Saturday, March 31, 2018

Quiapo Church and some thoughts for Good Friday

Today is Good Friday and I just wanted to post this photo I took recently of Quiapo Church, which is dedicated to the Black Nazarene. It is always said that Fridays are the worst time to be traveling in the area of the church because Friday is the day of devotion to the Black Nazarene. This is similar to the notion that Wednesdays is usually a bad day for traffic around Baclaran.

Quiapo Church with Plaza Miranda

I haven't been to Quiapo on a Good Friday but I can imagine that a lot of people flocked to the church this week and particularly between Maundy Thursday and Good Friday as part of their Visita Iglesia route. Of course, there are many who are "namamanata" or have "panata" (vow or promise to pray or hear Mass at the church) as thanksgiving or perhaps asking for a specific blessing. Pilgrim or tourist, the church probably attracts more people during Good Fridays compared to the average it attracts on normal Fridays and Sundays. Of course, we cannot compare this to the number of people (estimated to be in the millions if not hundreds of thousands) during its feast day in January.

I hope we all have a prayerful Holy Week. I pray that we are able to reflect these days on what is happening around us and that we will do our part to make this world a better place for everyone.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

On Visita Iglesia and overlooked churches

It is now the Holy Week and many people are likely to go on a Visita Iglesia this Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Visita Iglesia literally translates into 'church visit' and is an annual tradition for many and entails going to seven (usually) churches where people pray; often a novena on the stations of the cross (remembering the passion of Jesus Christ).

In recent years, this has become somewhat a touristy thing and many people from Metro Manila now roam around nearby provinces targeting the old churches in these area. The result can be traffic congestion in places where there usually is less traffic due to the sudden increase in the number of private vehicles generated by churches.

Metro Manila doesn't lack for old churches and among those that will probably be included in a Visita Iglesia list would be the following:
- Malate Church
- Manila Cathedral
- San Agustin Church
- Baclaran (Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help)
- Quiapo Church (Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene)
- Sto. Domingo Church
- Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine

And there are many more including those in Marikina, Las Pinas and Malabon that are often not considered; overlooked by those who go for the "major" churches for their Visita Iglesia. Taguig actually has an old church located in the old part of the town that's probably unknown to many outside of Taguig. We usually pass by the church as its along one of the alternative routes to get from C-6 to BGC. I personally have not been in this church but based on the information you can get about it (, it is definitely one to consider for Visita Iglesia.

The Church of St. Anne in the old center of Taguig is actually an Archdiocesan Shrine and founded in 1587.
There are many more around Metro Manila that should be in one's list for this Holy Week but I believe that people should be more focused on prayer even at a single church rather than go around like a tourist (taking selfies or posting about the experience). Perhaps among the sacrifices to be made here are minimizing taking photos and refraining from uploading 'at the moment/ atm' posts. Many people take it for granted that Visita Iglesia is supposed to be a pilgrimage where you renew your faith, and not a tourist experience where you indulge in food and drink.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Enicar automatic vintage watch

I got another Enicar watch. This one is an automatic but I don't know about the movement yet. There are the desirable ultrasonic models of Enicar that are supposed to be the really good automatic movements for this brand. It doesn't say ultrasonic anywhere on the watch so I assume this is just a "regular" automatic model.

I quickly got this after the seller posted it. The watch looked like it was in great condition and was I glad it really was when I finally inspected it after it was delivered. Of course, it has scratches on the glass as well as the body but these are acceptable given the apparent age of the watch. The watch does not feature complications such as a day or date so I guess the movement is more efficient this way.
Side view showing the dauphine hands and the scratches on the watch body
Side view showing the crown, the nice red second hand, and more scratches
Older watches are supposed to have 'waterproof' instead of 'water resistant'
I timed this watch and it ran a little over 38 hours. Not at all bad for an old watch. This one probably came out in the 1960s-1970s. Again, it runs well and gained only about 2-3 minutes through the 38 hours I was able to observe the watch. I am comparing this to my other watches that I know are in great condition and the digital clocks of my computer and phones. I like this watch and it has become a regular in my weekly rotation.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Vostok Amphibia (again)

The leather strap on my Vostok Amphibia (also spelled Amfibia) gave out easily. That was relatively new as I bought it right after I had pins customized for the watch so I can fit it with new straps. The old metal bracelet was in a very bad condition and did not fit my wrist so I had to replace it (though I kept it as a souvenir of sorts).

