Saturday, August 29, 2015

LOOKBOOK | 28Aug2015: Joggers with a fly

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Our little girl always wants to be part of the scene.

With t-shirts being de facto Friday wear at the office, the sight of someone in a buttoned shirt comes as a surprise to many. In my case colleagues were wondering why I was, in their own words, "so formal," at least until they noticed that I was wearing joggers and sneakers.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

DINING | The popular Arabela Italian Restaurant in Liliw, Laguna

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Already closed for the day and waiting for the last few diners to finish.

Arabela seems to be the top of mind choice for dining in Liliw, Laguna -- at least among visitors to this small town that's probably best known for its shoe and slippers industry. Sometime last month we had the chance of going to Liliw, however rushed, and predictably picked Arabela for dinner.

Here's a brief rundown of our experience.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

LOOKBOOK | 20Aug2015: Dressed up for 'Buwan ng Wika'

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Duck face: check!

No, it's not Christmas and that is not a Christmas tree behind me. I mean, yes, it's a Christmas tree but my crazy colleagues and I have since put all sorts of stuff on it and playfully christened it the "Tree for all Seasons." I think I should post something about it one time, if only to show you our brand of insanity. Now anyway, the tree right now is decked up for Buwan ng Wika (Language Month, particularly for the Philippine national language).

Meanwhile at work, we at our department have decided to dedicate a whole day where we're all garbed in traditional Filipino costumes. I see kids at school and their teachers do it, some even once for each week of August. Now why would school children have all the fun? Because of the absurdity of the idea, however, we put a little twist to it, which was to incorporate traditional pieces into our typical Friday wear so everyone would at least feel some level of comfort. Yes, it's a Thursday but since it's the last working day of the week, thanks to a holiday, then by an unwritten company rule it becomes a Friday.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

ART | Ignore the Noise: A testament to Dino Gabito's genius

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Signature Gabito. One of the pieces on display at Ignore the Noise.

It was a painting at furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue's showroom at Hive, one of a shrouded figure set against a black backdrop and that seemed to jump out of the frame. The figure was unmistakably human, kneeling, head bowed and with one hand clutching his chest, like he was defeated, devastated or something. There was a certain creepiness to it that spoke to me, appealed to me. It was hauntingly beautiful and I was completely mesmerized.

I would later learn that the painting was the work of a young artist named Dino Gabito, and that he had just held his first solo show on the same month I saw his painting at Hive. It drove me nuts that his show, which was aptly called Shroud Ides of March, featured several more such paintings of shrouded figures, more so when I found out all his pieces were sold out -- and that there is a long wait list for his works.

Seventeen months later Gabito is now holding his second solo exhibit dubbed Ignore the Noise at ArtistSpace at Ayala Museum. It opened last Friday, August 14, and we were fortunate enough to be invited.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

LOOKBOOK | 13Aug2015: The lazy look

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Traffic's building up outside as everybody else is making his way home while I... just look on.

A lot of office people probably are at their most "formal" on Mondays, gradually relaxing a bit each day until the run-up to Friday. Not that I did the formal to casual route this week but I was simply in a very relaxed mood today outfit-wise.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

LOOKBOOK | 04Aug2015: Shut up and dress up

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Sorry, I had to crop you out, guys.

Last week we played a little dress-up at the office with our team. Our work environment isn't really known for strict corporate-style dressing and people normally go with comfort that's unfortunately beset by a dire lack of imagination. So a colleague brokered the idea of dressing up as a team, where the ladies must wear a dress and the guys must put on a tie, maybe even a coat. I don't know but the last time I tried bringing back the tie was in February, and I haven't worn one since.

For some inexplicable reason -- and quite surprisingly -- everyone agreed to it, including treating the whole team to coffee and pastries in case of non-compliance. I guess people secretly wanted to dress up after all.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

DINING | Faustina's Los Baños: Tiny place that packs a punch

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Outdoor seating at Faustina's in Los Baños.

I nearly forgot about this already until I browsed through some photos. A lot of you may have already known about Faustina's in Los Baños, Laguna but allow me to share our restaurant experience nonetheless.

Design and ambiance
At first I thought Faustina's was another one of those restaurants serving Filipino dishes, that it's this big, popular place with a traditional Pinoy ambiance. After driving through side street after side street per Google Maps's instructions, we finally made it in front of a white, contemporary low-rise building. And there was none of that typical native styling I cluelessly expected.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

TRAVEL | The haunting but nearly wasted beauty of the Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery

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Remnants of a once glorious past.

Forgive me for the rather depressing title but that's exactly how I would sum up my impression of the Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery in Nagcarlan, Laguna. It was my first time to visit. (I know, shame on me considering it's not really that much of a drive from Metro Manila.)

But at least I finally made that trip. We were comfortably holed up at Sitio de Amor in San Pablo at the time but managed to force our butts out of bed and drove to Nagcarlan and later, Liliw. Nagcarlan is a 45-minute or so leisurely drive from San Pablo and you'll reach the cemetery before hitting the town proper. It's on the left side of the road right across a Shell gas station.

Declared a National Historical Landmark in the 1970s, the cemetery dates back to Spanish colonial times and is regarded as the only underground cemetery in the country. Following the declaration, no more burials were allowed in the cemetery; the last one was in the early 80s. It is currently under the supervision of the National Historical Commission.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

TRAVEL | Nobu Hotel City of Dreams Manila

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Stylized backlit mural clearly exhibits the Japanese aesthetic of Nobu Hotel Manila.

Sometime last June we got to spend a night at the fairly new Nobu Hotel at City of Dreams Manila. Only less than 3 months since it formally opened, it holds the distinction of being the first Nobu Hotel in Asia (Hooray for the 3rd world!). Coupled with the Robert de Niro association, my expectations were of course high.

Here's a rundown of our experience.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

TRAVEL | Coming soon at Sitio de Amor Farm Resort

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A new house rises from Sitio de Amor's sprawling grounds.

In a recent post I described how the owners of Sitio de Amor Farm Resort in San Pablo City, Laguna seemed to have recently developed a knack for buying old houses. Much like the case with Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan but in a far smaller scale, these houses are meticulously dismantled, transported, and then painstakingly reassembled on a new location.

After what they called the "Parañaque House" (which is still in progress), Sitio's owners have taken to building a much bigger house this time. Let's just call it the "Quezon House" because they got it from somewhere in Quezon province from former PCSO chair Manoling Morato (if I'm not mistaken) of the prominent Quezon clan.
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