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Asian Cultural Council Philippines Foundation funds art teachers for the next generation

Funding art teachers for the next generation
By Walter Ang

The Asian Cultural Council Philippines Foundation recently announced their latest batch of grantees for the ACC Philippines Fellowship Program.

"The ACC supports cultural exchange in the visual and performing arts between the United States and countries of Asia by providing fellowship grants to artists, scholars, and specialists undertaking study, research, observation, and creative work in the United States," says Teresa Rances, ACC Program Representative in Manila.

"Some grants are also made to arts organizations and educational institutions if they have projects that have special significance to Asian-American cultural exchange."

Established in 1963 by John D. Rockefeller III, the ACC began to operate as an independent foundation in 1980. The council's main office is in New York and branch offices are located in Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Taipei.

Though grants have been awarded to Filipinos since 1963, the…

Bialetti and Saeco: Italian espresso makers for Pinoy homes

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Italian espresso makers for Pinoy homes
By Walter Ang
December 9, 2009
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Pinoy coffee lovers can now make their own espressos, lattes, and cappuccinos at home with premiere Italian-brand coffeemakers Bialetti and Saeco. "These brands meet the growing interest of Filipinos in gourmet cuisine with quality equipment," says Norman Reynoso, Institutional Sales and Marketing Manager of Fabriano S.p.A., the official Philippine distributor for both brands.

For families where only one or two members enjoy a cup of good, strong coffee (and acquiring an espresso machine isn't feasible), there is the Bialetti line of stovetop espresso makers. "These come in charming designs and are convenient since the smallest models are for single servings, though there are models that can brew up to six servings," says Reynoso. "You just fill it with water and ground coffee, put it on top of the stove, and in a few minutes, you have espresso!"

The origin…

Digital meridian system: Evaluate your vital energy

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Digital meridian system: Evaluate your vital energy
By Walter Ang
December 8, 2009
Manila Bulletin

"Filipinos have a tendency to wait until they are really ill before they seek medical help," says Ian Nubla. "We tend to ignore symptoms, what our bodies are telling us. It's best to seek medical attention while a negative condition is still in its early stages, the longer you wait, the more expensive and time-consuming treatments and medicines will be."

Nubla is connected with Health is In, a company that promotes products related to complementary medicine (www.health-is-in.com). To address this ingrained lack of vigilance in monitoring the status of our health, Nubla is advocating the use of the Digital Meridian System (DMS), which is a method of evaluating a person's "vital energy" level. The system indicates potential health problems and suggests alternative modes of natural therapy to help restore and balance one's energy.

"People are mo…

Geraldine Javier does art shows with a heart

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Art shows with a heart
By Walter Ang
December 8, 2009
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Thirty-something contemporary visual artist Geraldine Javier has been setting records in major Asian auction houses Christie's and Sotheby's in Hong Kong and Borobudur in Singapore in the past few years.

Last year, her "Curating the Sky" sold for at least 10 times its estimated selling price in Christie's. In 2007, her "Absurdity of Being" sold for 16 times more than the original estimate. Other works that have been sold include her "Storm Chasing Dog Chasing Girl Chasing Storm" and "One Leads to Oblivion, The Other to Sorrow."

Her most recent international auction was for Christie's just a few weeks ago. Javier acknowledges that her success at the auction houses makes her "happy" but she notes that "there is also a lot of pressure." She has not rested on her laurels and is known to keep a very strict schedule (this interview was co…

Alli (Orlistat) diet pill is a new ally in weight loss

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A new ally in weight loss
By Walter Ang
December 7, 2009
Manila Bulletin

The latest report from the Food and Nutrition Institute indicates that the incidence of being overweight is on the rise with 21.4% of Filipino adults weighing significantly more than they should. "The prevalence of obesity has risen 24.9 percent since 1998," says endocrinologist Dr. Cristina Chua.

She goes on to note that being overweight increases the risk of developing several serious health problems such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease, among many others. Aside from physical problems, being overweight can also affect one's self-esteem and overall sense of well-being.

Dr. Chua points out that lifestyle changes in diet and physical activity (read: exercise) are the key factors in weight loss. The trick, she shares, is in setting realistic targets. "Aim for 5-10% reduction in weight over six months," she adds.

An ally
To help Filipinos jumpstart their weight-loss efforts, drug ma…

Just a little off the top, please: Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo in "Sweeny Todd"

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Just a little off the top, please
By Walter Ang
December 2009 issue
Metro Magazine

Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo was excited but also scared when she found out she would essay the role of "Mrs. Lovett" in Repertory Philippines' staging of Tony-winning Broadway musical "Sweeny Todd."

You wouldn't think that someone who grew up acting on stage and has 25 years of experience under her belt would be afraid of anything at this point in her career. Menchu has starred in the leading roles of musicals such as "West Side Story," "Camelot," "The King and I," and "Evita," just to name a
few.

Not only that, she's actually acted in this musical before. Menchu played Todd's daughter Johanna in Rep's 1982 staging with Junix Inocian (Sweeny Todd) and Baby Barredo (Mrs. Lovett). But it is her familiarity with the material that intensified her apprehension.

The 2007 movie version, "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Stree…

Discovery Suites offers exercise toys for the big boys

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Exercise toys for the big boys
By Walter Ang
December 2009-Janurary 2010 issue
Garage Magazine

While working out in a gym can provide certain comforts and conveniences, routine can also quickly set in when you use the same machines again and again. Most weight-resistance machines only provide a singular, linear route of motion (either up and down, side to side, or front to back).

Balance Lifestyle Fitness Club of Discovery Suites now offers spanking new exercise equipment that allows for freedom of movement that is much closer to how we use our muscles or bodies in real life.

Cue the spotlight on the Kinesis One, a machine that looks almost like a space-age transporter with a collection of cables suspended from a metal frame. It won't take you back and forth in time, but it can give you one of the most versatile workouts in terms of providing a well-rounded, zero-impact session, regardless of your current level of fitness and ability, whether you're aiming for balance, strength…

In the wake of a storm, in the lay of the land

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In the wake of a storm, in the lay of the land
By Walter Ang
December 2009-January 2010 issue
Garage Magazine

Living in a tropical country like the Philippines, one would think that we'd be used to typhoons and other natural weather and geographic phenomena like earthquakes, volcano eruptions, and landslides.

Nothing, however, could have prepared us for the devastation wrought by Ondoy and Pepeng when these two storms whipped the country in September. Ondoy is now known as the worst storm to hit the country in 40 years, dumping one month's worth of average rainfall in a matter of hours. Pepeng, on the other hand, will be long remembered as the storm that did a u-turn and stayed for almost an entire week. Manila, its surrounding cities and northern Luzon were hit badly and are still in the process of (a long) recovery.

News reports have pegged the damage to crops and fisheries in billions of Pesos. It's almost too overwhelming to imagine how much infrastructure damages could…

Taal's not-so-hidden wonders

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Taal's not-so-hidden wonders
By Walter Ang
November 29, 2009
Philippine Daily Inquirer

To roadtest the Nokia N86, we joined a daytrip to Taal, Batangas for some connecting with the past, some capturing of the sights via picture taking, and occasional Internet surfing.

While Taal is most known for its volcano sitting serenely in the middle of Taal Lake (it's active, actually), there are many other tourist spots to visit. We started the tour at Escuela Pia, the site of a school built in the 1880s that's now used as a multi-function venue and cultural center, where we were treated to demonstrations of the local crafts.

A collection of balisongs (fan knives) were on display, including ones with handles that are disguised as hair combs and some mezzaluna-looking blades that look like Klingon weapons. In the garden, two men showed how balisongs are actually assembled, while a third showed off a few moves and stances that are supposed to inflict the most damage to an opponent.

Saw…

Virgie Moreno's 'Itim Asu' transforms into dance deconstruction

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Virgie Moreno's 'Itim Asu' transforms into dance deconstruction
By Walter Ang
November 23, 2009
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Contemporary dance artist Myra Beltran is working with video artist Sherad Anthony Sanchez and sound designer Teresa Barrozo to choreograph her deconstruction of Virginia Moreno's play "The Onyx Wolf / Itim Asu."

Titled "Itim Asu 1719-2009," Beltran's production will "attempt to bring this important work from the 1970s and convey it in a contemporary language." She says, "We are using contemporary dance, video and sound design to convey a slice of history. Fiction and reality blur in the drama, and myth blurs with history."

"The Onyx Wolf / Itim Asu" won the Cultural Center of the Philippines' 1969-1970 National Historical Play Contest. Its first staging, directed by the late National Artist Rolando Tinio, became the inaugural performance of the CCP Little Theater (Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino…

Added nutrients in Argentina Corned Beef

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Added nutrients in corned beef
By Walter Ang
November 15, 2009
Manila Bulletin

Nutritionist and dietician Dr. Zenaida Fainsan Velasco explained the health benefits of nutrient-fortified Argentina Corned Beef at a recent installment of "Canned Cuisine Chef's Series" held at Living Well, The Podium. The series is aimed at presenting easy-to-prepare recipes developed by different chefs that use corned beef as the main ingredient.

Velasco has been teaching nutrition at the University of Santo Tomas since 1989. She noted that more than half of all child deaths are associated with malnutrition. Malnutrition includes both undernutrition, which results in weakened resistance to illness, and overnutrition, which can increase the risks for developing lifestyle diseases such as diabetes. "Malnutrition can also aggravate existing diseases or conditions," she said.

