Month: August 2017

Chilin at Shilin Night Market

Taipei, Taiwan based on travel blogs seem not in the top list of places to go to on the planet.  But I along with Nengkoy and elder sister Ester nevertheless adventured into seeing what Taipei has to offer.  Actually, yesterday we were back to Manila and actually just arrived from Taipei.  And before the lazy bug bit me, let me showcase an awesome experience while we were there.

taipei morning
a beautiful taipei morning

Night markets in Taipei are quite popular.  Shilin Night Market located near Jiantan train station is considered the largest is actually the most popular among tourists.  This is the night market that Nengkoy, I and my sister chose to chill at and visit during a very short stay in Taipei.

Shilin Night Market is known to offer various food and nonfood items.  Aside from a couple of cool t-shirts I purchased, I got to try two amazing stuffs at this lively, brazen and well-admired night market.

The Ampaet Drink

First, I got to try the white bitter gourd juice.  Bitter gourd is known as Ampalaya in the Philippines.  Here in my country, Ampalaya is green in color and never used as a juice drink flavor.  Because of its bitter taste, it is one of my most hated vegetables.

white bitter gourd display
inviting ampalaya display!
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this drink is so me!

But in Taiwan, they got a white/albino variety and they use it for a refreshing juice drink.  Upon learning that such is mixed in a cold drink, it got me curious.  I even thought that the albino variety would be a redeeming version of the green-colored variety.  I was expected that it would be sweet to the taste.   So as to end my pondering, I ordered a tall glass.

As for the taste, it was a disappointing bitter taste same as the green version.  And same as the green variety, I hated the white kind.  It was not my type! Ampaet! (Translation: so bitter!)  But as a consolation, I nevertheless will no longer have to brood over on what the taste was of such a rare drink when I get back to Manila.  To get rid of the bitter after taste, I, Nengkoy and my sister decided to gulp on a very cold bottle of pure and freshly squeezed sugarcane juice, which is also a popular street drink in Taipei!

The Uncut Cutlet

Second, Shilin Night Market shall be for the record the place where I actually had the largest piece of chicken cutlet.  It was so big I thought it was an ostrich!

There was a long queue at store called Hot Star.  I actually don’t know what people were queuing up for.  And since the line is very long, I assume the food stuff that store was selling must be amazing.  I just decided to fall in line and only got to realize that it was a humongous filleted chicken cutlet that was being sold when I was already paying for it.

hot star chicken queue!
hot star: the chicken that sells like hotcake!
hot star chicken cutlet
that piece of chicken is even bigger that the face of its seller
hot star chicken and neil
enjoying my humongous piece of chicken

Hot Star chicken cutlet was surprisingly very good and very tasty!  The chicken meat is evenly coated with a crunchy deep fried golden brown batter.  Before the ginormous cutlet was handed over to me upon payment, it was sprinkled with flavoring powder which I believe (based on the whispers of my taste buds) is composed of white pepper, sea salt and special spices.  This chicken cutlet was surprisingly tender and juicy.  It was so ginormous I shared it with Nengkoy!

These are just two of the million or more possible stuffs that people can try when they visit the vibrant Shilin Night Market.  There is a cornucopia of stuffs that visitors can taste when they chill at this amazing night market.  Try visit sometime and prove to yourself that Taipei is actually worth a visit!

 Kakaiba ka Shilin!

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Ma’Rosa: A Film about the Current Philippine State

It is supposed to be the time of the year when I would write about Cinemalaya, an annual indie-film festival here in Manila.  I would usually write about the movie entry that I enjoyed or touched me to the core.  However, I opted not to write any of the movies I saw because it seem that the quality of films featured this year seem not worth it.

Instead, let me feature the film I saw over the last weekend.  It was shown in movie houses a year ago and in the comforts of my home that I got to see Ma’Rosa, a film by the brilliant Brillante Mendoza.

MAROSA poster
unexpected! surprisingly brilliant!

Ma’Rosa is the official Philippine entry in last year’s Oscars Foreign Film category.  This movie however failed to make it to the final cut of finalists.  Nevertheless, this is the same movie that was an entry in last year’s Cannes Film Festival in which the lead actress Jacklyn Jose was adjudged as the Best Actress.

The story, the representation, the set and acting seem so real, it felt like I was actually groping into the lives of a poor Filipino family who only have few options of endure life’s challenges.  Jacklyn Jose was so outstanding now I know why she won.

After seeing the movie, I was actually not surprised why the Film Academy of the Philippines chose this movie as last year’s entry to Oscars.  It is because the elements, the texture and the narrative are all Filipino in nature in its present sorry state.  The movie effectively showed and represent how it is to be poor in the Philippines.

I was also not surprised why this movie did not make it to Oscars, maybe it is because the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences of America felt that this Brillante movie was too fictional to the point of being too exaggerated.  But let me oppose that.  I would be one of those Filipinos who was born and raised here, who would dissent at this type of notion.  Ma’Rosa is nothing but real, genuine and existent in this side of the planet.

