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Showing posts from 2008

Trivial Christmas Facts

if you ever find yourself stuck in the port of dumaguete waiting for a boat to Cebu, you may want to entertain yourself by watching the info-tv-board that flash bits of information, tips and trivia. I mean, do you know that the first recorded celebration of Christmas in the Philippines was 200 years before Magellan landed on our shores?

Or the fact that "Silent Night" was composed in 1818 by Franz Joseph Gruber, an Austrian who came up with the ditty because the Church Organ had a malfunction, probably from disuse. (Church, Organ, Not-Functioning - makes sense eh?)

other Christmas Trivia include the fact that Gloria is never sung in Advent Masses (and if you go by the signs of the times, that Gloria is really popular with the Church nowadays). It is an often forgotten fact that Advent Mass is not only to prepare for the Birth of Baby J but is also in preparation for the Apocalyptic Christ, or the second coming? That fact is emphasized by the gospel reading of the last and firs…

Broken

my friends have noted that i look a bit sleepy and haggard for the past week. they are even wondering why i keep to a promise to attend the misa de gallo (a dawn mass tradition that lasts 9 days prior to christmas) when i missed the first day.

the premise is that one completes the 9 day novena for one's wish. don't get me wrong, there are things that i dearly wish for. santa knows all about it except that i haven't been exactly a good boy this year :)

anyways, we always ask for this, demand for that, petition this and clamor for things that J must feel like a government office beseiged with incessant requests. Despite the fact that everything is His to give, He deserves a thank you.

if waking up before dawn to offer a quiet prayer is inconvenient, think about getting yourself nailed to the Cross.

To Do or Not To Do

If you're reading this today, Christmas time, you probably should be out and visiting part of the real world luv! (this is a pre-posted, scheduled blog entry, so am entirely excused!)

In any case, I just want to greet everyone the Merriest of Christmas. No long message, no deep meaning, no reflective thoughts. As I'm typing this piece, I am scheduled to sign a new contract tomorrow (24th December, 2008) that is a totally unexpected last minute Christmas gift from the Big J before I take my break.

In many ways, there could have been instances where this particular deal could have gone kaput except that in every moment I felt I was going to make a big mistake I had an invisible hand pushing me along. This is one instance where I appreciated Someone being pushy.

No matter what we went through this year, we are certainly blessed. We're here right? This very second is a blessing of "existence". The only man who can't achieve his dreams is a dead man. We're still …

Running In Circles

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Just a quick photo blog entry for the Fluvial Procession for Santa Maria that's held annually in Tuyan, Naga of Cebu Province. There's a long history behind the tradition that won't fit given the short amount of time i have to post this entry. [which means i have to post a follow up entry, darn]

a crew member, looked too young to be doing seafarer's work.

boats go around the constantly moving vessel that carries the image, it is a careful maneuvering process to make sure that no boats collide with each other. miraculously, there has been no reported accident for the past couple of decades in this particular procession. i took a closer snap with our boat dangerously crossing the bow of the main boat.

Children of a Lesser God

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people avoided sitting beside her inside the church. who can blame them? unkempt, bedraggled, dirty and an odor borne from walking under the sun is enough to deter anyone. she held a deck of plastic cards on one hand and kept muttering to herself throughout the mass.

despite my initial reaction of disgust, i reflected on the fact that she, not anyone of us who lived lives of comparative luxury, deserved more of God's grace and compassion. When we worry about everything in our lives, we listen less and less to his Words that fade into oblivion. Why is it, that when we're almost down to nothing, we listen more closely to his call?

Bading si Rudolph

according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer, the males shed theirs at the beginning of winter while female of the specie retain theirs until they give birth in the spring.

which means that Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph were all pretty strong ladies.

yes, girl si rudolph the red nosed reindeer.

eleven more days to christmas :)

saengil chukha hamnida kim young sil!

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i hope that didn't mean you're an ugly hag in korean.

you see, i was looking for the right words to greet my friend kim young sil a happy birthday. together with some friends, we went to marco polo hotel where we were given a semi-private area near the buffet area - good thing that franco and tonette are good friends of hans hauri, the current general manager of marco polo.

-picture from left, sitting: glenn, tonette, marie. standing from left: me, franco, yvette, nam soo, eduardo, sameer, ron

in any case, dinner was like a united nations convention with a swiss-german, iranian-filipino, koreans and pinoys sharing an evening of laughter and good cheer. interestingly, the marco polo christmas tree is up and we didn't miss getting the chance to get our pics snapped.

the firing squad. mr. park looked a bit funny he he he.

great food, great company, great place. perfect birthday!



i'm in, i'm out

02 dec 2008

to quote maritess, the super housekeeper of the super friends, “I like flash. He’s in, he’s out, he’s finished!”

