Edades gets auctioned, inspires building

Edades gets auctioned, inspires building
By Walter Ang
July 19, 2010
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Seven out of ten works by National Artist Victorio C. Edades, considered as the Father of Philippine Modern Art, were sold at a recent auction organized by property developer Rockwell Land and carried out by the auction house Salcedo Auctions.

The 70% clearance rate is at par with successful auctions conducted by international auction houses Sotheby's and Christie's. The auction was a first-of-its-kind in the country where all the works up for bid were by one artist.

The catalogue cover piece, Sunburst, sold for P1,077,680 to a corporate collection. The 1971 oil on canvas measuring 57.1 x 73 cm shows the full range of the artist's painterly skill in the post-Impressionist style.

The work that achieved the highest price increase was the back-to-back 29.8 x 43.2 cm 1981 pen-and-ink drawing Seated Nude Female and Nude Female which achieved P151,840?more than double the pre-sale estimate of P60,000. This piece was purchased by a private collector.

Rockwell Land hosted an exhibit of the works curated by Norma Crisologo-Liongoren prior to the auction. Both events were the developer's tribute to the man after whom its latest project is named after: Edades Tower and Garden Villas.

Naming the development after Edades follows Rockwell Land's convention of naming previous neighboring developments after National Artists in Visual Arts like abstractionist Jose Joya and transparent cubism proponent Vicente Manansala.

In its attempt to be as revolutionary as its namesake as well as acknowledging the master's interest in gardening and horticulture, the development aims to redefine urban living by incorporating space for greenery into its design.

Located in Rockwell Center, Makati City, this 50-storey residential tower is the first of four planned residential towers within Rockwell Land's master-planned 15.5-hectares. The defining feature of this development, designed by architecture firm Pimentel Rodriguez Simbulan and Partners, is the inclusion of thirty Garden Villas that will form a cluster of two-storey units, similar to townhomes, that extend from the main Edades Tower. Each of these villas comes with lawn areas.

The tower will include flat units, lofts and z-lofts (a concept pioneered by the developers that allows for two different views of the cityscape from a single zigzag-shaped unit that spans the entire width of the building) starting at 33 sqm up to 143 sqm. Certain lofts in the tower will have their own garden decks as well, creating visual breaks along the tower's height.

Aside from landscaped pocket gardens, amenities on the podium floor will include a lap pool, a fully-equipped and state-of-the art gym, full-service function rooms and a business center. The Edades Tower and Garden Villas will have an exclusive tunnel access to the Power Plant Mall as well as a central piazza to house dining establishments.

Call Rockwell Land at 793-0088.

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Pretty, pampered and picture perfect at Organic Rituals Spa

Pretty, pampered and picture perfect
By Walter Ang
July 19, 2010
Manila Bulletin

When Nikki Angangco was pregnant, she still wanted to look pretty and be pampered. Her search for a nail polish that would be safe enough for pregnant women to use soon gave way to another kind of birth. Angangco teamed up with Katrina Armamento, a friend from college, and established Organic Rituals Spa.

Tucked into the mezzanine of a building in Greenhills, "More than just a regular spa, it's a lifestyle of environmental consciousness," Angangco says. "We believe beauty should be in harmony with nature at all times. We offer a broad range of soothing earth-friendly services."

To this end, Organic Rituals uses natural and organic essential oils, soaks, scrubs and lotions in their massage and body treatments. Even the aroma oils used in the reed diffusers in their treatment areas are all natural.

Vegan and non-toxic
For better looking and hydrated hands and feet, Organic Rituals uses only vegan and non-toxic nail polishes for their manicures and pedicures.

They carry the Zoya line which does not contain toluene, camphor, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate?chemicals that are harmful to the body. And, yes, this brand is safe enough for pregnant women to wear. They also carry the Sparituals line which uses organic vegan ingredients and are naturally colored and free of synthetic dyes.

