Archive for the ‘Trips’ Category

Personally, #selfiEscolta is, yes, one significant hashtag. I got the chance to be a part of this ‘huge’ project, work with very brilliant, talented and committed young and old people alike who share the same passion and love for heritage. Here’s a shout out to the following groups who coordinated with the Heritage Conservation Society – Youth in making this event successful:

ESCOLTA REVIVAL MOVEMENT: Escolta Commercial Association Inc.; Heritage Conservation Society-Youth; 98B COLLABoratory; International Council for Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). (You may check their profiles on Facebook for more details)

This event foretold in my previous blog :  I can say, working at the ground control and getting in charge of all the activities happening at Escolta Street during that day is one of the most fulfilling and satisfying moments of me being involved in public service and heritage advocacy – no matter how tiring it was. The last time I have been in charge of a big event like this is when I became the head of the Organizing Committee of our High School Alumni Homecoming, in November 2011. I remember posting a blog a few years ago about the things that I want to do in life.  My Daydreaming entry, which I published exactly two years ago, says how much I wanted this:

This was during one of my early solo visits in Intramuros years ago. I used to sport long hair back then. 🙂

Join a force that cultivates peace, people empowerment, anything for the good. I’ve done some ‘kawang gawa’ in the past and I think I got addicted to it. But I never want to belong to any radical activist group. I’d like to have Kara’s job (I so envy her!), but I fear that too much curiosity with the people from that profession, of being a rebel for a cause, would cause me to have my thoughts inclined to the ‘dark side’ so to speak.

Be a Tourist Guide. I am a Carlos Celdran fan. Well, at least of his job. I used to fantasize about me guiding the tourists of Intramuros and Fort Bonifacio, while I share with them the stories behind the history of the place. I am a Rizal fan, and for some reason, I only want to be a tourist guide for Fort Santiago, Intramuros, and Luneta. Sure, I would like to be a tourist guide all over the country, but if given a chance to choose, I’d choose the places that I’ve mentioned.”

I don’t know if I subconsciously made the Law of Attraction work for me and let the Universe conspire with all my desires, or maybe it’s really destined to be, but becoming a member of HCS-Y is definitely gave me the chance to get closer to my daydream. 🙂

So what actually is #selfiEscolta? I won’t be posting more of my own pictures now aside from these two. Instead, I will ask you to search the net using the hashtag #selfiEscolta and discover on your own how netizens participated.  🙂

The filtered image of the tram brings back the old glory of Escolta

The tram used to have its regular route passing along Calle Escolta during the street’s golden years.

The vintage Buick adds to the nostalgic feel of the event

This vintage Buick is such a camwhore. 😀


One of the most memorable photos of the night. That feeling of being there as a fan, and as part of the organizers of the event that they have participated at the same time is worth more than any talent fee for me – another reason why I do stuff like this pro bono, aside from the fact that you are doing this ‪#‎forloveofheritage‬. A lot of new and upcoming performers participated in the event as well. Franchize also hyped up the crowd with his rap skills last night. I grew up listening to the songs of these Tres Marias: Bayang, Cooky and the legendary Lolita Carbon. Man, that period when they were playing their set kind of gave a second wind to my already tired body after being in charge of the ground control for more than 15 hours. Makes you feel like just closing your eyes and absorb the good, relaxing, nostalgic music.


However, since all you will see are #selfiEscolta pictures only all over the internet, I decided to post here, you guessed it right – vids. Credits to the respective news networks and advertisers that shot their videos featuring Escolta that I have collated. Videos. Para maiba naman. 🙂

Feaures on News Networks: 

1. 24 Oras: Vintage items, tampok sa Saturday Flea Market sa Escolta / Mar 9, 2013

2. State of the Nation March 28, 2014

3. Escolta Paandar May 15, 2014

4. Travel Thursday: Bringing Escolta Back To Its Former Glory, Solar News June 19, 2014

5. State of the Nation Paandar / Jun 27, 2014 (announcement that the event is postponed)

6. State of the Nation Paandar / July 5, 2014

Also, here is a music video from the up and coming singer, Quest, which was also shot mostly in Escolta:

Lastly, TV Ads! 🙂

Coffee-Mate 2014

AMA w/ Daniel Padilla 2014… err… okaaay. 🙂

Coke w/ Nikki Gil 2009 — this is just classic.

Penshoppe 2009

We promised that this is not going to be the last. We have only touched the tip of the iceberg. To revive Escolta and the rest of Manila, a lot of work still needs to be done. It will take a lot of volunteer efforts, led by people with the burning passion and desire to see the Queen of Manila’s Streets rise again.


