January 31, 2012

Dressed to the nines

flowers on the second floor landing of Faber Hall
The second floor landing of our office building got all dolled up with a lovely faux indoor garden for its blessing yesterday.

This is my fifth location in the twelve years that I have worked in the same office at the Ateneo de Manila University. I just have three things to say about it. One, I really hope that this is my last move; it's just so stressful, especially when you're the one who has to manage it. Two, I'm very, very thankful that this time, I didn't have to manage the building's renovation, unlike back in 2008. And three, I'm going to miss our jungle (though maybe not the bugs and pythons).

January 30, 2012

Keeping it cool

cocktail drink at Basilio's Restaurant
I was so delighted by Basilio Restaurant's cocktail glass, I just had to take a photo of it. The glass is made up of two pieces: the conical top holds the liquid, which fits into a bowl-shaped base which can hold ice. A most novel and ingenious way of keeping the drink cool without getting it diluted by adding ice. One just has to take care not to miss the base when setting one's drink down.

January 26, 2012

100% Happiness

Tom's at Trinoma
I've never bought shoes from TOMS. And it's not because I think they're expensive or I don't like them. Unfortunately for me, the local distributor doesn't carry the women's styles in my size. I like their outdoor shop in TriNoma mall and its colorful mural, but I especially love their One on One Movement: for every pair you buy, TOMS gives a pair to a child in need.

And in case you're wondering about the title, it's what TOMS calls its guarantee. I can guess that that's what the kids feel when they receive their free pair of shoes. After One Day Without Shoes and we get home to clean and rest our cracked and tired feet, I think that's what we'd feel too.

January 25, 2012

Thumbelina's bouquets

pink and orange/yellow flowers
Since I'm absolutely awful with plant names, it's kind of useless asking me what these flowers are called. Each flower looks like a tiny bouquet of even smaller flowers. When I was much younger, I remember seeing only all-yellow or all-white ones. I like this dual-color variety so much better, and I love how the gardener mixed the baby pink/ fuschia and yellow/orange bushes together.

January 24, 2012

White and brights

Ted P's
With just a few more tables outside and in our low-ceilinged corner, tiny Ted P's along Maginhawa Street in Sikatuna Village isn't the most comfortable place to eat in, but it's bright and cheerful, and the only place we know that serves whole-wheat pizza. I swear by their Tina Pizza—tomato sauce, mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, garlic and tinapa (smoked fish) flakes. Yummm!

January 23, 2012

Serenity amidst confusion

Chinese gazebo beside a pond in the Chinese Garden of the Rizal Park
A gazebo over a tiny pond in the Chinese Garden of the Rizal Park.

I was going to wish you all peace, prosperity, success, good health and happiness in this year of the Water Dragon, but I just found out that the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar is not necessarily the same as the first day of the Chinese astrological calendar. The Water Dragon year begins on February 4 and until then, we are still in the Metal Rabbit year. I must say that I find it all terribly confusing. So a simple

Happy Chinese New Year!

has to suffice.

January 22, 2012


statue of St. Ignatius beside the Cardoner River
In the garden between the Loyola House of Studies and the Loyola School of Theology is a statue of St. Ignatius as a pilgrim beside the Cardoner River, which runs through the town of Manresa in Catalonia, Spain. It was here, between 1522 and 1523, that Ignatius had one of the most profound experiences of his life.

From The Life of St. Ignatius page of the Jesuits of New Orleans Province:
    He continued towards Barcelona but stopped along the river Cardoner at a town called Manresa. He stayed in a cave outside the town, intending to linger only a few days, but he remained for ten months. He spent hours each day in prayer and also worked in a hospice. It was while here that the ideas for what are now known as the Spiritual Exercises began to take shape. It was also on the banks of this river that he had a vision which is regarded as the most significant in his life. The vision was more of an enlightenment, about which he later said that he learned more on that one occasion than he did in the rest of his life. Ignatius never revealed exactly what the vision was, but it seems to have been an encounter with God as He really is, so that all creation was seen in a new light and acquired a new meaning and relevance, an experience that enabled Ignatius to find God in all things. This grace, finding God in all things, is one of the central characteristics of Jesuit spirituality.

January 20, 2012

Sweet dreams

sharks at the Manila Ocean Park
One shark soundly and peacefully asleep amidst the frenzy of activity of its fellows. At the Manila Ocean Park.

January 19, 2012

Street walker

Ivan Man Dy of Old Manila Walks
When sightseeing, nothing beats walking around if you want to see details and get to know a place well. It's even better when you have a knowledgeable guide with a gazillion stories. Meet Ivan Man Dy of Old Manila Walks, one of several outfits that offer walking tours of Manila. He specializes in five areas: the Spanish-era walled city of Intramuros; San Miguel, where Malacañang Palace is located; Binondo, Manila's Chinatown; the Chinese Cemetery, with its flamboyant funerary architecture; and the campus of the Far Eastern University, with its Art Deco architecture. I really need to schedule more walks with him. If you ever visit Manila, I suggest you do too.

January 18, 2012


Pink Patio Binondo
Pink Patio is a Chinese restaurant in Binondo, Manila. The food is good but the furniture is nondescript and not particularly comfortable, but I do love the atrium in the middle of the building (even when the sky is overcast). The atrium and the building's pink paint give the place its name.

In case anyone has heard of it and is wondering, the beach resort with the same name on the island of Boracay is owned by the same family, although the restaurant is the original Pink Patio. The resort's name has been changed already, though, and is now called Patio Pacific Boracay.

