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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Open Mic: A very Happy Ending

Last night i had my very first gig at Eat Pescado. As always, i was with my band walnut Avenue (Solcyn, Louie and Piox). It was not actually a full blown gig, but an audition. we wanted to perform there weekly so we had to audition for it. We sang just on eset but i think we did alright. my friends even say i did great. i probabaly had about 50 friends there.. not that i invited everyone, some just happened to be there. and i think it served me well. the crowd rooted for us and i used that energy to improve my performance.
so the sound system was less than great and the microphone and even the mic stand were awful. i still thought my performance was ok. although the "technical difficulties" distracted me i didnt distract me as much as it would have a couple of years ago..
it may not show, but when i started singing was sooo shy, and i did not even have the courage to lety my voice out. so yeah, confidence really plays a big part when singing.
confession #18
probabaly the reason why i was so happy to perform last night was that my friends were there to support me.
there was jervy and his friends... i truly appreciated that jervy came even though he wass l;ate. he never drinks and very seldomly goes to torres
ezza- who was dead tired from the farm but still amde an effort to be there
nikka, kae kae, marian, byu- who went there for the sole reason of supporting me
dino, job- who had stopped drinking for a while but pulled through for me
monet-who was cash-less but still chose to go to tores just to catch me
adrian- who cannot be exposed to smoke because of his medical condition, but decided to commit suicide just to watch me perform
mernill-who im sure does not go to torres that often, but was there nonetheless
lara- who skipped a wedding just to be tehre for me
chooy and his dad- he had promised me before that he would come..and this time he did...and it seems he enjoyed it
braggy- who doesnt really 'do' the torres scene, but was there for me and only me
faith-who was supposed to go home to tagum, but decided to stay here so she could watch me perform (btw she has a great voice too. better than mine, actually)
julius- who was supposed to go home as well to pack his belongings for a samal trip today
ten ten- who ahd texted everyone, reminding them that i was having a gig
suzette and her bf- who always eem to be there when ever i invite them to watch my gig
leslie- who surprised em with her attendance..we did not even talk much, yet there she was to support me.
and to all the rest of my friends who came despite of the rain
yes. this was a great ending for my law school experience

What a Boy Wants: A Guide To Surviving the Sem-Break

Published Edge Davao Business Weekly
It is officially the start of the semestral break. All you college boys have been looking forward to this fateful day, and you have made a million and one plans. Somehow, none of your plans push thru and you are left sitting all alone at home, with nothing to do but to lay in front of your TV. You can’t text your friends because your parents have stopped giving you your allowance and you can’t call your friends on the phone because that isn’t really cool anymore. So right now, all you want to do is get back to school and start doing something again. But before you allow boredom to turn you into a nerd, take some of my suggestions for fun activities you can do for the sem-break. So gather all your guy friends and get ready for some male bonding.

1. Gimmick Night- You should have expected this. My column would not be called “Confessions of a Partyphile” if I did not really enjoy parties. Go out on an all out, no holds barred gimmick night. But, if most of your friends are swingles (single and willing to mingle) mix it up. Tell your male friends to bring one single female friend and vice versa. That way, everyone will be paired up, and if you don’t see anyone you fancy, at least you’ll have a female friend in tow.

2. Paintball- Try paintball. Although I can’t say that it is pain free (I’ve been hit a couple of times in parts of my body I’d rather keep private), it is a lot of fun and is very exciting. Also, this will give you and your friends a different kind of bonding experience.

3. Plan a Road trip- Tired of all the beaches in Davao? Go on a road trip to wherever your money takes you! You can go as far as Cagayan de Oro and check out the night life there, or you could go somewhere closer like Tagum or even just Toril. What’s important is you bring some good music, good food, good moods and great friends!

4. Zip line- Try the longest zip line in the Philippines at Camp Sabros. I heard it’s really exciting and the price is not that bad either. Make sure though that every one is in the mood for a long hike. You have to walk quite a bit to get there.

5. White Water Rafting- This is a really fun activity, and will probably add some notches in your cool meter. Post your pictures in Friendster or Multiply, and they are sure to garner a lot of comments. Now doesn’t that sound good?

6. Scale the Mountain- Come on. You aren’t a true Davaoeño unless you’ve scaled the heights of the highest peak in the Philippines-Mt. Apo. If it’s your first time to climb a mountain, you will find that it is a very rewarding experience. Just remember to bring thick socks and an even thicker jacket.

7. Stay Indoors- Stay indoors and have a DVD marathon. Gather all your friends for some male bonding over a movie and some pop-corn. Try guy flicks such as Fight Club and Rocky or rent some comedies like American Pie or Austin Powers. Want more laughs? Try the Jackass series and gross yourselves out.

