Archive for the architecture Category

wedding

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, food, interior design, lifestyle, locales, people, religion on January 20, 2012 by mijodo

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Ah weddings and their many traditions to a lasting and happy marriage!

In the US, the wedding tradition starts with the bride-to-be looking for her wedding gown in bridal stores where the salesperson attending to her can show and deliver what the bride to be has always envisioned for herself during that special day. In doing so, the bride wears the probable gowns for fitting and showcasing them to her accompanying mother, sisters, girlfriends, and sometimes her groom for the right bridal dress design. After consultation, the chosen gown is to be worn again on the very day of the wedding.

In Philippine weddings, the bride to be can still look for a dress or have his fantabulous gown designed to her liking, but it is a definite no-no to fit the gown itself or lest the wedding is doomed not to go through at all. Hence the designers would only allow the bride to fit the lining such that no mishap can happen just before the wedding.  And all what the groom can do is to wait for his bride at the altar in quiet anticipation.

And this was what Rigor did while Jenny slowly glided toward him at the long red carpet, and beautiful flower blossoms at the side at the long red carpet – just wait and gushed over how beautiful Jenny was in her beaded gown accentuated with the up-do hairstyle and fresh looking make-up, exclusively for that matrimonial date.

(lg2a) smallville, new york

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, events, history, letsgopinas goes to america, locales, nature, people, tradition with tags , , , , , , , , on November 22, 2011 by mijodo

“Have you been to a place, far away from it all…?” – from the song Lost Horizon of the movie musicale with the same title.

This is how I felt all throughout when I stayed at that upstate locale, Jeffersonville in the state of New York for almost two months for a job stint.

There is a sense of isolation, a sense of being alone, specially so that there is not much of a distraction from any of the popular fastfood area, or  from any of the large shopping malls and groceries within this small village.

For those missing the citylife, it is almost cruel irony, that the borough of Manhattan, the world’s financial district, and densely populated by famous skyscrapers and megastructures is merely about 3 1/2 hours away.  However for the unfortunate ones who don’t own cars, it will take several hundred bucks for a one way taxi-ride, and that is – if there is one willing to take you there.  For a direct bus ride from the area, you have to thank the Jeffersonville Bank (the lone bank in the entire area) to sponsor one bus that should take 60 people for a bustrip to the city. And this momentous excursion happens every three months – once for every season at a reduced price of 30 dollars – two way.

However if you are not into the grime and fast paced city living, then surely you will take in all what you can from leisurely life of Jeffersonville.  From a good vantage point, there is the stretch of mountains and hills all over to envelop your visual sense.  Then trek down the scenic waterways  and probably, have a canoe ride at Delaware River.  Admire the architectural Americana of houses and inns that will transport your imagination to Jefferson’s storied past, settled in by mostly Eastern Europeans.  Saunter and buy something for yourself in several of the eclectic mix of antique shops, themed restaurants and one mini-grocery in what the community calls “Downtown.”

Overall, this is a sleepy town, no doubt. This is where you cocoon yourself to take that hobby of potterymaking, photography, or probably, in my case, blog writing to further level. This is where you consume sleep and rest without distraction from any of the urban excesses such as traffic, pollution, noise and even excessive workload.

But it is not everyday snoozetown at Jeff (nickname for the place).  Every so often, the relaxed routine at Jeffersonville is punctuated by activities that should excite its dwellers, and should invite tourists and guests to partake in.

During the summer month of August, at nearby Bethel Woods Center of the Arts, there is a number of rock and pop bands dishing out their musical wares to celebrate the Woodstock phenomenon in year 1969.  Today, people flock to this museum cum open air auditorium  overlooking the original farmland where the now iconic, three day rock festival happened, and enjoy the spirit of the legendary musicians and bands that participated before – Joan Baez, Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Grateful Dead, Blood, Sweat and Tears, and a lot more.

And during one weekend in October, frenzied photographers take pictures and create photoessays about the lives of people inside Jeffersonville.  Eddie Adams, a native of this place and Pulitzer Prize winner for an iconic Vietnam news photograph, created a seminar of sorts for those interested in documenting life in still pictures some years ago. A hundred students still attend this important annual lecture-workshop series that is graced by professionals from National Geographic, New York Times, Sports Illustrated in furthering their eye for photojournalism.

