October 27, 2013


San Miguel Premium All-malt Beer San Miguel Beer is probably the best known beer produced in the Philippines. It is also the most popular locally, cornering a whopping 95% share of the market. San Miguel comes in eight varieties. Cerveza Negra is still my favorite, but the Premium All-Malt is a close second.

Can anyone explain to me why so many beers are named after Saints?

October 26, 2013

Triple distilled

Tanduay Ice The label of Tanduay Ice simply describes it as an alcomix and a triple distilled spirit. It comes in five flavors (three of which do not give you any idea what flavors they are based on their names): Red Mirage, Blue Illusion, Yellow Paradise, Pink Pomelo and Citrus. It has the same alcohol content as beer but is infinitely sweeter.

October 25, 2013


banig A banig is a handwoven mat made of palm or grass leaves used for sitting and sleeping. The best ones are made of fine, narrow strips which are dyed and woven in intricate patterns—used in Manila mostly as area rugs or tapestries because of their scarcity and cost. Plain, simple ones like this are good for everyday use (or for trips to the beach). The ideal way to store them is to roll them up so you don't put undue stress on the fibers (but that's not quite practical for packing them in suitcases).

October 24, 2013


rubber mat made of flipflop scraps I've seen and used outdoor rubber mats like this one my whole life, yet it was only recently that I realized that they're made of the scraps left over from manufacturing rubber flip-flops.

October 22, 2013


framed photos for sale at Old Oven Art Cafe One wall of the Old Oven Art Cafe (see yesterday's post) displays framed photographs for sale.

October 21, 2013

The food's good, too

Old Oven Art Cafe The quirky Old Oven Art Cafe is filled with paintings, photographs, and unusual knick-knacks. Alone? Grab a magazine. With family and friends? Grab a board game. It's actually a pretty cool place to hang out—if only it were more convenient to me.

October 20, 2013

A special visitor from Portugal

International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima On 14 October 2013, the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima visited the St. Stanislaus Kostka Chapel of the Ateneo de Manila High School for half a day. Sculpted by José Thedim and blessed by the Bishop of Leiria-Fátima in 1947, the statue was sent out to bring the Message of Fatima to the world.

October 19, 2013


wall made of volcanic rock What Filipinos call adobe is a naturally-occurring volcanic rock which shouldn't be confused with the Spanish/Mexican/American adobe of sun-dried earth.

October 16, 2013

Yellow santan

yellow santan When we were children, we would carefully pull out the fine filament in the middle of each floret to suck the santan's sweet nectar.

October 15, 2013


plant with bright pink flowers Yet another flower which I have no name for has just bloomed in our garden. This time, I'm quite sure that it's not from the seeds which I planted several years ago.

October 14, 2013


Colocasia leaf One of the common names of Colocasia plants is "elephant ears" because of the shape of their leaves. Some species look more like hearts to me.

October 10, 2013


Pi restaurant's Eggs Sammy You met Benny in the previous post; now I'd like you to meet Sammy. Eggs Sammy, to be precise. Another of π restaurant's variant of the traditional Eggs Benedict, this one has salmon rather than bacon and is topped with a mustard sauce.

October 7, 2013


Pi restaurant's Eggs Benny Traditional Eggs Benedict consist of two halves of an English muffin topped with ham or bacon, poached eggs, and Hollandaise sauce. π restaurant's version, which they call Eggs Benny, is traditional only up to the bacon. Whole 3-minute eggs, asparagus, and alfalfa sprouts make up the rest of the toppings.

October 4, 2013


wire cage lamps in Pi restaurant Yet another addition to my collection of lamp and chandelier photos: π restaurant's unique and creative chandelier using wire cage lamps.

October 1, 2013


lamp in Cafe Juanita CITY DAILY PHOTO THEME DAY: DETAILS One can spend an entire day at Cafe Juanita examining all the knickknacks which make it one of the most crazily decorated restaurants in Metro Manila. Whoever thought of draping a sequin shawl over a milk glass chandelier (and dumping some blue LED lights in the middle, too) is either a genius or a madman. Probably both.

September 30, 2013

Bragging rights

car license plate I'd like to know what the owner of this car is "Top 01" of. It must have been an important and difficult accomplishment for him or her to announce it to the entire world. The phrase is just a bit redundant, if you ask me.

