Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Art Scene in Roxas City

At the recently inaugurated Dance and Arts Studio in Gaisano Mall, paintings by Clay Dalid and works by artists of the Paon Livelihood Series are currently on display. From the Paon group comes the livelihood genre such as laying fish out to dry and fresh catch in metal baskets. These works reflect one of the most important means of livelihood for residents of the "seafood capital" of the Philippines.

Clay Dalid continues the theme of the bountiful harvest of the sea with her still life with seashells. In her lily series, Clay gives us a taste of her colorful palette.

On the third floor of Gaisano, there is a children's playroom with a huge mural by John Alaban. Here you'll see the hills of San Francisco and the Golden Gate bridge. I've seen John's other oeuvres of Philippine scenes which are reminiscent of Amorsolo, suffused with the light of the tropics and bold hues.

At the Roxas City Museum, the paintings of Lino Villaruz are on view as well as those of other local artists. Lino's style emulates the works of the Pointilists like Seurat. He also dabbles in abstract paintings. I particularly like his canvas of a group of musicians. It reminds me of the old days when the rondalla was the "band" of choice for the Semana Santa procession.

There is no lack of talented artists in Roxas City. But they need your patronage to keep the art scene alive and well.
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Photos by Rosario Charie Albar

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Art of Shoen Uemura

Copy of original by Shoen Uemura

Several years ago in Tokyo, I stumbled upon some postcards with the artworks of Shoen Uemura (1875-1949), a bijin-ga painter, which means painter of the traditional Japanese subject of beautiful women. I was enchanted by this painting of a woman behind sheer curtains that I had it copied so I could view it in my own bedroom. I have always admired the Japanese masters, Hiroshige and Hokusai, which is why I appreciate Uemura's style and palette. Uemura is the first female painter to be awarded the Order of Cultural Merit in Japan.

My copy is 3 ft. by 3 1/2 ft. It is quite large and complements a vintage kimono which also hangs in my bedroom. It was painted by Clay Dalid from Roxas City who did a fine job in only 4 weeks. There are many excellent artists in Roxas City and I'm happy to have other paintings by local artists in my collection.

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Photo by Rosario Charie Albar

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Flavors of the Philippines

How wonderful to meet friends and relatives in the Philippines over lunch, dinner or merienda. There are always a number of dishes that I usually leave the party or get-together wishing I could have eaten more of this or that. When we were kids, I remember eating calderetta, a rich stew of goat meat. I have not seen nor eaten that in many years. Has the younger generation forgotten how to prepare this dish?

Lately I was treated to a Mongolian buffet which consists of different kinds of beef, chicken, pork or seafood. You then choose what you would like to mix with your choice of meat such as bean sprouts, carrots, cabbage, etc. then add your sauce like peanut, ginger, chili, oyster sauce and so on. You take your selection to the cook who will stir fry it for you. What a fun and creative way to feed your burgeoning appetite!

This video has some of the local cuisine I enjoyed while in the Philippines recently. Kain na!


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Now on our third year

Third Graders at Culasi Elementary School

Happy to report that we successfully distributed school supplies to 234 children at the Culasi Elementary School. There are 233 children in first grade but since it was a rainy day, many children didn't make it to school. I came prepared to give to all first graders, but when so many were absent, we had extra school supplies. With the help of Miss Norma, a first grade teacher, we decided to give the rest to two sections in the second grade and a section in the third grade. Kids were all smiles when they got their pencils and crayons. I also gave some postcards of San Francisco, California to children who could answer the simple math questions I posed. It was heartwarming to hear them say "thank you". There were some kids who said "you're welcome" instead of thank you or one who said "very good" after he heard me say those same words. All in all a very satisfying experience which I hope to continue in the future. Many thanks to my mom, my sister, Diane A, Terry Smith and Bock Loo for helping me out.

At the Conrado Barrios Memorial School, the principal informed me that they had to temporarily stop the feeding program. 90 children were affected by this decision but as there were no funds forthcoming, the principal had no choice but to end the feeding program for now. Hopefully donors will come forward soon. Children are better able to learn on a full stomach.

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Photo by Rosario Charie Albar

What's new in Roxas City

Dining and entertainment in the seafood capital of the Philippines is on the upswing. All along Baybay Beach, restaurants are sprouting and the masses are following. On weekends, the beach is full of day trippers who jump gleefully into the sea and soak their feet in the sand.

Before any beachside restaurant was born in Roxas City, Marc's was already around serving their famous pork barbecue. When I order my meals, I go for their vegetable chop suey and battered chicken. Up the street from Marc's is Coco Veranda, a crowd favorite. You can order fresh catch of the day by pointing to any swimming fish in their tank or try their blue or white marlin.

At the Sandbar, I like their tangigue steak. You can order food from this restaurant and have it served poolside across the street. The infinity pool streams down to a man made lake. It's beautiful! If you wish to stay the night, Casa Felisa has luxury suites next door to the pool.

Outside the city center in Dayao, Espacio is now open daily. Dining here is an experience amidst lush tropical landscape. The Pinoy style salad is truly Pinoy (see previous blog). For dessert I love the banana turon served on a bed of ice cream.

At Em Punto on the second floor of Gaisano Mall, wifi is free with any order. I like their one of a kind mango iced tea.

Across the street from Gaisano Mall is Area One where a live band attracts a young bunch. From Cebrew or Red Sun, you can watch and listen to the music while sipping a latte.

Roxas City is a sleepy town no more. No need to go overboard and suffer the fate of Boracay.

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Photos by Rosario Charie Albar

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Novel Pizzas

At Nino's Italian Ristorante in Roxas City, my palate perked up after eating a few slices of the pizza Italiana with eggplant and slivers of ham. I had no qualms about eating a lot of pizza in the evening because the crust was nearly paper thin and and not as heavy as a thick crust pizza would have been. The eggplant did surprise me. What a novel idea to add eggplant to pizza! It was quite tasty. I went back two days later and had another pizza Italiana.

I never thought I would find another pizza to top my eggplant discovery. But there it was. A chicken teriyaki and mango pizza at John and Yoko restaurant on the second floor of Greenbelt 5 in Makati. First of all, my favorite fruit is mango. So I was intrigued by the possible combination of chicken teriyaki and mango. I feared the teriyaki sauce might overwhelm the dish but it was all so delicious that I left only 2 little pieces for my cousin to take home. Because the crust was also thin and crispy, it was the perfect light meal or appetizer.

Have you had any unusual or one of a kind pizzas lately?

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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Pinoy Style Salad



And now, a truly Pinoy salad! The ingredients are: green mango, singkamas (jicama), pipino (cucumber), tiny local tomatoes, steamed okra, salted red egg, and carrots sliced to eat with your fingers. The "pièce de resistance" is the bagoong dip (salted fish or shrimp paste). Never mind the aroma of the bagoong. It goes well with everything.

I think I have a new favorite salad. Bon Appetit!

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Photo by Rosario Charie Albar