Wednesday, August 31, 2011


My blog-pusher Randy will hold this against me: breaking my promise to have a post a week. And this one seems like just a filler, but really, this video was such an attention-grabber I had to post it.

I will definitely blog about my recent trip to Ozamiz, where Randy and my other friend Gerard joined me for a foodfest. Plus I got to sample a new tourist destination (and it's not Hoyohoy). Keep on reading this blog!

Meantime, check this out:

Fun, amazing, witty! 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

COMING SOON! Movies I'm looking forward to watching.

As a kid growing up in a small town in the 60s and 70s, watching movies was THE thing to do. There was no internet then, there were no video games, there was nothing to do in the weekends, unless there was a birthday party or fiesta or some such event. Even then, we would always watch movies. Two movies in one go. All four (later 6) movie houses showed double features, with the main feature having been shown about a month in advance in Manila and the second feature shown much, much, much earlier. Think HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2 doubled with THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. There were even times when we had triple showings of movies.

Between the features, there would be about thirty minutes of "extras" or what I know now as trailers. In the Martial Law years, propaganda about how great Marcos and Imelda were were shown along with the trailers.

These days, one doesn't have to go to the movies to see trailers. youtube and are great resources to check on upcoming movies. Sadly, some of these never make it to Manila. Happily, there's amazon (and Metrowalk. wink, wink).

Here's my current list:

1. THE WOMAN IN BLACK - slated for a 2012 release, theater aficionados will certainly bitch about how different the movie is from the play which it could be based on. It's possible that the screenplay is based on the book on which the play is based. Regardless, the trailer looks fine and Daniel Radcliffe couldn't have gotten a better postgraduate role than this. Horror is my favorite movie genre so I'm really looking forward to this.

2. HYSTERIA (2011) - Words fail me. But I'll try. Nope. Words fail me.

3. THE DEVIL'S DOUBLE (2011) - speaking of Martial Law, remember the nasty rumors of someone being just a changeling, and...Well, this rumor seems to run parallel to this movie's plot. A history boy grows up, again to a good postgraduate role.

4. CARNAGE (2011) - when GOD OF CARNAGE opened on Broadway in 2009, it was tough to get a ticket to the show. After all, it had an all-star cast: James Gandolfini, Jeff Daniels, Marcia Gay Harden and Hope Davis. when it opened on West End in 2008, it was also a runaway hit, not only because it featured Ralph Fiennes, but also because the play itself was well-reviewed. I'm just curious how the movie adaptation will turn out. After all, it has 4 great actors in it, including the amazing Christoph Waltz (yes, INGLORIOUS BASTERDS' Hans Landa). 

Monday, August 15, 2011


On August 10, 2011, I wrote this blog in reaction to how Globe's employees at their Business Center at the Shangrila Mall had disrespected the Lupang Hinirang by chatting and remaining seated while it was playing. I complained to Globe's OIC, Ms. Gladys Rojas, who said she would elevate the matter to her manager. Based on my past history with Globe and writing letters to them, I had given up on this and thought this was a hopeless case and a lost cause.

Surprise of surprises, Globe proved me wrong.

I called Ms. Rojas on another matter today, and after dealing with that, she reported that after her report, a staff meeting was called and a text blast was made to all Globe employees about the proper decorum when the Lupang Hinirang. This was really a bright update to this day.

I'm happy that Globe did the right thing. And I'm happy I stood up as a Pinoy. We all should. After all, the flag and our national anthem are symbols of our nation and of us. We should not let anyone disrespect these symbols.

Mabuhay and Pilipino! 

Manolo's (August 12, 2011)

In one of my earlier posts, I said that I feel so lucky to have so many Chinese friends because of my affiliation with the Manila Jaycees. I should amend that to, "I am thankful to have many friends from the Manila Jaycees." Why? Because the Chinese and Manila Jaycees in general are among the best foodies around, with prodigious appetites at that. I am always clued in on new sightings in the foodie landscape, and which are worth trying and which are crap. Mind you, these friends go for both dives and gourmet destinations, so no restaurant is spared.

A good, old friend from the Manila Jaycees, Toto Villavicencio, recently decided to enter the restaurant business. He is one of the proud new owners of that sisig-centric Pinoy restaurant, 1521, at their new location at Burgos Circle at The Fort. When Toto invited us to try out his restaurant, he introduced us to Manolo Torrejon and Robby Goco, then went on to rave about his dinner at Manolo's eponymous restaurant. According to Toto, his dinner at Manolo's lasted for 5 hours, with fresh oysters and USDA steak topped with foie gras. They both had me at 5 hours. So plans were made to celebrate the birthdays of two friends, Rami Villavicencio and Paul Co, at Manolo's. Manolo himself recommended that we go on a Friday because that's when the Oysters are flown in from Capiz.

The thing with dining at Manolo's is that it is not a commercial enterprise. Manolo, or Manny, trades in artisanal coffee grown in Benguet. His restaurant is strictly by reservation only. Another issue with the restaurant is that it's not the easiest to find. Best to download the map from Manolo's facebook page. The restaurant is no-fuss, and I imagine that the chef-patron could whip up a customized menu for you. The experience was akin to being invited to someone's home whose cook prepared a very good meal for you.

