Monday, May 07, 2007


The Gramercy... I want a condo in Makati

For those of you who still visit this version of my blog, you may not know that I've moved on from Asia Online. Now I work as a nerd in Century Properties, Inc., a real estate organization in the Philippines. I got into this thinking it may help me get to my dream of owning my own house/condo. Sigh. Hope it happens soon.

I've recently been eyeing our newest project: The Gramercy at Century City, which, I feel has the makings of becoming one of the best condominiums in the Philippines.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


I have finally moved!

I haven't been posting for a while coz of the server move problems I've been having. Still....

Thanks to Rickey, I'm now the owner of my own url (while I squat in his server for space).

Please update your links. I'm now at:

Is that loud enough?!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Banned from Watching Pinoy Big Brother!

Key Words:

Pinoy Big BrotherSomething not food related today -- but equally spicy. I'm gonna steal a page from and talk about Pinoy Reality TV. Believe it or not, I'm banned from watching Pinoy Big Brother which shouldn't faze me, really. It's just that the forbidden fruit is always more appealing. I'll explain:

I was watching Pinoy Big Brother one night over at my girlfriend's house when I happen to mention that my favorites were the two married people -- Jason *I think* and "Hot Mama". They seem to be the most real to me; free from the shennanigans that all the other housemates are trying to pull-off to get TV mileage. You can tell that most of them are hoping for a TV/Movie career once the show is over. And they'll probably get it given how stupid us Filipinos are when it comes to what we watch on TV (This from someone who's complaining about not being able to watch Pinoy Big Brother--- hehehe). But I digress...
The Jedi (Hot Mama and Papa)
The Sith (Pretty daw and bading na bading)

Anyway, I mention that I like the two married people and Mox gets on my case about staring at "Hot Mama" and watching for all the sexually loaded content. So I ask you, dear readers, do I look like a sex-depraved "Hot Mama" salivating prick? On second thought, don't answer that. Still, I promise you that my interest in this TV show is so far beyond what Mox is accussing me of.

To tell you the truth, what I want to find out is whether good can triumph over sex appeal. I've chosen two of the middle-ground characters, people who actually fall through the cracks and under the radar. They are not loud but more reserved and focused. They are not one of "the beautiful people" but rather homely and normal looking. I believe that they are the housemates with the strongest values. They are my Jedi.

The Sith, The Evil Empire, on the other hand, are the "pretty" (I still insist that to call any of them pretty would be stretching it) girls and guys. You have Say who is prudish and obviously too much of a Social Camel. You have JB who is obviously a womanizer most Filipino women will inevitably fall for. You have Cass who is a flash-in-the-pan FHM girl desperate for sustainable attention but simply failing where she thinks she's strongest-- her looks. You have Uma who is a study in histrionics (Rickey? --- hehehe). You have Raquel who I'd hoped would have a good heart given her lack of looks but who is actually, IMHO, a coniving bitch. And then you have Chx who is so much like one of the "feeling pretty" girls I know and hate. Evil all around.Cassandra

Group Pic
Group Pic
Come to think of it, Pinoy Big Brother is like the apartment I lived in during College. 5 Guys, 5 Girls, no privacy... and a whole lot of weirdness going on. So why am I so fascinated with this show. It's like watching a car wreck, I think, it would just be too hard to look away.

I can't believe I want to watch this show. It's a poor franchise that focuses on people doing inane things and acting for the camera. But in the end, to me, it's still good versus evil. It's not the sexy stuff, it's not the nakedness... it's my desire to watch good triumphing over evil.

Maybe I should talk to Mox and convince her to let me watch again. I can promise to close my eyes everytime the focus on a gratuitous ass or boob shot.

P.S. If you want to be part of my "Let Jay Watch Big Brother Please! Campaign" please email me at

*Photographs come from the Pinoy Big Brother website gallery. Visit them at

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Aling Banang's... Where Volume Counts

Key Words:

Hepa PancitAling Banang

Now this place is highly recommended... at least by my friends. I, on the other hand, don't quite get it. See, the first Aling Banang's is a walk away from my top-secret Shell Gas Station (Where they sell the cheapest unleaded in Metro Manila - usually almost a peso cheaper than regular price... but that's another story altogether) and one morning, I was feeling quite adventurous. I parked right in front of the little hole-in-the-wall restaurant and took pictures of the facade. Excitedly, I ordered their specialty and was pleasantly surprised that it was a good-sized serving of Pancit Bihon which they sell at 30 Pesos. So I got back in my car, drove to Globe where I needed to hold my office that day, sat myself down at my desk, unwrapped my pancit and took my first bite...
Eating Outdoors

Lotsa Pork
Large Serving
My mom makes better pancit, and she's not that great a cook (except when she makes Tapa and Pastel... yum). It's not that the bihon tasted bad. It was just that it did not taste good either. It was... normal. Which would've been okay given that it costs only 30 Pesos, but the hype got me. The pancit bihon was definitely a disappointment.

I might have ordered the wrong thing, though. Aling Banang's can boast of 9 branches in and around the Manila, QC, San Juan area. It has become a franchise that any other local carinderia will be hard put to match. I would think it's success would be based on repeat customers and not on hype. Maybe I should've ordered their two other specialties: Tapsilog and Halo-halo. Hmmm... I should order those next time.

Aling Banang's is a phenomenon to me. A single N. Domingo carinderia which has successfully branched out and gained popularity by word of mouth. Wouldn't we all love to have that. But if I were to sit the old Aling down, I'd give her tips on how to make better pancit bihon.

Price per meal: Between 30 to 50 pesos
Pancit Bihon Pros: Big serving at a very cheap price. Lot's of artery choking litson cutlets.
Pancit Bihon Cons: Bland to my taste.
Pancit Bihon Rating: @@ out of 5


Wasn't the UP Beach House article interesting enough?

Key Words:

I decided against posting over the weekend coz I wanted to get some comments on the Beach House article. I was hoping there are some people out there who could share their UP experiences. Thing is, the article virtually killed my readership at least according to my statistics.

Oh well. You live, you learn.

Friday, August 26, 2005


UP Beach House Barbecue

Key Words:

There's this house in the middle of the UP Sunken Garden that I remember fondly. It's called the UP Beach House, which is weird since the nearest beach is probably at least 50 kms away. Rickey says it's because the architecture of the structure looks like that of a beach house. Anyway...
The Hepa Contessa at the UP Beach House
The Hepa Contessa at the Beach House
The Beach House holds some historical significance for me. Far as my research took me, it was established sometime within 1992 or 1993. I came in as a freshman in 1993 and immediately took to eating in the Beach House (At least once every two weeks). They were known then, as they are known now, for the excellent barbecue that they sell. At that time it was heaven for a financialy challenged college man like me. 13 Pesos for the Barbecue, 5 for half a red egg and a tomato, 10 for two cups of rice... and then all the vinegar, soy sauce, and chili peppers you can eat. I get a feast for 30 pesos.

I recently went back to UP during one of my trips home, and decided to introduce Mox to the Beach House experience. It brought back a lot of eating memories.

The setup was more or less the same. You fall in line outside the house's door, you grab barbecue, side dishes, viands, and rice from cafeteria-like chafing dishes. You pay when you reach the end of the line, walk back outside, and sit yourself comfortably on the plastic chairs underneath the expansive shadows of the trees. Very romantic, you say, but it also creates certain difficulties.
Barbecue Spread
Our Spread

The Beach House Line
The Line
You have to guard against The Marauding Mayas of Death, a bred-to-kill flock of smallish, brown maya birds that are trained to descend on hapless barbecues that have been left foolishly unguarded. I witnessed one such situation when this obviously famished guy had to go back in to get some utensils... he came back just in time to see the now-content flock fly away. Poor guy.

Then there are the other issues that come with dining outdoors, the dust, the wildlife (i.e. stray cats and dogs) and the occassional frat beating. Sometimes, there you also have to make sure that the molo soup your eating hasn't inadvertently turned into a bowl of Bird's Waste Soup. Still, this is Artichoke Adobo, not some hotsy-totsy high-brow food site... and we don't take points away for what can be considered in some circles as... an indigenous experience.

The barbecue is still delicious as hell... only a tad more expensive (at 20 Pesos now for a well-sized stick). It still comes with the required last slice of fat that everyone loves. The barbecue guy I know has since retired and been replaced by a younger dude (that made me a little sad). All in all, it still delivers a Marty McFly momment.

Whatta Barbecue
The Great Outdoors
Mr. Barbecue Man
Mr. Barbecue

Mox with Ice Cream Man
Ice Cream

The other stuff we ordered was regular carinderia fare: Sauteed Monggo, Red Egg and Tomato, Boneless Fried Daing na Bangus, and three bottles of C2 Iced Tea. Nakakabusog! And it cost us more or less 200 Pesos (for two people who eat like us -- which means what we ordered would've been good for 3 normal people-- Sorry Mox, our secret is out).

UP Alumnus or not, I suggest you give this place a chance. Go on a Saturday, during lunch time... there's less of a line. Order at least a stick of barbecue, and enjoy the fresh Sunken Garden air.

Ambiance: @@ out of 5 (Less if you mind sitting on bird poop)
Food in General: @@@ out of 5
Barbecue: @@@@@ out of 5
Overall: @@@@ out of 5 (Try eating here at least once in your life)

P.S. If you have UP Beach House memories, please post or email me at

Thursday, August 25, 2005


Riding in Cars with Food


Damn! I just realized how obscure my title references are. I don't think anybody ever went out and saw that movie. At least I didn't. But there are some titles that just bounce around in the brain and never leave. Enough about that.

