Category Archives: Filipino Culture

Manila FAME in InstaGrams

If you are my friend on InstaGram, you probably noticed how I was flooding your feed with images last week of the Manila FAME expo. My apologies for that. I guess I couldn’t contain my excitement on how fabulous this year’s show was!!!  Hahaha!

But the posts I made were but a fraction of the wonderful things I saw. Here’s more!

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These were but some of the baskets that we saw at the OTOP (One Town, One Project) section of the show.

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More baskets! This was a collaboration with Heima. Love the colors! Pretty, and functional too!

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Aren’t these baby brogues by Maco Custodio too cute!!!

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One of my favorite accessories designers, Ken Samudio, fresh from his exhibit in London, showed off his new editorial pieces–hats inspired by corals in the ocean. So pretty, right? I wonder what he’ll come up with next!

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Baubles from Joyce Makitalo. I sooo want her dipstick necklace and am saving up for it for this year!

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Would you believe that this is both a bag and a sculpture?!? Only from the mind of super creative jewelry designer Micheline Syjuco. It’s definitely an art piece in itself!

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Another fresh concept from Kenneth Cobonpue.

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I must have ordered 3 new dresses from Filip+Inna!  Len Cabili is another one of my favorite designers!

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Through these shows, and the various pop-up events I’ve attended, I’ve met a number of young and extremely talented designers.  Here is the Bungalow 300 display.  The creative tandem behind it is Vernice Songco and Marga Espiritu.  I just love the way they put things together!  Bravo, ladies!!!

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Another artist to watch out for is Lilliana Manahan.  I just loooooove her quirky and colorful planters!!!  If I’m not mistaken, I think they took their inspiration from a buko shell!

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Mats, mats, glorious mats!  These beauties hail from Basey, Samar, one of the towns hardest hit by Yolanda last year.  While they are still recuperating from the tremendous loss, the mat weaving industry is starting to get back on its feet.  I hope events like these will help their businesses to start picking up again!

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Another beautiful exhibit on other Filipino weaves curated by Bungalow 300.  Everything here was so pretty, and just looking at it was so inspiring!

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T’nalak Weaving.  I heard a story that one of the famous weavers sees these designs in her dreams so each of the patterns produced is really unique!

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Last year, Schema was one of the hubby’s and my favorite booths.  We adored their pendant lamps and wanted to get some for our dining area.  This year they came out with these copper balls.  Oh no!  I want them too!!!  Hahaha!

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Vito Selma’s Lotus table is giving his Geo table a run for its money!  Hahaha!  Did you know you can turn the base over for a different look and effect?  Genius!

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While mommy was ogling the Lotus table, A set her sights on the Cara-Boo.  Don’t you just love it? 🙂

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I think this Raina chair was one of the most photographed pieces in the expo.  Definitely queen-worthy!

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Catalina’s booth is always visually striking!

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Loved these functional yet decorative storage baskets from Hacienda Crafts!

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Ok, so I totally want a distressed wooden dining table now.

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Wow!  Love the effect of all these lightings clustered together 🙂

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Beautiful throw pillows from Tadeco.  Loved their display too!

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Such chic lighting from AZCOR! 🙂  It would definitely go well with my distressed wood dining table!  Hahaha!

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A peacock chair from Obra.  I have no words… 🙂

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For my future beach-slash-rest house 🙂

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I wouldn’t mind lounging on these floor pillows as well.  So cool that they’re just made from jersey cloth!

So there you have it–my curated images of Manila FAME (trust me, there were too many nice ones to choose from!).  I hope they will encourage you to drop by and see the next show, which is scheduled for around October.

Not only is it a way to show your support to our local designers, and to the local traditions, but I’m sure it will be a feast for your (design) senses as well!

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Road Trip : Pinto Art Gallery

While many people were off to their various destinations for this 3-day weekend, my familia ended up having a forced staycation due to pre-bought Wicked tickets.

Anyhoo, despite my initial wistfulness over not being able to spend the holiday out of town, I eventually just decided to make the most out of my family’s time in the city by exploring a new place that we’ve always been wanting to visit, but never get to.  For our first road trip of the year, we settled on trekking to Antipolo for a long overdue tour of Pinto Art Gallery.  Let me warn you in advance that this post will be quite picture heavy.  Hahaha!  As expected, the gallery grounds and the art were so beautiful (spoiler alert!), that I couldn’t resist clicking away on my iPhone. 🙂

Despite getting lost several times due to misguided directions from our GPS app, we finally reached Pinto after about an hour’s drive from Taguig.  It’s actually easier to just follow the map from their website.  Hahaha!  If we did so, it probably would’ve taken us only 30 minutes as traffic was quite light that day (another perk of staying in the city during a long holiday :)).

