February 25, 2011

Think, before entering Alabang (UPDATED)

This photo was supposedly taken near the last exit towards Ayala Alabang. Hahaha. Winner.

Probably Photoshopped, but brilliant nonetheless. Got this off the Facebook wall of blogger Carlos Celdran. Hope he doesn't mind me sharing this.

People are still talking about that controversial ordinance of Brgy. Ayala Alabang. There's much ridiculing of course, with the Professional Heckler even announcing that Pope Benedict XVI had just declared the posh village as a "Little Vatican of Asia."

Interestingly enough, most traditional media outlets haven't touched the controversy, except for mentioning the ordinance. As far as I know, none of the dictatorial barangay officials have been interviewed. Well, let's give them the benefit of the daw, perhaps my media colleagues have just been too preoccupied with the People Power 25th anniversary activities to investigate this.

Meantime, I'd like to share this piece from Rina Jimenez-David, who has dubbed this development in Brgy. Ayala Alabang as "reproductive coercion."

JUST DAYS after writing about “reproductive coercion” in the United States, here comes news about a development in our very own country, in the posh confines of Ayala Alabang Village, in which “reproductive coercion” is being carried out not just by a single male or a group of males, but by the barangay council itself.

“Reproductive coercion” refers to the use of violence or coercion by men on their female partners or wives to “sabotage” the women’s efforts to prevent pregnancy or to force them to become pregnant—against their will. (Click Rina Jimenez David for the rest.)

(UPDATE) It appears it's not the Opus Dei members who are just behind this controversial ordinance in Brgy. Ayala Alabang. It is also Couples for Christ, another group against the RH bill pending in Congress. I just read a story from the Manila Standard Today which quotes lawyer Luis Sison, spokesman of the Ayala Alabang Village Association, challenging those who protest the ordinance to bring their case to court.

Said Sison, who is former president of the Phil. Nat'l Construction Corp : “Everyone is free to file a case in court, by all means. It would be better so we will all face each other and argue in court.” Read the rest here. I personally know him and his wife Triccie Cepeda Sison, and know them to be members of Couples of Christ.

With all due respect to Sison and his wife, who I hold in the highest regard after being on the same side of some environmental issues years ago, I don't know how a barangay council can just force an ordinance down the throats of its residents without even bothering to consult them. For a Coryista like Sison who has fought against the dictatorship, I find their barangay council's actions very Marcosian. Tsk tsk.

Fortunately, the Muntinlupa City officials have wisely overruled Brgy. Ayala Alabang's ordinance. Their letter to womb patrol chief/head taliban Alfred Xerez-Burgos Jr. as follows (via ANC):

Muntinlupa City Council overrules Ayala Alabang ordinance on condoms

Bravo! Long live freedom of choice!

Welcome to the Dark Ages!

I ALMOST tagged this under "creative writing" and "humor", but there's nothing funny about this ordinance banning the sale of artificial contraceptives without a medical prescription. But the brilliant officials of Barangay Ayala Alabang think they have rights over the reproductive health of its residents.

(Alfred Xerez-Burgos Jr., holy anointed womb patrol chief/head taliban of Brgy. Ayala Alabang. He is vice chairman of realty firm Landco Pacific, whose chairman is Manuel V. Pangilinan. Hmmm...I wonder what MVP thinks of this ordinance on condoms? Photo from Gibbs Cadiz)

And of course, now there are jokes circulating about the inordinately high number of Opus Dei members living in this posh subdivision who are behind this ridiculous ordinance. As you may know, the local Opus Dei chapter is vehemently opposed to Reproductive Health bill currently filed in Congress. I can't confirm the exact number of Opus Dei members living in Ayala Alabang, but I would like to stress that I do respect their religious beliefs, even though they are sounding more and more like the taliban. (As one pundit noted, pretty soon, only Latin Masses will be said in the area's churches, and women required to wear white long sleeves dresses below their knees, and veils over their faces. See? Taliban!) I just wish they respected the beliefs of others.