Surely there is no Filipino community in this area, unlike perhaps Manhattan or even Queens. But in the very heart of Jeffersonville, there is a motley crew of Filipinos working and caring for many of its ageing and psychologically challenged residents.  The owners and workers of Jeffersonville Senior Living have accommodated their guests with the unique Filipino way of giving utmost kindness and servitude. Jeffersonville may be remote and out of the way, but to its denizens and the Filipinos staying for the meantime, just like the Burt Bacharach song suggests, it is  “Lost Horizon.”

Lost Horizon

Have you ever dreamed of a place Far away from it all
Where the air you breathe is soft and clean And children play in fields of green
And the sound of guns Doesn’t pound in your ears  (anymore)
Have you ever dreamed of a place
Far away from it all
Where the winter winds will never blow
And living things have room to grow And the sound of guns Doesn’t pound in your ears anymore.
Many miles from yesterday before you reach tomorrow
Where the time is always just today
There’s a lost horizon, waiting to be found.
There’s a lost   horizon Where the sound of guns
Doesn’t pound in your ears anymore.

(lg2a) medium

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, events, interior design, letsgopinas goes to america, lifestyle, locales, people, religion, tradition, travel with tags , , , , on April 24, 2011 by mijodo

Happy Easter

(No article has been produced since these two words that I have written, many months ago, to acclaim the Lord’s resurrection from death and entry to heaven. I promised myself not to write until I come back home to get back my life.)

November 2, 2011

Some months ago, as my relatives and I trekked back to the iconic travel-must, Disney World in Orlando, Florida, we passed by this beautifully erected Catholic church in Hanceville, Alabama, in the farmlands of Cullman. This monastic church of  The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament was built by the adorably telegenic Mother Angelica, founder of EWTN (Eternal World Television Network).

After being instructed by the Lord to “build a temple” in 1995, Mother Angelica was able to finish the construction in 1999.  The church’s medieval appearance seems to be substantial in architecture, particularly with the fortress like form  of the Castle of San Miguel (a gift shop) fronting the church. Inside, the cavernous church, one will be able to draw the sense of awe and aspiration to be with God and the Creator. The interiors are rightly so grand and opulent (despite being run by the Poor Clare Nuns of the Perpetual Adoration, the congregation joined in by Mother Angelica) with marble floors, vaulted ceilings, and the gold leafed tabernacle. It is said that masses there are observed with a highly inspiring choir, orchestrated by the cloistered nuns themselves, behind the heavy altar grills.

As a sidenote, if you get to be in one of the masses, try to look for this youngish couple with all twelve kids in tow, all in their sunday formals (guys in dark jackets, and girls in laced short veils), and all sitting from youngest to eldest. The Pro-life advocates of the Church will be too happy to know this.

Testament. The church building and the media network themselves are testament to Mother Angelica’s own calling to serve God and his purpose. In the Philippines, a bastion of the Catholic Church, there have been many who have effectively used not only the pulpit, but the far-reaching, television and radio mass media to instill the values propagated by Vatican to access a bigger Filipino audience.

In the 80’s, the Dominican Father Sonny Ramirez  was the most popular priest with an affable demeanor, away from the cliched stringently inflexible personalities of priests in robes then.  Father Ramirez’s use of street language and fresh insights were utilized very well in  his own television show, Sharing in the City.

The Philippine Catholic Church has its own AM station, Radyo Veritas, DZRV which has its own league of priests, like Father Larry Faraon, and Monsignor Teddy Bacani that have disseminated the Word of God inside the Filipino homes and even outside the Philippines, mostly Asian countries (anchored by their respective Asian priests).

Through the years, there have been other religious personalities that have made waves and gained eminence in  media with their endeavors.  Music composers like Father Eduardo Hontiveros and Father Manoling Francisco, both Jesuits, have produced songs that have heavily penetrated the Filipino consciousness such as Papuri sa Diyos and Hindi Kita Malilimutan, respectively. Another Jesuit, Father James B. Reuter, although American, has been a strong ally of Philippine Theater, particularly in the 50s and the 60s, showing off Filipino thespic talents.  Too bad, his theater success , unlike songs and movies, is difficult to record and remember for today’s audience.