Always remember guys: It does not matter what you do, how much you spend or where you go; what matters is that you made time to bond with your friends outside the confines of school. Also, give yourself a favor and enjoy the fact that you are doing nothing. After all, a real partyphile always knows when to sit back, relax and smell the roses.

Partyphile's Halloween

Published in edge Davao Business Weekly

Halloween has never really been that popular in the city. It is often overlooked because people are often too busy preparing for All Saints Days and All Souls Day. However, for a true partyphile, it is the perfect excuse to gather a bunch of friends and throw a chic party. Here are some tips on how to host a cool, non-cliché, but equally fun Halloween party for adults.

Food and Drinks

Obviously those monster cookies are used too much in Halloween parties to compensate for the host’s lack of creativity. However, there are a lot of great ideas for adult Halloween parties that are not too tongue-in-cheek. Here are some of my favorites:

Muddy Worms- Buy extra large frosted cupcakes or a birthday cake and simply top them with crushed chocolate cookies (so they look like dirt) and then top them with gummy worms. This is an inexpensive way to give your desert a festive look.
Gooey Slime Punch- Make some lemonade and then dye it green with food coloring. You could add pieces of green gelatin to add to the slimy effect. Of course, you could add soda or champagne to make it even more festive and bubbly.
Floating Hands- This is something to put inside your punch bowl, or in the middle of your Gooey Slime Punch. Simply fill some rubber gloves with water and then tie a secure knot at the end. After freezing, peel off the glove and watch your icy hand float in the middle of your punch bowl.
Jello Shots- Who does not love jello shots? Simply prepare black and orange jello as instructed in the package, and then right before placing them in little shot glasses, mix in about a cup of vodka.
Frozen Insects- If you are serving drinks with ice cubes, it might be a good idea to fill those ice trays with plastic insects before [putting water and freezing them. Not so sure about putting plastic stuff in your drinks? Raisins will work as well. They look creepy (all crunched up and black) but they are edible.
Candies by the Door- No matter how old your guests are they will surely appreciate treats by the door. So fill a huge bowl with candies from your childhood like Tarzan gum or Tootsie Rolls. Mix them up with some Halloween inspired goodies as well.
Pitch In- Ask your friends to bring their own spooky treats and food. Waiting for the food is equally as exciting as waiting for your friends to arrive. Get ready for some unusual treats. Need some tips? Make a squid pasta. The ink in the squid gives it a dark black sauce, plus, it tastes great.

Dressing Up

Not everyone is comfortable with dressing up for a Halloween party, especially when your guests are adults. However, this really adds an element of fun in your party. Remember: costumes do not have to be scary to be fun. Here are other options:

Hats Off- If your friends are the type who would not want to dress up for Halloween, change the rules. You could require them to wear hats only. You could always take it off once you feel silly about it.
Coupled- You could also require your guests to dress up as couples. This would make some guests feel more comfortable with what they have on when they have someone else to share the embarrassment with.
Era- You could also suggest costumes form a particular era like the 60s, 50s or 70s.

Setting the Mood

The most important part for the success of a Halloween party is the atmosphere of the venue. You should consider decorating your place to give it a different look. This adds to the novelty of the occasion.

Mood Lighting- You could cover your light bulbs with blue or red plastic cellophane to give it an eerie look. If you want to go the extra mile, use black lights and then scatter some glow in the dark insect around the house.
Not-So-Comforting Room- Bathrooms are probably the most overlooked part of the house when decorating for an occasion. Fill yours with candles and glow in the dark insects or skeletons.
Centerpiece- Need a centerpiece? Simply place orange and black Christmas balls inside a fish bowl. This looks festive but still sophisticated and chic.
Music- Remember that music is a very effective way to affect the mood of any crowd. If you are throwing an 80s party, you might want to play some “Thriller” or the theme from “Ghostbusters”. If you are more of a modern crowd, you might want to play “Sex, Drugs and House” (which features the voice of a spooky Devil) and Tracks from Infected Mushrooms. You could also try playing songs from those Gregorian Monks; they always seem to creep me out.
Scary Movie Marathon- This is not only fun, it will keep some of your shy friends pre-occupied so you won’t have to sweat entertaining them. The Exorcist is always a sure bet, also try new favorites like The Grudge and The Eye.

Remember: Careful panning is the key for any successful party. Prepare as much as you can before the actual party so you could relax during the party and attend to your guests instead of stressing about the food, the decors and the music. So invite those friends, think of a theme for your party and prepare a handful of ghost stories. Get ready for a wonderful Halloween party little partyphile!

