Monday, October 30, 2006

Raphsody on a theme....

Down to the CCP last night for a concert (relevant article about half way down the page) by the Metro Manila Community Orchestra (MMCO). It was a programme that could only be described as 'melodious'...(a little too melodious for some I think judging by the unfortunate level of snoring coming from the gentleman two seats away from me!). Obviously the icing on the cake was the final part of the programme with Albert Tiu joining the MMCO for Rachmaninoff's 'Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini'.

A lovely two hours...followed by pancakes and a rather breezy walk!


Sunday, October 29, 2006

Hell hath no fury.....

Movie viewing on Saturday was The Banquet, I thought it fantastic, having not seen Crouching Tiger or House of the Flying Daggers - I cannot comment on how it compares.

However, I can say that, although, not quite in the league of Chow Yun Fat, Daniel Wu does register quite highly on the 'objects of lust' list!


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

You can't make some of this stuff up....

Pigeon eating pelicans

The 'train defecator' (yes, I'm serious!)

The latest chapter from the Mills-McCartney team for their book: How best to behave during divorce proceedings

And just how many mistresses does one person need?

Maybe they should all move to China!

Some people are just better off making no comment

And finally....Why?


Making up for lost time.....!

In lieu of my normal trip somewhere nice in Europe with my Grandfather, we are heading up to the Big Smoke for two day to be spent in cultural pursuits with a little Hockney, followed by a little Holbein and then in the evening I have been given a choice between the RSC's Canterbury Tales or Monty Python's Spamalot........hmmm, decisions, decisions!!!!!!


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

It would take truck loads of money.......and a whole lot of love!

Whilst enjoying lunch on Sunday I managed to work through the Philippine Star and, through the haze of the morning after the night before, I read 10 things I love most about The Oriental Bangkok.

I've said it before, I love old, classic hotels, the 'Grand Dames' as it were..., yes, the modern properties have their place...the Grand Hyatt Shanghai, the Burj Al Arab in Dubai and the Hong Kong Four Seasons, but for me it's the atmosphere and the traditions in the old hotels...Raffles, The Pen (HKG obviously!), The Ritz, The Peabody (Memphis), the Oriental, Georges V....etc etc...

If you're not into hotels or are easily bored, then read no further...I'm going to be terribly dull and deconstruct the article...

Lets start with the first part of the article..

I have a dream hotel. One that is very Filipino, very modern and very world-class.

When I say very Filipino, I do not mean it should have a nipa hut-inspired roof. It should ex-press pride in what we have and what we are.

When I say very modern, it should bask in today’s new genre of hotels with a design that is cosmopolitan yet with romantic, poetic and even surprise-laden elements.

When I say world-class, it should be a place where President Bush – or make that Brad Pitt – would love to stay. Yes, Brad Pitt has an eye for design.

We used to have a hotel we could be proud of because it had a Filipino heritage and history. But all that five-star nationalist pride was lost when it became a kitschy Manila Panciteria Hotel.

So why can’t we create a new one?

I am assuming that the writer is referring to the Manila Hotel, although the name is not specifically mentioned.

If my assumption is correct, creating a new hotel is not necessary, taking the Manila Hotel and giving it the necessary cash injection, and asserting a local identity within the building is all that is required...the building itself from the outside is no oil painting, granted..(but then neither is The Oriental), however the interior has huge potential particularly given the size of the public areas.

The Manila Hotel had the potential to be invested in after a Malaysian company bought 51% of the hotel in 1995, unfortunately for the hotel, the sale was voided in 1997 because...

the justices ruled that the Manila Hotel is part of the nation’s patrimony. “We are not talking about an ordinary piece of property in a commercial district,” said the decision. “We are talking about a historic relic that has hosted many of the most important events in the short history of the Philippines as a nation.”

In this particular instance the Malaysian company, Renong (now under the umbrella of UEM Land), may not have been the most suitable investor, but this is said purely from a hotelier's point of view - hotel's are like 'special children' - they need love and huge amounts of understanding compared to other businesses, however, from a financial point of view they could have been able to pump in the much needed cash.

Anyway, I digress, back to the article....the writer then goes on to list 10 things she likes about The Oriental...I'm just going to take the 10 points and work them into the Manila Hotel...

