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

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

WHEE! WHEE! WHEE!


An interview with the lovely Annalyn S. Jusay re: blogging
August 12, 2005, Tech News, The Manila Bulletin

BLOG-O-RAMA
NO WRONG TURNS, JUST “WALK THIS WAY”

He is a seasoned traveler as well as the City of Manila’s most-publicized tour guide and so, we can just presume that all that meandering brought Carlos Celdran into the blog world.

He started blogging only in February of this year and his posts, found at www.celdrantours.blogspot.com
, are fewer when compared to more avid (and dedicated) bloggers. Still, that has not prevented the outspoken Mr. Celdran from digging up a virtual goldmine of Manila and its hidden, undiscovered treasures. His posts are a must-read for researchers or mere curiosity-seekers since it’s written from the eyes of someone who knows the city so well. Celdran is quite in-demand for his one-man “hysteric-theatric tours” which “utilize theatrics, comedy, costumes, and music to teach Philippine history,” specifically in Manila’s old districts like Intramuros, Quiapo and Binondo. But from time to time, he also throws in his expert advice on other “must-see” places in the archipelago, restaurants to dine in and other interesting stuff. Celdran can be quite unforgiving of people who seek to destroy Manila’s old glory but the rest of the tour-crazy population should find him a joy to read. For the full interview, walk this way please:

Q. I presume you're a busy person. How did someone like you get into blogging? Did anybody encourage you to blog? How did you find out about Blogger, for example?

A. I'm actually a tech idiot and am not quite savvy with computers as I should be.

Read the rest here.

Cartoon about blogging: Thank you blogherald.com

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

UH-OH! UH OH! UH OH!

Sigh. I fell off my brain diet yesterday and gave in to the temptation of reading the salacious Philippine media once again. Just yesterday, while walking past a newsstand, my eye happened to catch a headline: Piatco sold to the Manila Hotel - see related story in Forbes - and I just had to stop and read it all. And although I should be elated by news that things are inching towards finally resolving the scandal which has delayed the opening of our mothballed international airport, instead I am only bothered and bewildered. Because if the Manila Hotel itself is any measure of what to expect, then were in for a pretty horrific ride. This grand edifice, once listed one of the ten best hotels in the world in the 1980s, has now been reduced to being a dormitory for Taiwanese budget tourists and a mere function room for Manila's political class and their wannabes since its takeover by the group. It's gardens have been uprooted, its facade defaced, and it's antique furniture, personally chosen by National Artist for Architecture Leandro Locsin and internationally acclaimed interior designer Dale Keller, thrown away. The Manila Hotel now suffers from chronic ugliness and amateurishness; a shining testament to the delusion of it's owner, "Don" Emilio Yap (chairman of the strangely resilient, but fading, Philippine Trust Co. and Manila Bulletin Newspaper). And this does not bode well for any of the Manila Hotel Groups new acquisitions. Much less an airport, which relies on professionalism, good service, and beauty to project a safe and favorable impression upon travellers and first-time visitors to the country. And although Don's employees have only nice things to say about him (willingly or not), and no substantial information exists (yet) to sully his reputation, The Don can only be found guilty of vanity and having bad taste. And sadly, unlike tax evasion, these are not criminal offenses.
Photo of soldier guarding the unused Ninoy Aquino International Airport 3: Thank you Albert Garcia of Manila Times
Added note: One really wonders where the Manila Hotel will get the money to pay the rest of the balance to Fraport (only U$50 million out of the U$230million cost was given). Lord knows the Philtrust Group is going broke or at least the condition of all of it's assets give off that impression.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO!

