I Missed My Locale

This morning while the tropical sun is still mild, I dragged myself out of bed and decided to step out to give myself some pretty good cardio drill.  And while taking a break to catch my breath every so often (no thanks to the pandemic) only then did I realize that it has been a year that I have gone outside within the local vicinity where I live.

So in between the fast walks and jogs, I would stop and take a number of photos of the area.  It was the morning that I got to appreciate the aesthetic attractiveness of the spots and places where I live.  It felt like I missed my locale!

manila morning

fresh!

quiet…

i love this minute jungle in this part of the city

In the past, I have always been the kind of person who would rather chuckle and laugh at strangers (visitors and tourists alike) who would marvel, appreciate and take photos of the areas near my place.  I have been so used to how my nearby vicinity looks like that I find it weird for strangers to admire and gape at the charm and appeal of the area.

a cool morning in manila

And when the morning started to get too hot and while I walked my way back to my unit, I realized that people need to leave in order to miss their place and had to travel so as to realize how precious and beloved one’s starting point was.

Have a beautiful day everyone!

A Plantito with Black Thumb

I have always recognized that I do not have a green thumb.  Though I love plants and have taken cared quite a number of them in the past, plants don’t love me back.  My relatives can attest that I have purchased countless number of plants in the past, but all chose to breathe their last breath and declined to settle with me in my condo unit.  I sometimes correlate my relations to plants as a form of unrequited love! 

When I and my family would go out of town, I would often suggest to stop at a garden store by a roadside before heading back to Manila for I want to acquire new greens.  “Are you looking for a new victim?” or “You’re just wasting some bucks” are the usual remarks of my relatives when I would suggest my buying new plants.

the recent garden shop where i purchased my succulents… i can hear these greens saying… “no! not me!!!” LOL!

I have always thought that I would make a good gardener because I had an A+ grade in my Botany subjects during my old school days and would even had the time and fortitude of talking to these plants.  But all these photosynthetic members of the Kingdom Plantae refuse to live with me.  My relatives has even tagged me as having the black thumb or even worse the black-kiss-of-death thumb!

Owning and taking care of plants here in Manila is the new craze.  Like me, this has been some of people’s emotional outlet or thing to do and be busy of indoors during this time of quarantining and pandemic. 

This has been evidenced by the steady increase in the number of social media posts of people posing behind, in front or beside their happy and healthy plants!  People call these plant-fanatics and shrub-obsessed folks as Plantitas (for female) and Plantitos (for male) of Manila.

In my recent out of town adventure, I again purchased a new batch of plants to enjoy and take care of.  I hope these creatures are as glad as I am.  I am really hoping that this new batch will live a long life and would finally erase my being a black thumb.

if those trees can run, i’m pretty sure they’ve moved way way farther! hahaha!

my not-so-happy green companions! please don’t die…(my recent purchases)

But if these plants chose to reject me and die instead, I will still care for one and would just have to melodramatically remind myself that old warriors may have to fight a long battle more than once to win it.  And if one zany plant would finally decide to settle it out with me, I will call myself a Plantito who would be smiling while sharing social media pictures with it.

Looking forward to having photos with these new plants!

Orange Race

One way to identify a human race is in terms of skin color.  There is white, black, brown, red and yellow.  I for one is classified under the Brown Race.  But yesterday during sunset here in Manila, I turned so orange.  Actually, everything became and looked so orange for a few minutes I started to wondered if I have turned into an Orange Race.

Reason for my turning to a different skin color and be of a rare human race was because of this stunning phenomenon!

no filter! my sunset balcony view of manila bay…

Sunset here in Manila is truly captivating!

The Dismantling of a Building is Making Me Sad

There is one old building here in Manila that is being dismantled and pulled into pieces.  I am quite affected by this demolition simply because this structure has been part of my young college years.  Being just across our campus, I have always tagged this marvel as the extension of our college grounds. 

Me and my collegemates then has considered its spacious airconditioned lobby as our place of solace, our relaxation spot and our undisturbed hideaway.  We truly adore the clean and spotless toilets which were way better, fresher and tidier than the lavatories in our campus.  During cram periods, instead of going to the library, a quiet corner within the building has been our retreat to focus on reviewing prior to an intense exam.

iconic piece of architecture (photo not mine)

hey! that’s our usual spot!

The building’s large cafeteria was our go-to dining hall every time our school’s canteen serves super oily, flavorless and unsavory dishes. The only thing that we seem to have failed to do was to hold the actual class inside that building!

