Rosario Yarn Adventure

Last Saturday, I went to Lacion General Merchandise right beside Rosario bridge in Pasig. You won’t miss it- it’s located on the corner unit of a pink complex. There are sacks and bags filled with yarns! 

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I freaked out and wanted to buy so many yarns. But I resolved to only buy one kilo. This store is famous among local knitters and crocheters. Just search “Rosario Pasig Yarns” and you will know what I mean. 

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The store spins their own yarn imported from Taiwan. You may mix variegated and solid colors, and each kilo retails for Php390. 

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They also sell machine-spun shawls made of the same yarns. 

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After searching through their bags and chatting with the owners, Kuya Miner and Ate Gladys, I finally selected five balls to consist one kilo.  

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They recommend a size 4-5mm hook for their yarn. I am currently knitting using one of my purchases with a pair of 4.5mm needles, and the weave is so soft. 

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I highly recommend this shop! It’s definitely worth visiting and the yarns are worth the commute. The owners are also kind and honest. Drop by soon! 

Wander Space Sunday

Last Sunday, I returned to The Wander Space to look around for inspo and of course, to shop!

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It’s impossible to feel sad in this place. I mean, the dream catchers simply inspire me to think of good vibes already! 

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My first purchase were these 5mm circular knitting needles from stockist String Strand Strung.  

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I also got these handmade onyx earrings from Made By KCA (Black + Stars? Totally me).

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Lastly, I got this handmade leather slim card case from Raqsified

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All of my purcheses made me want to immediately embrace my creative side, so I sat down and did some knitting.  

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They also have a cafe, which I will patronize next time that I am not already full!

Their dreamy store simply makes me unwind and relax. I will be back for more wandering and shopping soon! 

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. 

Banaue Day 3 Part 2: Banaue Town and Fire Station

We spent our last day at Banaue exploring the town center for lunch and shopping. Our group went to Las Vegas Restaurant, a local favorite of backpackers. 

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While waiting for my order, I decided to explore the nearby shops and buy some necklaces to add to my collection.  

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I bought these necklaces and earrings featuring Ifugao artistry. The knife necklace is a souvenir for my best friend.  

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The earrings reminded me of Polly Pocket toys! 

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I started my meal with coffee.  

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And then I devoured the Las Vegas Rice, which is similar to chicken adobo. It was delicious! 

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After finishing my lunch, I headed out again to buy ice cream from a nearby store. I chanced upon betel nut packs which the locals chew. I did not try it but I found the merchandising fascinating.  

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I bought local chocolate and cookies and cream (not pictured) ice cream. I also bought this and another magnet to add to my collection.  

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We then proceeded to my favorite part, shopping! 

I always like seeing corner bakeries and this was no exception.  

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I also had photos taken with my roommates Rocelle and Vivi.  

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While Vivi was shopping for textiles, Rocelle fulfilled my childhood dream of having photos taken on a fire truck! 

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After buying a textile bag and a few more trinkets, I suggested that we all have coffee at a bakery which our guide Ate Jean recommended.  

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It was located near this viewpoint facing the Banaue town proper.  

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We then settled down and of course, I selected their bestsellers, donut and banana bread.  

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It was the best banana bread I have ever had! 

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After freshening up, we then hiked to the information center where the buses to Manila load passengers. I was seated comfortably and before I knew it, the zigzag roads have lulled me to sleep.  

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We then stopped over at Nueva Vizcaya, where I had a light dinner of kikiam, siomai, and hotdog 

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I reached Manila safely at almost 3AM. It was a fantastic trip which I will remember for the rest of my life! 

Banaue Day 3 Part 1: The Most Beautiful Sunrise I Have Ever Seen

I woke up before six in the morning on our last day at Uhaj, Banaue.

I was able to witness the most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen at the comfort of our inn’s restaurant. 

It was magical. I had the whole restaurant to myself.  

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Well, Rain did keep me company in the middle of it. 

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I ordered the Filipino breakfast again and kept my eyes glued to the sunrise. 

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Rain was still there!

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The fog suddenly dissipated and the rice terraces eventually said hello!

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It transformed me. Oh, and I had delicious coffee to sip while watching the sun shine over the mountains. 

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I then walked around the village inn grounds to stretch and reflect on the breathtaking view I witnessed. 

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This was the view from our hut. 

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I then went on to get ready for the rest of the day, knowing that I was in the midst of indescribable natural beauty. 