Clients have a variety of choices for colors that range from sheers and pastels to dark, vampy tones, in matte and glossy finishes. They also get to bring home the single-use mani-pedi implements for their own personal use.

Waist loss
The spa has a "Waist-Loss" program that promises a loss of up to three inches off the waist while reducing body fat and weight, banishing belly bloat and polishing dull skin.

The spa owners commissioned this exclusive detox program from a US-certified fitness nutritionist and weight loss specialist. The program is comprised of a week-long diet that culminates with a whole day at the spa to relax and rejuvenate the body.

For four to six days, clients go through a nutritionally balanced, additive-free and hypoallergenic diet plan filled with foods rich in phytonutrients (to aid in flushing out toxins) and antioxidants (to reduce inflammation and bloating).

"Then you escape for a whole day at Organic Rituals where you are lavished with detoxifying and slimming body treatments while being served yummy and nutritious meals and drinks in between treatments," Armamento says. "Isn't that a great way to lose weight?"

The day begins with a detox steam in a personal mini-tent that leaves the arms free for reading magazines or even surfing the web using the spa's free wireless internet. A coffee scrub follows, where the scrub's caffeine and antioxidants help slim and detoxify the body while exfoliating the skin.

A Puff Buster Facial is followed by a hot shower using the spa's organic shampoo, conditioner and body wash. Then, to stimulate the liver and gall bladder to release toxins, the Belly Buster Coffee Enema is performed. "The caffeine stimulates your intestines to contract and loosen any waste that's accumulated along the walls of the colon," says Angangco.

Concluding the series of treatments is their Bloat Banishing Massage, a lymphatic drain massage that stimulates the lymphatic system into eliminating metabolic waste products, excess fluid and bacteria.

"Clients usually take the `waist-loss' program prior to a big occasion like a wedding or a photo shoot or any public appearance for a special event," she adds. "But anyone can do it any time just to detox. It can also be used to jumpstart a weight-loss program or break a weight-loss plateau."

For those inclined to just drop in for a quick escape from the stress of daily life, the spa's most popular massage is its signature Dream Weaver massage. It combines four styles and disciplines: Swedish, shiatsu, Hawaiian lomi-lomi, and sports massage.

"Our nail technicians and certified massage therapists follow international spa standards and procedures," Armamento says. "They are well-educated in analyzing skin and nail conditions and will recommend the best treatment fit for each client."

Of course, it's more fun to get pampered when friends or family are doing it together, which is why the spa offers sparties in its spacious living room setting. The high white walls provide an expansive, airy atmosphere while several oversized specially-designed couches, lounges and ottomans anchor the room. Three body massage cubicles maintain privacy with swathes of ceiling-to-floor gold curtains.

The sparty packages includes three hours exclusive use of the spa, 20 nail spa and massage treatments, souvenir gift items for all guests, as well as food prepared by The Sexy Chef, the catering service run by singer Rachel Alejandro and her sister Chef Barni.

There are four different themes to choose from. The Zen package features food such as California maki while the Oriental package includes Shanghai chicken meatballs. Veggies with hummus dip are served for the Mediterranean package, while the Continental package serves healthy mini-burgers.

Organic Rituals Spa is at Atlanta Centre, 31 Annapolis St., Greenhills. Call 661-3101.

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Rizal's sarsuwela (zarzuela) gets a modern reboot

Rizal's sarsuwela (zarzuela) gets a modern reboot
By Walter Ang
July 5, 2010
Philippine Daily Inquirer

As part of the celebration of Pio Valenzuela Day (the patriot for whom Valenzuela City is named), a sarsuwela written by Rizal more than a century ago will get a modernized retelling via a "three-in-one" show combining elements of a concert, a dance show and a play.

Reincarnated as a rock musical titled "Sa Tabi Ng Ilog Pasig," it will be staged by the Valenzuela City Center for the Performing Arts.