PASAY REDUX
Well, well, well. Whaddaya know?
Pasay City mayor, Wenceslao a.k.a. "Peewee" Trinidad has finally jumped onto the "urban-renewal-on-the-cheap" bandwagon first initiated by Manila Mayor Lito Atienza four years ago. And that ain't necessarily a bad thing. A few weeks ago, I drove down Harrison Street and saw that a new pocket garden and fountain had been constructed behind the Cuneta Astrodome. And as I drove through the Pasay section of Roxas Boulevard just this weekend, I noticed that the rationalization of the eastern side was in full swing too. I saw construction workers laying brick, planting palms, and setting up lightposts from Libertad Street all the way to the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex. Moreover, my initial inspections show that the color of the pavement (grey and brick), the patterns (stripes), and the choice of street illumination (black waist high lamps) were actually NOT in exceedingly bad taste either. I hope this augers well for the neighborhood. It would be great to see night clubs and floor shows return to a pedestrianized Pasay City and have it reclaim it's reputation as the night club row of the city. But either way, watch out, Manila City Hall, you're being given a run for your money. Upgrade, rezone and re-green the rather tired looking BayWalk soon or perhaps risk losing the lucrative local tourist market to your competition down the street. Literally.

Photo taken on August 26, 2005 in front of the former headquarters of the Asian Development Bank (now Department of Foreign Affairs).

Saturday, August 27, 2005

HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH!

STOP OUR RUNAWAY POPULATION GROWTH RATE FOR ONLY Php1.00 A DAY...
Silently, and while the Catholic Church of the Philippines wasn't looking, the Trust Pill hit the nation's drugstore counters and sari-sari store shelves in major way. Also known as Ethinyl Estradiol + Levonorgestrel + Ferrous Fumarate, or "Birth Control Pills", Trust Pills come in a bright pink package complete with bi-lingual instructions and an illustrated cycle chart. It is similar in almost every way to more upscale counterparts like Marvelon but it's retail cost of Php30.00 + per cycle as opposed to Marvelon's Php190.00, finally brings sensible birth control methods within reach of the Philippine masses. And at such a cheap cost, it should come as no problem for individuals, government units, and non-government agencies to give samples away to women who seek means to plan their families. Of course, having the pills given away free of charge by the government would be the most ideal situation, but for ultra Catholic Philippine society, this is still a heartening start. It's a small ray of hope in the dark abyss that is the Philippine runaway population growth rate. And that's better than nothing at all.

Photo of Trust Pills bought on August 29, 2005 at a sari-sari store in Balaytigue, Batangas.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

LOOK! LOOK! LOOK!


In the mad rush of everyday urban living, sometimes one forgets to look up every now and then to notice the dramatic lines and visual rhythms of Ayala Avenue's stunning modernist mid-20th century architecture. I'm glad I took the time out yesterday.

CARLOS RECOMMENDS!

LAI-LAI PALACE

839-843 Ongpin Street, Binondo, Manila. Tel. No.: 733-3130
There are perhaps many other better Chinese restaurants on Ongpin street, but I wouldn't know because I only keep returning to Lai-Lai Palace. It's name, which the owner, Mr. Tan said means "welcome welcome" feels as authentic as a Chinese restaurant can get for Binondo. It's funky carved columns and sepia photo collection of pre-Communist mainland are a wonderful contrast to the typical minimalist - post - modern - new - shanghai inspired decor and exposed flourescent lights of other establishments lining the street. On some afternoons, local matrons even perform Chinese karaoke on Lai lai's second floor to complete the ambience. But whatever the case may be, I only go because their food tastes authentic too (their salted fish fried rice and butter chicken are fabulous) and that's the only thing that really keeps me coming back for more;.
Prices are midrange. Parking available in a secured lot next to Salazar Bakery at the corner of S.Padilla (formerly Gandara).

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

WORK! WORK! WORK!

THE HEAD HUNTERS DECLARE OPEN SEASON

Yo! All you out there! Are you unemployed? Do you hate your current boss? Are you looking for that next level to move up to in your career? Well then, look no further than John Clements Consultants, the Philippines first and largest recruitment company. You can choose from jobs that range from managerial to executive to even rank and file for career positions both here and abroad. It's the one stop shop for all you people out there who think they are too qualified for whatever deadbeat job they are stuck with right now. So log onto their website and send your resume ASAP and check out what opportunities lie for you ahead. And hurry, they tell me Dell and a whole lot of other companies are expanding in the Philippines and are looking for competent folks to join them.
John Clements Consultants, Inc.
Level 12B, LKG Tower 6801 Ayala Avenue, Makati City, Philippines
Telephone: (+63 2) 884-1227 to 32, 884-1219
Fax: (+63 2) 884-1218

E-Mail your letter of intent and CV to: cvdominguez@johnclements.com

Her name is Carol. Lovely lovely lady. She will be the one checking out all your qualifications. Tell her I sent ya.


