October 31, 2010

Deliciously creepy

Even though we do not celebrate Halloween in the Philippines, it gives a perfect excuse for getting a yummy ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. This particular design is great for creeping out other people too—it turns your teeth and tongue black. 

Dairy Queen Halloween ice cream cake
Happy Halloween!

October 30, 2010


Kilometer Zero—that point from where all distances in a country are measured—in the Philippines is right across the Rizal Monument. Does your country have one and do you know where it is?

Kilometer Zero in the Philippines

See what's reflecting what at James' Weekend Reflections.
Weekend Reflections

October 29, 2010

Pun-ny no. 3

Miss Fit. A dress and alteration shop. The business had closed but the sign was still there.

Miss Fit
"I love to hate puns," says Hilda in Manila.

October 28, 2010

Open wide!

Another childhood favorite in the playground at the Rizal Park is this hippo. My sister, cousins and I felt like we were on top of the world when we were sitting in his open mouth. Now, I don't think I'd even fit in the tunnel in his chest. I think he needs a (paint) bath too—he looks like he's been wallowing in the mud for too long.

hippo playhouse in the Rizal Park's children's playground

October 27, 2010

Childhood memories

I was so surprised to see that the playground in the Rizal Park that we used to frequent on weekends when we were kids is still there, and with the same structures too. This playhouse was one of my favorites.

shoe playhouse in the Rizal Park's children's playground
There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn't know what to do;
She gave them some broth without any bread;
Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

October 26, 2010

About a Filipino and two colonial governments

The remains of Philippine national hero Jose Rizal are now interred at the site where he was executed by the Spanish colonial government on December 30, 1896. The area was called Bagumbayan (New Town) then and was located just outside the old walled city of Intramuros. It is now called Rizal Park in honor of the man whose great sin was to ask—he was a writer and didn't even take up arms—that the rights of Filipinos be recognized in their own country. The bronze and granite Rizal Monument was planned and constructed during the American colonial era and designed by the Swiss sculptor Richard Kissling. It is guarded continuously by ceremonial guards called the Kabalyeros de Rizal (Knights of Rizal).

Rizal Monument

October 25, 2010


Swatch installed a gigantic watch in Rizal Park commemorating the accession of Benigno Aquino III to the presidency of the Philippines in June of this year. Since his nickname is Noynoy, his presidential nickname has become P-Noy, which is a play on Pinoy, the colloquial term which we use for ourselves as Filipinos. The text written on top of the watch is "Oras P-Noy, Oras ng Pagbabago"—Time for P-Noy, Time for Change.

large P-Noy Swatch watch in Rizal Park

October 24, 2010

My favorite model

The geometric lines and shapes of the Ateneo Church of the Gesù make for some interesting and fun photos. This is the exterior corridor with skylights running the entire length of its facade.

outdoor corridor of the Ateneo Church of the Gesù

October 23, 2010

Brothers in arms

Installed on the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Korea and the Philippines on September 6 of this year, the Filipino-Korean Soldier Monument at the Rizal Park was created by Filipino sculptor Juan Sajid Imao. The text on the plaque in front of the fenced area where it stands reads:
    A fitting tribute to the Filipino soldiers who fought side by side with the Korean soldiers during the Korean War (1950–1953). About 7,500 combat troops known as the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea or PEFTOK, the 4th largest force under the United Nations Command, were sent to defend South Korea from a communist invasion by North Korea. The monument shows two Filipino soldiers helping a wounded Korean comrade to symbolize the greatness of the Filipino spirit despite the war and the special camaraderie shared by the two nations.

Filipino-Korean Soldier Monument

See what's reflecting what at James' Weekend Reflections.
Weekend Reflections

October 22, 2010

Didn't stop them

I had to wait a bit before getting the photo of the Museum of the Filipino People which I posted the other day because of this group of young people who were having their own photo shoot. The entrance to the museum is at the back of the building because it is nearer the National Art Gallery, and these stairs are cordoned off by a rope with signs that say "No Entry."

teenagers posing at the Museum of the Filipino People

October 20, 2010

Grand pastel

Last year, I was able to post some detail shots of the old Finance Building, which is now the Museum of the Filipino People. Here is the facade in its entirety. The building has since gotten a fresh coat of creamy yellow paint which, according to arts advocate and heritage conservationist John Silva, was its original color. They discovered it by carefully peeling away all the layers of paint that its walls and columns had accumulated over the decades. And no, it's not curved and I don't know why my photos of wide buildings usually end up like this.

face of the old Finance Building, now the Museum of the Filipino People

October 19, 2010


The Quirino Grandstand at the Rizal Park is traditionally where the presidents of the Philippines take their oath of office and deliver their first address to the nation. It is named after our 6th president, Elpidio Quirino, who served from 1948 to 1953. With a 10-hectare grassy field in front of it, the Quirino Grandstand has been the venue of many important cultural, religious and political events.

