Archive of ‘manila’ category

corner tree cafe

For those who have adopted a vegetarian diet, or are looking to try something new, Corner Tree Cafe offers vegetarian fine dining with a taste of Morocco and the Mediterranean.

The interiors are comfortably dim, with tealights at every table. Perfect for quiet tete-a-tetes.

A young author writes her novel by candlelight.

The Spanakopita is creamy inside and crunchy outside.

corner street cafe camote fries

Camote fries – not your usual.

corner street cafe vegetarian meat loaf

 Vegetarian meat loaf entree.

It’s interesting enough to try out. Corner Tree Cafe is at Miladay Building, 150 Jupiter Street, Makati.

taste more:

pop goes the world: watching gaga

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  24 May 2012, Thursday

 Watching Gaga

When I saw my officemate Noy the day after he watched the Lady Gaga concert the first night, I asked: “So, have you sprouted demon horns and a tail yet?”

“Not yet,” he said cheerfully, “but the concert was great! I’m now a fan because of her showmanship and talent. I am unashamedly admitting that I like her.” This from a man who doesn’t listen to anything recorded after the ‘90s.

Lady Gaga concert poster for Manila leg, 2012. Image here.

Christian groups of various denominations denounced the schlock-shock songstress primarily based on the imagery in the music video of her song “Judas”, which they found offensive to their faith.

Intercessors for the Philippines deemed that Lady Gaga was promoting “Satanic rituals” in the video while the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ Commission on Youth said that Lady Gaga’s “brand of entertainment violates the tenets of Christianity” and that the youth “are being corrupted” by her.

Protesters gonna protest. Image here.

Artists who use their art to evoke reactions such as shock and rage, whether from personal conviction or for the sake of publicity, have been condemned by religious organizations throughout history, with the likes of pop singer Madonna, she of the ‘roidular arms, accused of “satanic provocation” for her hits “Like a Virgin” and “Like A Prayer”.

Here at home and more recently, painter Mideo Cruz’s “Politeismo” was also considered satanic. Now the furor has sputtered out, as was inevitable. What was gained or lost by the protesters and the churches? That particular flap blew over, and now the narrow-minded go on to the next scandal.

Religions operate tax-free and under an umbrella of near-untouchability and reverence, a result of cultural norms related to tradition and superstition. It’s pretty good business – see how the Roman Catholic Church, for instance, has endured as an economic institution for a couple of thousand years, give or take a few centuries of persecution.

Time brings about change. Technological advances in communication have made information exchange easier and faster; exposure to new ideas is happening at a speedier rate than ever before. Ideologies that rely upon control of its members will feel threatened, and the knee-jerk reaction is to ban or prevent that which they fear.

Various Islamic governments, for example, have banned forms of self-expression such as trendy haircuts for men and extreme fashion, forcing their citizens to conform to a strict set of guidelines in such matters.

As long as no laws are broken, why prevent other people from expressing their creativity and artists from plying their craft? If you are offended by their content, it’s simple – be like those three monkeys and don’t watch, don’t look, don’t listen. Why impose your own beliefs upon others who do not share them?

Is your faith so weak that it requires strengthening by preventing other people from watching an oddly-dressed woman make a living by singing redundant and insipid lyrics to shallow bubblegum pop music?

I don’t listen to Lady Gaga’s music because it’s not the kind I enjoy. But I defend her performance in this country and the right of others to spend their money on tickets to watch her, because one of the foundations of a true democracy is freedom of speech and expression.

Lady Gaga sports gaga-licious hair upon her arrival in Manila. Image here.

For this reason I also defend the protests mounted by these religious groups. Walang basagan ng trip, as long as they do not prevent the events they object to from taking place, in the same way their own religious affairs are not interfered with.

But it is ridiculous that the Pasay City government sent people to monitor the Lady Gaga concert on the first night. Perhaps political pressure was brought to bear; still, it was a puerile move and an insult to common sense and a waste of time and resources. Now, those I find offensive. Ours is a secular government, with separation of church and state embodied in the Constitution. Let it act like one.

