Friday, March 30, 2012

TONB Supports Earth Hour 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bamboo Bike, Why not?

The ‘eco-series’ write-up features of my blog continues with an article I saw very recently on the launch of the indigenous “PHILIPPINE BAMBOO BIKES” in the market.  Yes, this innovative ‘invention’ is finally made available to the consumers.  Now the question shifts to determining if society is ready for such.

This initiative is made possible thanks to KawayanTech (for my foreigner readers, Kawayan is the Filipino word for bamboo) whose main goal is to introduce to the mainstream market alternative means of transport and these include the bamboo bikes and even bamboo skateboards.  The company was founded by members of the famous University of the Philippines Mountaineers Club in 2009.  Original members who founded KawayanTech were the following:

Eric Cadiz – a motorcycle dealer and an electrical engineer
John Climaco – an educator who is US-based
Hecky Villanueva – an urban anthropologist
Eng Chan – a visual artist
Boy Siojo – a resort operator and dive instructor


Just like any innovative product in its baby steps, the main challenge the Bamboo bikes will face will be how the consumes will learn about the product and dispel decades or even a century worth of information that the ‘metallic bicycles’ are more durable and sturdier than these new offerings.

  • Supports local livelihood programs and bamboo farmers or sellers.
  • KawayanTech gets from various bamboo suppliers thus promoting more employment and business opportunities.
  • Highly durable as only the sturdy variety used for construction and furniture.
  • Alternative means of transportation minus the toxic fumes.
  • It is a work of Art; every bike frame is handcrafted, thus, every frame may be said as something that is highly unique in the world.
  • Bamboo is said to have the natural property of absorbing shocks from movement.
  • The company only manufactures the main bicycle frame so you can customize the other components to suit your personality. 
According to the article reference from Manila Bulletin KawayanTech has sold more than 80 different units including a bike tailored-fit for kids and toddlers (more popularly known as 'Push Bikes')which currently has a market value of PhP5,000.  The bike frames for mountain bikes fetch as high as PhP20,000 while commuter bikes costs PhP10,000. Additional trivia, the same company also made the first ever electric bamboo bike.  What's next?  Skateboards and even Wheelchairs! Hmm.. wonder how it will look?
So there you have it, a cool new feature of an up and coming business venture that I do hope we all support.  Still to the theme of Earth Hour on Saturday, I hope their idea sells well.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Something Sweet and 'ECO-Friendly'

This week marks the annual observance of the Earth Hour (March 31, 8:30pm - visit their website here) and what better way to show my support than by featuring some of my favorite products who have been advocates of the environment as well.  And yes, they are nothing short of being fancy and delightfully tasting as well.

There are quite a number of businesses who have gone 'GREEN' and with majority of consumers now looking into socially responsible organizations to get their products or engage with, the quest to find innovative and high impact Eco-friendly and sustainable business actions have become a staple.
Yesterday's sweet cravings brought me to my favorite popcorn stand and it so happened that my 'other' favorite donut shop was also right next to the popcorn kiosk.  It was then that the idea for a blogpost came....  The people from Chef Tony's Gourmet Popcorns handed me out my purchase in a fancy brown bag.  Since I am a frequent customer, I asked the sales people how come they do not have their famous plastic bags anymore.  The lady immediately answered me, 'Ah, you want plastic sir, don't worry we can replace it if you want.'  I gave her my hearty smile and said it's ok, I prefer their new paper bags and IT IS ACTUALLY BETTER.  I was told that every week-ends, Chef Tony's use their brown bags for every purchase.  Hope they push this a little more and increase the number of days they go 'Green'.  Below are snap shots of my latest purchase.

Now, the ever famous donuts!!!! Yes, I think this merits a lot of exclamation points primarily because fancy donuts have been around and it has become (in my opinion) difficult to find a really good one that is worth the price.  So, lo and behold, I summoned my inner strength and got myself a dozen (thanks to the ever delightful sales talk which convinced me to 'upgrade' from a box of 6 to a dozen) of the most deliciously looking sweet treats.  

I was given an added treat upon finding out that ALL of their packaging options are made of carton and they bear the 'recycling' seal.  I am one with the growing number of yuppies out there who makes it a point that they engage with businesses who are Eco-warriors, especially those that do SUSTAINABLE business.  Below are some shots I made from my recent purchase!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Curang-Curangan FEAST!

Receiving invitations to cover events still never fails to 'jolt' me even with the number of invites I have already encountered.  Especially when it's an invitation related to my being a wannabe 'FOODIE' (yes, even with an impending allergy attack, I still said YES and happily ate ALL that there is to offer)The Event that I was referring to was a one organized by HRM and Tourism students of Systems Plus in Miranda, here in Pampanga.

The event was dubbed as 'Curang-Curangan: Rediscovering Capampangan Cuisine'.  Just seeing the use of the traditional 'c' in place of the more modern-tagalized versions of 'k' made me think that this is an event I should not let pass.  So a few days before the event, I received my special invitation to visit the event as a resident blogger.  Thanks again to Sir Mike of (HARP) and Jonathan (Systems Plus faculty). Above shows my invitation (I really love the perks of blogging).

The event's main guest of honor was no less than CHEF LILIAN BORROMEO, a very popular Traditional Capampangan cuisine chef who has been featured in a lot of TV shows (including one of my favorite but now defunct Secrets of the Master).  Also invited were Angeles City Vice Mayor Vicky Vega (a strong supporter of culture and the youth) and members of Angeles City Tourism Office (ACTO).  The students actually adopted their menu from the entries in Chef Borromeo's cook book, and having accessed the back-stage kitchen, I was sure they would not disappoint her (ehe assuming me,,,,)
So, what's in the menu?  Here's a shot of the menu with the nice table design and some appetizers given while waiting for the program to start ---- boiled peanuts!

The starters covered:
Sabong Banging Nasi -- which was literally translated as soup from the burnt bottom part of cooked rice.  This one really intrigued me.  It only shows how creative Capampangan's are and how nothing goes to waste.

Lagat Mustasa --- Sauteed Mustard leaves.

Paksing Demonyo --- Vegetables cooked in vinegar and sugar. Chef Borromeo shared the story behind the weird name.  Yes, the story really involved the devil.
Binulung Manuk --- bulung in Capampangan is 'leaves' and manuk, is well, chicken (not sure though if dissecting the title would justify it's meaning ehe). This was a sort of a one-dish-meal with chicken cooked in stock, vegetables and Kamias (a natural sour tasting fruit).

Bobotong Asan --- boboto in Capampangan is the Mexican Tamale version.  Asan is fish and/or viand.  This was a milkfish topped with kamias, mustasa and was very flavorful.

Asadung Matua --- is well, the famous filipino asado (a tomato-based dish with liver paste), but i think the name use of 'matua' which means old, refers to the old-ways of cooking it.  And man, the liver flavor was very good.

and the rest of the offerings I will showcase a little later.  I was also privileged to have been given the 'kitchen access' so I was able to see the food line-up even before they were served.  Here are some of those shots.

Desserts line-up ehe... I had to go to this side first
Sabong Banging Nasi ---- a proof of Capampangan ingenuity
The smell was breath-taking
Gotta love the 'height' ehe.. plating 101
Salabat, anyone???
simmering feasts....
Ingredients galore!
With a smile like that, who wouldn't be delighted???
Wonder how the venue was designed?  Here are shots of the place as well as some of the program proper.

Even give-aways === pasty baskets...
cookie design molds...
Nice fire effect...
Chef Lilian Borromeo being presented with Certificate of Appreciation
Vice Mayor Vicky Vega sharing her thoughts

And of course there was the food...

Over-all the event was good.  There were minor glitches in the program but nothing too serious.  The food was great and truly worth the trip.  It was an evening well spent and I hope this can start to really flicker the interest of people particularly the younger generation to revive the good old Capampangan dishes.  Danupan naku (I am hungry).

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Seven Summer Wonders

The POWER to add that 'amppfff' to your favorite Summer Destination is ON!!!! Facebook fanatics or regulars may join Nivea Sun's 7 Summer Wonders promo.  Just visit their FB page (here) to join and start voting.  Below are just some of the screenshots:

....And from the same FB site, below are the top choices as of March 16.
 How about you?  What are your top Summer Getaway choices?



A culinary collaboration between HOLIDAY INN CLARK's MEQUENI CAFE and PURPLE PADTHAI RESTAURANT, co-presented by the Thailand Tourism Board, and featuring CHEF YEL CUNANAN, general partner and resident chef of Purple PadThai Restaurant.

Enjoy authentic Thai cuisine for lunch or dinner at the MEQUENI CAFE of HOLIDAY INN CLARK on March 16 – 31, 2012 for only P 1,300 net, inclusive of 1 round of soda, iced tea or chilled juice.

This is the first collaboration of Purple PadThai Restaurant with another restaurant, and this Thai culinary fair features the other dishes not regularly available at Purple PadThai Restaurant’s menu.

For reservations and inquiries for the Sawatdee Thai Food Festival, please call (632) 8451888 and/or (45) 5998000 extension 1325.

