One Musical, Two Museums, Loads of Dimsum and Overflowing Inspiration

Metro Manila is not really a favorite destination of mine. There is so much traffic. It is so crowded. It really drains my energy. Navigating its streets is always a challenge. Nonetheless, there is no other way around it but to just face it. The place is unavoidable for someone like me who loves to travel. Metro Manila is a hub for a lot ot things I love. I just have to learn to survive and find a way to get the most of what it has to offer. And that was just what I did last March.

I knew that the musical “Ang Huling El Bimbo” was running in the Resorts World in March and I wanted to watch it. With the trip to Korea coming up, I worked on fixing my schedule to allow me time to watch the musical. “Ang Huling El Bimbo” is a musical featuring Eraserheads songs. The Eraserheads was the band of my generation so it was easy to convince three of my friends to watch “El Bimbo” with me. Incidentally, three of us went to the same university as the band members who rose to popularity while we were still gnawing our way in the dog-eat-dog world of college life. The scenes and some of the drama easily brought us back to our teenage years because the cast and their performances were awesome. I did not mind the possible neck strain of the partially distracted view of the stage because I bought the cheapest tickets. My view shifted every now and then from the stage to the large screen on the left where they projected the video. My friend got a good deal of ribbing from me for crying during some heartbreaking scenes. It was my way of fending off that tear that was trying to break free from my lacrimal glands. I really enjoyed the show. I look forward to watching more Filipino musicals!

I had a day to spare in Manila so I asked my friend, Shirly, to accompany me to visit the museums. Our first stop was the National Museum of Fine Arts. The museum was heaven for me since I love to paint. Immediately, when one entered the main gallery, Juan Luna’s Spoliarium stood with such jaw-dropping splendor. It covered almost the entire wall of the gallery. Incidentally, Eraserheads had a song of the same title and it was a soundtrack playing in my head while looking at the painting.

Spoliarium is so grand!

The museum had different galleries featuring different Filipino artists. Many of Juan Luna’s works were displayed. One notable painting is the Portait of a Lady. Esquire published a comprehensive history of the painting and it was a very interesting.

Another Juan Luna painting being displayed was The Parisian Life which was acquired by GSIS for around Php 45 million.

These were the other paintings/displays that caught my eye.

These sketches of Fernando Amorsolo gave a glimpse of the painting process of the national artist known for depicting rural scenes. One could see that there was a lot of planning being done to create a masterpiece.

It became easy for me to spot an Amorsolo painting.

A new favorite of mine is Vicente Manansala. I was drawn to his painting because it was a little modern, colorful and it was done in watercolor, my favorite medium.


This is another Manansala work.

I am not really intro abstract but I like this Jose Joya work. (Yung feeling na parang kaya ko naman ito gawin siguro pero hindi ko maexplain or mainterpret ang painting. hahaha)

And I am a fan of Araceli Dans’ lacework.

After immersing ourselves with all the artworks, off we went to the National Museum of Natural History. The museum was opened last year and it housed a lot of specimens of Philippine zoology, botany and geology.

There is a atrium in the middle which makes the space bright and airy.

The remains of Lolong, once dubbed as the worlds largest crocodile in captivity, can be found here. The bones are displayed suspended from the ceiling.

The ‘taxidermied’ crocodile can also be found in the one of the displays.

It was funny that I wanted to visit this museum but only to realize later that there was one particular animal that I was (and still am) afraid of and I knew that it would be displayed in one form of another (a photo, drawing, taxidermy or the real one inside a jar of formalin). Before we walked through an exhibit hall, I would ask my friend, Shirly, to see first if there was such a display. And indeed, in some halls, the display of such animal existed. Hah! I looked like this frightened woman in a horror house. I always took a peek first at the surrounding and spot the possible area that might had that kind of display. Yes, I could be crazy and paranoid with my phobia. All in all, it was a pleasant experience.

After all the walking around, we were done with the museum-hopping, we decided to go to binondo. I wanted my milk tea , dimsum and milk tea fix. Not counting the trip to the 168 mall years ago, this was my first time to walk around the streets of Manila’s Chinatown. My first order of business was to visit Eng Bee Tin.

This is Shirly and our Milk tea order. Hi, Shirl!

We dropped by this dimsum place. The place was small but teeming with waiting customers and they only sell this type of dimsum. I think the draw was that it was freshly made every time. Oh, I want this one product kind of business.

And off we went to Greenbelt to meet up with friends. Metro Manila is not that bad after all if you plan your day right.

And because I had a lot of art inspirations, I was pretty productive after the trip. I hope to paint more.

Push lang, Kat! ūüėČ

When Disaster Strikes

I love my country. Beautiful coastline, warm people and a simple life. These are just a few reasons why I still chose to live here.

Life is sweet until disaster strikes.

Living in this country makes us vulnerable to some a lot of hazards.

The flooding that occurred early this week showed us how vulnerable the country is. While Mindanao experienced sunny weather, Metro Manila and some parts of Luzon experienced heavy rainfall. I have my share of flood stories and storm stories. By some stroke of luck, I was spared from the wrath of Sendong.  However,  I have never experienced (and will never dream of experiencing) flooding that happens in a span of 2 hours.

The government was quick to mobilize its warning systems.  These are the new warning codes that everyone should know.

This is Architect Paulo Alcazaren’s illustration on the warnings.

