Intramuros Walk

Yesterday was day 2 of my Independence Day Intramuros solo tour. After biking through the streets of the Walled City, it was time for me to visit the historical sites on foot. 

I started with Fort Santiago.  

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Since I’m a Rizal fan, a visit to his shrine never gets old. 

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Then, it was back to exploring the fortress.  

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The Manila Cathedral had an open house which I couldn’t resist.  

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I was able to explore the choir loft, roof deck, and crypt. 

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Then, I visited the Desteleria Limtuaco Museum. It was my first time there and it was an enjoyable experience!

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They even have a tasting bar where one can try their house liquors for a minimal fee. 

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It was also my first time at the Baluarte De San Diego. 

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I also walked through and above the walls of the famed city. 

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It was a treat to visit the newly-opened Museo de Intramuros.  

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Bahay Tsinoy was worth going back to. Their life-sized dioramas were fascinating to learn from. 

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I ended my visit with coffee at the site of Padre Burgos’ old house, which is now a convenience store.  

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And the best part- I was able to hang on to a tranvia! 

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Life is great, if we find places to explore and discover! Sometimes, the best ones are nearby. We just have to show up and appreciate the opportunity to learn from historical places. 

Here’s to more walks along streets that have stories to tell! 

Manila Fame 2019

Yesterday, I woke up to a postcard sent by my good friend Nurai. She’s based in Germany, but she posted this from Spain while she was on holiday. 

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It was the ideal preview to my artistic day ahead. I rode the LRT 1 and hailed a tuktuk to take me directly to the World Trade Center. 

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I went to the Manila Fame to immerse myself in Filipino artistry. My short visit last Friday was too brief, and I really wanted to spend more time at the fair. 

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I started my visit with some refreshing liquer de calamansi. 

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Then, I had some good coffee.  

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I dropped by the Handcrafted by Harl’s booth because I love their advocacy in supporting differently-abled artisans. I bought a handbag from them last year, and it’s still serving me well. 

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I joined a leather-crafting workshop for only Php50. I made a leather coin purse with the help of their talented deaf-mute artisans. 

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I ended up being the empowered one because I learned a new skill and got to learn from a differently-asked person.  

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It was lovely to see fashion influencer Lolaandrogynous at the fair! I totally dig her style. 

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I also bought small trinkets from another social enterprise, Kilus.  

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I got to appreciate the finer details during this visit.  

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I finally got to try 1st Colonial’s sili ice cream and it was delicious!

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I had a wonderful evening at Manila Fame and I’m very proud to be Filipino.  

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I ended my day with cheese sticks, so I’m also doing the same here. 

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Here’s to more opportunities to be proudly Pinoy! 

Presidential Car Museum

Yesterday, I spent the day exploring my local park. But first, I began my day with a hearty brunch of gyudon and milk tea coffee (yes, it’s apparently a thing!) at a Japanese restaurant.  

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Then, it was time for some culture at Quezon Memorial Circle. It was my first time at the park’s newest museum, the Presidential Car Museum. 

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The imposing modern building blended nicely with the park’s existing trees.  

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I was in awe of the vintage cars inside the museum.  

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As a history buff, this was quite a treat! 

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It was also lovely to see stamps inside the museum.  

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I enjoyed my time with the presidential cars, and I was pleasantly surprised to see cute souvenirs for sale outside. 

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The souvenir shop also carried NHCP publications at reasonable prices.  

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For my next stop, I went to Museo ni Quezon to reacquaint myself with the founder of my city.  

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I was delighted with my history trip, and it was time to have a snack. 

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I chose a coconut ice drop for merienda to beat the heat. 

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Coconut House inside Circle sells local products made of natural ingredients.  

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Then, it was time to go home, and savor the memories from my day tour of my local park. 

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Having fun doesn’t need to be expensive! Sometimes, a trip to the local park can be an educational and enjoyable experience. Hopefully, you also have nearby places where you can enjoy an afternoon of culture and history! 

Fueling Women

Yesterday, I started my day with some toasted longganisa and hot chocolate at Breakfast Bin.  

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Then, I checked out some exhibitions at the Ayala Museum. 

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I especially liked their Women and War exhibit. 

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After running some errands, I got myself some pares and siomai from Kanto Pares. Yum! 

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As a woman, I prioritize self-care because the most important person in my story is me. Seeing empowering exhibits and eating yummy food are just two ways to fuel myself. Happy International Women’s Day! 

Malacañang Museum Tour and Lecture

Yesterday, I was privileged to attend the lecture on  The American Imperium in the Philippines in Text and Urban Design: The 1905 Report on Proposed Improvments in Manila by Prof. Ian Morley of The Chinese University of Hong Kong. It was held at the Malacañang Museum and Library. 

I started my day with a cuppa at Starbucks.  

