Archive | August, 2012

New finds and old favorites

14 Aug

Have any of your favorite eateries ever closed down?

A number of mine already have in recent years, and I realized how old I’m getting instrumental they have been to my dietary and social needs.

I remember many merienda sessions and night-outs with college friends inMaginhawa Street. Among our most frequented chow spots were Combi, which specializes in rice toppings, and the Persian diner Alfahkr’s (if your pronunciation sounds obscene, then congratulations, you’ve pronounced it right). Both of them closed in 2011.

Backtrack to an earlier period in my life. As a child and pre-teen, I loved spending afternoons after school at the Yum Yum Tree, what was once (huhu past tense) this cozy little café in Rustans Harrison Plaza, a stone’s throw away from where Mama used to work.

At YYT, my awkward, pimply prepubescent self developed a love for milkshakes and chicken cordon bleu. That was where I swapped stories with my parents in between bites of clubhouse sandwiches and the house burger. But all that was no more when Shopwise replaced Rustans inHarrisonPlaza.

Last Sunday, Mama and I grabbed a bite at Benny’s, a bistro with Filipino roots sprinkled with Italian sensibilities. It now stands where the Rustans Makati branch of YYT used to be. Most of their menu choices are local fare, but they do have a deli section for cold cuts and an open counter for customized pasta.

The attending waiter Arnel struck up a conversation with Mama and mentioned that he used to work for Yum Yum Tree. He had recognized her as one of the many employees who whiled their lunch breaks and merienda hours in the café.

While a sudden wave of nostalgia made me miss YYT, I happily indulged in Benny’s culinary offerings.

Clockwise from the empty plate and utensils: Bam-I, Benny’s Panini, Chico Shake

We had Bam-I (sautéed sotanghon and canton noodles with meat, seafood and vegetables) and Benny’s Panini (turkey ham, prosciutto, emmenthal, cheddar and garlic-herbed cheese drizzled with cranberry dressing on wholewheat bread). For my drink, I had theirChico(Sapodilla) Shake, a sweet, earthy fruit drink with a nutty aftertaste.

That day’s outfit had a touch of the sentimental in it. I paired a white straw hat from an elementary school costume with black shorts and a ribbony-printed chiffon blouse (P65) from an ukay-ukay. My favorite black closed wedges with golden stitched curlicues are by Gibi.

I am really loving hats right now, and I hope to collect more of them in the coming months. Look out for the next outfit post, where I’ll blog about the fun in donning a straw hat to school (schizo weather and curious stares notwithstanding).

Cheers!

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14 Aug

Because someone somewhere believes in you. At the very least, it ought to be yourself.

12 Aug

Lolita Hizon, owner of Pampanga’s Best, has 69 grandchildren and admits to not remembering all of their names. 

Snow Patrol takes Manila by storm

10 Aug

Following three days of torrential monsoon rains, Snow Patrol rocked the riffs at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last August 9 for the Asian wave of their Fallen Empires tour.

Snow Patrol and part of the concert crowd.

With the absence of an opening act, the Irish band got the ball rolling with “Hands Open” from their 2006 album Eyes Open. This was followed by “Take Back the City”, an ode to the grit and grime and glister of the metropolis.

Gary Lightbody flaunted his playful side, jokingly (?) flirting with the Texan guest guitarist in the lead-in to “Crack the Shutters”.  The vocalist mouthed “Is this comfortable?” to the microphone while inching closer and closer to the stringman, much to the amusement of the audience.

The night’s setlist was a steady mix of old favorites and fresh offerings, spanning the last decade of Snow Patrol from Final Straw to Fallen Empire. Spectators rose to their feet and sang along full force to the familiar chords of “Run”, “Shut Your Eyes” and “Chasing Cars”.

While I was a wee bit disappointed that they didn’t play “Signal Fire” from the Spider-Man 3 OST, I remained a giddy, happy child over “Crack the Shutters” and “New York”.

But while many a Snow Patrol song reels of love, loss and everything else in between, the experimental rock visage they have adopted of late – as embodied in Fallen Empires – shines through.

After an electric performance of “Called Into the Dark”, stagehands ushered in numerous conga drums. “This is the part where we get crazy with the drums,” Gary said with a grin before launching into the opening riffs of “Fallen Empires”. I’ve heard it said that some performers are better heard live. After last night, I’m inclined to believe these Irish boys are among the best of such.

The concert was an aural and visual feast, with interactive lighting and a seven-pronged projection screen alternately featuring close-ups of the band and video supplements to their performances.

The stage and projector setup.

