Pagliliwaliw sa Makati at Maynila

by Be-Blogger Pilipinas on: Febrero 17th, 2012


Mahilig ako mamasyal at maglakad. Siguro kung di ito totoo, maraming taong di ko nakilala at lugar na di ko napuntahan - mga pagtatagpong di sinasadya. Lalo na kapag di naman ako nagmamadali, kapag di naman kalayuan ang pupuntahan, mas gugustuhin kong maglakad.



Eto ang ilan sa mga larawang kuha gamit ang aking point-and-shoot, mula pa siguro noong 2009. Karamihan sa mga tao at lugar nadaanan ko lamang habang papunta o pauwi mula sa opisina sa Makati, o sa Quiapo at Divisoria.



Minsan, ipapara ko talaga ang jeep o bababa ako sa taxi, para lang makita o makunan ang biglang pumukaw sa aking paningin.



Oo, mababaw ako. Kahit simpleng sampay, napupulutan ko ng kasiyahan.




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 Sinangag Express, open 24 hours

by Be-Blogger Pilipinas on: Julio 4th, 2011


Pangalawang beses ko pa lang kumain sa Sinangag Express, at sa parehong branch malapit sa De La Salle University sa Taft.



Kahit tanghali na ako dumating, galing sa gym, dinayo ko pa rin para sa almusal na uso nang hinahain kahit tanghali at gabi.



Nagulat ako dati nang biglang sinabi ng isang kaibigan na “gusto niya ng sex”. Ano raw? Yun pala SEx ang ibig niyang sabihin, o Sinangag Express na pinaikli. Tatanungin ko sana kung alin ba ang mas masarap, pero gutom na rin ako nun.




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 Barato sa Bangkal

by Be-Blogger Pilipinas on: Junio 28th, 2011


Dumalaw ako ulit noong isang linggo sa Bangkal. Tulad ng sa ibang pagbisita, nagbakasali lang akong baka makita ang hinahanap.



Kilala ang Bangkal, isang lugar sa Maynila, para sa magkakasunod na kalye (paborito ko ang Heneral Hizon Street) na may magkakatabing tindahan ng lumang muwebles, chandelier, kagamitan sa bahay, bag at damit, alahas, pinggan, at kung ano-ano pa.



Di bastang patapon ang mga paninda sa Bangkal. Madalas itong puntahan ng mga interior designer, decorator, at architect para palamutian ang mga bahay ng kanilang mga kliyente.



Minsan para ka lang bumibisita sa sala ng mag-asawang nag-ipon ng gamit mula sa ilang dekadang paglalakbay.



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 Bargain digging at Divisoria

by United Blogs of Benetton on: Julio 2nd, 2010

Last time, I wrote about the Sunday Legaspi market, where you can find all sorts of things and even unexpected surprises. It is a very accessible place to find trinkets and sundries, since it’s near the mall, offices, and villages. But if you want to hunt for the best bargains and are not afraid of an adventure, you should get ready to push and jostle your way through the oftentimes messy and disorderly streets and stalls of Divisoria, Manila. (more…)


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 Michael Cinco Phantasmagoria

by United Blogs of Benetton on: Junio 12th, 2010

Philippine Fashion Week just concluded with its more than 100 shows. As with the last season, the Holiday 2010 collections saved Michael Cinco’s visual extravaganza for last.

Drawing inspiration from Japanese cherry blossoms, the flowers in Van Gogh’s paintings, origami, opera, and cinema, Cinco weaves dreams into dresses with intricate crystal embroidery and iridescent fabrics.

The collection’s theme is hooked on the story of Madame Butterfly, of metamorphosis in full opulent regalia.

The dresses are for princesses, women warriors, nymphs: for women that move like snowflakes and rain.

There are indeed no words for the collection. Some of the designers and editors seated beside me said they haven’t seen anything as beautiful.

I hope the images that I have taken from the front row speak for themselves.

