Thursday, November 30, 2006

What Else Can I Say

While waiting for the elevator in a major high rise building in Makati, I noticed this sign.

What else can I say?
The sign says it all ...

Haaaaaaaaaaaaay naku.
Wowwww Philippines.


I often pass this sign at a major road junction . It says "Walang Tawiran - Nakamamatay" (No Crossing - It Can Cause Death) ...

I have wondered whether that means that the authorities are concerned about me and the possibility that somehow something might happen to me if I tried to cross the street through a phalanx of cars that are hardly moving because the policeman allows buses and jeeps to stop wherever they want, allows cars to double park and allows street vendors to take over half the street ...
OR - if that means that the same policeman blind to everyone elses' blatant violations would pick on me and shoot me if I tried to cross the street at that spot.

So, once while stuck in the predictable traffic at that junction , I actually asked the cop on duty. He looked at me, gave it some thought, shrugged his shoulders and walked away ...

Yikes - if he is unsure of the answer, then it becomes really scary.
My advice ... heed the sign.
They probably mean business - I mean heyyyyyy , the sign is colored pink. Wooooooooooooo - afraid ako ...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I Hibernated

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack ...
Ok ok ok ... I was away for more than a month.

I hibernated.
Or maybe I just withdrew from the world.

Among other things, I had this terrible "pain in the neck" that was really debilitating. I have been married to this pain for so long ... I should have known better. But I digress ...

Really I was just super busy. First - my office workload was incredible.

Then there was Halloween, and believe it or not - I was actually contracted to decorate houses... parang event organizer baga . Create a spooky halloween party atmosphere.

Then there was work again ....
More work.

Finally I realized that Christmas was just around the corner ...
and that I was dead broke.

So - I focused on making a little money.
Spent weekends in Divisoria to start a little "buy and sell" sideline.
Needed to pay bills and also needed to pay more bills.

Work, work, work ...
Dead tired in the evenings.
Writers block.
Panic attacks.

In the meantime ... I ate, ate, ate as I always do when I am stressed out.

So here I am ...
10 pounds heavier, stuck neck deep in debt and looking a rather bleak holiday season straight in the eye.
I need my stress outlet ... so there, I am ready to rant and rave again.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Many of my better friends are female .

Many look to me for wisdom pag dating sa problema nila sa mga boypren nila. And try as I might, kung minsan wala talaga akong maisagot na maayos kundi ... "ganun eh" !

So, share ko sa inyo ang questions nila ...
Tulungan nyo naman ako para madagdagan din ang "wisdom" ko.

Bakit nga daw ba??

Bakit pag ang boyfriend mo nakita ang ex mo sa party at nainis siya, understandable ... pero pag ikaw ang nailang sa ex niya, maarte ka?

Bakit pag ang boyfriend mo hindi ka mahanap sasabihin lakawatsera ka... pero pag siya hinanap mo, possessive ka?

Bakit pag ang boyfriend mo tawag ng tawag sa yo concerned siya ... pero pag ikaw ang tumawag, makulit ka?

Bakit pag ang boyfriend mo laging naka-embrace at kiss sa yo sa public, affectionate siya, ... pag ikaw laging naka-hug, la ka raw hiya sa tao?

Bakit pag ang boyfriend mo panay ang aya mag-date, sweet siya ... pag ikaw ang aya ng aya mag-date, demanding ka?

Bakit pag ang boyfriend mo vocal sa love niya, romantic siya ... pagikaw obsessed ka?

Bakit pag ang boyfriend mo nag-propose ng marriage committed siya... pag ikaw nagbanggit ng kasal, nagmamadali k.?

Bakit pag ang boyfriend mo laging nag-o-OT, dedicated siya sa trabaho ... pag ikaw wala kang panahon sa kanya?

Bakit pag ang boyfriend mo nag-offer maghatid-sundo sa yo protective siya, ...pag ikaw wala kang tiwala?

Bakit pag ang boyfriend mo nagpasama sa yo mag-shopping he values your opinion ... pag ikaw nagpasama dependent ka masyado?

Bakit pag ang boyfriend mo naglalaway sa FHM, natural lang ... pag ikaw kinilig kay Josh Hartnet malandi ka raw?

Bakit nga daw???
Di ba ... kasi "ganun nga eh"

Hindi ko nga mantindihan kung bakit ang dami daming tanong ng mga babae eh ...
At least pag kaming mga lalake - eh, nagtatanong lang naman !


I surf the internet a lot.
It is for me the modern day equivalent of encyclopedia, magazines, tv, home video, shopping catalogs, comics, newspapers, tabloids etc.

There is just an overload of information out there.
I would like to start sharing with you every once in a while, some gems that I find. Wala lang - sharing lang ... parang "show and tell" sa iskul nuong bata pa ako.

Good morning classmates ...
Today I want to share with you the iCarta Ipod Toilet Roll.

Available on-line at .
This is really kewl. Imagine literally "moving your ass" to the beat ...

Shake you booty ... yeyey

An ipod to ipot by.
Choose the music that suits your mood.
Just imagine yourself exerting the extreme effort to the music of "Rocky's Theme" .

Create a new playlist ... "Moving Music"
Inspiring ...
Di ba ?

Yun lang.
Sharing lang
Tenk you.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

I Can Almost Remember

I looked at her as she floated down the stairs ... and I knew.
This woman would have a place in my heart.
A place that would keep me warm in the midst of the coldness of life.

She spoke ...
And I heard the strings of an orchestra playing music to which my heart would dance for all time
A waltz with a beat that was my very pulse.

She smiled and a brightness shot through the darkness
The stars danced as if in a frenzy ...
The moon beamed as if it were touched by the very light of life.

We talked about a life we never had and yet seemed to know so well.
Our pasts intertwined in a way that made sense of the future
Serendipity, providence, fortune ... perhaps love.

I am they say a hopeless romantic ...
For I see arrows speeding towards the heart
Where others see only a bow that has hardly been bent

To see beyond the obvious
To feel that which is unfelt
To know what is to be

We are all the sand upon which the footprints of others are left
We live the lives that were meant to be
Its not in the toss of the coin ... it is in the beat of the heart

Love is
Love was
Love will be ...

And she will be there with me...

( P.S. - special prize to the one who can think of who I was thinking of when I wrote this - while in my stilnox influenced state ... I can almost remember )

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Shopping at 168Mall can burn a lot of calories.
Pretty soon, the pangs of hunger start tugging at the belly. Luckily, there is a large food court at the third floor. It is always crowded , but basically clean. The smell and smoke of grilled food predominates.

There I was, looking at the kaleidoscope of food outlets.
I needed something familiar.
Something to strengthen me.
Something to energize me.
Something light.
Something easy to eat.

Ahaaaaaaaaaa ...
Balut Eggspress

Balut is “fertilized duck egg with a nearly-developed embryo inside that is boiled and eaten in the shell”. It is often eaten with salt and beer, and is considered a delicacy if not a curious exotic food. Recently, it gained some notoriety by being offerred as part of the challenge in the TV reality show Fear Factor. Of course , it completely grossed out the American contestants who couldn’t seem to accept the concept of eating an aborted duck fetus – feathers, beak , pink limbs, eyes and all. Yummmmmmmmmmmm ...

With a reputation as an aphrodisiac, an energy food and a nutritious snack all in one, balut is considered a Philippine national street food icon. I can still picture my father and I rushing out into the streets as we used to respond to the nocturnal call of an itinerant street vendor shouting ... baluuuuuuuuuuuut.

