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(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

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HEALTHY ADVENTURE FOR ALL SEASONS


At SM Mall of Asia and Manila Bay:
Fun and adventure are two of the best reasons for dining out. One often has to leave town, however, to enjoy this experience. The 4 Seasons Restaurant, also called Hotpot City, stands beside its sister eatery Vikings at the northern portion of the strip of land between Mall of Asia and Manila Bay. I liked that it was a hotpot restaurant, a cooking concept I picked up in the Hong Kong night markets while living in the Crown Colony as a new bride in the 1970s. Our five kids later learned to enjoy hotpot meals using the traditional Chinese charcoal-fired brass-and-copper hotpots we bought in Wan Chai. CONTINUE READING, BEYOND HOTSPOT...

ALSO: Their lovely bones

The Kaida Contemporary Art Gallery in Quezon City is the perfect venue for “Pay Per Doll,” a small collection of interactive artworks by young artist Paola Concepcion Germar—plain walls, good track lights, no supporting posts in the middle of the floor. Outside, gallery guests could drink, smoke, and talk amid quaint 1960s cocktail tables and simple chairs. It is a far cry from the apartment-turned-gallery trend of the 1970s.
Paola’s art defies logic: male skeletons dressed up as living persons celebrating life. Decked to the hilt, they drink and dance, sing, and play cards. READ MORE...

ALSO: Kaida Contemporary Presents "Pay Per Doll" in Eye-Catching Artworks


A pleasing sight for the eyes of many whose interest is focused on the brandished appearance of females, and these prying eyes are hypocritical in a sense that they feast on fanciful costumes that are made up to tease the senses. Stitched up sequins and cinched up waists provide much space for imagination.

ALSO MDB HEADLINE NEWS: Go fish in El Nido
El Nido Resorts partners with fisherfolk to offer new perspectives to global tourists


BULLETIN FILE PHOTO 
Going beyond its stunning location featuring limestone cliffs and the sparkling blue waters of Bacuit Bay, Palawan, El Nido Resorts is now also offering unique experiences with local fishermen as another high point of an unforgettable vacation. The collection of resorts named after the islands that host them have been named among the world’s best destinations in the past few years by Conde Nast and other travel authorities outranking better known beaches and resorts in the world. The four El Nido Resorts are: Miniloc, Lagen, and Pangulasian in El Nido municipality and Apulit in neighboring Taytay. Marc Cerqueda, group director of Operations for El Nido Resorts, emphasizes that the pride of place exhibited by the locals in their natural surroundings greatly add to the high customer satisfaction ratings of the four properties. Locals, who are eager and happy to point out to visitors species like the Palawan Hornbill unique to Palawan, make up 95 percent of the resorts’ employee base and have become a key reason why visitors enjoy their stay. By offering additional activities with local fishermen and eventually, other groups, El Nido Resorts is simply giving guests more options to interact with the residents of this highly photogenic location frequently described as a piece of paradise. READ  MORE...


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

Healthy adventure for all seasons


Hong Kong chef Ken Leung

MANILA, APRIL13, 2015 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Sol Vanzi April 9, 2015 - Fun and adventure are two of the best reasons for dining out. One often has to leave town, however, to enjoy this experience.

The 4 Seasons Restaurant, also called Hotpot City, stands beside its sister eatery Vikings at the northern portion of the strip of land between Mall of Asia and Manila Bay.


REMEMBER THE SMALL 'AT-HOME FONDUE' FUN OF LONG AGO? Like fondue, hot pot is one of the most social of dining formats. Not only are you gathered in the restaurant, right there at your table sharing a meal, but you're cooking your food together in shared pots.

I liked that it was a hotpot restaurant, a cooking concept I picked up in the Hong Kong night markets while living in the Crown Colony as a new bride in the 1970s.

Our five kids later learned to enjoy hotpot meals using the traditional Chinese charcoal-fired  brass-and-copper hotpots we bought in Wan Chai.
Meats, seafood, vegetables, and herbs surround pots of broth for the main course.

CONTINUE READING, BEYOND HOTSPOT......


Spicy tuna appetizers;


The sushi and sashimi station at 4 Seasons Restaurant


Colorful desserts


Fresh fish for sashimi

BEYOND HOTPOT

The 4 Seasons goes way beyond the street hotpot eateries of my memories though. Its cavernous and cool interiors offer ingredients and cooking styles from all parts of the world, although live seafood are sourced much closer to home.

After attacking the sushi and sashimi station, we devoured small offerings from the appetizer bar, where each creation is a work of art worthy of mention in five-star chefs’ catalogues.

Outstanding were the watermelon gazpacho in shot glasses, crispy eggplant and salted egg, salmon with blue cheese, caponata, spicy tuna, and a unique, vegan fresh lumpia.

