My Skin Loves…

I have very sensitive skin – so sensitive that if I use the wrong product (which often happens, as I don’t have brand loyalty), I’d get rashes and inflammations within minutes. My derma often tells me to stick to Dove. And not just any Dove variant, but the unscented one, since I am also allergic to fragrance. I end up sneezing the entire day. I’m actually prone to weeks-long bouts of rhinitis and often have to take loratadine for weeks before I get better.
Any way, I have learned to be loyal to Dove but there are days when I just have to use something else, just to break the monotony. ๐Ÿ™‚
My no-fail soap is Aveeno, a product of Johnson and Johnson (although I think this is locally distributed by Rustan’s?). It’s a very gentle line of oat-based skin products – soaps,ย  body wash, lotions, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, sunblock, and shaving gels. I tried almost all (except the moisturizer – I’m loyal to P&G products for that), but after giving them a few weeks try, I discovered that only the soap, lotion, sunblock and shaving gel works with my skin condition.
The soap has many variants – if you have extremely sensitive skin like I do, get the “no fragrance” added; it smells like freshly baked oatmeal cookies with milk – all natural

again, there are many variants – stick with the fragrance free version; the lavender one works for me too. This is the only lotion that keeps my skin moisturized all day – no white trail marks!

ย One other bath product I’m loving right now is the shower gel/shampoo of Philosophy. They carry many variants but I love the faint floral scent of Amazing Grace . Plus, I love the color and the fact that it’s a multi-tasker – most Philosophy products are, like my make-up remover. I usually pack this when I go out of town and don’t want to risk using hotel soaps/shampoos. ๐Ÿ™‚ ย 

Of course, I also have some alternative products for my scalp and tresses. Again, I have to resort to all-natural products and this time, I found the perfect shampoo and dandruff treatment at Lush. The shampoo feels great – my hair is literally squeaky clean and I love how it works up a nice lather with just a bit of water.
From Left: dandruff treatment bar, shampoo bar
The dandruff bar also works. I don’t really have dandruff all the time; mine is stress-related as it only appears when I am catching a deadline or when I’ve been missing sleep. But in any case, this bar works wonders in keeping the flakes away. Just a warning though that it’s a bit oily – you should work it on your scalp and hair while it’s still dry, let it stay for a few minutes, then shampoo normally.Then you’re all set.
Having sensitive skin kind of puts a dent in my wallet though. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ How about you? What are your trusted skin care products?ย 
* Aveeno products are available at Rustan’s Supermarket, S&R, Shopwise, Market Market and specialty shops around the metro
* Lush has stores at High Street, Fort Bonifacio, Glorietta and SM MOA
* Philosophy (Amazing Grace) products are exclusively sold at Beauty Bar

Latin Mass

The hubby had been looking for churches that offer Latin mass for quite some time; St. Therese at Newport has one every Sunday at 9am, but it’s quite too early for us. As luck would have it, hubby serendipitously chanced on a blog post about a Latin mass in Taguig.ย 
The San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila Chapel in Signal Village, Taguig, started offering the Old Mass (Traditional Latin Mass) last April 24 at 6:15 PM, and every last Sunday of the month at the same time.

The San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila Chapel – it’s actually the old church building of the Sto. Nino de Taguig Parish but they have since moved to a bigger building and the old one was converted to a chapel
The Tridentine Mass, so-called because it was in response to the Council of Trent back in the 16th century, is almost always celebrated in Latin and was widely used until 1969. In late 1969, the Mass of Paul VI was released after the 2nd Vatican Council.ย 
Aside from the most obvious difference in language used (the Mass of Paul VI allows for the use of the vernacular to allow full participation of the people), other noteworthy is that the priest celebrates the mass with his back to the people – because the priest faces the east and in most church layouts (at least back in those times), this would mean that the priest faces away from the people. A trivia from the hubby: this practice has an origin in pagan beliefs where the sun was worshipped; as we all know, the sun rises in the east. Actually, the more I think of it, if you will study Christianity, almost all traditions have their roots in pagan beliefs. Not saying I’m a pagan, though. ๐Ÿ˜›

Ok, altar seems a bit weird

The vestments look really nice and grand but I can hardly imagine the heat the priest must have felt

Not just the priest, but look at the others! Layers after layers of lace and black cloth

I lost track which part this is – I couldn’t understand the mass.

