Wednesday, December 26, 2007


While vanity-googling, yes - we all google our own names - don't pretend like you don't, I found this blog called "Chronicles of Ishna Vera" run by Arlo, one of the guys who worked on the Intramuros special I did with Susan Calo-Medina for the TV show Traveltime. And OMG. It was the most amazing translation of my tour ever done in full Swardspeak (gayspeak). Precious. Difficult to understand, but precious nevertheless. And I thought due to my years of working with advertising/artsy/media folk and having a couturier as my flatmate, I would be fluent in Sward. I realize now, I know nothing.

Excerpts from Blog:
"Pohtah talagang dat Miguel Lopez de Legaspi ha... after niyang getlagin ang manila bay property of the moro-muslim Ache-Soliman-Lakandula group, super tayo siya ng fort named after the saint Santiago. Religious? Wit! Pasaway kamo... dahil ang full namesung pala ng Santiago na yan ay Santiago na Chumuchugi ng Moro. Ayan may picture pa ng Santiago while making chuginess. (above)."

My rough translation:
"That cheeky Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. After taking the land of Sultan Soliman, he built a fort on top of it and named it Fort Santiago (St. James). Sounds innocuously religious no? But upon closer analysis, there is a darker side, the fort was named after Saint James, the Slayer of Moors. And there you see him, St. James in the act of slaying Moors (see photo above.)"

An Especially Great Part of the Entry:
"He's not tall but fair, has a rotund tummy and large shoes na pointing out ward.. in other worlds mukha siyang peras na ipinatong sa paa ni Ronald Mcdonald... and i mean it in a nice way."

Rough Translation:
"He's not tall but fair, has a rotund tummy and large shoes na pointing outward.. in other words, he looks like a pear balancing atop Ronald McDonald's feet. And I mean it in a nice way."

The rest of the blog was in really Elizabethan high sward and I got a nosebleed.

Is there a kind gay out there somewhere who could post a better translation of the entry in my comments box? Apparently, Babelfish doesn't do Sward just yet.

Read the post here. Get to Arlo's blog here.


Merry Christmas. Happy Hannukah. Happy Kwanzaa. And all that jazz.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Cool. I finally found the Nescafe ad online. Ricci Chan, the TV host/singer/celebrity who played Angel in the Philippine production of Rent posted it on his YouTube account (he sang the jingle). I hope he doesn't mind I posted the TVC on my blog.

I noticed something strange about the ad, who the hell am I? Why do I look like I should be their dad? And during the shoot, I had to shave my moustache. Apparently, I looked too much like a drug dealer.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Look at this bit of good news I found in The Inquirer. So glad to hear that one of my favorite buildings in Manila, The Beaux Arts Luneta Hotel is well on its way to being restored to its former glory. In an article online, Beaumont Properties, the new owners of this 87-year old structure who bought it from the Panlilio family, said that they aim to "restore it, not demolish it." Among their ambitious plans are to strengthen the structure by constructing an independent steel frame within the building itself so that the facade would not be harmed (steel framing pictured below) and restoring all the detailing. The project also seems to have the approval of both the National Historical Institute and the Heritage Conservation Society. Very cool. And I hear Beaumont is a very reliable, but low-key company who have done restoration and renovation in both Singapore and The United Kingdom so this definitely won't be a half-assed development. The steel columns you see below ain't cheap. And their three year timeline definitely shows this is going to be a labor of love.

And contrary to earlier whispers in the blogosphere, the building is NOT going to be a casino. It will be a boutique hotel. Apparently of the highest quality (real marble and stuff) and of levels of luxury deserving of such a structure. Can't wait to check in.

And Thanks Aidan for the review of my Imelda tour on your blog.

Hope to see you guys out there on tomorrow's Imelda tour, Dec. 14 at two pm. Meet at the CCP Little Theater Lobby.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Good thing I like poker. If not I don't think I would have let flagrant sponsorship like this pass through my grubby ol' fingers.

Ahem... Apparently PokerStars is looking for the next Filipino millionaire on the PokerStars Sunday Million Tourney.

Qualify for free on Pokerstars.NET, where they have daily freerolls (free tournaments) exclusive to Filipinos starting December 3, 2007 (as in: NOW) from Monday to Friday at 7:00 pm. The Top 5 winners from each day of the week advances to a 25-player Saturday Tourney. The winner of the Saturday Tourney then moves on to the Sunday Million Tourney on Play with the pros and you just might win some serious serious bread.

More details at!


My apologies, but I'm just going make a celebrity post just because I'm cheap and showbiz like that. How cool is it that Amazing Race contestants Rovilson Fernandez (Team Philippines with Marc Nelson) and the pretty Vanessa Chong (Team Malaysia with her sister Pamela) both took time out from their shooting schedule to attend my tour last Saturday morning. Both were very nice and courteous. (They made the mistake of arriving at the tour one day ahead of the open tour and crashed the tour of one of my favorite clients, Miss Lani Ablaza - who was gracious enough to allow them to join us.) But most of all they were discreet, no mention was made of Amazing Race I'm under the impression that they are still in the race. Or are they? And not to get all Cher Horowitz here but don't they look like they should be dating?


Oh. And props out to Vanessa for eating balut. That's the spirit.

Amazing Race Asia website and forum here:

AND BIGGER PROPS TO BRYANBOY for helping uplift our battered national image by recommending Boracay as the holiday destination of choice for the international American traveller. Read the PsychoPEDIA article here:

Saturday, December 01, 2007

I'M STILL P***** OFF...

I HATED THE ABS-CBN TRILLANES COVERAGE. No secret about that. I felt their presence aggravated the Trillanes crisis/travesty and that their reactions about being taken into custody were overblown. But that's just me.

How about you? What did you think of the way ABS-CBN News handled themselves and the Band of Baboons a couple days ago? Log onto my box at Yahoo Answers and tell me what's on your mind. Now, don't mince words. Gimme a good answer and I'll give you points too.

But if you are too lazy, just fill my comments box with your love instead.

Oh. And while you are at it, please post this on your blog. Print it out into a sticker or flyer and spread it around just so that Senor Trillanes and all those who surrounded him know exactly what we really think of them. Thanks Philippine Comedian.

Bryanboy for President in 2010! Woo-hoo.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I HATE TRILLANES. I hate what he did - and to all the idiots who voted for this crybaby, I hate you too.

He and his supporters (and stupid freaks who voluntarily acted as shields for these morons) should have been totally blown away by the tanks and made it worth the destruction of my favorite hotel's gorgeous renovations.  I know I might sound extremely callous.  But do these people realize how difficult it is to build a country?  Their actions were obviously self serving. And in the end, it's poor people like me and you and all the employees of the Pen who get stuck with having to rebuild our country's image after all their whining and irresponsibility has cleared.

Here we go again. Three steps back for the country. And now that Trillanes and his merry medley of melodramatic morons are still alive and walking away unscathed, make that fricking four.  Sometimes, I think we are too nice.  These guys make me miss martial law.

