This Stock Market (restaurant) feels bullish again

This Stock Market feels bullish again
By Walter Ang
May 26, 2011
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Stock Market restaurant has reopened under the management of The Bistro Group of Restaurants, the same operator of casual dining restaurant chains TGI Friday's, Italianni's, Fish & Co., Flapjacks, Krazy Garlik, Pig Out and Billy Rock.

The look has been refurbished a bit. Fans of the TV cooking show "Barefoot Contessa" may find the interiors familiar: white-washed walls, large windows that allow sunlight to wash into the dining area, and even striped faux-awnings?elements that evoke a crisp Hamptons-style aesthetic.

Dashes of muted earth tones (green, beige and brown) have been added to the still predominantly white color-scheme to provide warmth and to further enhance the tropical flair that has always been in the design, courtesy of wicker chairs and the pineapple motifs interspersed in the floor tiles, framed prints across the walls, and even real ones (small baby pineapples) used as shelving and table accents.

The central shelf-display of fresh produce has been moved to the side of the ice cream counter, maintaining somewhat the (former) deli look-and-feel while opening up the space for more seating areas.

In addition to patio seating for dining al fresco (all the better to people watch with?and the people watching is part of what makes Bonifacio High Street what it is anyway), two function rooms are available for corporate and social functions.

"Stock Market offers an eclectic selection of simple yet flavorful dishes that accentuate the use of fresh ingredients," says operations vice president Jean Paul Manuud. "Choices range from light salads and appetizers to hearty entrees and indulgent desserts."

There is a revamped beverage list of freshly squeezed juices, fruit shakes, and specialty drinks that are meant to be good for the body: Ginger Lemonade, Celery and Pineapple Crusher, Surfing Cucumber, Malunggay Citrus and Ampalaya Cooler.

Light eaters and vegetarians can try the Stock Market Harvest Salad, a mix of romaine lettuce with candied walnuts, fresh fruits, a wedge of pineapple and tossed with pineapple vinaigrette dressing.

"When you the see words 'must try' and the pineapple icon in our menu, you'll know that these are the house specialties," he says.

There's also an array of seafood dishes, in keeping with the by-the-beach-at-the-Hamptons feel.

In addition to clam chowder and shrimp salad, appetizers include Salmon Carpaccio, thin shavings of raw salmon drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice, capers and black olives in arugula leaves; Salmon and Spinach Dip, four cheeses blended with salmon and served with toasted Tuscan bread; Mussels Mariniere, steamed mussels in garlic, butter, olive oil, white wine and chili flakes; Escargot, vineyard snails baked in seasoned garlic butter; and Maryland Crab, breaded crab cake with aioli and basil pesto.

For entrees, there's a dish that originated from a city in the coast opposite the Hamptons (San Francisco), Cioppino Seafood Stew, a combination of fish and shellfish in a tomato base sauce. There are also clam-based pasta dishes and grilled, pan-seared or batter-fried pesco dishes.

You can ask for steak prepared Oscar Style, with crab meat, asparagus and Béarnaise sauce. There's also the Angus Burger with Grilled Pineapple, made with half a pound of US Angus beef patty topped with a slice of fresh pineapple and cheese served with pickles and sliced potatoes.

For dessert, there is the Pineapple Fruit Boat, a pineapple "boat" loaded with assorted fresh fruits served with whipped cream on the side.

There are, of course, other non-seafood options that feature the other proteins (chicken, beef and pork) in various manners of preparation. Also, there is a Kids Menu for those with children who aren't ready to try out new foods yet (and for adults who occasionally need familiar comfort food): Mac & Cheese, Lollipop Chicken, Spaghetti and Meatballs and Honey Chicken Fingers.

Families or barkadas who use the Bistro Group's BFF (Bistro Frequent Foodie) discount card and are familiar with their other restaurants now have an option that's, say, less playful then sporty TGI Fridays or a little more refined than rustic Italianni's.

"And what could make guests more at home than the signature Bistro Group service?" he says. "Our friendly and efficient wait staff will always warmly welcome diners."

Stock Market is at Quadrant 3, Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City Development, Taguig City. Contact 8566301 or

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Makati Med doctors hold charity fun run

Makati Med doctors hold charity fun run
By Walter Ang
May 17, 2011
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, talking and swallowing are things we do every day and, therefore, take for granted. "But as everyone knows, when things go wrong with any one of these, life can be extremely difficult," say Dr. Ricky Fernandez.

