My husband and I enjoy watching concerts. In the past months, we’d rather spend date nights watching concerts than hitting the movie house. We often get to watch classical concerts, especially those featuring our friends.

So when I found out about a concert featuring Madz Choirmaster and our ninong Mark Carpio singing as countertenor, I knew we had to watch. It is very rare for him to be performing as singer of late, that’s why never miss opportunities like this!

The concert, entitled Cantus Puero or Song for the Child, is part of the UP College of Music’s Faculty Concert Series which features the college’s faculty teaching by performing. It was held at the Abelardo Hall Auditorium last January 16. This concert was their post-Christmas offering, thus the theme was about the Christ-Child.

Performers include sopranos Sherla Najera (a music education faculty), Stef Quintin (a senior voice student), countertenor Mark Carpio (Madz Choirmaster, faculty of conducting, and a dear ninong and friend), tenor Ervin Lumauag (a voice graduate; also a Madz alumnus and a good friend), accompanist Augusto “Agot” Espino (another ninong and my former piano teacher), and oboist Franz Ramirez (a young oboe player and principal oboist of the ABSCBN Philharmonic Orchestra. Crystal Rodis on flute supported the cast for one Bach piece, which she performed competently.

The concert started with a new composition by Alejandro Consolacion, a good friend and former schoolmate, who is now studying in the US. Mary’s Lullaby is a work for oboe and piano, which was played with much passion by Franz and the able accompaniment of Sir Agot.

Solos, duets, trios, quartets were then performed one after the other. There were some songs that I really stood out for me–Ervin’s wonderful interpretation of the Bach piece–Frohe Hirten, Ervin and Mark’s lovely duet– Sound the Trumpet by Purcell, and Stef and Mark’s simple duet–Maria Wiegenlied by Reger.

During the second part, Mark asked the audience to sing along two Christmas Carols with them. What’s funny is that the audience went tacet or silent after the first verses–not knowing what the second verses of both songs were!


Among the audience were Madz members and Kilyawan Boys Choir members and their parents, a good concert to watch to discover and learn about their voices more. If this were not a weeknight and near Pasay, I’d encourage my own kids to watch.

Congratulations to all who are involved in this concert, especially the performers!

Dinner time next! I wanted to check out UP Town Center, the newly developed Ayala Mall establishment along Katipunan.

As I recently watched on Kris TV (yeah, favorite show of moms like me, don’t judge!), I knew there was an iHop among other restos. After taking one round to check out what’s in store for us, we settled at Ginza Bairin, a Katsu house.

This is what I got: Mixed Set A of Rosu katsu, white fish, and tempura:


Hubby is transitioning to vegan, but here he has a salmon dish to feast on:


I had a strong bias for Yabu since the first and only time I tried it. I knew nothing would top their katsu. And I was right. The prawn  I had at Ginza Bairin was yummier!

Then it’s time to pick pasalubongs for my daughter and her caregivers for the night–my mom and sister–as thank you to them. We asked them to choose between Vanilla Cupcake Bakery and J.Co, but they chose the earlier.


My daughter liked cream cheese so much that it was the first thing she ate during the morning snack the day after. I got a Red Velvet Cupcake for my mom and Banana Nutella Cupcake for my sister. They preferred the Banana Nutella more.

UP is proving to be quite far from Pasay lately. This being said by Pasay residents who used to study in UP/Ateneo and commuting everyday. Nevertheless, it was a fun date night after all!

How do you spend date nights? Share your stories in the Comments section.

~ Touringkitty

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