Makati and Manila: These streets will make you feel brand new

During the lent, I was wandering around the metro and it was so frustrating that major establishments were closed. The  bustling thoroughfares on normal days were  unbelievably clear and silent. Due to the population scarcity on those days, I took advantage to roam around Makati and Manila. Here’s where I have been to 😉

Graffiti walls along Reposo St. Makati

Reposo street in Makati – touted as the art center in our country’s central business district. Art galleries are ubiquitous in the area. The most popular are Alliance Francaise de Manille which hold art events and exhibitions and LRI design Plaza, a one stop shop for art decos and one of  a kind furniture.

The walls along the street are entirely devoted for graffiti paintings.  Unlike the usual hip- hop graffiti found under the pasig river bridge, the graffiti  in Makati are colorful and lively. The images are reaching out a strong social messages to the people from all walks of life.  One wall delivers a message about caring and preserving our trees . It requires no entrance fee to treat our eyes with visual feasts.

Sidewalk musicians

Then I  moved to Malate  district. Juggling the street is probably no ordinary for sidewalk musicians.  They spent their lives on the streets with their guitar, flute and improvised speaker. They entertain us with their music. Thousands of people pass them  by on a daily basis, and since we are all busy minding our own, they remain unnoticed. We sometimes acknowledge them,  a quick glance then we head  toward our own destinations. Most of the times,  we drop a coin  because we  pity  them for  their undeserved misfortune.

Roxas Boulevard

Of course, I did not dare to miss Roxas Boulevard, the sun had set by then  and the boulevard is illuminated by bright and colorful street lights. It’s this stunning street  that takes  me through vision of Manila by night. I found a spot to sit on a ledge and closely observed the surroundings. I have noticed that the boulevard is a lovers venue , moreover a haven for runners and joggers.

It was getting late, slowly people were abandoning the area, an old man in front of me stretched his body on a bench  calling it a good night. Roxas Boulevard was empty, bright and peaceful.

That day I found myself everywhere. I was sure I had my fair share of slices of life in the metro.

I’m glad.

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. =)

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


The Manila Bay Sunset

Nothing could be more romantic than being with the love of yor life, holding hands while the sun slowly sets down. Romance exists in the heart of Manila,  be captivated by the spectacular view of Manila Bay sunset.

Featuring : Ang Mangingisda sa Manila Bay

Oops! No, I am not promoting a movie that’s entirely shot in Manila Bay.  My point is, with or without someone,  do visit the famous Manila Bay sunset.  It’s beautiful beyond description.

Fly me to the Moon

 Out there in the outer space, the moon illuminates into our dark nights. A bewitching sight; Its presence in the sky  makes the night dramatic and romantic.

The successful  landing  of Apollo 11 into this foreign celestial body is the culmination of more heavenly explorations. American ingenuities were  heralded for their  remarkable contribution to history and science. Proves  that  it’s not impossible for a man to fly into the moon.  Neil Armstrong’s name is forever  immortalized in our science books as the very first human to have set foot on the moon.

Who owns  the moon?

From wikisource: As far as ownership to the moon is concerned, Outer space treaty states that outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use, occupation , or by any other means. Further, under the Moon Treaty of 1979, moons should be used for the benefit of all sates and all people of the international community.

Interestingly,only thirteen countries have signed and ratified the Moon Treaty of 1979. One of those is Philippines. Rich countries like USA have not signed the treaty.  Perhaps, only nations that have no chance, no hope of getting up there  have signed the treaty lol! US is likely to have more explorations in the moon to know whether they can put up a man on the moon.