A Needed Upgrade Of Filipino Independence Day

Today, June 12 my country is celebrating its Independence Day.  It’s the day when Philippines was freed and got liberated from centuries of Spanish colonial rule.  All forms of media here in my country today seem to rejoice and acclaim the freedom my country had 121 years ago.  It’s not bad.  But such commemoration seem so 121 years ago that it failed to level-up and be upgraded in a more current and present-day perspective about freedom.

My country’s celebration is still so stuck about the freedom from political and social control by the Spaniards.  Every Filipino shouts that it really feels good to be free and independent! But are we really free and independent in the true sense of the word today?

Spanish folks definitely has moved on and would not really care anymore about the goings-on in the Philippines today.  Yet still here we are, still so stuck with the thought of being freed and be independent from these folks from Europe.

Can we simply upgrade our thoughts on today’s celebration?  I would rather rally about true freedom and true independence today in the context of the present-day Filipino situations and circumstances.  I guess it would be better if Filipinos would rather contemplate on whether we are really free and independent socially, politically, morally and (wallet-wise) economically. 

Yeah we have our own government but are we really free from shameless politicians and government officials? Yeah we have freedom of expression, but are we really free and be accepted by fellow Filipinos on who we are regardless of skin color, dialect, physical attributes and sexual orientation?  Yeah we are free from economic control by other countries but are we really independent money-wise that we no longer have to worry on where to source the dough needed for tomorrow’s food, clothes, medicine and shelter? Are we really free from traffic congestion, bad education and racial discrimination? Parang hinde! (Translation: It seems not)!

I don’t want to spoil today’s revelry.  Besides, bakasyon ngayon or it’s a non-working day today!  The last time I checked, Spain has no plans of recolonizing us.  And I guess we Pinoys still have a lot to work on regarding the true meaning of freedom and independence.

smile… it’s free!

Ismayl lang yata ang libre! Pridom ka dyan!

Improved Happiness & Declined Sadness In The Middle of the Year

It is June 1 and we have exactly a month before our lives reached the second half of the year.  I just wish and hope that in the middle of this year, everyone has reached a certain level of improved happiness and declined sadness.

Philippines, is one of the countries (though with unreliable statistics) has the lowest rate concerning deep human sadness and depression as a chronic illness.  Reason behind it is maybe because Filipinos are generally happy and being sad and depressed is not an ailment but rather just a life’s short phase. 

So for those who are actually suffering from the sadness woes, I have one song dedicated for you for the second half of the year.  What is so ironic about this pop-song is that it was shot in my happy country, the Philippines…

The song, video and its location seem so apt and fitting for it was shot in one of the happiest society in the planet while resonating past sadness and moving forward at a positive tone. The happy Pinoy crowd in the video seem to say and convey, “Everything’s gonna be okay”. 

everything is gonna be okay…

This therefore is our song for the second half of the present year!   Stay happy everyone!

Kalahating taon, hir ay kam!

Now If I am Bong Revilla

Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. is a high school graduate who never stepped into a college education whose level of charisma to the Filipino psyche is seem to be unknown and unheard of in the universe.  And because of such chutzpah in appeal he landed at the number 1 spot in the 2010 Philippine senatorial race.

Bong was however detained due to plunder charges amounting to 225 million pesos worth of kickbacks.  And in the still of the night and to every body’s surprise, he suddenly was acquitted but (and still surprisingly) was asked to return the money he supposed to have stolen.  The cunning guy however promised not to return it.

bong revilla… (photo captured from rappler.com)

Now comes 2019.  Bong inched his way on being a senator again.  The biggest popularity contest of the country made Bong a senator again landing (as of this writing) at the 10th spot.  Social media however has not been very good to Bong this time.  On my Facebook newsfeed alone, Bong seem to be the epitome of futility, idiocy and absurdity.  Netizens abhor him! 

And those who voted for him, at this early point in time, are being blamed for the would-be-further-downfall of the poor Philippines.  They are branded as tanga, engot, tongo, bobo and di nag-iisip all of which if translated to English would mean dense and dim-witted.

