Wowed by Biblioteca Vasconcelos

If you don’t know me yet, and though I don’t look like one, let me tell you that I absolutely love books and reading.  That is why when I travel, there is always a book that I would bring along with me.

So when I heard that there is a unique mega library in Mexico City and even though it is not included in Tripadvisor’s the top 15 destinations to visit in Mexico City, I know that this would be a place that I have to check out.

It’s Biblioteca Vasconcelos!  I didn’t know really what to expect.  But when I walked in, I literally let go of a massive gasp.  It was so loud,  a bunch of quiet people inside the building knew that there is an elated first timer who has just entered.   

This place is unlike any other places that I have been to.  The architecture is incredibly unique and it is not just like any other library but unlike any other place I have ever seen!  And the more entire I went, the more incredible it becomes.

After the first initial wow impression, the next thing I noticed is just the sheer scale and size of the building.  The uniqueness is that you would see people around: beside you, beneath you and above you.  Some of the floors are actually thick translucent glass.

Biblioteca Vasconcelos opened in 2007 and has over half a million books.  It got its name after Jose Vasconcelos who is a Mexican philosopher, a former presidential candidate and was also the president of the national library of Mexico.   

I noticed that the walls are transparent and that the floors seem mismatched.  It also have very intricate staircases and balconies, it reminds me of the movie Inception in a scene where things were folding on to each other.  I really felt like I was in a sci-fi novel.  It gave me the feeling of being set in the future which not many equally awesome buildings could do.

Biblioteca Vasconcelos is called a mega library because it is actually 5 libraries merged into one.  And each one library is dedicated and pay homage to Mexico’s great thinkers.

One thing that really takes center stage inside this library is the massive white whale skeleton done by an artist named Gabriel Orozco.  The whale’s skeleton, fitted onto a metal armature and inscribed with granite rings and circles, hangs suspended in midair.  It seem visible from almost all sections and every point within the library.

The library is so massive, there are tons of areas where people can sit and work.  Entrance of course is for free and there is free wifi.  And what is best is that Tripadvisor seem to have yet discover this place as one cool tourist destination. 

If you are a book lover like me or an architecture fanatic or just want to see a really unique place within Mexico City, then Biblioteca Vasconcelos is definitely worth a visit.  

Waw as is WAW!

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A Visit at Mexico’s Biggest Museum

If you are a tourist in Mexico City, a visit to a museum seem inevitable.  Reason behind this is because this city has the most number of museums in the world.

For an initial Mexico City museum salvo, let me then feature not just any type of a museum.  Let me introduce to you the Museo Nacional de Antropologia or the National Museum of Antropology.  Reason why it is so special is because it is the most visited and the biggest museum in Mexico.  It’s a staggering 8 hectares all in all!

After walking through the humongous and vast entrance area of the museum, the first this that any visitor of this museum would notice would be this…

its called “el paraguas” the umbrella

The museum since it’s so big is divided into 22 different section halls.  I started with section 1 of course, the Introduction to Anthropology and planned to finish all sections in one visit.  But after an hour and a half of marveling at various features (I reached half of section 4), I started to feel some sensory overload.  I started to feel so overwhelmed that I can’t seem to take in so much anthropological stimulus and information anymore.

Since I have seen so much, I started to slow down.  And instead of trying to see everything, I tried to just really focus on few specific things.  I then decided to head straight to the section where there are most number of people.  That is at the Mexica section or the hall number 6.

I was not surprised anymore that this seem to be the section where there are lots of people.  It is because this is the hall that houses the most emblematic exhibit of the museum, the Piedra Del Sol or the Sun Stone.  This is so special, that I think I will write separately on how I felt seeing this Aztec sculpture. 

piedra del sol (the stone sun)

 

Other exhibits that caught my attention were… 

the super massive… aztec goddess coatlicue (the mother of the gods who gave birth to the moon, stars and the god of the sun and war) taray!
brasero chicomecoatl (the goddess of corn)
stone of motecuhzoma

I highly recommend this place to those who are interested on human societies that thrived, lived and existed in Mexico or simply being a tourist in Mexico City.  The National Museum of Anthropology is located within the Chapultepec Park in Mexico City.  And lucky me, it was free entrance for everyone on the day I visited!  With the grandiosity of this museum, I was all but willing to pay the seventy Mexican pesos entrance fee!

the usual and common design on mexico souvenir shirts

 

Grabe! Oberwelming!

