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

Thursday, March 29, 2007

CARLOS RECOMMENDS!

I THINK I'M TURNING JAPANESE I REALLY THINK SO...

I don't know why I love this restaurant but I do. Perhaps it's because of it's location. Situated right next to Malate Church in the charming Ma. Daniel Building, it's the closest decent place to eat next to the The Living Room besides Chowking and Aristocrat. Owned and operated by Nagoya native Yoshio Kaneko and his Filipina wife, Catherine Chancoco, Ebisu finds me eating in there at least twice a week.

Is the wild carmine orange color scheme and the garden atrium view (above) that attracts me? Or is it the free fruit salad/jelly dessert and the cold towels that I receive before and AFTER the meal that keeps bringing me back? Then again, it could be the tropical rainforest themed bathroom that I like or maybe it could be the food. Truth be told, I'm not sure if the cuisine is authentic but it certainly is different from other Japanese places that I have tried in the past and that's what I enjoy most about the place. Ebisu is the only Japanese restaurant that I've been which serves tempura with the shrimp head still on, that has dinner service pushcart OTSUMAME (or Japanese dimsum as I like to call it), and that serves chunky shaven wasabi (the kind that burns your nose worse than microwaved Colombian cocaine and not the weak electric green pasty stuff we usually get). I also noticed FUGU (raw Blowfish) on the menu. I yet have to try it. So come on downtown, and overlook the cheezy vinyl signage that says "JAPINO FOOD. MURA (CHEAP). MASARAP (DELICIOUS)" and tell me if I have good reason for eating there so often.

EBISU
Ma. Daniel Building
470 San Andres St.
corner MH del Pilar St.
Malate, Manila
Phone: 5218714

WORK! WORK! WORK!

My friend Katya Guerrero's mom, Helena Carratala, is starting an art movement and building an island utopia/laboratory for the arts in Palawan and I have agreed to help her find apprentices for her program. So for all of you designers, architects, and artists out there, there is an open call for proposals starting this month. Don't miss this opportunity to learn skills from one of the Philippine's foremost fashion/design icons and to move your career forward.

Learn more about the amazing artist/designer/restaurateur/entrepreneur Helena Carratala of Azabache here and here and here.

TO: ARTISTES/DESIGNERS FROM ALL DISCIPLINES


THIS IS NOT A CHAIR.

Is a chair just a chair? Is that all it can be?

OPEN YOUR MIND

We are looking for eight creative people who are ready to embark on one of the most exciting experiences of their lives. An apprenticeship that will take your art and design ideas to the next level.

EXERCISE NUMBER ONE:

Submit a proposal in your own style that proves that this chair can be a bag, a shoe, and a belt. Send it to us and you may be chosen to participate in an exclusive six month apprenticeship in THE EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN LABORATORY under the direction of Helena Carratala of Azabache

Be part of a revolution that will challenge the limitations of design, form, and functionality. It won't be easy but we think you know that already.

carratala13@hotmail.com - 09178151313
Or visit us this Saturday, 1 - 5 pm, March 31, 2007 to know more about the project.
Text or email for the address.

Please bring your portfolio.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

CARLOS RECOMMENDS!


Philippine Blog Awards
Awarding Night
March 31, 2007
6PM - 8PM
Podium 4, RCBC Theater
RCBC Building, Ayala cor. Buendia Ave., Makati City
Attire: Semi-formal to formal

Hope to see you all there!

Log on here to get a ticket.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

WHEE! WHEE! WHEE!

OMG! I have been nominated for the 2007 Philippine Blog Awards Travel Category.

And not that I'm saying "Log onto their site and vote for me" for the Blogger's Choice Award.

All I'm saying is "Log onto their site and vote for me" for the Blogger's Choice Award.

That's all.

1. How does it feel to be nominated for the PBA?
Fresh. It's the first time I have been nominated for anything since the time I won the Mr. Whitey Teeth White Smile Contest sponsored by Crest in the sixth grade. And the Yvonne Force Award in College. Hmmm. Wait. That doesn't make the feeling too fresh in the end, does it?

How about this. It feels just great. Thank you. It's an honor.

