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! 

Uplifting

It’s not everyday that I get to do brisk walking around the UP Academic Oval. Being with trees and sunshine inspires me to get moving and stay positive amidst life’s challenges. 

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The street food scene at the university uplifts me each time. The carioca, fish balls, and kwek kwek filled me up and made me feel young again. 

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I got to watch Paillim, one of the movies featured in the recent Sinag Maynila film festival. The movie featured a fictional family who lives in a public cemetery, and their struggles to make ends meet- literally. 

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Since I was already at UP, I maximized my visit by dropping by the Vargas Museum to recharge amidst art by Amorsolo, Hidalgo, Luna, and Edades, among others. 

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Before going home, I had early dinner with my helper Racquel at Malingap Central, a hip food park near home. We had mushroom burger steaks from MushEat Lite, a vegetarian kitchen. We loved our food, and it was best paired with Siam Yum’s delicious Thai milk tea. 

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It was also an honor to meet the man behind Malingap Central, Pino, Pipino, The Burger Project, and Breakfast and Pies, PJ Lanot.  

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It doesn’t take much to make me happy. Art, film, healthy eating, and conversations keep me motivated to live my best life. Here’s to more uplifting experiences to come!

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! 

Healing and Hugs

Yesterday, I got to enjoy my day after my transformation of work conference at AIM.

I checked out the Peek-a-Book exhibition at the Ayala Museum for my first stop.  

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Here are my favorites: 

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Then, I got myself some milk tea from Teaberi. Their cup looks fab with my cozy from The Attic Yarn and Craftery! 

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I went for some pampering at a salon.  

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I got myself some trendy hairpins! 

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I rode the MRT and the LRT.  

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Then, it was cuddle time with my furry friends at Barkin’ Blends Dog Cafe Sta. Lucia branch. 

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I ended my day with a healing mass officiated by Fr. Fernando Suarez. 

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I prayed for my terminally-ill father, as well as for my jobhunting journey.  

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It doesn’t take much to make me happy. I just need some art, hugs, and healing from the challenges that each day brings. With faith and positivity, I know that I got this.  

Kindness and Direction

Yesterday, my car had a flat tire. Luckily, I was able to drive to the mall and park properly. 

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I was assisted by the guards at Vertis North. They expertly changed my flat tire and assured me that everything will be alright. They even refused the tip that I was giving. They were polite, professional, and kind. My faith in humanity has been restored. 

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I then proceeded to the Ayala Museum for the Insulae Indiae Orientalis exhibit of antique maps and prints. 

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I was so excited for this as I am a map nerd at heart! I simply had to catch it on its first day of exhibition. 

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I was greeted by the rarest maps which stirred my feelings of nationalism. 

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Finally, I was able to reach the Murillo Room, which showcased an assortment of extremely rare Murillo Velarde Philippine maps from the 18th century. 

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It was a beautiful exhibition! The maps were breathtaking, and the corresponding materials were interesting companions to the stars of the show. I am fascinated with antique maps mainly for their beauty, but now, I also see them as significant tools for nation-building. I hope that you will also be able to appreciate antique maps, and get the chance to view them whenever they are exhibited to the public. 

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Classic Cinema Posters

I enjoyed viewing the exhibit on Vic Delotavo’s movie posters for Philippine cinema. His works for the eighties and nineties have been iconic, and they have been executed without photoshop or filters. 

The Vargas Museum was the ideal venue for the said exhibit. The natural light brought these posters back to life, and as a cinema enthusiast at a time of digital film and photo editing, I felt as if I was brought back in time. 

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I may be unfamiliar with most of the films in the exhibit, but the overall design was enjoyable. 

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Posters like this one for Impaktita set the tone for the film, and in those days before social media, they served as key promotional materials for movies. 

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Since I am celebrating the tenth year anniversary of my university graduation today, I posed by this poster for The Graduates. 

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I also got to view a beautiful exhibit on Batanes and its Ivatan culture. 

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There was no better way for me to celebrate ten years of being a college graduate than to visit a nearby museum to appreciate classic film posters and the people of one of my favorite provinces, Batanes. I hope that I can explore more museums, watch more films, and travel more in the future. For now, I am enjoying life, and blogging about it, one day at a time. 