I guess I was doing my flash moment when I went to dumaguete (02 december 2008) as an invited speaker for the negros oriental it expo 2008. Except that I had to catch my boat at exactly 6am, arrive in dumaguete around 1030am, whisked off to the spanking new convention building and deliver my talk on human resource challenges by 1130am with a couple of minutes to spare before getting served lunch.

Over lunch I had the chance to talk with the provincial director for the department of trade and industry who was sponsoring the expo and discussed some of the issues the academe is facing in terms of producing graduates that can meet industry demands. Let’s just say that we are in real danger of losing the jobs that’s waiting for us just because we produce computer science and information technology graduates who can’t even do a flowchart much less do a proper system ana…

port call

09 dec 2008

slept at around 1am, got up at 430am, airport by 5am and on board a plane by 6am for manila and landed at exactly 715am to the gleeful announcement of cebu pacific that we arrived fifteen minutes ahead of schedule. except that in the twenty or so flights i did with the dang airline this year alone, this is the first time they met their 95% on-time all-the-time claim.

so there i was waiting for my airport taxi, unsure exactly where to go as my next appointment has been moved to 3pm. thank God for friends, i called up adel and asked if i can crash at their pad while he and fatima are at work during the day. traffic was bad (uhm, central makati, 730 am. the rats scurrying to get to office. what was i thinking?)

after breakfast, adel and fatima headed off to work and i got online to check any last minute update from my principal. yup, high-tech, they have secure wi-fi inside their flat. sure beats paying a hundred bucks for sucky internet connection in starbucks.

have you ever s…

Running Blind

i know it's a bit looney. who normally runs at night? and a sunday at that? anyways, i headed off to IT park for a run as i missed a couple of days in the gym the previous days. i have been doing the run-walk circuit program and it's fantastic. you normally do a jog-or-run for a number of steps and you do half of that with a brisk walk. the more advanced version of course is the run-jog circuit. i started off with a 20-10 pace before doing a 50-25 and eventually i made it to a 200-50 combination.

after doing three rounds around IT park (and I mean, the WHOLE IT park) i was soaking wet and my sweat jacket is clinging to me like second skin. Grabbing a shirt from my parked car i quickly changed and crossed the road to grab dinner in Persian Palate. catch the pics in another post :)

time to reward myself with some Mediterranean-Iranian food.





Spotted!

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i covered the URCC event and took a snap of this trio. The guy on the left is Franz Von Muhfeld and the other fellow is Jed Dario, producers. unfortunately i can't seem to place where i've seen the lady and it has been nagging at me for a while now.

then i saw the PLDT broadband piece about Nikki Taylor making the switch. yup, that's the lovely lass. ain't the two guys lucky? (click on read.more for juicy tidbits about Ms. Taylor)

Ms. Taylor got into some sort of brouhaha when she lied about her age when she joined Ms. Cebu 2007. she added (yup, isn't that a shocker?!) to her age so she can qualify where most women would want to shave off a couple of years.

King Kong Wins an Oscar!

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de la Hoya was quoted a day before his fight that he's ready for King Kong. King Kong won an Oscar (pun intended) - so I guess he was predicting the outcome of his fight with Manny The King (Kong) who won in a thrilling match that saw Oscar throw in the towel at the 8th round.

At the end of the day, Oscar is still the bigger winner: making millions out of the fight, heading the Golden Boy productions, movie star looks and a potential career as an international actor. On the other hand, even Manny won't make the King Kong production, even if he wears the monkey suit.

Don't get me wrong, Manny rocks! if he can only train his fists on some hanger-ons in his entourage maybe he can achieve the business savvy that makes Oscar the bigger winner.

Frustrated

i wanted to treat myself to a nice lunch after a night of constantly checking out the freezer. no, i wasn't having multiple midnight, pre-dawn cravings. i was thawing out the freezer that has turned into solid ice and at the risk of flooding my kitchen table, i had to set my alarm at 2am, 4am and 6am. talk about domesticated.

so there i am, still rolling around in bed at 1030am when i should be heading to church. it took me another 15 minutes thinking where i'd like to have lunch before i got the energy to pick myself up and head out the door. i wanted meat and i wanted something local. i was thinking of heading to bop bernie's for a thick slab of pork steak.

bop was closed when i got there and i spent another 3 minutes sitting in my car pondering where i can go next. around the corner is apurado's and the fried chicken and pork barbeque should be a good enough substitute. open. yes. parking. no. well, they do have parking except that half the lot is submerged in water…

The (Not So) Fast and Furious(ly waiting) Tokyo Drift.

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finally. teriyaki boy in ayala center cebu is always packed with an average waiting time of about twenty minutes and an even longer waiting line of customers waiting to sample japanese fastfood. yup, this is classified as japanese fastfood. they are famous for their teriyaki chicken that is a staple in every table.

every time i get a chance to visit manila, i drop by the greenbelt outlet and order the chicken. soft luscious chicken meat, grilled to perfection, the skin cooked to a crisp and glazed with sweet teriyaki sauce. i guess they haven't perfected the technique in cebu as the skin is a bit stringy and chewy. it hardly matters as it remains my favorite.

this time around i ordered tonkatsu as i was craving for some pork meat. a word of advice, when they serve the tonkatsu, make sure to keep the lid on for a minute or so to ensure that the raw egg cooks a bit from the trapped steam coming from the japanese rice that serves as the base for the the breaded porkchop. if you're …

Macho Macho Man!

what is it with the pinoy's obsession with men in drag? every other christmas party i've attended feature production where some men are made up to dress like women and it almost always end up with some of them flashing the audience.

last night i attended a dinner to celebrate teacher's day and two groups performed for a competition of some sort. the first production was a spoof of mama mia and had full dance productions where the main performers are two men in drag.

having to suffer through ten minutes of unshaved arm pits and constant flashing of their underwear is potent enough to kill even a viagra powered erection. yup, the audience shrieked but not the cheers one would expect, more like EEEEEWWWW.... YAAAAAAAK... BABOOOOOY. my seat mate summed it up perfectly: this is just plain bad taste.

i was told this theme happens EVERY year. there is bound to be one production number of men in ugly drag.

this 13th i am supposed to attend the christmas party in the gym. what do yo…

Copy Cats

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you know how kids are when they're young. they copy just about anything so you have to be extra careful when you're around kids or they might end up blurting something you probably want to keep in the bedroom. e-hem.

in any case, i took a snap of budyok (he's wearing the red shirt) and for some reason he has this uh... well... constipated look every time he sees the red light from the camera start to blink. it's his version of posing and everyone guffawed at this funny behavior.

i was trying to figure out where he got this behavior and my questions got its answers when i took a snap of his dad. you guess which one. he he he

and no, that pic is not a fluke. click on read.more for another shot of budyok's pose. ready, camera... COPY!

Twilight... zone

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the camera panned to the right and edward cullen stepped into the frame to resounding shrieks from the mostly (girl) tween audience. one girl beside me was screeching so loud it was like scratching the blackboard with a fingernail. and guess what they were hollering?

"AAAAAAY BAKLAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"

ang pula pula ng labi nya! para sya naka foundation?! shet, ang kapal ng kilay! ang baduy ng damit?! denim jacket? a ha ha ha ha, a hi hi hi hi.

i honestly believe that the producers are cashing in on the highschool musical syndrome - cute works for animation, but for real-life action, we can only stomach so much. besides, there's not much "action" going on.

there you go, the most anticipated movie sucked. pun intended.

Heavy Hearts, Heavier Stomachs

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friends left for london last saturday. i stayed in a coffee shop and read books. i've had my share of goodbyes but it doesn't make the next one much easier. so i comforted myself with the memory of friends sharing food and hearty laughs rather than standing in a crowded airport and waving teary bu-byes..

if mama inday took my advice, am sure she brought adult diapers with her to the airport. you see, they're more absorbent than the usual hankies. her eyes were a bit puffy when i saw her in ayala with papa dodong and ron.

dinner was in the agenda and when i got there they were waiting in line to be seated in teriyaki boy. bad decision really. the previous night we stood for almost 30 minutes before everyone trooped over to harbour city.

we ended up falling in line for sbarro. i was happy really, you see i've always loved italian food but was a bit disappointed as they didn't have my roasted chicken and spaghetti combo that night.

i decided to order the lasagna as i wa…

A Grand Christmas

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the newspapers claim there's a global recession. really now? drop by ayala and people are literally lining up for expensive restaurants. walk inside and you behold a 40 foot tall christmas tree decked in opulent gold. even the dragonflies swarming around the tree are made up in gold with ruby eyes. yup, dragonflies.

then again, christmas if often an escape from reality.


Have You Discovered Conching's?

