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SOL VANZI's  TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE PAGE
FEATURING HER 'TIMPLA'T TIKIM' (Manila Bulletin)
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

SARDINIAN REVOLUTION
[Here’s a peek into what Manila Pavilion’s new executive chef is whipping up for everyone]


Potato gnocchi in cheese sauce A revolution is quietly instituting changes at the venerable hotel that’s been a landmark feature of Manila’s skyline for nearly five decades. Behind the upheaval is a gregarious Sardinian, Giovanni Sias, the Manila Pavilion’s new executive chef. His battleground: the kitchen and dining areas. His aim: a fresh, natural, and organic makeover. BENEVOLENT PIONEER The Manila Pavilion opened in the late 1960s as the Manila Hilton, the oldest and first five-star hotel in the country. Though it has changed names and management over the years, it remains one of the places Manilans love for the memories it brings of good times past. We were part of the hotel’s history, having covered major events held at the hotel, including its opening. A picture of the first GM, Colgate Holmes, will forever be imprinted on my mind as he helped a fireman train a water hose on the source of a ground floor fire shortly after the hotel first opened its doors. Through the years, the hotel became the center of social life, hosting luncheon fashion shows at its top floor, taipans for lunch daily at the fifth floor Chinese restaurant, and the country’s young and restless at its basement disco until the wee hours. READ MORE...

ALSO: Bencab’s Shades of Dorian Gray
[The journey of a Filipino artist]


Being a National Artist has not changed BenCab; he remains shy, humble, and almost apologetic about his success. He retains the aura of the young artist who, preparing for his first exhibit in 1966, worried that his sketches were overpriced at P100 and his paintings way too expensive at P500.
The ‘60s saw a blossoming of the arts, and Malate was the Mecca of bohemianism, with the Los Indios Bravos Coffee Shop as the movement’s altar. Next door to Indios, as we lovingly called the place, was a hole-in-the-wall hangout of artists and photographers—the Indigo Art Gallery, which was challenging the establishment’s steel-and-glass ultra-sleek Luz Gallery. Bencab was Indigo’s resident artist; that simply meant he crashed in the mezzanine on a makeshift bed, surrounded by unfinished canvases, unassembled frames, paints, and clothes hanging from nails hammered into bare wood beams and plywood walls. Sort of like artists’ lofts in New York, minus the space. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORT HERE:

Sardinian revolution
[Here’s a peek into what Manila Pavilion’s new executive chef is whipping up for everyone]


Sicilian Chef Giovanni Sias

MANILA, OCTOBER 12, 2015 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Sol Vanzi October 8, 2015 - A revolution is quietly instituting changes at the venerable hotel that’s been a landmark feature of Manila’s skyline for nearly five decades. Behind the upheaval is a gregarious Sardinian, Giovanni Sias, the Manila Pavilion’s new executive chef. His battleground: the kitchen and dining areas. His aim: a fresh, natural, and organic makeover.

BENEVOLENT PIONEER

The Manila Pavilion opened in the late 1960s as the Manila Hilton, the oldest and first five-star hotel in the country. Though it has changed names and management over the years, it remains one of the places Manilans love for the memories it brings of good times past.

We were part of the hotel’s history, having covered major events held at the hotel, including its opening. A picture of the first GM, Colgate Holmes, will forever be imprinted on my mind as he helped a fireman train a water hose on the source of a ground floor fire shortly after the hotel first opened its doors.

Through the years, the hotel became the center of social life, hosting luncheon fashion shows at its top floor, taipans for lunch daily at the fifth floor Chinese restaurant, and the country’s young and restless at its basement disco until the wee hours.

READ MORE...

KEEPING THE BEST

For almost 50 years, the hotel’s flaky chicken pie has been unequalled, perhaps the main reason politicians and veteran journalists hang around the Patisserie to shoot the breeze and solve the country’s problems. That chicken pie is one of the few survivors of the Sardinian revolution.

“I will not change everything for the sake of change,” Chef Giovanni explains. “A hotel must keep up with the times and should never be afraid of innovations.”


Grilled striploin


Prosciutto rolls with goat cheese


Prosciutto rolls with goat cheese


Tuna carpuccio


Sauteed red snapper
(Images by NOEL B. PABALATE)

TASTE SYMPHONY

At the launching of the new menu for Seasons, the hotel’s main food outlet, we had a fill of what Chef Giovanni plans for the room service menu, the casino, Boulvar Sports Bar, and the patisserie.

First starter was tuna carpaccio on raw zucchini, dressed with olive oil and lemon. The light fish dish was followed by prosciutto rolled around goat cheese mousse accented with truffle-scented apple mustard marmalade. The saltiness of Italian ham melded perfectly with the cheese, counterpointed by the sweetness of the marmalade.

