Posts Tagged ‘makati’

the happy feet tales: baby steps

Once upon a time, in a big city on one of the big islands of a tropical archipelago close to the equatorial belt where the best coffee in the world grows, there lived a pair of feet.

They were happy feet.

The happy feet loved to walk. Oh, how they could walk! The right happy foot and the left happy foot would take turns being in front, one after the other, walking around the city, getting from one place to another, doing what they were made to do.

But the happy feet were attached to the ankles of a lazy writer who stayed indoors for weeks on end, her bottom growing roots into her armchair as she typed boring articles and surfed the Intarwebz for hours and hours.

The happy feet didn’t get to go out much. That made them sad.

One day the lazy writer’s doctor-classmate-from-school said: You must exercise. I recommend walking. Everyday.

But how, the lazy writer asked.

Baby steps, he said. Take baby steps.

One day, the lazy writer put on a pair of wooden sandals. They were also called “Happy Feet“. The lazy writer’s happy feet loved them because they were light, which meant they could move faster.

They were cool, so the happy feet would not feel hot even on a blazing summer day.

They were open, and the happy feet loved that best of all! Because that meant the happy feet’s toes could wiggle and jiggle and wriggle like toes love to do.

The lazy writer took a cab to work because she was late for a meeting, as she usually was. On her way back home, she remembered her doctor-classmate-from-school’s advice. Baby steps, she told herself. I will walk home.

The happy feet were so excited!

The right happy foot and the left happy foot took turns taking baby steps, one in front of the other, walking towards home, as their toes wiggled and jiggled and wriggled with joy.

They walked dusty gray pavements, but they didn’t mind; there were many things to see along the way.

The happy feet met a plant that grew close to the ground. Its stalk and leaves were very green and they reached out to passing feet. Clip-clop, clip-clop, went the happy feet in the wooden sandals past the plant-in-the-pavement.

Along the way there was a sign for the lazy writer’s favorite energy drink on the facade of a sari-sari store in an old house. Beside the store was an old church. It had red-painted walls. Clip-clop, clip-clop went the happy feet past the store-in-a-house.

When the happy feet first set out, the sun was hidden behind gray clouds. After a while, the sun came out. It shone on the lazy writer’s head. A tall tree’s leaves glowed bright green against the sun, making the lazy writer squint and blink. Clip-clop, went the happy feet past the tree-in-sunlight.

They passed the site of an old racetrack. Once there were loud fans cheering race horses on. Now there were no more fans, no more horses, and no more track. Big noisy construction machines had leveled the place into the ground. Clip-clop, went the happy feet past the once-a-racetrack.

The happy feet met another plant. It was growing in a large metal can that once held infant formula, but now had holes punched with nails all over its bottom while inside it was soil from the old racetrack. The plant was healthy. Its leaves were pretty. Clip-clop, went the happy feet past the plant-in-a-can.

They rounded a corner and saw a big concrete horse’s head. It once sat on the gate in front of the old racetrack. Folks had taken the head down, cleaned it, and put it on a pedestal covered with tiles. This was so that people would always remember the old racetrack. The happy feet knew they were near home. Clip-clop, they went, taking baby steps a little bit faster, past the horse’s-head-marker.

Before them was a long stretch of road. Green tricycles lined up under big old mango trees wrapped in a rainbow, waiting to take passengers where they wanted to go. The drivers asked the lazy writer if she wanted to take a ride. No, thank you, she said. I’ll keep on walking. Clip-clop, went the happy feet past the tricycles-in-rainbow.

At last they came to their street. Close to the corner were two fighting-cock farms. Inside the red gate and the blue gate were many scratch pens of wood, like triangles set into the ground. There were also tall fly pens of wood and plastic mesh. There were many fighting cocks, crowing tik-ti-laok. The happy feet knew they were very near home. Clip-clop they went past the cockpits-in-city.

At last the happy feet were home! The lazy writer was happy too. She had taken baby steps to exercise and it wasn’t bad. It felt very good. And she saw a lot of interesting things along the way. She decided to take a walk more often. The happy feet were glad they got to do what they were made to do. And the toes wiggled and jiggled and wriggled for joy.

~ The End ~

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snake in the city

A large part of Makati with its glittering skyscrapers and airconditioned malls is considered the country’s central business district.

Yet in some areas of the city, agricultural activities in connection with sports and gaming are also pursued.

This gamefowl farm is located within the city, beside the Pasig River.

