SOL VANZI's  TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE PAGE

SOL VANZI's 'TIMPLA'T TIKIM' & LIFESTYLE
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

A VEGETABLE FOR ALL SEASONS & REASONS
[The eggplant was already being served at Filipino homes long before Magellan came]


By Sol Vanzi: Eggplants have been on dining tables around the world for ages. Sanskrit documents, dating back from as early as 300 BCE, mentioned it, an evidence of its existence and use as food and medicine at the time.
WHICH CAME FIRST? During the Age of Exploration (15th to 17th centuries), the eggplant was among the vegetables carried by Spanish explorers from Spain to America, then from America to colonized countries all over the world. Some may point out that it was among the edible plants brought over to Asia and the Philippines via galleons from Acapulco, but eggplants were being cultivated and cooked in China and Japan long before Magellan started his voyage. And since the Filipinos had been trading with China for centuries, influencing each other’s cultures and cuisines, the eggplant was already part of our diet even before we got Christianized. READ MORE...

ALSO: Mang Abe will live on; The National Museum gets its largest single donation


JUNE 29 by Sol Vanzi ---Emilio Aguilar Cruz The National Museum has announced the forthcoming turnover of artworks of Emilio Aguilar Cruz, which will form part of the permanent collection of the institution. It is the largest single donation of artworks ever to be given to the National Museum, a testament to the man whose influence looms large in the lives of many. The artist, journalist, and essayist known as E. A. Cruz will always be our Mang Abe, friend and mentor to several generations and one of the kindest persons I have ever met. READ MORE...

ALSO: Revisiting history: The National Museum Art Gallery  UNBLOOGED FROM THE LA SALLIAN ONLINE ...READ FULL REPORT BOTTOM OF PAGE


READ FULL MEDIA REPORT HERE:

A vegetable for all seasons and reasons
[The eggplant was already being served at Filipino homes long before Magellan came]

MANILA, JULY 6, 2015 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Sol Vanzi - Eggplants have been on dining tables around the world for ages. Sanskrit documents, dating back from as early as 300 BCE, mentioned it, an evidence of its existence and use as food and medicine at the time.

WHICH CAME FIRST?

During the Age of Exploration (15th to 17th centuries), the eggplant was among the vegetables carried by Spanish explorers from Spain to America, then from America to colonized countries all over the world.

Some may point out that it was among the edible plants brought over to Asia and the Philippines via galleons from Acapulco, but eggplants were being cultivated and cooked in China and Japan long before Magellan started his voyage.

And since the Filipinos had been trading with China for centuries, influencing each other’s cultures and cuisines, the eggplant was already part of our diet even before we got Christianized.

ALL SHAPES AND SEASONS

Prices may fluctuate but eggplants are always available at wet markets and supermarkets all over the country, rain or shine.

There are three distinct types preferred by Filipinos: the Ilocano variety, the round, green Thai eggplant, and the long Japanese kind. Each region in the Philippines has a favorite type and shape.

POQUE-POQUE

Ilocanos use the five-inch purple tarong, which is as thin as a thumb, for their famous dinengdeng. When young, the tarong is cooked whole, with only a vertical slit to allow the flavors to penetrate.

Tarong is also the star in the quaint-sounding dish poque-poque made up of broiled eggplant, onions, and tomatoes that I once had as a cold salad seasoned with fermented fish sauce.

The salad is reminiscent of Middle Eastern baba ghanoush that’s flavored with sesame seed butter, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice. For the cooked version of poque-poque, the onions and tomatoes are sautéed before the grilled, skinned tarong is mixed in.

The last time poque-poque was served to me in Batac for breakfast, beaten eggs were stirred in, producing a moist mound of spoonable main course that’s perfect as pan de sal filling.

SINIGANG MAINSTAY

The long purple and round green types are perfect for kare-kare, sinigang, and paksiw, which I often cook without fish or meat.

For vegetarian kare-kare, simply drop the vegetables in boiling water, cover, and simmer until done. Drain, and add Mama Sita Kare-Kare Sauce in pouch. Mix well and heat through.

To make vegetarian sinigang, mash sliced onions and tomatoes well and add to boiling water. After three minutes, add vegetables and simmer until done. Stir in Mama Sita Sinigang Mix (bayabas, kamias, or sampalok) and cook until done.