"Whenever we get a `simple' cold, we find it hard to breathe, we can't hear normally, we can't smell and taste our food, sometimes our ears hurt," he says. "What more for more serious or complicated conditions?"

Fernandez is the chair of Makati Medical Center's Ear, Nose, Throat department and he recommends a check-up at least once a year at their ENT Diagnostic Center just to make sure everything is in tip-top shape or to catch potential problems early on.

"It's always easier to treat a problem when it's still at its beginning stages, rather than waiting until it's a big problem."

The center is home to the hospital's otolaryngologists who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of ear, nose, throat, and head and neck disorders?which is why doctors who specialize in this field are more commonly referred to as ENT (ear, nose throat) doctors.

They treat a whole range of problems from stuffy noses to balance problems (the ears play an important part in helping our brain figure out how to balance our bodies). "Imagine, our ability to stand straight, walk, play basketball or dance are all affected by our ears," he says.

Running doctors
To help increase awareness of the importance of ENT health, the department is organizing a fun run dubbed "Run Doctor Run" on July 23 at Dasmariñas Village.

Event head organizer Cherrie Miguel says the fun run's objective is to raise funds for the department's head and neck cancer charity patients.

"The ENT department also has experts for the treatment of cancer. Not many people know this, but the department helps out patients who are not able to afford treatment," she says. "We'd love for everyone to support our fun run so they can help out these patients while having a good time and meeting new friends at the same time."

"It's also a good opportunity to awaken the camaraderie and fitness attitude of all the hospital's employees, doctors, patients and the residents of Makati Med's neighbors."

The center is staffed by clinical audiologists and technicians who supervise the diagnostic tests that help doctors determine what condition a patient has so they can recommend the most appropriate treatment plans.

It has a host of equipment that perform different kinds of tests to check patient's conditions. Hearing tests are usually done in sound-proof booths (that look like recording studio booths). Dr. Jay Ongsiako, the department's training officer, says the tests are done to "identify a patient's hearing threshold to determine the degree, type and configuration of hearing loss."

"Some tests are very easy, for example, patients simply need to push a button when they hear a tone on their headphones," he says. The tests are adjusted for children, for example, they're tasked to put toys in a box instead of pushing buttons. The center also helps patients with hearing aids if needed.

For dizziness or vertigo, the center uses electronystagmography, a procedure that video records eye movement so doctors can identify if eye muscles might be making involuntary or uncontrolled movements that can trigger problems.

"Another often-abused or mis-used part of our bodies is our throats," says Ongsiako. "People who use their voice a lot like singers, announcers or teachers should watch out for prolonged hoarseness, it could be a symptom of a condition that should be treated early. Excessive smokers and drinkers should also have their throats checked regularly."

The center uses videolaryngostroboscopy, a way to video record a patient's vocal cords, which is then viewed by doctors on a monitor. A thin flexible tube called a fiberoptic rhinolaryngoscope can be used for patients who are excitable or have a gag reflex.

"This way we can catch any small abnormalities inside the throat such as masses or lesions, abnormal motion, swelling, etc."

High tech
Fernandez is proud of the fact that their center has its own operating room. "Procedures that do not require general anesthesia can all be done here, we're a one-stop-shop," he says. "We average close to 400 patients every month and they consistently give us an above-average satisfaction rating in our surveys."

Ongsiako points out that the operating room has a built-in camera that projects videos of any procedure into the department's conference room. "As the training officer, I'm always on the lookout for ways to improve the education of our doctors. This system allows them to watch and learn from complicated procedures and procedures done on unusual cases."

To sponsor the event or to participate, call 0917-840-8781, 0915-628-2156 or 888-8999 loc. ENT.

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Sipat Lawin Ensemble 2011 season line-up

Lorca dream play to be staged
By Walter Ang
May 16, 2011
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Sipat Lawin Ensemble
"We don't make plays, we create experiences," is Sipat Lawin Ensemble's tagline for its 2011 line-up.  The group showcased excerpts of upcoming productions at the launch of their season.