To engender healthy eating habits, Velasco stressed the importance of balance (eating just enough and not too m…

'Sweeney Todd'--the musical, not the movie--in Manila

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'Sweeney Todd'--the musical, not the movie--in Manila
By Walter Ang
November 9, 2009
Philippine Daily Inquirer

The movie musical "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" directed by Tim Burton in 2007 generated awareness for the Stephen Sondheim musical. It starred Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd, Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett, Alan Rickman (Professor Snape in the "Harry Potter" movies) as the antagonist Judge Turpin, and Sacha Baron Cohen ("Borat" and "Bruno") as comic relief Pirelli.

Sweeney Todd returns to London after being imprisoned on false charges. When he learns from his former landlady, Mrs. Lovett, that his wife killed herself after being raped by the Judge who wrongly accused him, he vows revenge.

Repertory Philippines will stage the musical at Onstage Theater, Greenbelt 1 in November. Given Tim Burton's quirky filmmaking style, the movie did not scrimp on blood and gore. "But the musical is not just about t…

One-on-one diet: Beverly Hills 6750's meta-morph weight management program

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One-on-one diet
By Walter Ang
November-December 2009 issue
Asian Dragon Magazine

A comprehensive and personalized strategy using a combination of 
techniques and tools, Dr. Ed Santos tells Walter Ang, 
is the way to battle nagging weight issues
One-on-one diet

Studies have shown that with people who embark on weight loss strategies, especially through diets, only about 5-10% lose at least 10% of their original weight and keep it off for a whole year.

The National Weight Control Registry was thus created by Brown University and the University of Colorado to study the mindsets and habits of these dieters who were successful.

"One of the implications of the research results is that those with the most dramatic weight loss are methodical and disciplined. They always have a plan, timetable and calendar with appointments penciled in," says Dr. Ed Santos, managing director of Beverly Hills 6750, an aesthetic and weight management center. "It makes sense that someone who is inclined…

Stem cells by the bottle: Dr. George Eufemio endorses StemEnhance dietary supplement

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Stem cells by the bottle
By Walter Ang
November-December 2009 issue
Asian Dragon Magazine

A new dietary supplement, surgical oncologist Dr. George G. Eufemio 
tells Walter Ang, can help the body boost its stem cells and 
keep the organs and tissues functioning
Stem cells by the bottle

Stem cells are increasingly being regarded as this millennium's fountain of youth. Stem cells can be thought of as "master" cells. A stem cell has the ability to duplicate itself endlessly and to become cells of virtually any tissue or organ in the body. Initial research has shown that embryonic stem cells have an exceptional ability to duplicate in test tubes and can be triggered to become virtually any kind of cells (e.g. brain, heart, liver, etc.).

The use of human stem cells in medical therapies has been a topic of public debate. Most of the heated discussions revolve around the use of embryonic stem cells (stem cells gathered from human embryos).

However, stem cells can also be harvested fr…

In this garage-based school, 'bulilits' are 'iskolars'

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In this garage-based school, 'bulilits' are 'iskolars'
By Walter Ang
October 17, 2009
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Having grown up along the railroad tracks of Muntinlupa, Danidon Nolasco knows how difficult life can be for children who have to grow up in low economic conditions. To help out, Don has been providing free pre-school education to children of Bgy. Buli for the past eight years.

Don's project is called "Bulilit Iskolar" (Little Scholar). "It concentrates on the fundamentals of learning, like how to read and count, arts and crafts, and, most importantly, social interaction," he says. "The program prepares them for elementary education. There is also a feeding program. A nourished mental faculty is better for absorption of learning."

The thing is, Don isn't a teacher. He took up computer science in Adamson University and joined the banking industry during the big Millennium Bug scare. The idea for Bulilit Iskolar was actually…

Boom, Zoom, Pow, Art (The new Filipino art scene)

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Boom, Zoom, Pow, Art (The new Filipino art scene)
By Walter Ang
Oct. 12, 2009
Philippine Daily Inquirer

The Filipino art scene is in the midst of a renaissance. Last year, Filipino artists set record highs in auctions abroad. Local galleries have been expanding and multiplying. This year saw the first-ever Manila Art Fair.

As part of this explosion, the Nokia and Inquirer Lifestyle Series will hold an exhibit of the country's "10 Most Exciting Young Artists" on October 28 at The Gallery of Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Makati.

The exhibit's curator, multimedia artist Jaime "Jay" Pacena II, says there is growing awareness of Filipino art and artists by collectors, and also awareness by the artists themselves of where their art is going.

"Filipino art is beginning to be recognized locally and internationally," he says. This is due in part to the unique forms and content that set apart Filipinos from other Asian artists.

Pacena notes that Filipino artist…