Ateneo Art Gallery x Elmer Borlongan

Yesterday was a series of field trips to some artsy places. I began my day with a veggie skillet at Breakfast Bin. 

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I dropped by St. Clare Monastery to pray and give thanks. 

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I then went to the Ateneo Art Gallery for an ArtSpeak featuring Mr. Elmer Borlongan. 

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The Arete building was gorgeous. 

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I was excited for the event to start, but first, I had to check out Mr. Borlongan’s ongoing exhibition in the gallery. 

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I also checked out the various artworks which are permanently displayed in the gallery.  

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Finally, it was time for the ArtSpeak! Mr. Borlongan introduced his wife, Plet Bolipata to the audience. She’s also an artist.  

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He introduced her as his cheerleader. 

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As indicated in my notes, Mr. Borlongan has chronicled the everyday and turned them into art. He has emphasized the importance of always bringing a sketchbook so that his drawing and artistic process never ends. He also chose to focus on the everyday as this is timeless and can surpass art trends and movements. 

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I had an insightful morning. Thank you for inspiring me, Ateneo Art Gallery and Mr. Elmer Borlongan!

Bursting at the Seams

I was moved by this free photo exhibit at the Ayala Museum. Bursting at the Seams features acclaimed photographer Rick Rocamora’s work on overcrowded Philippine prisons. 

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I appreciated this crowdsourcing portion where the public can post their ideas on how to improve our country’s prison system. 

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I didn’t not have much to say so I just wrote this. 

I hope you will also get to catch this exhibit this weekend. 

Her Voice

Yesterday, I attended Her Voice: An Afternoon Conversation with the Women of Today  at the Ayala Museum. I chose to be part of this event because I wanted to listen to the talks by some of Anvil Publishing’s esteemed women authors. 

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The first speaker, Dr. Pinky Valdez, is the President of the Assumption College and the author of Educating Women Leaders. She called on everyone to change the normal by speaking out as the best friend of abuse is silence. Women should support each other and uplift those who are vulnerable rather than pulling each other down.

The second speaker, Susan Quimpo, echoed Dr. Valdez’s call for women to speak out and tell their own stories to revolutionize society today. Revolutions do not need to involve guns and weapons. Women empowering each other through stories can create change, and that in itself is a revolution. 

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We were served snacks and coffee care of Via Mare and Museum Cafe  

The next speaker, Karen Fernandez a.k.a. Raketchick, is the author of Whatda! Anong Petsa Na?!. I was inspired by her talk on being a girl boss and finally regaining control of her schedule, tasks, and work. Even if I am looking for a corporate job, I am still a creative (with this blog), so I learned from her insightful speech on working solo in an unforgiving industry. 

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Bebang Siy took the stage to discuss her books in Filipino and work in CCP. She is inspiring others to write in Filipino and to creatively tell stories in our national language. 

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I was also moved by her challenge to write whatever the situation is. She encouraged us to tell stories, write, and support female authors. 

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The final speaker, Xandra Ramos-Padilla, is not only the President of Anvil Publishing, but is also the Managing Director of National Bookstore. She shared life lessons from her lola, Nanay Coring, who founded the bookstore. Examples of these are the more you spend time in the store, the more you learn, and remain humble.

I am fortunate to be part of this event because I realized that writing is more than just a hobby. It can be a tool for empowerment and social change. I hope that more people will be inspired to write and share their stories. I look forward to more book-related events and occasions to discuss the issues that define us women.  

Knitted at the P2P going home.

Knitted at the P2P going home.

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. 

Museum of A History of Ideas

I have always wanted to visit UP Manila’s Museum of a History of Ideas, and last Saturday, I finally got to do so!

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I was welcomed by a beautiful white building and lush greens. 

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The museum traces the early beginnings of the University of the Philippines, which ushered in the beginning of secular education. It also features the modernization of medicine in the country.  

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I love the clean design of the museum, and I also appreciate the continuity of theme in their souvenirs. I got this shirt to remind myself that ideas matter.  

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I also found the inclusion of greenery refreshing and inspiring.  

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Vintage medical equipment from the Philippine General Hospital are also found in the museum. 

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The light and airy building removed the morbidity. 

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I also got to watch a short video on the history of UP and PGH.  