September 27, 2013


Pi Breakfast & Pies From the same chef and co-owner of Pino and Pipino restaurants comes π (Pi), which serves breakfast fare and pies everyday from 7am to 10pm. Who said that Eggs Benedict, omelettes and pancakes are only for early mornings? And who said that cream pies are not for breakfast?

September 26, 2013


'The Meeting of Heaven and Earth' by Karl Roque Jr. Seen in the same exhibit as yesterday's sculpture, Karl Roque Jr.'s "Panagtagbo sa Langit ug Yuta" ("The Meeting of Heaven and Earth" in Cebuano) has arms that really stick out of the painting.

September 25, 2013

Household items

art assemblage by Ritchie Quijano My husband and I happened upon an art exhibit while waiting for a student play to begin, and this piece caught my eye. An untitled assemblage using a chair, the necks of two guitars, what looks like a liquified petroleum gas (LPG) canister, and a coal iron, its artist is identified as Ritchie Quijano. My knowledge of contemporary art and artists is severely limited, but if my Google and FB searches are accurate, he is the writer, sculptor, painter, and mixed-media artist based in the province of Cebu.

September 24, 2013

24th and 1st

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno Meet Maria Lourdes Sereno, the 24th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. She is the first female to head our judiciary and, appointed last year when she was 52 years old, also one of the youngest.

Please pardon the fuzzy picture again. I managed to get a few clear shots, but I chose to post this one because I just love her smile here. She was smiling at her husband who happened to be standing right behind me.

September 23, 2013


What do you get when you put a ballet company, three choreographers, and eleven rock bands together? The most daring ballet performance Manila has seen in years!

Ballet Philippines got together with Rock Ed Philippines to put together [rock] Supremo as part of the year-long celebration of the birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio, the father of the Philippine Revolution against Spanish colonial rule. Last Saturday, my husband and I watched the single show where the bands performed live. I loved it! I couldn't take photos of the actual performance, of course, and these were taken after the ballet ended. I have to apologize for their quality—the Cultural Center of the Philippines does not allow cameras inside the entire building so I had to use my phone.
  Radio Active Sago Project in rock SupremoThe ballet was episodic, with one song from each of the eleven bands for each episode. The last song was by Radioactive Sago Project, one of the most popular bands in the country right now, and which refuses to be boxed into a single musical genre.
 Radio Active Sago Project in rock Supremo After the standing ovation, the audience couldn't let them go, and they gamely played a few more songs. And that's when things went a little riotous on stage. (Yes, that's one of the crew taking photos on the stage.)
 Ballet Philippines in rock Supremo And the dancers of Ballet Philippines! Oh my goodness, after a two-hour performance, they still had the energy to have a pop dance showdown. (And yes, even the dancers were taking photos of each other and of the audience.)
 Ballet Philippines in rock Supremo All I can say is, if you're going to have a dance showdown with professional dancers, you better be one yourself.

Bravo, Ballet Philippines! Bravo, Rock Ed Philippines!

September 22, 2013

Preparing the way

interior of St. John the Baptist Parish Church I've featured the 1896 St. John the Baptist Parish Church (better known locally as the Pinaglabanan Church) quite a few times, but mostly its exterior, which I love. I finally had an opportunity to take a photo of its interior from the main aisle. I confess that I'm not crazy about it since I've never been fond of dark wood, and all the wood in the church is dark, from the retablo (reredos) to the pews. I do like the stained glass windows flanking the crucifix, showing St. John the Baptist preaching, and baptizing Jesus.

The church's unique chevron-shaped and intricately-detailed stained glass window, which I posted back in 2010, is worth revisiting. stained glass window at the Pinaglabanan Church

September 20, 2013

Clothed in many colors

the children's corner of The Manila Collectible Co. Adults who bring children to The Manila Collectible Co. can keep their little hands busy in this corner where they can paint some clay pots. The store also carries products for children, including stuffed toys of Philippine animals like the carabao and tarsier. I just love the sarimanok separating the children's corner from the rest of the store. The sarimanok is a legendary bird of many colors which originated from the Maranao people of Mindanao.

September 19, 2013

To go

food products for sale at The Manila Collectible Co. Of course, one can't have a Filipino gift shop without food. The Manila Collectible Co. has gathered together a good array of food products from all over the Philippines. Dried fruit, jams and preserves, biscuits, chocolate, teas and infusions, coffee, fruit wines, vinegar—all made locally from local produce.

