Interim Evergreen

My dominantly white, pastel, crisp blue feed has gone green. Evergreen, to be specific. There’s just a special place in this city kid’s heart for roaming the great outdoors. It’s a priceless change of scenery. 🌲💚💙

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7 out of 9 of these were taken during my stroll around Lynn Canyon in North Vancouver with family. Still wish I had an SLR to better capture the landscape. The two videos are from my stroll around UBC with Janelle on another day

 

Marikina: A heritage of homemade

*This is article is by my good friend, the monk himself, Peavey, who had just graduated a few months ago.

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I’ve actually never been here

In what I’m assuming is his last article in The Guidon, he so fittingly features (more like writes a special tribute) to Marikina City. It’s the kind of article every city deserves, and every publication and aspiring journalist needs to be able to type out.

I’m unsure whether I’ve really been to Marikina. I know I haven’t explored any of it then. I bet it would’ve been what Manila has sort of become to me and grown on me in my college years. It would’ve been my playground in between breaks had I stayed in Ateneo. I’m still set on visiting it someday especially after reading this travelogue.

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but I’ve been wanting to go since 2012

But not every joint run by passion is bannered with neon signs and billboards. Tucked away in the most unassuming corners of the city center or Bayan are surprisingly authentic ramen houses, holes-in-the-wall serving uniquely-crafted porridge and Visayan food joints.

Of course, all the walking one goes through helps digest all the eating. As the feet prime the stomach, shoes have been the city’s historical marker and primary product for centuries. Displays and shops sprawled around the riverbanks and traditional city center serve as living testimonies to this heritage.

The story of shoes and food arose together. Marikina resident and former Barangay Administrator Alan Bartolome shares that when shoemaking was the main occupation of the citizens, workers and shop owners would reward themselves and their families after a week’s labor. Too tired to cook, they would place hearty bulk orders of pancit and lumpia on the many eateries that still serve till today.

—Peavey Vergara

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think just how the white & blue scheme goes with a plate of Pinoy breakfast

No one can make pancit after a long day sound so appetizing and culturally significant as you have, Peaves!


Featured images: Rustic Mornings by Isabelo © Ea Senga

From 35000ft up

*Some notes I wrote after watching two movies during the 14hr flight then dozed off miraculously in a blanket that I really liked and smuggled w me 😅

Youngsters helping out elders but complete strangers of different races and nationalities in flight give me a whole lot of hope. Small acts of kindness do have potential of going a long way. 

35000 feet on the air and I can still feel so down at times. It can hurt me even from up here, even when I close my eyes. 

I hope to fly to where we used to be and where we used to say we’d go. As I travel against daylight until I’m 15hours behind you, I just wanted to say goodnight 🐾

Bourdainism: Lakbay Rizal 2016

*Last Friday I joined my first field trip in years and went to a couple of museums in Rizal with my home org DLSU PILOSOPO.  Thanks for organizing this trip and being a part of this day, everyone! 😁


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all four stops of the day

Passing down the paintbrush
After taking out breakfast at McDonald’s Taft at around 7 in the morning and roughly two hours on the road, the urban highways and billboards took a change in scenery into smaller houses with large plantations at their backyards. We made our first stop in Blanco Family Museum in the humble and colorful town of Angono, the Art Capital of the Philippines. Large statues of fish, carabao, and other local symbols were spread throughout the streets of the municipality home to national artists Botong Francisco and Lucio San Pedro, Angono is also home to three generations of a family of artists.

From patriarch Jose Blanco, who never attained formal training in the arts, to his seven children, who all started painting under his guidance and instruction at the tender ages of three; they built this gallery from the ground up to house the family’s works and to commemorate his works. They managed to produce highly professional traditional paintings, all sharing the Filipino’s way of life as a common subject matter, preserved usually in oil on even some larger than life pieces. Taking cue from the greats like Rembrandt, they captured aspects of local culture, history, and their individual experiences using techniques in classical art in great detail.

