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ECOTOURISM

MOTORCYCLE DIARIES
Photos, videos and stories of town explorations.
You have infinite reasons to make anyone else cry but you also have unending reasons to be loved sharply.

► That night, I call it a double-edged sword because the contrast was sharp.

► You know there's something wrong but at the same time, there's nothing wrong with it.

[Manila, National Capital Region, Luzon Island, Philippines]
ONGPIN STREET, BINONDO
| 1 | [MANILA] ► YOU CAN STAND OUT WITHOUT PULLING OTHERS DOWN.
Hey Manila!

My old self has always thought that walking on your streets at night would creep me out. Heck, the media has always branded you as such—kidnapping here and there, buy-bust operations, and poverty among others. But you've always been that double-edged sword. You have infinite reasons to make anyone else cry but you also have unending reasons to be loved sharply.


Last January, I saw you once again wearing both the glamorous and unromantic faces of yours. The streets that kept your heart beating were struggling to find its way to your peace of mind. Your sons and daughters had no choice but to be resilient. You know, they indeed are resilient. How come many of them are still energetic and motivated to work and make a difference?

The sampaguita vendors near the Santa Cruz Church were unshaken. Is it fulfilling to sell sampaguita? Why I've been seeing them here all these years? They never made a change of heart. Is there no other choice for them? The fishball vendors at Ongpin Street seems to enjoy what they were doing. The young man out there several years ago has now his kids with him in tow selling street food. Would I say life is hard? Your sons and daughters were still there, still doing what they [probably] love doing.

SANTA CRUZ CHURCH, MANILA
| 2 | [MANILA] ► IF YOU WANT TO STAND OUT, MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
The barker never lost his voice. How come he is louder now and appears more passionate? As I walked along Ongpin Street, the sugarcane vendor appears like he has no plans yet to go home and watch his favorite teleserye. By the way, I saw people watching Coco Martin's 'Ang Probinsiyano' inside a Chinese-owned store—and yes, they were Chinese!

Everyone seemed energetic except this tired lady who was excited to go home after her shift from that well-lighted Mercury Drug Store that's illuminating the post of a fruit stall owner in front of it. The lady made its way through the street that has become narrower than ever because of the expensive-looking cars parked alongside with the sidewalk. Near these posh cars are expensive-looking restaurants too. Everyone seemed to enjoy the great ambiance inside.

So these are some of my observations in Binondo and Santa Cruz at night. That night, I call it a double-edged sword because the contrast was sharp. Both ends could either create a wound or sharpen a diamond. You know there's something wrong but at the same time, there's nothing wrong with it.


Binondo at Night



Hey Binondo, why are you so lovely? I had a taste of your best dishes and it blew my mind away. But you know what? You never failed to give me many options because I can still have that cheap, dirty (they say) 'palamig' that I'm accustomed with just across the street. I could hardly do that in BGC or in Eastwood. You're so versatile. I paid a lot of money from that restaurant yet you proved me that my 10 pesos were able to bridge my childhood cravings to my present self. I was satisfied! How cool is that? You're linking my past when I still had no money to buy expensive food and to my present where I could now afford to shell out some extra hard-earned money for a single meal.

Tall buildings have made their room in the home you created for centuries and it's so fascinating to see that you still preserved your homey traditions in spite of these newcomers. They looked awesome at night because as I looked up to decipher their towering height, Chinese lanterns hovered with grace stealing the spotlight of the night.

It's glad to see that the fruit stalls never left your side. They are truly homegrown and they seemed to stay forever in your care. One thing more, the Chinese merchants never left you all this time. They have made your home foundation strong. They fortified your existence. You see? You couldn't be shaken. Your identity as a family of diversity was never wiped out by pop culture.

ONGPIN STREET, BINONDO
| 3 | [MANILA] ► THE 'BASIC' WILL NEVER LOSE ITS RELEVANCE.
ONGPIN STREET, BINONDO
| 4 | [MANILA] ► IF PEOPLE PAUSE FOR A BREAK JUST TO LISTEN TO YOU, CONGRATULATIONS! YOU'RE RELEVANT TO THEM.
I just felt sad that your historical canals were still struggling to find their way to sanity as they've been congested by garbage. The waters are murky. I didn't like the smell too. I just feel mad that there are people who wanted to mar your glory and beauty.