September 17, 2013

Choose your style

paintings for sale at The Manila Collectible Co. I don't think yesterday's mural was for sale, but there are many paintings by young and upcoming artists to choose from at The Manila Collectible Co.

September 16, 2013

Cultural Appreciation 101

mural at the entrance of The Manila Collectible Co. The mural at the entrance of The Manila Collectible Co. is symbolic of the store's mission to promote the best of the Philippines' indigenous creative industry. The painting is titled "Icon" and was conceptualized by Charisse Aquino-Tugade, the founder of the company, and a long-time writer and host for the Living Asia Channel. It was executed, however, by the Kulisap Group of Artists of the Eulogio "Amang" Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (EARIST). The left side features representations of the Philippines' many indigenous ethno-linguistic groups, and the right side features important cultural landmarks and treasures.

See murals from around the world in Monday Mural.

September 15, 2013

Getting ready

Manila Cathedral This is the closest I've gotten to the dome of the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, better known as the Manila Cathedral and the seat of the Archdiocese of Manila. It was taken from the roofdeck of The Manila Collectible Co., which can be rented for events (but I don't recommend it during dreary rainy days, like the day we were there). The Cathedral has been closed since February of last year for structural renovations, the most important of which is seismic retrofitting. The current cathedral is the eighth church to be built on the site, and at least four previous structures were destroyed or heavily damaged by earthquakes.

September 13, 2013

Dressed like royalty

inaul malong at The Manila Collectible Co. Of all the handwoven fabrics available at The Manila Collectible Co., it is the inaul that I found most beautiful. Crafted by weavers from the province of Maguindanao, inaul is traditionally used as a malong, a tube skirt used by both men and women. For The Manila Collectible Co., the weavers also created smaller pieces, perfect as shawls or scarves. I found them so beautiful, I couldn't resist buying one—a magnificent jewel-toned, iridescent shawl made of the softest silk. Now I need to find an occasion special enough to use it.

September 12, 2013

Woven dreams

T'nalak and other indigenous fabrics at The Manila Collectible Co.
    T'nalak are woven dreams. T'boli women weave them, keen eyes and hands working together to judge lengths, to transfer patterns from memory to loom. T'nalak is made of the whitest abaca fibers connected end to end with the smallest possible knots and dyed red and blackest brown. Its patterns are handed from mother to daughter, or bestowed on the weaver in dreams by Fu Dalu, the spirit of the abaca. It is a product as much of quietness of spirit as it is of skill, for not all women weave, and not all weavers dream.

    ~ from the chapter "What is T'nalak?" by Maria Elena P. Paterno in the book "Dreamweavers"

T'nalak (in the foreground) and other indigenous hand-woven fabrics and clothes are also available at The Manila Collectible Co.

September 11, 2013

Natural fiber

bags and baskets at The Manila Collectible Co.The Manila Collectible Co. is a four month old store in historic Intramuros which showcases products from artists and artisans all over the Philippines. All the products they carry are handmade and neatly displayed according to category in the store. These are the shelves of handwoven bags and baskets. We bought an enormous, soft tikog bag large enough to serve as luggage for our next road trip.

September 9, 2013

Half the sky

display at the window of the Loyola Schools Bookstore commemorating 40 years of coeducation in Ateneo de Manila In 1973, the previously all-male Ateneo de Manila University accepted its first women students. 127 enrolled as freshmen, and 35 transferees were accepted in the upper years. It was a tough road to get to that point, with both the student council and the administration against it as late as 1968. The year-long commemoration of coeducation in the university is titled "40 Years, Half the Sky," after the Chinese proverb which says that "Women hold up half the sky." The young female students of Ateneo now take their presence in the university for granted; many of them don't even know what "coeducation" means. I hope that the commemoration helps them understand the issues back then, and how many women and girls all over the world continue to struggle with disempowerment, oppression and violence.

September 8, 2013

Father and Son

statue of St. Joseph and the child Jesus This statue of St. Joseph with the child Jesus stands in front of the Jesuit Residence inside the Loyola Heights campus of the Ateneo de Manila University. The inscription on the base is in Latin and declares, "Behold a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord setteth over his family." The statue was one of the few things left standing when the school's Padre Faura campus was razed to the ground during World War II. The inscription further states that the statue was donated by Don Rafael Perez in 1916 and was transferred to its current location in 1955.
 plaque of the statue of St. Joseph and the child Jesus in front of the Jesuit Residence in Ateneo de Manila

September 6, 2013

Manila skyline

Manila City skyline This view of the City of Manila is exactly like the night shot I posted on August 26, taken during the next (very overcast) morning. Aside from the two creamy yellow neoclassical buildings of the National Museum of the Philippines, one can see the water hazards of the Club Intramuros Golf Course, and parts of the 16th century walls of Intramuros on the lower right.

