Maybe it’s age or working from the house for the past four years, but going out for drinks and dinner on Friday evenings have become one of those rare occurrences–like commuters in Manila actually waiting for passengers to get off the train first before shoving themselves inside. Most Friday nights are spent sequestered at home, in front of my desk, or if P comes home early, movie night where our biggest decision would be what DVD to watch. Last night was one of the few occasions I got to go out because (1) a friend was having a belated birthday party in his soon-to-open café and (2) Japan Foundation Manila, a group I happily write for occasionally, was kicking off the Philippines-Japan Friendship Month this July with the opening of the annual Eiga Sai or Japanese film festival.
My sister joined me in the cocktails of the festival opening, staring at the never-ending queue to the buffet and discussing the most efficient way to serve cocktails in order for us to deflect (a bit obviously) some intrusive personal questions from an acquaintance. Oh cocktail parties–the place for small talk and/or inappropriate remarks. I’m not too sure which one I prefer. I was never glad to see someone amble up the stage to start the program with several speeches until last night.
The Eiga Sai, which screens Japanese movies for free, is an event by JFM and the Embassy of Japan that many cinema-loving folks here in Manila look forward to every year. The opening movie was the 2009 Oscar winning, please-pass-the-Kleenex movie Departures. There are nine other interesting movies in the lineup this year and the ones I’m thinking of watching are The Chef of South Polar (about a chef dispatched to Antarctica with a research team as he goes to great lengths preparing a table of delectable meals every day—without fresh supplies! Horrors! I love it already), One Million Yen Girl (about a 21-year-old girl taking on various jobs and moving from one town to another after she saves one million yen), and Feel the Wind (about a group of long-distance student runners from a fledgling track club trying to make it in a relay marathon).
The Eiga Sai is being held in Shang Cineplex Cinema 4, EDSA, Mandaluyong City, from July 2 to July 10. The films will also be screened at Gaisano Grand Citimall in Davao City, Ayala Center Cinema 4 in Cebu City, and at the UP Film Institute, UP Diliman, Quezon City from July 22 to August 20. Get the complete list of movies and the screening schedule from Japan Foundation, Manila.
After the Eiga Sai opening, I headed to the birthday party, which was held in the soon-to-open Subspace Café. Since it’s from the same wonderful and design-savvy owners of Space Encounters, the café is filled with lovely, quirky furniture, vintage home accessories, small retro appliances, K-pop posters, coffee, cupcakes and toy robots. The owners also love the cafés in Seoul so you can find sweet potato latte in their menu. It’s the drink to try in Subspace.
My friends and I are unanimous. We’ve found a new place to have lattes and cupcakes and the occasional Korean movie when we go out. Well, on the few nights I do go out.
Subspace is located in the new Cityland building, along F. Ortigas Jr. (formerly Emerald Ave.) in Ortigas Center, Pasig. It will open to the public mid-July.