 

Because of Sendong last December, I asked about the flood map of my city from Professor Mahar Lagmay of Nababaha.com.

Almost 8 months since I asked that question, there is still no flood map for Butuan City but I am glad to see flood maps in other parts of the region. This week I learned that Professor Lagmay heads Project NOAH. NOAH stands for Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards. The project NOAH website gives real-time doppler image report.  Coolness! One should learn how to navigate the site for practical reasons. You get an image like this that shows a picture of what is happening in real time.

Knowing that this can happen again, we must be prepared. These are the important emergency numbers.

These numbers are for those in Metro Manila. If you live in the province, know the important numbers of your RDRRMC.

Here are some emergency tips:

Googly Gooeys got some tips, too!

It is important to be alert.

Water is important. ¬†In particular, clean water. There is such a thing called ‘The Rule of Threes’.

Here are the steps in purifying your own water:

Flooding poses a threat to safety, properties and health.

However, it is in difficult times like this that makes me proudest being a Filipino.

Surviving is reason enough to smile.

We trust the people we once doubted.

In my country, everyone is a hero.

There are many ways one can help.  For a nation dubbed as the texting capital of the world, this is the easiest way a Filipino can help his countrymen.

The  Philippine Red Cross has amphibians that can reach flooded areas.

Mindanao is dry and sunny and I am not complaining.  I admit I have not prepared a disaster kit. For those who are also thinking of preparing a disaster kit, check out the following guides:

The Items That Should Be Included in a 72-Hour Kit

 

A detailed list can be found in this Rappler article.

This is something we can think about. Think before you buy something. Think before you throw something.

 

Architect Paulo Alcazaren has sketches of his proposal for the future design of barangay halls.

I wonder if this design is also earthquake proof. Similarly, this is his proposal for areas near the river.

Uncanny. His sketch closely describes where I live.  I live two blocks away from the dike. See the green area, left of the river near the bridge? There used to be people living in that area. Good thing, our barangay already relocated people living near the Agusan river.

The area is empty now.

A ‘secret’ garden thrives there.

I hope we can find solutions to Metro Manila’s flood problems. Atty. Antonio Oposa Jr., a Ramon Magsaysay awardee, presented some simple solutions in this Rappler article.

I now end this very long post.

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Source: via Rylee on Pinterest

 

Note: all the photos and graphics that are not my own are linked from the source.

My Year of Philippine Travel

I traveled a lot in 2011 that some of my friends have labeled me “laagan“. Laagan¬† is a Visayan term for wanderer. The word describes someone who can’t stay put.¬† I know a lot of travel bloggers who went to a lot more places than I do. Compare to them, my trips looked mild. Nevertheless, I felt I traveled more this year compared to my trips for the past 30+ years.

2011 was the year I started to fulfill my travel dreams.  I am hoping to see new places this year.

Dalaguete, Cebu

This is a town in Southern Cebu. My paternal grandfather came from this quiet town. Their town fiesta (300+ years!) is on a February. My cousins invited me to come along and coincidentally, we had a Cebu Pacific trip scheduled on those dates. (Dalaguete is pronounced as “dalaget”.)

Cebu City

We always visit the Sto. Ni√Īo whenever we are in Cebu.¬† However, it was my first time to check out Magellan’s cross.

Davao City

Although I spent 4 years of my life in this city, it has been 8 years since I last set foot on this place. I attended some important matters in Davao in April and I squeezed in some touristy activities by visiting Jack’s Ridge and People’s Park.

Masao, Butuan City

Butuanons (and several acclaimed historians) claimed that Magellan landed here and not in Limasawa.  For us, Butuanons, this is also our beach.

Checkout the sign: Do not "ride' the boat. If you want pictures, use ground area. (rough translation)

Luneta, Manila

My quest to visit the Rizal monument remained a dream. More stories on this post.

Magallanes, Agusan del Norte

The oldest tree in the Philippines can be found here.  One can reach this place via a 30-min boat ride.

Camarines Sur

It was the first time I traveled with friends. We had so much fun that we are planning another trip this year to another Philippine destination. There was so much to see in CamSur that I wrote 4 blog posts about this trip: here, here, here and here. ūüėÄ

Legazpi, Albay

The two-hour trip from Naga city was all worth it. Mayon Volcano, the world’s most perfect cone, was magnificent.

Bit-os, Butuan City

One need not go so far to see new places. Even a small city like Butuan has hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

Intramuros, Manila

It was a short yet memorable visit. I will explore more of this place next time. I should join¬† Carlos Celdran’s walking tour .

Tagaytay City

The short trip with relatives was still fun.  Taal Volcano is always fascinating.

Bantayan, Cebu

Bantayan rekindled my love for the beach.  This place is paradise. I hope Bantayan does not get too commercialized.

Cebu City

I traveled to Cebu again and explored it on my own.  I walked to the Plaza Independencia early in the morning before my trip back home.

Lakewood, Zamboanga del Sur

We braved the roads during Sendong to attend a friend’s wedding. I would have taken pictures of Pagadian. The city’s unique features are the inclined streets and angled tricycles. I failed to take photos because my mind was in CDO and Iligan. We went to Lakewood and the place was beautiful. I relaxed a bit before traveling back again to Cagayan de Oro. We traveled during the night along Lanao del Norte.

I will travel more this year.

I end this post with this video.

Tara na!



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