Thursday, March 29, 2007


I am looking for Spartans.
... the undefeatable rubber slippers.

Trusted over the years.
Fighting its way through the toughest of floods, mud, dust and dirt ...

Favored by the winds to dominate the kalyes, palengkes, bukid and bulubundukin

Coming together to defeat the threat of hundreds of thousands of invading Havaianas - those expensive, overrated, overdecorated tsinelas. Swarovskis and gemstones aside ... they are still tsinelas. Nothing but tsinelas...

" And if tsinelas they be ...
Eh di sa Spartan na lang ako.
Comfortable enough for me
Maski ilakad nang malayo

Whatever adorns your feet
The smell remains the same
So why be faddishly "neat"
All you're paying for is the name ... "

Spartans unite .
Prepare for glory.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Fat Fries

"Irasshaimase... "
You've have heard this welcome endless times as you enter a Japanese restaurant.
There is that distinctive soy sauce smell in the air.
The servers bow... and your mind starts running towards sushi and tempura.

Then you look at the menu ...
Huh ??????
Hamburgers , french fries and a coke ????

You are in SANGO .
This Japanese burger joint recently turned one year old ... and it is still drawing converts back to its delicious burgers and fries. Owned and run by a Japanese "burgermaster" who worked for many years in Japans famous Mos Burger chain, this has to be one of the best burger places in town.

The place is a fusion of fast food and Zen.
Very clean.
LCD TV in one corner.
Japanese magazines in another.
If you are lucky, the owner will hand you a self-made origami creation.

Anoh ?
Hamboorjher na gawa ng hapon?
Ano yun ... feeling hopia?
Katawatawa ...

In truth , the burgers are greaaaat.
Choose from their standards:
Hamburger - 50pesos
Cheese Burger - 65pesos
Master Burger - 88pesos (recommended)
Teriyaki Burger - 80pesos
Tonkatsu Burger - 85pesos

Or challenge the McRice yuckies with Sango's Yakiniku Rice Burger or Kimpira Rice Burger.
Top things off with really good, really fat French Fries ...

You have got to try this to appreciate the concept.
Sa sobrang sarap ... maninigaska
Hainaku !

MasterBurger and Fries

Throw away the McRice -
welcome to Sango

Sango - The Burgermaster
Room 5, Ground Floor
Creekside Mall
Amorsolo St., Makati
(63-2) 830-0391

Monday, March 26, 2007


As the Baywalk and Malate area of Roxas Blvd. has (I think correctly) been given back to the huddled masses of the Filipino poor through the succesful Lito Atienza experiment of gentrifying Roxas Blvd. in a very gaudy Shanghai way - few places provide comfort to the "sosyal" who want to experience Roxas Blvd. in a more subdued and detached manner.

Until now ...
Welcome MAMBO

Mambo is an al fresco restaurant bar located in the open air lobby of The Ramon Magsaysay Center on Roxas Blvd. The Ramon Magsaysay Center is an iconic building built in 1967 by AJLuz and Associates. It has stood as an island of subtle, calm, strong architecture on the Bay even as commercialism started to creep up on its surrounds.

Mambo is set up with a lighted bar and green-spotlighted palms. Its tables are candle lit and are set for casual fine dining as opposed to the pedestrian beer based dining across the street. It is a nice quiet way to experience Roxas Blvd. - it's like you are there, an arms length away from the chaos of the pedestrian Baywalk - but somehow not.

It has a full range of steaks - wonderfully grilled to your preference, as well as European based samplers like Black Linguine, Lengua, and Callos. Oxtail Karekare and Ninatokang Hipon represent Philippine cuisine among the choices.

Price points are unbelievably affordable.
Wines provided by Philippine Wine Merchants complete the culinary experience.

If you are lucky - you will soon catch them with live acoustic dinner ambient music. Seating is for about 100-150. Mambo would be great for small group dinners, cocktails, product launches, debuts, birthdays etc. Calling all "eventologists" ...

