28 December 2009

10 November 2009

"Interior Motives"

My brother asked me one afternoon, "Did you see Mrs. S's house?  It's quite charming.  You should take a stroll over there and see it.  I'm sure Mrs. S won't mind."

Mrs. S works in the office of my brother's Center on weekends. She's polite, unimposing, charming when she needs to be but always knows her place.  She is aware that I want to live a hermit's life while in the farm so she keeps to a warm smile when she bumps into me.   Her son is a promising teenage violinist who stands out at the Center.

One lazy afternoon, I did take that walk with Manang L's pink parasol on top of our heads to protect us from the harsh sunlight.  The lush greens as you walk down her driveway with the sky filled with bulbous clouds peeking in are conversational pieces that even the best greens cannot buy. I was oh so mesmerized by the simplicity and tastefulness of her home.   

The entrance is warm and inviting.  Green and yellow colored glass windows with squares of white, laid out a la a Mondrian painting, are a visual delight, that accentuate without screaming at you, the greenery that surrounds the home.   The statement is clear the minute you walk in.  "Simplicity is beauty."  Large planks of wood flooring, big windows and spare details allow you to soak up the ambience of the setting and reminds you that there is something to be said about being quiet and tasteful in your choice of appointments.

The living room is dotted with a few ancient jars and an antique wooden sala set with a baul, reminiscent of the olden days.  It takes you back to the days of our grandmothers when life was simple and uncomplicated by computers, television and cable t.v.  During their time, conversation was essential and took up the most part of the evening.

Her kitchen is in a darling tone of red.  She infiltrates the browns of the cabinet doors with red tiles as her counter and backsplash.  She keeps it spare and neat with only a few essentials on display.  There is a window that attracts the light to come in that keeps her company as she bustles along making meals for her husband and brood of three teenage boys.  

Their dining area is equally spare with six batibot metals chairs gathered around a heavy wooden dining table (formerly a door). Oversized capiz windows draw in and filter the light. Conversation must be easy and breezy and perhaps, revolve around their daily activities of tending the farm, high school life and violin lessons.   

Here in the heart of a little fishing village in  Zambales, where the mountains and the sea are breathtaking, lies a home that thrives in simplicity and astounds in its quiet beauty.  One walks out of their home with the exhilirating feeling that a life devoid of clutter can be quite liberating.   

(photographs by Mrs. Bee)

04 November 2009

You've just got to love a man who can do wonders in the kitchen!

"E." is at it again.  Another winning recipe from the "Authentic Recipes from the Philippines".   

This is Afritadang Manok or Chicken simmered in Tomatoes and PImientos.  The taste is not so overpowering, especially if you're used to using tomato sauce, because it comes from fresh tomatoes.    The freshness of the tomatoes will grow on you and you'lll find yourself wanting more and more.  

"E." is orderly in the kitchen.  He slices the tomatoes and onions and presses the garlic.

Wash the chicken pieces well and dry with paper towels.  Brown the chicken pieces in 2 T of olive oil and then set aside.


Add the garlic and still fry until golden brown.   Then add in the onions and fry until translucent. 


Return the chicken to the pot and add the tomatoes, bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste, and 1.5 cups of water.  Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

In a separate pan (my suggestion), fry the potatoes in butter right until before the butter burns then set aside. After concoction has simmered its full 20 minutes, add the buttered potatoes  and simmer for another 15 minutes.  Add the pimientos (in this case, red bell peppers) and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Et voila!  Perfection in a single bite guaranteed!  Bon appetite!

02 November 2009

The "inner collager" in "E."

I saw this lying around on "E's." drawing table and decided to flip through it.


"Flikristas" are a merry mix of professional and amateur photographers of the Philippines who have sites on Flickr.com.  I had no idea how strong a web bond they had, as they were just faceless creatures throwing back and forth comments on their photostreams, until they would show up on our doorstep every now and then in the farm or attend "E.'s" or my show. 




"E.'s" entry is a couple of pages long and expounds on his artist statement.  He explained this is a travelogue about Zambales documented in moleskine by different "flickristas".  They passed this notebook amongst each other with a two week time frame for each.  It took "E." a month to fill it up because he was busy painting the works for the Chianciano Biennale. 
This little discovery gave me ammunition to tease "E.". Sometimes we need to unleash the "inner collager"  in us and the world would be a much better place.

31 October 2009

Life's a bowl of laughs with Ronnie Alejandro

"E." tried his hand at making "arroz a la cubana".  This was my family's staple every Sunday after going to church.   My mom, who has never been in the kitchen or boiled water, boldly announces, that the secret in the plantain is that it should be over ripe!  Your secret's safe with us.  Mum's the word.


