Thursday, October 25, 2007


B.C., who just returned from a trip to the Western Visayas, gifted me with some of the best things one can possibly ask in life. Ha ha, that was pure exaggeration, of course, but being Davao born, there is no way I'd turn down anything that has to do with the king of all fruits - the durian. But these durian products come with a clincher - they come from Negros Occidental, home to the majestic Mount Kanlaon. These products are from the farms of the Eduardo Cojuangco Jr., Hacienda Candelaria (which is racked by labor issues and exploitation, but that's another story) and produced by Reliance Core, Inc. in the town of San Enrique.

Durian in a bottle. Now, there's no more reason not to bring this king of fruits anywhere now that the smell has been hermetically sealed in a easy-to-carry bottle. For the longest time, the actual fruit has been banned in public vehicles and hotels.

O.M.G. I have always been a fan of durian. We used to have durian every now and then when it was in season during my childhood days in Davao. The air then would be filled with the characteristic pungency that has made durian both loved and hated by many Filipinos. The newest variety, a mix of the Davao and Thai varieties, already has no smell but has the same great taste. I still prefer the Davao variety because although it is not as meaty as its Thai counterpart, it tastes so much better. As for this bottled version, try not to use it as bread jam. Pointless. Scoop it out and eat it as it is. It's soooo good, I swear.

Chips galore. For those who want to eat durian but cannot afford to lug around the bottle, there's the chips version. I can only imagine how many seeds it took to make one bag of chips considering that the meat isn't that much.

These have faint nutty tones and the durian flavor is just somewhat subtle. If blindfolded, you wouldn't guess you're eating dried durian fruit.

ECJ Farms
Reliance Core Co., Inc.
Hacienda Candelaria, San Enrique
Negros Occidental
Tel. Nos. (034) 460.3186

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Had a chance to finally visit the new home of the Ayala Museum. I have visited it a lot of times when it was still in its old building, which was designed by National Artist for Architecture Leandro Locsin. The new modernist building is also designed by Locsin's Leandro V. Locsin Partners headed by his son, Leandro Jr. This is located behind Landmark and a few metres away from the circular church building at Greenbelt Park.

Beside the museum building is a sea of green arranged in the style of an Asian garden with lots of bamboo and water elements. The huge capiz lamps are very Asian, if not totally Filipino. I think it's very nice to stage a show here or perhaps a formal dinner whenever the museum has special events. You must visit this area if you are able. You will love it!

There is a pedestrian overpass from the CBD area that snakes its way along the side of the museum. At one point, it even "enters" the musem, but the walls are covered in glass. This allows people to have a glimpse of what's inside without having to walk in, but really, the idea is to attract visitors. Entrance is so affordable at PHP 150/person but foreigners are charged PHP 300. Museum memberships are also available and exciting privileges await the applicants.

The M Cafe (Museum Cafe) is located at the ground floor across the main entrance. It boasts of an impressive menu and a dining area of a streamlined setting of white and earth colors, complemented by Filipino-designed embellishments.

The al fresco area of M Cafe.

Posters here show what's up in the museum for the current month. Several exhibits are permanent like those shown here. There's a sprinkling of Amorsolos, Damian Domingos, Lunas and, of course, Zobels. However, the collection is so small that you might end up wanting for more which I think is good because you will be forced to visit other museums as well.

If you want to drown in Luna, for example, one only need to proceed to the National Museum's Gallery of the Masters in Manila to see an entire hall of Lunas, plus the chance to see the staggeringly huge, breathtaking, and gold-winning Spoliarium. There are also Amorsolos in the next building, the National Museum's Museum of the Filipino People where the loot from the sunken galleon, San Diego, are also kept. Entrance fee to the National Museum is just PHP 100 (but this was like several years ago).
Is the Ayala Musuem worth visiting? Definitely yes, especially for its 60 dioramas depicting several turning points in Philippine history. Everything is handcrafted, by the way (how else?). These dioramas used to be in the old building and were developed during the curatorship of Carlos Quirino. There is a special section on the People Power of 1986, but the video room is so cramped it can only fit 20 people at one time during which half may actually lose interest in the show altogether because of the small space.