Balut Eggspress has brought the balut into a state of indoor kiosk and counter snacking as opposed to street vendoring. It sources balut from Pateros (the balut capital of the Philippines) which guarantees that its quality and taste is true to tradition.

Balut Eggspress offers:
Fresh Steamed Balut/Penoy 12pesos
Specialty Deep Fried Balut/Penoy 16pesos
Eggsotic Crunchy Day Old Chicks 25pesos/3pieces
Eggstra Adobo Balut 16pesos
Eggstra Caldereta Balut 16pesos
Pateros Red Egg 12pesos

What are you waiting for?
Chomp into that duckling .
Yikes ...

(picture of balut taken from

Monday, October 16, 2006


The economy has been much less than ideal.
No matter what the politicians say ... the fact is that at the level of Juan de la Cruz, times are very hard. But what can we do? The voices of the “have nots” are progressively being drowned in the hum of the growing power of the “have mores”. That plus the harsh reality that the “have nots” continue to swell in numbers as many of the “had mores” are realizing that the financial challenges of today have transformed them into “have nots”. Or in short ... more and more have not .

There is perhaps no more telling reflection of this than the growing number of Makati “mall rats” and "fashionistas" who will join the legions who will be giving DKNY gifts for Christmas this year.

Ohhhh for the non-indoctrinated ... DKNY means Divisoria Kanto Ng Ylaya.

Divisoria is this years “hit”. Once the destination only of business shoppers – it has slowly evolved into the private shopper’s mecca.

The “market” modification has to a large extent been due to 168Mall – a 3 story building on Sta. Elena St. just off Juan Luna St.. Its main draw has been that it is fully air-conditioned, and yet maintains the totally cramped frenzy and drop-down prices that gives it the seamless feel of the equivalent organized chaos that prevails on the streets outside.

When one is finished with the mall, it is time to charge through the bedlam of the streets for even better bargains. Sta. Elena, Soler, Tabora, Juan Luna, Ylaya and Recto streets are lined with a confusion of vendors that sells everything from pigeons, underwear, clothes, slippers, shoes, food, fruits, commercial dry goods, electronics, hardware... just anything and everything .

Here one can find cheap goods at pricebacks that represent perhaps 30-70 % of their Makati prices. The challenge is in engaging the stampede and finding what you want in the deluge of goods that catches ones attention.

Amusing brand finds include Socks 5th Avenue (50pesos/pack of 5), Peragamo rubber shoes (250pesos), Havanas slippers (35pesos), Soni MP4 player (700pesos 256mb), and a myriad other mind challenging brands.

In Divisoria the social classes merge into one. The economics of bargain shopping becomes a great equalizer. To the vendors everyone is “kuya” or “ate” as is every vendor to the shopper.

I have been to Bangkok’s Chatuchak as well as to HongKong, Shanghai and Beijing’s flea markets. The Divisoria experience is in a class all its own ...

The noise, the crowd, the heat, the stench, the filth, the pandemonium – all come together to somehow make the shopping experience uniquely pleasurable to the adventurous.

So if you have a spare weekend ... Divisoria na tayo .
WOW Philippines ...

Leave the accent and the English at home.
Dress down.

No jewelry and watches please.
Mind your wallet.
Haggle vigorously.
Walk away like a spurned lover if you don't like the price
Cash only – small bills preferred.
Street smarts are a must.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Writer's Block

Today ...

I guess that's it !

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

To the Batcave

The best thinking has been done in solitude. The worst has been done in turmoil.
- Thomas A. Edison -

When I was a kid, Batman was my hero. He was an ordinary man – no superpowers. He was simply strong, agile, innovative and fearless. He was a loyal friend and an idealistic crusader. Whenever he had problems, he would retreat into The Batcave. Here he would in his solitude ... find peace, see things for what they were and find the wisdom to hurdle the obstacles that lay before him. Here he would come to his “eureka” moments ... and find the strength to carry on. The Batcave was his real source of power ...

In my adult life, I have always had a “batcave” .
A place where solitude allows me the space to find my bearings ...
A spot that allows me a meditative cleansing process ...
A location all my own ...
A “sanity corner”.

My “batcave” is a concept of solitude, rather than a specific place.
It has over the years been a shaded portion under a tree, a place by the sea, a section of a library, a favorite table in a coffeeshop, a specific bench in a mall, an al fresco restaurant, a wine cellar, a hotel room, a sofa in my own house, a friends apartment ... and lately, at the foot of my fathers grave. Anywhere that allows my mind to be alone ... to recharge, to pause, to reboot.

Quite often, the best way to see better is to step away. From the distance created by solitude comes the vision that sees through the clouds of life. Mastering the state of being alone without being lonely leads to a self awareness that can give one a sense of perspective in a world that is spinning ever so rapidly around us.

I find in these quiet “alone” moments a peacefulness that allows me a chance to renew myself ... to foster thinking and creativity ... to appreciate nature, people and life itself.

So whenever life starts to overwhelm me ...
I disappear into a state of inner richness that allows me to contemplate on whatever it is that lies ahead .

Do not be afraid of the darkness ... for therein begins the light.
... “to the Batcave ... there’s not a moment to lose” ...

Older But Wiser

I am the eldest among my brothers and sisters. I am the eldest in my barkada. I am the eldest in my "golf group". I am the eldest in my eating group. I am the most senior in my office.

I am as they say - "older but wiser".
As such, I have become the adviser , the consultant , the shoulder to cry on, the counselor to many of my younger friends and family. As this blog progresses, it has become inevitable that I share with you every once in a while, some of the gems of wisdom that I have had to impart as part of my continuing mission to be of help to those around me.

Here is the first ...
a letter written to me about a year ago from someone that I hope I have helped to guide towards the right path.


Dear Ankul Dagul,
I'm writing you about Ben. ,

We're in our twenties and we both work in Makati. In fact, we used to be officemates. I've known him for almost two years now and all the time, I've been in love with him, although we are just friends and he has a girlfriend he intends to marry.

Angkul, I can't help but fall in love with him. He's perfect; responsible, intelligent, resourceful, thoughful, loving, sweet, caring, upright, kind, family-oriented and a God-fearing individual. His good looks is just an added bonus. I can't believe such a man still exists today and I will forever be thankful for his friendship.

It pains me to be so in-love with him because he and his girlfriend are perfect for each other and are so happy being together. I don't know if he's aware of my feelings for him. But winning his heart, I think, is out of the question.

His girlfriend is too precious for him. Losing her would truly hurt him, and I don't want to see him in pain. I know, however, that a part of me wishes for him to reciprocate my love. But he's just too good for me. He deserves someone better, like the girl he has now.

Knowing he's happy with her is enough consolation for me. I want his happiness even if it means my own despair. God knows how much I'm suffering. Writing this letter alone is already torture.

I've been trying very hard to forget him. I've done ways I know to free myself. Pero ang kulit talaga ng puso ko, ayaw sumunod. Angkul Dagul, I haven't seen or talked to him for a long time and I thought his absence would somehow cool down the feeling, but it hasn't. I dont want to miss him, but I do miss him terribly. How can I forget him?

Whenever I see a place, a thing or a situation, my mind automatically associates it with him. His memories occupy most of my waking and sleeping hours. His face pops into my mind in the middle of my lunch, when I'm talking with my friends, cleaning our house or just doing something which has nothing to do with him but reminds me of him anyway.

Odd, but true. I'm not bitter Angkul Dagul. I don't blame myself, him nor God for this situation. As a matter of fact, I'm thankful, painfully odd as it is, that this situation has made me the more mature person that I am now. But I can't help ask myself why should a woman, or a man for that matter, fall for another when they are not meant for each other?