Jose passed on his work ethic to his children and their children, since then solidifying the value of perseverance and a love for art. With just the foundational principles of primary and secondary subjects, dark to light contrasting, and color temperatures, they explored and developed their methods throughout time; however, always maintaining Filipino still life as a strict theme to treasure national culture.

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Thea, Yan, Kat, Carlos, ze artist, Christian, Doc Bebs, Amanda, Ridge, Keira, me

Mythos and minaluto 
We found ourselves taking shelter from the light noontime drizzle at Nemiranda Art House just a few minutes away. With its dark wood interior built from old recycled materials like bamboo and old church debris, hundreds of hand painted figurines and paper mache art hung from its ceiling to its walls. With little cobwebs, dust, and anting-anting adding to its eerie charm, the place is an acquired taste. Its floors are wood alternating from lovely old colorful tiles lining the entire place and some of its parts are under constant reconstruction. More importantly it houses bits and pieces from its founder, Nemiranda’s collection, a forerunner in Imaginative Figurism. Known as the House of Myth, the art depicts mystic legends and local folklore.

Just down the street, almost like an extension of the previous museum was Balaw Balaw Restaurant, which doubles as a restaurant and gallery serving local dishes. With two orders of the speciality dish, Minaluto, which was good for 8 and just enough for 14 hungry stomachs, we feasted on a platter of four kinds of rice, topped with a variety of ulam all laid out on a large banana leaf. Satisfying our sweeter cravings over glasses of refreshing green mango, buko, and calamansi juice, the lunch was a simple yet significant meal in celebration of Angono’s food delights. (Except for the part where three hungry, large cats joined us for lunch and if you know me well, I’m terrified of cats 😓 so I ate in a bench away from the rest of the group huuhuu)

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lovely view of the contrast of hilly Antipolo and Metro Manila~ something I’m not quite used to as I usually see the opposite: city skyscrapers with silhouettes of far off mountains~ & the afternoon’s purple overcast

Green, white, photogenic
About half an hour into Antipolo until we entering the gated estate and cactus-vine walled property where the instafamous Pinto Art Gallery was located. “You wouldn’t think we’re in the Philippines anymore,” my classmate whispered to me holding up her camera. I beg to differ because the place (I keep referring to it as an estate haha) has hispanic Filipino influences even in its predominantly white architecture. It just seems like a getaway from the dirtier, not well maintained spots Filipinos are accustomed to, but with great care and sufficient funding, it’s a no brainer that more places could look like this. The gallery gained its popularity over Instagram in the last two years, as one of Metro Manila’s most photographed and frequented dating places. I, on the other hand, was glad to have spent my first trip here with classmates and girl friends who were just as interested in the aesthetics of the place.

Well photographed and even better to visit in person especially on an overcast day, the museum houses a large range of local art with well landscaped gardens and greenery. We even spotted a prenuptial photo shoot taking place that afternoon and I couldn’t help but feel bad for the bride-to-be’s gown dragging all over the soil. After two and a half hours of nonstop picture-taking, we had our merienda in the cafe beside the museum shop and the margherita pizza to share is all I can recommend.

By half past 4 in the afternoon, we headed into the van and bid Rizal goodbye. Surprisingly faster than the anticipated Friday afternoon traffic flow, it was a sleepy ride back to home base in Manila. It was nearing a violet sunset😍, a good local art-filled day when I woke up on a little jam on Kalayaan bridge and got off a gas station to head home.

From Dangwa with love

With bundles of our favorite picks wrapped in newspaper in two hands and extra change to spare in our pockets today, we walk with the sunset against our backs, and the old market disappears behind us. We move on to emptier streets of plain concrete and slightly duller cement walls, to get into a trike that will take us back to Tayuman station.

— {yours truly}

Before the month is over, I just wanted to share this timely Valentine’s article my friend and I wrote for the school paper. It was one of those rare “perks of the job” moments at the local flower district which rekindled my love for fresh blooms. Can’t wait to go back for more! ☺️

My May in Squares: Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

*So what’s summer without food and friends? Here are just some of the reasons why my clothes are tighter and some of the adventures that have made me happier—all in squares.