El Bosquejo, Manila


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 Faith vs Reason

by United Blogs of Benetton on: Junio 11th, 2010

Faith and reason are really sworn enemies in the modern world, where even with the separation of church and state, religion and common sense often times meet in opposition?

I have already written about how religious rituals permeate the day-to-day life of most Filipinos through the celebration of an entire calendar of fiestas. But that is just the outer core of how deeply-set beliefs influence our lifestyles, where many of our habits have been formed consciously and unconsciously through what priests and teachers have handed down.

If any of you have watched the fights of Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao, you would have noticed the rosaries that he wears or how he makes the sign of the cross before games, just for luck. Instinctively, we turn for guidance and deliverance even during less crucial moments-whereas many in the west only find themselves turning to their makers when they fear for their mortality.

A short trip to the Quiapo district of Manila, to the various stalls with tables laid in front of the church, reveals strings and strings of rosaries sold, together with icons in all sizes, talismans, oils with alleged healing powers, and mystic roots and crystals.

Some of the imagery from Quiapo is recognizable in several of the Southeast Asian works on exhibit at the Faith + Reason & Catching the Spirit of a Heritage show at the Manila Contemporary gallery, which I recently visited. They are most apparent in the colorfully decorated crosses by Valeria Cavestany and the hand-painted wooden panels by Guy Custodio, who has drawn from the heritage of local artists.

When modernity, disbelief, “reason”, and disillusion plays with and distorts these images, we get the sort of fashionable iconoclasm present in the works of Patricia Eustaquio, Gerardo Tan, Sri Astari, and Leeroy New (who has appended the heads of monsters on plastic icons).

(For those interested, the Manila Contemporary gallery is located at Whitespace, 2314 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City. The exhibit is open until June 13, 2010.)

El Bosquejo


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 A Land of Feasts

by United Blogs of Benetton on: Mayo 23rd, 2010

Some highlights among the country’s festivities in PhilippinesIn the middle of the rich mix of folklore, superstition, mythology, and religion in the Philippines – where one is taken for the other, interchangeable, if you may – there is a constant annual calendar of fiestas, or feasts, to celebrate the parthenon of patron saints and the different manifestations of Mother Mary that have made itself part not only of officially sanctioned events by the Catholic Church (days of obligation), but also of the cultural fabric of the country and its different regions. The feasts also make pageants and celebrations of rain dances, thanksgiving for good harvests, and also moments in the country’s history.

Mind you: the Philippines is known as Asia’s biggest Roman Catholic population, but there are also other religions, like Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, the traditional religions of aboriginal and tribal groups, and not to mention other Christian denominations that have their own schedules of celebrations. Over and above these, towns may also have their own festivities aside from the national ones. So this list can only offer a partial glance across the islands.)

The Feast of the Black Nazarene is held every ninth of January in the Quiapo district of Manila. Devotees flock in the thousands just to get a glance – or even touch – the life size statue of the Black Nazarene, which depicts Jesus Christ carrying the cross, as it moves slowly amongst the packed streets on a path from Intramuros (the old walled city capital) towards Quiapo church. Devotees attribute many miracles to the 400 year old image that was brought to the country from Mexico in the 17th century.

The Sinulog festival is celebrated every third week of January in Cebu City, in the country’s Visayas region. The fiesta pays homage to the Santo Ni-o, as the child Jesus is called, whose image is dressed like a decadent little doll. The celebration is comprised of a religious procession held on a Saturday and a grand street parade the following day.

The Ati-Atihan festival, which lasts from the 16th to the 22nd of January, is the original form of the feast that commemorates the Santo Ni-o. Also in the procession parade format, the main difference of the Ati-atihan is that revelers paint themselves black and wear colorful and outlandish costumes to masquerade as Negritos, one of the earliest tribes to inhabit the country. The fiesta is held in Kalibo, Aklan. It is a Christianized version of a pagan festival, which has also been copied by the Dinagyang in Iloilo, and the Masskara in Bacolod, all in the Visayas region.