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Then, it was time for the lecture and tour. It was my first time at the Malacañang Palace, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I also learned heaps from the lecture. Concepts like alterity and history as futurology were discussed, and I realized that how much we appreciate and value space depends on how we prioritize our well-being.  

I will let these photos speak for themselves, as I had a wonderful day. I hope that I will be able to return to Malacañang someday.  

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On Top of Things

We had Mother’s Day lunch at a nice restaurant inside a five star hotel. While we were enjoying the sumptuous food, we also had the chance to view our city from this vantage point. 

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It is quite humbling to note that while our urban sprawl is not the most striking of cityscapes, there is still beauty amidst the chaos. There are pockets of greenery and quiet places. I am reminded that there is hope in a city where you see the negative on the foreground. 

Because when you focus on the bigger picture, you will see the potential of your life in a place that is worth stepping back for anyway.  

May you also find your new perspective today, as we begin another week of hustling in this place we call home.  

Art Fair 2018

Art Fair Philippines is one of my favorite annual events because I am guaranteed to see works that will inspire me. This year, I visited the fair on a Friday to avoid the weekend crowd. 

I started my day with a delicious breakfast sandwich and a double-double. I was fascinated with the knit design of Tim Hortons’ cup, as it reminded me of my recent Knitting Adventure at Banaue. 

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I also had some quiet time at Greenbelt Chapel. 

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Before I knew it, the fair was already open for the day!

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Allow me to share with you the pieces which have caught my eye. 

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This cute K9 will guard the works of art!

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Sublime piece by my college classmate Maxine Syjuco. 

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Meeting THE Kidlat Tahimik was the highlight of my visit. He is known as the Father of Philippine Cinema. Here was his imposing work. 

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I also attended a special screening of Kidlat Tahimik’s films at the roofdeck. 

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I then proceeded to LTD All-Day Dining for lunch and coffee. 

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I had a delicious chorizo pasta, sansrival and cappuccino. 

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I had a wonderful day at the fair and I am definitely inspired to infuse whimsy and design into the everyday. 

Living Architecture Guided Tour and Talk

Last Wednesday, I joined the Living Architecture guided tour and talk on Gaudi at the UP Vargas Museum. I was curious to know how these structures integrate nature into their designs and how people keep them alive. 

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I was happy to see a mix of students, professionals, and art enthusiasts. 

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It was an engaging tour, where I learned that architects design structures to be living by integrating the natural environment and allow people to use it in a flowing manner. An example of which are buildings that utilize green energy, contain markets and food halls, and combine cultural centers with public spaces like skater parks amidst an arresting natural landscape. 

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We then proceeded to a talk on Gaudi and his groundbreaking work, the Sagrada Familia.  

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The speaker, Architect Choie Funk, discussed Gaudi’s natural influences and how she has applied them in the design elements found all-throughout his work. 

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My key takeaway from this experience is that “design solves problems”, as Ms. Funk explained to us. If we can use our knowledge in design to tackle issues not just in our personal lives but in our society and environment, then the world will be a better place.

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Design and structures live on as we make use of them and integrate them into our routines. I look forward to letting nature influence me more as I go about my day-to-day life. And of course, I will keep on applying design thinking to solve problems with a dose of empathy. 

Beyond Finding Myself

The days following my Banaue trip felt like a dream. I felt as if it was difficult to exist after such a beautiful trip, so I pushed myself to go to my usual venues for inspo. 

My first stop was Cinema Centenario to watch Ang Nawawala. It was a film that spoke to me, because a) my close friend from high school passed away a decade ago, b) I am currently adulting yet still living my dream of having a handmade, local-love, art-loving lifestyle, and c) the soundtrack featured the best of OPM rock from my growing-up years. 

Also, it was my first time to have a cinema all to myself. The experience was surreal (it was unplanned and it just so happened I was the only viewer for that showing). 

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I personally adore how the microcinema displays film props within the premises. These suitcases were prominently featured in the film.  

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The next day, I visited the Vargas Museum at UP Diliman for a walk-through of their Beyond Myself: Filipino Migrants’ Investments in Philippine Futures exhibition. 

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There was a postcard table which lets visitors write to OFW participants in Hong Kong and London.  

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This installation is entitled Padala. It features typical items which OFW’s send back to their relatives in the Philippines.  

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This frame featured a bookshelf which an OFW has proudly saved up for. Books make her happy, and I imagine that it makes her job bearable. The Danielle Steel novel is mine and I just had to place it on the frame. 

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Our walk-through was a poignant reminder that Filipino migrant workers are not robots. They have their own lives abroad. They are capable of fighting for their rights, creating art, thriving in social circles, and bringing joy into their lives.  

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There was a clever part of the exhibit which resembles a videoke. It was playing the Ama Namin or the Our Father, as OFW’s make time for Sunday Mass. Some churches abroad have Filipino priests and masses, and this is a strong reminder of home. 

