I had a really fun time last Saturday when one of my friends from home came over to visit me here in Manila. We had fun chatting and catching up with each other, and eating most of all; and while she was here, we decided to go to Bonifacio Global City in Taguig where there was an art fair in one of the malls there.
We had lunch first in one of my favourite restaurants in Manila, Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza, by the Fort Strip in Serendra. So far, this restaurant has the best pizza I have ever eaten in Manila, and they make good pastas too. Their pizzas and cheese are handmade and taste amazing. One of my favourite items in their menu is the burrata salad. I looooovvvveeee cheese! One of the things I miss the most about Europe! Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza makes their own fresh burrata, and it’s extremely delicious when paired up with their house salad.
We then ordered their margherita pizza, which in my opinion is always the most underrated kind of pizza. Why does nobody seem to like margherita around here? Their margherita in Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza is created with a kind of cheese called kesong puti, which is a soft and mild cheese made from carabao milk. It’s a kind of white cheese that’s not aged, and although I do like it, it’s not exactly one of my favourite kinds of cheese. It’s very good on the pizza though.
Afterwards, we went to the mall across the strip called SM Aura (a rather ugly building in my opinion; and a boring mall just like every other else in Manila). They were having a fair called Manilart in their convention centre, and it was just an area where local galleries around the Metro got to showcase the artworks they were selling. I took pictures of some the favourite ones I saw, unfortunately I forgot to take note of the name of the galleries and some of the names of the artworks.
These are the beautiful sculptures by Daniel Dela Cruz, one of the most famous sculptors in Manila. His sculptures are incredibly fluid, as if they were real cloth floating in mid-air, but they’re actually metal! It’s amazing how he’s able to shape not only the human figures in movement, but their clothing as well.
Another are these artworks by Korean artist Eun-Kyung Lee, simply titled “Apple” and “Grapefruit”. These pieces are so cute! But pictures can’t really capture how amazing the work looks in real life. It is comprised of several layers of glass laid on top of of one another to form these amazing fruit-shaped patterns. If you look at it sideways, you’d know what I mean. Unfortunately, it can’t be captured in photographs.
Next are these ceramics sold in the same gallery, by a Korean artist as well named Kim YoungMi. The human sculpture is called “Linus’ Blanket-Gold Bird” while the one in the wall is titled “Wrinkle Dog”; no name was given to that other smaller ceramic though. Usually I don’t like artworks with human figures in it (they creep me out!) but I find this one really beautiful. That tiny ceramic bird is really cute as well!
One that caught my eye as well was this sculpture by Jo Balbarona called “concealed” which depicts a dual-faceted side of a skull with rays (?) in it. One side is very colourful while the other side is pitch black.
Ramon Orlina, an artist whose work I’ve really wanted to own for a really long time, was also displayed here. He creates these extremely beautiful glass sculptures that can either be purely asymmetrical or depicting a human silhouette. He’s also quite famous in the Philippines already, so his work is really expensive now. They look very beautiful to own but scary to display. I can’t imagine accidentally tipping a piece over and destroying it! The asymmetrical piece is called “Orlina” while the one with the female silhouette is called “Modern Eve VI”; it kind of reminds me of Jean Paul Gaultier’s “Classique” perfume bottle haha, only with more angular breasts.
Also displayed are these “kinetic sculptures” by Cris Eguaras. They are very mesmerising to look at because of how it just keeps on moving. They are made of wood and are really beautiful as well. I wonder if these need electricity to work? But probably not since they didn’t seem like they had plugs or batteries or anything. These would also be really cool to own. The picture with two pieces are called “Glider 1” (left) and “Ripple” (right), while the other is called “Armour 2”.
One I also found really beautiful is this painting from 1977. There was no tag on it for some reason, but I managed to find the artist’s name at the bottom of the painting. I couldn’t read it so well though, but it’s probably from a Spanish artist or something. I find the softness of the painting really beautiful. Almost calming in some way.
Afterwards, we had dinner in a restaurant called Buta+Wagyu where I had one of the unhealthiest meals of my life! It was totally worth it though, and I don’t even really like meat very much. It was really pricey, we ended up spending around PHP 6,000.00 (EUR 111.17; SEK 1073.29; DKK 826.99; CHF 121.88) for their Stone Grill Sampler and Steamed Wagyu.
It was AMAAAAAAZZZZZZIIINGGGGG. Thank God for my ashtanga otherwise I might’ve ended up with a heart attack after that meal. The beef was REALLY flavourful and soft, and was no doubt the best wagyu I’ve tried here in Manila! Apparently their beef is shipped daily from Japan, and it’s never frozen. They make sure to choose the best quality beef, and their wagyu is alwys A5, which is the highest ranking.
Afterwards, we went back to Makati and went shopping in Adora, a luxury department store, where she bought clothes from this Filipino brand that we both really love called Harlan + Holden. It’s made here in the Philippines, so it’s great that the brand helps give employment to local artisans. The pieces investment pieces that are very minimalist and created really skilfully. The material is of very good quality too.
Then there were these Loewe bags and Valentino shoes for sale as well! But of course I didn’t buy any since I’m broke. And they’re not really me anyway, I just appreciate the craftsmanship. Besides, I don’t even wear heels!
Then we went to the other Harlan + Holden pop-up store with a really beautiful design! I don’t know who designed it, but I love the wooden elements inside the store. I didn’t get to photograph the entirety of it though.
Oh my god, I had so much fun, spending time with one of my closest friends I haven’t seen in months. Both of us are foodies (and art lovers!) so we had a really fun time hanging out with each other last Saturday.
Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza is located in G/F Serendra, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, and has other branches listed here.
Buta+Wagyu is located in 5/F SM Aura, 26th St cor McKinley Parkway, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig.
Adora is located in 2nd Floor Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Makati.
Harlan + Holden is located in G/F Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Makati.