A roving camera nestled on a crane effectively limited the chance to get awesome photographs hovered near the stage, documenting the band and the crowd. The footage could apparently end up in the final cut of the Fallen Empires Tour DVD, slated for release in 2013.

Snow Patrol left the stage after “You’re All I Have”, only to return for an encore. “I’d like to offer this song with our deepest respect and deepest sympathies to your country as a healing gesture at this time – to those who have lost their homes and indeed, their lives,” said Gary.

“This song is about my family, and my home, and I can’t think what it would be like if it was taken from me. I’d like to offer this song to all, out of respect to your grace, and your humanity, and your kindness. Thank you all. Thank you all. I’ll never forget this,” he finished, as the strains of “Lifening” wafted over the coliseum.

Snow Patrol ended their Manila rendezvous with the livewire “Just Say Yes” – evoking the vibrancy of a rainbow after the squalor of rains, a welcome respite for a country weathered by storms, meteorological or otherwise.

*****

Snow Patrol Manila Setlist

  1. Hands Open (Eyes Open)
  2. Take Back the City (A Hundred Million Suns)
  3. Crack the Shutters (A Hundred Million Suns)
  4. This Isn’t Everything You Are (Fallen Empires)
  5. Run (Final Straw)
  6. In The End (Fallen Empires)
  7. New York (Fallen Empires)
  8. Set the Fire to the Third Bar (Eyes Open)
  9. Make This Go On Forever (Eyes Open)
  10. Shut Your Eyes (Eyes Open)
  11. Chasing Cars (Eyes Open)
  12. Chocolate (Final Straw)
  13. Called Out In The Dark (Fallen Empires)
  14. Fallen Empires (Fallen Empires)
  15. Open Your Eyes (Eyes Open)
  16. You’re All I Have (Eyes Open)
  17. Lifening (Fallen Empires)
  18. Just Say Yes  (Up to Now)

    Projector screen at the end of the concert.

*****

Thank you very much to PinoyExchange.com for the free tickets! 🙂

Cubao by night

10 Aug

Amid the onslaught of inclement weather this past week came a ray of good news. PinoyExchange had an online promo for Snow Patrol concert tickets, and I was among the winners.

So last August 9, Raine and I trooped to the Big Dome and sang-swayed-swooned along to songs that had been part of our lives for the past ten years.

Post-concert happy child.

Post-concert Energizer bunneh.

The afternoon before the show, I played Fallen Empires tracks on shuffle to incubate the concert mood. The sound of Snow Patrol has grown through the years, with their latest album as an epitome of a fresh musical frontier for the band. It was this spirit — a rockish vibe melding the edgy and the sentimental — I tried to channel for that night’s outfit.


Derpina fez.

The brown jacket (P200) is from a (now closed :’(( ukay in Makati. The grey tank top, khaki mini skirt and blue-brown ribbon are gifts. Almost three years ago, I bought the cassette tape necklace for P100 at the UP Fair.

I’m crazy about the footwear: a pair of Nike Lab G Series motocross booties (originally P1200, eventually sold for P600) snagged at the Sagada Ukay-Ukay in Quezon Avenue.

The concert wrapped up around 10 p.m. Raine and I spent the next hour shooting at a lamppost-lined lane a few blocks from the Araneta Coliseum. It was raining by then, so we had to shelve plans of exploring the Cubao X night scene — hopefully not for long though. Until then, I’ll be looking forward to the next Cubao detour…and maybe, just maybe, another shot at free tickets sometime somewhere.

Photos by Raine Calucag and me.

10 Aug

Snow Patrol takes Manila by storm

Following three days of torrential monsoon rains, Snow Patrol rocked the riffs at the Smart Araneta…

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Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol dedicates “Lifening” to Filipino flood victims

10 Aug

“I’d like to offer this song with our deepest respect and deepest sympathies to your country as a healing gesture at this time. To those who have lost their homes and indeed, their lives…This song is about my family, and my home, and I can’t think what it would be like if it was taken from me. And I’d like to offer this song to all, out of respect to your grace, and your humanity, and your kindness. Thank you all. Thank you all. I’ll never forget this.”

 ♥

Snow Patrol performs “Lifening” at the Araneta Coliseum on August 9 for the Manila leg of their Fallen Empires tour. The Irish band dedicated the song to the Filipino families and individuals affected by the torrential rains and floods caused by a recent monsoon.

The Mean Reds and Friends as Tiffany’s

9 Aug

Growing up, I had my fair share of advice from adults and self-help books to be judicious in finding company. “Be careful choosing your friends,” a particular book said, “you become who they are.”