Banaue Day 2 Part 2: Rice Planting and Cultural Night

After exploring the hot springs, we then proceeded to a plot of land owned by one of the nanay (mom) knitters. We were there to try planting rice, and in order to get there, we had to hike down a mountain. 

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We were not forced to plant rice, and some people in our group did not feel like doing so because it would entail having to step on mud. I respect their choice, but I was there for the full experience. 

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Planting rice is one of my bucket list items, so it was natural for me to be the first to volunteer.  

The mud was soft and mushy, but it was manageable to walk on.  

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Photo by Rocelle 

A few of my groupmates eventually joined me.  

It was so much fun! However, I also realized that it was hard work. I finally had respect for farmers who plant rice for a living. It is definitely not easy.  

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Photo by  Knitting Expedition    We wrapped up our farming experience with a hike upwards. After a jeepney ride to our inn, we were all starving. I had delicious vegetable curry and beer by the best view. 

Photo by Knitting Expedition 

We wrapped up our farming experience with a hike upwards. After a jeepney ride to our inn, we were all starving. I had delicious vegetable curry and beer by the best view. 

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To be exact, it was beer and coffee. I had this combo all throughout our trip that my friends dubbed it “The Sam”.

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I also continued knitting while waiting for the cultural dancers to arrive. 

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We then had our cultural night, featuring talented Ifugao dancers and percussionists. Some of them were our knitting nanay’s kids! They let the children dance and perform for visitors in order to preserve their culture and to educate us about their tribal heritage. 

We danced the night away with them and I really enjoyed myself.  

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We chose to have our group shot with the kids. 

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I ended the night by trying on their traditional skirt and a photo op with these talented ladies.  

It was an unforgettable day with new friends and magical experiences. I will never forget this day.  

Banaue Day 2: Pilapil Walk and Hot Springs

Our second day of the Knitting Adventure consisted of exploring the Rice Terraces and hot springs. It was guaranteed to be an action-packed day, so I made sure to enjoy a hearty breakfast while watching the sunrise. 

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Our inn’s restaurant has only one Filipino breakfast, and I did not mind that the only viand for that was corned beef. I love corned beef, eggs, and brown rice!  

I also had two cups of coffee with this killer view. 

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We then rode the private jeep to the terraces, and of course I had to top load again. 

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This time, I toploaded with more people from my group! 

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During a stop to pay the environmental fees, I relaxed on the jeep and knitted. It was a priceless moment. 

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A few minutes later, we have reached the start of our journey. 

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It was so beautiful. 

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I grabbed one of the walking sticks and walked to paradise.

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I was giddy to actually be walking on pilapil or rice field dike along the rice terraces. It was a childhood dream come true!

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I am actually scared of heights, so I found ways to entertain myself during the day. 

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I surprised myself by actually thriving during that pilapil walk. It helped that I workout everyday. 

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Also, there were steep steps and narrow passageways.

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But no one was complaining because it was breathtaking.

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Finally, we started seeing some streams and it was a good sign as we were on our way to hot springs. 

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We also reached a bridge and I just had to do this.

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At last, we reached the hot springs! 

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This was the colder portion. Alternating cold and hot water in the springs was a delightful experience.

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The chilly mountain air added to the mystique of the place.

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The hot springs was a relaxing treat after a long walk. 

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The location is actually sacred ground so modest swimwear is required. I managed to have a bikini selfie at the entrance though. 

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Our local nanays (moms) cooked us sticky rice using heritage purple rice.

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IT WAS DELICIOUS. 

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Our tour’s social entrepreneur, Candy Reyes, also did a quick photo shoot of Knitting Expedition’s latest toys. 

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It was a fun morning with my new friends and local guides. The afternoon was reserved for another childhood dream come true. Stay tuned!

Banaue Day 1

I just got back from my trip to Uhaj, Banaue for the Knitting Adventure organized by social enterprise Knitting Expedition. The woman behind the brand of hand-knitted toys, Candy Reyes, was our tour guide. Her passion for the Ifugao culture and of course, knitting, was palpable. It also helped that the people with me in this trip were also staunch advocates of handmade, buying local, and culture. 

Our trip began with a bus ride from Cubao and a stopover at Nueva Vizcaya.  

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I was so happy to finally make it to Banaue!

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The bus played “Top of the World” by the Carpenters during this moment. 