It's a great option for an al fresco sit-down for two.
Feel the breeze.
Watch the cars zip by.
Watch the happy frenzy of the crowd across the boulevard...

I have been there alone.
I have brought friends and family.
And I plan to be back.

You should mambo on over there too ...

Wifey: Hoy, mister!! cno 'tong "Baby" na nagtetext sa iyo ... ha?!
Dagul: Aaaah, lalake yan - kumpare ko, "Baby" lang ang palayaw
Wifey: Ganun ba? Sabi nya di raw kayo 2loy at my mens daw sya ...

( oooooooooooooooooooooooooooops ... mambo mambo nabuko )

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Manny Pacquiao is the Filipino boxing hero of the moment.
"Emmanuel Dapigran Pacquiao" was born on December 17, 1978 in Bukidnon province of Mindanao, Philippines. Fondly known as "Pacman" - as if to refer to the relentless spree of overcoming one opponent after the other, Manny is already much more than a boxing champion.

Product endorsements
"Off key" songs
TV appearances
Expanding business empire
Politics (?) - please,please.... no

And now, a restaurant cum sidewalk bar at Manila's famed Baywalk by the Manila Bay.
Predictably, the place is called "Knockout". Bar chow, beer, drinks, and entertainment in the form of music bands and performers playing their music in the middle of a stage configured like a boxing ring.
The food is typical, gorgable barchow faves - calamari, gambas, fried chicken wings etc.

The servers are very pretty after 2 beers - after 4, I am convinced they can't take their eyes off of me. The music from the bands is typically loud and consistently off-key - but somehow being in the Pacmans realm is magnet enough to pack the place even on weekdays.

The crowd is a curious mix of locals, expats, kibitzers, women of the night ... actually even men, and OCs (usiseros) like me. On most nights, there is a cool ocean breeze .The ambiance is lively as conversations increase in volume proportional to the number of beers per table. Its a happy place ... it'll knock you out.

KNOCKOUT Outdoor Resto/Bar
Roxas Blvd. by Manila Bay

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Someone just told me that I should change my name Daguldol Taracatac to something less "baduy". I proposed Restituto Chapchapino - but she said that that is even more "yuckie".

I reminded her that my Angkul Veneracion de Asis when he went to the USA became known as Venereal Disease. And then of course there was my lolo Marcelo Controlado who while in England was known as Sir Muscle Control.

Gosh ... everyone I know has a yuckie baduy name ...
It's all our parents fault kasi - they give us these names.
So go figure ...

Q: Anong apelyido ni Sisa?
A: Sisa Mistrit

Q: Anong apelyido ni Cedie?
A: Cedie Player

Q: Anong apleyido ni Beast?
A: Beast Kwit

Q: Anong first name ni Nemo?
A: Sarahgero Nemo

Q: Anong apelyido ni Punisher?
A: Punisher Ranno

Q: Anong apelyido ni Denzel?
A: Denzel Weta

Q: Anong apelyido ni Curly?
A: Curly Gazpi

Q: Ano last name ni Anchor?
A: Anchor Tis

Q: Ano last name ni Jewel?
A: Jewel Torre

Q: Ano last name ni Kula?
A: Kula Desma

Q: Ano surname ni Joseph?
A: Joseph Protgam

Q: Anong apelyido ni Aiko?
A: Aiko Zada

Q: Anong apelyido ni Christopher?
A: Christopher Minute

Q: Anong apelyido ni Palito?
A: Palito Lippi

Q: Anong first name ni Keno?
A: Krisa Keno

Q: Ano first name ni Janno?
A: Eduman Janno

Q: Ano first name ni Squall?
A: Piolopa Squall

Q: Ano first name ni Basilio?
A: Lacto Basilio

Q: Ano first name ni Pikachu?
A: Cherrypie Pikachu

Q: Ano first name ni Kenny G?
A: Johnep Kenny G

Q: ano ang first name ni Volta?
A: Johntra Volta

Q: Ano first name ni Diether?
A: Tirso Cruz Diether

Let There Be Lights

In case you still don't know, or in case you are wondering what that nightly "glow" is at the Roxas Blvd. and Coastal Road Junction is. It's the World Light Expo 2007 Philippines - a showcase of lights courtesy of the China Zigong Lantern Festival and Trade Company.

