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Our Baguio Exploits (Day 2)

The house at noontime.

February 6 – Day 2

I woke up around noon and the house was pretty quiet. Turns out we’re now divided into two groups. We’re one Camerawalls’ member short with me, Ian, Pao, Sarah and Cheska being left behind to snooze some more. Law join the group of The Bernadettes and our roadies Antonette and Odette with their own spree of shopping for souvenirs and food tripping. Before I continue, let me share an account of what the other group did thru a written contribution by our host Antonette:

When Clem asked me what we did on our 2nd day in Baguio, I laughed. I remembered how crazy and fun that day was. It was around 10am when I was awakened by the noises made by the Angeles brothers just outside the bedroom I was sleeping in. I was rooming with Daphne and Clem — Daph ready to go, while Clem was still all curled up in his bed. The weather was really nice and I wanted to sleep in more but I realized it was our 2nd and last day in Baguio. I want to make the most of the trip since I only get to go to Baguio once a year.

It was almost 12NN and we were all hungry. The Bernadettes, Law, Daph and I decided to go together. Clem, Ian, Cheska, Paolo and Sarah stayed in the house and left late in the afternoon. Instead of playing it safe and going to SM for lunch, we all voted we head to Burnham Park and eat in one of those carinderias were the locals go. We almost ordered everything that was offered to us. All dishes that were served to us were cleared in less than an hour – we were THAT hungry.

Not wanting to waste any time, we headed to the market right after lunch, where we bought the “usual” Baguio pasalubongs – walis tambo, broccolis, strawberries, Sagada oranges, chorizos. The highlight of the trip in the market was when I said we need to buy coffee. But isn’t Batangas the coffee producing city of the Philippines? I thought so too, but years ago, a coffee produced from Benguet was introduced to me by my dad. I am pretty good with directions, but that time, I didn’t want to waste any time, I decided to ask for directions on how to get to the part of the market where they sold coffee. After asking one of the vendors, I was told, “Pag-akyat niyo, madali na lang hanapin. Amoy kape kasi.” True enough, we just followed the smell of the coffee! I was supposed to get the Sagada roast but I was told it was too strong that’s why I opted for the Benguet Robusta and Arabica for my dad while the Angeles’ bought Sagada roast.

We then headed to Camp John Hay, specifically in Mile-Hi Camp where the shop called Everything Nice was located. I went in the store and only found chocolate chip cookies in the rack. A bit disappointed, but hopeful, I came up to the lady in the counter and asked if there’s any chance they’ll have new batches of chocolate crinkles to be delivered before 7PM. There is no way I am coming home to Manila without those crinkles I promised my brothers.

The nice lady made a quick call to their main office and said informed me that I can come back at around 4PM for the crinkles. But we didn’t leave the shop empty handed. Paolo bought cinnamon rolls and ensaymadas while Odette bought brownies, which by the way, was all eaten before we reached our next destination – Baguio Country Club.

No, we aren’t members of the country club. Odette just wants her raisin bread BADLY. On our way to the country club, being the sneaky tandem that we are, Odette and I had our battle plan. The security was strict. We were stopped in the entrance because we didn’t have a sticker to prove that we’re club members. I stuck out my head in window and told the guard that I need to inquire something that was wedding related. We waited for 5 minutes before we were let in. We were instructed to look for a certain person that we could talk to. Of course, we had to show ourselves to the events manager – he was expecting us. It’s a good thing that I really needed to talk to him about some wedding-related businesses. And after the 5 minute-meeting, Odette and I headed in the bakeshop. She bought the 2 remaining raisin breads. Mission accomplished!

We finished off our shopping and food tripping by heading to Mines View and Good Shepherd, we also had to go back to Everything Nice to pick up my chocolate crinkles.

It was getting a little cold and we all decided to head back to Gibraltar to pack, relax and wait for Clem and the rest. We also had strawberry wine and chorizo by the fireplace. Before leaving the house, we had our usual “class picture” (minus Andre who left right away, after the gig) in the living room and outside the house by the staircase. – Antonette

A nice recap. While they we’re busy doing all that our group took our time and had a more laid-back, random itinerary. I started my day with a 30 minute jog back and forth Gibraltar St. passing by a lot of Koreans doing horseback riding at Wright Park. As I traverse along the pine road I keep passing by an area with a lone street vendor selling grilled corn on cobs. Couldn’t resist to urge to take some home so I ordered a few continuing my jog as I wait for it to be ready. Grilled, buttered and salted to taste.

Couldn't resist to take some home.

Sharing my corn cobs with coffee on the side. Our brunch at 2pm.

