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Showing posts from 2007

REVIEW: Repertory Philippines' 'Fiddler on the Roof' celebrates family ties

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Celebrating Family Ties 
By Walter Ang
December 3, 2007
Clickthecity.com (http://guides.clickthecity.com/arts/?p=2462)

Repertory Philippines' staging of the musical Fiddler of the Roof provides wholesome family fun with its story of Jewish milkman Tevye as he copes with the seemingly runaway love lives of three of his five daughters.

The entire cast, led by Tevye, comes onstage as the curtains rise to sing a rousing introduction to their insular village of Anatevka that includes a primer to their traditions and the social roles they all play.

Though he kvetches to God in amusing conversations and constantly misquotes the "good book," Tevye tries to live by these traditions while raising his children with wife Golde. Alternate leads Tyler Alan Strand (with Rep veteran Miguel Faustmann as main lead) is a bouncy, rolly-polly Tevye that grows on you and Pinky Marquez (main lead is Joy Virata) gives tenderness to the outwardly tough Golde.

Things get rough for Tevye when he ha…

Bobson Jeans founder Victor Tan's success is more than pesos and centavoshttp://asiandragonmagazine.com/Images/Archive/Cover_lightbox/adm_4th_lightbox.jpg

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More than just pesos and centavos 
By Walter Ang
Dec 2007-Feb 2008 issue
Asian Dragon Magazine

Walter Ang speaks with Bobson Jeans founder Victor Tan who says success is
More than just pesos and centavos

Twenty years have passed since Bobson Jeans was introduced to the Philippine market. What began as a small venture in Divisoria has blossomed into a nationwide organization employing 500-plus people with a network of over 130 concessions outlets and 25 freestanding boutiques nationwide.

If you ask the man who started it all if he's reached the peak of his success, he promptly answers, "No." Victor Tan feels strongly that there is more to be done despite his having achieved more than what his contemporaries have been able to.

The eldest of six siblings, Victor started out as a salesman in bustling downtown Manila (comprised of the Chinatown commercial district Binondo, Sta Cruz, San Fernando and Tondo) while attending night classes in college. He speaks of an irrepressible s…

Patty Limpe and her Antonio Pueo chocolate factory

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Patty and her chocolate factory 
By Walter Ang
Dec 2007-Feb 2008 issue
Asian Dragon Magazine

The Asian Dragon team is ushered into a high-ceilinged office with tables and equipment crammed into available space. There's nothing fancy about the wide hall except that it has a distinct aroma wafting through the door.

An invigorating scent cuts the air as Patricia Limpe offers us steaming hot chocolate in dainty porcelain cups. She smiles and announces, "They call me the chocolate lady." Patty, as she prefers to be called, is simply stating a fact. After all, she is the only woman who has stuck her nose into the male-dominated chocolate manufacturing industry.

But what a nose it is. As the manager of one of oldest chocolate factories in the Philippines ("I've been told that we're actually the oldest chocolate factory in Southeast Asia," she shares.), she's been able to sniff out a winning recipe to keep it alive and well.

Then 
"The chocolates we make…

REVIEW: Atlantis Productions' 'Dogeaters' presents a multi-layered Philippines

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A Multi-Layered Philippines 
By Walter Ang
November 20, 2007
Clickthecity.com (http://guides.clickthecity.com/arts/?p=2408)

Dogeaters, now playing at the Carlos Romulo Auditorium at RCBC Plaza though the staging of Atlantis Productions, begins with the ensemble cast announcing snippets of news reports, as if an invisible hand was tuning through all the stations of a radio, cleverly bringing the audience into the milieu of the this multi-layered play based on Jessica Hagedorn's novel of the same title.

The sentences are clipped and the sound weaves in and out, leaving the audience with only enough bits and pieces to make out that the setting is the beginning of the end of the Marcos regime.

A plethora of characters and their stories are introduced in the first act and the audience must stay attentive to grasp everything that is going on amidst the textured set designed by Kalila Aguilos. Smack in the middle of the galvanized iron sheets and barbed wire is a massive portrait of the f…

REVIEW: Tanghalang Pilipino presents a heavy, uneven 'Mulan'

Heavy, uneven 'Mulan' 
By Walter Ang
October 15, 2007
Philippine Daily Inquirer

A stark white stage with three scarlet arches greets audiences in Tanghalang Pilipino's production of Mulan, a new Tagalog musical version of the story popularized by the Disney animated movie a few years back.

The simplicity of the acting space provides the perfect canvass for the rainbow colors that soon fills it via sets and costume designer Gino Gonzales' highly textured outfits. The exaggerated shapes and cushioned fabrics filled the costumes with a life of their own. Anime-inspired hairpieces in wild, crazy shapes as well as wiggling ornaments and ribbons made to look as if they were permanently flapping in the wind are also fun touches.

