Browsing Date

October 2012

Roots Rock Reggae: The Chongkeys at Metro Bar – Oct. 17, 2012

Music, Photography By October 31, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , 6 Comments

There were only three bands left on the line up: The Chongkeys, Brownman Revival, and Franco. I was on my second glass of mai tai by this time. Since I was already standing near the stage, I took the first photos while I was there and ended back on the mezzanine. And this blog is Part 2 of 3.

The Chongkeys at Metro Bar - Oct. 17, 2012

The Chongkeys at Metro Bar - Oct. 17, 2012

The Chongkeys at Metro Bar - Oct. 17, 2012

The Chongkeys at Metro Bar - Oct. 17, 2012

The Chongkeys at Metro Bar - Oct. 17, 2012

The Chongkeys at Metro Bar - Oct. 17, 2012

The Chongkeys at Metro Bar - Oct. 17, 2012


Roots Rock Reggae: Jeck Pilpil & Peacepipe at Metro Bar – Oct. 17, 2012

Music By October 30, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

I arrived while Reggae Mistress was onstage and immediately went to find my friends, The Chongkeys.

Someone took this photo, of the guy sitting on the step on the right, and I just got included.

The Chongkeys and I all went in together but I went to the bar first to get a drink and then on to the mezzanine to take photos and videos. My first reaction when I went in was, “WOW, this place is HUUUUUGE!” See, I’ve never been to Metro Bar before. Jeck Pilpil & Peacepipe went onstage first. And this blog is part 1 of 3.

Jeck Pilpil & Peacepipe at Metro Bar - Oct. 17, 2012

Jeck Pilpil & Peacepipe at Metro Bar - Oct. 17, 2012

Jeck Pilpil & Peacepipe at Metro Bar - Oct. 17, 2012

Jeck Pilpil & Peacepipe at Metro Bar - Oct. 17, 2012

Jeck Pilpil & Peacepipe at Metro Bar - Oct. 17, 2012

Jeck Pilpil & Peacepipe at Metro Bar - Oct. 17, 2012

Jeck Pilpil & Peacepipe at Metro Bar - Oct. 17, 2012


Dhruva Tara, Jireh Lim and Your Imaginary Friends at Route 196 – Oct. 26, 2012

Music, Photography By October 29, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , 7 Comments

This is Part 2, the first part with Wake Up Call, December Avenue and Electric Princess is HERE.



Fredz Mantilla – Vocals / Sampler
Axel Vito Cruz – Synths / Piano / Back up vocals
Julius Dumlao – Guitars
Moki Man – Guitars / Back up vocals
Gi Garcia – Bass / Back up vocals
Brian Lotho – Drums / Percussion

Dhruva Tara at Route 196 - Oct 26, 2012

Dhruva Tara at Route 196 - Oct 26, 2012

Dhruva Tara at Route 196 - Oct 26, 2012

Dhruva Tara at Route 196 - Oct 26, 2012


Wake Up Call, Electric Princess and December Avenue at Route 196 – Oct. 26, 2012

Music By October 28, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , 10 Comments

Sid and I arrived early at Route 196 – sometime at nine in the evening and the place was already full! A pleasant surprise since it was a Friday night of a long weekend and we expected people to be either out of town, vacationing, or over at the SM Mall of Asia grounds for the epic Tanduay Rhum Rock Fest.

It was nice to see Route 196 filled with a crowd of new, fresh, and yes, quite young, faces.

First up for the night was “Wake Up Call” – a newly-formed band from UST. Since they were new, they mostly did covers. And the night was off to a great start!

Oh, kids!

Wake Up Call at Route 196 - Oct 26, 2012

Wake Up Call at Route 196 - Oct 26, 2012

Wake Up Call at Route 196 - Oct 26, 2012

Wake Up Call at Route 196 - Oct 26, 2012


Auraeus Solito’s Baybayin – First Trailer

Movies, Music and Arts By October 25, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , 3 Comments

(Click here to view original in HD)

Aureaus and his team were shooting this film when I was in El Nido. Because El Nido is a small community, I know a lot of people who worked in this film. The production team themselves stayed at Makulay Lodge and Villas, some actors and mentors (like my friend Rej of Kontra Gapi who helped choreograph and teach the dance) were from Potter’s Place School, and so many more. I saw them around a lot. The crew was on Hama Street when I took the photo walk so I could not take photos of Asylum Bar and Marina Garden. We were also hanging out with them on this day, when they were still doing the ocular.

