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Posts from the ‘Travel’ Category

Rich In Love At Timbre (Part 3)

This post has been lying on our WordPress draft section since Oct 7. Completely forgot about it. Last month was pretty tight with lots of gigs and activities. So here goes…

…continued from Rich In Love At Timbre (Part 2)

Our Final Set at The Substation

Right after chilling out for a bit at Timbre @ Old School we headed straight to The Substation for the usual soundcheck. A few minutes before our set a queue was forming outside. We played to what seemed like a full house bar for that evening. Many guests who came to see us the previous night were also present to witness our last gig in SG.

We were far more relaxed, like we’re in a familiar place. It felt like home.

All black and white photos by Deo Virtucio of Requiem Rising Singapore. To see more, click HERE>>>

Canto De Maria Clara – The Camerawalls (Live at Timbre @ The Substation)

My Life’s Arithmetic Means – The Camerawalls (Live at Timbre @ The Substation)

Bread and Circuses – The Camerawalls (Live at Timbre @ The Substation)

Rich In Love At Timbre (Part 2)

…continued from Rich In Love At Timbre (Part 1)

Our first gig at Timbre, despite the rain, wasn’t bad for a Tuesday night. It was delight to find many Filipinos in the crowd and some locals who have been following our music since last year.

A Visit to the Timbre Music Academy

The excitement of the night didn’t wear off till the wee hours of the morning. We overslept during the day crushing our plans to take a stroll around the city. Our itinerary the following day starts with a short stop at Timbre Music Academy. It’s a unique facility that balances the learning curve of their students by providing not only theoretical or technical knowledge but also hone the practical aspects of performing outside the classroom. Timbre operates 6 live music venues across the city, featuring prominent local bands every night and all their instructors gig professionally so they are able to impart practical and proven techniques of a live music performance.

At Timbre Music Academy

Recording my Tip of the Day.

They often ask visiting musicians to contribute a tip of the day to their Timbre Music Academy Facebook page and YouTube channel. The tips can be anything music-performance related and will be recorded inside the academy. I shared some pretty basic strumming tips for those with budding interest in learning how to play the acoustic guitar. Below is the result:


The intro riff is the exact acoustic rhythm section I recorded for our song “The Emperor, The Concubine & The Commoner“. I stressed the importance of learning to play good rhythm. Sure, anyone can be a burning lead guitar player and rip out on solos. But solos occupy a small percentage in most songs, so one’s lead guitar skills are really only ever be as good as his rhythm skills.

Chilling at Timbre @ Old School.

With Sy Low - Timbre's Music and Marketing Manager.

Right beside the academy conveniently lies Timbre @ Old School, an acoustic bar nestled amid creative agencies and art galleries. This acoustic music space and watering hole’s laid back ambiance is just perfect for chilling out. It’s already open early in the afternoon. We chilled out and chatted for a while with Sy Low. She is Timbre’s music and marketing manager and the one directly taking care of us. She shared some of her interesting experiences with musicians they invited over to perform like Bob Dylan and some tidbits from past events.

Old School!

to be continued…

Rich In Love At Timbre (Part 1)

If you’re an indie band playing indie music, what are the chances of getting on the commercial train in the current climate of our music industry? Not very high, of course. Rejecting what artists are force-fed, and the decision that we can do better ourselves is the fundamental premise behind the existence of indie labels, especially in the case of Lilystars Records.

When opportunity knocks

A few years ago, when I ceased to distress myself over the things that is crippling the health of indie and commercial pop music, I get relieved when once in a while, we receive a knock of opportunity that recharges our battery of hope to thrive and continue. The opportunity to gig abroad was one of them.

Last year, we had a very memorable experience at Baybeats in Esplanade, Singapore. Our first festival gig in a foreign country. A year after, we found ourselves back in the streets of this marvelous city, this time to perform intimate shows in a bar setting. We aren’t so good at finding gigs, much less having an ear and awareness for these types of engagements. Luckily, they find us.

As early as July, we received a generous invite from Timbre Group, a company with a diversified portfolio of a holistic and synergistic range of music, lifestyle, entertainment and education brands, to perform on September 13 and 14 in one of their live music bars – Timbre @ The Substation.

