2019

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Photos, videos and stories of town explorations.
If you search for the right reason, you will find it with passion.

► It may be sweeter the second time around and the third time could be a charm but the fourth time for me is more on introspection.

► To search for the right way would require you to exercise wisdom, independence, and sound discretion.

[Manila, National Capital Region, Luzon Island, Philippines]
SANTA CRUZ, MANILA
| 1 | [MANILA] ► SEARCH AND YOU WILL FIND. SEEK YOUR PASSION AND IT WILL REVEAL ITSELF TO YOU.
In our lives, we have a lot of longings and emptiness. We search for so many things that would either fulfill our emptiness or break our integrity. It's great to search because it's the only way we could find what we are looking for. However, we sometimes search for the wrong reasons. But when you apply righteousness in your search, you'll never go wrong searching for the right reason.

These are the insights and wisdom I gained from my recent visit in Binondo.


Fourth Time in Binondo



It may be sweeter the second time around and the third time could be a charm but the fourth time for me is more on introspection.

I tend to reminisce my first visit to a place, rekindle the sweet feelings of the second, and celebrate the memories of the third.

For the fourth time, it's more on reflection as I love to figure out what has changed in a place, what has changed in my life, and what has changed in my perspective as compared to my past experiences.

SANTA CRUZ, MANILA
| 2 | [MANILA] ► IN OUR LIFE JOURNEY, WE OFTEN LOOK FOR A SIGN. OFTENTIMES, THESE SIGNS ARE MISLEADING. IT WOULD BE WISER TO SEARCH FOR THE RIGHT WAY, WITH OR WITHOUT A SIGN. TO SEARCH FOR THE RIGHT WAY WOULD REQUIRE YOU TO EXERCISE WISDOM, INDEPENDENCE, AND SOUND DISCRETION. TO SEARCH FOR THE RIGHT SIGN WOULD ONLY TEACH YOU TO BECOME DEPENDENT ON HINTS, NOT ON TRUTHFUL WAYS.
The excitement I felt the first time I visited Binondo never faded. Time is immortal but it failed to slay my candid feelings. My emotions, for this particular moment, were as immortal as time. My feelings became my link to the first, second, and third Binondo encounters. The streak was meaningful—as timeless as time.

So for the fourth time, I visited Binondo for a random reason. It wasn't planned, but new experiences would definitely fit my bowl full of tito wisdom and insights.


From My First LRT Ride to Sta Cruz and Binondo



Just recently, prior to this blog post, I wrote a series of narratives covering ▼ MY FIRST LRT RIDE

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


experience. This Binondo encounter I'm talking about now is actually a continuation of that first LRT ride. Both happened the same day.

It was already rush hour and the streets of Manila were congested (and stressful for me). From UN Avenue LRT Station, we took a jeep and a tricycle on our way to Binondo.

The jeep was fully-packed with commuters that I had to sabit (stand at the back of the jeepney, see image | 3 | below) because I no longer had a space inside. No choice. We tried to be as fast as we could because we would like to go home before dark but the traffic woes of Manila didn't want to align with our stars. The two persons with me needed to go home to Rizal Province as early as possible. Me? I needed to assume the bow position for several minutes while the jeep was running.

SANTA CRUZ, MANILA
| 3 | [MANILA] ► THIS WAS MY FIRST SABIT EXPERIENCE IN MANILA. (PHOTO TAKEN BY
FLORENTYNA ALEXANDRA SANIN)

At a certain point, I was able to grab a seat hence giving my spine and back muscles a great relief from bowing.

Inside the jeep, it was such a comedic scene to see two zillennials facing each other but communicating through Messenger.

Yes, they didn't want to use their voice to communicate. They enjoyed chatting via Messenger which makes this generation kind of weirder than ever. They didn't even want to laugh with their voice. They laughed by sending "hahaha" via Messenger.

I could see on their faces they wanted to laugh but they chose not to create a sound because it needed to be delivered via emojis through Messenger.


Hey Santa Cruz, Manila! I'm Back!



When we were near the Santa Cruz Church, we opted to alight from the jeep that was running like a turtle as we could no longer bear wasting our time inside a jeep waiting like forever so this meant we had to walk our way to Binondo.

