Monday, March 26, 2012

Live A.I.D.S.

If you can only watch one comedy show in the year, I'd recommend Live A.I.D.S for two reasons: 

1. The lines are witty, intelligent takes on current events and pop culture 
2. The stand-up comedians won't put you on the spotlight of shame


Live A.I.D.S. (Ang Istoryang Dinebelop ng Samaskom)  is a musical-comedy-variety show produced by UP Samaskom, a student organization of the UP College of Mass Communication. It is dubbed as a "parody of life" packaged in spoofs, skits, dance and song numbers.

It's a shame that I didn't watch Live AIDS as a student in UP. The show came consciously in our radar last year because Person A's officemate, a UP Samaskom alumnus, was peddling tickets for the show. Unfortunately, I was out of town on its one-weekend run, hence only Person A got to watch the show in 2011. He immensely enjoyed it that he thinks we shouldn't miss it this year

Here's my take as a "virgin" (that's how UP Samaskom puts it) Live AIDs viewer. The theme is "Before and Laughter", a series of independent sketches through time from the Mayan civilization to the jejemons.

The Highlights

1. Amaya

Amaya opened the show convincing the audience how the aMAYAN civilization is still present in the Philippines and the world. Amaya's lines were a hit especially the Blessed Viscuit Marie (B.V.M.).
2. Adele and the Kilogrammy Awards


She's doing a parody of Adele's Grammys thank you speech and the compelling story behind her hit songs. British accent with Tagalog meaning.


Very funny.

3. Whetney Houston!


S/he's the most natural among all the performers: s/he can sing, the versions s/he can do with "I... and Iiiii... will alwaaayyysss... love you", and the way s/he delivers it.

I find the entire act very funny.

4. The Himala, No Other Woman, Asiong Salonga and Zombading Mash Up


The famous movies of 2011 pirated in one DVD. The DVD features 3D (Yes! Walang Himaaallllaaaa!), character mix up and delivered in different languages. 

Hilarious.

5. Pokemon, Jejemon and Bekemon

The Alamat ng Pinya delivered by 3 prominent groups of people in our society nowadays. The sketch is too long but if we just zero in on their specific versions, it's really hilarious.

Pokemon


She's the director of the entire show.

Jejemon


He's the writer. 

Bekemon
Goojab UP Samaskom!

In Summary

1. Live AIDS is one of the best comedy shows in town, if not the best. The content is well-thought of, funny and very witty minus the spotlight of shame common in comedy bars. I think everyone should watch this  show. At PhP 200 a ticket, it's worth it.

2. However, the set is raw and costume is not the best of quality. This is forgivable considering that everyone in the production team is a full-time student and the is staged at the end of the second semester, hence they also have exams to attend to.

3. This is good for outing with friends and a date with the special someone. If you're on a first date, please make sure that the person you're trying to impress appreciates this form of entertainment. Please don't bring children under the age of 12 as there might be some adult content. 

4. There are only about 5 shows each year which run in one weekend around March/April. If you plan to watch Live AIDS, make sure you know someone who can secure a ticket for you. I heard it's really difficult to obtain one due to high demand. Your best bet are alumni of UP Samaskom and UP students. 


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Ang Haba ng Hair Ko, Simsimi!

I finally had the chance to talk with Simsimi.

S/he was fielding names so I typed in my name ... at hindi ko kinaya ang sagot nya!



Nung tinanong ko kung stalker siya o si Nestee ba siya.... 





Hindi po namin tinuruan si Simsimi, honest lang talaga siya... mwahahaha!

Congratulate me! After 26 years dalawa na ang nahuhumaling sa akin: si Nestee at si Simsimi!


For that Simsimi, I'll recommend you to my friends, na.



What's your most interesting Simsimi conversation?

The Manila Hotel Champagne Room

"Epitomizing grandeur and elegance in Old European style, the Champagne Room is one of the country’s great bastions of haute cuisine, a place firmly dedicated to the fine arts of gastronomic seduction. Long favored by the fashionable set, it is well-known for its impeccable service and lavish d├ęcor, including crystal palm trees, tasseled ceiling fixtures and floral upholstered chairs, which perfectly reflect its sumptuous classical offerings."

