Showing posts with label walks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label walks. Show all posts

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Elixir - neighborhood cafe and quick breakfast

The Clairvoyant tried out a coffee shop on a meeting with her boss. Elixir was one of those you could classify as as shop around the corner. The corner happened to be near our hotel and right in front of the San Diego Trolley station at Fifth Avenue.

Elixir had good coffee and crepes.
The building turned out to be a historic one that used to be a department store and an upscale one in the old days.
People lined up to get good coffee and crepe to start their day on the right note.
We also noticed that Elixir had suspended coffee, which the barista casually offered to one guy who was probably a regular and a familiar face in the neighborhood. Suspended coffee refers to a cup or cups purchased by people and which are not consumed but held by the shop to give away later to people who couldn't afford a cup of coffee. The concept of the neighborhood coffee shop is good and something that should be encouraged even with the dominance of chains like Starbucks. Suspended coffee is also a good idea that should be promoted in the spirit of charity and "pakikipag-kapwa tao."

Friday, May 10, 2013

Parks, open spaces and dating options

It was Valentine's Day again and rather than write about why the Clairvoyant and I didn't necessarily celebrate this cheesy day I am writing about ideas on dating. Call it unsolicited advice but it seems that in this age of materialism and malling, of social networks and android phones, old fashioned activities like taking a stroll along the park or going somewhere except the mall is lost to many of the current generation.

We are quite fortunate that we have advanced means of communication. Couples who are geographically apart such as those with loved ones abroad no longer have to sulk as they wait (eagerly) for a letter, a greeting card or an expensive long distance call. With the internet and advanced telecommunications, there are so many options now for long distance relationships (LDR) to be established and nurtured. Among the more popular options now include Facebook, Skype, BBM, and the various promos (e.g., Unlitext, Unlicalls, etc.) now available for texting and calling offered by the competing telecom companies. Yet there is still a need to have actual contact (face to face? EB or eyeball?) rather than the relatively impersonal chat online.

It's sad that Metro Manila and many other cities in the country have few parks where people can enjoy the outdoors. Most people now go to the malls. Likely, this might be to window shop and during summers, perhaps to enjoy the airconditioning of the mall. In the smaller towns in the provinces, the town plazas are still the places for a stroll. And there are some cities that have taken steps toward walkability including Marikina (Riverbanks area) and Iloilo (river front). Quezon City prides itself with the Quezon Memorial Circle, Parks and Wildlife and the La Mesa Eco Park. Manila still has Rizal Park, the promenade stretching along Roxas Boulevard and parts of Intramuros (Fort Santiago). But these examples are more the exceptions than part of the norm. We need more parks and other open spaces where people could take a walk or just find a place where they could sit and perhaps spend some time reading a book or simply doing nothing. I read somewhere that parks and open spaces serve as lungs for a city.

The University of the Philippines campus in Diliman, Quezon City is one of few places in Metro Manila where the public can enjoy open spaces. UP's Sunken Garden and Lagoon are havens for faculty, staff, students and other people coming to UP to enjoy these public spaces. On Sundays, the Academic Oval is closed to motorized traffic and more people flock to the campus to walk/stroll, cycle, play games/sports, or picnic.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Open spaces in UP Diliman - The Beta Way

There are many open spaces at the UP Diliman campus. These include the Sunken Garden, the Track and Field Oval, and the Lagoon areas. The Lagoon actually stretches from the Main Library Building (Gonzalez Hall) to the Administration Building (Quezon Hall). It is bounded by Osmena and Roxas Avenues, which form the Academic Oval.

The identical buildings of what used to be the College of Arts and Sciences or AS (Palma Hall) and the College of Engineering (Melchor Hall) are separated by the lagoon. And to travel between the two at first required one going around the lagoon via either the Main Library road or via Roces Street, which divides the Lagoon area into two. Most people during my time as a student at UP and today would use the Beta Way, a concrete path through the Lagoon that is probably the straightest and most direct path between Palma and Melchor Halls. It is a narrow path that barely accommodates two people passing each other shoulder-to-shoulder. The path's construction was sponsored by a College of Engineering fraternity and it used by mostly Engineering students walking between one side of the campus to the other. Following are a few photos I took one lazy Sunday morning.

Many trees have fallen in the Lagoon area due to the typhoons regularly passing through Metro Manila. Fortunately, there are many tree planting activities that allow for a more rapid replenishment of trees. The saplings on the right side of the Beta Way.
There is a narrow bridge over a culvert along a stream. The stream is actually part of the drainage and sewer system of the campus.
Bamboo growing along a stream at the Lagoon area
Large trees may be found along the Beta Way including some whose root systems can allow people and other creatures to be hidden from view.
The Beta Way has several lamps along its stretch that allow for some illumination. The path, however, is not generally used or avoided at night-time considering security and safety issues in the campus.

