Sunday, August 27, 2006


Imagine this: In a single day, I had gone to four houses of worship, witnessed two weddings, attended a centering prayer meeting, walked through Rizal Park, rested my weary feet at the lobby of Manila Hotel, enjoyed a walking tour of Manila’s Chinatown, and met fellow bloggers for the first time.

It all started at Malate Church. I had misread Beth’s of KaleidosThoughts SMS message to meet her at Ermita Church to attend their centering prayer meeting; I ended up at Malate Church instead. However, rather than rush over to Ermita Church where she was, I watched a grand wedding being held at Malate church. With the area teeming with luxury cars, private chauffeurs and security personnel, I could only surmise many important people were in attendance.

Beth’s centering prayer workshop was a whole day affair, but only stayed for about half an hour; twenty minutes of which were learning and participating in meditation — definitely soothing for both mind and body. Immediately afterward was a ten-minute break, and then I had to say goodbye to her.

Originally, I invited Beth to join me in this Chinatown food tour, but she had another church-related activity to attend to. She did, however, promise to act as my guide for an evening walking tour of Plaza Lawton later this year when most lights at government buildings will be turned on for the holiday season.

Before heading over to Binondo to join up with Ivan’s Big Binondo Food Wok, I stayed around to witness another wedding, but this time at Ermita Church. It was much simpler than the wedding earlier at Malate Church, but nonetheless, everyone seemed just as excited and jubilant.

I still had some time to kill before heading to Chinatown so I headed towards Kalaw Avenue and then to Rizal Park. Although a cloudy day, I took a picture of the hero’s monument. There were many tourists (Koreans) having their pictures taken in front of the monument; therefore, I wasn't able to take a shot from dead center; had to do it from the side.

Only a block away is one of Manila's grand hotel. Last time I was in the area, I only had enough time to take a picture of its façade, though the guard advised it was all right to take pictures of the hotel’s beautiful lobby as well. At that time, I was running late for Carlos Celdran's Intramuros tour and didn't have enough time to do it.

However, I had more time this Saturday to take some pictures of its interior, as well as lounge for a little while to appreciate its hunongous but warm ambience. Take note of the wooden ceiling and the capiz shell shades of the huge brass chandeliers. Also had an opportunity to chat briefly with one of the hotel's security managers who has been working there for ten years. He mentioned that as the years passed, there were less high profile personalities to be seen in the premises or checking in as guests. Perhaps, the Mandarin Hotel in Makati has taken over as the city's most prestigious and luxury hotel.

From Manila Hotel, unable to find a calesa to take me to Binondo Church; decided to cab it instead. I rarely take cabs these days so I also took this opportunity to strike up a conversation with the driver to sort of ask for some driving tips.

Incidentally, before I started driving in the city, I asked a number of taxi drivers for their advice. I was rewarded with valuable information which prevented me from getting overwhelmed or aggravated by the city's trafic jams.. Be that as it may, to this day, I don't particularly enjoy driving over at Makati mainly because of its strict and ever-changing traffic schemes.

There was a mass going on at Binondo Church when I arrived so I decided to attend it. Right afterwards, I noticed some people taking pictures; thought they must be part of the same walking tour that I had signed-up for. I was right.

It was past twelve by that time and I was beginning to feel hungry. I knew that eating at some of Chinatown's retaurants was the highlight of this tour so, just to appease my grumbling stomach, I crossed Ongpin Street to get some hopia at Eng Bee Tin.

Ivan soon showed up and our walking tour started. Much to my pleasant surprise, a visit to one of the older Chinese temples in the heart of Chinatown was an added treat, for I have never been inside one.

It was indeed a pleasure to have finally met Sidney Snoeck of My Sari-Sari Store, who for more than the past six months — along with Irene aka Niceheart of Journey to Honeyville — has been most generous with his support and encouragement in honing my blog writing skills.

It was also quite exciting to have met other bloggers on this food trip such as Ejay and his girlfriend, Pi; a wonderful couple, I must admit.
As for Irene, I have a hunch we'll get a chance to meet when I attend her son Reggie’s concert either in New York City or at Newport, Rhode Island for its famed summer jazz festival.

This has been one of the most hectic Saturdays I’ve ever had in quite some time, but absolutely enjoyed every minute of it.

I will post a separate entry about the food trip; for now, feast your eyes on these Chinese delights!

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posted by Señor Enrique at 6:16 AM


Blogger ipanema said...

Oh, what a Saturday indeed!

I want to make a guess at the food. Top row: fried noodles, the second I think a combination of two kinds - some barbeque and it looks like an omelette (i dont know what kind). Lower portion: ist tray - springroll (popia) and perhaps chicken balls/meat balls. The last one looks like chorizo for me. :)

August 27, 2006 10:24 AM  

Blogger Sidney said...