Sigh.  I don't normally wish ill upon anyone. But really,  Trillanes' drama was uncalled for and the government acted accordingly.  C'mon guys! The election is in two years, just wait till then if you want Gloria out!  Sigh. I truly wish that the government finally pulls through with the "eradication" of these military and civilian troublemakers though (if not through "extreme" means then by locking them away and really throwing away the key).  Let it be known that I do not support the motives and methods of Trillanes, Guingona, Labayen, Reyes, et al.  And considering that NOBODY went to the Peninsula to support them except for Bibeth Orteza, I'm pretty sure A LOT of Filipinos agree with me too.

Gee.  I can't wait for all of my tour cancellations to start flooding in.  And poor Pen, they were at 90% capacity, had to cancel a wedding, and now have to work overtime to restore their lobby and reputation.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Performance 8PM, NOVEMBER 28 Green Papaya Art Projects Lecture\demo 2:30PM NOVEMBER 29 UP College of Music-Mini Hall Workshop 4:00PM NOVEMBER 29 UP College of Music-Mini Hall

Astad Deboo brings new dimension to the ever ubiquitous dynamics of innovation and tradition in dance. Venturing into the less-trodden path of modern dance in India, Astad has bravely sought a variety of dance traditions, styles, technique and knowledge, combing through world cultures while fruitfully combining them with his own tradition and experiences. Born in 1947 in Navsari, Gujarat, Astad Deboo initially received training in Kathak under Guru Prahlad Das in Calcutta and in Kathakali under Guru E K Panicker. He later attended the London School of Contemporary dance learning Martha Graham's modern dance technique and Jose Limon's in New York. Along with these and other experiences with dance companies in Japan and Indonesia, he has created a dance theatre style of his own which successfully assimilates Indian and western techniques.

Now in Manila for the Asian Performing Arts Festival, Astad Deboo shall be giving a performance/artist presentation at Green Papaya Art Projects on Wednesday, November 28, 8 PM. He will also talk about his process and share his artistic process the next day, November 29, 2:30PM with a lecture-demonstration at UP College of Music Mini Hall. A dance workshop follows thereafter at 4PM.

Admission is free. For inquiries, please call +63926 6635606 or email

The 9th San Agustin International Music Festival, the premiere musical and cultural event in Intramuros, unreels on November 28 to 30 at the San Agustin Church with a powerhouse assemblage of the finest musicians both from here and abroad. This year’s festival has a special musical relevance since we commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the restoration of the 18th Century Pipe Organ of San Agustin Church, a National Cultural Landmark. Featured artists are Spanish organist Miquel González, Filipino bassoonist Adolfo Mendoza, the world-renowned Philippine Madrigal Singers, the Hail Mary the Queen Children’s Choir, the Union Church Chancel Choir and the Manila Philharmonic Brass Ensemble.

González, the Badalona-Barcelona organist is a winner of the prestigious Prix Ruiz-Morales in the Música en Compostela tilt and the Joventuts Musicals d’ Espanya national competition held at the Girona Cathedral. Mendoza, principal bassoonist of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) and faculty member of the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music, has performed in key cities around the world as part of the Asian Youth Orchestra. Organist González teams up with bassoonist Mendoza to perform compositions of Vivaldi, Elgar, Devienne and Spohr, among others. The Philippine Madrigal Singers under choirmaster, Mark Anthony Carpio, is the only group to win the coveted European Choral Grand Prix twice, the latest of which was held in Arezzo, Italy last August.

On November 28, Miquel González, will interpret baroque pieces of Anselm Viola(1738-1798) and Charles Baguer (1768-1808) and together with the bassoonist, Adolfo Mendoza, the Concerto in D Minor by Antonio Vivaldi. The Philippine Madrigal Singers will render, among others, the Pater Noster, Christmas Spiritual Medley and Mga Awit ng Pasko. On November 29, organist González and bassoonist Mendoza will be followed by the Hail Mary the Queen Children’s Choir under conductor Theresa Vizconde-Roldan as they render the pieces like Living a Holy City, Salve Regina, Halina’t Umawit. On November 30, after the performance of the organist and the bassoonist, the Union Church Chancel Choir and the Manila Philharmonic Brass Ensemble under the direction of Eudenice Palaruan will close the three-day festival with the performance of John Rutter’s Gloria to welcome the Yuletide Season. They will be joined by a composite choir from various church choirs.
The festival is organized by the Director of San Agustin Museum in cooperation with the Embassy of Spain, Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional, Instituto Cervantes, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Cultural Center of the Philippines and DZFE 98.7. Concerts start at 8:00 p.m. For details, contact 526-6793 to 94 or 527-4060 to 61.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


So what the hell you still doing here?  Why haven't you logged onto Yahoo Answers and replied to my question yet?  Huh?  Huh?  Don't waste my fricking time.  

How was that for my impression of being a thug.  Thanks Juan for the very impressive portrait that makes me look neither flamboyant nor fat.  

So yeah, check out the site.  It's a really fun service by yahoo that acts as a search engine but with real people giving you the answers.

Mood: butch.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Just in case you were wondering. Yes, that is yours truly in the Nescafe Coffee Christmas commercial. Shot only last October 30 at Production Village in Makati, I am amazed at how quickly it was able to be broadcast.  And although I may have been the shortest and least strikingly gorgeous among the cast, it was I who had the "money shot" so to speak. Apparently, being the person who is seen sipping from the cup is the most central role of all.  Seen above is my fellow multicultural cast. The quiet and brooding half Japanese/half Venezuelan Kenji Rivas, the gorgeous Brazilian model Malu Melo (who is also cast in the latest Pepsi ad with Bamboo), me, the funny and fantastic German/Filipina/DJ Christina Bartges, and Canadian model/bodybuilder Chris Davis.  The ad was directed by Steven Ngo and assisted by Kristine Rada.  

I would really like to get a copy of this downloaded onto youtube for my files, but dang.  I don't know how to record things from TV anymore.  

And to Brian, who posted great Lomo shots of the Intramuros Deluxe walk on his site Stochastic: Thanks bro.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Ok, all you yogistas out there.  Check out the newly opened Pulse Yoga Studio at 23 Florida Street in Greenhills.   It's new, it's chic, and it's the hippest yoga studio in town.  Tesa is an instructor there (she was just certified this year by Alex Medin under Yoga Alliance) and - not to gloat, but she is one of the best there is.  First on their agenda this December 7 - 9 is a weekend Yoga workshop with the famous Manju Patthabi Jois of Mysore.  Son of the famous Sri K. Patabhi Jois, recognized worldwide as the foremost authority on Ashtanga Yoga. Manju's workshops are distinct for it's incorporation of pranayama ("life breathing") and vedic chantings to enhance yoga practice. Call/text them at 0922 8334640 or email  You can also check out Manju's site (check out the really groovy music) and Tesa's site here.

Namaste, y'all.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


A million thanks and a box of cookies to Brett Debritz of Australia's Courier Mail Lifestyle section who was sweet enough to mention me in a column called, "In Imelda's Shoes".  It's a wonderful article, which illustrates Manila as a city that is at once chaotic but nevertheless interesting enough for a visit.  Thank you so much, Brett, for "getting it" so to speak and for being brave enough to come to Manila despite the Glorietta explosion. I sincerely hope to see you once again back here in the city of affections.