Director Andrei Tiangco updates Rizal's "Junto Al Pasig" (Beside the Pasig) with contemporary music and alternative rock composed by award-winning musical director Jesse Lucas and a combination of hip-hop and contemporary dance by choreographer Arnie Umayam.

This lesser known work of Rizal was written before he crafted his more famous novels "Noli Me Tangere" and "El Filibusterismo."

His one-act sarzuela was written in Spanish while he was a student at University of Santo Tomas and was staged at the Ateneo Municipal de Manila for the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception in 1880.

Philippine Educational Theater Association staged a Tagalog version in 1974 and National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin did an English translation in 1976. VCCPA's version uses a translation by librettist and production designer Jose Jeffrey Camanag.

The production will also utilize video and image projections designed by award-winning visual artist Nasser Lubay (2nd place, Celeste Prize 2009, Berlin Germany and a selected artist for Animamix International Biennial 2009).

The group had done a children's musical a few years ago and wanted to create a work for high school and college audiences.

Artistic director Roeder Camanag came across Rizal's sarzuela and wanted to stage it as a dance musical. "I wanted to do it along the lines of `Rama Hari' and `Tales of the Manuvu' by Ballet Philippines," he says.

"Students and even teachers might possibly be tired of or intimidated by Noli and Fili," he notes. The material became an opportunity for the group to introduce audiences to Rizal's other works.

"I strongly believe that students should really learn and understand Rizal because he is still very much relevant. His views and ideals can still help us understand ourselves and help us in the healing of our nation."

At the same time, "We always want to create imaginative and entertaining supplements to the formal learning provided by learning institutions, at the same time, develop the talents of budding performers and theater practitioners in Valenzuela City," he notes.

Therefore, there was a deliberate effort to make it accessible to today's audiences. Aside from the staging elements, "We tweaked the story a little to avoid confusing issues and to tighten the dialogue," he says. "But we're still 95 percent faithful to the original text and to the message of the story."

"We want students to be able to relate to the material. We want to them to open their eyes to the realities that they will soon be the leaders of this country and their political beliefs shall give shape to the future of this country."

"Sa Tabi Ng Ilog Pasig" follows the adventures of a young boy named Leonido, who, while waiting for the fluvial procession of the Virgin of Antipolo, has a one-on-one confrontation with the Devil dressed as a Diwita, an ancient Filipino God who attacks and questions Leonido's Christian faith.

"The story focuses on breaking the simplistic view that the world is black and white, where good is always good and evil is eternally bound to be bad," Camanag says. "It questions the standards of good and evil in reference to the improvement of human conditions."

VCCPA was formed under the auspices of Valenzuela Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian in 2006. "We're now on our fifth season," says Camanag. "The group aims to foster new avenues where the city youth can productively channel their energies and experience the benefits of being part of the performing arts."

The group provides members with free extensive training in singing, dancing and acting and produces musical productions where members showcase their talents.

To date, VCCPA has successfully produced three major original Filipino musicals, namely: "Nom de Plum," a historical play about one of the heroic characters of the Philippine Revolution, Doctor Pio Valenzuela; "Ang Mga Awit Ng Ibong Adarna," a musical based on the famous Philippine korido; and "Sangdosenang Sapatos," a stage adapatation of the award-winning children's book by Dr. Luis Gatmaitan.

A dance-centric production also allows the group to showcase the variety of its talents. "Our past productions have all been musicals. This production allows our strong dancers to take the frontline," he says.

"Our artistic direction and thrust is focused mainly on developing productions that are not only entertaining but educational as well," he adds. "Our productions are geared towards providing schools and students in all levels with innovative learning aids, positive awareness of the arts and creative experiences that elevate values and morals."

The world premiere of "Sa Tabi Ng Ilog Pasig" is on July 2, 2010 at Valenzuela City Center for the Performing Arts Theater, Poblacion II, Malinta Valenzuela City. The show will run for school year 2010-2011 and is open for bookings and showbuyers. Call 277-6100 or 277-6495 or email valenzuelavccpa@yahoo.com.