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Here, the paintings done by some OFW artists were featured.  

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This wall cleverly shows a typical apartment row where OFW’s are employed. It is a stark reminder of their existence and ingenuity to thrive in such an environment. 

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We had a short talk from a visiting professor from Singapore.  

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After the insightful tour and talk, I wrote a postcard for an OFW.  

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I then moved on to the Living Architecture exhibition at the ground floor of the museum. 

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After my museum tour, I went to a nearby mall for some bread, coffee, and a showing of The Post.  

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Those days back in the city taught me that there are meaningful experiences nearby, and I can make them part of my narrative. I enjoy going to museums and watching movies because they show me a different perspective of the world. I just need to let life take me further and by trusting the process, I am learning more about myself. 

Metal Health

Last Saturday, I went on a tour at the San Sebastián Minor Basilica. As a heritage conservation advocate, I am constantly on the lookout for experiences which could enable me to witness restoration efforts first-hand. Since the church is undergoing extensive restoration, I joined the tour to help support the worthwhile endeavor. 

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This beautiful church is located in Quiapo, Manila. It is the first and only all-metal building in the Philippines. 

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It is important to help save the basilica as it is already a part of our history. 

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I was there early, so I got to roam around the church and warmed up to my beautiful surroundings.  

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I also bought merch from their souvenir tent. Proceeds from the sale of their Save San Sebastián merch go to the restoration fund.  

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There was no shortage of beauty in this metal wonder. 

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The lighting of the chandeliers signaled the beginning of our tour.  

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We began our tour by testing out the metallic surfaces on the church. I used my souvenir magnet, and yes, the basilica really is all-metal. 

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This is Ysabel. She is the one-woman restoration tour guide and tech person behind the cause.  

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I opened the doors and it was fascinating to see the church with awe. 

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Ysabel gave us a sense of place with vintage photographs from another era.  

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All the walls, columns, and ceiling panels were painted to conceal the rivets and metal parts. This church is a beautiful masterpiece in concealment.  

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The restoration is being undertaken by an international team of experts in their own fields.  

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As you can see, the paintings on the wall are fading fast. 

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They need to be restored using the latest techniques so that the grandeur of this basilica can be preserved and brought to life. 

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Our tour continued to the choir loft, where the best view of the house could be enjoyed. 

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I relaxed a bit on the pews and appreciated the majestic view. 

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The gothic architecture resonated with my steampunk leanings, I must admit. 

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We then proceeded to the upper levels, where the concealment ends. Here, the rivets are clearly visible, and the metal parts are bare. 

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Even the hidden upper levels are filled with unexpected beauty.  

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I found the upper part of the ceiling beautiful. It reminded me of a ship. 

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This is a sample of the restoration undertakings.  

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As you can see, rust is the enemy of a metal structure. This is why it is crucial that this gem gets restored stat.  

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The dome is a piece of beauty amidst the urban skyline.  

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I enjoyed this, and I highly recommend that you join one of their Saturday tours! It is a chance to appreciate history, architecture, engineering, and art all in one morning. Plus, you will help support the restoration as well. 

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Join the tour, take pictures, and experience Manila as it should be- with a renewed appreciation for our rich heritage. 

National Museum of Anthropology

I visited the National Museum of Natural Anthropology in Manila the other day. I had a free afternoon, and I was eager to immerse myself in culture, local textiles, and traditions. 

I am partial to local textiles, so it was a delight to see different kinds of woven masterpieces from various regions. I was also able to see the Laguna Copperplate in person for the first time. 

I am a firm believer of experiential learning. Museums make me learn more than books or documentaries because I get to appreciate artifacts and artworks in the flesh.

As always, I took photos to document my visit. I hope that they will inspire you to also visit this beautiful museum soon. Admission is free, so bring the whole family- or go there by yourself, just like I did! It’s therapeutic. 

I hope you will appreciate local cultures and traditions too this 2018! 

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Requited x Specs

Yesterday, I had another afternoon adventure at UP Diliman. This time, I watched an indie film at Cine Adarna. It was entitled Requited, starring Jake Cuenca and Anna Luna. It was a movie which was centered on biking, unsettled feelings, and longingness. I enjoyed it because it reminded me that life should be spent traveling and exploring. I hope that there will be more local films centered on the wanderlust theme. 

After the movie, I claimed my Harry Potter-style frames from Sarabia Optical inside the Shopping Center. I was happy to finally wear it and yes, the frames are incredibly lightweight and comfortable. I love them! 

I decided to have a light snack of fishballs and kikiam. Then, I bought a fresh strawberry shake from Roma and Charlie. It was a delicious snack, and I think I will be a regular at that fruit shake stall. 

A meaningful day-out does not have to be expensive. With a little planning and openness to new experiences, we can enjoy more things in life. This year, I hope that you will also have more adventures. Here’s to a life well-lived, and the will to explore more this 2018!

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