2. Do you know who nominated you?
Nope. Wish I did.

3. Why do you think your blog was nominated?
No idea. It could be because every post has pictures. And people like pictures. I know I do. Words can be very...wordy.

4. Who do you think will win in your category?
I would love to say me but that just would be crass wouldn't it?

5. Why do you think you should win?
Perhaps because it's a blog with a real travel service attached to it. It goes beyond the requirements because it offers a service in real time and space.

But to paraphrase many an American Idol Candidate: "Really, it's not up to me, it's up to all the voters out there."

6. What would you do if you win?
Thank the academy and all those who voted just like Meryl Streep does. Then have a Glenlivet and check my email.

7. What do you think of the Philippine blog awards?
Never thought of it much before. But I'm sure thinking about it now. Frankly, The Philippine Blog Awards are just wonderful to tell you the truth. Any competition that strives to raise the bar of anything is always an admirable pursuit.

8. Is there a blog that's not nominated but deserves to be nominated in the
PBA?
Chuvaness by Cecile Zamora http://chuvaness.livejournal.com/

9. Would you join the next Philippine blog awards?
If you would have me.

10. Any messages to your fellow nominees?
Good luck to all of us and may the best blogger win.

Read about all the other nominees on The Four Eyed Journal. Thank you Jhay.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

ANOTHER SATISFIED CUSTOMER...KINDA

CARLOS VS. THE COMMUNISTS...

Are you as sick of those unwanted, melodramatic political comments/spam that keep appearing on your blogs? I know I am. And just last week, I finally had enough and snapped. After posting the Imelda post and receiving three irritating anti-Gloria comments/spam such as this one:

The current Arroyo regime has neglected the "human-rights' issues" that the international community has been complaining about. So many unresolved political killings had happened during the reign of Mrs. Arroyo. But where is justice for those who had been killed? And the fact remains that legal political opposition and objective journalism are still being harassed by the Arroyo regime. Please support AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL's call that the Arroyo regime should ensure that human-rights will never be violated again by the military and the next administration that will replace the unpopular Arroyo regime. HUMAN RIGHTS FOR THE WHOLE WORLD!

I finally clicked onto the link and found myself on the ANAKPAWIS website and gave them a piece of my mind:

My letter (in gist):
Dear Whoever,
Look here. Keep your SPAM the f*** off my blog. Posting your unwanted, irrelevant opinions is not gaining you any sympathy from me nor from many readers I'm sure.

Their reply (from some lady named K***** N*):
Ginoong Celdran,
Mula sa grupo namin_ ANG ALYANSA NG MGA ANAK_PAWIS_ ay pinababatid ko sa iyo na nais namin na hayaan mong makapag-pahayag ang mga sentimiyentong bumabatikos sa mga maling pamamalakad ng rehimerng Arroyo sa iyong blog na elitista na "WALK THIS WAY". Dahil ikaw din naman ay nakapagpapahayag ng malaya sa mga "blogs" ng mga lehitimong oposisyonista. Dapat ay maging patas ka sa lahat ng mga tao. Alam mo namang may tinatawag na karma sa mundong ibabaw. Ito ay isang mensahe ng pagpapa-alala sa iyo para sa kapakanan ng sambayanang Pilipino.

From our group, "The Alliance of the Children of Sweat (Toiling Masses)", I would like to tell you to allow us to express our sentiments that question the wrong governance of the Arroyo regime in your elitist blog, "WALK THIS WAY" because you yourself are free to express your opinions in blogs of the legitimate opposition. You should be fair to all people. You know that there is karma in this world. This is just a message of concern for you for the betterment of the Pilipino community.

My reply (in gist):
Elitist ??? (Insert my red glowing eyes here) Look here. I am not a politician spending the nation's taxes nor am I from the landed classes. I am an artist who takes students and tourists around our heritage sites. So save your drama for someone else. F*** off. You make me miss the Marcoses. I wish I could jail all your asses. For the last time, stay the f*** away from my blog.

