food trip, laundry therapy, musings

waking life

van gogh is bipolar-1

carlo and i found ourselves in van gogh is bipolar again. totally unplanned visit, we were in the area and decided to visit jetro and listen to tales of his recent trip to india, mongolia and the himalayas before his service starts at 6pm. apparently it’s been a year (ed- apparently it was dec 2011 as seen here) since we saw him because the cabinets from his shop in alabama is now in the resto since january last year.

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food trip, laundry therapy, musings

another night at the van gogh


early this week carlo and i headed to van gogh is bipolar to drop off some floral teas for jetro. it was around 9pm and since carlo and i havent had dinner, we decided to eat there.  cuzin tricie was with us and would have joined us but had to attend to the mother so she left early.  there were very few diners that night so it was a treat to find jetro relaxed and had time to sit and talk to us.  it’s been a while since we were able to just sit and talk.

we tried his 3-course meal that night: virginia vegetable soup with pieces of shredded chicken and some beans, norwegian salmon belly with bowls of cabbage leaves filled with sting’s spicy marble potatoes (we opted for this instead of rice) and a slice of orange, mel gibson’s darkest sin and a refreshing cucumber tea with sprigs of tarragon and mint (see photo on left).  a better lighted photo is posted below but we already dove into the drink, enjoying it like kids who picked on flowers and leaves from the backyard and mixed it up for a dare. sorry for the quality of the photos, had i known we were going back to van gogh and staying longer i would have brought my dslr (photos were taken with my phone cam).


we were already in high spirits finishing the soup when the main course arrived. it was overwhelming and i thought the only way i could deal with it was by eating with my fingers. and so i started picking on the cabbage leaves, the lettuce et. al. the downside to this was carlo and i werent speaking to each other because we were so engrossed with the food and the experience of eating it (we’re normally engaged in conversation while eating), though not entirely bad because we savored every aspect of the meal.  and kudos to the well-cooked salmon belly, superb.  there might be some truth in jetro’s diet since we were left heady and clearly stoked.


it’s no surprise we are fans of mel gibson’s darkest sin.  jetro tells us he tweaked it since then but we still enjoyed it immensely– mel gibson’s darkest sin is a jägermeister shot with a chocolate bottom and finished off by a walnut. call it crazy, we call it love.


winding down, jetro mixed us a tea concoction and pulled out all the stops to setup the bed out in his garden with candles and lace table covers. we then chilled out under the stars and talked until midnight. we could live like this forever  🙂  jetro was kind enough to offer us a suggestion for our bluementritt cafe we couldnt resist.  we’ll keep you guys posted. i marveled at the dill flowers blooming in jetro’s garden and asked for a few to bring home to mindanao for mom before we left the cafe.

van gogh remains a large part, jetro’s home and it really was just visiting an old friend and enjoying dinner with him.  but more than anything, van gogh will always be that moment where life stands still long enough for you to reflect on it. this universe is always worth visiting, a necessary trip to discovering what you might just need to do and unravel things about yourself.  over tea, childhood drinks and cabbage leaves.


gutten nacht!  till the next universe hop.

laundry therapy

blumentritt cafe

from hereon, silofen cafe will be known as blumentritt cafe. so it is written, so it shall be done.


ive always wanted to open a cafe. ive always wanted some open space cafe that invites free souls and spirited travelers from all walks of life. artists who want to hang their lives on canvasses up on my walls. musicians who wish to fill the room with their souls. filmmakers who paint their images on my screens.

when my sister tina and cousin maylin decide to venture into the food business and opened may’s dos in 2000 (an extension to my mom and maylin’s mom’s original eatery, may’s best foods, which has been open since the 80s), i was thrilled with the potential of the place. we painted the walls red and during summers i brought the tv from home and played movies in the afternoons to cultivate a culture.


my cousin tonio and ace also enjoyed their run of the parent’s resto mandex bar (named after my tito jun otherwise called mandex). in the morning it caters to the lunch crowd, evenings are for the night owls.

i always thought if i were based in cdo, i would have used the may’s location in the evenings for the cafe. but im not based in cdo so this never went anywhere.

my friend from fine arts jetro opened his doors to strangers early this year with his cafe-resto van gogh is bipolar, which we all know became a huge hit. carlo and i were one of the first few diners and we were equally excited with jetro’s venture. we even inquired on renting out the 2nd floor space in his building for our cafe/office/bodega/living quarters. i knew we weren’t ready for it yet so i said, let’s not rush it, let’s pray about it and maybe next year we can plot out a more feasible plan for the cafe+design studio we wanted.

during my second trip to van gogh is bipolar, i realize now, jetro’s mix of organic tea always pushes me to self-evaluate my dreams and goals. and we always go back to the cafe idea.

carlo and i created this mock cafe, silofen, to satisfy our desire for the cafe. we put up our menu online in the hopes that the universe will soon listen. and i think it did.

right now carlo and i got to discuss the cafe again. we eventually decided to name it blumentritt (after the original street name where may’s best foods and mandex bar are located in cagayan de oro) but this will be in manila. cafe+design studio+gallery+tea house+screening room+etc. wohoo! crazy combination but we believe it will attract our market.

im writing this down because we need to put it out in the universe. i truly believe God listens to prayers written in blogs. and if this isnt a prayer and a wish, i dont know what is. see you at the opening of blumentritt cafe!

art & design, food trip, interior design, musings

van gogh is cuckoo

had a very interesting night at van gogh is bipolar. FA classmate egan jimenez held a photo exhibit that opened today at the cafe.  took me a 2nd tagging of his invites on FB to haul my ass off and go (i dragged jhem manalang along with me).  i missed the company of egan and van gogh owner jetro, plus sir tats enriquez (missed cesar hernando by a half hour) and had a wonderful night of conversation over beer and tea.

at the back wall are egan’s photos enlarged on plywood canvasses. i especially loved his amsterdam photo and the steps of the sistine chapel. jetro here decided to take off his shirt and wear the michelangelo’s david apron he got from italy.

listened to jetro’s stories in europe. his new motto in life is apparently hakuna matata. somewhere in scandinavia he met this old man with a thick white beard and long hair. he looked like a bum but jetro found out while talking to the guy that he was 1 of 3 remaining artists in sweden or something. And he plans to move in here in the philippines in november on fulfilling a life-long dream of retiring and dying here. and that he’s planning to buy an island and stay there. oh, and he has a pinay girlfriend.  i say, there’s no place like home.

flags of countries from jetro recent euro trip hang outside the cafe.

how is a tea party without tea pots?

jetro’s teas are grown from his own yard out in isabella. with the storm he tells me his trees have been uprooted. i asked, how was his family.  well, they have still have a roof, he says.


we dined at next-door black soup cafe but finished here in the red wall boudoir. the piece of knit hanging above i loved.  later i find out it was from gilda cordero. much later jetro tells me it was chinchin gutierrez’s costume from the stage musical, luna (aswang romance).  so much cooler.


jetro did not serve dinner that day but his cafe became a soup kitchen of sorts.  on the foreground is his chicken soup (lovely); in mid ground is his travel journal (which includes an unsent letter to oprah).

jetro confesses his trip eventually became spiritual. by the 3rd week in europe he unloads most of his stuff and sends it back to the pinas. along the way he’d leave behind some of his clothes, realizing he doesnt need so much material stuff. by the 3rd month in europe, he’s left with a shirt, his jeans, shoes and bag. he even gave away his cellphone. he’s slept on floors, in bus stations, dined with the rich and convened with the poor.  he tells me his life in manila is complicated, realizing people can live on less and be happy. and he realized he was afraid of so many things. he says, by learning to let go of all anxiety and fear, only then can we really live.

this lace umbrella, used as a shade, was sourced from belgium in jetro’s recent euro tour.

a lot of us have wild dreams of being rich and traveling all over, experiencing what the whole world has to offer. he’s prodding me it’s time to resume pursuing mine. jetro declared to robert he was leaving for europe then. robert asked when, to which he replied soon. jetro surmises if he didnt leave now then he might never will. so off he went, just like that.

if only we could be as adventurous with fate and destiny, we will realize we were always meant to be where we only thought we’d go.

and just like that, i became more inclined to take that trip back to europe to live out a fantasy.  ever since carlo was invited to go to europe (for work) in february next year, i wanted to go back there too.  my first euro trip 5 years ago was only 5 days long. now i wanna stay for a month or two!  i want to go back shooting my short films and a bit of photography so im vying for a good DSLR (how about a canon 550D for now?).  my finances will need to brace itself but maybe i need to live off the edge a bit.  otherwise i wouldnt get to where i need to be.  you only live once.  no day but today.