To get into the gallery, there is an entrance fee of Php150.  This entrance fee gives you access to all 5 galleries, as well as to the upper and lower gardens.

Here is what we saw at Pinto:

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Art sculptures and installations all over the place…

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A charming and rustic chapel with many antique pieces I would love to have in my own home!

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More sculptures and art in the garden…

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These were kinda freaky and had a “My Precious” kinda vibe to them, but it was also quite visually interesting especially the way there were displayed against the foliage.

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The architecture kind of reminded me of the structures you’d see in Texas or New Mexico (think: The Alamo).  I love the use of stark white, especially against the vibrant art work :).  According to Pinto’s website, the buildings were designed by Antonio Leano.

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We found this plaque right outside the entrance of Gallery 1.  Love the quote from Dr. Cuanang–the owner of Pinto–when he said, “This museum is dedicated to their art, to their dreams and to the times we live.”  Well said!  Did I mention that Pinto is purely a museum of contemporary Filipino art?  No masters here. Instead, as its name implies, it is an open venue for all kinds of modern art practice.  You’ll find a lot of new and up and comers here in the fields of painting, sculpture, and mixed media.

Personally, I think it is truly wonderful how places like these encourage more Filipino artists to create, by providing them a wonderful space to showcase their work.  I also think it makes art more accessible to everyone, less serious or for the “intellectual”, and definitely more fun!

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Here’s what we saw in Gallery 1…

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I found the pieces to be quite dark and dreary–not my style at all.  Hahaha!  I appreciated Gallery 2 more as it was filled with art from some of my favorite contemporary artists–Elmer Borlongan, Plet Bolipata, and Rodel Tapaya.

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The notorious Hari Sonik was on display in Gallery 2.  I find this character so intriguing, yet disturbing at the same time.  The H just finds him flat out freaky. Hahahaha!

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I was so drawn to this Borlongan painting.  Definitely not as “dark” as his others.

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There’s also a very cute cafe inside Pinto.  Too bad it was closed that day we were there.  I read somewhere that the cafe is operated by Bizu during the weekends. I’m not too sure if that is still true, though :).

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Going down the steps from the Pinto Cafe will lead you to Gallery 3.  Again, there were more interesting artworks to see…

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Can you believe these 2 different artworks were done by 1 artist? 🙂  Loving the reference to the jeepneys of old :).

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This was one of my favorite pieces…

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And now to the best part–Galleries 4 and 5.  These two spaces had the most interesting pieces, and the nicest displays–truly, a visual feast! 🙂

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Haha.

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A very timely “year of the horse” sculpture by Plet Bolipata.  I think there were 4 of her sculptures throughout the gallery!  I loooove her art!  Incidentally, Plet is Elmer Borlongan’s wife :).

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By Leeroy New, another artist that I admire very much :).

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Sweet ride :).  Even the little one thought so :).

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Before we get to Gallery 5, I would literally like to take a bathroom break.  Yes, I did take pictures of their bathrooms, but only because they were so pretty, and so clean!  Did I not tell you that there were just too many beautiful spaces in this place?!?  This bathroom is proof!  Hahahaha!  And that turquoise door…Haaaay! Soooo loving it! 🙂

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On to Gallery 5…

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I was particularly drawn to these paintings by Emanuel Garibay too.  Not like his usual paintings, these are very bright and colorful.  I like the subject matter as well, especially the ones with the women in it :).

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Throughout the gallery, you will find arched windows or doorways that open to spectacular views such as this one.

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“Sit at your own risk.”  A living room made entirely out of paper!

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There were also these 2 rooms we found at the last gallery–one looked like a bedroom, the other a den-slash-living room.  It made me wonder if they were meant to be used for gallery guests, or were they simply a space to display artwork as well?  Both rooms were very pretty :).

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What else is pretty at Pinto?  The view, ofcourse 🙂

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There are several rooftops in Pinto that give one a gorgeous view of the city. Definitely picture-worthy! And it was with this particular view that we ended our tour of the wonderful Pinto Art Gallery.  Like I said, no regrets that we ended up spending our holiday in the city, as we were finally able to visit this gem of a place :)!