But hey, those monitors got to watch an international star for free! Where can I get a gig like that?

Noy saw the entire concert and survived unscathed, as far as I can tell. He has gotten over the excitement already and is back to playing disco on his laptop, and is no more evil and satanic than usual.

I am still keeping an eye on his head and butt, though. Just in case. *** 

taste more:

pop goes the world: it’s more waiting in the philippines

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  17 May 2012, Thursday

It’s More Waiting in the Philippines

No, it is not more fun in the Philippines, dammit.

I spent the last three weeks abroad visiting family and friends in the United States, chronicling in this space my impressions of three different areas – the East Bay Area and Los Angeles in California, and Waukee and Des Moines in Iowa.

But with all the charms and attractions of other spaces, of all the places there’s nothing like home. I counted down the days till my flight back, eager to feel the warm tropical sun on my skin and my children’s arms around me.

Checking in at the San Francisco international airport, I found that our Philippine Airlines flight to Manila was delayed by two hours. The staff apologized. “The runway in Manila is closed for repairs until five-thirty in the morning.”

Checking in at SFO for the Philippine Airlines flight to Manila, 12 May 2012.

Everyone groaned in dismay, but given $15 vouchers for dinner at the airport restaurants, shrugged in resignation and waited.

The moment our plane landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport terminal 2, I raced the other passengers off the jetway and sped off to the immigration counters…

…and ran smack into a wall of dense, moist heat.

That’s supposed to happen outside the airport, not in. What happened to the airconditioning? That tired old excuse of “But it’s a very hot summer, hindi kaya ng aircon” is unacceptable. We have some of the best engineers in the world. Surely they can design a cooling system for the airport that can handle the load?

Bear in mind as well that passengers from chillier climes are arriving, and the sudden change in temperature can lead to sniffles or flu. Illness will put a damper on anyone’s vacation, and that’s not fun.

I peeled off my light hoodie and got in line for Immigration. A very long line. An I’m-I-having-fun-yet queue mirrored multiple times right and left in a cramped space, which added to the feeling of being hot and crowded.

A worse ordeal followed – the claiming of the luggage. First, there were no clear signs indicating which carousel passengers are supposed to go to. You have to check all the monitors to find the one that displays your flight.

In our case, the monitor showed four indicated flights. One carousel to handle the baggage from four airplanes? The area cannot accommodate the number of people waiting for their bags, crammed four deep around the carousel, which snakes in S-curves against the wall to maximize space.

A section of the baggage carousel area at NAIA terminal 2, 14 May 2012.

At the San Francisco and Los Angeles airports, I’ve never had to wait longer than 15 minutes for my checked-in luggage to appear on a roomy long carousel dedicated to only one flight. Here, long minutes crawled by. No luggage. Others who arrived on later flights got theirs first. “Unfair!” people muttered. After an hour of fruitless waiting, I was hot, annoyed, and close to tears.

A Customs official told me brusquely, “You are at the correct carousel. Just wait.” A friendlier baggage handler assured me my bags were not mislaid. “They radioed us that two more container vans of luggage have just been offloaded,” he explained. It took an hour to offload our bags? “And this carousel is not handling four flights. Only two.”

He moved aside the plastic strips that cover the hole from which the bags emerge. “See here,” he said, as I bent down and peeked. I saw a small gray room. “There isn’t enough space in there for all the luggage. That’s the reason for the wait.”

After 15 more minutes, my luggage popped out. I left NAIA sweaty and upset. My daughters who were waiting outside were worried, wondering what kept me.

I can’t help comparing the difference between our airports and the ones I’ve seen abroad. It’s no wonder that last year NAIA terminal 1 was judged the worst airport in the world, according to a website survey.