Monday, August 22, 2005

CARLOS RECOMMENDS!

METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF MANILA
Artes at Angkan:
Power, Patronage & Production in the 19th Century

New stuff at the Met Museum! An exhibition on the cultural life of old Manila as seen through the achievements and possessions of the Paterno family is on display right now (the hair-embroidered sceneries of Adela Paterno are particularly spectacular). And aside from their permanent exhibits of traditional Philippine goldwork and pottery, the trip to the MET is always worth it if only for the sampaguita ice cream at the Ilustrado Coffee Shop. Parking available in front.

Monday to Saturday
. 10am to 6pm.
P50 adult/professional
P30 student with valid ID
P40 senior citizen

Sunday, August 21, 2005

CARLOS RECOMMENDS!

The Cultural Center of the Philippines
Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City
Its a full month of activities at the CCP. Among the performances being offered this season are: a post-modern adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, a recital of the latest trends in opera, a concert of traditional dances by
Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company and a new ballet inspired by the works of National Artist for Painting, Ang Kiukok. Italian art house films are also being shown at their film center, and visual arts exhibitions include: works by 2003 CCP Thirteen Artists Awardee, Dennis Gonzales, and performance, video, installations, sets and props by Jevijoe Vitug. There is definitely something for everyone at the CCP and one need not worry about language barriers either. The CCP Tanghalang Pilipino Theatre Co. installs a supertitling system every now and then for their shows (I dont think Romeo and Juliet uses it though since the plot is universally understood) while the other performances offered are more visual and musical in nature. And apres your culturally pretentious moment amidst Leandro Locsins glamorous modernist architecture, I highly recommend walking across the street to Grappas (the great Italian restaurant from Makati has just opened across from the CCP) for a view of the yachts in Manila Bay, carpaccio and a cocktail. Log on to their schedule here or catch my CCP Walking tour at 1:00pm on Friday, Sept.9 to learn more about the CCP and their programs.
A very 1970s toned shot of the CCP taken on August 19, 2005. Note the lack of electric wires and cleanliness of landscape.

VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!

USE YOUR COCONUT
Here's a bit of good news and a chance for the Philippines to lift it's profile in the international community once again. I was thrilled to discover yesterday that the Philippines' coconut geotextile a.k.a. "the coconet", an invention which combats soil erosion control has been chosen as one of the 12 finalists in Newsweek and BBC's (British Broadcasting Corporation) World's World Challenge. The World Challenge is basically a competition/search designed at identifying groups or individuals all over the world whose projects have had great impact at the grass roots level. A documentary about Philippine Coconut geotextile or coconet industry will be shown on the BBC World cable channel on September 24, 8:30 GMT (4:30PM Manila time) and will also be featured in the August 29 special issue of Newsweek. "The World Challenge" already offers valuable international exposure for the Philippine coconut industry but to win this prestigious competition would be a sure source of national pride, especially during these dark days of political bickering and oil price increases. To vote, please log onto their site here and click on the picture of the coconet.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

CARLOS RECOMMENDS!

SUNDAY NIGHT FEVER
PENGUIN CAFE GALLERY (Also known as 604 Cafe)
Remedios Street corner Bocobo on Remedios Circle, Malate.

For almost thirty years, spending Sunday nights at the Penguin was an uninterrupted tradition for Malate's writer/theatre/artist set. And it came as no surprise. In the wasteland that was a Manila Sunday afternoon in the 1980s, Penguin was an oasis of great music and art - especially in an era when the only other things open in the neighborhood were the Aristocrat Restaurant and Manila Doctors Hospital. The parking was plentiful, the drinks were cold and cheap, the menu was eclectic and happy hour started right about the same time that the matinees ended at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Penguin was the definite choice for those looking for an after theater cocktail to cap the weekend or for those looking for the hair of the dog which bit them the night before. The good times rolled all throughout the 80s to the early 90s until the sudden commercialization of the Nakpil-Orosa-Remedios areas sucked the bohemia out of the Malate district and replaced it with Korean fastfood glitz and showbiz karaoke bar glamour. So sadly, somewhere in the early 00s, the tradition faded away and the lights were turned off at Penguin every Sunday night. A tear was shed by many an alcoholic artistic type.

But cry no more and wipe those tears away, dear Dolly. It's time for a holiday at the Penguin once more. Management has been handed over to a younger crowd and the tradition is back. Penguin's doors are now open on Sunday again and the artsy set has returned in full force. So if ever you find yourself in the Malate area and needing a bohemian break at the end of a weekend, be sure to drop in. Beers are three for one at Happy hour (630pm to 8pm) and you just might catch some spontaneous spoken word organized by cultural impresarios Aslie Aslanian and Triccia David of Sanctum Unmasct.

Photo above is of Penguin Cafe, taken on August 14, 2005

Friday, August 19, 2005

MY BRAIN DIET

NO THANKS, I'M FULL...

As a reaction to the mudslinging and innuendo all around me and as part of my ambition to ignore the Gloriagate issue to death, I have removed the ABS-CBN News Channel from my television memory, deleted Inq7.net from my internet bookmarks and purposely hid away the front pages of newspapers every morning for the last three days.

I am now limiting my information intake to magazines, the internet, the society and local pages of the newspapaper, foreign channels, and cable Philippine television stations (the public ones were all full of crap to begin with anyway).

I'm actually going by this - perhaps mistaken - belief that one should really view information like nutrition. If one fills themselves with crap, one will ultimately get zits or cancer. This goes for food as well as for information; for one's body as well as for one's mind.

And although it hasn't been that long, I must say that I feel better. I feel less anxious. And if I never see the likes of Ces Drilon, Pia Hontiveros, Gene Orejana etc or read the words of Neal Cruz, Carmen Guerrero Nakpil, or Tony Abaya, etc ever again, my world would not get any poorer.


Thursday, August 18, 2005

AHEM! AHEM! AHEM!

AN OPEN LETTER TO ALL WHO CAME BEFORE ME:

As I drift through the columns of my newspaper, surf through the blogs on my computer, and flit through the channels of my TV, I am once again bombarded by the stupidity that is "Gloriagate". It seems that all I hear or read about nowadays are things like "Look what our nasty little President did today" or "See how much our country has gone to hell" or "Look at our poor children who have no future". Sadly, there really isn't much else at all. I don't know when it last was that anyone paid any attention to the good things that have happened around here (Tax collections are up! More Filipinos have housing!) or the last time that columnists wrote about anything else except how much we suck. But more than that, the one thing that irritates me beyond the point of distraction is that all these political noises and maneouverings are being done by OLD PEOPLE.

Yes you read me right. OLD PEOPLE. I hate to say it but when I reflect upon all that is going on around me, all I can think is: F*** YOU, ALL OF YOU OLD MEN. TO BE SPECIFIC - F*** YOU PEOPLE 45 YEARS OLD AND ABOVE. F*** YOU YOU NEWSPAPER EDITORS, YOU COLUMNISTS, YOU TV NEWS DIRECTORS, YOU CONGRESSMEN, YOU SENATORS, YOU BUSINESSMEN. F*** ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE NOTHING BETTER TO DO THAN BITCH AND GRIPE AND HOLD MY COUNTRY BACK ONCE AGAIN. F*** YOU. F*** YOU. F*** YOU. F*** YOU. It's really insulting that you guys have the audacity to complain and play petty politics when at the end of the day, it's your generation that brought us where we are today. Please realize that the crisis were in and all the noise we now hear has been created and managed by people who could possibly have been your classmates in school and not mine. It is truly only people 45 years old and above who give a crap about all this hypocrisy. People my age - 45 and below - are way too busy to dwell on politics right now. The pressing demands of our day to day living has taken priority over something as inert and abstract as "A proper mandate". (Because as Erap Estrada has proven, a proper mandate does not necessarily guarantee a good leader.) The truth is we'd all rather work than whine, we'd rather try to build a future instead of try to prove how much worse things can get; we are all too busy studying our lessons, texting, shopping, travelling abroad for work, selling ourselves on the streets, and answering telephones in this fresh hell that YOUR generation left behind for us to think about anything else.