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If I’m not at home attempting to bake something sweet for the people I love and trying to be more domesticated in the kitchen, I’m out having lunch with my family and grandparents in Japanese restaurants. When I’m with groups of friends, we usually try new places but these are rarely the best meals cause they’re usually really fancy places our college wallets can’t afford and something always goes wrong, like waiters don’t pay enough attention to us cause we look underage or we share food so we don’t get filled up. But when I’m out with my closest girl friends, as much as we talk about trying new places, we just stick to the ones we know.

There’s nothing like entering a restaurant and knowing where you always want to sit, not needing to look at the menu longer than two minutes, and knowing what food’s going to be served. Consistency in quality is important to me. Keyword: quality. I like surprises, but I don’t like getting surprised about how disappointing a meal is or worse, knowing it wasn’t going to be good all along. I’m adventurous with food in the sense that I’d try anything, but I won’t always go out of my way to try hipsterrific restaurants that care more about branding than flavor.

I crave comfort food and my idea of comfort food is simple. It’s not about the calories but it isn’t about the city’s hottest restaurants of the month either. If I’ve eaten in one restaurant for years, I’ll order the same thing again and again. I’m picky but it really is that simple. I don’t get sick of anything I find good. My orders are so predictable, the choices of my go-to-restaurants are just as predictable too. Even if they’re not the healthiest of choices (because there are worse), I like chocolate, I like cheese, I like bread, and I like midnight snacks.

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Best brownies in town from Plaza Cafe, Chilli’s refillable tortilla chips favorites with Gabby & Pam, Sandwiches from Plaza Cafe, My avocado fixation, Cafe Breton forever, Yes, I baked oreo cheesecake bars, Brothers Burger in the sun, Paella from Barcino, and Krispy Kreme from a workshop

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In between everyone’s internships, on one early Saturday morning, my friends and I took a three hour drive to Pampanga. Direction: North & Destination: Sandbox.

The rides to and from were stories on their own. We had the weirdest and funnest pitstops in gas stations and fast foods. We also made new friends and ate the yummiest local food there. We made friends with Waze and got lost along the way while singing along to sleepover songs and a road trip playlist I picked out.

I’d recommend Sandbox to everyone. There’s nothing to dislike about a place with sprouting poles, bars, obstacle courses, and tight ropes, other than the grueling heat. If anything was bad about that day, it was just the weather. There’s no such thing as an amusement park without lines, so that I can deal with but the intense heat? Nope.

It was real fun though! I finally tried try zip-lining for the first time, as well as the giant swing, which is now one of my favorite rides. (Click here and here to check out the bigger version of the ride, which is now my now on my bucket list!!)

But I was really disappointed in myself when I couldn’t make the free fall jump from six or seven stories high. I just stood there frozen. Perhaps because as I was walking up, I had already been anticipating the fear. And the only thing I could think about on my walk of shame down the stairs, was how I’ll ever be able to conquer my number one dream of bungee jumping if I can’t even free fall off a few flights of stairs compared to bungee jumps…

I know though that I’ll be back to conquer the one thing I didn’t have the guts to do that day, so I’ll be a step closer to facing all my other fears. Till then, still on Ever Upwards.

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The checkpoints of the North and all our junk food that looked like it could’ve lasted us days but it only lasted a few hours and Sandbox with my friends, wee

Down and around
I’ve also had some spontaneous days out over the month with new friends that have taken me to new places or better yet, shown me the same everyday things in a new light. From running around and pigging out in S&R as though it was my first time to hanging around the village with my brother’s older friends.

And on one lovely afternoon, I got to live out my dream of driving blissfully on the skyway and head south. With U2 in the background, it was just like I imagined. At the same time, nothing like I imagined.

I saw new neighborhoods and took a peak into the community there; talk about southern hospitality. I saw the city skyline bathed in a blend of sunset hues, which I tried to capture in watercolor as soon as I got home.

But I’ve been home a lot since and I hope to get out more for days like these.

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Moments in between my little adventures, New swinging friends Toby & Aya, Me dramatically appreciating Ding Dongs in S&R, and me being real happy that I captioned the photo “Aidee goes South”