Sunday, June 26, 2016

#WeekendChronicles: National Museum of the Philippines

And so, the weekly getaway continues. Next stop: the National Museum of the Philippines. It's a bit embarrassing to declare that it was our first time visiting the museum considering the fact that we live so close by... but hey, it's never too late to try. 

Besides, the National Museum extended its free admission throughout June because of the Philippine  Independence Day (June 12) and Dr. Jose Rizal's birth anniversary (June 19)! The free admission covers their flagship museums in Manila: NM of Fine Arts  and NM of Anthropology. It also covers the NM Planetarium, as well as those in the regions: Vigan, Kiangan, Kabayan, Angono-Binangonan Pteroglyphs, Tabaco, Bohol, Butuan and Jolo (Sulu). We visited the National Art Gallery

So if you haven't visited it yet, or you just have some free time to kill, better do it to appreciate the art and beauty of the Philippine history as seen through the NM's exhibits. Luckily, in line with this auspicious month for the Philippines, they also opened the Manlilikha ng Bayan (National Living Treasures) and "Remembering Joya" (which we absolutely loved!) exhibitions this month!

In transit.
We commuted from Cavite. It was a pretty quick commute, 1-2 hours tops.

Arriving at the Museum: It was a typical day, but there were many people, mostly students, because of their promo. I have high expectations for this is the first time I am visiting the site -- and  thinking that this big building houses so much memento of the Philippine history just about blows my mind. It is a really freaky, but amazing thing if you think about it.

Beyond this door lies the Philippines' Treasures!
This post will contain so many pictures, so beware. :D More of this after the jump! 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

#WeekendChronicles: Buku Buku Kafe

T'was a lazy Saturday afternoon and I was planning to convert our little bedroom corner into an office area but then electricity suddenly went off and boom - I've nowhere to go. Good thing I remembered this book cafe relatively near our place that I've been meaning to try since I saw it in blogs. So naturally, I picked up my things, got my sister to accompany me, and the next thing I know, we are positioning ourselves in this cute cafe.

Buku Buku Kafe is a book cafe located at The District Imus. This is such a pretty big deal for me because I've been looking for book cafes in the likes of those in QC and Makati here at Cavite. The thing is, most of the cafes (that serve decent to pretty good coffee) here are so mainstream. I've been craving that indie vibe, that comfy feeling. And now, we have it! Nice, nice. Now, I don't really need to go to Maginhawa or some far off place to experience authentic book cafe #feels.

More of this after the jump!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

#WeekendChronicles: Secret Lives of Books

Finally, an update in eons! Apologies, for blogging seems to take a backseat in my life these past few days. But hey, I'm here to at least water this dried up place. Here goes:

I remember RTing a article regarding this exhibit but for some reason totally forgot about it. But alas, Saturday errands accidentally brought us to this. Chanced upon the last day (look how lucky I was) of Karl Castro's Secret Lives of Books at Ayala Museum. It was a free exhibit, so we checked it out anyway. 

Karl Castro has been working on books for the 12 years now and has been collaborating with different writers in bringing their books to the public eye. It's weird, I realized, the way we give so little applause and interest on the persons behind these designs even if (I'm not sure if I am alone in this) this plays a significant part on the way we enjoy the book or even influence us to buy them in the first place. This exhibit highlights the fact that the book's design is as important as the contents itself -- which I quite agree on for I am a huge cover design judger since forever.  (sorry not sorry) 

Read more after the jump!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Novella: Steel Scars (Red Queen, #0.2) by Victoria Aveyard

Farley was raised to be strong, but being tasked with planting the seeds of rebellion in Norta is a tougher job than expected. As she travels the land recruiting black market traders, smugglers, and extremists for her first attempt at an attack on the capital, she stumbles upon a connection that may prove to be the key to the entire operation—Mare Barrow. (via Goodreads)
Truth be told, I am much more interested in Silvers than in Reds. Though having a Red POV  is definitely not surprising, my initial reaction was more to the lines of "who needs a Farley POV, really?". I would give the world for a Cal or a Maven POV but this is what we get and sometimes, we gotta scrape with what we've got.

Don't get me wrong, Farley was definitely a great character in Red Queen. Fearless, not to to mention a woman. While I admit that the narrative presented some pretty interesting insights in her background and her life pre-Red Queen, I still don't think this was a necessary book. You could go on and finish reading the whole series and not be bothered if you haven't laid eyes on this story -- unlike with Queen Song. With novellas and in-between-er stories, I'm leaning more into their significance on the whole narrative -- whether it be of value or not. (I'm biased like that.)