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The museum may be small, but is was full of information, artifacts, and light.  

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There were also personal mementos from the first students of UP. 

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Ended my visit with some photos by the stunning displays.  

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I was glad to have made the trip to UP Manila for this museum experience. It was a breath of fresh air.  

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Contemporary Art AM

Yesterday morning was chilly and I liked it because it was perfectly for my brisk walk around UP Diliman. After a quick breakfast of Rodic’s tapsilog  and instant coffee, I was on my feet, people watching while sound tripping. It was exhilarating, and it makes me wonder how come I only took up walking at UP now. Maybe it is because my heart really belongs to nature (think trees, grass, fresh air...). Or maybe I just need a fresh start this new year. 

After a few rounds around the oval, I proceeded to the Vargas Museum, which is one of my favorite places to explore for an art fix. Their current exhibit features contemporary art, and it did fuel my interest in beautiful paintings and sculptures. I enjoyed roaming around the museum, even if I am a frequent visitor. There is always something new here, and it pays to follow their Facebook posts for their exhibitions. Do check out the Vargas Museum at UP and experience the best of Filipino art and culture, at an accessible and inspiring location. 

Who knew that art and fitness could both be experienced in a single morning? I encourage you to try this out someday! It will definitely bring you joy.  

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Girl at the Museum

I visited the National Museum the other day to appreciate beautiful artworks. The museum has been my sanctuary during my student days when I was still doing my majors for my Humanities degree. These days, I still admire beauty and I find having a sense of wonder on sublime pieces a refreshing respite from the busyness of the everyday. It was a lovely break from reality, especially as I was still high from my visit to Rizal’s grave. I was inspired to fill my 2018 with beauty, wonder, and a continuous hunger for meaningful experiences!

Do pay the National Museum a visit soon! Entrance is free for everyone, and it is fully airconditioned. You will get inspired and proud to be Filipino.  

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At the Beginning

I am thankful to begin 2018 with a recap of my visit to the National Planetarium on Rizal Day. It was my first time to go there, and my inner science geek was not disappointed. I enjoyed the show (unfortunately photos were not allowed inside the theater) which showed stars, planets, and how unimaginably vast our universe is. I think it is fitting to begin the new year with a retrospective on how our universe began, on how small I am in the sea of stars, and how valuable our planet is because it supports life. I may not know what the new year has in store for me, but my path is in my hands. If our planet can hold its own place amidst our galaxy, then I will surely be able to evolve, grow, and thrive this year. It is a fresh beginning, and I am going to do everything I can to make this my year!

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Day 16: #30GratefulDays | Silent Sanctuary with the Manila Symphony Orchestra

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Once in a while, I take a break from my earphones and watch an honest to goodness concert. My idea of the perfect concert would involve classical music. So whenever I have the time and budget to allocate, I always watch a Manila Symphony Orchestra concert at the Ayala Museum.  

Last night was extra special because the MSO collaborated with Silent Sanctuary, a local rock band who writes soulful ballads with strings in the arrangement. I was eager to hear how this would turn out, as I am a fan of both the band and MSO. I was not disappointed, as their repertoire proved to be a mix of old and new favourites.

I am a classical music girl. My parents raised me to appreciate the genre ever since I was a baby. By the time I was in school, I was accustomed to listening to classical music on my Walkman while reading and studying. I do not have particular favourites, but I am partial towards Mozart and Vivaldi. I also adore the cello, and my favourite cellists are the late Jacqueline du Pre and of course, the inimitable Yo-Yo Ma. 

Classical music allows me to focus on the task at hand without distracting me with unnecessary nuances. I am usually on 98.7 DZFE whenever I am in transit. The local classical radio station feeds my hunger for peace and aural continuum amidst the chaos of the mundane. It is comforting to know that classical music is accessible even when I am on a budget. I also tune in to YouTube and watch performances of classical compositions. Symphonies do refresh my mind. It has already become part of my system, and I cannot live without listening to classical music at least once a day.

I am pleased that the MSO frequently collaborates with rock musicians, as this brings a new audience to their performances. I am also surprised that their tickets are affordable and accessible even to those on a budget. I hope that you will also support the MSO and watch their shows. For now, I am still listening to “Ikaw Lamang” by Silent Sanctuary on repeat.