For paksiw, the eggplants should first be cooked in boiling water with long, green chili peppers, whole black peppercorn, bay leaf, and salt. Add vinegar when vegetables are tender.

FROZEN DELIGHT

A practical chef once showed me his restaurant shortcut: sautéed eggplants, garlic, onions, and tomatoes packed in small portions in a bag and stored in the freezer.

To use them, he microwaves a bag for one minute in a small, ovenproof tray, tops them with pasta sauce and shredded cheese, and then microwaves the whole thing again until the cheese melts.

An oven toaster, used at the last step, produces a brown crust.


MANILA BULLETIN: ARTS & CULTURE by SOL VANZI

Mang Abe will live on The National Museum gets its largest single donation by Sol Vanzi June 29, 2015 Share149 Tweet2 Share1 Email1 Share160


Clockwise from top left: Young woman in terno; Cafe Adriatico 1980; City Scene (The Quiapo Procession) Clockwise from top left: Young woman in terno; Cafe Adriatico 1980; City Scene (The Quiapo Procession)

The National Museum has announced the forthcoming turnover of artworks of Emilio Aguilar Cruz, which will form part of the permanent collection of the institution. It is the largest single donation of artworks ever to be given to the National Museum, a testament to the man whose influence looms large in the lives of many.

The artist, journalist, and essayist known as E. A. Cruz will always be our Mang Abe, friend and mentor to several generations and one of the kindest persons I have ever met.

READ MORE...

In the 1960s, we were a dozen or so young freelance writers struggling on meager fees received for contributed articles published in newspapers and magazines.

We showed up at various newspaper offices in downtown Manila daily but managed to converge at the Manila Times on Florentino Torres Street in Sta. Cruz shortly before lunchtime; we knew we would be fed and educated by Mang Abe, an established writer-artist who had a soft spot for struggling writers and artists.

We walked behind him, listening to his every word: Jolico Cuadra, Jun Lansang, Margot Baterina, Tino Dauz, and many more who came, learned, and moved on to become writers, painters, storytellers.


Emilio Aguilar Cruz

Every outing with Mang Abe was an adventure, especially for those who, like me, were new to the city.

Like a watchful mother hen, the 50-something artist-writer led his brood through the labyrinth of eskinitas in Binondo to feast on strange vegetables, steamed frogs, fat and thin noodles, and fresh oysters covered in an egg/cornstarch crust accented with kuchay.

He was always as curious as a thee-year-old, pointing out details of the Chinese restaurants’ décor or explaining the function of an enamelized tin spittoon by the door.

Mang Abe taught us to want to learn everything about everything.

He was insatiable, absorbing information like a giant sponge. Conversing with him was like living inside an encyclopedia, with discussions on local and international politics, art, movies, fashion, social trends—anything under the sun.

Once, at a hole-in-the-wall Chinatown eatery with a dirt floor and an open kitchen, Mang Abe wondered out loud about an unfamiliar ingredient in his favorite steamed lapu-lapu.

Befriending the cook, I found out that the mystery crunch came from chopped preserved radish, its flavor enhanced by a bath in boiling sesame oil. That was my first cooking lesson.

Maturing in the world of journalists, our group went our separate ways but saw each other often at the NPC bar and at news events. Mang Abe was never far from our thoughts and conversations. We loved to talk about the good old days and his kindness in our time of need.

I was finally able to pay him back in the mid 1970s, shortly before he left to be Philippine representative to UNESCO in Paris.

He walked into my tiny boutique in Malate with a very precious antique Afghan prayer rug that had a corner missing, chewed away by his dog. I assured him all was not lost.

I scoured Bambang market’s secondhand clothes dealers for silk and wool material matching the colors of the rug. The pieces were carefully unraveled, weft and warp wound on cardboard tubes.

I crocheted a fine net into the rug’s missing corner, then knotted the silk and wool fibers unto the net following the pattern of the missing corner. Tying 100 knots per square inch, it took two months to finish the repair work.

When Mang Abe came to pick up his rug, he gave me a hug and called me a great artisan. Everywhere we met, he would tell those present the story of the Afghan rug and describe me as an artist.

When he died in 1991, hundreds of artists he supported mourned their personal loss.

The National Museum’s collection of Mang Abe’s artworks is a great reminder of his generosity that will live on long after his young ingénues are gone.


