Life Choices: 5 things we are obsessed with this week

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Your weekly list of recommendations from the CNN Life editors. Illustration by JL JAVIER

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — From cookies, exhibits, to well-designed books — here are five things we are loving this week.

Illustration by JL JAVIER. Photos courtesy of PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE

Penguin Vitae

The latest hardcover series from Penguin Classics approximates the idea of how a person builds their own literary canon (since the actual literary canon is full of old white dudes anyway). It’s like your favorite movies; it isn’t just all auteurs; there are bound to be films there that you love because they have personal significance to you. “[Penguin Vitae is] really about taking ownership of your life as a reader and being proud of the books that have been pivotal to the chapters of your own life, and in a sense having it be a way of communicating with other readers, books that gave you a sense of joy or sense of recognition,” said Penguin Classics publisher Elda Rotor. “A canon can have a diverse array of titles because they affect you so they’re not always this perfect looking group of titles, which is basically how a person is.”

Like any Penguin Classic series, each Vitae book is packaged beautifully with typographic, foil-stamped covers designed by Paul Buckley. The inaugural five titles are “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin, “Before Night Falls” by Reinaldo Arenas, “Passing” by Nella Larsen, “Sister Outsider” by Audre Lorde, and “The Yellow Wall-Paper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The books are remarkable in the diversity of experiences, from Arenas’ struggle as a homosexual, Lorde’s electrically charged takes on sexism, racism, and class, to Gilman’s landmark feminist fiction.

"The Awakening" and "The Yellow Wall-Paper" are available at Fully Booked. The rest of the series will be arriving soon. — DON JAUCIAN

Illustration by JL JAVIER. Photos courtesy of MOMENT GROUP

Mo' Cookies

It used to be that you had to go out of your way to get your hands on Mo’ Cookies. Unless you worked within the Pasong Tamo Extension area — where cool galleries and restaurants have set up shop in the last five years — getting a cookie meant hauling your ass off to fringe Makati to the HQ of Moment Group, the restaurateurs behind concepts such as Manam, 8 Cuts, and Mecha Uma. The “bigger than your palm” cookies have been called “the best in Manila,” and not without reason. The cookie chip flavor alone is enough to turn you into a believer, but the best among the bunch is the Southern Cotabato chocolate fudge, a distinctly local twist to a beloved baked goodie. There are also bite-sized versions of each flavor (called “crumbs”) if the huge ass cookie is too much for you. The cookies are now sold in various locations across the metro due to popular demand. The latest location is at the SM Megamall where they’re also introducing soft serve in three flavors: milk, coffee, and latte. You can get each with a cookie (crumb-sized) of your choice. — DJ

Illustration by JL JAVIER. Photo courtesy of MCAD

“Construction of Truths” group exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design

For its first exhibition of the decade, the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design probes into the credibility of truths when told on video, best describing the downside of the digital era. A well-curated exhibition by museum director Joselina Cruz, “Construction of Truths” features 11 video installations by artists from across the world, including Maria Taniguchi and Martha Atienza — both of whom have contributed moving images that seek to alter the perception of viewers on what actually is (or is presumed to be) presented. Atienza’s “Man in Suit” (2008) forces the audience to rethink their definitions of success by dressing up men with menial jobs in a suit — putting emphasis on how we typically dismiss such workers as subpar to those usually donning the corporate attire. Taniguchi’s “Untitled (crystal palace + gauguin)” is a slideshow of photos from the Crystal Palace Dinosaur Court in London spliced with an voiceover describing a Paul Gauguin painting, purposefully using the inaccuracy for the audience to derive new meanings. Expect the others to be just as provocative and experimental, if not more. The exhibit runs until April 12, so there’s plenty of time to visit if you haven’t yet. — ELIZABETH RUTH DEYRO

Illustration by JL JAVIER. Photos from DISNEY


At the “Onward” screening that I went to, I was worried that kids (well, it is a children’s film) would interrupt the movie. They already had questions five minutes in and, of course, there would be more. But in the end, it turned out I was noisier than them: I laughed — and cried — harder than any of the tots. I was still laughing my ass off hours after the movie, remembering very specific moments (the dragon, most especially) and quoting lines (“You got a problem, shades?” in pixie voice). Though “Onward” is a by-the-numbers Pixar outing (The usual Pixar staples include: death, a quest, and an uplifting message about family), its remix of fantasy tropes (catch the numerous references to “Lord of the Rings”), tabletop RPGs and card games (Magic the Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons publisher Wizards of the Coast was even involved in the film), and hefty helpings of humor manages to round up a film that’s easily one of Pixar's best movies, at least in my book. — DJ

Illustration by JL JAVIER. Photo from KOLOWN.NET

“Art in the Age of Coronavirus”

Since the Department of Health raised the Philippines’ alert system to Code Red, organizers have been announcing cancellations of events one by one. Local art collective koloWn reminds people that art can — and should — be accessed anywhere and by anyone, with or without a virus outbreak. Through a Facebook post titled “Art in the Age of Coronavirus,” koloWn invites viewers to take a virtual trip to their online gallery for web-based artworks. Featured is a collage generator which makes use of ripped posters from The Brunswick Project. Viewers get a randomly crafted piece every time, as it is run by an algorithm. koloWn playfully explains this in a pop-up message welcoming guests, where they ask: “Who is now the artist? The Machine?” If you’re into postmodern, experimental art, go give a visit. — ERD