And if talking is the best you can do to atone for the mistakes your generation made than I rather that you all just shut the f*** up. Your actions are all so malicious and your words are all so damaging that it really makes my generation wonder whether Martial law was probably a good thing if only to put all of you unruly bastards in line. And whether your mistakes be as far off as backing MacArthur in the 1940's (he didn't liberate Manila - he blasted it off the face of the earth) or as recently as backing Cory Aquino in the 80's (Oh cmon, dont gasp - as a president she stank and it was she who created a lot of the crappy systems we are dealing with now). Please realize that what is done is done and your time is now over. Harping about where everything went wrong is useless and it only wastes precious time and resources. Really. If you can't say anything good and constructive for society then just don't say anything at all. It seems that everything that comes out of your generation's mouth has become so mind-numbing and frustratingly negative that it really feels like a death wish or some eerie self fulfilling prophecy. Believe me. It's only you guys that are sincerely interested reading each others columns and watching each others shows. Everyone else is just tuning in because of morbid curiosity.

And also please realize that you are outnumbered. Our generation now comprises 60% of the entire country - if not more. So it's 60% of us who know all to well that everything were hearing now is not real. It's only politics. That's why the critical mass to kick Gloria out will never happen - OK? And now that this is all clear, OLD MEN, please feel free to join us in getting back to work and trying to move on out of this mess were in.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

LIFE - AND DEATH - IN A NORTHERN TOWN

August is the month of the dead they say. And lately I've been thinking of this story that my cousin Joel Tesoro wrote called "Sagada Gothic", a tale about life and death in a small northern town in the Philippines. It's a story he wrote about two years ago when we both spent a month in Sagada in self-imposed creative exile. We both vowed not to leave Sagada till we came up with some form of artistic opus. He wrote the story, I took the pictures. We fled after only three and a half weeks. This is a true story. I would love to turn it into a documentary one day.

SAGADA GOTHIC by Joel Tesoro

Sagada

“When I walk through a cemetery I always stay away from the fresh graves,” a friend once told me. In a big city graveyard, where the sheer number of the dead grants them a kind of anonymity, such talk seems just a superstition. But in a small, misty mountain town of 12,000 people, seven hours from the nearest major city, her words seemed more like a warning.

Small-town graveyards are uncomfortably intimate. On its crosses and tombstones, the same family names reappear. Small-town graveyards have traces of presences. Pots of day-old flowers make the graves seem cared for, frequently visited. When someone in the community goes into the ground, everyone knows about the death: the whys, the hows and the legacies of it. And if the death was particularly disturbing, small-town graveyards are also where those secrets are buried.

In Sagada’s hilltop cemetery, Donni “Cadiog” Cadiogan’s grave marker did not look like any of the others. His grave was fresh, not more than a few months old. The border between the turned soil and the rest had yet to be overgrown, so a long, rectangular border could still be seen glinting through the grassy loam. And there were a couple of things that seemed off about his simple wooden cross painted with a gay blue sky and flowers. The first was the cryptic, bitter epitaph painted on the back:

“It gives you real respect for the truth when you have to clean up lives that have been based on a lie. Think about it. Donni”

The second was the span between the dates on the front: June 26, 1980 — September 3, 2002. He had died at 22, an age so young his life was barely lived.

To die at that age is to die tragically.

Read the rest here...


Friday, August 12, 2005

SHAMELESS PLUG! SHAMELESS PLUG!

THE BORACAY WRITING SALON AT SEAWIND

Imagine yourself writing in a coral dawn, or under a tropical moon. Far away from the frenzy of city life, you find the greatest treasure of all: time. Time to explore and expand the part of you that makes stories, that tells truths, that finds meaning in everything that's yours.

Renowned American performance poet James Navé and screenwriter and journalist Allegra Huston, of the famous Hollywood dynasty, along with Carlos Celdran, are there to encourage you, advise you, and inspire you.

