I am 1 of the 640,000,000 inhabitants of Southeast Asia. And I am 1 of those who was just gone upset now that Uber is no longer operational in this part of the world. I am an Uber user since the time Uber started in the Philippines. It is my chosen ride-hailing firm as compared to Grab, a Singaporean-based and a more giant in my region.
Uber was my preferred ride every time I would travel back to Manila. It has prevented me from dealing with the swindler cum taxi drivers infesting the Manila airports. And though it’s no longer operational here in the Philippines, I intend to keep the Uber app in the phone.
I am an Uber user because I find it more efficient, a lot cheaper and the drivers seem more polite. I’m an Uber user that I even got to use Uber as a verb in my daily conversations with people. My admiration to Uber got more intense when I travelled solo in Istanbul. It was the ride I took when I need to spend the night in a hotel near the Istanbul airport. And when Nengkoy, my sister and I was in Bangkok, Uber was our preferred mode of transportation.
But the use of Uber would soon be so foreign to me both as an app and as a verb. Using an Uber now would only signify that I am out of my country for some travel, rest and recreation! Here’s one cute Uber Philippines commercial though…
Thanks for the short yet precious time Uber. Hoping to use you soon!
There seem to be no good news in the Philippines for the past 2 years. Everything on the news concerning the situations in my country were either so bad or gone worse. Like any other ordinary citizen living in the Philippines, I long for some good news!
Because of the present economic, political and social circumstances of my country, I’m jealous and envious towards the citizens of progressive Canada. These feelings of envy was further reinforced when I saw a YouTube video of the winning dance skating performances of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir in the recently concluded Winter Olympics.
Though the Philippines now send delegates, I don’t normally watch the Winter Olympics held every after four years. Maybe it is because my country does not have a winter season that is why winter sports are so foreign and unfamiliar.
But when I clicked on a recommendation by YouTube about a couple of weeks ago while I was searching for good news about the Philippines in the net, I suddenly wanted to become Canadian while watching Tessa and Scott’s performances.
My foolish admiration towards Tessa and Scott further intensified when I learned (also from Youtube) that they have been partners in the sports of ice dancing since their cute childhood days. This made me further admire and fell in love with Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.
They seem so pleasant and amiable that is so typical of a Canadian. I totally admired them to the point that after the day this tandem won their Olympic gold medals, I Facebook-messaged a friend and former colleague (Chef Onille Pitogo) who is now based in Canada, I told her to say hi to both Tessa and Scott if she happens to bump unto this lovely couple.
I thought that my wanting to become a Canadian would eventually wear off. But this was again revived and revitalized when I saw a homecoming video of this ice dancing legends when they arrived back in their home country.
Can some nice Canadian adopt me until the next Philippine presidential election? Hahaha! I badly need some damn awesome news about my country. And while I await for such moment, my heart continues to melt towards this lovely Canadian couple.
Some friends and colleagues still could not believe that I was able to accomplish the rigorous hiking that the mountains of Batad in Ifugao Province entails. Some were actually not surprised when they heard the hardships and learned that I was the crankiest, most ill-tempered and was the number one complainer among our group. As If my complaining was the highlight of our Batad adventure! Hahaha!
But people don’t realize that aside from the breathtaking sites, I was able to appreciate how lucky I am based on how my life has been going on compared to the simple folks living in Batad. That is why seeing locals especially the farmers who keeps the bizarre and phenomenal rice terraces by their bare hands humbles me. I may have been blessed more than these folks yet I have so much respect for these people. Batad folks may not own the possession that a modern human being enjoys now, yet they are the people who chose to live simple, enjoy simple and chose to maintain a beautiful earth wonder by their very own hands.
Kudos to the people of Batad! You definitely are one of a kind! Galing nyo grabe!
*thanks to Aiko and JB’s cameras for these photos…
Every time a member of my family finishes his or her studies – may it be elementary, high school or college – the graduation dinner treat for him or her is always held at the old, not so expensive and not so savory Filipino restaurant in Malate, Manila (which I refuse to name). It has always been the tradition that Nengkoy got to insist that the celebration be held in that restaurant may you graduated with summa cum laude honors or you finished at the bottom of your class’ ranking.
But for the Master’s Degree graduation of my nephew Luis, I got to choose the restaurant! Nengkoy allowed that it be held someplace else maybe it is because the graduation is not just an ordinary bachelor’s degree but something higher, more advanced and more difficult to obtain.
I chose China Blue. Having previously enjoyed the savory food I this authentic Cantonese Restaurant located inside Conrad Hotel, Manila, I knew that Nengkoy and the members of my family in that dinner would truly enjoy some sumptuous treat!
And since I arrive early in the restaurant, took the liberty of ordering the dishes for our group. And when everyone arrived and each dish was being brought in into our room, I asked my family not to touch the dish until I tell them to because I want to take pictures of it.
