Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Arroceros DCS Center by Flagship Projects Office and Arch. J. Antonio Mendoza,
originally uploaded by carlosceldran.
Sigh, I'm going to earn the ire of several people because of this posting I'm sure. I can only hope that in the end, these drawings may finally clarify the issues surrounding the overblown animal that is the Arroceros Forest Park Controversy. Posted above is the elevation drawing of the proposed building to be built on the site which I got from Manila City Hall. This building (other images of it are on my Flickr site) will be The Division for City Schools Center for Manila's public school teachers and not a mall as many had suspected. Designed by Arch. J. Antonio Mendoza (of Minggoys at The Fort) and the Flagship Design Office of the City of Manila, the proposed structure aims to take up less than ten percent of the lot. This is for minimum environmental impact and also to preserve most of the trees already growing within the park. As the plan goes, most of the trees affected by the footprint of the building will then be transferred to housing projects in Tondo. And in order to not contribute to the visual blight of the area, the building was also designed in a contemporary Filipino Vernacular Style (admittedly ala Amanpulo et al) so as to remain in keeping with Manila's historical context. So I hope this clarifies things for everyone - especially for the Winners Foundation - who claim to be given the right to administer the park by EX Mayor Alfredo Lim.

To them, I have this to say - and I can say it because I have sat ringside throughout this ordeal: Sorry guys, but the land was not Mayor Lims' to give. The land legally belongs to the Division of City Schools. Period. It was bought with public funds by the DCS. The law is the law. A sale is a sale. So stop all of this tired rallying, whining and holding masses and bake sales at the park. City Hall is trying their best to address your issues even if you refuse to begin dialogue with them. I'm pretty sure you can still have your botanical garden and those poor ol' public school teachers can get still their education center as long as you all work together to achieve BOTH goals. I truly believe that happy compromises can be achieved if everyone just opens up the lines of communication. And you guys best hurry if you wish to maintain a stake in the park now that construction has begun already. All that ranting and raving did not earn your cause any new supporters and it is doing absolutely nothing to assure the park be developed properly for the benefit of everyone.

In other words, wise up, Winners, get to the negotiating table with City Hall soon or you just might end up losing the park altogether in the end.

Ok. That's it. Let the hate mail begin.

Monday, April 25, 2005


ocean tower
Ocean Tower - April 25, 2005,
originally uploaded by
I was just surfing throught the web and almost choked on myself when I stumbled upon the Metrobank Art and Design Excellence (MADE) website. MADE is a 20 year old competition run by the MetroBank Foundation (of George Ty's MetroBank) to recognize the outstanding works of young but promising painters and sculptors. A wonderfully generous endeavor no doubt, but when I read that they decided to expand their awards to architects and interior designers, I realized that a KVETCH was definitely in order. So here it goes: Ahem. Metrobank. For an institution such as yours, who has in it's stable of developments some of Manila's most miserable structures, where do you get off thinking you can pull off an architectural competition? The Escolta Twin Towers on Escolta; Bay Gardens in Pasay Reclamation Area; Ocean Tower on Roxas Boulevard; and Tytana Building on Plaza Ruiz are not only shamefully unimaginative in its design and clumsy in it's execution, but their gargantuan proportions are a serious burden to their neighorhoods' water and electric supply. Moreover, these structures are completely insensitive to the historic context of their surroundings and simply a vicious assault on the eyes (Escolta Twin Towers even has laundry hanging from its grills - Hello. Can we please..?) They are undeniable testaments to Metrobank's priority for profit over proper urban development. So, Metrobank, if you want to spread goodwill - and your scholarship and health programs are doing a great job in doing that - just don't push your luck with architecture. Save your Php150,000.00 prize money and just hire better architects to fix what you already have (Sorry Architect Gozar. Nothing personal.) This is an imperative if ever you want anybody to take this competition seriously. Because to claim that your institution knows good architecture is not only misleading; it's downright insulting to those who know better.

MADE: This contest, done in partnership with the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP), is open to Filipino licensed architects 25 to 40 years old who have completed a single detached residence in the Philippines which been occupied for at least one year. Entry forms are available at all Metrobank branches nationwide. For inquiries, send an email to
foundation@metrobank.com.ph. For questions on the architecture competition, call the UAP National Secretariat at 412 6403.

