Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Manila Photowalk 2012

Starting the new year with a little tour around my home and most favorite city in the world (support your own!) - Manila - with some of the coolest office friends and the Cheese, of course.

We started here.

Before meeting in a small park not far from this abandoned-lot-turned-into-skate-park.

Took a break in this alley reminiscent of Vigan's cobblestoned street...

Which is directly in front of this...

So we went inside and look who we found!

Resumed walking to what we supposed was Fort Santiago (but not really)...

What remains of the original facade...

Inside Fort Santiago is Rizal Shrine that houses relics, works and memorabilia from Rizal's time. I took a photo of this portrait because he looks so gwapo here! Aminin nyo.

Got amazed with his Valedictory Poem (Ang Tulang Walang Hanggan) written on the floor! 

Tired and super hungry we roamed to nearby Binondo looking for the perfect and most recommended restaurant to try. We found Sincerity Restaurant on Yuchengco Street, unfortunately they're about to close for the day, ergo no famous Sincerity chicken for us. Most of the highly recommended restaurants are closed (because it's Sunday?!) so never mind, we just picked any restaurant that can serve any food for 5 hungry people. 

And found ourselves in Golden Fortune restaurant (we were right on time for their promo meals!).

These are the happy (and excited) faces of hungry and tired people upon serving of food. Sulit na sulit, in all fairness!

I've done various little Manila tours but each one is always a different experience. I hope to do more of these in the coming days. It doesn't only open our eyes to our own little pockets of treasure, it also teaches us a little bit of our historical past, which come to think of it,many of us have already forgotten. Always a pleasure to reacquaint yourself to your own city with rich cultural history.

So, have you seen your own Manila lately?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

And the Oscar Nominees Are...

When I got home today I found out that the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has just announced this year's nominees for Academy Awards.

The nominees are:

Best Picture
War Horse
The Artist
The Descendants
The Tree of Life
The Help
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Best Actress
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Rooney Mara, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

Best Actor
Demian Bachir, A Better Life
George Clooney, The Descendants
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Gary Oldman, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Nick Nolte, Warrior
Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Best Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer, The Help

Best Director
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Terrence Malick, Tree of Life
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris

Now the objective is to watch all the nominated films for Best Picture before the actual awards night come. Let's do this self!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Robinson's Galleria Cinema 4 Sucks

JC and I were so excited to finally watch Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol (after MMFF 2011 movie monopoly has been finally lifted) so we decided to watch in Robinson's Galleria since it's nearest Greenhills (where we need to go first) and has the most convenient time that really suits our need.

I guess it was already a hint when upon showing trailers before the start of movie I noticed that the screen was a bit slanted and compressed in the middle. They were able to make up for this though come screen time. However, about an hour into the film, suddenly it stopped. This was quite irritating because as everyone knows MI4 is a fast-paced movie and no scene really should be taken for granted. After about 5 minutes it finally came back and I don't know how much we missed because the next thing we knew they were all jetted on their way to Dubai.

Then it happened again. Watta crap.

JC even told me that the couple sitting next to him left already, probably pissed like everyone inside the cinema and couldn't take it anymore. We didn't leave because I paid a rather hefty amount of money (191 pesos, which was more expensive than what they charge in Ayala cinemas that have far better amenities) to be entertained NOT to be royally pissed for cutting the film twice!

I swear they are worse than SM. Super disappointing.

Suffice to say, that'll be the last time that we'll be watching in Robinson's Galleria.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

U2 Performs Stuck in A Moment Live at David Letterman

After all these years, this song still give me the creeps. The good creeps <3

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Old Photos of Manila

I love looking, reading and finding out about old Manila photos, old Philippine churches, photos of our ancestors or just about anything related to the old Philippines.

Looking at the old faces of our ancestors, I try to picture how they lead their lives and what their personal stories are based from what I can see and it's not that difficult, really. 

Manila, Manila, Manila. You were such a darling city of the orient once upon a time.

All photos courtesy of Mr. John Tewell. See more of old Philippine photos from his collection site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/johntewell/sets/72157617770699569/

Binondo Church, date unknown

Escolta Street, Manila, Philippines, Picture in Leslies's Weekly, New York, USA, Janurary 27, 1900

Old photo of Fort Santiago Gate. The main gate in the middle is what remains now of the original foundation. 

Aerial view of Manila Bay circa 1932

Aerial view of Old Manila. You can clearly see the building of the National Post Office.

San Beda College circa 1945

Old photo Tondo Church

A boy riding a carabao. I really like this photo :)

For extras:

Banaue Rice Terraces circa 1946. Note how they named it Igorot Rice Terraces, probably after Banaue natives.

Jones Bridge, National Post Office Building circa 1920s

University of the Philippines Manila circa 1945, damaged by the war

Baguio Cathedral circa 1945

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus

Being raised by a hard-core Catholic grandmother I knew she would be beyond dismayed and would probably reckon my soul as damned if she ever finds out that I stopped going to church (or hearing mass) when I went to college. It would be unfair however to blame it all on UP's academic and religious freedom however, it is undeniable that the university really had a huge impact in moulding my personal and spiritual beliefs.