Why Angkul? Why?
You know, whenever I pray, I always ask God to help me let go of this love. I just want to feel the same way he feels for me -- as a friend and nothing more. I know I can get through this because I believe that God wouldn't give me something He knows I can't handle.

Someday I will be able to smile again without being hurt when I remember him. God has His reason for all of these and until I know the reasons, I want to hear words from you.
Please Angkul Dagul, help me.


Angkul Daguls Advice:

Dear Roberto
Lintek kang bakla ka pinagod mo pa ako kababasa.

Ang haba ng letter mo !
Malandi !
Tigilan mo na ang ilusyon mo, hindi mo kayang ibigay kay Ben ang kayang ibigay ng girlfriend niya.
Sa susunod na sumulat ka pa sa akin, ipakakain kita sa buwaya !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Angkul Dagul

Monday, October 09, 2006

Crescent Moon - (Mezzaluna)

“Mezzaluna” (Italian/Portuguese for half moon/crescent moon) - in the culinary world refers to a crescent shaped kitchen knife often with handles on each end that is used for chopping or mincing food.

In MetroManila, Mezzaluna is home to Chef Carlo Miguel. After making his name as a special event chef, he and brother Anton opened a first resto at the Valuepoint Condominium in Legaspi Village that was an office executives fav. Now ... a swanky new Mezzaluna Restaurant at Global City.

High ceilings and friendly servers greet you. Well set fine dining tables wait for you. Soft retro standard music surrounds you. A view into a glass enclosed kitchen grabs you. And a culinary treat awaits you.

We started with a bottle of Woolshed 2005 Australian Chardonnay. Appetizers were a “Sautéed Foie Gras with Caramelized Apple Pasticcio, Mesculin Leaves, and Vanilla Walnut Dressing” 780pesos, and ‘Seared Japanese Scallop, Lobster and Saffron Risotto” 480pesos. Our main dishes were “Tournedos Rossini (Roasted USDA Angus Bistro Fillet with Potato Galleta and Sautéed Foie Gras)” 990pesos , and “Fish of the Day (barramundi) with Mussel Linguini, Cream Fraiche and Snow Peas” 450pesos.
Yikes ... foie gras overload

The portions were just right so there was room for dessert – "Valrhona dark Chocolate Marquis" 250pesos and "Yoghurt and Honey Panna Cotta" 180pesos.

Coffee and limoncello capped our meal.

Nice interiors.
Small enough to be romantic.
Refreshingly high ceilings are a plus.
Food is very good.
Pricey but well worth it.
It makes it to my “must go back” list ...

Servers are well intentioned but need more experience.
Kitchen pace is a little slow.
All glass façade makes it difficult to have a date with someone you are not supposed to be with ...

Ground Floor
Serendra Commercial Complex
Bonifacio Global City

Hooked - (Cupcakes by Sonja)

Sarah Jessica Parker (Carrie Bradshaw), in one of the episodes of Sex in the City , ate a creamy retro cupcake at the Magnolia Bakery on Bleecker St cor. 11th. in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. Since then, Magnolia Bakery has not only developed a cult following and become a New York City tour stop, it has also become the benchmark for a boom in cupcake specialty shops.

Manila of course is never far behind when it comes to foodie craze ventures – so welcome to Cupcakes by Sonja. Located at the new Serendra Piazza , this little cutie is home to the best cupcakes in the Metro. It is owned by a charming lady (Sonja ... who else), who actually lived in New York and actually worked in the Magnolia Bakery.

Cupcakes by Sonja is small. One sit down counter facing the outside ala NY, and then the ordering counter/display area. There are a few tables outside. I guess the market is expected to be a “take-out” and “pre-order” market.

Its a refreshing alternative to my current donut addiction.
Traditional and tiered custom made cakes can also be ordered.

I tried the “flourless chocolate cupcake” and was hopelessly hooked ... yummingly good. Their cupcake variety list is growing as they add new variations regularly. Price ranges from 50pesos to 80 pesos per. cupcake. They serve Lavazza coffee and a tasty Strawberry Iced Tea as well.

In New York, cupcake orders are starting to level up with traditional cake orders including for events such as weddings. Well if they taste as good as Sonjas cupcakes , I can totally understand why.

Try it out on your next date.
Have some sweets with your “sweetie”.
Have a cupcake with your “cupcake” ...

Cupcakes by Sonja
1C03 Serendra Piazza

Global City, Taguig

Friday, October 06, 2006

What's Goin' On?

I stumbled onto a box of 12 flavored condoms at a convenience store recently. The rubbers were marked "PARTY PACK"

What's goin' on?

It used to be that sex was a private matter.
An act of consumation between two loving partners ...
An act of passion between two consenting adults ...
Or even a misguided indescretion between two experimenting teens ...
But still a private matter.

Now they market condoms in a "party pack"?
As in ... "taralets, mag party tayo - may condoms ako".

I must really be getting old.
Not that party pick-ups were none existent in my time ... but it was always the result of a private effort to address pheromone driven lust aggravated by alcohol that made women look prettier proportionate to the number of bottles of beers we were consuming.

Now - a party pack?
Should I expect my party coordinator to bring a party pack as well as sixpacks to my next party?

What would the party theme be?
Uhmmmmm - "Sex in the City", "Desperate Housewives" ... or "Animal Kingdom"?
What games do we play?
Uhmmmmm - "Eat it.. Bulaga" , "Pinoy's BIG Brother" ... or "wetDREAMS Academy" ?
Does the winner become the "Philippine Idol" ????
And after the party, do the partners become "kapuso" or "kapamilya" ?
U kn neber kn tel

I guess this is where we have brought ourselves.
What with cybexsex, internet webcams and phone video
- not to mention permissive television, movies and printed media.
Ohhh and let's not forget our role in liberal (if not negligent) parenting ...

Sex has become public domain.
It has jumped from the privacy of the bedroom into the limelight of the stage of life. It has become so communal that some astute marketing genius has dared to assume a market for a "Party Pack" of condoms.

Oh well ... such are the times.
There is nothing to do but to celebrate ... you are all of course invited to the party.
Please "come" ...

You may "come" again if you have the stamina.

I suggest we make the condom
our government's official symbol
- because -
it allows for inflation,
halts production,
destroys the next generation,
and gives us a sense of security,
while we are actually being screwed

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Bring a Date

Despite his low profile, Chef Rolando Laudico has been a much sought after culinary wiz in the Metro scene. Those in the know contact him directly to cater for their special parties and dinners.

Chef Laudico himself started a reservations only affair at his Urdaneta Village home where one could have a dinner by candlelight in the romantic setting of a tropical home garden. This continues to be a draw...

It was just a matter of time before he would succumb to the lure of mainstream restaurant operation. And that time is now...

Welcome to Chef Laudicos Bistro Filipino. Located in the less busy side of the Fort ... just a stones throw away from last years hit Je Suis Gourmand, Bistro Filipino is a wonderfully interiored haven for Filipino fusion food. Fusion has always been a difficult food style because more often than not there is a confusion of the taste buds and of expectations. One cannot quite define the resulting taste – and is often unsure whether he liked it or not. But in the case of Chef Laudico the fusion remarkably ... works.

Filipino food cooked with European flare – both tastes familiar – one complimenting the other. No clash of tastes – just seamless integration into a new but very familiar taste. The presentation of the food is likewise “internationalized” with tables set to fine dining standards.

Candles, organic fabric overdrapes ,chandeliers , solid wood tables, a checkerboard Vuitton brown floor, a play with lights and music ...
Start pouring the wine.

