Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Let me shout out a huge "Congratulations" to all the graduates of the Department of Tourism's Mabuhay Guides Program, a six week intensive program done in collaboration with Blue Badge Tour Guides of London. These guys, who are going to be the official guides of guests of the Philippine state (i.e, prime ministers, journalists, diplomats, celebrities) studied topics like Philippine cuisine, architecture, fine arts, dance, and ethics. According to one of the graduates, the Program was truly a life-altering experience. All of them immersed themselves in their studies and broke barriers in understanding the depth of this identity we call, "Filipino". Arch. Toti Villalon, their professor for Philippine Heritage Sites, was so impressed by their calibre, he would have extended his class by an extra week just because he enjoyed their company so much.

Above, I, along with the Mabuhay Guides at their graduation ceremony last night at the Almacenes of the Fort Santiago. I'm sooo glad that the bar is being raised. They truly are 21 of the most intelligent, articulate, charming, and frankly, attractive representatives that our country has to offer. So proud of these guys.

Bernadette Camus
Candie Cobiao
Charisse Aquino-Tugade
Dennis Maristany
Dustin Arnold Ancheta
Helen Grace Aranda
Inocencio dela Cruz
Irene Fernandez
Jeffrey Velasco
Joy Christine Co
Lovely Reynoso
Luisito Tayag
Maria Morena Galvelo
Maricel Feliciano
Mark Bryan Ocampo
Melissa Ramos
Ronnie Gador
Sandra Balbastro
Therese Carlos
Veronica Go
Yael Fernandez

Contact Susan Calo Medina at 8965523 if you wish to avail of their services.

And check out their feature on GMA television here.

Monday, March 30, 2009


If I forgot to mention it last week, I'll put it out there right now: Swank is a really cool webzine. Easy to read and interesting, Swank is a stylish yet unpretentious read. Their blogstyle format focuses on pop culture, fashion, art, music, lifestyle, and on cool people who aren't part of the overexposed usual suspects that we see in Philippine society pages. With all these glossies closing shop out there, perhaps this is the wave of the future. It's especially interesting because articles here can link onto other sites, something that a magazine definitely cannot do. Check out their latest entry about the death of Philippine movie tag lines and check out some vintage posters.

THE HAS-BEEN ] Movie poster taglines
Like their washed up bold starlet contemporaries, their barely-noticed careers have gone the way of the "Whatever Happened To..." variety. Good thing the amazingly devoted archivist Simon Santos of the video store Video48 (West Avenue, QC) has uploaded a tremendous amount of old Filipino movie posters online. Swank rummaged through Steve's collection and picked 12 that tugged at the heartstrings.

Langis at Tubig
"If two marriages is bigamy...is one monotony?"

"She meets her man in some back street...during stolen hours."

Patayin sa Sindak si Barbara
"There’s something strange about this motion picture."

Broken Marriage
"When a marriage is on the rocks, the rocks are on the bed."

Read the rest here:

And a million thanks to Jerick T. Aguilar for the great article in Philstar! So glad you enjoyed the tour!!

Friday, March 27, 2009


Yo! Are you looking for an affordable but interesting way to enjoy summer? Pack a picnic basket and spend a lovely weekend afternoon with your family in Intramuros being entertained by magicians and brass bands. "Serenata at Saya sa Fort Santiago" is a series of magic shows and brass band concerts to be held on Saturdays and Sundays at 4:30 p.m. 

The magic shows are on Saturdays March 21, 28, April 4, 18, and 25.

The band schedules are on Sundays, March 22 (Banda ng Maynila), March 29 (Paranaque City Band), April 5 (Quezon City Symphonic Band), April 12 KC Band (Caloocan City), April 19 (JFB Drum and Lyre of Navotas), April 26 (MMDA Drum and Bugle Corps). 

This event will be held at the Historic Fort Santiago. Intramuros Administration hopes to bring back the glory days of the Walled City when residents would take their late afternoon stroll (paseo) while a band played in the plaza. The series is also held in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Intramuros Administration (IA), the national government agency tasked to restore and develop the walled city, created on April 10, 1979.

