Retro 60s and 70s Party Teaser

In the company that I am working for, Employees’ Night Party is held yearly.  Instead of the annual Christmas Party as observed by other companies, we prefer to hold the party after the season has simmered down.  It is because during the Santa Holiday Season out group of restaurants are the busiest entities in the metro.  We are actually the servers in others’ Christmas Parties!

And after the busy service during Christmas season, we seem to be ready for a Halloween Party because everybody looks like a zombie by the end of the season.  Nevertheless, during the kris kringle season, I would publish posters counting down the number of days prior to the day of the Employees’ Night so as to build up some excitement.

retro-posters

a collage of “countdown” posters i published in the office

Employees’ Night is held usually on the second or third week of January.  And every year, a theme is appointed.   This year’s theme is Retro 60s and 70s.  The styles, fashion and music of the 60s and 70s era.

Every year my co-employees looks forward to our Employees’ Night.  Almost all of employees would participate in donning in an outfit based on the party theme.  I am just as excited as the rest of them.  And to add more excitement, I created a cute video which features some of my co-employees who has lived during the cool 60s and awesome 70s…

Thank you peeps for submitting your cute cool retro photos! I love them all.  Let show everyone how an awesome party should be done.  See you at the party!

Eksayted na ko…

The Abe Wing of the National Museum

Last Tuesday night, the few pieces of artistic neurons present inside my cranial cavity were happy to have witnessed one historical event in the “Philippine art scene”.  I was present during the formal turnover ceremony of artworks of Emilio Aguilar Cruz to the Philippines’ National Museum for Fine Arts.  The event was coined as the biggest donation in the history for an art collection by an artist to the country’s national museum.

And from the poignant speeches I heard during the ceremony, this generous and selfless act was decided upon so that future generations of the Philippines would be able to see and appreciate contemporary yet refined works of Filipino visual art. This is aside from the fact that these valuable pieces would definitely be protected, preserved and maintained by the state.

EAC Gallery (Abe Wing) photo grabbed from National Museum FB page

EAC Gallery (Abe Wing)
photo grabbed from National Museum FB page

Aside from the formal turnover of donation of EAC art pieces, the program also includes the formal inauguration of the Emilio Aguilar Cruz Hall. Also known as the Abe Wing inside the National Museum, this hall exhibits the donated paintings, sketches and water colors done by EAC.

Activating the art connoisseur in me, from among all the art pieces hanged inside the Abe Wing, the two works of art that charmed and bewitched me were:

portrait of a lady, 1989 (oil on canvass)

portrait of a lady, 1989 (oil on canvass)

This painting is a true representation of a Filipina beauty.  Though the only color used was the varying colors of brown, the monochromatic shades – from lighting, to the clothing and to the color of the woman’s skin – were all so fascinatingly beautiful and captivating.

Paris, 1980 (watercolor on paper)

Paris, 1980 (watercolor on paper)

This watercolor is small but very engaging.  The colors are so alive you would wonder whether such piece was recently been done when in fact it is already 35 years old. Onlooker would be able to appreciate it more if seen from a considerable distance (which for me is a typical EAC style).

Like any other great works of art found in the museums around the globe, EAC’s art pieces would someday, in some foreseeable future, shall become valuable tools for the next generation to better understand its past.  Kudos to the family of Emilio Aguilar Cruz for such a generous donation!

Koloring buk ko kaya tanggapin kung i-doneyt ko sa nashonal myusiyum? 

Lorenzo’s Way Desserts

Costillas De Ternera Guisada, Spanish Garlic Chicken, Paella Negra, Lengua Estofada and Prawns in Creole and Hollandaise Sauce are some of the sumptuous main dishes found in Lorenzo’s Way restaurant, one of the refined casual dining establishments in Manila.

These highfaluting and pompous sounding dishes may be the some of the best main courses for human consumption but for me the main course remain to be the last dish served in any meal.   As what the common saying goes, “save the best for last”!  That would simply be the dessert.

Having dessert perhaps is like all the other events and circumstances where the so called “last” is considered the highlight.  Aside from sex, cases in point would be a beauty pageant, an awards night, a bingo social and even the Filipino tradition of Santacruzan in which the last part is considered the best part.

Lorenzo’s Way restaurant happens to serve my most favorite desserts!

extra-ordinarily creamy yet classic, Leche Flan

extra-ordinarily creamy yet classic, Leche Flan

blissful with this Pecan Pie

blissful with this Pecan Pie

Gigil Tart. It was immediately sliced as soon as it's served for we could no longer wait, only to realize that we haven't taken a photo yet!