Foodie Friday : Victorino’s

Christmas celebrations are always a good excuse to eat out :).

Just recently, my team decided to have our annual Christmas lunch and despedida for colleague G, at Victorino’s, one of the newer restaurants that just opened in Quezon City.

Specializing in Ilocano food, Victorino’s is one of those old houses that was transformed quite beautifully into a dining establishment.  At the ground floor, one can find the main dining area, a small area for selling Ilocano wares (blankets, dish towels, brooms, etc. etc.), a display of Heny Sison’s delectable desserts, and more Ilocano delicacies that one can purchase to take home (longganisa, bagnet, snacks, coffee, and more!).

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The second floor houses the function rooms, perfect for private get-togethers or work meetings :).

Navigating the Christmas traffic to get to Victorino’s was quite challenging, and by the time we finally arrived, we were quite famished! To say that I was more than ready for a good meal was an understatement :).  Hahaha!

Ordering on a hungry stomach wasn’t quite a good idea either, as we ended up ordering much more than we should have!  Hahaha!  You’ll see below all the food we had, and I didn’t even post what we had for dessert!  Ayayay!

Anyway, we decided to skip the appetizers, and immediately went for soup and the main course instead.

We started off with an Ilocano specialty called Lomo-lomo.

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It’s a brothy type of soup with bits of meat, chives, and egg.  It is perfectly flavorful and very comforting :).

We also ordered kinirog, another Ilocano specialty rice with bagoong, longganisa, egg and pindang.  I love that it had such a generous topping of salted fish on top :).  As they say, kanin pa lang, ulam na!  This is the type of dish that I can have all to myself, if I just wasn’t watching my carb intake :).

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For our mains, we got 2 (yes, 2!) servings of Ilocos Best, a dish combining both bagnet and longganisa.  Can you say deadly?  Hahaha!  Did I mention that you should never order food on an empty stomach? ;p

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The bistek was also really good…

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…and the Prito na Tilapia was crispy, fresh and did not disappoint :).

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We also unanimously loved the Poqui-poqui, a grilled eggplant dish sauteed in onions and tomatoes.  It’s really a very simple dish, but so yummy and healthy! 🙂

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Overall, we had a very pleasant dining experience at Victorino’s :).

Two thumbs up for the restaurant ambience and decor (especially the native wood antique furniture), and another two thumbs up for the food!  Special mention goes to the kinirog and poqui-poqui, two of our favorite dishes that day.

Victorino’s is most definitely a welcome addition to the foodie scene in Quezon City.  It’s nice to have a restaurant that not only specializes in Ilocano dishes, but also makes available some specialty products that are sourced from the Ilocos region.

Should you have any balikbayan friends in town, this would be a good place to take them, especially if you want to give them a taste of Filipino food in a pretty, relaxed setting :).

VICTORINO’S, 11th Jamboree Street corner Scout Rallos, Quezon City, Telephone Number : +63 917 833-4148

The Best One Yet!

Ever since my first ManilaFAME experience, I’ve been hooked!  Imagine an event showcasing two floors of the best locally made furniture, home accessories, bags, jewelry and fashion–gosh, this is what heaven looks like for a girl like me! Hahaha!  So I’ve made it a point to troop down to SMX for every show since, for a little dose of happy and inspiration :).

And even after 3 expos, the giddiness I feel every time I visit has not died down one single bit.  In fact, after the recent show held last Oct 17-20–their best one yet–I’m still on a high and totally inspired by everything I saw!

As expected, the furniture and home furnishings were truly extraordinary!  No wonder our local artisans are considered to be design trendsetters, and have truly sparked global interest in and demand for our products :).

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While I think there were less participants this time around compared to last March, the booths and the products were definitely nothing short of spectacular! Here were some of my personal favorites… 🙂

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Ito Kish

Don’t you just love the wall treatment?  And those Busilak Jars are LOVE :).

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Kenneth Cobonpue

I have nothing else to say but his booth was impressive as always :).  This shot was my paparazzi moment.  Hahaha!  Was hoping to meet him but this interview took a while :(.

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Balay ni Atong

Those lamps made from pieces of inabel cloth and wire were TDF!!! I also fell in love with a woven blanket, but it was a bit out of my budget :(.

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Catalina

Those colorful stools/side tables made me drool!!!  I want one badly!!!