"E." found the recipe in a book by Reynaldo Alejandro, "Authentic Recipes from the Philippines". He, personally, gave the book to "E." and me, with the inscription, "Bon Appetit!" 

I found Tito Ronnie in New York  in the mid-90's.  I called him Tito Ronnie not because he is one of those random people you address as "Tito" just to be polite, but because there is the Ferriols blood that runs between our veins.  Our forefathers were from Valencia, Spain and we have an insignia to prove our binding blue blood.  He invited me to dinner in his apartment on Bleecker Street and my life was never the same.  

He once dragged me to a fashion show in one of the public libraries of New York.  In a heartbeat, he introduced me to the organizers as the lighting technician for the show, on the spot! My jaw dropped but New York has a way of making one fearless and infallible.  And there I was, with all the lighting switches, acting like a pro.  I had no idea what the clothes were like so I kept adjusting the lights as the models would come down the runway, strutting their stuff.  I hope I did not give the more mature audience a headache when I saw them staggering to the exit, waiting to exhale under a steadier afternoon light. 

Or when I once bumped into him at St. Patrick's Cathedral after work before night set in.  He took me firmly by the elbow and we walked to the Philippine Center on 5th Avenue, where he again, jumped the gun, and introduced me as the distinguished "guest of honor".  I was treated with great importance, a tiny bouquet of lovely fall flowers pinned to my jacket, and, quickly, handed a pair of scissors to cut the ribbon to a floral exhibit. Expect the unexpected with Tito Ronnie!


I miss him.  His recipes and books on all things Filipiniana will forever keep his memory alive.  Rest in peace, Tito. He's probably working up a feast in heaven.  Please don't forget to reserve the best seat in the house for my Papi.  

Happy All Saint's day!  Behave, the two of you!  Bon appetite!

Mrs. Bee goes bargain hunting!

Bargain hunting is a sport I try to indulge in every once in awhile.  I was wide eyed enough to start an early morning trip to sashay my hips down Evangelista street and the little side streets of generals: Hizon, Garcia, Lacuna et al.   I was accompanied by my sister, who is a busy lawyer and on leave.  Her day off  was not without official  interruptions  by text messages and phone calls.  But that didn't stop us from having a great time, vocalizing when the prices were a bit steep (aaaa...several octaves higher than normal), a few crazy laughs and getting the best deals in town! 

Here are a few of our favorite finds: 

picture-perfect: all together in one shot

 exotic and intricate                                              (close-up)

copper kitchen wares

copper fruits

"The Simpsons" chessboard with plastic chess pieces

picture frames made in the U.S.A.

a ceramic handpainted dish from Italy

 a ram made of Chinese coins

halloween designs on melamine plates from "pottery barn kids"

A bewitching happy halloween to you all!


Mrs. Bee's Sidebar:   On several separate occasions, these were my finds:

arte Espanol blue glass candelabra

shabby chic tablestand clock

country chic hanging clock

a white vanity table with chair

Trust me. Whoever says he doesn't love a bargain, is lying!

26 October 2009

Passion's defining moment mounted on walls and sealed in stone

Je suis une artiste but when I attend a gallery show or a museum opening, I leave everything I know about making art at the door. I scurry along (oh my, is it too early to be revealing secrets?) in search for a secret ingredient.  Suffice it to say, I am polite and generous with my oohs and aaahs.   It is sincere and heartfelt because I understand what it is like to  labour in the studio, months on end.  It is a feat in itself to finish a body of work despite the day to day agony and ecstasy.  To constantly worry about composition, harmony and balance while juggling brushes, a palette and a frame of mind, or other tools of the trade, can be physically and mentally painful and tedious.   

But this much I can say, I know PASSION when I see it.  It met me at the door and escorted me through two separate exhibition spaces at my own giddy pace. PASSION, bold and in all caps! Passion is the secret ingredient that brings the work to life!  It's what makes a Van Gogh, a Van Gogh! It was overwhelmingly spread all over the large scale oeuvres. It couldn't contain itself, bouncing off the walls and the floor.  Art is alive and breathing! 

Gentlemen of Philippine art, take a bow!  Bravo and well done, Anthony Palomo and Joel Alonday!  


Anthony Palomo's passion is a page turner in the children's book, "Ang Dyip ni Mang Tomas", published by CANVAS and written by Genaro R. Gojo Cruz.  Currently ongoing at the ArtistSpace in the Ayala Museum, while

passion in Joel Alonday's sculptural pieces, is sealed in stone, at Art Informal:


25 October 2009

Mrs. Bee finds a slice of India waiting on the kitchen table

"E." decided to whisk up some magic in the kitchen.  He grabbed an Indian chicken curry recipe from the internet.  