The launch, held at Puerta del Sta. Lucia at Intramuros, began with Sisa (of Rizal's "Noli Me Tangere") giving birth to 150 babies while facing the San Agustin Church.  Audience members were given masks, made to make animal noises, tasked to interact and dance with SLE's actors, and where even instructed to "kill" each other by secretly sticking their tongues out at their "victims."

"Seventy-five people 'died' on the floor that night," said artistic director JK Anicoche.  The interactive activities were meant to showcase the group's brand of theater-making, "SLE operates on themes of 'Intervention. Inter-action. Invasion,'" he said.

rOm3oW LUVZ juLz
This May, SLE staged "Paglipas ng Limang Taon," Rody Vera's Tagalog translation of Federico Garcia Lorca's "When Five Years Pass." (The run ended yesterday.)

Tuxqs Rutaquio directed this play that "tells the story of a Young Man who will finally marry his fiancée after waiting for five years. However, 'when five years pass,' his fiancée is no longer the same person he once knew."

Animals and lovers
In July, the group will restage their devised four-actor "Imperio Animalia" (adaptation of George Orwell's "Animal Farm") directed by Anicoche with production design by Don Salubayba. The production is usually staged in public areas that have a fountain.

The group's "jejemon" comedy version of William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" is set to tour basketball courts in different barangays in August.  SLE will conduct workshops in barangays and incorporate local talents (acting and backstage, including set/costume/props design) for unique performances.

This production is an evolution of a devised adaptation (to critical acclaim) by Dulaang Sipat Lawin, the resident theater group of the Philippine High School for the Arts.  It's also been restaged by Tanghalang Pilipino.

The previous version was titled "R'meo luvs Dew'lhiett" and used "jologs" language interspersed with National Artist for Theater Rolando Tinio's Filipino translation.

"We're working with playwright Layeta Bucoy and we've updated the title to 'rOm3oW LUVZ juLz,' to reflect our search of the quintessential 'language' of this generation after the first decade of the 21st century," said Anicoche. "Aside from 'jejemon,' we'll also use fliptop, a form of rap battle done in the streets."

Launch of 2011 season
In November, SLE will stage the musical "Manhid" by Auraeus Solito, to be directed by Tuxqs Rutaquio.  The musical is about two groups of superheroes, one of which is employed by a demonic Minister of Humanity who plans on enslaving Filipinos with an epidemic of Kamanhiran.

"These opposing teams battle for the future of the Philippines," said Anicoche. "Manhid" was first staged in 1989 where the defunct band Eraserheads first performed their hit song "Kailan."

In January 2012, SLE is set to stage "Battalia Real," based on the Japanese cult-movie "Battle Royale" where a group of students is forced to exterminate each other in a dystopian future.

"In the movie, 42 students are placed on an island with the instruction that after three days, there should only be one survivor," said Anicoche.  "In our version, we will have 12 shows involving 12 university theater companies and one playground in the old prison cells of Intramuros."

Available for booking by schools, offices and organizations is SLE's touring comedy-musical "Pragres," based on the short story "Progress" by National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose.

Set during Martial Law, "Pragres" is "a satire on lazy government employees and government bureaucracy as we follow the travails of Marina, a provincial senior clerk, who goes to Manila to seek the endorsement of her promotion. As she encounters one bureaucrat after another (all played by one other actor), she drowns in incompetence and corruption."

Once every three months, SLE also stages "Strange Pilgrims," an open-platform performance that the group describes as "Opera + Music + Contemporary Dance + Film + Theatre + Art."  Usually staged in small art galleries, living rooms or bars and involving guest artists from different disciplines, past installments have featured works from pole dancer Eisa Jocson, UP Dance Company, musician Diwa de Leon and playwright Layeta Bucoy.

In line with its guerilla tactics, performance dates and venues for "Strange Pilgrims" and most of the group's shows are usually announced only a few days before the actual performance through the group's website ( and Facebook account (add "Sipat Lawin Ensemble").

SLE now has Season Passes that start from P300.  Depending on the category, passes can provide discounts for additional tickets, free drinks at certain shows, and even the opportunity to have dinner with the ensemble during one of their rehearsals.

Call 0917-5008-753 or 964-5949.

