May Kwento Ako #44 : Some nice neighborhoods in Athens or is it Athina ?

Apparently, in Europe, Athens is referred to as Athina. I didn’t know this before until I exited another city bound for home. One learns new things each day, as they say.

Here’s are a few more things I learned from Lazarus, my new smart, articulate Greek friend who drove me from and to the airport:

  1. the seafood in Athens or in Greece is exceptionally more tasty because the sea nearest Athens is more salty as compared to other seas.
  2. the red and white wines in Greeces are particularly exceptional except that is hasn’t reached my corner of the world, I think.
  3. sadly, the economy of Greece has still not been doing so well even after 12 years but they are all working hard and hopeful.

Here are a few photos of this eternal city of Athens. Amidst the crazy traffic it has in narrow streets, there are some hubs that are very discreet.

So, it’s not all busy and crazy streets. With tons of tourists. There are very interesting niches, like everywhere in the world, I discovered.

European architecture with distinctly Greek details.
Beautiful doorways always catches the eye.
This home I shall refer to as “he made it work” home. I think this also has good feng shui as the front entrance door is blocked from the main road. And he got to keep the tree.
Smart moves.
The hilly city offers great vista and challenge to your knees.
From above the Acropolis Hill, Athens is one big city. Mount Lycabettus is the hill on the right hand of the photo.

May Kwento Ako #43 : What Abu Dhabi looks like from above.

Abu Dhabi as my flight took off

Ferrari World
Desert land everywhere. Has better infrastructure compared to many.

For some of us who live outside of the Middle East, I could not imagine what a desert would look like. Yes, I have seen movies set in a desert but those are highly stylised. An opportunity came up for me to pass through the airport of Abu Dhabi and hope that one day I, too would get to stay for a few days.

I cannot imagine what the architecture and infrastructure would be like 10 to 20 years from now in this city.

Someone once told me that this country is run very efficiently but conservatively and they seem to be reaping the benefits.

May Kwento Ako #42 : The Climb up to the Acropolis Hill of Athens

Near the Entrance Gate on the South East Wing
Just past a few of the several millennia-old ruins below the hill …
Almost on top of the Acropolis Hill but not quite up there, yet.
And more steps like these.
Till one reaches the apex.
The lucky neighbourhood just below. The visuals in the evening are as astounding.

The Acropolis Hill is worth the trip to Athens and the climb. After all, it is dated 4 millenia before Christ’s death (BCD). And large enough to host many historical landmarks, most of which are in great shape considering the thousands of years that have passed but many are “under renovation”.

This hill is not very high. It is lower than I thought it would be, honestly. But one has to be reasonably fit to make this climb. I saw a signage below as I was about to exit that there was a lift to get up hill for the handicap but was not able to pursue this.

The hill’s gates open at 8AM and I entered at 8:10AM as I recall as the place I was staying in was a 2 minute walk away. It was a bit chilly at that time. Saw less than a dozen people as I hurriedly took my photos and appreciated the place trying to imagine what stories lay within its midst. Maybe 100 people at the top of hill then. But in half an hour, the number of people grew exponentially.

By the time I got to the top, it was close to 9AM as I took my time appreciating the vista and the ruins. Trying to familiarise myself with the type of soil, the boulders, the ruins.

The blogs I read preparing for the trip gave good tips:

1) Be at the gate by 8AM.

2) Stay near the new Acropolis Museum.

May Kwento Ako No. 41 : A Pleasant Discovery in Makati

I am not a wine connoissuer. Far from it. But in recent years, I have found myself meeting people who are afficionados or in the trade and little by little, one just picks up a lesson or two and become more familiar with this old world drink over time.

Expertly handled and poured.
Very nice to see you again. It’s been awhile since Paris with “SP” in 2016.
And the Piper leads the pack. Soft shelled crabs, pasta with truffles, shrimps. Beautiful composition.
Pleasant way to cap the lunch.

May Kwento Ako No. 40 : A Reunion of Sorts

It is not everyday that the six of us are able to partake in a meal together. Modern day challenges with family members living in different parts of the globe or even just the country, quite common in most families for a long time now.

Each on has his own strength, completing the other or likely the rest. I wonder if people know this of themselves. How about if one is an only child, I now wonder.

But it remains exciting nonetheless when we’re together. At this point, each one of us has their interesting stories to tell and their continuing journey of experiences and self-discovery.

I now prefer bigger fonts so they are easier for me to read.

May Kwento Ako No. 39 : Post-Corporate Life

With Irene Ibanez

So happy to have spent time with Irene Ibanez and some of her recent fine art watercolors on giclee archival paper.

