Saturday, May 29, 2010


I'm totally psyched to be part of this show. I will be biking around Manila this weekend to take photographs for my "talk" on July 1. Hope you all can be there.

From the Collection of Uro dela Cruz
Show Dates: June 9-July 3,2010
Opening Reception: June 9, Wed,6-9pm

Media contact: Neli Go
Silverlens Gallery

(Above: View of The Metropolitan Theater across Plaza Lawton.)

Teodulo Protomartir was there in 1946 when the Americans gave the Philippines its independence. On July 4, he witnessed the birth of the Philippine Republic. For the first time, the Philippine flag flew alone and free. The Filipino crowd cheering by, planes flying overhead, floats lining the parade…a celebration it was. And Protomartir caught it all on still camera.

Protomartir, the photographer who first brought the 35mm format to the Philippines and actively promoted photography through his photo club and radio show, shows us a monumental event in Philippine history and the Manila that enveloped it. Considered as the Father of Philippine photography, Protomartir captured the city in ruins from the Second World War, its battle wounds and its restoration – scenes we thought only survived in memory. He captures post-war Manila’s architecture and landscape, with Filipinos going about their daily business in familiar places such as Intramuros, Luneta, Ermita and Quiapo as well as in buildings and bridges that are no longer, including the old Sto. Domingo Church, which is one of the six Churches that once stood in Spanish Intramuros. For almost four centuries there stood the home of Our Lady of La Naval before it was bombed in 1941.

(Above: View across the Pasig River to Muelle del Banco and the buildings of Escolta).

Beyond historical evidence, the significance of Protomartir’s images is meaningful. Protomartir hands to the Filipino people cultural treasures that should remain part of Filipino consciousness and memory. Sixty-four years later, we celebrate Protomartir because through him we were there too.

BY: Bea Davila

Complementing this exhibit is a talk on July 1 by Carlos Celdran, celebrated tour guide and authority on Manila’s history. Entitled Placing The Transition, the talk bridges 1946 and 2010 with photos of the places Protomartir photographed as they are today. Uro dela Cruz will also be giving an introduction to Protomartir, the man behind it all. The talk will be on July 1, Thursday, 6-8pm at Silverlens Gallery.

The Images of Being There 1946: The Legacy of Teodulo Protomartir were printed by Billy MondoƱedo.

Being There 1946: The Legacy of Teodulo Protomartir runs simultaneously as Bato Bato Sa Langit by Alfredo Esquillo Jr. at SLab, and Lover Lay Down by Christina Dy at 20Square.


On June 19 (the same day as national hero Jose Rizal’s birthday), join me and Writer’s Block Philippines as we take you through Old Manila’s Walled City and connect you with monuments, milestones, and memories that have inspired the works of generations of authors and artists. Bear with my sick sense of humor and mix it with Writer’s Block Philippines’s authoritative take on travel writing for that one-of-a-kind experience that could help launch your freelance writing career.

* WHERE: Plaza San Luis, Manila Cathedral, San Agustin, and all over Intramuros
* WHEN: June 19, Saturday, 8AM to 5PM
* WHAT: A writing tour featuring Carlos Celdran’s “If these walls could talk” tour, Writer’s Block Philippines’s lectures on writing for travel and arts & culture, and a session on photography by photographer Ena Terol. Lunch and refreshments will also be served
* WHO: Anyone who wants to get a taste of Intramuros and would love to write about it!. (Preferably college level and above)
* HOW MUCH: Ph2,500 per head, inclusive of materials and refreshments*
* MAX. NO. of PARTICIPANTS: 30 pax

*Please feel free to bring extra water and snacks, as well as your own sun protection and other supplies that you deem necessary for a day outdoors.

Log-on to to reserve your slot now!

Thursday, May 20, 2010



The Champagne Room of Manila Hotel. Stunning glass trees and old school luxe, complete with a string orchestra and sherbet in between courses. They just don't dine like this no more.

So for one weekend a month till July, join me as we relaunch the institution known as the Champagne Room. We'll dine on heirloom recipes and favorite dishes of famous guests served at The Manila Hotel Champagne Room through it's history. Prepared by their new chef, Christine Zarandin, it promises to be an interesting journey through taste and time.

Manila Hotel, Champagne Room Food Tasting with Carlos Celdran
May 22, 2010


Moulard Duck Foie Gras au Torchon
On toasted brioche with baby apple and balsamic spun sugar

Smoked Tomato Puree with Crisp Cheddar Souffle
And Basil Pesto

Hearts of Palm Salad
With Endive, Arugula, Herbed Goat Cheese
And Citrus Vinaigrette

Choice of:

“Lobster Visayas”
Oven Roasted Lobster
With Vanilla Coconut Cream Sauce and Mango Relish


Grilled Porterhouse Steak in Criolla marinade
With Creamed Peppercorn Sauce
prepared at your tableside

Mangoes Jubilee
with Home made Lemongrass Ice Cream
and Orange Liquer Sauce Flambe


text Gyranne at 916 3588012 to reserve.

