June 28, 2010

Plug gaps or nix poll automation

'Before the next automated election, all the loopholes in the PCOS and the automated election process should be firmly plugged by either the current provider or by another more assiduous supplier. If not, a reversion to manual elections with heightened vigilance by organizations like the PPCRV and NAMFREL would probably yield more credible and accurate results. Comelec Director Jose Tolentino is right. The problem is not automation but the people running the automation, which is to say, the same people whose perennial and persistent misconduct of manual elections prompted the conversion to automation in the first place. Guns really don’t shoot people, people shoot people. Machines don’t cheat, people do. Unfortunately, the same people are still running Comelec despite periodic changes of Commissioners over the years and the leadership of well-meaning chairmen such as the incumbent.' (Rep. Teodoro L. Locsin Jr., Chairman's Report on the Alleged Fraud and Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) Machine Manipulation in the May 10, 2010 Automated Elections, June 28, 2010)

Observations, Conclusions and Recommendations on the alleged fraud in the May 2010 elections (Rep. Teodoro...

The full report here.

June 27, 2010


The attic is usually the space where we store our memories—mementos of a great time gone by through old black-and-white photos; proof of one’s accomplishments in the form of trophies, diplomas and old report cards; in my case, books that I no longer have the space for in my present bedroom (I was quite the bookworm in my younger days), as well as old reporter’s notebooks and important documents which I keep as a sort of protection in case anyone decides that a story I wrote about him five or 10 years ago has irreparably injured his reputation or business. (Not that this has ever happened, but still….)

Among the stuff I found were my Papa’s old vinyl records. He had such a diverse collection, from the sappy Roger Williams piano recordings, to nice and easy Frank Sinatra and the romantic Jack Jones; from the intense Latin grooves of Cal Tjader and deep percussion from various artists, to the breezy stylings of Stanley Black and Tommy Dorsey. He also had soundtrack albums like the Broadway musicale Camelot—which always stood out among his record collection because of its vibrant red color—and the film hit From Russia with Love, with a young and handsome Sean Connery staring at me from the jacket cover. (From Something Like Life, BusinessMirror, June 25, 2010)

June 21, 2010

Sex and the city

It is called a vagina. Not flower, not ponggay, not “your private part.” That’s the female genitalia for you.

For males, they have what is called a penis. Not a pitutuy, birdie, or pee-pee.

It is amazing that in this post-post modern age we live in where we Filipinos are trailblazers in using technology, we remain backward in our attitudes toward sexuality.

Have you ever called your arm, ear or any part of your anatomy by an infantile name? Or just the body parts that you think are “dirty?” (Click Something Like Life for the rest.)

June 14, 2010

Where to go for Father's Day?

I would trust these treats from Chef J. Gamboa and sister Malu:

Oof! That cochinillo is calling out my name.

Our pal Al

(Al Gore receives a plaque of appreciation from Hans Sy, president of SM Prime Holdings. SM Prime Holdings brought the former US Vice President to the country for the third leg of the Leadership Conference Series, with the theme "The Leader as Environment Steward." Photo courtesy Campaigns & Grey)

FOR those who’ve been asking, no, I don’t have a photo with former US Vice President Al Gore. The Nobel laureate was in town on Tuesday giving an updated Asian version of his global-warming lecture.

Unfortunately, unlike last year when former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair came over and I managed to have two photos taken, there was no press conference that followed our pal Al’s lecture. I understand a provision in his contract prohibited press interviews. (Suplado naman.)

So sorry, friends, you won’t be seeing any photos of me and Al showing up on my Facebook profile anytime soon. True, I could’ve attended the postdinner lecture and photo-op with him, but duty called and I had to write the news story about his lecture. Rats. (Click Something Like Life for the rest. My column is published every Friday in the Life section of the BusinessMirror.)

* * * *

WHILE work commitments prevented me from attending the festivities after the lecture, I managed to get hold of the much talked about "sustainable menu" of dishes served during the cocktails which was prepared by the Makati Shangri-La Hotel.

"Sustainability-Makati Shangri-a's social responsibility extends to the way we value history, tradition, culture and environmental impact.

"This evening's glocal cocktail menu prepared by our creative chefs celebrates Filipino ingenuity at its best - social entrepreneurs that bring only the best of locally-grown Filipino ingredients whilst catering to an exquisite global palate."


Seared yellow fin tuna with wasabi mayonnaise of japanese cucumber
-Sourced from the fishermen of Mindoro, traditional hand-line fishing method was used to catch the tuna as opposed to open cast net - the first sustainable fish source from the Coral Triangle.

Kesong Puti with Cherry Tomato Salsa
-The kesong puti is sourced from organically-fed water buffalos in the province of Laguna

Blue cheese flan with caramelized onion and candied walnuts
-the low-emission blue cheese is sourced from a local cheese maker in Bulacan

Shredded Pork Adobo Puff
-Meat is sourced from a local piggery farm in Rizal.

Strawberry tartlets, calamansi sacher lollipop, tres leches and banana crumble stew

-The organically grown calamansi and banana are sourced locally from the province of La Union and Pangasinan while the sweetness of the strawberries are grown naturally from the highlands of Bukidnon

Sustainable cuisine is the current rage among environmental folk and these are dishes basically made from ingredients that have the least impact on the environment, i.e. beef from cows not injected w/ hormones, organic vegetables, fish raised from fishponds, etc. Not only will these help protect the environment, the dishes are supposed to be healthier as well as the ingredients don't have any of those preservatives and pesticides normally found in meats and greens.

So congratulations to the Makati Shang's chefs for coming up with these interesting pica-pica. I hope I have the chance to try the same in some future event. But first, can someone please explain to me just what "low emission" blue cheese" is about? ;p

June 02, 2010

A hotelier's charmed life

IT’S impossible to have conversation with Señor Miguel G. Cerqueda without laughing and reminiscing about the time he managed The Manila Hotel. After all, a large chunk of his 30-year career in the hotel industry was spent at what was once known as the “Grand Dame” of hotels in the country.

Fondly called the “ghostbuster” by his staff, it was Señor who would bravely sleep alone in some suites allegedly haunted, after ghostly apparitions were reported. (“She was on drugs! She was hallucinating!” he dismissed one such report of a woman so scared out of her wits by the supposed shadow of a little girl, she ran screaming in the hallway in the middle of the night.) Over lunch at the Astoria Plaza, which he now oversees, we joke about a few more ghost stories that he has been able to credibly explain away. (Click Sunday BusinessMirror, March 21, 2010 for the rest.)