The watch has an interesting design including the face, the rotating bezel and the large crown. The bottom of the face also shows its Made in the USSR (in Russian).
The watch back bears much information on the watch including its 200m water resistance (if properly sealed). I probably won't dare swim with this watch but was assured by my watch repairman that it is water resistant under typical conditions of wearing.
I had this beat up watch recently overhauled and it runs well. It's a good weekend watch.
Wrist shot
The new leather strap is more rugged in design and looks really good on the watch. It was also properly fitted to the watch, thanks to the lady who took care of cutting the leather and installing the strap to the watch.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Food for Lent

It's the Lenten Season once again and its that time of year when meat consumption tends to go down for Catholics. We are supposed to fast and abstain from meat (that's beef, pork and chicken) on Fridays and the specific days like Ash Wednesday, Maunday Thursday and Black Saturday.

Frozen seafood i vacuum packs mean they will last longer in the refrigerator.

I usually get dory, tanguige, tuna and milkfish as part of our food supply. Bangus (milkfish) is usually for breakfast while the other seafood can be cooked a number of ways. Sometimes I get tuna belly for grilling and sashimi-grade tuna for a home-prepared version of this Japanese favorite. And this is not just for Fridays but for the entire week. Of course, I try to get fresh seafood whenever I have the opportunity to go to market. That's where I get our supply of vegetables, shrimps, fish and other seafood from our suki vendors.

There was a bit of irony when Ash Wednesday happened to be the same day as Valentine's Day. Some people (the more religious ones?) were in some sort of dilemma how they can "celebrate" Valentine's Day when it was a day of fasting and abstinence if you're a Roman Catholic. I'm sure they were able to figure that out while practicing abstinence from meat

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Gruen Precision Manual Wind Vintage Watch

I am on the lookout for vintage watches that are being sold for cheap but actually have a significantly higher value. A good example is this watch from Gruen that I got for about 40% of the market value based on what I found online. This watch is even in better condition than the reference I saw so I quickly moved to acquire it.

I saw this Gruen Precision manual wind and immediately liked the simple features including the absence of a second hand.
The watch is quite thin for a mechanical, hand-wound piece. I guess that is a testament to the quality of work of the makers of this watch. I got rid of its old, ugly strap and used the Nato strap from one of my Vostok watches as replacement.
The back of the watch after I did some basic cleaning with oil.
Here's the watch before I installed the Nato strap. I will probably have it cleaned and overhauled judging from the dirt on the watch.
A close-up of the bottom of the face shows this watch is Swiss Made.
Here's the obligatory wrist shot.
The watch keeps very good time and so far I have timed it to last about 39 hours one time on a full wind and then about 41 hours another time. I have not had it cleaned or overhauled after acquisition but will likely put it off for now since the watch is functioning quite well. I was able to clean the watch body with the help of some oil and cotton.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Mango trees in full bloom

The village where I reside in was supposedly formerly a mango orchard. As such, there are many old large mango trees everywhere. The Clairvoyant and I like to think that a mature mango tree is the status symbol for a homeowner in our village and we are fortunate to have one in our home. We actually oriented our house to retain the mango tree in our lot (the right thing to do) and it is one of the distinct features of our home.

Most of the old mango trees where I reside are now in full bloom. Many branches (large and small) are now sagging with the weight of the flowers. I am afraid branches will start crashing down once the flowers transform into fruits.
Our mango tree had not been as productive the past almost 4 years after a large branch was removed by a strong typhoon in 2014. We were able to harvest something like 3 to 4 boxes of carabao mangoes then, and now look forward to a good harvest in a few weeks.
Another street and more flowering mango trees.
We hope to have a good harvest in the coming weeks and are praying that there won't be heavy rains that will ruin the flowers.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Mido Ocean Star Cal. 80

Easily rising among my favorites in my collection is this mint, practically brand-new Mido Ocean Star Cal. 80. It is a diver and can be considered a homage model resembling the famous submariner model of a popular luxury brand. Mido is by no means a pushover as it is a Swiss watchmaker and part of the Swatch Group, which includes Omega, Longines, Breguet, Glashutte and Tissot. I have another Mido that I wrote about before and that vintage watch is still running smoothly though it is not getting much wrist time.

The watch is in perfect condition and I like the color on this one. Mido is not a common brand you see in Philippine shops so it is not "pansinin" or one that attracts attention.
The watch has a date and day feature and red pointer at the end of the second hand.
The bezel is styled after the submariner's
Side view showing the signed crown. This is a screw-down crown designed for water resistance in case you use it for swimming or diving.
The clasp has an extension feature. The bracelet can be extended by pressing the smaller buttons near the end of the clasp connecting to the bracelet.
The back design is quite interesting as it features a starfish (Ocean Star).
Here's the "obligatory" wrist shot.
The '80' also is supposed to stand for another feature of the watch. That is, it is supposed to last 80 hours on a 'full charge'. I have not really timed it yet but I've left the watch unused for 2 to 3 days and it's still running when I check on it or when I decide to use it again. I recently used the watch while swimming over the recent long weekend, and so somewhat confirmed its water resistance. It's big. It's heavy. It's my kind of watch. Definitely something for daily use.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Revue manual wind vintage watch

A watch that I have acquired recently is this manual wind from Revue, another watchmaker that was affected by the quartz 'revolution' of the 1970s. Revue is now better known as Revue Thommen, which no longer directly produces watches, choosing to license/authorize another maker for their Revue Thommen-brand watches. The company is well-known for development and manufacture of aircraft instrumentation.

