Sunday, January 24, 2016

Spaghetti in Basil Peanut Pesto (Php 50), with grilled shrimps, eggplant, kalobay and tomatoes.

Peanut Curry (Php 50) with chicken, vegetables (squash, jackfruit, eggplant, okra) and brown rice.

Italian Wrap (Php 50) with shrimps, eggplant, tomatoes, homemade pesto and lettuce.

How could this be when all of the food at this cafe is organically grown?  Photographer Andreo Bongco explains this unique find in Negros Island, the Sweet Spot of the Philippines.Some of my favorite outtakes from a recent pro-bono shoot with Welcome Home Foundation's Natural Garden Cafe in Bacolod.

All of the food at this cafe is organically grown, prepared and cooked by the deaf-mute, but probably the best thing about this cafe is that THE MOST EXPENSIVE DISH COSTS JUST 50 PESOS. Weird right? Let me explain.

As I've mentioned before, one of my advocacies as a photographer is to provide pro-bono (free) imaging work to organizations which strive towards the common good. By taking pictures and writing about their efforts, it is my little way of helping them market what they believe in.

Natural Garden Cafe is one such organization I've come to help because it recruits, trains and employs the deaf-mute of Bacolod at their cafe. The deaf and mute are given dignified jobs with fair salaries and are trained excellently in HRM and the culinary arts.

Aside from this, the cafe takes on a farm to table approach in its dining. All the vegetables and meat are grown on the restaurant's grounds either in pesticide free vegetable beds, or in aquaponic fish tanks to raise awareness for a more natural diet free of GMOs and preservatives. 

Now you may ask, why all of this for JUST 50 pesos? (Don't believe me yet? I posted the menu here just in case) The cafe prices their meals this low because their aim is not make a profit, rather it is to allow everyone (most especially low income workers) an alternative to cheap GMO and preservative laden food that people are so used to eating nowadays.

If you're interested in seeing what this bold yet well meaning cafe has to offer, drop by their alfresco cafe anywhere from 10AM to 5PM from Monday to Friday. (Better to go there during lunch because most of their food is sold out come 2PM).

They are located on the right side of the road entering Villa Valderrama Subdivision along Lacson Street going to the North of Bacolod past CountryMart.

I swear, you will not regret visiting it. Neither will your wallet, your tummy or your lymph nodes.

Photos and words by
Andreo Resurreccion Bongco.

The Most Expensive Dish In This Cafe is PhP50! Find out where it is!

Learn to make your own BB8 Droid.  A 17 year old Filipino shows us how.

Build A Homemade BB8 Droid
Watch how this 17 year old kid, build a fully-functional BB8 droid with just some household materials! (No CNCs, no 3D Printers & No Milling Machines)
Posted by TechBuilder on Friday, January 22, 2016

17-year-old Filipino shows us how to make a BB8 Droid

Thursday, January 21, 2016

While the famous Malacañang Palace is easily referred to as the Presidential Residence in the Philippines, many do not know that the title as Residence of the President of the Philippines came upon Malacañang only upon the establishment of the Commonwealth of the Philippines on November 15, 1935.

Also not known to many is that before the first Philippine Republic was established in January 23, 1899, there already existed the
República Cantonal de Negros or the Cantonal Republic of Negros
which came about in November 5, 1898.

This makes the
Ancestral House built by General Aniceto Lacson in Talisay City, the first Presidential house in the Philippines.

Last September 23, 2014, the descendants of
General Aniceto Lacson, who are now the co-owners of the ancestral house, released this statement for the public to know (via the local Negros daily, the Visayan Daily Star):

The Ancestral House built by General Aniceto Lacson in the 1880’s is a fine example of a 19th century Philippine Architecture known as “Bahay na Bato” or House of Stone. Uniquely, it has a balcony that surrounds the entire 2nd floor giving a panoramic view of its surroundings has its own chapel at ground level.

As most Negrenses would know, General Aniceto Lacson was among those who successfully led a province-wide Katipunero revolt against the Spanish garrison in Bacolod City on November 5, 1898. When the Spanish forces surrendered, he was chosen as President of the short-lived Cantonal Republic of Negros. Today, Negros Island celibrates as an official holiday, “Cinco de Novembre” on November 5 to commemorate the surrender.

