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Showing posts from 2000

Surrounded by art at Surrounded by Water Gallery

Surrounded by Art 
By Walter Ang
December 6, 2000
Philippine Daily Inquirer

I was stuck in traffic along EDSA. The bus had been slowly inching along and I found myself staring outside the window in desperation. I was trying to figure out how many stars had been born and zapped out of existence while I was stuck in traffic. Then, amidst the swirling dust, car fumes and throng of commuters, a house painted yellow right in front of my window caught my eye. It had a sign outside that said, "FREE ADMISSION."

That was good enough for me. I jumped out of the bus and decided I might as well get a little culture rather than staying in the bus all day. Door chimes rang as I entered the gallery. In the middle of the main area was a huge installation with a TV set and pipes and blowing wind. The walls had several mixed media paintings. Definitely not the usual stuff you'd see in galleries residing in the malls.

This gallery is called "Surrounded by Water", the same name of …

How we lost the webby awards

How we lost the webby 
By Walter Ang
November 29, 2000
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Nov. 21, Tuesday
The 3rd Philippine Web Awards night is in three days! The team behind Tsinoy.com is excited. We keep asking each other what outfit we plan to wear. I think to myself, "This must be what actors go through before the Oscars or the Famas." But those people get sponsored clothes. We have to dig through our closets that smell of mothballs.

Nov. 22, Wednesday
What to wear? What to wear? To complement our site, we consider wearing Chinese-inspired outfits. The girls could wear cheongsams and the guys could wear Mao-collared shirts. But everyone might think we're the program sellers from "Miss Saigon"!

We wonder what it must feel like to go up the stage, wear the crown, receive the scepter in your hands, have someone drape the sash ever so gently over your torso and drape the cape over your shoulders. No, wait. That would be a beauty pageant. Perhaps they'll give us dam…

Carlo Muñoz: The boy next door just a phone call away

Carlo Muñoz: The boy next door just a phone call away 
By Walter Ang
November 8, 2000
Philippine Daily Inquirer

"Hello, Billy?" By now, it seems everyone has seen the TV ad of a telecom company for its long-distance service. The one with a persistent mother constantly calling up and checking on her son, who's in the US. If you haven't seen this ad, you might want to get out of the rock you've been living under. With two installments already out, the ad has become quite popular, and so has the actor who plays Billy.

Quite the reserved gentleman, Carlo Muñoz seems every bit the obedient son, boy-next-door character he plays in the ad. Projecting a mature aura far beyond his 21 years, Carlo was taking up marketing management for two years before the acting bug bit him.

He was supposed to be part of the defunct TV show "Ang TV," but he explains that he turned down his slot because "I was still in high school. I didn't want to interrupt my education.…

Crouching Passions, Hidden Emotions

Crouching Passions, Hidden Emotions 
By Walter Ang
November 7, 2000
Confuse Shoes Column, Tsinoy.com

Film director Ang Lee was introduced to international audiences with his movies The Wedding Banquet and Eat, Drink, Man,Woman. He was later tapped to direct Sense and Sensibility. The English countryside seems far removed from Taiwan, where the director hails, but he slipped into it effortlessly.

After helming The Ice Storm, this time America circa 1970s, he moves to Ching Dynasty China and gives us Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. First off, this is one instance where I've wanted to watch the Chinese version of a film rather than the English dubbed version. Provided, of course, there'd be English subtitles to help me along the way. I learned Chinese back in school, but most of it escapes me, much to the dismay of my parents and scores of uncles and aunts.

However, I am at least able to understand Mandarin and can carry a fairly civil conversation. This is why when a good Chinese…

Roald Dahl Rules!

Roald Rules! 
By Walter Ang
October 25, 2000
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Do you know what the movies "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," "The Witches," "Matilda" and "James and the Giant Peach" have in common? They are all adaptations of books written by Roald Dahl (pronounced Roo-al). While these movies are fun to watch, I'm sure fellow Dahl fans will attest that his books are definitely better. If you enjoyed these movies but haven't read the books yet, boy, oh boy, you're missing two-thirds of your life!

The first time I encountered Dahl was in high school. One of my friends brought a copy of "Revolting Rhymes," a deliciously wicked collection of well-known fairy tales in poetry style, complete with inventive rhymes and extremely hilarious twists. With Cinderella's opening line: "You think you know this story/You don't. The real one's much more gory," my friends and I knew right away it was going …

The Booksale Curse

The Booksale Curse 
By Walter Ang
October 12, 2000
Confuse Shoes column, Tsinoy.com

I've been extremely caught up in work the past few weeks. September just started yesterday and ? okay, I've just been told it's already October. The second week already, no less! Oy.