So pack up some cheese, wine, and kiddie treats and head out to the walled city. See you all there. Fort Santiago entrance fees are P75 for adults and P50 for children and students. For inquiries, please call tel. nos. 5272961 or 5273138.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Yesterday morning, I got a call from the Kabayan Action Group Intramuros Chapter, a non-government organization affiliated with the Philippine National Police. Their Chairman, "Dong" Humawan told me to immediately come into their office. Important matters apparently. Admittedly, I was a little freaked out. Did I do anything wrong? Was I under surveillance and busted for something or another? Either way, with my heart up in my throat, I ended up making my way to their office at the Parian gate and they gave me...a plaque.

Apparently, for my efforts in providing contraceptives and facilitating ligations for informal settlers in Intramuros, they thought that I was deserving of a "Certificate of Appreciation." I was floored. That was way too sweet. Aw. For a bunch of intimidating looking cops and tanods, these teddy bears really have a heart of gold deep inside. They even had it framed.

The plaque read: Mr. Carlos Celdran...is serving as an example and epitome to the renewed image of the DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM, in bringing, closer to the hearts of the people. And he is a model of all masses and kindhearted of whole Filipino poor people." And although I am not from the Dept. of Tourism and suspect that the copy was done through a translation website somewhere, it's intentions were clear. Kabayan Action Group rocks. I am humbled. And I am glad that I wasn't in trouble for anything.

From left: Johnny Olarte, Jose "Dong" Humawan, me, John "Pipoy" Jimenea, Reynaldo Casalita, and Jesus Nalla.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Thanks so much for the gifts and for sponsoring Manila Transitio 1945. Your amazing Bento Boxes of books and stationery (above) were a hit with all the guest artists, musicians, and poets who gave their services to the event.

Log onto their site here: www.atalyerdesign.com

And go to La Monja Loca to buy their stuff.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Have you met Biomodd?

Cool eh?

It's a self-sustaining ecosystem, a video game, and a collaborative work of art. Biomodd is the brainchild of Angelo Vermeulen and is currently being produced by Diego Maranan in cooperation with University of the Philippines Open University. Biomodd Los Banos (LBA2) is the second one to be built in the world, the first being constructed at the Ohio University College of Fine Arts (video above). Currently under construction at the UPOU campus in Los Banos, Biomodd plans to be shown at the National Museum of the Filipino People in September/October of 2009. And since it's a collaborative effort, the more the merrier of course. They need all sorts of people to source out all sorts of donated computer parts and geek stuff. So learn more about them here and get involved in the creation of this crazy contraption that crossses the line between art and science. www.biomodd.net.
And good art does not come cheap. So make sure to attend the BIOMODD SUMMER PARTY Fundraiser this April 17, 10PM at Cafe M in front of Ayala Museum in Makati. You can buy uber cool Biomodd shirts by Playground, swig down signature drinks sponsored by VuQo Vodka and Haliya Fruit Wines, as Angelo himself deejays.

Or hey, just send them cash and other donations through this page.

Angelo Vermeulen is a resident at The Living Room Malate. Biomodd was a nominee for the Ars Electronica Hybrid Art Prix in 2008. Read more about Angelo on his site here.

Monday, March 23, 2009


I just came back from seeing George W. Bush's "poodle", Tony Blair speak at the tent of the Sofitel Philippine Plaza, and surprisingly, I was rather charmed by the guy. Apparently, Tonyboy is in Manila for a series of talks and today the topic was: "The Leader as Principled Negotiator" . He spoke to about 500 or so business and diplomat types at the hotel's seaside tent. And after almost two hours of much anti-Gloria huffing and puffing by some Chief Justice something or another (Sorry, I ran out to have Hainanese Chicken Rice at Spiral and forgot to remember his name), Mr. B finally took the stage at about a quarter to four and spoke confidently, eloquently, and with a lot of self-deprecating humor. Naturally, there were more than a few measured catch phrases and jokes thrown at us, like:

On leadership: "In times of crisis, leaders stand up, they do not stand back"; On change: "If you try to change something for what you think is better, people hate you for it. And when you finally do, they think it's always been that way."On governance: "Campaign in poetry, govern in prose"; "Lead because you want to get it done"; "It is forgivable to fail, it is unforgivable not to try"; "Popularity is not the reason why one should lead." On problems: "If you can't fix it, manage it."; On the shift of world power to the east: "Change as the world changes". On sex and the premiership: "I was one of the first prime ministers in a long time to have a child born while in office, so it makes me wonder what the other Prime Ministers were doing all that time then." He also spoke about how he was treated after leaving office, about having his first cell phone, and about what it's like to be forgotten.