Ok, hubby was insistent that veils and dresses are required – he made me wear a friggin black dress and a veil in the middle of summer!
Other notable differences – the readings are taken from the New Testament and the Gospels (whereas the 1st reading we have now is from the Old Testament), there is no responsorial psalm, the penitential rite is done by the priest, and there is no “peace be with you” portion.

While it was a nice experience, I can’t say I am looking forward to doing it again – for one, I couldn’t participate fully because half the time, I was busy tracking down which part of the mass we were in. A good thing we have a mass book with English and Latin translations – but sadly, we didn’t know what the readings were. Homily was delivered in Taglish so at least I was able to understand that part. It was kind of long though, at almost two hours so if you are planning to attend one, make sure you had lots of sleep as the Latin readings and Gregorian chants might just lull you to sleep. One thing that kept going on in my mind was, how did our ancestors get through this in their time? Oh well, maybe I am just not used to it and need practice. Who knows? ๐Ÿ˜›

Holy Thursday and Good Friday 2011

Had a lot of activities the past two days – some old, some new stuff. The Holy Week holidays are rather busy days for us, but I’m glad Ipe and I have yet to succumb to partying or hitting up the beach on these holy days.
Our friends from the V met up to do our annual Visita Iglesia – now on its 10th year, though I wasn’t part of the original group; I used to do Visita with my family). We visited seven churches this year around Makati and QC, though I only joined for the last three.ย 

The facade is quite simple; but the interior is very nice
We actually got to do some funย 
stuff – the Padre Pio Chapel in Libis was our second to last stop and we got a pleasant surprise when we saw they were handing out these crosses for you to carry while you do your stations of the cross in their makeshift garden (the stations are in a cordoned portion of the chapel’s parking lot).ย 

They were also considerate enough to have laminated copies of the prayers so you don’t have to leaf through your booklets; it’s quite hard to do when you’re carrying a cross.

That’s our group carrying our crosses

Jere got the biggest cross – but he will probably kill me for posting this pic: look at the bottom of his cross. See something looking suspiciously like a wheel? ๐Ÿ˜›
Jere remarked that we had probably gone beyond heaven as we repeated all stations across seven churches – 14 stations * 7 churches! Anyway, all the heat and the literal carrying of our crosses made us all SOOOOOOOOO hungry, Feli and I had to agree we couldn’t care less where we eat.ย  We were looking forward to some sinigang and sisig and since we were in Timog, we were all set to have dinner at Dencio’s near ABS-CBN – only to find out it was closed down already. We ended up at Buddy’s instead, this one near GMA.ย 

view from across the street – bright lights
the inside is just as bright; summer seems to be the year-round theme as I recall their Makati branch had the same set-up back in December

Feasted ourselves on pancit lucban, sotanghon, bihon, pork and bangus sisig, longanisa and molo soup

What I love most about Pinoy restos is that they have sago’t gulaman; it’s refreshing quality is very underrated, if you ask me.ย 
The food here at Buddy’s is perhaps what you would expect to find in a barrio feast at surprisingly cheap prices. Can you believe the pancit lukban good for three people costs only Php 180? Food coma indeed! ๐Ÿ˜€

Too bad Ipe and I had to go home early since we were already tired (again, my total sleep hours this week probably totaled less than 20 hours – soo not good).ย 

Good Friday found us at the hubby’s ancestral home in Bay. I like the church here, the San Agustin, which was built in 1804 after the parish was transferred from its previous location near the bay. Sadly, the stone church was destroyed during WWII and was rebuilt in 1953.ย 