We started with a bottle of Chilean Chardonnay which was the house wine – tangy and adequate for both my taste and my wallet. Appetizer was a wonderful “Silken Tokwa’t Baboy” – grilled pork liempo and silken tofu wrapped in rice paper with spicy garlic vinegar, soy glaze and caramelized shallots at 225pesos. I would return even if only for this and a bottle of wine ...

We proceeded with “Pinakbet Puree Soup” and “Chicken Binakol Soup” – both at 150pesos. Mains were “Foie Gras Laced Lamb” – 1000pesos and “Foie Gras with Adobo Overload” – at 750pesos.

The chocoholic in me went into high gear with their desserts.

You guys are going to have to try this for yourself. Words have always been difficult to find in describing fusion food ...

The bottom line is ... highly recommended.
Catch it this weekend . Bring a date ... (someone has to pay ... di baaaa? )

Chef Laudico's Bistro Filipino
Net One Building, in the Fort
+632 856-0634, +632 856-0541 (for reservations)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


My mother is a balikbayan. She is a true-blue kuripot Ilokana. She lived in the United States for 15 years working hard for the green bucks that clearly helped ease the life of her 5 loving children.

While in the States, Mom had always amazed us with her mastery of the science of balikbayan box packing. She could put the whole state of New Hampshire inside one box and still have room to spare. Whenever she would make trips to the Philippines, her “maleta” would be a veritable jack-in-a-box with little goodies popping up from every little compartment, nook, cranny, pocket, corner, fold, cuff ...

As her years in the US started to pile up , I had always feared that death might catch up with her in that cold and faraway land. I had imagined how I might have to take on the role as eldest among the children, of tackling the dreaded job of rushing to the States and arranging the transport of her remains to the Philippines – her beloved homeland.

I would shed tears during sleepless nights as I imagined the letter to my brothers and sisters that I would have to write from the States as they waited anxiously here in Manila:

Mga minamahal kong mga kapatid,
If you are reading this letter, that means na dumating na dyan sa Pinas ang coffin and remains ni Inang.

Pasensya na kayo, at hindi ko nasabayan ang flight ni Inang, dahil naubusan na ako ng perang pang pamasahe. Naghihintay ako ng budget fare ... wala kasing buy-one take-one ngayon.
Umutang pa nga ako kay Angkul Veneracion de Asis (na ang pangalan pala ngayon sa Amerika ay naging Venereal Disease).

Anyway nagpadala ako kasabay ni Inang ng:

- Dalawang dosenang lata ng corned beef – nakatago sa likod ni Inang. Mag hati hati na lang kayo
- Apat na Nike sneakers – tig-isa kayo. Yung isang size 7 suot ni Inang; yung iba nakasiksik sa may ulo nya.
- Apat na Lacoste t-shirt, suot ni Inang patong patong. Tig-isa din kayo .
- Dalawang WonderBra suot ni Inang. Bahala na kayo my dear sisters.
- Dalawang Levis na maong –patongpatong din nyang suot. Bahala na kayo my brods.
- Dalawang Victorias Secret na panty at dalawang Calvin Klein na brief din ang suot. Alam nyo na kung kanikanino yan.
- May Nestles Crunch, Hersheys at M&M din na nakaipit sa may binti ni Inang. Pakibigay sa mga pamangkin natin.

- Pag binuksan nyo ang bibig ni Inang, naka ipit sa pustiso nya ang isang diamond ring na padala ng anak na narses ni Kapitana Sosing... pasundo nyo na lang dyan
- Ang ibang accessories ... suot ni Inang, isang Tag Heuer na relo sa bawa’t kamay, Gucci na hikaw at Salvatore Ferragamo na bracelet . Kayo na ang mag-decision kung kanikanino... pagod na rin akong mag-isip e.
- Ang medyas niya Chanel ... apat din yun.

- And last but not the least, yung mga pabangong Davidoff at Issey Miyake, nakatago sa likod ng pwet ni Inang.

Mga kapatid, bahala na sana kayo hanggang sa pag-uwi ko. Wag nyo siyang pabayaan. At bago ko makalimutan – pakibihisan ng maayos si Inang pag nahubad nyo na ang lahat ng pasalubong niyang suot.

Touch up nyo na rin yung ilong kasi parang napitpit nung sinara namin yung kabaong. Kinailangan pa kasing upuan ni Ankel VD para magsara ng maayos !

Ang nagmamahal nyong kapatid,


– Needless to say, I never had to send the letter.
My Mom is now 81 years old. She is alive and kicking. She is now finally here with us in the Philipiines where we can shower her with the unending love that she deserves.
Love you Mom ............

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


The last time my niece and nephew from the United States visited Manila, they were unbelieving and amused at McSpaghetti. It was unheard of in their neck of the woods. They even wanted to take pictures of the McDo menu board to prove this aberration to their friends back in the good old US of A.

Well now, they can flip and do the somersault even more.
Welcome to McRice Burgers.


McRice Burger replaces a regular (bread) burger bun with two "specially made" rice patties, with a beef or chicken patty and vegetables in between, to create a sandwich.

Already available in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore – McRice was an attractive concept that I just had to taste test. At first, it has a funny feel to it – sticky rice buns in my hands. (pleasant memories of holding “buns” ... hmmmmmmm). It tasted really like a big “sushi” with no wasabi. You eat it like a regular burger sandwich – no spoon and fork necessary.

The McRice Chicken Supreme was all around better than the McRice Burger Supreme. It was filling . I guess it would do for a quick lunch...

I still prefer my McNuggets and French Fries.
But at least I have something new to offer to American visitors ...

AmeriKana looking at Filipino food menu: "uhmm Dagul ..can you please translate this foods for me cause i dont understand them."

Dagul: Sure why not - chocnut?
'Kana: what is fried tinulingan?
Dagul: circumsiced fish.
'Kana: Chicken Binakol?
Dagul: Pervert CHicken.‘
'Kana: kinalawing kambing
Dagul: Eagled Goat‘
'Kana: nilagang baka?
Dagul: Boiled Maybe?
Kana: thanks dagul! Waiter!waiter!
Waiter: yes mam whats your order?‘
'Kana: can i have a hamburger.
Waiter: yes mam? do you want to try our dessert tsokolateng mainit just ten pesos mam.
‘Kana: dagul - what is tsokolateng mainit in english?
Dagul: CHocolate That Want Sex

( toinnnnnnnnnnnngk ... flying menu board)

Tikman Mo

It was a Sunday. We were in the Mall of Asia. It was time for dinner.

So many choices ...
Then we saw Gumbo.
It was not empty (it had a wonderful view of the bay)And Cajun cuisine is always a treat. So we tried it out.

Gumbo presents itself as a “ taste of New Orleans” themed restaurant. Its interiors are fairly well done in an American colonial style reminiscent of old Louisiana homes. An open kitchen dominates. The typical sounds of jazz and blues were in the air interrupted by almost musical cheerleader type shouts from the kitchen ... “ ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh seafood jambalaya” !!!

It felt like a multinational franchise. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that it was a pure Filipino operation. An affiliate restaurant of everyones fav Burgoo – much was expected from it.

The menu was dominated by typical Cajun (New Orleans) fare. We ordered Buffalo Chicken Wings (195pesos petite 295pesos grande), Umm ..Seafood Gumbo (175pesos petite 325pesos grande), Ahh ..Seafood Jambalaya (295pesos petite 425pesos grande) and Bourbon-Style Ribs (425pesos petite 795pesos grande).

The whole thing started wrong. The corn-on-the-cob was “panis” – we called the supervisors attention to this. She tasted it and did not contest the observation. She proceeded to hold mini-meetings with kitchen staff and other managers.