Since 1937, this area of Makati was  home to the Santa Ana Park racetrack  until operations were moved to Naic, Cavite, in January this year. The green-and-white structures beside the fighting cocks’ scratch pens used to be racehorse stables until just some weeks ago.

Marvin, keeper of the cocks, showed off a Philippine python that he caught one morning at the back of the pens.

The snake was caught while attempting to devour a huge rat. Placed in a small cage in the center of the fighting cocks’ training arena, kibitzers mulled over the snake’s fate.

The python looked sulky. Who wouldn’t be, interrupted in the middle of breakfast and cooped up in a cage? It was around five and a half feet long.

Equine veterinarian Dr. Rey Miranda (with cap, on bench) said the python is not poisonous but kills its prey by crushing. Onofre (with cap, standing) who works for a nearby office, said a bigger python, its body as thick around as his thigh, was found last month in the same area. Marvin decided he would sell the snake to a pet shop.

Our office is just five meters away. Could a snake find its way inside and hide under my desk?  The guys said, oh yes, it could. They were quite serious.

I looked at the Makati skyscrapers in the distance and thanked my guiding star that I don’t work in those boring buildings. I wouldn’t trade this excitement for anything.

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best tricks with favorite things

I spent a couple of hours at Starbucks (Yupangco Makati branch) waiting for my sister to finish lunch with friends. It was her last day in Manila; I was to take her to the airport in the late afternoon so she could catch a flight back to Dubai, where she has been based for the past ten years.

I had some of my favorite things with me to pass the time productively.

The coffee is a Double Tall Dark Cherry Mocha nonfat, no whip, one Splenda. (“Are you sure you still want the Splenda, ma’am? The syrup is very sweet…” I always add one Splenda when I take an extra espresso shot.) The caffeine jolt is necessary to jump-start my brain.

The book is the ninth edition of Theories of Human Communication by Stephen Littlejohn and Karen Foss. It is one of the bibles of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication. It explains around 126 theories, give or take a few. I read and re-read chapters when I have free time.

The mobile phone is a year-old Nokia 5310 XpressMusic. They didn’t have the pink one when I got this one, which I would have bought for the color. I prefer skinny candy-bar phones, which I can easily hold in one hand for texting. I dislike clamshell and slider types, because the more moving parts there are in a gadget, the more parts there are that are likely to break.

The fountain pens are my daily road warriors. Lacking a proper pen case that can accommodate the six or eight pens that I rotate on a monthly basis, I use a plastic Waterman case that the red Hemisphere came in. Yes, I know, it’s not the best thing for the pens, they’ll scratch each other, but it’s only temporary, I promise.

The purple leather two-pen case is a Christmas gift from my friend Leigh.It’s adorable, just as she is.

Armed with these things and in between downing gulps of coffee, I wrote entries in my ”communication diary”, a large Scribe (Moleskine knock-off) notebook covered with olive silk. The diary is homework for our Communication Research 201 class with Dr. Joey Lacson and must be entirely handwritten. I used a different pen for each entry, so the words pop off the pages in a whirl of colorful inks – Private Reserve Naples Blue, Caran d’Ache Sunset, J. Herbin Cyclamen Rose, Pilot Iroshizuku asa-gao (morning glory blue).

I also texted the entire Board of Directors of the company I work for, telling them that it was a year since they hired me and thanking them for giving me the opportunity to work with them. After that I cleared my messages and deleted unnecessary files, freeing up valuable storage space for data.

I snapped photos of my pens using my mobile phone camera to use as my phone screen wallpaper.

From time to time I would jot down meetings and other reminders in my planner, while at the same time listening to too-loud conversations of other patrons rather than tuning them out. It’s not eavesdropping because they are talking loud enough for others to hear. As a communication student, it’s one way of observing communication behavior in the field.

One young woman, a self-proclaimed frequent traveler, complained to her friend in the colegiala accent of privileged female private Catholic high school students about losing her baggage on a flight to Paris. “It was the first time, and I never though such a thing would happen to me,” she said. “Don’t take anything for granted.”

At another table, an elderly man sitting with eight friends was telling them about a recent golf tournament he played in. “I played eight holes then almost collapsed,” he said. “I wasn’t feeling ill or anything. It just shows that anything can happen, even the least expected.”

My two hours at the coffee shop were well-spent. I completed several important tasks, relaxed in soothing surroundings, and was reminded by others of an important bit of wisdom – “Never take anything for granted.”

Multi-tasking with things that are chosen carefully with functionality foremost in mind helps you be more productive. Find out what things work best for you given your own particular way of doing things. What’s good for someone else might not be what’s right for you.

