Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Diner at Maginhawa Street, UP Village

We were again looking for some place new to eat lunch at in UP Village and tried one at a new building just across the apartments along Maginhawa Street where we used to live at almost two decades ago. We found this American Diner-style restaurant where we thought we could have a quick meal. It was similar to one we tried in another part of UP Village so we figured from the menu outside the restaurant.

The interiors shouted American-style diner with the words fries, cheese steak and milkshake prominently displayed.
The decors screamed "USA!"
There were few diners when we were there probably because classes were still out at UP and Ateneo
Iced tea
Our main meal needed some proper plating for it to look more appealing than this.
The food we had was so-so. We thought we could probably have the same quality of food at places like Rodic's. It was a hot meal but there seemed to be something missing from our food. Needless to say, we're not looking forward to eating there again.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Hello Australia!

I'm traveling again and this time it is to a place I or the Clairvoyant have never been to before - Australia. I am now at Melbourne to participate at a symposium at one of the major universities here. Afterwards, I will have a couple of nights in Sydney en route to Manila. I have many friends and former students in both cities but will likely only have time to meet up with a few. I have a niece and grandnephew in Melbourne whom I haven't seen in 17 years so that's a meeting I look forward to.

We landed at Sydney Airport at 6:30 AM - just about daybreak

This is the first time I am staying at a serviced apartment instead of at a hotel. I found that it's less expensive, the location is great and the apartment allows me to cook (okay heat) and launder my clothes as it comes fully furnished with a kitchen and washer & dryer. I will definitely take note of these conveniences for our future trips, especially those with our daughter.

The view from my apartment

Obviously, I will be writing a lot about my trip to Australia in my future posts and these would likely include places, food and other interesting stuff about the land down under. Abangan!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Mi Terraza resort in Antipolo City

To celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of my in-laws and the 75th birthday of my father-in-law last week, we decided to have a different kind of celebration where family can enjoy catching-up over good food and some swimming. This time, too, it helped that we had additional conversation pieces in the views from the resort. 

Mi Terraza is located in the mountains of Antipolo City, Rizal, our chosen hometown, The infinity pool, terraces and porch affords a splendid view of Metro Manila. I'll let the photos

Infinity pool with a nice view of Metro Manila
The porch of the house is spacious and features really good seating areas
The living area has these two daybeds. Behind is the staircase leading to the 2nd and 3rd floors
View from the third floor
The grounds are expansive and you can do some grilling or eating outdoors. There's also a gazebo away from the house where you can also have a separate session (drinking?).
Here's a photo I took from the infinity pool of the cityscape of Metro Manila. The clouds helped make this a more dramatic image. No filters here for a photo taken with my iPhone 6.

Our daughter had a great time swimming together with her cousins. Our relatives also had a great time. Many of them inquired about reserving the place for future events/celebrations. We were lucky to have good weather so we were able to maximize our day at the resort. I guess it would be difficult to get reservations for the resort during the summer. Nevertheless, with the weather these days, perhaps the place would still make for a good venue for family or even office affairs like team-building seminars.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Strap replacement for a Swatch

I have several Swatch watches in my small collection. One is supposed to be a commemorative watch from UP's centennial in 2008. Such commemorative watches were the "in" thing a decade ago when different schools basically chose an old Swatch model that featured elements related to the school (usually the color so blue for Ateneo, green for La Salle, maroon for UP and so on) and had straps manufactured to match with the watch. Some strap designs are more wearable than others and in the case of the UP watch, it wasn't something you'd want to wear as an everyday watch. And so I decided to have the strap changed.

This Swatch is a simple one in terms of face design but features luminous hands and points corresponding to the hours
Water resistance is at 5 bar or 50m. It is a quartz watch and batteries are easily replaced using a small coin to unlock the battery compartment at the back.
I decided to go for a leather strap. This made the watch something I could wear for different occasions whether it be for casuals, work or even formals.

I think this Swatch cost me 5,000 pesos almost a decade ago. The price is actually a little but more than half that amount but this was an item for a fundraiser so it was worth it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A curious painting by Monnar Baldemor

A very interesting painting we had acquired together with the work by Manuel Baldemor is one by his son Monnar. We chose this one among several presented to us by a suki art dealer. The first thing that caught my attention was the central figures of a couple of ladies who appeared to be dancing or prancing about. It helped, too, that the colors were vibrant, happy. The photo below of the painting does not give justice to this work.

