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The Difference Draft Beer Makes

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Understand the difference between the tap and the bottle when it comes to serving and appraising good beer

You may have heard the words “draft beer.” Perhaps you’ve heard them uttered by that insufferable 20-something who definitely shouldn’t have been at your favourite bar. Or maybe you read it on a menu, the one time you decided to consider your options instead of just immediately ordering a Pale Pilsen by default. Draft beer is becoming more and more popular in upscale bars and pubs of Metro Manila, but what is it, exactly? And more importantly, what makes it so different from the beer we’re already accustomed to?

The immediate difference is simple:  draft beer–or draught beer, if you’re talking to a Brit–is served on tap, drawn straight from a barrel or cask. This type of beer is stored, poured, and served there-and-then by bars with draft lines; as opposed to the type of beer we’re more used to, which is bottled and distributed, served individually or by the bucket.

It certainly seems simple, but when you consider what that means to people who are really serious about their beer, it makes all the difference because of one critical factor:  freshness. Draft beer is served fresh, which means you can easily distinguish its distinct flavours and notes; appreciate its subtleties and nuances; understand the fullness of its flavour. It’s also easier for beer connoisseurs to evaluate the color and aroma of the beer, because it can be immediately served in a clear glass. Some even insist on appreciating your draft beer as you would fine wine–by swirling it, and sniffing it before actually drinking it to taste. Whether or not this is something you could do when you’re out at a bar is entirely up to you.

But what can be said for certain about draft beer is that its recent return to the fore has sparked something of a revolution among discerning beer drinkers who are on the lookout for more distinct flavours and a unique drinking experience. If you would like to count yourself among these discerning drinkers, San Miguel is a good name to start with. The San Miguel Lifestyle Brews are familiar flavours: San Miguel Super Dry, San Miguel Premium All-Malt, and Cerveza Negra. On tap, these beverages take on a new dimension. Begin your discovery of draft beer with any of these excellent brews.

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Now available at The Keg (Fort Strip), The Sugar Factory (Shangri-la BGC), Snaps Sports Bar (Sofitel), Buffalo Wild Wings (Conrad, Glorietta, Estancia, Uptown Mall), Bugsy’s (BGC and Makati), Brick and Mortar (Fort Strip), Balkan (BGC), Z-Hostel (Makati), Dillingers (Greenbelt) and Mike and Jeni’s Gastropub (Marikina)

This article first appeared in Compass: A Style Premier for the Modern Man, November 2016

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Man of the Hour: Joe Camacam

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Interview by Kolleen Feria
Photography by Jonas Tamayo and Thurees Obenza

We at Felipe and Sons have always believed in local talent. Just as our stores are mancaves to Filipino gentlemen, they are also spaces for our barbers and tailors to continuously develop their craft and thrive with it. As one of our best barbers sets out for new endeavours, we sit down with Joe Camacam for an exit interview.

What’s next for you?
May offer sa’kin to be an educator in the industry, and syempre, I’ll still be cutting hair. Ngayon umiikot-ikot ako to learn as much as I can about the barbershop industry. Tinitingnan ko pa tsaka pinag-iisipan. 

Last time we sat down with you for an interview, you mentioned there was more to do with women’s hair.
At that time, pa-start pa lang ako ulit with men’s hair. I was a barber first before I was a stylist, and then in Felipe and Sons I went back to my roots as a barber. Throughout my time in Felipe [and Sons], I also learned about the details of shaving. Mas na-enhance talaga ako sa barbering. Natagpuan ko dito ‘yung pagiging barbero ko. Felipe [and Sons] gave me a real platform to explore men’s style. I built a client base that’s dominantly male, so even if I miss coloring and highlighting women’s hair, I now feel more challenged to apply those techniques to men’s hair. I feel like here, men are still afraid to try new things, and as a barber, I feel like that’s my challenge now–How do I make my clients trust me to try a new cut, a new color?

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Do you think that’s the limitation of the barbershop industry that salons have an edge over?
Initially, yes. ‘Yun kasi talaga ang main difference ng barbershop sa salon, but now I believe there’s a way to introduce and integrate color into barbershops without necessarily losing the masculine edge. Kailangan lang talaga well trained din yung mga barbers. Filipino barbers also need to have pride in what we do. Dati akala ko pag barbero ka, barbero ka lang, but now I see the craftsmanship and expertise involved. Kailangan din siguro magkaroon ng school for barbers dito sa Pilipinas so we don’t hesitate to call ourselves professionals.

What’s your dream project then for men’s hair and color?
[I want to try] Hair art, colored in ash grey. Ash grey is actually a very difficult color to achieve. If I get to do that well, mafu-fulfill ako kasi konti lang nakakagawa nu’n.

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What will you miss most about Felipe and Sons?
The events! My favorite memory here is Déjà Vu. I interacted with not just barbershop clients but even haberdashery guests. I met and talked to Jensen and the Flips. I felt like I was also a guest during the event.