Love how they kept to the antique feel

Ipe and I had been spending Good Fridays here for the past seven years but this was the first time we finished the church service – we didn’t know the parishioners would be making their way to pay homage to the cross ON THEIR KNEES!
I know it was just a couple of meters – but it was on hard cement and I swear every time I crept forward, a capillary would break! I wasn’t able to take photos as I was already having a hard time balancing on my knees, and the ever-clumsy husband bumped on me from behind that I almost fell face forward.
The parish priest right before he went on his knees
The procession this year took longer than usual though I couldn’t tell if it was due to the size of the crowd or because we had several breaks in between. Last year’s crowd was quite huge already and this year seems to be the same number. But it took us two hours to circle the neighborhood and get back to the church.
Yup, that’s our cue to join; it was still bright when we started
…and well after dark when we finished. This pic looks eerie; as if the Santo Entierro’s carosa was glowing and floating on air

The family chapel, the right glass enclosure is where the Santo Entierro is kept on normal days – yes, the room is air-conditioned which is why a lot of people hang out here, aside from the powder which also has full-blast AC ๐Ÿ˜€
I only ate a measly fillet-o-fish sandwich and a snack the entire day (plus, only a glass of water), so by dinner, I was seriously famished. But we were amply rewarded coz when we got back to the house, this was the feast waiting for us:

Good Friday dinner – no meat! All seafood and veggies. Oops! Does egg count?
We’re supposed to go to the Easter Vigil tonight but I’m not sure I’m up for an all-nighter. Kinda getting old and I’m starting to get chest pains and palpitations from the hunger and thirst (hubby doesn’t believe me when I say this; but then, he doesn’t believe also that I get cold or tired easily – he really should take a crash course on heart and thyroid diseases which makes me a nifty little package). Hopefully though, I have enough energy to celebrate Easter tomorrow! ๐Ÿ™‚

National Shrine of the Sacred Heart: Exhibit of Saints

Shrine at the San Antonio VIllage; ironically located beside a Masonic Center
I don’t believe in chances – everything happens for a reason and I’d like to believe, as the manang at the church said, that God led us to this church. It wasn’t actually in our itinerary for this year’s Visita Iglesia, but for some reason, our feet (or our cars) led us here.
We almost didn’t see the exhibit if not for our inborn curiosity that made us look at every nook and cranny of the small church. But on the left side of the church, past the adoration chapel, is a small anteroom which contains church treasures you would normally have to go all over Europe to see.ย 
From top left: bone fragments for Jan-June saints; close-up of my birthday saint; statue of Mary; relics from Spain; bone fragments for July-Dec saints
The first set of relics are the bone fragments of the 17th century saints – one for each day of the year. These relics came all the way from France, where the number of churchgoers has dwindled so much so that the church was demolished to make way for a restaurant/hotel. The parish priest was elderly and to preserve the relics, he had sent them to the Philippines, where majority of the people are Catholics and where the relics may just find the care and respect they deserve.ย 
Pieces of wood from the crown of thorns and the Holy Cross found by St. Helena and Constantine
St. Helena, mother of Constantine the Great,was born of humble parentage, referred to as an inn-keeper but was married to Constantius Chlorus. Giving in to political pressure, Constantius gave her up to marry the step-daughter of Emperor Maximinianus Herculius, Theodora. Constantine, her one and only son, remained faithful to her and when he became emperor, he conferred on her all the honor and titles befitting the mother of the reigning sovereign. She became a devout Catholic, influenced by her son after his victory over Maxentius. According to stories and tradition, she was travelling in the Holy City when she came upon a place of veneraton for Christians and found a temple to Venus. She had the temple destroyed and the place excavated, finding underneath three crosses, believed to be those used to crucify Christ, St. Dismas and Gestas. A miracle confirmed which of the three was Christ’s – a terminally ill woman was made to touch each of the cross and she healed upon touching the right cross. The nails were also found together with the cross.ย 
Parts of the cross and the nails were sent back to Contantine while the remainder was covered in silver and left in the care of the bishop of Jerusalem. However, numerous wars kept it transferred from one ruler to another until it was taken by Saladin and disappeared from history. Only the fragments sent to Constantine remain today, broken up into pieces distributed to various churches.
From the column of Flagellation
The column upon which Jesus was tied due during his flagellation is kept in the Basilica of Saint Praxedes in Rome.
Piece from the Holy Sudarium
The Holy Sudarium is the piece of cloth which covered Jesus’ face after the crucifixion. Unlike Veronica’s veil, there is no image here, only stains. But the remarkable thing is even scientific studies have claimed this was the same cloth. In the Bible, John had clearly identified the existence of the sudarium, as a separate piece from the linen cloth used to wrap Jesus’ body: “Simon Peter, following him, also came up, went into the tomb, saw the linen cloth lying on the ground, and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloth but rolled up in a place by itself.”
The Holy Sudarium itself is kept in the Cathedral of Oviedo in Spain. It has a better documented existence throughout history than even the shroud of Turin although the marked similarities between the two hint at the real possibility that they were indeed used to wrap Jesus after his crucifixion – they both contain the same blood type, and the fit of the stains are symmetrical with each cloth.