1. The Lobby: the Manila Hotel's lobby is spectacular, the wooden ceiling, the pillars, marble flooring, the lovely long reception desk...Actually, truth be told, I prefer the Manila Hotel lobby to The Oriental's, I always think The Oriental's lobby is a bit of an anti-climax.

2. Nationalism in bloom: Putting local flowers into any hotel is normally easily done, but to be honest if getting a steady supply of good local flowers is as difficult as getting a steady supply of good local fruit is here....that could be a challenge...

3. Writer's refuge: granted the Manila Hotel has probably not had the slew of writers that The Oriental has, however, with the Manila Hotel's archive room (unfortunately kept under lock and key, so many people don't even know it exists)there is enough fodder there for an entire history room....where afternoon tea could be served. I have to add here, whenever I am in Bangkok I do go to the Writer's Lounge for afternoon is special. But, there are lots of people in Manila that I have heard saying they go to the Manila Hotel for Halo Halo because that's the best place to go...

4. Good Night, Good Words: lots of hotels do this, instead of a chocolate...its a nice touch, but each hotel should come up their own 'thing'...Banyan Tree properties for example, give a different gift on turndown each night; a scented candle, massage oil etc..with a little note about each gift.

5. Truly fruity: again, this is quite common in hotels around Asia, however, as I said before...a steady supply of good local fruit here can be challenging...

6. Heart in their art: there are more than enough Filipino artists which could be used in any hotel property....again...fairly easily done..

7. Spa: Yes, Thai spas are well known around the world, thanks to groups like the Banyan Tree and the Oriental Hotel...however, the same could be recreated here.

8. Breakfast by the Riverside: Ok, here the Manila Hotel can't hold its own...but the gardens at the back are lovely...and with some work, could be even lovelier...and let's face it...the gardens are never going to stink as much as the rivers in Bangkok can sometimes

9. A five-star classroom: This would be a challenge if cooking were going to be the subject, Filipino cuisine is unfortunately not world renowned, probably for the simple reason that so much of Filipino cuisine is about 'mother cooks best'...and so if the Chicken Adobo is not just like mother's, it is classed as just 'ok'. The classroom would need to teach something else...something that is typically Filipino and something that 'students' could use to grace their homes after their stay in the Philippines...on this subject I admit I am stuck for an idea....but no doubt someone far more creative and inventive than I would come up with a suitable idea...

10. 24 hour butler: again easily done!

And just a few thoughts on using Filipino talent for cooking, interiors and uniforms...for cooking, yes, it's a valid statement, however, overseas visitors and the world's press look for the 'big names' - Joel Robuchon, Jean-Georges Vongerichten etc...those are the names that will get a hotel's restaurant noticed on a grand scale; if you really wanted a Filipino name then choosing someone similar to Cristeta Comerford or Romy Dorotan, would probably also be good press, the likes of Susur Lee always do well when they 'return to base'. For interiors, yes...anything other than the ubiquitious Philippe Starke would make me happy, particularly on the practicality front...(case in point -the beautiful bar at the end of Felix, which had such a hot surface that if you put your iced drink on it, the ice melts faster than if you had used a blow torch!) - the only benefit with using someone like Philippe Starke is the cache and press coverage it garners. Local fashion designers for uniforms...definitely.

So going through those ten points, to bring the Manila Hotel up to 'Oriental' standards, would take a while, a huge amount of love and dedication...and money by the truck loads....but there is no rhyme or reason why it couldn't be done....

So, would someone please get off their high horse...and if the money can't be found within the country, let someone outside the country put the money in....before the Manila Hotel actually starts falling apart at the seams.


Monday, October 23, 2006

What would Turner think...?

To be filed under the category of 'some people need to get out more'....

Marmite as art!


View from the hill...

Everytime I visit Cebu I like it more, each time for different reasons....vantage point this time was 2,000 feet above sea level, behind the city of Cebu. Nice cool, fresh air and a beautiful view, what more could anyone ask for..although, judging by one couple up there who had a bottle of vodka and a couple of glasses with them, the view is just not enough for some!

It's a nice drive up and there are quite a few restaurants on the road up that take advantage of the view.