Words can hardly describe it - it's got to be seen to really appreciate it.

Thousands of lights patterned into replicas of dragons, buildings, landmarks and patterns. Just lights ... endless lights. The place is livened up by break dancers from Korea, circus performers from China, music, bands, laser light shows on waterscreens, fireworks and other exhibits. Weekends are the best time. The presence of a lot of people adds even more to the festive atmosphere.

Its on till April 22 - you can still catch it. Bring the kids ...


Today is another day in my current crisis.
That heavy feeling, the confused demeanor,
the angry yet forgiving heart ...

... perhaps even rage

"Friends" have defined themselves.
Some have disappeared like bubbles,
... others have blossomed like flowers.

Family has been the foundation of my strength,
always there,
never questioning,
unconditional ...

God has been my anchor,
... my Lord
... my Saviour

"This too will pass" ... so everyone says.
And surely it will.
The burden of waiting, thinking and wondering, however
... is sometimes heavy enough to make a grown man cry

" I know God won't
give me anything
I can't handle.
I just wish He didn't
trust me so much. "

- Mother Teresa -

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Well, well, well ...

In the words of my call center trained girlfriend - "well, well, well ... look do we have here?

No big surprise for many of us. The headlines validate what we Filipinos already know, but have come to quietly accept, and are unwilling to do anything about because it might rock the stability of our own boats. Surviving this trickle up (against gravity) economy and its progressively unreachable cost of living for the middle class and the poor , is enough burden already. You expect us to do anything about this ourselves???? To fight the establishment? To fight status quo? Today when to oppose is like inviting a bullet to the head and a place in a mass grave. Didn't we vote for "representatives" who were to fight that war for us? Where are they?
I wonder ....

Mid-term elections are just around the corner. We have another chance to do the right thing or to validate the immensity of our own foolishness. If we can't ensure that the winners win ... then we deserve to be stuck with a bunch of losers.

Support the Pinoy

Three contractors are bidding to build a national road.

One is from the Philippines, another from Germany and an American. They go with a government official to examine the road site.

The American contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil. "Well," he says. "I figure the job will run about 200 million pesos: 100M for materials, 50M for my crew and 50M profit for me."

The German contractor also does some measuring and figuring,
then says, "I can do 300 million pesos: 125M for materials, 125M for
my crew and 50M profit for me."

The Filipino contractor doesn't measure or figure, but leans over to the government official and whispers: "1.2billion pesos- gawa agad yan". The official, incredulous, says, "Ano, hindi ka man lang nagsukat o nagcalculate - alam mo na agad ang presyo !! - Paano yon??"

"Easy lang yan bosing" the Pinoy explains, "500million pesos para sa iyo, 500million pesos para sa akin ... o tapos ipagawa na lang natin yung kalsada dun sa Amerikano"...

Siempre panalo ang Pinoy sa bidding dahil nationalistic ang opisyal at gustong sumuporta sa kapwa Pilipino. Mabuhay .....

(The above story never happened. It is just a joke ... in case you didn't think so)

Saturday, March 17, 2007


It was a very bad day at the office ...
I needed a drink ...
No, I needed a few drinks.

Hmmmmmm, where to go?

