Wednesday, December 30, 2015

LOOKBOOK | 19Dec2015: 40 years of Voltes V

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Star Wars may undoubtedly be white hot right now but yes, that's a Voltes V t-shirt I'm wearing right there. The George Lucas-created space opera is arguably drowning out everything else with merchandising deals left and right, including several with various clothing brands (and of course I got a Darth Vader t-shirt!).

Meanwhile, the classic party of five anime is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Thankfully there's Giordano to help us relive fun times with Voltes V.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

LOOKBOOK | 17Dec2015: Darth Vader forever! (from the Uniqlo x Star Wars collection)

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The things boredom can make you do! Stuck in a prolonged wait last Thursday night, I started playing with my phone for a couple of self-timed shots. I was frustrated, though, that it didn't focus properly. After a bit more tinkering, I "discovered" its voice command capabilities and soon enough, I was saying "Shoot," "Smile," "Capture," and "Cheese" out loud.

I was wearing my new Darth Vader/Stormtrooper tee after all.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

LOOKBOOK | 09Dec2015: Yuletide preppy

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Sorry for cropping you out, ladies. But what's with all the ladies behind me anyway? Well, someone had this idea to hold a group photo the day before our department Christmas party--and that we had to wear preppy clothes. So out with all the plaid, sweaters, and what-have-you did we!

Me, on the other hand...

Saturday, December 12, 2015

LIFESTYLE | Best tips to make the most out of ZALORA's 12.12 Online Fever Sale

ZALORA's biggest sale, the 12.12 Online Fever, is back and heating things up a notch just in time for the holidays. With huge discounts up to 80% available only today--December 12--we have no time to waste. But before you dive in, here are some awesome ways where you can make the most out of this super sale.

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1. Free up your load from data charges when shopping on ZALORA.
Yup, if you access ZALORA through SafeZone, you can shop till you drop without having to worry about your prepaid load. Fueled by Voyager Innovations, SafeZone lets you browse your favorite brand sites like ZALORA absolutely free of any data charges.

Just go to www.safezone.ph, register, access ZALORA.com.ph, and shop away from over 1,000 local and international brands.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

LOOKBOOK | 03Dec2015: Captain Hook

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After my slight pirate-inspired outfit last week, I went on full pirate regalia for a Christmas party last Thursday as Captain Hook. It was as if Peter Pan's nemesis rose from the ranks or something. Who knew pirates also lived in a world of meritocracy?

It was a movie-themed costume party and our first time with our colleagues from the mothership for a joint celebration. We had to dress up as a group and were given the freedom to pick our movies. We first toyed with the Filipino historical biopic Heneral Luna but less than a week into the event, we shifted to Hook, the Steven Spielberg-helmed reinterpretation of Peter Pan as a grownup.

No surprise, I was assigned to be Captain Hook.

Monday, November 30, 2015

LOOKBOOK | 27Nov2015: Oversize me

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I really need to do something about my weight gain. Whenever I look at myself in the mirror I'm disgusted with what I see. Oh, the flab and those so-called love handles jumping out of my pants! Haha!

In the meantime I can simply cover up. For one, there's this fad going on with oversized shirts -- perfect for my oversized self. Takes inspiration from the 80s, actually.

Friday, November 27, 2015

LIFESTYLE | PayMaya Visa and the first ever Pinoy Cyber Sale

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This morning I just got my very own PayMaya Visa card with beep. It's a three-in-one financial technology product that includes an instant virtual Visa that consumers can use for online shopping and payments, a physical card that can be used at any Visa-accepting brick-and-mortar establishment, and a beep card that commuters can use for their LRT and MRT fares.

It's the perfect time to get one because the Black Friday and Cyber Monday madness in the U.S. is now officially being introduced in the Philippines--by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) no less! DTI has partnered with over 20 e-commerce stores in the country, such as Takatack, to launch the first ever Pinoy Cyber Sale, which will run from Black Friday (Nov. 27) to Cyber Monday (Nov. 30).

