Showing posts with label Cebu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cebu. Show all posts

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.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Excellent in-room dining at Shangri-la Mactan

Whenever we stay at hotels with our daughter these days, we try to simplify our choices for where to eat our meals. Often, we just opt to order room service considering the servings are often generous enough for the three of us. It helped that we also usually had some food leftover from a previous meal or that we bought something heavy enough as a meal or supplement.

Recently, we had a vacation in Cebu and stayed at the Shangrila Mactan. We again ended up ordering via room service and consulted the menu for what our daughter would likely enjoy eating. We also chose some items we thought were okay based on the marks indicating they were specialties of the chef. We were not disappointed with what arrived at our room and had really good meals in the comfort of our room. That way, we could also recover after a entire day's activities; mostly at the beach and the pools, which our daughter enjoyed thoroughly. Here are some photos of the food we ordered, which we took for posterity (read: so we know what to order next time).

Ham and cheese panini
Spaghetti bolognese
Pancit canton
Salt and pepper squid - the menu indicates it as a specialty of the chef
Their bolognese is the best if not one of the best we've tasted and the salt and pepper squid on top of salad of greens was definitely special. We definitely recommend them should one decide to go for room service.

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Chi Spa at Shangri-la Mactan

It seemed appropriate to celebrate Labor Day by writing about something we like to have at the end of some busy days (even weeks or months sometimes). We love having massages and used to go regularly to a spa along Katipunan Avenue. That spa closed many years ago despite what seemed like good business they were getting. It was a legit one and not like others that provide "special" services that's associated with the more sleazy establishments.

I usually have massages when I travel and have them at the hotel where it is most convenient. Our favorites when the wife and I do have the chance when traveling or 'staycationing' together is at the better hotels that have fine spas as part of their facilities. Those include Sofitel and Marriott Hotels.

I first learned about the Chi Spa from the wife. Later, I learned more about it as I read reviews and so I looked forward to having a massage there. I did have one early this year, an early birthday present from the Clairvoyant when we stayed at the Shangrila Edsa Plaza. On vacation with our daughter last April, we decided to have our massages at the Chi Spa at Shangrila Mactan. We were not disappointed with the

Gateway along the path from the main wing of Shangrila Mactan
A view of the entrance leading to the Chi Spa's main lobby
The spa is practically a compound within the expansive Shangrila Mactan grounds. You get your treatments at one of the cottages in the compound. And there are a lot of facilities for one to use including the sauna and the jacuzzi. Of course, treatments at Chi Spa are on the more expensive side but I would say that it was well worth what we paid. The services and facilities are excellent, and the staff are very professional about their work. I am already looking forward to the next vacation at Shangrila Mactan.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sunrise in Mactan, Cebu

I have posted a lot of photos of sunrises and sunsets in this blog and on social media. Among my favorites are the sunsets in Panglao, Bohol and Puerto Princesa, Palawan and the sunrises in Tagaytay, Cavite. Of course there are the sunsets over Metro Manila that we have had the chance to take photos of on many occasions from on top of the highest point in our village.

On a very recent trip to Cebu where went on vacation, I noticed for a couple of mornings that the sun rose early and the hues from our room indicated how beautiful they were. Unfortunately, I was still sleepy or too lazy to get up and capture the scenes. On our last morning in Mactan, Cebu, I made sure I would be up early to see the magnificent sunrise from our hotel room. We didn't have professional cameras but our smart phones did a great job capturing the following images. These have not been filtered or altered or enhanced in any way. I guess with such beauty you can't really go wrong with any camera? 

Here are three photos of the sunrise from Mactan, Cebu taken before 6:00 AM and only minutes apart:


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Dinner out with friends

I would say that it is always a nice experience to go out for dinner with friends. It is an opportunity to enjoy good company with good food. The good company here are close friends and colleagues at our office, a research and extension center of the University of the Philippines Diliman. The good food is care of Lantaw along the SRP Highway in Cebu City. Everyone of us like to eat good food and especially the combination you will find in Filipino restaurants that include grilled food, seafood and a few bottles of beer. Of course, the best part of any dinner like this are the stories and laughter that help relieve stress at the end of the day as we all unwinded from Day 2 of the conference we are attending.

A toast before our food was arrived


Friday, September 11, 2015

Drab and dry conference

I'm back in Cebu to attend an international conference. So far it has been a bit of a disappointment mixed with some amusement. I say disappointment because this has so much potential from the time it was pitched in Taipei back in 2013 by a group of the local affiliate society, most of whom didn't deliver on their commitment. Those who were disappointments include the mayor of this city who backed out after pledging his support as host of the conference - one of the biggest factors for the international society's Board of Directors deciding to award Cebu City the 20th anniversary conference. There was also almost no support from the national transportation agency, whose top officials are known (or shall I say notorious) for their (non)performance with respect to transport infrastructure development.

Other disappointments are certain officials of the local society including past presidents who basically didn't exert any effort to support the organization of the conference. If this conference would be the basis for evaluating their performance (that sadly could also be tied to the local society's performance the past 15 years) then I would probably give them a mediocre rating. I feel sad for the current president and his sidekick as they had been handed a conference that seem to be doomed from the time of the turnover as the previous president practically did nothing to prepare for the conference including zero fundraising.

The opening program was drab, boring and basically a patch up work. The speakers originally expected to deliver their remarks were no-shows and the local society leadership had to make some urgent, last minute calls to save whatever could be of the opening program. The result was a very quick opening ceremony. It didn't help that the cultural presentation by a local university partner of the lead university put on a somewhat odd dance routine with what was claimed as something Cebuano of old did at the end of the day. It turned out to be a "face palm" moment that left a lot of us in disbelief if not shock. 

The morning event basically set the tone for the day. I heard that the press conference had some embarrassing moments. There were a lot of no-shows during the afternoon technical sessions. Then there was the welcome dinner that was not much in terms of the program with the local university partner continuing to baffle the participants with their odd performances. This time, what was billed as traditional songs were a medley of pop songs sung in a stylized and awkward manner.

I hope the succeeding days will be better. After today, it seems that the conference has nowhere to go but up. The closing ceremony, hopefully, can save whatever it could of this conference of which much was expected. At least, the top official of the national science and technology agency has been confirmed and will be delivering his speech. There will also be the awards and the announcement for the hosts of the next conference. 

Right now, I will only have my fingers crossed and maybe even knock on wood.