Once you’ve found out what kind of tools you’re comfortable with and make you more effective, stick with them, while still keeping an open mind on new things. It’s not a case of old dog, old tricks, but rather old dog, best tricks.

When my sister texted that her lunch was over and she was on her way to meet me, I packed up my favorite things, drained my coffee cup, and walked out the door with a sense of accomplishment. Now that felt good.

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rockwell’s “urban bazaar”

From Rockwell Land comes this announcement about their latest shopping event:

Discover Color at Rockwell’s Urban Bazaar

This rainy season, satisfy that urge to splurge at the Rockwell Urban Bazaar from August 15 to 17 at the Rockwell Tent.

This year’s theme: “Discover Color, Find your Style.” Rockwell’s Urban Bazaar will showcase over 80 participating shops with a unique mix of women’s fashion, men’s line, accessories, beauty, home items and knick-knacks.

Raid the racks with clothes from exciting brands like Be, Cole Vintage, Daphne, Designer Soiree, and V Clothing. Shift from work-wear to weekend wear with Lime, a fabulous line of comfy and lightweight jersey tops and dresses – perfect for the active woman who needs flexible fashion to fit her lifestyle.

Adventurous stylephiles will also enjoy Tammy Tan tops and casual dresses in geometric prints to make a bold fashion statement. Tammy Tan’s playful yet elegant designs are sure to add spice to your closet and will let you stand out from the crowd.

Treat your soles to fashionable footwear from Ichigo , NJ Sneakers, Renegade Folk, and the latest footwear fad, Plueys Manila.

Plueys lets you enjoy stylish Wellington rain boots made from durable natural rubber with sturdy treaded soles and are softly lined for comfort. It’s perfect from dressing up or dressing down.

Guys can also enjoy a wide assortment from the men’s line of Villareal and Munky, as well as tailored shirts and jackets from Navarro. Hip shirts and denims that fit the urban lifestyle can also be bought at Switch Nation.

To make you even more chic and stylish are accessories from Buxani, Fuddy Duddy, Get Happy, Temp Station, BBB, D!luxe Jewelry, Bags in the City, De Roca Bags, Veronica Manila, Gypsy Holiday, and Tonic.

To make your shopping extravaganza complete, indulge your taste buds at the new and exciting food booths outside the tent.

So rush to the Rockwell Tent to splurge and spoil yourself with this year’s Urban Bazaar and get a chance to win raffle prizes and enjoy Samba performances by Escola de Samba de Manila – the first and only Samba school in the Philippines !

For inquiries call 898-1702.   ***

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how they put the “green” in “greenbelt”

Ayala Malls has plenty of reason to be proud of all that they have achieved with their renovation of the park that is an integral part of Greenbelt 3 and 5 in the Makati Central Business District. The landscaping is superb; words are inadequate to describe it. I’ll let my photographs do the talking here.





This air vent at the park is a crowd-drawer and a popular spot for photo-ops. Gbelt5_kids_vent

Ik’s hair-raising experience at “The Vent”…


A sylvan glade at the center of the park. A setting for fairies’ rides, perhaps? or, more prosaically, for photo-shoots of fashion, fountain pens, or ball-jointed dolls

Gbelt5_park2 copy

A bamboo grove is mysterious, at the same time cool and inviting; the two rocks provide visual balance.


This particular clump of greenery is beside the koi pond.


A restaurant’s outdoor seating provides a punchy glow of color against the cool landscaping.


Another eatery’s bar invites with color, shape, and form…


Mannequins with lampshades for heads punctuate a clever window display. The eye is drawn to the intense hue of the party frocks.


Not only a park, not only a shopping mall, but a showcase of Filipino design and ingenuity – Greenbelt. It’s something to be very proud of.

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hello, waterman preface!

Waterman came out with the Preface some years back; it is now discontinued and not available on the company website, but still available brand-new here in Manila and in quite a few other places in Asia as well, I daresay. Elsewhere on the Internet it’s sold as a collectible, for less than what it cost when it first came out.

This one is in Escapist green, glossy marble-look lacquer over brass. It’s slim and tapers slightly toward the end.


The Preface comes out to play at a playground along Legazpi Street, Makati.

The tassie on the cap is flared and ends in a distinctive black hexagonal Waterman signature design.


An elegant 18k gold nib adorns the tip, while the rest of the trim is in 24k.


The cap snaps securely at the end of the barrel, and thus posted, it’s a nice weight, well-balanced, quite comfortable for writing for long periods.


