Christmas 2016: Landmark Makati

Christmas 2016 at Landmark MakatiChristmas season shoppers at Landmark Makati
Ayala Center, Makati CBD, Makati

Landmark Department Store Makati has this penchant for dressing up their security in funny costumes. For Christmas 2016, security were on Swiss guard costumes again (they wore it first when Pope Benedict visited Manila a couple of years ago). I do not have a picture of it.

Christmas 2016 at Landmark MakatiCherry blossoms = Christmas

If those costumes were a bit out place, go tell me what you think about the cherry blossom trees scattered in the department store. Not only are these pink trees blooming out of season, they don’t scream Christmas at all!

Then again, we have a white Christmas tree, some hanging eight-pointed gold stars, proudly sponsored by Nestle Milo – and lots of Christmas lights!

Christmas 2016: Promenade Mall

Promenade Mall
Missouri Street, Greenhills Shopping Center
Greenhills, San Juan

I expected to see so much more at Promenade, as it’s easily the most upscale mall in the Greenhills Shopping Center complex. Instead, we got lots of twinkling Christmas lights wrapped around anything wrap-able. The twinkling lights around the little starts add a nice touch, though, especially on those stars directly above the revolving door entrance.

Also, I’m sure that the white lanterns lined outside will add a subtle touch of elegance on its facade at night, but they’re not especially nice things to look at before it’s dark.

Christmas 2016 at the Promenade Mall

Front shrubbery is lined with white lanterns

The Christmas tree is a but a stack of white lanterns as well, but yeah, they’ll look cute when they’re all aglow. Sadly, I had no time that day to wait till it’s dark and shiny. Oh, at least they do have some live Christmas entertainment! But they probably happen at night too! What do you think? Do you like Promenade’s decorations this holiday season?

Christmas 2016: Glorietta

Christmas 2016 at Glorietta
Red and white Glorietta 5 Christmas tree
East Drive, Ayala Center
Makati CBD, Makati City

If Ayala Center is Makati CBD’s premier retail mecca, the venerable and ever-evolving Glorietta is its centerpiece. With a wide range shops and dining establishments, Glorietta offers shopping and other leisurely activities that are suitable to every type of budget. For this year’s Christmas, the mall kept things simple yet playful.

Christmas 2016 at Glorietta

Sparsely decorated new Glorietta 2 activity center

I dig the red and white scheme and the Christmas candy theme. However, if there’s a time where being louder and more spectacular is acceptable, it’s Christmas season – and I think Glorietta was being a little bit too conservative with this candy cane-inspired theme. What do you think?

Christmas 2016: Robinsons Galleria Ortigas

Christmas 2016 at Robinsons Galleria
Christmas decor on the atrium of Robinsons Galleria Ortigas
EDSA corner Ortigas Avenue, Ortigas Center, Quezon City

The 5-story Robinsons Galleria, located at the busy EDSA-Ortigas Avenue intersection, is the flagship mall of Robinsons Malls – one of the three major mall/retail chain operators in the Philippines.

To say that the mall’s main entrance fronting EDSA is underwhelming is an understatement. Aside from the fact that little updating had been done to the facade since the mall complex opened in 1990, the simple bright lights installed for the Christmas season pictured above did little to make entry to the mall more enticing. To be fair with the mall, it didn’t need any help promotion, as foot traffic in the area is incredible at any given day.

While mall workers were decorating Christmas lights October 29, 2013 (Christmas decors are usually done at this day, right after Halloween decors are taken down), fire broke out at the clothing and toys section of Robinsons Galleria. Now, that happened 3 years ago and it wasn’t clear in the reports whether the Christmas lights were to blame for the fire, but probably this explains the rather lackluster effort from the mall?

Christmas 2016 at Robinsons Galleria

Everywhere in the mall, the white Christmas lights are paired with blue and green lights. This is an odd choice of color combination, but I think it works. Also, I love the reindeer scupltures. What do you think?