I ended up in the newest hotel based watering hole in town.
MARTINIS Bar is a cozy, neo interiored, warm, comfortable bar at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Makati. It opened just recently, and already it is fast becoming a fave among Societe de Manilles happy hour and post dinner crowd. I ran into some of society pages' usual suspects. I spent some time with the hand shakes, the "beso-beso" and the small talk - then I gravitated to a table all by myself. That's the way I wanted it ... this was precious alone time for me

Martinis Bar is located at street level of the Makati Avenue side of the hotel and is attractively visible from the outside. Corporate and networker types will love this place. Wonderful interiors, warm bar lighting, comfortable air conditioning, designated a "smoking bar", and with friendly intelligent staff ... the feel is that of a world class hotel lounge bar. That sense is reinforced by ambient music provided by the Blue Room Jazz Band and a charming Canadian lady crooner, Karen Magnon (did I get that right?).

Bar chow is available. I had a sushi platter ... yummmmmmmmmm
And for drinks ... what else??? - Of course - martinis. Choose from a whole menu of innovative flavors. I played safe - and ordered a lychee martini ( I really ordered three ...) And since I was eating sushi , I tried a "wasabi martini" ... wasabi + vodka - how weird is that. Surprisingly, it is good stuff ...

The servers are mainly beauties in neo "speak-easy" uniforms and colored wigs.
Watching the bartenders "mix" and pour into different types of martini glasses is in itself entertainment.

I love this place ...
See you this weekend. I'll be the guy drinking a martini ...

Mrs: Bakit ngayon ka lang?
Dagul: Passsshensha na.
Nag aya kashi ang mga officemates ko,
nag kwentuhan lang ng konti !
Mrs: Gago ... lasing ka nanaman noh?
Dagul: Hindi ah!
Mrs: Anong hindi?!!!!
Wala ka nman trabaho, pano ka nagkaron ng officemate?!!!

ngeeeeeeeeek ..... ooooooooooooooops

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Dok Is In

Yes ... the "dok" is in.
ANDOK's that is ...

ANDOK's - the dominant sidewalk chain of litson manok and litson liempo has for decades been a landmark of Metro Manila sidewalks. Typically - the ANDOK's outlets are coal-fired roaster bins with rotating skewers and sky high smoke exhaust stacks. Once an exclusively outdoor haven for affordable "take-out" chicken and liempo ... Andok's has started to move indoors.

More and more Andok's 24hour dine-in outlets are starting to open to give their competetors a run for their money. The legendary Andok's taste can now be enjoyed as a fast-food, sit-down and dine experience. It's about time ...

Or should I say ... it's about taste.
The best in its class I think. Heyyyyy ... I can't even remember the name of the other litson manok wannabe.

Aside from the usual suspects of lechon manok and liempo plus the menacingly delicious Dokito Frito - one now has choices that include porkcharap, inihaw na bangus, crispy pata, pork dokitori and all day agahan (longganisa, tapa, tocino or daing with rice and fried egg). Self service and pay as you order are the only rules ... so let your hair down ... Andoks na tayo - saraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap - sobra pa sa finger lickin' to the bone. Ito ang tunay na joy sa chicken. Kainan naaaaaaaaaaaaaaa ...........

Nagpapulong Ang Dok sa mga poultry raiser:

Raiser No. 1: Nadinig po namin sa radyo na kapag
hinaluan ng mane ang patuka sa manok ay
nagingitlog agad ang mga ito.
Raiser No. 2: Cguro, kung purong mane nalang ang
ipatutuka sa mga manok ay mas maraming itlog ang lalabas.
Ang Dok: Ahhhhhh, oo. - Ako nga, pakitaan mo lang ng mane e
labas kaagad ang itlog ko eh!!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Keep Kambing Back

Bayani Road - the road connecting Fort Bonifacio to the Heritage Memorial Park and Libingan ng mga Bayani area is also informally known as "kambingan row". It's the little secret of soldiers and locals of the military housing areas of the old Fort. Street type carinderias, barbeque stalls, cafes, bars and informal stores line the street. Its a haven for jeep and tricycle commuters who want to take a food break.