I never bothered reading the description when I was choosing among the three restaurants at Manila Hotel before our 8PM Fuerza Bruta show. I was not in the mood for Chinese food (Mabuhay Palace) nor was I ecstatic gorging on buffet (Cafe Ilang Ilang), so I was left with the The Champagne Room which serves French-Mediterranean cuisine from an ala carte menu. Good thing, my three dates agreed.

On our way to Manila, I called to reserve a table for 4 and the reservation officer was kind enough to allow us to order up to 30 minutes before the restaurant opens at 7PM. This will give us ample of time to enjoy the food. She was also gracious enough to ask me if we're watching Fuerza Bruta, show goers with non-complimentary tickets get 20% discount at the Manila Hotel!

The staff were still setting up the place when we arrived but after 5 minutes of checking with the Dining Manager, we were ushered into the restaurant and I can only say one phrase: 



"The place took my breath away!" 


The Place

Everything about the room is grand: plush furniture pieces, crystal chandeliers, silver dinner wares. It's impeccably lavish. I am generally not a fan of grand things, but the Champagne Room is irresistibly charming. I kid you not. Something you rarely see in the Philippines. Save for the yellow-tasseled drapes, I love every piece in the room.



The feminine chair and the love seat. I can imagine using these as accent furniture pieces.



The inverted umbrella lamps. I will take off the tasseled rope add-ons. And for some reason, the crystal plant is also very pretty.



The restaurant gives an aura that it's perfect for brunch and afternoon tea. I am coming back.

The Food

After placing our order, the waiters offered us a selection of dinner rolls. The breads were soft and tasty.



It comes with butter and liver pate with cranberry topping.



They will be very happy to offer you more bread and butter through the entire meal once you consume the piece on your plate. The pate was not replenished though, maybe if you ask. I can tell you the bread is good because my guy companions were able to consume about 4 each.

Seafood Lasagna (PhP 580)

Home-made lasagna with sauteed sea scallops and green asparagus spears in light cream sauce with Salmon Caviar



The pasta tastes freshly-made: coarse and al dente. Vegetables were done just right. The sauce has a very light taste and salted with the seafood. I can't remember tasting the caviar though. I say this dish is okay.

Soursop (Guyabano) Sorbet



I like this sorbet: the sweetness borders that of ice cream and it also comes out creamy because of the milky-fibrous consistency of the soursop.

Bar de Mer Chilien (PhP1200)

Oven-baked Chilean sea bass on mushroom potato-ragout and lobster-tomato-herb vinaigrette



This is a must order. The sea bass was done to melts-in-your-mouth perfection, the flavors are very subtle slightly seducing the taste buds.

Souffle au Chocolat (PhP 220)


Warm chocolate souffle with grand marnier sauce

I forgot to take a photo of the dessert! Nonetheless, it was okay. The souffle tasted decently good but not top of the list good. I could have appreciated it more if it was more chocolatey.

I leave you with the white chocolate pudding my friends had.



Oh, the restaurant gave us complimentary chocolates.



Nice touch!

In Summary

1. The Champagne Room is the prettiest grand room I've been to so far in Manila. I suspect as well that this is the best. You will dine at the Champagne Room because of its ambiance and you want to experience nice and pretty things. I prefer it for brunch and afternoon tea.

2. Food is not the very best but it is good. The oven-baked sea bass was done to perfection. My friends rated their main courses excellent.

3. As expected of a hotel restaurant, price slides to the expensive side... the fine dining kind.

4. I recommend the place for dates with special someone, catching up with friends if you have the money to burn and as well as family gatherings... again, if you have the money to burn.



The Manila Hotel Champagne Room
One Rizal Park
0913 Manila
63.2.527.0011
12PM - 3 PM
7PM - 11 PM

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

When The Going Gets Tough


The tough goes shopping.  

I used to be very guilty. Now, I am just a little guilty.

Must improve, for the good of mankind.



P.S. Photo grabbed from this site.  

Monday, March 19, 2012

Why This Photo Is Very Important


Because it documents our very first time to party in a lounge ... together. It took us 6 years or so to accomplish something that some couples tick off their list on the first date. Hahaha!

And we happened to be here by chance because our Fuerza Bruta tickets came with 2 free drinks at the designated lounge.

Rolled-up sleeves? Check.
Club music? Check.
Drinks? Check.

Me:  Congratulate us! It's our first time to "tugsh tugsh" together in 7 years.
Person A: Congratulate me, it's my first time to party in 27 years.