This Manila walk reminded me of my first three visits in Manila which were all done on foot. Ah! Seeing the Santa Cruz Church again was such a delight. In front of the church is the Carriedo Fountain which speaks of the very historical events in Manila. I didn't miss the chance to take selfies with the Carriedo fountain as like an old friend, it's good to catch up!

SANTA CRUZ CHURCH, MANILA
| 4 | [MANILA] ► THE SANTA CRUZ CHURCH IS A PRICELESS HERITAGE GEM IN MANILA.
CARRIEDO FOUNTAIN, MANILA
| 5 | [MANILA] ► HEY CARRIEDO FOUNTAIN! HOW'S LIFE GOING ON?
SANTA CRUZ CHURCH, MANILA
| 6 | [MANILA] ► WE TOOK A GROUFIE WITH THE CARRIEDO FOUNTAIN AND SANTA CRUZ CHURCH AT THE BACKGROUND.
The Santa Cruz Church remained imposing. If I remember well my first visit, sampaguita vendors are prohibited to stay inside the church perimeter so it made sense that I saw sampaguita vendors in front of the church. The rule appears to be still active until now.

The Carriedo fountain appears more tidy-looking this time. It was my blogger friend Paula O (https://www.themermaidtravels.com) who first introduced this landmark to me and its history.


Entering Binondo



From where I was standing (Carriedo Fountain), the Oriental-looking welcome arch across the street vividly provided us hints that we were already entering a distinct district—a Chinatown—called Binondo.

The reason why we were here was to eat in a restaurant named "Sincerity Restaurant" for dinner. It was Mommy Lourdes (you can learn her different roles in my blogger life in my Blogserye 006) who introduced the idea of eating in Binondo for a dinner after we finished our business in Ermita.

The Binondo vibe was a breath of fresh air from the grueling traffic jam on our way here from Ermita. We entered Binondo via the Ongpin Street, a relatively narrower street but less congested.

There's so much culture in this street. There's so much traditional trades not present in most Philippine modern CBDs (central business districts) like the BGC (Bonifacio Global City) in Taguig or Eastwood in Quezon City. The Ongpin Street, its main artery, has the face of a modern residential district with its high-rise condominiums and the nostalgia of an old commercial district. The mixture of anything was mind-blowing for me. Apart from the Chinese elements present in Binondo, you would also see plenty of Filipino and Western cultures co-existing harmoniously.

ONGPIN STREET, BINONDO, MANILA
| 7 | [MANILA] ► THE STREETS OF BINONDO IS FULL OF COLOR AND CULTURE.
ONGPIN STREET, BINONDO, MANILA
| 8 | [MANILA] ► THIS BINONDO ENCOUNTER GAVE ME PLEASANT SMILE.
ONGPIN STREET, BINONDO, MANILA
| 9 | [MANILA] ► THE STREETS OF BINONDO IS FOR EVERYONE UNLIKE SOME MODERN CBDs THAT ONLY ALLOW PRIVATE CARS OR SPECIFIC VEHICLES.
While red Chinese lanterns hovered over the streets of Binondo, Filipino Christmas lanterns (parol) also had their presence at the corners of the streets and sidewalks (this Binondo encounter happened in January 2019).

Street vendors co-existed with modern boutiques and many Chinese stores. You have the option. Business type is diverse and has a wide range—from street stalls to big players. It's generally for everyone.

ONGPIN STREET, BINONDO, MANILA
| 10 | [MANILA] ► BINONDO IS AN OLD BUSINESS DISTRICT THAT OFFERS VARIOUS OPTIONS, FROM CHEAP STREET FOOD TO EXPENSIVE FINE DINING.
ONGPIN STREET, BINONDO, MANILA
| 11 | [MANILA] ► BINONDO IS NOT THE BINONDO WE KNOW WITHOUT THESE RED CHINESE LANTERNS.
ONGPIN STREET, BINONDO, MANILA
| 12 | [MANILA] ► FROM OLD-FASHIONED TRADING TO MODERN BRANDED STORES, BINONDO STAYS AFLOAT ON ITS GAME.
I'm not a history or anthrophology major so I could only see the surface of this lovely district. I could only share my thoughts based on my shallow perspective of Binondo but this shallowness is already too much for me. I'm still overwhelmed of the things I observed. If I'd become an expert someday, that would expose me to overwhelming information that I think I could not handle—I could probably write fifty (50) articles for a single Binondo visit if that would be the case.