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Schema by Kalikasan Crafts

The pendant lamps are a project for our dining room next year!  Excited!

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Vito Selma

*Sigh* His Geo coffee table has been on my wish list for like forever!!!

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Masaeco

I always love their booth display, and this time was no exception 🙂

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Tadeco

Aren’t those light installations gorge? 🙂

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Industria

They won the Katha Award for Best Booth Design :).

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Triboa Bay

Another favorite of mine.  Their pieces are so well designed, yet very functional!  Their trestle table is another one on my wish list!

This time around, there was also a special showcase called The Red Box, featuring the work of the rising stars of local design.  These designers are part of a developmental program “aimed at harnessing Filipino creativity with the use of sustainable raw materials to produce design-forward products for the world.”

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Loved these tables and the lighting by Leah Sanchez.  Incidentally, aside from being an architect by profession, Leah is also one half of the duo behind Resurrection and Found Objects Gallery :).

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It was so nice to see the work of my favorite ladies from Bungalow 3oo on display during the show!  Bravo!

Even the Manila Wear section, now on its second year, had such a strong showing from its participant artists.  I noticed a lot of fashion designers combining regional craftsmanship with their own unique aesthetic and style, setting the stage for next year’s trends and must-haves :).

It truly makes me happy to see the Philippine aesthetic finally having its time in the spotlight :).  I’ve always been a fan of native arts and crafts, and it is quite wonderful that many designers have started incorporating not just local materials into their products, but traditional elements into their designs as well. Coupled with a modern twist or interpretation, the results are exquisite artisanal items that are really something to be proud of! 🙂

Here is a small sampling of my favorite brands at Manila Wear…

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Vesti

These bags are not just so “now”, but I love the use of the traditional fabric!  It was so nice to meet the designer and owner of the brand, who truly impressed me with her style and go-getter attitude :).

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Such beautifully crafted accessories from last year and this year’s Katha Award winner, Ann Ong.  I’m not sure if I could wear the grasshopper on wood neckpiece, but I was definitely wowed by the intricacy of the design :).

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It was so wonderful to bump into Dennis Lustico!  I am a longtime fan of his dress designs, and it is so nice to see how he has branched out into accessories–specifically, bags!  Aren’t they bee-yoo-ti-full? 🙂  I super loved that yellow “bayong” he is standing next to with the acrylic handles, as well as the blue beaded clutch at the bottom of the picture.  Ang ganda!!!!

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I also finally got to meet accessory designer, Ken Samudio, and had a fan-girl moment!  Hahaha!  To say I love his stuff is an understatement.  More about it in my next blog post! 🙂

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Another uber wonderful and cool accessory designer is Adante Leyesa.  Not only does he have talent by the bucket-loads, but he’s super humble too!  I just love his statement neckpieces and clutch bags!  They are definitely showstoppers!!!

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I think my most favorite accessory designer of all time has to be Joyce Makitalo, though.  Actually, between my mom and I, we have 5 of her gorgeous necklaces!!!  I can’t wait to see her new collection which is coming out very soon!  I am so sure it will be amazing!

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These barong dresses by Amarie first caught my eye at the MaARTe bazaar.  I would love to own one of these someday too :).

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Filip + Inna’s booth, and the various pieces they had on display totally took my breath away!  Not only did I love the colors, but the embroidery designs were so exquisite!  Hard to believe these are traditional designs from the tribes in Lake Sebu–they look so modern and contemporary!  Again, more on this in another blog post :).

To be honest, I could go on and on about the amazing things I saw during ManilaFAME, but it would be even better if you guys had a chance to see the expo for yourself (watch out for it in March 2014!!!)!  These pictures are but a fraction of all there is to see!  As it was, I actually didn’t have much time to go through the entire show :(, so I had to breeze past other sections such as the OTOP (One Town, One Project), which features products from various regions all over the Philippines.

Don’t you agree, though, that Filipinos are soooo talented and creative? 🙂 Coming to a show like this will truly make you feel proud of our culture and heritage!  I’m sure it won’t be long before the world starts appreciating it as well :).

I. Can’t. Wait!

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4 days and counting–I am so excited!

If you’ve read my previous posts on Manila FAME, you’ll know that this bi-annual event is something I always anticipate :).

Not only are the talents of Filipino craftsmen and artisans so proudly on display, but it’s a wonderful venue to be inspired and awed by all things locally made :).

And the best part?  I actually always end up with some pretty good stuff on the last day of the show, when purveyors put their wares up for sale :)!