Manila is everything you'd expect of a bustling Asian city, and quite a few things you wouldn't expect.  Read the rest here...

And kudos to the Peninsula Manila (I have been their in-house tour guide for years) and Philippine Airlines, for sponsoring Brett's visit.  It just shows you that a little hospitality and graciousness can definitely change any person's perspective on a city.  Here's to hoping that you guys sponsor more travel writers trips to the Philippines.

Thanks to boerx for the picture of Manila Bay.

Friday, November 09, 2007


So the Philippine government has accepted responsibility, GMA has expressed her indignation, and the Philippine Catholic Church has passed the blame onto all of us for the suicide of Mariannet Amper.

For those of you who haven't heard yet, Mariannet Amper is the 12 year old girl from Davao who committed suicide due to the poverse circumstances of her family.

Now although it's rather big of the abovementioned to express their sadness and anger over such a senseless death, I don't share the opinions of the Church that it is completely OUR fault. I'm sorry, that is a copout. At the end of the day, it is you, The Catholic Church, and the Philippine government who should be to blame. NOT ALL OF US. I mean, the matter here is really simple. Cry, complain, and bitch all day long, but for as long as you folks in the National government and the Philippine clergy DO NOT SUPPORT family planning, and promote artificial methods of birth control among the most desperate of our countrymen, stories like Mariannet will perhaps become a common one.

I mean, really. To deny that overpopulation and improper sexual education is NOT a major reason why poor Filipinos cannot rise out of their dire situation is sheer idiocy. To turn a blind eye to this connection is tantamount to killing your own people.

So back off Bishops. Don't pass the blame onto us. We, the Filipino people, just like Mariannet are victims of your myopic outdated and insular policies.


Really, to blame us. How dare you...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


And the Quiapo Tour is back on the schedule. Starting November 5. Monday. Hope to see you guys there. Scroll down for the details and the tour dates. Thank you sari sari store for the photo.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

OH SH**...

Literally. The Washington Post reported that the explosion in Glorietta 2 mall was not caused by terrorists but by Ayala Mall's inadequate sewage system which likely created a methane explosion similar to the one in Guadalajara, Mexico in 1992.

Now one might instinctively and quite insensitively react with an "Oh thank god it wasn't a terrorism plot." - let's not lose sight of the big picture here. Although this may no longer seem like a local security issue (To: Senator Trillanes and all the other conspiracy theorists who sure look like morons now. Please go die.), this now brings up larger issues of proper urban planning and overdevelopment. And how ignoring the importance of such issues can not only cause inconvenience, but ultimately cost lives.

And if this methane-gases-due-to-human-waste theory proves itself to be true, considering that this is Ayala Malls, the country's supposedly most prestigious real estate development corporation that supposedly prioritizes issues such as these, can you imagine what the sewage system of less "prestigious" developments might look like? Just think about what horrors lurk underneath MegaMall or worse, Robinson's Malate and Galleria. People of Summit Media, you know what I'm talking about. The underground parking lot of your offices in Galleria really are Dante's seven levels of hell. And I'm already being kind.

Malls are not only the ones who commit crimes of improper crap disposal as well. Residential developments such as the uberuglyoverdone Malate Bayview and uberoverpriced Serendra still need to prove to us that they have their sh** together before we can trust that they won't create another tragedy like Glorietta 2.

And it has to be a community effort to demand such things such things as proper urban planning and sustainable waste management. We Filipinos just have to start looking beyond ourselves and take responsibility for the crap we create. I mean, look at how shamefully we litter our cities and countrysides. Total proof that we might really be a primitive, uncivilized people incapable of understanding the workings of the world around us. And class, money and power are not the issue here. Just take a walk through Binondo, there is so much money on Calle Ongpin yet it's tenants allow feces to freely flow in full view between their streets. The will should not only be political but of the people as well.

Ultimately we should all realize that sewage is serious sh** and just because we flush the it down, doesn't mean that it's going away. Period.

Evidence that I might be warming up to Mayor Lim. He allowed a study to determine the humanitarian disaster that was Mayor Atienza's birth control ban. Thank your Rina for writing about it.

Oh, and remember the Australian journalists booked at the Peninsula who cancelled after the bombing? Well, they decided to come and visit anyway. What a hardy bunch. Toured them last Monday as scheduled. Lovely folks. Nary a whinge at all. Australians rock.

Friday, October 19, 2007


It's been quite a day. Quite a day I tell you.

After my 9:30am tour of Intramuros, I immediately rushed to the Brothers Burger restaurant in front of Makati Medical Center for a 12:00pm meeting with Dr. Ernesto Santos of MMC and other members of the Makati Tourism Council to talk about plans of creating a heritage "walk" zone in Old Poblacion near Rockwell.

After all was said and done (meeting went well - were looking at creating a map of old houses in Makati. Told them to get in touch with HCS), we all said our goodbyes at about 1:15pm. Dr. Santos headed out to Makati Medical Center and I walked off to meet my wife at the MAC store in Greenbelt. On my way there, right about 1:45pm when I was crossing the Ayala Museum, I saw a woman screaming. She was completely incomprehensible, sticking close to the wall, wailing close to the ground. I thought she was in a panic because her bag was stolen or something. Soon enough, a group of people gathered around to ask what was wrong but nothing she said seemed to make sense. It was only when she reached for her cellphone to call a family member that we all overheard the news: a bomb had gone off in Glorietta 2 and she ran all the way to Ayala Museum.

I don't think I could ever forget the look in her eyes. There are no words to adequately describe the degree of fear and panic I saw gashed across her face as I am sure there are no words to describe what she saw as well. This poor girl, a mid-twentysomething college graduate, perhaps on her way back from lunch, did not expect a tragedy of this magnitude to happen right before her eyes today. And her scarred expression and the damage to her nervous system really made me wonder about universal justice. I mean, this was some innocent Filipina, at the threshold of her professional life, innocently going about her day. She didn't deserve this. This country doesn't deserve this. Nobody deserves this.

By 3:00 I was back in Malate. By 3:30 Dr. Santos is on TV reporting that eight are dead, more than fifty injured.

By 4:00, I notice that the bombing has become the latest opportunity to once again bash President Gloria. What is with some people in this country? Not that I like Glo that much but really, I don't see why the very opportunistic political opposition (Trillanes is just pure evil. May he die from hemorrhaged anal fissures in jail for his grandstanding and insensitivity) and the hopelessy transparent reporters on ABS CBN (don't play poker ever guys - your smarmy faces will give you away), should needlessly provide innuendo and political posturing during a time that should call for more reason and sympathy. And hey Maria Ressa? Even You? C'mon. Your comment that "there are only two umbrella groups with this capacity: Jemaah Islamiyah and law enforcement agencies." was practically dripping with implications that our own military blew up a bomb that would kill and maim fellow Filipinos. Watch it, guys. This is the wrong move for now. People don't want politics at this moment. Take my word for it. Report this latest tragedy with a little more sensitivity please or report something that at least has PROOF, ok?

