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KarlEscobar


Potted Potter makes a triumphant return in BGC Fort! The have 9 shows from March 20-24 at the Maybank Performing Arts Theater, BGC Arts Center. The 2 man play hilariously summarizes all 7 books in 70 minutes. I was fortunate to watch the opening night and I was laughing from start to finish. The actors James Percy and Joseph Maudsley inject pop culture jokes that differ from previous Potted Potter that's why it's a must watch even if you've seen it before.

The jokes included "Game of Thrones,” “Fifty Shades of Grey,” other Broadway plays, no ones was sparred including President Donald Trump. The actors interacted with the audience including having a Quidditch and a lot of impromptu jokes. This is definitely a must watch even if you are not a Potterhead like me. Get your tickets now!

https://www.ticketworld.com.ph/Online/default.asp?SessionSecurity::referrer=PottedPotterfromMarchEDM&doWork::WScontent::loadArticle=Load&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::article_id=DCFDCA3B-5918-49C4-AF7B-8B3C7A792AFC&utm_source=TicketWorld+Newsletter&utm_campaign=b0dde62e9f-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_04_10_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_25835544b8-b0dde62e9f-13489085

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newbie

Don't worry, this is not a statement extracted from an internal memo of an email marketing company.

It is a summary of my review after watching the theatrical performance of Spamalot, a stage play produced by Upstart Productions and performed at BGC Arts Center last Saturday. Upstart Productions is a local theatrical show production company that has very good reputation. I have always enjoyed their shows.

When I got the tickets to the show, I wondered if I had made a mistake. While I am familiar with British humor, I was not sure if my 10-year old could get the jokes. Would she need to have knowledge of British history to enjoy a show the title of which is a word play on a place in British history called Camelot? In fact, come to think of it, I don't think I know much about Camelot except that it was a name of a place in British history in medieval times. There was a legend about how a boy became king with the help of magical power.

And what the heck is Monty Python? The show is called Monty Python's Spamalot. I vaguely remembered that it was a term associated with a group of British comedians in 1970s, the most famous of whom was a guy named John Cleese. He is the British version of John Lithgow (a US actor that has starred in many movies as well as a successful comedy series called 3rd Rock from the Sun).

After the show, I was glad that I brought along my 10-year old. She was glued to the show the whole time, and talked about dressing up as King Arthur at Halloween, her most favorite annual event.

It was an outrageous comedy.

Audience eagerly lines up to get into the theater.

The show started with a scene set in a mental hospital. One of the patients became the lead character of the play, King Arthur, in the next scene. So everything in the play was supposed to be a dream in the head of a mental patient. Craziness was therefore expected.

The story line is not very important, because it only serves as a vehicle for a lot of silliness. Everything just happens. 

Briefly, the story was this: King Arthur, a king of England in medieval time, needed to recruit some knights to join him in a quest to find the holy grail. A lot of the jokes were about how King Arthur and his knights interacted with strangers and among themselves.

Photo above: Some of the cast of Spamalot and a fan.

A bunch of silly men running around could become bland after a while even though they were hilarious. Luckily, in the British legend about King Arthur, there was a beautiful sorceress called Lady of the Lake. This provided an opportunity to add some glamour to the play.  The Lady of the Lake, played by actress Rachel Alejandro in the show that we watched, was not only very pretty, but most of all, could sing silly songs and act silly very well.

While Spamalot is a British play that was written probably many years ago, the audience could still connect with it. One is because many of the jokes were about the misunderstanding of simple instructions by idiots. Second, some of the songs sang in the show that we watched, especially one that was sung by the Lady of the Lake, had been updated to incorporate bits of pop songs in it.  The young audience cracked up when they watched these songs being sung and dance in a comical way. 


T-shirt bought at the merchandise booth of the show shows the most evil villain in the plot, a murderous bunny.

Although one may miss one or two jokes that required a knowledge of British slangs in the 70s (such as the one about 'fairy', which means feminine man), or a few rude words that are probably not used any more, everyone will find this production of Spamalot a well performed comedy that delivers.  The acting and directing were superb, the venue of BGC Arts Center was great, and the dresses worn by the Lady of the Lake were enchanting.