Or go for the whole hog. Go on two of my tours, dine at the Champagne Room, and stay overnight. Click here.

May 22, 2010
June 19-20, 2010
July 3-4, 2010

Meet me at the Tap Room at 7pm.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


This June, during the long weekend of Philippine Independence Day (June 12) I will be having a tour of Ilocos called, "The Solid North". A three day and two night jaunt through what I consider to be the best of both Ilocos Norte and Sur with an option for a third day.

The dates will be on June 12 noon (Sat) until June 14 (Mon) in the evening of the Independence Day long weekend. 2 nights, 2 full days of Ilokano architectural walking tours, Ilokano cuisine, cocktails at world heritage sites, Marcos memorabilia and relaxing by the South China Sea.

We'll stay at The Sitio Remedios in Currimao, and visit heritage sites in Vigan, Paoay, Laoag, Sarrat, and Batac. Only 20 spots are available for this tour.

The fee is Php19,770.00. This includes airfare, accomodations, tours, land transportation & dining. Add an extra P2850.00 if wish to extend an extra day until Monday, the 14th of June. Discounts can be given to people who do not wish to fly to Laoag. Details to follow.

Reservations may already be accepted at or call/text 9209092021

ITINERARY: A leisurely r

June 12, Saturday
12:00 noon Depart Manila
1:00 arrive Laoag
2:20 arrive Sitio Remedios and check-in
4:00 Visit Diaz Mansion, Walking tour of Paoay and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Paoay Church
8:00 Cocktails and Dinner at Palayupuy, Currimao.

June 13, Sunday
FREE TIME (Shopping, swimming, relaxing, manicure/massage available)
1:00pm Depart for Vigan
1:30 pm Visit Luna Shrine at Badoc, Ilocos Norte.
2:00pm Magsingal Church at Magsingal, Ilocos Sure
4:00pm Walking Tour of UNESCO World Heritage City of Vigan - Burgos Mansion, Plaza Salcedo, Plaze Burgos, Arzobispo, St. Paul's Cathedral, Crisologo Street
6:30 Cocktails and Dinner at Syquia Mansion
9:00 Departure for Sitio Remedios

June 14, Monday
FREE TIME (optional activities can be arranged: Market visit, Cape Bojeador Lighthouse)
12:00pm Departure for Diaz House, Paoay lake and shopping
1:00 Laoag: Ilocos Museum, St. William's Cathedral, sinking belltower, market Lunch at Saramsam restaurant
2:30pm Sarrat: Santa Monica Church
3:30pm Batac: Marcos Mausloeum, Glory's Empanada in front of Plaza, market
5:30pm Paoay Convention Center cocktails.
6:30pm Departure for airport and Manila.

Any questions, reservations, or payments
can be texted at 9209092021 or


A really touching letter written by my niece. She is young and I'm glad she found someone (but more than that), something to believe in. Here's to hoping for a better future for her and for all of us.

10 things I've learned from Gilbert Teodoro

As I write this, I am holding back tears. It is not because I don't like Noynoy Aquino, nor because I think Erap being allowed to run again and now come second in this race is a joke, but because about 90% of my voting countrymen allowed a good thing slip through their fingers... yet again.

I read a comment someone posted on the GT fan page that said the Philippines will never cease to be a third world country, because the Filipinos keep thinking like one. It's a tragedy that we repeatedly refuse to acknowledge our islands' limitless potential. By electing the same kind of people over and over again to lead our nation, we are consciously closing our minds and hearts to a new era in politics; where mudslinging and dirty tactics can become obsolete. It really is a shame.

Sour graping is the easiest thing in the world. I could whine, complain and write angry hate notes and messages about how stupid, inane and terrifically idiotic we've now made ourselves out to be. I could congratulate the 12 million Filipinos for damning us to 6 years of shame, blame and online games. There are so many delightfully snarky things I could say that would probably make me feel better. But this time, I won't. Why? Because this time, I've learned how to.

Throughout his campaign, Gilbert Teodoro was often praised by many, both in the public and private sectors, for his brilliance, integrity, capability and positivity. It was due to these qualities that he received support from me and over 3 million Filipinos across the country. Though we did not soar as high as we wanted to, it was in the few feet above the ground that I, and I'm sure my fellow "Gibonians" will concur, learned valuable lessons in politics, leadership and more importantly, in life.

Of these lessons, here are 10 that I will always remember... and treasure.

1. Stop the negativity! Take responsibility! One of the things Gibo was most commended for was his commitment to maintain a positive campaign throughout the period. Not once did he stoop down to sling the mud back, he would only wipe it off his shoes. His focus was on bringing his voice and platform to all areas of the country, to give us the chance to discern and make the decision based on that knowledge. No matter how dirty the arena had become, everyone still wanted to shake his hand.