There's something wrong in the way the dioramas are presented in that the dates of two display windows were interchanged (the AD came before the BC; a slight oversight). Also, aside from the dates and the description of the event being depicted and the occassional quotations from old books (which are a pain to read especially if you are tall and the dim lights are of no help at all), there is nothing else to help foreigners and locals alike to recall the importance of such "turning points" in our history. At least a statement on their significance could be added in the future.

Don't get me wrong. I love my history, but not everyone feels the same. We can help change that mindset by making things easier to understand and appreciate, especially for the young ones who don't even remember People Power or appreciate the significance of the arrest of Aguinaldo, the execution of Rizal, etc.

Also, there is a sort of "boat of the month" gimik at the model galleons area in which light is flashed on one galleon and none on the rest of the collection. I think there is no more need for this because for many first-time visitors, their visit may also be their last. This will rob them of the chance to appreciate the entire collection, fabulous as it already is.

HOT TIP. For first-time visitors, brush up on your local history before visiting so you don't come out more bewildered than when you came in.

Ayala Museum
Makati Avenue cor. De La Rosa Street
Greenbelt Park, Ayala Center
Makati City 1224

PHONE: +632.757.7117 to 21
FAX: +632.757.ARTS (2787) / +632.757.3588

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Manila's baywalk as seen from the CCP grounds.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Jose Rizal's greatest novels at PHP 100 each only. Now there's no more reason not to reread them.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Street Vendor (Divisoria, 2007)

What to do, what to do, what to do?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Why, then the world's mine oyster, Which I with sword will open.
(2.2.3-4), Pistol to Falstaff

The Merry Wives of Windsor
William Shakespeare

Sunday, October 14, 2007


I was buying pan de sal from our neighborhood bakery when I saw these treats from childhood past. Don't you just miss sampalok candy? It's a mixture of sweet, sour, and salty and we love those rock salts and the sound of plastic cellophane (it's always yellow)!

Sunday, October 07, 2007


Borakay. Photo by Dylan Gozum (2006)

"The landscape belongs to the man who looks at it."

- Henry David Thoreau

Friday, October 05, 2007


Dont live me alone. I saw this while on my way to Makati. I just couldn't resist taking a photo of it.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Overpass. Singapore (2007)

I was crossing one of Bayani Fernando's blue-and-pink overpasses when I recalled the overpasses I encountered during my visit to the Lion City. They weren't as wide, didn't require escalators (like those found in Las Piñas City) but they were clean, airy (no roof), and were full of greens!

I recall that Chairman Fernando chose to pursue the current style of overpasses so it's easy for policemen to see what's happening up there. He also removed the roofs of older ones so tinderos won't occupy them again (and we know this isn't true - see what's happened to the Cubao, Coastal, Baclaran overpasses).

Looking at a sample of a Singapore overpass, one can only wish that we had the same here. It looks simple, didn't require much concrete (hence didn't require paint), and was full of flowering bougainvillas. I don't know the reason for the double handle bars, but when you look at the handle bars on the stairs, there's one for adults and another one that's lower - for kids! Amazing.

Well, one can only wish.

Monday, October 01, 2007


I was on an errand when I espied these being sold on the streets of Divisoria. I just couldn't resist buying some because I was too overjoyed! These are something we used to eat as children in Pampanga. Bukayo (coconut marzipan) is made by simmering strips of young coconut meat in water. Molasses or brown sugar gives them that rich, very attractive color. They are then rolled into balls and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds (the latter are a fairly new addition, I think).

Children liked them because they can be very sweet, with the lethal combination of sugar, coconut and tosted sesame exploding in your mouth at every bite. I recall that there's another version of this - flatted into little cakes but are dry instead of moist like the ones pictured above. These were sold at Php 10 per pack of 12 pieces.