The actors all have make-up designed by Dennis Tan evoking Chinese opera masks while the deities Jade Emeperor and Empress Wang Mu are provided larger-than-life masks that tower over the actors's head. With enlarged hand extensions and their faces …

Actors' Actors stages Yasmina Reza's 'Art' in Tagalog translation

Art: Once more, in Filipino 
By Walter Ang
Sept. 3, 2007
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Three men talking about a painting. It's easy to brush off the premise of this straight play, seeing as how it could easily be boring. Or weird. Or both.

Thankfully, Yasmina Reza's "Art" is none of the above. It is an engaging and hilarious time eavesdropping on three best buds as they traverse the fine line that defines their friendship.

Originally written in French and produced by Sean Connery in London, Art has won numerous awards, including the 1998 Tony Award for Best Play and the 1997 Olivier Award for Best Comedy, and has been translated into 20 languages including English, Mandarin, Japanese, German and Spanish.

The Philippine premiere of Art in 1998 featured Bart Guingona (who also directed), Audie Gemora, and Jaime del Mundo in the English translation. The show proved to be one of several productions that became trademarks of Actors' Actors, Inc., Guingona's theater co…

Domini Primero's new groove

Domini Primero's new groove 
By Walter Ang
July-September issue 2007
Metro hiM Magazine

Looking for the newest dance club in Metro Manila can be quite a challenge. As it's tucked away in a street that's not too commercialized, it's easy to miss if you're driving fast. Carinderias, massage parlors and a car repair shop are the few landmarks that pepper an expanse of similar-looking warehouses and brick walls lining the sidewalks.

When you do find Warehouse 135, its understated glass and steel entrance feels, strangely enough, very appropriate to its surroundings. If it seems carefully planned, that's because it has been by managing director Domini Primero. "I was inspired by New York City's meat-packing district. This alley has character. I'd been eyeing this spot for the past three years."

His vision of mixing grit and glamour finally came alive earlier this year. Upon entering, a long foyer ends in a wall of dramatic black velvet curtains. The…

Philippine Chinese Charitable Association gets by with a little help from friends

Philippine Chinese Charitable Association gets by with a little help from friends 
By Walter Ang
June-August 2007 issue
Asian Dragon Magazine

Institutions like the Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center and the Chinese Cemetery have been around for so long that many people take them for granted. What a lot of people don't know is that both were founded and is still managed by a not so little group called the Philippine Chinese Charitable Association (PCCA).

It is composed of Chinese-Filipino businessmen who, true to the name of the association, give back to the community that sustains them. The PCCA also owns and operates the hospital's nursing college, a charity clinic, and a retirement home.

The current crop of officers have been actively infusing changes and improvements to their resources, heeding the directives of the association for civic-action, and living up to the heritage passed down by more than a century of past leaders.

Origins
The PCCA traces it beginnings as …

The Learning Connection School Teaches Tots

The Learning Connection School Teaches Tots
By Walter Ang
June-August 2007 issue
Asian Dragon Magazine

Julie Pascual-Peñalosa has been teaching little children for as long as she can remember. When she was a young student herself, Julie used to round up younger kids after class and tutor them. "The joke in my family is that I my resume should state that I've been teaching since I was in the first grade," she laughs.

Julie eventually went on to teach preschool and that was where she met Hazel Gan-Go, another teacher who had given up a life in the corporate world to follow her dreams of educating young minds. "I was miserable in my old job. I had no teaching background but when I was given an opportunity to teach, I took it. I really believe we should all end up doing what we are passionate about," she says.

The two became fast friends. Early in the morning, over cups of coffee while preparing for their classes, they would talk about opening their own school one d…

Equestrienne Rebecca Dosch is all about balance

Equestrienne Rebecca Dosch is all about balance
By Walter Ang
June-August 2007 issue
Asian Dragon Magazine

The morning dew is just beginning to evaporate from the tree leaves. Under the light of the morning sun, Rebecca Aragon Dosch impishly mentions that when she was in college she didn't care much for the studying and wanted to "just ride horses." If you were eavesdropping and this was all you heard, you might be tempted to conclude that she's one of those wild, reckless types with no respect for rules and discipline.

But then you would end up being very far from the truth. At a veranda near the stables, Rebecca is the picture of poise and grace. Her spine is arched just so, her words are clear and deliberate. She sometimes takes a moment of thought before she answers. This is a woman who has competed (and won) international equestrienne events, something that certainly requires control and discipline.