Irene since retiring as top remarketeer for IBM reseller of AS/400s and S/36s, SSI has been busy being a wife, mom, entrepreneur and more recently fine art watercolorist.  👩🏻‍🎨

She remains good friends with many of us. Shares countless happy anecdotes. And I suppose they show in Irene’s art, don’t you agree? I know many of you have gone to art from private messages and posts and I am sooo happy for you. ( My lips and fingers are sealed, of course ). Tuloy ninyo lang yan. Nakakaginhawa din ng kalooban yan.

Yes, Joe, there is still a beautiful life outside corporate life! 

She has generously agreed to donate a portion of her sales to BlueGenes Fund Drive for Building 17, Paradise Heights, Smokey Mountain in Tondo which brings children to school.

May Kwento Ako No. 38 : Reunions are for those with solid memories.

Once upon about 4 decades ago, when most of this rowdy bunch were fresh from uni/college, we somehow found our way to a fabled cave in Paseo de Roxas where minds, hearts and souls were further formed to be a cross between scholars and warriors. Attitudes were further fixed, wits were challenged and readied further for the outside world. You know and still be smooth. It was not easy but we made it work. 

Last night, at a hosted dinner for a good man and his lady love, we chided ourselves about how another couple of zeros were added to our annual targets, the exciting technologies that us, consumers will soon be living with, that our gym routine has significantly been altered to walking around a few blocks in the neighborhood to get those blood cells going. Now a couple of decades since we parted, we know we’ve experienced more of the outside world. Ok, a few more cuts and bruises here and there, acquired along the way. Medicines have replaced the health and muscle-building supplements. And progressive lens have replaced the tortoise shell Tom Cruise-made famous Ray Bans. 

Now, this life’s progression called reunions, come to think of it, made our dear folks busy for a few decades. So, it seems that we are following suit. Of course we talked about the people who were not present! Won’t be as much fun if we hadn’t, would it? But nothing racy, I assure you. We are not that kind. All in good fun.

This photo says it all. Despite it all, we all can still be hams. And it’s perfectly alright.

Till the next.

May Kwento Ako #37 : I am traveling to Singapore with my aging eyes open slightly differently. 🧳

The haunt for the best #beurre remains…..eventhough it reads #GrandCru.

Incredible architecture now always tickles my visual senses.

Simply awesome, refined, fine art photography by #RosalynnTay at a boutique in the Raffles Hotel. When will i ever get to this level, i wonder still.

Thinking back, this was probably How i looked like, with a yosi on one hand, a mobile phone in another in a hawker center, albeit in a more center of town location after my fair share of grilled stingray or hainanese chicken rice. #kalami #masiramon tabi !!!

S$0.50 Soya Ice Cream at #Ikea was the cheapest, big deal for me.

No trip to a City is ever complete for me without attending mass. Here is the altar of the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd after being recently renovated. Looking sharp, calming and, reassuring. 🙏🏼

Dining at the National Gallery by #VioletOon was a special moment. Chose mostly Peranakan dishes. Other South Asian cuisine also featured. I would never have guessed what the word #Peranakan meant.

A collaboration of several Filipino masters, Victorio C Edades, Galo B Ocampo, Carlos “Botong” Francisco @ National Gallery. Noteworthy to mention that all are Welcome to view all its exhibitions for free, all weekends leading up to the Singapore National Day in August. Foreigners, locals, all ages are Welcome.

Guo Pei with several dozens south sea pearls encrusted. Now, how on earth did she do that?!!

Happy?? Happy 😊

I am recognizing that I am aging fast 💨. As I approach the big 6-0 in a couple of years, I am approaching the world with a different pair of eyes now. Appreciating our world in a different context and point of view 🌎.

It used to be that I would pack business suits on trips to this first world, dynamic country, Singapore located a few hours flying time just south of home, traffic-mangled, drought-plagued Manila. Fastidiously ironed white shirts, beautiful Italian silk ties, custom suits, nicely polished black shoes were all packed. Nowadays, it’s still nice pairs of shoes except now, they are all rubber soled. Jackets are more loose and comfortable. Shirts are now chambrays with some details here and there because I have grown to be more #maarte thanks to the coaching of two wonderful stylists who have helped me transition and transform. Even my belts now have buckles that are more detailed. Because it’s there and available.

Meetings remain interesting as they are mostly with people whom I am meeting for the first time with no agenda written in my notebook other than knowing some of their stories, their experiences and adventures and misadventures.

Am also no longer have the airport-hotel-office-hotel-airport routine. It is now, airport-hotel/house guest-suppliers-stores-galleries-museums-hawker centers-nice restaurants-boutiques-showrooms-etc-etc-airport. Close to my daily routine back home except that there are more more time to think and plan.