MANILA, Philippines–The hottest new club in Makati, 12 Monkeys, is also one of the cool places to catch artists who play new original music.
It helps that some of the club’s owners are musicians who are receptive to young and promising acts. We chanced upon two of these acts, Kai Honasan and Kate Torralba, on a recent Monday night.
Torralba—the Cebu-born fashion designer who’s been living out her wildest dreams as a singer-songwriter—was on a break from her ongoing London club tour and was given a one-night slot at 12 Monkeys.
Honasan—another singer-songwriter whose latest achievement is passing the blind auditions on “The Voice of the Philippines” season 2—was one of Torralba’s guest performers.
The most remarkable thing about these two artists is that they are tapping their own “voice” with different takes on life and relationships—very personal but never boring. For instance, Honasan’s depiction of romance in “Tongue Tied” and Torralba’s recollection of a joyful moment in “Monkey Song (Nokiesque)” brim with drama and excitement that redefine contemporary Filipino music.
Never mind that Torralba had to deal with an out-of-tune baby piano while being backed by two rock stars from The Eraserheads, Raimund Marasigan and Buddy Zabala, and guitarist Sach Castro.
12 Monkeys, 5/F Century City Mall, Kalayaan, Makati; tel. 0917-5703222
New twists on dishes
Meanwhile, a new Makati restaurant called Twenty Two Jupiter offers new twists on otherwise familiar dishes that we had the opportunity to sample a few nights ago.
There was gambas enhanced with homemade chorizo; wild mushroom truffle pasta; scallops with foie gras; bagnet with Thai sauce—each item teasing our palate with their own distinctive flavor, persuading us to believe that there will always be new ways to enjoy food.
The waiter’s recommended French red wine, Chateau Bernadotte, provided just the right dryness, further enhancing our appetite.
That’s only part of Twenty Two Jupiter’s extensive lunch and dinner menu. What’s even better is that the place features live music every night.
During our visit, Cara Manglapus sang with a bright, young group of musicians composed of bassist Harrold Go, saxophonist Nicole Tejedor, drummer Anabec Silverio, keyboardist Jeremy Alex Salva and guitarist Jordan Amaca.
We’re not sure if Manglapus—incidentally a granddaughter of former senator and musician, Raul Manglapus—was serious when she introduced her band as Cara and the Kids; but the group’s interpretations of Van Morrison, Sting, Stevie Wonder, Burt Bacharach, Chuck Mangione, Bob Marley and Chick Corea originals, among others, had youthful vigor running through their veins.
Twenty Two Jupiter Bistro Bar, 22 Jupiter St., Bel-Air, Makati; tel. 5567097
Rex Navarrete repeat
Watching Rex Navarrete for the first time was like rediscovering first-rate stand-up comedy—the way all the great comics do it, but this time by a Filipino based in America who has captured the quirks and traits of his fellow Pinoys with striking accuracy.
What made Navarrete’s recent sold-out show at Teatrino a riot was his ability to make the predominantly local audience recognize themselves through jokes delivered in perfect timing and proper context.
From start to finish, the one-and-a-half-hour skit was unrelenting in poking fun at our colonial mentality (“I love going back to the motherland, Spain…”), lapses in diction (“I have prepared a ‘fist,’” to mean a culinary feast), even a good-natured jab at Manny Pacquiao (“He looks at me eye-to-eye while singing, ‘Sometimes when we touch…’”).
These jokes are prime example of hilarious yet insightful observations of human nature in situational comedy—the actor as Navarrete himself, daring us to confront the truth through our funny bone.
Rex Navarrete Live has been extended one more night on Dec. 1 at Teatrino in Promenade, Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan; tel. 7216726, 7212949
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