Thursday, May 31, 2007

Lone Star

Bonifacio High Street is a vibrant retail area whose charm is achieved by what I understand to be a kilometer long park , that is in turn also really wide. It is then lined by about 100 retail spaces that are quickly filling up.
A really interesting strip to visit ....
My interest as usual ..... food

This time it was a place called "Texas Roadhouse Grill"

It is a themed restaurant offering a "Western experience".
Accordingly it is theme decored with spoked wagon wheels, lamps with silhouettes of bronco riding cowboys and of course the Texas lone star.

Predictably, the servers are in jean, black t-shirts, red cowboy scarves and boots.
A glass cased kitchen and a bar with a flat screen TV make things even more interesting.

The food is served promptly in large portions (everythn's big in Texas, dba ??) ...
The menu allows adequate choices that include the usual suspects - steaks, ribs and chops, chicken, salads, fireside favorites, fajitas and burgers .

Casual dining ...
In a sea of smiles, laughter and happy talk
People just having fun .
You will too.
Go ... try 'em out

Texas RoadhouseGrill
Quadrant 1
Bonifacio High Street
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
Tel. (63-2) 856-1547

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I am a loyalist.
No matter how many new eating places there are ...
I will always gravitate towards my faves even at the price of missing out on something new.

Every so often I get stuck in my "loyal" mode ...
And I will not look at anyone else.
( ... I am the same with my wife - I will not look at anyone else
- that is ... if I ever feel "loyal" )

This week - it was back to an old fave - Duo Restaurant at Serendra.
I feel good there.
I feel important - the staff is friendly and attentive.
They remember your name - remember your drink.
They make an effort ...
And at the end of a hard day with the "boss from hell" ,
A quiet dinner with delicious food and a full-bodied wine
in a feel-good place , is for me - the way to go.

Duo - evolved its name from a concept of "a combination of excellent food and impeccable service".
The centerpiece of its menu offering is its Duo Steak Specials ...
A list of "duos" :
Steak and Foie Gras 750pesos
Steak and Escargot 750pesos @120gm
Surf and Turf 620pesos
Fish and Steak 495pesos
Steak and Calamares 550pesos


Then it has a full range of steak selections including the highly sought after "wagyus".
Tell them how you want it cooked ... and it'll arrive correctly done - a rarity in Manila restos where the doneness is either under or over done to my unending consternation.

So if you see a guy having a correctly done steak and foie gras with a bottle of wine being poured by continuously hovering friendly servers ... it's me.
Come join me.
I am always equally hungry for new friends

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Solution

I was slowly walking towards a prayer ministry ...
Head bowed
Shoulders slouched
Heavy with the burden of uncertainty
Filled with the fear of the unknown
Hurt by the pain of the past few months

I prayed as hard as I have ever prayed
I strained to listen for the Word
I sang with my arms outstretched to the heavens
I opened my heart ...
and waited.

There was a call for action
The ministry leader asked if anyone would like to come up to the front podium for a blessing
I had always been very shy about such initiatives ...
Often embarrassed
Often ashamed

But today was different
I felt a strength that allowed me to admit to the world that Christ was my center
I heard a voice that said - "go"
I felt a call for announcing my faith
I felt a power over fear

And so ... there I was - in front of the congregation
The power of their prayers surrounding me
I heard the blessing said in my behalf
I felt a hand on my shoulder

I closed my eyes
And felt the presence of the Lord
I broke down in tears
Sobbing like a baby
Shaking like a leaf
Feeling a need to drop to my knees
To hold on to the nearest person to me

It was an experience I cannot explain
I only know that I fear no longer
I feel no weight on my shoulder
I feel no hesitation to move forward
I feel an exuberance for life ...

Yes ... my problems are still there
The solutions - I yet have to see or understand
But God is with me
I know that ... more now than ever
And knowing that ...
Is perhaps the solution in itself

Happy Sunday

" And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you
because you obey the voice of the LORD your God"
Deuteronomy 28:2

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Pinoy slang that proposes an aspirational character or status to
something, someone or someplace that is of "lesser" social status
than that being aspired for.
As such, someone can be referred to as "sosi" for dressing,
speaking or acting in a higher social manner
than that which is considered of his/her natural persona.
The same aspirational tagging goes for things, accessories, food etc ...

Peydro's is a newly opened outlet in the Mall of Asia that bravely proposes the business model of selling "sosi street food" in a mall. The counter-theme of the "sosi" label being conferred on street food is a marketing challenge that the owners appear to be engaging head-on.