Spamalot is directed by Joel Trinidad and Nicky Triviño of Upstart Productions. It is showing at BGC Arts Center until April 22, 2018. Get your tickets now if you want to have a tummy splitting experience this weekend!

My kid is begging me to bring her back to watch again with a friend. I may just let her do that if she promises to study hard, and continue to make jokes in a British accent.

(Btw, don't think too hard on why the show is called Spamalot, because that's not the way Monty Python people work. It was chosen probably only because it rhymes with Camalot).

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newbie

"Loss of Taguig park cats sparks outcry" - headline of national newspaper, Inquirer Philippines on Feb 19, 2018

"Outrage over 20 missing cats" - top story of Manilastandard.net on Feb 20, 2018

More BGC cat stories in national TV channels in the following days, including GMA Network and ABS-CBN.

I was made aware of this outcry over the removal of cats from a park adjacent to Shangri-La at the Fort Hotel when someone in a messenger app circulated an emotionally charged Facebook page about it.



One Bonifacio Park was opened in December 2015. It is an amenity that is much welcomed by residents like me. For one, it provides a green access between Bonifacio High Street and Crescent Park west, a residential area in the western part of Fort Bonifacio. It is a good place to get a respite from the traffic polluted streets in BGC.

In the first year of its opening, only a handful of cats were seen in the park. They were super adorable and attracted the care of many passerbys. I found them cute and was happy that they were there so that we would not have mice in the park. At the same time, I did not interact with them because I had been bitten by ticks before, and I suspect that the ticks were from cats.


I took this photo in August 2017, when the Book Stop was still located in Bonifacio High Street

As time went by, I noticed more and more cats in the park.  I began to feel uneasy about the presence of the cats in the park. They sometimes occupied a large space in the park when they waited to be fed, and I would not want to go near that space. I also believe that many parents with young children would not let their kids go near that area because of hygiene as well as safety concerns.

Around November 2017, the Book Stop was moved from Bonifacio High Street to Bonifacio One Park. One month later, one could sometimes spot a few cats sleeping on the book shelves. They looked very cute, and I took a photo of them, but somehow something bothered me, and I did not keep the photo.

Photo above: The Book Stop was moved to One Bonifacio Park. This photo was taken before the pillows and milk bottles were placed inside it.

Then soon, I saw pillows placed inside the Book Stop, presumably to make life comfortable for the cats, but books were displaced.  Furthermore, milk bottles and other food items were placed in a cardboard box inside the Book Stop, apparently to feed the cats. It was no wonder that the cat population exploded, to the degree that they became bothersome to people who passed by the park.

After a while, the cardboard box and its contents were torn and broken by the cats. They became quite unsightly, and the food remnants became a source of nuisance.

When I saw a post in a messenger app that referred me to a Facebook post about the removal of stray cats at the Bonifacio One Park, I got the impression that the worst had happened to the cats. "I could not hold back my grief, my panic, my heart sank to my stomach....it is the Lunar New Year today, but I feel no sense of happiness, it feels like the day my daddy died..." (full message reproduced above).

This Facebook post was so powerful that an outrage was sparked against the authorities who removed the stray cats. All the national media reported about it. Many took the side of the Facebook post's author.

Then the PR management of the establishment concerned, Shangri-La at the Fort Hotel, countered the allegations. They issued a press release, saying that some of the cats were adopted by their employees, and others were relocated to another place, and that no cat was killed. An animal concern group asked for proof that the cats were indeed adopted and relocated.

When one reads the comments on the articles reporting this issue, one can see a lot of angry words on both sides. Only a few were constructive suggestions, asking the authorities to offer the public a chance to adopt the cats before removing the cats. There was a lot of animosity and some comments descended into personal attacks and name-calling. It was ugly.

At the risk of antagonizing people who feel passionate about the cats, I would say that it was the wrong kind of human intervention that created this tragedy from the start. It was fine that cats came to BGC to look for food. Most people will agree that it is good that some cats are here, as they will catch mice so we do not have to apply dangerous chemicals. However, actively feeding them had caused the cat population to reach a level that many of us considered too invasive of the limited public space that we have. Too many people enjoy interacting with the cats, but do not care for them enough to take them home. Instead, public space is used for keeping their pets.