Here are some photos of the last Manila FAME held in March.  I only posted a few of the ones I took, just for you guys to have an idea of what to expect this weekend…

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Kenneth Cobonpue’s furniture is always a crowd pleaser!

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*Sigh*  I’ve been lusting after this Vito Selma coffee table for ages!!!  One day, you will be mine!!!

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Awesome pieces by Daniel Latorre Cruz!  Makes me want to have a garden just so that I can put them on display.  Hahaha!

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These throw pillows by Inigo Elizalde are LOVE.

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I wanted everything in Ito Kish’s booth!  What a creative genius he is!

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Van Gogh is Bipolar’s booth was crazy beautiful!

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My favorite jewelry maker, Joyce Makitalo, never disappoints!  Aren’t her pieces breathtakingly amazing?!?  Can I have one of everything, please?  Hahaha!

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And last but not the least, my friend Lally Dizon’s luxe croc and python skin bag collection, with its yummy colors, were also on display during the show!  So proud!

These pictures are just a fraction of what one can expect to see during ManilaFAME.  Now you know why I’m so excited!  Hahaha!

If you guys aren’t doing anything this weekend, make your way to SMX Convention Center at MOA.  The show is open to the public on the last day, Sunday, October 20th.

See you there!

www.manilafame.wordpress.com

http://www.manilafame.com

Food-Tripping in Baguio

Gosh, it’s been ages since I last visited Baguio.  15 years to be exact :).  So when my good friend M invited us to join her for a weekend getaway to the City of Pines, the H and I (along with my cousin A, and her husband, D) didn’t really have to think twice :).

I’ve been hearing and reading a lot about the gastronomic adventures one can look forward to in Baguio.  While the sights have not really changed much in the last 15 years (except to look a bit older), the dining scene apparently, is alive and kicking.

This got me really, really excited!  I mean, who doesn’t love eating, right? Hahaha!  Well, I obviously do :).  So before our journey, I did a little research, and listed down all the places I wanted to try :).  Thankfully, we had enough number of days, and enough number of meals to do so.  Hahaha!

Here is a run-down of our favorite Baguio eats :

1. Cafe by the Ruins

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Photo courtesy of pasahera.com

The first stop on our culinary escapade was Cafe by the Ruins.  I guess a trip to Baguio is not complete without stopping by here.  This oldie but goodie is located on Shuntung Road.  While it is one of the city’s must-try’s, can you believe I’ve never even set foot in it?  As in ever?  Where have I been, right?  Hahaha!

So the minute we arrived in the city, we pretty much made a beeline for the restaurant (we were also quite hungry na!).  We chose to have their various specialties such as the Baguio bagnet, duck, crispy tapa, and some chicken sotanghon soup for the little girl.  We also tried their Rizal’s Tsokolate-e, which was surprisingly a bit different from what I was expecting.  I was hoping for a thick, creamy, and steaming cup of hot chocolate to warm my belly.  This version, although good, was a bit runny and not as milky as I would have wanted.

Our food, however, was both yummy and satisfying.  I love that it was served with healthy mountain rice, a side of tomato relish, and a generous serving of ulam. 

For our first meal in Baguio, I’d say Cafe by the Ruins set the tone just right. Even in terms of ambience, I thought it was very charming–with the “old”, antique-ish looking wooden furniture, the work of local artists that were on display, the light fixtures hanging from the ceiling, and the walls or ruins, ofcourse, that inspired the restaurant’s name.  I also loved how open and maaliwalas the place felt :).

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Photo courtesy of ourawesomeplanet.com

Needless to say, we enjoyed our experience there very much :).

2. Hill Station

Dinner that evening was spent at another Baguio must, Hill Station.  Located right underneath SM Baguio on Upper Session Road, Hill Station is recognized as a Miele Best Restaurant in Asia.  Impressive, right?  It’s offerings are influenced by the chef’s travels throughout Europe, America, and Asia, so it has quite an interesting and varied menu selection.

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Both the H and I decided to try their recommended pasta dishes–the seafood carbonara, and the spinach and mushroom ravioli.  Both were equally good, but I have to say the carbonara was my favorite of the two :).  There was a spice in the ravioli that I couldn’t quite identify, but that made the flavor very unique and unlike other ravioli’s I’ve tried.  You could totally tell how fresh the pasta was, too, made from scratch in Hill Station’s own kitchen.

