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Cool water

Hehehe. Saw this cute bottle at the orientation of new scholars at the Japanese Embassy in Manila. Isn't it cool? It's just the right size. I mean, I noticed everybody was able to finish theirs and no water was wasted. And since the bottles have that foil thingie at the end, there wasn't a need for bottle caps. I checked at the supermarket and the sell it for 5-8 php (I forgot exactly how much), but I think it's a great buy for picnics and receptions. Pretty good value for the size ;-)


time flies...

;-) How time flies. It's almost been a year and a half since P-chan came screaming into the world (He still loves screaming, but that’s another story altogether).

It's been an interesting journey so far. Here are revelations that mommyhood has brought so far:

On breastfeeding...
... I can't believe I'm still doing it! Hahaha! How do I wean him? Wahaha! But these days, nursing sessions are more of cuddle sessions with Mama than actual feedings.

On cloth diapers...
...I tried, but disposables won out a few months ago when he outgrew his diaper covers. Sadly, unlike in Japan, there aren’t that many covers to choose from in Manila ;-( But we’ve been starting to toilet train him and he’s been wearing briefs in the evenings, so hopefully we’ll kick the diaper habit soon (fingers crossed).

On food...
... I'm really glad P-chan doesn't seem to be allergic to anything so far. He's a really adventurous eater and will try anything once. Though I specified that he not be given sodas, he's had everything from dinuguan, to puto, taho, and lechon. Among his favorites are bibingka, waffles, and fish crackers.

On buying things…
…it’s a good idea to check what’s available at your friendly neighborhood palengke before venturing out into the malls. Often, things will be a lot cheaper. I bought P-chan his first pair of shoes when he started taking baby steps at 7-8 months. It was a rubber affair I bought at the palengke for 50php (I managed to convinced the tindera to give me a 20php discount (Yay me!)--- and I got more use out of that than the pair I got him at Payless for 525php (shudder!). Recently, I bought him a pair of chairs for 70php each, which were way nicer than the 100php ones in the mall. Gosh, I am such a cheap mom. Hahaha!

On communication...
... It constantly amazes me how smart babies are. P-chan can now tell us where he wants to go, what he wants to eat, and which dog he loves best. He also understands when I tell him to give something to someone or to pick up his toys, but sometimes, he gets a really pilyo look and does the opposite of what I want just to get a rise out of me.

On milestones...
... Other people's kids will always sleep through the night, be better behaved, and learn their letters early. It doesn't mean anything that just because your kid isn’t the same, you aren't on the same level. Each child is different. I've learned to simply focus on P-chan and how he's progressing rather than judging his accomplishments vis-a-vis other babies. I love talking to other moms about how our babies are developing, but I dislike how some people can turn it all into a competition. It's just not healthy. I celebrate with P-chan whenever he masters a new skill and turns to me, his eyes full of pride. And boy, does my little boy love applause ;-)

On tough love…
…It’s hard to stay unmoved when P-chan looks at you with his big, round eyes with matching lip-quiver-and-pout (I wonder where he picked that little trick up?), or throws a tantrum when he doesn’t get what he wants, but I’ve learned that by standing firm and seeming unmoved, he gets past his pique in a few. Of course, I know that when I turn my back he appeals to his grandparents for spoiling ;-( the little rat.

On first words...
... I'm often asked if P-chan has started talking and what language he speaks. So far, it's been "Mama" and "ota" for water, but as to what language P-chan speaks, hands down it’s Bisaya. Seriously. Hahaha! It can’t be helped because most of the day he listens to his 2 yayas, Sandy (yaya’s kid and P-chan’s built-in playmate), and his lolo gabbing away in Boholano.

