Saturday, October 31, 2009


From Manila Chinatown, I headed off to the old area of Manila - Intramuros.

jeepneyFrom the calesa, this time the ride was the jeepney.

manila cathedralThe first stop was the Manila Cathedral, all majestic & grand. All around the church grounds were yellow ribbons - for interestingly, that is the final day of the late Corazon Aquino's wake.

intramuros manila cathedralThe atmoshpere was serene and very there is that feeling of greatness of the leader and I felt honoured to be there, at that time. The only setback - I didn't get to enter one of the most important churches in the Philippines, as it was closed.

intramuros fort santiagoNot too far away, I visited the former military headquarters of the Spanish colonial government - Fort Santiago. It is quite well maintained - and apparently has been restored.

The small drizzle made the weather very cool, and the walk around the fort very nice. Of course it helps that the fort is quite huge as well - one of the bigger forts I've been to.

fort santiago almacenes realsI particularly like this wall - the almacenes reals. Simply perfect for a location shoot!

san augustine churchMoving on from the fort, I headed next to this road behind the Manila Cathedral... and to another church - the San Augustine Church.

intramuros san augustin churchI've seen many churches lately and this is one of the more beautiful ones. Rather grand indeed.

Apparently, this is the oldest stone church standing in the Philippines & is also listed in UNESCO under Baroque Churches of the Philippines.

casa manilaOpposite the church is this house turn museum showcasing the Intramuros home - Casa Manila. It's a pity too that I missed this. I would have loved to see how grand the interior is, and how lavish the owners used to stay.

intramurosAnd finally, the day ended with one parting shot of the new Manila city opposite and beyond the golf course.

And that brings me to near the closing of this Philippines & Manila visit. The final post about Philippines - food! :)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Help Nominate The BIG Bibik & The Little Nyonyas

Just chanced on this awards... there's a section for Best Web Series. And I am nominating The BIG Bibik & The Little Nyonyas on it.

If you have Facebook or Twitter, do help us nominate too. Would really mean a lot to all... (click on the pic below) :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

The BIG Bibik & The Little Nyonyas: Episode 8 - Bloopers

It's time to bring down the curtains to Season 1. Looking back, it is one big experience - learning productions, getting to know the cast & team better... shooting in Malacca once more.

Definitely some good memories. Here are some of them...

Let's hope the show will have a chance to be back :)

Manila Chinatown

manila chinatown kalesaThe journey to Manila's Chinatown started with quite a style - where I got on to this kelesa (horse carriage). I found this very unique and proud that this mode of transportation is still very much alive in the Philippines.

manila chinatown entranceThe ride was smooth and fresh (after the rain). I was then headed into the gates of the oldest overseas Chinatown in the world! (established in 1594 - wow!).

manila chinatown shopThe Chinatown here is similar to most Chinatowns I've been - extremely busy and a little bit cluttered. But it is these that gives the Chinatown its atmosphere. The one difference is the horse carts and the tricycles around. Plus the mixture of Tagalog & Chinese words.

manila chinatown philippinesAnd again, like most Chinatowns, there were many shops selling variety of things from jewelery to dried food & fruits. There was also a temple which had a Chinese opera. That sure tops the Chinese-ness of this Chinatown :)

manila chinatown ling nam wanton parlor chinese foodApart from sightseeing, the must do thing here is obviously to try some local Chinese food. Tried the noodles at this Ling Nam Wanton Parlor restaurant. However, it was the pau that I was more interested in. Firstly for its sheer size (it's as big as the plam) and secondly, it's quite yummy! They sure know what is tua pau - big pau!

manila chinatown foodThough somewhat full, however, after some bit of walk, I made another food stop at the Ongpin Manosa restaurant to try out more goodies (apparently this restaurant was featured somewhere, hence a should-try). But, like it says - food won't taste that good when one is full.

The trip to this small (only 1 square kilometer) but unique Chinatown was a good eye opener to see how distinct yet adaptable the Chinese are whereever they migrate to.

The Chinatown gives that feeling of Chines-ness yet it's a rather different feel from the more familiar Chinatowns back home... which most likely is because of that touch of Filipinas :)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Who Is The Dreamer?

Thought I'd like to share a recent conversation I had with an acquaintance, who I met in the Frankfurt Book Fair recently.

Well, first about the fair. It's the largest book fair in the world and is the place for all industry players to be there – from publishers, printers, agents and distributors. And though I've been in the publishing industry for 4 years now, it's only my first time going to the fair (despite being a few years late, that to me is already an achievement – it's my first time out of Asia & first time going for such an international fair).

