Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Manila, Philippines, Sept/Oct 2006
A one night exhibition and art talk at the Living Room
with curator Marlyne Sahakian
Opening cocktails and talk:
SEPTEMBER 15, 2006
The Living Room
Unit 24, North Syquia, 1991 MH del Pilar, Malate
Featuring works by Bruce Allan (UK), Achot Achot (Armenia), Thomas Bonny (Switzerland), Nathalie Brevet et Hughes Rochette (France), Claudia Camposs (France), Valentin Carron (Switzerland), Veronique Collignon (France), Valerie Dantas Mota (Brazil), Hugo Fortes (Brazil), La Fratrie (France), Archi Galentz (Armenia/Germany), Carl June (Switzerland), Adrien Missika (Switzerland), Ines Raphaelian (Brazil), Behrang Samadzadegan (Iran) and Vazo (Armenia).
She also looking for Filipino artists who would like their art to travel back to Geneva with her. Contact her at: email@example.com for any inquiries.
More information about this project and her past curatorships are on this site:
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Monday, August 14, 2006
Mistress of fetish/BDSM/Disciplinary Arts.
Guest lecturer at The Living Room for September
Unit 24, North Syquia, 1991 MH del Pilar.
September 1, 2006
9:00pm to 11:00pm
Please bring open minds and an attitude of curiosity and willingness to learn something new. Malicious behaviour disallowed. One wrong move and the mistress will seventy six (evict) you from the apartment. No questions asked. All sign ups must be above the age of 21 (IDs checked at the door), and a nominal donation of Php450.00 will be collected as a gift for the mistress and to pay for drinks. However, the refreshments will only be provided if you're good. Only 30 slots available. Dress in fetish wear if you wish. I won't. Leather doesn't look good on me.
Email your reservations to: firstname.lastname@example.org or text: 0926 2597506.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
A few months back, I lamented the downmarketing happening all over the district of Malate. Gone is the neighborhood's gentility as the age of the karaoke jolog now descends upon everything like a noisy fog. It appears that the entire neighborhood unanimously decided to aspire for a lower standard - save for the exceptions of Penguin Cafe, Oarhouse, and Cafe Adriatico.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
The Jetsons and Studio 54 have a joint garage sale. Moderist furniture from many decades stuffed into one basement store (above). Although some stuff you find here might be recognizable from the Evangelista Street flea markets, what sets this place apart is that everything is curated. Almost everything here is something I would have chosen myself actually. It's not as cheap as one would hope but haggling is permitted. Besides, everything is in pretty good condition and you are paying for real period pieces too. Most of the furniture were originally manufactured in the Philippines in the mid-2oth century. I especially love the original cane and hardwood office chairs nicked from the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Check out their website here.
A very cute little cafe (above) located on the second floor of a building right between The I Love You Store and Karma. The ambience is eclectic, the music is jazzy, and the espresso is as strong a three dollar snort of crack. They also serve Italian cheese and cold cuts. As of this posting, wine and alcohol are not served but they said that they are working on their license.
7838 Makati Avenue
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Oh. By the way, I advise catching one of my tours soon as you can if you haven't tried one yet. Due to an increase in the price of practically everything, I will be raising the price of my tours in October.
So come and get it while it's cheaper. Please also note the new office phone number on the header.
Monday, August 07, 2006
Saturday, August 05, 2006
The time has come to do absolutely nothing.
And to see absolutely no one.
THINGS TO DO ON CORREGIDOR:
Walk around the island. Bump into no one.
Roam around the hotel and check out their newly varnished floors (above). Bump into no one.
Check out where Douglas MacArthur escaped from the Japanese (above). Amazing how historical sites look so much more, well, un-historical when you get up close to it.
Take the van to the highest point of the island, Topside. Walk back from Topside. Wander around the bombed out Corregidor Theater (above). Bump into no one.
Corregidor is a nature preserve and a protected historic shrine. There are no local communities on the island. Which explains why the island is so quiet. And why there is no crime.
Walk around the ruins of the barracks.
Walk around the batteries.
Walk around the Pacific War Memorials. And still, bump into no one.
Check out the Filipino War Memorial. Bump into no one.
Unsolicited Opinion: Among all the monuments on the island, I have to say that this is definitely the ugliest. Tsk tsk. Shameful. C'mon Senor Francisco Manosa. You did a good job with the hotel. What's your excuse for this flat grey...whatever. It's hideous. It's lame. It's hot, and extremely corny. Tear it down please and replace it with something more thought out.
Ahem. But I digress.
Check out the Spanish Lighthouse and it's solar panels (Very Cool).
Oh yeah, Corregidor is a Spanish word pala. It means magistrate or something like that.
Walk around the Japanese Peace Garden. Meditate a bit.
Marvel at the jungle as it consumes the ruins.
Bump into no one.
Walk down a lonely seaside road.
Look at craggy cliffs in the distance.
Prance through the woods.
Corregidor is a birders wet dream. From what I heard, the aviary is closed (above. Note the lack of birds) and most of them have been released into the wild. Even Birdwatch has released raptors on the island. Good job, guys.
Oh and did I say, BUMP INTO NO ONE.
In the late afternoon, I recommend a tram tour through the haunted hospital grounds before catching the sunset.
At this point, Crack open the purchased Yellow Tail and packed cold cuts and cheese.
After dinner, the highlight of the weekend, The Malinta Tunnel night tour with Edward, their star guide extraordinaire (Sorry, no picture. None of the ones I took of him came out). He was funny in a light and inoffensive way, gave everyone little costumes (Yours truly in regulation helmet with flashlight, top), knew his stories inside out, and kept his energy on a consistent level throughout. No wonder he was chosen Tour Guide of the Year/Employee of the Year or something like that. On his tour, you'll walk through bombed out tunnels, relive some key moments of World War II, and even get to see the bones of Japanese soldiers (middle shot) scattered among the rubble.