Fun Queer Kids & the Leader of Chechen Republic

The Pride Month is over yet rainbow flags will never be folded and kept inside treasure trunks of the LGBT community.  The waving of these colorful flags will continue to signify the unremitting fight for rights and equality.

This is of course except for the Chechen Republic which is the worst place to live for the members of the LGBT community.  In that part of the globe, rainbow flags are kept in the innermost trunks and queer thoughts will forever be suppressed in the deepest annals of their soul.

mr. razman kadyrov

Last weekend, I happen to bumped into an old YouTube video.  After watching this fun and funny video, I wonder what the leader of Chechen Republic would feel after viewing it.  Will he be beaming with smile and even laugh while watching such an innocent and harmless kids who happen to be gay? Or will he get so furious he will order his military troupes to fly nuclear missiles to the Philippines so as to eradicate these naïve and blameless kiddos?  And if these kids were living in Chechnya, would he order that these happy minors be abducted and held captive in a gay concentration camps?

Aside from wondering what the Chechen Republic leader would feel, I am curious how the “free” kids of Chechnya enjoy being kids. Are they as unregimented and as diverse like the kids here in my country?  Are they able to strut spontaneous moves the way kids here strut their stuff?

With all these incomprehensible questions, all I could think of is being glad that these kids are happy living in a free country like the Philippines! These cute kids may not be rich and powerful but they sashay away with happiness…

Ang kwela! San ka pa?!

Happy Birthday Ate Gaying

It’s my elder sister’s birthday today. She was my travel buddy when I got to visit the beautiful country of Israel.  And because of my sister, my travel to the Holiest Land on Earth went so swell.

And since I could not think of a good birthday gift for her and has no time to buy one, I instead hurriedly had my lunch yesterday in my office and create this…

Happy Birthday Ate Gaying!

Pengeng pera!

Speech at Alexis+Thatcher Wedding

The Wedding Reception Party of my niece Thatcher and new nephew Alexis is one of the coolest parties I’ve attended this year.  And in this gathering held at the Marriott Hotel Manila, I was given the task by the couple to render a speech (me being the representative of the family of the bride).

Before you read my speech here’s the cool pre-nup video of the couple…

Here’s what I said during the grand celebration of love…

Hi! I am Neil and I am one of the loving uncles of Thatcher, tonight’s lovely Bride.

Like what everyone knows, it is unfortunate that Thatcher’s dad (my brother) passed away when she was still a little girl.  I’m pretty sure that my Kuya Iko, Thatch’s dad, would be so happy now that she has grown up to be a fine woman and has finally tied a knot with a gentleman.  Kuya Iko must be smiling and watching up there in Heaven.

Thatcher grew up with her brother Denden who acted as her father figure.  It was always her Kuya Denden and at times Ate Erika whom she can count on.  Kuya Denden and Ate Erika are Thatcher’s significant human beings that made Thatcher the way she is today.  While I, along with my elder brothers Wreigh & Bogis and Ate Raquel’s elder brothers: Larry, Dennis & Nelson were her warriors if need be. 

One of the most touching deed that Thatcher has done to me is a note she composed a couple of years back.  The note was part of a gift she gave me that Christmas.  I was touched when I read that note for it indicates how appreciated my being an uncle to her.  That note was one of the best gifts I received that Christmas and up to this day that note is kept in my treasure file.

The first time I met Alexis was in Japan.  Prior to meeting him, I have heard a lot about him from the stories of my Nanay Nengkoy, nieces Erika, KrisMae and Mica and nephews Denden, Luis and Miggy.  One big conclusion was derived from their stories, Alexis is a rich kid who does not seem to know anything about household chores.  Because of this pre-conceived idea, simple tests and challenges were concocted for Alexis during our family’s vacation in Osaka.  These challenges were simple household chores that Alexis needs to undertake, i.e. from fixing the bed, to taking the garbage out, to even washing the soiled dishes. 