Santa Cruz District at Night



Hey Santa Cruz! We meet again at night. I've seen you several times at night and you've never changed. Santa Cruz Church is just very near your neighbor Binondo so it's hard to ignore an old friend. I'd be rude if I wouldn't get to visit you whenever I visit your neighbor. You'd probably call me a snob.

SANTA CRUZ DISTRICT, MANILA
| 5 | [MANILA] ► BE LIKE A SHINY SILVER JEWELRY THAT COULD STAND OUT EFFORTLESSLY IN THE MIDST OF CONFUSING COLORS.
SANTA CRUZ CHURCH, MANILA
| 6 | [MANILA] ► DON'T BE AFRAID TO LOVE BECAUSE THERE'S TIME FOR EVERYTHING. IF YOU GET HURT, MOVE ON. THE UNIVERSE IS SELF-HEALING.
SANTA CRUZ CHURCH, MANILA
| 7 | [MANILA] ► DON'T BE AFRAID TO BE ALONE BECAUSE THERE'S A TIME FOR EVERYTHING, INCLUDING LONELINESS. THE UNIVERSE IS CONSPIRING FOR YOUR UPCOMING HAPPINESS.
I love how your playground Carriedo Fountain maintained its poise in the middle of the busy road. I would applaud the work of your maintenance team. They're doing great. Same with your church facade, you seemed to be well-taken care of your team.

By the way, I do not have a lot of things to say because unlike your neighbor Binondo, you've always been boring for me because you've never brought me to your backyard. I still have to see your true color. But well, congratulations for surviving the dark smoke around, the facade of your church speaks a lot.


Ending Notes



You know what Manila, it has always been good to talk to you. It's now 05:53 in the morning and I'm about to finish this letter for you. Your edges are both a danger and a savior, if you know what I mean.

SANTA CRUZ CHURCH, MANILA
| 8 | [QUEZON CITY] ► I TOOK THIS SELFIE FEW MINUTES BEFORE I FINISHED THIS BLOG ARTICLE.
It's Sunday and I'm going to the dentist later. I'm going to sleep in a bit after I publish you. I will have a quick breakfast too. I hope to discover you more Manila. 💚 | end of story |

| ► MORE POSTS COVERING MY BINONDO-SANTA CRUZ VISIT (JANUARY 2019)
| ▼ BINONDO AND SANTA CRUZ VISIT 2019

[Manila] ► Binondo & Sta Cruz Visit 2019



| ▼ SINCERITY RESTAURANT, BINONDO: THOUGHTS, REVIEW, AND NARRATIVES

[Manila] ► Sincerity Restaurant, Binondo: Thoughts, Review & Narratives





Maps Showing the Location of #MANILA

MAP OF MANILA
► FOOTNOTES, DISCLAIMERS, ACKNOWLEDGMENT, ETC

✈ This post was filed under the categories "Night Explorations" and "Night Life". See more posts related to this below.

✈ The maps I used on this post are from maps.google.com.ph.

✈ All photos are mine.

✈ The insights, condition and name of places or properties I mentioned here are based on the facts and situation on the day of my visit. Take note that you may have a different experience when you try the activities or see the properties/places mentioned here. Names of places and properties may also change by time.

UPDATE HISTORY FOR THIS BLOG POST
► 01-April-2019: This post was published.


LATEST STORIES COVERING #MANILA | SEE ALL IN A SEPARATE WINDOW


MORE STORIES COVERING METRO MANILA | SEE OLDER STORIES


LATEST STORIES COVERING THESE CATEGORIES | SEE OLDER STORIES








MORE TOWNS YOU MIGHT LIKE TO EXPLORE:
QCVSDBPBP P KLSV
NAGUSTUAM DIAY NABASAM/NAKITAM? MABALIN MO MET I-LIKE.
Photos, videos and stories of town explorations.
I have always believed that if you surround yourself with people of common characteristics, you might become like them.

► Change is constant so I know I have to brace myself with these changes so that I could become change-proof.

► Every blogger is important. Each has a significant contribution to the internet.