The piece reminded me of the works by Salvador Dali and even that of Pablo Picasso. I am not aware of whether the younger Baldemor was influenced by these greats but it is likely given their body of work.Recently, I saw a huge painting by Monnar at the Art Circle Gallery at UP Diliman featuring another lady but this time with lots of shoes and watermelons in the background. These elements interested me as these were favorites of our daughter.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Chocolate review: Villars Smooth Dark

The wife and I saw a couple of Villars chocolate bars in our cache. One is this dark chocolate that claims to be a smooth one.

Villars Smooth Dark Swiss chocolate
Detailed information on the chocolate at the back of the box
The bar claimed to contain at least 56% cacao
Nutrition and expiration information on the bar
This chocolate is indeed smooth dark chocolate. The bitterness you'd like in a dark chocolate is there but the aftertaste is milder than most dark chocolates above 50% cacao that we've enjoyed before. I will remember this one for future purchases. I forget how much I got this bar for but it should be in the 200 to 250 PHP range. I think I got this in Santis, likely at their Corinthian Hills branch.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Watercolors by a Cebuano artist

There are two framed watercolor paintings at home. I also acquired them while on a trip in Cebu almost a decade ago. I forget the name of the artist but he was young and was introduced to me by Boy Kiamko who took the former under his wing. At the time, it seemed that the young artist, who was a college student then, was unsure about pursuing painting and needed some encouragement. The paintings depict close-ups of rocks and other items as seen through the clear waters of a river (stream?) in rural Cebu. These were of the more realism-style paintings that impressed. I thought then that the artist should pursue art as he obviously had the talent, and bought the two paintings to encourage him. I was traveling light at the time so there it wasn't a problem to lug the two framed paintings on the plane back to Manila.

The artist signed his name on each painting but I could no longer trace him or his subsequent works (if he did pursue painting) as I am limited by what he wrote on each painting: llauron. I've never asked his mentor about him so maybe one of these days I will. This wasn't in my agenda the last time I was in Cebu because I was vacationing with family in Mactan.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Mother and child by Boy Kiamko

A painting in our daughter's bedroom is an abstract image of the classic mother and child. It is a work by well-known Cebuano artist Boy Kiamko. I got it the first time I met him, introduced by a common friend who also got some of his works.

Our daughter likes this painting as she understood what it represented and our explanation of its meaning to us. We have several mother and child pieces at our home including figures we got from trips abroad. I have another painting by Kiamko at my office. The subject of that painting is the jeepney.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Vietnamese painting

The Clairvoyant's second trip to Vietnam more than a decade ago yielded a few artworks including small ones that are now spread around our home. The small ones are mostly prints that we framed and hung in pairs. One oil painting stands out among that haul and which I feature in this post.

The photo above does not do any justice on the painting. It is really much more impressive and I always like to look at it from a certain angle and lighting when it seems to come alive. The brush strokes are also impressive for me who is not an expert on art. It currently hangs in our bedroom where it fits perfectly against our accent wall. I forget who the artist is but there's a certificate of authenticity with us somewhere in our archives at home. Also, we recently found that there is another work of the same artist that we have not yet framed. I will feature that as soon as its framed for better appreciation.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Lady with a flute Jay-R Delleva

Another favorite of our daughter is this painting by Jay-R Delleva. The painting depicts a woman playing a flower flute while hummingbirds fly around her. Our daughter sees her as some kind of fairy and so we keep it at that. The painting's quite large and for a time sat on the console table in our guest room until we cleared it for my in-laws who were staying over a holiday weekend. The painting is now prominently displayed at the landing of our staircase.

Check out the artist's other works at DeviantArt. Many appear to be whimsical, some playful, and others on the weird side. But all, I think, are quite the fantasy.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Girl with bubbles and gumamela by Jomike Tejido

I start July with another post on a painting we have at home. There's a large painting at home that's quite unique. We got this painting through a fundraiser a friend of the Clairvoyant was running. It got her attention as the painting reminded her of our daughter's fascination with bubbles.

Unlike other painting we have of oil on canvass or water color on paper, this one is acrylic on treated banig (a native woven mat usually made of coconut tree leaves). A few months ago, I noticed some damage on the banig as insects were able to bore through it. The holes were not noticeable but upon closer inspection and some magnification (in my case using a smartphone) you can see multiple holes in a classic case of bukbok. We contacted the artist, Jomike Tejido, who is an architect by profession, to ask him about how we can address this issue. He examined the painting and generously took it to repair the mat and retouch his work. He mentioned that he had not previously encountered this issue so he was also curious about what happened and how it can be addressed. One thing that changed in the painting when it was returned to us was that there is now a smile on the girl in the painting. The artist asked the Clairvoyant about this so it could be a happy image and we agreed on his suggestion.