Going to the fair was a big eye opener. Like I said, it was the place for all to be. It was huge – having 6 halls, many of which covers a few levels each.

More importantly, I get to see the global way of the business. There, I get a chance to meet all the other foreign publishers – mainly from the close to heart Asia (though South East Asia is quite clearly unrepresented), Europe (from the more common countries to even smaller Eastern Europe countries), South America, and of course the cannot-miss UK & USA publishers.

Seeing the European & South American publishers (and even publishers from the Middle East/ Central Asia) exposed me that the world is not that small after all. And that there is more than the usual markets we always focus on (or at least the usual 1st world countries I only know in my fingertips).

The second thing that inspired me in the Frankfurt Book Fair is how some companies can focus on just 1 book, participate in the fair with it, and most likely will be a international hit. It dawns on me on what I've done before – participating in fairs with just my first book (Batik Inspirations).

However, the road of fairs is a tiring one – and not to mention an expensive one. Well the prices for the ones I've participated is no where compared to this book fair, but still it is a cost that may not generate enough returns. That plus the effort of carrying the bulky boxes of books & preparation in advance & packing up later all makes the effort of having a booth in a fair not so worthwhile at times. That is one reason why I ruled out participating in any fairs for the 2nd book (50+1 Malaysia).

At the fair, I also understand that international publishers plan way in advance for the books. For example, I've seen some publishers announcing their 2010 & 2011 titles. One publishing company has also focused on that 1 book of theirs since 2 years back – and it's not just 1 book, but instead a full campaign with it.

Having being 'blown away' with such relevations only get me thinking of my conversation with the acquaintance at the fair. The conversation revolved mainly on he telling me about one continuing to publish good books and keep believing that it will eventually bring the returns – if not immediate, but in the future.

And there I was telling him, that while I agree on that, but there are a few things that make one (especially local publishers on local content) to consider otherwise – first there is the high publishing costs involved and secondly, it's hard to get our local content books out in the market... I added that it's easier to get overseas content into the country than otherwise.

But he kept persisting on his belief. And while I know myself as the dreamer and always believing in one having big dreams that come true, I do also believe that we may need to tweak our strategies at times to suite the market demands to achieve our dreams. Hence, I told the acquaintance that I agree with him – but only if our local publishers have a more international content or at least a mixture of local & international, can we go global (and with that I mean is that having our books converted to different languages and selling a few million copies).

As strong a point I have (or so I would like to think), however, the acquaintance didn't buy it.

After the conversation, it just got me thinking... has the 4 years in the media industry changed my mindset somewhat? And should people stick to their route planned for their dream? And really, who is the Dreamer (in good sense) here? :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Bit About The Cast... Michelle S. Ng

Allow me to introduce the 2nd cast of The BIG Bibik & The Little Nyonyas Cookshow - Michelle S. Ng (who plays Na Na).

michelle ng little nyonyaMichelle was the 2nd Little Nyonya to be casted - and she hails from the Lion City, Singapore.

Though still a student (she studies in Republic Poly), Michelle already has quite a fair bit of things under her belt. An actress (& model at times - she prefers acting way more), Michelle was initially casted for a fourth role in the show. But things changed and she was soon the next Little Nyonya.

michelle ng as little nyonyaThough we would have loved to made her play the role she was casted for (thinks she fits the garang/ fierce girl), but she did fit as one of The Little Nyonyas too.

michelle ngAnd that is the interesting part of Michelle - she can look very different by different styles - something we got to find out... from pretty girl next door to...

michelle ngand...

michelle ng s factorThis if not wrong, is her in the S Factor Competition - a reality TV show in Singapore searching for the Sweet, Sexy & Smart woman.

michelle ng big bibik little nyonyasMichelle has set her dream on Hollywood. Like she says - "My passion is to act. My dream is to be successful in it and actually earn a living out of it".

