20th World Orchid Congress stamp issue

Singapore is proud to be the host for the 20th World Orchid Conference (WOC). The 20th WOC.theme : “Where New and Old World Orchids Meet” will be held from 13-20 November, 2011 at Marina Bay.


20th World Orchid Congress commemorative stamp issue

Singapore which is located in South East Asia, is truly one of the richest centers of tropical biodiversity, and a reputed center of origin of the Orchid family. The orchid Vanda “Miss Joaquim” is the National Flower of Singapore.To mark this international event, Singapore will be issuing five stamps on various orchids. Renanthera 20th WOC Singapore 2011: This official flower of the show, exhibit and conference . This red orchid is free flowering and produces long lasting blooms all year round. The red blossoms signify prosperity, wealth and success.Grammatophyllum speciosum: This is largest orchid in the world with sprays of lowers two meters or more in length. Also known as the Tiger Orchid because markings on the flowers resemble that of the skin of a tiger.

Dendrobium World Peace: The well shaped, good texture flowers of some 7cm across, come with white or creamy petals and sepals that are veined light purple. The vigorous hybrid commemorates the 50th anniversary of the United Nations in 1995.Vanda Miss Joaquim: Named after the originator, Miss Agnes Joquim in 1893, Vanda Miss Joaquim was chosen as the National Flower of Singapore on 15th April, 1981.


First Day Cover issue – pre-cancelled

Cyrtocidium Goldinana: This flower is widely known as a “Golden Shower” in Singapore and other parts of the world. where it has been a staple cut flower in the early years. The elegant yellow flower gives an overall impression of a ball-room dancer in a voluminous skirt lending itself to be also called the “Dancing Ladies”.


Souvenir sheet with affixed with stamps – $5.05

Stamp technical design:

The set comprises of 5 stamps and a collector sheet. The stamps are Vanda Miss Joaquim , Renathera 20th WOC Singapore 2011 (45 c), Dendrobium World Peace (65c), Cyrtocidium Goldiana (80c) and Grammatophyllum speciosum($2). The Collector sheet ( Souvenir Sheet) has a face value of $5 and it features a basket of the flowers depicting the flowers in the stamp issue. The first day cover without stamps would cost 25 c, set of mint stamps- $4.16.

Article from:
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Philippine Orchid Society won top prizes in Singapore Show

Mrs. Evangeline Go and Atty. Rudy Sanidad pose at the winning exhibit booth of Philippine Orchid Society

picture courtesy of Philippine Orchid Society

The Philippines Orchid Society’s persistent participation in international orchid shows has again paid off after winning three major awards at the  Orchid Show of the Orchid Society of South East Asia (OSSEA) in Singapore held from July 15 to 22, 2010 . With close to 300,000 people coming to see the show. This is considered as the biggest horticulture and orchid show in this side of the world.

Winners received trophies , certificate , plaque and cash prizes

The exhibit booth had several dozen cut-flower varieties of dendrobium , ornamental plants,  unusual fern species from the Philippines , native hats from different parts of the archipelago. There are 31 landscape exhibits which represented some 17 countries.  Serious orchid and plant collectors from different part of the globe showcase their native orchids, plants and newly registered hybrids. There is also a daily lecture, conference and plant bazaar where plant aficionados can buy plants.

indoor lecture area

Mr. Kelvin Manubay, president of the POS, announced this after the exhibiting team headed by Ms. Evangeline Go and Atty. Rudy Sanidad won first place in the Orchid Landscape Category (10 square meter ) .

award reap by the organization

first place in the Best Orchid Species Category( Grammatophyllum multiflorum ), and the Reserved Champion Award for the Best Orchid in the Show ( Grammatophyllum multiflorum).

Grammatophyllum multiflorum an endemic orchid species found in the country

According to  the POS president  “the Philippine Orchid Society (POS) has been participating in International Shows to promote the local floriculture industry in preparation for the staging of its 3rd Flora Filipina Expo to be held on February 2012.” So far the Philippines has won top honors in six international shows which include two in China, one in Taiwan one in Taipei, one in Malaysia, and this recent win in Singapore.

crowd admiring one of the exhibit landscape booth

Reopening of Manila Metropolitan Theater

April 29, 2010 ( Thursday) Officials of the city government  said that the Met—fondly referred to as the “grand dame” of Manila’s theaters—is on its way to being restored to its former glory.

group photo of the stakeholders within the  Metropolitan Theater

According to old historical records, There used to be an old theater during the Spanish colonial period ( Teatro del Prinsipe Alfonso XII ) which was built near the present day Metropolitan Theater . The old theater was the main focal building within the large and sprawling Plaza Arroceros in 1862.

