Sunday, March 02, 2008

Cavite: Bulalo in Tagaytay is available 24 hours a day

One of those rare times I got to go out. I've been so busy with school, I haven't been able to travel. Poor me! That's why the few hours that I got to go out last Saturday night was a breath of fresh air.

I had dinner with brods at Brittany Bay in Sucat. We had pizza and Czech beer at Grappa's before transferring to Dencio's for more beer, sisig and sari-saring sinugba. We transferred back to Grappa's for even more Czech beer until a weird idea came up. And we ended up having coffee in Tagaytay!

But I guess the highlight of the evening was the bulalo we had at 3 a.m. served at a 24-hour restaurant called GreenATS. Yes folks, bulalo is available in Tagaytay City 24 hours a day!

Friday, February 29, 2008

HCS launches 2008 Architectural Conservation Lectures

The historic Army and Navy Club Building will play host to the first of the 2008 Architectural Conservation Lectures of the Heritage Conservation Society (HCS). In this first installment, Tina Paterno, a professional conservator practicing in the USA, will speak on conservation procedures and issues on Saturday, March 8, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

This project is brought to you by the HCS in partnership with the Manila Historical & Heritage Commission (MHHC) and the Museo ng Maynila. The three lectures of Paterno are (1) Soiling on Limestone: Diagnosis & Cleaning Methodologies; (2) Survey, Research and Diagnosis as Phase 1 of a Restoration Project; and (3) Brief Discussion on the Performance of a Consolidation Treatment (Ethyl Silicate) on Adobe. Lunch will be provided by the MHHC. After lunch, individual consultations on specific project-related conservation issues will be accommodated. Interested parties should make an appointment.

The lecture is open to the public. However reservations are encouraged by informing the Heritage Conservation Society of your intention to attend. Please contact our secretariat at 5212239 or 5222497. In lieu of seminar fees, your kind donation to the HCS will be much appreciated.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Manila: Libingan ng mga Bayani, our national cemetery

Have you ever visited the Libingan ng mga Bayani? The last time I remember entering the place was way back in kinder during one of our field trips. I've seen the Manila American Cemetery much recently, several times in fact since I'm awed by how grand, serene and well-maintained the place is. And it's sad that our own national cemetery could not compare to an American cemetery on Philippine soil!

So while I was killing time in Fort Bonifacio last Saturday, I decided to pass by Libingan ng mga Bayani. The entrance reads: "I do not know the dignity of his birth, but I do know the glory of his death" which are the words of Gen. Douglas MacArthur from his sentimental 1961 visit to the Philippines.

At the center of the whole cemetery is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. And around it are graves of various Philippine dignitaries including two former presidents, Carlos P. Garcia and Diosdado P. Macapagal. The older Manila North Cemetery has three presidents namely Osmena, Roxas and Magsaysay.

Also buried in the dignitaries section of the Libingan ng mga Bayani are former vice-presidents Arturo M. Tolentino and Salvador H. Laurel.

There is also UN General Assembly president Carlos P. Romulo, for chief justices Enrique M. Fernando, Fred Ruiz Castro and Claudio Teehankee, Sen. Blas F. Ople and PCGG Chair Haydee Yorac among others.

The Libingan ng mga Bayani also has a section reserved for national artists which serve as the final resting place of names such as Nick Joaquin, Ang Kiukok, Jose T. Joya, Levi Celerio, Teodoro M. Locsin and NVM Gonzales. The only thing I didn't like about the area was that the graves were too simple for national artists and scientists, simply marked by crosses, no room for creativity.

OT: I've virtually turned down every opportunity to travel for the past one and a half months. That includes two international trips and a host of local destinations. Bear with me as graduation requirements have been filling up my schedule. But summer has a lot in store which is why I'm already excited!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Manila: The Garden Room is Pasay's best kept secret

This nondescript entrance gate gives no hint of the treasure one can find inside. In fact, I got lost looking for it. 2650 Zamora Street is the 1940s residence of Pablo S. Antonio, National Artist for Architecture. It's now open to the public and is Pasay's best kept secret!

The house plays host to The Garden Room, a by-reservation dining haven run by his family. Every room of the house has been converted into a dining area and it can host several groups at any given time. It was a perfect venue for our HCS board meeting yesterday.

The Garden Room has a refreshing ambiance owing to Antonio's "green" design for his residence. The whole house seemed to be shaded by trees and other plants. Small pocket gardens can also be found around the house. And what is nice about it is the consistent use of natural lighting in the different rooms.

There are five set menus ranging from P700 to P900 per head. All set menus come with fresh fruit juice, fresh green salad with oil and garlic dressing, and assorted dessert tarts. The guava juice they served us was rich! All the food was great and the cakes were heavenly!