I received an invite by JB Bautista (President of University of Baguio) for his little daughter’s birthday celebration at Jollibee automatically determining our first stop for the day. Jada is so cute and adorable in her boots and blue dress. We enjoyed watching the kids during the program while chatting with some of the dads about the joys and pains of parenting.

Before we left Jenny (the celebrant’s mom) gave us some kiddie souvenirs (which i gave to my little niece when I got home) while JB, to my surprise, handed me a Morrissey tour shirt!

The Birthday Celebrant

Party Girls

Birthday Treats!

We went straight to Mines View Park to buy some “pasalubong” (treats) to bring home to our friends and relatives. I spotted a “Taho” Vendor selling strawberry flavored taho uncommon in Manila and Bulacan and couldn’t resist to indulge in this signature sweet. Taho is a Philippine snack food typically made of fresh soft tofu, arnibal (brown sugar and vanilla syrup) and pearl sago (similar to pearl tapioca). But the variety in Baguio uses strawberry syrup instead of arnibal.

After checking out a number of shops and scanning the area of the overlooking portion of the park for any changes and developments since our last visit (hardly any, except for added stalls), we headed back to the house. It was already dark.

Taho.

Souveniers at countless shops at Mines View Park

Getting dark so we pose for our last shot at Mines View.

The fireplace was blazing when we arrived and we gladly joined the rest for a few more drinks and chit-chat before we packed our stuff and get ready for the long drive home. As Antonette mentioned, any Lilystars gathering isn’t complete without taking our usual “class picture.”

Coffee and Crinkles by the fireplace.

The mandatory family pic before we say adios.

Our adventure doesn’t end there since we were invited by The Edralins to their gig at Gilligans. Our final stop before we leave the city intoxicated. We were probably the rowdiest group in the bar indulging to jamming requests and singing along to familiar tunes performed as we cheered the night away with unlimited booze courtesy of JB Bautista. T’was a great night. After the gig we all bid our goodbyes and left with a lasting grin on our faces that will eventually be drowned in sleep as we finally hit the road back home.

The Edralins

Jamming at Gilligans.

Poch & Paolo of The Bernadettes + Ian Sarabia as Oasis chorus boys.

Turbo Goth performing Bizarre Love Triangle.

Our Baguio Exploits (Day 1)

Things are pretty busy lately since the release of our new single “The Sight Of Love.” Also we just recently launched a music video to support it. You can view it Here.  And if you still don’t have a copy, you can download the song for free Here.

But this entry isn’t about that. I’m picking up the pieces where I last documented happenings involving The Camerawalls. As I rummage in our backlog of experiences I came across our pics from our wicked trip to Baguio with label mates Turbo Goth and The Bernadettes.

Day 1 – February 5

The night before we left Manila, Lilystars hosted a POP Shoppe! event that featured acoustic sets by Lilystars’ artists to go along with Outerhope – our special guest band for that night. It was laid back and a perfect send-off for a long trip to Baguio. After the event we hit the road at around 3am and found ourselves waking up to the sights of Baguio pines at around 7:30 am.

The famous haunted house along Leonard Wood Loop near Teacher's Camp.

We passed by a famous hunted house in the area which was already used many times in local films. I wanted to stop and stand against the gates to have a picture taken but no one in expressed any interest (out of fear i bet) so we moved along till we reached Antonette’s (our road manager) family rest house along Gibraltar St.

The house along Gibraltar St. where we all stayed over.

We rested for a few hours inside the house, some readily took long naps, and some (including myself) couldn’t take the building hunger as morning turns noon. Ian, Cheska, Sarah, Pao and I didn’t bother to wake up our driver and rode a jeepney towards the nearest Filipino restaurant to satisfy our craving for Beef Bone Marrow & Vegetable Soup locally know as Bulalo!

Bulalo (Beef Bone Marrow & Vegetable Soup) Sweet & Sour Fish & Pork and Grilled Stuffed Squid.

The food was great and not wanting the others to miss out I ordered some more for take out. When we got back, true enough, everyone was starving.

We have two gigs on that day. A late afternoon stint at SM City Baguio and a longer, more engaging set in the night at Chill Out Bar. The weather was just perfect in the high mountains. Not too hot and not too cold. The water on the other hand was close to being intolerable for baths.

We arrived at the mall around 4:30pm, did a bit of sound check and hang around a bit while waiting for our cue to begin the show.

Backstage enjoying the afternoon sun.

Law and Ian feeling the large stage.

Turbo Goth started the lazy afternoon followed by The Bernadettes. Small groups of crowd started building up from both ground and upper floor overlooking the stage. Notice how the sky in the pictures below turns from grayish white to black.