January 17, 2012

And one

my reflection on the silver ball of the Kilometer 0 marker
I almost didn't notice that yesterday was my 1,000th post! So, just for the fun of it, I now mark my 1,001st post with the silver sphere on top of the Philippines' Kilometer Zero marker—with my reflection on it. The girl in yellow behind me is my cousin taking a photo of me taking a photo.

January 16, 2012

New generation

new Philippine Peso bills
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP, Central Bank of the Philippines) released the redesigned Philippine Peso (PHP) bills on December 16, 2010. Compared with the older bills, the colors of this set are more vibrant and the numerals more prominent, making them easier to identify for tourists and visitors, and the design is also more consistent from one denomination to the next. Each bill features prominent historical Filipinos flanked by two images of objects, events or places which are also of historical importance to the country. I had to borrow the three larger denominations for this photo—they're not widely circulated yet; the government estimates that it will take three years for all the bills to be changed.

For those who are interested, here is the complete description of the bills, with links to Wikipedia for those who want even more information:

January 15, 2012

A light in the dark

crucifix at the corner of the road leading to the Ateneo de Manila Jesuit Residence
This crucifix stands beside the main road inside the Ateneo de Manila University at the corner of the smaller road leading to the Jesuit Residence. It is easy to miss during the day because it blends into the surrounding trees, but a small spotlight illumines it at night.

January 14, 2012


Café Azul's logo on a mural of balls
I guess it shouldn't be surprising that a café located inside a sports center would have a wall painted with all sorts of balls. At Café Azul at the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center.

January 13, 2012

River access

stairs through the wall of Fort Santiago to Pasig River
A tunnel and stairs provide access from the top of the thick walls of Fort Santiago to the banks of the Pasig River. They would have been convenient for the soldiers of the Spanish colonial era. Nowadays, a locked gate keeps trespassers out of the historic fortification.

January 12, 2012

Leading nowhere

stairs leading to a fenced-in empty lot
I've always wondered about these white steps on Temple Drive in Quezon City. They just lead to an empty lot, which you can't walk through anyway because it's fenced in.

January 10, 2012


metal vase full of holes
I guess this vase isn't meant to hold water and fresh flowers.

January 9, 2012


fossils and an illustration
An illustration of prehistoric man and animals on a wall at the Museum of the Filipino People helps children—and adults—make sense of fossils.

January 8, 2012

Two hearts

religious tiles on the wall of a house
It is not unusual to find religious tiles on the walls of houses in Manila representing the particular devotion of the family living within. This tile shows a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

January 7, 2012

From neoclassical to funky

Jones Bridge in Manila
Jones Bridge is one of several bridges across the Pasig River that connects the district of Binondo to the rest of the City of Manila. The original bridge was built by the American colonial government but was destroyed during WWII. It was neoclassical in design and its entrances were flanked by pillars topped with statues, one of which happens to be La Madre Filipina in Rizal Park, a photo of which I posted back in February 2011 without knowing its history. The replacement bridge was and is much simpler and retains its original name, after Virginia representative William Atkinson Jones who authored the Philippine Autonomy Act of 1916. The city has tried to improve the current bridge in an effort to replicate the grace of the original, but I'm really not sure those street lamps cut it.

January 6, 2012

Modern 19th century

back-lit illustration of a farmer in 19th century Filipino clothes
Crisostomo at Eastwood Mall specializes in Filipino cuisine, specifically Spanish-influenced dishes that could be found on the dining tables of Manileños at the turn of the 19th century. But in a very modern setting. The illustrations on the walls feature clothes worn by various classes of Filipinos at the time, drawn on back-lit glass.

January 5, 2012


Suntrust Capitol Plaza beginning construction
Back in May 2009, I posted a photo of this enormous building that has stood unfinished for ages at the back of Quezon City Hall. I still don't know anything about its original owners or what happened, but it has finally been bought by Suntrust Properties and will become a residential condominium building named Capitol Plaza. I just hope that the new developer is making sure that the structure is still stable before they begin finishing it.

January 4, 2012

Home in a hotel

The Linden Suites
If you ever plan on visiting Manila, a good place to stay is The Linden Suites at the Ortigas Center, which is roughly in the middle of the metro. The one- to three-bedroom suites are particularly spacious, each have a living room, dining room and galley kitchen—all for the price of a standard room in a five-star hotel. And if you're visiting for a week or more, the hotel also offers discounts for long-staying guests. Opt for a package without daily breakfast, however; it's nothing special, and with the myriad cafés and restaurants in the area, you won't need it.

January 3, 2012

Christmas treats

Christmas decorations at Shangri-La Plaza Mall
For many years now, my husband and I have made it our custom to go shopping for clothes and shoes for ourselves between Christmas and New Year, when almost everything is on sale. Of course, the Christmas decorations in the malls and shops are still up, and will only be removed after the Feast of the Epiphany, when the Roman Catholic Christmas season ends. This sweetly delicious scene is at the Shangri-La Plaza mall.

January 2, 2012


small bursts of fireworks over Pasig City
Fireworks and firecrackers are not illegal in the Philippines, so anyone who cares to and who can afford them can set them off to celebrate the coming of the new year. Small bursts of fireworks were already going off all over Pasig City, and the rest of Metro Manila, half an hour before midnight on New Year's Eve.

January 1, 2012


blue and white parol hanging from the cupola of the Ateneo Church of the Gesù
THEME DAY: PHOTO OF THE YEAR 2011 • Since I stopped blogging and taking photos for much of the past year, this choice was easy. I love it when I manage challenging shots like this—the light, the distance, the symmetry, having to look straight up, no tripod—with my itsy-bitsy camera. The original post is here.

See the best of City Daily Photo bloggers around the world. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants.

May you be showered with blessings today and throughout the new year.