Thursday, November 26, 2015

LOOKBOOK | 26Nov2015: The mad cat and the pirate in loafers

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Looks like someone's not very happy about being picked up and smothered with kisses. Well, she asked for it. She was the one who's been walking to and fro while I was working my way with the camera and timer. Thordis always does this and I've had enough. That expression on her face, though -- priceless!

Friday, November 20, 2015

LOOKBOOK | 19Nov2015: Always with you

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This was what I wore to the mall yesterday. Keeping it casual and relaxed, I simply went with shorts and a tee. It may be subtle--not big of a deal even--but rolling up the hems gave the shorts a rather fresh take.

The tee is but one of many Uniqlo x Line pieces that I have. That store is such a trap that every time I find myself inside, I always end up leaving with something in hand. Besides, how can I resist the cute duo of Connie and Brown from Line? I'm not sure if they're restocking, though, as I haven't seen Line merchandise for some time now. Anyway, look how cute they are in their onesies!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

LOOKBOOK | 17Nov2015: Sheepish on another faux Friday

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Wearing blue and olive here. Oh, the APEC blues. After a hellish Monday for commuters everywhere due to road closures and all, it was a surprisingly much better day yesterday with very light traffic, probably because a lot of people opted to, depending on their respective workplaces's arrangements, worked from home or simply skipped going to work altogether.

And oh yeah, because Wednesday and Thursday were declared special holidays in Metro Manila (and I'm on leave on Friday), yesterday felt very much like the start of the weekend. Or it could be just me.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

LOOKBOOK | 14Nov2015: Feeling young

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Because of some passport-related stuff I found myself at the same mall for two consecutive days. While I sported a more "dignified" look last Friday (I was renewing my passport after all), Saturday saw me in a more relaxed state.

First up, those shoes. Quite the departure from my normal footwear, I got them on a whim after Kwittiegirl saw a poster and decided to check the store out. Maybe a tad cartoonish for its bulky look, but they're very light and comfy. I find them really cute.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

LOOKBOOK | 28Oct2015: The spray painter

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Another long overdue post but I felt like pushing through with it still because I'm personally just loving the burst of color in my outfit here. This was taken in the heat of our Halloween preparations where we were decking up our office space with a Shark Tale Halloween theme. I was spray-painting some newspaper here that would be made into corals.

Monday, November 9, 2015

LOOKBOOK | 23Oct2015: The hoodied Doraemon

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Such a very long table for one, don't you think?  This was taken weeks ago and I've completely forgotten about it and all these other photos here because of all the stuff at work and yes, Halloween. But now that it's all behind us, and especially since we won our HR's workplace decorating contest again--this year with a Shark Tale theme for Halloween--it's now time for a long overdue outfit post.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

EVENTS | Shark Tale: When our office went under the sea for Halloween

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So much glee under the sea!

Oh, the Halloween blues... You know, fun times at the office and all. Where I work, annual Halloween celebrations are a blast--and last Friday was no exception.

While in past years departments were given free rein on their theme and choice of decor, this year our HR stepped in and, based on the results of a survey, assigned a movies theme for all. They tied it with iflix, a movies and TV streaming service with which Smart has a partnership.

You can check out http://smart.com.ph/pages/iflix for more information about the service, available subscription packages (like a measly Php99/month, anyone?), and more.

Reps from each floor drew lots to determine their designated movie. The choices were reportedly from iflix's top 200 movies. Personally I wasn't very happy about this--at least at first--because we already had grand plans for something else. It also didn't help that we got Shark Tale.

Shark Tale. When I broke the news to my colleagues I was met with bewildered expressions. Only a handful recognized the movie. It's understandable because Shark Tale isn't exactly a beloved animated feature. If it's any indication, the film received a stinking 35% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Ouch.

I didn't want us to join anymore was my initial childish reaction. But less than a week into Halloween, everyone in our department's Events committee felt like the occasion wouldn't be complete if we skipped the decorating contest. So after a quick town hall with the rest of the department, we gave it a go. We were, like, common, we were last year's winners with our Hogwarts-themed Halloween decor!