GINOONG CELDRAN,
Ito ay isa pang pagpapa-alala sa iyo. Ang iyong liham na may kalakip na mga mapang-mata na mga pananalita ay ibabalik namin sa iyo. "FUCK YOURSELF, YOU IDIOTIC MAN! YOUR STUPID WORDS REFLECT WHO YOU ARE!" Sa iyong mga mapang-mata at mga mapang-api na pananalita ay nakikita namin ang isang tao na talagang gumagawa ng mga di-matinong bagay sa ating lipunan. Hinihingi namin na magpakatino ka na sa iyong mga pananalita at mga gawain sa mundong ito. Tandaan mo rin na mayroong karma sa mundong ibabaw. Ang mga pagpatay sa mga lider ng masa at mga pandarambong sa gubyerno sa ilalim ng kasalukuyang rehimen ang talagang nagwawasak ng pampublikong moral at dignidad sa ating lipunan. Magpakumbaba ka sa harap ng masang Pilipino para di-ka makatikim ng "bad karma". Yun lang!

This is another reminder for you. The letter with words of critism is being sent back to you."F*** YOURSELF, YOU IDIOTIC MAN! YOUR STUPID WORDS REFLECT WHO YOU ARE!". Through your mocking words we see a person who is truly doing something wrong in our society. We request you to become more reasonable with your words and your actions. Also remmember that there is karma in this world. The useless killings of the leaders of the poor, the corruption of the current government under the regime truly destroys the morality and dignity of our society. Be humble to the Pilipino poor so that you wont get "bad karma".Thats all!

My reply:
Karma? Whose karma? Tomorrow I shall wake up and be employed and cute. You shall still be desperate and homely. For the last time. FUCK YOURSELF AGAIN!!!! Long live GMA! Mwhahahahaha.

I know, such horrid things to say, I know. But SHE STARTED IT BY SPAMMING ME!!! Nothing worse than SPAM. I'm sorry. Really. I would allow their comments if they just weren't so freaking impersonal and canned. It's like a machine posted those things. Really, what the hell? Does she think I own a sweatshop, spit on sampaguita vendors and lock my maid in a closet at night? Be humble to the poor, my a**. She has no idea about who I am or what I do.

Their reply:
Ginoong Celdran,
Ibinabalik namin sa iyo: You are a useless f***! You deserve what you have sown! Isa pa, mayroong karma sa mundong ibabaw!

Again, we send you : You are a useless fuck! You deserve what you have sown! There is karma in this world! GLO ARROYO WILL RESIGN FROM HER PRESIDENCY!
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

ALYANSA NG MGA ANAK-PAWIS

And that was when I realized that I drove her to insanity.

My final reply:
Hay nako. Pikon lang kayo. (Oh my. You are just a sore loser).
Pikon. Pikon. (Sore sore loser).
My advice to you. If you cannot take the heat, get out of the kitchen.
Move to Amsterdam like Joma Sison and leave us in peace (pictured below with chanteuse/sexy actress/Mathay relative Ara Mina.)
Diyos ko. (OMG.)
Pikon. (Sore loser).
Remember it is you who started this fight by leaving your unwanted SPAM on my blog. Go away na. Kakapagod na kayo. (Go away. You tire me.)

Their reply:
GINOONG CELDRAN,
Mr. Celdran
ISANG PAYO PARA SA IYO! PARA SA IYONG IKAKABUTI AY NARARAPAT LANG NA PAUNLARIN MO ANG MORALIDAD NG IYONG SARILI. SA MORALIDAD NAKABATAY ANG DIGNIDAD NG ISANG TAO. YUN LANG.

A REMINDER FOR YOU! FOR YOUR OWN WELFARE YOU HAVE TO NURTURE YOUR OWN MORALITY.THE DIGNITY OF A PERSON LIES IN HIS MORALITY. THATS ALL.

ALYANSA NG MGA ANAK-PAWIS
ALLIANCE OF THE CHILDREN OF SWEAT

Then I never heard from them again. Whatever. Since when did the "masa" have all the time in the world to reply to silly people like me? Obviously this lady is also a computer typing member of the oppressive middle classes I'm sure. I wonder what kind of car she drives? Whatever, I'll let it go and only because I like their rallies. ANAKPAWIS always has puppets and performance art whether they be protesting American imperialism or high gas prices. I just wish they would stop sending me canned SPAM, that's all.