In reaction to that, last January President Aquino promised a P1 billion revamp. Some money should go to improving the runways, immigration queues, airconditioning, and luggage handling of the other terminals too.

The airport is the first impression that travelers get of our country. Fix it, to whom it may concern. Make it truly more fun in the Philippines. Make the reality match the slick expensive advertising-agency slogan.

Dammit.   *** 

Photos taken with an iPhone 4s.

taste more:

mary grace cafe

Looking for a place that serves great food in a warm, inviting, cozy atmosphere? Check out Mary Grace Cafe at Greenbelt Makati and Serendra Taguig.

My first visit to this restaurant was last month, and I’ve been going at least once a week ever since, on a weekend, sometimes to eat there twice a day – brunch and dinner.

First, let’s look at the interiors. They’re all country, no rock-n-roll. Think of a cottage decorated with Papemelroti accessories and salvaged architectural elements such as carved wood trim and balusters and stained-glass windows.

The facade of Mary Grace Cafe in Greenbelt, Makati City. Notice the fairy lights around the windows! Information such as store hours and contact numbers are painted on the glass door, rather than inscribed on a sign that would mar the view.

Inside, look up and be amazed at the ceiling’s display of clusters of lanterns  and glass jars. I love this! I will duplicate this in my home. One day. When I get around to it.

The upper level of the cafe in Greenbelt is a loft that might be the dining room and sala of your quirky artist aunt’s cottage in Laguna, or something. It murmurs “come in, sit down, eat!”

The interior of Mary Grace Cafe – Serendra. It’s small but still warm with brick and wood trim accents, and all sorts of country-style decor. There are racks of magazines to read while waiting.

Now for the food!

The tables are wooden, the tops covered with glass, underneath which are handwritten notes from happy patrons. Popular menu items include Mary Grace hot chocolate, Filipino-style with ground peanuts, served in a mismatched cup and saucer for a colorful touch; and the cassava chips and onion dip. You must try these. YOU MUST.

Here’s a tip: bring a large 16-oz tumbler with lid or a thermos and combine a cup of the hot chocolate with a cup of brewed coffee. It’s mocha, Pinoy-style.

Their iced teas are really good, and come in several fruity flavors. Our favorite is the apple and cinnamon honey – “Apple pie in a glass!” my youngest daughter calls it.

Start with a bowl of hearty soup. This is my eldest daughter’s favorite – the cream of mushroom soup. It’s savory without being too salty; it’s just right.

The menu runs to salads, pastas, and pastries. Craving a rice meal? They serve Filipino breakfast with rice until 5pm. This is the Vigan longganisa (sausage) plate that comes with two eggs anyway you like it. 

The seafood pasta blends flavors of the sea with earthy vegetables and bread.

The tomato pasta is muy delicioso.

The Kesong Puti salad with Calamansi Vinaigrette teases your palate with interesting flavors.

The mushroom and cheese pizza is on a crunchy thin crust sprinkled with cornmeal for added texture.

Cap off your meal with a slice – or two – of  cinnamony, nutmeggy, whipped cream-y apple pie.

Grilled ensaymada – grilling melts the cheese, toasts the top of the pastry, and warms it through.

Mary Grace started out as a home business in the mid-90s, with the owner selling melt-in-your-mouth ensaymada from her dad’s machinery store along Vito Cruz Street, Manila. I remember how fame of her pastries spread via word-of-mouth, and bought boxes of ensaymada one holiday in the late 90s to give as gifts. I gave a box to the late Speaker of the House Ramon V. Mitra Jr., and was surprised when he called back saying he loved them and asking where to buy.

It’s heartwarming to see that from those humble beginnings more than a decade ago, Mary Grace has grown, giving it more ways to bring its delicious baked goods and food to a wider clientele.

All photos taken with an iPhone 4S.

taste more:

at up on writers’ night 2010

The University of the Philippines-Diliman College of Arts and Letters hosts a gathering called Writers’ Night every December for professors, students, booksellers, sellers of other things, the general public, and writers. Last year (2010) it was held on December 10, the week before Lantern Parade, and it was well-attended.

