Metro Manila

Gold of Ancestors: Pre-colonial Filipinos were ‘Kings of Bling’

Posted on October 25, 2011

“Filipinos were the original kings of bling!” I overheard an American visitor exclaim at the Ayala Museum in Makati City last weekend when he beheld over a thousand ancient artifacts made of 22 to 24 karat gold. They are from the 10th to 13th centuries, a time when the archipelago was ruled by many small kingdoms that flourished, establishing trade links with the Far East and Southeast Asia to as far away as India and Persia. I was well awareRead More

Feast of the Black Nazarene (Quiapo, Manila)

Posted on January 18, 2011

Every 9th of January, the streets of Manila become raging rivers of devotees clad in yellow and maroon, venerating a 17th century image of Jesus carrying the cross called the Black Nazarene. The image was brought from Acapulco, Mexico to Manila in 1606, during the time of the galleon trade. The ‘translacion’ procession is one of the most intense religious celebrations in the Philippines, where millions of barefoot devotees fight for a chance to touch the image or pull theRead More

Journey of Rizal

Posted on December 8, 2010

The following article is a commissioned article I wrote for this month’s issue (December 2010) of SMILE, the in-flight magazine of Cebu Pacific Air. You may browse the magazine online at EVERY TOWN OR city would have a street or park named after him. His diminutive yet dignified stature is immortalized in concrete or bronze. And his profile, distinguished by perfectly parted waves of hair, is etched on one-peso coins in every purse and pocket. Dr Jose Rizal mayRead More

Far Eastern University: the Philippines’ Largest Art Deco Complex

Posted on August 27, 2010

Surprisingly, one can find an oasis of artistry in the chaos of Manila’s University Belt. Established in 1934 and recognized by UNESCO for its cultural conservation efforts, the Far Eastern University in Sampaloc, Manila is the largest Art Deco complex in the country, featuring architecture, paintings and sculptures of several artists during this art movement during the American occupation that celebrated symmetry, geometry, and the industrial age. HOW TO GET HERE: Alight at LRT-1 Doroteo Jose Station, or LRT-2 RectoRead More

Baroque Churches of the Philippines: UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Posted on August 25, 2010

The Baroque Churches of the Philippines represent a fusion of European church design (baroque) and local construction techniques and decorations. Their specific characteristics include a separate bell-tower and strong buttresses to withstand the powers of earthquakes common in the region. Four churches were selected to make up this World Heritage Site, as samples of the development of this Philippine-Hispanic style over a period of more than 150 years (16th-18th century): • Church of San Agustin, Paoay, Ilocos Norte • ChurchRead More

DIY Walking Tour – Intramuros

Posted on July 5, 2010

Location: Intramuros, Manila Starting Point: Plaza Mexico Ferry Station End Point: Starbucks Distance: 3 km Duration: 7 to 8 hours Coming from the Latin word for “within the walls”, Intramuros was a Spanish riverside walled city- surrounded by moat- built on the site of a fortified Malay Islamic settlement called “Maynila”, a name referring to the nila mangrove plant (Scyphiphora hydrophyllacea) that once thrived along Manila Bay. City planning was commenced by Miguel López de Legazpi, the conquistador who establishedRead More