Lived Life. Many of the names that have been mentioned are quite lucky to find out their true calling in life – this time in preaching the name of the Lord, using the vast formats of media.  Such persuasions are gathered from the fired up passions of their hearts and the gentle murmurs that excite their minds. It is just a matter of action, and true perseverance before they get to realize all their lofty dreams, all their big aspirations.  But everything starts from saying “yes” to such calling – whether it is in the realm of religion, politics, business or other beliefs that are provoked by the spirit of a higher entity.

I come back to the Philippines, to my home country, fully knowing that this is where all my efforts should be realized. I just respond to my innermost desires and convictions, just like all those who were lucky to have known what they have been called for in life.  Abroad, my life was just a cruel negation of all my heart’s and mind’s interests. I had to constantly whisper to myself that I just had to come back.

As I arrived in Manila, on the day of the dead, November 1, 2011, my Easter has truly come. Now, I live.

(lg2a) bakya mo, van gogh

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, fashion, history, letsgopinas goes to america, lifestyle, locales, nature, people, tradition, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2011 by mijodo

Somehow this blog has reached Dutch country – Holland, Michigan, that is.

Cousin Barbara, and her husband, Eliot,  invited me to go aboard their recreational vehicle to visit the quaint city of Holland, about 190 miles, West of Detroit, or about 2 hours and 30 minutes of  drive while enjoying the lavish accommodation and some good conversation inside the behemoth vehicle.

Apparently, at that time, we missed out on some pretty tulip blossoms which usually make their abundant presence felt during the month of May. But I knew aside from the tulips, there would be other attractions that could be seen in this settlement, founded by the Dutch settlers that arrived mid 19th Century to establish their own religious sect, outside Holland – the country, that is.

And most definitely, there is a wealth of Dutch knowledge to be had at Neli’s Dutch Village Theme Park. Costumes, dances, music, and food which includes their famous cheese are all featured by young kids that come from generations of Dutch people who braved settling to this area.  The theme park and other Holland City landmarks celebrate the famous people from Holland where arts and crafts are salient part of its culture.

Famous Flemish painters like Rembrandt and Vermeer have their works featured at Holland’s museum while there is a depiction of Vincent Van Gogh, painting his famous “Sunflowers” series inside Neli’s theme park.

Aside from the windmills that create power and  the charming blue and white ceramics, it is their use of a pair of klompen that can generate some smiles and heartening guffaws from us outside of Holland.

Klompen are those danish wooden clogs, used during the olden times for farming and everyday use, specially for wet and damp grounds. It may feel hard on  the feet, but the wearer has put on thick socks for convenience. Today, klompen is just a reminder of Danish culture and tradition (even for folkloric dancing), and has become a favorite tourist souvenir kitsch, particularly the miniaturized ones.

In the Philippines, we have something quite similar – the bakya. These are wooden strapless sandals that were for everyday use, by women in their kimonas or other Filipino traditional dresses, particularly in the 1950s. Unlike in using the klompen, the Filipino women didn’t need to use socks or stockings when putting on the bakya hence it may be inconvenient on the feet. Hence the bakya production dwindled when the more comfortable rubber slippers were introduced.

But then bakya made a comback in the late 1970s up to  the early 1980s when the lowly bakya was adopted by a Filipino brand, Happy Feet. The bakya became a rage for the college crowd that went almost subversive against the elite shoe fashion brands from Europe.

During the 70s and 80s, the women and even the more avantgarde men happily wore bakyas for them to be seen as cool and unpretentious. However bakya, particularly in 1950s was synonymous to the hoi polloi or the masa hence Filipino director Lamberto Avellana angrily coined the phrase “bakya crowd,” particularly for the Filipino audience that appreciated low brow movies which the National Artist never subscribed to when making films. Today, such derogatory phrase has moved on to just one word – “bakya” – that is to describe a mentality that is unhip, unfashionable, unsophisticated and unclassy even outside the realm of movie preference, again, associated with the Filipino masses.

Are Van Gogh and his art bakya? Sosyal!