The chef patron,
Manolo Torrejon
Bottomless Manchego c/o Paul Co 
Armed with scotch and a wheel of manchego cheese from Paul (who was a no-show), and three bottles of cabernet, off we went to Manolo's. Upon our arrival, we were served crispy boquerones, which the chef-patron made with local tuyo instead of bacalao: soaked, shredded and deep-fried. While we were chatting away, Manny sliced up the manchego  for us to munch on, along with the first official starter, bowls of moules mariniere: fresh mussels cooked in white white, cream and onion, served with warm baguette from the neighborhood Elsie's (not Anita's) Bakery. On such a dinner like this, everyone throws caution, diet, doctor's orders, wife/girlfriend/partner's advice out the window. So after partaking of the mussels, we sopped up our baguette in the sinful cream sauce.

Fresh Capiz oysters with three sauces
Moules mariniere
From the princess of bivalves, we went to the queen of bivalves: fresh oyster from Capiz served with three sauces: mignonette, chimichurri and cocktail. I had to try all three sauces, then wondered if there was some pinakurat. Manny graciously provided Robby Goco with lemon and hot sauce. Then the feast continued with the Pasta Bottarga, my first to taste this delightful dish. Robby explained that Manny makes his own bottarga (salted and dried tuna roe), since it is not easily available here. Chefs being chefs, Manny and Robby made it appear that making bottarga is the easiest thing in the world: get some tuna bihud, salt it, then sun-dry. This dish was fantastic in its simplicity: it was just the dried tuna roe, sauteed in olive oil, served with spaghetti with a squeeze of lemon. I just wished that it was served with no cheese, being a seafood pasta. The cheese overpowered the flavor of the bottarga, which should stand on its own. Nonetheless, I hankered for a second serving.

Then came the meat of the matter: the steak. With foie gras. Perfectly salted and grilled, drizzled in its own fat, served with baby potatoes and asparagus. What can one ask for? What's that? Paella? Two varieties? Valenciana and Negra? Coming right up! I liked it that Manny didn't eschew the tutong or burnt bottom, which is what some restaurants do. I understand that the Negra is a must-have when dining at Manolo's. Well, I venture to say that the Pasta Bottarga is another must-have, as is the Tiger Prawns Simmered in Red Egg Sauce and Curry Leaf. This latter dish, that was served along with the Garlic Butter Crabs to end our meal, is another delightful first-time dish for me. The salty bits of red egg, and the robust flavors of the curry leaf were perfect with the prawn.

A night at Manolo's is not complete with his aromatic Benguet coffee, served with Swiss Chocolate Cake baked by his sister, Elise.  I would have wanted something citric to cut through the rich tastes simmering in my palate, like a lemon curd or a kalamansi sorbet.

At the end the dinner, we all had smiling faces, happy countenances, content bearings and clogged arteries. Not to mention reeling brains from the alcohol that was downed.

Still and all, it was a night that will be remembered for a long, long time. How about that oyster night, Manny? Kinilaw, fritters and cake. I'll bring the cookies and ice cream. Not made from oysters.

The birthday boy surveying the 
remains of our prandial carnage
Happy birthday, Rami and Paul, and kudos to the chef! And thanks to Louie Orosa for the pictures.

Manolo's is at 2759 Daang Hari, United Hills Village, Parañaque City. Telephone Nos. +639088827913 and 8811828.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I don't know what possessed me Monday evening but I suddenly had a hankering for good old bulalo. Among my favorite bulalohans are Sosing's Carineria on Dian and Zobel Roxas in Makati City, Hoseña's on Libertad, Mandaluyong City, Rose & Grace in Batangas and Sta. Rosa, Laguna, Diners in Tagaytay City, Aviles in Laguna, Abuhan in Cebu City and R&J on Boni, Mandaluyong City. R&J was the closest to me at the time of my craving so R&J it was.

This place is an in-your-face carinderia so sosyal types need not go. Sit at will upon arrival, and watch the PBA on two 23-inch tube TVs and listen - whether you'd care to or not - to a dissonant karaoke singer while perusing the menu. I have never tried anything else at R&J so I settled for the Special Bulalo and a cup of rice. My order arrived faster than I could say "UTAK!" There it sat, a huge bowl of broth, in which a few leaves of pechay swam, along with a good-sized piece of shank and generous hunks of tender beef. Perfect with your self-made sawsawan (dipping sauce) of patis (fish sauce), kalamansi (Philippine lime) and chili. 

The broth was perfectly hot, with a dark sediment made up of boiled meat. I found the broth too salty, but the top note of onion was perfect. Now to the meat of the matter: the utak or the marrow.