In 1862, the Teatro del Principe Alfonso XII was opened to the public and several foreign companies were hired to perform operettas, zarzuelas and three-act plays. On June 11, 1865, “La Conquista de Jolo” was staged there and it glorified the military campaigns of Governor Antonio Urbiztondo in the south, in 1750. Another play dedicated to the Spaniards who waged war in Jolo, Sulu  “Una Pagina de Gloria” was presented in April, 1876.

Unfortunately, the Teatro del Principe Alfonso burnt down a few months after that but it was never proven that an irate Muslim had put it to torch.

Japanese tourist posed at the Mehan Garden circa 1900’s – from the private collection of Mr. Centeno

Several years later,  During the American colonial period in 1924 , When  a member of then Philippine legislature proposed that a theater to be constructed near the Mehan Garden formerly Jardin Botanico de Manila established in 1858. The botanical garden was considered to be one of the oldest botanical institutions  in  Asia after the  Indian Botanic Garden in Horah established in 1787 by Lieutenant Colonel Robert Kyd.  Buitenzorg Botanical Garden (now  Bogor Botanical Garden) Indonesia  was established in 1817 .   Singapore Botanic Garden was established in 1859 about a year after the establishment of Jardin Botanico de Manila .

No one lambasted him for being a profligate elitist with misguided priorities . The proposal was first conceived in 1924 when Manila was not only known as ” Pearl of the Orient” but also dubbed” Milan of Asia” , reputed to be as charming as Paris . This city embraced four cultures Asian, European , North American( American colony ), Latin American  through Spain and Mexico  .

It took another 6 years to lay the corner stone of the theater on a selected spot within the 8,000 square meter Mehan Garden . Finally on December 10, 1931 the art deco inspired architecture of  brothers  Mr. Juan Arellano and Mr. Arcadio Arellano following the American architectural planner Mr. Daniel Burnham lured by the unique opportunity of designing in tropical Asia these proud edifice would symbolized the power and glory of the American colonial administration.

The tiara domed  with stylized minarets, sensuous female figures in exotic drapes, an exterior with whimsical rope designs, friezes and curly cues, the clashing ethnic -like chimeras and asparagus turrets, the total effect of the architecture is totally different from the other colonial buildings.

Adam sculpture by Monti

The sculptures in the façade of the theatre are from the Italian sculptor Francesco Riccardo Monti , who lived in Manila from 1930 until his death in 1958, and worked closely together with J.M. de Guzmán Arellano. Highly stylized relief carving of Philippine plants executed by the artist Isabelo Tampingco decorate the lobby walls and interior surfaces of the building. Murals by National Artist Fernando Amorsolo, namely “The Dance” and “History of Music” adorned the lobby. ( now kept at the GSIS museum for safekeeping).

The stained glass facade was commissioned by Kraut Art Glass established by family patriarch Mr. Mattias Kraut . Kraut  company is famous for their art glasses since 1912 and the proscenium was done by the House of Pre-Cast.

a gallery of Filipino artists

The venue played host to vaudevilles , zarzuelas , performances by world re known artists like Jascha Heifetz, violin virtuoso were also also held within the theater.  Indisputably , the Metropolitan theater was the masterpiece of Architect Juan Arellano . He did it in Art Deco style which was the rage in the United States.

During its heyday, the theater could accommodate 1,670 people: 846 in the orchestra section, 116 in the loge and 708 in the balcony areas.

Manila Metropolitan Theater after the war circa 1945

Badly damaged during World War II,The theater became an ice cream parlor, boxing arena , garage, motel ,  gay club and eventually a squatter colony of about 50 to 70 families before it was rebuilt in 1978 by former First Lady Imelda Marcos.

Popular variety television show hosted by Ms. Vilma Santos in the 1980’s to early 1990’s aired on GMA channel 7 provided the entertainment every Friday to the crowd . While several top Filipino celebrities made their debut at the grad dame, Its condition deteriorated in the ’90s due to several factors . First is the  water seepage  on Met’s roofing , Second is the strong  Bagyong Rosing  ( Typhoon Angela) which hit the capital city in November 1995 causing further destruction on the theater’s outer roofing.  The category 5 typhoon  wreaked havoc over Metro Manila, Calabarzon Region and Bicol Region.