(lg2a) enclaves of the rich and famous

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, events, fashion, history, interior design, letsgopinas goes to america, lifestyle, locales, news, people, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2011 by mijodo

Oh to be famous and rich. Well I can comfortably settle for just being rich – in fact, filthy rich.

Cousin Barbara and I, together with some Los Angeles tourists,  hopped on to this white, open top, vehicle that should bring us to the hills of Hollywoodland and its environs. Again, just like what we had done at the Oscar grounds (https://letsgopinas.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/oh-oscar/), we became gawkers and probably even snoops of such exulted showbiz personalities and their real estate acqusitions.

Again, my cousin and I, make ourselves small, just by listening to such trivial celebrity information amusingly dished out to us by our driver/travel guide as we meandered in the uber exclusive roads within the Beverly Hills and Bel-Air Villages. But our first stop was where the famous Hollywood sign was perched on the top of the hill. Our driver mentioned that  in the 1930s one young aspiring actress who had been frustrated with her unsatisfying career, climbed up on one of the letters of the Hollywood sign, and leapt to her death. The following day, a letter arrived to inform her supposedly of a starring role on a film.

On a more fun note, the tour went through the houses and mansions of Hollywood and American society A-listers and some B celebrities, including Dr. Phil, Bob Barker of Price is Right,  Laurence Fishburne of CSI, Richard Gere, the late red head comedienne, Lucille Ball, and the prepubescent’s idols, the Jonas Brothers.  Each home is palatial, grand, and speaks much of the owner’s taste and requirements. At the outside, Nicolas Cage’s residence is romantic yet dark in tone, with patches of garden moss attached on its brick red facade. Celebrity heiress, Paris Hilton’s family residence has its name – West Haven, emblazoned on the perimeter wall.  Such shows the Hilton family’s self importance.  Even the guide, acerbicly asked us, “Does your house have a name?”

But whose ego is said to be as big as his Beverly Hills estate? According to our scornfully loquacious driver – it is no other than  Tom Cruise.  While tangentially passing by Tom Cruise’s place (we never actually saw his home at the top of hill, blocked by other houses), our driver mentioned that if Tom Cruise’s presence is inside the mansion, a white flag is propped up in his property.  Well during our trip, there is no flag to signal his actual stay in the mansion.

The story may just be one of the legends concocted by these enterprising travel guides to make the trip fun and interesting. Afterall, such big showbiz royalties don’t announce their presence just like that –  for obvious security reasons.  I am even wondering, how is it possible that such enclaves are open for curious tourists and outsiders to see, and possibly furthermore to inspect their actual garbage bins outside their homes (saw several at Richard Gere’s charming home.)

Certainly, homeowners of our own exclusive villages in Makati, Ortigas and Alabang will never allow such oglers in their territories. It is just too risky in terms of security, and too outlandish in terms of privacy. But yes in the Philippines, posh enclaves for the rich and probably infamous have burgeoned for several decades. The old rich , and even the ambassadors to the Philippines, may have settled in ritzy Forbes Park and Dasmarinas Village in Makati. The noveau rich may have opted to dwell in Ayala, Alabang or in the tall glass buidings of Fort Bonifacio.  But of course, there are still members of the family manning the genteel homes of Malate where the wealthy families took residence during the pre-war era.

While it is sure that these great big homes, whether in the Philippines or in Los Angeles, have happy families and individuals occupying them, there are still houses and haunts that have saddening and even paranormal experiences.  Our driver at the roadtrip had a serious tone when we passedby the last residence of Michael Jackson where he had been last taken out to the hospital for drug overdose. He also made mention of Marilyn Monroe’s apparition, visiting a favorite hotel – the Roosevelt Hotel at Hollywood Boulevard.  And just before his death, John Belushi’had gone to one favorite nightclub, the Guitar Center, and even ate his last meal – consisting of lentil soup.

And of course the tour would never be complete without the driver pinpointing where Hugh Grant made his scandalous mistake with a local prostitute – at the alleyways, near the KFC store. Oh, to be rich and horny, this time.