I have a lot in my head right now about this Binondo trip but I couldn't transform it into words—writer's block. I'm afraid it would be a lousy article to describe a beautiful district so I'd rather keep my mouth shut—one of the reasons why I haven't written yet my first Binondo visit because I think I couldn't make an acceptable article for it due to my limited knowledge of Binondo and my lack of confidence to justify in words a wondrous, surprising, and insightful first time visit in Binondo (ang OA ko 'no pero ganyan talaga eh).

By the way, after getting lost of our direction, we found the restaurant we were searching for, the Sincerity Restaurant!

ONGPIN STREET, BINONDO, MANILA
| 13 | [MANILA] ► THE SEARCH IS OVER.
Our search for the Sincerity Restaurant was not an easy task. Yes, we had gadgets and digital maps but that's another story. We were so tired (and exhausted) but we searched for the right reason so we were successful and happy of finding what we were really looking for.

If you search for the right reason, you will find it with passion. We found Sincerity Restaurant and that dinner was one of the best dinners we had as a group. Apart from the great food, it was the experience and moment well spent that made this search meaningful and memorable. Now, the search is over.

Sincerity Yours,
Edmar | end of story |


Maps Showing the Location of #MANILA

MAP OF MANILA
► FOOTNOTES, DISCLAIMERS, ACKNOWLEDGMENT, ETC

✈ This post was filed under the category "Travel Diaries". 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.

✈ If you see errors in this post, let me know. I stand corrected.

UPDATE HISTORY FOR THIS BLOG POST
► 25-March-2019: This post was published.


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


MORE STORIES COVERING METRO MANILA | SEE OLDER STORIES


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NAGUSTUAM DIAY NABASAM/NAKITAM? MABALIN MO MET I-LIKE.
Photos, videos and stories of town explorations.
There's a time for everything and how you lived your life few years back may not be appropriate today.

► I've come to a point where I've become conscious of what I speak, eat, do, or try.

► Becoming an adult exposes you to many realities and realizations in life.

[Quezon City, National Capital Region, Luzon Island, Philippines]
*If you're a hater of narratives and introspection from random introvert people, you could skip the narrative part and learn the process of getting eyeglasses from Executive Optical by scrolling down.

EO EXECUTIVE OPTICAL
| 1 | [QUEZON CITY] ► SEE THE MISTAKE OF OTHERS AND YOU'LL BE DISAPPOINTED. SEE THE BEAUTY AND STRENGTH OF OTHERS AND YOU'LL BE INSPIRED. WHAT YOU CHOOSE TO SEE IS WHAT YOU BECOME.
Becoming an adult exposes you to many realities and realizations in life. In my case, I've started to value things I used to take for granted and one of them is my vision. I didn't want to wear eye glasses or contact lenses before because I've always been a believer of minimalism—the less objects, the less hassle.

You know, I've always wanted to be maintenance-free and carefree. I have always wanted to focus on minimal things that matter most for me so you wouldn't expect me to talk about the life of the neighbor you hate; or the break-up of a celebrity couple—it's too much for my time. Take note that I also follow some celebrities whom I like and those who inspire me but I would not spend much time talking about their personal life. Come on, less problems, less hassle.

I've come to a point where I've become conscious of what I speak, eat, do, or try. I've really changed a lot. When I was younger, I just wanted to just be myself and focus on the fun and living life to the fullest. I think, that chapter of my life is over. I'm now on an era in my life where every move that I make or every word that I speak is self-censored because modesty and decency should also come with age.

While it's so cool and fun to 'be yourself', this should not compromise your dignity and decency. For a guy like me who is new in adulting, it's important to be yourself but I believe I should act and speak my age. There's a time for everything and how you lived your life few years back may not be appropriate today.

Speaking of being minimalist, I'm still that person today but I've personally modified that concept. There are simple things in life that we should also pay attention to. As I become older, I've valued the importance of health and wellness—this includes a healthy vision so I decided to get my eyes checked once again and get those eyeglasses back because my vision is getting worse each time. As an avid traveler, I still want to appreciate the beauty of places and people with my optimal vision.


► How to Avail Eyeglasses at EO (Executive Optical) in 3 Easy Steps?


Yesterday, I went to the Gateway Mall-Cubao Branch of Executive Optical (optometry clinic) to have my eyes checked. The clinic is located at the Aurora Boulevard side of Gateway Mall, ground floor, below the LRT station of Cubao.