The Moriones Festival, reenacted during the Holy Week in Boac, Marinduque, is based on a play about the story of Longinus, the centurion whose blindness was cured by a drop of blood from Jesus. The masks that actors – both men and women – wear, represent the Roman soldiers. Morion means mask or visor.

Flores de Mayo, as the name suggests, is held on the month of May. Literally meaning the flowers of May, this nationwide festival commemorates the search of Queen Elena of Constantinople, together with his son, Emperor Constantine, for the actual cross carried by Jesus. Among all the fiestas, this comes nearest to the format of a beauty pageant, as the parade consists of maidens escorted by young men under floral arches. In many areas, it is also considered a ritual for the coming of age of young ladies.

The Pahiyas (hiyas meaning decoration) is celebrated every 15th of May in Lucban, in the Quezon province. Agricultural households give thanks to San Isidro Labrador (Saint Isidore the Laborer) for a bountiful harvest by decorating their houses with brightly colored rice wafers called kiping, along with fruits, vegetables, other produce, and also handicrafts. Each year, there are judges who decide which house looks the best and awards the family a prize. The kiping can be eaten grilled or fried after the judging.

By the third week of August, the people of Davao City, in the southern region of the Philippines, celebrate the Kadayawan. This festival gives thanks to the harvest of fruits and flowers as the waling – waling orchid blooms. Floats of all colors are bedecked with orchids and other flowers in the city’s grand parade. The Kadayawan draws its name from the friendly greeting “Madayaw”, derived from the Davao word “dayaw”, meaning good, valuable, superior or beautiful.

The Masskara Festival is held every third week of October in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, where people from all walks of life don their colorful masks as they participate in street dances. The festivities mark Bacolod City’s charter day.



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 Smells from a kid memories

by United Blogs of Benetton on: Mayo 11th, 2010

When I was a kid and we would travel to my father’s province of Cavite for the town fiesta, we would always pay my grandmother’s ancestral house a visit.

I would marvel at its thick and high entrance doors and would wonder why the ground floor was almost all in concrete and the piano was located upstairs, which was the part of the house almost all in wood.

My fantasies of the family’s history and how it unfolded in their century-old residence would become even more vivid and embellished when I was told that the reason the doors were so high was that the first floor was used to hold horses and carriages.

Two of my grandmotherís sisters still live in that house, which up to now contains many old relics of the family’s past. For those years that we would go there on a pilgrimage for the fiesta, my memories include climbing up to the balcony to watch the gilded procession; trying to stay still in my seat in the conjoined living and dining room while listening to the multitude of relatives talking to each other on the seats, the sofas, and the benches by the door; and I would especially remember trying out and sharing with my siblings and cousins the sweet cakes that my grandmothers prepared. These are already distant images because it must have been more than a decade since our last visit.

At home in the city, recalling those times, makes me realize how similar and different my own house is from my grandmother’s. In Cavite, it seemed that even with the presence of doors and curtains, there were no barriers between family members – in contrast to the compartmentalized rooms we have in Manila. There is that soothing and relaxing mood of space and airiness in the ancestral residence that must have inspired greater openness between people. I myself admit that it is much easier to escape from my parents or from my siblings in the city since locked doors are more binding signals privacy. In the province, I feel less compelled to protect it.

The design of the Bahay na bato (Stone house) is not accidental. It reflects the culture of Filipinos. It shows how people value the company of family, where (almost) every activity is done together, if not beside each other, in a wide and spacious, common room. This is in contrast to the city (or at least in more westernized homes), where it is more common for family members to have their own television sets inside their rooms, where areas are separated into the den, the library, the living, and dining rooms.

Of course, many architects and interior designers encourage their clients to build uniquely Filipino homes – not just to suit the climate (with the use of wood and slats) – but also to promote and preserve a cultural legacy that is uniquely our own: one that has been influenced by the native rural house (the nipa hut), Spanish colonial architecture, and more importantly, by traditional values. If not for any of these reasons, I myself would live in such a house if only to always return to the feeling of home.

