Monday, September 28, 2009

Top 10 3D Philippine sights in Google Earth

The 3D Buildings layer on my Google Earth has been neglected for too long. I recently turned it on for the first time in years, and found that a band of dedicated internet warriors has been modeling 3D buildings for Google Earth-- even buildings in the Philippines-- while I wasn't paying attention.

Here are the ten best 3D sights I found in the Philippines.

10. Talisay Ruins

Rising out of the sugarcane fields around Bacolod City, this old building was burned by retreating Filipinos to prevent its use by Japanese invaders in World War II, leaving behind some gorgeous ruins. Also check out the other 3D models around Bacolod City, including the PNB Building, Old Bacolod City Hall, Queen of Peace Church, New Bacolod Government Center, Provincial Capitol, and Bacolod-Silay International Airport.

9. Tribeca Private Residences
This impressive cluster of 15 buildings is found along the South Luzon Expressway in Muntinlupa City. What's so surprising about it is that it doesn't even exist in satellite view-- turn off the 3D Buildings layer, and all you'll see is an empty lot. The satellite imagery is dated March 2007, so I don't actually know how many of these buildings have been completed, if any, but the 3D models are there anyway to give us a glimpse of the future.

8. Mandaue-Mactan bridges
Two bridges connect the island of Mactan to Mandaue City-- The old unnamed Mactan-Mandaue Bridge (built 1970), and the newer Marcelo Fernan Bridge (built 1999). Both of them have 3D models in Google Earth. The newer bridge is the one that's better looking in real life, but the old bridge is pictured here because it's better looking in Google Earth.

7. Davao City
Davao City has a whole bunch of nice 3D buildings too, most of them (all of them?) done by one guy, appropriately named "thatDAVAOguy". The buildings are spread out across the city though, so you need to go hunting for them. In the foreground here, are Marco Polo hotel and Ateneo de Davao University. Other buildings in the city are SM City Davao, Royal Mandaya Hotel, Gaisano Mall, Fransisco Bangoy International Airport, Victoria Plaza, and a lot more.

6. Rizal Park
You'll need to zoom in close to see the 3D monuments and statues in Manila's Rizal Park. Pictured here is the Rizal Monument. Other 3D features in the park are the massive Philippine flag, the Gomburza execution site, the Pantheon of Heroes, and the Sentinel of Freedom (the enormous statue of Lapu-Lapu at the east side of the park).

5. EDSA Shrine / EDSA-Ortigas Flyover
In front of Robinson's Galleria in Ortigas, you'll find not just the EDSA Shrine rendered in 3D, but the entire flyover structure at the intersection of EDSA and Ortigas Avenue. Zoom in close enough and you can actually read the passage of scripture on the wall under the statue of the Virgin Mary.

4. University of Santo Tomas
One guy seems to have channeled his school spirit into rendering almost all of the buildings of Manila's University of Santo Tomas in 3D. Among the finished models are the Arch of the Centuries, Main Building, UST Library, Health Service Buildings, Benavides Building, Gymnasium, College of Architecture, Albertus Magnus Building, and Roque Ruano Building.

3. Cebu Business Park
Cebu Business Park in Cebu City has, undoubtedly, the best skyline in the Philippines outside of Metro Manila. 3D skyscrapers in this area include the Keppel Center, Innove Tower, Marriott Hotel, Pioneer House, Park Tower One, Park Tower Two, and Ayala Life FGU. Also check out the other nice rendered buildings in the city, including Magellan's Cross, SM City Cebu, Malacanan sa Sugbo, and others.

2. Ayala Avenue
Makati City has, far and away, the country's best skyline. There aren't enough 3D buildings there in Google Earth to really show that dominance, but it's still very worth checking out. Skyscrapers include PBCom Tower (the country's tallest), GT International Tower, LKG Tower, Ayala Triangle Tower One, and Makati Shangri-La Hotel. There's also the Peninsula Manila, and Hotel Intercontinental.