Turbo Goth kicking off the show.

Turbo Goth kicking of the afternoon show.

The Bernadettes

Doing our thing.

Finishing it high.

We played a few songs in the mall reserving energy for a long set at Chill Out Bar. A couple of music fans oblivious of The Camerawalls performing at SM chanced upon us while roaming around the mall not missing the chance to score our debut album. We had pizza after.

I always try to accustom myself with large venues for performing although we prefer intimate settings like small bars where the crowd is within reach and attended by real music fans, making us more excited for the event happening later in the night. Gary Martin, the owner of Chill Out, is celebrating the bar’s 7th anniversary and we’re expecting a lot of friends and music aficionados to come over. Joining us in the line up are friends from a Baguio based indie band — The Edralins. Enjoy the featured videos of The POP Shoppe! performances below:

The Edralins covering a song from The Stone Roses.

A yet to be release tune from Turbo Goth entitled Weather Report.

The Bernadettes with their song Let’s Make Babies.

Us covering a Cure classic. Just Like Heaven.

It was our first time to perform out of town with The POP Shoppe! and our second time as a band in Baguio. Last time we played in Chill Out was last year when we were still a trio, now almost the same crowd and much more witnessed us with our new guitar player.

Clinically Dead For 16 Hours

We immensely enjoyed the gig, met some new friends and felt like family with the way Gary and his friends treated us. Drinks and food were non-stop. The excitement and adrenaline wore off as soon as we went downstage after finishing the set with “Woman” by John Lennon as a final request coming from an engaged couple. All throughout the night I can’t help but notice a cute 3 year old little girl dancing around and seemingly trying to sing along to each song that was played. A kid enjoying the show – now that’s entertainment!

From L-R: Me posing with the bar owner Gary Martin, with the couple Jen Bautista (concert producer) and JB Bautista (the president of University of Baguio).

KOC, Banchetto, Atbp.

If you find the title baffling:

KOC – stands for Kings Of Convenience (a Norwegian pop duo we admire).

Banchetto – an Italian word for “feast.” also refers to a weekly overnight street food fiesta located at Emerald Avenue in Ortigas Center (Fridays to Saturdays) and inside the roadside premises of Forum Robinson at Pioneer St. cor EDSA (Wednesdays to Thursdays).

Atbp – Filipino abbreviation for the English “and others” and Latin “et cetera (etc.)”

A little over two weeks ago, musician and fashion designer Kate Torralba notified us to participate in a “We Want Kings Of Conveniece in Manila Night” and cover a KOC song. A sort of a fete for the upcoming performance of KOC in Manila on March 31 and Kate is part of the production team who will bring them to the Philippines. The most exciting news I’ve heard in while being one who seldom gets the chance to watch a foreign band I love.

As for the cover song, the most obvious choice would be “I’d Rather Dance With You,” which is one of the few full band, upbeat and groovy tracks of KOC. Two weeks is enough leeway for us to learn the song but being predictable procrastinators we were only able to rehearse it as a band during the night before the gig. A fact that made us a bit nervous. I originally planned to capture our skittish performance, too bad my handy flip cam’s battery died during the first few seconds of our set.

I know a lot of people are anxious to see us cover that song so the best we can offer as of now is a clip taken during our rehearsal. Please excuse the lyrical blunders and off-key moments.

Some pics from the actual gig taken from the camera I manage to bring with me.

Let the music begin.

Getting into the swing.

Result of too much swinging.

Swinging till the end. Producing less prominent focal points.

Posing with Sarah Gaugler and event producer Kate Torralba. She's holding a big logbook filled with pledges/requests of people reserving tickets for the KOC concert.

With the Channel V staff and crew who covered the event and interviewed the bands.

Post Gig Food Trip

We were the last to play after Waya, Kate Torralba, Outerhope and Us-2 Evil-0 ending our set at 1:45am. The night still seems young so we rendezvous at Banchetto-Forum checking out the street food and indulging ourselves to whatever our eyes and bellies hungrily agrees to chow down on.

Isaw ng Manok (Chicken Intestines marinated and grilled)

The place was mouth watering. Upon arriving the first thing that caught my attention was the Isaw Manok (grilled chicken intestines) which I’ve been craving for quite some time just recently. I readily asked the vendor to prepare two sticks for little taste test. They were very good and tender. Before we decided to order some more we set off to a nearby convenience store to buy the perfect match for street food — an ice cold beer! Sarah, Pao and Law stayed behind to look around for food choices and reserve a table for all of us.

Isaw taste test. A little dip on special vinegar with spices for the kill.

Joining me in sampling the Isaw Manok are Ahmad (Your Imaginary Friends), Ian and Cheska.