[Manila, National Capital Region, Luzon Island, Philippines]
SINCERITY RESTAURANT, BINONDO
| 1 | [MANILA] ► OUR TEMPER IS LIKE A SOUP. IT MAY HURT WHEN NOT COOLED DOWN. BEFORE WE STRIKE LIKE A HOT SOUP TO A TONGUE, COOL DOWN AND YOU'LL NEVER REGRET MAKING A DECISION IN A CALM SOUND MIND.
It's been a long time since I wrote my last restaurant review (March 17, 2017) and here I am again reviving my "Restaurant" blog label. I don't know but I feel so unmotivated to blog this past few weeks. I used to be on a blog hiatus for more than a year but my drive to blog was resurrected last November when I backpacked Singapore and Indonesia for almost 10 days. The first quarter of 2019 is about to end and I'm losing my motivation once again. I'm not sure what's going on inside me but I think the gradual exit or hybernation of fellow bloggers whom I regularly follow has also affected me.

I have always believed that if you surround yourself with people of common characteristics, you might become like them. I've surrounded my online self too with passionate bloggers so I was influenced by their passion but as time went by, they gradually left the blogosphere and many of them started another life. Some have used another platform. Some opted to join the "influencer" wave and put less focus on traditional blogging. Some just left blogging permanently. Some were gone too soon. 😔 A lot has changed in the internet in the past few years.


I'm back to writing personal restaurant reviews



Change is constant so I know I have to brace myself with these changes so that I could become change-proof. I would admit though that the decrease of passionate bloggers (that I follow) in the internet has also affected my motivation (because I'm also gradually losing my roster of inspiration) but as time went by, I learned to admit that nothing is permanent so I tried to look for another ways to motivate me again.

I'm back to doing restaurant reviews. I'm not really good in writing reviews but I need to also resurrect my review-related labels because I'm pretty sure blog readers are diverse. There are people who would appreciate bloggers if they create review contents. Some would love narratives too. Some would look after travel guides and itineraries. See? Every blogger is important (except those who spread lies, violence, and hate). Each has a significant contribution to the internet.


In Focus: Sincerity Restaurant of Binondo



For the first time, I experienced the Sincerity Cafe and Restaurant in Binondo. Before I write my lousy review, let me tell you how I've come up trying this restaurant.

So it was a busy day when after our 11-hour shift, we decided to visit a recruitment agency in Ermita (you can see my ▼ BLOGSERYE 006

[Metro Manila] ► My First LRT Ride: Thoughts and Reflections


for the full story). My workmate Lourdes, in her 50s and an old-time Metro Manila dweller suggested we should go to Binondo to eat at Sincerity Restaurant.

Lourdes, being so passionate in culinary, has the "say" where we should eat because she knows the restaurants that offer the not-your-ordinary-food. Tired and hungry, we endured the exhausting traffic jams of Manila just to reach Sincerity Restaurant in Binondo.

We alighted near the Santa Cruz Church and walked all the way to Binondo. We just followed Lourdes because we didn't have any idea where to. We explored Ongpin Street while Lourdes was trying to figure out where was that restaurant. She didn't use GPS but she used her old-fashioned instinct to search for that restaurant.

We turned to Yuchengco street after few wrong turns and we've found out that this was the correct street we were looking for. The street has this old commercial district feel. The street is lined with hardware stores and Chinese-owned business establishment. The Sincerity Restaurant is part of this old trading spot.

It wasn't easy to search for the restaurant because there were so many cargo trucks parked in a row along this narrow street so the signage was not easy to find. Anyway we were able to find it. We were welcomed by a Filipino crew wearing Chinese clothes.

I let Lourdes do the responsibility of choosing what food to eat because I'm not really good in picking. Besides, when I pick a food, I would choose something that looks inviting even though that food may seem to be something that I eat everyday. Yes, I'm that person who may say "I don't care" about the menu. I choose what I think would satisfy me. So to let this restaurant experience special, Lourdes chose what she thought was the best food—something we could not find anywhere.