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Clara Ole's versatile vinaigrettes for healthy meals

Versatile vinaigrettes for healthy meals
By Walter Ang
July 2, 2010
Philippine Daily Inquirer

"Vinaigrettes offer an alternative healthy way to enjoy your greens and other meals," said Nancy Hernandez, brand manager of Clara Ole Vinaigrettes, at the launch of their new line of products.

She explained that vinaigrette is a healthy option as it contains lower fat compared to dressings because vinaigrette's base is vinegar whereas dressings have egg yolks, cream and other ingredients that make it thick. What's more, the Clara Ole vinaigrettes have zero trans fat and zero cholesterol.

"Anything in moderation is healthier than overdoing it," Hernandez said. She suggests pouring vinaigrette onto a tablespoon first before drizzling it on greens. "This way, you are aware of and can control the amount. Two to three tablespoons per salad serving is okay."

Portion control is one of the usual behavioral modifications for weight management. Two tablespoons may not seem enough for people used to drenching their salads in dressing, but featured guest host Chef Carlo Miguel said that this amount can go a long way if you toss your salad with your hands to ensure that all the greens are coated.

"Just make sure that your hands are clean. This also ensures that you will avoid mashing the greens too roughly. Always pick the freshest vegetables and wash them properly using clean flowing water," he said.

Miguel is the latest winner of the reality TV show "Biggest Loser Asia." He used to weigh 300 pounds but lost a total of 120 pounds by cutting down on his food intake and exercising regularly. He now focuses on maintaining his weight and advocating the advantages of healthy eating.

Clara Ole is manufactured by Sysu International and is actually named for the wife of the company's founder, Ruben Sysu. "Ole is a Spanish word that connotes celebration, good cheer and thanksgiving," Hernandez said.

"The brand Clara Ole calls to mind the spirit and passion of Spain and hopes to make every meal a sumptuous celebration while highlighting the importance of good health, that's why we came up with the Clara Ole Vinaigrettes."

She said that eating nutritious, highly fibrous and a well balanced meal combined with daily exercise is one sure way of attaining good health and protection from sicknesses and diseases. "It's also beneficial to your emotional and psychological wellbeing to enjoy simple encounters, like having meals, with family and friends," she added.

For family members who aren't keen on greens, Hernandez pointed out the versatility of the Clara Ole vinaigrettes. "They don't have to be used only for salads, you can use them as dips or for cooking meals, too," she said, while advocating steamed, grilled, baked or barbecued meals instead of fried food. (See sidebar for sample recipe.)

The "My, my Parmesan!" variant is made with parmesan cheese and garden-fresh herbs. "It has a cheesy-tangy taste," she said. "Besides using it with crisp, fresh vegetables, you can drizzle it over baked chicken and potatoes. It can also serve as the perfect dip for chips and it delicately complements soft Italian bread."

Hernandez recommended using the "Pesto Please!" variant to add flavor to grilled or baked seafood or chicken. "You can add a deliciously nutty, peppery flavor with a hint of fruitiness to your meals," she said. For a quick refreshing salad for the humid weather, Hernandez recommends using this variant with tomato and mozzarella slices with chopped fresh basil.

Pinoys love sweet dressings for their salads and will most likely enjoy the "Orange you Glad!" and "Mango Mio!" variants.

"The 'Orange you Glad!' vinaigrette has a citrus freshness and tart-to-sweet flavor," she said. "For a deliciously exciting contrast of sweetness, saltiness and creaminess, mix this variant with cubes of feta, blue or gorgonzola cheese."

"The 'Mango Mio!' vinaigrette instantly gives your favorite vegetable, fruit, meat and seafood salads a tropical boost. It is also perfect when sprinkled over salsa," she added.

For a more Asian flair, Hernandez suggested the "Sesame Mucho!" variant. "It has a mix of nutty, salty and sweet, complemented by a hint of tanginess that can be used as a dip for steamed vegetables and grilled or steamed seafood," she said. "You can also add it to your barbecue marinade and instantly transform the taste to a distinctly oriental caramel flavor."