The attempt starts with "slanging" the very common Pinoy name of Pedro by slyly adding a letter "y" - thus, Peydro's.

Barely a month old - Peydro's staple is composed of :
Chicken bowl (parang chicken lollipop) -72 pesos
Squid bowl (parang calamares) - 65 pesos
Fish bowl (parang fish ball) - 67 pesos
All come with a variety of "dips" asian bbque, garlic mayo, herb vinegar and
... ketchup - wowww pa-sosi talaga.

Coming soon will be sisig and other favorites . I suggested kwekkwek, tokneneng, adidas, betamax, chicken skin etc. if they really wanted to create the image of street food...

Their current "mains" are Chili con Hotdog @85pesos and Roast Beef Siopao @89pesos (which I tried).
Pwede pasar
Laman tiyan
Quick meals

The concept needs improvement ...
But I feel it has potential.
Go - give it a try.

Talking about pa-"sosi" ,
Help me naman look for a job for this "sosi" lady whose letter was forwarded to me:

Dear Dagul,

Haller! Foremost of all, I would like to great you of a better days.
I am write becos I wanted to cunsolt my problems. It is my wish upon a starry starry night to work in a call center. I am very great in english words and especially to english languages becoz I was borned in England. I am nonstop to any work. I am also very welling to enter the graveyard ship. Bisides the point, I have a lot of expiriencis in the telephone becos i have lots of phone pals befour. I am really belongs to a call center. But the problems is the acceptance. I already have a round-trip tiket to all the call centers in Libis, Ortigas, and Makati and back again. But they are all for one in their replies.They will just make a telephone call on me. I became sad becoz until now I didn’t receive any telephone calls, either landline or pay phone.
I hope you can help my dreams in finding a call center. Tenks and more powers!

Hold your line,
Lita Lapid


Dear Lita,

The next time you write me, please include a tablet of
Alaxan, Biogesic or Ponstan

Sasabog sa sakit ang ulo ko sa iyo .... bwisit.
Meron ka pang "graveyard ship"... ano ka, seaman?
Kalimutan mo na lang ang call center at magturo ka na lang ng English sa China - mataas din ang sweldo dun.

Humahanga (sa lakas ng apog mo),

Friday, May 25, 2007


Hmmmm - something smells "fishy"

A news item in the Los Angeles Times ( has once again given validation to the comedic antics of Filipino politicians during elections. Under the title "Colorful Elections Bring Out Filipinos" - the writer describes poll observations in the Philippines that he obviously feels are incredulous relative to the orderly and regulated manner in which elections are held in the United States.

In at least one observation, I totally agree - and am at the same time laughingly amazed. The article describes where one candidate "who is seeking reelection to city council in Manila's financial district," ... campaigned by ... " handing out thousands of panties to female voters in the barrio ... The women could choose from dozens of colors, but each pair had the candidate's name across the bottom"

Now that is imaginative ...

He deserves to win.

Panties I guess as with most basic commodities in the Philippines have become so expensive that the free panties were just an instant hit. Enough of a hit to get him elected. Hey - you gotta give it to the guy...

Forget the T-shirts, hats, bags, food and any of the other usual election freebies.
Panties ... now that is democracy in action.
Think about it - if you like him - you can keep his name close to the most sensitive spot of your body. If you don't like him - you can give him shit ...

Only in the Philippines.
Goshhhhhhhhhhh - I love this country.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Secret Recipe is an award winning chain of cafes which first started in Kuala Lumpur in 1997.
Today, it boasts of about 100 branches in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and China.

It"s formula for success?
Fine quality cakes, fusion food and characteristically attentive servers ...

Now - finally, the chain has made its debut in Metro Manila.
Fall in line ... the crowds are getting thicker

Located in the progressive hub of Fort Bonifacio Global City, Secret Recipe has been drawing curious foodies since it opened a few weeks ago. Though it has some of the usual cafe fare like pastas and sandwiches , the star of its menu is its Asian portion (it is after all of Malaysian origin).

Be ready for a really "hot" experience ...
The Tom Yung with noodles and the Singaporean Laksa is super spicy (the way it is supposed to be). This is a must try .

