The Blog and Tour Schedule of Carlos Celdran. A man who is trying to change the way you look at Manila - one step at a time. Telephone: (02)4844945 Text/Cell:(0920)9092021 or Email: celdrantours@hotmail.com

Monday, May 30, 2005

ART! ART! ART!

"CONTEMPORARY ART EXCHANGE"
11:00AM to 7:00PM
June 19, 2005, Sunday
LUMIERE
Ground Floor, LV Locsin Building, Ayala Avenue corner Makati Avenue. (fronting the Shangri-La Hotel) P. 8122976
Back by popular demand, Lumiere Bistro and Gallery is once again holding a whole day art bazaar featuring affordable works by contemporary Filipino and foreign artists (all works cost below Php10,000.00). Come buy a photo, analyze a sculpture, exchange a work of art or just a point of view as you munch on traditional French fare. It's Makati Bohemia Burgis at it's finest. Check it out for yourself and see if it deserves to become a monthly tradition. And for all you interested artists who wish to sell your works to the Ayala Avenue crowd, slots are still available at Php550.00 - which includes a space on the table, signage, and a beer while you wait for sales to ring in.
Call (927) 552 6896 and ask for the curator, Rina. Tell her I sent you.

EAT! EAT! EAT!

UNO
195 Tomas Morato corner Scout Fuentebella Street, (Near Ratsky's) Quezon City. P. 374-0774
The Restaurant Nobody wants You to Know About
I first heard of this place years ago from Televisionista Daphne Osena Paez, who called it the "little secret she never wanted anyone to know" for fear that it might get packed with the culinary hoi poloi. Well, the secret is out. Tucked away in a corner of Tomas Morato in Quezon City, Uno is undeniably the classiest alternative to all the frantic family fare readily available in the neighborhood. It's chef-slash-owner Mari Relucio is one of Manila's most underrated culinary figures and she has a well balanced menu that changes every few months and special which changes daily. The decor is unfussy, the lighting incandescent, and the specials are recited to you by a smartly dressed English speaking staff. Order the lamb; it's heaven on a bone and a fantastic take home treat for the house dog. The soups and pasta dishes are all safe bets, but their cheesecake is exceptional. Their prices are also beyond reasonable. The Creme Brulee is a steal at Php30.00. Parking available along Scout Fuentebella.

Friday, May 13, 2005

WHEE! WHEE! WHEE!

This was printed around a month ago...
By Gino dela Paz
Inquirer News Service
Published on Page F1 of the April 16, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

CONTRARY to what you think, the Walled City of Intramuros is not that old. I repeat, not that old. Then again, age is relative and what may be totally Cretaceous in my books could very well be a steady shag for Ashton Kutcher. Pause. Okay, at least that--or something really close to it--was what I first learned from my crash course in Philippine history a few days ago.
Part tour guide, part Vegas side show, Carlos Celdran took me and a dozen other culture vultures (some in-training) back in time through a walking safari around Intramuros. Jampacked with inside stories as well as streetwise insight, the two-hour tour-called "If These Walls Could Talk"--was history, politics and comedy at its Jon Stewart best. All it lacked was Rob Corddry. And a few Emmys. But moving on.
In the right hands, the past--and the swirling vortex of names, dates and facts that go with it--could be as riveting as "Arrested Development." (You know, something met with saucer-eyed enthusiasm instead of cynical moaning.) And with his Britney-type concert microphone and Pinoy flag, Carlos is the right dude for the job. (Warning: I have the memory, not to mention the emotional depth, of a can of tuna so I conveniently left out minor details, such as exact dates and the like, for you to Google.) After all, this is my Cliff's Notes version of his Cliff's Notes version of Intramuros. Enjoy.
Not Fort Bonifacio: Fort Santiago
Our traveling laboratory first took us to Fort Santiago, a 16th century military defense structure. The ground on which Manila was built is relatively new so the Fort's walls, made of piedra china or Chinese stone, were not local. They were actually imported from--could it be?--China.
"Basically most of Luzon [has a foundation of] limestone and coral. The only part of the Philippines that is part of Pangaea and has granite is Palawan," Carlos' mic boomed. Apparently, building a fortress out of porous materials like limestone and coral is like building a house out of cookies. (Yummy, but a bonehead idea.) Besides, bamboo was the only indigenous construction material during Rajah Humabon's time so the Spanish contractors had to shop at the Home Depot all the way in China. Psych.
Walking through the massive gate, we then parked under a tree to listen to stories about Jose Rizal's statue. No baller, Rizal was apparently a tiny, tiny man so the image we saw in the garden was not an accurate replica, but rather, a pimped out version of the national hero. Carlos revealed that he was definitely [only] 4 feet 11 inches, "much like President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo." Growth hormones and calcium supplements weren't invented yet so I guess peeps during his day looked a bit like Bilbo Baggins. Oh well.
A stretch limo kalesa, or horse-drawn carriage, brought us to our next stop, the San Agustin Church. There would've been seven (or so) more churches we could've posed in front of--I mean, visited. But because Manila was totally bitch-slapped during WWII, this place of worship is all that's left. The San Agustin Church was, however, enough to underscore how the Philippines was built largely by Catholicism and not by Spain.
Continued...

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

WHEE! WHEE! NOT REALLY.

Plaza Calderon
Plaza Calderon - April 28, 2005
originally uploaded by carlosceldran.
STRIKING WHILE THE IRONY IS HOT!
It was only three days after writing that METROBANK MADE kvetch (see below April 25, 2005), when a karmic dog pulled on my cosmic pantleg. On the afternoon of April 28, I attended to the inauguration party of newly spiffed up Plaza Calderon dela Barca (now Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz) in front of Binondo Church in Chinatown. Although nonplussed by the labored musical styings of Miss Chinatown Pop Star and the verbose ramblings of government officials, I was pleased as punch to find fresh grass planted at the foot of every newly trimmed tree; to find all visual obstructions (like obsolete traffic signs and broken benches) completely removed, and to find both antique fountains finally working once again. I was also pleased as a pig in a poke to find out that METROBANK footed the entire bill for the plazas' refurbishment. Very nice. Very generous. But it doesn't change the fact that all your buildings are still very ugly. Nevertheless, it's a welcome gesture/downpayment for the myriad of aesthetic and architectural sins your institution has committed. Yes. It all begins with one step. Now try cleaning up the nasty canals in your neighborhood; your buildings still spew raw sewage.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

WHEE! WHEE! WHEE!

cathyfreeman
Cathy and I, May 5, 2005 originally uploaded by carlosceldran.
JUST ANOTHER DAY FOR YOU AND ME IN PARADISE
I just finished touring the Sydney Olypmics Gold Medalist Cathy Freeman today. Lovely lovely lady. I took her around the Fort Santiago, Casa Manila, and the San Agustin Church grounds. Although she "knows she'll have a great time here in the Philippines", her agenda is actually much more serious. She is here to do charity work for the Springboard Foundation. Log onto their website now if you wish to help Filipino streetchildren find a better life. They can be contacted at (632) 821-5449. Or email them at info@springboard-foundation to ask how you can help.