Hama St., El Nido, Palawan


Hibiscus Garden Inn, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Palawan By October 24, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , 1 Comment

Hibiscus Garden Inn is ranked #1 out of 29 hotels in Puerto Princesa on Trip Advisor and #1 out of 32 hotels in Puerto Princesa in popularity on Virtual Tourist. I went through the various reviews, blogs and photos and saw how Hibiscus Garden Inn looked like when it was new and had just opened. It’s looking a bit different now because the trees, the grass, the plants have all grown lush and the garden is looking so much more beautiful.

Hibiscus Garden Inn, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

I wanted to stay there primarily because it is owned by the Blasselle family, three of which were my students from six years ago, and I wanted to visit them. On the day I was to leave El Nido bound for Puerto Princesa though, I could not get in touch with the kids and I ended up staying at the newly-opened Purple Fountain Courtyard Inn, as recommended by my friend Andy who had stayed there a few weeks before. You may want to read the blog here. As it turns out, the two inns are a few meters away from each other on the same road – Manalo Extension. It was gloomy and rainy the entire time we were at Puerto Princesa and I never did see the sun even for a bit but even in the gloomy weather, Hibiscus Garden Inn looked beautiful.

Hibiscus Garden Inn opened to guests in the last quarter of 2008 in Manalo Extension, a few minutes away from the airport and accessible to restaurants, shopping and commercial centers and/or government offices in Puerto Princesa, either by tricycle (minimum fare of Php8) or by foot, depending on your inclinations.

The single-storey 14-room Mediterranean-inspired building sits in a spacious garden accented by local furniture, native arts and handicrafts. The tropical, relaxing and laid-back ambiance as well as clean, quiet, cozy and modern accommodations make the stay and the price of the rooms well worth it.

Hibiscus Garden Inn, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Hibiscus Garden Inn, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Hibiscus Garden Inn, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

The front building with its reception, lobby and souvenir shop:

Hibiscus Garden Inn, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

The restaurant:

Hibiscus Garden Inn, Puerto Princesa, Palawan


Casa Rosa, Taytay, Palawan

Palawan By October 23, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , 1 Comment

I have just finished going over the photos from my quick visit to Hibiscus Garden Inn and was about to write a blog on it when I realized that Hibiscus Garden was just like Casa Rosa.

I always told myself I was going to go over all of my old photos when I had the time, just to review the colors, because there was a time when I was crazy over contrast and saturation, added to the fact that my monitor was uncalibrated, so I would sometimes go through some of my old photos and I feel like hitting my head against the wall. Thankfully, I was in my right mind when I was processing the photos taken in Taytay from six years ago. I nevertheless replaced my old watermark that had my full nickname and my hyphenated name with one that just bears my website – this website, because I have had so many in the past years.

Back then I had a Pentax Optio WP point-and-shoot camera and I had it on default at a setting that the camera called “Shade” but was in effect a warming filter that made all of my shots look more orangey than they really were in reality.

If you are here on my site reading this blog hoping to find something recent about Casa Rosa, no, this is not what you are looking for. All the photos here were taken six years ago, and I’m just on a reminiscent mood because I will be posting about the Hibiscus Garden Inn shortly after this.

I was on my way back to Manila from El Nido via Puerto Princesa in April 2006 and I decided dropping by Taytay was a good idea. Casa Rosa was owned by the Blasselle family back then, three of which were my students at the school. Taytay is also a very small town and it wasn’t too difficult to find Casa Rosa.

Casa Rosa, Taytay, Palawan

Casa Rosa, Taytay, Palawan

Casa Rosa, Taytay, Palawan

Casa Rosa is located up a hill that provided a good view of the town, the port as well as the old fort.

View of Fort Isabel from Casa Rosa, Taytay, Palawan

View of Taytay Port from Casa Rosa, El Nido

The cottages are spaced widely apart in a well-maintained garden. Some of the cottages are even higher up the hill.

Casa Rosa, Taytay, Palawan


Gigs Around the Metro Oct 23-27, 2012

Music By October 23, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , 3 Comments





Show Starts by 10:00pm
Gate: p150

2nd floor Anonas Commercial Complex
# 3 Anonas Road Project 3, Q.C.

for reservations and inquiries call or text 0917.9037124 / 0919.8144885


Buntis Five! (Helter Shelter’s 5th Anniversary!)


Flying Ipis
Peso Movement
Stela Mariz
The Youth

October 23, 2012 | 900PM
Entrance 150

Facebook event page:

7612 Guijo Street, San Antonio Village, Makati




Wake Up the Nation Presents: WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE


by Flow Arts Philippines, HoopNation & Planet Zips

Come with your creepiest or funkiest costume!!!

The Collective, Malugay St., Makati





presents BOOT CAMP


Flying Ipis
Halik ni Gringo
The Discoball!

Entrance: Php150

Route 196
196-A Blue Ridge A, Katipunan Ext., Q.C.


The Before-and-After Photo-documentation Project – Beachfront

Life in El Nido, Palawan, Photography By October 22, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , 7 Comments

Of all the places in El Nido, the beachfront has the most noticeable changes. There are so many more establishments as more homes were converted to businesses – either a restobar or lodge/pension.

The photos on this blog were taken on many different days over a period of two and a half months. The photos at the end of Rizal Street were taken one beautiful, sunny August afternoon; the photos of Pukka Bar and El Nido Corner were taken as early as July, as well as some photos of Sea Slugs were taken in August; and the rest of the photos were taken one windy September morning when the sun played hide-and-seek with me.

I took a walk starting off from where Rizal Street ends, with Aplaya Bar and Casa Buenavista on either sides, and ending in  the small, narrow alley right after Tandikan Beach Cottages that emerges where Lonesome Carabao Lounge is.


Rizal Street, El Nido, Palawan


Aplaya Bar, El Nido, Palawan

And as more buildings and businesses were established, the more the sand turned brown. I used to swim on the beach nearly everyday, I would not want to do that now.

In front of Aplaya Bar

The beach still looks beautiful on sunny days like this…

El Nido town beach, Palawan

…but nothing compared to how it used to be.

Next to Casa Buenavista is Marber’s Restaurant.


Marber's Restaurant, El Nido, Palawan

Marber's Restaurant, El Nido, Palawan

Back when Marber’s Restaurant was on the ground floor of the building where Og’s Pension is, this was Blue Karrot Beach Bar and Restaurant.

Marbers_Blue Karrot

Blue Karrot has a long history, being originally owned by Rudy and Rose, and then sold off to a friend of theirs. Rose’s family now owns Makulay Lodge and Villas in Caalan, and Blue Karrot does not exist anymore, neither in this spot nor any other spot in town.

Casa El Nido has been there ever since I can remember too. It used to have a little garden on the side where there were trees, and loungers under the shade.


Casa El Nido


The Before-and-After Photo-documentation Project – Hama Street

Life in El Nido, Palawan, Photography By October 21, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Calle Hama begins where Balinsasayaw Road, a road that starts off at Rizal Street, meets the road that goes to the northernmost baranggays of the town of El Nido, at the corner where Lally & Abet Beach Cottages is found. This is the street that we take all the time because we lived a kilometer or so north of town but the entire time I was there, I kept thinking I was going to devote just one day to taking photos of the town, that in the end, I did not manage to. In my last two weeks in El Nido, it kept raining and some of the establishments were in the process of  renovating and/or building more cottages.