And he just articulated some of the little things I look for in my ideal guy. -(",)-*wink*

Oh by the way, we did this on a weeknight. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Weekend Report

I can't seem to decide which is crazier: (1) the weekdays last week or (2) the weekend.

One thing I am sure though, the weekend was definitely more fun, especially that I got to pamper myself a bit, spent time with at least 3 groups of friend and snuck in a date with le Person A.

Person  A and I welcomed the weekend with a Friday night dinner at Izakaya in Little Tokyo, our default dinner area the past 6 months.


"Kampai" was in order courtesy of the random sake we ordered from the menu.

Early Saturday afternoon, a friend and I had a girls salon afternoon and snipped our hair for the summer.

Then I dropped by the waxing salon to strip hairs that had to be stripped. Waxing and I go well together, my skin and the dermatologist don't seem to agree. More on that on later post.


Ended the day celebrating the birthdays of my 2 lovely friends and the pseudo-housewarming at Maisson Dideles.


Come Sunday, I heard the 8AM mass in UP. I did the north-bound drive in 15 minutes: with Ayala  traffic stops counted and at least 60-km speed at EDSA. Manila Sunday driving is always a breeze.

Had breakfast date with Person A at Rodic's.


And lined up for the best comedy show in town: UP Samaskom's Live Aids 2012.


I promise to blog it, everyone's gotta watch this annual show.

I ended my weekend activities with lunch at the prettiest, vintage-inspired diner I've been to, so far.


Again, more of it on later post.

Dear God, thank you for all the blessings. It's just the start of my 3-weekend fun with friends, then it's gonna be a 6-day break for the Holy Week. 

Life is good.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Fuerza Bruta Experience

After several deliberations with me, myself and I, I finally gave in to my i-wanna-pretend-i-am-cultured self and organized a weekday night out with 3 friends to watch Fuerza Bruta.

Fuerza Bruta is a postmodern theater show created by Diqui James in 2005. It originated in Buenos Aires and has been seen by 500,000 people worldwide. It is an energetic spectacle under the motto "Brutally Happy" and is packaged as a 360-degree experience. 


I can summarize the entire show as a misty (the water-kind), acrobatic, dance show party with great club music. The music reminds me of Hans Zimmer's Inception soundtrack. There were around 8 performers and the stage is the entire space including the walls and the ceiling! If that's not enough, it is a highly interactive show that performers dance with the crowd. In certain parts of the show they join the audience and  carry out the acts with the crowd. Two of the performers loved to shuffle my hair.

Given that the acts are carried all over the venue, the production staff heralds the crowd where the performances are gonna be. No amount of research prepared me for the actual show. The experience was more intense and more out of this world than expected.

The Highlights

1. Running Man Act


Show starts with the running man on a moving stage. In my interpretation he battles the forces of nature until he gets shot. 


My friend thinks that it's putting man in a jellyfish's shoe. He's one of my more interesting friends.

2. Witches Scaling the Wall


Sideways.

This is one of my favorite acts. Two ladies walk, run, fly and roll on the silver wall. The experience is taken a notch higher with the shrills they make and the varying intensity of the music.

3. Crazy Tap Dancing


I find this fun. The steps were simple but it was executed with too much gusto, crazy passion and a lot of shouting. Raw, brute force. I love the sound of their boots hitting the steel floor. 

Intense.

4. Bashing, lots of smashing.


What garnered a lot of shrieks and applause from the crowd are the breaking of slabs. It was executed in so many form from falling ceilings to moving walls and there were also smaller slabs that you can hit people with. The performers joined the crowd and smashed several slabs with random people. I think it's a good form of stress relief.

5. Overhead Swimming. 



Look Up!

The final act is performed in a translucent pool of water viewed overhead. It won't be surprising if people say this will be their favorite act. Performers peer, swim, splash and glide. The moves were pretty simple but what made it really good is that it can be viewed from a different vantage point. The pool lowers to the audience that you can actually touch the dancers in the water. It is also risque. You get the picture.

6. You get to dance with the performance and actors! 


At the end of the show there's a shower that you get to party wet. Our party of 4 did not do that. We are boring.

The Lowdown

The show lasted only for an hour. I would have preferred it to be at least an hour and a half! I wouldn't mind watching and dancing even for 2 hours. That would have tired out the cast.