CRUISE LINER PIRATES

Raquel Bartolome, an industry veteran and marketing manager of the Vikings Group, revealed one of her company’s secrets: their Filipino chefs are veterans, pirated from international luxury cruise liners.

“They are hardworking, used to long hours, and are never overwhelmed when hundreds show up to eat,” she explains. She should know. She has worked in the high seas for decades.

FROM FARM TO TABLE

To fully enjoy a hotpot buffet, one must follow certain guidelines.

First, you walk around and case the joint, making a mental list of what you would want in your pots. Then, you take a tray and gather all your ingredients as though you are shopping in a supermarket. All the vegetables, seafood, and meats are fresh from the farms and the seas.

HOTPOT SECRETS

Each dining table has one pot with a metal divided to accommodate two different broths. Some diners place a spicy broth in one and a milder broth in the other. We opted for one pork broth and a chicken broth, preferring to add our spices in our individual bowls.

Following Hong Kong night market traditions, we mixed two pots: winter and summer. The winter pot contained meats, dried mushrooms, and root crops while the summer pot had seafood plus leafy vegetables and fresh mushrooms.

END WITH NOODLES

Near the end of the meal, the broths were both enriched with all the flavors we had added. It was time to add the noodles.

From the 20 types being offered, we settled on black squid ink fettuccine for our seafood pot and bright orange carrot noodles for the meat pot. We poured in more fresh broth as the liquid got absorbed by the noodles.

DESSERTS AND FRUITS

Fresh fruits and fruit juices completed the meal, alongside brewed coffee and individual desserts fit for a king. There was even homemade ice cream mixed with fruits and nuts.


Their lovely bones by Sol Vanzi April 6, 2015


Images by Pinggot Zulueta

The Kaida Contemporary Art Gallery in Quezon City is the perfect venue for “Pay Per Doll,” a small collection of interactive artworks by young artist Paola Concepcion Germar—plain walls, good track lights, no supporting posts in the middle of the floor.

Outside, gallery guests could drink, smoke, and talk amid quaint 1960s cocktail tables and simple chairs. It is a far cry from the apartment-turned-gallery trend of the 1970s.

Paola’s art defies logic: male skeletons dressed up as living persons celebrating life. Decked to the hilt, they drink and dance, sing, and play cards.

Several canvases show them laughing as can-can dancers lift their skirts to display bits of ruffled underwear. Almost three-dimensional are the pieces depicting female skeletons ready to be dressed and undressed.

Waiting at their feet are buckets filled with intricately bejeweled clothing and accessories.

“Dress me the way you want me to be,” invites the sign beside the plywood-and-oil mounted mannequin.

NO FEAR OF DEATH

All the pieces in the collection are mischievously and sinfully rich in humor. The skeletons, with blank spaces for eyes, smile.

But though the very idea of it, skeletons, reminds viewers of death, the works evoke nothing about life’s passing.

The matter-of-fact depiction of life-after-life might be due to the artist’s familiarity with the aspects of life and death as natural phases of man’s existence.

Paola belongs to a family with several generations of physicians. Unlike her grandfather, father, uncles, and cousins, she decided to be a painter instead of a healer.

ART IMITATING LIFE

As a toddler, she would cut out paper dolls and dress them up in paper jewelry, paper shoes, and paper handbags, which she would color vividly with crayons and watercolor. In school, classmates and friends saw themselves in the faces that she drew.

So, she painted masks (blank faces) with holes for eyes to avoid comparisons.

Halloween was, and continues to be, her favorite holiday. It is an excuse to dress up and experiment, inspired by her mother and grandmother who have “tons of clothes and stuff.” “I really paint where I want to be,” explains the artist, who uses bright, bold colors straight from the tubes without using a palette for mixing.

Could she be expressing a desire to continue dressing up after death?

DREAM WORLD, REAL JEWELS

A Parisian dancer kicks up her heels, while, in the audience, a man whispers “I bet she can can” in a play on words that’s carried on throughout the exhibit. “Gently, gently, let’s take it off slowly” is the playful message of another doll.

The costumes, all meticulously handcrafted by the artist, evoke Renaissance royal crown jewels.

It is no surprise that the artist is also a successful designer of bags and accessories that are now being exported to several countries in North and South America, Asia, and Europe.

SILENT COMPANION

Guarding the exhibit is Violet, a life-sized female skeleton who has, for years, been Paola’s roommate. “She sleeps in my room and goes where I go.We are of the same height. Her costumes reflect my moods.”

Like Paola, Violet seems ageless, giving no hint of her emotions. Perhaps Violet, like Paola, is also an artist.