When we got back, a quick survey led me to score half a kilo of Lechon de Leche (suckling pig roasted in charcoal), Betamax (grilled cubes of coagulated pig’s blood on stick) and a grilled Tilapia (a freshwater fish) stuffed with onions and tomatoes. Sarah and Pao got some hotdogs, rice toppings and what seems like pita bread with cheese fillings. I wasn’t paying attention to what they were having being engrossed with appetizing dishes right in front of me and the beer bottle I was clutching and chugging in between bites. Ahmad of Your Imaginary friends bought some Hungarian sausages while Ian and Cheska settled for Liempo (grilled pork belly) with rice and a few more Isaw Manok.

Lechon de Leche (Roasted suckling pig) - a typical Philippine cuisine with Spanish origin.

Betamax (Grilled coagulated pig's blood), Tilapia and Hotdog!

Law squeezing some gravy sauce. On the foreground beside the Lechon is our favorite beer - a Philippine made San Miguel Pale Pilsen.

Betamax! Betamax! Betamax!

After a while a security guard with heavily set eyes approached our table to inform us that alcoholic beverages aren’t allowed in the area. Maybe he noticed the look of disbelief on our faces, or the amount of food we have on our table, or my quick offer of a solution to try our best to conceal it by wrapping the bottles with plastic bags that made him shrug and walk back to his post. That was almost disappointing had he insisted.

We spent the remainder of our time enjoying the food and booze while playing word games. Connecting silly phrases consisting of three words that’s goes around counter-clockwise forming long sentences that means nothing like fart in a wind storm. By the time we got bored with the nonsense we moved on to a name game choosing a letter and taking turns in naming every local or international celebrity we can think of whose name begins with that particular letter. Failure to name one is punishable by a bite on cold leftover pieces of Lechon dipped in different sauces (gravy, vinegar, soy sauce). And every time someone makes a mistake we proceed with the next letter in alphabetical order. It was hilariously crazy and everyone was forced to put on their thinking cap and participate. We reached the letter “Y” before deciding to call it day.

Cheers to the most boisterous group and only table in the vicinity with alcohol!

It's already 5am. Final shot before we hit the road homeward bound.

There’s a saying that goes “Man is richest who’s pleasures are the cheapest.” Indeed, cheap pleasures made our day. – Clementine

Moz Night

We began drinking at 3pm.

Pao, Clem, Law and I met at Lilystar’s HQ for a photo shoot. Its always a bit rough for me to pose without some sort of social lubricant, so I brought along a litre of Absolute Blue. We got dressed and Daphne took some pictures.

It wasn’t long till Pao and Sarah (Turbo Goth) introduced us to their little friend. Jose Cuervo. Antonette’s mom hooked us up with some Shakey’s. By then the sun had already set and it wasn’t too long till we had to head out to the studio to rehearse the songs on the set list.

The Moz covers we did were: Suedehead, The More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get, Interesting Drug and The Last Of The International Playboys.

Here’s where it got hazy.

Lots of people. Lots of flowers. The Bernadettes. Turbo Goth doing Get Behind Me Satan. My family showed up. Standing on the drum set. It was hot. Steamy. We played a great show.

Epilogue.

Cheska and I met up with my family at Whistle Stop. I had 6 shots of Chivas, A Baconsilog, A burger, Salpicao, a tapsilog, Coke Zero, Iced tea and a key lime pie…. Got home.

Sweet Dreams.

Ian Sarabia

(Related Blog: Your Interesting Drug)

Two Years Of Being

Two years. Two rewarding years of music and friendship. From personal battles to a combo fight and flight for a space in the deadening local music industry. The Camerawalls has forged its way to a bright future, beat into shape and now ready for more growth and progress. With a little help from our dear friends we have played our cards well.

CW Cards

*Illustration by Sarah Gaugler (June 2008)

September 10 marks our second year of togetherness, specifically the day when Law and Ian first met and agreed to form a new band with me.  We were all excited about it especially Ian, who has never played proper drums in his entire life, fidgeting about the prospect of sitting behind a kit.

A Chronology

thecamerawalls1September 1, 2007 – Ian and I hanged out for the first time after almost a year for a jamming session to test his percussive intelligence and sensibility. Turns out he’s a natural. Watch the video taken September 1 of  me and Ian writing a daft song on the spot and jamming it.

September 4, 2007 – Wrote our first song together with Ian called “Changing Horses Midstream.”

September 10, 2007 – The day I formally  introduced Ian Sarabia  to Law Santiago and plans were made for The Camerawalls. Here’s a funny clip of Ian with Law in the background still high with the idea of returning to the music scene.

