Friday, July 30, 2010


Awesome. A cute little budget hotel just opened inside Intramuros, aptly called, well, "The Hotel Intramuros" (above). Run by the White Knight Corporation and located in Barrio San Luis across from San Agustin Church, it's a nice addition to the walled city's list of attractions. Surprisingly affordable, the rates start at Php1,900.00 ish for a standard room, it comes complete with a flat screen TV, HUGE closet space, charming Machuca tile flooring, and some with views of the Casa Manila and the loggia of Casa Blanca next door.

The view of the loggia from a room.

A view of a room (above) . It's a rather large room for Manila standards. The bathrooms are all in marble, and the air conditioners are brand new. The windows also open up to a courtyard if you would rather sleep in fresh air (below).

+632 526-6539
+632 524-7384
+632 523-7464
+632 525-2381


I'll be holding a contest to give away ten (10) overnight weekend packages for The Hotel Intramuros. Get a chance to win an Intramuros tour* for two and an overnight stay at The Hotel Intramuros.

Just send your name, your email and celphone number with three (3) good reasons why you and your companion should win this contest and hang with me in Intramuros. This could be in any format. Poem, prose, drawing, photograph, film clip. The more interesting your entry, the better. You will be judged by creativity and sincerity. Keep it simple if you wish.

Those who pass the creativity and sincerity standards, will be put in a hat for a raffle. Raffle will be called out on August 12.

Contestants and winners will be posted on this blog. Contest ends August 10. Please submit your entries before the aforementioned date.

Send your entry now to

Now GO.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


It all started when I took new Department of Tourism undersecretary @entengromano and some DOT secretaries out for a tour with an insane amount of people a couple of days ago. After the tour, I tweeted that it was real cool of them to come and I wish that I had a longer chat with them had the crowd not been too crazy. Then suddenly, I got a counter tweet from graphic design folks @TeamManila saying "I want to help the DOT". Then I retweeted it, then another person replied to that tweet, and before we knew it, a hashtag #helpDOT by @jillaquino appeared and a whole bunch of people came forward to volunteer in helping tourism efforts.

It was pretty amazing. Now folks on twitter are enumerating all their favorite places in our fair Philippine Republic as ideas are consolidated re: how to promote tourism through the internet, through volunteer efforts, and through arts and design.

But best of all, @TeamManila volunteered to make these amazing posters that you see right here on this page (Apparently, the Intramuros poster was inspired by my tour - Aw, Shucks guys!). They were done in a flash of inspiration and come to you directly from the studios of Team Manila. So feel free to download these images and spread them and use them as you wish to promote Philippine tourism. It's their generous donation to Filipinos around the world via the internet. Free of charge and free of copyright infringement. Talk about Creative Commons. It's really creativity being used for the common good.

So follow @TeamManila @carlosceldran @entengromano and hashtag #HelpDOT with your ideas about how YOU can help promote Philippine tourism. Log onto the Team Manila website here. Log onto their flicker photostream here. There's new stuff on it all the time.

Mabuhay y'all.


Wow. I love apple crumble pie and I love cheesecake. And when the two are combined, lives can change forever. Woot. Just tried this new Apple Crumble Cheesecake by Travel Cakes. Only available by phone or by facebook. Wild stuff. My life is not the same anymore. Nomnomnom.

Text or call for orders/inquiries:
Nicky - 09153144694
Sabs - 09152588645
Facebook Page:

Monday, July 26, 2010


Thanks a bunch to the guys from Commune and WYDMNL. I have to say that this is my favorite feature on myself so far. I look chubby but not too chubby and I don't seem like such a spaz.

Follow them on their twitter account: @WYDMNL and log onto their site and check out their other features on folks like Quark Henares, Team Manila, Christian San Jose, Christina Dy, and Amina Aranaz Alunan. WYDMNL hope to inspire folks to follow their own path. Nice.

Watch the feature here: CLICK ON THIS

Sunday, July 25, 2010


It's not really widely known that despite an immediate association with The City of Manila, this Intramuros tour guide named Carlos Celdran actually traces his roots down to the Queen City of the South. Back in the early 20th century, my grandfather Pedro Celdran moved his wife, Josefa Fortich and their sons from Misamis Occidental, Mindanao to the City of Cebu. Above, the waters of Mactan Island.

