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, June 26, 2008

CARLOS RECOMMENDS!

Go to Mogwai this weekend. My friend Caliph8 is playing. The dude rocks. He did the soundtrack to my Soul Train event to Cubao X. This Saturday promises to have lots of good art and good music and good people hanging around Cubao X.

Check out Mogwai info here.
Thanks ProjectManila for the link.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

CARLOS RECOMMENDS!

I used to intern with these guys when I lived in New York back in the mid-90's. I was a lighting controller for their production of "Flipzoids" at the Theater for the New City. I still think "Flipzoids" by Ralph Pena is one of the best plays about the Philippine experience that I have ever seen. Can't wait to see their new stuff next week...

MA-YI THEATER is presenting a staged reading of excerpts from 4 of its plays at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, on July 3, at 6:30PM, in the Little Theater. One night only. This event is part of the launch of the anthology "Savage Stage," a collection of plays developed and produced by Ma-Yi Theater Company. (Below) A scene from Ma-yi's past production of "The Romance of Magno Rubio."

The event is pay-what-you-can, or FREE to those who can't afford anything. All proceeds will be donated to Philippine theaters and playwrights.

Here's more information. For more details, please contact Tanghalang Pilipino at 832-3661, or the CCP Box Office at 832-3704. Please make sure to call for reservations.

WHEN: JULY 3, 2008, 6:30PM
WHERE: CULTURAL CENTER OF THE PHILIPPINES,
LITTLE THEATER

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Please come and spread the word.
The reception that follows is by invitation only.

These are readings of selected excerpts from four plays, three of which are included in Ma-Yi Theater Company's anthology "Savage Stage," edited by Joi Barrios-Leblanc. The three plays from the book include "Project: Balangiga" by Sung Rno and Ralph Peña, "peregriNasyon" by Chris Millado, "and Middle Finger" by Han Ong. The fourth play takes selected scenes from Ma-Yi's upcoming production of Ralph Peña's new work "Nebraska," which will premiere in New York City in 2009.

READING CAST:
NONIE BUENCAMINO, SHAMAINE CENTENERA-BUENCAMINO,
NAR CABICO, RED CONCEPCION, JM DE GUZMAN, JJ IGNACIO,
IRMA ADLAWAN-MARASIGAN, JOEL TORRE.

ABOUT THE PLAYS AND PLAYWRIGHTS:
Project: Balangiga by Sung Rno and Ralph Peña is a documentary-style inquiry into the ongoing debate surrounding the proposed repatriation of the church bells taken by American soldiers from the town of Balangiga during the Philippine American War. The excerpted scene imagines a virtual town meeting between the residents of Balangiga and Cheyenne,Wyoming, where the bells are presently installed. Sung Rno is an award winning playwright and member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab. He is a graduate of Harvard and Brown University.

peregriNasyon is Chris Millado's trenchant play about the itinerant lives of the Manongs, the Filipino migrant workers who plied the labor routes of California's Central Valley and the Alaskan canneries during the Great Depression. Millado's play bends time and space in drawing
parallel journeys between two brothers separated by distance, but bound by a common struggle to locate "home." Chris Millado is the author of several award-winning plays, and was instrumental in the founding of Ma-Yi Theater Company. He is the current Associate Artistic Director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Han Ong's Middle Finger is a coming-of-age story set in an all-boys Catholic school. Riffing on Frank Wedekind's "Spring's Awakening," Middle Finger gives the familiar turfs of teenage angst, sex, and religion a new dose of contemporary sizzle. Han Ong is one of the youngest recipients of the MacArthur Foundation "Genius" grant. Apart from "Middle Finger," Ma-Yi Theater also produced the world premiere of Han Ong's "Watcher." He is a guest lecturer at Columbia University.

Nebraska is Ralph Peña's new play about Immigration and extreme American Right-Wing Politics. The play imagines what might happen when an ancient Hindu goddess decides to take up residency in Nebraska, and finds herself pulled into the inner sanctum of a radical Christian organization. Ralph is the current artistic director of Ma-Yi Theater Company and one of the lead organizers of the first U.S. Artists contingent to the 2007 World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya.