But when needled by Cheche Lazaro (above) about more pointed topics (pointed at GMA to be exact) such as popular mandate and religion, Blair, ever the diplomat, managed to charm his way out of a squeeze. He was given the very loaded question, "When do you think it's time for a leader to step down?", and managed to deflect the topic effortlessly while simultaneously eliciting laughter. Truly a polished politician.

But as the founder of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and the chief negotiator of the North Ireland Good Friday Agreement, I was rather disappointed by his vague answers to inquiries about religion. And some answers were even a little bit too Judeo-Christian-centric for my taste. When asked if the resolution of war can be found in the Scriptures, "He replied 'yes', if you read it properly." He also kept mum about the topic of birth control and population management. In reference to Reproductive Health Bill 5043, Blair was asked: "Should a leader stand up to The Catholic Church should the need arise?" and he remained perfectly evasive, revealing nothing. But even though he remained mum about his side on the issue, judging by Cherie's confession about forgetting her "equipment" resulting in her being knocked up at Balmoral, I'll take his silence to mean, "yes".


Okidoki. It's going to be a full day. What I thought would be an interesting day of just wandering about Manila to clear my head, turned out to be an afternoon of watching Cherie Blair's husband speak about "leadership" at The Sofitel Philippine Plaza. Tell you more about that later.

Oh and tonight I'm on Bobby Chinn's World Cafe Asia on Discovery Travel and Living at around ten pm ish.

And now to figure out the dress code. Haven't had the opportunity to wear anything else with my Safari shorts in quite a long time. 

Really. What does one wear to see Tony Blair? 

Saturday, March 21, 2009


After years of planning, Kapisanan Philippine Art Center and The Living Room/Walk This Way Productions proudly present Kilusan, an art exchange program that hopes to bring the Filipino Canadian art community closer to home.
So ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce three artists from the academy: Tiffany Naval (above), Jen Maramba (middle) and Ilona Fiddy (below Jen). My name is Bosley - I mean, Charlie, I mean, Carlos - and along with photographer Alex Felipe (not pictured) and Jeff Garcia (bottom), we will bring you "Toronto Meet Manila, Manila Meet Toronto", an art exchange program that shall culminate in an exhibition at Rolly's Garage Art Space in Toronto this May 2009.

Learn more about them and their thoughts through their blogs here:


Friday, March 20, 2009


As my friend over at Lookingforjuan says, "Finally! The Chance to vote for someone that matters!" Log on now to CNN and check out Efren Penaflorida and his organization, "Dynamic Teen" as one of CNN's Ten Heroes. His efforts to decrease gang membership through education has been noticed by international media and now it's our turn to give him some mind. So learn more about his advocacy and get involved.  And if you log on here, you can also nominate another Filipino for next year's Ten Heroes. Judging by the way we cleaned up through internet voting in Miss Universe, Rock Star INXS, and Best Asian Movie In History, it is sure to be a breeze. Thanks Looking For Juan for the link.


Thanks so much, Carlos Conde for the great article in the "Global Post". I'm stoked that he saw the tour for what it really was. He immediately detected that I am, in fact, NOT a tour guide nor historian, but just a flamboyant performance artist/jerk who talks way too much for his own good. 

And that's a peg I prefer. It eases the tension between me and "real" tour guides and "real" historians.  

Read Carlos Conde's article in The Global Post here:  Muchas gracias otra vez.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Just a month ago, I was asked by Cebu Pacific's Smile Magazine about the most romantic places in the Philippines. Without hesitation, I replied The Sofitel Philippine Plaza (above). Specifically, it had to be one of their corner suites overlooking Manila Bay.
And lo and behold, a month later, on my wife's birthday/our ninth wedding anniversary, The Sofitel gifts us with exactly that. A corner suite overlooking Manila Bay. Gee. I wonder if they took a hint.
It was totally mind-bogglingly luxe. We almost felt guilty about it. Just almost. And along with the little artsy/twee/although slightly/amusingly 'cute' details such as what you see above, they also gave us all the bells and whistles that the Sofitel has to offer.  
They gave us an 80 square meter suite with a 180 degree view of the bay. Waiting for us upon arrival was a huge soft bed, a bottle of wine, a cheese platter, a bowl of fresh fruit, and an ENTIRE chocolate cake. We were also given midnight massages at Le Spa (complete with piped in classical music), and access to free booze and snacks at the Club Lounge on the tenth floor.
Our room also had a dvd player, personalized stationery, and an I-pod filled with hip lounge music mixed by Sofitel itself. Our weekend had it's own soundtrack. I like Sofitel Down Mix. Way waaaay cool.  They should sell copies of it in their gift shop.
And of course, the view overlooking Corregidor, Manila, and Bataan. As we sat watching the sun go down, herons would fly by and bancas and sailboats would sail across. Sickeningly beautiful. No wonder it's my favorite spot in all of the Philippines.  See you again next year, Sofitel.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Thanks Mon Cherie for the lovely feature.  Aired on ABC5 TV.