I took my eldest daughter Alex and her friend JM along with me that day. They are students at De La Salle University. It was JM’s first trip to UP. He suffered profound culture shock, first of all with the size of the campus. Next, with my matter-of-fact statement that anyone could say anything to anyone at anytime, even in class, to a professor. He said, “You mean you can give your actual opinion to your teacher and she won’t get mad?” I told him, that is the gift of UP to its students – the license, the encouragement, to think free – something almost impossible at a school with a religious or other agenda. He was suitably impressed.

We had lunch, then off I went to a creative writing class with Dr Jing Hidalgo. While I was in class, the two went exploring.

We had dinner after – I took them to that old standby at UP Shopping Center, Rodic’s, where we ate off metal plates. Then to Writers’ Night, held at the rooftop of the Asian Center’s Hall of Wisdom, which we kept calling (by mistake) the “Hall of Justice”.

Typical Rodic’s meals of rice-and: spamsilog, bacon-si-log, long-si-log – with side of itlog na maalat  at kamatis.

The pictures I took that day are soft and fuzzy, kind of how I feel about UP itself – the present experiences of my PhD days mixed with the nostalgic memories of my undergrad years, like photographs superimposed upon each other, merging, blurring, almost becoming one.

The facade of AS (Arts and Sciences building), properly called Palma Hall. All general subjects are taken here, so everyone from UP Diliman passes AS in their early years.

The campus has always been green. I am glad that this is so.

The Sunken Garden, with its soccer goals.

That’s the College of Business Administration. It’s across the Sunken Garden. Fabric in the school colors binds a tree.

At the 2010 UP Writers Night. Tents and chairs on the rooftop, with food and books and singing.

The elderly gentleman with his back to the camera is National Artist for Literature Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera.

Me, in the center, with my hands on Alex’s shoulders. With us are my classmates, writers Triccie Obligacion, Vivien Labastilla, and Hammed Bolotaolo.

With a former classmate,  writer Carljoe Javier (“The Kobayashi Maru of Love”).

At the back are professor J. Neil Garcia and writers Doy Petralba and Hammed; front, a couple of friends, me, and writers Jenette Vizcocho, Triccie, and Vivien.

After the event, I took the kids to my college – the UP College of Mass Communication. The giant iPod on a cart was our college’s entry in the annual Christmas Lantern Parade. It was a wonderful moment for me – seeing my daughter and her friend, both college students themselves, in front of the steps I sat on when I was an undergrad myself. I didn’t think, back then, that I’d be seeing this in a couple of decades.

A closer look at the college’s float. The front of the “iPod” is woven from strips of magazine pages. I heartily concur with and support the sentiment displayed on it.

I will most likely be attending this year’s UP Writers Night – it’s the usual reunion date for past fellows and panelists of the UP National Writers Workshop, and it’s also the launching of Likhaan 5, the UP-CAL journal. My essay “The Turn for Home: Memories of Santa Ana Park” has been included in it, and I look forward to receiving my copy.

taste more:

the manny pacquiao doll

[Published as a "Pop Goes the World" column in Manila Standard-Today on 17 February 2011]

“A doll,” says Wikipedia, “is a model of a human being.” Going with that definition, this three-foot figure of world-famous boxer and Philippine congressman Manny Pacquiao is indeed a doll. Now how many Philippine celebrities have dolls made in their likeness – or international celebrities, for that matter?

Dolls have been around since the early days of human civilization, made of whatever material was at hand – bone, cloth, wood, stone, wax, ivory, porcelain, and an array of other materials. They are a “candidate for the earliest known toy, having been found in Egyptian tombs from 2000 BCE,” laid with great care beside the dead person’s body, signifying that the doll was a precious possession to them in life.