There were parts when the narrative felt dragging and honestly speaking, I was really relieved when Shade Barrow appeared as it gave the story line the kick it desperately needs. The piece was well-written, but I just feel like the character deserves more. Or maybe I didn't like Farley as much as I like myself to believe.

My Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2 out of 5 stars)

Quotable Quotes:
But belief doesn't make it easy to take a bullet. 
"My name is my mother, my sister Madeline, and their graves dug in the frozen ground of a village no one lives in anymore." ~ Captain Farley 
Rise, red as the dawn.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Novella: Queen Song (Red Queen, #0.1) by Victoria Aveyard

I am taking a break from Murakami lit and actually giving other books a chance. Next target is to finish all available books in the Red Queen series and so after I read the Red Queen last year (whose incomplete review is still in the drafts folder), I moved on to the first of the two released novellas in addition to the Red Queen world: Queen Song.
Queen Coriane, first wife of King Tiberias, keeps a secret diary—how else can she ensure that no one at the palace will use her thoughts against her? Coriane recounts her heady courtship with the crown prince, the birth of a new prince, Cal, and the potentially deadly challenges that lay ahead for her in royal life. (via Goodreads)

This novella followed the life of Queen Coriane, the late mother of Prince Cal of Norta, her life before entering the court, the blossoming and later developing relationship with the then Prince Tibe, the unraveling of the queen and her eventual demise.

It was actually pretty nice to finally be given a useful back story as to the mystery that Queen Coriane presented in the Red Queen. Here we bear witness, with her diary entries and undulated thoughts, how someone can be unhappily happy, trying to make do with whatever life has to offer. Actually, Coriane was a pretty good, fleshed out character. Though the fondness to make and tinker things is a bit out of place for my taste, the characterization came out decently. She came out a bit depressing at the start, then strong and witty in the middle, only to go down the drain and waste away as the pages come to an end. It was solid - and the intention clearly expressed, where the instability of the queen highlighted as the pages went on.

Reading through the pages was a breeze,with the prose fluid in its transition.This particular line struck a chord with me:
But there is a difference between a single candle in the darkness and a sunrise.
That was Coriane on the happiness she felt when Tibe finally confessed and asked her to marry him. That was what she felt. Sure she is happy, but there sure is a difference between being happy because you have everything you want in the world versus being happy because you got what you can get and for now that was enough.

The slow unraveling of the queen - the gnawing emptiness, the growing desperation, the increased paranoia - not sure whether it is because of someone or is it because of herself: all captured carefully between its pages.
"It might be a crime to write such things, but I am a queen. I am the queen. I can say and write what I think."
Victoria Aveyard's enthralling writing style is still clearly present in here. And though this short lacks the thrilling fight scenes showcasing Silver abilities compared with the first book in the series, Aveyard still managed to capture the attention of her readers. The narrative was solid, and I wonder how she fit such timeline into too little number of pages. And though the ending was a bit rushed in my opinion, she did what she could given the material and still managed to make it work. This is a pretty short and fast read (roughly 60 pages in my reader) but a pretty thrilling read nonetheless.

All in all, this was such a bittersweet book - following the young queen as she succumbed to madness. But the real question was: is someone behind it? Or is it merely a trick of her own mind?

This book would be such a treat to all the #ScarletGuards out there. Definitely recommended!

My Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3 out of 5 stars)

Quotable Quotes:
There is nothing so terrible as a story untold. 
"There is no greater pain or punishment than memory." ~ Jessamine 
But there is a difference between a single candle in the darkness and a sunrise.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

#TravelDiary: Zamboanga 2016

By the end of January 2016, I got the chance to fly to the south once again~ this time, it's Zamboanga, Asia's Latin City

Well technically, cheap flights allowed me to. Untimely vacation as it may be (the busy season is hanging over everyone's heads by that time), it still felt like a much needed escape to say the least.

It was a three-day thing, but it honestly felt longer. I don't know, but being in an unfamiliar place for the first time really changes one's perspective. I could recount all the things that happened, but frankly, I don't think people would be much interested in it. The thing with experience is that when you tell it to someone -- anyone other than yourself, it loses the full magnitude of its appeal, its colors would seem dimmer that you intend it to be. And I'm not sure I'd want that. 

Maybe this would be more worthy to be shared if it were a life-changing event, but it need not be of that extent for it to be memorable, at least.

I am posting these pictures in order to bookmark this place in exchange for the memories. It may seem a bit dramatic, but I indeed learned something about myself when I was away and melting in its beautiful sunsets.


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