The long airconditioned hallway of the ground floor from the main entrance leading to its side door has been me and my classmates’ short-cut route when we want to go to the nearby mall.  My college mates may not know this but I personally admire the huge old trees outdoor that surrounds the building and I gape and ogle towards the gorgeous art pieces (sculptures & mural paintings) that lies and hanged around the main lobby.

the facade of the main entrance… (photo not mine)

miss those quiet spots

This building has been so part of my college life.  Me and my classmates even celebrated a milestone with this building because its marvelous auditorium was in fact the venue of our baccalaureate mass and graduation rites when we finished our college degree in the old Manila Doctors College. 

And lately have I only known that the stunning auditorium was renowned for its excellent acoustics.  I never knew that this auditorium was done by the same engineers who did the Sydney Opera House.  If I only knew then, I should have instead sung an enchanting song when I was tasked to deliver the graduation speech during our college graduation rites.

with those acoustics, i should have sung a song!

philamlife building u.n. ave.

With all these memories and recollections, the ongoing ripping into pieces of the iconic and magnificent Philam Life building along United Nations Avenue in Manila is truly making me sad.

Surprised by the Museum of Natural History in Manila

Lowering expectation is one simple secret to achieving amazement and happiness.  Setting high expectations tends to result to frustration especially when measuring reality against imagined reality.  High expectations often wrings the joy out of experiencing something for what it is.

This were my exact thoughts when I and a bunch of colleagues decided to have a detour and headed to the Museum of Natural History in Manila before driving back to our office after some brief business meeting in Intramuros.  Knowing Manila being a run down, sullied, traffic-infested and over-populated city, finding something amazing seem next to impossible. 

this hall houses some of the most important artifacts

world-class!

my county’s “under the sea” features is one of the best

biggest croc on record is in the philippines it’s name is “lolong”

But our visit to the Museum of Natural History in Manila was indeed a big surprise!  It is one destination on the City of Manila that definitely deserves a visit! 

What I love most about this museum is that all exhibits – flora, fauna, earth formations, etc. – were of Filipino representations.  Also, segmentations of exhibits were really well thought of.  It’s like being so at home yet you would discover new and amazing natural wonders of the country. 

some fauna with two lucky folks

open up! admission is free!

the old-fashioned “botica”

i love this!

hall full of rocks!

Me and my colleagues were a bunch of pre-millennial species that is why we could really relay and seem so familiar with some of the indigenous exhibits.  Some of us could actually recall childhood encounters with some of the now rare flora and fauna displayed in the museum – dragonflies, beetles, birds, fruit crops, seashells, clams, freshwater crabs, etc.  Too bad, these floras and faunas we played with during childhood has started to become so rare it can now only be found in a museum.

I also like the fact that some of the exhibits are interactive.  I and my colleagues were so surprised, we could not keep ourselves from saying “Wow!” every time we enter a gallery full of amazing collections. Museum of Natural History in Manila was one surprising experience!  I have been to some of the top museums of the world and I can say that Manila’s National Museum of Natural History is world class.  .  It’s truly a fantastic feast for the senses! 

museum of natural history, manila, philippines

…was so impressed!

The National Museum of Natural History in Manila is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Entrance is free.

Ang ganda. Inferness!

Food for Thoughts at China Blue

Every time a member of my family finishes his or her studies – may it be elementary, high school or college – the graduation dinner treat for him or her is always held at the old, not so expensive and not so savory Filipino restaurant in Malate, Manila (which I refuse to name).  It has always been the tradition that Nengkoy got to insist that the celebration be held in that restaurant may you graduated with summa cum laude honors or you finished at the bottom of your class’ ranking.

But for the Master’s Degree graduation of my nephew Luis, I got to choose the restaurant!  Nengkoy allowed that it be held someplace else maybe it is because the graduation is not just an ordinary bachelor’s degree but something higher, more advanced and more difficult to obtain.

I chose China Blue.  Having previously enjoyed the savory food I this authentic Cantonese Restaurant located inside Conrad Hotel, Manila, I knew that Nengkoy and the members of my family in that dinner would truly enjoy some sumptuous treat!

Nengkoy with Team Langit. Congratulations Luis!

the mandatory photo-taking of me and nengkoy…

super nice private room where we had dinner… the waiter i guess felt that me and my family are so noisy we were billeted in this private room

And since I arrive early in the restaurant, took the liberty of ordering the dishes for our group.  And when everyone arrived and each dish was being brought in into our room, I asked my family not to touch the dish until I tell them to because I want to take pictures of it.

