March 31, 2013

The reason for the season

the simple cross at the top of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish church The simple cross at the top of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish church, set off by bougainvillea which blooms throughout the year in the Philippines.

Happy Easter!

March 30, 2013

A journey around the parking lot

Stations of the Cross at the parking lot of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish Stations of the Cross at the parking lot of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish The Way of the Cross is a devotion that many Filipino Catholics go through during Lent, especially during Holy Week. So people can do this mini pilgrimage to the scenes of Christ's sufferings and death without disturbing those attending other Holy Week services inside the church, the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish closed off its parking lot and set up the stations around it.

March 29, 2013


Kimpura Japanese Restaurant Kimpura is one of Manila's oldest Japanese restaurants. What look like screens at the back are bamboo sliding doors which lead to private dining rooms, most of which have teppan grills built into the tables.

March 28, 2013

Compare and contrast

Filipino kinilaw na tuna and Mexican ceviche Anthropologist Fernando Zialcita and Chef Gene Gonzalez's "Exploring Filipino Taste in Seven Courses" is always fascinating, even though we've gone through it several times. For the appetizer, we compared the flavors of Davao's Kinilaw na Tuna (fresh tuna with sea salt, radish, shallots, cucumber, coconut cream) and Mexico's Ceviche (with lime juice, orange juice, chili, ginger, garlic, onions, corn on the cob). What I like most about the program are the historical, cultural, and culinary anecdotes from Dr. Zialcita and Chef Gene. Although the food's pretty good, too.

March 27, 2013

What a mess!

a jumble of cables on a utility pole How our utility men can make sense of this jumble of cables—power, phone, cable TV, internet—I have no idea.

March 25, 2013


fans waiting for the actors of the movie 'It Takes a Man and a Woman' at Trinoma's Activity Center This was the scene at Trinoma mall's Activity Center last Saturday, where the young stars of the Tagalog romantic-comedy "It Takes a Man and a Woman" were having a show to promote the movie. The rail on the second level—where I took this photo—was three people deep. I'm sure the two higher levels were too. The movie opens in theaters nationwide on March 30.

March 24, 2013


Last Thursday, my husband and I went to the wake of the mother of a friend who, it turns out, is a good friend of the President of the Philippines, Benigno Simeon Aquino III.
 Benigno Simeon Aquino III, President of the Philippines I'm afraid this isn't a very flattering photo of the President, but it was the clearest of several photos I took. I discovered that the man moves a lot and has a very animated face.

March 22, 2013


gold and black Maria Clara gown There are many lovely modern interpretations of the Maria Clara gown, a Spanish colonial-era style of dress now considered formal Filipiniana attire. Unfortunately, I don't consider this one of them. This would make me feel like I was wearing curtains or a bedspread! I am not going to identify the designer, for obvious reasons.

March 20, 2013

Chinese Ho-land in Manila

sign of Ho-Land Chinese delicacies bakery If you ever find yourself in Binondo, Manila's Chinatown, and see this sign for Ho-land Chinese Delicacies, run inside and grab a pack of freshly-baked hopia, flaky puff pastry filled with a sweet mung bean paste. It's delicious.

March 19, 2013


making dim sum dumplings The next time you eat Chinese dim sum dumplings, slow down and savor every bite. A lot of effort goes into making each small piece—from the finely minced filling to the delicate, translucent wrapper.

March 18, 2013


Rizal Library at sunsetThe Rizal Library at sunset. I like how the tree's shadow on the wall makes it seem more than five stories tall.

March 17, 2013


side view of the Church of San Juan del Monte (Pinaglabanan Church) in San Juan City The St. John the Baptist Parish Church, better known locally as Pinaglabanan Church after the street in San Juan City where it is located, dates back to 1896 but has been damaged, restored, renovated and expanded many times since then. Of the church's exterior, only the facade remains of the original structure, which is quite evident when the church is viewed from the side.

March 15, 2013

Blue wheels

tow truck of Wheelers Club For only Php700 (US$17.25) a year, Wheelers Club International assures members of 24/7 road assistance, towing, and ambulance service when you need them. In a city where government towing services are more expensive, it's a fantastic deal. And if you don't use any of their services within the year, then say "thank you" to whatever gods are out there. I don't know where the "international" in their name comes in, though—the company only serves Metro Manila and Metro Cebu.

March 14, 2013


bumper to bumper traffic along Julia Vargas Avenue 
During weekends, all the roads which lead to SM Megamall, which has three other malls nearby (Shangri-la Plaza, St. Francis Square and Robinson's Galleria), have bumper to bumper traffic. In Manila, the phrase is almost literal because only a foot or two separate cars from each other.

March 12, 2013


display case of Ateneo Sports Hall of Fame awardee Matthew Gaston Every three years, the Ateneo de Manila University awards alumni who excelled in sports during their school days. They are inducted into the Ateneo Sports Hall of Fame, which has a room named after it in the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center. Some awardees donated their sports memorabilia—medals, trophies, jackets and jerseys—which are displayed in cases with their photo and a write-up of their sports accomplishments. Aside from recognizing the men and women who played for the school, the award, the room, and the displays also aim to inspire current student-athletes who train at the center to excel in their own sports.