Eric it was a pleasure to have met you yesterday during Ivan's Big Binondo's Food Wok tour. Now at least I can put a face on the man who write such wonderful stories. I will write you an email asap (give me a few days.)

August 27, 2006 10:38 AM  

Anonymous niceheart said...

It's only Saturday here and we've already had quite a busy weekend. Been to two birthday parties today and I'm just winding up for the day, here in front of the computer.

Thank you for the special mention. I've read the many comments here in your blog and I don't think that it's only Sidney and me who have been encouraging you in honing your writing skills, am I not right, people?

I have the same hunch as well. Reggie is really set on becoming a jazz musician and we'll probably meet in some jazz festival somewhere. :)

Our churches back there at home looks magnificent (is that the right word?). Churches here are not as big. We've also attended a wedding a few weeks ago and might blog about my observations.

August 27, 2006 10:39 AM  

Blogger Ash said...

Nice pictures and write-up!

August 27, 2006 1:06 PM  

Anonymous beth said...

Nice to have met you Eric! I have never been on a Manila tour to see how they do it but I'll practice some lines so I come prepared when I give you my own style of an evening walking tour in Manila, anyway it will be in a long while yet :-)
You really had a busy Saturday and so did I but like you i had a good day!
You featured Binondo Church in your blog. It is currently undergoing renovation, good thing the altar is cleared for the wedding. Did you notice the ceiling? The one on top of the altar is St. Michael, the arcangel, they also featured the 3 mysteries of the rosary- Joyful on the right, Sorrowful on the left and Glorious in the middle(it was done before Pope John Paul introduced the luminous mystery)

August 27, 2006 3:57 PM  

Anonymous bingskee said...

wow, what a lovely and busy day you had! glad you made it meeting some nice people of the blogosphere.

August 27, 2006 5:14 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Sorry for the much delayed response to your comments, folks; had to attend my mother's birthday party today given by my sister.


I think you got them all correct, Ipanema! Wow! You must be some cook youself, or these same Chinese foods are available where you are.

Thank you also. Sidney! BTW, already sent you a photo of my favorite (but neglected) building At Kalaw Avenue near Roxas Boulevard.

Boy, you had a hectic Saturday, too, Niceheart!

Yes, our local churches are something else. But if you really want to see an over the top ornate church interior, St. Augustin Church over in Intramuros has got to be no. 1.

I'm really rooting for your son to do well in the music scene!

Thanks, Niceheart!

Many thanks, Ash! I stopped by your site ... wow! Impressive photography you got there :)

I'm sure you had quite a Saturday as well Beth. Considering you had to get up very early for the morning workshop and then rush over to Quezon City for another prayer meeting at noon. Sorry you couldn't join us in Chinatown, BUT there'll be plenty of time for future walking tours.

Whoa! Thanks for the info -- I was admiring the ceiling and had no idea what they represent.

That was indeed some Saturday, Bing. What really made it more worthwhile and enjoyable was my having met those wonderful fellow bloggers :)

August 27, 2006 6:53 PM  

Anonymous Toe said...

What an interesting day you had! It's something that more Filipinos should do... become a tourist in your own hometown or country. I like the Rizal Monument photo a lot. And it's really cool that you met fellow bloggers!

August 27, 2006 7:34 PM  

Anonymous jepaperts said...

wowowie senor, interesting trip you have. not only that. your getting good with those pics! (demon talking) time to get those dslrs... hehehe.

August 27, 2006 9:45 PM  

Blogger Analyse said...

i wont mind having a busy saturday if it entails jamming with fellow bloggers and feasting with chinese foods. i wish i was there too..

August 28, 2006 1:32 AM  

Blogger ipanema said...

The food looks familiar Eric. Yes, we have it here except for chorizo.

Ey, you have a good 'eye' for angles. I noticed this in your photos. Why don't you have a photoblog?

August 28, 2006 2:29 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

You are right, Toe ... everyone should become a tourist in one's own town. This reminds me of Zen's circle symbol -- that once masters, we must become students again; otherwise we stagnate. Doing these tours make me feel like a student once again :)

Thanks, Jepaperts. BTW, posting my photos on now since you told me that Flickr is bannd on your network or something. Yes, a dSLR is sweet ... someday :)

BTW, Sidney and I talked about your site and how wonderful your photos are, especially your great interest in sharing your technical knowledge with your readers. Very admirable of you, Jep!