AT THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE PHILIPPINES: Dimasalang (1968-1978): Artists’ Collections showcases the work of a group of artists-friends who painted and spoke of art together in Dimasalang Street, Manila. Members included Emilio (Abe) Aguilar Cruz, Sofronio (SYM) Y. Mendoza, Romulo Galicano, Ibarra dela Rosa and Andres Cristobal Cruz. Exhibition runs from November 7, 2014 to July 27, 2015.


UnBLOGGED

Revisiting history: The National Museum Art Gallery Michi Dimaano Posted on May 29, 2015Categories Menagerie, Menagerie FeatureTags Feature

Along the busy and congested Taft Avenue sits a neoclassical building, newly refurbished, with the words “National Museum” plastered on it in large, block letters. It is a familiar sight for most students coming from the north, especially those who ride the LRT. Just one jeepney and an overpriced pedicab ride away from De La Salle University, this structure is one enveloped in culture and history.

In celebration of National Heritage Month, the National Museum has opened its doors for free for the duration of the entirety of May. It stands, waiting for you to step in and absorb the beauty of the work hanging on its walls, and sitting in its hollowed spaces.

Getting around

The entrance to this grand place is through the side facing Padre Burgos Avenue. Markers about the history of the building welcome you, detailing its past as the Legislative Building of the government. Inside, Indian red colored walls surround you as you walk along the hallways of the second floor, where the tours usually start. The color of the hallways and galleries are reminiscent of a Wes Anderson movie, providing the perfect background for the works of art.

There aren’t many guides, aside from a few arrow signs around the North and South Wing galleries in the second and third floors. And although you shouldn’t worry about getting lost, taking photos of these guides may be helpful, especially if you are in search of a specific exhibit. Honestly, though, wandering around aimlessly adds to the wonder of the experience.

There are approximately 25 exhibitions inside the museum, with a Master’s Hall, which houses possibly the most famous piece in the entire museum, Juan Luna’s famous mural, Spolarium.

Displayed across Spolarium is another painting, El Asesinato del Gobernador Bustamante (The Assassination of Governor Bustamante) by Félix Resurrección Hidalgo. The grandiosity of the paintings is indeed astonishing.

It makes you think about the history behind these works of art, the time and effort that went into making them and returning them to the Philippines. An untitled sculpture of a diwata by National Artist Guillermo Tolentino welcomes you to the hall.


Spolarium

Galleries I to VI: Isabelo Tampinco, Fernando Amorsolo, and Jose Rizal

Exhibitions of the National Art Gallery begin on the second level, or House Floor.

The South Wing is where Galleries I to VI are located. Gallery I has orange colored walls and checkered floors, again lending to the unique character of the building.

It displays religious art from the 17th to 19th centuries, and even features a National Cultural Treasure, a retablo or altar piece from the Church of San Nicolas de Tolentino in Dimiao, Bohol.

GALLERY 2

The maroon colored walls of Gallery II are lined with frames of botanical paintings, such as the interestingly named breadfruit, or kamansi, commissioned by Spanish botanist and pharmacologist Juan José de Cuéllar in the mid-1700s.

GALLERY 3

Meanwhile, Gallery III is filled with portraits from the last three decades of the 19th century, featuring works from Juan Luna, Felix Hidalgo, Lorenzo Guerrero, and other key contemporaries. National Cultural Treasures, Feeding the Chickens by Simon Flores and Una Bulaqueña by Juan Luna, are also housed in the gallery.

GALLERY 4

Gallery IV contains sculptures from the academic and neoclassical period, including the work of master Filipino sculptor Isabelo L. Tampinco. The gallery also features works of other artists, including Florante Caedo, who created the sculpture of St. John Baptist De La Salle seen in the Marian Quadrangle in campus.

GALLERY 5

Meanwhile, Gallery V pays homage to Dr. Jose Rizal, our national hero. It contains busts and paintings of the hero by prominent Filipino artists, as well as Rizal’s own sculptures Bust of Ricardo Carnicero, San Pablo Ermitano, Oyang Dapitana, and Mother’s Revenge, a declared National Cultural Treasure. A highlight is his drawing of the view of Gendarmenmarkt from his 1886 trip to Berlin, which was mesmerizing and greatly detailed.

GALLERY 6

The works of Fernando Amorsolo, Fabian de la Rosa, Ireneo Miranda, and other similar artists are featured in Gallery VI, which contains classical art from the 20th century. An interesting portion of the gallery is an unfinished painting entitled Portrait of a Lady by Fernando Amorsolo, positioned beside a replica of Amorsolo’s work station.