The Met fell into decay and finally closed down in 1996 following a long-running dispute between the Government Service Insurance System and the City of Manila over its ownership and management.

In 2004, the GSIS and city government finally agreed to set aside their differences, and, with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, signed a tripartite agreement on a work action plan for the structure’s restoration.

Higantes provided a colorful backdrop to the festive atmosphere

Coincidentally , the Metropolitan theater was also featured in Philippine stamps ( Architectural Heritage series ) in 2003.

Almost P90 million, including P50 million released by President Macapagal-Arroyo, has been spent for the project.

Television host German Moreno has vowed to initiate fund-raising efforts for the Met , said Araneta. Lim added that they are also waiting for another P50 million promised by the President.

Author’s note: The author through the Filipinas Stamp Collectors’ Club in cooperation with Manila Cityhall , Museo ng Maynila , National Press Club , Intramuros Administration and Philpost conducts a regular free guided tours within the Metropolitan Theater grounds every third sunday of the month . Pre-registration is required  to those people/ groups who wanted to join the free guided tours.

For contact : (0919-3901671 )

Email: L_rence_2003@yahoo.com

Land line: Mrs. Josefina Tiongson -Cura (+632) 735-5001 monday to saturday 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM only !

20th World Orchid Congress

All the people from the horticultural world will be converging to the island country of Singapore from November 14th to 23, 2011 for the 20th World Orchid Congress.

2011 World Orchid Congress – Singapore logo and theme

courtesy of the organizing committee

Singapore will host this event after about 48 years . The last one was the 4th Orchid Congress way back in 1963. The people from the island country are already very busy in their publicity and promotion of the event .

Since winning their bid to host the event. There will be a scientific conference , an international orchid and garden show , plant and orchid competition , landscaping , and lots of travelers form all parts of the globe will come to this garden city .

For further inquiries, please contact:

20th WOC Secretariat
c/o National Parks Board Headquarters
1 Cluny Road
Singapore 259569
Tel: +65-64719945 / +65-64718404
Fax: +65-64674832
Email: secretariat@20woc.com.sg

20th World Orchid Congress Organizing Committee

Dr. Kiat W. Tan Chairman, WOC Organising Committee
Dr. John M Elliott Chairman, Conference
Dr. Wong Wei Har Chairman, Orchid Show
Dr. Khoo Chong Yee Chairman, Judging
Ms Peggy P G Tan Chairman, Social (Hospitality, Events & Tours)
Ms Michelle Lim Chairman, Marketing & PR
Syed Yusof Alsagoff Adviser to Orchid Show
Mr Kenneth Er Member, WOC Organising Committee
Ms Ong Chui Leng Member, WOC Organising Committee
Mrs Wendy Chew-Ngo Secretariat

Lucky Yu Sheng

“Toss for Good Fortune!”

old pictures of Singapore circa 1940’s to 1950’s

Makansutra Asian Food Village is located within the Manila Ocean Park complex with several street scene reminiscent of old Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand  or Canton in China. There are several hundreds of mouth watering dishes being served in several food stalls in the Asian themed food village.

For local and international tourist a visit to the place is considered as a chance to sample great Asian dishes presented in an unique manner.

The group was treated in an afternoon of delight last February 9, 2010 by the courteous and friendly staffs and managers of the Makansutra Asian Food Village were  a special dish only for the Chinese New Year, comprising several symbolic delicacies which we know as Yushang. When Yushang is eaten, the ritual is for all to energetically  toss the mixed ingredients high in the air with  shouts of “Loh Hei” which literally means to ‘scaling up in life’, and other traditional meaningful phrases like “xing nian kwai le” (happy new year), “nian nian yu yue” (yearly fortune), “sen di jian kang” (good health), prosperity  etc…

Ms. Tina Santos ( green shirt) together with Mr. Christopher Legaspi briefing the invited guests and media

Each ingredient in this dish has a definitive and symbolic meaning to it, all in relation of prosperity, good luck and well blessings for this New Year. It is the most auspicious and popular dish for the festive season. Almost every Chinese in Singapore and their friends (non Chinese included) must have this dish together and confer blessings to each other to ring in a great year ahead.