Details of the contents of the reliquary
A piece of cloth from Mary’s veil
The red mark at the lower left side of the main image contains a piece of Veronica’s veil
Some of these relics are universally accepted by the faithful, although the authenticity of others have been questioned. Scientific testings done on each of these relics have proven inconclusive, and only adds fuel to the fire that is the mysterious origins of these relics. Some are too small or too fragile to even be tested – but whatever the case, relics serve their purpose if they lead you to a sincere examination of your faith, and bring you closer to God. ๐Ÿ™‚
* I don’t know how long the exhibit will stay in the Shrine, as it is due to tour the country, so you better head there and check it out soon. The National Shrine of the Sacred Heart is located along Sacred Heart corner Kamagong Streets, San Antonio VIllage, Makati.

Churches to Visit: Makati/Manila/QC

It has been the tradition among our friends to have a Visita Iglesia every Maundy Thursday and over the past decade, we’ve been to quite a number of churches not just in Metro Manila but also in nearby provinces.ย 
Here are some of our most frequented in the Makati/Manila/QC area, in no particular order:

a) Santuario de San Antonio – located along McKinley Road in Manila. After the Franciscan church in Intramuros was destroyed during WWII, the order relocated to Makati , building their new church on the two hectare land the Ayala Corporation donated. Construction of the church began in 1951 and was completed in 1953.ย 
This church is famous for its high society weddings, baptisms, and even funerals, as most of its parishioners are residents of Forbes Park and Dasmarinas, two of the most, if not the most, exclusive residential villages in the country. Indeed, you would need an endorsement from a parishioner residing in those villages to have your wedding in this church.
What is probably the best feature of this church is the almost life-sized stations of the cross in its garden.
The garden of the Santuario is quite big and well-maintained. Trees provide shade and you can just sit at one of the stone benches strewn here and there.ย 

Nothing to see here… naaliw lang ako sa silhouette

b) Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene (Quiapo Church) – This is the home of the miraculous Black Nazarene, whose feast every January 9, called the TRASLACION or the journey of the Black Nazarene from Luneta to Quiapo, draws thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of devotees.

The first church was built in the late 16th century, but the present church dates only to the early 20th century. Surprisingly, it survived WWII with hardly any damage despite the nearby building all being razed to the ground.

I don’t have any particular affinity with churches, as I believe it’s not where you are praying but how sincere your prayers are that matters, but in my almost thirty years of existence, all the wishes I’ve made at the Quiapo Church have come true.

c) Minor Basilica of San Sebastian (National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel) –ย  located in Manila beside the San Sebastian College, this church is notable for its Gothic architecture and is the only all-steel church in Asia. The original church was built in 1621 but has been rebuilt many times after being destroyed by fires, earthquakes, and wars. The present structure is the fifth to be built on the same spot and was completed in the 1890s.