Quirino Grandstand

And That's My World!
That's My World Tuesday

October 18, 2010

If walls could talk

Built in 1908–1912, the Manila Hotel is the oldest premiere hotel in the Philippines. It was part of American architect and city planner Daniel Hudson Burnham's plan for the City of Manila which included neo-classical government buildings (like the old Finance, Legislative and Post Office buildings) and a large park, and was designed by American architect William Edward Parsons. Located along Roxas Boulevard, the hotel has commanding views of Manila Bay, the old walled city of Intramuros and Rizal Park. From 1935 to 1941, Manila Hotel was the residence of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, and the MacArthur Suite, which displays some mementos of his and of the war, is one of the most lavish in the hotel.

Manila Hotel

Reminding all City Daily Photo bloggers again: our theme for November 1 is Public Transportation, and don't forget to vote for the December theme!

October 17, 2010

Rising from the ashes

For my last post about the Ateneo School of Management Business Accelerator (SOMBA) Program, I am featuring a product that is very different from everything else that I've posted this past week. Envirobloxx are concrete masonry units (better known as cinder blocks in the U.S. and hollow blocks here in the Philippines) made of cement, lahar (volcanic ash flow—we still have lots from the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption) and rice hull ash. The result is a cheaper, lighter block that does not compromise on strength. I also like Envirobloxx's interlocking design, which should make wall construction easier. This is a product which I hope construction companies, architects, civil engineers and hardware stores will pick up fast. My husband and I have no need for hollow blocks right now, but you can be sure that I'm keeping their brochure and business card for the day when we do need them.


Envirobuilders Construction Supplies Inc. developed and markets Envirobloxx. They can be emailed at envirobuildersinc@gmail.com.

The AY 2010–2011 SOMBA Program has more groups than the seven that I was able to feature. The complete list of companies established this academic year can be found at jgsomba.tk. And to all the students in the program: you have such fantastic ideas and products, and I love that you all care about the environment and the less privileged of our countrymen so much. I wish your companies much success and I hope that all your products fly off the shelves!

October 16, 2010

Starchy food

Before I continue with my series on the Ateneo School of Management Business Accelerator (SOMBA) Program fair, I think I need to clarify one point. These students are Management majors; they are not food technologists or materials scientists. Therefore, the products that they develop are not necessarily new; in fact, they have to use existing technologies if they wish to finish their project within the stipulated year. Their mandate is to develop commercially-viable products for a specified target market. The environmental and social enterprise focus are additional, in the hope that these young men and women will mature into socially-responsible adults and entrepreneurs. That said, let's go on to the next company (just two more since I wasn't able to take photos of all the products at the fair). We all know how disposable, plastic tableware is bad for the environment; but no one can deny that they are very convenient—for parties, take-out (take-away, to-go or however you call it in your country) food, picnics, and such. A solution: disposable, starch-based eating utensils. They're not just biodegradable; they can actually be added to compost heaps. The stuff in the bowl are the starch pellets which the spoons and forks are made of. This particular product is made by a Gawad Kalinga community; this and its environmental focus defines Bioware as a social enterprise. I forgot to ask the kids though: won't the spoon melt if it's used for stirring hot drinks or eating hot soup?

Bioware starch-based disposable, biodegradable tableware

Me bad. I wasn't able to get their business card so I don't have Bioware's contact information, but the SOMBA Program office should have it. Their number is (63-2) 426-6001 extension 5532.

3:20PM UPDATE: Thanks to Joey Oliver, I can now direct you to Bioware's Facebook page. Bioware is the brand and the company is called Greenature Cycle Incorporated.

