Salon de Ning

New York. Hong Kong. Shanghai. Manila.

Salon de Ning is a lounge bar located in four The Peninsula hotels worldwide. I got the chance to enter this bar last Wednesday night together with friends. It was a pretty good year for us, and we want to celebrate all the blessings we receive this year. So off to Salon de Ning in The Peninsula Manila.

I heard about this lounge bar when Rogue and chuvaness.com featured it. The place is resplendent; the interiors transport you back to 1930s Shanghai.

Here’s how The Peninsula describes Salon de Ning:

Salon de Ning is based on the tale of Madame Ning, a celebrated Shanghai socialite, avid world traveler and international hostess, who presided over “salons” in her stylish and eclectic residences around the world, making her friends and guests feel at home in a warm and welcoming environment.

From Marrakech to Paris, Giza to Angkor Wat, Mount Fuji and beyond, Ning was a keen traveller and a tireless collector of artefacts sourced during her journeys, displayed in a playful and eclectic juxtaposition of east and west, antique and modern, with paintings, crystals, photographs, etched and stained glass, Moroccan lanterns, antique Chinese timber daybeds and screens, Venetian mirrors and more, seamlessly mixing and matching.

The drinks are expensive; with concoctions pleasing to your ear such as Led Zeppelin, The Great Pretender, Sling Ning, etc. Typical drink would cost you P280, exclusive of 10% service charge and numerous taxes. Yes, taxes I never heard existed before.

Then maybe you pay the expensive price because of the ambience and the performance of Nyco Maca + the Playground that night.

But it was a lovely night well spent. Until the next unwinding escapade.

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Season of (selfless) love.

This is the second year of Copylandia’s feeding program initiative. Last year, the entire company was able to feed more than 8,000 kids nationwide. And because of positive feedback from the employees, and thoughtful commentaries, the same program was introduced again this Christmas season.

Our group, composed of employees from different departments and print shops, chose the community of Purok 2, in Barangay Mauway, Mandaluyong City. We did our feeding activity on December 19, 2010, lunchtime. The place is composed of shanties, square lined to each other by thin plywood wall. It’s dirty, filthy, and muddy when it rains. In short, a deserving place to help a feeding program for children. Purok 2 has high concentration of kids aged 10 years old and below.

The preparation part of this feeding program becomes easier now because there is already a precedent before. The mistakes and shortcomings of last year were eliminated this time. The usual pre-feeding responsibilities include writing letter of intent to the Barangay Chairman about the event including request for counterpart support from their end, to division of labor (more like assignments only) per individual, to treasury, running errands, games, etc.  You see, this whole exercise teaches a good lesson on project management.

We prepared pasta penne in tomato sauce, with puto and corn/carrots/green peas as side dishes. We also give one apple per kid. The food preparation was done in the Barangay Hall of Mauway, with the help of the resident Brgy Secretary Ofel and her companions. Another worth mentioning about doing a feeding program is to closely coordinate with the local barangay officials, because they are more familiar with the place than us. Besides, they can provide logistical support like setting the venue, providing chairs and tables, and giving you tanods for security and order.

The whole exercise is endearing, because no matter how tiresome it is (physically), once you see the joy and gusto from the eyes of each kid that you give the food to, the physical stress is canceled out. What remains after (and it is brimming) is a natural high, the way runners feel after a long, arduous run!

Blame natural anti-depressant secreted by our brain for that unexplainable, happy feeling. Yes, I am always reminded that inorder for someone to be genuinely happy and overcome sadness, all he has to do is help someone in need. Or make someone happy. So true.

There was never a hint of complain or agitation on the part of my group, even if I know that most of them are tired already. The extra fact that this is done on a Sunday, which is their rest day, is something. But no one is complaining because I am sure that they enjoy this. What is a few hours spent doing meaningful activity, especially if you give smiles to more than 200 kids.

We decided to give away 200 pairs of slippers (different sizes) because we know that wearing no slippers makes one prone to infection, foot injury and sickness.

The most important thought that the group derived from this is when you share your blessings, it will come back to you many times more. In different ways and forms.

Who knows, these kids will become somebody in the future.

The Passage is one of JAZA’s favorite book for 2010.

Jaime Agusto Zobel de Ayala, the big boss of Ayala Corporation, mentions The Passage by Justin Cronin as one of his favorite book this year (2010). I agree.

He also introduce me to reading the Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson. And this Cronin’s book is also a trilogy.

“A military experiment gone wrong leads to a post-apocalyptic world where only the fittest survive. It is an epic of sorts and as much a story of survival as it is about the dangers of unfettered science. What kept me riveted was its cinematic sweep and its surprisingly engaging prose. Part thriller, part adventure but with well-written characters. It keeps you fascinated from beginning to end. However, expect much carnage as hunter and prey twist and turn throughout.”

More on Jessica Zafra’s blog.

127 Hours

Aron Ralston, played by James Franco, on surviving in the wilds for 5days.

“I felt much affirmed with my belief that there are energies greater than our physical level of interaction…as my energy was diminished over time being trapped, I realized that I was no longer surviving on the last burrito that I ate or the urine that I was drinking, but on love.

I believe in that scriptural verse that says “God is love”. That’s what this energy is…it can give us amazing strength, courage and power.”

127 Hours is directed by Danny Boyle, and is a strong contender for the Academy Awards.