2010 in review

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, events, history, letsgopinas goes to america, lifestyle, locales, news, people, technology, tradition, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2011 by mijodo

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 49,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 6 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 26 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 116 posts. There were 191 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 55mb. That’s about 4 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was June 20th with 430 views. The most popular post that day was ANOTHER FAMILY UNIT (Aurora Loft), good for four with dedicated DSL and PHONE line, starting at P1450 per night.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were pinoyexchange.com, sulit.com.ph, en.wordpress.com, mail.yahoo.com, and facebook.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for manila ocean park, imee marcos wedding, bianca gonzales, apartelle in quezon city, and fashion.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

ANOTHER FAMILY UNIT (Aurora Loft), good for four with dedicated DSL and PHONE line, starting at P1450 per night February 2010
12 comments

2

and then, there’s room for more (at again half the usual hotel price)! September 2008
86 comments

3

hot pools of pansol August 2008
16 comments

4

the great classic cotton shirt September 2008
36 comments

5

the antipolo ambient March 2009
1 comment

get crazy and high

Posted in architecture, events, health, interior design, lifestyle, locales, news, people, sports, technology, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2010 by mijodo

 If New York has the Empire State Building, and Paris has the Eiffel Tower, then Cebu may just have Crown Regency Hotel. Afterall, in these tall landmarks, it is not unusual for many tourists and locals to come up, and take in all the panoramic views the eyes can afford to see from such edifices. People in the city of New York clamber up to the 86th floor of the famed Art-deco office building to set eyes on the uniformed street blocks of Manhattan and its countless skyscrapers. In Paris, all try to move up into the observation platform of the iron tower of Eiffel, and gush at the lush garden sceneries down below, particularly the Trocadero Fountains. But once in Cebu, visitors go to the highest floors of the hotel edifice, and try to admire the vast aerial views of the metropolis, but possibly, even quite literally, with a twist.

 Of course at the very top of the building which is said to be the  tallest in Cebu, and probably in the whole Philippines, there are the usual coin operated binoculars and telescopes to zoom in on specific areas of Cebu City, but one can be most appreciative of the commanding and extensive views of the city without the necessity of such peering device. But alas, still that would be a little unexciting as there are more atypical ways to get a 360 degree views of this historic and economically robust southern city destination through the Sky Experience Adventure, at the very top of the Crown Regency, along President Osmena Boulevard.

Take the Plunge.  One can even get out of the comfort zone by checking the vista a little outside the perimeter of the building through its Edge Coaster. At the 39th floor, one can take on the ride, similar to the cabs of a rollercoaster, that takes you around the building, yet facing full frontally the views. But then the seat tilts down 55 degrees giving one the impression of plunging 430 feet towards the ground. In fact, if both parties (the cab can only seat two at a time) decide to increase the slant more, the seat can even go to an extreme 90 degree down slope. But then one gets to realize that one is strapped safely at the coaster. Still the experience is intense and may not be advisable for those who have the fear of falling.

 The ride starts with the gracious staff giving all pointers for safety. And not like the usual rollercoaster where cabs move together, each cab in the Edge Coaster moves independently. Then the cab slowly tips over and gives one that feeling of falling down. One just prays that one does not actually fall off from the seat. Expectedly, people just hold on to the to the seat’s handlebars for dear life. But as the cab moves slowly around, then the safety features of the ride are guaranteed ok. During the ride, it is a little straining and awkward for some because of the position they are in. But then the ride is not very long, it just goes around for a minute or so.

 Look Ma, No Railings. If the Edge Coaster gives one a sensation of dropping toward land, another feature of the Sky Experience Adventure, the Sky Walk provides an impression of flying – or at least walking on air. At the 38th floor of the building, there is a four foot wide ramp around the building to walk on, without the supposed security of the railings or barrier. At the ramp there is only the harness which is securely tied from the ceiling to the suit worn by person that provides some sense of protection.  The harness’s length is short enough to make the person stay only on at the ramp, making it difficult for one to fall off from the ledge. Again, one gets to see the whole scenic vistas of Cebu. But of course, somehow there is just more mind thrill when one is romping around on the tallest building in the city, and without supposedly the safety net of the guardrails.