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I would definitely love to come back to try some of the other dishes, such as the Cambodian coriander and garlic chicken, as well as the Moroccan-spiced ribs that my cousin-in-law, D, had (he said it was yummers, by the way :)).  We decided to go a bit “light” with dinner that night and didn’t order too much so as to save our tummies for our last course–dessert!

But before I move on to the next restaurant, I have to give special mention to the ambience at Hill Station.  I loved it for its elegant simplicity, for its homey, easy vibe.  I loved the huge windows that surrounded the entire dining area, and the two staircases leading to the second floor.  I actually felt like I was eating in someone’s living room!  Hahaha!  The dimmed lights also made it feel quite romantic, but at the same time, it is conducive for family dining as well :).  Too bad it didn’t have a fireplace.  That would have sealed the deal for me :).

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Hill Station is also right next to Mt. Cloud Bookstore, by the way, another must-visit in Baguio :).

3. Choco-late de Batirol

For dessert, we decided to try another one of Baguio’s classic restaurants–Choco-late de Batirol in Camp John Hay.

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I was surprised to see that it literally looked like a shack in the middle of a forest! Hahaha!  Granted, however, it was hard to miss since it was pretty much the only establishment on the road :).

What I loved about this place was how rustic it looked.  It had so much personality!  Tables were either made out of wood in a local design, or made out of bamboo slats.  Each table had a woven runner, obviously made by the native artisans.  I love how they made use of and are proud of their indigenous accessories and tableware.  It definitely added so much charm and uniqueness to the interiors of the restaurant :).

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Their choco-late was also very good, although similarly runny like the one we had earlier at Cafe by the Ruins.  It made me conclude that Baguio tsokolate probably really has that consistency :).

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4. Ketchup Community

On Day 2 of our Baguio getaway, we did a lot of sightseeing.  We decided to take the little one to see all the places we used to frequent when we were younger.  At around lunch time, we found ourselves at Wright Park, so we decided to try an interesting place just across the street called Ketchup Community.

Ketchup Community is precisely a community of restaurants enclosed within one location.  Each establishment there serves a different type of cuisine such as American, Thai, Filipino, Italian, etc.  If you find yourself without a particular craving, that’s not a problem at Ketchup Community because you are welcome to cross-order from the other restaurants, just as long as 50% of your meal comes from the restaurant where you are sitting.  Cool, right? 🙂

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That afternoon, we decided to try Canto.  I was sold when I saw how mouth-wateringly yummy their burgers looked…and their ribs, too!  I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I’ve had a burger!  Hahaha!  Because the H isn’t particularly fond of eating them, I find myself craving for a bite, every so often.  This was one of them times!  Hahaha!  And thankfully, Canto’s burger was very flavorful and soooo gooood!  It hit the spot!  I have to admit I enjoyed the bun a little too much too :(.  Ayayayay!  With the side of fries that I devoured almost entirely, this meal unfortunately turned into a carb-fest as well.  Tsk, tsk!!!!

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Aside from the burger, I was also attracted to the open seating of Canto, which allowed us to take advantage of the pleasant weather.  Coming from a stormy and foggy first day, the sunny but cool climate we enjoyed that day was precisely the Baguio weather we were looking forward to :).

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5. Mama’s Table by Chef Vicky Tinio-Clemente

I’d been hearing a lot about this private dining experience in Baguio, and I’m glad we were actually able to take part in it during this trip.  My friend M’s mom, Tita L, happens to be a good friend of Chef Vicky, so she arranged for a special 5-course meal for a group of us (we were 26 in all!) at her residence.

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The fog was already quite thick as we made our way up the mountains, and it seemed like we were driving to a very secluded destination.  When we finally arrived at the home of Chef Vicky, it was so dark, save for the light that illuminated her front porch.

It definitely didn’t prepare me for the what greeted us, as we entered the front door…

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What a sight to behold right?  From the grand fireplace, to the high ceilings, from the huge floor to ceiling windows, to the very large, cozy sofas at the center of the room, Chef Vicky’s weekend family residence is one of those places that instantly make you feel at home.  Aside from the beautiful interiors, I love how homey and intimate it felt, despite the size of the room.  I immediately felt so comfortable, and at ease, like I’d been there a million times already.  Chef Vicky’s home provided such a wonderful venue to enjoy amazing food, and equally amazing company! 🙂

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Unfortunately, my iPhone crashed that same night so pictures of the first part of the meal–the appetizer spread–are gone forever :(.  Huhuhu :(.  I am so bummed because the appetizers were not just good, but were also so prettily presented on the table.  We had a variety of spreads to choose from such as an artichoke dip, kani spread, chili, and a selection of cured meats, crisp breads, and even chicharon!  Everything tasted soooo good!  I actually had to discipline myself just to try a little of each, so I wouldn’t ruin my appetite.  I couldn’t wait for the rest of the evening’s meal :)!