Thank you Inthesetimes for the cartoon and marvelousmarx for leading me to the precious Joma picture.

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KVETCH! KVETCH! KVETCH!

AND THE BEAT GOES ON..

Last Sunday, while other Manila broadsheets were babbling on about something or another, only the Manila Times seemed to focus on a subject that really matters: The Ongoing Desecration of Intramuros by Ace Barbers. Read the Manila Times Special Report about the scandalously ugly side of the Philippine Tourism Authority, a government institution I believe should have been abolished years ago and it's chair, Dean Barbers sent back to the poverty stricken province from whence he came. The article also goes on to question why Ace Durano, the chair of the PTA, is standing idly by and letting the Dean get away with the murder of the sancitity of our heritage sites. So far, the article says the construction has stopped. But really, for how long?

And aside from illegal structures defacing Intramuros, Mr. Barbers and the PTA are also responsible for the unsightly (and unhelpful) green plastic mesh on the golf course that blocks the view of the walled city, the current "Oceanarium" being built right behind the Quirino Grandstand (photo below - HELLO!! PHILIPPINE PRESS. This sea monstrosity is an expose waiting to happen! Why is there an "Oceanarium" being built right by our national heroes monument? Hello parking, overcrowding, animal cruelty and typhoon damage issues!) and tons of other questionable construction projects around the entire country. All funded by the Travel Tax that they bleed from us everytime we leave the country.

Really, Dean, my maid Elma fled your fricking province due to it's grinding inescapable poverty. I have an idea. Why not alleviate the poverty of Surigao first before commencing any "improvements" here in the City of Manila?

NEXT:
MALATE BAYVIEW APARTMENTS: HOW NOT TO BUILD A CONDOMINIUM.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

WHEE! WHEE! WHEE!

Well, whaddaya know? Yours truly is mentioned in Lufthansa Magazine. Not a bad acheivement if I might say so myself. Why do I say this? Because I met the writer, Hans Oberlaender, when he was being toured around Manila by the inimitable blue haired honorary Filipino Andy Maluche, and I know that this was a writer with incredibly high standards. Every Manila restaurant, hotel, tour service, and attraction mentioned in his article had to be Germanically perfect lest any passenger of Lufthansa be disappointed by any of his recommendations. And although one might think that being called a "Know-It-All" (below) might be percieved as a pejorative by some, I'm OK with it.

I really do think I know it all.

Thanks Ed Guzman for the shout out. And thanks bryanboy for the mention in psychopedia!

Friday, March 09, 2007

HERE SHE GOES AGAIN...

Really, who the hell does this woman's PR? I would hire him/her in a flash. After features on CNN and in Vanity Fair and New York Magazine, here goes her High Hairedness in W Magazine this time. I actually had a quick meeting with Marshall Heyman, the writer of the article over drinks the Peninsula poolside when he came to town. And judging from our conversation, I was in fear that his article would make a mockery of the country and our choice of leaders in the same way that many other journalists have when writing about Imelda and her position in Philippine history. I was pleasantly surprised to find it to be rather balanced. Most of the crazy stuff written was not from his pen but from her own mouth. I'm also amazed how nice the article is about her when she really drove his patience and nerves to breaking point. Not to mention that he was also being very diplomatic about her collection of jewelry. Read the article on style.com here and to come to my Imelda Tour of the CCP Complex here.

And thank you Kiko for the great review!

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

KVETCH! KVETCH! KVETCH!

I don't know where to begin about how upset I am about what is going on in downtown Manila and Intramuros. I heard that the year of the Pig is all about change, but these changes I see are all happening way too fast for me to handle. It truly breaks my heart to see centuries old heritage sites being altered without proper planning and long revered establishments close down to make way for brash commercialism and badly designed real estate projects. Here are a few of those alarming changes that I have to adjust to...