Here’s the actual photos of some of our orders.  And since I lack the ability on how to properly describe each dish, let me then attach a Chinese proverb for every one of it…

when you drink the water, remember the spring.
(paper thin crispy beef in sweet and spicy sauce)

a bird does not sing because it has an answer. it sings because it has a song.
(sweet vinegar marinated cherry tomatoes with sour plum)

when the winds of change blow, some people build walls while other build windmills.
(barbeque honey-glazed matsusaka pork neck)

what you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others.
(steamed truffle mushroom buns)

he who returns from a journey is not the same as he who left
(crispy fried shrimp salad with wasabi dressing)

pearls don’t lie on the seashore. if you want one you must dive for it (hahaha! can’t remember what this yummy dish is called)

true knowledge is when one knows the limitations of one’s knowledge
(pork belly wok fried)

if you always give, you will always have
(crispy pumpkin coated with salted duck eggs)

if you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow
(fried spinach bean curd with spicy sichuan eggplant with minced chicken sauce)

I failed to take a photo of the Buchi or glutinous rice dumpling with red bean filling coated with sesame seeds (our desert) which according to our waiter Angel was a very good choice because it was the award-winning dessert of China Blue Manila.  My family are all sweet toothed, it would not come as a surprise that everyone would just rapidly dig into the delicately sweet Buchi and would not care if I have already taken a photo or not.

I really can’t figure out what specific dish was the highlight of that dinner.  It is because every dish was beautiful, every dish was delicious and every dish deserves a big round of applause!

And when Luis would decide to further pursue his studies, doctorate degree that is.  I’m pretty sure Nengkoy would again agree that Luis’ PhD graduation dinner be held again in China Blue Manila.

Kongrats Luis!

Wicked (the musical) In Manila: A Wickedly High-End Run

This will most probably be one of the last write-ups of Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz musical as it ends its latest run here in Manila.  Me, my sisters and Nengkoy (of course) had the awesome opportunity to catch and watch the last performance night here in Manila.

We were of course bedazzled and captivated by the sheer magnificence if the costumes, the colors and the music of Wicked.  But I will not write anything about the musical for there has been millions of it in the web.  Instead, let me deliberate on the venue and the people on the night we watched the show here in Manila.

Unlike my sisters and Nengkoy, it was my first time seeing a musical show in Solaire Theatre.  I have seen a couple of shows in Broadway, New York but never was I been so stunned and dumbfounded by the high-endedness (is that a word?) of Solaire.  The theater was so modish and dashing there were moments when I doubted being in poverty-stricken Manila.  While waiting for the ushers to allow us inside the actual theater, the well-lighted foyer area was played with chic jazz music.  I never noticed or heard stylish jazz or muzak being played at the measly lobby and waiting areas of New York theaters. In some New York shows, we the audience actually have to queue at the cold and dusty side street.

nengkoy & my wicked sister with her high-end bag! bag lang nya ang high-end sa amin nung gabing yon. hahaha!

pictures muna

me & my sister… defying gravity…

And what further dumbfounded me were the rest of the audience.  Everyone was well-dressed for the night.  Well-dressed, I mean well-dressed.  Gentlemen were in their crisp long sleeve shirts with matching coat and necktie while the ladies were dressed to the nines.  Some ladies were even donning in elegant gown and seem to have been to some pricey beauty saloon prior to the show just to watch Wicked, The Musical.

I was actually so shocked, wearing just a polo shirt and my old dungarees, I could not control my utterances about the theater and the people.  I told my sisters that I have seen a couple of Broadway shows in New York but the atmosphere was never this chic, high-end and elegant.

Buti na lang di ako nag-tsinelas.  Taray… Walang ganyan sa Nyu York!

The Rustic Mornings in Marikina

During my childhood, my perception of Marikina is that of a faraway place from metropolitan Manila.  One of our neighbors in Pasay, Tita Linda and her family, were actually from this bucolic county.  And every time our family is invited by Tita Linda (one Nengkoy’s ‘mejor amiga’) to go to their place in Marikina for some party or gathering, the travel and journey seem so arduous and tiring.  I can still remember the exhausting hours it took for us to reach this green and tree-filled but faraway suburb.

During adulthood, the only time I got to Marikina (now a city and part of metropolitan Manila) was after the deadly flooding and wreckage brought about by the most devastating storm to hit Metro Manila known as tropical storm Ondoy in 2009.  I got the chance to go to Marikina then because the company I am working for did some charitable activity.  Our company prepared and distributed away hundreds of boxes of hot cooked food to the affected residents of Marikina, which was the most hardly hit area of that year’s deadly typhoon.  That memory was not a good one because Marikina that time was all mud, sludge and debris.

But just last Wednesday, I had a beautiful morning in rustic Marikina.  I was actually at awe because my childhood perception that it takes ages to get there has been erased.  It only took us 45 minutes to get there (from Malate in Manila).   And the ugly clutter brought about by the deadly Ondoy of course are all gone.  What’s present is a highly urbanized zone with remarkably clean roads and civilized communities.