The gumbo was visibly pale – not the right color. The jambalaya was clearly too dry. The ribs were a waste of effort. The only redeeming point was that the cole slaw siding was good.

I guess the problem with us is that we are old enough to remember “New Orleans Restaurant” in the old Greenbelt, Makati which was a word-of –mouth mecca for Cajun cuisine aficionados. Also, we had been to many “New Orleans” type restos in the United States where we had originally learned to appreciate this type of food.

The verdict:
Sorry guys but I just really wouldn’t go back there myself.
I can feel Anton (“Our Awesome Planet”) smiling, and saying “I told you so ...”

Perhaps you will have better luck.
Try it in the very Filipino way of – “pare, ang pangit ng lasa – tikman mo”.

Gumbo - A Taste of New Orleans
2nd Level, Entertainment Mall
SM Mall of Asia
Pasay City
556-0238 556-0239

Sunday, October 01, 2006


“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet”
- Roger Miller -

It was raining house and lot last week. Typhoon Xangsane (Laotion for “elephant”) trampled on Metro Manila. Trees fell, billboards crashed to the ground, roofs flew off, streets flooded, walls crumbled, cars flipped over– it was a war zone.

This was the strongest storm to hit Metro Manila in 11 years. The winds just blew the life of the city away . Wind , wind , wind ... wind everywhere. It was such a powerful blow job , even the coconut trees had to hold on to their nuts ... .

Pakinshet talaga ang lakas

Electric posts and towers fell. The city struggled with an electricity deprived darkness. The floods were knee-deep for the Filipino people and neck-deep for the Philippine president.

For many this was very bad weather. For lovers it was "bed weather". For friends and families, it was another chance to get together. Share the candlelight. Share the meals. Share the anxiety. Share the jokes ...

Wait it out ...
Finding good in the bad.
Making light of the darkness.
Laughing through the sadness.

The Pinoy is like that.

We face adversity with a happy face. It is a coping mechanism. It is the pinoy way of adjusting to stress. Tambayan , inuman, kwentuhan, chismisan, kainan ... all tools to overcome the all too harsh realities of life.

The problem is - we live through a typhoon and revel in survival itself - forgetting the horrible infrastructure, the poor economy, the lack of governmental foresight and the despicable politicians who bring it all into being. We chug a drink, puff a cig, tell a tale, sing a song ... and fatalistically accept what is.

We 've become too calloused to do anything but "adjust" and "accept" , dooming ourselves to a repeat of the effects of disaters for which we might have been better prepared ... if only we cared enough.

Is it too much to demand that we have better drainage systems, cleared esteros, safer electrical conduit systems, adequate emergency response teams, pre-emptive evacuation protocols, better weather forecast capability etc. ? Do we deserve any less?

Whatever ...
I guess it is better to drown in floodwaters than to drown in self-pity and despair - right?

So bring out the pulutan and beer ...
It's party time - bakit? - bumaha e !

Friday, September 29, 2006


somehow because
if it is
therefore it be
whatever whenever
the either of neither
believe the all
to be then of course
if when the now
it shall there
which true or false
of life ...

( ... how deep , isn't it ?)

Thursday, September 28, 2006


I was already working after college when I first tasted Japanese food. We were in Japantown, in San Francisco - in a restaurant that had wooden boats floating on a water conveyer with different Japanese food dishes in them. One simply picked out his choice and was charged accordingly. My “buddies” started me off with a salmon sashimi. But I was instructed to “acclimatize” myself to Japanese food first by eating the "ball of green stuff" that came with the dish – a sort of aperitif. Not knowing any better, I gamely put the whole green ball in my mouth. The rest is history...

I was the laughing stock of the whole restaurant as I reeled, jumped, ran and shouted my own balls off. Coughing, choking, teary eyed and totally shocked ... I begged my “buddies” for mercy and asked them to forgive me for all the practical jokes I had ever played on them.

I learned two things.
Wasabi is not joke ...
The world is indeed round ... weder weder lang talaga

Ohhhh ... and I learned to love Japanese food. Sabi nga nila- kung saan ka nasaktan yun pa talaga ang mamahalin mo.

Just a flashback - as I sat waiting for my meal at the swank Tsumura Sushi Bar and Restaurant. I was in the new location of an old sushi haunt of mine.

Sushi Tsumura formerly located in Pasay Road is now in Salcedo Village. Its interiors are very modernly “calming"... after all, they were done by designer Ed Calma. There is a cozy sushi bar, an open dining area and private function rooms. The place can seat about 160 persons.

Tsumura is operated by the same group that runs Kuretake in Rockwell Mall. It is named after resident sushi chef Masamichi Tsumura who has created a traditional Japanese menu – no compromise fusion types here. You can sense the food authenticity because of the significant numbers of Japanese themselves who flock to eat here.

The downside is ... it’s really not “tsu-mura” ...
It’s actually “tsu-expensive”.
My bill for a dinner for two was a little over 4000pesos. Of course we ate a lot , but still...
If you want to splurge there’s 180g. of Wagyu Beef for 4250pesos, an assorted sashimi platter for 2 at 1600pesos or you might want a pricey Kubota Manjyu bottle of sake at 16,500pesos. Yikes ...

What would we do without corporate accounts against which we can charge these things ?
Hmmmmm ...
10pm dinner for me and one sexy lady
- charge to marketing representation (product presentation)
- will continue to represent the corporation over drinks at a bar down the street... (and later ... maybe even crispy pata)

... bosing, kailangan ko ng O.R. pls.

Tsumura Sushi Bar and Restaurant
2/F 88 Corporate Plaza,
Sedeno corner Valero Streets, Salcedo Village
(632) 887-4848 to 50

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Thank God for U.P.

RP slips in anti-graft drive -- World Bank
Good governance rank declines in last 8 years
Hooded men knocking down doors and dragging out victims in the dead of night.
Assassins on motorcycles. Killers shooting victims in cold blood, often in close range.
Anguished relatives looking for answers and, most important of all, justice.
Pulse Asia poll says 6% back coup d'etat

There was a 1970’s protest song that asked... “Where have all the flowers gone ...”. It was one among many in that era of youthful protest . I was part of that era ... a participant in the “first quarter storm”. In those days the youth was the pivotal catalyst for change. We were loud, daring and activist by nature.

We grew up playing "turumpo", "tex", "holen", "goma" and "tiradoran"– all games of direct participation. We learned to fight our own battles – knowing that our mistakes would have long term consequences. We were social warriors in the making . We took our future in our own hands.

Today’s youth –my son included – were brought up in the world of virtual reality - Nintendo, Playstation, X-Box, internet gaming etc. Their participation is via remote control. They watch from a distance as their battles are fought by surrogate champions. They have the luxury of replay or reset. They are focused on their own gratification without the penalty of personal consequence.

We allowed them this.
Our own liberalism has backfired...

And so we pay the price.
We have produced a generation that is focused on self rather than on social issues.
The youth are generally distanced and non-participatory in the greatest of battles – the battle for the future of this country.

It has taken foreign organizations like IMF, World Bank, Amnesty International, Greenpeace etc. to bring to the attention of the world the social ills of the Philippines. For much less than what is going on today , my generation would have been out in the streets – generating the awareness, creating the noise, lobbying the influential, boycotting the necessary – being Gandhi. And we would be doing it in great numbers ...

If the educated youth of today do not create the critical mass that is necessary to peacefully effect change, I fear that the uneducated may well take up the fight in the only way they know how ... violence.

So when I saw this broadsheet article the other day, the older me shook my head as I realized that this is what it has come to, but the"youth" in me smiled and said ...
"Thank God for independent thinkers ...
for social consciousness ...
for the courage to dare ...
for the strength to cross the line.
Thank God for U.P."