LIGHT AND BRIGHT

Carb with the main courses consisted of very smooth potato gnocchi in cheese sauce, its lightness stressed by the salty-crisp fried prosciutto. Even lighter was the fish course of red snapper sautéed with tomatoes and carpers, served over buttered noodles.

Grilled US striploin with demiglace was greaseless and perfectly cooked as well as nicely aged at the hotel’s chilling room. Homemade shoestring potatoes displayed the chef’s passion for preparing everything from scratch.

HEAVENLY DESSERT

Breaking my rule against sweets, I finished the panna cotta with strawberry consommé brightened by a long curl of dark chocolate. The panna cotta was smooth and firm, chilled just enough to hold its shape as it quivered in an inch of strawberry puree. The dark chocolate was a brilliant touch to an already perfect dessert.

We are lucky that Chef Giovanni chose to move to the Philippines with his Filipina wife Magie and sons Adriano and Alessandro and launch the kind of revolution Manila welcomes with open arms.


LIFESTYLE/CULTURE by Sol Vanzi

Bencab’s Shades of Dorian Gray The journey of a Filipino artist by Sol Vanzi October 5, 2015 (updated) Share67 Tweet35 Share0 Email0 Share115


Being a National Artist has not changed BenCab; he remains shy, humble, and almost apologetic about his success. He retains the aura of the young artist who, preparing for his first exhibit in 1966, worried that his sketches were overpriced at P100 and his paintings way too expensive at P500.

The ‘60s saw a blossoming of the arts, and Malate was the Mecca of bohemianism, with the Los Indios Bravos Coffee Shop as the movement’s altar.

Next door to Indios, as we lovingly called the place, was a hole-in-the-wall hangout of artists and photographers—the Indigo Art Gallery, which was challenging the establishment’s steel-and-glass ultra-sleek Luz Gallery.

Bencab was Indigo’s resident artist; that simply meant he crashed in the mezzanine on a makeshift bed, surrounded by unfinished canvases, unassembled frames, paints, and clothes hanging from nails hammered into bare wood beams and plywood walls. Sort of like artists’ lofts in New York, minus the space.

READ MORE...

THE MUSE SABEL

Separated by a few blocks from his older brother and fellow artist Salvador, Bencab developed his own distinct style and favorite subjects.

One of the most recurring topics of his works was, and continues to be, Sabel, a character inspired by scavengers roaming the streets of his old haunts in Bambang, Sta. Cruz district.

The haunting images of Sabel feature prominently in Bencab: The Filipino Artist, a retrospective exhibition that runs until Feb. 27 next year at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila.

At the launching of the exhibit, I could not help but linger before two works that I had seen the National Artist work on: Study of Sabel (1966) and Scavengers (1968).


Study of Sabel (1966)


Scavengers (1968). BENCAB'S DORIAN GRAY?

Walking through five decades of BenCab’s art is like a journey through myriad facets and phases of his life. The grays and earthen colors dominate, shattered only by a bold dash of crimson that makes the viewer realize the rapes were clothes of a woman.

And then there’s Sabel, aging through the years while the artist retained his youthful looks, energy, and enthusiasm.


Benedicto Cabrera (1942) Sabel in San Andres Bukid

Fifty years ago, Sabel on canvas was a wisp of a girl. Today, she’s a grown worldly woman, while her creator remains a young man inside.

MULTIMEDIA

The retrospective exhibition at the Met reveals a BenCab who excels in broader art forms beyond painting and printmaking. The exhibition offers an incisive look into the artist’s life and the influences that made him one of the country’s most esteemed and iconic artists of the 21st century.

The exhibition also presents a rare opportunity to survey the prolific career of the artist through an assemblage of more than a hundred paintings, prints, drawings, and sculptures, many of which are on public view for the first time.

The Metropolitan Museum of Manila is located at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Manila. Museum hours are from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays. info@metmuseum.ph 


SOL JOSE VANZI's PHNO PAGE


Photo from Kyle Victor Jose's iPAD -Lifestyle/Food and Arts & Culture columnist of the Manila Daily Bulletin. Signature title "Timpla't Tikim"
http://www.mb.com.ph/lifestyle/


Sol in 1997 Photo: PHNO Editor/Travel & Leisure page
http://www.newsflash.org/staff/solvanzi.htm


Photo of Sol and young Kyle Victor Jose in March 2005 at PHNO/QCNet office in Levitown, Paranaque. Photoshot by Leo Q. Carolino.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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