After all, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And join did we. Now here's a quick tour:

Saturday, October 31, 2015

LOOKBOOK | 30Oct2015: My name is Luca

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Hello, my name is Luca. Yup, Halloween stuff at the office yesterday. Our HR decided on a movies theme for everyone and reps from each floor drew lots for our assigned film. We got Shark Tale (unfortunately) and I dressed up as Luca.

Luca who? Shark Tale? I know, nobody's heard of the movie, let alone Luca. Unlike last year when I was Voldemort for Halloween, whom everybody knew of course from the Harry Potter universe, Luca is practically a nobody. Anyway, this is how he looks:

Monday, October 26, 2015

RANDOM | How I became The Dark Lord

Yup, I became Lord Voldemort. That was last year. For Halloween, of course. And it's not for any party whatsoever but for the office. For the life of me I've been donning Halloween costumes at work since 2008 when I dressed up as The Joker. Though my succeeding forays were rather simple in comparison, I've upped the ante again last year when our department joined our HR's Halloween decorating contest. We won, by the way.

Looking back, it was quite the effort. I'm just fortunate to have Kwittiegirl with me who painstakingly did my makeup. My main problem was finding a bald cap. I was even so close to splurging on a swimming cap until I found one at a costume shop. Other problems included where in Metro Manila I could get some liquid latex and Spirit Gum, white face paint (which was out of stock in every store I went to), and finding a tailor at the last minute. And oh, I had to shave.

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The night before the big day I tried the bald cap on. It was a bit small for my head but I had absolutely no choice. I also made an attempt at creating a mold for my nose with some clay. The intent was to pour some liquid latex in it as part of creating Voldemort's infamous nose or lack thereof.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

LOOKBOOK | 14Oct2015: Suited down

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Last Wednesday was one of those days where I felt like dressing up -- well, just a wee bit. Like I've mentioned many times before on this blog, guys in suits are an uncommon sight where I work. I know, how sad.

So in those instances where I feel like putting on one, chances are I end up dressing it down, like this time when I paired a double-breasted pinstripe jacket with colored chinos and a plain pullover. There was also an instance where I decided to wear a full-on suit but simply wore a plain colored tee underneath the jacket. Yeah, a suit paired with a plain t-shirt -- and silver sneakers! Why not?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

GADGETS | The Ausdom M05 Bluetooth over-ear headphones

A friend and former colleague recently gave me a Bluetooth headset to try, which I found weird because I'm no tech blogger. He was serious, though, so I gave it a shot. Besides, gadgets are part of our lifestyle and I thought I could come up with something from a lifestyle perspective. So here goes.

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The Ausdom M05.

The headset he gave me is the Ausdom M05. Ausdom what, you say? Don't worry, I've never heard of it before either. But everything's about to change pretty soon as the brand is steadily gaining ground in the market, buoyed by positive reviews and its very competitive pricing. It's still not officially available in the Philippines, though, but will be very soon.

Friday, October 9, 2015

LOOKBOOK | 08Oct2015: Camo corporate

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Last night I found myself in unfamiliar territory when I attended ISACA Manila's annual general membership meeting. ISACA is an international professional organization focused on IT governance, its membership comprised mainly of IT auditors, IT security guys, and other IT professionals. I don't really feel like I belong in such company, though. Every time I go to such events -- a rarity, I must say -- I feel out of place, keeping mostly to myself or to whoever colleague's with me. Never mind that I'm an IT auditor myself.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

THROWBACK THURSDAY | 08Oct2015: The cat in the bag and the Manila Bay sunset

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Save for the people in the background, there's three of us in the photo. Can you spot who's the third? This was taken in April of 2007 when we went on a sunset cruise along Manila Bay.