Who knows, Analyze? Next summer you and the entire family might vacation here in Manila. And if that happens ... let us know and we'll come and meet you in in some afternoon to chat live and in person for a change!

That's what I thought, Ipanema, since you were quite accurate in identifying those in the photo.

Thanks for the compliments ... I might set up a eparate photoblog once I get a dSLR!

August 28, 2006 6:53 AM  

Blogger Sidney said...

You are so talented and your pictures are so good that you don't need a dSLR to start a photo blog!

August 28, 2006 8:02 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

You are right, Sidney ... that it doesn't require a dSLR to put up a blog (and thanks for the compliments) ... but if I were to a start a personal photoblog, I'd probably want to specialize in a single theme.

For example, Jase who lives in Melbourne is thinking of focusing on Street Art (or graffiti as some would call it), or the local architecture as we are talking about last Saturday.

What I want to do is perhaps, a photo profile of our politicians and highlight the good that's in them ... hahaha might seem funny or an oxymoron, BUT the point is something unique :)

Hmmmm ... Sidney, I've got to have a press card ID :(


August 28, 2006 8:36 AM  

Anonymous Pi said...

Hi Eric! We had a fantabulous time meeting you and the rest of our group last Saturday. :) Quite an educational tour, I must say. Will be a stalker of your blog now. :D Keep on writing!

August 28, 2006 9:18 AM  

Blogger Rey said...

wow... what a way to spend a day. I wish i had the time and leisure to do the same (I will, someday). It's amazing how much growth a simple walk can make.

August 28, 2006 10:03 AM  

Anonymous melai said...

wow! what a day! saya siguro dapat sinama mo ko lol!! so u already visit Chinatown? nadaanan mo na siguro nanay ko dun :)

August 28, 2006 10:08 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hi Pi!

Yes, it was indeed very educational and filling :) And that was a fun group we had!

I had posted a comment on Ejay's blogsite that he must continue with regular posts; he's quite a writer himself.

Hope to run into you guys again in the future -- on another walking tour or local festival.

I shall stalk yours and Ejay's sites as well :)


August 28, 2006 10:11 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Next time you come home for a visit, Rey, make sure you put aside some time to join one or two of these walking tours. They are really informative and fun! You also meet a mix bunch of wonderful people.

August 28, 2006 10:13 AM  

Anonymous carla said...

hi! i was also in the same tour with you last saturday, thanks for giving me your card btw.ü that tour was indeed a gastronomically, not to mention historically/culturally filling one and i intend to go on another one next time! i haven't posted anything on my blog yet as i can only connect to the internet in my office but the entry will be posted soon!

i'll link you up!

August 28, 2006 10:27 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hayaan mo, Melai, paguwi mo sa bakasyon mo, sabihin mo lang sakin at sama kita sa isang tour -- promise, magugustohan mo talaga :)

Siyanga pala, I think I saw your nanay, kanya lang bilis-bilis lakad ng tour guide ng napadaan kami sa kanto niya. Kung hihinto ako at batiin siya, baka maiwanan ako ng grupo. Nahiya naman akong batiin siya tapos bilis lang akong aalis.

Binanggit ko pa nga kay Sidney na baka siya nga ang nanay mo, eh :)

Hayaan mo, next time pagbumalik ako, kakausapin ko siya. Paki sabi na din sa kanya na one of these days baka may bumati sa kanya na kahawig ni Harrison Ford -- pero di ako yon, ibang turista yon...hahaha.

Ayon sa mga bata mas kamukha ko daw si Panchito, yong dating partner ni Dolphy. hahaha!

August 28, 2006 10:30 AM  

Anonymous kyels said...

I'm intrigued by the local churches in Manila and I am fascinated with St. Agustin. It's amazing, all the churches; even though I have only seen them through pictures.

You definitely had an eventful Saturday. Good to hear that. By any chance, are you a Jazz lover?


August 28, 2006 10:42 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hi Carla! You didn't say you were a blogger also :) All I know is that you play badminton, too!

I just checked out your site and it's so nice! I'll link you up as well, but can't update my page until I get my new laptop (di pa kasi dumadating).

But let's keep visiting each other's site and I will keep posting tours/events in Metro Manila I plan to attend in which you and your friend may want to join, too.

Buti pala nabigyan kita ng card ko!


PS... check out labybug's Law and Badminton site. She's into badminton :)

August 28, 2006 10:48 AM  

Blogger jase said...

Hi Eric,

Wow, I can imagine how hectic your weekend was. But you got it all organized and your photos captured it all. I can actually imagine and smell the streets of Malate and Binondo. So much history is laden in every corner if you just consider and look at them closely.

Yes, it is good to have a particular theme of interest if you go on a photo blog. My street art photos in Melbourne has to be organized and thanks for encouraging me!

Did you have a good birthday party for your Mom?

Have a good blogabble week!

August 28, 2006 10:52 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Yes, Kyels ... I love jazz! Actually, (and I regret having done this but no choice) last Saurday, as I was leaving Manila Hotel, a jazz quartet began tuning their instruments. Let me tell you, I was torn between staying and listening to some live jazz music (which I haven't done in what seem like ages), or going on ahead with my Saturday plan. Aargh! ... hahaha.

The interior of San Augustin Church is really amazing -- so elaborately decorated, to say the least. And this is the part I wished I had a dSLR -- my point and shooter didn't produce good enough photos because of the limited reach of its built-in flash; it was dark in that church because it was opened only to accommodate our tour group.

Hmmm...just had a thought -- a photoblog of nothing but various houses of worship in Metro Manila. And I'll name it "Houses of the Holy," a takeoff from the name of one of Led Zeppelin's early albums :) How about that, Sidney?

August 28, 2006 11:02 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

So glad you stopped by Jase. I was just talking about you with Sidney.

Yes, you have got to put together a Web-based catalogue of Melbourne's street art!!! And don't be surprised if you become suddenly popular with the local artists :)

Mama had a wonderful time, Jase. Thank you for asking!

August 28, 2006 11:08 AM  

Blogger Senorito<- Ako said...

I feel tired reading about your activities. What did you have for breakfast... energizer batteries ? :)

August 28, 2006 11:34 AM  

Blogger Ejay said...

Hi, Eric.

Thank you for the very kind words on my blog. It was indeed a pleasure to have met and toured with you last Saturday. :)

'Til our next walking tour. Consider your blog linked. ;)


August 28, 2006 11:50 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hahaha ... that is so funny, S.A. ... energizer batteries for breakfast!

Hey Ejay! Ok, you better keep that blog of yours regularly updated or else ... no more kind words! Hehehe! Will link you, too, once able :) Thanks!

August 28, 2006 1:11 PM  

Anonymous ladybug said...

Wow! That was some tiring weekend. If I were you, I would need to re-charge myself for another 2 days after all those places you went to and events you attended. The food looks good too. I can't wait for your post re: food trip. Did you eat at The President's? That's one of my favorite restaurants in Binondo. I love their prawn salad.

August 28, 2006 1:23 PM  

Blogger ipanema said...

ey ladybug, I think i've been at The President's before. I'm not sure if that's the one though. It's up on the 2nd floor right?

If it is, their laureate (wow esfeling tama?) is good. :)

August 28, 2006 1:38 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

The President Restaurant is the reason why I joined this tour, Ladybug.

President has two spots only a few meters from each other, and yes, Ipanema, this restaurant is well-known for its lauriat!

August 28, 2006 1:49 PM  

Blogger ladybug said...

ipanema> Yes, nasa second floor sila dati. But apparently, because of brisk business, they were able to renovate at nasa ground floor na malaki pa. They have other branches as well.

eric> I can't wait to read your most recent post re: food trip in Binondo. Heto na...babasahin ko na.

August 28, 2006 5:33 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Their branch in Tutuban closed; the one in SM Megamall is the only other branch that I know of.

August 28, 2006 5:48 PM  

Anonymous kyels said...

Well, we've lots of great Jazz bands here in Malaysia. If you are here one day, make sure you're sitting at one of the bistros enjoying the bands play. Hehe.

I'll be making a trip down to Manila at the end of the year. And your blog is like a travel guide to me Eric. It helped a lot. The description and the pictures!


August 28, 2006 6:49 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Glad to be of service then Kyels :)

If you have any questions about Metro Manila, just post it on the comment box of my current entry. If I couldn't provide you with any answer, hopefuly, one of the readers might be able to.

August 28, 2006 7:03 PM  

Anonymous ladybug said...

eric, I think there's also President's Tea House in malate, but they serve only the dimsum variety.

August 28, 2006 11:41 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

They do? Wow ... that is good to know, Ladybug.

This reataurant truly has awesome dishes. I used to go to the main President restaurant located in the old Chinese theater, but lately favor its tea house for dimsun just around the corner.

Speaking of Malate area, Carlos Celdran had recommended an authentic Vietnamese restaurant (reasonably-priced and plenty of parking). Haven't been there yet, but if you want name and location of it, let me kow and I'll dig it up.

August 29, 2006 5:57 AM  

Anonymous kyels said...

Thanks Eric. That's going to help me a lot.


August 29, 2006 4:33 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

No sweat, Kyels. Jusk ask, ok?

August 29, 2006 7:16 PM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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