EO EXECUTIVE OPTICAL, CUBAO
| 2 | [QUEZON CITY] ► THE EXECUTIVE OPTICAL CUBAO BRANCH IS LOCATED JUST BELOW THE LRT STATION AT GATEWAY MALL.

► Step 1: Choose a frame and the type of lens.

A cheerful sales attendant assisted me and showed to me the frames on sale (assuming I'm in need of new glasses). However, I didn't like the frames of the the items on sale so I checked the frames located inside a locked glass storage. I saw two frames with green temples so I checked those two. These frames are branded so they are much expensive with costs starting from 4,000 pesos.

Ask assistance from the sales representative after you've chosen one.

EO EXECUTIVE OPTICAL, CUBAO
| 3 | [QUEZON CITY] ► THIS SALES REPRESENTATIVE CHEERFULLY ASSISTED ME IN CHOOSING MY FRAME.
EO EXECUTIVE OPTICAL, CUBAO
| 4 | [QUEZON CITY] ► THE BRANDED FRAMES WERE DISPLAYED INSIDE A LOCKED GLASS CONTAINER.
For the lens, I chose the photochromic lens commonly known as the the transition lens. The price was ~1900 (discounted). It's more expensive than the other lenses but I wanted something that is more convenient and of course, minimalist and less maintenance—like I don't have to change for sunglasses in very bright places.

Take note that you don't need to get a branded frame. For fellows running short of budget, they have incredibly cheap choices. I chose the branded frame for personal reason (I was after the green temples).

Step 2: Wait for the optometrist to check your eyes.

After I've chosen the lens and the frame, I waited a little for my session with the optometrist. I entered the refraction room and my vision was assessed using the Snellen chart and other equipment I'm not familiar with.

EO EXECUTIVE OPTICAL, CUBAO
| 5 | [QUEZON CITY] ► I TOOK THIS SELFIE INSIDE THE REFRACTION ROOM WHILE WAITING FOR MY PRETTY OPTOMETRIST.
EO EXECUTIVE OPTICAL, CUBAO
| 6 | [QUEZON CITY] ► I TOOK THIS SELFIE INSIDE THE REFRACTION ROOM WHILE WAITING FOR MY PRETTY OPTOMETRIST.
EO EXECUTIVE OPTICAL, CUBAO
| 7 | [QUEZON CITY] ► INSIDE THE REFRACTION ROOM WAS A SINK, DISPLAYED OPTOMETRIC STUFF NEXT TO THE MIRROR, AND VISUAL ASSESSMENT EQUIPMENT AND TOOLS.
EO EXECUTIVE OPTICAL, CUBAO
| 8 | [QUEZON CITY] ► THIS IS HOW A TABLE OF AN OPTOMETRIST LOOKS LIKE.
An equipment was placed on my eyes. The optometrist manipulated the equipment then assessed my vision by asking me if my vision was clearer. After I've found out the clearest vision, she took note of the calibration and chose the right grade for my eyes—50 on my right eye and 100 on my left eye. The optometrist told me to walk and test if I would get dizzy. Unfortunately, the 100 lens got me dizzy so it was reduced to 75. I was diagnosed with astigmatism.

Step 3: Pay at the cashier

After the optometrist scaled the right lens for me, I was asked to pay at the cashier then I waited for 20 minutes before my eyeglasses was released.


► Ending Notes


1. Take care of your glasses by wiping it only with the clothe given to you. Avoid alcohol, perfume, and other liquids and chemicals as these may damage the lenses.
2. Take care of your eyes as much as you take care for your heart after a heart break.
3. Do you want your brand to be featured on my blog or interested to hire me as a brand ambassador? Shoot me an email and I will reply as fast as lightning.

Below: Doing the #BuwanChallenge by Juan Karlos Labajo with my new glasses from Executive Optical.


Executive Optical has branches nationwide. Get your eyes checked and have that eyeglasses in 20 minutes. | end |


Maps Showing the Location of #QUEZONCITY

MAP OF QUEZON CITY
► FOOTNOTES, DISCLAIMERS, ACKNOWLEDGMENT, ETC

✈ This post was filed under the category "Sponsors and Featured Brands." You want your brand to be featured? Shoot me an email at edmaration@gmail.com.

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

✈ 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
► 22-March-2019: Twitter title meta tag was updated.
► 14-March-2019: This post was published.


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