An Italian restaurant on the way up (name escapes me, sorry!).

Views from further down the hill.

For those of you that venture to Cebu often, this little gem lurks on Mactan, just down the road from the present only the restaurant is open...but that in itself is lovely, apparently come Chinese New Year, there will be 9 rooms really is worth a vist...we need somewhere like this in Manila!

Unfortunately, only the little camera was with me (so, no change there!)so a fair amount of camera shake due to the fading light...

Getting down to Cebu was stressful because of the Friday night traffic, fortunately the flight was delayed by about 20 minutes....getting back to Manila was a dream...left the apartment on Mactan at 8pm...back in my apartment in Manila to see the 11 o'clock BBC news...not bad going!


Sunday, October 22, 2006

I know I'm a busy girl....but this is ridiculous!!!

I go away for two days...and the blogosphere rumour mill swings into action..


Friday, October 20, 2006

It's been one of those weeks....

It's great that finally some of the billboards are being dismantled, but did they have to block EDSA at 6pm on a Friday night, when the majority of the malls were having sale weekends?!

And the Makati standoff is vaguely over...

What not to do with a priceless painting.

Would this have made the news if Steve Irwin hadn't died?

I see the McCartney's are contributing greatly the file of 'how not to have an amicable divorce'

I don't normally watch reality shows...I have better things to spend my time on, but the other day I caught a few minutes of a show I hadn't known existed called Beauty and the Geek. The only part I caught was a quiz where the girl (apparently the beauty) was being asked a question...the dialogue went like this:
Questioner: What is the capital of Iraq?
Beauty: Can you spell that?
Questioner: I-R-A-Q
Beauty: (long silence..I could almost smell the wood burning..!)Afghanistan

Am I seriously supposed to believe that in two and half years of the US forces being in Iraq, that this woman had never connected Iraq and Baghdad...?

The New Zealand town of Inglewood, doesn't look like my kind of underwear..??!!!!

And finally, if this were true, there would be quite a few disappointed females out there!!

Am away to more placid climes for two escape the Machiavellian drama that is work and the Shakesperean tragi-comedy which is my personal life!


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Grey's Anatomy

Sometimes all we want is a taste. Other times there's no such thing as enough, the glass is bottomless. And all we want, is more.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

He sounds perfect....

In the news that Imee Marcos' son will be running as Mayor of Manila (with Imelda as Campaign manager); it is interesting to note that in the brief paragraph stating his suitability for the job it is not his education and qualifications that get priority....

Known for his good looks, Borgy has modeled for Bench, Adidas, and Swatch and also appeared on a TV sitcom. He recently finished his studies at the City College of New York, majoring in advertising and public relations, while working part-time at an independent record label.

Closely followed, by his first political 'lie' (or maybe that's too strong a word!)...even with my chronic maths, June 2004 to 2007 is not five years....

But despite being a Marcos, Borgy is known to be simple -- he says goes to Divisoria and enjoys getting bargains -- and was described in a June 2004 Inquirer interview as a "sensitive, witty, young man finely attuned to the reality around him.''

In that interview, Borgy said he was not being groomed for politics but admitted that he might later join the fray.

"I think politics has been part of the plan for my family, my mom included. So I can't say I'm not gonna do it. But in the next five years definitely not,'' Borgy said.


One Day in History....

Today is Tuesday 17th October...and in the interests of taking a one day snapshot of British life the National Trust and other charities are supporting One Day in History. The idea being that those living within the British Isles or those with British ties living overseas should write a blog entry reflecting their day and it will be submitted to the British Library to be kept for future reference.

Read more about it here at the Telegraph, or FAQ

This is all part of the History Matters campaign.


Monday, October 16, 2006

There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.*

Reading Manolo's post today, was like a trip back to my childhood and with one or two obvious exceptions, his childhood reading material was exactly the same as mine (although I had hundreds of Ladybird books - and still do!!!)

Seeing A Children's Garden of Verses, made me smile...I love that book...I still have my original copy...a large, beautifully illustrated, hard back version - I was given it for my fourth birthday....granted my copy is now very dog-eared...but it is still a beautiful book...three of my favourites follow....

From a Railway Carriage

Faster than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;
And charging along like troops in a battle
All through the meadows the horses and cattle:
All of the sights of the hill and the plain
Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by.