Can you give some words of advice to other barbers?
Just the barbers of Felipe and Sons or pati ‘yung iba?

To both!
For those who are in Felipe and Sons, especially the new ones, I encourage them to stay and practice their craft. It really takes a while to master barbering, even if one already came from another barbershop or salon. [I also advise them to] Build their network. Being at Felipe and Sons has brought a lot of opportunities to me, so [I would tell them to] just be open.

For the barbers in other shops, keep researching para matapatan nila ‘yung mga nasa Felipe [and Sons]. Joke lang! Pwera biro, kailangan talaga hindi lang isa o dalawang gupit ‘yung magaling sila. They have to research about different styles so when their clients go to them and ask them,“Kaya mo ba ‘tong style na ‘to?” they can confidently say yes. Confident sila na competent sila.

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Man of the Hour: AJ Dee

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Interviewed by Kolleen Feria
Photography by Jonas Tamayo and Andrei Suleik

If you follow celebrity-fashion blogger, AJ Dee, you’ve probably already seen several of his Instagram posts from Norway. It’s almost been half a month since AJ left the Philippines to be with his family, but right before he flew across the continent, we caught up with The Filo Dapper for a quick chat.

Are you excited?
I’m still tired, actually. I’m about to attend a charity event today, and I haven’t even finished packing. It’s bittersweet because I’m leaving everything behind here but I also feel like I’m finally going home to my family.

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What are your plans for The Filo Dapper when you get to Norway?
My goal is to get big in Europe. The reason I started my blog is because I knew I was going to migrate to Norway, and I was looking for something that could replace acting. It was a blessing in disguise because I never would have thought I could be a successful blogger had I not planned on moving.

I had many apprehensions before I started blogging—I knew I wasn’t good at writing, I didn’t know much about photography, but one day I decided to just go for it. Now that I’m fairly established as a blogger, I want to use what I learned here in the Philippines to build The Filo Dapper up again, but this time, in Europe.

What’s the most valuable take away from your time in the Philippines?
To be true to myself. It’s hard to create something you’re not really interested in. In a larger scale, I want to continue what I’m doing here with a different environment and a different audience, and I think my style will translate well in Europe.

What would you say The Filo Dapper’s impact was to local men’s fashion?
I believe The Filo Dapper showed many Filipino men that it’s still possible to wear suits despite our climate, and it gave men an alternative to streetwear. It brought back the idea of looking dapper, and that well-tailored clothing doesn’t need to be stiff or old fashioned.

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But just as you said, many are still sceptical about suits just because it can get so hot here. How would you advise men to be dapper without wearing a suit?
The idea of dapper is looking sharp and neat, so it isn’t a suit per se that makes a man dapper. You can wear jeans and a clean white shirt, and exude dapper. It’s all about how you carry yourself, and the attention you put to details such as fit, or even scent.

Any parting words?
Don’t be afraid to try doing something out of your comfort zone. It’s cheesy, but it works. I was hesitant before starting my blog, but I went for it anyway. You will only know your capabilities once you’ve put yourself out there.

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The Last Typewriter Men

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Words and Photography by Shirin Bhandari

For the third time in a month the letter “F” fell off my keyboard, “D” was in close suite. I tried to patch it up but the industrial glue burned into the plastic key making it worthless. I was left with a white rubber stub. The surly technician inside a nearby shopping mall raised his eyebrows with the botched up work. “You’re better off upgrading to a new laptop instead of replacing the entire panel!” he said.

Our gadgets constantly change and fall apart, we lose memory and speed- it becomes obsolete over such a short period of time.

Is there something so wrong with becoming attached to an old (5 years) piece of equipment? I fear change.

“You’ll never have that problem with a typewriter – picture an Underwood; some are over a 100 years old. For a writer, which computer can last that long?” my father would say. Good point. He is a textile engineer and I’ve been surrounded by mechanical machinery, nuts and bolts all my life. It could become a decent back-up for work. The closest I’ve come to a typewriter since the 1990’s is the pathetic typing sound application installed on my computer.

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V. Avena & Sons–probably the last typewriter store in Manila

“There’s a quaint store along España across the roundabout probably the last typewriter store in Manila.”

I took heed to the advice and set out early on the hopes of finding the place and dodging the metro’s epic traffic jams. España is a road constructed in 1913. Named after Spain- they colonized the Philippines for over 300 years. With the current 8 lanes – it has become a thoroughly used route in Metro Manila.

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Rows and rows of typewriters were on display.

