“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” - James Michener
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"I love You" Wall
I didn't see the elevator at the Abbesses metro stop so I unwittingly went up the stairs which winds up 118 feet (or 200 steps according to Wikipedia). Abbesses is one of the deep stations in the Paris metropolitan system. I had to stop twice on the way up to catch my breath and rest my leg muscles. It was quite a climb! I heard the people behind me panting and moaning. We were definitely in Montmartre, high above the rest of Paris. And I came for a specific reason - to see the "I love you" wall or Le Mur de Je t'aime at Place des Abbesses. I had read an article about it on Valentine's day and I was intrigued. How serendipitous that I had this chance to be in Paris! The wall is just behind the entrance to the metro station.
Le mur is made of blue tile and scrawled across it are over 300 greetings of love in 250 languages. I recognized a few like Iniibig Kita and Te quiero. I did a search to find out about Ljubim te and learned that this is a Slovenian/Serbian greeting meaning "kiss you". Alas, I didn't find the language of origin for Yiku Zolele.
As it was the lunch hour and the sun was shining in early March, many visitors were in the cozy size garden area, some with their sandwiches while schoolchildren discussed the messages on the wall with their teachers. A few couples sat across from the wall and were perhaps contemplating about love or at least, drawing inspiration from the generous ways in which to express "I love you".
The creators of the wall have this to say about it: "In a world marked by violence and dominated by individualism, walls, like frontiers, are usually made to divide and to separate people and to protect them from one another. On the contrary, The Wall is a link, a place of reconciliation, a mirror which reflects an image of love and peace." Beautifully said!
Carlos "Botong" Francisco, FILIPINO STRUGGLES THROUGH HISTORYOil on canvas, 1964, (located at ManilaCity Hall) A National Cultural Treasure owned by the City of Manila Carlos Botong Francisco: A Nation Imagined is the latest art installation at the AyalaMuseum in Makati to celebrate the 100th birthday anniversary of Carlos “Botong” Francisco (1912-1969), a Philippine National Artist. Forty paintings and lithographs were culled from various private collections to form this exhibition. Of the large scale paintings on display, Maria Makiling and Fiesta, both oil on canvas, are representative of the indigenous genre which Botong loved to portray. In Maria Makiling, Botong reveals a relaxed and recumbent woman with her legs dangling in the cool waters of the stream and playing with an exotic deer by her side. Fiesta is about how the Filipino people gather to celebrate an important occasion, be that a religious feast or a wedding. The central figures are dancing the tinikling, a po…
Tinapa Spring Rolls
I've read and heard about tinapa spring rolls but have never tasted one. So on a stopover in Manila recently, I decided to try these much talked about "lumpia" appetizers with a twist. MESA at Greenbelt 5 in Makati serves these lettuce wrapped delicacies. I could smell the tinapa (smoked fish) as the waitress approached my table. I dipped the roll in the vinegar sauce and mmmm, what a delight! I've missed eating tinapa, tiny fish with bronze skin you can peel open intact. The tinapa meat is delicious but it has bones. There were no bones in the tinapa rolls I tasted. The kitchen must have deboned the fish first before making them.
This plateful of tinapa spring rolls is only P140.00. And it's a generous serving for one person. There is also tinapa fried rice on the menu. I didn't try it because I ordered palabok (a noodle dish) instead.
It's been years since my last shopping trip to Greenhills Shopping Center. We were looking for some giveaways for a big meeting and Greenhills has an incalculable array of gift ideas. We started in the jewelry section and found a fresh pearl bracelet with an attractive and colorful accent stone for P95.00. We were able to bargain with the vendor since we were buying 50 pieces. She marked down the price to P70.00 for each bracelet.
Greenhills is divided into sections - handbags and accessories, clothing (separate sections for men and women), jewelry, home decor, souvenirs, Filipiniana arts and crafts, shoes and knick knacks. It's especially fun to shop here in November for Christmas decorations and gifts though the crowd might be unabearable.
Many shoppers come to Greenhills to buy knock-offs. And there are gobs to choose from. Be careful though if you are bringing this to another country because Customs at your destination may fine you…