(Note: I didn’t want to peg this as some scary blog entry. However, it seems like the one of the most interested and popular things about MET is its story of being haunted. Also, to justify, some inexplicable things happened, while I was shooting pictures inside; and as I am writing about MET now.)  ~~,

UPDATE:  Here was the recent photos from this year’s MET Clean-Up Drive

More photos at my HCS-Y* : The Manila Metropolitan Theater


I joined the FREE Guided Royal Postal Heritage Tour yesterday, headed by Sir Rence Chan. A part of the tour’s itinerary was to visit and see what is inside the Manila Metropolitan Theater, more popularly known as MET. The experience was a mixture of amazement, regret and disappointment. I wish I was able to watch a performance in there when I was young.

MET, during its golden years, had a great reputation as one of the best theaters in the country, and could be lined up with the other equally awesome theaters in the world, I believe. Now I see it as Manila’s lost gem – forgotten, neglected, abandoned, dilapidated, after losing all its luster and purpose in the fast paced modern life of the Metro. 

And disappointingly, quoting an article from wiki, “It regained its original use and prestige as a cultural center and finally closed down in 1996 due to ownership disputes between the city administration and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). On June 23, 2010, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Manila mayor Alfredo Lim re-opened the theater after extensive renovations. The Theater used again once for the Wolfgang Band Concert in 2011. But in 2012, the theater is closed again due to decays inside the building.” – Art Deco in the Philippines. Manila: ArtPositAsia, by Lourdes Montinola

Had there been no administrative disputes (and the misuse and incorrect allocations of government funds), the MET could have been one of the remaining performing arts venues that our race can be proud of. The renovation and restoration of MET, though, is a tall order, considering the lack fund of the Manila government and the individuals behind the MET administration.

Besides the desire to capture the MET ‘occupants’ from another realm (lol), I took a lot of pictures of what is inside MET, in the hopes that I can also show you what Manila is losing, if they cannot find ways to restore, renovate and reopen this magnificent structure. It’s more than just the architectural design, and the masterpiece artworks inside. It’s all about the prestige that MET has brought to the country during its days. No ghost photos, unfortunately.

As I was saying, I didn’t intend to make this to scare, but then again, I just couldn’t avoid it. In fact, here is one interesting article excerpt I found online, while researching for some FACTS about MET: 

(credits to  clarencetuvera of

“Many of the old costumes from previous performances were found in the stock rooms. Apparently, Rolando simply left behind all 17 years-worth of costumes, hand props, stage furniture, a whole library of TP translated works, and the final stage set of Twelfth Night at the MET warehouse to rot. Two other adjacent rooms contain all the costumes, hand props, furniture, musical instruments, old posters and programs of all productions that had been staged at the MET since it first opened to the public.

Two years ago, a TV network featured the old MET for its Halloween special. I got misty eyed as I saw the shell of what was once considered the Diva of architecture in the old Manila district. Apparently, rehabilitation work is again ongoing, and several construction workers who mostly stayed and slept on site, were interviewed. They told chilling stories of how a “performance” would play out at ungodly hours of the night, mostly around two. They recounted how they would be awakened by the dialogues delivered, and arias sung by ghostly performers in the complete darkness of the now abandoned art deco Opera House.

Note: I tried to attach a photo of Dame Ella Luansing as she appeared in one production where she wore a veiled costume similar to the one worn by Divina that night, but I don’t know how. The only difference between Divina’s and Ella’s costume is that Ella’s costume in the photo is purple.”


I encourage you to read the entire entry here at : The Dame. Ella’s image found from the

Aaand… to add more goosebumps than what you are having right now, you may watch this iWitness episode about MET:


To everyone, I encourage you to participate in the monthly tour inside MET. You may follow Sir Lawrence Chan to get news and updates about the tours. Also, I would be very disappointed of you just satiate yourself by looking only at the photos. Visit the place, and have your say about having the MET  restored. Aside from the interesting news and details that you’ll know about MET, from different sources, it’s still a unique experience to walk along those hallways, go up the staircases, look at the windows, be at the place itself, and imagine the MET as if you were in the animated movie Anastasia’s Once Upon a December scene. That, minus the musicale, and Anastasia herself. 🙂



The tour was held on April 6, 2014

This blog has been long overdue. I keep telling myself since the very moment that I joined the Heritage Conservation Society Youth, that I would be blogging all the trips and activities that I will be participating in. Two months passed and this will only be my first entry. 🙂 

More pictures available in this FB album:

HCS-Y Heritage Tour: The Santos-Andres House in Antipolo


The family members of Roman Santos, who originally lived in Navotas build their home in 1917. The heirs of Don Roman Santos decided to have the house literally transferred to Antipolo City. 

I got the chance to join this exclusive trip again. Thanks to my friends in the Heritage Conservation Society Youth. If there are inanimate creations that I could fall in love with, this house has got to be one of them. 🙂 #HCSY #fortheloveofheritage

According to Sir Vic Roman Santos, this “santo” has two heads. The other one depicts a sad and a face in pain


I wonder how elegant you’d feel if you did a number one in here?

And here are some of the treats that Sir Vic Roman-Santos shared to us: 


Sir Roman Santos points at the kid’s name tag as he tells the story of one of his family members who share the same name as the kid’s – Joaquin.

Stargazing, Starstruck

Posted: April 14, 2013 in and Explorations, Trips, Visits

UPDATE! – “Hoorah!” , shall I say because there’s an update? 🙂 –

Here’s my second tour. This one’s a bit more special, because of the new pics I got, courtesy of the GOTO Telescope, and my new toy, a Canon 1200D DSLR

IMG_2764 IMG_2760 IMG_2758 IMG_2759

Check the pics here!

My Second Tour at the PAGASA Astronomical Observatory (04/21/2014)

My first ever trip to an astronomical observatory. I must say this is one of the many trips that I have gone for the first time that got me immediately fascinated with. Another childhood dream put into realization.

We were guided in the tour, with our resident Astronomer, Mr. Nico Mendoza, a City of Mandaluyong Science High School graduate of Batch 2007, who also happens to be one of the first three graduates of BS Astronomy Technology in the country. He invited us on a special, private tour inside the Philippine Atmospheric and Astronomical Administration (PAGASA – the G part, which stands for Geophysical is already removed from their administration and is now handled by PHIVOLCS, but they decided to put the letter in the acronym anyway. It would not sound good if they do remove it! LOL)

Was it special? In many ways, yes! 🙂

I have always been fascinated by the heavenly bodies. From my younger years, even when I was in preschool, looking at the pictures of galaxies, planets, and other heavenly bodies from encyclopedias (internet was not yet that available), up to  when I am already am already an adult, watching documentaries from Discovery Channel and Nat Geo, fascinated me.   Good thing I also graduated from a high school that focused on these sciences. There was even one time, during the 2010 Lunar Eclipse, that I stayed up all night, taking a screen shot from  a live video simulcast from an international astronomical website, to create a time lapse slide show of the lunar phases during an eclipse.

And I thought I was already in content with those photos and videos. Until last night.

Having  the chance to look at these amazing creations from the telescope with my naked eye is just an amazing, exhilarating experience. It kinda refreshed my fascination with the stars and whatever else is found there in the outer space. You guys have got to see it for yourselves, as the photos in my Facebook wall would not suffice.

Me and Nico arrived about an hour earlier than the others. While we were taking a look at the moon from the telescopes, I couldn’t help my self but ask him about the things that he does as an astronomer. He personally does not want to be called as an astronomer, as someone who uses telescopes, points them to the stars and assists tourists, who basically has not undergone and earned a degree can also be called one. Well, in fairness to Sir Nico, his credentials can put him on a higher level than some “astronomers”.

Me and Nico also happen to share a common ground of graduating college from the same University and mentored by the awesome Doctor Jesus Torres of Rizal Technological University – me on Political Science, and Nico on Astronomy Technology – a great coincidence, indeed.

And being a space fan that I am, I found myself finishing almost every sentence that Nico started while we were having a quick chitchat, as we were waiting for the others. We were two individuals sharing the same interests,and for me, it was a privilege to be given a lecture by one credible person who knows a lot about something you’d like to know a lot about.

Enter a caption

Here’s Nico, while adjusting the view of the telescope to check on Planet Saturn. The GOTO telescope is the only one, and biggest telescope in the country, with a 45cm diameter lens. It was donated to the Philippines by Japan about a decade ago.

We were also given a brief, yet very informative lecture about astrophotography, by one of our companions in the trip, who happens to have a lot of knowledge about cameras and DSLRs, with the help of Sir Nico’s modules – now I get to appreciate photos more, by understanding the technical stuff and how they affect the output of each photo.

Saturn and its moons

A more focused image of the ringed planet, Saturn

A view of the moon as seen from the observatory

This is one good way to bond with your friends. I guess I am just privileged to have a friend like Sir Nico that we are given the opportunity like this. Normally, you would need to ask permission from PAGASA Observatory for any visit, and they won’t be able to let you use any viewing equipment without enough supervision.

When sleeping over gets too overrated, you get to hang out with your friends (and new found ones) and experience a tour like this!

Here’s the album from our first visit, over four years ago:

Star Gazing – PAGASA Observatory, UP Diliman, Quezon City

Lastly, it could be a good place to date, too! Given that you are allowed all access to the observatory, or you may simply set yourselves outside looking at the stars, peeping from the scopes from time to time, strumming on your guitar while laying down on a makeshift mat beside a special someone looking straight up the stars.

A heavenly view matched with some acoustic music? Your date can never go wrong.

Okay, enough with me being such a romantic! 🙂

We promise to be back to the observatory, and hopefully, on a night when a special astronomical event will be taking place.