Surprises in Manila


I’ve been living in Metro Manila for almost 12 years now yet I realize there is still a lot I do not know about it especially its capital, Manila. It actually took an invite from a friend from Cebu to go out of my apartment on a rainy day and realize that…

…San Agustin Church has a very dramatic altar. I’ve passed this church several times but it was only yesterday that I sat inside the church for awhile and absorbed its altar’s beauty.

12 years in Metro Manila yet I found myself stepping on this church for the first time.

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Continue reading “Surprises in Manila”

Eye Spy


Manila is home to the world’s oldest Chinatown located in Binondo.  It’s funny though that despite living in Metro Manila for almost 10 years now, I only got to visit Binondo last October. Apart from being a historic place, Binondo is perhaps is better know as a food lover’s heaven. One of the cheap dining options there where one can try a variety of Chinese dishes is Estero Fast Food Restaurant. I wondered if the  place is called “estero” because it is literally located near a big canal a.ka. estero in the Filipino language.

Apart from the variety of food options, I learned that part of the dining experience  in Estero is a battle with cats. The cats roam around the tables waiting for leftovers. Some of them were even aggressive enough to attempt an eye to eye contact with me. LOL.

Staring contest.

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Check out more entries for “Eye Spy” at Daily Post.

Ornate


It’s no secret that I am very interested in Korean history and culture. This is the primary reason why in my travel bucket list, South Korea was the first country I listed that I want to visit. Last year, I was able to cross out that item off my list. That trip to South Korea marked my 1st overseas travel and what a gamble it was considering I had to apply for a visa.

South Korea has a very rich in history and it has done a very good job of preserving its historic places.  The presence of several palaces in the heart of Seoul amidst modern infrastructure is a testament to that. Of the five (5) palaces found in Jongno, my favorite would have to be the Changdeokgung Palace. The  palace complex is especially lovely during autumn.

While walking around, I chanced upon these quarters with a very ornate roofing. Imagine the detail placed in designing them.

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Check out  this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge with the theme Ornate.

Door


It’s so hard to blog these days. I don’t  know if it’s a matter of my busy schedule or simply because I don’t have the drive. Anyway, for some “I am alive” post, here are some “historical” doors I want to share with your guys. Most of these are doors in old Spanish houses across the Philippines.

Tested by time.

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I like lines, symmetry, history and contrast.

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Take time to realize… The unknown.

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Have a great weekend everyone!

See a variety of doors at Daily Post.

(Travel Diary) The Historic City of Silay


I usually try to schedule an out of town trip during summer. In the Philippines, school break falls on the months of April to May so I have come to associate summer = vacation. Now that I am working, I maintain that association by going on vacation trips during summer.

In the summer of 2014, I went to the provinces of Negros Occidental, Guimaras and Iloilo in the Visayas area of the Philippines with my high school friends, Cez, Thomas and Galembs. Our trip lasted for four days. Our entry point was Silay City in Negros Occidental, then our exit point was Iloilo.

The next travel series I will share are what I have to come to call as “BIG trip”. It stands for Bacolod-Iloilo-Guimaras.

Balay Negrense, one of the famous old houses of Silay.
Balay Negrense, one of the famous old houses of Silay.

1st stop: Silay City

Bacolod is the capital of the province of Negros Occidental but its airport is located in the province of Silay, which is about a 30-45 minute ride from Bacolod City. Silay City is one of the two museum cities in the Philippines, the other one being Vigan City in Ilocos Sur. It has been referred to as  such due to the number of preserved Spanish houses in the city. In the airport, we were even given a map which detailed where all the Spanish houses were situated.

From the airport, we decided to proceed first to El Ideal Bakery, of the most must try’s in Silay, to eat breakfast. The restaurant-bakery is is also housed inside an old Spanish residence! Continue reading “(Travel Diary) The Historic City of Silay”

The Walls of Ancient Seoul


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The old walls of Gyeongbokgung Palace.

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Living quarters at Changdeokgung Palace.

DSC02375Getting lost in Bukchon village.

Stunning photos of “Walls” at Daily Post.

What’s the Story Behind the Room?


It’s not unusual to see old Spanish houses in the Philippines after being a colony of Spain for more than 300 years. The best preserved Spanish houses are usually located in heritage cities like Vigan in Ilocos Sur, and Silay in Negros Occidental. I had the chance to visit one of the most famous heritage house in Silay City last May, the Balay Negrense. The museum is also known as the 117-year old ancestral house of Victor Gaston. The room that caught my attention the most from that house is the girl’s room:

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According to the tour guide, the things in the room used to be property of the Gaston daughters. I remember being spooked out particularly by the dolls. They remind me of horror movies involving Chucky. I cant’ help but wonder, what were their stories? And if these dolls can project scenes, what stories would they tell?

Check out the entries for this week’s photo challenge entitled Room.

Work of Art


I went  to the provinces of Negros Occidental, Iloilo and Guimaras just a few weeks ago. One thing that stood out during that trip was these provinces has all kinds of churches  imaginable. In fact, I was able to visit a total of eight (8) churches including the Miag-ao Church, a UNESCO World Hertige Site. The strongest points of these churches vary–old age, architecture, sculptures inside the church, etc.  Setting Miag-ao Church aside, the church that stood out  for me the most was the Bacolod City Cathedral, aka the San Sebastain Cathedral. Its’s interiors is a sight to behold, especially at night time. There also seemed to be a synergy in all the elements of the church–the lighting, the altar, the arcs. Truly a work of art.

 

San Sebastian Cathedral, Bacolod City
San Sebastian Cathedral, Bacolod City

 

 

This post is my entry to Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge with the theme Work of Art.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Culture


Philippines has probably one the most extensive or detailed celebration of Holy Week. In my hometown, we don’t have just one procession, we have five. The first procession is held during the afternoon of Holy Wednesday. The second one is held on the  afternoon of Good Friday . Another procession is held late at night during Good Friday. We call it Soledad and  its route is  exactly opposite of the procession held in the afternoon. My mom said it symbolizes “tracing the path that Jesus walked on his way to the cross”. The fourth procession called Salubong (literally means welcoming the Risen Lord) is held very early in the morning of Easter and the final one during the afternoon of Easter Sunday.

Regardless of the day the procession is held, the setup is pretty much the same. There would be pasos or images of the saints or scenes in the Passion of Christ. There would be altars where the priest would stop to say a prayer. And of course, there would be people holding candles during the procession. When I was a kid, the processions was very organized. People fall in two lines beside the pasos. In between altars, we prayed the Rosary. Some even walked barefoot.

A lot have changed since then. Processions became more crowded but for the wrong purposes.  I know this is a tradition that will continue for a long time but whether the intentions and solemnity will be preserved is a different question.

More entries at Daily Post.