So it was a real comfort for me to go back and rediscover my Cebuano roots and tailor a tour that mixes both the old and new, the post-modern and the gothic, and all that is pretty cool about that little island in the center of the Philippines. Photo above, BE Resort.

SATURDAY October 30
11:00am Depart Manila
12:00noon Arrive Mactan International Airport in Cebu (above)
1:00pm Check into BE Resort
3:00pm CPRDC Prison Dancers Exhibition
6:00pm Dinner at Casa Verde (Brian's Ribs below)

SUNDAY October 31
Depart Hotel at 11:00am
12:00noon Lunch at Mancao Mansion and Cultural Show
Tupas Funeral Parlor
Carcar Walking tour starting from St. Catherine's Church
Walk to Carcar Museum (above), then towards Noel Mansion and Balay na Tisa
5:00pm Return to BE Resort on Mactan
There are many selections around Cebu/Mactan area to dine should you wish to dine out.

MONDAY November 1
10:00 Cruising around Mactan on Islands Banca
(a Cebu Lechon Lunch out at sea)
2:00PM Historic tour of Downtown Cebu
Museo Sugbu
Tartanilla Ride around Fort San Pedro, Magellan's Cross, Santo Nino Shrine, Cebu Cathedral,
Archbishop's House (Cathedral Museum of Cebu), Gorordo Mansion, Jesuit House
5:30PM Cocktails at Dusk at Yap-San Diego Mansion (below)
8:00PM Airport and depart for Manila.


To be announced...

Only 20 spaces available. Please inform us immediately if you have any dietary restrictions.

Accomodations at BE Resort, Transportation, meals*, and tour services by yours truly and Cebu City's Top tour guide, Bino Guerrero.

*Tour does not include dinner on October 31. There are many selections in Cebu to enjoy.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Check out this awesome 1960's travelogue on The Philippines that was sent anonymously to my blog. It's from the "New Horizons" series by Pan American Airways but narrated in German.

Uber cool. Uber groovy.


Tucked away in a small sidestreet in uptown Cebu City is a lovely little restaurant called Casa Verde. Run by the Noel-Escano family, I believe that this is one of the best restaurants in city. Located on a leafy lot, inside a green ancestral house (hence it's name) with elegant grills and capiz windows, Casa Verde is an unpretentious operation that mixes both charm and value. Their facade (above), their patio (below).

Here's their legendary "BRIAN'S RIBS" (above). Wild. Huge. Less than Php200.00 (believe it or not). Aside from the ribs, they also serve pasta, barbecued chicken, sandwiches, and milk shakes. Most of the menu is "American" as someone described it. I'll just call it delicious.

The garlicky "Tricia ala Pobre" (above). A lot of the stuff on the menu is named after members of their family. I.e "Peter Piper Oriental Chop", "Antonizza" , "Jay's Chinese Chicken Salad", and "Therese's Pieces". Cute.

And right through a lovely narra staircase (above) right above the restaurant is their cute little budget dormitory/hostel. Ideal for long term guests on a budget (starts at Php4000.00/month), students who are looking to be centrally located, or those who consider FOOD as a major consideration when choosing accomodations. Their sala with 60's era silkscreen prints (below). Only hitch is, you gotta be a woman. Sorry dudes, no guys allowed to sleep in these digs. It's the Barbizon Hotel of Cebu. But perhaps with better food.

The Tocino de Cielo, Leche Flan, and Mango sampler (above). Totally Cebuano old skool desserts. I'm amazed that even though the prices are low, the effort put into the Mise en Place is high. It's all Jeremiah Tower type plating here. Nice. Classy.

And best part of all. The folks who run the place are my relatives (above). I found out as I was lunching there that our maternal grandmothers are both from the Fortich clan. Their grandma married an Escano. My grandmother married a Celdran. Small world. Always thought that being in Cebu felt like visiting family, and now I realize that it's quite literal.

I hope to include Casa Verde on my SOUTHERN COMFORT tour of Cebu soon.

Casa Verde
#69 Lim Tian Teng St. (V. Ranudo Ext), Cebu City

Telephone nos.
(032) 2536472
(032) 2538234
Fax nos.
(032) 2536472

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I'm collaborating with the Manila Hotel. Together, we've come up with the MY MANILA weekend, a cool but concise tour of the best of what The City of our Affections has to offer. MY MANILA promises to show you the proper way to see our city. Done with a lot of fun and a bit of style.

1:00PM Check-in Manila Hotel
3:00PM Intramuros Deluxe Tour (Transfer by Jeepney)
6:30PM Tour of MacArthur Suite and hotel/Cocktails at the Tap Room
8:00PM Champagne Room dinner
Explore Ermita, Malate nightlife or relax at the hotel.

7:00AM onwards Breakfast Buffet
Free morning to enjoy pool, walk Luneta Park, Go to mass at Ermita Church.
2:00PM Late Check Out
3:00PM Imelda Tour (Transfer by Jeepney)
5:00PM Return to Hotel for a Halo Halo

SEPTEMBER 25 - 26, 2010
OCTOBER 23 - 24

Sounds like a plan? Here are the rates. Yes, it's affordable.

Superior Deluxe Room
Single Occupancy - Php 10, 815 NET
Twin/Double Occupancy - Php 13, 980 NET

Sunset or Sunrise Suite
Single Occupancy - Php 24, 465 NET
Twin/Double Occupancy - Php 27, 630 NET

or text 920 9092021 or 916 3588012

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I will be part of this Maki Challenge. C'mon guys. Join this Maki Making contest and mack on many makis for money. I'll be part of the panel. It will be fun.

Click on these links for more info. HERE and HERE


Job opportunity at Museo Pambata Foundation Inc.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 8:47am

The Communications Assistant reports to the Communications Director and will assist in building public awareness of and interest in the museum and its services through various efforts and collateral materials. The Communications Assistant will be involved in department meetings where overview of tasks, including responsibility, time line and strategy will be discussed.
Male/Female - 27 years old and below
Bachelor's degree in Communications, Journalism, Multimedia Arts or any related field
Knowledgeable in media relations and management, desktop publishing, graphic design, web design and photojournalism
Excellent verbal and written communication skills
Working knowledge of personal computers and MS Office / OpenOffice, web and graphic design software such as Corel Draw, Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash
Self-starter with the ability to work independently
Highly organized
Ability to work in a fast-paced environment with changing priorities
Availability during weekends

New graduates are encouraged to apply.

Ways to apply:

To apply for a position thru e-mail, please submit your resume, transcript of records and cover letter to

You may mail your resume, transcript of records and cover letter to:
Museo Pambata Foundation, Inc.
Roxas Boulevard corner South Drive
Manila 1000
Attn: Administrative Director

In Person:
You may submit your resume, transcript of records and cover letter to the museum's administrative office from Monday to Friday, 8 to 5 pm.

*Please include in your cover letter the position which you are applying for.
*Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

Friday, July 16, 2010


My friend Ana and I (holding FRENZY condoms above) from along with our friends from DKT are planning a "Family Planning Party and Roadshow" in Intramuros. We'll be educating mothers from lower income levels in informal settlers about artificial family planning methods. We'll bring doctors who can consult with them and talk about options they can have to space their births. And of course, I'll be handing out condoms.

But we'll also need a little help if anyone wants to help out.

We'll need:
Chairs (good for 200 moms)
Snacks and drinks for the moms while they wait their turn
Snacks for the kids who some of the moms will bring along with them
(mothers from informal settlements don't have yayas)
Speaker and a microphone

And that is all we need for now... I think. Unless something slipped my mind.

Please email me at if you wish to help out in any way. Or leave a comment on this blog.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Look what I received in the mail today.

25 June 2010

Mr. Carlos Celdran
Malate, Manila

Dear Mr. Celdran (Carlos)

I would like to express my most heartfelt gratitude for your valuable support during the six months that I have led the Department of Health (DOH). It may have seemed like a short time, but with the wholehearted backing that you have given me, I believe that we have been able to do much in championing the right to health of all Filipinos. It is my sincere hope that, as you have so willingly and tirelessly supported me during my term, you will also extend the same graces to the next Secretary of Health.