I ordered their "award winning" Lamb Stew and wiped it out despite the fact that I am really not a lamb person. After dinner - be ready to be overwhelmed by at least 25 cake choices from which you will have to choose. The best seller is the "Marble Cheese" cake - smooth creamy baked cheese on crunchy oat nut base.

It's no longer a secret
Secret Recipe is here - to stay.
Leave the calorie count at the door ...

Secret Recipe
32nd Street cor. Fifth Avenue
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
Tel. (63-2) 8562953

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Really Gettin' Somewhere

The country has been going through some very tough times.
We sure could use some action from our elected legislators ...
Something useful
Something helpful
Something profound
Something that might improve our lives

Well - take heart my dear countrymen
We have been saved.
A press release posted at the website of the Philippine Senate reveals that a bill has been filed in our Senate (SB 2267) - making it punishable by life imprisonment or death plus a fine of anywhere from 100,000-500,000 pesos ... to have sex with a dead person.

Gee whiz ....
Just what we needed.
Now the country can really move forward
Eradicate graft and corruption
Eliminate poverty
Erase terrorism
Control discontent
Propel progress

Peace and order
Consumer power
Global competitiveness
Improved quality of education
Affordable health care

Everything starts with small steps I guess.
So let's exercise our priorities.
First, lets make sure that no one has sex with a dead person,
Then we will take it from there ...

Onward Philippines.
Haaaaaaaaaaaaaay naku.

Now if only someone would file a Senate bill making it unlawful for my wife to pretend that she is dead while having sex ...
then we would really be gettin' somewhere.

Hoyyyyyyyyyy gising !

Monday, May 21, 2007

Consistent Fave

The Serendra commercial area in Fort Bonifacio is maturing. More and more shops and restaurants are opening. Some early favorites are feeling the pressure of competition from new openers. The foodie crowd spreads itself out as it tries out the various choices in the area.

A consistent fave however that seems to be doing well despite the challenge of newbies, is the Portico 1771 Restaurant. I had dinner there last night and the dining experience is as good as ever ... if not better.

Portico 1771 bills itself as a venue for "Global Asian Cuisine" - innovatively interpreted Asian fare done with French style culinary flair. It's easy, tasty and comfortable eating.

My menu faves?
Shrimp Cracker Salad
"shrimps, heart of palm, fried shallots, lemongrass, shredded lettuce plus green lemon mayo"
Tic Tac Prawns
"grilled prawns with unbelievably good sauce - extra virgin olive oil, pistachio nuts, oyster sauce and thyme"

The place itself is an architectural success in creating a comfortable, cozy dining experience. High ceilings, large windows, colorful paintings, warm tones, ceiling fans, and an attractive al fresco area make this place a winner.

I could go back there again and again ...
( especially since they gave me a discount card )

Portico 1771
Serendra Piazza
Bonifacio Global City
Taguig, Metro Manila
Tel: (63-2) 856-0581

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Little People Have Moved

Hobbit House has been a mainstay attraction of the Malate area ever since I can remember - and that is a very long time. Its claim to fame is that it is the "only restaurant in the world owned, managed and staffed by hobbits". Popular among locals, expats and tourists, this unique venue of good food, live music and a rowdy bar crowd, has outlived many of its neighbor establishments. Early this year, it closed its doors to the public and packed up the business.

Fortunately, the shutdown was temporary. The bar/resto as it turns out simply moved to a new location. Last month - it re-opened.

Now located in Ermita (as opposed to the original Malate location), Hobbit House is bigger and better. Staffed by the same friendly lot, it has resumed its position as a destination for the curious, fun-loving night-owl.

Shades of JR Tolkien ...
Entering Hobbit House is a trip into the Middle Kingdom and the Shire itself. It is a darkish tavern-type setting, adorned with wall paintings depicting hobbit scenes. The friendly staff are mostly shorter than the tables . If you drink enough beer you might be surprised by small hands cleaning up your table and delivering even more beer. Walk carefully lest you bump into serving trays that mysteriously look like they are floating in the air.

The new Hobbit House maintains its appeal as a venue for live band music - folk, jazz, rock and blues. If you are lucky, you will catch the legendary Freddie Aguilar of "Anak" fame doing a gig.

This is a fun place.
Try it out.
Make some small friends with big hearts.

D' Hobbit House
1212 MH del Pilar St. cor. Arquiza St.
Ermita, Manila
Tel: (63-2) 521-7604 (63-2) 525-3415

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Close The Little Light

Every night I still close the little light in my son's room
I tuck him in
Fix his pillow
Give him a hug
Kiss his forehead
Run my fingers through his hair

Okay okay ... so he's 20 years old now
And taller than me
But then, I guess that's just the mother in me ...