Sunsets at Manila Bay have long been regarded as one of the most beautiful. Given the right weather conditions, this is very true. A month ago I had the chance of driving along Roxas Boulevard but I found the baywalk quite dry, boring actually. I was reminded of the time when the seaside promenade was bustling with activity. With a number of establishments lined up then, it was once a happening place.

It was around this time when we boarded one of those ferries offering sunset cruises complete with food, drinks, and a live band for entertainment. I didn't know if pets were actually allowed on board or not but just the same I snuck in Kwittie Boy, who at the time was our only cat.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

LOOKBOOK | 03Oct2015: Come to the dark side

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Went malling with Kwittiegirl yesterday. I wore something comfy in anticipation of the hours to be spent standing and walking. Yes, malling can also be good cardio (Haha!). So joggers and sneakers were in order.

Friday, October 2, 2015

LOOKBOOK | 02Oct2015: Not quite like Friday

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Jeans are de facto Friday wear at the office and boots are not at all uncommon in my case either. But a long-sleeved shirt? I must have been in the mood.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

LOOKBOOK | 30Sept2015: Heneral Luna and a squirt of mustard

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Isn't he cute? Obviously it's not really part of my outfit today but something I used to accessorize my bag. It's a crocheted doll of General Antonio Luna, a Filipino hero and military tactician during the Philippine-American war, and the subject of a local film that's currently taking the public by storm. Unlike most local biopics of heroes where the subjects are almost portrayed as saints, this film -- Heneral Luna -- makes no attempt at glossing over him and instead presents his humanity -- his temper and brashness included.

Somehow this depiction has endeared him to a lot of Filipinos at the moment. After a slow start at the tills, people who have seen it early on have been fervently campaigning through social media for people to support and watch the film. The positive feedback has snowballed into an inescapable noise and suddenly everyone just had to watch it. It was like the people took ownership of the film and overturned what would have been a flop into a box office hit.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

LOOKBOOK | 28Sept2015: Against the black wall

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Sorry if my shirt is blinding you. Believe me, I already desaturated the photo a bit. It just pops out no matter what, especially with that black wall behind me. Oh yeah, I just love that black wall.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

FASHION | Still can't get over the Financial Times 'how to spend it' underwater menswear shoot

It's been weeks now since I was blown away by photos of an underwear menswear shoot in shark-infested waters for how to spend it of the Financial Times. And every time I see them, that sense of amazement and admiration has never diminished. Now I hope to share that feeling with you just in case you haven't seen or heard of it yet.

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Singin' in the rain?
This and all other photos from how to spend it.

Although underwater fashion shoots are not at all that uncommon, this is the first one I've seen that was done atop a diving wreck and amidst a gam of sharks. Sure, the sharks may not be the man-eating type but they're still very capable of inflicting harm, however unintentional it may be, like a swipe or a nip.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

LOOKBOOK | 23Sept2015: Windowpane joggers for the office

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It seems that I can never have enough joggers, especially since brands have continuously been reinventing this piece of clothing left and right, churning out design after design -- and it's driving me nuts.

After recently mulling over whether I can wear joggers on a regular office workday, today I did it. Thanks to Uniqlo, I found just the right piece that I can confidently wear to work. Just like my last one it also has a fly. And save for the requisite drawstring and puckered hemline, it almost looks like pants any regular office guy would wear to work. I was able to comfortably wear it with a long-sleeved shirt (air tie optional) and a pair of ombre lace-ups sans socks.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

DINING | Manila Pavilion's Seasons restaurant revamps its menu

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What a pretty dish, don't you think? After all, we also eat with our eyes.

Seasons, the Manila Pavilion Hotel's flagship lifestyle restaurant, has just clicked the 'Refresh' button on its menu for a festive selection of international a la carte dishes starting at Php 280 nett. For a hotel restaurant, let alone a 4-star one, that certainly is a reasonable price to pay. Even the buffet breakfast will only cost you Php 600 nett!

