Culture Shock

For Father’s Day, I enrolled in a writing workshop-cum-tour of Writer’s Block Philippines featuring the irrepressible Carlos Celdran. We walked from Plaza de España (Roma) in front of Manila Cathedral, to the crypts behind San Agustin Church. Along the way, Celdran talked about Manila’s bloody past and how it helped shape our national identity. In so doing, he extolled Manila’s charms with a passion rare in Manileños. Most would rather talk about how decrepit Manila has become, or how it’s just a shell of its former self, but not Celdran. “I may not change Manila, but I can change the way you look at Manila,” says Celdran at the end of each tour, and I believe him. After earning his degree from the Rhode Island School of Design, Celdran now makes his home in Ermita’s fabled North Syquia Apartments, where on occasion his pad also hosts other interesting events. Continue reading “Culture Shock”


Long Stories

1. When I was in private practice, the boutique firm where I worked rarely took walk-in clients. This was not because we were snooty lawyers who turned down work we deemed to be beneath our level (although I admit there was a certain pride to be had working for my firm), but because it took some effort to reach our office. The office was (and still is) on the eighth floor of what was designed in the sixties as a seven story building in the heart of Makati. Sometimes, when both elevators servicing the building would conk out, ours was an office on the top floor of an eight-story walkup with some of the worst parking in the country. As Randy Pausch would later explain, this was, in its own way, a filter to ensure that only those who really wanted us got us. Continue reading “Long Stories”