The Writing Salon, which is based in Taos, New Mexico and travels around the world, is coming in October to the Philippine island of Boracay. Join us for four impassioned days, a time to slow down and talk, listen, reflect, imagine, create. Experience the magic of stories rising organically from a community of writers. Discover voices in your writing you never knew were there.

early registration fee is PHP24,000 until 21 august 2005, Ninoy Aquino Day
Fee includes tuition, all lunches & welcome dinner
Contact us for more information:
info@thewritingsalon.net

www.the writingsalon.net
Call or sms +66 (1) 932 0547


Thursday, August 11, 2005

AHEM!

CONFESSIONS OF A MIDGET LOVER
Apparently, it's all the rage to be anti-government right now so I think I'll buck this seditious trend.

And here goes.

I like Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

There. I've admitted it. Wow. I feel like a weight has been lifted.

Actually, as of late, I have began to admire this tough as nails moody charmless bitch so much that I was even willing to go to the pro-GMA rally at Quirino Grandstand a few weeks ago. And I'm glad I did.

Granted, she isnt the best president in the world, but she is the only one I know that has a platform and agenda. No matter if it's a good or bad platform and agenda - at least she has one.

I'm also never worried her being drunk in cabinet meetings and official calls.

And although there was free water and sandwiches being passed around to others around me at the rally (I guess that was the payment for attending), I was delighted to see that the people who came were Filipinos of a higher quality than the kind seen at the anti-GMA protests. I saw teachers, professionals, some artistas and even a socialite or two. These were people I didn't mind considering as my countrymen. These were people who seemed to have their analytical processes in order. Not many of the easily bought glazed and toothless shabu (metamphetamine hydrochloride) runners so prevalent at the Ayala rallies organized by Mayor Binay.

And why am I pro-GMA? Simple. It's because I refuse to be a hypocrite. For me to feign moral indignation for her actions when everybody else in the election cheated as well is just plain inanity (Apparently, Jamby Madrigal, Loren Legarda, Johnny Ponce Enrile, and even Mar Roxas are on the Garci tapes too). So let whoever that has never ran a red light, littered, bribed a traffic cop, or lied in their life be the first to cast the first stone here - and this refers to all you in both goverment and civil society sectors OK? Actually, I even secretly hoped she would cheat - and I'm sure I'm not alone here - in order to avoid an FPJ presidency (a presidency that would have ended quickly due to his death anyway.)

So having said that, I'm going to give her a chance. Hell, I'm even willing to grant her a graceful exit through charter change. Because if we tear this government down, we'll only be allowing the forces of Erap Estrada et al back into power and we don't want that do we? DO WE?

So there. Thats the way I see it and I don't care who thinks otherwise.

Yours truly at Quirino Grandstand with a non-fat latte in hand.

BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO!


MANILA MAKEOVER
For all of you out there who associate Philippine city halls as being hotbeds of financial shenanigans, snake oil sales, megalomaniacal machinations, and dark dingy hallways, well... I'm pretty sure you are right on the money. But in the case Manila City Hall, you'll be glad to know that they went out of their way to get rid of that image - or rather, that part about the dark dingy hallways at least. When I last entered Manila City Hall, I was pleased to see that they buffed up the once depressing looking hall right under the clocktower. A brand new chandelier, a new coat of paint, and a row of portraits done by society portaiture artist Lulu Coching now grace the once gloomy area leading into the Mayor's office and it's anteroom where Carlos Botong Francisco's famous mural on the History of Manila is displayed. It really shows what a difference a new coat of paint, a few new bulbs, and a little care can do to a heritage structure. I'm sure looking forward to seeing the rest of the building getting a makeover too.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