Mother ?
Okay okay ... so I am a man
But I propose that there is a little of every one's mother in us
Man or woman ...

Mothers ...
The flesh of our flesh
The blood of our blood
The soul of our soul

Nine months and a lifetime
Can't help but have some of her rub off on me
Sometimes I hear her coming out of my own mouth
I think her illogical logic
I feel her unconditional presence
I sense her inexplicable warmth

I am all grown up
I am my own man
I wear the pants
I till the land
I carry the weight of life

But deep inside I know
I am my mothers son
I am she as she was me
And we are one together ...

So indulge me ..
For a few seconds each night, I become my mother
As I watch my own son
Sleeping peacefully
Bathed in the light of the moon
The promise of tomorrow before him

" No one's gonna hurt you
No one's gonna dare
Others can desert you
Not a worry, whistle I'll be there
Demons'll charm you with a smile for awhile
But in time
Nothing's gonna harm you
Not while I'm around Not while I'm around "

Barbra Streisand

Happpy Mothers Day Mom

Friday, May 11, 2007


Ok - back to reality
First things first
I have a luggage bag that is mostly filled with one and a half weeks worth of dirty clothes.
T-shirts, shirts, pants, socks and underwear ....
( hmmmm - 6 underwear for 11 days of travel -
just turn some inside out at the right time - that works out pretty well ... yikes!! )

Laundry is in order
... but the laundrywoman would not come in for a couple of days yet.

Wifey: So ... "papalaba ka ba?"
Me: "Oo - papalaba ako."
Wifey: Saan ka papalaba?
Me: Papalaba.
Wifey: Ano?
Me: Papalaba.
Wifey: Oo nga - pero saan?
Me: Papalaba nga
Wifey: Oo nah ... papalaba ka nga. Ang tinatanong ko e kung saan."
Me: Papalaba
Wifey: Ewan ko sa yo ..... (blogggggggggggggg -slamming door)

So what did I do wrong again?
Welcome home na nga talaga.

Papa'Laba Laundry and DryCleaning Shop
Multiple locations @Metro Manila

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I Knew

The plane slowly came in for a landing
And even from the air -I knew

Brown rusty roofing
Filthy esteros
Garbage magically strewn in mystic corners
Vehicles at a standstill

I was home

I could hardly wait to feel the blast of heat
Sweat like a pig
Swat the flies away
Inhale the dust

Early evening gridlock
Car horns blasting for every unknown reason
Traffic enforcers pretending to control the roads
Jeepneys zipping in and out
Buses stopping wherever they want
Dilapidated cars proposing to be taxis
Mendicants tapping on my window
Stray cats, dogs ...
and ooooops even a rat crossing my path

Goshhhh - I missed home
I am so glad to be back.

Monday, May 07, 2007


Haaaaaay naku ...
It's time to go home

The States is a wonderful place to visit ...
The standard of living is admirably high

But I can't stay here for too long at a time
Its too lonely, too harsh, too introspected
Too much of a rat race
Slaves to their jobs - all running towards the same rainbow
It is not home

I miss the quality of life (as opposed to standard of living)
I miss family, friends, barkada, reunions ...
Merienda, siesta, lamon, lafang
Five-thirsty, kitakits, let's c'mon
Kwentuhan, tuksuhan, joke lang
Lambing, himas, labing-labing
Pakikisama, bahala na, tira sa buwan
Sawsawan, bagoong, chocnut
Tingi, kuwan, ano
Mangga, atis, santol
Burong talangka, itlog na maalat, tuyo

I miss my life ...

I am going home
What a joy
Can't wait
Isang tulog na lang ...

And so I fidget as I wait at the airport
Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz who follows the yellow brick road ...
I close my eyes, think of home, click my heels and just follow the balikbayan boxes

Boxes - always as if the Pinoy is fleeing a war zone
Boxes - that have that sweet "stateside" smell when you open them
Boxes - that contain everything or nothing - basta mapuno lang
Boxes - scotch tape, masking tape, duct tape

Yes ... the boxes will lead me home
Home ...
I am going home

Sunday, May 06, 2007


I have been in kind of a floating state of limbo these past few months ...
Or maybe even this past year
Things have not been well
I live life from day to day - just because it has to be lived
I seem to have lost my center
I have very little understanding of where I am going or even what to do about it

Clearly, my life is in the middle of a storm.
Winds of uncertainty threaten to blow away everything I have.
Waves of anxiety and fear overcome me.
And I stumble in the darkness of uncertainty.