But I'm not going to let this get me down. We're a cool country. Were on our way up. Something like that isn't going to get us down now. Tomorrow the malls will be open.

Life in this crazy city will go on as usual again.

6:00pm. My private VIP tour for Australian travel journalists with the Manila Peninsula has been cancelled because of the bombing. They decided not to visit the country.

Then again. Maybe life might not.

Thank you paulf08 for the interesting shot of smoke at the Glorietta.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Wala lang (Nothing really). I just made this post because I just love it when I see Filipinos scratching the fringe of fame and pop culture superstardom. As a child, I remember how amazed I was when I saw Tetchie Agbayani acting side by side with Shelley Long and Tom Hanks in Steven Speilberg's "The Money Pit" and more recently, how vicariously thrilled I was to see Migs Ayesa ALMOST making it as the lead singer of INXS. So just last week, when a friend of mine, freelance writer/New Yorker, Bruce Northam of, flew into the country to cover adventure tourism in Palawan, Manila's rock music scene and to interview some guy named Arnel Pineda - I was pretty tickled pink by the news he gave me. Now, "Arnel who?" you might ask (I know I did). Well, according to Bruce, Mr. Pineda, of a band called The Zoo, has been chosen to become the next lead singer of American 80's glam rock band, Journey starting in November. Tres Cool. Hey, now being a maaaaajor Journey fan in High School myself (I remember being a freshman and playing the song, "Faithfully" over and over until the cassette tape was eaten by my overheated Pioneer component system), it's amazing to learn that a Filipino will be a frontman for one of rock music's most iconic bands. But then again, according to some voices in the InterWeb, Arnel might have a hard time warming up to some die hard Journey fans in the midwest who consider him to be the equivalent of musical "outsourcing". But who cares, whether Arnel makes it as their lead singer for all time or only as a "temp" and they eventually go their "Separate Ways". I still say to Arnel, "Don't Stop Believeing". Remain as "Faithfully" as you can to your craft and perhaps the American audience will welcome you with "Open Arms" and all the blogosphere haters out there who made fun of your Pinoy accent will see "Who's Crying Now."

*I saw The Zoo at Bagaberde Roxas Boulevard last week with Bruce. I was impressed by Arnel's talent I have to say. And so was Bruce. Check him out doing what he does best on the Youtube post above. Hmmm. Cecile. Do you think we could give this guy some styling pointers.? He looks like he just came off his shift at a Netopia Internet Cafe or at the Copylandia or something. A better haircut would be in order too.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


This is really old, but nevertheless, it's still good.

Now what would happen if we pit Imelda Marcos and Leona Helmsley against one another over a pair of shoes?

Log onto the defunct and check out what ensues. And even though it was all written in the late 1980's, (the Marcos funeral, Mike Tyson, and Liz Taylor perfume references being a dead giveaway), the humor still has legs today. The word Filipino is also spelled in many interesting ways throughpout. So brush the dust off this site and prepare to waste at least ten minutes of your day.

My bets were on Leona. Sorry, Madame.


And guess whooooooo's baaaack? It's a bird. It's a plane. It's a pig in the sky. It's Malu Fernandez. Ever unremorseful with no hint of her past troubles, check out her latest entries on how to relieve yourself from the heartbreak of gluttony and hangovers in last Monday's Manila Standard.

Wala lang. Frankly, I don't care. But I just like to stir sh**.

Everyone. Read her article here:

Then vent your anger here:
Kamahalan Publishing Corporation
Manila Standard Today
Leyland bldg., Railroad cor. 21st
streets, Port Area, Manila
Trunk line: 527-8351 to 55

Central desk
Direct lines: 5274011, 5274126
Trunk line: local 208, 209, 210
Fax numbers: 527-2059, 524-6649

Thanks watergirl for sending Leona - Imelda and riain for the Malu update.

Now back to work.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


Originally uploaded by mtxtremist
Mayor Lim proves to the world that he does not understand sarcasm and perhaps has no idea what the internet is at all. Today, Mayor Alfredo "Maddie" Lim calls for Filipinos to join together to protest against "The Daily Show with John Stewart" because of Cory Slut-gate. (See previous post.)

MORON! What the f***? Ask the nearest ten year old to you to find the episode on You Tube and you'll see just how silly and senile and obnoxious you are being. Really, I dare you to try starting a signature campaign. Only complete idiots and people who have no idea how to use the dictionary will sign it.

Come to think of it. Dang... That could be a lot of people...

Nevertheless. Take my advice, Lim. Drop this. Not only because it will make you look like a fool but also because a lot of people don't LIKE Cory Aquino as much as you might think. And once again, I'll give you a chance. Drop this topic within the next 24 hours, Mayor, and I won't judge you as being unintelligent. Deal?

God, I hope Jon Stewart and Samantha Bee don't think that all Filipinos are as imbecilic as Lim, Deedee, Cory and whoever else other green passport holder is chasing this NON-ISSUE. Besides, this won't hold water. The Desperate Housewives Filipino slur protest was spearheaded by the Filipino-American community, not the Filipino-Filipino community, and that was why it was given so much media attention in the states. We don't matter here much on this side of the world in the eyes of US media. Filipinos only matter there because they are physically present in the country - and if they are American citizens, even more so. My fearless forecast is that Cory Slut-gate will fade away because it's only a big issue locally (if at all).

And Samantha. Please feel free to make fun of the aforementioned Dee-dee, Lim, and Cory. Then again, why would you waste your time, no?

Thank you mtxtremist for the photo of Mayor Lim under the Ninoy statue in front of Intramuros.

Speaking of which, could someone please move that statue out of it's current location at the corner of Burgos and Luneta Park? The Ninoy statue would be more appropriate near the Manila Press Club. Ninoy was a journalist. He has nothing to do with the Spanish colonial period of the Philippines at all. The statue just looks stupid next to Intramuros.

Another reason why the writers, producers, and directors of Desperate Housewives (and not Teri Hatchet) should be tarred and feathered for their ignorance. Read this story sent to me by my Joan Perry, my blog tukayo (same name) "Walk This Way" from Charleston NC. Apparently, five Filipino nurses saved a man who was attacked by an alligator. Really, what would make the joke on DH funny was if the comment was true. Proof of Filipino medical competence like this shows you just how much DH needs to make amends with the Fil-Am medical community (who were mostly trained in the Philippines). Read about it here. Be careful, the photo of the severed arm can be gross to look at.

Then again, maybe I just side with Jon Stewart because his humor is highbrow and funny and I just hate Desperate Housewives because it's a stupid shallow show about stupid shallow people with stupid shallow issues. Maybe I'm just a snob like that.

Friday, October 05, 2007


Although I totally agree with Mr. Nadal and the other 72,0000 petitioners about lodging a protest against The Desperate Housewives TV show for trying to perpetuate a malicious fallacious stereotype, I recently found a similar issue which might prove that the Philippines has become the whiniest nation in the world.

