April 26, 2008

Banana leaf lights

In keeping with its theme, even the lighting fixtures of the Asian restaurant Banana Leaf Curry House are shaped like banana leaves. I think that they would have looked better if they were painted green, though, rather than white.

lighting fixtures of Banana Leaf Curry House

April 25, 2008

Handsome tree

This is my favorite acacia tree in the Loyola Heights, Quezon City campus of the Ateneo de Manila University. When the Jesuits moved the campus to its present location in the 1950s, they planted acacia trees along all its roads, and what used to be scrawny saplings are now large, handsome trees. This particular tree is right in front of Xavier Hall, the university's main administration building. There are larger, more luxuriant trees elsewhere, but I love this one because of the moss growing on the branches.

acacia tree in Ateneo de Manila

April 23, 2008

Banana leaf plates

At Banana Leaf Curry House, a restaurant that serves Asian food, the plates are real banana leaves on brown paper place mats. Even the chairs look like they're woven banana leaves. Eating with your fingers here is perfectly acceptable (especially if you're having roti with curry dip), though most use the spoon and fork provided. Banana Leaf's menu is a mixture of Indian, Thai, Indonesian, Malaysian, Singaporean and Chinese cuisine. Needless to say, most of the dishes are spicy. Yummy, too!

Banana Leaf Curry House

April 21, 2008

I can see you!

Of course the Philippines has its own version—what country doesn't?

The Pinoy Big Brother house as seen from the 13th floor roof deck of ABS-CBN, its local producer. The narrow yellow house is its facade and what Filipinos worldwide identify as the house. In fact, though, the "house" is a sprawling sound stage right behind it.

Pinoy Big Brother house

April 20, 2008

Twenty-six degrees

At some of the street intersections in Ortigas Center in Pasig City, there are huge digital clocks and thermometers. At 9:15 this morning, the temperature at the corner of San Miguel and Lourdes Avenues was already 26 degrees Celsius. It was overcast the whole day, though, so it didn't get hotter than 30 degrees.

Ortigas Center street thermometer

April 18, 2008

Head of the family

Eugenio "Gabby" L. Lopez III is the current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ABS-CBN, one of the largest media companies in the Philippines. ABS-CBN is into television (both free and cable), movies, music and print publishing. It's tag line is "Kapamilya," Tagalog for "part of the family." Taken during the Ateneo–ABS-CBN Fellowship Night on April 17, 2008.

Eugenio L. Lopez III

April 16, 2008

Outside "The Ledge"

"The Ledge" is the 6th level of Shangri-la Plaza that's set up like an indoor restaurant row. Mexican, Filipino, Japanese, Mediterranean and Thai restaurants, and a Starbucks at the very end. Beside the Starbucks is a glass door leading to the roof deck with iron tables and chairs for smokers. These are the mall's south-facing windows, taken from the roof deck at about 3:00 P.M. on a summer afternoon. Behind those windows is a narrow ledge full of Starbucks coffee tables with umbrellas (I know they're indoors—don't ask me), armchairs and footstools.

roof deck windows of Shangri-la Plaza mall

April 15, 2008

In the garden of Gethsemane

At one side of the Ateneo de Manila University's Church of the Gesù is a small lawn with a quiet spot for reflection and prayer, with a pre-cast sculpture of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane and a stone bench. The sculpture is from the House of Precasts, and the artist is the company's founder, Conrado de Leon. It is the third piece cast from the original, which remains with the company.

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

April 7, 2008

Textured entrance

I love the foyer of the Oreta condominium in Pasig City. The wall to the right of the entry used to be just a blank, white wall. But now, I think that the decorative stone beautifully echoes the abstract painting by American artist Jane Bellows.

oreta home foyer

April 4, 2008

Japanese great drummers

Two members of the creative wadaiko group Daida, winners of the 2007 Tokyo International Taiko Competition. The word wadaiko is a combination of the Japanese characters for wa (Japan) and taiko (great drum). The 10-member group Daida got its name from Daidarabocci, a legendary nature god with the body of a deer and the face of a baboon. Daida, with the waidako soloist Ryo Shiobara, performed at the Shangri-la Plaza in Mandaluyong on February 23, an event made possible by the Japan Foundation Manila. They were awesome!


April 3, 2008

In my neighbor's backyard

This is a common sight among most middle- and upper middle-class homes in Manila: a water tank. It used to be essential during the decades of an inefficient, government-managed water utility company when water pressure was weak, there were too many illegal taps into the supply, and distribution was poor. The water distribution is much better now (though there are still some areas with water supply problems), but most homes still have their water tanks. The private water utility companies are changing a lot of the old water pipes and that always disrupts supply. There are also some years where instead of just two months (April and May), we have prolonged summers and Manila's main water reserve, the Angat Dam reservoir, reaches critical levels and water has to be rationed. The water tanks just work using gravity, so they have to be higher than the house. Those flowers are bougainvillea. They're very common here too, and in other places with warm weather. I'll feature them some other time in another post.

water tank and bougainvillea