Ma-Yi Theater Company is today the leading professional Asian American theater company and incubator of new Asian American plays in the United States. Since its founding in 1989, Ma-Yi Theater has won multiple Obie Awards, Drama Desk, Hewitt Design Awards, and was named a Theater of Excellence by the Drama League. The Ma-YI Writers Lab is the largest assembly of professional Asian American playwrights in the country, with 21 full-time writers. Ma-Yi Theater is headed by Executive Director Jorge Ortoll.

Joi Barrios-Leblanc has published: two volumes of poetry, "Ang Pagiging Babae ay Pamumuhay sa Panahon ng Digma," and "Minatamis at Iba Pang Tula ng Pag-ibig." She has won more than a dozen literary awards.. In 1999, Joi was among the 100 women of the 20th century honored as "Weaver of History" by the National Centennial Commission Women's Sector. In 2004, she was honored as one of the Ten Outstanding Women in the Nation's Service (TOWNS). Joi is the literary manager of Ma-Yi Theater Company.

Lighting Design: Barbie Tan-Tiongco
Stage Manager: Ave Uy
DIRECTED BY: RALPH PENA

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

HAPPY! HAPPY! AND AU REVOIR...


HAPPY 437TH BIRTHDAY TO THE CITY OF MANILA. Without whose architecture and culture, I would have no job.


AND AU REVOIR TO GEORGE CARLIN. Without whose pioneering and shocking comedic material, I probably would not have the guts to say half the things I do on my tour.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO!

I HEART DR. CULIAT
Got a great email from my friend Cathy. It seems that her GM, Edna Belleza, went on my walking tour a few months ago with her sister, Dr. Cymbaline Tancongco Culiat. Well, Dr. Culiat made a breakthrough in molecular genetics, specifically in regerating damaged tissues after heart attacks. Way cool. It just tickles me pink to hear of Filipinos out there excelling in the field of science. Hopefully, her achievement will inspire the some members of the next generation to think of science as a viable and satisfying career. And how nice of her to mention me on the third page of the article as well. Read it here.

Cathy mentions, "I don't know why they quoted famous (like so: the "famous" Carlos Celdran). :-) Weird."

Yes. Weird.

Above (L-R) Ms. Edna, Dr. Culiat, me, Ms. Robin, Mr. Miguel.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

WHEE...WHEE...WHEE...

JETSET PARTY PUTS MANILA ON THE MAP!

Manila, Once Overlooked by the Jetset, Gets Groovy
(PRESS RELEASE)

MANILA - Manila is back on the fast track as a travel destination, with the Saturday 14 June launch in Cubao of the Groovy Manila Map'n'Guide, the latest publication from one of South East Asia's hippest publishers, Groovy Map, who have achieved a cult following amongst business and weekend city travelers for their laminated, pocked-size map-guides offering “Fun Mapped Out” in witty prose and simplified mapping.

The disco-themed party started with a tour led by one of Manila’s best known cultural tourism hosts, Carlos Celdran, the irreverent walking tour guide whose “Living La Vida Imelda” tour earned him gold-plated credentials to manage the launch party for the Bangkok-based company.

The party started when a private train carriage scooped up revelers at Ayala Station and whisked the thumping party, playing disco-themed Filipino music, to a former shoe market in Cubao, renamed Cubao Expo. Lined with performance and street artists, the area was converted to a beatnik zone, with revelers consuming complimentary drinks till long after midnight at destination venue Mogwai Cinema and Bar.

The Groovy Manila Map 'n' Guide Cover

Since its first publication of the ever-popular “Groovy Bangkok Map’n’ Guide” back in 1996, this Bangkok-based publisher has expanded titles to cover major cities as Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Sydney and beach destinations such as Bali and Phuket. It is now Manila’s turn to hit the Groovy Map radar.

Aaron Frankel, Founder of Groovy Map, celebrates with Carlos Celdran, famous walking tour guide and organizer of the event, the successful launch of their latest travel product, the Groovy Manila Map'n'Guide, aimed at business and weekend city travelers.

Said Aaron Frankel, MD and Founder of Groovy Map, who flew in for the launch, "Manila is a booming city, so it's time to put it ‘on the map’ and show travelers why it really is groovy."

Adds, Carlos Celdran, “the Philippines started Asia on the travel wish list by hosting the Miss Universe Pageant in 1974 and building Asia’s first Convention Center, but we stumbled soon after, and are only now starting to pick up where we left off, twenty years ago.”