Christmas 2016: SM Megamall

Christmas 2016 at SM Megamall

Building A entrance, SM Megamall
Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong

Having spent several Decembers outside the Philippines, I’ve encountered many overseas-based Filipinos say, “Iba pa rin ang Pasko sa Pilipinas.” – which I’d translate as “Christmas in the Philippines is truly special.”

Businesses that provide services that cater to overseas Filipinos and their families such as international money transfer companies and telcos cannot reiterate these words any more frequently. By now, the same words are secular gospel. Of course, to a family-oriented individual, holidays are spent best with loved ones and that’s why Christmas spent in the country with everyone else in the family is referred to as “truly special”. Filipinos could also agree that that the extravaganza put up by nearly everyone – especially malls – plays a big part in what makes Christmas here “truly special.”

I’ve been wanting to showcase the Christmas decorations from different establishments in Metro Manila  for a while now but since I dread actually going out when everyone else is on a holiday rush, I’ll settle for featuring just a few places in the metro. First up is SM Megamall – currently the Philippines’ largest mall in terms of leasable space. I decided to check Megamall out because of its status and because it’s right at the heart of Metro Manila (and just a few minutes away from my new place).

Pictured is the atrium of SM Megamall’s Building A with dangling Christmas balls in Christmas Red-and-White, Silver, and Gold. Christmas lights line the concrete part of the balconies. Classy!

Above is a picture of its gigantic Christmas tree on its Fashion Hall’s atrium. Here, the dangling Christmas balls are even more spectacular in size and simplicity. Of course, SM won’t be totally SM in essence if it goes without  a bit of tackiness here and there. Look a little bit closer and you see a stairwell, with rather overdressed mannequins! It’s nonetheless still a beautiful sight to behold.

What do you think about SM Megamall’s effort this year?

Seven Years

Techportal at UP-Ayalaland Technohub
Techportal at UP-Ayalaland Technohub
Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City

According to my WordPress dashboard:

It’s been 7 years since my previous blog entry “much closer” was published. Here’s how the post has performed so far…



See, I like this blog a lot but I am certain that I will never have the time to commit to it fully. I can abandon it for another seven years – or I can update it when I happen to have some time and I am in the mood for blogging about Metro Manila. I think a post in a year, or two, looks better than none at all.

So I’m giving this kid another chance and this time I won’t pressure myself to post stuff daily.

For my first post in ages, I’m posting a photo of my current turf – Diliman district in Quezon City. I never would’ve thought that I will be working in Quezon City but opinions, and many other things, change in seven years. I have been based in Quezon City for almost two years now, I’ve been living here for about a year (though I will be relocating soon, and the move, as well as the changes that have happened, deserves a different blog entry).

If you look at the photo above, you’ll see metal rings allotted for bike parking.  Metro Manila is making some progress in terms of promoting bike culture. Yay! What didn’t change? The quality of our Internet connections! It is still dismal, in spite of the minor improvements implemented here and there. But I believe it’s okay to post bigger pictures now. So from now on, I’ll be posting photos that are a bit larger than the ones I’ve posted ages ago. Edit – ugh, the current theme I use crops the right side of the photo!

This blog needs a “major overhaul” (Tan Cardoso, 2014). I’ll think about what else needs renovation in this little space occupying the world wide web (we don’t call it that anymore, do we?).

much closer

Makati CBD skyline
from Libingan ng mga Bayani, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig

Definitely not the most flattering view as the boxy concrete residentials dominate the foreground, but this one captures some of the favorites from left to right: 1) KPF designed GT tower, which is the sharp one 2) the diagonally cut LKG tower, with its iconic helipad 3) PBCom tower, the country’s tallest since its completion early 2000s (hopefully not for so long), 4) The Enterprise Tower 1 aka, HSBC. Along with LKG, The Enterprise is a contender for the most dramatically lit scraper at night.

a cemetery of heroes

Makati CBD skyline from Libingan ng mga Bayani
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig

Libingan ng mga Bayani, which is Tagalog for Cemetery of the Heroes, was originally the Republic Memorial Cemetery when established on May 1947. It was renamed to Libingan ng mga Bayani by the late President Magsaysay on 27 October 1954. It houses primarily those who had been slain during and immediately afterwards the many battles of the local military. There are sections alloted to specific campaigns. Nowadays, most of the new ‘residents’ of the cemetery are military people who have passed away for reasons other than combat, like aged veterans.