Here’s the actual photos of some of our orders. And since I lack the ability on how to properly describe each dish, let me then attach a Chinese proverb for every one of it…
I failed to take a photo of the Buchi or glutinous rice dumpling with red bean filling coated with sesame seeds (our desert) which according to our waiter Angel was a very good choice because it was the award-winning dessert of China Blue Manila. My family are all sweet toothed, it would not come as a surprise that everyone would just rapidly dig into the delicately sweet Buchi and would not care if I have already taken a photo or not.
I really can’t figure out what specific dish was the highlight of that dinner. It is because every dish was beautiful, every dish was delicious and every dish deserves a big round of applause!
And when Luis would decide to further pursue his studies, doctorate degree that is. I’m pretty sure Nengkoy would again agree that Luis’ PhD graduation dinner be held again in China Blue Manila.
Are you like me in which the attractiveness of my own signature is dependent on the quality and refinement of the pen I use? I asked this because I am impressed and enjoy using my present sign pen. Unfortunately, my present pen (pictured below) does not seem to have a label.
And it seems that I can no longer obtain the same pen in case the present one runs out of its ink. Reason being, I got this pen from a boy who sells various ball-points, markers and pen on a moving bus. If in New York subways there are young students who sells chocolates and snacks inside a moving train, here in the Philippines, there is a young boy who sells cheap sign pens and ballpens inside a moving bus.
On a public commute to the City of Manila from a weekend adventure in Villa Escudero in Quezon Province, a shy-looking young boy hopped up our bus and started distributing a note to all the passengers. The message indicated on the note states that the young lad is selling cheap ballpens and that the proceeds of his earnings shall be used for his schooling expenses.
I opted to buy one priced at twenty pesos (less than 40 cents in US$) and got to pick the green colored pen then return the note he handed earlier. My colleague MJ, on the other hand, actually handed 50 pesos (US$1) to the young dude after reading the note and opted not to get any pen. She however did not return the note the boy distributed and instead kept it inside her bag. She told me that she is to show the note to her daughter and tell her daughter about our encounter with this pleasant-looking young boy.
And every time I use this sign pen I am reminded that it was the most meaningful 20-peso spending I did that day.
Since the cable TV viewing public seems to have a big appetite for food programs, celebrity chefs nowadays are a dime a dozen. Cooking shows are like a hit record that has been so overplayed it sometimes reaches a viewer’s point of irritation. And the irony of it all, has anyone actually moved in their kitchen and followed the recipe that these Celebrity Chefs did in their cooking show?
Another irony about the immense popularity of F&B (food and beverage) on cable TV is that only Chefs has already achieved the status of being a “celebrity” and no bartender seem to have reached such a status. Though considered as a highly competitive profession, I have yet to know a Celebrity Bartender! I have yet to even read about a person with killer innovativeness on cocktail concoctions and inventions.
The same is true here in the Philippines. Unlike their culinary counterparts, recognized Filipino bartending greats unfortunately does not have celebrity statuses. And the Filipino bar and mixology scene seem to have remained quiet, dormant and snoozing.
This is until two young Filipino bartenders recently gave pride to the country in the bartending arena. Edmond King Mercadero and Genvic Silpao recently won the South East Asian Bartending Competition held last September 29, 2017 at the Sofitel Manila.
I was fortunate enough to have witnessed how both lads performed. Edmond King was suave, cool and gracious during the Classic Category competition while Genvic was brisk, lively and electrifying during the Flairtending event. It was no big surprise when Edmond King was adjudged the Champion in his category while Genvic came as a runner-up because of the height and degree of difficulty of throws he did in the Flairtending class.
Both young lads have yet to earn a PhD in cocktail revolution yet Edmond King and Genvic are starting to create a name for themselves in the world of mixology and bartending. Both are actually due to compete further in the international bartending stage later this year. Edmond King will again represent the Philippines and is due to compete at the World Bartending Championship in Copenhagen while Genvic will be in Kaohsiung Taiwan to also represent the Philippines in the 9th Gang-Dou Asia Cocktail Competition.
With no names popping up when you think of the Philippine bartending scene, I guess it would be reasonable enough to say that Edmond King and Genvic are the present Kings of Bartending.
The Filipino translation for the word “beast” is halimaw. And halimaw is how I would describe the strength, depth and power of the singing voice of Morisette Amon during her participation in the recent Asian Song Festival held somewhere in South Korea.
This kind of a Filipina beast simply slayed it! This was such a phenomenal performance. Her pure talent is out of this world! And she looks absolutely gorgeous in that video!
What is so surprising with this number is that I was less impressed by her whistling capability. Maybe it’s because a number of good singers can do the whistle. I was more impressed and surprised by the unique squeaking sound that her voice makes. That is so rare and exclusively Morisette. That squeak would most probably be the most beautiful squeaking sound that I’ve ever heard.