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Showing posts from September, 2017

Happy birthday, Anna!!

Anna celebrated her nth birthday in Sta Cruz, Laguna with our family a few days before flying to the USA. We went to Pagsanjan for dinner but ate the cake in Tita Mely's house. Our nephews and nieces did a great job in designing the cake with Anna's Facebook photos. Ate Madie made a good call in choosing the restaurant. I forgot the name of the place but the food was reasonably priced and was delicious.
Everyone was excited about her trip because it's her first time to travel to the USA and our relatives there lead good lives. They're all hopeful that she'll enjoy her stay there and that she'll get a good job... great wishes on a birthday that marks the end of one stage in her life and the beginning of the next.

Colors of Rice

The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) held its third quarter seminar series earlier today and I was one of the speakers invited to attend, as per recommendation by Tita Nollie (thank you!). I was asked to talk about cooking specialty rice and kakanins. Since Tita Nollie intended to give an overview of the Heirloom Rice Project, I opted to talk about a paper I co-wrote this year entitled "Developing a framework of gastronomic systems research to unravel drivers of food choice" (, focusing on the rice delicacies. 

Also, upon Tita Nollie's suggestion, I featured the desserts found in IRRI's 2016 calendar. These desserts were made by three chefs we've befriended through the journey into the nuances of flavours of heirloom rice: Sharwin Tee, Jessie Sincioco, and Margarita Fores. The challenge, of course, was that it's difficult to get decent photos of the food from the calendar itself because of the calendar…

pardon my (limited) French

It's been around two years since I've started taking weekend classes in French. And so far, I've only been able to practice speaking it in school or mostly (outside school) with Matty and Val (when they don't use one of those code languages). When I was at UNLEASH, I could understand bits and pieces of conversations running in French but my listening skills with the European accent were still poor; I wasn't expecting myself to understand the African accent of my fellow participants.
And so when I was at the Philippines-France Forum on Agriculture, Matty made sure that I had practice time with French speakers (I think he gets a kick out of hearing me speak it with a Spanish accent and pointing it out). Tanguy Lafarge (from CIRAD) and another guy (I didn't catch his name) were speaking like my teachers in AFM... I understood many of their sentences when they talked more slowly than their usual pace. The second guy told me that I have to work on my intonation but…

teppanyaki dinner with two anthropologists

I like eating Japanese food. Most of my exposure to the cuisine, though, has been limited to sushi, ramen, and salmon sashimi. So when Arindam invited me to go to dinner at a Japanese restaurant with him and another anthropologist (who is also a bonafide foodie), I was excited.
We went to Isshin, which is located along Pasay Road. We had good timing because I was able to park immediately while restaurants in this area typically didn't have enough parking lots for patrons who drove over. 
The second anthropologist I met is Gayia Beyer of Havas Media Ortega, a colleague of Arindam's. Aside from introducing Arindam and me to Isshin, she also ordered food to be prepared on a teppanyaki, a steel griddle on which food could be cooked, heated, and served. Another first for me.

The nice thing about eating at a teppanyaki table was that we got a close look at how our food was being made. Our friendly chef even customised my food so that I didn't get food allergies

Over good food…

it's Christmas time in the city

Soon after my cold summer Danish adventure, I returned to the humid rainy season in the Philippines. But that weather limitation doesn't stop us Filipinos from pretending that we've got pine trees covered in snow inside our very own homes. 
And the Philippines is known to have the longest Christmas... we typically skip over Halloween, All Saints' and All Souls' Days; we also skip over the various other commemoration days. As soon as September begins, Jose Mari Chan's Christmas in Our Hearts and Christmas carols get played ad infinitum in shopping malls. These songs are stimuli for spending (and thereby endangering my wallet), not far from Pavlov's conditioning.
As I was walking in the mall the weekend when I got back from Denmark, therefore, I found the view I had in front of me incredulous: Christmas trees were already on sale AND IT'S NOT EVEN SEPTEMBER YET! 