2 PHOTOS COURTESY OF ARTSTACK,COM


BACK STABBING BEACHES


BELLA DONNA


COURTESY OF KAIDA GALLERY FACEBOOK TIMELINE


FACEBOOK TIMELINE Cover Photo

Paola Germar's Pay Per Doll featured on Choose Philippines' website! http://www.choosephilippines.com/…/kaida-contemporary-pres…/

Kaida Contemporary Presents "Pay Per Doll" in Eye-Catching Artworks



Pay Per Doll a solo exhibition by Paola Germar 8 March 2015

A pleasing sight for the eyes of many whose interest is focused on the brandished appearance of females, and these prying eyes are hypocritical in a sense that they feast on fanciful costumes that are made up to tease the senses. Stitched up sequins and cinched up waists provide much space for imagination.

READ MORE...
The degradation of a woman in society has created a new value on herself as a person. This self-imposed object only doubles in value when she flashes any patch of skin.

The skin of women is paper thin. It is carefully crafted and cut into whatever shape it needs to be. Artificial, attractive, and altruistic, everything a woman may be. Both prim and proper yet sexy and spirited, a double standard that keeps women self-destructive.

The glitz or glamour masks a woman's identity with flashing lights and glowing faces. This is the innocence of a woman covered by money and desire.

Pay Per Doll is on show until March 22, Kaida Contemporary is located at 45 Scout Madrinan St., South Triangle, Quezon City. For inquiries please contact +639279297129, and email kaida529@yahoo.com.ph


MANILA BULLETIN HEADLINE NEWS APRIL 12, 2015

Go fish in El Nido April 12, 2015

El Nido Resorts partners with fisherfolk to offer new perspectives to global tourists


BULLETIN FILE PHOTO

Going beyond its stunning location featuring limestone cliffs and the sparkling blue waters of Bacuit Bay, Palawan, El Nido Resorts is now also offering unique experiences with local fishermen as another high point of an unforgettable vacation.

The collection of resorts named after the islands that host them have been named among the world’s best destinations in the past few years by Conde Nast and other travel authorities outranking better known beaches and resorts in the world.

The four El Nido Resorts are: Miniloc, Lagen, and Pangulasian in El Nido municipality and Apulit in neighboring Taytay.

Marc Cerqueda, group director of Operations for El Nido Resorts, emphasizes that the pride of place exhibited by the locals in their natural surroundings greatly add to the high customer satisfaction ratings of the four properties.

Locals, who are eager and happy to point out to visitors species like the Palawan Hornbill unique to Palawan, make up 95 percent of the resorts’ employee base and have become a key reason why visitors enjoy their stay.

By offering additional activities with local fishermen and eventually, other groups, El Nido Resorts is simply giving guests more options to interact with the residents of this highly photogenic location frequently described as a piece of paradise.

READ MORE...
This special activity outside of the usual menu offered guests means spending an early morning or late afternoon in a motorized banca with two to three fishermen from Bacuit Bay as they engage in bottom fishing.

Their tools are simple nylon lines with a hook, to which bait is attached, and a weight at one end. Unsupported by sophisticated reels, the lines, which are merely wrapped around wooden makeshift spools, are flung into the sea until they find their way to the bottom.

Hold the line and when you feel a strong tug, it means a fish has snapped up the bait, the fishermen instruct guests. All you need to do next is to pull in the line quickly. It seems easy enough until one actually tries it.

How do you know it’s a fish biting and not just the current, guests are likely to inquire further. Questions like that lead to meaningful interactions with the fisherfolk freely sharing their experience and unique perspectives of Bacuit Bay.

When you spot little fishes close to the top, for instance, it most likely means there are bigger fishes below them. You don’t need a compass in the open sea even when you don’t have any landmarks to guide you. The current will tell you in which direction you are headed.

“Fishing brings people together and facilitates discovery,” according to Cerqueda. “At the end of the day, even when guests don’t catch anything, they gain a deeper appreciation for the trade and, with hope, empathize with the fishermen. Fishing is not easy.” Since fishing with the locals was offered as a special activity, few visitors have returned disappointed.

The activity was recently reintroduced after a hiatus of several years by El Nido Resorts as the number of guests seeking to learn about local ways of life increased. Al Legaspi, president of El Nido Resorts, observes: “We’ve had more and more visitors in the past 15 years seek activities that generate greater economic benefits for locals and enhance the well being of the community.” They validate the global trend toward responsible tourism, which uses environmental integrity, social justice, and maximizing local benefits as key performance indicators.

For the fishermen, bottom fishing with guests means earning in a few hours the equivalent of what could take a whole day and even night to catch. The activity helps ease the economic pressures they feel. At the same time, their first-hand encounters with guests make them appreciate the importance of tourism, especially tourism that places a premium on keeping Bacuit Bay as pristine and unscarred by development as possible.

The fishermen exhibit their understanding for the need to maintain the biodiversity of Bacuit Bay when they catch undersized grouper or lapu lapu in expeditions with El Nido Resorts guests. They throw back into the sea juvenile fish to allow these overfished species to regenerate. They hope to share the beauty of their home to guests not only for this generation but also for the next. www.elnidoresorts.com 




Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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