Groovy Manila Map 'n' Guide Detail.

Groovy Map aims to change the perception of Manila too.

The city offers plenty of things to do and see, many of which are covered by the new Groovy Manila Map’n’ Guide. From where to go for a pampering massage to how to order a merienda, from dining in a Dickensian mansion to drinking in art-houses with dotcom savvy beatniks, Groovy Manila has it covered. “Finally this city is getting the attention it deserves as a groovy hot- spot” says Frankel “There’s a lot more to Manila than meets the eye.”

The bestselling Groovy Maps are marketed as an executive brief to a city, and are an attractive pocket-sized folded map, with one side offering witty and insightful tips on the best dining, bars, clubs, and shopping areas to hit, and the other, simplified and color-coded maps to the city. The slick, laminated product promises “everything you need to get the most of a city in a short time,” and if reviews are anything to go by, the map seems to deliver with an average 5-star rating on Amazon.com and plenty of fan mail on its own website, www.groovymap.com.

Frankel expects brisk sales in the Philippines and predicts the map will soon outsell the home market in Thailand due to the penetration rate of English amongst the population, and the boom in tourism.

Travel is on an upsurge in the Philippines, with visitor arrivals for January to April 2008 jumping 7.5% over last year’s volume, with visitors from the USA, Korea, Japan, and Australia accounting respectively for 18.5%, 17.9%. 11.5% and 5% of the foreign visitor market, and arrivals from many European countries jumping by double digit rates. Adding to the domestic equation, an estimated 33 million Filipinos make 2 or more domestic trips, and 2.7* million Filipinos travel overseas, nearly equal to the 3 million inbound visitors.

This is clearly a growth market in a country with a mixed cultural heritage, interesting historical roots and an abundance of natural attractions Often overlooked by other rival SE Asian cities, Manila is an inexpensive travel destination where almost 80% of the 67 million Filipinos are English speakers, making it a user-friendly market for Western visitors.

Positioning the Philippines as an adventure destination has begun to bear fruits, showing the ability of the Philippines to attract tourists for second and third trips, a crucial element to build upon inter-regional visitors. For instance, Thailand, which is pushing 14.5 million visitors per year is the envy of other nations for achieving a return rate of 51%, meaning 1 of 2 visitors will make another trip to Thailand in the future. However, with growth only 4.65% last year, Thailand is stumbling and the Philippines might pick up the slack with lower priced accommodation and more value-for-money beach destinations.

Good things lie ahead for Philippines tourism, and getting recognized by the jet-set only foreshadows groovy growth ahead.

The maps are being distributed by United Tourism Promotions, the publishers, of the E-Z brand of maps and atlas’, and the maps are already available in National Bookstores and soon will be distributed nationwide. Carlos Celdran said he will offer them to those taking his tours as well.

Contacts For Press/Interested Parties:
Niki Thongborisute at niki@groovymap.com or mobile +668-1649-6684
Aaron Frankel at aaron.f@groovymap.com or mobile +668-1612-9663
Any Groovy Maps gladly sent for review
Larger photographs available on request –300dpi and up to A4 size
Carlos Celdran: +63 (2) 484 4945, Mobile +63 (917) 8861080

UTP Distributors: Contact Lorena, UTP, Angeles City Headquarters: 16-14 Marlim Avenue, Diamond Subdivision, Balibago, Angeles City, Pampanga, 2009, Tel: (+63)(045) 322-8767 , +63045625-7708; Tel/Fax: (+63)(045) 625-7708

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

WHEE...WHEE...WHEE...

OKAY. Now I make my acknowledgements and do my shout-outs. Yeah. I know. I'm selling my soul and not even for rock and roll. First. Thank you to Jerome of MetroHim Magazine for picking me as one of Manila's Gentlemen, Philippine Graphic Magazine for picking me as one of the Philippine's 18 Young Leaders, and Landco Pacific for choosing me to wax poetic about their leisure developments. Thanks also to BK Magazine of Bangkok for the great feature (below).

Moreover, a million thanks to my friend Marjorie for the great Sigg Water Bottle (I use it now on my tours) and Collezione for the cool shirts from Rhett Eala's My Philippines Collection (the one with the Philippine map above).