*(The word often spoken with the wai as a greeting or farewell is sawasdee (สวัสดี, pronounced [sàwàtdiː]). This word was coined in the mid-1930s by Phraya Upakit Silapasan of Chulalongkorn University.[2] This word, derived from the Sanskrit svasti (meaning "well-being"), had previously been used in Thai only as a formulaic opening to inscriptions. The strongly nationalist government of Plaek Pibulsonggram in the early 1940s promoted the use of the word sawasdee amongst the government bureaucracy as well as the wider populace as part of a wider set of cultural edicts to modernise Thailand.-from Wikipedia)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Weekend of Street Photography

AT LONG LAST!  After eight (8) years of waiting to finally acquire a DSLR, I finally did from my hard-earned money and was able to use it during the Hot Air Balloon Festival last February.  Nope, the exclamation at the beginning of this paragraph was not from the DSLR (although partially, yes.) But on the recent experience I had.  I was finally able to join and attend a PHOTOGRAPHY class.

So how was I able to join this event?  Thanks to the social media networks specifically Facebook.  One of my ‘brods’ posted this invitation from an organization who will hold a photography class and to be more specific, they will do STREET PHOTOGRAPHY (See the poster on the left side).   I was initially apprehensive since I really just did acquire my new camera and may be said to not even still able to do baby steps in using it.  I actually tried reading references from the internet and even painstakingly watched tutorials from YouTube but to no useful results.  So I carefully thought of attending this opportunity to finally enrich my technical know-how.  After all, I do not want to continually belong the so-called GIANT PENDANT league (read:  people who seemingly use the DSLR as a ginormous necklace, since they are not really taking any good pictures). Next step was to check my calendar to see if I was available as the 2-day class was pinned towards the weekend.  And the heavens seemed have favored on my side as my Saturday was wide open for schedule.  March 10-11 it is and all was set, at least from my side, ehe.  The organizers were the SHOOT THE PEOPLE.  A group of photographers and hobbyists.  Their Facebook profile reads:

SHOOT THE PEOPLE is an organization of photographers utilizing the art of street photography.
What is Street Photography? It has different meanings depending on the concept of the photographer. It tries to capture people's activities, the life on the streets, whatever that amuses your eye. SHOOT THE PEOPLE aims to develop your depth, sensitivity and freedom in photography.
Whether you're a pro or an amateur, using a dslr or a point-and-shoot, you are free to join.

March 10 was a pleasant day with the sun brightly shining and my hopes were high.  I am however very nervous since I was anticipating that there would be some participants who may already have the experience as well as facilitators who may be too ‘artsy’ to have the patience to novice such as me. These apprehensions were all flushed out the moment I registered.  I was greeted with an all too familiar and reminiscent ‘aura’ of my college life.  The organizers were ‘koboi’ so-to-speak or to explain to those who may be unfamiliar to the term, it refers to a characteristic or description of a person(s) who do not have any qualms and are easy to be with (opposite of the famous ‘coño’).  And to top it all, the facilitator Mr. Mark Pineda Jimenez and I shared the same fraternity bond.  So it seemed like I am in for something exciting.  And I was not disappointed one bit.  See our official event ID below.

 The first day was filled with theoretical discussions of the basics of photography.  Things like aperture, shutter speed, ISO and the likes were covered.  Sample photos from famous photographers were also showcased to add emphasis to the discussion points.  By the end of the afternoon, we ventured out for a quick street photography.  It was our sort of ‘test shoot’ for the big photo-walk the following day.  I think I was not able to get pretty good shots from the initial test and needed some tips from our facilitator to come up with some concepts.  Then Sunday came, our official day of Street Photography.  The day was perfect since most of the streets are busy, the Sto. Rosario church is beaming with lots of vendors and people and the market place was filled with people.  We were not disappointed with the many photo opportunities waiting to be captured.  There were some who were more than accommodating and others who were really snub and are intimidated with our cameras.  Just some of the actual discussions were captured below:

Our facilitator --- Mark explaining the concept of diffusers and 'highlighters' ehe..

Inside photo shoot demo... appreciate highlights, mid-tones and shadows..
Learning how to do photo enhancements...

All-in-all the event managed to fulfill my expectations AND MORE.  The approach was simple but personalized.  The tips were very specific to the camera models we had and the discussions were more informal and free flowing.  But what I liked most was how the technical concepts were made easier to absorb.  Plus, we were given a crash course on photo enhancement using Photoshop.  Here are just some of the shots I am proud of.  I will be submitting them to the organizers and hopefully be included in an upcoming exhibit. Ehe, feel free to share your comments (I need them to continuously improve, so please do not hold back, teehee).

And we graduated.... ehe... below are photos to show my batchmates, the organizers and me, receiving my proof of purchase ehe...