2. The world keeps spinning and so should we. "Society does change." Gibo said this in one of his sorties, when he talked about addressing the material needs of people today. In an ideal society, people should be content to live within their means and capabilities. But unfortunately, reality begs to differ. The times, they are a changing, Bob Dylan once sang, and it will continue to do so whether we like it or not. The ability to adapt and adjust can no longer be considered an option, for it is fast becoming a necessity.

3. It's not the what. It's the how. Another thing Gibo was often praised for was his practical take on traditional and modern day issues. His platform attracted many because his proposed policies and solutions seemed "doable". In fact, there were no promises made to put an end to the problems that have been haunting our country for decades, if not centuries. After all, an idea is one thing, but its execution is another entirely.

4. Not all bad grass come from the same seed. We civilians have this idea that all government officials are the same: corrupt, self-serving and power hungry. But after listening to Gibo speak in one of his sorties about how corruption can be eased through incentives and rewards for good behavior, I realized that there still are public servants who actually WANT to serve the public.

5. Shit happens. But you can always clean it up. Throughout his stint as Secretary of National Defense happened two tragedies: the Typhoon Ketsana and Maguindanao massacre. His response to these disasters, while not perfect, was still commended by those who actually knew what the heck was going on. Even during the campaign, when many a time was he frowned upon for these unfortunate events, not once did I hear him point the finger at other people. What I admire is that he took responsibility for his actions and did what was best at the time to appease each situation.

6. There are many things we can compromise. Integrity is not one of them. Being a member of one of the most powerful political machineries in the country, it would have been easy to engage in the crossfire that happened between several of the candidates. Everyone wondered why he refused to denounce his ties to PGMA, even though people were saying they would vote for him if he would. Why not compromise, I, like many other Filipinos thought? Then, during one of his sorties, I heard him say that there is nothing on earth that is worth ruining his father's name, and his son's future. Right then and there, I understood.

7. Freedom, contrary to its root word, is not always free. So don't waste it. We are the only fully democratic country in our region, yet, we are one of the least progressive. This is something I've heard him stress over in many talks and forums. We actually have the right to say when we want change and when we've had enough. Sometimes, we don't appreciate how lucky we are, that we have the freedom of speech, the freedom to choose our religion and elect our leaders. It's up to us to make decisions for our future and the betterment of country. And luckily, it will ALWAYS be up to us.

8. Peace, on the other hand, is always free. So please make use of it. One of the main points of Gibo's platform was, and always will be, peace and unity among our 7,000++ islands. We are a diverse archipelago, rich in culture and heritage, and that is something we should be proud of, not hate. We often hear of the problems in other poor countries when in fact, we have the very same problems right next door. Though it is a very popular answer among aspiring beauty queens, that doesn't make it any less crucial. Peace should always be a priority in this, and any country.

9. The importance of a legacy. Of all the times I've heard him address the people's fear of him playing a puppet to PGMA, Gibo always says one thing: that he is still young. What he meant by this was that if he had been given the chance to lead, after his 6 years in office, he would still have many years to show face for; which he would not jeopardize for his sake, and more importantly, for his family's sake. After all, we can think of many ways to gain money and power, but we only have ONE life to live and ONE legacy to leave.

And last...

10. Love our country. This may be the simplest lesson, but nonetheless, it was something I deeply needed to relearn. In this day and age, we are more exposed to the outside world than ever. I'm not scared to admit that there have been a number of times when I felt ashamed of being a Filipino, in a country so afraid of change and innovation. Ashamed of our penchant for favoring people for who they know over who they are. Ashamed of our blatant backwardness, especially when compared to our neighboring countries. But the moment I heard Gibo speak about his vision for the country stirred in me a feeling of patriotism that I never thought I had. In the few months that I displayed my belief in his candidacy; I had also, willingly, displayed my belief in my country.

Despite the grief I feel for the outcome of this year's elections, strangely, I cannot escape the feeling of hope and pride that continues to swell inside me. Looking through the facebook pages of fellow "Gibonians", it's easy to see that there was something new, exciting and inspiring that was born out of all this. And I know that whatever was awakened in all of us is something that cannot be easily abandoned, or forgotten.

Though he's said before that this is the last time he expects to run for public office, I sincerely hope that for once, he said something he didn't mean. I hope, no, I insist that he runs again in 2016, because he owes all of us the opportunity to see his platform, ideas and vision become our reality. Throughout his campaign, we were introduced to a new breed of politics. The Green Team volunteers were NEVER paid.

So Mr. Teodoro, if you ever get to read this, please consider giving us the chance to vote for you again. That is the only payment I seek.