I myself did not vote for that felon, I mean fellow.  But now if I am Bong and now that I am again a senator, I would do my very best to prove to all those who bashed me that I am worth the Filipino’s precious vote.  I will commission the brightest and the most dependable thinkers and shakers of the land to develop laws and policies for me that would benefit the majority. I would ensure that the safety and security of the minority and the oppressed are looked and cared upon.  I will also tap the best image and marketing consultants who would try to switch and modify my very tarnished image.  I will definitely use all my earned and plundered money to pay for those who are needing education, housing, medical care and all other basic needs of my fellow Filipinos.  And lastly, I will stop dancing the freakish dance step I did in my TV ad campaign.  I will prove to all criticizers and whackers who posted, liked and heart-ed in Facebook that they are all, with un-writable expletives, WRONG!

The problem is (in my contemplating tone)… I am not Bong Revilla.

i am not bong!

Pabasa nyo nga ‘to kay pogi!

Thanking the Heavens Via Santa Clara!

I am back in Manila.  And I am back in my usual normal routine.  I am, however, is not yet done with chronicling my 2019 NYC and Washington D.C adventure.  There are still an enormous amount of experiences that I have yet to write about.

But since I am back, let me just squeeze in this post.  A thank you and an expression of gratitude post to the heavens above for gifting and blessing me with such an amazing NYC and Washington D.C. journey.

This afternoon, I went to Santa Clara Monastery to express my hearty gratitude.  And in keeping with the odd and eccentric Filipino custom of saying thanks to Saint Claire of Assisi, I offered a dozen of eggs wrapped in colored cellophane.  I also wrote a short thank you note and have it lodged for the nuns to read and send it instantaneously to the heavens via Santa Clara.

I did this because I have always believed that prayer is done not because you are asking for something but because you have a ton to thank about.

By the way the colored cellophane I chose was pink and red which according to tradition has some mystifying meaning.  Red would be luck on travel and career while Pink would be for love life and family.  I was laughing about the “luck on love life”! Hahaha!

Thanks Saint Claire! My NYC and Washington D.C. adventure was a blast!

monasterio real de sta. clara de manila

Santa Clara, Salamat! Sa uulitin…

 

Washington Monument: Highlighting The Unusual

Visiting Washington D.C. would be incomplete without your having to take a photo of the 555 feet obelisk known as the Washington Monument.  I in particular had numerous photos and selfies of it on my phone.

To further submerge a traveler’s visit, it seems a must to learn further about this monument dedicated to the first president of the most powerful country on the planet.  One fact I learned is that no structure is allowed to be built around Washington D.C. that shall be higher than this monument.  Another is that it made of marble, granite and sandstone.  Like numerous number of photos I took, there are also numerous facts and interesting anecdotes about this monument.

But while trying to think of what to write/post about this magnificent monument, I come to realize how come I am so excited and appreciative of such a structure when back home in the Philippines there is also a similar and equally important monument that I have not written about.  And that I actually do not even own a single photo of such monument known as the Rizal Monument built in honor of my country’s National Hero, Jose Rizal.

Is it because the former is stateside which is hard and difficult to reach while the latter is so local that I can have a photo with anytime I want?  Is it because Washington Monument is so grand, upscale and massive that it is so awe-inspiring as compared to the smaller in size Rizal Monument?  Does my writing subtly signify my wanting to project that I am like the cool guy who travels a lot?  Or is it because I am so freaking “mayabang” (airhead and conceited) that I’d rather feature a monument far far away that entails a lot to reach than that of the easily accessible structure? And why am I allowing this somewhat dishonor to my country?

Well I guess the answer to all these lies on the fact that it is just but human not to highlight the acknowledgement and appreciation of something usual and easily accessible or of an experience that usually occurs.  Admit it!  Rare and unusual circumstances are usually more memorable and are highlighted in our lives.  You, I guess would not highlight featuring the a nearby rub-down park you grew up playing at on your Facebook or Instagram account but once you spent an overnight stay at a luxury hotel which seldom occurs, such experience is posted and highlighted right away on your social media account.

Moments like seeing and experiencing the Washington Monument is not an everyday occurrence for an ordinary folk like me.  Besides it takes a lot to see it personally if you are coming from the other side of the world.  It takes money, time, effort, courage and even a lot of luck to see and get there.

I’m pretty sure Washington D.C. locals would feel ordinary and usual toward their big centerpiece of obelisk.  And I am sure that they are craving and would look forward to a memorable powdery white sand tropical beach experience in the Philippines and will take all opportunity and luck on checking out the Rizal Monument in Manila.