Well with her strong determination & passion (& not to mention good looks), she might just be the next big thing from the island! Go & make Singapore & Asia proud! :)

michelle, quachee
*Michelle says she can cook too - we have yet to try haha.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The BIG Bibik & The Little Nyonyas: Episode 7

The 2nd last video for Season 1 sees the continuation of the friendly cook fight to see the real Peranakan chef! Enjoy! :)


Roughly about 2 hours drive or so from Manila, lies a rather serene and quiet holiday destination - the hill resort of Tagaytay.

tagaytay wild cat coffee
The journey south was fun in some ways, especially when stopping at the shops along the way - amongst the many is this Maria's Coffee 2 Go shop.

maria wild cat coffee
This shop was recommended by some friends - for its famed wild cat coffee at reasonable prices (for those of you who are new - apparently, the wild cat coffee comes from the dumps of these wild cats who eat only the best coffee berries! - yes, you read it right!).

tagaytay fruit
Nearby the shop lies a row of shops selling fresh fruits - all big & juicy! (just look at the jackfruit!)

tagaytay crabs
And if that wasn't enough - came a seller selling some very fresh big crabs at very decent prices.

tagaytay jeepney
Then the journey continues to the view point where one has the option to change to the jeepney and take a ride to the top hill.

tagaytay view
A short ride (less than 5 minutes) and then one gets to see the view of Tagaytay city.

tagaytay fog
Was supposed to be able to see the Taal lake as well, but the fog was thick... but I wasn't complaining! haha. The weather was cold & chill - and really cool (pun intended) when the wind blew!

leslie-restaurant-tagaytayThen came lunch at one of the most famous/ popular must-try restaurants in Tagaytay (and maybe even the Philippines) - Leslie's. The restaurant was packed, lovely ambience and good music (now, that's Philippines!).

tagaytay leslie restaurant
All of the food was yummy and tasty especially the bulalo (Filipino stew with bone marrows). It was like trying the best of the Philippines food there!

leslie restaurant taal lake
Another draw for the restaurant - the view of Taal Lake & valcano... and that was just picturesque, ending the trip on a high :)

*Apparently, one can also visit the Taal valcano - crossing the lake by boat and go horse riding to the top! I think I'll be back for that next time!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The BIG Bibik & The Little Nyonyas: Episode 6

It's now already the 6th week of this Nyonya cookshow webisodes... and the Little Nyonyas have just gotten better at cooking. Time sure flies...!

Now that the Little Nyonyas have learnt the art of Peranakan cooking, they are ready to battle it out with The BIG Bibik - to see who is a better Nyonya cook! Let the showdown begin!

The next episode will be up on 20.10.09!

*Sorry not been able to blog much recently - too much other work in hand. Truly overstretched in business. But I do keep updated Facebook decently enough - do join me there :)

Monday, October 05, 2009

The BIG Bibik & The Little Nyonyas: Episode 5

We've reached the halfway mark of this Nyonya cookshow series... hope u all are enjoying it in someway or rather.

Btw, here's the 5th episode and a simple dish: sambal bendeh (sambal ladies fingers). This is one of the easier Nyonya dishes around - I'm stunned it's that simple too! haha :)

For recipes, go to Big Bibik & Litte Nyonyas Recipe.

*If any of u are into cooking and have tried the dish, let me know how it went :)

Friday, October 02, 2009

Boracay Island Hopping!

What is island holiday without island hopping, right? I learnt bout this while 'island-ing' the past few trips.. and obviously, I did it in Boracay too!

boracay bulabog beachAll the island hoppers first gathered at the Bulabog beach - the beach at the opposite side of the island from White Beach. The sea was much more calm here.

boracay coconutThe island hopping activities were similar in most cases - like the name says 'island hopping'! There was the usual snorkeling activities in the deep blue sea, which always fascinates me. And after the snorkeling, there was the coconuts which came right from a seller from another boat.

One different activity however - was to try reef walking for the first time... where we put on the astronout like glass cover, then go down into the sea and then start walking - under the sea! Yes, with fishes swimming around (give them bread & they will come!). That was one unique experience! For a while, you can just imagine it's like in the movie haha!

boracay island hopping lunchTime flew (very fast when having fun) and after all the activities, it was time to head to one of the smaller nearby islands for some lunch...

boracay island hopping...that came with a fantastic view!

boracay island hopping break beachAnd to top it up, with good home cooked food! (simple yet yummy!)

boracay island hopping lunchbreakI don't mind having lunch here everyday...

boracay island hopping beachAnyway, a bit more of this little island... I saw some roosters who the villages said were being trained for cock fights. Ah, the nice feeling of being in a village... :)

boracay island hopping caveAnd then I had the option to visit this bat cave on the island. A short walk uphill and there was the cave with its stalagmite & stalactite. However, I didn't go in - not so much a cave lover when you have the sea not far away!

Anyway by then, it was already early evening and time to head back to the hotel... with beautiful pictures and wonderful memories.

*There's still much more of Philippines to come!