My two cents worth:  Forget the sugar.  A ghost's advice:  To roast the curry powder first on a dry pan before adding the olive oil and following the directions.

Surprisingly, "E." found all the ingredients in our local grocery, Cherry Foodarama in Mandaluyong, including the fresh flowers for our tablesetting.  We used Sinandomeng rice to accompany this fit-for-a-king dish.

If these pictures have whet your appetite, then here's the recipe! Your home will be filled with the aroma of flavours and spices that I'd like to dream, is all about India!

Bon appetite!

Indian Chicken Curry II
recipe image

Submitted By: Amanda Fetters
Photo Bychibi chef
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Ready In: 45 Minutes
Servings: 4
"This is an adaptation of yellow chicken curry from India. The aromas and flavors are a delight to the senses! It is best served with fresh Naan bread and Jasmine or Basmati rice."
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon paprika
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
salt to taste
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves -
cut into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup plain yogurt
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1.Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion until lightly browned. Stir in garlic, curry powder, cinnamon, paprika, bay leaf, ginger, sugar and salt. Continue stirring for 2 minutes. Add chicken pieces, tomato paste, yogurt, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.
2.Remove bay leaf, and stir in lemon juice and cayenne pepper. Simmer 5 more minutes.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2009 Allrecipes.com
Printed from Allrecipes.com 10/25/2009

22 October 2009

Mrs. Bee goes rest-o-hopping!

Suzhou Dimsum
837 a. mabini street, corner araullo st., mandaluyong city

Delivery Numbers!!! 02.721.6105/02.717.1153
Minimum order worth P 250.00

We were five, we were famished and we ordered:

1 order Special Xiao Long Pao                      90.00
1 order Stir Fried Noodle with pork            130.00 x 2
1 order steamed beef in garlic                    240.00
1 order Pork and Veggies fried rice            120.00 x 2
1 order crispy fried chicken (half)               190.00
1 order steamed king fish                           350.00

   Mrs. Bee screams: Ni hao ma---milicious!  

19 October 2009

Mrs. Bee's Rate O'Meter: Tell me this is what growing old is all about!

"Elsa and Fred"
 (2005) is a romantic comedy with two septuagenarians as subjects of an ill-fated love affair.  It begins with a lot of movement (Fred, recently a widower, is moving to a new apartment and    Elsa, who lives in the same building, runs into a car while backing up her car), a lot of bickering (his daughter is abrasive and high strung) and constant talking (Elsa is a talker with a wild imagination)!   Elsa and Fred are characters waiting for death at their doorstep but somehow manage to "fall in love" despite Fred's bent towards living an orderly life and Elsa's devil may care attitude about everything!  

One delicious scene is when they spiffy up to eat at a fancy restaurant.  Attention is drawn to the luxurious and extravagant high-ceilinged interiors and our old lovely couple barely sitting upright in chairs that seem to be sturdier than their ageing bodies. The meal begins with steak and ends with dessert, which causes Fred to complain that steak is bad for his uric acid and the mouth-watering dessert has too much cholesterol.  Elsa convinces him not only to live life to the fullest but in that same line of thinking, when the bill arrives with an amount much to their consternation, to leave the table at the count of 3 and the bill, unsettled!  Fred is aghast but at "3", our two lovers, wobbly in the knees, manage to escape and she drives them off quickly away from the scene of the crime.    They run out of gas in the middle of the road and their getaway, when they realize a police car is at their tail.  Fred is close to having a heart attack but the police car passes them by.  They look at each other.  Elsa is holding back a giggle, assessing the situtation.  Fred is upset, they exchange words and Fred points at her acknowledging she is---"loka, loka!...and demands to be brought to the hospital.  At the hospital, when the doctor says Fred is ok and Elsa is about ready to tiptoe out of the room thinking that the possibility of their life together is doomed, Fred orders her sternly to wait for him to take him home.  After a few serious looking seconds, Fred, suddenly, bursts into a fit of uncontrollable laughter and so does Elsa.  Oh, to be in love and loko-loko about it!

But, wait, there's more.  Elsa's ultimate dream is to re-enact Fellini's  "La Dolce Vita" at the Fontana di Trevi.  Fred helps her realize this long running ambition and it is one of the most    tender scenes played out  from the minute they arrive in Rome to that perfect cinematic dramatic moment.  The director, Marcos Carnevale, seems to be paying hommage to a great Master filmmaker, Fellini.
LIfe is beautiful, even with death just waiting round the bend, with Ms. China Zorrilla lighting up the big screen against Manuel Alexandre's subdued and well thought out acting.  It enlightens without being didactic that love that comes with wisdom and age is not about playing  games, or that inconsequential lies should be a basis for running out on a relationship, but about being in the moment with that person and loving every minute of it.  

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