Drive and EatI was supposed to write this article a long time back. Back when I figured out how much time I spend driving / sleeping / waiting in my car. An average workday, for example, means that I get to spend at least 4 hours driving (and that is if I don't have to drive round during work hours just to get to my meetings). So minimum 4 hours a day. That is a fifth of my 24 hour day. Not too bad, you'd think, but subtract the hours when I'm supposed to be asleep and you'll see how bad it is:

24 Hours - 8 Hours = 16 hours That means I spend 25% of my waking hours in my car MINIMUM! And what else do I do the rest of the day? Work mostly. That is another 8 hours, which means I have 4 hours left. Now subtract the 3 hours I should be spending eating my meals and I have 1 hour all to myself. Whoopee-doo!

It's no surprise that I've learned to eat while driving. Actually, I eat breakfast in the car most of the time. And then some dinners. Lunch I skip. All this just to squeeze in more time for my other pursuits (I write for this Blog and tape our podcasts, for example, during my lunch hour). Problem is, I'm an avid rice-boy. I am never fully satisfied with life unless I get to eat a good amount of rice during my meal. This, as should be obvious by now, when done in the car, may be very tricky.Siomai and Rice

So what I did was experimented. I tried eating different food products while driving and this is what I learned:

Edsa Rush hour is your friend.
Once you get past the clutch and go driving that is required, you get a couple of seconds at every stop to free both your hands and get a good bite in.

Know exactly where your mouth is.
You'd be surprised at how much of a problem this can become. Just yesterday, I was being fed some spaghetti while in the car and I aimed a little too high. Now my one and only polo-barong is in jeopardy of being ruined. I won't mention names though... Right Mox?

Cookies in CarCrumbs itch.
This morning I ate a bag of biscochos which tasted great. I should get my vacuum cleaner ready.

Lastly, I'm providing a table with degree of difficulty and speed of consumption. Please be guided. If you're not a professional car-eating machine, choose food that's easy enough to eat.

Food:Difficulty Level:Notes:
Rice meal on flat styro
red bar
This is very difficult to do. Half of the time you're worrying the thing will slide and slip all over you. The need to balance the styro on one hand doesn't help either.
Rice meal in bowl
red barNow this is the life. Still for pro's only, but I love eating Dimsum and Dumplings Siomai rice toppings when in my car. Try to choose viand that doesn't have sauce.
Sloppy Sandwichesred barIncluding "saucy" wiches such as the Big Mac, Champ, et al, this can be messy but is manageable. Just make sure you have a firm grip and that half of the sandwich is still in the wax paper.
Dry Sandwiches
red barNot a problem. Leisurely fare that you can eat even while speeding away in the fast lane.
Cookies, Biscuits and packed junk food
red barThis type of food was made for driving. Very little of your attention is necessary.
Drinking without a straw
red barVirtually impossible unless your fully stopped or there aren't any cars and obstacles around. I advise you to NEVER do this. Best scenario is the liquid shoots out of your nostrils.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Will the real Tapa Queen please stand up. (Please stand up)

Filed in:

First off, I've decided to stop counting the number of food review posts that I make. More and more the Artichoke Adobo has taken a life all its own and it's mostly about food. The name, apparently, is prophetic.

I was scrounging up some relatively old pictures a couple of days back and I happened upon some pix I took in Taal, Batangas. It reminded me of the reason why I get excited whenever I take a trip to Mox's province. It is the one place in the world where you can meet royalty right dab smack in the middle of the local wet market.
Mox and the Tapa Queen
Mox and the Tapa Queen

Tapa Queen at WorkI'm talking about the real Tapa Queen (please stand up). The lady is apparently Mox's distant relative. You can find her everyday sitting on top of her high bench (which just reminds me of a throne --- seriously) master of all the meat products that she surveys. Her only activity is dully swatting away at the visiting flies and occassionally looking from side to side. At least until a suki comes along.

The small stall sells at least two kinds of longganisa, tocino, hard hot choco tablets, and sundry other food products. Its claim to fame, though, is and will always be the Tapa. Tapa in Taal is unlike the tapa we're so used to here in Manila. Actually, the first time I brought a bag of this tapa home, my folks and I argued about the way it was made. My dad said it was made of pork while my mom and I insisted that it was beef. After confirming with the Tapa Queen herself the verdict is...pork. It tastes a lot like beef, though, and while I don't think I can get the recipe for this concoction short of by prying it off of cold dead hands, I'm pretty sure patis is involved somewhere in the marinade.Three at Caysasay
Three at Caysasay

Anyway, go and visit the Tapa Queen's store if you wander into the Taal or Lemery, Batangas area. You can find her a brisk walk away from the Caysasay Church, in the middle of the market that recently burned to the ground.

Pork Tapa. Quite an experience.

Price: About 200 Pesos/Kilo
Gaping Navels: @@@@ out of 5
Pros: Tastes very different... no sweet.
Cons: It's pork... so don't expect jerky consistency.

Stall Front
Stall Front
Sweet Longganisa
Sweet Longganisa
Salty Longganisa
Salty Longganisa

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

web tracker