In the modern period, most of us are familiar with dolls as traditional toys for girls, such as the indomitable Barbie. Most dolls are female and can serve to socialize young girls in gender-based behaviors in terms of dress, hair, makeup, perhaps serving as “practice” tools. Male dolls made for female play are after-thoughts or accessories, like Barbie’s Ken.

Boys play with figures that are military-themed or that in general have links to traditionally masculine roles. (Can you say “GI Joe” or “Transformers”?) However, to distinguish between male and female toys, and to dissociate from the feminine connotation of the word “doll”, toys for boys are called “action figures”.

Nowadays, with doll-making technology advanced enough to copy the likeness of an actual person, dolls are being made that look like celebrities. What could this mean?

The root word of “doll” is the Greek eidolon, meaning “image, idol, apparation, phantom, ghost,” which could also be linked to the word “idol” – “an image or other material object representing a deity to which religious worship is addressed; or, any person or thing regarded with blind admiration, adoration, or devotion.”

Gods and goddesses are super versions of the human, with human characteristics blown up to exaggerated proportions – beauty (Venus), martial prowess (Mars), wisdom (Athena), and so on. As their physical representations, idols and religious images can be considered a kind of doll, being models of (super)human beings, with the aspirational and admired attributes greatly emphasized.

Celebrities are the modern-day idols, the focus of awe and worship of adoring fans. In fact the actual terminology and practice of fandom verges on the religious – favorite actors/performers are called “idols”; the word itself has crept into Filipino usage, the way we say “Idol ko si Derek Ramsay.” Their pictures are taped to bedroom walls while pocket-size photos, sold for ten or twenty pesos each,  are carried around in wallets, the way posters or calendars of “Mama Mary”, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, or the Holy Family used to be tacked to walls and stampitas with the gilded halos around the heads of saints were tucked into wallets and books.

Dolls of celebrities are a socially acceptable way of creating images of showbiz idols that one can bring home and gaze at adoringly, without fear of social sanction or other repercussion stemming from a bending or skirting-around of a norm.

What does it mean that a doll is made in the likeness of Manny Pacquiao?

The likeness, though a caricature, strove to be as faithful to the real thing as possible, even down to the tattoos.

The cult of Pacquiao has reached idolatrous proportions as exemplified by this tribute to his fame and prowess. Even while still alive, Pacquiao, a present-day gladiator, has already been deified, by this means accorded immortality of a sort. This plastic doll made in his image, down to the tattoos, may now be purchased by admirers who can adore him at their leisure and convenience, much like displaying a santo on the family mesa altar or attending Sunday Mass at their chosen time and church.

As a doll he can be worshipped in an intimate way not possible with a flat, two-dimensional photograph. One may imagine seeing Pacquiao in the round, from all angles, in this instance with the well-developed muscles and facial hair signifying strength, masculinity, and determination – the attributes of Hercules – and honored as such.

This particular doll is a caricature, a version of the real thing that exaggerates the idolized attributes. For idols, patterning after the real thing is not possible or even not desired, because the good characteristics are inflated while the bad are minimized or deliberately omitted. Just as the Venus of Willendorf and other mother goddess figurines from prehistory have no faces but disproportionately large breasts and vulvas signifying fertility, so the Pacquiao dolls need not be accurate and faithful to the original, as long the idea of Pacquiao-ness is conveyed.

A friend has one of these dolls, displayed in a prominent place in his home that he has outfitted like a shrine to his idol. The cult of Pacquiao is growing; remember that the word “cult” is embedded in the word “culture”, and Pacquiao and his greatness as being worthy of elevated levels of admiration have evolved into a meme replicated in Philippine culture.

In this cult, Pacquiao is the new god – he shall redeem Filipinos from international disgrace as a failed nation with his victories in prizefights, he shall deliver us from our idiocies and trespasses with his common sense, and he will save the country from itself through the sheer force of his good intentions.

Bonus shot: empty pizza boxes. As a collector’s item, the question arises – what for? Well, no one ever claimed idolatry is practical.