The first Philippine chief executive buried in this cemetery is President Carlos P. Garcia. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s father, President Diosdado Macapagal, and his wife are also in LNMB. For other information regarding notable Filipinos in LNMB, and the Marcos issue, click here.

I come to this place at most 3x a year. Since our clan is a relatively young one, we only have one deceased member, which is my grandfather, who happens to be a veteran of a Korean war. We visit him on his birthdays, his death anniversary and every All Saints Day. All Saints is the toughest as it is a big cemetery gathering event in the Philippines, even in cosmopolitan Metro Manila. Luckily, LNMB isn’t as crowded and chaotic as other cemeteries. On any other day, a visit to this cemetery can be very relaxing. It has a tranquil feel to it, and it’s not the morbid type.

At the background we have Makati’s CBD skyline. Metro Manila has a lot of business districts and its skylines have this tendency to be divisible into clusters, unless viewed from the hills of Rizal Province.  Makati City alone has 2, the other one being the Rockwell area (but it’s slowly being incorporated). But of all the business centers, Makati CBD is Metro Manila’s primary CBD. It has the most prestige, the better designed buildings, the tallest scrapers, the most expensive spaces and the biggest names.

theme day: paths and passages

a predator
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

I have taken this photograph around 4 months ago when the dinosaurs were still on display in an open area within a block of kinda upscale dining establishments, a bargain store, a gym (where i took this photo) and HSBC. Interestingly another HSBC branch occupies the ground floor of the right building. The left building, which is one of my “box” favorities in Bonifacio Global City, has a Deutsche Bank [/] sign on top. Real names of these highrises? I have no clue.

Paths and passages- paths, i didn’t mind much. Passage(s) is my game for this theme. And by passage I mean ” a portion of a written work”. I have been thinking about this certain quotation from some book since theme day: books. I can’t give a link because I screwed it up small time that month. And I didn’t think it was that appropriate anyway- I had another thing in mind, but nevermind. bottom line: I missed that theme day.

This photograph I have chosen because of what was in the portion of the book I will quote, Between Two Empires by Theodore Friend. I liked that book not only because of the wealth of information but also because of his writing style, which can get a little mushy and all, but really likeable. I wanted something more crazy and all. Unfortunately, nothing in the hard drive currently is crazier than this one. And I really haven’t held the camera specifically for the sake of shooting Metro Manila in a long while. I actually have intended to shoot the National Museum originally for this theme but missed the chance, too literal anyways. That’s why I’ve failed to sign up because I change my mind all the time till the last minute.

I’m not trying to prolong the waiting by saying blah blah before showing the “passage” I have chosen. I just want it to be the last thing written for this entry, you know.

Later, Click here to view thumbnails for all participants. Trust me, all I’ve seen so far, really good.

This was an observation of postwar/post independence Manila

“Manila was a quagmire in the rainy season; and in the hot season the red dust above the city, thrown up by heavy army traffic, made it look from a distance, afire, The city was full of jerry-built shelters, and its hasty bazaars were full of gimcrack goods. Soldiers, sailors, and peddlers jammed its sidewalks; whores and pimps and pickpockets, confidence men and influenced mongers; ex-guerillas still in jungle uniform, and throngs of common men and women, tired and unemployed. To one observer who had loved the old city, the New Manila looked like a carnival in hell.”

Okay, not a single person in the photograph when the quotation contained very interesting characters. Let’s just say that there’s a path there in the photo, yeah that tree lined pavement along the road. And yeah, I’ve noticed I’ve been using black and white in theme days. A color theme would break the non streak.