September 22, 2007 –  “Markers of Beautiful Memories” was written while Ian and I were chatting online throwing lines at each other.

October 26, 2007 – Debut Gig at Gweilos Bar, Makati. “To Be Someone” by The Jam was the first song we played live. This gig featured our new songs “Markers Of Beautiful Memories” and “Changing Horses Midstream” played live for the first time. Click on the song titles to view the live performance.

November, 2007 – Recorded “Markers Of Beatiful Memories.” I reunited with producers/engineers’ Jonathan Ong & Robert Javier (responsible for the production of the O&L album “Moonlane Gardens” which won Album Of The Year in the 2007 Rock Awards), to try the new sound and direction for The Camerawalls resulting into a steady and absorbing recording.

November, 2007  to February, 2008 – Wrote and arranged the rest of the songs for the debut album in the following order: Lord Of The Flies, I Love You Natalie, Clinically Dead For 16 Hours, Ignore My Weakness Don’t Ignore Me, Canto De Maria Clara, The Emperor The Concubine & The Commnoner, Lizard Hiding Under Rocks, Solitary North Star

thecamerawalls-bwMarch, 2008 – Released “Markers Of Beautiful Memories” as a single. First aired on NU 107 and later on was included in the playlist of JAM 88.3. Simultaneously posted in the band’s MySpace the song slowly gained attention and following plus great feedback and reviews.

March to June, 2008 – Recorded the rest of the songs in “Pocket Guide To The Otherworld” at Sonicstate Audio under the production of Jonathan Ong and Robert Javier.

June 15, 2008 – First radio guesting/Live Performance at Jam Sessions (Jam 88.3) promoting the launch of the debut album.

July 2008 – Released our second single “Clinically Dead For 16 Hours.” Apparently an obvious choice by radio stations, friends and fans.

The CamerawallsJuly 3, 2008 – Album Launch at Club Dredd. Watch one of the songs performed here and the Dredd TV interview here.

July 16, 2008 – The POP Shoppe! launch at Gweilos Bar headlined by The Camerawalls.

August 2, 2008 – Video shoot for “Clinically Dead For 16 Hours” and some parts of “Markers Of Beautiful Memories under the direction of B. Canapi. “Clinically Dead For 16 Hours” was released 3 weeks later and enjoyed sizable airtime on MYX and MTV. Watch the video here.

September 10, 2008 – Our first year anniversary.

November 6, 2008 – First Major Gig – MYX MO at Mall Of Asia. Performed “Clinically Dead For 16 Hours” in front of thousands of people.

November 27, 2008 – NU 107 Rock Awards: Nominated for Best New Artist and Best Album Packaging for “Pocket Guide To The Otherworld.” We did not win the award but the recognition as a nominee says a lot.

January 2009 – Released the music video for “Markers Of Beautiful Memories.” Rather late but for a wonderful song little does it matter. It features Sarah Gaugler of our electro pop sister band — Turbo Goth.

January to February, 2009 – The Camerawalls’ Provincial SM Mall Tour (Baliwag, Pampanga, Baguio, Marilao, Lipa). An effort to reach out to our fans and friends outside Manila and promote the debut album. Did sideshows in nearby bars as well in each area.

March 28, 2009 – A mini-concert at Ortigas Park during the yearly celebration of Earth Hour. A memorable gig filled with candlelight in darkened street area of Ortigas.

Pocket Guide To The Otherworld

May 8, 2009 – Launch and release of the repackaged edition of “Pocket Guide To The Otherworld” with a new and more fitting cover art by Sarah Gaugler during the anniversary party of Lilystars Records.

May 15, 2009 – Performed at JAM Musicfest. First time to play live with an electric guitar with these songs: Clinically Dead For 16 Hours and That’s Entertainment (The Jam). Click the title to watch the videos.

June 20, 2009 – Performed at Fete Dela Musique.

August 29, 2009 – Performed at Jackstock – Jack TV’s 4th Anniversary celebration at Eastwood Central Plaza.

September 2, 2009 – Performed alongside a great scottish songwriter Ally Kerr during his visit in Manila. The Camerawalls provided rhythm section during his gig at The POP Shoppe.

September 11, 2009 – Second Anniversary celebration at Gweilos Bar where we first performed as a band. Had a great party with Lilystars Records family, friends and supporters. Performed live two new songs that will appear in the upcoming Lilystars compilation album:  “The Sight Of Love” and “Longevity.”

We are thankful for these two great years. To everyone who shared moments with us, supported us along the way, bought our records and turned up at our gigs and shared our excitement — we are forever grateful. Expect more music in the coming days, months and years ahead. – Clementine