Noodles – one of the auspicious foods served during celebrations

Most Malaysians , Singaporeans and the Peranakans ( Chinese born in Malaysia and Singapore) it seems, are somewhat indifferent to this dish that is so integral to Chinese New Year in Malaysia , Singapore and parts of China. Yes, it’s lucky and yes, it should be a part of any New Year banquet, but the consensus seemed to be that it rarely inspires cravings.

In the Philippines , this  dish is not commonly served in restaurants and some Filipino- Chinese families do not observed this ritual of tossing the salad.

Yu Sheng Salad ingredients

And I know why. Most versions of yu sheng are, to my palate at least, gloppy, overly sweet piles of unidentifiable ingredients with little discernible flavor, a dish of vegetables and fish (yu sheng means raw or fresh fish) that tastes nothing like either.

The yu sheng is assembled at a lucky red-clothed, triple-tiered prep area at the front of the restaurant. Every ingredient is made or prepared in-house, making the dish an incredibly labor-intensive endeavor. Many restaurants have simplified the process by outsourcing some ingredients and leaving others out altogether.

Before the yu sheng comes together the staff marinates fish slices (jellyfish is another option) and ginger matchsticks in sesame oil. Then pickled ginger (two kinds – white and red), pomelo sacs, pickled green papaya, shredded green onion, pickled shallots, carrot and picama strings, chopped peanuts, sesame seeds, julienned lime leaves, and chopped cilantro are heaped onto a platter and anointed with a drizzle of plum sauce. The lot is showered with strips of deep-fried won ton skins, garnished with lime wedges and green and red packets of white pepper and cinnamon, and served with the marinated fish.

It’s up to diners to empty their packets of pepper and cinnamon onto the fish and give it a good mix before adding it to the other ingredients. Then, a squeeze of lime and much tossing with chopsticks, preferably while chanting a few lucky phrases to auspiciously usher in the New Year.

Filipino chef  trained in Singapore -Chinese style cooking tossing the salad

yu sheng is a textural marvel – the combination of six fresh and pickled ingredients, cut to almost exactly the same shape and size, culminates in one big, satisfying crunch. It’s sweet from the plum sauce, but also boasts varying shades of tartness from pickles, lime juice, and fragrant lime leaves. The overwhelming flavors are of fish and vegetables, spiced up with ginger two ways (pickled and fresh) and white pepper. The cinnamon adds a subtle warm note. Won ton crisps (most other versions use colored crunchies of unidentifiable origin) – sturdy, grease-less, and wheaty – are delicious enough to eat on their own. Kudos to the restaurant for its light hand with the dressing and for its use of sesame oil; I’ve had more than my share of yu sheng drenched in plain old cooking oil – blech!

Balance, balance, balance. Wondering at the magic worked in that kitchen. The combined knowledge of the restaurant’s chefs and prep cooks gives rise to dishes that are nuanced, complex, and always balanced. The yu sheng is no different.

The best illustration of the care taken at Makansutra  ,  those are red and green envelopes. They’re wrapped by hand and their jagged, uneven edges suggest one-by-one, scissor-cut origins. Each year,  staff cuts thousands of pieces of paper into rough squares, lays them flat on a table, spoons ground white pepper and cinnamon in their centers, and folds in the four corners. All this even though pre-filled packets can be easily sourced from a supplier.

For us,  Chinese New Year has always meant extra vacation days and a travel adventure. From now on,this popular dish called ” Yu Sheng ”  is also served at the  Makansutra Asian Food Village  .

mixed Yu Sheng

Winning Toss

Besides being full of flavors and textures, yu sheng is loaded with symbolic meaning. The raw ingredients signify the renewal of life, and the sound of the word for fish in Cantonese sounds like the word for prosperity. The most important (and fun) part of eating yu sheng is the mixing together of the ingredients.

Ms. Gloria B.Jane Baylon – DFA & Philippine News Agency press enjoying the tossing of salad

To ensure good luck for the coming year, everyone calls out “Lo Hei!”-which means “to mix it up” but also sounds like “to prosper more and more”-while they use their chopsticks to toss the ingredients as high in the air as they can. Now that’s what I call a well-tossed salad!

Makansutra Asian Food Village

Contact : Ms. Tina Santos

Location: Manila Ocean Park
Behind Quirino Grandstand , Luneta Park, Manila
Telephone: +63 2 567 3512
Fax: +63 2  567 3512 loc. 105

Business Hours : 11am – 9pm daily
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