Fifty two tons of prefabricated steel sections were transported in eight shipments from Belgium to Manila, and the interior of the church was painted with trompe l’oleil effects (similar to the San Agustin). The stained glass windows were all imported from Germany.

Facade of the San Sebastian

It is said that Gustave Eiffel (the architect of the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty) had designed the San Sebastian, after reports surfaced that he had made plans for an all-steel church in Asia. This was never confirmed in his lifetime but studies of the church’s plans and of Eiffel’s documents reveal of plans to build a steel church in Manila in 1875; this would make the idea that Eiffel designed it reasonably plausible as actual construction of the church was done in 1888. What’s more realistic though, is that he made the initial plans for the structure and Genaro Palacios, the architect credited for the church, finished the actual design for the entire church.

The church also has the image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a present from the Carmelites in Mexico sent in 1617. It has miraculously survived all the destruction that befell previous incarnations of the church – only to lose its ivory head to robbers in 1975.

Interior is a bit gloomy since the steel has rusted and gives off a reddish hue but for me, it only adds to the mysterious appeal of the church

Impressive stained glass windows – I personally think the San Sebastian has the best among the many churches we’ve seen so far in the country

Steel pulpit; steel or not, this is one of the best kept pulpits I’ve seen
Sadly though, the church is slowly being plagued by rust and corrosion, owing to its steel structure.
d) Church of San Vicente de Paul (Adamson Church) – built as a chapel in 1883, this served as the parish church of Paco until 1909.
Sorry the shot is too close; I was already halfway inside the compound when I decided to take a photo

e) Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception/Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica (Manila Cathedral) – located in Intramuros, this is perhaps the mostย  prominent church in the country, due to its being the seat of the Archdiocese of Manila. The original cathedral was built in 1581 but the sixth and present structure only dates back to 1958.

The cathedral has played host to various events in the country’s history, symbolizing the great power of the Archdiocese even in Philippine politics. It is

f) MInor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz (Binondo Church) – located in Binondo, this granite church is one of the oldest in the entire country. It was founded by the Dominicans in 1596 to serve the Chinese converts. What’s unique about this church is that it’s actually two churches in one: one for the Chinese, and when the community grew big and the need for a parish church arose, another structure was built right beside it, hence, if you walk on the right side of the church, you’ll notice a difference in the walls and even in the interiors.
The first Filipino saint, St. Lorenzo Ruiz, was a sacristan at the old Binondo church back in the 1600s.

The ceiling provides a nice contrast what with its bright colors against the somber grays of the church interior
g) Nuestra Senora del Pilar (Sta. Cruz Church) – built by the Jesuits in 1608 for the Chinese immigrants, this church located along the far end of Escolta, indeed, right smack in Chinatown, has a rich history: this is where Rizal’s mother, Teodora Alonso, was baptized, and this was also the place where the British forces surrendered the keys to the city after a brief occupation in the 1700s.

The Carriedo fountain

h) San Agustin Church – one of the four Baroque churches of the Philippines desidgnated as a world heritage site by the UNESCO. It’s the oldest stone building in the country, with the present structure completed in 1607. Personally, I think it’s the grandest in terms of interior: nothing beats the 14 side chapels, trompe l’oleil ceiling and the ornate wooden doors. And then you have the museum. And the courtyard. Well, I think I’ve been going on and on about this church. Obviously, it is my favorite – we got married here.ย ย  Anyway, read about it here.

A side though note, due to its age, the San Agustin has not been air-conditioned and the church doors are not allowed to be opened/closed frequently for fear they might fall of their hinges (yes, I tried to have the door closed before I walked down the aisle for dramatic effect; I was not allowed – though Marian Rivera in one of her soaps was).

i) National Shrine of the Sacred Heart – one would never have guessed that this national shrine is located smack in a residential area in Makati. Built in 1976, it currently holds religious artifacts and first degree relics (including pieces of the Holy Cross and crown of thorns, Veronica’s veil). Watch out for my post on this later.

j) Holy Cross Church in San Juan – sits on a three-hectare lot beside the Aquinas School for the Boys (trivia: Aga Muhlach once studied here). The Dominicans originally built a stone church in the same location in 1602 but this church has been rebuilt three times after being ravaged by wars.