On Day 2, you can watch the Sunrise and do everything over again, or just laze by the pool with the Sunday paper and a San Miguel Light like I did.
Oh. And for all you serious cyclists - and you know who you are - biking is now possible on the island. Their former bicycle concession is gone and now you can bring your own. Just make sure to bring a helmet, pads, and to sign their waiver. You also must also check if there is space on the ferry for your bike (collapsible bikes preferred). Call the number at the bottom of the page for more information.
Although inextricable from it's World War II past, I discovered that it is actually possible to experience Corregidor as a legitimate tourist destination worthy of an overnight stay (like Tagaytay, Batangas et al) and not merely as a five hour controlled experience. An overnight stay in Corregidor is a must-do for any tourist staying in Manila for more than five days, for any expat who doesn't want to go to far away from the city on the weekend, and FOR EVERY FILIPINO - simply because they should. Corregidor is also very kid friendly.
RAINY SEASON PROMO
(valid through August): Weekend (Sat -Sun)
Twin double sharing Php 2,000.00/pax
Published rate (for the whole year): Php 2,500.00/pax
Inclusions: round trip ferry transfers, guided tour, shrine-terminal-entrance fees, buffet lunch on the first day, accomodation at the Inn
Contact: Kristine Castro 5268888 loc. 9502 for more information.
Friday, August 04, 2006
Arrival on the island was at about 9:15. Still a full day ahead. I was thrilled pink to realize that while all other passengers were herded off to begin their tour of the island, my "fellow consultants" (In the cheesy picture below: The Living Room technical director Denis Lagdameo, fellow tour guide Greg Dorris, and my wife, Tesa) were whisked off in a separate van to be leisurely checked into The Corregidor Inn (above). I even had time for a half-hour nap before venturing out. Yes. Not feeling like a lemming on the island. Plus one hundred points for the weekend. Definitely.
And I have to say, although the inn was designed by Arch. Francisco Manosa, the man who gave us such overwrought works as the Puerto Azul Beach Resort, the Coconut Palace, and the uber-hideous Our Lady of EDSA Shrine, I have to commend him for using a design (below) appropriate to the context of the island's history. The wide balconies, Machuca tile flooring, large windows and mix of Spanish and American colonial motifs reminded me of the old Army Navy Club in Manila. Quite unoffensive. Almost lovely. Even the check in counter had fresh Hibiscus (gumamela) plucked from the hotel gardens (Sorry. No picture. Just take my word for it.)
Even the rooms of the inn were a trip back in time (below). The "capiz" windows (which were really fiberglass), rattan beds, and lack of a television set helped me imagine that I was staying at pre-war US Army Officer's quarters in Clark Air Base. As I said ealier, "US Military Chic". Even the chunky box airconditioner seemed quaint in it's slight obsolescence (Frankly, I was ecstatic that they even had air-conditioning at all). Unlike many other fellow Filipinos, I didn't find the hotel eerie or spooky. But then again, this was my perception while the sun was high.
At night, things are a completely different matter (above: hallway taken at 10:00PM). Can you say, "The Shining"? Just look down the hall and imagine two bloody girls (literally) chirping the words, "Come play with us...". All we need is a very nervous Shelley Duvall and the scene is complete. But don't get me wrong. One man's spooky scene is another man's serenity. I believe the reason why most fellow Filipinos consider the Corregidor Inn eerie is simply because the hotel is far too quiet for Filipino tastes. Personally, I consider the lack of noise (white or otherwise) to be a GREAT thing. For anyone out there who values the art of silence, I'm telling you, Corregidor is the place to be. Turn off the aircon, open the window and the only sound you will hear will be the hush of nightwinds and the cluck of random crickets (and perhaps the hum of your neighbor's airconditioner). For the record, I eventually turned the aircon back on and I experienced NO - I repeat - NO paranormal activity during my entire stay at the hotel.
At the bottom of the hill next to the hotel, there is a cute little chapel with cool retro/modernist hardwood confession booths. Hello, a wedding on Corregidor. Now that's an idea. Very edgy (photos above). Beside the chapel, there is hostel for students/budget travellers and a recreation center with billiards and a bar are located right across each other (below).
The hotel has no spa but massage room service is available (No review for this). At noon, we joined the rest of the tourists at the restaurant for a buffet lunch and serenade. The musicians were stupendous. The buffet was well, satisfactory but not really my style.
Then, again, I'm really not the man to judge this lunch as I am a firm skeptic when it comes to the concept of "buffets" to begin with. Luckily, they had an ala carte menu. I ordered a clubhouse sandwich (I saw some American Vet eating one at the table next to mine) and I was very pleased. It was just like the sandwiches they used to serve at the Army Navy Club in Manila. Nostalgic. "US Military Chic" once again. I also learned from Kristine at Sun (5268888 loc. 9502) that for those who want to bring their own food (vegans, kosher, halal, or whatever), The Corregidor Inn can cook/heat/store your food for you at Php100.00 per kilo. Corkage for wines imbibed on hotel premises is Php500.00 per bottle. But then again, I found it unecessary to bring any as we found Yellow Tail for sale at their recreation center for Php250.00 per bottle. Fabulous. I recommend that you bring your own cold cuts and cheese to the island if you wish to add a touch more civility to the experience.
Last photo: The best seat in the house. Get there early to grab it.
Next. What to do on Corregidor.