It was a superb Filipino movie.  It may not have reached the Oscars level but Ma’Rosa is one brilliant Filipino film.  And I hope next year’s Cinemalaya entries would be as exceptional as this one.

Brilyant!

Justice for Kian

kian delos santos
kian delos santos

This is the face of the 17-year old boy whose last text message to his mother is a request for a bicycle who ironically according to the Justice Secretary possess Php 16,000 worth of shabu in his pocket on the time of his death.

This is the face of the 17-year old boy who was right-handed yet his body was found holding a gun in his left hand.

This is the face of the 17-year old boy whose dream is to become a policeman man someday yet it is the police who ended not only his dream but his young dear life.

This is the face of the 17-year old boy who represents the present type of sadistic justice system and brutal killings now rampant in my country.

This is the face of the 17-year old boy who according to the police retaliated but whose autopsy report says that the fatal gunshots were shot from behind his ear.

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no child deserves this (sad)

I am obviously outraged!  And it is unfortunate that killings like this will continue until a new Philippine leader will be put in place.  I just hope that something sane, and logical, and sensible and compassionate and judicious will come out from this tragic and terrible event.  The shape, position and situation of Kian Delos Santos is the state of the Philippines today.

Hustisyang mailap para kay Kian!

Of all Tweets, Pucha Pinusuan!

With the poor showing and popularity of my blog which I tweet every time I post a writing, I have admitted a long time ago that my blog has been a part of surplus of internet space.  My tweets in particular are a waste of Tweeter space.  It deserves a room inside a black hole at the edge of the universe.

But of all Tweets!  From the mass and heaps of tweets about John Splithoff and his bouncy song Show Me, one of the tweets he happen to have liked was MINE!

20170817_100638
the precious tweet. hahaha!

And as soon as I was notified about Splithoff’s liking my tweet, I cartwheeled, I somersaulted and I raised my fist out into the air and shouted OMG!  John Splithoff doesn’t know how elated I am when I saw the red-colored heart on my boring, flat and uninteresting Tweeter account.

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can’t believe this! pinusuan!
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the artist (photo taken from his tweeter account)

Thanks John! I promise that my Spotify account will be on a repeat-single-song mode (if it has that) so as to listen to Show Me for the whole 30-minute duration of my treadmill walk at my gym tonight.

Pucha Pinusuan!

Show Me by John Splithoff

This has been my gym-treadmill-music for the past week

After hearing series of newly released songs in my Spotify account, I can conclude that music released nowadays seem to sound the same.  And this makes Show Me by John Splithoff stands out from the rest.  The beat is vibrant and the rhythm is cool!  The tempo is just perfect for those who wish to walk and lose a couple of pounds on a treadmill.

Though it may be silly, another thing I love about this release is the poster.  It’s a reminder of the famous Madonna pose!

madonna and john splithoff

Ang kul ng kantang ‘to!

Hardships of a Filipino Passport Holder

20170814_142412I want to travel to Japan (again) but my visa has expired.  That is why I am so busy trying to collate all needed documents and requirements for me to re-visit the Land of the Rising Sun.

While trying to fill out the Japan visa application form, I realized that it is hard to be a citizen of a very weak passport.  Humongous preparations are needed to be undertaken for earthlings like us so as to venture into having to experience the joys of travelling.

For other citizens with very strong passports, their first step when they want to travel out of the country is to scout for a good-priced airfare.  For Filipino passport holders, scouting for a bargain airfare would be pretty much at the latter part of the multitude of complex steps that we need to hurdle, overcome and accomplish.

Photo of specific size and background, bank certifications, tax certification, employment certification, birth and baptismal certifications, approved vacation leave certifications and correctly filled up confusing application forms are some of the obstacles that we have to undertake.

Thank goodness, Japan embassy need not schedule me for a one-on-one interview with an embassy consul.  Other embassies would even add up more requirements like a face-to-face interview, a digital photo, a biometric fingerprint record, a medical vaccination/s certificate and a good coverage of travel insurances to name a few.

Aside from being so confusing and time consuming, being a Filipino passport holder is more expensive.  On top of all these time consuming collation of necessary and obligated documents, breathing Filipinos like me needs to pay for the expensive non-refundable visa fees!

The amount of visa fee application can already be a supposed additional budget to a sumptuous dinner in a posh restaurant or a night’s accommodation rate to a first class hotel or the total train and taxi fares of the Filipino traveler to the country of his destination.   And the only assurance for Filipino passport holders applying for a visa is that they are guaranteed to pay for a visa fee, may their visa application is approved or denied!

It’s hard to be a Filipino passport holder.  We are unlike other citizens of this planet, who would simply buy their plane ticket, pack their bags, bring their powerful passport and proceed to the airport so as to catch the flight to a country of their preferred destination.

Josmiyo!