At the end of that vacation, my family all agreed that Alexis passed these simple challenges.  Though not with flying colors at least Alexis did his very best to get along with a crazy family like ours.  He even passed the test of eating his vegetables as insisted and enforced by his Ninang Gaying.  In my own personal analysis, the most impressive trait of Alexis is his being respectful.  During our first meeting, he automatically addressed me as Tito Neil.

To you Thatcher & Alexis, now that you are married, let me correlate my unsolicited advice with that of your recent pre-nup video.  Your prenup video was shot in Enchanted Kingdom, a theme park with various rides and attractions.  Please be advised that life indeed is like a roller coaster ride.  At times it may be like a happy ferris wheel or a nerve wrecking space shuttle ride.  There would be moments that life’s challenges may seem to be like a trip inside a horror house.  But you should always remember that no matter how hard and difficult trials may be, never stop falling in love with each other.  I’m pretty sure that life will simply be a breeze when you’re together like that of a gentle ride on a Merry Go Round. I hope that you stay together forever and live an enchanted-kingdom-like life ahead!  Congratulations and cheers to Thatcher & Alexis!

Alexis+Thatcher

Best Wishes…

Sexy & Romantic Portuguese

There will come a point in our lives that we would fall in love with a song in which the lyrics are written in a foreign language not familiar to us.  I have been feeling this for the past weeks.  I have fallen in love not with one but with three songs.  And what is so consistent with these songs is that these are all sang in Portuguese language.

There must be something special in the Portuguese language when sung.  I don’t understand a single word of Portuguese but the emotion and sentiment of this language evokes something special.  It’s romantic, it’s amorous, it’s passionate!

The expressive phonology, the sensual structure of words, the voluptuous syntaxes and the almost nostalgic vowels accentuates the feelings of passion and romance.  Apaixono, cafune and saudade are examples of quixotic-ly structured kind of Portuguese words!  People say that the unrestrictive airflow of spoken Portuguese words makes it ideal for singing songs of love and longing.  Maybe these are the reasons why I easily fell in love with the following songs…

  • My nephew Luis was dancing to this tune the first time he heard it.  Efemera by Tulipa

  • I first heard this song in a superb Brazilian movie. Vagalumes Cegos by Cicero

  • The 2017 Eurovision winner from Portugal. Amar Pelos Dois by Salvador Sobral

These are the only foreign language songs in my Spotify playlist.  Some say its French, others say its Spanish, but for me Portuguese is the sexiest and most romantic language on the planet. Obrigado!

Bakit kasi walang letrang X sa wikang Pinoy? Ayan tuloy di tayo kaseksihan.

Interpreting Cupid’s Span at the Embarcadero

I am a big fan of art that are commonly found in museums.  The forms of art I often marvel about outdoors would be magnificent architectures and massive infrastructures.  But while having a walk along the Embarcadero near the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, one massive piece of sculpture struck me.  It’s the humongous bow and arrow monument in the middle of Rincon Park.

Upon google search, I learned that the title of this masterpiece is Cupid’s Span built in 2002.  The artists who created this gigantic piece made reference to Eros, the Greek God also known to the Roman’s as Cupid who shoots arrows into its would-be-victims.

Unexpectedly discovering this cool piece of art was great!  Perceiving and understanding the statement that Cupid’s Span makes – like any other piece of art – can be very subjective.  It is open to the personal interpretation of the individual.  You either like it or you don’t.  I happen to love it!  It blends well and stands out pretty impressive with the surrounding location.  You can actually view Cupid’s Span from different angles, backgrounds and perspectives at different times.  And this unique attribute of this masterpiece gives you different opinion and feeling every time.

It is one unique landmark in SF which I guess celebrates love and how an SF visitor’s heart can actually get stuck and held immovable by the beauty of the sights and culture of San Francisco.  For me, it is an unflinching representation of the famous line, “I left my heart in San Francisco”.

And while taking photos of this massive masterpiece, I was gleefully unashamed singing Rachel Alejandro’s song, Mister Kupido! (click the LINK to that song) Hahaha!

Ba’t hindi panain, ang kanyang damdamin ng ako ay mapansin…