In Summary

1. Fuerza Bruta is one unique show that everyone should experience at least once. More so if you love dancing, acrobatic act, club music and something out of the ordinary. It helps that the performers are very attractive. This is not for anyone who can't appreciate club music, dancing crowd, intense performance and anything unique.

2. Since I consider it a party, it is best enjoyed with your special someone or friends. Families can enjoy the show as well as long as they don't have young kids with them. I don't encourage bringing children under the age of 12 since there are risque parts and well, I am not an advocate of exposing kids to parties. Especially for very young kids, they might find it too noisy and might get hurt as the crowd moves. Although a 5-year old kid had the time of his life the night we watched the show: he had slabs smashed on his tiny frame and even danced under the shower after the show. He was the favorite of the performers.

3. I find the Php 2500 tag expensive because it lasted only for an hour. Other than that, the entire experience is worth all the money. The ticket comes with 2 free drinks which you can enjoy before and after the show.

4. Do come in your most comfortable attire and footwear. It's good to wear something chic but it is more important to be in something really comfortable. Remember, it's a standing show, you move around and you may opt to dance so aching feet should be the least of your concerns.

5. For the Manila run, it is held at the Manila Hotel Tent, if you still have money to spare, have dinner  at the 3 restaurants within the grand dame. The food may not be the be in the top 1% in town but  still good and it's also nice to experience old elegance. The hotel has been recently renovated, it's way nicer as compared to my visit in 2008.

6. Lastly, pick a night when you think there will be the less show-goers. It will be easier to move around and it doesn't get too crowded. 


Manila Hotel Tent
Roxas Boulevard, Manila
February 14-26, 2012
Mon - Thurs (8:00 PM), PhP 2500
Fri - Sat (8:00 PM and 11:00 PM), PhP 3000
63.2.320.1111

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tennis, Anyone?

I find joy in painting my toenails. After wearing my nails bare for 2 months, I had them painted with Orly's Tennis Anyone?



It doesn't come out dainty in this photo due to the flash but I tell you it's purr-ty. The base color is yellow but it has a sheer, barely-there effect - which I always love. The shade that nice, goody two shoes girls like. Mwahahahah!

Owing to its sheer nature, my guess is it's great for all skin tones: dark, warm (that's my feet's color!) and fair. It comes out prettier with colored footwear. I wore red wedge yesterday and I can't help but stare at my toes.

Being the frugal person that I am, I get my manicure and pedicure from my neighborhood salon. It's way cheaper than my favorite nail place. I only go to the chic nail salon if I want to put on some polish. However, last Saturday I opted to have polish applied in my 60-pesos-lang-ang-pedicure-kapitbahay-parlor. I did learn a few valuable lessons from my cheapskate escapade: make sure that the manicurist know how to apply polish like a pro. She did a very bad job at applying the polish that there were streak marks and the polish bubbled off. Aaaacccckkkk! She also forgot to put on a basecoat on my left nails. And I was charged Php 90 more because I opted for "high-end" polish.

The saving grace is she did the pedicure really well. Oh well bagel, at least the shade is pretty. That should suffice for now.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Kids and the Adorable Things They Do and Say

Last night I had dinner with a very adorable seven-year-old boy from the maple leaf country. 


Meet Alexander, Person A's cousin. 

Since he ate pizza and drank a bottle of iced tea, by the time the adults were on a seafood feast, he was already a ball of energy (read: sugar high): bantered with Person A's older brother, sang his "loading" song while waiting for some videos to load on youtube, took his own photo using my camera and occasionally danced on the chair.


We were amused and entertained.

Person A and I engaged him in a conversation and in no time we got his attention. This kid is an expert on pokemons, good thing Person A is also a subject matter expert. I am limited to Pikachu, Jigglypuff and that's it. 


To conserve our energy and while we enjoy our food, I whipped out a pen and Person A requested paper from the restaurant to give him time to do some artworks. That tamed his energy and surprisingly, he was into his masterpiece! 

What is it with kids and pens/papers? It's a foolproof way to positively release energy.

After an hour or so of secretly crafting his drawing, he came up with something like this.



Cute.

When it was time to bid goodbye, I asked him to have our photo taken. Then he whispered something in my ear. Since I didn't hear it, I asked him to repeat what he said.


Alex: Do you have a boyfriend?
Me: *laughs and points to Person A* ... know your cousin, Manong Nestee, he's my boyfriend.
Alex: Oh!

