Blimey, it’s London! (3/3)

More museums and the obligatory food post…

This is the entrance of the Natural History Museum.  We got free entrance, as with most of the museums, thanks to our London Pass.  The exhibits here were targeted for a younger audience.  I got bored actually because it was elementary biology.  I did learn a thing or two on modern museum interiors.

The museum was first opened to the public in 1881.  But the collections first started when Sir Hans Sloane (physician and collector of natural curiosities) donated his collection in 1753.  (Source: Natural History Museum UK)

I forgot to mention that my favorite parts of the collection were the dinosaur and whale skeleton exhibit.

These two bridges here connect the exhibits, giving the interior layout a maze-like feel.

This is “the Cocoon” in the Darwin Centre designed by  C F Møller Architects.  I wasn’t able to go inside though, so check out more pictures of it here, Darwin Centre Architectural Highlights.  We had another stop to visit.

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Blimey, it’s London! (2/3)

More sights from the City Bus Tour – St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, President Obama…

St. Paul’s Cathedral, the largest Anglican Church equivalent to the St. Peter’s Basilica of the Roman Catholics.  We weren’t allowed to take pictures here.  I found out as the trip progressed that photographing was generally forbidden inside places of worship.

This is the fifth building of the cathedral which was designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1669 and officially completed in 1711.  The first three cathedrals existed before the year 1000 A.D. and were burned down.  The fourth cathedral was constructed after the fire in 1087 that destroyed the third cathedral.  The ceiling and roof were made of wood which led to its eventual decay.  The construction of the fifth version experienced a lot of interruptions during the Civil War.

The style is a mix between Gothic and Baroque styles.  The Baroque is evident in the dome (and inspired by St. Peter’s Basilica) and the arched ceilings.  The Gothic is present in the spires as seen in the photo above.  The design received mixed reactions from the public.  If I remember my Art Studies correctly, the architecture in mainland Europe developed closely alongside each other.  Proximity made it easier for architects and craftsmen to travel around mainland Europe–France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Flanders–and see which architectural styles were in fashion.  Britain, located away from the mainland, caught on the trends at a later time and was (generally) considered not part of the cool group.

A view of the St. Paul Memorial from the Golden Gallery, the topmost area on the dome that is accessible to the public.

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Blimey, it’s London! (1/3)

Getting our bearings and acclimatizing…

(Photocredit: Dad)

I got disoriented upon touchdown in London.  We arrived at the hotel at around 9:30 PM.  The sun was still UP, and I forgot that, “Oh, right. We’re way up in the Northern hemisphere.”  We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Kensington, an affluent and densely populated neighborhood.

Excuse our amusement and narcissicism, as it is one of the few occasions that I wear more than one layer of clothing when going outside.

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Sunday in Paris

I’ll keep it short for now. I have hundreds of pictures that I have to filter out. :)

Notre Dame. We heard Mass here this morning.

La Conciergerie, a royal palace and prison which is part of a larger complex, the Palais de Justice.  Presently it is used for the law courts.  Side trivia,  Marie Antoinette was imprisoned here.  Its other name is the “Antechamber to the Guillotine”.  The picture above is the Hall of the Guards.

The plaza outisde Palais de Justice.  The main entrance, which is not open to the public is at the far end.

London, raw and unedited

I haven’t organized my photos in chronological order yet. But here are some of my memorable stops of the trip so far. The full account will come after Paris, and after the entire trip.

[I couldn’t take photographs of the interiors of the churches and castles we visited as they all had a “no photography” policy for security and conservation reasons.  Understandable, but booooo….]

Westminster Abbey

The Darwin Center at the Museum of Natural History

The London Eye

West End (where we watched Les Miserables).

Trafalgar Square

Korean BBQ lunch at Sam Won Garden

The Southern equivalent of Maginhawa St. in Teachers Village, Quezon City would probably be Aguirre Ave. in B.F. Homes Parañaque.

In a gist, Teachers Village in Quezon City is one of the three major residential areas in the Diliman district.  Maginhawa St. is a major road that cuts through Teachers Village, Sikatuna, and U.P. Village.  For some reason, maintaining these three subdivisions as strictly residential areas was never strictly implemented.  This resulted in a mixed-use subdivision, primarily residential interspersed with all kinds of commercial establishments.  (You name it: printing shops, restaurants, laundry, hardware stores, a grocery, factory outlets, low-rise office buildings, etc.)  I have heard someone sarcastically remark that one can find the entire universe in here.  Maginhawa St. has always been a notable place in Diliman because of its restaurants and bars.

The same applies for Aguirre Ave. in B.F. Homes, Parañaque.  B.F. Homes was intended to be a purely residential area.  Over time, through lax implementation I suppose, it evolved into a mixed-use subdivision very much like Teachers Village.

ANYWAY… One of the Korean restaurants that I have read about in food blogs like The Sugar Bug, and, and ClicktheCity was Sam Won Garden.   (The family was looking for a new Asian restaurant for Easter lunch other than our usual Chinese and Japanese fare.)

**Disclaimer: This probably should not count as a real restaurant review, in my opinion.  I usually research on how to “attack” exotic cuisines before I try out such restaurants.  If the restaurant serves authentic cuisine and is owned  by someone of that nationality, I try to find out if there are any meal-related customs/rituals that have to be performed.  Manners…  I also look up the most popular dishes and the recommended combinations.  I have tried Korean restaurants a few times–those instances I can count on one hand–and I still have not mastered which entrees should be eaten with the proper condiments.

In addition, I was only armed that day with my celphone camera.

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April 17, 2011.  Well, it all has to end at some point. :)

(Photo credits to my Dad and Myel Quianzon.)

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Fierceness, favorites, etc.

“Gold Lion” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Perfume commercial of Yves Saint Laurent with Coco Rocha. “Gold Lion” was also used here.

Another perfume commercial.  This time from Christian Dior by one of my favorite directors, Wong Kar Wai.  Eva Green is also in it–favorite Bond girl–so add another 10,000 plus points.


I haven’t seriously listened to R&B in years (read: taking note of who sung what and, maybe, downloading songs).  Anyway, the songs are more likely to catch my attention if they have good dance number in their music video.

Case in point: Ne-Yo’s “One in a Million”


The video concept reminds me of Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel”.

Pinatubo Excursion

Starting point: Pinatubo Day Spa located in Capas, Tarlac

Last Saturday, I went with my Dad, sister, and a high school friend on a trip to Mt. Pinatubo.  We left the house at around 4:30 AM. My family had a good night’s rest.  I didn’t.  (I hit the sheets at around 3:00 AM.)

(Photocredits: my sister and Dad!)

We left the car at the Pinatubo Day Spa.  Got on a 4×4–yeah! kickass!–to travel the rest of the way.  The other companions for this excursion were my Dad’s officemates.

4x4 that had to be pulled out

The terrain of Pinatubo is an altogether alien landscape.  I have gone hiking on fieldtrips and other family excursions, so naturally, I expected to see lush greenery.  After the main entrance to the Pinatubo hiking site (first picture), the jeep had to traverse a vast stretch of lahar.  There are streams from Mt. Pinatubo’s natural springs that break the sandy expanse.

Sauron's tropical domain?

At this point, we were going up Pinatubo’s slope.  At the next stop, we were supposed to disembark from the jeeps then go down–how far, I don’t know–into the crater.  Based on our surroundings, I couldn’t pinpoint where we were exactly on Pinatubo.  On the way there, I was vaguely reminded of Mordor, minus Gollum lurking among the rocks.

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