September 5, 2013

Bumper stickers

car bumper covered with stickers If you had hundreds of spare stickers, would you cover your car bumper with them? I thought this was crazy but it also made me smile.

September 4, 2013

Portrait with noodles

noodle-maker at Kanzhu Kanzhu, a small restaurant that we tried recently, prides itself in its hand-pulled noodles. It's easy to understand why—freshly made noodles have a soft, wonderful texture that commercial noodles just cannot replicate. I think Kanzhu has to work on their broth, though—it was disappointingly bland and is a discredit to their hardworking noodle-maker.

September 2, 2013

Yummy to the last sip

Pao Pao Xiao Chi When something becomes popular in Manila, it really becomes popular. During the past year, tea shops have opened in almost every block in the metro. The range is very wide—from quiet places that serve fresh, carefully brewed organic teas to shops that serve tea drinks with milk, all sorts of flavorings, sago pearls and jelly cubes, and everything in between. One guess what kind of tea Pao Pao Xiao Chi serves. It was the only place I could get a cold drink at the Greenhills West Clubhouse. To be fair, the simple iced fruit tea I had was pretty good; it wasn't too sweet and they have a light touch with the flavoring so I could still taste the tea.

August 31, 2013


Club Intramuros Golf Course The Club Intramuros Golf Course is located just outside the Spanish colonial era 16th century walls of Intramuros, which are barely peeking between the trees to the right of the golfer. The green and white building towering over the course is the 1977 expansion of the Manila Hotel, which first opened its doors in 1912.

August 30, 2013


It all started with the shocking discovery earlier this month of a scam headed by one woman involving fake non-government organizations (NGOs), ghost beneficiaries, and the pork barrel funds of our lawmakers (officially called the Priority Development Assistance Fund or PDAF) which resulted in the theft of billions of pesos of Filipino taxpayers' money. As details of the breadth of the plunder were released, normally lackadaisical middle-class Filipinos suddenly couldn't sit still. A no-organizer Million People March to Luneta (Rizal Park) event was created in Facebook, scheduled on National Heroes Day, the last Monday of August. People were simply asked to gather in front of the Quirino Grandstand with family and friends—maybe even have a picnic—to show the government the number of citizens who want the pork barrel system scrapped, and to demand that lawmakers involved in the scam be investigated and prosecuted.

at the Million People March in Luneta So, gather we did, despite the threat of rain.
  at the Million People March in Luneta In fact, it rained over the weekend and the field was very muddy. People just avoided the muddiest parts.
 at the Million People March in Luneta In the two weeks that the event page was up, people got a bit more organized. The leaders of the biggest groups joining the protest met and agreed that the center of the field would be reserved for those without affiliations. More militant groups—with their banners and chanting—would stay at the periphery. My ground-level photos don't do the crowd justice; see this photo from Paulo Alcazaren, who uses a drone for his aerial photos.
 at the Million People March in Luneta I think that organized groups were the minority that day, however. More people came with their families and friends, and despite the seriousness of the issues being discussed, the atmosphere was very relaxed and even—dare I say it—fun.
   at the Million People March in Luneta Someone was even flying a kite. I must admit, the wind was perfect for it, especially since Rizal Park is just beside Manila Bay.
 at the Million People March in Luneta Many people came with their "abolish the pork barrel" t-shirts and banners, like these three young students with their "The evolution of pork" banner.
  at the Million People March in Luneta There was ample media coverage, of course. ABS-CBN's Korina Sanchez set up an elevated platform with a tent so she could interview famous personalities who showed up at the rally. Juana Change (actress Mae Paner) came in her signature red lingerie and a Miss Piggy mask and wig.
   at the Million People March in Luneta Musician, writer and activist Jim Paredes refused to be interviewed on the platform, saying that he wasn't an organizer but just a participant. So ABS-CBN found a way to interview him on the ground, where he was surrounded by other participants who stopped to listen to him speak.
 at the Million People March in Luneta Unlike the issue of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, religious and lay persons agree about the pork barrel—it has to be scrapped if the Philippines is to progress beyond patronage politics.