Escolta Walk

I spent March 30th (Vincent Van Gogh’s birthday) with a special walking tour of Escolta, Manila. Together with my helper, Racquel, I explored what was once the country’s premier business and retail district with a DIY photo walk. 

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Our first stop was the Sta. Cruz Parish, which welcomes the faithful to the historical district. 

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Then, it was time to visit heritage buildings and appreciate fine architectural details. 

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The Regina Building and First United Building are just two of the remaining (and well-maintained) heritage buildings in the area. The latter has become particularly popular with millennials as it houses a community museum, coworking space, a cafe, bar, barbershop, indie boutiques, and offices. 

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It is an intersection of our cultural origins and adaptive reuse. 

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The First United Building has just turned ninety years old. 

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The building hosts several events such as parties and gigs on nights and weekends.  

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The community museum features the restored office of the late Sy Lian Teng, who was the building’s late owner.  

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It is a testament to the man’s resilience and enduring business acumen which has influenced the building’s and Escolta’s trajectory.  

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With today’s gigantic malls, it is mind boggling that our retail behavior has been largely influenced by Escolta and the building’s very own Berg’s Department Store. It sold the finest RTW for women, which at that time was a modern innovation in Southeast Asia (most women still had made-to-order clothes at that time).

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The 1950’s refrigerator still works today! It is used during events in the building. 

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The building has beautiful details which are rarely seen on today’s more practical structures.  

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I also checked out my college friend Daniela Calumba’s store at the building’s ground floor. Her eponymous handmade jewelry and organic line of toiletries have been making waves for their handmade production process. 

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I got an amulet from her partner Alaala Sala’s line of vintage accessories. 

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The space is collectively known as HUB | Make:Lab.  

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The place is a retail haven for objects that will delight the vintage connoisseur.  

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There are stamps too from all over the world. 

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As a history geek and vintage enthusiast, this building was a treasure trove for me!

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We continued our walk to other parts of Escolta. 

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My grandfather, who is an accountant, used to have an office at the Madrigal Building. 

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We took a detour to Binondo, the oldest Chinatown in the world. 

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We cooled down with some excellent milk tea at 80 Memories Tofu House.  

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We also dropped by Binondo Church to pray for our intentions and to give thanks.  

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I was fascinated with the lost graves of Bindondo, where the city’s original Chinese elite were interred. 

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We also went to the Calvo Building, which houses the Escolta Museum. It is also the original site of the GMA Network. 

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We made one final stop before going home. The Manila Post Office, which I have toured earlier this year, continues to remind passersby that history is everywhere, and that it can literally connect us all together. 

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Escolta was once known as the Queen of Streets. With its enduring beauty and continuous significance, it remains to be an important part of our country’s rich culture. It is also a reminder for us to innovate and rise above the wars that destroy us. 

Like Escolta, we must never forget who we really are. 

Mentor and Manila

Yesterday, I dropped by UP to quickly print some documents for jobhunting.  

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Then, I met up with my college mentor Mitzie for some Thai noodle soup at Sen Lek. 

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We later had bubble coffee at Kape Tayo. It was good! 

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We then parted ways and I proceeded to Binondo for a meeting. But first, I passed by Escolta to admire the heritage buildings there.  

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I had an insightful meeting. I went home and received snail mail from The Pink Sisters Convent. 

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I also got my yarn orders from The Attic Yarn and Craftery.  

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And finally, I received a postcard from my good friend Nurai, who was on holiday at Cappadocia.  

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I am very lucky to have few but well-meaning friends. I even have sisters who constantly pray for me. And I have a mentor who still advises me to this day. Here’s to a wiser adulthood and better decisions ahead.  

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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Calado Earrings

I have always been a supporter of locally-made items, handmade businesses, and social enterprises. 

These three factors all make up Calado, a heritage jewelry brand owned by Tricia Ancheta. I met her during my Banaue trip, and I was fascinated with her handmade earrings once I viewed them online. Her merchandise are handmade by plateros or silversmiths in Dauis, Bohol. These craftspeople have inherited the art of jewelry-making from their ancestors, who learned the skill during the Spanish regime. 

The jewelry are all made of sterling silver, with the option of having them dipped in 24k. Since my style leans toward edgy and minimalist, Tricia personally helped me select the pair which would suit my taste. Her suggestion, the Mirasol spiral hoop earrings in sterling silver, was perfect and I bought them with no regrets. 

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I love the premium packaging and classy presentation of my purchase. 

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My Mirasol hoops looks even better in person! Check out the intricate detail, which is a trademark of Dauis jewelry-making. 

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My favorite thing about Calado earrings is that they are lightweight! Tricia wanted to present a brand of earrings that she could comfortably wear (and buy, as the prices are reasonable for the amazing quality of the pieces). 

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The story of Calado is included inside their jewelry boxes. 

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I am delighted to own a pair of Calado earrings and I hope that more ladies will discover this local, handmade, and social-enterprise-made brand! I will rock these earrings in my everyday life and fancier events. 

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The earrings make me feel beautiful and classy!