March 11, 2013


the Oblation on an eagle painted on the street in the University of the Philippines - Diliman A curious find at the University of the Philippines - Diliman: the silhouette of the statue "Oblation" standing on a stylized eagle, painted on the road. I have no idea what it's all about.
See murals from around the world in Monday Mural.

March 10, 2013

BKK: Fit for a king

Rama IX Bridge in Bangkok, Thailand The Rama IX Bridge over the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, Thailand is named after King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He is known as Rama IX and is Thailand's longest-reigning monarch, having occupied the throne since 1946. The Chao Phraya is one of Thailand's major rivers, and in English, it is called the River of Kings. The bridge was built in 1984–1987, and was renamed during King Bhumibol's 60th birthday in 2006.

It is the first cable-stayed bridge I have ever seen, and we saw it only once, during an evening Chao Phraya River sightseeing cruise. I was completely awed.
Bridges around the world: Sunday Bridges
Sunday Bridges

March 9, 2013

Exchange deal

cell sites inside Ateneo de Manila University Two of the Philippines' most popular mobile phone service providers have cell sites inside the Quezon City campus of Ateneo de Manila University, located on a field near the Manila Observatory. Part of the deal is, the observatory gets to place some of their weather and atmospheric instruments on the towers. The spindly tower on the right, as well as the white and brick building beside it, belongs to the observatory.

March 8, 2013


cork board of the Delta Lambda Sigma sorority in the University of the Philippines - Diliman The Delta Lambda Sigma sorority of the University of the Philippines - Diliman is more than 65 years old. The wooden frame of their cork board in one corridor of Palma Hall looks like it's as old as the organization. I like it.

March 7, 2013

Sweet notes

notes of appreciation under the glass of Mary Grace's table The tables of Cafe Mary Grace are decorated with pebbles, insightful quotations, shells, lace doilies, and notes of appreciation from happy customers, both children and adults.

March 6, 2013


foundation of a demolished house Back in January, I posted a photo of the overgrown yard of a house across ours that had stood empty for more than a year. A week after that post, the new owner began the demolishing of the house. It's gone now, and the only thing left is the foundation. And a lot of debris.

I dedicate this post to childhood friends who used to live with their aunt in the now demolished house, and who studied in the same elementary and high school my sister and I did. We spent many happy days playing in their house and garden.

March 5, 2013

Live to dive

the Oceana Maria Scuba live-aboard dive boat The Oceana Maria Scuba (OMS) is a live-aboard dive boat that can accommodate up to ten people in five cabins, aside from the captain, crew and divemasters. I guess it's the only way to go to dive spots that are not accessible by any other means, especially in the vast emptiness of the Pacific Ocean. Caught empty of divers and crew while docked beside Harbour Square in Manila Bay.

March 4, 2013


mural in the Palma Hall of the University of the Philippines - Diliman The mural on the second floor of the University of the Philippines - Diliman's Palma Hall features scenes from the country's long history of fighting for freedom—against the Spanish, Japanese, and Americans, then against the Martial Law regime of Ferdinand Marcos. The figure in the middle is the sculpture called the Oblation, which has become the state university's symbol.

See murals from around the world in Monday Mural.

March 3, 2013

BKK: Dazzling

Phra Borom Maha Ratcha Wang—the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand—is a complex of buildings that was the official residence of the Kings of Siam/Thailand from 1782 to 1925. The many temples and palaces within the complex are all decorated in the most intricate and dazzling array of gold leaf, glass mosaics, and porcelain tiles. We hired a guide for our tour, but there were so many buildings, my poor brain didn't retain any of the explanations. So I hope you will be content with this small glimpse of the magnificent Grand Palace.
  Bangkok Grand Palace  gold leaf-covered building at the Bangkok Grand Palace Yes, it's real gold, and it covers the entire building.
  scale model of Angkor Wat at the Bangkok Grand Palace A scale model of Cambodia's Angkor Wat.
  Buddha sculpture at the Bangkok Grand Palace Figurines and sculptures of Buddha can be found everywhere in the complex.
  Hindu god figurines at the Bangkok Grand Palace Hindu guardian gods at the Bangkok Grand Palace As can Hindu gods and guardians.
  Bangkok Grand Palace The marriage of East and West in this palace is gorgeous.

Though the royal family no longer lives at Phra Borom Maha Ratcha Wang, the temples and palaces in the complex are still used for official and religious ceremonies, so there are days when it is closed to the public and to tourists.

March 2, 2013

The ram, ruled by Mars

Aries symbol on the rail of the Manila Observatory's roof deck The roof deck of the cylindrical Manila Observatory has a metal rail running around it with all the signs of the Zodiac, which I thought really cool. Of course, I had to take a photo of my sign, Aries. The building in the background is the rear of the former residence of the Jesuit scientists assigned to the observatory, and the taller, farther one on the left is one of the residential condominium buildings along Katipunan Avenue.

March 1, 2013

Red plastic

carinderia CITY DAILY PHOTO THEME DAY: CAFE CHAIRS • Nothing pretty today, just some of those uncomfortable plastic monobloc chairs. At least they're a cheery, cherry red, and not the plain white ones that get so dirty-looking after only a few weeks. Metro Manila has lots of these tiny, streetside eateries which we call carinderia or turo-turo (from turo, to point, because that's all you have to do to tell the server what you want to eat), especially around public transportation terminals, whether for taxis, buses, jeepneys or tricycles. Obviously, you won't find them in posh neighborhoods.