 But indeed, the Sky Experience Adventure team does all the precautionary procedures to avoid all untoward incidents. The team of ladies and gentlemen who have mostly mountaineering experience briefs everyone on the safety measures provided for the Skywalk Experience and how everyone should conduct himself during the walk. One must don on the blue and yellow suit specifically for such walk. And if there are those who are in slippers or highheeled shoes, the team can lend rubbershoes to provide them sole traction while on the ramp. The team also says that harnesses which can carry a weight of 5000 pounds are there for the utmost safety of the people. The ramp is strong enough and can accommodate a number of people at a given moment.

Then people are instructed to get out of the building premises, and go out and step on the actual walkway. Together with some members of the team crew, people are instructed to start walking guided by the harnesses that dangle from ceiling top. With some trepidation, one walks, and in due time, he or she enjoys a seeming moment of freedom. Then somehow, one is even emboldened to perch and sit at the very rim of the pathway. Or he can show off  a one foot standing trick at the glass edge as well, directed by the team leader. Everything can be documented by an official photographer that goes along with group for the romp.

Everything to see and feel. During the day time, you get the whole arresting vista of Cebu’s Metropolis, with the Cebu Harbor at the Southeast, and the other neighboring cities of Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, Naga and Talisay.  There might be some challenge to find famous landmarks of Cebu such as Tops at the hills of Busay. But definitely, one can easily find the iconic memorial plaza – the Fuente Osmena Circle, and of course, further up – the beautiful and majestic Capitol building of Cebu Province.

And since the Sky Experience Adventure opens until past midnight, particularly during weekends, it is very worthy to visit and participate in both rides during the evenings as well to see the luminous lights of the Capitol and Fuente Osmena Circle, and experience another enthralling aspect of the whole Cebu City. One must do the rides then twice – during the day and during the night.

Bill Killgore, General Manager of Sky Experience Adventure, devised ways to make the rides affordable, even offering two rides for the price of one promotion, many times. The patrons even get a certificate after each ride – detailing the exact date, time and even the condition of the weather. Then of course, one can purchase a picture of himself enjoying the rides, and if hungry, then he may have some food at the Sky Lounge or Sky Resto Bar.

And if there is some more money to spend, one can go several floors down to watch and experience a movie of a 4D kind! In other words, not only will he view movie scenes almost realistically through state of the art magic, he also experiences and definitely feels everything almost authentically what is shown on the screen. It is not good to spoil a film by spilling out the details, but it is recommended that one brings a hanky or small towel at the theater.

Bill Killgore, recollects that Cebu locals had some hesitations when the Sky Experience Adventure started late 2008, and it was people outside Cebu who were more adventurous and enthusiastic to partake in such rides. But it has changed through the months. In fact one local Cebuano guy, through the help of the Sky Adventure Experience team and its manager, surprised his girlfriend and popped the ultimate question – “Will you marry me?” – at the 38th Floor during their promenade at the Sky Walk. “I am just waiting that a marriage ceremony will be done here one of these days,” Killgore says a matter of factly. Well, that surely is another way of taking the plunge – 30 plus floors above the ground in Cebu.

(lg2a) give me the dirty, the dingy, the dazzling new york city

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, events, fashion, food, history, letsgopinas goes to america, lifestyle, locales, nature, news, people, religion, sports, tradition, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2010 by mijodo