El Bosquejo


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 The Colors (and Layers) of a Tropical Summer

by United Blogs of Benetton on: Mayo 3rd, 2010

It seems to get warmer and warmer…Manila has just reached the upper 30s (degrees Celsius) and it seems more and more unimaginable to stay outdoors for long periods of time, and not just from noon till early afternoon, but increasingly from as early as 9am.

I used to think that for the sake of fashion, a certain level of discomfort is negligible. A jacket here and there, maybe a scarf, and if I feel brave, then a blazer. But when it has come to the point that it is even hard to think under the heat, fashion becomes less of a concern. All that my mind is registering is my body’s plea to the nearest air-conditioned room.

Of course, that is not always possible, and, in these days of severe drought and strained energy supply (my apologies for the technicals), more expensive. So is there a solution out of all of this? A style eureka that will not be constrained by the apparent boredom that single layered outfits seem to suggest?

The answer is both yes and no, since layers are indeed possible for boiling tropical summers and dressing in one layer doesn’t always have to be unexciting. These pictures I have snapped around the capital attempt to prove that point. (Sorry guys, the women of Manila definitely have one over you).



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 Art, Artifacts, Aperitif and Apparel in Manila

by United Blogs of Benetton on: Abril 12th, 2010

Cubao Expo is a multitude of things in one. Originally meant as a collective of stores by local shoemakers (formerly known as Marikina Shoe Expo), it is now a vibrant community of artists, designers, art galleries, students, musicians, collectors, comics and cinema enthusiasts – and more.

It has become the venue for music gigs, art exhibits, fashion shows, film viewings, and even live graffiti spraying events. Students, artists, and writers have made it their beer haunt. The high level of creative energy palpable in the place is a direct effect of the assembly of very unique establishments – each with their own personality – put together in one short horseshoe drive.

Heritage, the soul of Cubao Expo, is a good place to start. It is an art gallery displaying both local masters and current contemporary artists. It is likewise an antique and curio shop that sells furniture, tribal sculpture, stained glass windows, lamps, weavings, jewelry, old books, records, and magazines, and an endless array of things you are likely to spend an entire afternoon just exploring.

The Grand Thrift Store is exactly what it says – but with more character than you’d expect. The place is literally covered from wall to wall with plaques, posters, glassware and crystal, handbags, different models of telephones and radios, and all sorts of knickknacks – many of which (especially the clocks) will bring you back down memory lane, to the bygone eras of 50 actresses, Imelda Marcos, and most probably to the time of your own grandmother. It is an unforgettable exercise in nostalgia all packed in a quaint little room.

With racks that are literally cabinets, The I Love You Store has a similar overwhelming feel as The Grand Thrift Store, only translated into the language of fashion. What adds more endearment to the eclectic mix of clothes, shoes, and accessories are the store’s painted walls, mini chandeliers, printed seats and couches, and cotton-candied ceiling.

Speaking of furniture and chandeliers, Karma boasts its own multi decade collection of retro interiors, which started as a private collection of its owners.

If gifts are what you’re looking for, MBS will surely have something that can be treasured. This can of course include comics, which Sputnik specializes in, together with graphic novels and figurines. You can also give an artwork from one of Cubao Expo’s art galleries is Pablo, which, with its white walls, pares down distractions for quiet appreciation.

After your sojourn for shoes – which Soliman can create for you made-to-measure – clothes, art, and whatnot, you can call it a day and call the waiters at Mogwai for a bucket of cheap beer, while catching up with ubiquitous faces from the local underground and indie scene.

Or if all that ogling and oohing got you hungry, proceed directly to Bellini’s Italian restaurant, and perhaps chat up the owner, who used to be part of the Italian paparazzi, between your pizza and pappardelle.



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