This is the view of the Beta Way from the Palma Hall parking lot.
This is the view of the Beta Way from the Melchor Hall steps across the Academic Oval. There is a speed table with red bricks to mark the pedestrian crossing and effectively slow down vehicles.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mushrooms of Muir Woods

Walking along the paths at Muir Woods, we noticed the variety of mushrooms and fungi growing among the trees and the forest floor. Since there were many branches that have fallen from trees as well as the rotting trunks of fallen trees, there were a lot of opportunities for mushrooms and other fungi to grow and spread in ways they only can in a natural, minimally disturbed environment. We were not experts but could appreciate the variety, their colors and different shapes. Following is a photo journal we compiled from our trip to Muir Woods.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Stroll at the Gold Gate Park

The Golden Gate Park is an expansive area that included botanical gardens, museums and other interesting attractions. It is not, as we first thought, part or associated with the Golden Gate Bridge. The name, however, is symbolic of the City of San Francisco being a gateway to America considering it was to Asia and the Pacific what New York was to Europe, Africa and the Atlantic.

Posing among the trees and benches to fend off the jet lag
My turn to pose

Before our short stroll, we explored the De Young Museum

The relaxing environment at the park seem to be a perfect way for Day 1 of a vacation

There weren't much people considering it was a Saturday

The trees were lining up for the photo op

And they even had a nice fountain! That's the California Academy of Sciences in the background.

Battling drowsiness just to get a few photos

Amphitheater where performances are held

This tree piques our curiosity and merited a photo.

A view of the tower of the De Young Museum, which we explored primarily for the Renaissance paintings that were on special exhibit
The Golden Gate Park is a great place to walk or bike. We saw a lot of joggers and cyclists as well as people strolling along. Many even brought their dogs and there were some who weren't on a leash. They seem quite happy and who wouldn't be with a park like this.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Whenever I am in a new place, I usually take a walk around the area where I am residing or staying. My walks usually take me around the neighborhood, allowing for some exploration of sorts. I usually look for interesting features like shops, restaurants, or some other tourist attraction like maybe a temple or park. Some areas have a history and would have markers in certain locations where something important happened in the past.

In the Philippines, I would surely be going to the local market and try to check out the town's products. Shops in or near the local markets would usually be my source of souvenirs. Also, in the Philippines, I would usually go to the church, or cathedral in the case of the larger cities or towns, where, if the church structure happened to be old enough or had a distinct architecture about it, I would probably take a few photos for my collection. If it were safe to go around at night, I would usually explore the city. Unfortunately, it wasn't always safe to go around after dark even in the bigger cities.

While in Japan, I would try to walk along the main street where many things of interest would usually be present. It was this way that I found some nice shops or restaurants and souvenir shops that featured local products. If I happened to be in another city on a Sunday, I would also search for the local Catholic Church. Unlike today when information is usually readily available from the internet and the search can be facilitated by tools such as Google or Yahoo Maps, I would try to get my hand at a local tourist map. I also usually asked my parish priest, Fr. Burke if he knew about a church with an English Mass in its Sunday schedule. I remember he had a directory with him by which he was able to give me an address and a phone number of the local church. This way, I was able to hear Mass whenever I was out of Yokohama or Tokyo. I will be writing more about my adventures in Japan in future posts.

Since we're practically new in Singapore, even though the Clairvoyant has been here for almost two months, we have been exploring the city state in our free time. This afternoon, we finally got to walk around our neighborhood near Lorong Chuan Station. Our walk took us along Serangoon Avenue where we found other residential developments including HDBs (government housing) and new buildings in exclusive enclaves. There are many schools in our area and some of the schools seem to be the top-notch kinds given the kind of neighborhood we are residing in. We also discovered that we were a 10 to 15-minute walk from the NEX mall as we were able to trace the origin of fellow walkers whom we saw carried the distinctive grocery bags of Fair Price. Near the junction of Serangoon Avenue, the HDBs featured shops including a Seven Eleven, and restaurants and eateries filled with customers. These were usually families or friends or both having their dinners out instead of at their homes. The Clairvoyant tells me this is quite common in Singapore and not just during the weekends but especially the weekdays when people even bought dinners from the many shops you'll find around in malls, transit stations or the neighborhood.

I look forward to exploring this city-state when I am in Singapore. Perhaps I will be maximizing the coverage of the city's transit system much like what I did when I was in Japan. I was also able to do the same thing in Bangkok and San Francisco, adventures that I still haven't gotten to write about. This time though, I am sure that I have more time for exploration and familiarization. After all, this city will be a second home for us for the next months or years.