Sunday, March 08, 2009


Thank you, Maraming Salamat, Muchas Gracias, Kam Sia to all who came to Manila Transitio 1945. It was an amazing night of performance, spoken word, installation art, video art, flamenco, and ritual.  I thank you, Intramuros thanks you, and all the men and women who gave their lives in the Liberation of Manila 1945 thanks you as well. 

Hope to see you all next year at the 65th anniversary of The Battle of Manila.

Thank you Audrey and Irwin for the photos.  And hey, if anyone out there has any photos, videos or reads any blog/press entries about Transitio, please send them to me? I need it so I can make proposals and raise funds to hold it again next year and not shoulder so much of it myself.

Friday, March 06, 2009


Run, don't walk, to your closest newsstand and buy the Travel + Leisure Philippine issue! Yahoo! Wild! So glad they chose Manila!

But um, I just wish they chose a better hat.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


Remember that Laoag Elementary School that was about to be demolished? Well, it wasn't. A last minute local heritage protection ordinance was passed by Ilocos Norte Governor Michael Keon and the building still stands. It hasn't been completely saved yet. An assesment and a hell of a lot work still has to be done but at least it's a step in the right direction.

And remember that irritating PRO-LIFE rally that I was worried about?  Well, apparently it kinda fizzled out.  My friends over at DKT (Manufacturers of Trust Condoms and Pills) - the END STOP of this "Jericho March" said that the protesters never showed up!

Some notes from my friends over at 

"Hi Carlos, thanks wishing all of us at FRENZY condoms well... as to the "rally"... what "rally"? I guess they din't get their required number... it just reaffirms what the surveys and studies have been telling us all along... Filipinos from all walks of life want access to modern contraceptive products (condoms, pills, injectables) and a better reproductive healthcare system for the Philippines. Be well."


"Carlos, They never showed up. but we have giant streamers at the office saying "Reproductive health saves lives" and "Yes to Reproductive Health" should they decide to come by again."

And a really interesting article in BURN magazine about teenage pregnancy in the Philippines by Lisa Wiltse.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009




In February of 1945, the City of Manila was completely destroyed in a battle between the United States Armed Forces and the Japanese Imperial Army. An estimated 120,000 people were lost and our beloved City of Manila was never the same again.

Join Intramuros Administration, Carlos Celdran and multi media artists Tad Ermitano, Donna Miranda, Mabi David, Kawayan de Guia, Malek Lopez, Caliph8, Ringo Bunoan, and several other artists as they celebrate Manila - the city that was and the Manila that will be.

It will be an evening of performances, music, vintage photographs and films, video art, installations, open mic, food, drink, poetry and dance within different sections of The Fort Santiago. Guest readings will be performed by Roselyn Perez, Peter Serrano, Jake Macapagal, Jamie Wilson, Aida Santos, Bambi Diaz, Janna Abrera and Mrs. Lourdes Montinola.

Flamenco music provided by Yerbaguena. Murals and visuals at the corner of Anda Street and Arzobispo provided by Pilipinas Street Project.  Thank you Filipinas Heritage Library for access to the Memorare 1945 Photo archives.

The symbolic release of 120 illuminated spirit lanterns into the night sky by the gates of Fort Santiago will cap the evening.

Reasonably priced Food and Drink (a lovely buffet and beer) will be sold in Fort Santiago before the event. Or bring your own bottle of wine/picnic and BANIGS/Floor mats. It will be lovely night to enjoy the gardens of Fort Santiago with friends and reaquaint ourselves with the ever loyal and noble city of Manila.

Be sure to clean up any mess you may leave behind and BRING FLASHLIGHTS!

This multi-media event is FREE!

Keep posted to this page for updates on this event.