April 28, 2010

Madonna overload on GLEE

THIS was the best episode on GLEE, ever! It wasn't a surprise at all that Cheerios Coach Sue Sylvester was inspired by MADONNA. She attributes her take no prisoners attitude to the Material Girl. Haha.

This was Sylvester's own tribute to Madonna...hysterical!


April 27, 2010

Live! from New York! heeeere's David Letterman!

Oopsie! Actually, it's the new U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, Harry K. Thomas Jr. Here he is in his first YouTube address to all of us Pinoys, along w/ a few of his colleagues at the Embassy.

Ang cute ng Lolo nyo noh?! Don't you super appreciate his efforts to speak in Tagalog? Todo-enunciate! hehe.

Don't let the mega-gilagid smile deceive you though. According to American national security expert W. Scott Thompson who appeared in ANC's The Rundown, Ambassador Thomas is the real thing. Having this guy in these parts is a big deal. It's not true that the man has big shoes to fill bec. of his predecessor's record, bec. in fact, she was such a lightweight and apparently, didn't give an accurate picture of what's been happening around these parts to Washington.

The new ambassador means business, w/c means, the U.S. has its eye on us. So the presidentita better not try anything stupid during the elections. Big Brother is watching.

April 26, 2010

How to use an iPad

JUST when we've all but dismissed the iPad as just another frivolous gadget we don't need...

...here comes a Chinese concert pianist giving it a spin at the end of his concert! Hilarious! (Thanks Alberto for posting.)

April 25, 2010

Continental Micronesia ready to hike Guam-Manila flights

(David Kendell, Director for Sales and Marketing for Asia and Micronesia, Continental Micronesia. Photo by Rhoy Cobilla)

CONTINENTAL Micronesia (CO) will likely increase its flight frequencies between Guam and Manila, as the impending US military buildup on the island attracts Filipino investors and contractual workers.

David Kendell, the airline’s director for sales and marketing for Asia and Micronesia, told the BusinessMirror: “You’ve got Filipino businessmen and women that may be looking at Guam to start up businesses. You also have a very skilled work force that will [become] contract workers…so you’ll have an influx in demand built up over the next four years. Continental is positioned well to add services. So if we see an increase in demand, we’re ready to act on that.”

About 8,000 US military personnel and their families are expected to relocate to Guam from Okinawa starting 2011. (Click BusinessMirror for the rest.)

'Gusto ko happy ka!'

ONE of the catchiest slogans the electoral campaign season has burped up is probably old man Juan Ponce Enrile’s, “Gusto ko happy ka!”

My friends and I have gotten into the joking habit of using his line every chance we get, not because we’re voting for the geezer (really, we’re not), but just to make a point when we want everything to run smoothly and everyone is satisfied with either their food, purchases or whatnot.

And truly, I may not remember any of the old coot’s sponsored legislation or his privileged speeches given over the years—and, really, hasn’t he been around like forever?—but I will absolutely never forget Manong Johnny’s campaign slogan until the day I die. (Don’t get me wrong, I love old people It’s just that they kinda don’t know when to let go and hand over the reins of the horse to a younger new jockey. Why don’t you travel with a hot new babe, or enjoy your grandkids or something?) (Click Something Like Life for the rest. Photo from Vernon Go's blog)

April 15, 2010

How to make PR work for you

RECEIVED this announcement from Edd Fuentes, president and CEO of FuentesManila. He also chairs IPRA Phils., the local chapter of public relations specialists and publicists, affiliated with the International Public Relations Association.

(For registration details, contact Ms. Sheena Ramos of IPRA/FuentesManila at 893-9355 or Ms. Sonia Tejada at 638-0010. Students will get discounted rates.)

Hmm, maybe we should send this to HP Phils. and Stratworks. Who knows, their people could actually learn a thing or two about professional PR practices. haha.

April 11, 2010

Quick(ie) bites

(Chef Alain Rayé in the kitchen preparing our lunch.)

I FINALLY HAD the chance to meet two-star Michelin chef Alain Rayé, chef patron and owner of La Régalade West Vancouver last Friday. He prepared lunch for a few friends and I at La Régalade in Makati, a restaurant co-owned by veteran hotelier, Perfecto "Bubut" Quicho, businessman Antonio "Tony Boy" Cojuangco, and a host of partners - mostly businessmen who revel in fine food and wines.

I'VE gone to La Régalade in Makati a few times since it first opened in late 2008, whenever I've had a hankering for Duck Leg Confit, Manila clams and Lemon Tart. I've always liked the laidback style of the place, and because it's basically quiet, even when there are lot of diners. (Quicho explained to us before that it's because the fabrics they used in their seating, and in their lampshades absorb stray sounds.) What's more, the dishes are moderately priced, easily affordable by even the white-collar working men and women of Makati. And no joke, I've seen them pack this place at lunch!

Chef Alain is pretty much what everyone's idea of a Frenchman is. He is passionate about his food, his wines, and of course, his women. All that translates into his country-cooked dishes which are all heart and soul. These are dishes which you don't have to dress up for in your ballgown and blings, although the restaurant surely won't turn away anyone who does turn up at the door this way. (Picture this, Manila clams cooked in white wine and pepper cream sauce, then use some of their marvelous crusty bread to sop up the sauce. It's fabulous when you have some chilled white wine to wash it all down. At the end of a meal like this, I can't help but lightly suck at my fingertips just to taste some more of the clams delightfully salty-sweet piquant sauce.)

Some people have described Chef Alain's dishes as comfort food - like that bowl of steaming bulalo on a lovely rainy day. I think his genius lies in making his simple rustic dishes evoke so much feelings of extreme pleasure and immense satisfaction. So to me, it's more like the afterglow after a round of quick rough sex. It's intensely gratifying but you are left wanting for more.

Here are the dishes we had for lunch, in smaller portions though from the usual, just so we could have a sampling of what's being served on his special menu.

(Parmesan cheese w/ tomatoes served w/ a side salad in tapenade dressing - your basic vinaigrette w/ black olives tapenade. The sour-sweet combination of the salad complements the salty grated cheese topped by the sweetness of the juicy ripe tomato slices.)

(Fried prawns w/ fresh thyme. Very light, w/ the prawns succulent - a perfect summer dish. Perhaps bec. fresh thyme was used, there were only some hints of the latter; and does not overpower the dish w/ its usually strong flavor.)

(Daube of veal cheeks, left, with creamy potato gratin on the side. Pinoys use pork cheeks basically for our sisig, along w/ other portions of the pig's mouth and snout. Who would've thought that on its own, especially from a young pig, the cheeks would be so fleshy? Cooked slowly in red wine, the dish is decidedly tender and just easy to slice into. The tomato confit and fried basil lends the dish some sweet punch, w/ the dark chocolate easing in some tartness.)

(Left, Tarte Tatin and Tarte Chocolat on the right, w/c my spoon sliced into. Known around our parts as molten lava chocolate cake, the Tarte Chocolat oozes w/ a lot of chocolatey goodness. Some may find these a little too sugary, but for those w/ a sweet tooth, these would be probably winners for them. The capuccino that was served w/ these creations was excellent, however. The restaurant only uses Illy coffee, and so Cheffy was genuinely surprised when we told him that we produce exceptional coffee beans here in the Phils. as well, some of w/c make their away abroad.)

The Makati restaurant is currently holding its 1st Food Festival, w/ Chef Alain whipping up French bistro fare for dinner. And I must tell you, those tables are going fast, so reservations are very much encouraged. Ricky Banaag, a partner in the restaurant (another foodie, but whose dayjob is overseeing Intel Phils.' operations) says they've had to make even some of the co-owners - I won't say who - wait for their tables, esp. when they stroll in unannounced w/ no reservations. (Just a note, the two Michelin stars the chef earned back home in Paris were for his luxury fine-dining fare, so don't expect any of that in here - remember, no ballgowns, tuxedos and blings. I forgot to ask Chef Alain though if he missed that kind of complicated cooking at all.)

(The menu for the food festival. Some have commented that some dishes on the menu are not exactly French, but as Chef Alain says, "you've got to have some balance." I would think as this is bistro fare, the restaurant needs to put in some easily recognizable dishes, esp. for those unintiated in French cuisine. But he stresses that, for instance, "gnocchi is not just Italian," as there are a lot of French recipes that use potatoes in a similar manner - dumplings style w/ a variety of sauces.)

Chef Alain says the dishes the diners respond to the most will probably end up in the restaurant's main dining menu. (I just hope they still keep my old favorites!) And bec. he is so impressed w/ the quality of our seafood here, he will also be creating more seafood dishes for the new menu. Of course the challenge for the restaurant's owners now is to maintain the same exceptional Rayé quality of the cuisine, even when Chef Alain has gone home to Canada. (Believe me, we tried to persuade him to stay here. But Manila is just too hot for the chef. And after seeing his iPhone's photos of the morning scenery from his bedroom window back home, we don't blame him for wanting stay there!)

Now, it's not everytime you get to have your dinner cooked by a two-star Michelin chef, so I suggest you not waste your time and reserve a table right now. La Regalade's 1st Food Festival lasts until April 18. For inquiries, call 750-2104 and 05, or check out their web site at www.laregalademanila.com.

Mane tales

WHEN the heat of the summer season begins to sizzle, most of us usually pay more attention to our skin, slathering oils and lotions to protect and moisturize. What we tend to forget, however—perhaps because it has the tendency to just uhm, hang about—is our hair.

Hairstylist Cherry Tiosejo-Reyes and proprietor of Toni&Guy Essensuals Manila, says that just like any part of our body, we should also pay extra attention to our locks, especially during this season. The sun’s ultraviolet rays tend to dry out any ounce of moisture in our hair, so it needs proper conditioning every so often.

With the Earth’s thinning ozone layer already proven to do harmful damage on our skin, I am almost inclined to start wearing hats these days. Actually, I don’t understand why we here in the Philippines don’t wear hats more often, considering we live at least half of the year under the blazing sun. Don’t you find umbrellas just too cumbersome? (Click Something Like Life. Photo from the web, via BM.)

April 07, 2010

More on HP Phils. and the Stratworks issue

WE are re-posting a press statement from CyberPress:

April 4, 2010

CyberPress Official Statement

The IT Journalists Association of the Philippines (CyberPress) is issuing this statement to clear the issues regarding an incident involving our board officer Melvin Calimag and co-founder and former member Red Samar.

On March 1, 2010, Mr. Calimag wrote a story on the resignation of Ms. Bernadette Nacario, HP Philippines country manager for Personal Systems Group (PSG). The company branded the story as false although it did confirm on the following day that Ms. Nacario has indeed resigned. The CyberPress firmly believes that the story is true and correct in its totality.

Calimag, a long-time IT contributor of the InfoTech section of the Manila Bulletin, was told to stop writing for the paper. Samar, on the other hand, was the editor of the same section for 14 years, was stripped of his editorial responsibilities.

We don’t question the management prerogative of Manila Bulletin. However, the drastic turn of events was a direct result of a questionable action done by HP Philippines and its local PR agency, STRATWORKS, which communicated directly with Manila Bulletin Executive Vice President – Advertising Department Emil Yap in clear violation of journalism and PR protocol and ethics.

HP Philippines executive Bernadette Nacario and STRATWORKS PR manager Harold Geronimo said Mr. Yap asked them that a “letter of clarification” be sent to him immediately. But, even if it was Mr. Yap who initiated the communication, it was patently inappropriate for them to directly engage with Mr. Yap without involving the people on the ground – the editor and the reporter.

They sent the letter to Mr. Yap, who also serves as the paper’s executive vice president for advertising, when the matter was clearly editorial in nature. They did not contact the reporter and editor until two weeks later when Mr. Samar was asked by Mr. Yap to reply to the letter.

However, Mr. Calimag, as the writer of the story and the one directly involved in the issue, has not received any communication from either HP or STRATWORKS.

In any dispute regarding factual errors, the accepted proper course of action would have been a letter to the editor or a libel suit. What HP Philippines and STRATWORKS did set a very dangerous precedent in the journalism profession. There was obviously an attempt to influence the newspaper owner, suppress editorial integrity, and press freedom.

It is very unfortunate that this controversy has marred the good relationship of HP Philippines with CyberPress, which has been covering the company ever since its establishment in 1996.

Information Technology Journalists Association of the Philippines

April 03, 2010

Buyer beware!

So, how did I go from an $829 iPad to a $1,170 tab? In a word: Accessories.

Knowing I'll want to do some serious typing on the iPad, I sprung for the $69 keyboard dock (ka-ching!). To protect my iPad (and prop it up on any flat surface), I went for the $39 case (ka-ching!). I added the $29 USB power adaptor because I will want to charge my iPad in multiple locations, and the $29 VGA adapter so that I can view it on any display I own (double ka-ching!).

Oh, and I took the $99 AppleCare Protection Plan, which extends the 90 days of tech support and 1 year warranty (including the battery) to two years. (Big ka-ching!) Shipping was free, but sales tax added another $76.58 to the tab (ka-ching! to the State of New Jersey). (Click How My $499 iPad Purchase Became a $1,170 Credit Card Bill.)

HERE's my earlier take on the iPad. Will definitely wait a year or so until all the bugs and apps are fixed before considering to buy one.