Just this morning I saw Pinky Webb interview some lady named Deedee Sytangco on the TV show "Umagang Kay Ganda" about another racially motivated comedy hate crime. According to Miz Dee, people are now up in arms against "The Daily Show with John Stewart" correspondent Samantha Bee for calling former president Cory Aquino a slut (above). Now, I know that isn't nice. If there are any words to describe Miz Aquino, I'd choose, "terrible president" and "theocratic megalomaniac" over "slut" any day. But regarding this particular skit, it's more than apparent that Miss Sytangco and friends are being just a little too thin-skinned and if I may add, moronic as well.

Miss Deedee, if you understand this little thing called "satire", you'd realize that the feature was a veiled compliment and not an insult. Ask the nearest ten year old to turn on the computer and find the feature "Is America Ready for A Woman President" on the YouTube website, you'll see that Miss Bee described Miss Aquino as a leader who "faced down dictators". Really, it was really obvious that you didn't watch the segment yet before coming onto the show.

So don't be stupid, Deedee. Drop the topic. You and Cory can should just go back to praying the rosary or whatever it is that you do but be smart and leave this issue alone. Save yourselves from looking like idiots.

And Pinky, judging by the look on your face, you knew this topic was absurd, so why did you still make it make it patol (pursue this)? Was ABS CBN hoping to increase ratings by manufacturing a another scandal similar to the Desperate Housewives one? For shame.

But at the end, let's all learn how to laugh at ourselves, guys. Because if we don't do it, someone else will do it for us.

My favorite Filipino slurs in American Media: Family Guy. Gee. I wonder what the Filipino nurses will say about this one?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007



Sigh. Really. What are you thinking? Are you even thinking? Add more animals to Manila Zoo? Are you mad? Now now. Just because you think that PETA or the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals can be a bunch of noisy do-gooders, doesn't mean that you should maliciously spite them just to prove a point. You are definitely more mature than that.

I mean really. Are you old? I don't think so. Age has nothing to do with this. Frankly, I think you are just being merely cruel by planning to add more animals to this facility. You say that you want to do the right thing and are open to taking advice? Well, take this then. Removing animals from a paradise like Calauit in Palawan and forcing them to live in an antiquated cramped filthy place like Manila Zoo is definitely not the right thing to do. Torturing animals purposefully for the sake of spite and/or political gain is definitely NOT going to win you any points on judgement day either I'm sure.

So please please please prove to me that you can be progressive. It's still early in the game and you can change your ways, I'm sure. Plus, you don't have to close the zoo down either. Just convert the zoo into a botanical garden instead. Just think about how much great press you will get for being so modern and humane? Think about how much money you can save as well. Feeding those animals are a drain on the city's budget. Here, I'll give you some advice on what to do and listen well. First, send the remaining animals to a wider, more open space (like Avilon Zoo in Rizal), then tear down the zoo's ugly walls and put "see through" fences instead so that pedestrians and outsiders can see those beautiful trees. After doing so, start using the facility as a greenhouse/plant center/ecological education tool to teach Filipinos how to care for the environment (just like the Manila Seedling Bank), and not to teach them how to CAGE poor animals. Finally, create a connecting promenade from the zoo to the Metropolitan Museum, Harrison Plaza and the Paraiso ng Kabataan Park on Quirino to fully integrate this new PARK into the urban fabric around it. It will make the area more pedestrian, baby stroller, and tourist friendly.


And just to keep things clear, I don't agree with PETA's idea to close EVERY zoo in the Philippines. I just agree with them in taking all the animals out of Manila zoo. Could somebody start a signature campaign?

God. If only the Mayor could read this article. I really feel he has no clue about what's going on around Manila.

Thanks Antonette for the photo.

Monday, September 24, 2007


Green Papaya's OPEN PLATFORM is an experimental laboratory for artists, researchers, enthusiasts and bystanders to wash their nasty works-in-progress for a one-night only critical play and exchange via screenings, conversations, performances and declarations of love. Whilst the sometimes foreboding creative process, w.i.l seeks to generate a space for those halfway-over experiences tucked in our sketchpads, notebooks, Myspace accounts and personal blogs. We welcome all in/decent propositions and different modes of presentation. So send in your videos, soundbytes, wearables, performances, installation, drawings, evil plans and marriage proposals for weekly one-night stand gatherings at Green Papaya. Proposals must be submitted a week in advance, send them thru or holler up +63926 6635606. 124A Maginhawa St. Teachers Village East, Diliman QC.

And check out, a site done by a friend of mine, Jobert. Great guy who once provided a sh*tload of booze and moisturizer for The Living Room. It's kind of like a wailing wall, or an advice free for all where one can post their issues and get feedback about what they are going through, whether it be as complex as the loss of a true love or as simple as what new appliances to buy. An interesting concept. Log on here.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


I was tagged months ago by the grumpyurbanslacker. My apologies to grumpy for not posting earlier but I really couldn't come up with anything interestingly "weird" enough about myself to write about. This is the best I could come up with.

Six "Weird" Things About Myself That You Didn't Know

My first job in New York was a cheese counter boy at Dean and Deluca. I was then transferred to the fish station after being caught eating the stock. I then started bringing my own soy sauce to work so that I could eat the fish raw as well. (Never hire an Asian to work at a fish store, what the hell were they thinking?)

In 1995, I worked with an artist named Joe Davis ,the only "artist-in-residence" and research affiliate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and we put up an exhibition together at some recreation hall in Harvard named Ticknor or something. But one of the outcomes of collaborating with the man is that my DNA has been put (along with many others) into some rocketship that is flying through outer space as we speak. The objective here, if I remember correctly, was to communicate with space aliens regarding life on earth. And if by chance aliens don't understand written human language, then they sure must be able to recognize DNA codes. I can't seem to find the website that shows me on the list anymore though.
I started my career as a cartoonist and illustrator for Business Day newspaper at the age of fourteen drawing a comic strip known as "Bar Sins", a comic about alcoholics at a bar that discussed issues both local and esoteric (above, done later on during the Erap era when I returned to I then became the youngest member of the Samahang Kartunista ng Pilipinas in 1987 thanks to a recommendation by Nonoy Marcelo. After drawing comics, I then moved on to work as an illustrator for T-Shirts at a clothing store named "Island Spice Philippines" that my sister owned. I was one of the co-founders of the company and kinda loathe myself for being part of the proliferation of all those tie-dye T-shirts (We used to sell PapaDom T-Shirts - no offense Papa Dom!) and the grungy pseudo-"ethnic" hippie look that kinda took the Philippine youth scene of the early nineties by storm. Yes, it was a very sloppy looking moment in local fashion I know.