Sunday, April 24, 2005


Nicotina Garden Pavilion
Nicotina - April24, 2005,
originally uploaded by
110 Williams St. corner Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City. (one door down from the Department of Foreign Affairs) tel. 5517906 - 07
I just love this place and I don't know why. Could it be the 2 storey tall strands of tivoli lights dripping from the ceiling? Or perhaps it's the beautiful mid-20th century house snuggled beneath the large Banyan tree in its courtyard? Whatever the case may be, Nicotina is really the nightclub (and I mean this in a positive old-fashioned sense) to see or be seen in these days. And for good reason: it's casual, it's tastefully appointed, and they have fabulous performances in a cabaret setting every week. And if that's not enough, then its reasonably priced Italian food (I particularly like their Porcini Risotto and Beef Carpaccio) will keep you coming back for more. No wonder its become the social epicenter of Manila's notoriously finicky (and insular) fashionista set. When you go, make sure to dress up, but in light fabrics - it's open air ambience is unforgiving for the non-believers of casual chic.

Call them (5517906 - 07) and inquire about the music line up for the week: Sound plays acid jazz; Drip plays electronica; and The Brass Munkeys do Big Band (complete with trombones and stuff). All them a must-see. Oh..and also make sure not to miss...


Traditional Filipino Dance in a Cabaret Setting
In past years, I have been asked time and again where one should go to watch traditional Filipino dancing in Manila. Automatically, I would suggest either the Philippine Plaza Poolside or Zamboanga Restaurant on Adriatico St. for a fix since I knew of no other place. Not a very generous selection I must admit, especially for those not into 5 star hotel prices nor dining in an overly touristy setting. But thank heavens, and thank Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, we are not confined to these choices any longer. Every Wednesday night starting April 27, you and I can now watch the award winning real thing onstage at Nicotina Garden Pavilion. It's definitely the better alternative.
Complete Dinner Buffet (7:00PM) and Show (8:00PM)
Php 850.00 + Adults
Php550.00 + Childern
Php500.00 Show only

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


A highly interesting and well managed blog by a man who we shall call "Marketman". It's a chockful of photographs and detailed info on whats on stock and whats not on the shelves of Manila's markets. Interesting entries on where to get the best biscotti, fried bangus, flowers, coffee, and whatnot. And of course, the website would not be complete without the obligatory rants and ravings of what stinks around the marketplace.

Monday, April 18, 2005


Photographs by Denise Weldon
Opening April 20 - 6:00PM

"Glimpses of Light is a series that took place in Italy, where, in the silence of being there, I caught sight of these pockets of beautiful stillness and light. And while the visuals are of an external journey to a foreign land, they are also reflections of an interior journey that each of us takes as we move through this lifetime. It is when we pause, whether to notice the quiet of a moment, the splendor of nature, or the space between our breaths, that our awareness heightens. Only then do we feel the stillness and become witness to the beauty that light reveals within and without."
33C South, Pacific Plaza Towers, Fort Bonifacio, Makati City.
Tel. 816 0044

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


pal meal
Inflight meal - July 10, 2004
originally uploaded by John Ling.
Back in 1997, with Lucio Tan only a few months at the helm, I flew Philippine Airlines Mabuhay Class from Manila to Cebu and I distinctly remember it being a rather sad experience. Although it was nice to realize that the high-flying, high spending days of First Lady Imelda Marcos and PAL president Roman Cruz Jr. were finally over, I was disappointed to find in its place, a rather soul-less, albeit pragmatic, institution. And even if its identity and logo remained exactly the same, it was the details which told me things had changed at our national carrier. Gone were the earth toned dishes from Rosenthal and and in its place, mauve melamine. The inflight magazine Mabuhay was now a little slimmer and the cabins were now little greyer. The canapes in the Mabuhay Lounge were also now replaced by lugaw and worst of all, San Miguel, the beer so sacred to Filipinos, was no longer being served onboard. It was all too obvious that standards had to be compromised in order to keep our flagship afloat. Im not saying that they should have gone back the indulgent days of Van Cleef and Arpels toiletries, full length beds, and Les Chaines des Rotisseurs cuisine, but it cannot be denied that something was lost when PAL stopped claiming to be "Asia's First Airline" and downscale itself to merely becoming "Asia's Sunniest." But today, eight years down the road, Im glad to see that good things are going on again over at PAL - and in it's galleys to be precise. On the website: www.airlinemeals.net, the largest website on the inflight meal industry, I was heartened to find our flag carrier batting way higher than average in comparison to other regional airlines. In a rating system where 1 is lowest and 10 the highest, only 4 of the 26 meals reviewed scored lower than 5. There also was a staggering seven 10s at the bottom of the page (reviewed mostly by a portly Cris Smith, whose belly sometimes blocks the view of the tray.) It's so good to see that standards can still be raised again around here. I also hear that San Miguel is back on the menu too.

