Philippines

Burnham Park (Baguio City, Benguet)

Posted on June 10, 2008

Laid-back Baguio locals may wax nostalgic about their home city’s cooler temperatures and easy traffic along Session Road back in the 1980s and decades before, but Burnham Park–the heart of how I remember this century-old mountain city located 250 kilometers north of Manila–still retains much of its rusticity and charisma.  Named after American architect and urban planner, Daniel Hudson Burnham, who laid down the city plan, this sprawl of pine trees and weeping willows has a rectangular man-made lagoon of anRead More

Bahay Nakpil-Bautista & Boix House (Quiapo, Manila)

Posted on May 19, 2008

On the tamer side of Quezon Boulevard, the echoes of colonial domesticity and fortune still linger within the old homes of Quiapo. While many have suffered the slow death of neglect and the doom of uncaring government-sanctioned demolitions, one domicile proves to be a heritage conservation success amidst the raucous of jeepneys, fruit vendors, political rhetoric and hawkers of bootlegged videos that clog the narrow streets that were once the most beautiful in all of Manila. The Bahay Nakpil-Bautista.  BuiltRead More

Camara Islands (San Antonio, Zambales)

Posted on May 13, 2008

Closer to Pundaquit Beach at San Antonio, Zambales–just two kilometers offshore–are the small Camara Islands (interestingly, often misnamed Camera Islands). Cascading foliage sparingly laurels this pair of huge volcanic rocks amidst the South China Sea, where a Lilliputian statue of the Virgin Mary facing the mainland on top of a giant boulder blesses visitors who spend hours enjoying the shallow surf and clean sand. These craggy islands with pockets of white sand and smooth stone strewn with glistening seaweed, polished shellsRead More

Capones Island (San Antonio, Zambales)

Posted on May 10, 2008

A behemoth of volcanic rock jutting from sea to sky, the bone-shaped Capones Island is accentuated by a dramatically weather-beaten Spanish lighthouse, Faro de Punta Capones, completed in 1890 after seven years of arduous construction. The original light and equipment were imported from France. The beautiful structure, sitting above the island’s crown of wild grass and low-lying trees, served to warn passing boats of the dangerous, rocky coastline. The island (as seen from Camara Islands in the first photo) is located sixRead More

Anawangin Cove (San Antonio, Zambales)

Posted on May 9, 2008

A 35-minute boat ride from the grey sands of Brgy. Pundaquit in San Antonio, Zambales through a craggy coastline of dramatic cliffs and rolling grass mountains will take you to the much-raved Anawangin Cove. This secluded stretch of salt-and-pepper sand sandwiched by the South China Sea and a freshwater lake-river, bordered by a thick pine forest, makes one unique landscape.  But I was not very impressed by the place. Perhaps the digitally-enhanced photos I browsed through Flickr.com heightened my expectations. OrRead More

Casa Vizantina (San Nicolas, Manila)

Posted on May 5, 2008

Much of the pomp and grandeur that was the Pearl of the Orient was carpet-bombed to bloody rubble during the Second World War. But whatever pitiful remains escaped the terror of Manila’s dark chapter suffers a sadder fate: the slow death of indifference and neglect. Such is the case of a magnificent house in San Nicolas. At the unpopular end of the once-affluent Chinese district, north of the Basilica de San Lorenzo Ruiz (Binondo Church), one can pick up the piecesRead More