Here is a child who clambers and scrambles,
All by himself and gathering brambles;
Here is a tramp who stands and gazes;
And here is the green for stringing the daisies!
Here is a cart run away in the road
Lumping along with man and load;
And here is a mill, and there is a river:
Each a glimpse and gone forever!

Bed in Summer

In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people's feet
Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?

The Land of Counterpane

When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay,
To keep me happy all the day.

And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.

I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.

Robert Louis Stevenson

I still have all my children's books....I'm still undecided if someone's child will be the lucky beneficiary or if I shall be guilty of the ultimate act of selfishness and keep them all for myself!

The box (actually, realistically it's boxes!) contains such treasures as all the Famous Five books (including the first one, Five go to Treasure Island, which at the age of 7 gave me such a bad nightmare I still remember the dream and waking up screaming!), actually on the subject of nightmares...I also had a terrifying nightmare years later after reading the Ladybird book about Florence Nightingale...there was a terrifying illustration there of the fighting in the Crimea.

Anyway, back to the contents of the box....Swallows and Amazons and all of Arthur Ransome's other books, all A.A. Milne's books, all the classics...Jane Eyre etc, atlases...even at a young age I had an obsession with maps and atleses...probably because they offer such possibilities to an overactive imagination! Enycolpedias, reference books by the bucketload. Arthur C. Clarke's entire collection..but Rendevous with Ramawas...and remains my favourite science fiction book ever! I know that somewhere at the bottom of the pile is the complete Beatrix Potter collection, probably knocking around with my Kipling collection. Like Manolo, but for different reasons, I was also not encouraged to read comic books...however, there was one exception..and that was my father's Eagle annual collections...where I could follow the exploits of Dan Dare. As a result of the comic ban, my love for Calvin & Hobbes, the Far Side and Herman came much, much later!

Due to my early French education...there are quite a few French children's books in the collection, but to be honest, I cannot remember any of them...but I do remember the stories being more 'flowery' and unreal compared to the English stories!

This little trip down memory lane has made me think that when I go back to the UK next month I should unpack the box and see what other memories are in there...

* Marcel Proust


Sunday, October 15, 2006

It's a cultural thing....

Trouble in Sushi land...facing off across a sushi belt.


Security is having friends stay overnight!

...or at least that's what my Snoopy pillowcase says - the one that overnight visitors on the sofa get!!

And last night it rang true....those of you who have been reading for a while am aware that I hate movies that are vaguely scary or violent...The DaVinci Code fits that category, but last night due to the fact that I had my own private censor on the sofa next to me, I could watch it without fear...and I must say...I'm very glad I didn't see it in the cinema - there are some really not nice bits!


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sometimes good stuff does happen!!!

All in, it's been a pretty bad week....but there have been at least two highlights...

the first was attending the Mega Magazine Fashion designers award on Tuesday evening - very impressive....a couple of bits and pieces that if I were about a foot taller, and was much smaller in the 'chest' area, I wouldn't mind wearing...

...and the second was a pleasant hour or so spent with Dominique, its always nice meeting fellow bloggers in Manila!

However, things have just looked up....a friend of mine (otherwise known as a particularly bad influence on me!) is flying up from Cebu for a few days...time to go out to play!

Plus, my leave to UK has been confirmed....finally, come the beginning of November I shall get to spend some long awaited time with my family and then I have spoiled myself by adding a few days to the end of my leave and when I return to Manila I shall unpack the winter clothes and pack up for warmer climes and head off down to Cebu....bliss!!! And this time I will make it to Bohol...even though, to my great disappointment, I am assured that there are not thousands of tarsiers running amok across the island...apparently, one has to go to 'accredited Tarsier petting centers'!!


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

It's all in the counting....

Originally the breaking news about last night's bombing on Mindanao did mention the figure of 12 fatalities, this morning I saw that the number had dropped....what worried me was this point from the BBC as to why the numbers had dropped...

Earlier reports that put the death toll at 12 were due to a double countring [sic] of bodies, Makilala Mayor Onofre Respicio told the Associated Press news agency..


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Good Queen Bess....somewhat unhinged...

Ever since Helen Mirren's Elizabeth was released I have been very keen to see discovering it was on the Hallmark channel on Monday and Tuesday this week I made sure I was home to watch it.....

Having watched it, I am quite disappointed....don't get me wrong...the acting is first rate, the costumes are excellent, and the script is outstanding.....however, my beef is with the historical liberties the film takes...

Helen Mirren looks too old for the part of Elizabeth at the beginning of the movie, but obviously it works better towards the end of the movie...

Jeremy Irons looks the part of Leicester, but his voice is too well bred compared to the Queen’s voice.

The Queen's behaviour with Leicester is too free, Elizabeth was too clever to behave that loosely and that affectionately with him in public and to give him that much power over the rest of her cabinet. Double that statement for her behaviour with his son Essex...Elizabeth knew too much hinged on her behaviour around men to simper and throw spoilt tantrums about her 'favourite'

Elizabeth never met Mary, Queen of Scots, speaking of Elizabeth's northern odd choice to make Mary so 'unattractive'....especially as general comment at that time was that Mary was more beautiful than Elizabeth.....

And this Elizabeth was apparently not fond of Walsingham...when historical evidence is to the contrary...

Other than all the was not a wasted four hours....but I doubt I'll be buying the DVD, in no way does it match the last film about that is an excellent movie...on all counts (although it also has some factual errors)


Sunday, October 08, 2006

And there was light.....

Just occasionally you find yourself in an odd situation. You get into it by degrees and in the most natural way, but when you are right in the midst of it you are suddenly astonished and ask yourself how in the world it all came about.

Thor Heyerdahl


Saturday, October 07, 2006

You'd think at their age they'd know how to do it better!!!

Trying to beat the world bra opening record.


It was a long week....

At about 7pm last night...I hit the wall. the wall that dictates that the body and the mind cannot actually take any more...and in my case it was any more of work!

Fortunately I was supposed to have the weekend off.

I came home to get ready to go out to a party....and woke up 16 hours later, fully dressed - high heels and all, lying on my bed. I guess when you are that tired, it is not a good idea to say...ok just 10 minutes reading before I leave.....

It is now 4pm on Saturday and I have nothing in the fridge...not even cat food...and I still cannot find the energy to go out....Och, well, there's always tomorrow!


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Pause for thought....

Don't think that was the point of the article....

Am insanely busy at work at the not much time for drivel...

However, reading the Jordan Times this morning, there is a nice story about a Ramadan visit by the King and Queen to an old folks home...I have pasted the first half of the article below and highlighted two points that made me raise an eyebrow...

AMMAN — Senior citizens residing in the Golden Age Home were thrilled to receive a visit from Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania on Tuesday, saying it filled their hearts with happiness.

Hajj Nashaat, who has been at the home for four years, said the visit lifted him out of a state of depression he has been living through since his wife left him.

Almost four years ago, my wife took all my daughters and went abroad, where to, I do not know. After that I lived with my mother for a while, but decided to come to the society to preserve my honour. Since that time I have been in a state of depression, but the King and the Queen’s visit made me happy and I feel much better now,” 54-year-old Nashaat told The Jordan Times.

Another guest at the centre, Fathiyah Abdullah, had a request for the King: To give her grandson, who scored high marks in the Tawjihi exam, a job in the Public Security Department.

The 70-year-old has been a resident at the home for 10 years after she lost her husband and daughter when their house burnt to the ground. She told The Jordan Times she has a son who visits her once a month, adding that his wife prevented him from hosting her in their home.

After touring the home, run by the White Beds Society, King Abdullah instructed the concerned authorities to carry out maintenance work on the facility, which was established in 1971.

full article here (link won't last past the week)


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Only in Hong Kong...

Police and customs said last night they were aware 10 televisions had been washed ashore in the area yesterday but knew nothing about the hundreds of computer monitors lying on the sands of Sai Wan, Ham Tin and Tai Wan.

The isolated and picturesque beaches in Sai Kung Country Park are only accessible by a 40-minute hike over steep terrain or by boat.

A government spokesman said the computers could have been dumped by smugglers.

The area was once a popular people-smuggling route and the beaches are frequently strewn with illegal cargo from the mainland and Hong Kong.

from today's SCMP