July 7, 2014

A delightful fortress

Ayala Museum
"Museums should be places where you raise questions,
not just show stuff."
~William Thorsell, past Director & CEO of the Royal Ontario Museum

This is the side of the Ayala Museum which can be seen from the park in the middle of Greenbelt. Only the ground floor has windows. The windows on the second floor do not open to the museum but to a walkway connecting two of the buildings of the mall. Other than that, the rest of the building looks like a fortress, and it probably is, given the priceless artifacts exhibited in the museum. One of their permanent exhibits is Filipino garments from the 19th century, some of which are painted on the walls of the walkway.

See murals from around the world in Monday Mural.

July 4, 2014

Pebble park

Greenbelt "My life is full of mistakes.
They're like pebbles that make a good road."
~Beatrice Wood (1893–1998), American artist and potter

A wooden bridge connecting two of the buildings of Greenbelt, a large retail complex in Makati City, seen through the trunks of some very tall and skinny palm trees. I like how Ayala Land used light and dark pebbles in this part of the park—they make the ground look like freeform art.

July 3, 2014

Tea for three

TWG Tea Salon & Boutique "There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea."
~Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

Macarons, scones and finger sandwiches to go with our mandarin orange oolong tea at a TWG Tea Salon & Boutique.
 Weekend Reflections

July 2, 2014

The golden pond

koi "Alive without breath, As cold as death;
Never thirsty, ever drinking, All in mail never clinking."
~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Just a few of the hundreds of koi we saw in the ponds of Greenbelt, the large retail complex in my Lush post from the other day.

July 1, 2014

Peace, love, sandy feet

Virgin Island in Bantayan, Cebu "If there is a heaven for me,
I'm sure it has a beach attached to it."
~Jimmy Buffett, American singer-songwriter

CITY DAILY PHOTO THEME DAY: CELEBRATING SUMMER • In an archipelago composed of more than 7,000 islands, summer isn't complete without a trip to the beach. Manila no longer has a beach—when our parents were young, it did—so we have to travel a few hours to get to one. This is the beach of the tiny and undeveloped Virgin Island just off Bantayan Island in the island province of Cebu.

June 29, 2014


Greenbelt "Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap
but by the seeds that you plant."
~Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894), Scottish novelist, poet & essayist

It is easy to see how Greenbelt, a large commercial and retail complex in Makati City, got its name.

June 27, 2014


TWG "A cup of tea is a cup of peace."
~Sen Sōshitsu XVI, 16th tea master of the Urasenke family

We finally have TWG Tea Salons in Manila. Those mostly yellow cans on the walls, reflected on the large mirrors of the dining area, are just a few of the more-than-a-thousand tea varieties available at the shops. To be honest, I find the food too expensive (though I've finally satisfied my curiosity about scones), but I'm just very happy that I finally have a place to go to for some good loose leaf tea. And as long as one doesn't buy their fancy cans, the cost of TWG's teas won't break the bank.
 Weekend Reflections

June 26, 2014

Weaving life

nito baskets "We all have our own life to pursue, our own kind of dream to be weaving, and we all have the power to make wishes come true, as long as we keep believing."
~Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888), American novelist

On display at the 3rd floor of Greenbelt 5 mall are the gorgeous nito vine baskets of the indigenous Iraya Mangyan of the island province of Mindoro. The Ayala Foundation has committed to providing education and skills training to a community of Iraya Mangyan in the town of Puerto Galera, a popular beach and diving destination. Part of their commitment is to revive the traditional art of weaving beautiful and functional baskets made of nito (Lygodium circinatum), a forest vine. Sales of the baskets go directly to the families who weave them.

You can learn more about—and support—the Ayala Foundation's Iraya Mangyan Project here.

June 25, 2014

Mall creatures

Leeroy New's Garden of Earthly Delights "The real world is where the monsters are."
~Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief

"Garden of Earthly Delights" in The Gallery of Greenbelt 5 is artist Leeroy New's latest exhibition. I have featured some of his works before: the alien on a tumor, a spiky red balete, and two lovely young ladies in fluorescent plastic. His work is unmistakable and can seem more like creatures from nightmares. An article in Circuit magazine's website about this exhibit is quite educational. Even after reading it, though, I still wouldn't want any of his works in my home.

June 24, 2014

Painting flags

“bookmark” "When you set a good example to the world, you become a flag waving on the skies of the entire world!"
~Mehmet Murat ildan, Turkish playwright and novelist

At the Ayala Museum Philippine Independence Day event, there were also two bookmark painting stations. The bookmarks were pre-printed with the current and some historical Philippine flags, all of which only use the colors red, yellow, blue, black and white. Of course, we just had to sit down to paint some.

June 23, 2014

Theology & Philosophy

Theo & Philo artisanal chocolates "If there's no chocolate in Heaven, I'm not going."
~Jane Seabrook, Furry Logic Laugh at Life

Theo & Philo chocolates are made of cacao beans and other ingredients sourced straight from local farmers. I confess that it is the first (and, so far, the only) Philippine-made chocolate bar that I like. Aside from milk chocolate and 70% dark chocolate, they have other flavors that are distinctly Filipino: siling labuyo (tiny, very hot chili), kapeng barako (a local coffee bean with a robust flavor), green mango and salt, pili nut and pinipig (toasted glutinous rice), and a few new ones which I haven't tried yet. Their gift boxes, which can hold 3 or 5 bars, are based on the colors of the Philippine flag.

June 21, 2014


Team Manila "The strength of the team is each individual member.
The strength of each member is the team."
~Phil Jackson, American retired basketball coach

This is the team behind Team Manila (see yesterday's post), a graphic design studio which is now popularly known in the country for t-shirts and accessories with distinctly Filipino designs. The company was founded by college friends Raymund "Mon" Punzalan (fourth from the left) and Joseph Lee "Jowee" Alviar (the only guy in a white shirt), who both took Fine Arts in the University of Sto. Tomas.

June 20, 2014

Octopus arms

Team Manila t-shirt printing machine "There can be no tyrants where there are no slaves."
~Jose Rizal (1861–1896), Philippine national hero

A couple of friends and I spent Philippine Independence Day, June 12, at the Ayala Museum. We got to silkscreen our own t-shirts courtesy of Team Manila, which brought its ScreenMachine for the event. In keeping with the occasion, the design they chose was a stylized Philippine flag with the year that the country declared its independence from Spain, 1898. The shirt in the foreground is still missing the red part, which is the pattern on the silkscreen frame on the right. Notice that the ScreenMachine just holds the tees and silkscreen frames—the printing still has to be done manually. In a country with a 7% unemployment rate and an 18% underemployment rate, I completely approve of Team Manila's production choice.

June 19, 2014

Don't ask

cat "Cats are a mysterious kind of folk."
~Walter Scott (1771–1832), Scottish novelist, playwright and poet

The street cat which adopted the family next door to us likes to hang out on their window. The first time I saw it there, I thought it had gotten stuck by mistake and needed help climbing out, but I've seen it there on and off, days and evenings. Apparently, it finds its position quite comfortable.