On letting him make mistakes...
... I personally think that kids learn by doing. They learn a lot from what they see us do, but most of the time, they have to have freedom and space to learn and make mistakes on their own. But I think this depends on the child really. P-chan seems to have inherited his father's independent nature, not to mention his bull-headedness (both Taureans, go figure), so he if he insists on doing something that won’t mortally endanger him, I let him do it even if it means he stubs a toe or hit his head. That way, he knows not to lift heavy objects because if they fall on his feet, it’ll hurt. (he still tries to lift some things, but knows he has to jump out of the way when it falls. Better than nothing, I suppose). He also knows how to go down the bed properly or duck when crawling out from the cubby hole beneath my mom’s dresser he loves playing in. In addition, Juls had just one request: that we not coddle P-chan (overly) much. So we (try) not to shout in alarm when he trips or falls, and instead encourage him to get up by himself. So P-chan hardly ever cries (unless he's throwing a tantrum) when he's hurt, he just stops a bit, gets up, and starts playing again. Of course there are times, when it hurts more than usual, that he'll go to Mama for a quick hug, but after a few minutes, he'll be off exploring again ;-)

Hay, there are a lot more things I’ve learned, but this post is the longest I’ve written in some time and I do hope I didn’t bore you ;-) I truly miss blogging!


meeting the met again

it's been over a decade since i last set foot in this beautiful building. i was really glad for the opportunity to visit the metropolitan theater again after so long ;-)

here's hoping that manila holds on to one of it's most iconic buildings. i'm happy to know that despite a few leaks and a bit of surface weathering, the structure is still pretty sound and that with (more than) a little work, we can save it. the spaces within hold so much promise, if only people had the eyes to look past the grime.



I love this pic. Doesn't it look like a stone temple from Cambodia?

But it's actually a photograph I took of the Paoay Church in Ilocos when we went there (on a survey turned epic adventure) last weekend. It was the first time I've taken pics of this church at night and I love how it looks ;-)

Haaay. Now I have to recover from almost 20 hours on a bus. This is the first time ever that I completed a survey of 2 museums in under 4 hours. Hahaha! More updates soon ;-)


roof table


Heehee. Game to play abother round of guess what this is? This is one of the projects that kept me busy early 2011.

So is it a roof...

... or is it a table?

Heehee. It's both actually. Originally conceptualized as an exercise in roof-building for the students of Escuela Taller Intramuros, it was decided to fabricate the roof in a smaller scale and make it into a table.

It's actually nice because you get to appreciate the lovely lovely woodwork ;-) we don't actually have this type of construction here; the roof is based on spanish mudejar ceilings wherein the pieces all fit together like a puzzle. I really had fun designing this table (from the obscure photographs in the books M lent me), it was like geometry class--- only more fun! first we picked out a pattern we liked, then I had to figure out how the ceiling was incorporated into the roof grid. it was really tricky because i wanted to to be just like the original ones, interlocking parts and all. good thing M's mentor in mexico sent us working drawing that i based the specs on.  heehee. but it was all worth it; i was really happy with all the raves the table got at the exhibit at greenbelt 3 in makati.

to the artists, educators, students, and artisans over at ET Intramuros, you guys did a really great job!


The long and winding road

Have a look at the curved accent on this street we spied in Tsukuba today. A border and a change in the color of the pavement denotes the separation of cars and pedestrians --- or does it? Hahaha! One side of the road had no sidewalk to speak of, but the other side had a pretty wide one. So that left me wondering, what are those curves really for? Any intelligent guesses? ;-)


 at first i thought the orcs were storming mawdor --- then i remembered i really wasn't an LOTR fan.

my second thought was: "is this the end of the world?" imagine, left and right people were shoving items into their carts. in front of me, the lines to the cashier snaked around the displays. panic-buying. chaos. this wasn't a sight i had envisioned when i planned a quick visit to the mall. and it certainly wasn't a normal occurrence at 10:15 in the morning. gadzooks, didn't the mall just open?!

(un)fortunately for me, SM was having one of its 3-day sales on the day i decided to get p-chan a new playpen. heehee. i simply wasn't prepared!


i was in Divisoria today to source some fabric for a project of mine. As I was exiting Tutuban, pedicab drivers were waiting at the entrance and calling out to potential passengers.