Luckily, though, I was able to take pictures of the four other courses using my camera.  This is what we feasted on that evening :)…

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Everything from the soup to the dessert was cooked to perfection! I kid you not!  The mushroom soup was creamy, and I loved that it was laced with truffle oil.  YUM!!!  The salmon was cooked just right, and was nicely complemented by the roasted squash.  The roast beef was very tender and soft, simple yet satisfying.  I loved the salad with its fresh greens, crunchy nuts, and refreshingly sweet orange slivers.  And to think I’m not really such a salad person.  Hahaha!  Despite the fact that I devoured each and every dish, the meal was so nicely paced that I didn’t feel at all full, and definitely had room for dessert :)! Or does that mean that my stomach has expanded already?  Que Horror! 😦

5. Chaya

For our last meal in Baguio, we had lunch at Chaya on Legarda Road.

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Chaya is a charming old house turned Japanese restaurant.  I love the dark wooden walls that are reminiscent of many old homes in Baguio, as well as the quilts that adorn the walls.

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But the star of this restaurant is most definitely the food!

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We were so excited to try it out that we ended up ordering so much–Chirashi, Chicken Teriyaki Salad, Chicken Teriyaki, Salmon Sashimi, Mixed Tempura and Sukiyaki!  To wash it all down, I couldn’t resist ordering their Green Tea shake too!  It was sooooo yummy!

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To say we enjoyed our food is an understatement.  We LOVED it!  The tempura batter was light and crisp, the soup of the sukiyaki was not too sweet and very comforting, the salad had a wonderful, tangy dressing that was quite refreshing, the chicken teriyaki was soft and had a nice glaze to it, and the sushi was fresh and served in huge slices.  What more could we ask for, right?  And the cherry on top was that everything was sooo reasonably priced!

We definitely ended our trip on a high note with Chaya!

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So there you have it, six of Baguio’s best culinary gems :).  Should you find yourself in the City of Pines anytime soon, do take the time to check them out!  I am sure, like us, you will be truly delighted!

Fab Finds MaARTe Edition

Oh my, it’s already September!!!

And if you’re Filipino, you certainly know what that means–Christmas is right around the corner!  Can you believe I actually heard my first Christmas carol exactly on September 1st???  I kid you not!!!

And precisely because we Filipinos start preparing for Christmas this early, there have been a number of bazaars popping up lately, the most recent being the MaARTe Artisanal Fair at the Rockwell Tent.  The shopping frenzy has begun!!! 🙂

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I personally love going to the MaARTe bazaar because of the many wonderful, locally handcrafted items one can find there.  I was actually quite pleased that from a handful of booths last year, they had about 50 different participants, each selling distinct artisanal products.  Translation: this year’s offerings definitely did not disappoint!

Here were some of my favorite items:

1. Pottery from Joey de Castro

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Joey de Castro, Pottery Artist, 0917 8315904, joeyldc@yahoo.com

2. Crocheted Fruits and Veggies and other items from La Pomme

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La Pomme for Kids, look for Apol or Fiona, 0917 7151821/0919 9934795, http://www.lapommeph.com/www.lapommehome.com

3. Bambow Ties (also the makers of Bamboo Bikes)

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A on a Bamboo Bike

facebook.com/Bambowtie

4. Home stuff from Domesticity

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mydomesticity.com, facebook.com/MyDomesticityPH

5. Embroidered Barong Dresses from Amarie

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Shophouse – 2nd Floor – Tommy’s Coffee 8483 Kalayaan Street, Corner Matilde, Barangay Poblacion, Makati City, 8901526

6. Stools from Hacienda Crafts Company

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haciendacrafts.com, facebook.com/HaciendaCrafts

7. Blankets and Throws from Beyond Borders

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facebook.com/beyondbordersphilippines

8. Necklaces from Piesa by Phoebe

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facebook.com/PiesaOfficial

There were actually many other vendors with fabulous items on sale, but unfortunately I was not able to get their names nor their pictures :(.  By the time I dropped by the bazaar, it was already almost closing time so I was in a bit of a rush :(.

But anyway, I hope this blogpost gives you some new ideas for gifts this holiday season.  Happy shopping!!! 🙂

A Day at the Museum

Looking for something to keep your curious and active toddler engaged?

If you’re like me, I am constantly challenged to keep my little miss busy and entertained.  Having been a pre-school teacher in my past life, I think I put extra pressure on myself to expose A to activities and experiences where she will learn new things and new skills.

Recently, we found ourselves on a holiday with nothing planned to do.  Rather than spending a perfectly good day indoors at home or at the mall, we decided to take the little miss to Museo Pambata or the Children’s Museum in Manila.

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What a wonderful place!!!

Not only is the building itself beautiful and historic, but I love that the displays were interesting, interactive and very educational.  It kept my little one busy for hours!!!

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The last time I was there was even before I took my Masters in New York–that was over 10 years ago!!!  But the museum looked very well maintained, and there were many displays there that I didn’t remember seeing before :).  So it was like seeing everything with fresh eyes :).

The first room we went to was called Old Manila.

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They had cool replicas of a Spanish galleon, the Binondo Church, and the Meralco tranvia :).

They also had reproductions of the facade of La Puerto del Sol, one of the first department stores in Manila, an old Bahay na Bato balcony, and models of a jeepney and kalesa.

I really felt as if I was going back in time!  Hahaha.  It made me a bit wistful too, though.  If only the real Old Manila could be restored back to its former glory :(. Wouldn’t that be something? 🙂

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Another themed room that A enjoyed was Kalikasan, a room where visitors are educated about the rainforest and marine life.

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This slide kept A occupied for a good 20 minutes :).  She just loved climbing up and going down by herself (she’s on a “I can do this by myself” stage–hahaha!)!

After that, she enjoyed doing some pretend play both at the rice fields and in the botika…

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Isn’t this bahay kubo too cute?  All the vegetables on display in front are from the Bahay Kubo song :).

The next room we visited was called The Global Village.  The current exhibit is on Singapore…

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The little one was immediately attracted to the instruments, and to the display of international dolls and puppets…

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There’s just something about banging and making loud noises that just draws toddlers in.  Hahahaha! 🙂

After The Global Village, we proceeded up the stairs to view the rest of the exhibits.  At the top of the stairs, this was the sight that greeted us…

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It was a tunnel-slash-entrance to My Body Works, another themed room that helps children to understand how organs in the body function.  At first A was a bit creeped out by the size of the head, but when Dada held her hand and she discovered the maze, that’s it!  She zipped off and started to explore :).

My personal favorite area in the entire museum was the Pamilihang Bayan or marketplacea row of typical shops that one would find in a Filipino neighborhood.  There was a barber shop, a vegetable shop, a seafood shop, a pharmacy, and a carinderia.  Pretend play heaven!!!

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Cute, right?  And fun, too!

The next room was a room on Career Options.  Currently, it is featuring a Writer’s and Illustrator’s Corner.  It was nice to see the work of some of my favorite Filipino illustrator’s on display :).

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I’ve actually always dreamed of publishing my own children’s book.  Still do.  So this room was particularly meaningful and inspiring for me :).

My daughter loves children’s books too!  She has luckily inherited my pretty extensive collection :).  Maybe one day we’ll be able to collaborate on one together :).  Why not, right? 🙂

The last of the exhibits was on I Love My Planet Earth.  The interactive displays discussed climate change, and gave tips on how to save our planet.

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Of all the items in the room, A immediately zeroed in on a big red truck!  Hahaha! What can I say, my daughter loves cars! 🙂

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Look at how happy she is up there! 🙂

As you can tell, we had an amazing time at Museo Pambata!  Mission accomplished too!  Not only was my daughter thoroughly engaged, but I’m sure she learned a lot of new things too!

Even the hubby and I had a lot of fun!  It’s a bit cliche, but I really felt like a kid again 🙂  Hahaha!  Certainly, it was an afternoon well spent 🙂

So if you find yourself with some free time in the city and have nothing to do, try making your way to the Museo Pambata!  Certainly, it’s a place for good ol’ fashioned fun and learning for the entire family! 🙂

Admission : Php100

Hours of Operation :

8AM-5PM Tuesdays to Saturdays

1PM-5PM Sundays

http://www.museopambata.org