All definitions quoted from Wikipedia. Photos taken at Powerplant Mall, Rockwell Drive, Makati City, on 16 January 2011. Shot with a Nikon Coolpix L-21.

taste more:

alex, like, meets a celebrity ohmigawd

Ohhhmigawd ohmigawd OHMIGAWD.

The other day, when we came back from lunch, there was this GUY at our office, and people were having their pictures taken with him, right? So we walk past him, because, like, it’s none of our business, but one of my officemates snags my daughter and MAKES her join the photo op, and I’m right by the door going, whaatt?

Because, like, who’s this guy, right? And my friends told me he’s an ACTOR, he won the Century Tuna Superbod contest, and he acts on TV and stuff, and I’m like, really? what’s his name? and they go, Derek RAMsay, and I’m like, never heard of him, and they’re like, you’ve never heard of DErek RAMsay, I hate you, because he’ s just like the cutest guy ever? So I’m like, sorry, whatever, right?

But as you can see from the picture, he’s a really nice guy, he doesn’t mind having his picture taken with strangers he doesn’t know, and he’s very patient with all the photo requests? And he’s good-looking, and BUFF, so it’s no surprise if he wins all those beach body contests? And he’s cool because he wears those jeans with holes in them like he doesn’t care how he’s dressed but then when you’re that handsome you don’t even need clothes, right?

taste more:

l’occitane is tres merveilleux

L’Occitane (pron. “loxeetan”) is a skin care and cosmetics shop inspired by “the Mediterranean art de vivre.” Founded by visionary Olivier Baussan in Provence in 1976, the company has stayed true to its aim to create high-quality plant-based products that are effective and of “sensorial” appeal.

I first tried their products in 2001, during a stay in California. I developed winter itch, which never happens to me in the Philippines. A cousin who’s a nurse took me to L’Occitane in Los Angeles to get 100% Shea Butter and hand cream that she promised me would soothe my rashes. And they did.

A few years ago, L’Occitane finally came to Manila.

The store at Powerplant Mall.

I swear by the Shea Butter for all-over body moisturizing. In the photo below is my tin from 2001, the one that looks like a shoe polish can with a key. A little goes a long way here in Manila – the year-round warmth and humidity are kinder to skin than the harsh winters abroad. Beside the Shea Butter is Ultra Rich Hair Cream in the newer kind of tin. To use both creams – rub a little into the skin (or hair) when still damp and in the shower. Massage well, then rinse with warm water.

I can’t be without the Dry Skin Hand Cream! It’s non-greasy, fast-absorbing, and smells like a garden of flowers. The big tube lasts me a couple of years. It’s their most popular product.

Hand cream and travel-size products.

One of my favorite L’Occitane scents is verbena. It’s fresh and happy.

Last Christmas the store came out with these travel pouches, perfect for my collection of mini-products.

The Extra-Gentle Soap in Milk with shea butter is mild enough for daily use. It doesn’t dry out my skin. And it’s great value – 1/4 kilo of pure soap in a gigantic bar that I can barely hold with one hand. It’s great for babies and children and those with sensitive skin.

Life is short. Indulge in whatever makes you happy and beautiful!

taste more:

homes filipino style

From my bookshelves: Filipino Style (Archipelago Press, Singapore: 2007). With photographs by Luca Invernizzi Tettoni and Tara Sosrowardoyo; text by Rene Javellana, Fernando Nakpil Zialcita, and Elizabeth V. Reyes.

The book cover shows Philippine-style Art Nouveau decorations and furniture in the ancestral Bautista- de los Santos house in Malolos, Bulacan, “built in 1812, painted in tendrils and foliage in 1877, and re-conceived in Art Nouveau terms at the turn of the century.”  Art Nouveau, which was popular from the end of the 1800s until the 1930s, enjoyed a longer run here than in Europe. The style gave way to Art Deco in the 1930s.

