J and M Pre-Nup

A very good friend-colleague asked me if I could do the taking of pre-nup photos for his law school friend MC. I heard good stories about her, plus it will be my first time to do  some pre-nup so I gladly said YES.

The couple  M&J  are fun to be with, very easy-going .  I thank D my beloved  naks! and CS for helping me out.  Sure CS has the potential of becoming an excellent director.  Thanks as well to A&J for being our helping hands, you guys are the blowing bubbles couple =)

I was happy to do a pre-nup for M&J, I wish you both happiness. 

The joys of Titahood

Meet my stubborn nieces –  Dora and Charisse. They are both lovely, delicate and incredibly sweet.

Right now I am missing Dora, her  hardheadedness makes me miss her so much. Her unyielding manners tend to make me irritable at times.

Bea and Cayle, I am excited to watch them grow, and spoil them too.

I rarely see them, it’s only during holidays and short vacations that I get to play with them. I love how they hug and kiss me; I miss our Jollibee sessions in the province. I miss the way they hug me so tight when I have to go back to Manila.  For now, I  just  have to content myself  looking at their pictures.

Bahay Tsinoy Museum- Intramuros

Kaisa Angelo King Heritage Center Building in the historical Intramuros  hosts three storey museum: A Museum of Chinese in Phlippine Life. The brainchild of late anthropologist Prof. Chinben See, and made possible by Kaisa Para sa Kaunlaran  Inc. It is conveniently located at Anda cor. Cabildo St.,  just  a block away from Manila Cathedral. Open  from Tuesdays to Sundays 1-5 PM. The entrance fee is P 100.

These dioramas are based on actual prints and photographs.

The museum is a repository of everything Chinese in the aspect of Philippine life. Life-sized dioramas are used in order to depict the life of Chinese in the Philippines. These dioramas underscore the  intimate relationship between Filipinos and Chinese as partners in trade and commerce, even before Magellan discovered the Philippines. Further, the museum also houses overwhelming  century old ceramics dating back in the 10th century,ancient Chinese documents and fine art galleries.

Before 7-11 stores, the Chinese merchants were already selling their goods 24-7  in the olden times.

When you  plan to explore the cobblestone streets of Intramuros, stop by at Chinese museum. Take a guided tour of the Chinese culture and heritage. The tour lasts about 30 minutes. Those who want to go on their own pace can get a brochure and have your own “self- guiding”. With or without Chinese ancestry, it is educating to know the roots of Filipino-Chinese friendship, and it’s amazing how it flourished through time.

A visit to the Golden Mosque- Quiapo

The dome of the Golden Mosque stands conspicuously coming from Quiapo bridge; A physical manifestation of the public presence of Muslims and serves as a point of convergence for Islamic activity. I have never been into that side of Quiapo, what I am only aware of is that significant Muslim population abound the area.

My interest to know about Muslim culture prodded my recent visit to  the mosque  at Globo de Oro St.,  I  asked my friend AC to accompany and  guide me to their community, to which he gladly acceded.

It was on Saturday morning, we met up at Arlegui St. in front of Quiapo Church, from there we started to walk going to the mosque. We passed by in a crowded  sidewalks that seemed to be a pulsating center of everything-  dvd’s,cellphone accessories, toys, hair accessories, clothing and fruit stands among other things. A formidable percentage of vendors are Muslims and most of the buyers are Christians.

Most of the foods sold along the sidewalks are halal foods, and some fruits coming all the way from Mindanao.

After five minutes of walking , we finally arrived at Golden Mosque. A benevolent greeting was uttered by AC to an elder, who was  standing outside the mosque. They both communicated in their native dialect. From what I can infer, my friend was asking the elder if I could be allowed to enter the mosque. The elder said I have to cover my hair, before entering the mosque.  He went inside the reception room,  and returned with a veil and handed it to my friend. As an act of graciousness, I accepted and used the veil. Wearing a headscarf is a symbol of pious and pure faith in Islam.

I removed my slippers before I  went inside. A shoe shelf is placed near the entrance to neatly organize the shoes/ slippers. I then started to observe the place, look into details, silently went near the center to see the dome’s interior.

The defining feature of the Golden Mosque is its dome, an onion like shape, painted with shining gold, with vibrant geometric designs. Presently it is being renovated. History has it that the mosque was created in 1976, under the supervision of Imelda Marcos, for the visit of  Libya president, although the visit was canceled. In Metro Manila, it is presently the largest mosque.

The mosque has numerous pointed arch windows flanked with colonnades; the windows are  alternated on the outside walls, providing for well lighted space. It is divided into sections for men and women.

Inside  is very spacious and the entire area  is bare. There are  no furniture because worshipers kneel and bow directly on the floor. In Islam prayers must be performed in clean areas. Carpets and rugs ensure the  cleanliness on the place of prayers.

According to my friend, they pray five times a day. Entire population of Muslim in Quiapo is diverse coming from the tribes of:  Tausugs,  Badjaos, Samals, Maguindanaons and growing number of converts.

We cut short our presence inside the mosque because  a man inside was about to start his prayer.

I  thanked my friend for introducing and giving me an opportunity to observe and know further about their culture through their religion. It was not a casual tourism; it is more of  my special way in getting to know my Muslim  friends and their community, I have learned that  irrespective of God we glorify, Christians and Muslims live peacefully side by side.  Indeed a short but meaningful visit.

When visiting a mosque:

Dress appropriately and modestly.

Remove shoes before entering the prayer area.

Be silent and respectful.

Do not afraid to mingle, know them intimately and be yourself.

Trader’s Latitude : Vday 2010

February 14 is a day of national love celebration. We wanted to make a special celebration for our nth year Vday. To choose where to spend our Vday is tasking, we spent enormous amount of time searching over the internet on where to celebrate. All restaurants and hotels  came up with  unique  valentine packages; some are budget friendly, some are incredibly exorbitant! Say for instance, Manila Hotel, its management came up with a whopping amount of 1.4 million pesos-es for “over the top package”- just for one night!

One of the promising package that caught our attention is “With Strings Attached” at Latitude restaurant in Traders Hotel. A promise of dinner buffet, a complimentary bottle of wine, while being serenaded  by a three-piece acoustic ensemble.  Traders is around three blocks away from my place, so traffic would not be a problem.


When we arrived at Latitude, we thought that it was exactly what we wanted: good food, a place where we can be together, where we can be entertained.  The restaurant is filled with families and couples alike. Love songs played added to the romantic ambiance of the restaurant.

The buffet offers  no  grand selection of international dishes  but food is exquisite  and succulent. Fast service and cordial staffs.  Restaurant’s interior is tastefully adorned.

Yumminess

We had a pleasant bonding together, endless stories and laughter, a groovy kind of  valentine celebration.  Latitude is worth coming back. All thanks to D. =)

A Weekend of Everything that Flies 2010

Hot Air Balloon festival in Clarkfield, Pampanga is one of my most anticipated event held every February. This year, we made it a point to go there on its opening day; unfortunately we were late for the morning balloon flight. My experience this year, is not that spectacular there were only few balloons released for flight, three balloons simultaneously glowing up in the air.

Another highlight of the event is the powered paragliding  exhibition of 5 or more paragliders, who appears to have enjoyed being up and up in the air. I noticed though that most, if not all paragliders in this event are all foreigners.

In the afternoon, while waiting for the main balloon event, we managed to check out the duty frees around Clark; thrilling experience since some items can still be bought at a lesser price. It saddens me since out of the ubiquitous duty frees in the area, only three or four  are in operation: Parksons, Liberty, and Clark Interiors to name a few.

From Parksons duty free, we walked straight going to golf club areas but realized we cannot go further, since we have to go back to Clark airbase  in time for the balloon flight.  If we only have more time to explore Nayong Filipino, it would have been more interesting, so I just took some photos anywhere. It was a scenic feast anyways.

We found out that there is a K9 cemetary in Clark, a budding source of tourist attraction perhaps in Clark because of its historical significance. In fact, there is a security guard posted at the pet memorial during day time. I have learned that K9 cemetery for dogs  was established by Americans before they left the US Air Base.

Narrow tombstone of K9s. Written are names of the canine, a combination of numbers and letters.

RALEIGH 30 M9 I spotted a K9 within the Hot Air vicinity.

I realized that the better time to visit the Balloon festival is on the last day  of the festival because all the participating sponsors will showcase their hot air balloon, all set at the same time, all simultaneously glowing. Further one could go there for the early morning balloon flight, since it is the best time for the up, up in the air scene.

Not a balloon but also in the event. He is everywhere in the area, kids love to have photo with him.

So hurry, two days left for the balloon fest, it happens once a year so do not miss the fun experience.

Proud at 400 UST Photo Contest: I am one of the top 20 finalists!

I am happy to share that I am one  of the top 20 finalists in  UST 400 Photo Contest.  Being shortlisted is enough to make me happy. The awarding of   grand prizes will be on Friday, February 12. I was not aware  then that I am  one of the top 20 finalists, until  I checked the website of Pinoy Photography. org.  I was not expecting honestly.  My entry was  captured on January 30, the last day of submission of entries, I chanced upon UST vs. DLSU softball game. I thought  that it was an opportunity for me to try and capture  sports photography.

See the finalists here:  TOP 10: UST 400 Photo Contest.

Update:

The awarding of the grand finalists was held last friday, I went to UST museum in the afternoon to witness the exhibit. My entry was not among the top ten, but happy anyways.  Being  one of the 20 finalist is enough to make me happy. I really admire  all the winners, they truly deserve their places.  The grand prize belongs to Arturo Magturo from batch 1990, here’s a screenshot of his entry :

Grand Prize Winner ( Alumni Category)

Indeed very creative and spectacular, It must have been painstakingly difficult to come up with that winning image.  I am but all praises.

The overall experience of joining this photo contest was fun and overwhelming. It was my first time to join a photo contest not for the sake of joining  one but to take part in the event ; to have an opportunity of going back to UST again for the longest time. Nostalgic! The familiar places  reminds me of my youthful years spent at the university. I am amaze  how UST has changed after sometime too. Btw, I am not that old lol =)

Anyways, here’s another photo entry of mine, but did not make it to the final set.

UST Main Building