Had the chance to pass by recently and take snap shots of San Agustin Church in the old, historic “walled city” of Intramuros in Manila.

The San Agustin Church, a Roman Catholic church built in 1607 during the Spanish colonial period, is the oldest church still standing in the Philippines.

The church was one of four Philippine churches designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993, under the classification “Baroque Churches of the Philippines”.

It was named a National Historical Landmark by the Philippine government in 1976. [Source: Wikipedia]

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Even before the official announcement of the place being open to the public, we managed to visit for the first time recently the new official residence and office of the Vice President of the Philippines.

The new home of the Office of the Vice President (OVP) is the luxurious Coconut Palace, a government-owned guesthouse which stands on a 2.7 hectare property located at the Cultural Center of the Philippines complex right by the Manila Bay in Pasay City.

Renovation work was still ongoing when we visited the Palace last November 09, 2011. Still, one can feel the elegance of the place.

Estimated to be worth PhP1.2-billion, not counting the artwork and antique fixtures and furniture, the Coconut Palace has plush guestrooms where the Marcoses, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and showbiz stars like Brooke Shields and George Hamilton once slept.

The Coconut Palace was designed and built by architect Francisco Mañoza in 1978 upon being commissioned by then first lady Imelda Marcos for the Manila visit of the late Pope John Paul II in 1981. The Pope, however, declined the offer to stay in it which he found too ostentatious. Among others, it has a swimming pool with a panoramic view of the spectacular Manila Bay sunset.

Shaped like an octagon, the Palace prides itself in showcasing the creative use of coconut and its various by-products, as well as artwork that includes works by noted Filipino artists Araceli Dans and Napoleon Abueva, among others. Its bedrooms emulate traditional art and aesthetics of Filipino regions, with antique decor on the walls, tables and cabinets.

It was President Aquino himself who offered the Coconut Palace to Vice President Jejomar Binay to make it as the official and permanent residence and office of the Vice President of the Philippines. The OVP used to hold office at the PNB Financial Center building in Pasay City.

Today, this where the VP holds office, meets guests, conducts meetings and media conferences.

Just last week, VP Binay announced that the Coconut Palace is now open to local and foreign tourists, with pre-arranged daily tours like the one being held in the US White House.

Continue reading »

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I’ve always wanted to do a long, slow shutter speed, aerial, evening shot of the Roxas Boulevard stretch of Metro-Manila.

Our band, The Assembly, played for months in the late 70′s at El Camarote at  Holiday Inn, now Traders’ Hotel, right across the Cultural Center of the Philippines. And even if I was not into photography then, the early evening lights of the whole stretch of the boulevard viewed from the top floors of Holiday Inn had always fascinated me.

The opportunity came recently while I was doing a shoot for Pasay City and among the sought-after shots I wanted done was one to be taken early evening, atop Traders Hotel.

Alas, the weather wasn’t too kind! It had rained for a couple of days until that fateful day when we finally got the hotel clearance to climb right up to the roof deck of the hotel. I was barely starting to warm up after getting a proper orientation and a general feel of the stronger-than-usual winds when you’re on top of a tall building (we climbed a couple more levels from the 18th floor) when suddenly it started to drizzle!

Gosh! There wasn’t much time to go around the hotel’s roof deck to get all the possible angles!

So here’s what I just managed to shoot…

Better luck next time. :(

Photos taken 14 November 2011.

 

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Paco Park was once Manila’s municipal cemetery during the Spanish colonial period. It is located along General Luna St. and at the east end of Padre Faura Street in Paco district, City of Manila.

It was where Dr. José P. Rizal was interred after his execution at Bagumbayan.

It’s also the final resting place of the three Filipino martyr priests, Jose Burgos, Mario Gomez and Jacinto Zamora, who were executed by the Spanish in 1872.

The park was converted into a national park in 1966. Paco Park’s grandeur was slowly restored after the war and since then has remained as a public park and promenade for many young couples who could spend quiet moments along the park’s benches and private alcoves.

It is also a popular venue nowadays for weddings, debuts, birthday parties and small-sized intimate musical concerts.

I have been to Paco Park on several occasions.

I never had the chance, though, to take good photographs of the place.

Specially with a model.

Until last week.

It was really a great opportunity we had when one of our favorite models told us she was available for a shoot at one of the old landmarks of Manila – a cemetery at that.

Thanks to Jinggay Lantajo de la Cruz (Model/Stylist/HMUA) for the instant photoshoot!

View the Novus Orsa Gallery >>>

 

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© 2013 gerryruiz photoblog mark II Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha