China Has Yet To Discover The Colors Of La Ciudadela

In my past travels abroad, one usual reference for me to know if I am in an actual tourist destination or near it are the hordes of Chinese tourists.  This group of tourists has always been my basis to ascertain if I am on the right spot.

And once I see a bunch of Chinese tourists (usually loud and boisterous), I am somewhat glad that I am actually at the correct tourist destination and that Google Maps did not fail me.

However, in Mexico City, there seem to be a lack of Chinese tour groups.  I don’t miss them but I was left wondering how come they are not around.  The Chinese touring population seem to have yet discover the sites and beauty of what Mexico City has to offer.    

To confirm and with hopes of bumping into this touring Chinese clusters, I set a date of going to Mercado De Artesanias La Ciudadela, a colorful 16,000 square meter market that sells traditional Mexican handicrafts and regional specialties like textiles, ceramics, silver works, embroideries, handwoven blouses, blankets, guitars, etc.

I know that Chinese loves to shop and splurge their wealth every time they go on tour out of their country.  La Ciudadela would definitely be the best tourist-location to find them.  But to my surprise, they however were not around.  I even thought that I was not at the correct La Ciudadela that I even asked a German-sounding tourist shopper if I am indeed in the right artisanal market.    

Well I guess, Chinese tours has yet to discover Mexico City which for sure they would eventually will.  I instead enjoyed my shopping at La Ciudadela, took a lot of photos and got myself some colorful trinkets of memories of this wonderful Mexican adventure.   

Wala ang mai-ingay!

Alone at Sungnyemun

It was our last day in Seoul.  Me and my colleagues decided that the whole morning will be spent burning our wallets out at all possible cheap buys at Namdaemun Market.  Right after breakfast we headed to the market and decided that we broke apart as a group so that we would be able to purchase what we want without wasting other’s precious time.  We decided that we would just meet up again at the hotel lobby at 11:30 AM for us to get ready for lunch together.

But an hour after searching and walking through the alleyways of this traditional Korean market, my head was suddenly spinning and everything seem to look the same.  That was the time I knew I was cloying from the sickening look of voluminous varieties of clothes, kitchenware, toys, fine arts, footware, ginseng, trinkets, Korean souvenir items, carpets and hats.

To ease this cloying feeling, I decided to walk away from Namdaemun Market.  And this was the time I reached and discovered a massive imposing structure just across the road.  I decided to go ahead and find my way to reach such a traditional Korean structure.

sungnyemun

sungnyemun

gate of exalted ceremonies

gate of exalted ceremonies

At a very small booth near the entrance manned by a very old man, I found a brochure and learned that the commanding edifice in front of me is called Sungnyemun.

According to Wikipedia, Sungnyemun is one of the eight gates in the Fortress Wall of Seoul during the Joseon dynasty.  It is also known as the Gate of Exalted Ceremonies (which I don’t know what means but it sounds very good).  Wikipedia also indicates that it was built in the 14th century and was once the oldest wooden structure in Seoul and was given the status of National Treasure No. 1 during the 60’s.  But in 2008 some loony 69-year old arsonist burned the wooden pagoda portion of the structure.  Restoration was done for the burnt portion amounting to whopping 14 million US dollars and was completed only in April 2013.

pikchur! pikchur!

pikchur! pikchur!

Since its National Treasure Number 1, I of course did not missed the opportunity to take some photos of this beautiful site.  After which, I headed back to Namdaemun market, buy me some ref magnets before heading back to the hotel.

Ininggit ko sila syempre sa pikchurs ko. Hahaha!

3Coins +Plus: An Inexpensive Cure To My Shopping Madness

When I was still undecided whether the recent long holiday weekend will be spent in Osaka, there has been a bunch of souls who keeps on telling me to go domestic.  A lot has been suggesting the City of Pines, Baguio.  I told them I’d rather go to Osaka because the trip (from Manila) is shorter by four hours.  And besides, Baguio has yet to have a 3Coins outlet.

3Coins Store is the more stylish version of 100-Yen shops.  3Coins basically signifies 3 pieces of one hundred yen coins.  Thus, all items found in this store is worth 300 Yen (around 150 Philippine pesos or 2.80 US dollars).  Since it is three times more expensive than the usually substandard items found in 100 Yen shops, the ones found in this store is of course of superior quality.

those cute socks for tables and chairs is such an ingenious idea!

those cute socks for tables and chairs is such an ingenious idea!

those rugs were beautiful...

those rugs were beautiful…

super nice...

super nice…

love this store!

love this store!

And since the items are reasonably priced, this is the ultimate store in Japan where deficiencies in my overall recurring retail therapy are fulfilled.  It’s like the final doze of medicine to cure my shopping madness when my pocket can no longer cope with it.  Thus, 3Coins is a testament that shopping in Japan need not be expensive.

3 Coins according to their website actually has variety of stores.  Correct me if I’m wrong here…  They have 3Coins Ooops.  The 3Coins Station. The 3Coins+plus.  The classic 3Coins.  And the somewhat high-end Colle.

The one me and Nengkoy shopped at in Osaka was at 3Coins +Plus outlet.  This is the outlet that offers not just items priced at 300 yen but also superb stuffs priced at 1,000 yen (500 Philippine pesos or roughly around 10 US dollars).

I so love this place because this is one of those rare stores that me and Nengkoy seem to have a shopping truce.  My mother would usually attack the penchants and the inclinations of my shopping selections due to its absurd and ridiculous prices.  But when we are at a 3Coins store, there seem to be a cessation of hostilities between us.  It is because she does agree with me on how nice the articles for sale are at a very reasonable price.

nengkoy at the bottom of the stairs... she got herself a couple of cool-looking earrings!

nengkoy at the bottom of the stairs… aside from some bathroom thingies, she got herself a couple of cool-looking earrings!

The store offers daily utilized good as well as lifestyle home interior decors.  I particularly love their shower curtains, bedroom slippers, bathroom rugs and storage boxes.  And most recently, I discovered that their colorful selections of socks are just so adorable!

Wanpibti lang… Murang mura…

Capricho of a Caprichoso at Comme Des Garcons

I admit.  I have considerable volumes of shirts in various colors, prints, styles and designs.  My mother even consider my living quarters as nothing but a humongous cubbyhole of articles of clothing.  She would often allege and accuse me of storing some inside my fridge because my closets and boxes of garments are all so choked-up and full to its brim.  That is why the last thing I need is another piece of tee shirt.

But because of my caprichoso-ness (capriciousness), I know that I simply have to satiate my capricho.  That is why when I was planning my little shopping in Osaka, my odd obsession was focused towards buying a simple yet over-priced piece of shirt.  The Comme Des Garcons Play t-shirt.

I was so determined to acquire one, I even googled where in Osaka a Comme De Garcons outlet is. Good thing my nephew Denden knew exactly where in Namba Parks the store is located.  Armed with unbendable willpower and fortitude, I, Nengkoy and my niece Erika trekked to the high-end portion of the mall.

caprichoso at comme des garcons osaka

caprichoso at comme des garcons osaka

As soon as we found the outlet, I selected from among the limited designs and supplies hanged on the racks.  And since I look broke and penniless, the shop attendant did not allow me to wear and test fit it.  I got infuriated I wanted to buy the shop attendant himself.

But since I was so focused on my target, I brushed him aside.  With irrational conduct, I procured a piece.  And with closed eyes, I paid the somewhat unreasonable worth as printed on the price tag.

my proof of purchase...

my proof of purchase…

what i had...

what i had…

Erika and I went back to the apartment with satisfied and happy faces.  Nengkoy however was perplexed, maddened and enraged!  Not with the shop attendant but with my capricho and being a caprishoso.

Awtpit pamalengke… Hahaha!

Felt Like a Pilgrimage to a Luxurious Shopping Mecca

Shopping, desserts and entertainment.  These are my earthly holy trinity.  These are in some unexplainable reason the silly domains that nurse my worldly psychic ills.  These are my lowly carnal religions.

This is why when I was given the opportunity by the heavens to see and walk through the streets of Beverly Hills, I was at an elevated sense of veneration.  Though my underprivileged wallet could not afford the saintly looking fashion merchandise along Rodeo Drive and Wilshire Boulevard, it felt like I was in the peak of my materialistic pilgrimage to the western shopping mecca.

rodeo drive baby!

rodeo drive baby!

we’re seated at a huge stoup where the unholy water of rodeo drive flows! hahaha!

the d&g "chapel"

the d&g “chapel”

some wicked car...

some wicked car…

joesel contemplating on some unholy communion

joesel inside prada contemplating on some unholy communion

chapels, chapels, chapels!

chapels, chapels, chapels! denton walking up the “aisle”

Those glitzy, ritzy and lavish stores looked like blessedly sanctified chapels.  While the names Versace, Canali, Prada, Bottega Veneta and Ermenegildo Zegna seem to sound like holy Italian saints.

No, I did not do the sign of the cross but when we left the area, something in me was screaming.  That one glorious day, I will be back and spend a good amount of riches in that dreamy fashionable shopping district.

Amen!

Harrison Plaza

The Philippines boasts of its humongous shopping malls.  Two of the biggest in the world can actually be found here (SM North Edsa and SM Mall of Asia).  But there’s one mall I grew up going to.  It’s Harrison Plaza.  Growing up, this has been my family’s mall of choice during the 70s and 80s because of its accessibility since it is simply just at the borders of Pasay and Manila cities.

I am writing about this mall because I happen to bumped into a photo of how glorious Harrison Plaza was in the 70’s…

harrison plaza during the '70s

harrison plaza during the ’70s

This one-stop retail center is the first shopping mall in the country.  It opened in 1976 and up until now is very much operational.  Though it obviously needs some serious refurbishing to bring back its glory, Harrison Plaza is actually even older than the world’s worst airport NAIA Terminal 1 by 6 years.

harrison plaza today

harrison plaza today

Obviously, time has changed.  It is no longer the mall of choice by the Filipinos.  But going to Harrison Plaza does not entail and pressure a person to primp and gussy up (like when you would go to Rockwell, Greenbelt or Resorts World).  You can simply go sporting your casual house clothes.

It is no longer the mall of the well-heeled and A-listers.  Yet being so near to one of the Ivy-League-like universities of the land (De La Salle University), Harrison Plaza for sure has been visited at least once by these privileged souls.  I suppose this is one place every Green Archer can’t inevitably get rid of during his fun yet busy college life – may it be a simple need for a cellphone fix, a school requirement purchase, a cheap lunch or a societal immersion to a lower to middle class bracket of the population.

Now that I am living 3 minutes away from Harrison Plaza, this mall has been my most convenient place in resolving my addiction to rash and unnecessary purchasing binges otherwise known as “shopping”.

Bakit walang estatwa o rebulto si Francis Burton Harrison sa mol na ‘to?

Got Hooked By Kiehl’s

My first purchase of Kiehl’s products was actually not for me.  It was a bunch of Kiehl’s that I gave as Christmas presents to three ladies whom I consider to be the hardest to buy for in my list last Christmas.

the facial fuel sampler, it's so effective i want to spread it on my bread and eat it

the facial fuel sampler, it’s so effective i want to spread it on my bread and eat it

Good thing about these purchases is that Kiehl’s store gives out generous samplers.    These are the testers packed in small vials and sachets I personally tried for myself.  And guess what?  I was hooked.

It’s not too long ago that I have realized that nobody’s going to take care of my skin but me.  Thus, any skin product that will come my way and given to me for free for sure will be applied and tested on my supple young looking skin.

As for Kiehl’s samples, I got a miniscule jar of Facial Fuel Anti Wrinkle Cream; a vial of Orange Flower & Lychee Aromatic Mist; a tiny bar of Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap; sachets of Ultra Light Daily UV Defense; and, Rare Earth Pore Moisturizing Lotion.

The facial fuel which has a light minty feel was perfect.  It felt like nourishment is being fed directly on my skin for it is absorbed easily.  I know this because finding a good moisturizer for an oily skin like mine and at the same time living in a hot, humid tropical country would be like finding the holy grail.   It’s so effective “gusto ko ipalaman sa tinapay”.

I love the super texture of the bar soap, it cleans well and doesn’t dry out my skin. The “perfumista” in me was hooked by the scent of the aromatic mist particularly the Orange Flower & Lychee.  It is an awesome concoction that I can truly rave about.  I have tried numerous scents available in the market but the smell only last for a couple of hours.   the aromatic mist can amazingly last the whole day and it sits well with my skin chemistry.

However, I have yet to try the moisturizing lotion and the UV defense formula samplers. Pwede bang ihalo na lang sa kape ang mga yan?

my bunch of kiehl's

my bunch of kiehl’s

And since these amazing samplers have run out, I can no longer pretend not to hear my skin screaming to me saying it misses Kiehl’s.  Thus, I purchased Kiehl’s products today which I will be using for myself in the next couple of months.   Though Kiehl’s here in the Philippines is quite pricey I am nevertheless convinced that they got some awesome merchandise.

Walang ibang mag-aalaga ng balat mo kundi ang sarili mo. Tapos!