For quite some time 98B Colloboratory has worked with the local community in a bid to revive the Escolta shopping district. Lately, they have been very successful with their weekend market at the First United Building, the unofficial home of the weekend market thanks to the efforts of those who want to bring back the glory days of this old street. After Carlos Celdran's walking tour had ended, we were dropped off a little bit away from the First United Building, nevertheless I still took the time to see what I could find in this market, maybe a little something for my shelf and an artwork to inspire me. True enough I did find those in the weekend market and so much more.
It's been more than two months since I joined Carlos Celdran's Walking Tour in Intramuros and ever since that tour I have been on the lookout for his other tours such as: the Imelda Marcos Shoe Tour and lately, the Escolta - Quiapo Tour. When I first heard about the Quiapo - Escolta Tour, it was through the Facebook page of 98B COLLaboratory, a group who are slowly but surely trying to revive the glory and the grandeur of Manila's old shopping and financial district. Seeing that Carlos Celdran was offering this Escolta-Quiapo tour for the first time since 2010, I just couldn't pass up the chance to explore another part of Manila. Most especially in a part of the city that is slowly capturing the attention of the bloggers, journalists and weekend warriors.
Back in 2012 I watched the documentary "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" a moving and artistic documentary about Jiro, the world's best and might still be the only Michelin star sushi chef. The documentary explored the artistic subtleties in creating one of the world's most famous dishes, in such a delicate, intricate and passionate manner. The reason why his sushi is considered the best is because of the years of dedication Jiro has committed himself to, in order, to make one of the most expensive and sought after meals in the whole world. Believe it or not, his restaurant is small and quaint but boasts a two month reservation (maybe even more ever since the documentary became mainstream), and a meal can cost upwards of USD200. Jiro explains the wonders and the hardships one has to go through in learning a craft that, of late, is slowly going the way of the dinosaurs thanks to mass production and the almost-generic taste of the sushi we eat.
As of late, my interest in Japanese cuisine has been on overdrive, call it cravings if you wish and just thinking about Jiro and his mouthwatering sushi was more than enough to make me crave for the meal itself. Today being Good Friday, complete with the abstinence and fasting, it was the perfect time to really crave for sushi. In order to satisfy my craving I had to look for the perfect place to get sushi, I couldn't fly off to Japan and go to Jiro's restaurant and pay upwards of USD200 (I didn't have that kind of money), so I settled for the next best thing. On this somewhat cool summer day, my brothers and I, drove off to Amorsolo corner Arnaiz (or is it the other way around?) in Makati and had a generous early dinner at Nihonbashitei; a restaurant that serves very good and delicious sushi.
Today Manila Traveler mourns the passing of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. A man noted for his magical realism and his exposition of Colombian society, struggles and culture.
The first time I heard of Gabriel Garcia Marquez was through a friend of mine in High School. Emman, introduced me to a lot of books and one of which was Marquez's ubiquitous and renowned "Ons Hundred Years of Solitude". It was a year after being introduced to his works that I finally picked up his novel. Little did I know that I would struggle reading his book. Marquez has a very vivid imagination and a random stream of consciousness that gives the average reader a headache or a feeling of despair. It was the latter for me, with the last one hundred pages to go, I quit and shelved Marquez's book.
The past few days I have been craving for a hot bowl of noodles, particularly ramen. The very mystifying and artfully done piping hot noodles with all the nuances of Japanese culinary delights. To satisfy this craving I could have easily gone to one of the many convenience stores or dropped by Ramen Cool in Kapitolyo. But I did not and the thing is, the noodles in convenience stores taste a little funny (but I still wouldn't pass up the chance to buy one) and the noodles in Ramen Cool just seem so pretentious. I really wanted to taste the real thing or at least have a near authentic ramen meal. Thankfully last night, I did get to have the noodles of all noodles at Molito's Ramen Yushoken in Alabang.
I've always been a fan of comics and every year since I started working, I often make it a point to shop on Amazon and buy a new graphic novel. Before it used to be the whole Superman and Batman graphic novels that are extremely hard to find or are expensive to buy in either Fullybooked or on PowerBooks. This year, I decided to change my pattern of buying from these comic studios and instead, looked elsewhere, my search led me to Guy De Lisle's Pyongyang graphic novel.
For a non-coffee drinker I seem to find myself hanging out in a lot of coffee shops. Then again, if a coffee shop like Cafe de Seoul brings with it the sights, sounds or at least the perkiness of South Korean culture then why not? Ever since I started my graduate studies and even when I took a leave of absence from studying, Cafe de Seoul continues to be the go-to hangout and meeting place for me and my friends. It's hard not to resist since it standouts in the busy streets of Agno in Manila.
Last Monday was my 25th birthday, it was a day like any other except it ended with a very nice surprise. A dinner party in Exile on Main Street, another one of Manila or Taft's interesting stops that have no doubt made the place more interesting and alluring. In this small, unassuming restaurant, an interesting adventure of tastes, sights and sounds made the evening memorable. My first visit was one of entertaining guests I felt the need and Exile on Main Street certainly warranted a second visit to truly enjoy the flavors of their food and enjoy the kitschy atmosphere of the restaurant.
It's been quite some time since I last touched Photoshop and used the internet to help me out with digital art. But thanks to all of that, manilatraveler now has its own logo. Credits to wiki commons for providing the picture of the Manila City Hall. Hope you guys like it.
Will be tweaking the borders a little bit, it's also been a long time since I touched CSS/HTML, but I'll get the hang of it.
The month has just gotten started and so far I have highlighted some interesting events to visit and drop by for this summer month of April.
The first is on April 26, Carlos Celdran in collaboration with 98B will be having the Quiapo-Escolta Walking Tour on this day. The tour will start at 9am and end approximately at 12nn in Cafe Polland at Yuchengco corner Escolta streets, the tour costs P600 for students (as always, present your ID) and P1,100 for adults. This tour is by reservation so email Carlos Celdran at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot.
In conjunction with his tour, 98B and through the efforts of enterprising entrepreneurs will be having their once a month weekend market at Escolta in the First United Building. So after the tour it would be a nice place to drop by and check out items, bargains and memorabilia all up for sale.
The third event happens the next day, this time in Intramuros. There will be a car-less Sunday weekend market on this day. Seeing that I haven't been here nor read about it it would be nice to drop by and see what they have in store for the casual visitor.
My name is Alfonso your nerdy history teacher, bookworm and lover of all things cultural and exciting. You can find me in a weekend market, in a bookshop, or eating in Japanese restos during the weekends.