Monday, April 11, 2005


Yours truly, March, 2005
originally uploaded by
I said it once, I'll say it again. Inasmuch as I hate to toot my horn...
Posted 06:21am (Mla time) April 10, 2005 By Ross Harper Alonso
Inquirer News Service
Published on page Q1 of the April 10, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
CARLOS Celdran is the new Pied Piper of Manila. On most days you'll find him dressed in his "tour demon costume," in a barong Tagalog, tsinelas, and a salakot or top hat on his head, regaling mesmerized guests with historical trivia imparted with tons of humor and a style that has made him almost famous. The youngest of four equally artistic and enterprising siblings, this Spanish mestizo from a respected family is an interesting blend of two worlds. Dad Mike is a successful and well-loved pediatrician, while Mom Backie hails from the prominent Pamintuan clan of Pampanga, sister of Patis Tesoro and beading entrepreneur Peanut Pamintuan.
"We're all rather diverse, completely involved in different fields. There's no competition within the family, only total support for each other," Carlos says with a hint of pride before he leads a group of 35 guests through the narrow streets of Intramuros. He struts around with an unbranded bag slung over his shoulders to carry his "props" - a
low-tech cassette recorder, an ordinary plastic organizer with pages filled with reproduced pre-and post-World War II pictures, and miniature versions of the Filipino and American flag. And it works! It's all part of the revolutionary tour of Intramuros that Celdran started, and that many are queueing for.

Sunday, April 03, 2005


Are you tired of the plasticine mugs of Manila's perfumed class beaming out from the pages of your newspapers lifestyle section? Have you also had it up to your keister (Keister: (kee-ster): derriere; buttocks.) with the verbose writings of Manila's self-proclaimed lifestyle columnists? If so, then run, don't walk, and buy a copy of the BUSINESSWORLD WEEKENDER; without question the best broadsheet lifestyle section published in Manila today. They truly mean business when it comes to writing about life and culture in Manila. Within its modest eight plus pages, you wont find any vapid socialites griping about the state of their small lives or matrons hawking the latest Hello Kitty can opener. No overdone fashion shoots or payola primed product shots hoarding half the page either. All you will read is an intelligent digest of well-written articles (on topics both local and foreign) and credible cultural reviews (insiders inform me that their writers insist on paying for tickets to shows they review). The Weekender printed version comes as part of the BusinessWorld newspapers' supplement every Friday and - at a hefty twenty pesos - is worth the price if only for it's extensive listing of the weekend's cultural activities. Eclectic and well categorized, it features detailed schedules of events like the concerts at Paco Park, shows at the Cultural Center of thePhilippines, and the walking tours of yours truly. Ta!


ananyana - April 3, 2005
originally uploaded by
Ok. My entry won't be about Manila this time. I'll move my recommendation down south for this one.
Bohol has been the next big thing on the Philippine tourist map for quite a while now. But sadly and for way too long, most of us had to make do with less than stellar accomodations when visiting this picturesque isle. But not anymore. Enter Ananyana, a two year old resort that has come into its own and is now poised to become a major resort player in its own minor way. Set in the center of a three kilometer stretch of powder white sand in Doljo Beach on Panglao Island, Ananyana delivers if you're looking to literally get away from it all. It's a television-free experience that soothes you with ultra hip piped-in music, artfully wrapped soaps, and towered cuisine. For families, there are huge rooms, a tastefully designed bamboo playground, a cute town/church nearby, and cultural tours to the Chocolate hills, Baclayon, and Loboc available on call. It's definitely a cerebral alternative to the cheezy eat-all-you-can family offerings on Boracay or Laguna. But with it's fabulous food (Italian and Filipino cuisine cooked in an open kitchen) and low guest density, its also the perfect getaway for honeymooners looking to canoodle al fresco. Service is guaranteed to be personal with only ten rooms on the property. The snorkeling is impressive (starfish! whee!); scuba diving is readily available; and the chef can be sent to market to whip up things that are not on the menu. I recommend three nights at the least. It will already take two days to just get into the groove. Reserve a few months in advance at Mondial Travel for really good deals (we booked three months ahead).Telephone: 8866300; 8866361/62/64/65