Growing up in a beef-centric household, bulalo or nilat-ang baka (literally, tenderized beef), was a staple on our table. Mom always made sure that there was enough shank to go around, and part of the fun of partaking of this treat was the many ways by which the utok (literally, brain, but referring in this case to the marrow) would be extracted. Lucky was the family member who got a shank that was cut through on both ends because all he needed to do was to blow that utok out from one hole through the other. If only one end was cut through, then the utok would be extracted using the narrow handle of a teaspoon. 

My shank that evening was cut through on both ends, and was about 4 inches long. It was utok heaven. Pouring some broth over the extracted utok and eschewing any dip, I cut of a bit and slowly made it melt in my mouth. Butter. Beef fat. Cream. A bit of caramel. Those were the flavors I thought I got from that first bite. Then I thought of my 49-year old body and what that delightful 4-inch utok was doing to it. Oh well, what are ampalaya and doctors for.

Utok and rice and bulalo broth. Heaven on a plate.

I am looking forward to going home to Ozamiz and partaking of my Mom's unique take on nilat-ang baka. She makes it with "veal," with thinner shanks, with the broth made thick with gabi and sour from some overripe tomatoes. Ginger and onion tops off the broth components. The utok may be thinner, but that's not really a bad thing.

R&J BULALO is a 24-hour carinderia on Boni Avenue, right beside/behind the Petron Gasoline Station across the Mandaluyong City Hall on Maysilo Circle. No reservations are taken, and food can be ordered to go. But hey. Why deprive yourself of the experience of watching a current basketball game on retro TV while the next table is full of karaoke krays singing Celine Dion's discography away. Badly.


(Image from
I've been a Globe subscriber from the time I first got a cell phone in 1996. When asked why I've stayed put, I always say it's because it has the least bad customer service among the 3 telcos. To be fair, Globe's CS for postpaid account is quite good, but turns to horrible when you are a prepaid user. Also, do not get Globe as your internet service provider because they really suck at this. Take it from me and many more who are disgruntled Globe Tattoo or home- and office-based subscribers.

Anyway, I normally pay my Globe bill online, but decided to switch to going to Globe Business Centers so I can use my credit card and earn points. The first time I did it was the other month at the SM Makati Business Center. I was early. There were no other customers and I had my turn at the cashier's right away. When I got to the counter, the cashier did not so much as look up to greet me. So I asked for the manager and pointed out this disrespectful and rude conduct of the cashier. The manager apologized, but the cashier did not. I guess the cashier's DNA did not include the polite gene.

Today I went to Globe's Shangrila Mall Business Center. I got in at around 10:55 a.m. and the office was still closed. The Globe security guard, who was very polite, said that they would open right after the playing of the Lupang Hinirang. I thought this was fantastic of the Shangrila Mall management to instill  nationalism and patriotism on mall employees and patrons by starting the day with this ceremony. When the Lupang Hinirand was being played, I stood at attention, as did the security guards inside the Globe office. However, all of the employees inside remained seated, chatting and laughing away. I really got upset. It reminded me of the time when I went to watch a movie and a group of noisy Koreans remained seated and noisy when the Lupang Hinirang was being played. I shouted, "Hey Koreans! Shut up! And stand up!" I was ready to call 117 if those disrespectful visitors had remained seated. Thankfully for them, they did as they were told.

Back to Globe. 

I was really upset at the employees' disrespect for the National Anthem and all that it stands for. To make matters worse, when the Globe office finally opened for business and I went to the Cashier's cubicle, I was not even greeted a good morning. I wonder if this is the institutional culture of Globe: disrespect. I immediately asked for the manager and Gladys Rojas attended to me. I explained to her that it is a crime to not stand at attention when the Lupang Hinirang is played. I explained to her that as a Filipino, and one whose father fought in World War II, I felt insulted that her co-employees just chatted and remained seated all throughout the playing of the Lupang Hinirang, and act that was after all punishable by law. To her credit, Ms. Rojas apologized and promised to do something about it, although I have my doubts about whether she actually would. Her excuse is that the anthem is not audible inside, and yet when it was playing, the security guards stood at attention.
I may be labelled as overzealous, and so be it. I make no excuses for being a proud Pinoy. I love my country and I love the Philippine Flag and the Lupang Hinirang as national symbols. It is probably in this light that the drafters of  REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8491 or the "Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines" (full text at stated that "Reverence and respect shall at all times be accorded the flag, the anthem, and other national symbols which embody the national ideals and traditions and which express the principles of sovereignty and national solidarity. The heraldic items and devices shall seek to manifest the national virtues and to inculcate in the minds and hearts of our people a just pride in their native land, fitting respect and affection for the national flag and anthem, and the proper use of the national motto, coat-of-arms and other heraldic items and devices."

Globe, shape up. You can't be complacent, especially with the impending merger of Smart and Sun. It's bad enough that one of your image models is Vice Ganda. Don't compound matters by not training your people to be respectful. At the very least.


If you like to eat well, live well, listen well and have the patience to go through my kilometric but hopefully entertaining blogs, then this is the page for you. I chose EATERSHIP because it sounds like "leadership," and because if you jumble it up, it could also read "hip eaters." Eat and read on!