October 15, 2010

Urban ethnicity

Of all the projects at the Ateneo School of Management Business Accelerator (SOMBA) Program fair last week, Ethnu was the one that made me weak in the knees, with their neo-ethnic jewelry. The materials—stone and shell beads, brass bells—are sourced from the tribes that inspired the jewelry, but the designs, created by fashion designer Louis Claparols, are very modern. They currently have three beautifully-named collections which showcase the intricate work of three Philippine ethnic tribes. On the left is Brass Dreamweavers, from the T'boli of Southern Mindanao. On the higher table at the right is People of the Earth, from the Ifugao. On the lower table is Peacock Warriors, from the Kalinga. The Ifugao and the Kalinga are two of several ethnic groups in the mountainous Cordillera region of Luzon which are known collectively as Igorot. If only for purely selfish reasons (I want those necklaces!), I want this company to succeed, but of course, it's much more than that. Any company that can bring Philippine ethnic accessories and fabrics to the world stage has my support, especially if that company applies fair trade principles in their dealings with these usually marginalized and exploited ethnic groups.

Ethnu, neo-ethnic jewelry

Ethnu is the brand of Ethnocentricity Incorporated. They are on Facebook and can also be emailed at ethnuaccessories@gmail.com.

October 14, 2010

High fashion

Most Manileños know pandan only as a food flavoring and these young students of the Ateneo School of Management Business Accelerator (SOMBA) Program are on a mission to re-educate us. P. Nouvelle, with the help of Filipino fashion designer Arnold Galang and two partners from the Department of Trade and Industry, produces gorgeous bags made out of pandan leaves. Sustainable, ethical, green fashion—any takers, ladies?

P. Nouvelle's bags made of pandan leaves

P. Nouvelle Developers Inc. can be found in Facebook and their email address is pnouvellebags@gmail.com.

October 13, 2010

Paper bags

Many of the student groups in the Ateneo School of Management Business Accelerator (SOMBA) Program are concerned with the environment, sustainability and social enterprise. Like yesterday's shoes, the bags of Papelle use recycled materials. In this case, what looks like traditional basketry is actually made of handwoven paper from old newspapers and telephone directories. Don't they look fantastic? The paper bags are laminated so they're water resistant. The design on the left, which is reinforced around the body, is strong enough to carry five kilos of weight. What's more, Papelle (a French-ified play on the Tagalog word "papel" which means paper) bags now provide a livelihood to previously jobless residents of the barangay of Natipuan in Nasugbu, Batangas.


Papelle is manufactured by The Twillery, Inc. They have a website and can be emailed at papellebags@gmail.com or TheTwillery@gmail.com.

October 12, 2010

If they can stop a plane…

Continuing with the entrepreneurial fair of the Ateneo John Gokongwei School of Management: This product was a big hit among the students: casual shoes made of recycled materials. Named "Soule," the uppers are chosen from used clothing or excess fabrics, and the soles are made out of used airplane tires. It would have been interesting to find out where the kids got the tires, but they were busy with their stock when I passed their stall. According to their brochure, the soles are lightweight and durable, and I was thinking: the tires may be worn out, but only for the standard of airplanes. For people, the traction must still be quite awesome.


Soule is made by Cultura Verde Footwear, Inc. They have a website and their email address is culturaverdefootwear@gmail.com.

October 11, 2010


The Ateneo John Gokongwei School of Management has a one-year program specifically focused on students with a strong entrepreneurial spirit. It is called the School of Management Business Accelerator Program, or SOMBA for short. At the end of the program, students must have developed a product, created a business plan which has been approved by a panel made up of recognized Filipino businessmen, established their company legally, and generated their projected revenue within a specified selling period. The SOMBA students held a two-day fair in the campus last week and I have to say that I was truly impressed with some of them. I'll be featuring some of their companies and products this week, beginning with one food product which I thought makes best use of a Filipino produce. Tropical Cow Mix & Dip tastes exactly like sweetened condensed milk but is made not of dairy milk but of coconut milk. Called gata in Tagalog, coconut milk comes from the meat of mature coconuts which is grated and squeezed through cheesecloth, and is a common cooking ingredient in the Philippines and in other Southeast Asian countries. For lactose-intolerant people like me, Tropical Cow's Mix & Dip is the perfect condensed milk substitute, and I hope that they can develop other milk substitute products out of coconut milk. I think Tropical Cow's logo (on the screen and on top of the refrigerator)—a typical image of a tropical drink served in a half coconut shell but with an udder—is hilarious, and isn't their mascot (on their t-shirts) just so cute?

Tropical Cow

Tropical Cow Manufacturing, Inc. can be reached by emailing tropicalcow@gmail.com. The Vice President for Operations is Joey Nocom and his email address is joeynocom@gmail.com. They have a website and can also be found in Facebook.