Titser: Sino si Jose Rizal?
Juan: Di ko po kilala.
Titser: Ikaw Pepe?
Pepe: Di rin po.
Titser (irritated): Di ninyo kilala si Jose Rizal?
Paolo: Ma'm, baka po sa kabilang section siya!

toinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnngk - (flying eraser)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Fair Play

In my previous post I made kwento about my ChocNut habit. I made some very "male" remarks and even suggested that my "nuts" had over time taken a chocholaty (ummmmm) color perhaps due to too much ChocNut.

My female friends cried foul. Sila din daw kumakain ng tsokoleyt? Bakit daw nakalimutan ko na sila???

Well, the good news is an Italian research group found as early as 2004 that women who eat chocolate regularly do have better sex lives than those who don't.

So my dearest mga chikababes ...
Here in the interest of fair play, political correctness and gender equality is the female version of my Choc "nuts" It tastes similar and given the chocolate content will hopefully contribute to a real orgasm ... so you don't have to fake it again..

Chocolate flavored "mani" - extra large pa !
Wat r u weting 4 - lets c'mon ...
Ingat-ingat lang - same precaution as in males ... baka maging kulay tsokoleyt yung "mani" nyo ... eeewwwwwwwwwww

Chemical Overload

"Viagra works, but chocolate works better"...
So said an article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer last week.
I read through it - absorbing every word as my eyes swelled with tears.
Could it be?
Yes - scientific evidence shows that chemicals in chocolate stimulate your sex drive to higher than normal levels .
After all these years - here finally was the explanation as to why I am what I am. It is not a "personality disorder" (manyakiszophrenia) that I suffer from. I am after all, just a poor victim of chemical overload ...

You see I am a ChocNut abuser.
I grew up on ChocNut. Hanggang ngayon nangungupit ako ng ChocNut sa reception desk ng Basement Salon everytime I have a haircut. When I buy medicine sa Mercury Drug kasama na ang ChocNut sa nabibili ko . Pati ChocNut ice cream sa Uva Restaurant sa Greenbelt, pinatulan ko na.

Bata pa ako - ChocNutter na ako.
Every time I ate ChocNut it was orgasmic -(di ko pa nga alam nuon kung ano yung orgasm). Ngayon adult na ako , alam ko na - yung asawa ko hanggang ngayon di pa niya alam - kawawa naman ...) But I digress .......

There is an art to eating ChocNut.
You have a choice of breaking it into pieces lengthwise or into small squares.
Madali yung lengthwise kasi may linya - pag small blocks , minsan nadudurog.
Then yung nadurog, you can reshape with your fingers parang "booger" (pero masarap, hindi maalat).
Or pwede din dilaan mo yung foil hanggang mgkandasugat-sugat na yung dila mo.
You can then chew the ChocNut or let it melt in your mouth.

The real high is pag dumidikit yung ChocNut to the roof of your mouth. Then the challenge is how to use your tongue to dislodge it. Parang ahas yung dila mo kung saan-saan sulok nakaka-abot. Even pag ubos na yung ChocNut, the taste lingers in your mouth kasi yung naipit in between your teeth parang timed release ang tunaw for the next hour.

I have eaten so much ChocNut in my life that even my "nuts" are chocolate colored - hence the name ChocNut.

So ladies - if you bump into me and I happen to be eating ChocNut ... remember thats probably my last piece. The lump in my pants aint' ChocNut ....

Can I buy you a drink?

Monday, September 25, 2006


In the early part of this year, a big fuss was generated by a school principal in Canada who castigated a Filipino boy for eating with a spoon and fork. The principal insinuated that eating with both spoon and fork was uncultured as compared to the expectation of eating with a fork and knife.

Much has already been said about the arrogance if not ignorance of this hateful school principal, and I will not add anything more except to say that I would probably have kicked him in the balls and shown him how really uncultured I can be.

I bring this up because as I was musing over this topic, I suddenly froze in my seat ... a wave of warmth building up in my ears. I thought to myself .... “ohhhh no – if they think that a spoon is uncultured ...wait till they find out about the “tabo”.

It has often been said that you know that you are Filipino if you have a tabo in your bathroom. Don’t deny ... you know you have one in each bathroom even if you already have a shower installed. Some of you even pack one when you travel ...

Tabo (Eng. – "dipper") is an all-powerful, ever-useful, hygienically-triumphant device to scoop water out of a bucket. It allows us to take a bath ala buhos-buhos or tabo-tabo , and also to be refreshed after toilet activities ala washy-washy. It addresses the issue of water shortage, and does away with the concern about cutting so many trees to make paper. It is an environmentally friendly concept that is pure Filipino genius.

The beauty about the tabo is that it is a functional concept rather than a specific design. So that it can take any form from coconut shell to the most common plastic dipper with a handle now used by most Pinoys. I have friends who when faced with the challenge of how to “tabo” when abroad – have converted flower vases, pitchers, coffee mugs, soft drink cans, and empty cheeezcurl containers into their “magical tabo”.

The ancient Greeks looked at the stars and saw a Big Dipper and a Small Dipper - constellations that have inspired the imagination of man.

Tabo lang yun ....madaming Pinoy sa langit.
Pati dun nagsi-migrate na - makalayas lang ...

Sunday, September 24, 2006


The child in my aging body continues to giggle whenever I am under the influence of such "literary" masterpieces as Ronnie Santiago's Baltic &Co., Felipe de la Cruz's Ipenuts and the prolific Tonton Young's Pupung. Granted that the majority of my laughs today are sourced from cellphone SMS and e-mail attachments, there is in comics the added thrill of a flashback to times when "komiks" was the only source of networked humor. In the same way that I now instinctively turn the newspaper to the obituaries, I used to in earlier times, turn instinctively to the comics page. As a matter of fact... the comics page was in those times, the only value of newspapers to me.

Gosh... I am growing really old

Anyway, - imagine my surprise when I ran into a restaurant centered on Pupung. I couldn't resist the chance to even just sit there, look at the drawings and think back to when life was much simpler ... and much easier.

The food was not anyting to crow about but hey ... who's looking for gourmet when one just wants a quick meal. The usual quickies are available - pork tocino at 70pesos, lechon kawali at 75pesos, Pupungs original pork sisig at 75pesos, a rib-eye tapa at 125pesos and other Filipino lutong bahay favorites.

If like me, you enjoy an occassional "quickie" ... drop by.

Pupung & Friends
Unit 1128 G/F
Entertainment Bldg.
SM Mall of Asia

Saturday, September 23, 2006

To What You Don't Say

what friends are for

What would I do without friends?
My life has been and continues to be a roller coaster ride.
And I could never reach my ups without the friends who are with me in the downs.

This year has been especially difficult for me. Everything seems to be going wrong. My continued resolve comes from knowing that my real friends will always be around. They are my real wealth ...

It has been said that ...
"Everyone hears what you say.
Friends listen to what you say.
Best friends listen to what you don't say...".
The truth in that has been made exceedingly clear to me of late.

My journey continues.

Wala lang ... nag-e"emote" lang.
And thank you talaga sa inyo.

coz ur my friend..
watever u want..i want.. watever u say..i say..
watever u hate..i hate.. werever u go..i go.. watever u are.. i are..

Ano daw?!

Friday, September 22, 2006


A friend of mine will be buried tomorrow.
Last week, he was shot dead ...
Once in the head, once in the heart – and several other times in the body.