The heat was unforgiving despite arriving a little after 9 in the morning. The bustling road was filled with colourful and noisy jeepneys. A tall and sturdy elderly gentleman opened the clear glass door. He had locked it from the inside -a smart thing to do in such a large city. “May I help you?” he said in a soft voice. Rows and rows of typewriters from various decades were on display. “I’d like to purchase one,” as I pointed to a shelf across the room. He led me to a large desk. A brass ornament lay on the table, etched into the dark metal read the name of Mr. Ramon Avena. He sat down in a swivel chair next to a flat screen TV playing the latest NBA playoffs.

Behind him a man worked patiently on a Deco period Underwood along a well ventilated terrace. Mr. Avena let me walk around the store. His family owns the low-rise building and lets out the remaining rooms to tenants. His parents established a sporting goods store in the mid 1930’s on the other side of town now known as Recto, before shifting to typewriters in 1939. They moved to España in the 1960’s. Ramon learned the trade as a child. His father, Mr. Vicente Avena, was an accomplished sportsman and played center- representing the Philippine basketball team in the 1920’s Far Eastern Olympics.

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Mr. Avena’s father was a remarkable basketball player in the 1920’s

On the floor leading to the terrace lay a grave yard of typewriters. Each with a paper note of the date and owner neatly placed on the top carriage. There is a long line of repairs and restorations for people willing to wait. A medium-sized notebook showed Mr. Avena’s handwritten list of clients, including a few famous personalities. The business has survived the Japanese occupation and a World War. Every typewriter brought to the store has a personal history, a story-some hold onto it as a memento of a loved one who has passed.

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Long line of typewriters waiting to be maintained and repaired.

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Names of clients are personally handwritten into a medium sized notebook.

The smell of paint thinner and oil filled the air. The recycled parts of cannibalized typewriters from every brand conceivable were placed in well-organized glass bottles. Wide metal filing cabinets carried an abundance of steel, rollers, spools and keys. “I have kept everything.” Mr. Avena exclaimed as he pulled out the drawer with small wooden compartments that held each letter of the alphabet.

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Spare parts are collected into clear glass bottles.

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Each part is kept in well-organized compartments.

The onset of the 20th century brought businesses and writers to the typewriter. You put more thought before typing as you would now-with fewer distractions. Ideas are printed and translated into ink.

We may be in the computer age but V. Avena & Sons was never drawn to upgrade. “I need technicians I can trust.” His faithful assistant, Nemecio Matalang, has been with him since 1972. From 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day except for Sundays, V. Avena & Sons has remained open for the past 70 years. A lot has changed since then- where the Government, Universities, offices and factories would constantly call for their services. At present about two typewriters are repaired a day and if luck would have it- one sold a week.

Ironically despite the store name, Ramon who is now in his 80’s is the only son among 4 siblings. Sadly no member of the family has any interest to continue the trade. “It is what it is, I kept my promise the day my father died-I will continue like he did until my time comes. Life is about holding on to your word and having integrity.”

Nemecio Matalang, Mr. Avena’s faithful assistant, has been with him since 1972 . “I need technicians I can trust,” says Mr. Ravena.

Nemecio Matalang, Mr. Avena’s faithful assistant, has been with him since 1972 . “I need technicians I can trust,” says Mr. Avena.

The second floor of the store is his private sanctuary. His withered hands gestured to random clippings and photographs against the wall. Another office held basketball memorabilia of his late father. It smelled like an old woolen sweater with moth balls-but somewhat comforting. As if time has stood still.

Mr. Ramon Avena

Mr. Ramon Avena

“I have no regrets, this is where I started and all of this will end with me.
The typewriter is my life.”

Long before we had email inboxes there were high piles of paper stacked with impulsively written letters made on heavy metal contraptions.

Tools of the trade

Tools of the trade

Mr. Avena took out two typewriters for me to try, both in mint condition, restored meticulously. A short blank piece of paper was in the roll with a line of “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” It is an English phrase that contains all the letters of the alphabet. Instinctively I copied it over and over again to get the feel of the keys. You see each word hit the paper. The clickety clacking sounds are mesmerizing–as one would be entranced with watching a record spin.

The QWERTY keyboard layout was developed to help keys from jamming. It became so successful with the 1878 Remington that it has remained in use with standard electronic keyboards to this day.

About 1-2 typewriters are repaired each day.

About 1-2 typewriters are repaired each day.

Three hours later I was still in the store. Where did the time go? Close to lunch break a group of men arrived in a tricycle (Philippine auto rickshaw) from the local barangay (town hall). They lugged in a large electronic typewriter used to fill government forms. “I’ll see what we can do,” Mr. Avena said as he handed them a receipt.

Regardless, I settled with an antique Remington Monarch. I didn’t have enough money and gave a partial deposit. Mr. Avena was kind enough to oblige.

It was also a valid excuse to come back and spend time to listen to his ramblings.

“What do you think?” I asked.

“You know some people have everything. But are they happy? Do they have what money can’t buy? You made a good choice.” Mr. Avena smiled as he walked with me towards the door.

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V. Avena and Sons
2282 España Street, Sampaloc, Manila