Art Nouveau and Victor Horta

When I was young, my only idea of Belgium was Christelle Roelandts. The year was 1994. And my interest in Belgium began. Christelle Roelandts and 1994? Miss Universe 1994 was held in Manila, Philippines. Christelle Roelandts was Miss Belgium and she was one of my favorites. Unfortunately, she did not make it – not even…

Four UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Four Days: Day 1 in Beijing

On 21 December 2018, my colleagues, my friends and my partner traveled to Beijing, China on a tour package. Our flight back to Manila was on the 24th of December, with high hopes of making it for the noche buena or the midnight Christmas meal on our respective homes. The original expected time of arrival…

Le Grand-Place, Brussels: Place Making is Community Making

When my book Performing Catholicism (UP Press, 2016) was chosen by the National Book Development Board to be part of the official book launch event of the Philippine Pavilion at the Frankfurt International Book Fair in 2016, I made sure to do a side trip to Brussels. Besides, the transportation system in this European region (i.e….

Baroque Churches in the Philippines: 500 Years of Christianity (Part 1 of 3)

On 21 March 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan landed in the Visayas. Some say the landing was an accident. For others, the arrival of Magellan in Cebu was a necessary event in the history of the archipelago. Whatever perspective one believes, one thing is clear: Magellan’s arrival commenced the 333 years of divide et impera in…

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, an Indian Architectural Wonder

Early July 2017, a colleague from the University of the Philippines Diliman passed on a daunting task of delivering a lecture on digital humanities in Mumbai, India. The task was terrifying but the thought of Mumbai was seductive. Mumbai is one of five Indian cities in my bucket list (the other cities: Delhi, Agra, Goa,…

Rio and its Playful Landscape (Part 2 of 2)

I am really glad, I was not interpellated by popular biases against Rio. Otherwise, I would not have experienced the carioca landscapes between the mountains and the seas. A panoramic view of the city from the Marro do Urca (Photo: SAP Tiatco) My visit to Rio de Janeiro was spent for a few hours only. Given…