Gigil Tart. It was immediately sliced as soon as it’s served for we could no longer wait, only to realize that we haven’t taken a photo yet!

my favorite! choco banana volcano,

my favorite! choco banana volcano,

Unlike responsible adults, I would rather skip the starters but never the dessert.  Two reasons I guess is the enticing visual appeal as well as that of the pleasurable palatal sensation it generates.

Mapapa-klap yor hands ka sa sarap!

The Best and Most Favorite Filipino Restaurant

It is a common notion and a customary aspiration that if you are in a foreign land, you would want to taste the best and most favorite that such locale or country has to offer.  Meaning, if you are in France you would normally want to dine in the best or most preferred French restaurant.  Or if you are in Italy you would of course aspire to eat at the best or most popular Italian restaurant.  But when in the Philippines, has it been determined which would be the restaurant where to taste the best and most preferred Filipino cuisine?

The Filipino cuisine is experiencing a renaissance in the world cuisine stage. The world is now discovering that the Filipino cuisine is not just the exotic “balut”.  Thus, it is essential to determine in today’s generation which Filipino restaurant in the Philippines is the best and the most favorite.  Here are two trusty basis for this.  One for being the best while the other for being the most favorite.

One would be based on the selection made by MBKRS which is short for Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secret award.  MBKRS is a biennial awarding body considered by a lot of Filipino foodies and food establishments as the most prestigious award that recognizes excellence in city dining scene.

Two would be based on the honor given by the recently concluded Choice Awards 2015.  A new food-scene recognizing body which was established and organized by popular and “powerful” food bloggers in the Philippines.  This award does not recognizes the best of the country’s food and food establishments but instead honors the most commonly preferred and most favorites.

These two recognizing bodies has bestowed honors to food establishments in various categories – best or most favorite: buffet, Italian resto, Spanish resto, burger joint, coffee shop, steakhouse, Chinese resto, and a lot more.  But these recognizing bodies being based in the Philippines, I would personally consider their choice or their award for being the best and most favorite Filipino Restaurant would be the most prestigious.  It’s like bestowing the Best Picture award during the Oscars or the Golden Globes of Philippine dining scene!

Few people I guess knows that there is one Filipino restaurant (in the Philippines) which has received and has been awarded by both these recognizing bodies.  MBKRS in 2012 awarded it as the “Best Filipino Restaurant” while the first Choice Awards held this year (2015) chose it as the “Most Favorite Filipino Restaurant”.

That restaurant is Abe.

at the trinoma branch

at the trinoma branch

at the serendra branch

at the serendra branch

Award wining!

Keeping, Serving, Enjoying The Traditional Kare-Kare

kare-kare overload

kare-kare overload

The Filipino cuisine is at its renaissance in the present generation.  And because of this global upwelling, it is frustrating to note that there have been lots of Filipino restaurants popping up in the metro that has gone modifying and fusing the tasty traditional Filipino dishes with the western or other Asian cuisines.

The grassroots and nature of the Filipino cuisine is about being economical.  Ingredients were based on what the environment offers.  Filipino dish is not about just taking, using and eating the best part of an edible fruit, plant or animal.  It is about the development of dishes utilizing every edible part of an edible element present in the environment may it be a fruit, a plant or an animal.  That is why western world would often perceive Filipino dishes to be bizarre and outright disgusting.

Because of this perception, to tweak Filipino dishes in terms of plating and visual presentation so as to not scare people and achieve global marketability is okay for me.  But the complex taste and palatal balance of the traditional recipe that Filipinos of the past has concocted and developed must remain.

the chosen one!!! the authentic good old kare-kare

the chosen one!!! the good old traditional  kare-kare (i obviously erased the labels…)

It is good to know then that the LJC Restaurant Group, a leading group of restaurants in the country continues to serve traditional Filipino dishes.  Though I am not the final authority regarding the taste of traditional Filipino dishes, I have been fortunate to be chosen as one of the lucky Filipinos to taste and determine which among their Kare-Kare is the best!  Aside from adopting the chosen best Kare-Kare for all their outlets, this project by the LJC Group in way ensures that the good old Kare-Kare (stewed oxtail in peanut-based sauce) is available for the present generation to enjoy.

