It’s So Sarap In NYC

Kabisera Cafe and So Sarap NYC are teaming up once again come summer of this year. Kabisera is known in the Lower East Side of Manhattan for its coffee, Pinoy pastries, and brunches; while So Sarap NYC is the game-changer in the Filipino street food pop-up scene.

Kabisera X So Sarap NYC 2021

So Sarap NYC founders Vj and Sebastien, together with Kabisera owners Augee and Joey, are cooking up something mind-blowing and yet very familiar Filipino street food treats that you won’t find anywhere in New York or America for that matter.

Its Instagram page @sosarapnyc teases a street food vendor of Mangga (Mango) and Bagoong (Shrimp paste). This is just one of the many vendor stalls you’ll discover when they roll out their roster of vendors along Allen Street in Lower Manhattan in a few weeks time.

According to Vice‘s Food and Culture correspondent, Bettina Makalintal, “New York’s new Filipino pop-up scene is proof of a model that sees success as a shared effort, rooted in collaboration instead of competition.”

It’s so true because the Bayanihan spirit that our forefathers have passed on to us is inherent in each Pinoy wherever they may be. The culture of helping one another, especially in trying times, such as this Coronavirus pandemic, is what makes the Filipino thrive and champion their hardships at the same time.

In the upcoming Kabisera X So Sarap NYC collaboration, you may again see your favorite Fishball, Isaw, Balut, Ice Candy, and Taho vendors, but do watch out for more exciting and new vendors in store for you. Tune in to @SoSarapNYC and @KabiseraNYC accounts for the latest updates, eksenas, and gimiks.

Imagine a Mangga at Bagoong vendor on the streets of Manhattan? It’s not impossible anymore. As So Sarap NYC describes it, “Mangga (mango) with “bagoong” is a go-to snacks of Filipinos. “Bagoong” is a Pinoy-style shrimp paste that has a distinct funk to it that many Filipinos are drawn to. It can be cooked in many ways and can leave a salty, sweet, tasty and very funky flavor in your palate.” Aren’t you salivating yet?

Hey Jersey, please stay on guard, too, as So Sarap NYC may be invading your neighborhood really soon. For reals.

Photo credits: Craig Nisperos @craignisperos

BEDKO: Art and COVID

Highly acclaimed visual artist, Edbon Sevilleno, shocks the public with his out of this world creative concept for his show at the opening of DASUN, a group exhibition at the Art District in Mandalagan, Bacolod City. This exhibition is also in celebration of the 30th year of Visayas Islands Visual Arts Exhibition and Conference or VIVA ExCon, the Visayas-wide biennale which started in 1990.

Bed of Dreams

These past few months of quarantine, Maestro Edbon, had kept snapshots on his phone (and in his head) of his daughters lying in their bedrooms while browsing through their smartphones. An image or habit that has become a norm in the time of quarantine, hence the inspiration for the show’s title: BEDKO.

From that imagery, it dawned on him that when one is in isolation, the mind of a human being never wants to be isolated or restrained. It craves to imagine, it continues to create, it wants to communicate. It wants to travel to places. Places and universes even the physical body couldn’t wander about.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit the hardest and city borders were controlled, we paused, some stopped, and some unfortunately succumbed to the virus. It shocked humanity. It brought changes, very drastic changes in our jobs, our plans, our ongoing activities—our dreams. No matter what manner of coping one did, it is important that we have reacted; and, whether we reacted well or not, here’s hoping that one did what one had to do.

The Assemblage

At the centre of Edbon Sevilleno’s The Black Room / Studio 57, is the exhibit’s star, the “bed of dreams” (or bed of ideas, howsoever you want to interpret it). Surrounding the bed are different works from past to present: The Obreros Series, Collages and Montages, Kalye Art Series, and new works and installations conceived during the quarantine period.

Crazy Poor Asians

The “Obreros: Mga Balatyagun para sa Mamumugon” is featured in commemoration of its first launch on May 1, 2010 (Labor Day). A brilliant way to revisit the show from ten years ago which paid tribute to the farmers and their everyday struggles. After over a decade, let us ask ourselves what has changed in the plight of our farmers? Are they still living in poverty while the hacienderos have become crazier and richer?

Lagaw-lagaw, Pinta-pinta

Edbon Sevilleno is known for his Kalye Art. He is always inspired in the exploration of the everyday life on the streets or kalye, be it at the Bacolod Public Plaza, Binondo St. in Manila, or some spice market in the Emirates. Included in this series are paintings of houses from the ’30s and how different they look at the present time. It’s interesting to know that the wooden framings used in these paintings are remnants from the same subjects/houses.

The new installations are inspired by the coronavirus quarantine protocols. Liquor bans, lockdowns and police/military visibility on checkpoints, border controls, are all evident on these works. What’s exciting is the artist’s 57-page coffee table book that is still in progress. It’s called, “Riit”, which can be translated as something eerie or spooky.