Coffee For Peace

Published in You Magazine, Nove-Dec issue

Imagine yourself witnessing an armed war between the Philippine Military and the MILF. They all seem tired, parched and hungry. You watch these men as they run through the forest. They seem to be heading somewhere to take solace. You see them enter a house, leaving their weapons outside. As you peek thru the window, you are amazed. The military men and the MILF soldiers are sitting side by side, talking over a cup of coffee. You wonder who can be so kind as to risk their lives in the middle of war just to help these poor soldiers and rebels. Well, the answer is the peace builders. And this was the start of Coffee for Peace.

Yes. Coffee for Peace (or C4P) is not just another coffee shop. It has a pretty interesting back story behind it. Located along MacArthur Hiway in Matina, right smack in the middle of Davao City, C4P has a lot of different advocacies.

For one, they try to help build peace among Mindanaoans. Their ultimate goal is for the Bangsamoro people, the migrants (basically, most of the Christian community) and the Lumads (indigenous people from Mindanao) to start building a healthier relationship between themselves. They strive for peace, and hope that one day, these three “tribes” may see each other eye to eye and start acknowledging each other’s presence and importance. For this purpose, part of Coffee for Peace’s income goes to PAR (Peace and Reconciliation) Teams who are being trained to be agents of peace in Mindanao.

Coffee for Peace also gets their coffee from B’laans. B’laans are indigenous people from Mount Matutum in South Cotabato. C4P purchases raw coffee from these B’laans at a fair price, that is, at a price that these Lumads want to get in return for their hard work.

Coffee for Peace is also friendly to our environment. They support the natural and traditional way of coffee farming, and they even have a solar-powered air conditioning system.

They also sell products like fudge bars from women who want to earn extra income and beautiful cloths hand-woven by women from Maguindanao. Also, scattered around the shop are products made by different Lumad tribes that are both interesting and useful.

Obviously, C4P, unlike most coffee shops in other key cities in the country, is not main stream. It is unconventional, not commercial. Coffee for Peace is like food for the soul. Their story warms the heart and the ambience feeds the artist in everyone. Their interiors are interesting; they seem to take you back to your native roots while managing to remain current. Their innovative furnishings (a basket for catching fish, repurposed as a lamp? Pure genius!) and wonderful use of native products make the place interesting and quirky.

Their menu is simple, no none-sense. But that does not mean that it’s boring. One of their best sellers, the Cifra ala Mode is a cool mix of citrus, coffee and cool fun. This one-of-a-kind creation by head barista, Ibrahim Balone, won as the best Cold Espresso Concoction in last year’s NCCC Culinary Festival. And it truly deserves the title. It is just simply unique and unexpected.

The best item in their menu, however, is their Civet coffee. You can not visit Coffee for Peace without trying their Civet coffee. Yes. Everybody has heard about this infamous cuppa. Civet coffee is the most expensive coffee in the world, and you can get it here, for just 160 pesos. Now isn’t that a deal! Civet coffee is the coffee drinker’s dream. It is aromatic, has less caffeine, has a full body, and goes down smooth. As an added bonus, they serve their civet coffee in a siphon, a contraption for steeping coffee. Watching the coffee move up and down as the siphon creates a vacuum is an experience by itself. Other must tries are their Beef Shpeherd’s Pie (they do not serve any pork dishes) their flower teas (they literally put flowers in a huge glass pot) and their tuna melt.
The quaint shop feels homey and un-intimidating, the staff is friendly and they just make you feel welcome. And that is what Coffee for Peace does best. Whether you are a student from nearby Ateneo de Davao, a coffee connoisseur, an artist, an ex-pat, a member of the military, the MILF, or maybe even, a budding journalist, you feel welcome in Coffee for Peace.

In this country where main stream coffee shop franchises that lack personality and depth reign supreme, this truly Filipino coffee shop goes against the grain and proves, once again, that the Filipino is the master of hospitality and truly great cuisine.
Did you know?

-Civet Cofee is made from Civet (or Alamid) feces! Yes. Civets eat coffee berries but they do not digest the coffee beans. B’laans look for Civet feces in caves around Mt. Matutum and clean them for roasting.
-Civet Coffee is the most expensive in the world selling between $120 and $600 USD per pound, we can buy it locally for around 11,000 Philippine Pesos.
-Coffee for Peace uses Arabica beans from South Cotabato and other parts of the Philippines
-Arabica beans are the best commercially grown species of coffee, with a very strong aroma and very minimal caffeine content (with 12 milligrams of caffeine per gram of dry coffee)