Also, check out this great clip on YouTube called RealManila. It's done by PsychoCow productions. They said that they were inspired to do a RealManila page after coming only to one tour. These guys are so sweet. I hope we could collaborate someday on a project.

AND A GAZILLION THANKS TO JAY at CLICKTHECITY.COM FOR THESE GREAT VIDEO FEATURES ON MY TOURS. Check out the Intramuros Tour HERE, the Binondo-Quiapo Tour HERE, and the CCP Imelda Tour HERE.

Finally, a million thanks to Aaron Frankel for choosing me to launch the Groovy Manila Map 'n' Guide in Manila. It's really a great guide. The launch party in Cubao was a blast. Thanks a gazillion to Peng and Vickie Perez de Tagle for helping us make a party on the MRT train, Donna Miranda, Weewilldoodle, KOLEKTIB, Mark Zero, and Caliph8 for providing the entertainment, and of course, Mogwai for the great service and booze. Press release to follow...

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Friday, June 13, 2008

CARLOS RECOMMENDS!


"X MARKS THE SPOT"
GROOVY MANILA MAP 'N' GUIDE LAUNCH PARTY!
RIDE THE SOUL TRAIN WITH CARLOS CELDRAN TO A PARTY AT CUBAO X.

Saturday, June 14, 2008
6:00pm - 11:00pm

Take a tour with Carlos on the MRT Soul Train to Funky Cubao Expo for the launch of the Groovy Manila Map 'n' Guide
Meet at The Starbucks Petron Pasay Road/EDSA 6:00. The Love Parade leaves Starbucks for the Ayala MRT Station at 6:15.

Watch Guerrilla performances by
GREEN PAPAYA PROJECTS and KOLEKTIB
Music by
CALIPH8 and MARK ZERO
Visuals by
WEEWILLDOODLE
Artist's Streetfair by
CUBAO EXPO

Wear Groovy Clothes or a Groovy Costume and win prizes!
We'll be wearing the funkiest thing we can find.

Or if you don't wanna trip with us and just join the party,
just meet up with us at:
MOGWAI Cinema and Bar
Unit 63-65 Cubao Expo
Gen. Romulo St. Cubao
(next to Cubao Bus Station)

But you might have to wait around, the party only begins when The Love Parade arrives.

COST: FREE

0917 8861080
0920 9092021
celdrantours@hotmail.com

SIGH. SIGH. SIGH.

Found this clip on YouTube. It was sent to me by my friend Maricel from Museo Pambata. It's a short travelogue done in 1938 called "Manila. Queen City of the Pacific". It shows footage of an intact Intramuros, a pre-bombed out Rizal Avenue with it's tram system, a pre-bombed out Jones Bridge, a tree lined Taft Avenue, and the majestic former San Francisco Church. Sigh. I know. Looking at footage like this makes me feel a tinge of sadness about the glory we lost thanks to war and neglect. But on the other hand, it also makes me hopeful simply because it shows the standard that which we all should aspire - a civilized, multifaceted, multicultural Manila for all. Learn more about the filmmaker, Andre de la Varre here.


This one is by William M. Pizor as part of the "Port O' Call" series. It's called"Castillian Memories". It's a bit condescending but nevertheless, it's still fantastic rare footage of Old Manila.

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

ROGIN-E UPDATE!

ENDORSEMENTS. ENDORSEMENTS... and More...
Okidoki. This is it. The Rogin-E Challenge ends this month and I have maintained my somewhat "ideal" weight of 168 pounds. So from a high of 200ish pounds a year or so ago below, I took off 30 pounds from my heaviest moment.

Yeah, I know, I still need a bit more to go, and I hit a low of 165 a month ago, but due to my really hectic schedule this past month (and I mean HECTIC), I haven't found enough time to sleep, much less work out as much as I should. Not to mention, when the hectic times hit, I hit the San Miguel Pale. So because of that, I still seem to be hovering around 168-170 ish pounds. But now that this endorsement is over, check out the other free samples I got yesterday.

A foundation called ProHAIR (which helps folks with Male Pattern Balding) gave me some free samples of Finasteride (aka Propecia) to try out after I attended their website launch event at the Mandarin Oriental. I'm still wondering why they gave it to me.

I'm not balding.

Hmmm. I just took some for the last three days. Has anybody out there tried this stuff? Does it work?

Thanks Manila Style for the picture of the fat me.