For more recipes, visit www.claraole.com or call 926-8852 or 926-8859.

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Cougars just wanna have fun: Crystal Orogquieta and her dalliances with younger men

Cougars just wanna have fun
July-August 2010 issue
Asian Dragon Magazine

As told to Walter Ang, 59 year old Crystal Oroquieta talks about her dalliances with younger men.

I'm 59 years old now and have been dating men younger than me for the past couple of years.

I was only 18 years old when I got married to a college friend. I had five kids by the time I was 25 years old. My husband was intelligent and handsome but lazy as hell. To put us both through college and to put all five of my children through private school, I did all sorts of jobs, mostly selling odds and ends, from longganisa to make-up.

After I gave birth, my body became more curvaceous, more voluptuous. A lot of men would flirt with me, but I was a devoted mother and wife. No hanky panky at that time in my life. After my children were all done with college, I finally separated from my husband after being together for twenty years. There was a deep sense of liberation.

Circumstances were such that I was raised by my half sister (from my father's first wife) until I was fifteen. She was a teacher and raised me in a very orderly and strict environment. I eventually moved in with my mother who was more lenient, but after a few years, I'd gotten married and was thrust into the obligations of motherhood.

You can see that a large portion of my life had always been regimented and I didn't really have time for enjoying myself.

Finally, I could do whatever I wanted and go out with whomever I chose. I don't approach them, they come up to me. My friendly nature makes me attractive to men. I treat everyone the same, whether you're a CEO from a rich subdivision or if you're a janitor from the slums. I talk to everybody!

I remember one of the earliest relationships I had with a younger man. I was in my early or mid 40s and he was in his late 20s. All the time we were together, he never told me he was married. Well, when I found out, that was the end of that.

I just play with them, it's all for fun. Overall, it's just lust, not love. But friendship is there. And affection, too. I'm human after all. It hasn't always been all roses; I get hurt, too. But I know my limits and I always reserve something for myself. Since I have no intentions of committing to anyone anymore, they usually end up leaving when they realize they'll never have me.

When I was 48, I dated an 18 year old who was forced to dance in a gay bar to make ends meet. He had to earn whatever he could to take care of his crippled father. I bought his father a wheelchair and my boyfriend was very grateful. I helped him get a job in Europe doing administrative work for some train station and he's now married and has a family of his own.

I never expect someone younger than me to be as financially capable as I am, so I occasionally help out my boyfriends. I'm very helpful by nature, so it doesn't bother me. In fact, all of them usually refuse my help. So I'm lucky that way, I don't end up with leeches.

When I was 52, I was with a man who was around 27 years old at the time. I had no idea that he was semi-famous. As it turned out, he had occasional stints on television and total strangers would greet him when we went out. I thought he was just a very friendly person.

This time, I was the one who was given money and gifts! He would never accept anything from me and would always ask me out to dinner. If he finished projects for television, he'd call me even in the middle of the night to invite me to join him for a snack or drink.

But really, it's never about the money. It's the companionship they're after.  Someone to talk to, someone to go watch a movie with, someone to have dinner with. I like to have fun, I enjoy going out, so why not me, right?

When I was 55, I dated a 25 year old who was a deadringer for Piolo Pascual. My friends teased me all the time, saying that I was dating a "celebrity." I would reply, "I don't date ugly men."

My relationships usually last from around six months to a year. Long term relationships? Never again!  But with this one, we were together for a few years. He really loved me, even estranging himself from his family because they didn't approve. He was getting too clingy and needy. He had a temper, too. I didn't need all of that so I ended it. He wrote me a very dramatic farewell letter. "I loved you more than my own life," it said.

I think I'm still recovering from that one, but there are no regrets. For now, I just go out by myself. I play golf and tennis, I go ballroom dancing. Till the next one comes along.