Driver to me: Miss,miss, padjak kayo?
Me: (smiles) Salamat na lang po. Masakit po yun e.
Driver: (after a few seconds of stunned silence) Uy, si ma'am nagpapatawa. Corny! (Laughs)
Me: Uy, si manong, natawa naman.

Iba talaga ang Pinoy humor ;-)

little observations...

A month ago, the bridge spanning the nearby Estero de Sunog Apog (which connects Gagalangin to Isla de Balut) was closed for much needed repairs. All traffic was rerouted to the spanking new V. Del Fierro bridge a couple of blocks away. Although I know that it’s just a temporary inconvenience and I’m glad that the local city government is doing something proactive, it’s just a bit sad. It’s gotten so quiet. Well, relatively quiet by Tondo standards. Plus, we now have to walk a few blocks in order to hail a jeep, which kind of sucks since all we had to do before was to open our front gate. Hahaha!

Anyway, the new jeepney route has forced us to go through a part of Tondo that I rarely pass through, and it’s quite interesting.

… I’ve found that quite a few of the old houses still exist. If I had time, money, and the clout needed, I’d love to document them. These are the pieces of old Manila that people rarely see (or refuse to see) nowadays. I wish I could show you the details I’ve seen --- beautiful colored glass that still adorns some windows, intricate designs of iron grilles, delicate lacework on the eaves, and wood carvings on door panels. I can only guess at the spaces within. And these are still living, breathing houses. I mean, they’re still in use. Some are in disrepair and some are lovingly tended to. I smile when I spy one that’s been recently painted, even if the palette is a bit garish --- at least it’s still standing!

… There also seems to be a lot of new construction going on. Orange slate seems quite popular nowadays. I’ve counted at least 8 houses in various stages of completion that sport it as their main décor. I haven’t anything against it, and it could be attractive --- in small doses. It’s just that everything seems so… so orange. Hahaha! Well it could be worse. Yesterday I spotted a house in pink, red, and white. *shudder*

… Roof decks seem to be a recent fad too. It must be due to the fact that almost every household has its own Magic Mic --- thus the deck is perfect for celebrating someone’s birthday every other week. *double shudder*

… Since printing on tarpaulin has become so cheap, every Juan, his wife, his mother, and his four siblings have had their faces emblazoned on tarpaulin. It’s not bad at all --- easy décor for a party, and at least you can easily tell who’s celebrating what. It’s just funny to contemplate how people reuse the tarp after the event. I’ve been riding in pedicabs more often now and many a time I've felt awkward at resting my feet on the broadly smiling face that lines the sidecar’s floor.

Anything new in your part of the world? ;-)

busy as a bee!


It’s been quite a busy year for me so far and I’m thankful for all the opportunities that has come my way ;-)

For starters, as part of a team, I joined a competition wherein I helped develop a concept for a museum. The good news? We were chosen as one of the three finalists who will be submitting design schematics. Go us! Heehee. I just love museums. I like visiting them, but I love designing them even more. I love being able to tell a story through the objects and I love learning. Here’s hoping that we get to submit a good design ;-)

Next, my good friend M over at the Escuela Taller Intramuros tapped me to help in one of their projects. I’m designing a table. And not just any table. The catch? It’s supposed to be a roof. Wahahaha! Ok, ok, in a nutshell, under a grant from Spain (AECID), the Escuela is training young residents of Intramuros in traditional building techniques. The scholars learn masonry, carpentry, painting, plumbing, welding, and others. At the end of each semester, they have a project and put on an exhibit. So the goal is to let students experience how to build a traditional wooden roof with all the joinery involved. The problem is space, hence the full-sized roof has been scaled down to the size of a dining table. However, all the elements will be present, including an almisate with all the requisite laceria. In short, nakakaloka sya, but if they manage it, wow!

Next, I’m also writing a paper on architectural research techniques with my dissertation on Locsin as a case study. It’s a 6-page paper due in early March. I'll be presenting the paper at the upcoming UIA conference in Tokyo in September. Help! Hahaha! I also might have to prepare for a lecture in late February.

Oh, and I’m taking care of a rambunctious 9 month old too.



What have you been busy with so far this year? ;-)