FATHER BLANCO'S GARDEN
For years I heard that the Order of Saint Augustine had elaborate plans to construct an seminary/annex to the museum behind their cloisters in Intramuros, on the site of the former Agustinian Dormitories which was destroyed in the Battle of Manila back in 1945 (above, right). In the last ten years, several plans were drawn up, scale models were made, but nothing ever seemed to go beyond the blueprint stage. Frankly, I thought that construction would never ever push through at all. Or that perhaps before doing so, they would first repair the crumbling bathrooms and rooms of the original museum and rebuild the bell tower (which was destroyed in the earthquake of 1883) before venturing into the construction of a new building within the complex. Apparently I thought wrong. Way wrong.

Just a couple of days ago, while doing my usual spiel about the American Colonial period in the garden (above), I recieved word from San Agustine employees that construction would finally begin at the end of March. Looking around, I also noticed that all the plants lining the bench area had all been uprooted, the gardener had been laid off, and the trees marked for cutting (DENR permit?) in order to begin construction of a two storey building that does NOT really look like the original structure at all. This came as horrifying news for me as I now have to find a new location for the American Colonial period segment of my tour. But that aside, I was willing to grin and bear the inconvenience and transfer my spiel to the upper galleries during the construction period since the annex would eventually be used as a restoration workshop, auditorium, and exhibition hall for San Agustin. Truth be told, I am not one to hinder any project that would upgrade the facilities of the museum. But unfortunately that wouldn't be the case either as even the purpose of the new building has been changed. No longer will the building be used for cultural purposes but it will now be used by priests as their domitories and nothing else. I don't know if the National Historical Institute approved these new changes (or if they even know what is going on at all). All I know is that the design needs some major alterations (the glass windows are just way too big and inappropriate) and the museum should definitely be given priority. After all, the San Agustin Order has a lot of land in the province, why don't they build the dormitories out there where the air is fresher and there is more space? It just doesn't make sense to me to build a seminary inside the current San Agustin compound.

The building plans...
This will remain.
But all the trees here will be cut down to make way for the new L shaped seminary.

But you know what else doesn't make sense to me? These structures being built next to Fort Santiago. Huge ugly badminton courts/warehouses being built right on the site of the former golf driving range. It's too big, it's too close to the walls of Fort Santiago, and it just ruins the sanctity of the Jose Rizal Shrine (from where the photo was taken).

And unlike the seminary of Father Blanco's garden (which only suffers from a bad design and a misdirected purpose), these structures above are completely ILLEGAL. Built very close to the walls, this project, worth PHP85M, was pursued despite the disapproval of the Philippine Tourism Authority Board and a stoppage order issued by the Intramuros Administration. Obviously, P.D. 1515 or any adherence to the legal system is ignored here.

To learn more about the law which protects Intramuros, log on to this site.

So to all fellow Filipino citizens (and most especially PRESS PEOPLE), if you wish to do more research on these matters or if you wish to file a complaint illustrating your disgust with these issues, shoot out a scathing email to the following folks.

National Historical Institute
nhi@ideal-access.ph

Ambeth Ocampo - Chair NHI
aocampo@ateneo.edu
oc@ncca.gov.ph

Dominador C. Ferrer Jr.
Administrator
Intramuros Administration
Palacio del Gobernador Building,
Intramuros, Manila 1000
5273155; 5275642; 5273084

Atty. Trixie Cruz-Angeles - Legal NCCA
trixiecruzangeles@yahoo.com

AND MOST OF ALL!!!
Sec. Joseph Ace Durano - Secretary of the Department of Tourism
jadurano@tourism.gov.ph

Really Ace. What the hell? Too busy now acting as the mouthpiece for the Unity Team to give a sh** about Intramuros? Throw us a bone here. You freaking ignored Intramuros for the last two years. Now is a good opportunity to redeem yourself.

Forward this post to your friends and colleagues whom you believe cares for the protection and proper development of Intramuros. I really hope it isn't too late.

Next:
ADIOS HOBBIT HOUSE
GOODBYE SALA RESTAURANT
GOODBYE LIBRARY, FAB, AND KOREA HOUSE
GOODBYE QUIRINO GRANDSTAND BREAKWATER