Hunger pangs caught me while in the area and I stopped to pig out at a representative sidewalk carinderia complete with coin operated videoke blaring Black-Eyed Peas as off duty military types RedHorsed their way to happy hour before going home.

Though it self-serves typical carinderia fare, its star attraction is "goat or "kambing" - adobo, sinampalukan,kaldereta, papait and kilawin - take your pick and "goat to beer heaven" ...

Be adventurous.
Try it at least once ... you will keep kambing back.
I'll drink to that ...

Adobong Kambing

Ranee's Kitchen
Bayani Road

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Gran Caffe Casanova

It was Saturday.
I needed to discuss a few things with my "manlolawyer".

He asked that we meet at Starbucks on Temple St. in the Corinthian Hills area. I arrived early and was pleasantly surprised at how the area had developed. Starbucks was Starbucks ... same old same old ...
But beside it was a wonderful find...
Gran Caffe Casanova (Ristorante Italiano).

This nook has apparently been around for almost a year, but is already under new management.
Curious ...

Small, cozy, and intimate - the interior is clearly Venetian inspired. An open kitchen adds to the Italian flair. A service bar with lighted fresco painted theme adds to the charm. I was mesmerized ... such an unexpected but pleasant discovery.

Outside though was the real prize ... a wonderful al fresco area overlooks the Pasig-Antipolo transition landscape. It was a cool night. Tivoli lights and potted plants completed the Tagaytay-like sitting. It's like being in the mountains - but not.

The menu is typically Italian - pasta, pizza, primi, secundi ... The food is well intentioned but really needs some taste adjustment. It is more comfort eating than gourmet.

A charming lady owner named "Shai" is not so shy...
She engages guests in conversation, and makes sure that everything works like clockwork. Italian manager Mauro is also very pleasant. The service crew is friendly and attentive.

Do I sound like this place?

For a quiet casual dress down evening with a significant other just talking under the stars on a cool Metro night with Italian music in the background while wine and pizza sinks into your system ... yup, I guess this is a great spot.

Gran Caffe Casanova
The Clubhouse on Temple Drive
Corinthian Hills
Tel. 638-2989

Thursday, March 08, 2007


BULAN is a new artsy foodie find in old San Juan. The 3 story house was part of the famed JoLiza antique store complex ... now taken over and turned into a resto by Mylene Aguilar , sister of famed "Anak" crooner - Ka Freddie.

The Chef ?
- Antonio Aguilar , 15 years in Sweden mastering Euro food fare.

It sounded interesting, so on a lazy Monday night, I ventured out of my Makati comfort zone and drove straight into the neoChinese chaos of Wilson street . We were soon enough in BULAN - Indonesian for "moon" , or "king to the Kzhars".

The door was immediately impressive.
Then we stepped into a resto-mansion littered with art, antique and other Nepal/Tibet artfare.
Everything is on sale. It is possible to order a steak - medium rare , and then take home a Tibetan door or a deco art painting.

The air though, was reeking with the scent of citronella. I felt like a giant mosquito dying by lethal injection. I called the manager/server and requested that they remove the citronellic scent which to me is ambient katol. Major turn -off .... I couldn't focus on gustatory delight since my nose was being assaulted by the citronellas strongly pungent scent.

The food came and was typically bland. Swedish nga yata talaga ...

It's a good thing that I called for reservations because there were a grand total of 7 guests , the two of us plus 5 other people in another table. The resto is designed to seat greater than 150 people.

Eye candy was better than the food itself.
There were so many interesting collection displays. The novelty of the place kept me pre-occupied. The staff were very kind and attentive.

Then came the bill. Pesos5000 ++ for just the two of us ....

You try it na lang. Give it a chance and judge for yourselves.

I myself will probably not be back there in a long while.
I hope things get better - they have a formal opening in a few weeks.

# 3 Gen. de Jesus St. near corner J. Abad Santos St.
San Juan, Metro Manila
Tel: (+632) 725-8496

Kiss Muna

So you like kissing huh?

