Manila Food Park

Oh wow! Welcome to the neighborhood, “Manila Food Park”, a small slice of Brooklyn/Bangkok/Seoul in #sanandres #malate. Situated on Bocobo between San Andres Street and Remedios Circle, it’s a cute little collection of stalls selling fruit juice, barbecue, beer, and everything else hipster in between. #manilafoodpark will be a hit. Pretty sure of it. And when I visited, the music wasn’t too loud. A miracle for downtown Manila. #vivamanila

Listen to the Plants.

 

I love The Bureau of Plant Industry. Founded back in 1930 when Malate was still a quiet seaside hamlet, it stands as one of the last green spots in the city. Open to the public M-F from 9am-5pm, you can buy plants, flowers, and wander through gardens and greenery; but the best thing about the BPI is that they TEACH you about plants as well. BPI offers courses on how to build your own greenhouse, how to start your garden, and even how to start your own MUSHROOM farm. I saw cacao plants, lowland strawberries, and avocado trees on sale. One day I’ll have the time and land to get this dream garden done. Meanwhile, at least I have this place. 
692 San Andres St. – Tel.5257857 or 5257909. Call or visit, it’s right next to the palengke. #vivamanila #sanandres #malate 

http://www.bpi.da.gov.ph

Whee! Whee! Whee! #FortSantiago

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Had a wonderful and productive meeting with the good people of Intramuros Administration and the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority. I’m so happy when the government and private sector meet and match. We got along like a house on fire. We talked about Fort Santiago, landscaping, building materials, and multo as we walked along the soon-to-open riverside promenade. I’ll make an update very very soon. #FortSantiago #IntramurosAdministration #TIEZA

My Unsolicited Kvetch: Fort Santiago

Sigh. I had high hopes for the Fort Santiago renovations. It may be the shock of the new or the fact that I’m a curmudgeon, but I’m totally nonplussed. The new flooring is too “hard”, too “flat”, too “new”, and the patterns/material choices don’t seem appropriate for Intramuros’ history. Grey flat granite diamonds? Since when? The new center fountain – with water spouting from holes in the floor, makes Fort Santiago feel like a Singapore mall (No offense to SG malls). The absence of the palms (moved to the riverside – not chopped) make the park feel hotter than usual, and the masonry… Beige slate? Oh no no no. Intramuros is all about BRICK, Adobe, and rough hewn Piedra China. Beige slate is for Greenbelt 5. But not to be a total hater, on the plus side, I do like the walkway in the center (you can see the Fort Santiago from the entrance now) & there’s grass where once was an asphalt road. My only wishes are that more trees are planted in the middle plaza area, the frangipani trees stay where they are, that a fountain is added that is in keeping with the old world charm of Intramuros, and that the black and gold wrought iron gate donated by Chito Madrigal finally gets repaired. Sigh. Sorry. Rant over. I really didn’t wanna bitch but I had to. I truly hope something can be done about this. It’s so easy to fix these little issues I have. My meeting with TIEZA and Intramuros Administration will hopefully address these issues.

 

November 8 – The Day The Supreme Court of the Philippines Decided that Ferdinand Marcos is a National Hero.

“Pity the Land that Needs A Hero” – Berthold Brecht.

If anything, I hope burying Marcos at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani will help us get over our “hero complex”. Filipinos don’t need to be saved. Filipinos need to learn how to do shit for themselves. We truly do.

Seriously. The problem here is complicit historical amnesia. We didn’t learn lessons from Spanish colonization. We didn’t learn lessons from American imperialist expansion and our tragic involvement in the “Liberation of Manila” . We totally gloss over the Japanese occupation and hey- apparently we’ve even forgotten that China stole our islands less than a year ago. So how is it a surprise that nobody remembers the abuses that happened under Martial Law? History seems to be a gift for a very select few in this country.

Marching to protest his burial may work in the short run I guess, but frankly, how can we complain when we ourselves did not demand that memory be set in stone when we had the chance?

The Liberation of Manila was swept away because many in that generation did not want to relive the pain when retelling the tale. Erasing a memory is a natural coping mechanism. But this conscious act of forgetting the end of World War 2, deprived the next generation of Filipinos from learning what they lost and what they could lose again.

So if we really want our fellow Filipinos to remember things, let’s do it through arts and culture. Let’s build a museum (hell, let’s do it in BGC – whaddaya say, Ayalas?); let’s make paintings, let’s stage shows; let’s write books and plays, but most of all let’s balance out the school curriculum. We owe it to the next generation.

Siquijor on My Mind.

 

Dear Fellow Filipinos: Consider this as a public announcement.

Do not go to Siquijor.

This mystical island known for mystical healers and witches also has deep forests, rushing waterfalls, lonely stretches of beach, hundred year old churches and ancient Banyan trees. The island is hardly developed and not easy to access. There are no direct flights from Manila and there’s no fast food joints, no malls, hardly any wifi nor cellphone reception, and no jeepneys. Transport of choice is moped, habal-habal (motorcycle sidecar), bicycle, or gasp – walking!

Siquijor only offers unspoiled nature, heritage architecture, and mystical traditions. I’m pretty sure you’ll be disappointed. So don’t go. There are other places you can go in the Philippines to do karaoke, litter, and clog traffic. If  you do any of that on the island, I assure you that you will be made kulam.

So once again, Fellow Filipino tourists – don’t go to Siquijor. It’s only for the brave. Or for those who know how to pick up their own litter and respect local traditions.

Thank you.