Archive for January, 2009

laptop bags by urbanities: slithering in white

Posted in fashion, lifestyle, urbanities lifestyle store with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 27, 2009 by mijodo

something snaky

Sexy. Strappy. Snaky.

One’s laptop bag need not be in basic black. For the more fashion intuitive, there is white to conquer. 

Urbanities presents the Advincula bag which combines lambskin and snakeskin in pure white as its exterior finish. But there is more to the new set of Urbanities Bags – fanciful and colorful lining* to make the bag more exciting and and to make possessions easier to manage. The Advincula Bag has a special compartment that can accommodate 14.1 inch laptops and 13 inch macbooks. Of course, the slimmer and smaller UPMC laptops could fit comfortably in such bag.

With its long straps, carrying the laptop case makes it easier. In fact, one gets the confidence while having the Advincula.

For inquiries, please call 0917-8339894 or4180776.

*pattern and color of lining available bags can differ from the picture.

For prices and other Urbanities Products –

the plaza of the oracles

Posted in artifacts, culture, events, locales, tradition with tags , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2009 by mijodo

the "manghuhula" and the tarot cards

Tis the season of fortunetellers and geomancers. From a few days just before the Western New Year  until the Chinese New Year which is  in late January or early February, such people are most sought after to find out what lies ahead for the rest of the year and maybe, even beyond.

At Quiapo”s Plaza Miranda, numerous “manghuhulas” converge to read cards and palms for those who are desperate to determine what lies ahead.  They huddle together in their makeshift consulting spaces consisting of a table and tiny chairs for themselves and their patrons. The clients listen intently as the seers whisper to them on what fortune can befall them.

In this area, Filipinos have sought counsel from the oracles on issues encompassing all facets of life -mundane or not. Middle aged ladies troop to the place to confirm about the suspected philandering husbands. Even businesspeople seek opinion from fortunetellers on what enterprising endeavor is most profitable for them. And of course, the out of luck and out of job would ask if they could be more fortunate outside the Philippines. Or some rich lady would just like to know who the culprit is that stashed away her set of  jewelry.

In such sessions, there are times that the socalled psychics are on point dishing out specific moments of your past experiences, but largely the readings are too general to make a real  impression. Therapeutic in a way, whether you get to have a perceptive clairvoyant or not,  just enjoy the ride, and take in the more positive comments to create a better you and a better future ahead of you.

all in the family, all in the community

Posted in artifacts, culture, events, locales, people with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2009 by mijodo

jose blanco's portraiture of his family members praying

Picture this: a maestro for a father tutoring his seven kids on sunday afternoons on the skill of drawing using simple plywood as canvass and oil pastel as medium. Imagine this: the mother who had initially attended to  aficionados as probable buyers for her husband and children’s artwork started to create her own art at a mature age.

At first, I thought the Blanco family‘s reputation may have been caused by the peculiarity of having the whole brood making artistic expression altogether as Filipinos may find the whole idea fascinating and endearing.  But upon touring the Blanco museum, and passing through circuitous passageways full of murals and detailed portrayals of life whether in pastoral Angono or in Communist China where the whole family had been invited in the 80s, then I get to realize that their art is truly legitimate not just brought about by a heartwarming oddity.

It  just so happened that Jose Blanco was able to instill to his whole family his passion, discipline and academic knowledge of fine arts. And it was no surpise that his son Michael, recalled how his father had also been given pointers  by Angono’s own –  National Artist, Carlos “Botong” Francisco ( In due time Jose Blanco’s tutelage of his family  was expanded in putting up an art academy for the people in the municipality to discover artistic talent.

Now the  Blanco kids are manning the school and passing the art baton on. Truly, in this community, it takes giants to create even more giants.

scouts’ honor

Posted in architecture, artifacts, events, food, lifestyle, locales, people with tags , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2009 by mijodo


sprucing up the scout rotunda 

(Another article from

There is this swath of an area at Quezon City that is almost bounded by the main arteries of Timog and Epifanio De Los Santos Avenues. This is where the gentrified homes of the 60s and the 70s have been slowly but surely swallowed up by the bursting commercialism and the exuberance of night time entertainment these days.


Before the 90s, this area had this genteel quality that signified sterile upper middleclass family living.  Homes then were considered palatial to today’s standards with large manicured gardens lined up upon streets after streets.  Peculiarly the streets have the last names of certain Philippine Boy Scouts hence the name Scout Area. However the area’s original name was Project One, particularly before the early 1960s.