Dipped in black Parker Quink ink, it wrote smoothly, like ice skating over a mirror. But when I rinsed out the nib and inserted a Waterman green cartridge, it got scratchy. I wonder what happened? *sob* Could it be the ink? Was it the rinse? Or something else?

In any case, I love my Waterman, and will keep scribbling with it until it smoothens out and adjusts to my hand, becomes a part of me and my art.

Here’s a bit of trivia about one of my most admired writers, Stephen King, and Waterman:

Shortly after his accident, King wrote the first draft of the book “Dreamcatcher” with a notebook and a Waterman fountain pen, which he called ‘the world’s finest word processor.’

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coffee and lanterns

At the Greenbelt and Glorietta malls last Sunday with my family, Starbucks of course was part of the itinerary, after a visit to PowerBooks and National Bookstore. The branch that enjoyed our patronage was Glorietta 4, the one beside the cinemas and the video game arcade. Much like other Starbucks shops, the interior is warm and features the usual furnishings, bar, refrigerated glass cases, and lamps.

I find this branch interesting for the big logo sign hung outside the picture window.

The merchandise shelves are beside the other windows that give out onto a balcony for smoking and standing around. The sun streams in, bathing that area in light. Compared to other branches, this one is brightly illuminated during the day.


Ik enjoys a Vanilla Cream Frappucino with Irish Mint – a combination that leaves baristas scratching their heads and, once, coming out from behind the bar to kneel at her feet and ask her if she really did ask for mint syrup in her drink. With the vanilla.


After a leisurely half-hour or so sipping drinks and reading the paper, we walked to the new Greenbelt 5. At the beautifully-landscaped park, a tree is festooned with capiz shell lantern globes.


Gbelt5_watermark copy

Greenbelt 5 is tres upscale and filled with snooty boutiques crammed with expensive clothes, jewelry, and furnishings offered to a fat-walleted clientele.


These luxurious and comfortable shopping plazas cater to the upper crust that make up a tiny fraction of the population, and to the slowly expanding middle-class funded by BPO growth and OFW remittances that, alas, could diminish in the face of rising fuel prices and food shortage.

But it’s too hot to talk about politics and social problems at length. Coffee and capiz shell lanterns, though…little things that make life a bit more vibrant.

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parker 75 goes on location

Since my Parker 75 Milleraies goes wherever I go, it gets its picture taken on location, looking very handsome indeed. Here it is in a hole in one of the gateway posts at Sycip Park in Makati. Its gold barrel gleams against the worn, aged wood.

Here it is on a rock (also at Sycip Park), with a couple of leaves. It is in the shade because it was such a hot day.


I could have taken photos of just the wood and the rock, but I love how the metallic machine-made gold body of the fountain pen contrasts with the rough textures and colors of nature.

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makati city has plants. and flowers.

We may gripe and rant about how hot the Philippines is, especially big dense cities like Manila and Makati, which are over-crowded and polluted. Makati, especially, as the country’s business district, is accused of being dusty and noisy with the incessant honking of horns, and ugly with all the cement high-rises rising up to accommodate an ever-increasing population from all over the world.

That may be true. But take a good close look. Makati has lots of greenery, pocket parks and plants bursting from sidewalk and building planters. I found all these flora along a short stretch of road – along Legaspi Street from the corner of Rada to the corner of Paseo de Roxas.

Pink flowers on a strip of grass in front of an office building


Entrance to Washington Sycip Park. Brass letters spelling out the park’s name used to be installed on the rock in foreground. Now they are gone. Stolen? Taken away for safekeeping?


Another shot of the entrance to Sycip Park, from another angle. It is so interesting that you take take hundreds of different shots of this one part of the park alone. To the left is a modern sculpture; it is nicely balanced by the streetlamp on the right.


Magenta bougainvillea on a bush. I was afraid this photo would not come out nicely on my Canon Ixus point-and-shoot as it was a windy afternoon; the leaves and flowers fluttered constantly and absolutely would not keep still long enough for me to take a good picture! It turned out okay, though.


A long shot placing the bougainvillea in context – against a background of different ornamentals of varying shades. Applause for the landscape artist! In the center of the shot, between the fronds of the foliage, you can glimpse a high-rise. It almost looks as if it were ruins in the middle of a jungle…


My favorite shot of the day – white frangipani (calachuchi) blossoms and branches against an almost cloudless blue Manila sky…


Unidentified saffron-colored blooms juxtaposed against a concrete-and-glass tower.

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