Oh yeah, and thanks for the lessons. :-)

Sunday, May 09, 2010


Awexome. I'm on Al-Jazeera. Talking to Veronica Pedrosa about Imelda. She was on my Imelda just last Thursday. Wow. These guys edit/work fast. Catch her as she covers the Philippine elections these next few days on Al-Jazeera.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


You have less than a week to make up your mind, guys. You've seen all the presidential candidates, you've seen the way that they played the game. They showed you what they were all about. Time to make your choice. And I hope that choice is number #8 Gilbert Teodoro.


Thank you Beth Angsioco of the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines for the tips!

A lot rests on the coming elections. The Filipino people want a new beginning and we have this golden opportunity through the coming elections. Thus, we so NEED to make the elections work for the country, for us. Various grim and frightening scenarios are being put forward. However, as citizens, we can do a lot to prevent these from happening.


1. A new electoral system will be used on May 10 and many are still unfamiliar and may have discomfort with this. We should familiarize ourselves (and those close to us) with automated elections.

2. The heart and soul of the system is the memory card where a lot is stored and will be stored, including the votes we will cast. This has to be protected at all cost.

3. Know your precinct no. BEFORE election day. This is available at the COMELEC website and it only takes 5 minutes to get the information. If you are not in the list and you registered or voted in the last elections, go to your local COMELEC office. They will put you in. Bring IDs and/or proof of registration.

4. The ballot is more than 2 feet long. One side for candidates for national positions, the other, for local posts. To the left of the candidates’ names are the oblong shapes that voters need to shade and the numbers of candidates. It is best to decide before May 10 and make your list with the names and numbers of your chosen candidates.

5. The ballot is sensitive. No additional markings, dirt or smudges should be put.

6. Around the ballot are lines. These are the bar codes that identify the ballots.
7. Precincts are clustered and there will be from 500 to 1,000 voters per precinct. Come prepared and vote as quickly as possible. Taking a long time might result in disenfranchising others who will wait for us to finish before they can vote.

8. There are news of operators planning to bring their voters to the precincts very early to be first and stay for the longest possible time so others are not able to vote. The way to counter this is by voting early.

9. Before any voting starts, the Board of Elections inspectors (BEI) will do the Initialization process to prove that the machine and the memory card do not have stored votes BEFORE the actual voting.

10. After voting, you will feed the ballot into the machine. You have a maximum of 4 tries and if your ballot is rejected, it will be set aside. No additional ballot will be issued to you.

11. If the system runs well, the results of the local elections will be known in a few hours and the national in two (2) days. It will be good to be on guard.

12. At end of voting day, each PCOs machine will print 30 copies of the results. The memory cards (where the results are stored) will then be sealed in an envelope and brought to higher canvassing groups. If, at a later time the results are questioned, the stored data will be considered as the official results, NOT THE PRINTED ONES. Thus, it is VERY important to guard the transfer of the memory cards to their destinations.

EASY THINGS TO DO to protect our votes:

Before May 10,

• Check your precinct no. through the COMELEC website. Visit your precinct a few days before the elections so you won’t waste time looking for it on the day itself.

• Familiarize yourself and others close to you with the ballot which can also be downloaded from the COMELEC site.

• Practice shading preferably with a broad-tipped marking pen (similar to what will be provided on election day.) The oblong shapes to the left of your candidates’ names should be shaded FULLY. The machines will not count votes with less than 50% of the oblong shaded. Teach others to do this.

• Make a list of the candidates (with their corresponding numbers) you will vote for.

• Participate in the testing of the machines.


• Make sure your hands are clean when you vote to prevent smudging of the ballot.

• Bring your list of chosen candidates to polling place & use this when voting.

• Bring IDs and your precinct number.

• Vote early.

• Vote as fast as you can so others will have their turn as soon as possible.

• When you receive your ballot, EXAMINE the bar codes around it. The lines should be sharp and clear. Do not accept a ballot with blurred/faded bar codes. This will not be read by the machine.

• Do not fold, smudge or crumple the ballot.

• Do not put any mark on the oblong beside candidates you are NOT voting for. This might cause rejection of your vote.

• When you vote, shade oblong FULLY.

• You may undervote but DO NOT OVERVOTE. i.e., if you shade more than 12 senatorial candidates, all your votes for the position will not be counted.

• Before feeding your ballot into the machine, take note of the number on the screen. This should be one notch higher after you fed your ballot. i.e., if you see the number 10 before you feed your ballot, 11 should appear after. ‘Congratulations’ should also appear on the screen. These mean that your ballot was read.

• Feed your ballot to the machine yourself. If you make others do this, they might smudge or put markings on your ballot which might cause rejection.

• If you can, guard the memory card as it is transferred from the precinct to the higher canvassing offices. This will happen after voting hours.

Let the others know. If you think this is useful, please pass to as many voters as possible.