Very truly yours,


Ah. Always a class act, Miz Espy. Always a class act. And just like that, I will take the good doctor's advice and do as I am told. Dr. Ona. Good luck and godspeed. Don't hesitate to holler if you need anything from me. Word has it that Dr. Cabral is working closely with folks from the UNFPA now. Cool. It's definitely their gain.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


It was a beautiful Sunday morning the day before Spain beat the Netherlands and won the World Cup when I decided to bike around the downtown Manila area. Nice to know bikes are allowed on Roxas Boulevard. It was also nice to see that it was pretty clean and had "masajistas" and "manicuristas" practically every twenty feet. A Sunday morning foot massage and pedicure by the bay? Um. Ok.

First stop, Luneta Park. Not quite sure what the rules are regarding bikes in the park but I wasn't bothered by any security force. I was pleased to notice a little restaurant for "rent" at the area behind the Rizal monument though. A cool little gazebo with a kitchen ready to be turned into a cafe (above). Yo! Secretary Lim of the DOT. There is mondo potential for tourism at Luneta park. This would be an awesome Manila branch for "Cafe by the Ruins" or "Le Bistro Vert" or something like it. Just a thought.

This is the view of the Rizal monument from the cafe entrance.

A really cool anti-drug and pro Rizal Park poster.

Second stop, the National Museum of the Filipino People at Agrifina Circle (view of Agrifina Circle from the NMFP. Really cool architecture. Really cool aircon and great exhibits (check out The Spoliarium of Juan Luna). And best of all, it's FREE on Sundays (as in, you don't need to pay a cent to get inside). A great place to go for a cheap date.

Third stop. Intramuros. Checked out the Puerta Real gardens. I gotta say, former Intramuros Adminstration Director Ana Maria Harper did an excellent job in reviving the gardens around Intramuros. In the last ten years that I have been going to Intramuros, I have never seen the landscaping of Intramuros look this good.

While I was there, I bumped into a nice couple who recognized me from the blog. I totally forgot to get their name. So rude of me. I hope they read this blog and tell me who they are. Apparently the lady's sister is getting married and having her reception at the Puerta Real. Good choice.

The chambers of the Puerta Real have also been converted into a little museum where much of the IA's collection of carved granite is on exhibition. Nice touch. Very organized.

Also checked out the new gazebo at the Bamboo Garden of Fort Santiago. Another great project by Bambi Harper. Director Lim. I hope you reappoint her. Just sayin'.

Third stop. The new hotel in Plaza San Luis called the White Knight Hotel. Interesting. I like the new color scheme and the bright chairs. Looks like a nice mix between hip and historical. They open at the end of the month I hear. I will definitely check in. Of course. Once again, done under the watch of former director Bambi Harper.

Fourth stop: Ristorante dela Mitre. Which I think translates into: "Restaurant of the Miter". Located at the CBCP building (formerly Immaculate Conception High School) in front of San Agustin Church, apparently RDLM will be an Italian restaurant and cafe.

Ristorante Dela Mitre will be run by the Catholic Church I hear. And I believe it. When I checked it out, there were nuns helping out in the decorating. There was also a piano and a flat screen TV showing Catholic documentaries. The last touch was a bit odd. I hope the food will be good enough to overlook it.

It will open on the 15th of July. Pretty cool to see Intramuros beefing up it's tourism infrastructure and nice to see the Catholic Church helping out. I hope we can keep this momentum going. I'm seeing major leaps and strides in the improvement of the walled city. I would love to see some continuity.

Final stop: Santa Clara Street, a nice little alley around the corner from Fort Santiago. Looks pretty authentic. The building to the left is a dormitory/hostel.

The Madrigal Dormitel (Tel. 5211123 or 5212151 or 91758217510) Great architecture. Built in accordance to Intramuros Administration's official aesthetic standards, it really looks like a building from the 19th century. Hard to believe that it's got air-conditioning, wi-fi, and a back-up generator in case of brownouts.

Then I biked back home. All in all, it was great to see that downtown Manila's potential for becoming world class still exists and that biking REALLY is viable in downtown Manila (let's make a bike zone/radial garden/seaside and parkside pedestrian zone all the way from the CCP to Chinatown. It's totally possible.

Will go biking out again next Sunday. I'll see what else there is to find. Feel free to join me if you wish.

Next stop: Ermita. Gotta explore that. I'm sure it's the next big thing.