I was a dancer. I was the founding member of the Walang Pamagat Performance Art Company with my best friend Inigo Elizalde. Our dance theater group performed at the CCP, RISD, AS220 Providence, the Bronx Museum of Art, and in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. I am not in dancer's shape anymore but I am kinda immortalized "in action" in the book "Philippine Dance: Mainstream and Crosscurrents." by Reynaldo Alejandro

In the six degrees to celebrity department, Jean Paul Gaultier was my aunt Peanut's roommate in Manila in the 1970s (And yes, that is the real name of my mother's sister). When living in New York in the mid-90s, Inigo and I used to hang out a lot with still struggling performance artist Casey Spooner of Fischerspooner (which only puts me one more degree away from Michael Stipe). Haven't seen him in years and apparently neither has a lot of our old group since he made it big. Wonder if he'll remember me if I bump into him again someday. I also once served coffee to Rosie Perez when I was working as a busboy at E and O restaurant on Houston Street.

And that's it. I hope these are strange enough things about myself that you would never guess.

Now, if I had to tag anyone, my dream team would be to tag Chuva. Bryanboy. and MLQIII. But that is only if I had to. No pressure anyone. Only do this if you wish.

And speaking of better late than never, Mayor Lim has finally fixed the lights on Roxas Boulevard. Apparently, this is the reason why the lights were turned off. The mayor is also made a statement showing he is open to criticism and is apparently restoring The Manila Metropolitan Theatre as well. Now this is the kind of news I like to hear. And I'll take him up on giving him suggestions. I'll be more than happy to send him a list of stuff I want to see done.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Fun Fun. A lecture about my favorite period in Philippine architectural history is happening over at Silverlens Gallery in Makati at the end of the month.

Join us as Silverlens welcomes Edson Cabalfin for the second installment of his architecture talks as part of our weekly Saturday Gallery Activities. On September 29, Cabalfin will be giving a lecture on “The Modern Filipino House: Philippine Residential Architecture of the 1960s”, from 4:30-6:30pm.

What makes a house "modern" during the 1960s in the Philippines? How did Filipinos translate an idea of modernity in the design of residential architecture at that time? What were the origins of these conceptions of the modern? The lecture will try to answer these questions, as well as analyze floor plans, materials, decorations, exteriors and interiors of single-family houses built during the 1960s. The speaker will also be giving a presentation on houses published in architectural magazines of that era such as "Philippine Arts and Architecture" and "Philippine Building and Architecture Journal”.

Edson Cabalfin is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the History of Architecture and Urbanism Program in the Department of Architecture at Cornell University. He was formerly a Fulbright Fellow from 2001 to 2003 at the University of Cincinnati where he finished his Master of Science in Architecture degree. He received his Bachelor of Science in Architecture (cum laude) and Master of Architecture degrees from the University of the Philippines at Diliman in 1996 and 2001 respectively. His current dissertation research examines the discourse of nationalism in post-independence architectures in the Philippines. Edson is presently a visiting lecturer at the University of the Philippines and has previously taught at Cornell University, University of Santo Tomas, Far Eastern University and De La Salle University – College of St. Benilde.

Silverlens Gallery is located at 2320 Pasong Tamo Extension, Warehouse 2, Yupangco Building. Gallery hours are 10am to 7pm, Mondays to Fridays and 1pm to 6pm on Saturdays. For more information, call 8160044 / 09052650873 or email

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


In an attempt to show the realities of Manila tempered with a hopeful twist, I'm going to post this wonderful video. Shot by The Living Room resident Romeo Candido, it's a short documentary of a project currently being done at Smokey Mountain. Former Living Room resident Marlene Sahakian also appears.

I love this short feature because it shows that things are being done to solve our city's problems. And although slow and small, it's definitely a sure thing.
Click here.

And for those of you who are wondering. Yes, I am related to the Celdran in this video. She is my first cousin.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Oh wow. I found this is my email. Apparently, this email has making the rounds around town because of it's apparently shocking nature. Truth be told, I'm not sure if it was actually read in public (It's supposed to be done today judging by the date). I certainly hope the writer changed her mind and decided not to proceed with it. I'm erasing her name just in case it wasn't actually put out there.

Healing the Soul of the Nation
Publisher’s Speech
When I was growing up I was told in school that my country was colonized by Spain, for a period of over 330 years. We were then colonized by the U.S. for 46 years and occupied by Japan for 3 years. School also taught me that I should be grateful to Spain because the Spanish gave the Philippines European civilization and religion. Unfortunately most Filipinos still believe this. That is why the Philippines is still in the dark age. How did my people come to believe these lies? I do not see how any people could understand colonization in these terms. The Spaniards came to my country. They murdered our men, raped our women, stole our lands and enslaved those who survived. They damaged our cultures beyond repair. The Spaniards came to the Philippines, as they did in other countries, to rape, murder and plunder. And in school I was taught to be grateful because Spain had given me their religion and their so-called civilization. This is like asking the Jews to be grateful to Hitler.

Imagine a group of armed bandits storming into this room right now, raping you, slaughtering you, and stealing everything of value. When they are finished, they tell you, the surviving victims, “Here is our civilization and religion. Be grateful.”

I thought the Philippine education system had changed from the time I was a little girl. Recently I started to read the Philippine Constitution in a textbook by Hector S. De Leon, 2005 edition, that is given to today’s students at the Universities of the Philippines and Ateneo. On page 12 it says… and I quote:

“The demerits, however of the Spanish administration were more than offset by its merits.

(a) The Spanish rule, when viewed in the broader light of global colonization, was generally mild and humane. The Filipino people were not brutalized. Spaniards and Filipinos intermarried and mingled socially. Slavery and tribal wars were suppressed.

(b) It brought about the unification of the Filipino people. The diverse tribes were molded into one people, under one God, one King and one government, and out of their common grievances against Spain, blossomed the spirit of nationalism; and

(c) Spain uplifted the Filipinos from the depth of primitive culture and paganism and gave them the blessings of Christianity and European civilization.”

End of quote. “Spain uplifted the Filipinos from the depth of primitive culture and paganism.” How can Spain call the Filipinos primitive when they were the ones who came here to rape and murder? Who is primitive? My forefathers honored the moon, the stars, the earth, the mountains and the trees. What is wrong with that? Don’t you honor god when you honor nature?

If to become Christian means to slaughter my father, my mother, my brothers and my sisters, I would rather be pagan.

Spain did not give the blessing of Christianity to my forefathers! They were told to convert to Christianity or die! That is what Spain did to many countries all over the world.

I believe that our problem in the Philippines today is not lack of money nor too much greed and corruption. This is not the root of our problem. Rather it is first and foremost a lack of identity. An individual who cannot grow up with an identity can never be confident, and can never know success. The Philippines is full of individuals without identity, without confidence. The Philippines is suffering from an identity crisis. I believe this is what makes this country a poor nation.

Filipinos often complain about the problems of the Philippines comparing this nation to China, Japan, Singapore and the USA. We cannot make this comparison. There is no comparison. These nations have not been raped and plundered like the Philippines. None of these nations have suffered foreign domination for almost 400 years!

The Republic of the Philippines was inaugurated on July 4, 1946. We have only been an independent state for 60 years. We cannot expect this country to heal in such a short period of time.