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red, am near SM already, pick you up in front of starbucks, northwing. are you hungry?

very.

i didn't expect red to order sinigang na isda (fish chunks in a chili-tamarind soup base), lechon kawali liempo (pork belly fried to a crackling crisp), sinugba nga liempo (grilled pork belly), sinugba nga nokos (grilled stuffed squid) and torta nga talong (grilled giant eggplant, flattened, soaked in egg, topped with onions, seasoned in salt and pepper and deep fried)

sinugba nga nokos

since he's on a diet he didn't order any rice.

right. i kept asking him if he's really sure about the order and he said: "yup. besides i'm not eating any rice"

i totally forgot his previous answer: "very".

sinugba nga liempo
torta nga talong
tinola nga isda

so there we are, the waitress looking at us like we're escapees from a concentration camp and us getting our giant bibs out to dive into the food laid out in front of us. we didn't even bother to use knives, forks and s…

A Native Feast

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japanese, korean, chinese, mexican - i've munched on a pretty wide selection the past few weeks (there goes the diet) because ivan and darryl are bent on having dinner (practically every night) with family and friends before they fly back to london. good thing i really can't join lunches otherwise it would be an eating binge the whole day.

am just about ready to say "no" the next time they called for an invite but dinner last wednesday was special. you see, they wanted to get together family members and friends in cafe laguna.

local food. i realized i haven't written anything about local restaurants although majority of my favorites are the ones that serve the naytib kind. and cafe laguna is one that no one should miss if they get the chance to visit cebu. the formula is old, the menu a bit of a cliche but it's something you'd want to do again, and again. and again.

start off with crispy kangkong (swamp cabbage leaves) dipped in tartar sauce to whet the appe…

Clicking Heels!

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Ivan and Daryl came home from london and brought a surprise for me: a gorgeous black and white pair of sneakers from adidas, the Ibiza. I was so tempted to plant my feet on top of the table, throw my arms behind my head and rock the chair.

then again, that's uncivilized, so i'll have to be happy with a furtive peek every now and then.

Thanks I&D!



incognito

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simone: hey! i read about you in the paper yesterday (Sunstar, 24 Nov 2008, A22)

cacho: feck. i guess they finally wrote about THAT. whatever you read, don't believe a word. i wasn't there and i wasn't with the people they probably mentioned in the news...


simone: huh? sure but you have a picture together with...

cacho: double feck. okay, that wasn't me, that wasn't cuenco and that person you think looks like yoda IS yoda and that big fat tall guy is not mike a., that's jabba the hut. and i absolutely did not receive Php 500,000 pesos from Pandak. as cuenco said, it was all a joke.

simone: uh, so that wasn't the 3rd mega Hilton Anniversary party?

cacho: ah. oh. hmmm. that one. ah. okay... *blush* yeah, that was me. BUT i didn't use part of the 500 thousand to buy the uber delicious wagyu beef burger from Hilton!

That Golden Warm Feel...

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it was an interesting conversation with friends who are in town from london. you see, they can't help but shake their heads when they have that occasional conversation with a brit whose idea of the philippines is some backward mud-flat where people still live in trees.

for the love of whatever is sane, how can they imagine such inanity when a third of their nurses are filipinos? show me a country who can produce tree-top nurses and i guarantee you their civilization would be the most advanced.

hmmm, so i guess every opportunity i get, i try to snap a picture of them in the terraces in ayala, inside the gorgeous mall and most recently, underneath the gigantic christmas tree resplendent with gold, gold and more gold! at the very least, if someone asks them if filipinos still live in trees we can tell them we do: gold trees. hmmp.

That Christmas Feeling

September 1, monday, eight in the morning and the jeep was crawling through the traffic that started from fuente all the way to downtown. it was a good idea not to bring my car, the hassle of going through morning traffic and finding parking in UC is enough to induce anxiety attacks.

my half-sleepy reverie was disrupted by the jarring sound of

Oh da weder outside is PAYTpol, (with extra emphasis on the syllable just before the last)
but the fire es so BELATpol, (i am sure i heard this one)
and since hmmm.. hmmm... hmmm. hmmmm... (i think they forgot the lyrics at this point)
LEEEEET EEET SNOW LET EEET SNOW LEEET EEET SNOW! (chorus SHOUTING)

that reminded me that Christmas season starts the first day of the BER months and the horde of boys hanging by the backside of the jeep serenading the passengers with their delightful caroling.

curiously, the street lights and decors are late this year. even ayala, set up their tree late into november. if you want a feel of a grand Christmas, don't f…

Lechon Party People!