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Theaterbatoring UPPT's Fake

thoughts on fake
by walter ang
may 9, 2011

Richard Cunanan as George in UPPT's "Fake."
uppt's staging of "fake" is what audiences can describe as "theatrical" because of the different devices used: a few monologue moments, characters that the protagonists talk about (like la loba negra and datu kalantiaw) being acted out (even if they're not technically part of the scene), and flashbacks interspersed into present scenes.

and it is.  it's also intimate and evocative, given the small venue (teatro hermogenes ylagan), allowing for a textured show that includes playfulness with light: video designer winter david provides a few projections (brightly lit and visible) while lighting designer meliton roxas has pockets of gradients here and there.

playrwright floy quintos' dialogue is occasionally didactic (understandable given the amount of historical information that requires exposition) but his plotting keeps things moving and the ideas he presents are thought provoking.  the first act is a little trite for me, though an apt set up to a charming and thrilling second act.

i had never seen richard cunanan (george) perform so up-close before, and apparently, he has incredible reserves of mischief in his eyes, even when he is effectively portraying nuanced bewilderment, anguish and pain, which makes him fun and interesting to watch in small spaces.

george is a pilgrim in search of sister emily, a visionary, played by shamaine buencamino, who twists her torso to and fro and crumples her face in varying iterations to fill the character with complex emotions.

scenes when these two are together are electric.  unfortunately, brian tibayan, who plays the main protagonist miguel (gerard pizarras alternates), and bojong fernandez, who plays lobo of the tasaday (jerald napoles alternates), were unable to deliver equal voltage and are completely swallowed by the two senior actors.

Shamaine Buencamino as Sister Emily.
low talking volumes (which i didn't think  was possible given the small venue), confused acting and movement choices, and a general sense of tentativeness crippled their deliveries.

director tony mabesa's casting choices and under direction of the two is puzzling, especially since miguel is the counterpoint angst and cynicism of the entire piece and lobo is the poignant (exploited, most likely) former participant and eventual broken product of deception - important cornerstones, especially when the title of the play is "fake."

also, tibayan looks too young to be 42 years old, as his character announces in the first act.

in future stagings, it might be interesting to see:
1. a young actress portray sister emily, if only to add a counterpoint to miguel's own past as a young believer, to have hardened into a cynic and then to face another young person grapple with what is true and what is fake.
2. the same actor portray miguel and young miguel, if only to allow audiences a chance to see the actor show a range from innocent awe to bitter cynicism.

Alya Honasan as Concepcion Marco.
in the second act, joel lamangan portrays marco (leo rialp altermates) and alya honasan plays marco's wife concepcion (ces quesada alternates).

both imbue a crazed sensibility and a nervous vibe to their characters, with occasional loud flourishes that almost, but because of utter conviction, never becomes hammy, and thus, lodges their delivery (and launches the play) into the wonderful world of camp.

and it makes the show fun and funny to watch.  the campy feel creates an added a layer of slyness to the text, a "hey look, we believed in all of marco's lies and how hilariously ridiculous is that?" vibe.

time warp
while fictional, the play deals with real people, and therefore, the setting can only be logically (and limitedly) set in a finite span of possible calendar years-while marco and william henry scott (made into an amiable, reluctant debunker by paul holme) were both still alive (they never actually met in real life).
the second act is pinned on flashback scenes when miguel is 17 years old and still in awe of marco before the truth about his lies are revealed.  the dramaturgical notes peg this around 1961.  so it is distracting to see production designer dante nico garcia dress the actor (mark herras look-a-like ross pesigan) playing young miguel with a look that is obviously from 2011.

Joel Lamangan as Jose Marco.
we have the meticulously blowdried textured hair (where's the pomade and inches-high side cut? not yet quite the swinging sixties' long hippie hair, they're not in urban manila after all); the flat-front pants (weren't pleated pants in vogue back then?); the trendy, edgy looking mailman bag (in negros occidental in 1961?); and the hush puppies-looking shoes with marked stitching (perhaps shiny leather lace-ups or even tattered dingy sandals might have been more appropriate?).

the fashion faux pas aside, garcia dresses the home of marco beautifully: crafted wooden furniture, woven baskets and bric-a-brac spread about, piled on top of each other, like what you would imagine a provincial (fake) scholar's home to exactly look.

so what have we learned from this production? that perhaps, sometimes, you can take fashion out of its time period, but you can't take the time period out of fashion ... kekeke.