GALLERY 7 TO 12

Galleries VII to XII: Sketches, studies, and sculptures

Galleries VII to XII are located on the North Wing, although some were closed for renovation at the time of visit and could not be observed. Gallery VIII contains scenes from World War II as depicted by Filipino artists. A warning is given that some of the displays might be disturbing to some viewers, although unfortunately, the gallery was among those under renovation.

GALLERY 10

Gallery X (whose door handle is signed by Napoleon Abueva) houses The Progress of Medicine in the Philippines by Carlos “Botong” V. Francisco, a set of four large paintings specially commissioned in 1953 for the entrance hall of the Philippine General Hospital, also declared as a National Cultural Treasure.

GALLERY 11

Gallery XI, on the other hand, has powder blue walls and contains drawings by Fernando C. Amorsolo. On display are black and white pencil and ink sketches, and oil studies of Amorsolo’s subjects made before the final artwork. It is amazing to see how his masterpieces stemmed from a couple of squiggly lines and shapes. A work by his nephew, Cesar Amorsolo is also featured.

GALLERY 12

Finally, Gallery XII contains sculptures by National Artist Guillermo E. Tolentino, with one highlight being his Model for the Commonwealth Triumphal Arch.

Senate floor galleries: Modern art and memorabilia

Exhibitions continue on the third level or Senate Floor. It starts with the Old Senate Session Hall, which was originally designed to be a library in the early 1920s. The ornamentation in the hall was created by the aforementioned master sculptor, Isabelo Tampinco, and his sons Angel and Vidal. Standing figures of great lawmakers and moralists of history, ranging from Biblical times to the 20th century, line its entablature.

Old Senate Session Hall

The South Wing includes more galleries, but this time, some of the artworks line the white-walled hallways. The South Wing Hallway Gallery features Philippine Abstraction from the 1960s to the 1980s, including an undated painting by Mike Aquino called Confetti Rhythm, which is reminiscent of Jackson Pollock’s No. 5, 1948.

GALLERY 14

Gallery XIV on the other hand, features modern Philippine art from the 1920s to the 1970s. This movement was headed by National Artist Victorio C. Edades, and the gallery features works by him, German Icarangal, Nestor Leynes, and other similar artists.

GALLERY 15


Emilio Aguilar Cruz, popularly known as Abé, is an artist, writer, and an expert in Philippine arts and culture

Gallery XV houses a special exhibition called Dimasalang (1968-1978): Artists’ Collections which contains the work of artist friends Emilio “Abe” Aguilar Cruz, Sofronio “SYM” Y. Mendoza, Romulo Galiciano, Ibarra dela Rosa, and Andres Cristobal Cruz, who spoke of art together in Dimasalang Street, Manila. The bright pastel green walls frame the bright colors of the paintings perfectly.

The North Wing also has hallway galleries, starting with the Northeast Hallway Gallery, which contains artworks with interesting political and social commentary.

Meanwhile, Gallery XX contains treasures of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) Collection. It features more paintings by National Artist Fernando Amorsolo, as well as work by Juan Luna.

GSIS North Hallway 2

The GSIS North Hallway Gallery showcases the works of National Artist Federico Aguilar Alcuaz, along with some works from the GSIS Collection, The Aguilar Family Collection, and the National Museum Collection.

Meanwhile, Gallery XXIII features works of modern painter and National Artist Vicente S. Manansala, with a highlight being memorabilia from the Manansala Family Collection.

Lastly, Gallery XXV or the Philam Life Hall, houses seven large paintings, which were commissioned by the Philippine-American General Life Insurance Company to Vicente S. Manansala for their building in UN Avenue, Manila.

The numbering of the galleries became a little confusing towards the end, but at the end of the day, several highlights throughout the museum stood out, from the famous Spolarium, to the numerous sculptures and paintings, to the various collections and works of modern art.

Whether or not you are an art aficionado, a visit to the National Museum can prove both informative and entertaining. The work that you will be seeing will not only leave you in awe, but show you a side of our history made beautifully and forever immortalized in the canvasses and sculptures.

If you were not able to visit the National Museum this May, come and enjoy the Museum and the many cultural treasures it offers for free on Sundays and the entire month of October, when the Museum celebrates its anniversary.

SOURCE: THE LASALLIAN ONLINE



Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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