But I digress. I'm posting this video here because he was seriously spot-on about almost everything religion embodies since a millennium ago. I am not a preachy type of person - make that NEVER - but this kid threw some realm of truth that our church (or in my case, my grandmother) would never want us to descant (insert "erehe" or "filibustero" name calling here).

PS: I believe in God, in Jesus, the Architect, the Great Hand, the Maker of this universe or whatever other name He goes by. I just don't fully support what our church here is preaching. They have a major issue with consistency.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hong Kong Day 1: Ngong Ping 360

A roundtrip cable car ticket cost us HK$125 each. Crystal cabin is more expensive but it's okay, we can live with a regular cable cabin hee.

I have no words. The 20-minute cable ride was nothing short of amazing. We had a bird's eye view of Lantau Island, on our left we can see HKIA and directly below us is a lush mountain area with a trail going to Ngong Ping Village (I salute all the people who takes this route going there!).

Backpacks and all, we walked around the village spying for the cheapest restaurant (di namin type ang mga pagkain) and all the trinkets each stores have to offer.

I didn't count the exact number of steps before we reached the summit (I'm sure Google can provide the answer for that) but it was pretty high. The view from above was so beautiful we can't stop from gushing.

Although Buddha is not the god I whisper prayers to every night, I still offered a short prayer thanking him for the good weather and safe arrival at HK. We may acknowledge various gods but at the end of the day they're all the same, they have the same meaning and importance to us.

On our return trip to Tung Chung Station, JC and I waved hello like crazies to all the passing cable cars. It's really nice when your waves are returned or when they grant you their sheepish little smiles, acknowledging that we're not some random traveling crazies haha.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

New Baby Has Arrived!

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and advance Happy Birthday, self.


Thank you so much Papa Jesus! You know how long I've waited for this. :)

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

So Long 2011!

2011 taught me to be more patient than ever. To wait for everything to come on its own full circle. It brought me to new places that once upon a time were only just a dream. I also attended 4 weddings and a funeral (no pun intended!) which made me celebrate and appreciate life more than ever and throw away immediate marital visions and predictions haha.

It ain't much but as long as I'm still breathing, enjoying God's wonderful gifts and creations, I consider everything to be a blessing no matter how small or grand. Allow me to share the highlights of my year through photos:

January. Marikina walkathon with friends. We've been meaning to do this for the longest time and finally it just happened.

February. Cebu! Probably next to Baguio, this place holds a special place in my heart. Whenever I'm in Cebu, my tummy and palate is home :))

March. Something inside this little fangirl's heart died after watching her favoritest local band's last gig. Sugarfree, o kay tagal din kitang mamahalin...

April. Kai Mykonos L. Fernandez. This little bundle of joy may not be mine but in a way she was and many others.

May. I turned 27. I also went back to Sagada aka the zen place up north. Although I didn't see any of those magical wild horses, the experience was pretty magical already.

June. Baguio aka my second home (even though I have no house there!) to visit my godchild Mykonos who's gotten pudgier, bigger and longer! gush gushing galore.

July. All hell broke loose (and BBoyd didn't even take his shirt off ha) upon news of Incubus' return in Manila (it's their third time here already). Thank God I finally was able to catch 'em live albeit still from the farthest seat in Araneta haha.

August. Good God of heaven, I did it! I conquered the granddaddy of Philippine mountains. And despite blistered, soggy feet, dead-stiff knees, chilly nights, I made it to the summit of Mt. Apo. Not without help, of course :)

September. I admire how the local government maintains local tourism in this part of the country. Puerto Princesa Underground River's promotion and maintenance is no easy peasy but they do it so effortlessly I never complained for the prices I had to pay just to get there.

October. Salunat-Franco nuptial. Second wedding I attended this year (well, I didn't attend the Diaz-Gonzales wedding ceremony but I was there on their wedding party so it counts!). What a beautiful wedding.

November. I waited 11 months for this trip and when it finally came I was so happy I almost peed on my pants. Joke lang! When I was watching the closing fireworks in Disneyland I almost cried. Standing there, I relieved my childhood dream - heck, every child's dream - of going to Disneyland and can't thank the Lord enough for this wonderful, wonderful chance. Not many kid/people gets to fulfill their wishes, and on that moment I know that I was one very, very lucky kidult.

December. Another wedding to cap off the year. This time, the wedding of one of my closest - sige na nga bestfriend haha - college friends. Despite the humps and bumps before her big day, everything went greatly. It was a happy day/night especially after most of the guests left because then the real party started :))

If I was ever frustrated or angered in 2011, well happier memories replaced them cos I can't seem to remember them now (or I'm just still drunkenly giddy from the joyous new year celebration hee). The bottomline is, they are not important. What's important are the lessons I learned, the people I met, people who brought significant changes in my life and made me a better person than 2010, experiences that taught me to be wiser, tougher and better in everything be it work, personal relationships, social life, travel mishaps, everything! You know it's a good year if you learned something new and brought it with you the next year.

Thank you Lord Almighty for the year 2011. I am ready to embrace 2012 now.