UP Playwright Theater's Fake May 4-14, 2011

New play tackles Philippine history hoax
By Walter Ang
May 2, 2011
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Lamangan and Honasan
UP Playwrights' Theater will stage Floy Quintos' "Fake," a play that asks "When a lie seems better than the truth, what would you rather believe?"

"Fake" tells the tale of Miguel, who "discovers that many of the things he believed in when he was young were all lies and his life becomes an insatiable search for answers."

His search leads him to Jose Marco, the infamous "discoverer" of the Code of Kalantiaw and the story of La Loba Negra, two documents that became part of Philippine history until proven as hoaxes.

Quintos personally knew the historian who exposed Marco as a forger.  "I had the great pleasure of meeting with William Henry Scott several times before he died in 1993," he says.

"When I mentioned that I was thinking of writing a play about Marco, Scotty joked and said, '"You should make us meet!'"

The fictitious encounter between fraud and debunker has, indeed, been created for Quintos' new play.  He also tackles other debunked myths such as the fictitious "lost Stone Age tribe in Mindanao," the Tasaday.  He's also created a composite religious visionary character for Miguel to encounter.

Quintos's plays "Gironiere" and "Fluid" have been staged by UPPT.  His plays "Shock Value" and "St. Louis loves dem Filipinos" (which also has a musical version) and musicals "Atang" and "Isang Panaginip na Fili" have been staged by UPPT's mother organization, Dulaang UP*.

Tony Mabesa will direct the play and says that one of the reasons Quintos' works are often featured by the group is that he is "very prolific! When we need a production to mount, he has a play to offer us."

"I wish we could do one production per semester instead of just once a year, but we have a very limited budget.  Our actors and crew get a very, very modest honorarium each, if any.  Our market is limited by the schoolyear.  Also, our choice of material has never been 'commercial.'"

"However, for 'Fake,' Floy's choice of subject matter is very adventurous.  It's the perfect subject matter for theater.  It's about truth and illusion, the very subjects that theater itself is about."

Not precious
Quesadas and Rialp
Mabesa founded UPPT, now celebrating its 25th year, after being part of the UP Writers' Workshop.  "That year, they focused on drama and I helped choose the best three plays for staging," he says.

"I used the opportunity to establish UPPT and decided to stage productions in the Faculty Center Studio, which was later renamed Teatro Hermogenes Ylagan after the Father of Filipino Sarswela."

"Every major theater company in the world usually has what they call 'the other place,' a non-proscenium performance space that allows artists to work in a different space. Works in these spaces complement the works in their 'main stage.'"

To this end, UPPT's objective is to produce solely original plays or revivals of plays by Filipino playwrights.  Mabesa says working with Quintos on new plays is easy because "he's not precious about his work. He's very flexible, he will adjust what needs to be adjusted.  He's very involved.  It helps that he's a director himself so he understands why changes need to be made."

"If you don't want people meddling with your work, you can be a pianist, novelist or poet, but not a playwright.  Theater is a collaborative," he says emphatically.

The power of a writer's creation is not lost on Quintos.  With this play, he further contemplates the power of the "truths" within creations and the power that lies in the acceptance of these "truths."

"You could say that history is just a perception of facts," he says.  "All these documents that are ascribed to Marco have always fascinated me.  So many important scholars believed him."

"That the documents have been proven as forgeries isn't so much the point than 'Why would a man do this?'" he says.  "He couldn't have done it for money or for fame.  These are the works of an intelligent forger, so maybe he really wanted to give us Filipinos something. Perhaps a sense of history, of pride, of identity?  Perhaps he wanted to do something noble?"

"The character that I created, Miguel, is representative of cynical Filipinos duped by so many fakes.  Hopefully, the play leads us to ask what is it really that contributes to a concept of nationhood.  Is it simply just facts? Or is there also value in myth and lore?"

The cast includes Bayani Tibajan alternating with Gerard Pizarras as Miguel, Joel Lamangan and Leo Rialp alternating as Jose Marco, Paul Holme as William Henry Scott, Ces Quesada alternating with Alya Honasan as Marco's wife Concepcion, and Shamaine Buencamino as Sister Emily.

"Fake" runs from May 4 to 14, 2011 at Teatro Hermogenes Ylagan, UP Faculty Center, University of the Philippines, Quezon City. Call 0917-7500107, 926-1349 or 218-3791.