During his tenure as President of the Cantonal Republic of Negros, General Aniceto held office in this ancestral house. During those years, he was visited by General Emilio Aguinaldo, Andres Bonifacio, Antonio Luna, Emilio Jacinto, Claro M. Recto, President Manuel Quezon, President Sergio Osmeña, among other dignitaries. It is no wonder that in March 13, 2002, the National Historical Institute (NHI), thru Board Resolution No. 2, 5. 2002 declared the General Aniceto Lacson Ancestral House as a NATIONAL HISTORICAL LANDMARK, as provided for by a Presidential Decree. 


The Ancestral House has been occupied by the succession of General Aniceto’s children and grandchildren. It is at present, owned-in-common by its co-owners, the Claparols, Rossello, and Balcells families, descendants of his daughter Carmen Lacson
married to Ricardo Claparols.

In the early 1970’s, a strong typhoon damaged the entire roof and since then has been left unoccupied up to this day. The descendant co-owners have tried to maintain it but could not cope with the scale and magnitude of the repairs. Sadly, the
ancestral house went through an accelerated process of deterioration, as portions of the ceiling crumbled down and worse, a part of the second floor, including the staircase began to sag.

It was for this reason that we, the undersigned, aware of our responsibilities as co-owners, looked into how we could restore and preserve the ancestral house.

Therefore, in 2002, we decided to form a foundation so that it would serve as an avenue to formally solicit and generate the much-needed funds for its restoration. Due to limited funds, the restoration is being done in phase prioritizing on the more critical areas, primarily in restoring structural stability. Donations received from individuals, corporate and government institutions are properly documented and accounted for.  

All descendant co-owners were invited to participate in the foundation, however only seventy percent (70%) responded favorably. We then pooled in our personal financial contributions to establish the General Aniceto L. Lacson Ancestral House
Foundation,Inc. ( GALAH). Registered on May 7, 2002 as a non-stock non-profit corporation with the Securities and Exchange Commission with Company Registration No. E200200273, the foundation was established with the sole purpose to fully restore,
repair, maintain and preserve the ancestral house.


When GALAH Foundation hired the services of both local and national level architects to inspect the ancestral house, they discovered that the main cause as to why the house was deteriorating rapidly was due to termite infestation. After further ocular inspection of the premises, from inside the ceiling and around the flooring area, it revealed the extent of the damage caused by the termite infestation, which was not limited to the wooden columns that support the structure of the ancestral house but has damaged as well the ceiling girts and the joists and the flooring girts and joists.
Photo by Dennis John Reyes
They advised us to immediately install (coconut lumber) scaffoldings on the affected area of the 2nd floor, including the staircase, in as much as its elevation has already sagged at about 8 inches. The architects warned us that if we did not support a part of the 2nd floor with scaffoldings that it was a matter of time that it would collapse and cause greater damage to the ancestral house.

Restoration architects such as Architect Augusto “Toti” Villalon ( Architect and Cultural Heritage Planner) together with Architect Melvin Patawaran (Principal Architect of Tropiks Design Studio) in coordination of Architect Jude Tipon ( Past
President, United Architects of the Philippines (UAP)) have been working together to supervise the restoration.  

Ocular inspections were conducted by Architect Augusto P. Rustia, the Cultural Properties and Conservation Division Chief of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Executive Director Ludovico D. Badoy, Mr. Reynaldo A. Inovero, and Engineer Candido H. Castro from NHI Historic Preservation Division and Architect Norman H. Campos. NCCA and NHI prepared their own respective project studies and program of works and have been submitted to GALAH foundation.

The restoration started in February 2013 and as of December 2013, the following have been accomplished;

Note: Only Mahogany (hardwood) lumber has been used. All undamaged ceiling and flooring panels have been catalogued to ensure that they well be placed back in its original position.

- the 10 inch x 10 inch x 40 feet wooden column that was the main cause for the flooring to sag has already been replaced. About 3 more damaged wooden columns need to be replaced while those columns that are undamaged have not been touched. 

- the entire ceiling girts and ceiling joists have been repaired, replacing only the damaged sections of the wood frames, either by cross-sectional repair if the remaining portion of the wood frames are still in good condition or if not, replace the entire wood frame. The undamaged ceiling panels will be placed back once the flooring alignment is completed including the neo gothic arch traceries.

- the replacement of the entire roof of the main area of the ancestral house with new 0.24 mm gauge Galvanized Iron (GI) sheets were very corroded. In time, the roof will be painted with anti-corrosion metal primer and roofing paint.