With time I came to realize that friendship, as with any relationship worth its while, becomes less about enabling circumstances and more about the choices we make to stay connected. This becomes especially true when circumstances – for reasons geographical, professional, spatial, or if you want to go all Bradbury or Spielberg about it, dimensional – make togetherness anywhere from a notch to an eon more difficult. Ultimately, the desire to connect — or re-connect — is a commitment.

Nineteen years ago, I was born on the last week of July in the midst of a thunderstorm. Every birthday since, it had been a challenge to invite people to celebrate with. Varying degrees of rain were constant gatecrashers at my parties, after all. But this July 29 was a different story, with some of those I hold dearest conspiring for a surprise get-together.

The tapestries of each friendship are as diverse as the people themselves, but a single thread binds them together. They are among the first people I could, would and do turn to when I get a bad case of what Audrey Hepburn (as Holly Golightly) called the “mean reds”.

My birthday outfit was inspired by the iconic “wild thing” Miss Golightly.

The Taylor black brocade dress (P250) is from Red Tomato. Black leather platforms are by Gibi. Layered teardrops choker (P150) is a tiangge find, and the necklace used as a hair accessory is a birthday gift.

Here’s one of my favorite scenes from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, where Holly explains the mean reds to her writer-neighbor Paul Varjak:

Holly: Poor cat! Poor slob! Poor slob without a name! The way I see it I haven’t got the right to give him one. We don’t belong to each other. We just took up one day by the river. I don’t want to own anything until I find a place where me and things go together. I’m not sure where that is but I know what it is like. It’s like Tiffany’s. 

Paul: Tiffany’s? You mean the jewelry store. 

Holly: That’s right. I’m just CRAZY about Tiffany’s! Listen, you know those days when you get the mean reds? 

Paul: The mean reds, you mean like the blues? 

Holly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling? 

Paul: Sure. 

Holly: Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then – then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name! 

In another scene, Holly said, “Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.” I may not see these lovelies all the time, but everyday I’m grateful for the likes of them, who make me feel like Tiffany’s — and eons, eons better.

via Tumblr http://bargainmuse.tumblr.com/post/29045759294

9 Aug

The Mean Reds and Friends as Tiffany’s Growing up, I…… The…

The Mean Reds and Friends as Tiffany’s Growing up, I……

The Mean Reds and Friends as Tiffany’s…

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9 Aug

The Mean Reds and Friends as Tiffany’s

Growing up, I had my fair share of advice from adults and self-help books to be judicious in finding company. “Be careful choosing your friends,” a particular book said, “you become who they are.” 

With time I came to realize that friendship, as with any relationship worth its while, becomes less about enabling circumstances and more about the choices we make to stay connected. This becomes especially true when circumstances – for reasons geographical, professional, spatial, or if you want to go all Bradbury or Spielberg about it, dimensional – make togetherness anywhere from a notch to an eon more difficult.

The desire to connect is a commitment.

Nineteen years ago, I was born on the last week of July in the midst of a thunderstorm. Every birthday since, it had been a challenge to invite people to celebrate with. Varying degrees of rain were constant gatecrashers at my parties, after all. But this July 29 was a different story, with some of those I hold dearest conspiring for a surprise get-together. 

The tapestries of each friendship are as diverse as the people themselves, but a single thread binds them together. They are among the first people I could, would and do turn to when I get a bad case of what Audrey Hepburn (as Holly Golightly) called the “mean reds”.

My birthday outfit was inspired by the iconic “wild thing” Miss Golightly.

The Taylor black brocade dress (P250) is from Red Tomato. Black leather platforms are by Gibi. Layered teardrops choker (P150) is a tiangge find, and the necklace used as a hair accessory is a birthday gift.

Here’s one of my favorite scenes from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, where Holly explains the mean reds to her writer-neighbor Paul Varjak: 

Holly: Poor cat! Poor slob! Poor slob without a name! The way I see it I haven’t got the right to give him one. We don’t belong to each other. We just took up one day by the river. I don’t want to own anything until I find a place where me and things go together. I’m not sure where that is but I know what it is like. It’s like Tiffany’s. 

Paul: Tiffany’s? You mean the jewelry store. 

Holly: That’s right. I’m just CRAZY about Tiffany’s! Listen, you know those days when you get the mean reds? 

Paul: The mean reds, you mean like the blues? 

Holly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling? 

Paul: Sure. 

Holly: Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then – then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name! 

In another scene, Holly said, “Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.” I may not see these lovelies all the time, but everyday I’m grateful for the likes of them, who make me feel like Tiffany’s — and eons, eons better.