YOO HOO EVERYONE

DEATH ALONG THE HIGHWAY
I don't know if anybody else has noticed but a biological catastrophe is happening right now among Dapdap trees
(sc. name: Erythrina orientalis) in Metro Manila. Just this weekend, as I drove up Julia Vargas and turned onto Meralco Avenue in Ortigas Center, I realized that every - and I mean every - Dapdap tree lining the street was DEAD. And not just "dead" dead but DEAD - a putrefyingly sick-looking horror movie kinda dead. All of them looked like they were eaten up from the inside by some alien virus which left them without leaves and their barks peeling off in stringy pelts. And not only were the Dapdap trees of Ortigas Center withering away, but as I kept driving, I also noticed that the trees in the CCP complex and all along Roxas Boulevard to Makati also suffered the same fate. Even the Dapdap trees in cloistered Forbes park are now dead too. Yo. What the freak is going on here? Has anybody else noticed this? I really feel like I'm the only one taking crazy pills here. And excuse me, Manila media? Are you too busy with that morbidly obese opportunist Michaelangelo Zuce and whatever hypocritical stupidity is going on in Garci-gate to realize we have an arboreal biohazard epidemic happening under our noses? Can we all kindly pull our heads out of our asses and and take a proper look at this situation? It is not normal to live in a city where trees die from strange bacterial plagues and it goes unnoticed. Scientists? Please shed some light on the matter.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

HMMMM

THIS OLD HOUSE
With true mixed emotions, I was giddily happy/somewhat sickened to stumble upon the place where old Manila houses go to die. After visiting the
Dimasalang Flower Market, I took a turn on Laong Laan St. and realized that on the corners of Maria Clara and Quintos are two shops/warehouses that peddle bits and pieces of old Manila - literally. At the entrance of their storage area, I saw a stunning white art deco wrought iron staircase on sale for Php12,000.00. Was it perhaps cannibalized from some newly demolished mansion in Malate? I also saw dozens of second hand mahogany bannisters (sold to a German man); a series of large wrought iron carriage lamps; and huge slabs of real Chinese granite going for Php10,000.00 per slab (I dread to think about the architectural marvel from which these were stripped.) And for an added surrealist touch, here were also quite a few wooden carousel horses strewn about.
But ironically, although I was surrounded by the evidence of Manila's terrible track record in historical structure preservation, I was strangely relieved to see that the city's heritage architecture can still find a second lease on life. I realized that even though its original form was lost due to the ignorance of some property developer, the essence of it's character can still find its way into the hands of someone who will truly appreciate it.
This only confirms my suspicion that the beauty of Manila's heritage architecture never dies; it only gets transferred. Just another way of ourselves reinterpreting the reinterpretation of ourselves.
Picture above: Just a few of the doors, fences, and bannisters on sale.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO!

PAINTED LADIES
I'd like to give my props out to the management of both BEL-AIR APARTMENTS (left) and MIRAMAR HOTEL (right) for the fabulous new paint jobs they gave their respective buildings. The Bel-Air - a stunning streamline moderne structure by National Artist for Architecture Pablo Antonio - has been given new life and a cool new color combination of light grey and cream. While the Miramar Hotel, managed by Cordon Bleu Alumni Michelle Pe, touched up it's tried and tested naples yellow and brick facade with another coat of fresh paint. Both of these art deco structures are easy to spot. They figure prominently at the southern corner of Luneta Park fronting the United States Embassy. These buildings are also historically significant because they both survived the bombs and shells of World War II. By the way, for those of you out there seeking a new place to live or to open a business, the ground floor of Miramar is available for rent and commercial/residential units are available on the upper floors of Bel-Air.

Note: For a budget weekend retreat, check into the 3-star Miramar
Hotel (ph:5234484) and try out their chic art deco themed rooms. Their local residents rates are extremely reasonable and their menu is also French inspired. All rooms are air conditioned with cable. The atrium is gorgeous. I highly recommend it with a walking tour for a total Manila weekend package. Wink wink.

WALK THIS WAY USA!

Well, slap me down and call me Susan.
I just found another blogger from halfway around the World that also Walks this Way! But it's now Charleston, South Carolina, USA (exactly halfway around the world from here) that is the object of Ms. Joan Perry's affection. A volunteer healthcare director by trade, Ms. Perry's feet and her trusty little pocket camera have logged miles around this historic southern city taking in all it has to offer. Log on here and see what she sees.
Scroll down to the Zoom! Zoom! Zoom! entry for cool pictures of vintage automobiles crossing Charleston's historic Grace Memorial bridge.