Our soul has been damaged by continuous foreign control. But we can fix this. We can change the future. It is up to us. I believe our only chance for survival and progress is to raise a new generation of Filipinos aware of their rich culture and noble heritage. For the past ten years I have been publishing books to defend and promote Philippine art and culture. I believe that some day soon there will be a cultural revolution that will inspire the Philippine cultural renaissance. I believe there are many Filipinos like me who will make a difference, who will make this happen.

There is hope. As long as there are Filipinos like me, like my brother Freddie Aguilar, our national artist Napoleon Abueva, Alwin Sta. Rosa, Rafael Cusi and all the artists here tonight who love the Philippines and are willing to take a stand, there is hope.

I believe that the Filipino artists are the flame keepers of our rich culture and heritage. I believe that together the Filipino artists can heal the soul of this beautiful nation.

Mabuhay ang sining Pilipino!

Maraming salamat po!

Speech by M****** A******
Y** and Y*** Book Launch
C*** Publishing
Saturday, 15 September, 2007

Now, I don’t really want to get confrontational about things and I always dread making an attempt to put people in their place. Hence I will put my reaction as delicately as I can.

Really, Miz A******, what the f**k?

Don’t get me wrong here. But if you are going to start mouthing off about “healing” the soul of this nation, you should start by not giving such ignorant, incendiary and latently racist speeches. It’s precisely self righteous, falsely nationalistic "Filipinos like me", with such a covertly vindictive attitude about our colonial past which becomes the counterproductive force in the creation of a cohesive national identity. I'm terribly sorry but your writings came across as a speech filled with hate.

And if you really wish to give up “European civility” for the sake of your romanticized yet undefined glorious pre-Hispanic past, allow me to recommend first ditching your surname, which is obviously a Hispanic one. After that, you can start advocating the eradication of all concepts of time (i.e, Lunes, Martes, Miyerkoles. We all say alas sinko ng hapon. We don’t say alas lima ng hapon now do we?) and begin finding new names for fork, spoon, telephone, horse, and practically every other object in existence in the country. Finally, you can cap it all off by tearing down every 400 year old heritage church and finding a brand new name for our nation. Perhaps being named after King Philip II of Spain might be a little too “evil” and repressive for you.

And you are a publisher! Frankly, I find it alarming to realize that you need to read more as well. One only needs to pick up writings by Dr. Fernando Zialcita Phd or even the Noli Me Tangere to realize that Spain’s control of the Philippines was completely superceded by the control of the Catholic Church and friars and representatives from MEXICO. Jose Rizal’s antagonist was Padre Damaso, NOT the governor general remember? Please be careful when using incendiary, racist ramblings in the name of self realization and the creation of a “national identity”. The last time I remember when that tactic was used was under the Third Reich. Even President Marcos and his writings about the creation of a "New Society" and cohesive culture for the Philippines did not espouse such hateful words. And do you truly think that Rajah Sulayman’s stringent caste system of “datu and alipin” was any more enlightened than the theocracy and Spanish government misrule that replaced it? Were you there?

Not that I am dismissing/diminishing our country’s colonial pain and injustice. I can’t blame you for being upset. But try to base your judgements on Spanish colonial rule by more than just one book. I acknowledge that the writings which you refer can be construed as misleading and simplistic but then again, so is your argument. And you aren’t even backing up your comments with facts. I really feel that the logic/argument you present is taken from some old-school /divide and conquer method of seeking an enemy and dredging up past wrongdoings to justify any inadequacies happening today. Your argument reeks of victimization as the other reeks of denial. And both arguments, sadly, created by Filipinos.

Miz A...., we must remember that we are all immigrants here. Even the Aeta came over from someplace else. So please get off your high horse, remove that chocolate chip from your shoulder and start embracing the multifaceted identity that we have – INCLUDING THE SPANISH PART of it because all this misinformed navel gazing will only get you - and the rest of us - nowhere.

Oye chica, KINDLY MOVE ON!

Phew. I'm glad I got that out. Anybody else out there have anything to say about this?

UPDATE: This is a response from a member of faculty from the Philippine History Department of the Ateneo De Manila.

I suggest:

1) I suggest Miss A****** read the book: Authentic Though Not Exotic from University of Hawaii Press.

2) Asking the lady to do comparative historical reading. She mentions China and Japan. She obviously doesn't know about how the Chinese and the Japanese NOBILITY treated their own people DOWN THROUGH THE CENTURIES!!! This is a recurring problem among Filipinos. They don't really know the history of their Asian neighbors, even those never colonized by foreigners. So they tend to idealize them. Down to the 19th century, the penalty for a commoner not bowing to a samurai was death. The poor were so desitute that they sold their children into slavery. (Hence Japanese migration overseas late 19th-early 20th centuries).

3) Reading on Phil. prehistory and ontribal Filipinos. Nor do Filipinos know the indigenous cultures of their own country. They idealize the indigenous non-hispanic past and do not pay attention to the violence and bloodshed: village against village -- even on the same river. Competition to get slaves (more precious than land) or to get a head, or to capture women. Read the ethnographies of R. Barton on the Ifugao (early 20th cent.) or R. Rosaldo on the Ilongots (mid 20th century) or Scott's description of 16th cent. barangay society and you appreciate better what the missionaries achieved -- for all their obvious stupidities.

Sigh. Miz A******, I hope this has been an educational experience for you... Peace Out.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007


It's MadiLIM* under LIM.
Okay. It's confirmed. It's pretty much a state of calamity over in Malate. Not only did I drive by Roxas Boulevard last night and NOT SEE A SINGLE streetlamp working on the side closest to the sea (above photo taken in front of Aristocrat and Plaza Sulayman at 8:30pm), but the crosslight was also defunct causing pedestrians to wait at least twenty minutes for a free space to RUN across the street to the promenade. There isn't even a real sidewalk on the side closest to the buildings! Mayor Lim, How do you expect pedestrians to get around??? Fly? Not everyone owns a bloody car you know.

And you know what else happened? In the darkness of it all, the spare tire was stolen from the back of my sister's Honda CRV as it was parked on the street! It was screwed right off it's placement on the rear door. And it was parked on the side nearest the fountain on the corner of MH del Pilar! Under streetlamps!

This never happened to me in the freaking two years I've been living in Malate under Atienza.

MAYOR LIM!!! What the HELL!!!!???? You said crime was your priority. This totally proves otherwise. Lame f***ing duck. Retire already and find someone more energetic to get the job done. I am so not feeling you, you f***ing old goat. I'm serious. If I see you, I'll spit on you. Your hundred days are up. Get your act together NOW or go home.