This, in broad daylight, while he was sipping morning coffee in a convenience store in Fort Bonifacio, Global City, the Philippine showcase of urban growth and modern architecture.

Not just.
I think maybe ... even arrogant.
Arrogant enough to think that anyone has a right to take another persons’ life.
Arrogant enough to know that they would not be caught.
Arrogant enough to think that that would be the end of it.

Many theories have surfaced
I, as do many others believe it to be politics ...

The Philippines, once referred to as the “showcase of democracy in Asia” has somehow re-invented (as it has many other things), democracy itself. Democracy in the Philippines has come to mean the elimination of dissent, in order that the powers that prevail may “freely” pursue any and all directions that they wish. The “freedom” to do as one pleases ...
Freedom ... therefore democracy.

A convoluted interpretation from warped minds addicted to the hallucinogenic effect of power...
There is no room in democratic space for such convolution. Democracy is not easy but it should at the very least be clear. It is no longer democracy when the majority rules because the minority died.

Politics, it seems to me, for years, or all too long,
has been concerned with right or left, instead of with right or wrong.
~Richard Armour~


I had dinner with Zhang Ziyi at the Jumbo Floating restaurant in Aberdeen Harbour, Hong Kong. We talked, held hands, and had expensive Cantonese cuisine with wine. She paid the bill ...
I planted a kiss on her cheek, put my arms around her and led her to our room. in a yacht anchored nearby. It was a passionate evening.

Okey okey ... it was just a dream.

The truth is I wasn't with Zhang. I was with my "tiang" ... bisita ko from the province, kasama si "tiong" at ang mga pinsan ko. Heck ... I wasn't even in Hong Kong. I was just by the Manila Bay behind the Folk Arts Theater.

But I was on the Jumbo Kingdom Floating Restaurant. Yan... totoo yan

The Jumbo Kingdom Floating Restaurant is anchored at the Manila Bay Marina and permanently fixed to function as Chinese restaurant and function venue. This massive floating museum was pulled by two tugboats from the Aberdeen Harbour of Hong Kong to rest in the warm waters of the Manila Bay where it sits as a reincarnate of the grand royalty dining venues of the highest society in Hong Kong.

True to its original structure, the Jumbo Kingdom Philippines is a replica of the two floating restaurants that are left in Hong Kong - namely the Jumbo and the Tai Pak Kingdom. The project was initiated in year 2000 by Stanley Ho - but was stopped midstream by all-knowing, better-opinioned Filipino politicians and well-meaning NGO groups. Filipinos are like that - they can't leave well enough alone. Everyone is a suspect for ulterior motivation (Philippine politics 101). Heaven forbid that lack of vigilance would allow one group to excel or progress with out bringing the other along on the money trail ... (haaaaay, ang Pinoy talaga.) No no no - we must bring them down ... attack crabs attack ... (down with everyone except me - makibaka , huwag matakot !!!)

When the dust settled, what we had was a relic of Chinese history - ready to take on its original function.

So the wood was polished, the tables and chairs refurbished, the jade and paintings re-arranged, and the 10,000 bulbs attached. The spectacle begun..

If you are nostalgic about HongKong or if you even just want a good Chinese meal (though not the best) - or if you want to feel like royalty - go catch the food at Jumbo Kingdom Floating Restaurant. I love dinner time because all the lights illuminate the water. It is a little pricey - but like all Chinese offerings there are occasionally some bargains like Crispy Roasted Chicken at 350pesos/whole, Crispy Chinese Pork Leg at 280/whole and Crabs (anyway you like it) at 80peos/kg. A set Dimsum Lunch is available at 160-180pesos per person.

Jumbo Floating Restaurant
Manila Bay beside CCP Complex
City of Manila
832-8888 832-9194

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Heyyyyyy ladies ... if you like it really big, then this one is for you.


Mall of Asia at the reclamation area of Roxas Blvd. has been open since May 2006. It is the Philippines' largest mall, and the 7th largest in the world. It is built on 19.5 hectares of land reclaimed from the sea. It's floor area is a whopping 386,224 square meters. It is so big that they have electric trams/carts going around for patons with "feet fatigue".

Mall of Asia or MOA as it is fondly called, is a 2 story structure composed of 4 buildings linked by walkways -Main Mall, Entertainment Mall, North andSouth Parking Buildings. It has 600 stores, 150 food outlets, and parking for 5000 cars ... o ano, laban ka pa?

Anchor establishments include SM Department Store, SM Hypermart, SM Appliance Center, ACE Hardware, Toy Kingdom, Our Home, Store Specialists, the Dell Call Center, IMAX Super Theater with 3D images projected on a humongous 22x30 meter screen - that's the equivalent of an 8 story building (350pesos a peek). Mango, Zara and all the usual fashion suspects are there. It is a veritable "find anything you want" mall. The back portion of the mall has a wonderful view of the bay - and is a good coffee or wine spot especially during sunset on days with a cool breeze.

For shopaholics - this is where your feet may give up before your wallet does.
Go .... stay for a week !

MOA tram

Boy: knock knock
Girl: hus der?
Boy: Mall of Asia
Girl: Mall of Asia hu?
Boy: Hapi hapi hapi bertdey, sa iyo ang inumin, sa iyo ang pulutan
hapi hapi hapi bertdey, sana'y mabusog mo kami .....
Girl: huh??? nasaan ang Mall of Asia?
Boy: e di nasa Pasay

Mall of Asia
SM Central Business Park I
Island A - Bay City
Pasay City
Contact Info: Phone - (632) 831 3340

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Never Been

images Shhhhhhhh...
I promised you in a previous post that I would tell you where the best crispy pata in town is ...

Well, according to a survey of warm blooded males in Metro Manila... that distinction is conferred upon the crispy pata in Victoria Court. It is available as part of 24hour room service. It has just the right tenderness, super malutong balat and a tangy soy sauce/vinegar “sawsawan.”. A couple of SanMig Lights makes the day (uhmmm or is it the night ?).

Victoria Court is a chain of “family-oriented” drive-in hotels (previously refered to as motels) in Metro Manila. I guess it’s called family-oriented because if you are not careful what you do there– you might end up having a family.

Victoria Court is ISO 9001:2000 certified for service such that you don't have to pay for your room if you waited:

• For more than 15 minutes for a clean room
• For more than 30 minutes for your food
• For more than 10 minutes for your bill


Room rates range from P215.00 - P4,700.00 depending on room type(standard, deluxe, suite, VIP), and length of stay. Upon driving into the m(h)otel property, you can signal the room type to the garage attendant, by flashing anywhere from 1-4 fingers from behind your heavily tinted window as the rest of your “family” slides down her seat and buries her head under the dashboard.

After the attendant has rolled the garage door down, you can climb up the rather steep wooden stairs. There are two doors, one after the other to ensure security. Both have chain locks in addition to standard door locks.

Rooms have standard amenities ' Some include karaoke, Jacuzzi, VCD players, and large screen TVs. Larger suites have playstation units in case you have nothing to do in the room ....

So, if you are looking for a hole-some ... errrrrr, I mean wholesome nocturnal experience, and enjoy (ehem) eating .... uhmmmmmm, drive it in ... awwwwww, I mean drive in to a Victoria Court ** nearest you.

All information on the crispy pata and about Victoria Court has been gathered from friends and other sources who have actually been there. I myself have never been ... (the paper slippers that my wife saw in my bag were a gift from those friends).

Victoria Court
Escarpment Road, Pasig City
For inquiries:
671-9782 Escarpment
671-9786 Suites
671-9789 Canley

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Pizza Heaven

I Totally Adore and Love You

I was in a pizza mood.
I am like that every once in a while...