The experience was equally memorable as the last one. We got to play more songs (an hour each per night), meet and greet more people, sell more records and more drunken nights with just the four of us getting plastered in a back alley where Spicy Thai Thai Restaurant is located, helping ourselves with large bottles of Carlsberg (600+ml) and extra spicy Thai and Indochinese food till 3Am.

Day 1 in Singapore

We arrived at Changi International Airport a day earlier after boarding the first flight via Tiger Airways. Ben and Sy of Timbre welcomed us and took us to our hotel along Dickson Road. Along the way, i brought up the topic about the Old Changi Hospital, asking if the way it was documented in that horror flick is accurate. He shook his head and discouraged us from visiting that place, considered as one of the scariest places in Singapore. Try watching Haunted Changi to see what it looks like inside out.

We rested for a while and did a short tour of Little India complete with authentic Indian cuisine for lunch. Early evening we decided to visit Marina Bay Sands. Along the way, we kept admiring their ultra convenient bus and train system, so far in comparison with what Manila has to offer.

At Marina Bay Sands mall.

We were able to catch Wonder Full, the free spectacular light and water show, the largest in Southeast Asia. The show employed the mediums of giant water screens, vibrant multicolored high-powered Lasers, search lights, spot lights, fountains, surround sound, strobes, LED lighting, video projection and other special effects. The sights and sounds were astounding and breathtaking. A goosebumps galore moment for all of us.

Wonder Full is definitely a cheap thrill of world-class architecture and musical direction everyone visiting Singapore must see.

It was the best nightcap ever. The weariness from lack of sleep and travel blues was instantly swept away.

Waiting for the bus.

At the Substation – Sept 13

Well rested the following day, we headed early at The Substation where the Timbre branch is located to do a sound check. It was a sizable open-air venue which can hold around 250 people or more. Pretty big actually. We were expecting a closed, intimate space but the ambiance kind of feels like home.

Early sound check at Timbre @ The Substation

A view of one side of the venue from the stage.

Getting the hang of it.

When we finally got the feel of the sound and the stage, we killed the next hour with pizza and bottles of Heineken. Surprisingly, there were a number of Filipino employees working at the bar. And did I mention the front desk lady at our hotel is also a Filipina? One can expect great service on such occasions.

Pizza and beer with our roadie Antonette.

Danny Loong, Timbre's co-founder and creative director, introducing us to the crowd during our first night.

It began to rain the moment we climb the stage to begin the show. We had the pleasure of being introduced by the creative director and one of the founders of Timbre Group – Mr. Danny Loong (who also happens to be an excellent blues guitarist). I was able to chat with him earlier about the music scene in the country and a possible collaboration with Lilystars to bring in great Singapore acts to Manila and vice-versa. Something worth considering especially with the kind of hospitality, promotion and exposure they are giving The Camerawalls.

We also met some folks from Requiem Rising Singapore. An events production group consisting of Filipino young professionals and artists and indie/new wave music enthusiasts. One of their members Deo Virtucio, was kind enough to share some black and white pictures he took during the event. See them below:


Law Santiago

Not minding the rain.

Joseph "Bachie" Rudica

Our new guitarist - George Carillo.

All warmed-up and spaced out.

 For more photos by Deo Virtucio, click Here

We were able to capture “The Emperor, The Concubine & The Commoner”, our last song, on video recorded by Antonette.


Some of the good people we met, bought our records and chatted with during our first night at Timbre:

With folks from Requiem Rising Singapore.


…continued at Rich In Love At Timbre (Part 2)

Food and Yenning in Iloilo (Part 2)

continuation of Food and Yenning in Iloilo (Part 1)…

While enjoying the afternoon coffee at Madge, I mentioned to Chito my particular interest to visit Museo Iloilo and Janiuay Cemetery.  Got the following description at about the two places of interest:

Museo Iloilo
An impressive collection of Iloilo’s cultural heritage which includes stone age native pottery; fossils; jewelry; burial sites; trade pottery from China, Annam and Siam; era photos. Mementos and war relics; a British sunken ship; Spanish-era Filipino sculpture; and modern art done by Ilonggo artists and craftsmen.

Janiuay Cemetery
Built in 1875, this famous Spanish-Filipino cemetery is made of cut stone and fossil rocks and features three imposing stairways and two Gothic doors. Its is 32 kms. from the city.