OH. And furthermore, what the hell is the deal with your idea of reviving the plans of converting Bonifacio Drive into a business district? Why the hell are you trying to resurrect a plan that was shelved almost ten years ago? The needs, the profile, and population of downtown Manila has definitely changed since then and your crappy model (which I remember seeing during Atienza's time) is totally obsolete. AND WHY CREATE A NEW BUSINESS DISTRICT when downtown Manila already has one? That's what Binondo, Santa Cruz, Malate and Ermita were last I heard. Why don't you fix up those areas first? It's really easy. All you need to do is this: a) fix and create sidewalks all over the downtown areas and upgrade all infrastructure. b) Regulate jeepneys and remove smoke belching ones c) Control the proliferation of uncollected garbage, psychologically damaged street vagrants, and squatters. Just do these three things and business will return in no time at all. Trust me. The private sector provide the fancy stuff (i.e. better telecommunications systems, internet connectibility, the conversion of heritage office buildings to call centers) if you just keep the public domain in good shape. Call centers like investing in places where it's safe at night. Don't you get it?

Oh and advocating birth control accessibility to the poor won't hurt either.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


by Emmanuel Santos at Silverlens Gallery

As a part of the Saturday gallery events for the exhibit, Emmanuel Santos will be giving an Artist Talk on September 8, from 3:00 - 5:00pm.

The Artist's Lounge Afterparty will follow after the Artist Talk at 9:00pm at The Living Room, Unit 24, North Syquia Apartments, 1991 MH del Pilar, Malate.

Drawing inspiration from the Renaissance period, Melbourne-based photographer Emmanuel Santos presents and illuminating and theatrical series of angels and biblical visions in the exhibition The Passing of Light. It shows at the silverlens gallery from 6 September to 2 October. For over a decade, Santos has researched sacred texts to present a conceptual interpretation of legends and myths surrounding the ephemeral domains of the divine. The 38 photographs presented here draw on the holy scriptures of the Bible, the Torah, and the Koran. In all of the works, Santos presents a dramatic backdrop of recognizable places – from ancient, sacred sites to the bustling, modern metropolis of famous cities. In the foreground, Santos's angels fly, swoop, listen, crouch, comfort, or salvage lost faith, broken trust and innocence - according to their individual narratives.

Born in the Philippines in 1957, Emmanuel Santos migrated to Melbourne in 1982. A photo essayist specializing in areas of ethnology, spirituality and social documentary, Santos began his photographic career working for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. He has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in Australia, Singapore, Japan, Belguim, France, the Ukraine, Israel and Brazil. His work is also widely collected and published. This is his first show in the Philippines.

silverlens gallery is located at 2320 Pasong Tamo Extension, Warehouse 2, Yupangco Building. Gallery hours are 10 to 7pm, Mondays to Fridays and 1 to 6pm on Saturdays. For more information, call 8160044 or email


Admittedly, I am not easy to track down.
All this walking doesn't keep me in one place for very long.

Here are the best ways to try and reach me though.

The Living Room
Unit 24, North Syquia Apartments,
1991 MH del Pilar, Malate, Manila 1006

(63 - 2) 484 4945

Cell Phone/Text:
(63) 920 9092021



Tuesday, September 04, 2007


I just read the most interesting memo ever.

Just this morning, I finished giving a short talk and plug for my tours at the first Parent Teacher Association meeting at one of Manila's most exclusive private schools. And after receiving a sampaguita lei (lovely gesture), I was handed a little sinamay goodie bag. One of many that was handed out to all the members of this mostly foreign audience. And aside from an issue of Expat Magazine, an issue of What's On Philippines, brochures from a couple of spas, and a map of the AYALA Center, it was two little papers with the headings: "Cultural Adjustments", and "Being Safe in Manila" that really caught my eye (above and below).

Now, I'm not sure why, but I found this dossier to be both hilarious and disturbing at the same time. The whole thing opens with the "Five Stages" of shock (or grief) of moving to a new country, followed by tips for a successful adjustment to the Philippines, and ends with reminders on how to "Stay Safe" in Manila. I found it hilarious because some of the tips ranged from the obvious: "Don't keep your wallet in your back pocket" to the subtle: "Know your neighbor and nearest same nationality neighbor", to the really blatant: "Resist making comments such as "What else would you expect from these people?" and even the esoteric: "Be creative. Find a hobby. Volunteer. Smile."

Wild. Such an interesting insight to what the average working expat (and their spouse) MIGHT instinctively think of their host country. It's really just amazing that some of these people have to be reminded not to be racist and judgemental when moving here (or anywhere for that matter). And even though I know that it is important to caution ANYONE about the potential risks of living in ANY country, I have to confess that I found the tone a smidge disturbing. It tried to be diplomatic but was still rather fraught with condescion and with just a slight tinge of colonial conceit ("The Philippines is a relatively safe place provided that you are not lured into believing that it is a western culture").

Were the the negative reactions to moving here so rampant in the majority among these people that they had to start giving out memos and reminders regularly to stay sane? It also makes me wonder what it would be like if we put the shoe on the other foot. What would the dossier given to OFWs moving abroad read like? "Please try to avoid judging these people as spoiled and arrogant. Their culture is very different from ours.", "Don't use a fork and spoon. Use a fork and knife." or "Don't lose your temper when locals assume that their country is doing you a favor by employing your services or allowing you to move there."

If anything, this memo only proves the following. It shows that these poor guys live in an incredibly small world and need to get out more (education and exposure eradicates fear I always say) and that the Filipinos who mingle among them should stop feeding their paranoia and start setting an example on how to enjoy living in a excitingly multi faceted city like Manila by leaving that bubble themselves and advocating the social change that would someday render obsolete many parts of this document.

Friday, August 31, 2007


Interesting article today. Although the bars and restaurants on the BayWalk have been closed down - apparently, new ones are going to be established inside Intramuros to replace them. Sounds like a good idea I guess, but this won't be the first time that this has been tried. Around six years ago, the walls of the city were rented out to restaurants and bars but sadly, everything failed. Although a lot of establishments there were high end and world class. (my favorite one being the defunct Sanctum Unmasct Bar), none of them really took off the ground. The business development plan was hampered because of protests by conservationists (damage to the adobe) and a case that was filed against the developers (for renting without bidding). That was a shame though because I don't think the restaurants should have been removed. The developers should have been fined and punished, the restaurants should not have been singled out by protestors. Just like Baywalk, stricter measures should have been taken to not deface the adobe walls, assure bidding transparency, and to maintain order. The baby should have not been thrown out with the bathwater. I really hope Intramuros gets it right this time around. Perhaps with Lim and Durano in the picture, the squatters will be relocated, services will be improved, and the ridiculous government bidding process streamlined. Really, those are the only reasons why the any place will never take off inside Intramuros. Any right minded businessman would never put up a hospitality venture in a place with hardly any water, a counterproductive bidding process (the winner is never really based on merit), lousy parking, and with a shabu infested shanty town only a stones throw away.

Thank you, dboy, for the picture.

Thursday, August 30, 2007



It is indeed an honor to be chosen as one of Manila's Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs this year. I will definitely be there at Philamlife Building (one of my favorite modernist structures in downtown Manila) to accept the award on September 7.

I am so glad that I registered my tours as a sole proprietorship instead of as a foundation. I really believe our culture can sell. Our culture has value and can be profitable. Artistic and Cultural endeavors should never be considered as a charity case for dole-outs.

Once again. Wow. Thank you.


Check out their website here and learn about their advocacy of promoting entrepreneurship among Filipinos.