Archive for the ‘Food, Art & Culture’ Category

The Great Philippine Book Blockade of 2009

There has been a lot of clamoring for justice recently when social networks spread this article by Robin Hemley, where he posted that local customs tax importation of books, when apparently there shouldn’t be as this is a violation of the Florence Agreement the country signed. As a regular person, I didn’t actually know that books shouldn’t be taxed, growing in a country where almost everything is.

Here’s a link to a video to explain the issue in less than five minutes.

Many books of most genres are greatly affected by this. And quoting my friend Alex who summed up it well,

Administrators should let this sink in – these books are making our students read again. Deprive them of that motivation and surely, we’ll find ourselves more illiterate as a society.

For the time being, we are making a lot of noise in twitter, using the #bookblockade hash tag, and spreading the word via other means. So far, there are already a couple of officials who heard our plea. But we still need more.

Please help spread the word.

For further reading please see: The Great Book Blockade of 2009: Timeline and Readings and We, the People: As Readers.

French Spring Manila until June

It’s time once again for French Spring in Manila and this feast for the senses brings you the best movies, concerts, exhibits, fairs and more from France. We will be following the event all through May and June so watch out for postings.

Carlos Celdran Recommends Groovy Maps Manila

Good news to all Manila travelers: there is now the perfect map to help you get around. And I do mean get around. As per the recommendation of city cicerone Carlos Celdran, I am buying a Groovy Map ‘N’ Guide of Manila, as should all other tourists and accidental travelers. What is it exactly? Let’s see what the official website has to say:

Designed as an ‘executive brief’, the Groovy Map N Guide has everything you need to get the most of a city in a short time. With clear maps and independent reviews, we’ll lead you to the best in the city. Guaranteed.

We list and locate places on the map in five categories: Groovy Dining, Groovy Bars & Pubs, Groovy Shopping, Groovy Culture, Groovy Clubbing. Leave the guidebook at home — and go out and enjoy a “city made simple”.

Chris Mitchell summarized in his Travelhappy blog: With a map, you don’t want a lot of information – you want the best information, efficiently organised to let you look at it and understand it rapidly – and that’s precisely what the Groovy Map does.

Mr. Celdran himself offers a quick review:

I assure you that it has NONE of the useless crap, advertising and flagrant product placements that the other city maps have. Filled to the brim with useful information about dining, sightseeing, gay and straight bar hopping, and shopping, the map gives you the insider’s view of what to expect as seen through the eyes of someone who you assume is as groovy as you might be. The choices are also rather progressive, the map features underground insider secrets like Fat Michaels, Filling Station, the Evangelista flea markets, and the fantastic Cubao X art scene among many others (like yours truly). Best of all, the map is printed on super thick lamination paper so that it wouldn’t rip or get soggy on the streets steamy ol’ Manila. Be sure to pick one up before you arrive in the city. Or if you are a resident Manileno, just buy a whole bunch to give to visiting friends who wish to independently explore Manila in a fast and funky way. No surprise, that the Groovy Guide was the 2006 Winner ‘Best Tourist/Free Map’ Award from the International Map Trade Association (IMTA) and a recipient of a 5 star rating from Amazon.com.

Groovy. Get one so you can get around.

French Apple Pie Love

French Apple Pie from Sugarhouse

There are a lot of great places to get dessert in Manila, but only a few serve really good apple pie. In my book, the best apple pie is served by the folks at Sugarhouse.

Their French Apple Pie is very delicious. Once they lay that plate in front of you, all diets go to the trash. The aroma of cinnamon and apples is just intoxicating. The crust is buttery and crumbles in your mouth (not on your fork!). The filling is divine. It’s always juicy, moist, chewy. The pie is then topped with shavings of cheese. The light saltiness of cheese balances the sweetness of the pie really well. Each pie is served with a huge dollop of whipped cream that just heightens an already thrilling eating experience.

Their French Apple Pie is LOVE.

Sugarhouse restaurants can be found in major malls like Greenhills Shopping Center, SM Megamall, Power Plant, and lots more. Another dish of theirs you should try is their Beef Salpicado. That deserves its own entry too!

P.I. Jazz Fest 2008

Raul Midon

Are you a fan of jazz? Are you a fan of music?

If you are, then prove it by joining the biggest musical festival in the country this year: The Philippine International Jazz and Arts Festival 2008, which started last 29th of February in Manila and runs until the 15th of March. Featured international artists include Lee Ritenour, Kurt Elling, Omar Sosa, Sara Gazarek, Chico and the Gypsies, and Incognito. From local shores we have Johnny Alegre, Bob Aves Group, Toti Fuentes, Gerard Salonga, Manuel Baldemor, and the Brass Munkeys, among others.

The event this year is made more special because the organizer, P.I. Jazz Foundation, is now involved with UNICEF. Efforts are being made to bring jazz to the youth through development programs such as school workshops in Far Eastern University and the University of Santo Tomas, summer music training courses, a talent search contest, and mall tours featuring our top local musicians.

The real reason why I am all hyped up about it, however, is the phenomenal Raul Midón. You’ve simply got to see him! The blind New York City-based singer-songwriter and guitarist will be down at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza to give a free workshop on March 12. And on March 13, he’ll be featured in the main concert with Montreal-based jazz pianist Lorraine Demarais.

For more information, visit the official website at http://www.pijazzfest.com.

March Music Madness!

Well it’s March and there’s too much going in the music scene in the Metro. Hundreds of foreign artists (well just several actually) are dropping in for concerts and most of these concerts are sold out already. Mandy Moore will be in Eastwood, Maroon 5 will be in Araneta, Incubus will be dropping in by March 9… so save up for that band or artist specially since Holy Week (aka the 4-day holiday) is near.

Pepperlunch Coming to Manila

i am very excited. pepperlunch coming to manila (at rockwell). please stand by… i’ll keep you guys posted.

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*computer rendered image of the facade (photo from www.chuvaness.com)

Lunch at John and Yoko

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Hubby and I had lunch at John and Yoko at Greenbelt 5. I’ve heard a lot of great things about this restaurant so we decided to give it a whirl.
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Home Sweet Legend

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Just as 2007 turned 2008, we’re now tearing off the first month in our calendars and looking at February: to the romantic, the month of love.

Pardon me if this sounds like an advertisement, which it isn’t, but do look into the treats and packages of The Legend Villas in Mandaluyong as you consider your options for going out with family, friends, or special someone. How ironic to be escaping from the city by going to the heart of it, you say. I say ironic and worth your while. I’ve been to that hotel only once, briefly last year, but I single it out now if only because their extraordinary service is quite unlike the kind most people have gotten used to in this age of rude attendants and careless discourtesy. It’s my way of being patriotic, I guess.
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The Outback at Swagman; Carmelino’s

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I don’t know how I ended up eating in two unassuming restaurants last week, but I’m very glad anyway that I did.

The Outback Café in DOT-accredited Swagman RPL Hotel Manila should be one of the best and most authentic Australian cuisine specialty restaurants in town. It’s not first-class at all. Located on A. Flores Street at Ermita, the place feels rather like a pub in a foreign country. Very cozy. Subtle lighting. Great location. When I went there, I saw a nice little poster of Steve Irwin (who must be a hero in his country), a huge crocodile replica beside the versatile bar, two big-screen TVs playing The Australian Open, and a two-member band playing the requests of a thick, expat-filled crowd. There’s also free Wi-Fi Internet access for those who have to send E-mails while knifing away at the fabulous steaks.
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