The result is a streamlined menu that's not overwhelming, as it has just about the right number of options available to the diner yet still offering enough variety from appetizers, noodles, mains, desserts, and even a few select Filipino dishes. Think succulent carvings and grilled items, gourmet sandwiches, even burgers and pizza. Even the kids have their own corner in the menu, so diners young and old alike are in for a truly rewarding dining experience.

At the heart of this reinvigoration is the hotel's executive chef Giovanni Sias, who was given free rein to experiment with ingredients and fulfill his vision of a more innovative Italian cuisine and an integration of traditional recipes with contemporary flavors. A seasoned culinary master, the Italian-American Chef Giovanni was executive chef of the upscale Jolly Hotel Madison Towers in New York, and with the opening of Ristorante Cinqueterre has established himself as one of the city's leading chefs.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

LIFESTYLE | Taiwan Excellence's 'Made to Enjoy Singing Contest'

Taiwan Excellence brings you the newest online contest

Judging by the number of videoke machines we see at celebrations like fiestas, birthdays, and the like, Filipinos do love to sing. Never mind that a great percentage of the singing public aren't exactly great singers because the Filipino's love affair with the microphone is palpable. Besides, we do have many musical gems we either are or can certainly be proud of.

Now why not put this love for singing to good use, to some potential personal benefit? Why not join The Taiwan Excellence - Made to Enjoy Singing Contest?

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The Made to Enjoy Singing Contest is a new and innovative contest brought to you by Taiwan Excellence, a project that assists Taiwanese branded companies in raising brand awareness, consumer preference, and consequently, sales, around the world. With the Philippines being one of their target markets, music-loving Filipinos are lucky to be offered a platform to showcase our musical genius. Apart from the prizes at stake, who knows it could also be your ticket to stardom, or get noticed at the very least?

Friday, September 11, 2015

LOOKBOOK | 10Sept2015: Rainy nights and spotlights

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Though much less of a blockbuster than last Tuesday's epic #Carmageddon, last night's sequel nevertheless had me waiting the rain and resulting traffic jam out at the office before heading home. It also got me into doing another impromptu outfit post -- under the rain this time.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

LOOKBOOK | 08Sept2015: Color me blue

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Lotsa blue!

Isn't it great when the skies suddenly decide to just pour out right when people are about to leave work, forcing everyone in what should have been rush hour to, well, not rush? Because traffic is at a standstill. So to while away time I gave in to my vanity urges and thought of doing an outfit post.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

DINING | Restock Coffee and Curiosities

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Coffee, art, and what have you at Restock.

I'm not really one who seeks out new places to dine, have coffee, and the like but last month I finally found myself at Restock Coffee and Curiosities with Kwittiegirl. Located along Guijo Street in Makati City, it's not really a new place although it's still less than a year old. You might have been here already or heard of it at least. If not, then read on.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

THROWBACK THURSDAY | 03Sept2015: Back to 'Back-to-back-to-back' and our first SOX launch party

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I guess I look like I can really sing in that photo. It was July 2007 and I did sing. I mean, I performed in front of my bosses and colleagues at a party -- twice!

Monday, August 31, 2015

TRAVEL | Liwaliw sa Liliw: Where everything closes at six

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The red-bricked St John the Baptist Church in Liliw, Laguna.

It was five in the afternoon already when we got out of the heavily vandalized but still impressive Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery and proceeded to the town of Liliw, also in Laguna province. No thanks to our laziness we found ourselves rushing once we found a parking spot, as darkness was just minutes away.

Liliw is a fourth class municipality that is probably best known for its slippers and shoe industry, a place relegated to but a quick stop to many an excursionist's itinerary. I may have intentionally sought out Liliw from the comforts of our little retreat at Sitio de Amor in San Pablo but it's a shame I only had about an hour to see the town before it got dark -- and everything closed.

Nonetheless, here's what I managed to check out in that very limited time.

Saint John the Baptist Church
With a striking red brick facade, the St John the Baptist Church of Liliw is a beautiful piece of baroque architecture, its old world charm only enhanced by moss and stray plant growth (though they also cause gradual damage to the building).

