All posts tagged: Architecture

Asia Young Designer Award 2016: Be Bold. Be Free. Be You.

Four years ago, I traded in my designer’s pencil for a writer’s pen. It was a tough switch but the right one – and though I’ve changed career paths for good, there’s no doubt that I’ll always have a special place in my heart for design and architecture. More than just making places look pretty and Instagrammable, these have the power to influence moods, form behaviors, create solutions, and make life easier. And that’s exactly why I’m so stoked about this year’s Asia Young Designer Award (AYDA) sponsored by Nippon Paint. “Good design is an enabler of a sustainable future [and] healthier living,” Mr. Michael Chung, the General Manager of Nippon Paint Coatings Philippines, said during the media launch of the AYDA. At its core, this competition challenges students to “think beyond convention” to create design solutions that address the “needs of our continually changing world.” Ar. Guillermo Hisancha of the United Architects of the Philippines said, “The Asia Young Designer Award is a platform empowering Filipino students to showcase their talents. [It] encourages leadership, creativity, and resourcefulness.” IDr. Vincent Louie …

Up and Down the Temples of Prambanan

Just an hour or so away from Borobudur lies another temple compound that’s a must-visit while in the vicinity of Yogyakarta. Prambanan is considered the largest Hindu temple complex in Indonesia, and like Borobudur, it’s landed a coveted spot on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Having just been to Borobudur, it was impossible not to compare the two. While the former gave me that staggering, surreal feeling of “Oh, I’m finally here, and it’s even more amazing than I expected,” Prambanan snuck up on me slowly. Yes, there was that burst of whoa when I got my first full view of it from across that long stretch of grass and plants, but it was calmer. Quieter. Instead of stopping me in my tracks, it urged me to come closer and gained more of my admiration with every step I took. Despite its misleading name, Prambanan Temple, or Loro Jonggrang, is actually composed of 240 temples. If you look at its original model on Wikipedia, you’ll see that it follows a square plan with more than 200 small temples enclosing the main temples and …

Finding enlightenment at Borobudur

I can’t pinpoint when it was that I first realized I wanted to see Borobudur, but it’s been on my list for a while now. Sometimes, when you dream about something for so long, you build it up in your head and end up disappointed when it turns into reality. This wasn’t the case here. The hostel was dim and quiet when I walked down to the lobby five minutes before 3:40 AM. I’d gotten probably two hours of sleep, tops, but I wasn’t about to let that get in the way of my plans. The car arrived late enough that I’d worried they’d forgotten about me, but it all worked out. I sat beside the driver and watched the night pass me by as two men chatted in the backseat. Despite the early hour, life stirred on the streets of Yogyakarta, and as we drove closer to Magelang, the more I saw people going about their morning routines. The sunrise can be viewed from Borobudur itself via Manohara Hotel’s exclusive Sunrise Tour, which gets you inside the temple an hour and …

Manila Mania: Architecture, religion, and history galore

I confess, Manila has always intimidated me. It, with its jeepneys and pedestrians and ever-present buzz of activity. And the traffic. I’m used to EDSA and C5, but Manila is a whole different ballgame. Thing is, Manila’s the capital of the Philippines. It’s steeped in history. If I wanted to learn more about my heritage, this was the place to start. Plus I really, really wanted to go to San Sebastian Church. So I enlisted the help of my architect friend Macy. We spent last Sunday walking and commuting around Manila, and that was the day I learned to love this city. I finally realized what I’d been missing out on. There’s so much beauty amongst its chaos, so many stories in its worn-down buildings. One day was far from enough time to explore everything it has to offer, but it’s a start. Here are some of the places we visited—and I wholeheartedly recommend you visit them too! San Sebastian Church This right here made the commute worthwhile. San Sebastian Church’s towering spires and bright façade looks so out of place among the …

Vamos a Malolos: Celebrate Philippine heritage in Bulacan

For the past few weeks, my country has been buzzing with excitement. Why, you ask? Oh, only because the Pope was coming to town. Yesterday marked his arrival and the start of a long—count ’em, five days—weekend. In fact, I’m not sure if it’s the Pope or the vacation that has people in higher spirits. (Okay, it’s probably the Pope). But there’s something else that the Philippines is celebrating this January. I’ll give you a high-five if you can guess what it is based on the photos above and below. It’s the anniversary of the First Philippine Republic, better known as the Malolos Republic. Every year, this Renaissance city of Bulacan comes alive in January to commemorate that time when our ancestors took control of our own country after the long Spanish rule. Did you know that the Philippines was the first country to have a democratic constitution in the whole of Asia and Africa? It was founded here in Malolos, Bulacan! The Fiesta Republica traditionally starts on the 17th and ends with a bang on the 23rd, the day the Republic was …

Banteay Srei, Cambodia

I just realized that I never got around to continuing my posts on Siem Reap—and what’s worse is that I didn’t cover my favorite temple of them all. Since it’s about time that I revive my Flashback Friday series, I decided to give this gem the spotlight it deserves. So without further ado, I present to you the beautiful Citadel of Women, Banteay Srei. Banteay Srei is located in the Angkor Archaeological Park, but since it’s a long ways out from the main cluster of temples that includes the Angkor Wat, it’s often passed up for its more popular counterparts. But if you’re staying in Siem Reap for more than a weekend, you should definitely add this to your itinerary. You don’t even need to worry about the admission, since it’s covered by the Angkor Pass. The trip from town takes about an hour via remork, and it’s a great way to see more of the fields and small settlements housed in the park. It’s best to go here bright and early in the morning, so you can get the farthest destination …

Going hipster in SG’s Tiong Bahru

This post was supposed to be for yesterday, but since it took me forever to upload photos, I’ll just settle for a belated Happy Easter. And since I skipped a couple of days–whoops–I’ll make this an extra-special post…and that means PHOTOS. People are always surprised when I tell them that Singapore’s among one of my favorite places to visit. It might be small and–let’s face it–pretty hard on the wallet–but I find it far from boring. Aside from the super efficient public transportation system and the good security, one of the things I love about the Lion City is its interesting neighborhoods, among which is the über-hip Tiong Bahru. It’s a bit far from Singapore’s central area, but like every other place in the country, it’s accessible by bus or train. I took the bus, since I had time to kill, and I always like seeing the scenery pass me by. Just a quick primer about Tiong Bahru: it’s actually one of the oldest neighborhoods in Singapore. It was once called Mei Ren Wu (den of beauties), because this was where …