It's a good thing she continued to ride while studying busin…

Roxanne Guinoo: Galloping to ibe an icon

Roxanne Guinoo: Galloping to ibe an icon 
By Walter Ang
June-August 2007 issue
Asian Dragon Magazine

A young, nubile lass in a scarlet bikini astride a white horse. Ah, the seminal icon that has long been associated with a brand of whiskey called White Castle. Women who have filled the role include such names as Carmi Martin, Cristina Gonzales, Glydel Mercado, Angela Velez, Maria Isabel Lopez, Lorna Tolentino, and Techie Agbayani.

And now, the newest White Castle girl has finally been chosen. Among many who auditioned, Roxanne Guinoo was handed the reins. After her initial euphoria upon hearing the news of her selection, she promptly got down to the business of learning to ride a horse.

"I was really excited and, at the same time, nervous," she says. Despite visits to vacation spots known for horse-riding like Baguio and Tagaytay, she'd never ridden one before. "It was really a challenge since I didn't have any experience."

Not one to back down from an obsta…

Shrine of Peñafrancia needs help

Shrine of Peñafrancia needs help 
By Walter Ang
April 16, 2007
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Barely twenty years has passed since its last renovation but the Shrine of Our Lady of Peñafrancia in Naga City, Bicol is once again in dire need of repairs. "When it rains outside," said Ninfa Saballegue, "it also rains inside."

Saballegue, chairperson of the shrine's pastoral council, explained that the church's internal wooden supports and trusses are being eaten away by termites, causing structural weaknesses. "Half the year is rainy season and it is difficult to maintain cleanliness because the floors become wet and muddy. The chandeliers cannot be lighted because of fear of shorting out the electrical circuits."

Further aggravation has been inflicted by numerous typhoons, the latest of which were typhoons Milenyo and Reming last year. With not much to go on, the council has spearheaded repair efforts under the aegis of Most Rev. Leonardo Legaspi, O.P., D.…

Ayala Musuem's 'Chinese Diaspora: Art Streams from the Mainland'

Ayala Musuem's 'Chinese Diaspora: Art Streams from the Mainland'
By Walter Ang
March 21, 2007
Philippine Daily Inquirer

When I invited a Filipino friend of mine to my clan's annual new year's reunion party a few years ago, it struck me at how amazed he was at the proceedings.

To me, it was nothing out of the ordinary. It was our usual thing, a lauriat lunch at a Chinese restaurant with lazy susans and chopsticks, everyone wearing something red and speaking a mix of Chinese, English and Tagalog, the little kids scampering to the aquariums to look at the fish, things like that.

To my friend, it was out of this world. "I need subtitles! It's like 'Mano Po' the movie in real life! " he exclaimed. I was happy to have shared the occasion with my friend, giving him a glimpse into the world of Tsinoys. It occurred to me that a lot of my Pinoy friends don't really get a chance to know more about what it is to be Tsinoy. More to the point, did I and …

Dulaang U.P. stages anti-sarswela 'Basilia ng Malolos"

Dulaang U.P. stages anti-sarswela 
By Walter Ang
February 26, 2007
Philippine Daily Inquirer

After having directed several productions using foreign material without any "linear" plots, Dulaang U.P. artistic director Jose Estrella wanted to do something "with a storyline, something Filipino." She then came across "Basilia ng Malolos," a sarswela written by Nicanor Tiongson, and was instantly intrigued when the playwright informed her that it was actually an "anti-sarswela."

"It still includes the usual elements of the form like a bida (protagonist), contrabidas (antagonists), the music, and the 'morally correct' ending, but we reinterpreted and transformed, subverted even, these very elements to suit our storytelling needs," said Tiongson.

"Basilia ng Malolos" deals with a group of women that Jose Rizal had written to in 1889 to congratulate them on having a night-school opened. "That was the only thing people kne…

Alternative Valentine's Dates

Alternative Valentine's Dates 
By Walter Ang
February 14, 2007
Philippine Daily Inquirer

We know the formula for Valentine's Day dates. You have the de rigueur chocolates, flowers, fancy dinners, soft music, the works. It's all fun and exciting and romantic, but if you'd rather not deal with the crowds, the traffic and the endless list of things that could go wrong, you can also try 2bU!'s alterna-date ideas. We've come up with a list of different date ideas you can try on the day of love. Hey, your time together can be just as romantic even without candlelight.

Take a hike. 
Arrange for a private walking tour of either vibrant Escolta or bustling Chinatown or colorful Quiapo any area of downtown Manila you haven't been to before. If you've never been to these parts of the city, you might as well visit them with someone you like, right? The nostalgia in those old art-deco buildings, the aromas of the merchandise, the vigor of the people are all ingredient…