This year 2014, the restoration continues, focusing on the re alignment of the 2nd floor. It is a slow tedious process of removing the flooring panels and the floor joists so as to expose and to replace the damaged floor girts and joists. As of today, three sections of the 2nd floor have already been aligned and its flooring panels have been placed back to its original position.

We, the members of GALAH foundation and as a co-owner descendant are fully committed to restore and preserve the General Aniceto Lacson Ancestral House. We are inviting all patriotic Filipino to support our cause in restoring the General Aniceto Lacson Ancestral House to its historical grandeur as a fitting symbol of our country and its people. We are also inviting you to visit the ancestral house and see for your self.

The goal is to restore and preserve the ancestral house and unselfishly shares the historical glory not only to the people of Negros but to the whole country as well. As such, the concerned co-owner descendants and members of the GALAH foundation are doing everything possible to achieve this purpose.

           The 70% descendant co-owners and members of GALAH Foundation

                      Rosario Claparols      

                      Patricia Claparols
                      Victoria Claparols  

                      Alxandra Claparols
                      Michael Claparols  

                      Francisco Rosello
                      Carmen Rosello    
                      Miguel Rosello
                      Teresa Rosello       
                      Eduardo Balcells 
                      Ana Balcells        
                      Alfonso Balcells 
                      Carlos Balcells

Related Post :

Negros Island History : Why People of Negros Celebrate on Cinco de Noviembre (Nov. 5)

The 5th of November is a special day in Negros Island.  The Negros Revolution, now commemorated and popularly known as Al Cinco de Noviembre or Negros Day, was a political movement that in 1898 created a government in Negros Island in the Philippines, informally ending Spanish control of the island and resulting in a government run by the Negrense natives......Read More


Negros Island.  The SWEET Spot of the Philippines.

Discovering The First Presidential Residence of the Philippines - General Aniceto Lacson Ancestral Home

Monday, January 4, 2016

The 2016 Bacolod Jazzfest  is  be held on February 19 at the L’Fisher Hotel, Bacolod. The annual jazzfest  is organized and  conducted under the auspices of the Jazz Society of Negros.

Now on its 7th year and featuring notable jazz artists and groups both locally and internationally, the Bacolod Jazzfest this 2016 will have among its performers  The Working Stiffs and Better than Sax. More featured jazz artists will be included in this event.

First held in 2010, the Bacolod Jazzfest had Nancy Brew (Bacolod), Mishka Adams (UK), The Jazz Volunters  (Manila) and Sinosikat (Manila) among its roster of performers. The success of the event led to five (5) more annual jazzfests that also featured jazz artists such as LOGIC (Australia), Boy Katindig, West Negros University Big Band with Lucy Santibanez, Absolute Zero (Manila) featuring Johanes Radianto (Indonesia), KIOSS THE BRIDE (Manila, The West Boarders with Mike Tambasen and Gelo Oro, Clara and Joey Benin (Bacolod) BALOOZE with Riki Gonzales and Henry Katindig, Alvin Cornista, Humanfolk (Manila) featuring Johnny Alegre, YOSHA (Manila, Mike Tambasen Project (Bacolod), Nimrod Villamarzol (Bacolod), Mari Pena (Bacolod), CLAUDE Diallo (Switzerland) and the KRISTEN FLETCHER TRIO (Australia).

Bacolod Jazzfest 2016

Friday, December 25, 2015

2015 Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach just posted her Christmas message and with that post, one can easily see why this year's Miss Universe has raised the bar by way of possessing not just outward beauty but inward beauty as well.

Pia's post reads:

Wow. Words can't describe how grateful I am for this. It was quite a journey getting here with 3 attempts at winning Miss Philippines. Now, I finally got the best Christmas gift ever – and not just for me, for my country. I'd like to say thank you to everyone who believed in my potential and those who supported me from the beginning. To everyone who voted for me, especially to my fellow countrymen, thank you. Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat. To Ariadna, you are an amazing woman and we are now bonded together forever by a unique experience. In the last 3 weeks we were together, I saw how strong and beautiful you are inside and out. You represented your country with honor and I know how proud everyone must be of you. Fate has a plan for you, and I’m excited to see what’s ahead. And to all the fans who are still fighting about this…Please let's all stop now. The Miss Universe Organization is about uniting empowered women from all over the world. Arguing and sending hateful messages to each other defeats the whole purpose. You believe in the message of Miss Universe and so do I. Again, thank you for the love. I'm excited to begin my duties as Miss Universe and I wish everyone, all the contestants and all the supporters a great holiday with their loved ones. Happy Holidays and let's look forward to a great start to the new year! #MissUniverse - Pia

Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach Posted Her Christmas Message And It Is Awesome!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Noel Bazaar, known as one of the longest-running Christmas bazaars in the country, is now back on its 15th year!