The face is simple and the watch does not have any other complications/features such as a date or day display.
I got this watch from the same seller/auctioneer I got the Rodania from. The watches are clean and working perfectly. And this one came with really nice handcrafted leather.
The back shows that the watch has an anti-magnetic feature and incabloc shock absorption. You also know its an old watch because it states 'waterproof' instead of 'water resistant', which is now indicated in most watches. The double-R logo has evolved and I must admit that one of the reasons I got this watch is because the double-R also stands for my initials.
The 'obligatory' wrist shot

I have timed the watch after a full wind and has a capacity of about 38 hours though one time it was able to make 47 hours! This is about par for most manual winds of similar age. I have not opened the back yet so I don't know what movement powers the watch. It runs well so that will have to wait for some time.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Venchi 75% Dark Chocolate

The wife and I don't usually celebrate Valentine's Day as a couple the way others celebrate it - having a date on the day or me giving her flowers on the 14th. We never did, even during the time we were still dating and agreed to continue this practice even after having a daughter.

This Venchi bar has simple packaging
Details on the chocolate at the back of the box
The chocolate claims to be gluten-free and have a minimum 75% cacao content.
It's the first time I saw a notice on a chocolate about salt content ["The salt content is exclusively due to the presence of naturally occurring sodium."].
The chocolate wrapped in foil and out of the box

This is very fine chocolate and something you would prefer to melt in your mouth. The texture on this one is just right and the 'powdery' feel goes well with it being a 75% chocolate. This is definitely something on the list of chocolates to get when the next opportunity presents itself.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Osaka Takoyaki Restaurant, SM East Ortigas

We were looking for a place to eat dinner at before we watched "The Black Panther" a couple of weeks ago, we decided to try out a Japanese-themed restaurant at SM East Ortigas. The restaurant's specialty is takoyaki or octopus cutlet balls. The restaurant's menu also had many other choices for those who wanted to have something heavier for their meals.

The interiors attempt to recreate an authentic Japanese restaurant.
Aside from takoyaki, the restaurant also claims to serve good curry meals.
I ordered ramen as I wanted to have something that wasn't too heavy a meal prior to watching a movie where we will also be having some popcorn.
Their version of horenzo, which is spinach-based but laced with spices. This was supposed to be the counterpart of kimchi, which Korean restaurants serve with meals.
The wife tried their curry and it turned out to be very good. I think I liked it more (I had some as it was a generous serving.) than the ramen I ordered.
Their takoyaki was the real deal. I've had a fair share of takoyaki here and when I was in Japan so I think I know what authentic tastes like.
This is a good restaurant but with room for improvement. I thought the ramen was ordinary but the curry was good and the takoyaki very good.

Friday, March 2, 2018

David Bowie wine bottle

There's this bottle of wine that we got quite some time ago. It's a good thing I took photos of it then as the wine was consumed and the bottle inadvertently thrown away with the garbage. We usually kept bottles such as this one for posterity but somehow it was disposed off.

The bottle beside the bag bearing the name of the place where we got it.
Certificate of authenticity for the bottle and its sale's intended use. The bottle is Bowie's design.
"Whatever it takes" is something a lot of people need to do to succeed.

It was one of the bottles we opened to celebrate our daughter's and my brother-in-law's birthdays. Somehow, it was mixed with the other bottles of wine. Perhaps there's more of this where we got it?

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Baume & Mercier Hampton 8819

I begin March with yet another post on a watch. I was a bit hesitant to post about this watch as it is among my favorites and is one of a pair I have with the Clairvoyant. In other words, this is personal to me. :)

The Hampton is a classic piece and some articles even call it an iconic model.
The watch has a day feature.
The signed crown with the brand's logo.
The exhibition window shows a glimpse of the movement, and each watch has a serial number. Water resistance is 50m.
This watch is powered by a Sellita SW200-1 movement that runs on 28,800 bph with a power reserve of 38hours.
The bracelet features this hidden folding deployment clasp, which makes it difficult to remove the watch from the wrist.

I bought this watch brand new and was able to get a good discount as it was purchased during the Black Friday sales that came after Thanksgiving in the US. We were vacationing in California when I got the watch and our cousins sort of "encouraged" me to get it so the Clairvoyant and I would have our matching watches. You can see the wear and tear in the form of scratches. These are due to the watch being my preference for daily use since 2011. It still is, though I can now give it a rest for longer times along with my old reliable Seiko kinetic.