Prayer is my comfort.
Faith is my refuge.
God is my anchor.
We go through trials in life for a reason.
Perhaps there is a message out there for me ...
Perhaps an answer
Maybe a new direction
Maybe even a new mission in life.

I don't have the answer right now...
But I trust
I believe
I know
God is with me
... and with you

Have a great Sunday.

"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer,
believe that you have received it, and it will be yours"

Mark 11:22

Friday, May 04, 2007

Never Sleeps

New York , New York ...
Start spreading the news ...
This is a fun place
A city that never sleeps

Times Square, Broadway, Greenwich Village, Soho South Port, Rockefeller Center, Radio City, 5th Avenue - Saks, Waldorf Hotel, Trump Tower, Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty - gossssh - endless things to see - to do

Hot dog and sausage stands
Sidewalk bands
People - wired to weird
Inebriated to high
Happy to out of control
Tourists galore to pimps on the prowl
Militant rednecks to wandering Flips like me

This is not a city where you can spend just one day
But one day is all I had

So I guess I just had to do the best I can ...
Hmmmmmm - okay buddy , gimme a hot dog, everything on and a diet coke. Yo momma - bring me to heaven ....

"... if I can make it there I'll make it anywhere ...
it's up to you, New York, New York ..."

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Clouds floating by ...
Looking out my airplane window
The sun breaking through to create a tapestry of golden thread
As far as the eye can see
Mesmerizing ...
If I look hard enough, I can see my childhood floating by

A childhood with nary a care ...
Despite the hardship
Cuddled on my mother's shoulder
Lying on the damp and hard surface of the ground

Not much food
No frills
No luxuries
But ...

... happy

Life was so much simpler then
No pressures
No problems
No conflict
... just happy

I see clouds
I contemplate
I reminisce
I remember
... I miss being happy

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Really ?

Tony Bennett sentimentally croons ...
" I left my heart in San Francisco"

And true enough, SFO is one of the most romantic cities there can be ... cool weather, afternoon fog, steep rolling hills, the world's crookedest street, cable cars, Golden Gate Bridge, Marina, Fisherman's Wharf, a drive to Carmel or Napa Valley, the Pacific Ocean surf, San Francisco Bay, Oakland Bay Bridge, Sau Salito, Alcatraz, a curious mix of Victorian architecture and modern skyscrapers, Union Square, Embarcadero, restaurants and bars galore ...

This is not a city where you want to be alone.
But alone I was ...

So I just had to make the best of it.
Maybe when I come back ... I will be able to bring my "heart" with me

ERAP: Hello, I would like to inquire how long is the flight to
San Francisco?
OPERATOR: Just a minute, Sir..
ERAP: Really? Thank you..

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Ok - so I am in America.

And I am hungry ...
It's 11:30pm and all restos are closed or are closing.
Where to eat ?

Neon lights, blaring music - 24 hours OPEN
Thank God for diners ...

Diners trace their history to 1872 when horse-drawn dining wagons were equipped to serve hot meals to workers in Rhode Island. It was a small business opportunity that allowed the entrepreneur the ability to serve multiple downtown locations without having to buy expensive real estate (parang jolly-jeep ).

Eventually diners became fixed resto establishments with preference for 50's and 60's decor - serving Americana foodfare - hotdogs, hamburger, chili, french fries, club sandwiches, breakfast omelets,pancakes, French toast ...

Decorated with memorabilia of the dance intense 1950's to 70's - it is characterized by neon, Wurlitzer jukeboxes, vintage automobile parts and Hollywood or rock n' roll icon picture displays .

The diners are typically open 24 hours - a lifesaver for me.

My first meal is a typical 100% ground beef burger with giant french fries and a huge glass of cola. All this and the music of Elvis Presley ...

I was going to order spaghetti but aside from the fact that one order is so much that it can feed my whole barangay, it looked like walang halo na hotdog ... so - baka hindi masarap (as in spaghetti ng pinoy)

At the end of my meal, I typically motioned the rectangular shape with my fingers and asked for the "chit" . Siempre nakatikim ako mula sa waitress na higante ng ... "say whaaaat? "

Welcome to America .