In any case, even if it is already over, September is an exciting month for bibliophiles in Manila because that's when the yearly bookfair is held. Piles and piles of books with crowds and crowds of book lovers congregating in one place. The smell of fresh books (and a couple of used books) and the palpable excitement of finding the good buy is enough to intoxicate a cow. Not that I've ever actually seen an intoxicated cow at one of the bookfairs, but I digress.

Don't you just love digging though mounds of books, be they new or used, and finding one that you fall in love with? Especially if it they're on discount! I'm not usually an expressive person, but if the right book came along at the r…

REVIEW: Tanghalang Pilipino's "Macbeth" in multimedia

Macbeth in multimedia 
By Walter Ang
October 11, 2000
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Macbeth does not wear a kilt in this version by Tanghalang Pilipino. Director Chris Millado and designer Salvador Bernal's concept and design is what's most fun about this production. The audience comes into the CCP's studio theater to see a backdrop of red cloth gently rippling like a waterfall of blood and an acting area filled with sand. Very stark, very Zen ? and that's only the beginning of this production's Asian themes.

Transplanted away from Scotland, it is an amalgamation of various Asian theater forms. There is Japanese, Chinese, and shades of Indian influence in the costumes, make-up, movement, and choreography. Actors wear costumes, headdresses, and make up inspired by Kabuki theater and Chinese opera. Instead of swords, warriors combat with fans.

Just as Chinese and Japanese drama puts emphasis on every step and every hand movement (for example, if an actor starts walking wi…

Italian cuisine 'at the table'

Italian cuisine 'at the table' 
By: Walter Ang
October 4, 2000
Philippine Daily Inquirer

A Tavola is an Italian restaurant that sits at the corner of the Ortigas and Santolan intersection. Inside, a dining area of yellow walls, red bricks, and small, intimate tables greet the patron. Owner and chef Hazel Lu Galvez designed the interiors so because, "I wanted it to have a Tuscan feel, a bright and happy feel to it."

As I sit down to have a chat with her, she translates the name of her restaurant, "At the table." She confides however, that she will be changing the name of the restaurant soon. As it turns out, even though she was granted the name when she applied for it, there are around three other restaurants with the same name or variations thereof.

After graduating from the University of the Philippines, Hazel worked in investment banking for a while. She was bored with her job and finally decided to do what she really wanted: cook. Even when she was younge…

Little Red is a hood

Little Red is a hood 
By Walter Ang
September 27, 2000
Philippine Daily Inquirer

When I found out the British Council was staging a production of Roald Dahl's "Little Red Riding Hood" for its Performing Arts Season this year, I wasted no time in rushing over to the U.P. Theater to catch the show. I've only seen two shows at that venue, one about a King of Thebes marrying his mother and the other with a singing Indian prince and princess (and some dancing monkeys thrown in). Now I was going to watch a little girl and her run in with a wolf.

This production has already been performed by nearly every major British orchestra. The Cebu Youth Symphony Orchestra premiered it in the Philippines and now it was the Manila Youth Symphony Orchestra's turn. The first part of the show was a lot of fun as host Freddie Santos spent time to introduce the different parts of the orchestra and how the parts worked together.

When he started throwing out words like fortissimo and piani…

Burma is not the other name of Myanmar (and other acronyms)

Burma is not the other name of Myanmar 
By Walter Ang
 September 20, 2000
Philippine Daily Inquirer

I had a classmate named Juneth who always gave little notes to everyone in class. Before exams, she would pass out good luck messages. On someone's birthday, she would give out a nice little piece of stationery with a short message of greeting. Sometimes, it would be just a short "Hello!".

One time, during an insufferably boring class, she decided to start writing up and passing out some notes to everyone. It was no big deal as most of us weren't paying attention to the droning professor anyway. I got a nice little message with the word J.A.P.A.N. appended at the bottom. It cracked me up. It stood for Just Always Pray At Night.

We had a little inside joke going on. Earlier, we'd been talking about slumbooks and how people would usually write funny acronyms at the bottom of the dedication page. The generic message being: "Thank you for letting me sign in your cu…

The Throbbing In My Head

The Throbbing In My Head
By Walter Ang
September 19, 2000
Confuse Shoes column, Tsinoy.com

I have had a terrible headache all week. It would not go away. I was ready to take off my shoes and hit my head with them. I was ready to crawl the walls. It was the kind of creeping, heavy, throbbing headache that gave me murderous intentions. I admit it: I do have murderous intentions most of the time ? but this headache compounded the feelings even more. I'd like to point out that this was no ordinary, run-of-the-mill headache.

It moved! It would taunt the left side of my head one day and move to the right the next. At certain times of the day, it would stay at the base of my head. It was awful. I had to carry on with my usual workload under the strain of a having head that felt like it was going to unexpectedly topple off my neck any minute.