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“This reminds me of Cubao, Quiapo and Makati altogether,” one sister declared.
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Yes it can be true. Just go to the heart of New York City – Manhattan that is, and you get a melange of all our iconic busy places in Metro Manila. The monumental glass buildings and skyscrapers, and fancy boutique glasswindows remind you of Ayala Avenue. The corner delicatessens, the quaint coffeshops and small emporiums, and the ubiquitous hotdog stands are reminiscent of the old Cubao, just before the posh Gateway Mall was built. Oh yes, the seedy, dirty streets, the incessant scaffoldings blocking pedestrians, and  the chaotic volume of people, crisscrossing the grid streets (which then Manila Metropolitan Commission Governor Imelda Marcos wanted to impossibly copy for the layout of Metro Manila )of Manhattan implore a Quiapo feel overall.
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“I will never come back here,” another sister threatened. She is happy to stay in a quiet suburb somewhere in the midwest.
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It is not only her who seems to be disillusioned by New York City. Aside from the disarray of Manhattan, some have outrightly warned of the bedlam that happens in the Big Apple such as frequent muggings and  the saucy attitude by the New Yorkers. There was even a time when all patrons were forcibly asked  to leave a store just because it was already closing. My sister pointed out such crudeness to a store manager. The store got some rude awakening from a Detroit diva there!
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But it is the diamond in the rough that makes New York special and iconic to many of us non-New York dwellers. The Statue of Liberty at the harbor, United Nations Headquaters and the Financial District appeal to those who have romanticized the ideals of freedom, harmony and capitalism. The beaches at Hamptons, the artifacts of the numerous galleries and museums, the runway fashion shows of designers, and the explosion of architecture connect highly to the desires and senses of the erudite, the avantgarde, the sophisticated, and the moneyed from all over the globe.
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But for many of us, hoi-polloi, including me, it is the razzle-dazzle of pop culture that makes us warm with delight in the City that Never Sleeps. Aside from the music and stories that are churned out from musicals and plays of Broadway and the numerous movies which featured the city, it is the weekly and probably daily television shows, old and new, that familiarize us with a piece of New York life. Shows such as Seinfeld, Friends, and Sex in the City give the couch potatoes a weekly dose of insights regarding independence, fraternization and even perhaps fabulous urban living, aside from the quality comedic scripts that comeout from these shows. It is the involved appreciation of such shows that make travelling to this megapolis quite surreal and a definite treat for pop culture afficionados. 
———–
It is quite a testament to New York City, a city that has experienced trouble in the last few years, in terms of finance and security, of how it has remained on the top, for visitors and travellers passing by America.  No matter how shoddy and dirty New York is, the spotlight stays on that Big Apple.

(lg2a) city of life

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, events, health, history, letsgopinas goes to america, lifestyle, locales, news, people, technology, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2010 by mijodo

It has definitely been a privilege to crisscross North America, and see some great cities in this part of the world –  from the flashy glitz of Las Vegas to the can-do character of New York City. However it seems that there is a place in Canada which is esteemed to be the “most livable” among all the cities in the world. And if you happen to be living in Vancouver City, British Columbia, then you are one lucky dude.

However if you just happen to visit Vancouver, it is not difficult to be impressed with what it has to offer –  a working, thriving, and clean metropolis in the bellows of scenic landscapes and sea vistas.  People may be working hard in the city, but the city is not working hard on its people.  The city seems to be aware on how it  can assist its dwellers in making life accessible to convenience and prosperous growth. There is a web of trains and trams that bring its people to work and home – even right to its airport. Passengers don’t need to box out fellow passengers for valued commuter space, during rush hour as commuter crowd is quite sparse. 

It is quite possible  not to even own a car, if a bike ride (or even skateboard) is sufficient (and certainly efficient) for you. There is a bike lane that goes around the city. And however way you explore the city, there are always the surrounding mountains and Fraser River that accompany you, and make your stay, in awe of Vancouver and its environs such as Surrey, Richmond and New Westminister.

The temperate climate even during winters make the whole place bearable, particularly that one can delightfully see from the city snow capped mountain sites, around Vancouver.

Our Version Apparently, it is not only the transport infrastructure or the sceneries that make Vancouver on top of the surveys (one of which is Mercer’s Quality of Living Survey) as “most livable.”  Of course, prime importance are the economic viability of the place and the secured neighborhoods.  Such criteria may be applied on the cities within the Philippines.  And among such places, Davao stoodout, beating out Manila and Cebu City, as “most livable city” in a survey (http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/insideLifestyle.htm?f=2010%2Faugust%2F24%2Flifestyle3.isx&d=2010%2Faugust%2F24).

Just like Vancouver, Davao City is a bustling megapolis (considered the biggest city in the world in terms of sheer size) with a progressive economy, almost zero percent crime rate, and significantly less traffic hassle compared to that of Manila, Makati and Cebu City.  Since it is located in Mindanao, its weather condition has been mild and almost typhoon free.  Also like in Vancouver, Davaoenos enjoy the short distance access to many beaches, particularly in Samal Island, and the rustic settings of its many mountains, such as Mt. Apo, the tallest mountain within the Philippines.