Unfortunately its beauty does not completely shine through because newer additions on the church grounds, particularly the string of white statues of different saints, mar the structure's otherwise glorious view. It's a shame, actually, and evidently it's another one of those church developments that haven't been thought through by their proponents.

Where it's a grotto with an image of Our Lady of Lourdes that I normally see on many church grounds, in Liliw's case it's a statue of Our Lady of Fatima that stands next to the belfry. On the floor and fence around it are slabs of concrete with hand and foot markings and nameplates, presumably of donors. Unfortunately -- again -- it wasn't properly thought of. There's supposed to be a nice mountain backdrop behind it but wasn't put to good use. And what's with the electrical wire dangling in front of Our Lady's face? And the cheap "Bawal maglaro dito" (Playing here is prohibited) sign?

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With all those white statues around, it's hard to get a good photo of the church in its entirety.

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Looking back at the entrance to the church grounds.

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A stained glass image of the Divine Mercy somewhere along the church's facade.

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Ugly dangling wire and tacky yellow sign ruin this sight.

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Donor, donor on the floor and wall.

Whatever's been happening elsewhere on the church grounds, it's a good thing nobody messed with the actual church's design. I wasn't able to take proper pictures of the church's interiors because a mass was ongoing but it's really beautiful here.

The main congregation area is a long rectangular space whose walls are a mix of stone and red bricks, and where two rows of chandeliers hang from the ceiling. There are three multi-level gilded altars housing nearly two dozen religious figures. Even from the door where I was standing, the altars evoke a sense of awe, in my case at least. Its old pulpit is also still gorgeously intact.

To the right of the main hall (when facing the altar) is the adoration chapel, while on the left is another chapel dedicated to San Buenaventura. This is also where believers light candles and offer prayers.

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I didn't risk stepping inside lest I burst into flames.

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Zooming in from the door, it's a really beautiful church, don't you think?

The footwear shops
The way I saw it, most of the shops selling locally made shoes, sandals, and slippers, are on Gat Tayaw Street. With just a few minutes to spare I wasn't able to find anything for me here, except for a pair of flip-flops. Kwittiegirl, however, scored a few bargains like slippers that go for 3 for Php 100. Never mind that the quality's not really good but 3 for Php 100? Talk about cheap thrills!

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One of the shops along Gat Tayaw Street.

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Badong, arguably Liliw's most popular footwear store. Those are all shoes hung on the wall, by the way.

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An image of Gat Tayaw outside Badong. The guy founded the town.

By the time we got to Badong it was already closed for the day. Yes, they -- along with every other store -- close at six. Maybe I'll have better luck with shoe shopping next time.

Giant footwear
It seems quite common for stores here to have a pair of giant slippers as decor, with which tourists delight themselves for photo ops. But it's not just the stores that have them, I realized.

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Waiting for the prince that never came. Poor Cinderella.

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A giant high-heeled shoe inside Liliw's municipal hall.

Old houses
It may not be like Pila (a town in Laguna known for heritage houses) but I was glad to have spotted a few old houses in Liliw. And it's great that they seem to be in very good condition even if some of them aren't exclusively residential abodes anymore. In some of these houses, the ground floors have been leased out as commercial spaces and are now either restaurants or pharmacies.

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Spotted this nice house that's partially occupied by a drugstore chain.

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Still in great condition, and I'm loving the paint job.

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The municipal hall. Okay, I'm not sure if this is an authentic old house or just patterned after one. Either way, I like it.

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Definitely not Hispanic but it's still a beautiful house. And since it looks like something from the 70s or early 80s, doesn't it qualify as old yet?

Dinner at Arabela
A really small place but with good Italian food. No wonder it's a hit with visitors. (You can check out my Arabela restaurant review to learn a bit more about this place.)

***********************************
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So long, Liliw.

It was already dark outside when we finished dinner. Everything was closed, even the ATM! Well at least 7-Eleven wasn't. I left Liliw with a resolve to come back and spare her a little bit more time next time, time she rightfully deserves.

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