Enjoy the one of a kind shopping experience once more on December 18-20, 2015 at the SMX Convention Center.

Noel Bazaar: The Christmas Shopping Experience

The fame of Negros products have reached far and wide as evidenced by those who flock to the Negros Trade Fair in Manila, which happens to be the longest running provincial trade fair in the country at 30 years old.  

This weekend of December 5 and 6, Negrense style finds its way to Cebu with the Negros Artisanal Christmas Bazaar taking place at 856 G Gallery, 856 A.S. Fortuna Street, Banilad, Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines.


#Negros Artisanal Christmas Bazaar | Dec 5 & 6, 10am-8pm
#856ggallery #bazaar #cebu #cebuevents #bacolod

Negrense Style Comes To Cebu

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The 15th World Bazaar Festival proudly brings you a "World of Surprises".

Take a trip through the familiar aisles of the country's grandest and longest running Christmas charity bazaar, but with all new highlights and activities around every turn! Happening from December 4 to 21, 2015 at the World Trade Center Metro Manila, 10AM to 12MN Fridays to Sundays and 12NN to 10PM Mondays to Thursdays.

This event is for the benefit of the ABS CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation. Tickets are priced at Php80.00.

15th World Bazaar Festival

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sleepless (synopsis)

Gem (24) and Barry (30) are two lonely people who can’t sleep. They spend hours lying awake while everyone else is asleep. They are both stuck in a rut, both of them working dead-end jobs at a call center. They explore the city at night and find ways to kill time. Though there’s a certain loneliness when you’re awake in the dead of night, there’s also a bond that develops. Gem and Barry talk about zombies, love and everything in between. Together they fight the loneliness that keeps them awake. In the end, they realize, that even though you cannot cure insomnia, you just need someone to lean on until the sun comes up.

Director: Prime Cruz
Producer: Gino Parma
Screenwriter: Jen Chuaunsus
Director of Photography: Tey Clamor
Production Designer: Nestor Abrogena
Editor: Galileo Te
Musical Scorer: BP Valenzuela

Cast: Glaiza De Castro, Dominic Rocco, TJ Trinidad, Bea Galvez, Irma Adlawan, Dennis Marasi-gan

Sleepless is the 6th Circle Competition Finalist for QCinema International Film Festival 2015.

Catch Sleepless at the QCinema International Film Festival 2015

Friday, October 16, 2015

Coming to Bacolod for the weekend to celebrate MassKara?  Here are some tips for the digital folk:

1) If you are on Android, you can download the MassKara app which will show you schedules and tweets of MassKara, places to stay, and places to eat.

2) When at MassKara City (SMX Convention Center), download the Soovy app (available on Android and iOS) and take photos using the special frame with the label 2nd MassKara City.

3) Wherever you are, when taking pictures, the location to check in at is Bacolod MassKara Festival.

4) To check in at Bacolod Masskara Festival, simply go to and check in from the page.

Bacolod Shows How To Have More (Digital) Fun at MassKara 2015

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Dulaang UP’s second offering for its 40th Theatre Season is William Shakespeare’s King Lear and its new Filipino translation by Nicolas Pichay, Haring Lear. The play, considered by critics as Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy, is directed by DUP Founding Artistic Director, Professor Emeritus Tony Mabesa.

Play dates are:

10:00 A.M.
October  10, 18, 24
3:00 P.M.
October  11, 17, 25
7:00 P.M.
October  7, 8, 16, 20, 22
10:00 A.M.
October  9, 14, 15, 21, 23
3:00 P.M.
October  11, 17, 25
7:00 P.M.
October  10, 18, 24

Dulaang UP's King Lear | Haring Lear still ongoing

Saturday, October 10, 2015

According to Wikipedia, the modern day Flash Mob happened in 2003 in Manhattan, NY.  This  1980 video somehow debunks that piece of information and points to a group doing it in Makati City, the financial capital of the Philippines.

So, if anyone gets to talk about flash mobs. Tell them it all started here in the Philippine islands

1980 Video Shows The Original Flash Mob Happened In Makati

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