Visit Edbon Sevilleno’s BEDKO: Sadto|Subong|Kag Dasun Exhibition at The Black Room / Studio 57, Art District, Mandalagan, Bacolod City. The exhibit runs from November 6, 2020 – January 6, 2021.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EdbonSevillenoArt

Silver Skies of Manggapuri

Last January, a convoy of high school classmates (now lifelong friends and brothers even), headed for a Recollection (spiritual retreat) at Manggapuri Villas in Don Salvador Benedicto, a quiet, mountainous town in the northern part of the province. We travelled for about thirty minutes from Bacolod City, where we assembled and had lunch.

For many of us, it was the first time we saw each other since March of ’95, our secondary school graduation from Don Bosco Technical Institute in Victorias City. While some stayed in Victorias and Bacolod, some went to universities in Manila and Cebu. We all sort of “moved on with our lives”. Over the last 25 years, we have traversed our own adventures, romances, sagas, soap operas, and fairy tales, so to speak. 

Quite a number of our batchmates are based overseas but we try to organize an occasional catch up over food and drinks either in Manila or in Bacolod. But that day, January 29, was no ordinary day. We have reunited once again after twenty-five years—our Silver jubilee. 

We weren’t complete though as others can only come later for the alumni homecoming and the unforgettable affair we organized in a hotel ballroom to pay tribute to our former mentors, which, to us, was the highlight event of what our batch has prepared for our turn to host.

The event we organized was entitled, “Our Teachers, Our Heroes.” It was a very rare moment that we got to party with our past teachers and they came in superheroes costume, too. There were fun games, contests, lucky draws (every one of them won something), singing, and dancing. We’re glad that they really enjoyed their time with us, but the truth is, we enjoyed it more. And as the title suggests, they are indeed our heroes and we will always be grateful to them. Always.

Manggapuri has spectacular views, that’s a given, but the hotel resort was most appropriate for our Recollection because of its undisturbed atmosphere and it has its own charming chapel on top of the property. One of the facilitators was also a batchmate of ours, and he invited two other priests to have a talk and share some modern life lessons from the scriptures before he officiated the mass. Saint John Bosco must be so proud.

The venue was booked entirely for our batch from afternoon until the morning of the following day. Manggapuri has seven rooms of varying sizes and it can comfortably accommodate up to 42 guests. It is a stunning venue for weddings, debuts, team buildings, staycations, and other special events. Guests are welcome to bring their own tents.

Another great and important facet of Manggapuri is, of course, the food. The kitchen crew is spearheaded by Chef Lito Manlait. He has been with the family of the owners of Manggapuri for over twenty years. All the dishes that were served for our merienda, dinner, and breakfast were simply delicious. Snaps to Chef Lito and his very friendly, accommodating, and helpful team.

Manggapuri faves: Tablea – which they grow in the family’s hacienda; Puto Maya – with hints of ginger, sugar, and salt; and the Beef Trotter in ginger and tanglad (lemongrass).

As mentioned earlier, that was no ordinary Recollection and get-together for all of us. We bonded together like brothers. Nobody was above anyone and everybody showed each other equal amount of love, acceptance, and respect–just as how Don Bosco treated the youth, all youth.

We were blessed with glorious weather, brilliant facilitators, terrific venue, picture-perfect skies and sunset, fantastic food and spirits, and the very memorable experience of togetherness while reminiscing all the happy, naughty, and funny high school memories. What a lovely celebration of friendship, love, and camaraderie! That won’t be the last time for sure.

Don Bosco – Victorias Batch 95 aims to continue its outreach programs and civic initiatives across the country. Find out more HERE.

Manggapuri Villas
Booking contact numbers: 034 2139282; 0917 3010599
Email: chiflores@msn.com

Food Tour 2017: April

For the month of April, we pay homage to some of the Korean dishes–authentic dishes we’ve actually tried in Seoul and in Busan. Since language barrier can be one of the challenges in exploring Korea, you may want to keep these dishes in mind or show them the photo when you order, as the menus are usually in Korean. There’s no harm in asking if they have the English version of the menu, just politely ask and don’t forget to smile and bow as you say, “Kamsahamnida!

Gopchang-jeongol (Beef tripe hot pot)

Streetfood stalls along Myeongdong

Authentic Korean meat roasting spread called Gogigui

Dak Gomtang or Korean Chicken Soup

Ramyun/Korean Ramen

Yukgaejang/Spicy Beef soup

Jjimdak/Korean Braised Chicken

Imagine your Korea

Inscape of Beauty: Celebrities

Here are some works by David LaChapelle as exhibited at the Ara Modern Art Museum in Seoul, South Korea. This post features LaChapelle’s photographs of big shot celebrities he has worked with, as well as some chromogenic prints of celebrities whom the artist admired.

My Own Liz

My Own Marlin

Archangel Michael: And No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer

Eminem; Sir Elton John

Angelina Jolie: Lusty Spring

Pamela Anderson: Over Easy Half-breed

Tupac Shakur: Solitary

Christina Aguilera: I Got You Babe

Madonna: Devotional Pose

Marilyn Manson: Rigor Mortis

David Bowie: Face Masks

Milla Jovovich: Collage

Leonardo DiCaprio: Nostalgic Styling

Sylvester Stallone: Alone

Courtney Love: Pieta

Ewan McGregor: Dollhouse Disaster, Love Scorned

Visit David LaChapelle Page for up-to-date LaChapelle exhibition listings.