The reason this time why I was able to get to Marikina is because of breakfast.  I and my colleagues decided to have breakfast at Rustic Mornings.

the menu

the menu

lovely interiors

lovely interiors

outdoor dining area...

outdoor dining area…

greens and shells at the patio area

greens and shells at the patio area

This restaurant can be considered one precious gem of Marikina.  The ambience is one-of-a-kind.  It makes you feel like you are not in crazy, hectic and stressful metropolitan Manila.  Once you entered their gate you’ll feel a sudden change in impression.  It’s quiet, calm and relaxed.  The restaurant is actually decorated with beautiful pieces of art and décor.  You would actually feel like being in a vicinity full of stunning and charming clutter.

But what is most important for me that morning was the food.  Rustic Mornings serve heartwarming and mouthwatering breakfast dishes in a suburban-like setting.  And from among the breakfast dishes that we ordered, I had two personal favorites.  The Crispy Waffle Churros and the Banana-flavored Pancakes.  These dishes are simply bliss!  The waffle churros was crispy outside yet heavenly soft inside!  While the pancakes I would say would be one hell of a pancake!  It was insanely delicious!

the smell and taste of heaven!

the smell and taste of heaven!

those coffee cups were like pieces of art

those coffee cups were like pieces of art

hearty filipino breakfast dishes

hearty filipino breakfast dishes

Because of Rustic Mornings, I can now say that I have a beautiful experience in Marikina.  This restaurant definitely gave me a reason to return back on a rustic morning in this rustic city.

Parang ako lang yung wapol nila… masarap!

Swooned & Captivated by the Sunset

After spending the whole afternoon at the mall with Nengkoy and family – watched a Filipino movie and have an early dinner treat – me and my nephew Luis decided to walk the three-and-a-half-kilometer distance from the Mall of Asia to our respective condo units in Vito Cruz.  I was actually in some way thankful that there was a traffic gridlock in our place and that taxi drivers refused to have us as passengers.  It is because on our way to our respective units, we instinctively slowed down, took photos and enjoyed this…

Capticating Manila Bay Sunset!

Captivating Manila Bay Sunset!

While walking the surprisingly breezy streets and intently listening to Luis about his school research/thesis, at the back of my mind I am realizing that appreciation for the beauty of nature is something that is innate and spontaneous.  Since it is instinctual, it is but a natural tendency for a person to stop, stare and be captivated.  It gives human beings a break from fretting over the past and a pause from worrying about the future.  Captivating beauty of nature makes you feel refreshed, relieved and revitalized at that very moment.

And for those who have been overridden by the acquired imperative of the need to be urgent, of the feeling to hurry up and of the thought to get things done immediately, I simply wish that you would someday take it easy and be swooned and captivated by the natural beauty of the sunset.

Teyk it isi…

The Journey On Madonna Concert Ticket

I grew up listening to her music.  I grew up liking her ever changing image.  I grew up idolizing this woman who ignited an entire generation to express themselves.

photo from madonna.com

photo from madonna.com

Seeing a Madonna Concert is the only thing that is lacking of my being a die-hard fan.  Click this LINK for you to know how big a fan I am of Madonna: http://neillangit.com/2008/08/17/a-fan-of-a-golden-girl/

To fulfil my self-imposed requirement, I seriously considered travelling to Tel Aviv, Israel in 2012 to watch the Sticky and Sweet World Tour.  I chose Tel Aviv because that seem to be the nearest country where I can watch that concert.  Also, being a Filipino I need not apply for a tourist visa in that country.  But due to budget constraints I obviously was not able to go.

Then just about two weeks ago, my super friend Jesse who’s based in Sydney messaged me and invited me to see the Rebel Heart show in Australia.  He sent me the link on how the purchase should go.  This is despite the fact that Madonna performing in Manila is already becoming a big buzz.   I was so close to buying the ticket!  But for some weird reason, obviously I did not.

Until two days after chatting with Aussie Jesse, the big news was announced that Madonna for the first time will perform in Manila.  I did not believe it still, until I personally checked the official Madonna website.  And when I saw for myself that Madonna is indeed coming, I was like feeling so moved!!!  I know I’m not religious, but I felt so moved, it made me wanna pray!!!

the only one in asia!!!

the only one in asia!!!

Then, 4 days prior to the official selling of tickets to public, I received a text message from Citibank informing me that I got the opportunity to buy Madonna tickets because of their pre-sale program. I of course did not let this chance go! I moved my ass and bought 2 ticket seats.

I need someone to accompany me during the concert so I bought 2 tickets.  One for my dear sister Gaying.  My sister during the event has been assigned to pinch my nose and slap me in the face to remind me that what I am about to see and experience is not a dream.

finally!

finally!

Now that I got myself her concert ticket, one of my life’s bucket list will finally become a realization.  See you there…

Parating na ang sugo. Bili na ng tiket!