And he scuttles off.

Two things:

1. He probably thinks I am 12.
2. I am well on my way to becoming a cougar. Just kidding.

Alex made our night.

Kids and the adorable things they do and say.




P.S. Scribble is from here. Pokemon art is from here

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Villa Cafe

Do you ever wonder why I haven't featured any Filipino restaurant? The honest reason is I am not a big fan of spending on Filipino food. Since I am Pinoy, I get to have Filipino food on a daily basis at a fraction of a restaurant meal. Second, the good Pinoy fares are cholesterol-laden and too flavorful for my taste, hence Person A has to find a good selling point to take me to a Pinoy restaurant.

In the case of Cafe Villa, Person A highlighted that it is run by one of the 2 Green chefs in the country - Chef Sau del Rosario.  Green chefs promote sustainable and locally-sourced,  organic ingredients. On top of that, he has cooked in international kitchens: Le Devellec in Paris, Raffles Hotel in Singapore, and Luna in Shanghai. He made waves locally  working the kitchens of Edsa Shangri-la, Manila Peninsula and my favorite restaurants M Cafe and Chelsea. 



So Who am I to turn down a dinner invitation at Cafe Villa?

The Place

Located in the growing foodie street, Yakal in Makati, Cafe Villa is a small place that can sit around 30 people in its ground floor space. It has a casual vibe with light-toned interior, warm lighting and homey furnishings.



The Food

Like in most restaurants, complementary bread is served once order has been placed. In this case, this fresh toast and tinapa pate.


The pate has a nice moist yet crumbly texture. The tinapa flavor makes the lightly-salted pate great with the fresh bread.

Tinapa Caper  Pasta (PhP 375)

The restaurant serves pasta dishes with Filipino sauce. This is what I fancied the night we dined.


Fettucine with garlic confit and fried tomato sauce. The pasta is al-dente, cooked to the right texture. The sauce tastes like fresh tomato, with just the right saltiness from the tinapa while the capers and olives add the occasional interesting flavor. All in all, the flavors are subtle taking away the "umay" factor. 

I recommend this. Serving size is good for one person.

Boneless Crispy Pata (PhP 495 )

Pork with farm vegetables and drizzled with kare- kare sauce.


The pork is tender, juicy and fried just right. The texture doesn't taste like it has been deep-fried in oil but it has all the goodness and more of a good crispy pata. Without the rest of the garnish, the pork can stand on its own. I do like putting a bit of the kare-kare sauce. It tastes very peanut-y bordering peanut buttery. It's good on its own. Again, it's good even without the bagoong.

The serving is huge, good for 2-3 persons. I recommend this.

Strawberyy Lassi (PhP 165)

Now onto the Indian twist. Lassi is tricky to make as it tends to get too sour. Presenting the best Lassi I've had so far. 


For those who are not familiar, Lassi is an Indian traditional drink made by blending yogurt with water and Indian spices. In this case, instead of putting in spices and roasted cumin, strawberry is added. It still has that sour taste but enhanced by the strawberry and tempered by the milky undertone. Very refreshing. 

A must try!

Watermelon Silken Tofu Smoothie (PhP 145) 

Person A ordered the previous drink, which I immensely enjoyed, I made gaya-gaya so I requested another red-colored drink.


If you love watermelon, this is a good try. The fruit dominates with the coolness of the smoothie. Not too milky.

I like the lassi more. That's just me.

Pandan Sansrival (~PhP 150)

The dessert is gotta be a fusion.


This is predominantly sansrival sans the sweet, umay taste. Add the undertone of pandan, I say this is great!

In Summary

1. Cafe Villa is one of the best Filipino fusion restaurants in Manila. All the dish we ordered tastes great if not awesome. The crispy pata and lassi are a must try. We're coming back for the lamb calderata, it wasn't available when we ordered it.

2. The place is small, but I overheard Chef Sau (he was at the restaurant when we dined) that he's expanding. It is perfect for a casual date, catching up with friends and a small family gathering.

3. Prepare to shell out at least PhP 300 per person excluding the drinks. Considering the taste and the portion size, I say it is reasonable.

Villa Cafe
7427 Glory Building
Yakal St., San Antonio Village
Makati
63.2.478.2659
Monday to Sunday, 10AM to 10PM

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