The fate of the cats was sealed when their patrons started turning the Book Stop into a cat home. They ignored the need of other users of the park, the owner and supporters of the Book Stop.

 At first glance, it may seem that the outcry was caused by too much love for the cats. However, if we think more about it, I think it was because there was not enough love for the furry animals. Not enough love to take them home to care for them. Not enough love to think for the future of the cats, and to restrain ourselves from feeding them just in order to get instant gratification from the interactions.


* * *

Like the author of the powerful Facebook post, I also experienced a heartbreaking event recently. At the end of last year, I received news from a friend that an orphanage that she had been running for many years had to close. The reason? long delay in processing the adoption cases by the authorities.  This made it too costly to care for an orphan. It was hard for the orphanage to raise funds from donors, as donors felt that the impact of their donation was small.

It was a dreadful news. I was saddened not only by the closure of the orphanage, but the thought that orphans in all of the orphanages in the Philippines have to endure long waiting time before they can reach people who are ready to give them the love and attention of parents.  In most orphanages, the resources are stretched. Babies have to wear soiled diapers for hours. Toys, if available, are worn out and not cleaned that often. There is insufficient attention, let alone love, to give to each child.

I do not know the real reason for the long processing time, which can be over two years in some cases, but from the information that I obtained from my friend, it seems that it used to be the court system that delayed the processing of adoption cases. Not only did adoption cases had to wait in line with all other court cases, adoption cases were often handled in the same way as trial cases as if it were a criminal or civil case where prospective adoptive parents were interrogated as if they were on trial. 

Then the procedures were changed, and the Department of Social Welfare was given the authority to approve adoption applications. Long delays continued because the social workers were afraid of making mistakes and asked for repeated assessments of each case.

Now a law is being considered to revert the approving authority back to the court. But according to people running the orphanages, the new law does not provide any solution to shorten processing time.

There is no cute photo to show babies languishing in orphanages, no moving photos to tell people that the babies do not get cuddled when they are crying, thus no outcry on how these babies are delayed from getting the care and attention from people who are ready to love them as if their own children.

These babies were not only abandoned once, they are again let down by the society. Their cries are not heard, and no one speaks for them.

If I were a real journalist, I know which subject I would prefer to write about.

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ajpriela

We all have different interpretations and ideas of the Yuletide season. Some associate it with family reunions, others with gift giving and many of us with shopping. But a fair number of people, especially employees, look forward to the annual Christmas party. 

And that "fair number of people" includes me!

Last week, the management of Square One BGC in Bonifacio Technology Center invited our company to their very first holiday mixer. It was indicated in the invitation that there will be free food and drinks so I was immediately sold, even though I had to travel 2 hours to go home. 

To be honest, I didn’t expect much of the party because Square One BGC only started just a few months ago so I assumed there won’t be many people in attendance. I also didn’t have high hopes with the food and drinks. As long as I’ll get to eat something for free, I’d be satisfied. I was pleasantly surprised, though, and the whole party did not disappoint.

When we entered the office, something instantly caused us to smile – a photo booth! We instantly went to have our photos taken, but noticed that there weren’t any props so we just made do with a bottle of beer and our own hands. Still fun! 




The office was adorned with Christmas lights and décor so the holiday spirit was definitely felt inside. People from the Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation administration welcomed us and made us feel at home. We got to talk to employees of different companies that are tenants of Square One BGC. Most of them are from start-up companies like us so we had insightful conversations with them. The mixer’s set up was completed with a singer who sang his way into our hearts (or was it just my heart?) as he crooned renditions of well-known songs. 




Then came the moment I’ve been waiting for – dinner time! The dishes consisted of salad, prawn pops and chicken fillet, and was served by a restaurant in Bonifacio Stopover Pavilion. I ate to my taste buds’ and tummies’ content :D




After dinner was a time for socialization and then games. It was sad that we didn’t get to finish the whole program with games and raffle because I had to go home. I didn’t want to get caught in horrible traffic, and I still had work the following day. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my time at Square One BGC’s Holiday Mixer because aside from the food and drinks that I came for, I was able to reconnect with old faces, meet new faces and take home an experience that will definitely be remembered. Kudos Square One BGC for an unforgettable party! :)

And now, here's a treat for your auditory senses: