Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Measure of a Year

It is unnerving to realize that it has been an entire year since I last posted an article. It was Holy Thursday of 2009 when I sent in Church-Hopping. Just now returned from a new year's Visita Iglesia around the block, I am declaring it blogging season once more! For real this time.

Test driving a new lay out, do follow me on for flashbacks of what was an action-packed 12 months mixed with current events. Seriously.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Holy Thursday has Catholics scurrying about on VISITA IGLESIA, paying their respects in at least 7 churches. One can be dutiful or one can be creative.

In 2005, our little unit did the picturesque route of Baroque churches circumnavigating Laguna de Bay. Through the province of buko pie and pasalubongs we went... from Pila... to Pakil... to Paete... to Liliw... to Majayjay... to Nagcarlan.

Today we took advantage of the mostly clear roads, circling the metropolis to end up at historic Intramuros. Traffic both vehicular and pedestrian then knotted up around historic Manila Cathedral and San Agustin, where on both sides of the pasilyos, vendors plied various street food for the hungry in spirit and body.

It was an interesting and colorful array of the standards: garlic peanuts, dried pusit, fried kamote, banana in all forms, chicharon, chicken skin, cotton candy, corn steamed/grilled/popped, sorbetes, snow cones, sago't gulaman, fresh buko, the classic balls and cues...

I'm not one to mindlessly grab any of the above myself, but after 7 stops in 3 hours, that list sure becomes mouthwatering! So my kaburgisan chucked aside, I happily savored the crunch of overpriced and overtasty kropek. Nevermind why that is.

For an evolving directory of Pinoy street food, check out

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Blame it on Mercury

It's been said that I think too much. Well, I've certainly mulled, and chewed, and festered, and basically... procrastinated about blogging many months enough. Mercurial retrograde can be blamed for only so long.

And so, without excuses, apologies, and fanfare... I'M BAAAAACK!

2009 is proving to be REALLY interesting. Don't be surprised by posts popping up to no particular rhyme nor reason, there is a queue.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Year of the Ox

All ye ROOSTERS out there:
The Year of the Earth Ox is to be a
DAMN good year for us!!!

The usual suspects ushered in the Chinese New Year with North Park take-away, fortune cookies, mango sago, tikoy and a reading of the year's predictions. Feng shui experts deem this an auspicious year for the feathered in every possible way:

➢ According to the 2009 Feng Shui Handbook, "it looks like a very good year for the Rooster whose luck is so filled with vitality and strong spiritual essence that good fortune comes with ease to many of you. There are plenty of exciting work and business developments that bring recognition, promotion and upward mobility.

➢ The year’s cosmic energy favors you. As a result, there is smooth sailing through the year with few obstacles to block your success and triumphant moments. There is increase in wealth and experience of success and for mature Roosters, 2009 promises to bring fresh new opportunities. The only blight on the horizon is the presence of the Illness Star in your chart causing annoying health issues to materialize. The Rooster will have plenty of travel especially during the early part of the year. As long as you take care of your health, you will be able to attain heights of productivity and good results.

➢ The 40 year old will have a great wonderful year. The mind, body and spirit are all strong and this is sure to bring this Rooster good fortune, making sure you will emerge triumphant, successful and very much on top of the world. You can expect some kind of development which might surprise you as it will come suddenly and without warning. In any case, you will have various options confronting you in 2009 and it is likely that you will choose well. Trust your own instincts and go with the auspicious flow of the year!"

I cock-a-doodle-doo to that!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holiday Repast

Christmas is celebrated in an infinite variety of ways, but there is one universal truth-- a lot of eating is involved. And food just seems so much yummier with good friends around.

During this stretched out festive season, a few new finds were made:

Driving down BF Homes Paranaque's main vein, it soon becomes evident that either locals love Korean food or there are just A LOT of Korean locals. Because there are A LOT of Korean restaurants... and Korean parlors... and Korean boutiques... and Korean groceries... and Korean churches... and Korean-invaded schools.

Joanne and I chose Sam Won at the corner of A.Chioco to energize us for our wedding prep day. Despite its nondescript exterior... and interior, a renovated 80's house like most establishments dotting Aguirre Avenue, our bibimbop and bulgogi lunch truly was mashinun.

Christmas dinner with the Zobel gang was at the month-old Red Kimono at Westgate in Alabang. The Better Than Buffet promo was certainly the draw. How could one go wrong with eat-all-you-can Japanese for just P535?!!!

I confidently plunged into the challenge with Celso as my tag team-mate. Sharing is allowed so long as you each fully consume a bowl of rice and clear out the dishes. Layered Spinach and Tofu, Gyoza, California Crunch, Hot Shot Roll, Wasabi Oyster Tempura, Sukiyaki, Green Tea Halo-Halo and Banana Katsu... HA! Chicken!

Finally I got to go to traditional December 24th breakfast with Gia, Tope, Liza and Jokjok. Discovery Suites' quaint Tagaytay property boasts of 7 fully-serviced suites along with a fantastic vista of Taal Volcano.

It can also be proud of their Restaurant Verbena's breakfast buffet menu. We all ended up coveting Liza's Crunchy French Toast stuffed with Nutella and Strawberry Preserves, P290.

I discovered a treat for driving wedding cakes to Tagaytay: Mr.Moo for a lactose fix. Two kiosks are along the Sta.Rosa road, one going and another heading back. Well, that really depends on where you're coming from, doesn't it? Ok, so they have one on each side, both much closer to the ridge than farther.

They have hand-squeezed cow (P85/L.), carabao (P125/L.) and goat's (P163/L.) milk, and an impressive selection of milk products (kesong puti, goat's/ricotta/herbed cheeses, yogurt, candies, sauces, shakes... goat's milk soap). Best darn pastillas around! No sugar coating to distract from the unparalleled pure quality, and available in several flavors. Bottles are packed in ice to make sure they make the trip, but I usually down my pasalubongs even before hitting SLEX again anyway!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Anyone who grew up in Alabang in the 80's will recall that Halloween was always celebrated almost as big as Christmas. Costumes were planned, routes were mapped, goody bags filled, lawns dressed... and golf carts revved. In the 90's, it got huge... then too huge.

That was merely part of my training in dressing up. My entire family gets into it. Last April, Lola Dolores' 90th birthday was celebrated in Roaring Twenties style. A message I once sent my best friend read: "You know how they say, 'you will grow up to be like your parents'? My mom just drove off in a tintless car fully made up as a CAT. Should I shoot myself now?"

The College of St.Benilde's School of Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management has established a fun tradition for the faculty Christmas party. Every year, a central theme is voted on as basis for everyone to come in costume as-- and as luck would have it, I am the undisputed Costume Queen!

2004 (70's Disco): This era's bell-bottoms and hair, lots of it, scored for me top prize!

2005 (United Nations): A borrowed Rajo Laurel ensemble from Ven's glamorous wedding proved convincingly Indian.

2006 (Workforce): Feeding Academy One ballet students for the past 15 years came in handy. I realized a childhood dream in tutu.

2007 (Western): Still smarting from having my Old Cow lose out to G.I. Jane during 2003's Favorite Movie Character affair, my reprised spots came back with a vengeance as a Cow Girl or more precisely, a Girl Cow.

2008: (Fairy Tales and Fantasies): And last night, as the de-glamorized Wicked Witch, I won the coveted title for the 5th straight year! Whoo-hoo-hoot!!! Sorry, it's really such a trip! Oh o-kay, since I've made my point and inarguably snagged the Hall of Fame, I announce retirement next year. Hmmm... MAYBE.

Not an hour later, Joanne and I walked into CCA Manila Chef James Antolin's surprise 40th birthday party in 80's Goth. We were joined by sexy Madonnas, sweaty Flash Dancers, preppy Argyles and funky Brothel Creepers.

But with heels higher than any I own, leggings shinier than I'd ever buy, and more significantly, an honest-to-goodness KIREI jacket that even two decades ago I would never have been able to get away with, that round went to Diva DJ Angelo Villanueva... hands down.

I'm sure glad I didn't pull that trigger. This is just too much fun!

Monday, December 8, 2008

A dozen eggs

After already a week in, I find myself still battling with jet-lag-from-hell (at least that’s my excuse). Coupled with lack of sleep from excess of work and a monster schedule, I hurried to dress for a 9am breakfast meeting last Saturday. Barely functioning with just 2 hours sleep, I wound up mistaking Lysol for hairspray. That sure woke me up!

It was a crazy day of rushing about or thinking on my feet, a mirror image of everyday before. So when the opportunity to take a breather fell into place, I snuck out to attend the exhibit of designer/furniture maker/sculptor of recycled Philippine Hardwoods Benji Reyes’ exhibit in Antipolo.

Although many are talented, not all artists are recognized, few are respected, and certainly even less are successful. But because Benji is the man he is, he is all of the above. He and wind-beneath-his-wings-wife Careng are two of the warmest and most generous out there. The presence of patrons, family and friends at their mountainside residence were tribute to this power couple.

Loverne Suratos, a very close mutual friend and one of our most staunch supporters, commissioned me to replicate Benji’s signature BARAKO coffee table in celebration of his 50th birthday and 26th year in the industry. I learned to ‘make’ Kamagong and Molave in sugar.

The night sky was clear and the breeze cool, a perfect night to be at their 3-level home and gardens, conceived and handcrafted by the master himself. It was the premier setting for Benji’s latest works, retrospectives of his classic pieces.

A surprise treat was Careng’s spontaneous jamming with old friends from Acoustic Jive, led by May Bayot and Romy Jarolan. All I can say is, that woman CAN SING!

And at the end of the evening, when I thought it couldn’t get any better, the crowd held breath as Benji rifled through the bowlful of business cards to draw for the last raffle prize—The EKLOK, a dozen eggs fashioned from 12 kinds of indigenous local wood. I silently whispered, “Nice and shiny card, nice and shiny card, nice and shiny card…”, until, I WON!!! Whoo-hoo-hoo-hoot! I hobbled down stone, gravel and soft topsoil, ignoring that each step sunk my NEW 4 INCH NORDSTROM SALE HEELS deeper into the garden. You can picture how embarrassing I was in my glee. But I didn’t care, I am the proud mama of these babies! Winning them… and on this occasion, makes them mean so much more.