It’s hard to get a table if you’re a walk-in customer at 12 Monkeys, the hot new club on the fifth floor of Century City Mall in Makati. Even on weekdays the place is packed with fans of some of the best contemporary music artists who play there nightly.
Recently, 12 Monkeys management—incidentally composed of a dozen business partners including musicians Chito Miranda and Champ Lui Pio—hosted a benefit gig for Bingbong Badillo, cancer-stricken participant of the Elements Music Camp, a highly regarded weeklong workshop organized annually by Ryan Cayabyab, Twinky Lagdameo and Jun Sy in a beach resort in Dumaguete for aspiring Pinoy singers-songwriters.
The gig turned into a showcase of the country’s bright young voices, all members of various batches of Elements.
Most of them played solo with acoustic guitars. Their songs exuded a warm, personal tone, written in simple but affecting language, in forms that hew closely to folk music but adopted to suit their individual styles.
Their expressions of love could be witty. Kai Honasan, for instance, sang about wanting to keep talking but ending up “Tongue Tied” when her object of desire is around.
Davey Langit’s own romantic tunes sounded casual but heartfelt.
Bullet Dumas’ lamentation on losing values and traditions in “Ninuno” was interesting for its wordplay and adventurous guitar strumming.
Quest had a way of turning his R&B/hip-hop influences into an engaging local idiom.
The other performers included Sitti, Aia de Leon, as well as Elements mentors Ebe Dancel, Noel Cabangon and Jay Durias.
All told, this gig was a glimpse of Filipino music’s future—fertile, exciting, far from dead.
We just wish the 12 Monkeys kitchen could take extra care of the food it serves. There was a meat dish that was too tough to chew, and when we had it replaced with fish and chips, our expectations were dampened.
For band schedules, call 0917-5703222;12 Monkeys is at 5/F, Century City Mall, Kalayaan Ave. Makati City.
Haut Brion wines
Sofitel Philippine Plaza is one of our favored nightlife destinations especially for the jazz and rock concerts held in its tent with a breezy view of Manila Bay. The hotel—which opened its Imperial Suite for US President Barack Obama’s overnight stay last April—is also a byword for Spiral, its buffet restaurant that offers one of the widest and tastiest selections of international and local cuisines.
But what led us back to the hotel recently was a special affair—a six-course charity dinner in partnership with Clarence Dillon Wines, which introduced the six French wines served at the dinner, and AWC Philippines, its local distributor.
Invited were wine connoisseurs and business leaders who paid over P12,000 each for the dinner and also pledged donations for Supertyphoon “Yolanda” survivors coursed through the Aboitiz Foundation.
The wines, all produced in Bordeaux, the largest wine-growing area in France, were served in their respective order: La Clarte de Haut Brion Blanc 2009, La Mission Haut Brion Blanc 2010, La Mission Haut Brion Rouge 2003, Château Haut Brion Rouge 1999, Le Dragon de Quintus 2011 and Clarendelle Amberwine 2003.
Though we tended to be partial to the red varieties, we found the La Clarte de Haut Brion Blanc 2009 exceptionally pleasing, its fruity texture lingering in our palate.
Among the dishes, it was the roast duck, crispy belly, foie gras combination that we savored.
Sofitel executive chef Eric Costille did a fine job in preparing the dinner, which was enhanced by a retinue of servers moving like clockwork for each meal course.
While discussing the merits of each of the Haut Brion wines, AWC Philippines Asia-Pacific sales director Jean Philippe Guillot said that, in the end, what matters is that “we all get tipsy.”
We wanted to laugh hard, except that we thought it offensive to do so in our formal black suit.
Upcoming events at Sofitel Philippine Plaza include “Wine Days,” ongoing until Oct. 31; and the 76th Oktoberfest, Oct. 17 and 18. Call 5515555.