During that time, Max’s at Scout Tuazon was the ultimate family dining experience, as everyone got honest to goodness spring size fried chicken with bread roll on the side. Of course, if one wants to go classy, then there was Alfredo’s Steak House owned by the Araneta Family at Morato Avenue corner  and Scout De Guia Avenue to partake some juicy t-bone steak.


And during the middle 80s there was a section of  the Scout Area along Morato Avenue where ”tiangges” (flea markets) sold garage sale wares (movie posters, movies in betamax format), hard to find food favorites (espasol, lechon baka), and ready to wear branded export items.(original or not).


Although the Scout Area is a relatively joyous neighborhood, many still may not know, that its streets are named after young Boy Scouts who had come from prominent families and perished while en route to a supposed momentous occasion. In 1963, among the many youths who had been screened, twenty were chosen to participate in the 11th  World Jamboree which was held in Greece. They were given a send-off ceremony at the then Manila International Airport. The scouts together with their Doctor and Scout Master, Dr. Lazcano wore their uniform but were in salakot (native hat) as they boarded the KLM plane. However on July 28th, after they had transferred plane, all 24 members of the Philippine Boy Scout contingent plunged into the waters of Bombay, India on board United Arab Airlines.


As the fatalities involved young men, the news shocked every Filipino. To the scouts’ respective families, it was an assault to the budding aspirations and dreams of the lost loved ones. Masses and necrological services were offered for their untimely demise. In their honor, eventually, a mausoleum was erected at North Cemetry. And in time, streets were named after each member of the contingent. And finally, a fitting monument was put in place at the rotunda of Timog and Morato Avenues.


Today, commercial establishments have sprouted at the area sometimes even encroaching streets that are purposedly for residential use. Exclusive cafes, bars and restaurants dot the area and close even at past midnight. New forms of relaxation and entertainment have emerged significantly in the spot such as karaoke joints, comedy bars and spas.  At least two television and radio networks have chosen this vicinity to create empires of stars and celebrities.


Although it can still be debated whether the changes through the years have given honor and respect to the 24 scouts whose lives were cut short, still through the years, the Scout Area has been a prime and important section of Quezon City for its cityfolks.

land of the other giants

Posted in artifacts, culture, locales, people, tradition, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2009 by mijodo

relief mural translation of botong francisco's painting on the "cry of pugadlawin" by bonifacio as depicted by the artists of angono 

The “higantes” may give some color to the festivities of Angono, but it is the native cultural luminaries who are the true giants of this Rizal town. In fact, two of them have been conferred the honors of becoming National Artists.

One cultural treasure is the musical composer and professor Lucio San Pedro. He (together with lyricist Levi Celerio) created the haunting lullaby “Sa Ugoy ng Duyan”, and folksy song “Ang Pipit.” 

Another cultural genius from Angono is Carlos “Botong” Francisco. His works dwell much on Filipino history and  traditions. He created masterpieces such as “Muslim Wedding” and  “Bayanihan” (this one was commissioned by Filipino Drug Corporation – Unilab).

The people from Angono have been so proud of Francisco such that the young artists of this generation paid homage by translating his pieces into relief murals along Aurora Street where his house stands. Perimeter walls of residential homes have been used as canvasses.  Thus the street has become a virtual museum where everyone can sense Francisco’s artistry and patriotism.

It is just appropriate that the other youth of this country should look up to such men who created culturally elephantine works and stood tall in the process.

have zest, will travel

Posted in artifacts, culture, lifestyle, locales, nature, people with tags , , , , , on January 2, 2009 by mijodo

zest for travel

It is year 2009! Happy New Year and let us alter anew.

This is the opportunity to energize ourselves and make changes (whether large or small) in our lives. Have you been procrastinating in repainting those bedroom walls? Then get some paint and brush to change the color of your environment. Have you been wanting to finish your thesis? Then do that research, and present it to the defense panel just before the school year ends. Have you been indifferent to worthy causes? Then develop a conscience and volunteer. Have you been interested to see new places? Then have some zest and travel.

Speaking of zest and travel, I am now a contributor for the inflight magazine of Zest Air which original brandname by the way was Asian Spirit (have you also been wanting to change your name?). For the December – January, 2009 edition, I talked about my experiences in Banaue,  and San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan (Grotto) In this case, my writing and photography for the publications Zest Air, and the new travel and lifestyle glossy magazine, Republic of 7107 Islands, just somehow transformed me to become a true travel writer.

That’s one change completed.