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considering that i've been living in cebu for the better part of four years, i haven't written about the famous cebuano "lechon". manilenos always ask for lechon every time someone from Cebu flies over. never mind that it is not exactly hand carry material, that and the oh-so-crispylicious-skin resemble rubber by the time the plane does a landing in manila.

that aside, i was invited to a lechon party over the weekend. we're not celebrating anything, people just wanted to have a reason to gut some pig, stick them in a pole and roast them for hours over a coal pit.


they also served the sinfully rich ginger-fragrant dinuguan (pig's blood stew) and puso, an ingenious way of cooking rice grains stuffed inside a coccoon made out of coconut leaves and boiled until it becomes glutinous and sticky. "puso" is unique to cebu and form half of a balanced diet: a barbecue in one hand, puso in another.



suffice to say that it took less than an hour to devour the who…

Sizzling Out...

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one thing i've realized in manila is that places, people and events are very much the result of hype and very good public relations. saturday night i joined friends to have dinner in The Sizzling Pepper Steak in the new Terraces of Ayala Cebu.


we had to wait for about ten minutes before they can sit us. fortunately, their guarantee of a fast heating hot plate made the wait much shorter before our orders were served.

they are known for their Sizzling Pepper sets that has the mixed seafood, beef, pork and chicken variations as well as their own version of the salisbury steak that is paired with breaded chicken, shrimp or bacon. they do serve kiddie combination meals (on hindsight, after seeing euan down a plate, i also wanted to swap my order for his...sigh) - for more pics and commentaries, click on read.more


andrew's tenderloin steak got served ahead of everyone else and it was interesting to note that hot plates are fitted with a carton tube that fits the rim - the better to con…

Memories of Sunday Breakfast

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i was seven (or eight?) when i moved to bacolod city for studies and stayed with my cousins for two years. sundays usually start with mass then going back to the house for brunch. and brunch is not complete without crumbled skinless chorizo mixed with fried rice and egg.



the sweet-spicy-garlicky-fiery-red bits of pork and meat fried to a carcinogenic-black-toast is one thing that i truly relish as that part of my childhood.

breakfast today at offroads as i have to get the car cleaned (it resembles a black leopard with white dusty spots) and looking forward to the rain that inadvertently fall EVERY time i get the dang car washed.

oh well, ordered myself skinless chorizo breakfast and for a moment, with every mouthful, smiled like a kid.

Beef Madness

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who would have expected to find bulgogi in a dessert place? postrio is known for its coffee and dessert selection that it was a surprise to find out they offer meals, sandwiches and other assorted eats that are not of the sweet or caffeinated kind.

the dish is flavorful enough though it was too oily. the usual bulgogi dishes i've had use radish chunks to absorb most of the oil coming from the beef slices. on the positive side, this one had carrot slices that livened the otherwise brown dish, shiitake mushroom for that pungent smoky after taste and i am almost certain they had ox tongue chunks that got mixed with the beef slices. lengua is always a favorite and its strong flavors lent a fullness to every bite.

yummy. do i recommend it? yes, just make sure you scoop out the oil.


i love mixing the salty-sweet-gingery sauce with the hot steaming rice that came along with the dish.


a perfect bite: stewed carrots, tender beef chunks, ox tongue and shiitake mushrooms on top of rice.


the citr…

How Healthy is Your Hair?

Dyos Ko Lhoord. I had tears in my eyes and was gasping for air for a couple of minutes. I am so totally floored by this video. I swear, we filipinos don't take ourselves too seriously and I'm glad for that!!!

He he he

Aguinaldo's Folly

aguinaldo is probably turning in his grave.

under his name, dubious government officials are getting away scott free for any accountability and penalties for administrative cases filed against them. the doctrine implies administrative cases against any government official can be dropped with no need to serve the penalties if they are re-elected into any government post. it carries the understanding that the people willingly voted scrupulous idiots back into their throne.

that makes us worse than idiots, nincompoops and morons. then again, a barangay vote in the philippines is just the equivalent of a starbucks coffee. brewed. plain.

given the fact that litigation for these cases are not necessarily under the normal judicial branch but carried out by the ombudsman, any investigation and subsequent appeals can drag a simple case through the full length of an official's term. ergo, any findings positive on the decision that the said official is deserving of an administrative case is a…

Ribbit...

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Judith has been going loco over the ribs at El Loco so i decided to hie off and grab some for lunch. here are the pics. you decide. yumi. soft. tender. plain salt and pepper. no catsup. i will be back!

ribs come with java rice, salsa and refried beans.

the perfect carnivorous bite. tender meat with a bit of fat, salty java rice and the tangy flavors of mexican salsa. once you pop, you can't stop.

here's my verdict: OK. get it? "Ok"

El Loco
G/F Skyrise Building 1
IT Park, Lahug,
Cebu City
Philippines