Hi, I'm Mark Manguerra, a (later-)20-something guy from Manila, Philippines. I am a physician by trade, and the art and science of healing is very close to my heart, though you will rarely hear about it on this blog. I graduated 2007 from the most hardcore government hospital in the Philippines, the Philippine General Hospital, with an MD degree.
So, why "No Special Effects?"
"No Special Effects" doesn't refer to the food or the pictures: in fact, I do love the occasional flash and spectacle. "No Special Effects" characterizes me: honest, genuine. I'm a welcoming, friendly person: I don't like cliques or intimidation. Fame and popularity are unimportant to me. I'm also very analytical, direct, and controlled in my manner, though I am very expressive around friends. I love to laugh and my DVD shelf is full of sitcoms on DVD.
What is this blog about?
It's mostly about the food I make. There is no theme, though it leans heavily on desserts. My goal when starting (I started cooking when I started this blog, about April 2007) was to make all the food I wanted to eat, and learn more about making food that's unfamiliar to me: to satisfy cravings, avoid the expense and crappy commercial bakers, nourish my soul, and make others happy. (Read more about my personal journey with food here and here.)
Any other sites? Other things you like doing?
Currently I'm co-editor for The Gastronomer's Bookshelf, a food book review site, with Dr. Duncan Markham of Syrup and Tang. I've mastered used-book scavenging here in Manila and I'm frequently at book and magazine sales, looking for hidden classics. My cookbook collection is still small but it's growing steadily.
I also write for another blog, A Simple Life, which is simply content that I couldn't attach food to or might be considered too boring to share to my audience.
I have designed a few projects for print, usually as a favor to the hospital or other medicine-related organizations.
By myself I like to sketch and play the piano. With friends I like to cook, eat, play video games and ice hockey, and shop. But I like to dabble in everything, really.
What camera do you use?
At the beginning I used a Canon Powershot A630, but recently I've switched to a Canon Powershot G7. When traveling around photogenic places I feel kind of funny surrounded by SLR-toters, but I like being the only obvious amateur.
I do not generally review restaurants or events except in the context of my travels (even then it's only one or two statements). I also do not currently entertain invitations to review products and services. I do, however, review cookbooks and food-related books for The Gastronomer's Bookshelf, which aims to truly help people looking for good books and do not find the vapid user reviews of Amazon and similar sites helpful. I do not undertake to review anything and always give my fair, honest opinion. Visit the site for more information.
Searching for a post?
See that search box way, way up there, next to the Blogger "b"? This site uses that. Also, the categories I've used are on the upper-right corner, if you want a broader look at the topics I've covered.
The pictures and blog posts are copyrighted and you must seek permission if you wish to use them for any purpose, personal or commercial. The recipes (more specifically the ingredient lists) however, are not copyrighted, though you must respect a few rules (there is a primer here).
Please use the form here.