Good Food, Art, Rhythm and Booze

More than a decade now, there is one quaint place built from an idea that good food need not be expensive, and that there should be lush foliage and live music with the gastronomic pleasures being served. True enough, there is this small corner of Manila, snugly blooming in the middle of three busy streets, Bamboo Giant Malate, as versatile and resilient as its namesake.

Komradze At Bamboo Giant Malate

Pepe and Jerome dishing out music from the 80s

With art at its heart, and music as its soul, Bamboo Giant is not just a restaurant with an extensive menu, and a roster of seasoned musicians dishing out well loved tunes as regulars and newcomers enjoy the camaraderie, savor the dishes, or just pass the night from a busy day with a brew or two. At thirteen years old, a milestone in itself, Bamboo Giant Malate has become an institution of sorts, a habit worth keeping or a new discovery that keeps them coming back for more. I’d love tell you all about it, but that would spoil the experience, rather, this is an open invitation for you to come and visit, sit down and talk,and let Bamboo Giant Malate speak in rhythms and beats.

The name is so appropriate, it sprouted siblings, each with it’s own character, but a common theme – Bamboo Grande, Patio Papa, Ka Boy Grill – and the youngest shoot to come up, Bamboo Intramuros, a somewhat refined version with a mass appeal, a bigger floor area, yet still rooted in the same fertile soil of art, good food, rhythm and booze, all in the name of fun, relaxation and good conversations. Bamboo Intramuros has taken the step toward growth as it celebrated its first year of existence, keeping that inherent trait but evolving its own uniqueness. Although I should inform you first hand, if you have to come, come early, as the place, like its older kin, seem to throb and buzz as the sun sets. People come back not as customers, but as family and friends, most of them want to enjoy a good meal before going home, others drink to celebrate, ease the day down, and then there are those who want to entertain their own guest, and with the nightly live music, who could argue?

As it gets dark, the place is ablaze with music.

Bamboo Giant Malate

On a regular busy night

And not just any kind of music, mind you. Not the videoke kind. No, the place is unapologetic when it comes to entertainment, but would give you choice musicians, veterans of the circuit, real artists who sing and play well loved tunes in their own stripped-down sets of classic rock, country, folk, transcending genres, not just pop, but would even perform songs you hardly ever hear on radio nowadays. Oh, they do love to rock once in a while. Actually, it’s what makes the nightly entertainment worth waiting for. I have seen and heard the lineup for a whole week and I could not be more pleased.

Bamboo Giant Malate Noy & Cezar

Fretboard mastery and extensive song lineup

Bamboo Giant Malate and Bambu Intramuros are the same with its consumer friendly entrees and drinks. We also take pride in creating art out of discarded stuff people just throw away. Recycle, Reuse and Repurpose anything that could be turned into beautiful decors, light covers and whatever it is that could erstwhile be just another piece of junk littering the streets.

But don’t take my word for it. Do drop by sometime, if your itinerary has Manila in it, they would be delighted to to have you.



After a while, I get to thinking all that has come to pass. I get this way when I walk. A sort of locomotive thought unable to stop once the resolve to just take the stride and the feet kept switching places before one another, towards any destination I have in mind.

  • This or maybe I just don’t have enough money for a bus fare. Which work both ways since at these times I do a lot of pondering.

Like turning your head from whence you came but moving forward:

The love and affection, freely given,

  • This often starts then whole thought engine revving.

The songs sung with wanton sincerity,

The capturing of life and ideas into detailed ink depictions on paper,

  • Of course I have decided on this long ago but took some time taking off, what, with all the financial inadequacies that has befallen my so-called artistic career.

The hurt sustained by those we love,

The pain we gained from those we loved,

  • Truth is, up until now I still think I was adopted, even with all the evident hereditary characteristics present in me as by my siblings, still I feel very different from my brothers. I even feel that I share a kind of Thor-Loki relationship with one, but I’m not sure which one- the brute or the prankster.

The trust professed and destroyed,

All the trappings of a feeling human whom we pictured ourselves to be, those whose beliefs in a higher power, whom we are supposed to follow without questions, but whose wrath may soon come upon us in fiery brimstone and searing horror. The sainthood our forbears tried to instill on our childish minds, feeble thoughts of tne afterlife may be a reward for our suffering…

  • And the idea of worshipping a wrathful, vengeful godhead is absurd. If that is true, then by no means the devil is much more agreeable.


We suffer for our passion, we suffer for our art. Continue reading

My Desolation

Desolation [noun] {de-su’ley-shun}

  1. The state of being decayed or destoyed
  2. A bleak and desolate atmosphere
  3. Sadness resulting from being forsaken or abandoned
  4. An event that results in total destruction


  • Bareness
  • Bleakness
  • Devastation
  • Forlorness
  • Loneliness
  • Nakedness

In the 20 odd years I have been eking a living in the city, this is probably the time and place that will require my most inert survival skills to come out and then dig deeper for more.  Compared to the semi permanent habitations this body has occupied over the years, specially during college when my preconceptions of urban living has been shattered, a veritable culture shock, thankfully came early in life, today is something like Mark Watney went through on Mars, but with less resources and even fewer funding.

So I did what he did – science the shit out of this gig – to paraphrase his point.

Oh yes, to digress a bit. I was watching The Martian last night and it came to me that being left on a planet without someone to turn to but yourself bears the analogs of where I am today. Though I could have wished for a HAB and some prepacked food, among other provisions, my family and a few real good friends serves as my HAB. Don’t believe the hype, city living is not glamorous. Nor is it even fulfilling. I may fallen in love with Metro Manila, but the relationship has gone sour and all the effort today is to make it through the next payday, earn enough and get back to the country side. This transient life may have been my own for quite sometime, but all I want to do now is go home.

Kinda like Watney? You bet.

Now, while I am still on the lookout for freelance jobs and other projects, I have found myself in this charming place, but with a few roadblocks. The room is affordable enough (read that dirt-cheap) and I am eternally gratefull for my new landlord. But the room is actually a storeroom for unused cloth and garment from her dressmaking shop. Ample ventilation is from three windows, one glass louvered window faces the East, which is what I prefer, overlooking an empty lot with some trees and lots of fighting cocks, a tin roof with rotting wood and cat poop, and some empty plastic gallons, stringed together by my neighbour , who’s obviously looking to sell. The other window faces directly to that neighbour’s concrete wall, and the last one, well is my own personal picture window, bare and open, that serves as my clothes drier when I have laundry to do. Also, as my default spot to throw out used water, early morning garglings and the rare spittle. Continue reading