This project only shows how the LJC Restaurant Group is serious is keeping the traditional Filipino cuisine.  No wonder the LJC Restaurant Group operates the leading and best Filipino restaurants in the country, i.e. Abe (which now has 6 branches) and Bistro Remedios located in Malate, Manila.

With the rousing global interest about the Filipino cuisine nowadays, it would be sad to know and would be hard to imagine in case the best Kare-Kare would not be found in the Philippines.  So, good job LJC Group!  At least for now, the best Kare-Kare is still found in the Philippines!

Yami parang ako!

A Holiday Symphony by the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra

It’s like a bunch of angels went down from the heavens and played us some awesome music!

This is the general feeling I felt after having watched and listened to the concert of no less than the Philippine pride, the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO).  Held at the outdoor amphitheater area of the Bonifacio High Street Central in Bonifacio Gobal City (BGC) the concert was entitled “A Holiday Symphony”.  It was organized by the LJC Group, the BGC and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

This PPO event was free to the public that is why I did not let this rare chance pass by.  What is so good about the concert was their chosen repertoire.  It was pop and popular to the ear and not the usually highfalutin sleep-inducing classical tunes.

high culture in high street...

high culture in high street…

cellos and the cellists

cellos and the cellists… (photos by patrick uy)

Though the program started with a classical piece – to the beat of William Tell Overture – it was nevertheless fun and exhilarating to the ear.  It is because the tune was reminiscent of the background music of a Looney Tunes cartoon chase scene.  I initially thought Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner would suddenly appear on stage!

One of the highlights of the show was when a good friend Edwin Santos sang two songs in the concert.  He started with Pasko Na Cinta Ko (a Tagalog Christmas love song) and capped it with an explosive operatic performance by singing the Mexican song Granada.  I was super proud and was cheering like mad for Edwin!

explosive performance by edwin santos...

explosive performance by edwin santos…

PPO played Donna Summer songs, tunes from Star Wars plus a lot of Christmas songs crafting a very Christmas-ee feeling in the crisp November air.  When the orchestra played the gorgeous tunes from the movie Titanic, I initially held on to my seat for I thought a humongous ocean wave would suddenly appear bringing Rose and Jack on the stage!  But nothing beats the couple of Beatles songs they played.  People in the audience were actually singing along with them!

It is not the first time I heard PPO played yet still the emotions they drew from me was something unexplainable.  The nearest words that I can think of is it’s a mix of magic, glee and pride.

Sarap sa tenga. Pramis!

Kick Cancer’s Ass

Cancer (not the horoscope but the ailment) in which ever form, type, category or origin it is has gained the reputation of being a deadly and dreaded disease.  It has claimed a considerable percentage of the human population.  This disease is so deadly, it does not only attack the physical being, it also plagues the human emotion as well as drain a family’s bank account.  Cancer nowadays is so prevalent everybody seem to know someone who had or have it.

Because of this, people in groups – may it be a foundation, an organization or a company – has come up with noble and novel ideas on how to help those affected.  Case in point are the two ongoing projects situated at two ends of the planet.  Their strategies may vary but their aim is the same.  To kick cancer’s ass.

One is located in Manila, particularly the LJC Restaurants’ ‘Good to Dine’ promo.  It is a strategy that lets you donate to the needy yet at the same time let you enjoy a penchant palatal experience.  It is because for every ordered special dish included in the campaign, the patron gets to donate ten (10) pesos of his payment to the Philippine General Hospital’s Cancer Institute.

The campaign will run until the end of the year (2014) and the accumulated fund will be used to finance treatments of cancer patients.  So when you plan to dine in a restaurant, might as well settle for these restaurants and order for these items…

order na!  (photo grabbed from ljc restaurants webpage)

order na!
(photo grabbed from ljc restaurants webpage)

The other is located in New York.  That is Hoda Kotb’s (host of The Today Show) direct-to-the-point fundraising and donation campaign. Usually quirky Hoda and her group tickle viewers’ sentiments and emotion by letting them watch and listen to a beautiful mashed up songs of two of pop superstars Sara Bareilles’ ‘Brave‘ and Cindy Lauper’s ‘True Colors‘.

Indeed, the song and the music video touches the heart.  It will make you realize that you haven’t seen what a true character of ‘brave’ is until you’ve seen kids kick cancer’s ass.

All proceeds of Hoda’s campaign will go to grants for pediatric cancer research via the American Cancer Society.  Click HERE if you wish to donate.

Kip dis gowing… Doneyt doneyt ang peg!