And earlier today, I had lunch with Arindam and Matty in a mall in Los Baños. An arch flanked by…

A chair is still a chair

Still at the Living Architecture exhibit at the Ayala Museum, I was surprised to see (in an architecture exhibit) chairs that are prominently displayed. Two were by the windows, where the lighting was really good, and one had warm spotlights trained on it. I wondered, given that these chairs were treated as art pieces, were they more special than other chairs? They were given prime positions in the exhibit space, after all.
The first chair I encountered was what is known as the Calvet armchair, designed by Antoni Gaudì, Spain's most famous architect (he designed the Sagrada Família church in Barcelona). I liked how this chair looks because of the colour, the finish, and the heart-shaped back. But I wondered if it's comfortable to sit on. A chair is still a chair, after all, and if I were buying this, I had to try it to see if I could sit on it for hours.

It's a good thing that the Ayala Museum allowed people to try the chair. I sat on it, of course. And I found it to be n…

Living Architecture at the Ayala Museum

What in the world is living architecture?!? 
These were the questions in my mind as I first entered the exhibition curated by Pieter van der Ree.
Apparently, my impression was wrong. This exhibit was all about how architecture relate with the natural, the social, and the cultural landscape of a country; how a country gains an international brand or identity based on the skyline and the spaces it offers to its residents and its tourists; how people adapt and incorporate nature into these spaces.
Interesting, I thought, because I just came back from Denmark where UNLEASH facilitators at Brenderup Folk High School walked us through one of their sustainable housing projects. This was architectural design at its rawest (amateur) form. In contrast, the designs that were featured in Living Architecture were all made by world-renowned architects... but they have similar objectives.
Many of the architectural works featured in the exhibit shows how modern architectural philosophies are trying …

a BLUE dinner

My friends have a knack for discovering new restaurants in the vicinity and sometimes invite me to eat there with them. For this occasion, Krishna and Ate Mary asked me to join them for dinner at Blue, a Korean restaurant that I can't believe I didn't even notice when I traverse the route to and from IRRI
I was quite curious as I parked in front of Blue Hotel and Resort because the name of the place is still Korean House. I was also wondering if the food here is comparable with Seoul Kitchen.

The entrance to the restaurant was impressive. After parking our cars, we were faced with a set of stairs which led to a space surrounded by glass... the warm lighting definitely helped get me excited about the food.
Once inside, however, I was struck by the mismatch of the decor with the cuisine being served. The furniture suggested that we were in a restaurant that serves tea and crumpets. It was enough to get me confused... we were ordering Korean dishes after all.
When the food cam…

lunching on Green Pastures

My trip to Denmark has accustomed me to eating salads. So fresh from UNLEASH, Anna and I went to Green Pastures(by Chef Robby Goco) in Eastwood at lunch to eat more greens.
We started off with veggie tapas (I just learned that there's such a thing!) and then proceeded with what the restaurant calls "Terra Natura", a salad composed of beets, quinoa, squash, and kale. Because the vegetables were quite filling, I had difficulty eating our main course, a pork roast called "Porchetta". This one, Anna brought back with her at the condo she's renting so that she has something to munch on during her last week at Eastwood (she's wrapping up her life in Manila to move to Bay Area).

And I guess this is why we had to have a nice lunch where the afternoon sun perfectly hits our food for a good photo. It's probably the last weekend we'll have out here in a long time, after four years of occasionally picking her up in Eastwood or meeting her in Greenbelt on S…

Nikos' birthday party at Souv

I've seen Chef Robby Goco's Instagram posts about his new Greek restaurant Souv! by Cyma. The food pics all looked yummy and I wanted to try them. So one evening, I was so happy that Nikos chose this restaurant as our next dinner destination. What made this dinner special was that we were celebrating his birthday (which is a few days?weeks? back... I don't know; I don't think Val knows either). 

I'm not sure about the names of the food we ordered because they all sounded Greek to me. All of them were delicious! I remember that we've had lamb cooked in oil with orzo, a type of pasta that has been cut to resemble huge rice grains. Then there were kebabs and a stuffed bell pepper. And I just had to order my fave beverage at the moment, of course: sparkling water. It's a drink that I'll forever associate with Zürich because that's where I first had it. 
A feast to celebrate a special day, definitely. Val and I just forgot a tiny detail: Nikos received …