The facade is simple enough but the interior gives me chills – not because it’s scary but because of the simplistic and clean lines that gives the overall impression of it being perfect. There is also a small courtyard off the right wing where you will find a small fountain and garden.

k) San Felipe Neri Church – located in Boniย  Avenue cor. Aglipay St, this is the oldest church in Mandaluyong, established in 1863 by the Franciscans and named after the patron saint of the municipality (trivia: the tiger city was also called San Felipe Neri when it was still part of Sta. Ana, which in turn was part of the province of Tondo – yes, Tondo was a very huge province back in the 1900s).

l) Nuestra Senora delos Samparados/National Shrine of Our Lady of the Abandoned (Sta. Ana Church) – it’s not quite easy to find this church as it’s nestled in the side streets of old Manila. It was founded by the Franciscans in the late 16th century, the first church established outside the walled city. The present-day structure was built in 1720.

There are still sooooooo many more churches I want to share with you but this post is now too photo heavy so watch out for the next installments of my churches to visit series. ๐Ÿ™‚

Daily Fashion: Whites and Reds, Florals and Stripes

Summer fashion reminds me of nautical stripes, brlght reds and blues, florals, and pastel colors. In short, summer = vivid for me.ย 
Top, Coco Cabana; shorts, Kamiseta; flats, Lacoste; bag, Tonic

dress, Pop Culture (the fake Forever 21)

dress, Forever 21; flip flops, bought from the resort – coz we forgot our shoe bag!

sheer cover-up, Soak Swimwear
swimsuit from Seafolly, available at Rustan’s
Ok, am a bit fat nowadays and I have yet to regain my 24-inch waistline. Which is why I love this swimsuit. It has ruching in the tummy area which covers up my flabby tummy. ๐Ÿ™‚

Daily Fashion: Summertime Musts

I finally found the time to hit the beach. ๐Ÿ™‚
Necessities for any trip: shades, flip flops, lots of sunblock and a cute nautical bag!
Bag from Tonic at The Ramp; Aviators from Rayban; bottomless four seasons
Tonic is my favorite bag brand when I am looking for something trendy – trust, whenever I carry a bag from this label, someone would always approach me and ask me where I got it. I love my Tonic bags so much I have two of them in different colors. Plus, the price is great: Php 690! That’s even cheaper than buffet dinner. ๐Ÿ˜›
purple flip flops with rosette detail from Ipanema
Ipanema is fast becoming my favorite brand of flip flops – it uses a very soft, cushion-y material and they come up with lots of pretty designs not usually found in the other flip flop brands.
As for sunblock, I swear by Hawaiian Tropics for my body and Aveeno for my face. Actually, my first choice is Aveeno all over since I have hyper-sensitive skin (I would get bumps, blisters and itch all over if I use a product that my skin doesn’t like) and this is the only brand I found that takes care of my skin. Plus, their sunblocks smell like oats and does not feel greasy at all. But Rustan’s (exclusive distributor for both) ran out of the body sunblock so I had to make do with my second choice, which did the job just fine. ๐Ÿ™‚

How about you, what’s in your must-have/bring for summer?

Major Weakness: Krispy Kreme

Ok, fine. Donuts have always been a weakness of mine since I was a small girl, even when I had to be content with Mister Donuts or Dunkin (I never liked Go Nuts, though). But when Krispy Kreme entered the picture, I knew I lost whatever battle I was supposed to be fighting.

And it seems Joey shares this weakness too. ๐Ÿ˜›

OMG! Mango donuts – how can I say no?

