28 February 2014

Live to dine

First an apology: The reason that I went to Blue Bay Walk was Hot Star, but unfortunately, my camera-phone acted up and all the photos I took of the joint weren't saved. So I must convince you by words: Hot Star chicken is delicious.

Since the development is new, I decided to roam around. My openness for discovery led me to try these two cafes. Why I chose them? Because I like what they serve and their facade, appealing.

Clockwise from left: interiors, obviously; the sign, yes (wow I'm
terrible at captioning); quirky coffee spoon; blueberry tart with
compliments from the chef—and that makes you feel like a rock star
This is me, my scene. Intimate, clean, warm lights, fancy but nothing too extravagant, with a few surprises.

What it says on the cup: 'Angel N Kiss, a premium place for
a taste of heaven'
Again, me. Coffee and bread and pastry. What's not so me is the super upbeat mood. By the way, on TV is someone performing 'Let it Go' in a Korean variety show (thought that's nice to share).

I'm very happy about this visit. A friend once said that we have lots of restaurants in Manila, but how many of them satisfy? Those mentioned here exceeded my expectations. I also appreciate the entire park—wide open spaces that are beneficial to the mind and legs, smaller buildings for a greater view of the sky, and, well, just pretty things to lift the spirit.

Now my big realisation in this little adventure: You can tell that food tastes good by the way it looks.

08 February 2014

More thoughts on death

More, because it occupies my mind every day. And the recent news on the matter has brought me to these:

1. Really unfortunate when you die on the same day a celebrity dies. If you're a celebrity—when you die on the same day someone with greater fame than you dies.

2. I won't be caught dead wearing that. But we wear, do, and say things we don't like in unguarded moments. An immediate trace of our human frailty, something that we, because of our certainty in living another day or maybe year to fight, consider amending in the future. Look at your last status update, what would be your sort of 'last words'?

3. The initial responses are, He died too soon. Too sudden. Why him? The mistake is trusting there is a system and a logic to figuring the proper time of departure. Somehow the same can be said of a happier event—I can't believe my luck!

03 February 2014


Ticket to Emerging Visions
at the SMX Convention Center
Today I attended the 6th National Architecture Symposium organised by the UST Architecture Network (ARCHINET). This year's theme is 'Emerging Visions: Shifting Perspectives in Architectural Evolution' and lecturers include Inge Goudsmit of OMA Asia and Andreas Schmitzer of Project A01 Architects.

Asked about materials they used in a certain project, Schmitzer gave a generous response that centers on 'hiding the material'. He said something along the lines of, 'The truth is everything is fake. Everything is not what it seems.' I wanted him to talk more about it, but there were time constraints.

Another interesting—and in a way consoling—tidbit is that architects already consider themselves lucky if 10% of their work is realised. Most of the designs they spent sleepless nights on will never be constructed, and therefore will never be utilised and enjoyed by anyone.

The highlight of the event is that I was sitting beside and even shook hands with Architect Bong Recio (Recio+Casas). Though I only found out it was him when he was asked to come up on stage and deliver his keynote address. Silly me, I managed to introduce myself yet didn't ask who he was. I was prepared to chat him up after the lunch break, but unfortunately he left.

The affair took me back to my college days when the classroom and the lecture hall are some of the most exhilarating places to be. You meet people like them, see how they think, and you trust that the world is in good hands. The Taipei Performing Arts Centre is particularly inspired and how I wish to one day watch a show there.

Pet peeve: small circular mug handle
Elegant but a challenge to use
On a more trivial note, I used to make the mistake of associating design with mere patterns, divorced of function. Having written about homes and high-rises in the past couple of years, I've become more thoughtful about the word.

So after the symposium, I had coffee at the Mall of Asia and lo and behold, the perfect example of bad (or at the very least, inconvenient) design: the small circular mug handle. The only way I could raise this heavy mug (which I actually like) to my lips is if I use both hands. Or is it designed that way?

01 February 2014

After watching Rise of the Guardians

Pitch, the bogeyman in Rise of the Guardians
I can’t pinpoint when and how I learned that Santa Claus isn’t real. My best guess is that my parents never really cared about making me believe in the fellow. Even though they bothered to provide gifts from a quote-unquote anonymous sender in several Christmases, I had always known that it didn't come from the North Pole.

What I do remember quite vividly is that I consciously created an imaginary friend. It seemed cool to have one, so I made myself one. That buddy of mine existed inside a bottle of Sprite. When there was somebody around to see, I would grab the bottle and whisper to it. The entire experience wasn't fun in any way and completely awkward.

Despite the knowledge that there is no Santa and a talking friend that can fit in a soda bottle can only be imaginary, I remain to be drawn to them. Even as an adult—in fact the older I get, the more do I appreciate fantasy and devour children’s stories. Maybe because I missed them during my childhood.

A while ago I had the chance to catch Rise of the Guardians, a film celebrated by my friends when it came out in theaters a couple of years ago. I’m not sure if my friends and I have the same reasons for loving it, but for me it was about the famous guardians gathering and watching them interact. There is also the mystery of Jack Frost’s identity and why he was chosen as a guardian.

I'm not certain as well if many share my sympathy for the villain, Pitch Black. The guardians want to keep the dreams and hopes of children alive, while Pitch wants to spread darkness and fear; but all of them had the need to be believed in.

There is no doubt who will win the battle. The sweet little twist is that it is the children who defended their not-so-mythical protectors, with a child saying to Pitch, ‘I believe in you, but I don’t fear you’. Kids in the end were running through him, for he had become invisible. He had the same pained look as Jack in the beginning, when no one believed in him, for no one even knew who he was.

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