MENU 1 (P700) - Mustard chicken, seafood pasta and melanzane
MENU 2 (P700) - Roast chicken, pasta with black olives, anchovies and mushrooms, and melanzane
MENU 3 (P700) - Roast rosemary chicken, putanesca, and melanzane
MENU 4 (P800) - Tenderloin, chorizo pasta, and mustard chicken
MENU 5 (P900) - Roast leg of lamb, pasta with pesto sauce, roast chicken

On EDSA, if you're coming from Makati, make a right at Zamora Street (it's the street before the LRT and there's a Watsons store at the corner). Then watch out for the house. It does not have any signage outside so you'll have to look for the house number.

How to get there
From Makati, take EDSA. The street before Taft Avenue is Zamora Street. There is a Watson's store at the corner. Make a right there and just go straight until you reach No. 2650.

Contact numbers
The Garden Room
2650 Zamora Street, Pasay City
+63 2 8318407
+63 2 6315054
+63 917 6008886

Related entries
Architect Pablo S. Antonio to be given state funeral
National Artist Pablo Antonio’s work to be demolished

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Top surfing areas in the Philippines

Unknown to many in the country, the Philippines has a long list of great surfing areas. Here are some of the more popular surfers' haunts where you could ride the waves or simply get lessons if you are a beginner. The Philippine Surfing Federation gave me the first eight and I added two more.

1. Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte (Cloud 9)
On top of the list is none other than the "Surfing Capital of the Philippines." The Cloud 9 wave can be found in the town of General Luna and has put the Philippines in the world surfing map. Other popular breaks in and around Siargao Island include Jacking Horse, Tuason Left, Rock Island, Stimpies and Pacifico. Check out the Sagana Resort website for detailed information. Thanks to Sagana Resort for the Siargao photos.

According to Sagana, the best months for surf in this area is from August up to the start of November when the area gets the most typhoon swells and the best winds. From May to July, the surf is generally smaller. From December to April the winds are often strong and cross shore. But they say that the swell is always pretty big and some surfers prefer this time of year.

2. Puraran Beach, Baras, Catanduanes (Majestics)
Puraran Bay in Baras, Catanduanes is home to the famous mighty Majestics reef break that produces awesome long-barrel waves. The waves are at their finest in August and September. The place itself is a picturesque backdrop of coconut trees and small hills. Although course, the white sand is clean and the water is crystal clear. But as they say, if you are a surfer, "Puraran equals Majestics period!"

3. Cemento Beach, Baler, Aurora
Most have heard about Sabang, a beach break 5 to 10 minutes away from the town proper where most of the tourism establishments are found. Cemento on the other hand is a reef break which is 30 minutes away from the town proper. But you can easily get lessons in Sabang Beach. Check out my Baler surf adventure: More summer fun in Aurora.

4. Calicoan Island, Guiuan, Eastern Samar
Calicoan Island is home to The Surf Camp. And the great news for surfers is that ABCD Beach has both left-hand and right-hand waves. The season runs from April to November, with the summer months perfect for beginners (with gentle 2 to 3 foot waves). Latter months offer bigger and more challenging waves.

5. Maira-Ira Beach, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
Few people know that way beyond the resorts of Pagudpud is a secret hideaway called Blue Lagoon, the best beach in that part of the country. Saud Beach may be great, but Maira-Ira is astounding! And what's great is that on a windy day, the beach is perfect for surfing!

6. San Juan, La Union
Home to the Billabong San Juan Surf School of Luke Landrigan, San Juan is a perfect place for longboarders. And it's very accessible too since you can take any bus to Ilocos and get off just a few meters from the San Fernando-San Juan boundary. This is another surfing haunt I got to try for myself.

7. Lanuza Bay, Surigao del Sur (Doot Poktoy)
According to the Surf Lanuza website, "Doot Poktoy is endowed with some of the best waves in the world. And when the waves are good, they can measure up to the world renowned waves of Siargao and Hawaii. Located on the southern edge of the Northwestern Pacific typhoon belt, the waves driven by the winds of the typhoons are unpredictable. If a strong typhoon passes close enough, surf can reach almost 15 feet, with 9, 11 or 14 waves per set and up to twice as many waves per hour as a long groundswell like affecting Indonesia and Hawaii.

The Surf Report Magazine describes Lanuza as "a place with a flawless river mouth. Its waves spin long perfect rights on a big swell at low tide. There is a hollow tube section at take-off and there are long section walls up to 200 meters."

8. Cabugao, Ilocos Sur (Kido's Point)
Kido's Point has been a popular site for surfing competitions in Ilocos Sur, attracting participants from surfing areas all over the country. The place got its name from Cabugao's local surfing hero Kido Cabasug.

9. San Narciso & San Antonio, Zambales
The Canoe Beach Resort in Pundaquit, San Antonio is where professional surfer Joseph "Joe" Villatora from Kauai, Hawai conducts his surfing lessons.

10. Bagasbas Beach, Daet, Camarines Norte
This is another great surfing area located on the Pacific coast of Luzon. When you're hungry, check out Alvino's Pizza, a popular surfers hangout.
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