SINCERITY RESTAURANT, BINONDO
| 2 | [MANILA] ► USING MY PHONE CAMERA, I TOOK THIS PHOTO TO REMIND ME HOW THE INTERIOR LOOKED LIKE.
SINCERITY RESTAURANT, BINONDO
| 3 | [MANILA] ► ME AND ALEX WERE SO HUNGRY YET WE PERSISTENTLY WAITED FOR THE ORDER. IT WAS WORTH THE WAIT.
SINCERITY RESTAURANT, BINONDO
| 4 | [MANILA] ► THIS WAS A SOUP DISH FROM THE ARCHANGELS, HEAVENLY..
SINCERITY RESTAURANT, BINONDO
| 5 | [MANILA] ► THESE WERE SOME OF THE FOOD WE ATE. THEY WERE SO DELICIOUS. THEY WERE COOKED BY GOD!
SINCERITY RESTAURANT, BINONDO
| 6 | [MANILA] ► THIS POST-APOCALYPSE SCENE WAS VERY EXPECTED.
SINCERITY RESTAURANT, BINONDO
| 7 | [MANILA] ► WE LEFT BINONDO WITH A HAPPY HEART, AND TUMMY.
After a few minutes of waiting, they served the food. Well, I didn't know what were the names of the food they served but I sure took a photo to remind me how they looked like.

Lourdes was the best! The food she chose were something that brought me to heaven—shereeeeep! I was able to try THE best siomai since birth! I also had a taste of a certain chicken menu that was so heavenly as well. I also experienced this delicious noodle soup that's making me feel so hungry right now (while writing this post).


Ending Notes



Yehey! I've just written my first "blog review" (I wish I wrote a blog review well because I think it was more of random blabs) in more than 2 years. One thing more, I survived writing this post without running out of words to say (because my creativity level tonight is low).

I consumed two cups (large) of 7-11 City Blends coffee and another cup of custom coffee from other brand (I put two sachets, the twin pack one) just to stay awake and motivated in finishing this post tonight.

7-11 city blends coffee
| 7 | [QUEZON CITY] ► I STAYED WIDE AWAKE WITH THESE CUPS OF COFFEE, NO REASON TO PROCRASTINATE THIS BLOG POST.
7-11's City Blends Coffee has always been my go-to whenever I want a quick coffee fix. Tonight I took a cup of French vanilla and another cup of Mochaccino. Follow 7-11 on instagram via @711PH.

Super ending notes: Now, I'm still slightly sad for the gradual disintegration of the once happy and well-connected blogging community. There's still a kind of bond now but it's a different story before.

While writing this post, I wish the old blogging community that I loved will also resurrect. I became friends with many of the bloggers of the old era though and some became my travel buddies at least once but I would say it's much different now.

With sincerity,
Edmar Guquib 💚
| end of story |

| ► MORE POSTS COVERING MY BINONDO-SANTA CRUZ VISIT (JANUARY 2019)
| ▼ AT NIGHT: BINONDO/SANTA CRUZ, THE DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD

[Manila] ► At Night: Binondo/Sta Cruz, The Double-Edged Sword



| ▼ BINONDO AND SANTA CRUZ VISIT 2019

[Manila] ► Binondo & Sta Cruz Visit 2019





Maps Showing the Location of #MANILA

MAP OF MANILA
► FOOTNOTES, DISCLAIMERS, ACKNOWLEDGMENT, ETC

✈ This post was filed under the category "Restaurants". See more posts related to this below.

✈ The maps I used on this post are from maps.google.com.ph.

✈ All photos are mine.

✈ The insights, condition and name of places or properties I mentioned here are based on the facts and situation on the day of my visit. Take note that you may have a different experience when you try the activities or see the properties/places mentioned here. Names of places and properties may also change by time.

UPDATE HISTORY FOR THIS BLOG POST
► 01-April-2019: Link to related posts added at the end of the story. Text alignment for the heading paragraphs modified. "Yuhengco Street" corrected to "Yuchengco Street".
► 31-March-2019: Search description added.
► 29-March-2019: This post was published.


LATEST STORIES COVERING #MANILA | SEE ALL IN A SEPARATE WINDOW


MORE STORIES COVERING METRO MANILA | SEE OLDER STORIES


LATEST STORIES COVERING THESE CATEGORIES | SEE OLDER STORIES








MORE TOWNS YOU MIGHT LIKE TO EXPLORE:
QCVSDBPBP P KLSV
NAGUSTUAM DIAY NABASAM/NAKITAM? MABALIN MO MET I-LIKE.
ADVENTURES
FOOD AND CUISINES