1. University of the Philippines - Diliman
Up north in Quezon City is the Diliman campus of the University of the Philippines, with Quezon Hall, the Oblation, Amphitheater, Gonzalez Hall, Sunken Garden, University Grandstand, Carillion Tower, and a whole bunch of other buildings I don't know the names of, enough buildings to slow my computer to shit when I try zooming in close. Nice work, man. Nice work.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Words of horrible wisdom

This awful, inexplicable gem is found in Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport, inside the toilet stall of the men's restroom. Something to look at and ponder while taking a crap:

Don't complain about life, many die young.

Maybe it's just me, but the absolute last thing I want to be thinking of while waiting for my plane trip out of Manila is the possibility of dying young.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Jojo Binay Story

So like I was saying, Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay visited Valencia last Saturday to meet local political leaders-- and no doubt earn some exposure and support for his presidential campaign. Since then he seems to have been hit by reality and decided to slide down to running for Vice President. We'll see.

At that meeting he gave out a ton of copies of his 34-page campaign comic book: The Jojo Binay Story. Hopefully not paid for by the City of Makati, though it has the city seal on the cover.

Call it contrived, gimmicky... but there's a campiness here that perhaps only I am appreciative of. An ostentation so extreme as to have perversely sophisticated appeal.

Some scans:
Page 6-7

Page 12-13

Lalaban tayo!

After the meeting I went around the tables collecting comics that other people didn't bother to take with them. If I wasn't such a wuss I would have gone up to Binay himself and asked him to sign some copies, probably increasing it's value tenfold. Oh well.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Milo Marathon in Dumaguete

I like running. There's something poetic in the simplicity of it, trying to get from point A to point B in as little time as possible, with nothing to aid you but the strength of your legs and the endurance of your lungs. Kind of like how nerds can appreciate mathematics for the way it expresses pure truth.

This morning I joined the 5K race of the Milo Marathon in Dumaguete, finishing in around 30 minutes. My time would have been better if it weren't for the weird abdominal pain that showed up halfway through, forcing me to walk for a while-- not enough time to digest breakfast, methinks. I probably did better last time, in 2006.

Route: City Hall - Sta. Catalina St. - San Juan St. - Hibbard Ave. (through Silliman) - E.J. Blanco Dr. - Sidlakang Negros (and back)


Start of 5K. Last year, 2234 people finished the 5K in Dumaguete within the curfew time.

Me (left), looking very drained, with other dudes after the race, showing off our certificates of completion.

My time was 31:07, rank 408. In 2006 my time was 28:12, rank 377.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Mayor Binay visits Valencia

Makati City Major Jejomar Binay came by last Wednesday to meet with local political leaders in Negros Oriental, for a campaign stop very thinly veiled (I think) as an educational tour.

Binay was one of the earliest to unequivocally declare his candidacy for president, way back in November last year, but not once during the meeting did he say exactly what office he would be running for-- the closest he got was to mention that he was interested in a national position in the executive branch. A hint he would be willing to go for VP? Hmm.

The introductory PowerPoint presentation and video were more impressive than Binay himself. Undoubtedly he knows what he is talking about, but I'm not surprised his campaign hasn't blossomed. For a person with ambitions set on becoming president, he doesn't have the prerequisite vigor and stage presence. Maybe this could be attributed to recent events: Just the previous evening, Mar Roxas dropped out of the race to support Noynoy Aquino, pushing Binay even further from serious contention. In recent polls he trails Villar, Estrada, Escudero, Roxas, De Castro, and even Legarda.

He gave out gift-wrapped copies of his books, signed a few calling cards, and left behind a whole bunch of "The Jojo Binay Story" 34-page comic books-- that last one is cool enough that I'll show it off in a different post.

Before he left there were some brief photo ops, and on his way out I got the chance to shake his hand. There's no chance that he would earn my vote-- his divisive, combative rhetoric is the opposite of what the Philippines needs, and I have a hard time mustering respect for anyone who supports Erap as much as he. But at the very least he seems to be at least a competent administrator.