But if you my dear reader think I’m simply bragging, well, you are also half correct!  Hahaha!  You can say whatever you want.  And yeah I am bragging and yes I am the dude who wants to look sooo cool! Hahaha!  The only thing that I can say then is “I hope you enjoy reading my post as well as that of seeing my photos”.

Ang Yabang! Gusto ko ngang iuwi ang monumentong ‘yan! Haler…

Vanilla Cafe in Baguio City

I would like to believe that I have some level of proficiency on determining what and how good food would be like.  My taste buds know how to ascertain and adjudicate what good food is.

And though I love cakes and may seem to have the sweetest tooth on the planet, I have never been a fan of Red Velvet cakes.  And though I have yet to encounter a Red Velvet cake that makes my taste buds do a double-somersault with one and a half twists in the free position, I think I just had one that is the most remarkable.  

red velvet… it tastes delicious or it tastes beautiful

But my appreciation of this Red Velvet was not due to my taste buds doing a standing ovation but it was my sense of sight that makes me rejoice and be delighted towards the cake I was consuming.  I was at awe about the look, design and colors of Vanilla Café inside Kamiseta Hotel located in Baguio City, the tourist summer capital of my country. 

I guess this is the cutest café I have seen in Baguio.  The interiors were so stunningly pretty, it will definitely put some very sweet delicious smile on every one’s faces.  The café was so visually attractive, the happiness it ignites would surge towards all the other senses making all dishes they serve to be so happily pleasant and appealing.       

Vanilla Café have seem to possess some enchanting potion that smoke-screened my usually resplendent sense of taste.  I actually could no longer recall if the Red Velvet I had was good or mediocre but what I know is that I was smiling while consuming it inside Baguio City’s lovely and bewitching Vanilla Café.     

Hindi lasang masarap.  Pero lasang maganda!

Piniritong Galunggong The Dashing Version

While I was growing up, there was one fish that has politically been used as a benchmark in terms of determining my country’s economic inflation rate  and the people’s purchasing power.  It was a Filipino staple that resulted to having the first female president in Asia and the Time Magazine’s Woman of the Year awardee.  It was the increasing price of this measly poor-man’s fish that was used to ignite in toppling a dark authoritarian regime that resulted to the triumph of a peaceful people power revolution.

This fish was the mundane and inglorious Galunggong (known in the US as the Round Scad Fish).  This fish is so cheap, so common and so trivial you will never see this served as part of the menu in any grand or special Filipino banquet feast.  Some Filipino folks would not even eat it because they consider it as the fish of the poor and the low-class.

But the sordid, meek and lowly fish seem to have an ally in revamping its unfortunate and underprivileged image.  It is the 35-year old Filipino restaurant called Bistro Remedios. 

I think Bistro Remedios is the only prime-quality restaurant in the metro that carries a Galunggong dish in the menu.  I have yet to know or encounter an equally ingenious restaurant of the same caliber that serves this variety of fish.

Bistro Remedios serves Galunggong and they simply call it Piniritong Galunggong.   I recently got an interest of trying one and it was one surprisingly beautiful dish that was served on my table.

I consider Piniritong Galunggong to be the chic and dashing version of this common fried fish.  It is actually a complete meal.  It is served with a special rice cooked in coconut milk and also comes with the savory-flavored Filipino shrimp paste mixed with crispy tiny anchovies. 

The presentation, the plating and the big portion definitely exceeded my expectations.  Those fresh sliced tomatoes and banana leaf bedding definitely added beautiful colors to what could have been a plain looking dish.  The sautéed shrimp paste with anchovies was packed with flavors while the special coconut milk rice was a real big surprise to the palate. 

that’s jorge, the manager

chic and dashing version

The Galunggong fish was definitely the highlight of this dish.  It was crisp, meaty and flavorful.  And for those who hate eating bony fish, Bistro Remedios’ kitchen painstakingly got rid of the fish bones!  The fish served were boneless!

Bistro Remedios (who was the inventor/creator of the now-very-famous Binukadkad Na Plapla which almost all Filipino restaurants seem to serve now) definitely did a great job on introducing and carrying Galunggong in their menu. 

Chomping on the fish seem to brought back childhood memories and of living simple and joyous lives in the past.  This dish was a definite glorious gastronomic experience!  And after having my last bite, I was already planning on when to order it again. 

inside the dining area of bistro remedios

     Bistro Remedios branches are

are at Adriatico St, Remedios Circle, Malate

and at the Grond Floor, The Block, SM North EDSA

Pinasosyal na isda…