October 10, 2010

Amidst the bustle

A street-side shrine in Binondo, Manila's Chinatown. I can't figure out what religion it serves though, since it has both incense sticks and a crucifix, and the sign on the right was announcing a Mass. Are incense sticks used instead of candles in Chinese Catholic churches? If anyone knows, I'd appreciate a little cultural lesson.

street-side shrine at Binondo

October 9, 2010

One of the best smells in the world

Sofitel Manila's Galette Patisserie & Chocolaterie does not only have delectable pastries, it also has a wide variety of freshly-baked breads.

breads at Galette in Sofitel Manila

October 8, 2010

Don't ask

Not only is there no consistency to the design of Metro Manila's footbridges or overpasses, some of their locations aren't very well thought out either. But the one at Philcoa, the same one with the cute anime graffiti, has got to be the worst. It's the only one, so far, that I've seen that ends in the middle of the street. There used to be an island there so pedestrians were protected from vehicles when they got down the steps. Whose great idea to remove it, I have no idea, but he or she obviously doesn't use public transportation.

footbridge that ends in the middle of a street
footbridge that ends in the middle of a street

October 7, 2010


The University of the Philippines (U.P.) Diliman shopping center is nothing fancy. It's just a long, narrow cinder block of a building with small shops on both sides of one narrow corridor, but it's definitely a boon to its students, faculty and staff. Aside from the optical and computer shops that you can see in the photo, here's a short, top-of-the-head rundown of other stores and services found there: photocopying and bookbinding, key duplication, tailor, dressmaker, grocery, U.P. souvenir items, gift shop, barber shop, and laboratory glass supplies. Everything that young college students need.

University of the Philippines shopping center

October 6, 2010


The lovely landscaped gardens and fountains of Greenbelt Park at the center of several malls which are, in turn, surrounded by the high-rise commercial and condominium buildings of the Makati Central Business District. The only building I recognize in this cluster is the tallest one on the right: the BSA Tower, a condotel.

high-rise condominium buildings surrounding Greenbelt Park

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

October 5, 2010

Red ball cake

Edam cheese is known here as queso de bola (cheese ball) because of its shape. By tradition, it is usually widely available only during Christmas time, but please don't ask me why. The generations of my parents and grandparents love this hard cheese but many of my age and younger, not so much. However, some local bakers have started playing around with it and a few of their confections have become favorites of Manileños across all generations. A new discovery is Queso de Bola Cheesecake, which we first tasted at Kiss the Cook Gourmet café. It is absolutely delicious! Kiss the Cook doesn't make it though; they source it from a supplier and, lucky me, I've discovered where the home baker sells them during weekends. Hello, additional five pounds!

Queso de Bola Cheesecake at Kiss the Cook Café

October 4, 2010

All fired up

Ateneo de Manila University AY 2010–2011 first semester sports championships:
• Blue Eagles (men's college basketball), 3-peat
• Blue Eaglets (high school basketball), 3-peat
• High School Swimming Team, 6-peat
• Grade School Small Basketeers, 4-peat

'Three for History' Ateneo de Manila University bonfire
fireworks at the 'Three for History' Ateneo de Manila University bonfire

At the "Three for History" bonfire last night.

October 3, 2010


The bells of the Ateneo Church of the Gesù, housed in a tower separate from the church, were a gift to the university from the alumni class of High School 1960 / College 1964. Six years after the bell tower was constructed, the class has raised funds to add more bells, which I think have already been cast because the discussion now is which saints will have their names inscribed on the bells. It would be interesting to see where and how the new bells will be added to the tower.

cupola and bell tower of the Ateneo Church of the Gesù

October 2, 2010

Nothing wasted

In contrast to yesterday's post, most of the areas underneath Manila's flyovers are not landscaped. That doesn't mean that the space is wasted though. For example, the space under the Katipunan Avenue flyover is used as a station by jeepneys plying the Katipunan and University of the Philippines campus route.

underneath the Katipunan Avenue flyover

October 1, 2010


THEME DAY: GRAFFITI • The city government of Pasig spent quite a lot of resources prettifying the area under the elevated portion of Meralco Avenue for pedestrians. As usual, someone couldn't resist defacing the painted supporting pillar. This is the kind of graffiti that I detest. People who do this always remind me of dogs marking their territory, but at least dogs protect the territory they've marked. I don't think these vandals do.

underneath the Meralco Avenue flyover

Vandalism or street art, see graffiti from all over the world with City Daily Photo bloggers. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants.