Thursday, March 30, 2006


This came to our attention during FVR's time. No idea if it is still being produced. I do recall the great ruckus it raised during that time.

It that the NABISCO brand I see there? The promo edge of this packaging is in Spanish.

I checked Wickipedia and I saw this: Filipinos, in the plural, refers to cookies which are manufactured by Artiach and Nabisco in Spain. Nabisco sold out to United Biscuits Iberia which is owned by United Biscuits UK.



You must be familiar with this scene in almost all Philippine ports - Badjao families have taken to asking for alms from arriving ships as a way of surviving harsh city conditions.

If you don't see them at the ports, you'd find them on the streets of major cities like Manila, Cebu, and Cagayan de Oro risking life and limb going from car to another to ask for alms.

Is there a better future for the Philippines' Badjao people?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Elle es retrouvée! Quoi? L’Eternité. C’est la mer melee au soleil!”
(It is found again! What? Eternity. It is the sea mingled with the sun.)

from Alchemy of the Word, Une Saison en Enfer (Seasons in Hell)

Monday, March 27, 2006


"Madame Han" and the young "Jang Geum" arrive in Manila to promote the Korean show Dae Jang Geum, known in the Philippines as Jewel in the Palace.


Was walking along Sta Cruz when I espied this kid finishing off a McDo sundae someone probably gave him out of pity. Siempre nahuli ako 'nung ale sa loob habang kinukunan ko ang bata. Dyahe! Baka akalaing pedophile ako, nyak!

If this is dinner, there's no likelihood this kid will grow up healthy. That is, if he grows up at all. This is already a very common scene infront of fastfood restos in the metro.

Once, while buying pan de sal at Julie's located in the village where I live, a little girl (ang dungis!) tugged at my shirt and pointed to a chocolate cake (Php 8 only) on the counter.

What to do naman, ' di ba? Hay naku.

Friday, March 17, 2006


Wilted flowers left to rot on the driveway

Thursday, March 16, 2006


She makes mornings so warm and bright with her smile and her fruit basket

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Location: McDonald's Divisoria, Cagayan de Oro City (February 2006)

Monday, March 13, 2006


February 17-19
Weddings and Debuts 2006
Megatrade Hall, SM Megamall
Project of The Wedding Library

Once again, we were seen at Megatrade Hall at SM Megamall with our booth for The Mango Farm. This year, the order being something Filipino, we came up with an idea of using an all-capiz ensemble to surround our 2X3-meters booth. The rest of the ideas like the banig-wrapped, multi-layered latrform came from Mike Santos of the Farm.

Vatel Manila wishes to thank Ate Letty Yanga of Quiapo's famous Ils de Tules (ilalim ng tulay, for those not in the know) for discounts and speedy delivery on the capiz curtains. Henry, as well, for taking time to make the long walks to and from Quiapo. Tony of the Farm for the amazing (and erstwhile secret) artistry. To SB, for always being so supportive of my work. And to Mike, for the chance to make these ideas cme to life!(Why is this sounding like a thank-you speech for the Oscars?!)

Here's to more booths for the Farm!

Thursday, March 09, 2006


There is nothing like a snack in the middle of a day's work. In the Philippines, we just love taking snacks - nay, eating is a national passion! In fact, a typical day would consist of 3 full meals, and two snack times (merienda) . These days, merienda would normally be an order of burger and fries, coupled with a large soda but sometimes something Filipino would be nice, too. Let's all give the tired burger-and-fries a rest and sample some of our (near-forgotten) Pinoy delights!

From the makers of tocino comes another Pampanga favorite. Turrones de casoy is made of caramelized cashew nuts wrapped in delicate wafer. Hardly a heavy snack but it will do as you wait for lunch or dinner.

The ubiquitous puto, but Biñan (Laguna) style. Very dry and almost tasteless despite the cheese topping. I suggest you heat it a bit and use butter instead.

Palitaw (literally, "to show" or "to make afloat") is made delightful by coating it in grated coconut, white sugar, and toasted sesame seeds. It is made of ground rice flour and plunged in boiling water. You know it is cooked when it floats to the surface ("lilitaw") .

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Thanks to ClustrMaps, I am able to know how many visits I am having in a month's time, and from where. I think I seem to have lots of hits from the US and Europe but very little in Asia, which is a bit sad. But since the Philippines gets very little attention, if at all, in the US and most especially in Europe, I hope G.G.G. would be a good source of information for readers in these areas. Thanks so much to all visitors from the world over!

Monday, March 06, 2006


The Pelikula at Lipunan is upon us once again. This year, they will be focusing on the great female leads of Philippine cinema - from the recently-dead to the yet living.

The Festival, with Nick DeOcampo as the Festival Director, will start on February 24 – March 19, 2006, at CINEPLEX 10, Mateway Mall, Araneta Centre, Cubao.

Thanks to Barnard Miranda of the Mowelfund for the film reviewers' pass even if I don't write for any publication anymore. Visit here for details.

The AKTRES (Actress) signage at the lobby of Gateway's Cineplex

Movie magazines!
An extension of the Mowelfund Museum was set up for the occassion

The Rizal-Bonifacio tandem of the movie world: the gowns of "Star for all Seasons" Vilma Santos (pink) and "Superstar" Nora Aunor (black).
From the collection of the indefatible Charito Solis

The actresses who have livened up Philippine cinema


In CDO, there are only three ways to get around the city if you don't have a vehicle of your own. Walk. Jeepney. Motorela. You may dismiss the latter as trying-hard-to-be-Thailand/India but hey, this only means you haven't seen Manila's tuk-tuks yet. Tsk tsk. Mayor L.A. may have already run out of ideas on how to "buhayin" the city. I didn't know importing tuk tuks would be one of his more intelligent decisions. I was hoping he'd do something to improve the plight of kalesa operators. Heck, back to the topic.

The Motorela or Rela can take on 8 passengers despite the seemingly fragile frame. That's 6 people inside, and two more beside the driver. Back in High School, we've had some instances where the weight balance would favor the back part and the Rela's nose will end up high in the air like were preparing to blast off into space. I still laugh at the memory!

By the way, if anything, CDO must be one of the last bastions of good jeepney making given the beautiful designs of the jeeps here. Unlike their rusty Manila brothers or Cebu box-types, CDO jeeps are - flamboyant! Colorful, well-lighted, flashy and with the usual - and required - loud music, any visitor must prepare oneself to this assault to the senses. Relas, on the other hand, are simple, quiet machines.

And, for a small bay-area, University town, CDO has over 5,000 registered cabs! And most of these cabs are Toyota Altis types. Whoah! Just bring a CD along and pop it in the player on your way to your destination. This is the life...

Sunday, March 05, 2006


Many people mistake the pineapple as Cagayan de Oro's main produce. This is so unfair to the delightfully idyllic province of Bukidnon, just an hour's drive from the city, where pineapple plantations of the Del Monte Corporation (formerly Philippine Packing Corporation) are located. Yes, the line "as far as the eyes can see" truly applies to these fields.

Source: Department of Tourism

In fact, Cagayan de Oro doesn't have one main major produce in its name. Except for gold production, which has long been stopped, the city is simply the business center of, and gateway to, the province of Misamis Oriental.

But for first-time visitors, do not fret. There's always something you can bring home:

1.) meat products (Sler's "Cagayan longganisa" - a fairly-new invention, and the Floriendo's Oroham's meat products)

2.) Vjandep's Pastel from Camiguin

3.) Peanuts from Cheding of Iligan City

4.) Black rice (polished / unpolished)

Yes, you read it right. There are specialty farms in CDO and nearby Bukidnon devoted to special varieties of rice. This is not widely available so you have to know beforehand where to buy. I got mine from a neighbor-doctor who specializes in Oriental medicine. Very nice find. Great as a gift and pasalubong for health-conscious friends.

G.G.G. Hot Tip: Here in Manila, unpolished black rice is served at former DOT Secretary Mina Gabor's resturant along Roxas Boulevard, near the NEDA and CITEM offices. You can also buy per kilo. Look for The Garden House.


Ed, author of My Everyday Manila, has bid the photoblog world adieu with a wonderful shot of a kid amidst yellow banners.

Truly heartbreaking. We will surely miss him and his work. Guts. Grit.Gumption. wishes him all the best in his new endeavors.

Visit his blog here.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


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Prosecutor wants justice hall built
By Tony Macapagal

NEWLY appointed city chief prosecutor Jhosep Lopez said he will prioritize the construction of Manila’s Hall of Justice.

Lopez, who relinquished his post as councilor when he assumed his newly designated position last Thursday, disclosed that he will take up the matter with city Mayor Lito Atienza.

“I know very well that Mayor Atienza, as far back as he first assumed his post in 1998, has shown great interest in building the city’s Hall of Justice. However, due to some unexpected problems that cropped up along these past years, the realization of a justice hall continues to elude us. I am just hoping that this dream will turn into reality very soon,” Lopez told Standard Today over the weekend.

The Hall of Justice was first envisioned by the city government to rise where the old jai-alai building along Taft Avenue in Ermita once stood.

Its construction, however, never materialized.

Standard Today has gathered information that the Hall of Justice will be built at the old GSIS Building on Arroceros Street near the city hall.

The old GSIS building will be demolished to give way to the justice hall. However, the date of its construction has yet to be determined.

“The honorable mayor and my office will thresh out whatever kinks there are in order to pave the way for the construction to begin,” Lopez, a four-time councilor, added.

Source: Manila Standard Today, February 28 2006

Why the hell did he have to tear down the Jai Alai Building then?! And why is the old Veterans Hospital building being torn down? What's next, the former Ombudsman building? Luneta Hotel? This has got to stop.

Friday, March 03, 2006


My flight to CDO almost got cancelled because of bad weather in the city. And when pilots say this, any seasoned traveller to CDO would automatically sigh in resignation because this would mean a likely cancellation of your flight. This is because the province's main gateway is located on a plateau on top of a mountainous area called Lumbia. What a bad day/way, indeed, to start a trip. The rains in the south were ongoing for days, and Leyte has just experienced a tragic landslide. We were seated inside the aircraft for an hour waiting for weather reports while Cebu and Davao-bound flights beside ours were already pulling out of their bays. Buti pa sila...

Flight for Cebu pulls out. Cebu is PR's first destination of the day, followed by Davao and CDO

This piece of news definitely makes up for the delay

Flight attendants serve "breakfast" as the sun starts to shine through the windows

"Breakfast." I didn't finish the banana cake. I'd rather munch on air than on a make-believe cake. Sigh. I miss the old days when they serve burgers and fudgey brownies. I wonder what's serving on Business Class.


First sighting of Mindanao
The mountainous area around Lumbia
Oh dear. Houses near the airport? Call it bad planning.

More houses just beside the runway! Waking up at 7:30 in the morning to an aircraft landing outside your window must be the best thing in the world...
Fog at the end of the runway
The Lumbia airport building, unchanged since I first came here more than 20 years ago
You will not miss it: people standing and scrambling to get their bags even before the plane comes to a full stop.
Welcome to CDO! In line with the government's protection of Mindanao's 1B-dollar meat industry, foot baths are placed on the entrance for arriving passengers to walk on. This is to prevent the re-entry of Food and Mouth Disease (FMD) to the island. Mindanao has been FMD free since 2001, while the Visayas, Batanes and Palawan were certified free in 1986.
5J's new A319 prepares to leave...
while PR's A320 (which I came in) just arrived.

Here in CDO, do not expect a carousel. For many years, we have learned to go over the counter and grab our luggages from the cart that brought them in from the aircraft. Enjoy!

DEPARTURE FROM CDO (Saturday, February 25)

Passengers await boarding at CDO's Lumbia airport

Very good weather!

Small stores for last-minute pasalubong shopping!

Conking out in the midday heat.

I suppose this is how the Ultra stampede started. First, don't fall in line. Second, rush, rush, rush!

Unbelievable! A working DC3, here being loaded cargo

The A320. My favorite Airbus.

"I want to thank General Electric for their engines which provide the much-needed thrust to our flight..."

PR's "sun" against the bright, afternoon sun

Love that "smoke"! Must be the warm ambient air + freon = smoke (maybe...)

A view of the mountains of Bukidnon

Arrividerci, CDO!

A wide expanse of freshly-cut grass beside the runway

Farmers tend to their field, ignoring the noice and the jet blast from the nearby airfield

The city's newest cemetery project. If i am not mistaken, there is a common grave here for the victims of 5J Flight 387 which crashed in the mountains of Cagayan de Oro in February 2, 1998. 107 passengers died, including a former American professor.

The Pueblo de Oro project. Main feature is, yes, another SM Mall.

Downtown CDO

The Rio Grande de Mindanao's CDO portion flows out to sea. Note heavy siltation.

CDO's coast

Detail: the A320's winglets

Japanese snacks can surprise the uninitiated.

An hour of gags made the flight bearable, thanks to PR's Flights Of Fancy

Clusters of well-arranged villages greet us as we emerge from the clouds

Aircraft rolls to the right towards Manila

Industrial center (Laguna?)

Laguna? Bataan? I'm stumped.

Fishing communities in Cavite

So this is what's happening here. For a while we all thought this GMA project, which will directly link Coastal road to Cavite, is dead. Not so from the air. An interchange appears to be forming down there.

These are government housing projects but are not occupied years after they were finished. That's the Emilio Aguinaldo highway, more known as Coastal Road. St James Parish can be seen in the middle of the photo.

Sucat, Parañaque City from the air. Those 2 boxes constitute SM Sucat and its new Annex

Flaps open during what could be the softest landing in recent memory. I hardly felt the wheels touch the ground. Truly a PR trait - no bumpy landings.

The NAIA 3 will have its soft opening in June (am i correct?) with a 5J flight to Hong Kong

Docking at the Centennial Terminal 2

Go, go, go! Whoever gets all their bags first wins!

The beautiful A320 rests while a CX prepares to return to Hong Kong

Ah, to be in Manila again. There is order, at least inside the baggage claim area.

And here ends our trip...

Thank you for joining me! Our next out-of-town trip would be to the following:
1.) Aklan - June 2006
2.) Bacolod - September 2006

See you!