He told me it’ll take a long while to reach the cemetery but he’ll gladly accompany us to the museum. So I guess the tombstones and idea of grave rubbing will have to wait for another visit back in Iloilo.

For non-travelers like us who aren’t used to the grandeur of famous museums, Museo Iloilo was indeed already impressive. It wasn’t that big and one can tour it for a short 15 to 30 minutes.

As a souvenir, I bought a couple of era photos while Bachie bought a number of Iloilo tote bags. Displyed in the next room across the entrance are several paintings by local artists. I particularly like the works of a certain Alex P. Ordoyo in watercolor. Below are samples of this work on exhibit.

But the best art I saw and probably the photo of the day is a mixed media composed of art on canvas and my two band mates fooling around.

… and this amazing monument of Benjamin Button.

After the half -hour museum tour we headed back to Highway 21 hotel to rest for a couple of hours while we wait for Ian Zafra, our session guitarist, who flew from Cebu. It’s been so long since he last joined us on stage and we’re quite excited to see him again.

In our hotel room, reunited with Ian.

He arrived at the hotel just in time for dinner accompanied by two friends based in the city named Patrick and Roy. They brought us to a place called Ramboy’s Lechonan and Restaurant, ordered Sinigang, Lechon and Sizzling Seafoods and had a few beers while catching up. We continued drinking and singing the night away back in our hotel room. A great day, it was.

to be continued…

Food And Yenning In Iloilo (Part 1)

My mouth waters when I think of Iloilo and its food specialties. When we were invited to play in a sorority sponsored pre-Valentine event on February 12 at Mellow Mangrove (formerly Tijuana Bar) by U.P. Sigma Beta, the thought of visiting instantly tickled my taste buds. “La Paz Batchoy!” I screamed in my head.

We asked the organizers to book us an early flight a day before the event to eat and see some places we’ve never been to. The three of us arrived in Iloilo on a Friday morning with hardly any sleep. Lean (a Junior student and sorority member) accompanied by Chito Miclat (a Beta Sigma alumni who owns a printing business) were the ones who picked us up at the airport. The former being relatively shy while the latter is a jolly person in his 50s who never ran out of classic jokes to tell.

Chito: “Im happily married. My wife is happy. I’m just married.”


Chito: “Kahit di ako gwapo ang napangasawa ko former Miss Korea, pero dito na kame nag stay sa Iloilo.”
Bachie: “Talaga? Paano kayo nagkakilala? Nagpunta ka sa Korea?
Chito: ” Hindi. Sa Pampanga ko siya nakilala. Taga Isabela. Mrs. Miclat na sya ngayon.”

Punchline after punchline, he kept us alive and amused during the whole trip to his house, the hotel until till he brought us to Tatoy’s Manokan to treat us for lunch fit for 10 people!

Tatoy's Manokan and Seafoods

Our generous hosts.

It takes awhile to reach the place. It’s located at Villa Beach, West of Iloilo City near Breakthrough Restaurant. Known to serve the best grilled chicken in Panay, their Native Chicken Lechon is superb and delicious not to mention easy on the budget. The same goes with their selection of seafood dishes.

Picture this: a view of the sea, bamboo tables and benches, soil under your feet, a great selection of native dishes, buko juice served with the whole coconut fruit on the table… we couldn’t help but feel at home and eat using our hands.

Native Chicken Lechon, Seaweeds on Vinegar and Kilawin!

Grilled Pusit

Oysters in Vinegar and Scallops (not in the picture).

Following the host's example. Best way to eat in that restaurant.

The amount of food served and the funny conversations did more than satisfy our hearty appetite. Digging till we can’t take any more. A plastic bag for leftovers was the last request. Chito invited us to have coffee on our way back to the city. He parked beside a business establishment and to our surprise led us inside a public market across the street.

We entered a homey carinderia-type kapihan called Madge Cafe. The place is over 50 years old and quite popular in the area. They serve authentic Ilonggo brewed coffed and is a perfect after meal treat. Who would have thought one would find a place like this in a public market.

Located inside La Paz Public Market.

Very homey. No classy interiors and air conditioning.

Less than $1 for an organic brew of locally grown beans.

Good coffee, good times.

Dipping my toast in coffee. Old Pinoy habits never die.

continued at Food and Yenning in Iloilo (Part 2)