Friends who regard me as high maintenance work have started to give remarks they usually give me whenever I complained about an ill - imaginary or ot…

Rage against the rain

Rage against the rain 
By Walter Ang
August 30, 2000
Philippine Daily Inquirer

The rainy season creates for me a sort of experiencial compound noun. You know how teachers always include a lesson on compound nouns in elementary English classes? Ham and eggs. Salt and pepper. Pork and beans. That kind of thing. It's how two completely independent, separate objects have been melded by chance or choice into a collective whole and therefore considered by the grammar police as a single noun. Uhm, whatever.

I will forever associate rain with the blaring of rickety radios tuned in to AM stations crackling with static and feedback. The background sound of rain prattling ominously on rusted GI sheets punctuated with the husky voices of old invisible men droning on and on about the news and weather updates.

That's my experiencial compound noun: rains and AM radio stations. This point of association is the result of two factors. One, living in a tropical country pelted with incredible mons…

REVIEW: Tanghalang Ateneo's Asian "Twelfth Night"

Love What You Will, How You Will 
By Walter Ang
August 23, 2000
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Watching a Shakespeare play is daunting enough. But done in Tagalog translation and dislocated from the familiar 16th century English setting, audiences may find it a tad overwhelming to comprehend. Fortunately, Tanghalang Ateneo has come up with a production of "Twelfth Night" that has made the Bard more accessible to audiences.

I caught the touring show at the Far Eastern University Auditorium last weekend (it moves to the Subic Arts Theater next). To help the audience appreciate what was to come, before the play began, director Ricardo Abad came out to explain the plot and some of the key staging devices that he used. He also gave the mostly student audience his reasons for transplanting the play to an Asian locale.

This is my first Tanghalang Ateneo production so I don't know if the introduction by the director is di rigeur in their shows, but I appreciate its objectives. Other t…

Fundraising Power Circle Fashion Show

Power Circle Fashion Show 
By Walter Ang
August 16, 2000
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Some thirty of the youngest and most accomplished local business achievers took a break from work last Wednesday to volunteer their time and efforts to model in a fashion show dubbed Power Circle Fashion Show.

Organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry's (PCCI) Youth Affairs Committee, the event was to create awareness and raise funds for PCCI's Adopt a Business Project. This will be a nationwide contest to be held next year to encourage the youth, especially business students, to cook up business plans.

Sherwin Hing, one of the night's models and chairman of PCCI's Youth Committee shared how they were able to come up with the idea, "There are a lot of good business ideas out there, but the problem is that they don't have a lot of capital, so we'll provide the seed capital for those who can win the competition."

Guests were treated to a no-frills set de…

Serendipitous: (quickly) getting a handle on Jane Austen's works

Serendipitous 
By Walter Ang
August 11, 2000
Confuse Shoes column, Tsinoy.com

Over the past few months, I was able to catch up on my reading list. I got through a couple of books I've been meaning to digest. I would have felt totally pleased with myself, if it weren't for one elusive book that I couldn't finish. Every time I was done with a couple of chapters, I would stop, shake my head violently and throw the book across the room. Who knew reading "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen would be such an ordeal? I don't know why it's so hard, considering I'd already read "Sense and Sensibility" by the same author.

The first time I encountered Jane Austen was when I watched the movie "Sense and Sensibility". When I saw it, I wasn't paying too much attention. As a consequence, I thought it was a dumb movie. My second encounter with Austen was yet with another film -- "Clueless". I didn't know this for a fact until I wa…

Brews Buddies: Coffee (and more) for a Song

Brews Buddies: Coffee (and more) for a Song 
By Walter Ang
August 2, 2000
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Brews Buddies is a small café along the busy street of Juan Luna in Chinatown. In a street where banks and tall buildings dominate, this little coffee shop bravely opened earlier this year. I would pass by on my way to other places but wouldn't have the time to actually try it out. That is, until my friend, who had already become one of the café's regulars, insisted I try their Iced Café Mocha.

We ducked into the blue and gray café, with figurines of Blues Brothers James and Elwood on the counter by the entrance welcoming us in. Since the name of the establishment is an offshoot of The Blues Brothers, the music playing in the background was especially apt. Even the sizes of the drinks are named after the brothers, short sizes are James and the tall ones are Elwood.

We ordered, we drank and we were not disappointed. I took a sip and was surprised I could still taste the coffee. Wh…

What I Did In My Summer Vacation

What I Did In My Summer Vacation 
By Walter Ang
July 13, 2000
Tsinoy.com

When students make their way to school at the beginning of the school year, one of the first assignments that English teachers give out is always a composition on "What I Did In My Summer Vacation". I'm going to take my cue from this yearly ritual and spill the beans on what transpired during my summer vacation. First off, let me just explain that, unlike students, I no longer enjoy the luxury of having a two-month summer vacation. Instead, I get a few measly days off from the grind of the city when the Holy Week rolls by. Better that, though, than nothing at all, right?

I didn't even make any concrete plans to do anything for this year's break. Come Holy Monday, though I realized that I was so incredibly stressed out and I wanted, nay, NEEDED to get away so I could decompress. After a few phone calls, I was able to hook up with a friend who gamely agreed to go with me on a trip to Puerto Gal…

Ballet Manila stages "Dracula"

The horror! The horror! I now enjoy ballet 
By Walter Ang
June 29, 2000
Philippine Daily Inquirer

The first time I saw a ballet was when I was in high school. A classmate of mine had gone to see a production of "Swan Lake" and was gushing about how good it was. The rest of our group felt left out and slightly jealous of our friend's escapade. She had actually seen a full-length ballet; it was culture, it was art! The whole event was tinged with glamour and we wanted to have our piece of the action.

So, filled with youthful zest, we caught the matinee the following weekend and saw men and women in tights dancing on tiptoe. That was when we found out we didn't have anything to be jealous of. Ten minutes into the first act and we were squirming in our seats, ready to go home. Plainly said, we were bored.

We didn't have enough background in dance to appreciate the nuances of the dancing. We never had art appreciation classes. We were plainly too young and too unsophis…

Theatre Etiquette Tips

Theatre Etiquette For Boors 
By Walter Ang
June 15, 2000
Philippine Daily Inquirer

As soon as the schoolyear opens, most theater companies start their seasons for the year. After taking a break from doing shows to hold workshops during the summer months, theater companies will go into full blast as they resume staging productions that run the gamut from Greek classics to Broadway musicals.

One of the biggest captive audiences most theater companies have are students who are required to watch at least one show for school. This is why most seasons are scheduled in tandem with school calendars. Exposing the youth to culture and arts is a noble enterprise, however, woe to the unlucky and unsuspecting theatergoer who has to endure hours of sitting with noisy, fidgety, unappreciative kids.

Bringing busloads of teenagers into a darkened theater will give you the usual scenes: boys asleep, girls giggling and chattering away, cell phones going off during the most importune times, whole groups w…

Delicious Ongpin On My Mind

Delicious Ongpin On My Mind 
By Walter Ang
June 1, 2000
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Onyx black gulaman thrown in a blender with crushed ice. The whir of the machine announcing to the world how the two ingredients were mixing and blending. The resulting draught was poured into a tall plastic container and served promptly. Instant gratification on a hot, humid day.

We were in Chinatown, in an eatery just a stone's throw away from the historic San Lorenzo Ruiz Basilica, more popularly know as Binondo Church. We came over to end our busy week with a short break from the summer heat. Our objective was to get our black gulaman shake fix and just hang out.

We sat ourselves in a booth by the window and inspected the motley crew of characters passing by. Shirtless, sweaty men carrying loads of boxes down the street. Old ladies, white hair in neat buns behind their heads, with grandchildren in tow. Celphone-toting, braces- wearing teenagers armed with plastic bags filled with textbooks. It'…

Eye to Eye: Wearing contact lenses

Eye to Eye 
By Walter Ang
May 28, 2000
Tsinoy.com

I started out wanting to wear contact lenses because I hated my heavy clunky glasses. Aside from the fact that it dug, nay, excavated holes into the bridge of my nose, I was in high school and I flat out refused to wear the thick black plastic frames that I was supposed to get. (They may be all the rage now, but back then, it was a different story.)

In addition to not wanting to look like a doofus (even moreso), I had a more serious reason for convincing my parents to agree to the contacts. My prescription was increasing by as much as a hundred in one year. This prompted me to ask my optometrist if there was any way to slow it down. Fortunately for me, it turned out that contacts could significantly reduce the pace of prescription increases. Woohoo! Even though I still have to wear glasses (whenever I'm not wearing contacts), I got my contacts. Soon, the craters in my nose started to fill out and my prescription stopped increasing a…

Cyber Roach

Cyber Roach 
By Walter Ang
May 18, 2000
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Lately, several local companies that offer free email have had extensive advertising campaigns to tout their services. This is an interesting development since it seems that email can still hold its own even in the advent of text messaging.

So even though texting is all the rage now, it seems that people's use of the internet, specifically emailing, hasn't really waned. Amidst the usual chain letters, boring urban legends, forwarded tasteless jokes, and other useless junk, having internet access does have its perks: old friendships are renewed, and new ones form all the time. Extra perk: communicating with friends and relatives living abroad has become faster, easier and cheaper.

Aside from all of the perks, certain incidents occur that can hardly be described. One incident started out with an innocent statement, or so I thought. In one of my emails to old high school batchmates, I had posted, "By the way, d…