French kissing pa ... slurrrrrrp.

Well ... take note you pucker-uppers.

An often referred to Swedish clinical study says that "during a typical French kiss, more than 40,000 parasites and 250 types of bacteria are exchanged" between partners. Yikes ... and I am guessing that that's when both partners have brushed their teeth.

Just think if lust and passion take control after sisig, salpicao, gambas and beer ... and there is no time to brush your teeth. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Bacteria and parasites?

Gosh I thought it tasted funny .... but heyyyyyyy , it's love (at least for those few minutes).

Love is blind ... and I guess tasteless !

That's not the end of it.
The study further says that couples also exchange 0.7 grams of protein, 0.45 grams of fat and 0.19 grams of other organic substances. Ohhhhmigoshhhhhh - fattening pa yata.
Paano na yung diet ko?

So dudes and dudettes- before sticking those slithery tongues out , pakibabad muna sa rubbing alcohol - yung 90% solution na pang sports na pangpamilya pa kung pwede para sigurado. And run on a treadmill immediately after para di kayo tumaba.

Paolo: Ang saraap mag French kissing noh ...
Angkul Dagul: Oo nga - pero mas gusto ko yung "Australian kiss"
Paolo: Ano yun???
Angkul Dagul: Parang French kiss din yun ... pero "down under"

... saraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap

Thank You God

I have had my share of problems lately

During such times, I withdraw from the world...
I become invisible
I cocoon
I hibernate

Perhaps, this is the reason I intermittently disappear ... even from this blog.

During the last of such times, I was again "touched" by my Faith

God has put me through trial after trial in the past year. Most recently, my trusting nature has been abused by someone and has caused me an almost unbearable emotional burden. A few weeks into the problem, a long-ago song of Basil Valdez – “Lift Up Your Hands” – got stuck in my head. I searched music stores for days before I finally found a copy of the CD. Like a child who finally gets his dream gift , I rushed excitedly from the store and made a beeline for my car where I immediately played the song.

Just a few seconds into the song, my eyes started swelling, and I broke down in tears in the solitude of my car. God’s message and Basil’s voice had transformed my car into a chapel. I have never felt so connected to God as I did in those few minutes of humbled sadness...

The song had become an instrument of God’s grace.

And truly, I “lift up my hands” to the Lord ...
His will ... not mine

I find peace in that...

And He said,
"Cast your burdens upon me,
Those who are heavily laden
Come to me all of you who are tired
Of carrying heavy loads
For the yoke I will give you is easy
And My burden is light
Come to Me and I will give you rest."

( song lyrics based on Matthew 11:28-30)

Thanks Dad

I'm baaaack

I am really back ...
I think
I hope

I know I’m back
We’ll see

I pray

I started this blog with a passion.
... a passion that was crystallized by the loss of my father. There was so much I wanted to tell the world. So much of myself that I wanted to show, to reveal, to share. In retrospect, I perhaps was really talking to my father ... revealing to him in death much of what I was unable to do so in life.

My relationship with my Dad did not end at death but perhaps moved to reach its perfection. That was the secret hope that drove me, ... a hope that proved true as time went by. Our relationship found life in reflection, recollection, revelation ...

Indeed, I have already come to experience a better understanding and appreciation of my Dad. I can now say things in my heart that I was afraid to share with him when he was alive. And from where he is, I know that he is smiling as he smothers me with his angel wings and whispers in my soul’s ear ... “I know anak ... I have always known. Go and live your life as it is . Have fun. Be happy. Be good. And know that I am always here”

And so this blog lives on.
I will continue to tell the stories of my life...
experiences, preferences, opinions.

I will share and reach out.
I will tell and ask.
I will think and learn.
I will hope and pray.

"Govern thy life and thoughts
as if the whole world were to see the one,
and read the other."
-Thomas Fuller -