Bonding Weekend

Hubby and I had are now enjoying rare weekends when we are both stuck at home with no work to bother us (well, I don’t have access to work from home yet) – we are so not used to it, especially him, since for ten years his Sundays had been devoted to newspaper work. So starting last week, we’ve been rattling our brains to figure out what to do – no out of town trips yet since I haven’t earned any leave credits (a minor bummer).
With his newfound free time, hubby proved that while he may not be the sweetest guy on earth, he knows (most of the time anyway) when I need to be taken cared ofย  –ย  he took charge of booking me for a spa session last weekend. (Although this came about after I hinted rather strongly that something is really wrong when he’s been to the spa three times in less than two weeks while I haven’t been anywhere near one in two months, hehe).
What a relief though! I’ve been neck-deep in work the past few weeks and I knew I needed it.

We also managed to go to my in-laws and pick up Joey – he stayed there for a week since he’d been begging to go on a vacation – and visit my sis/bro-in-law’s new house. I think the kid enjoyed it a lot as he was able to play with his cousin, a boy like him, instead of all our girl neighbors.

I often feel sad whenever he asks me to find little boys to play with or when he comes home crying because all the girls in our condo like to play with dolls or play house and all he wants is to play with cars. Once, he even asked me to host a party for little boys because his next-door playmate threw a pool party for her playmates (all girls). Too bad that all the boys in our condo seem to be much older than him. And since we can’t exactly have a pool party for little boys with just one little boy, we just took Joey for a little swim:

look at his big smile!

Sunday was spent going to our friend Dex’s photo studio opening – and I ended up cheating on my supposed diet again as I was confronted by a neat table loaded with food. Arrgh. We couldn’t get Joey to try on the props and pose for the camera at first but when he finally warmed up to the idea, we couldn’t get him to stop! Well, if anything, Dex already has a loyal client in Joey. ๐Ÿ˜›

pretending to be an angel

Joey asking his dad to help him fly

The last weekend was a good one – catching up with family and friends. And I can’t wait for next week. Hint:

Virgin Island, from my last visit in 2009

Luneta Date

View across the street from Rizal Monument
Hubby and I couldn’t think of anyplace to go within the metro a few weeks back, so we decided to check out Luneta and see the newly renovated relief map which was supposedly converted into a huge fountain.
Unfortunately,hubby was misinformed and the map (this is the scale model facing LRT) was still there – water dried and some boards and cement strewn here and there, but nowhere near fountain-y like.

A good thing though that the government has decided to spruce up Rizal’s Monument, fittingly enough as we are celebrating his 150th birthday in June. The grass looks fresh and about ten meters on all four sides up to the monument has been cordoned off. Plus points as I personally find it a sign of gross disrespect when vendors, beggars and “photographers” crowd in front of Rizal.

Rizal Monument

Open air auditorium

We also saw some new monuments. Exactly how new, I cannot be sure since it’s been more than a year since I last visited Luneta (Ipe and I visit every New Year’s Day but missed this year due to the horrendous traffic): the Filipino-Korean Soldier Monument.

ย two Filipino soldiers helping a wounded Korean

The monument is a tribute to the Filipino soldiers who fought to defend South Korea from North Korea’s invasion (the Korean War) during in the 50s. Numbering 7,500 troops, this was the 4th largest contingent under the UN.
Another monument, the Soul Wave, stands nearby, this one representing the “souls of humanity united in their cause for freedom.”

There are other attractions in Luneta – the Chinese and Japanese gardens, planetarium, and the Orchidarium. The latter used to be a popular events venue, even for garden wedding, but unfortunately, it was closed when we got there. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Oh well, at least I have something else to look forward too the next time we visit. Luneta may not be your ideal date place – oftentimes, it is too crowded and you can barely find enough space to walk leisurely or sit, but it is historic, and if it’s not too crowded, the air is quite nice and offers a nice vantage point to view the surrounding buildings – Department of Tourism, National Museum, and various hotels. Not to mention cheap. We didn’t spend a single dime!