First published in 1997, this book gives brief overviews of Filipino architectural and interior design style. Beautiful photographs make the articles come alive. Most notable are the spreads on bahay-na-bato of the 19th century, perhaps the architectural style most suited to the tropical climate. Such homes are characterized by certain elements: a stone or cement first floor, where horses were stabled and carriages kept; and a wooden second floor, the living area. Wide windows were covered by capiz-and-wood shutters; more windows below the sill, called ventanillas, ensured that practically the entire living area could be opened up to cooling breezes.

From the first floor, a polished and gleaming wooden staircase swept up to the open-plan second floor, designed that way to allow the free flow of air. Areas such as the drawing room (sala) and dining room were marked off by carpets and by arrangements of furniture. Wooden floors bounced light off their shiny surfaces, creating the illusion of  wide spaces. A mesa altar for religious images was prominently displayed. Bedrooms featured four-poster beds and elaborately-carved aparadors, almarios (pillow racks), and dressers. Walls often had filigreed transoms to allow the passage of air (and light and sound) through all the rooms of the house. Furniture was of carved wood, the styles imitated from Europe, but the seats, rather than being stuffed with horsehair and covered with dark fabric as in Victorian England, were covered with solihiya (woven cane), making them cooler, lighter, and airier.

From the chapter “Traditional Houses”, by Fernando Nakpil Zialcita:

Another aspect of Filipino style has yet to be recognized. This is what I call “a fondness for the translucent”. Filipino creations love to half-reveal and half-conceal forms and colors. Capiz windows pretend to block off the outside world but actually reveal aspects of it. Capiz catches the shadow of a branch swaying outside. The moods the shell panels create change as the sun passes; at one moment, they are quiet and still; at another they shimmer like the sea at noon. The oily smoothness of the wooden floors, often uncarpeted, reflect changes in the light and give the visitor a sense of walking on water.

Similarly the cloth favored for the upper garments of the national dress for men and women is made of translucent, rather than opaque, materials: sinamay is made from loosely-woven abaca, jusi is made from Chinese silk and pineapple, piña from pineapple gauze. The barong Tagalog delicately reveals the torso, while at the same time concealing it. Hre, as in the wood-and-stone house, the Filipino fondness for open tracery, called calado, adds elegance while daring the eye to explore the field.

The facade of Casa Manila in Intramuros. This is a bahay-na-bato turned into a museum and is a must-see.

taste more:

patriots on the street book launch

After a wait of many months, there’s finally a schedule set for the launch of the novel Patriots on the Street.

The book serves as a platform for the thoughts of property developer Rex Drilon II and was written by Manila Standard-Today opinion editor and columnist Adelle Chua.

Patriots on the Street explores the issues of nationalism and poverty and offers Drilon’s solutions to the economic and political challenges facing the country.  It is a gentle and wry commentary of social ills and a search for social justice and change that should, at the very least, incite critical thinking and propel a revolution in the way one perceives Filipino politics and culture.

The book launch is set for January 20 at Bestsellers bookstore, The Podium, Ortigas Center.

From the book, on the true state of Philippines politics:

The truth is, they – administration or opposition – are all the same. Political parties? They don’t mean a thing in terms of policy positions. Politicians identify themselves with parties so they can take advantage of resources during elections. But at the first instance of disagreement, somebody can easily bolt a party, join another, or establish one of his own.

Furthermore, the country’s political elite, both on the national and local levels, flaunts the wrong values. They feel entitled to deferential treatment. They assert their influence in big and little things alike. Most of them believe they have the monopoly on good intentions and treat political office as a family enterprise – and nobody from outside can challenge their starring roles.

As a result, the governed feel both disgusted and powerless. They become resigned to their fate so they do just what is necessary to survive from day to day. They don’t see any value in participating in the building of the community, much less the nation. Why bother?

The book will be available at Bestsellers and National Bookstore branches.

taste more:

1 2 3 15