just a matter of degree.

The Mindanao cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro, and smaller towns around them, have been devastated by floods caused by Typhoon Sendong (international code: Washi) and the death toll is now more than 500. If you can spare a little, please help the 8000 families who have been affected by the floods. The most convenient way to donate is online through the Philippine Red Cross' website but if you want to know about other options, please leave a comment and I will try to give you more information. Thank you.

December 18, 2011

For the greater glory of God

Loyola House of Studies
The Loyola House of Studies is the home of Philippine Jesuits-in-training (through their Juniorate, Philosophy, Theology, and Tertianship years), and their faculty and formators. This iconic facade of the building, which was built in 1965, overlooks the Marikina Valley.

December 17, 2011

欢迎 | Welcome

entrance of the Chinese Garden at the Rizal Park
The arch over the entrance to the Chinese Garden of the Rizal Park. If anyone knows what those four characters mean, I'd appreciate a little language lesson.

December 16, 2011

December 15, 2011

Tiny cheeseburger

The Goose Station's French macaroon 'cheeseburger'
The Goose Station's playful French macaroon (bun) with chocolate ganache (patty), candied fruit (cheese) and mint (lettuce).

December 14, 2011

Hidden in plain sight

Uy-Chaco Building in Binondo, Manila
Because of the district's hustle and bustle, and the inadequacy of Philippine rules about building signs, it is easy to miss the pre-war architectural gems of Binondo, Manila's Chinatown. The Uy-Chaco Building, which houses the Binondo branch of Philtrust Bank, stands right behind the Filipino-Chinese Friendship Arch. I've featured the arch in the past, but it wasn't until several years later—and a relatively long wait for the people I was meeting with—that I noticed the building. Information about it on the web is contradictory; it was either built in 1914 and designed by Samuel C. Rowell or built in 1930 and designed by Andres Luna de San Pedro.

December 13, 2011

December 11, 2011

To stay together

rosary made of parol at the East Asian Pastoral Institute
A rosary made up of Christmas parol surrounds a Filipino family praying together in a nipa hut, at the lawn in front of the East Asian Pastoral Institute.

December 10, 2011

Death by trampling

wooden relief at the top of Fort Santiago's main entrance
The wooden relief at the top of the 16th century main entrance of Fort Santiago in Intramuros depicts four natives being trampled under the hooves of a Spanish conquistador's horse.

December 8, 2011


upper-middle class houses in Quezon City
Modern, upper-middle class houses in Quezon City typically stand on 200 to 300 square meter lots with hardly any room for a garden.

December 7, 2011


U-turn along Katipunan Avenue
In an effort to ease the flow of the metro's badly congested traffic, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) decided to close off most national roads' intersections and put U-turn slots instead. Their positioning are trial-and-error experiments, so the MMDA has to use non-permanent and moveable road barriers. Looks like someone tried making a U-turn from an outer lane and is being issued a ticket.

December 6, 2011

After the party

late night at RE BLUE TION
Ateneo de Manila University's school color is blue and the Class of 1986 graduated right after the People Power Revolution, hence the name of this year's grand alumni homecoming: RE BLUE TION.

December 4, 2011

Portugal, Italy, Philippines

Santuario de San Antonio
Santuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park, Makati City, is dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua, a Portuguese Franciscan friar who died in Italy.

December 3, 2011


taxi driver in a 'Burberry' jacket
No taxi driver in the Philippines can ever afford a real Burberry jacket on what they earn.

December 2, 2011

Black on silver

photographer David Fabros at work
At the party celebrating the silver anniversary of Ateneo de Manila College Class of 1986, professional photographer David Fabros—a member of the class—took portraits of lucky early blackbirds gratis.

December 1, 2011

And life goes on

at the bottom of the pedestrian overpass on the North side of Philcoa
A typical scene near major public transportation hubs in Metro Manila, with jeepneys, vendors, graffiti and glued-on announcements on footbridge pillars, thick and tangled utility cables, and people texting.