Most of the originals of my old El Nido photos are lost. The ones I repost are mostly from a folder that I found that has a title “El Nido Town Reduced”, so the files have been reduced. But recently, I found a folder that says “El Nido Town 3” with photos taken from April 2006 and these were original files and have not been reduced. I found these two photos:


2006 Lally and Abet Cottages copy


2006 Rosanna's Cottages copy

My photos of Calle Hama begin at Lonesome Carabao Lounge and end right before Marina Garden Beach Cottages. Calle Hama is the busiest street in El Nido town and has the most number of establishments, accommodations and restaurants. In order, from the intersection, one can find the following accommodations: Lally & Abet Beach Cottages, El Nido Beach Hotel, Inngo Tourist Inn, Devayn’s Inn, and Rosanna’s Cottages.


Lonesome Carabao Lounge, El Nido, Palawan

Lonesome Carabao Lounge sits at a location that I remember used to be a rice store… if not a poultry supply store. The building right next to it used to be where the El Nido Public Market was “supposed” to be. The local government has tried to move the public market many times. The public market now has been successfully moved and operating at a big complex in Corong-Corong, where the bus stations are also found. This has done wonders in the vehicle and foot traffic in the narrow streets of the little town and El Nido – something that I truly appreciate.

Hama St., El Nido, Palawan

When I was living in El Nido in 2006, my favorite store was Kuya Loy’s store in front of the waiting shed. We hung out a lot there with Kuya Loy and his wife, Ate Mavic. We borrowed his paddle boat a lot too. Kuya Loy, a musician, played at Balay Tubay and Ricson’s Bar and Restaurant. One of my co-teachers and also my best buddy at that time, Eric, played bass guitar for his band every now and then. (Photo below: Top, 2006; bottom, 2012)

Kuya Loys Store, El Nido, Palawan

In the photo below, on the leftmost end is Lonesome Carabao Lounge, and on the rightmost end is where El Nido Plaza Inn is.

Hama St., El Nido, Palawan

In between Kuya Loy’s store and Baracalan is a parking lot and El Nido Plaza Inn. El Nido Plaza Inn has been there ever since, one of the oldest and cheapest accommodations in El Nido, but I have never seen it. I don’t know what it looks like inside or where exactly is the building. I just know it’s there.


Hama St., El Nido, Palawan

Across the street is a row of beachfront cottages, also with entrances through Hama Street.


The Before-and-After El Nido Photo-documentation Project – Sirena Street

Life in El Nido, Palawan, Photography By October 15, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 6 Comments

Where Rizal Street ends is where Sirena Street begins. Sirena Street runs parallel to the beach, as well as a part of Calle Real, both terminating at the port.

Rizal Street, El Nido, Palawan

Sirena Street, a very narrow, one-way street, can easily be missed. At the corner, on the left side is a clothing store, painted in green, and a sari-sari store on the white building on the right side.

Rizal Street, El Nido, Palawan

On Sirena Street, construction was in full swing on the lot right next to the clothing store when I was documenting during the month of September. It used to be a cozy little restaurant called Vicenta’s, that we loved to eat at back in 2006 because they had the most delicious seafood dishes.

Vicentas Sirena St

We used to feel uncomfortable walking on this street because it was crowded and a bit scary. It’s looking a bit better now, but it is still the street I like least in El Nido.

Sirena St., El Nido, Palawan


On this street, one will also find the Tao Philippines booking office.


Sirena St., El Nido, Palawan
Sirena St., El Nido, Palawan

And the Palawan Pawnshop, one of two in this town. I used to ignore this shop until I realized how important it was in a town that had no banks or ATMs. It is the only way to send or receive money from outside of El Nido.


Sirena St., El Nido, Palawan

I’ve never even noticed it before, but a photo from 2006 tells me it’s been there ever since.

Palawan Pawnshop


Sea Slugs Beach Bar and Restaurant, El Nido, Palawan

Music, Palawan, Restaurants By October 15, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , 8 Comments

My favorite at Sea Slugs would always be their Tanigue in lemon butter sauce and their Shirley Temple. That’s what I always order there. My friends who work for the El Nido Resorts always order pizza when they are in town from the resort.

We were there a lot that I took a lot of photos at different times. This is one of the places in El Nido that we could be seen just hanging out and about.

The restaurant is open the entire day and is a good place to have breakfast. If you’re going to have breakfast with a view like this, why not?




I have photos of Sea Slugs taken in 2006 when they were just starting out. It used to look like this:

Sea Slugs Bar and Restaurant, El Nido, Palawan (2006)

Sea Slugs Bar and Restaurant, El Nido, Palawan (2006)

Here is the photo from my Before-and-After Photo-documentation Project.

Sea Slugs


Gigs on October 17 around the Metro

Music By October 14, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , No Comments

Hoo-la-la! Some days all my favorite bands play on the same night! So, here’s what going to happen on Wednesday night at bars all over the Metro!


Jeck Pilpil & Peacepipe

The Chongkeys

Dread Knot Used

Reggae Mistress


Brownman Revival






The Youth

Imbue No Kudos

The 21st Fever


B-Side Facebook Page



Radioactive Sago Project

Ebe Dancel

Flippin Soul Stompers

Top Junk

FREE ENTRANCE!!! Show starts at 9PM!!!

All Roads Lead To Route 196!!

Check out the Facebook event page HERE for more details.


Photography by Lia

MOMents, Photography By October 13, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , 2 Comments

My daughter has a very good eye and I am immensely proud of it. I’d buy her her own camera soon as she is old enough to know exactly what it’s for, and is responsible for what she will get out of it. She loves looking at the photos I take and I like asking her opinion on which photos are good or not.

She also does not like having her photos taken. More often than not, she would say No when I ask if I can take her photo.

Some days I’d ask her to take photos and she’d flat out say no.

Whereas some days she wouldn’t stop taking photos. She loves taking photos of me.

So one September morning, while hanging out in our bedroom in El Nido, Lia decided it was portraits time.

And I guess that day, Lia was really in the mood for taking photos because that evening, she was still at it. She found it extremely amusing that I had Angry Birds stickers on my face, which she put on herself.

Lia and I definitely have lots of fun together. Even if we are just hanging out inside our bedroom. 😉


Purple Fountain Courtyard Inn, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Palawan By October 12, 2012 Tags: , , , , 2 Comments

On our way back to Manila from El Nido, the option of flying out straight of El Nido to Manila was unavailable, due to the fact that the Lio airport was in the middle of renovating, expanding, and basically building a concrete runway, and operations were suspended for the time being. Lia and I had to take the RORO bus from El Nido to Puerto Princesa – a trip that was supposed to last 6  hours, but became 10 hours because we we’re stuck somewhere in the middle of Taytay and Roxas for 4 hours because of some problems with the engine and the brakes, so on and so forth. We left El Nido at ten in the evening and arrived in Puerto Princesa at some time past 8 in the morning. By then, I was already nearing the end of my patience with the trip because Lia had already woken up and was starting to feel the toll of such a long trip and kept on saying, “Mama, I’m dizzy. My head is ouchy… hold me… stroke my head…,” looking very pale. I could see she was fighting the urge to throw up.

I chose Purple Fountain Courtyard Inn upon the recommendation of my friend Andy, who had stayed there a few weeks before, saying that I would like it because its new and quite nice. I primarily chose it because they provided free pick up from the bus terminal, as well as free transport to the airport. With my 4 bags, 38-kg baggage, 14-kg carry-on, and 16-kg toddler, I really needed that. I was eyeing the Hibiscus Garden Inn as a place to stay for the night because my students’ family owned it but I could not get in touch with them at first.

Purple Fountain Courtyard Inn in Puerto Princesa is owned by the same family that owns the Marina Garden Inn in El Nido. I liked the fact that they responded very well to customer inquiries, called back for updates promptly, and texted back right away when messaged on the phone. I must say that they have very good customer service.

It was rainy in Palawan that entire week so we didn’t get to see the sun at all. From the street, the inn could easily be missed.

Purple Fountain Courtyard Inn, Puerto Princesa, Palawan
Purple Fountain Courtyard Inn, Puerto Princesa, Palawan
Purple Fountain Courtyard Inn, Puerto Princesa, Palawan
They were still in the middle of construction for the front building, which might be either a restaurant or more rooms.

The Toyota Avanza that was used to pick us up from the bus terminal brought us into the driveway and straight at the doorstep of the reception area.

Purple Fountain Courtyard Inn, Puerto Princesa, Palawan