City of New Life It is no wonder expatriates and newcomers, looking for  opportunities, with a kinder way of life, gravitate towards such cities, such as in Davao, but more particularly in Vancouver.  You right away get the impression that the city of Vancouver welcomes people from all over the world, but more particularly the Asians – Chinese, Indian, and yes, of course the Filipinos, wanting to have a peaceful, rewarding life.

The Vancouverites don’t discriminate. In fact they encourage the people from different nationalities and ethnicities to profess and manifest their own cultural identity without much hesitation.  There is no need to assimilate. Vancouver  wants its people to add on to the vastness of customs and conventions to form a “mosaic” instead of a “blend.” 

The city government offers all the aid and help to new settlers – particularly, to couples with children.  You are given housing assistance, especially if the family’s income may have difficulty with coming up with rental money.  If you are just starting out, this indeed is a sweet deal.

It is not sure if Davao does the same to its new lifetime guests, but for as long you are able to work, contribute and be a good partner in building both cities, then you and your family may just have the life you have been wanting for – a great and productive one. Welcome to the Cities of Life – Davao and Vancouver.

(lg2a) sorry, we just don’t have any space

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, events, history, interior design, letsgopinas goes to america, lifestyle, locales, people, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2010 by mijodo

 

 

After some little shopping at Madison Avenue, in New York City, my sister Christie accompanied me and our niece, Ernestine to Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Met as it is popularly monickered.

We were ready to pay for the entrance fee however for some reason, the lady assistant attending to us said fees were waived that day. Instead we could make some donation, if we wish too. My sister handed in 25 Dollars for the three of us, and rented out two audio guide players to accompany us throughout the exhibits. My sister, who has been there many times, was pleasantly surpised about the fee arrangement.

And I was giddy about coming into the halls and the cloisters of the much vaunted and iconic Met. Aside from the financial district, and the skyscrapers defining New York City, it is the plethora of cultural staples that mark New York City as a “global city.”  Plays and music of Broadway, distinct ethnic communities, and a number of significant museum buidings just put New York into that cliche as the city “that never sleeps.”

Well, I almost never slept, right after the museum visit. My thoughts wandered after a seemingly innocent comment from another lady assistant inside the museum.

After taking a look at the Egyptian collection, the Americana artifacts, classical European statues and paintings, I checked out the Asian treasures, particularly the ones from South East Asia, afterall Philippines is part of that region. However I noticed right away, that only relics from Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand were occupying the huge corner space of the museum.

My instant reaction was to look for the museum person probably guarding the South East Asian pieces. “Do you have some artifacts from the Philippines?” I asked, hoping that the lady knows that Philippines is part of that particular Asian region.

“Sorry, we just don’t have any space,” was the lame excuse of the lady.

I did not push the issue. I felt sorry for the Philippines. In the huge halls of the august museum, there seemed no representative piece from my country. “Not even the Man in the Barrel woodpiece from Baguio,” I told jokingly to my sister.

I was incensed and disturbed. Didn”t the Metropolitan Museum of the Art know that Philippines is part of South East Asia? Or did the Met think we only have “rebultos and santos,” such that this Philippine collection might only mar a decidedly Oriental character of the space which is full of ceramic plates and buddha statues all around. But the Philippines does have pre-hispanic ceramic plates and jars excavation finds. Probably our National Museum should lend some of our collection pieces used by our pre-Christian ancestors – mostly Aetas and Indo-Malay ascendants.

The seeming  faux pas on Met’s side begs a deeper question. Is the Philippines’s culture and civilization not significant for the visitors to see and understand. Apparently, we as a people from the Philippines know that we had a culture similar to our Asian neighbors, but the Western countries which colonize our islands apparently had severe influence in our way of living up to this moment.  Probably to many outside the Philippines, we, as a people, are neither here nor there – brown skinned, chinky eyed Asians who have unwavering loyalty to Catholicism (from the Spanish), and talk and write good American English.  

Obviously, the Philippine archeological antiquities will never be found in the European collection nor in the Americana mementos of the Met or probably in any sensible museum.

Too bad for us, Filipinos and too bad for Met’s visitors, as there is much to take and see from our unique Filipino heritage – buddhas or no buddhas.