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I was inspired by Mitzie Icasiano (Fulbright scholar and expert on Ifugao handicrafts) to go to Banaue when I became her research assistant in 2007. We handled Kalinga and Ifugao artifacts at the UP Asian Center, and that sparked a love for all things Ifugao in me. I ended up wearing Natalya Lagdameo bangles from the region, and I always found myself dreaming of visiting the rice terraces myself. So after buying a dog plushie from Knitting Expedition and some online conversations with Candy, I decided that this is the perfect opportunity to visit Uhaj.

Finally, I made it! This was at our accommodations, the Uhaj Native Village Inn. Their menu is largely Western, and the facilities are modern and clean. 

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This was the view from the inn’s restaurant.  

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Our room was something like this!

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My first breakfast in Uhaj. Yes, both coffees were mine.

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I then got to topload on a jeepney. This is a local custom as public vehicles are scarce and people simply have to find a way to fit in- or on top of- a jeep. 

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This was a childhood dream come true!

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This was at their viewing point.  

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Breathtaking!

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Now back at our Inn. I found some books which guests could peruse. 

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And once again, the view, and my Php20 bill which features the rice terraces. 

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Our cottage was cozy, and I was sharing it with two other ladies from our group, Rocelle and Vivi. 

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I also got to meet the inn’s adorable Great Dane, Rain. 

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We then had our knitting class in the afternoon at the inn’s viewing deck. 

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Basic knitting has never been this inspiring. 

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Candy’s wingwoman in the region, Jean, was one of our teachers. She is a knitting legend and rice farmer. Also, she is a mom and tour guide!

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Rain held my hand as I was struggling with learning how to knit. 

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I eventually made a simple cup cozy. 

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By the time our class was done, it was time for dinner. I savored this chicken curry with brown rice. It was delicious! 

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To cap off the night, I had a cold one with this priceless view. 

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It was a great first day at Banaue, and I went to bed inside an Ifugao house. 

I really couldn’t ask for anything more.

Mac and Matcha

I have always wanted to eat at Le Petit Soufflé, but I never had the chance to do so.  

Until now. 

I finally had the opportunity to eat at their newly-opened branch at Mega Fashion Hall. I was fresh from the Book Binge Bazaar, and I was hungry! 

Once I saw their dreamy window, I knew I had to enter their lovely restaurant. 

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I was welcomed by an interesting menu. 

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I settled for Just Mac and Cheese and a hot matcha latte. While waiting for my order, I snapped some photos. 

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I was delighted to sort of match my drink!

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My mac and cheese was served after a few minutes, and I asked the staff to take photos of me with their dreamy interiors. It is so pretty. 

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Their mac and cheese is one of the best I’ve ever had. The cheese was perfect and not cloying. It was a grown-up version of a childhood favorite. 

Plus, it goes well with their delicious matcha.  

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It’s as yummy as it looks!

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Everything appeals to me. 

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My solo lunch at Le Petit Soufflé was a memorable one. I do recommend this place for your next lunch out! And while you’re there, take pictures, savor the food, and appreciate your surroundings. It is the ideal oasis in the middle of a busy shopping mall. 

Book Binge Friday

Yesterday, I went to the Book Binge Bazaar at Megatrade Hall. It was a Friday and I needed some new books, so it was practically a no-brainer. 

But first, I took some selfies next to these adorable balloons which matched my dress! 

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I went there after lunch so my commute would be more chill. I got there at around 1:30PM. 

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There were so many bibliophiles!

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Crowded book fairs make me so happy! 

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I got a rolling basket and got five books from the P275 area.  

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This was my haul! 

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Being surrounded by books makes me smile.  

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This was the line to the cashier. It took me around half an hour to reach the finish line.  

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I enjoyed my shopping spree because I got a delightful selection of lifestyle books. I can’t wait to read them and I hope my book adventure will give me good luck this Year of the Dog!

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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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Quiapo Church

Would you believe that I only got to visit Quiapo Church last Saturday? I did so after my San Sebastián tour. Since Quiapo Church was a few blocks away, I decided to go for it.  

I passed by some old houses along Hidalgo Street, like this one. It is a contrast of old and new.  

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I found my way to Quiapo Church in no time. 

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I immediately felt the vibe of a thousand prayers. It was magical. 

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My short visit was worthwhile. I got to pray and reflect on the immense faith of the people who visit this popular church everyday. 

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This was my second basilica for the day, and it was wonderful to finally drop by this church of the people. 

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I had a simple lunch at Chowking Quiapo. My table was right beside this sidewalk vendor. I was humbled by the busy atmosphere and it was truly a memorable break from my usual weekend endeavors. 

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I hope that I will experience more meaningful new things this 2018! 

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.