Where to go?
Hmmmm ... blogsearch Anton Diaz and his Awesome Planet. He has rarely failed me in my search for solutions to my hunger pangs. Ok ... search pizza. There you go - Pizzeria Via Montenapoleone !


This moderne Italian cantina is located on Jupiter St. which seems to be undergoing a resurgence as food row Makati. Upon entering, one cannot mistake the upscale canteen ambience... open kitchen, food display counters, and kitchen workers in t-shirts.

The owner is an amiable man named Nuccio. He is from Sicily and talks with a thick Italian accent. He engaged us in conversation about Italy... we talked about food, football and my favorite Italian destination - Capri. He recommended the Spaghetti Via Montenapoleone (house sauce). I shot back ... "how does one refuse a Sicilian?" That got him laughing ... and it got me a complimentary glass of white wine.

And then there was the pizza. We ordered a Pizza Romana - tomato, mozarella, anchovies, olives, capers, oregano and olive oil. I took time to take a picture of their high heat wood fired oven with a sea salt bed. I went back to my table and ... whoaaaah - the pizza was there already. It was almost like sex - 3 minutes or less ... finished na.

Nuccio is so proud of this - he struts around the tables relating the technicals of his oven and why it is possible to produce the pizza so fast. I wasn't listening ... I was digging into chewy, thin crusted delicious, hot pizza . Pizza heaven ...

The evening ended with an interesting espresso con sambuca - again a Nuccio concoction. My obligatory limoncello digestif ... then of course the slurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrpy coffee gelato ...
Calories galore - but well worth it.

Via Montenapoleone is actually the name of a street in Milan, Italy. It is the most important street in Milan's "quadrilatero della moda" (fashion district). It is home to high end fashion labels like Gucci, Fendi, Giorgio Armani, Salvatore Ferragamo ... etc.

Pizzeria Via Montenapoleone
#38 Jupiter Street
Bo. Bel-Air, Makati
899-6147 (reservations and delivery service)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Of Twins and Bisteca

This weekend, I had dinner with twins. Two wonderful ladies who share the joy of food and wine with the same enthusiasm that I do.

Twins have always held the interest of people. Who can resist the curiosity? Barbie doll look-alikes in youth ... cloned tag-team partners in adulthood. The odds of having twins is about 3% among Caucasians, but unfortunately down to about 1% among Asians. The odds increase with age to as much as 17% for mothers over 45 years old. And ... no, twinning does not necessarily skip generations.

My twin dates were the cutest things when they were babies (according to them...). They were identical-looking and often played "switcheroo" tricks on their teachers and friends. Today, the toll of lives lived in different directions has allowed a difference in look, stride and demeanor that allows easy identification. But a passion for culinary adventure continues to bind and bond them ...

We chose to try out the relatively new Palatofino in Makati. It is a small,cozy, homey, unpretentious haven of Mediterranean dining. It was a warm night. I chose not to stay in the quaint al fresco terrace (where I would have chosen to stay on cooler nights). Instead I picked a nice intimate corner table inside. We were greeted by the gracious proprietor Christina Metelman - an impecabbly dressed, attractively bronzed Filipina. She personally briefed us on the specials of the night, and engaged us in conversation as she led us on a tour of the substantial menu offerings.

Sipping a flavorful German Riesling wine, we started with a "Calamari Fresca" appetizer that is to die for, and "pita bread with Baba Ganouch". My twins had Chicken Orange and Snapper dishes. I was focused on my Bisteca al Florentina wth pasta - a tasty spiced up variant using tender Brazilian beef. Their dessert of Belgian Chocolate Mousse transported me to chocoholic heaven ...


This is a place I could keep going back to.
Good wine, good food, good personalized service ...
Given the great company I was with .... it was a perfect evening.

Ohhhhhhhh, I almost forgot - Palatofino not only delivers but will also allow you to "hire a chef" for home parties !

Do I sound like I love this place?
You betcha' ...

150 Jupiter St. cor Saturn
Call 751-0431

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Our family trio makes it a point to eat out together every Sunday dinner. Last Sunday, we were joined by my kikay sister-in-law... one of the wierdest but most fun buddies one can ever have.

Our tastes and likes for food differ, so I decided to re-visit Cafe Juanita in Pasig, where the menu offers Filipino, Italian, Chinese, Japanese and Continental food all under one roof. Besides, I had not been there in a while and really missed this old dependable ...

Cafe Juanita is a wonderfully eclectic cafe that more properly belongs in Malate but is located in the Kapitolyo subdivision of Pasig. It is an old (circa my grandmother... or is it my aunt? ) apartment type of building, that has been gayfully embellished with every kind of decor there is - paintings, mirrors, feathers, ceramic collections, knick knacks, beads, crystals, chandeliers, water fountain, rugs, antiques, art-deco, - stuff - just anything - put together with no apparent rhyme or reason. The effect is surprisingly pleasing if not entertaining.

Surprise ... everything you see is for sale. Just ask for prices. Its like eating in the middle of an elegantly set garage sale ...

Just about anything you order is really good - culinary interpretations of owner Dr. Efren "Boy" Vasquez. Try the crispy phaiphai, kare-kare, spare ribs adobo, and asuhos with crab fat. Or ... your choice of an extensive no borders menu - from sushi, to dimsum, to tom yang, to vietnamese roll, to pasta ... to gosh ... anything.

If you are looking for a nice bohemian dining experience - this is a gem of a place.

While we're on the topic of Pasig ... next time I will tell you about the best crispy pata in town, just a sudden left turn away from the Cafe Juanita area ... ssshhhhhhh

Cafe Juanita
#2 United Street corner West Capitol Street
Brgy Kapitolyo, Pasig

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Be Discipline

"You can fool me once, you can even fool me twice, you can even fool me thrice. But you can never fool me four"
- Melanie Marquez -

I had a lunch meeting at Le Souffle at Fernandos Rockwell Club. This is always a delicious treat as my friend Chef Jessie Sincioco always cooks up a wonderful continental meal.

The meeting was short - more eating than meeting. As it ended ... I got up to start walking towards the building lobby where I would stop as always to enjoy a panoramic view of the Rockwell pool and garden area. As I was both digesting and enjoying the view, an impecably uniformed server sheepishly approached me and said ... "sir, you falling your money..." . Huh? Apparently, a 500peso bill had dropped from my pocket. This honest worker (whom I have to commend) had taken the initiative to return it to me. Good news , bad news ...

The good news is that there continue to be honest people in this country - there is hope. The bad news is English proficiency is dropping to alarming levels.

English is recognized as a global language - a modern era lingua franca. It is an official language of both the European Union and the United Nations as well as most international scientific and athletic organizations. Proficiency in this language is a must to be competetive in todays world particularly in a country like ours that has dreams of becoming a center for global outsource services (call centers, transcription, software development, back room operations etc).

Decades ago, the Philippines was considered a country of proficient English speakers. Even provincial elementary or high school grads could speak English as it was meant to be. It was part of our early edge as opposed to other developing Asian countries. Then fundamentalist nationalistic legislators decided our medium of instruction in schools should be Pilipino rather than English. Today the newspapers are full of the alarm that has been sounded by both local and multinational employers about the poor quality English of graduates of the Philippine educational system.

If we don't wake up - we could lose this battle for the outsource industry to neighboring Asian countries in the same way we lost the battle to become centers of manufacturing and trade.

I opened an e-mail tonight from a college friend of mine that contained a picture attachment that completely makes the case for me - hayyyyyy naku :


Le Souffle at Fernandos
The Rockwell Club
Lobby Floor, Amorsolo Bldg.
Rockwell, Makati