No one has any right to rule over women's wombs, or the sexual conduct of other people. What happens in the bedroom is the sole business of the people who own it. Whether or not they want to use contraceptive methods - artificial or otherwise – for whatever purpose, be it to prevent the transmission of STDs, or contraception, it is no one's business except their own. No lowly barangay officials should be able to regulate the use or sale of these contraceptive methods, especially since the products' sale are unregulated by the national government.

If the barangay officials are actually serious in protecting life, perhaps what they should address is the apparent rampant sale/drug use in the area (remember the Alabang Boys?) and sale of liquor to minors. Just walk around the restaurants or bars in the vicinity and you will see teenagers below 18 years old, guzzling down beers and other alcoholic beverages.

The ordinance also prohibits teachers, health workers and RH advocates from conducting activities in the barangay to educate the children on sexual reproduction and other similar issues (De La Salle brothers are you hearing this?), and bans the advertisement of contraceptives (sorry there, Robin Padilla). Wow, welcome to the Dark Ages talaga!

Anyway, I am hoping the smarter residents of this village sue their barangay officials for their sheer audacity in trying to impose this ridiculous illegal ordinance No. 01-2011. (Oh, Mr. Xerez-Burgos is on Facebook. Friend him pls, and bring him back to the 21st Century.)

Brgy. Ayala Alabang's Ordinance No. 01 (Series of 2011) banning sale of contraceptives

Btw, if you are a resident of Ayala Alabang, know that your barangay encompasses Alabang Town Center and that area where PureGold grocery is. Other than those areas, you may freely purchase your contraceptives in the pharmacies located in South Supermarket, Festival Mall, and along the Alabang-Zapote Rd. without a doctor's prescription.

And on this 25th anniversary of the People Power revolution, my only wish is for Ayala Alabang residents to free themselves from their taliban dictatorship! Condoms and birth control pills for all, damnit!

February 17, 2011

The Globe iPhone saga continues...

iPhone users complain of skyrocketing roaming charges

MANILA, Philippines - Mounting complaints on hefty roaming charges slapped on traveling wireless phone subscribers have triggered the National Telecommunication Commission to call the attention of local mobile phone companies.

NTC chief Gamaliel Cordoba said the complaints were directed mostly to Globe Telecom, which has inked a deal with Apple to carry iPhone among its list of handsets offered to subscribers.

Cordoba said he will ask the mobile phone companies to address this issue during a meeting on Thursday.

"There will be a meeting tomorrow (Thursday) with them. This needs to be addressed immediately because there were so many complaints from subscribers who brought their iPhones and iPad tablets with them abroad during the holiday season," said Cordoba. (Click ABS-CBN News for the rest.)

If you remember, this space broke the story of the complaining Globe subscribers as early as March 5, 2009. It's a little bit disconcerting that two years after, the issue has remained unresolved, and the NTC is only now tackling the problem. Check out more comments/complaints from subscribers in this March 10, 2009 update.

February 14, 2011

Meanwhile at the Grammy's

CAN anyone tell me who Arcade Fire is? Magaling ba sila talaga? They won Album of the Year for The Suburbs at last night's Grammy Awards and I'm shocked that 'with-it' gal me hasn't heard of them. (OA! ;p I'm so not with-it I actually thought the band's name was The Suburbs! haha.) Of course I was rooting for Lady Gaga's Fame Monster and Katy Perry's Teenage Dream. These two artists have been the brightest lights in the US pop scene, especially the former - a really fantastic and intelligent performer.

I was mildly taken aback by Katy's live performance though. I cringed as her singing went off-pitch several times; if it were an audition at the American Idol, Simon Cowell would've probably trashed her.

(Lady Gaga's Fame Monster wins Best Pop Vocal Album of the Year at the Grammys. Photo from www.glamourvanity.com".)

Anyway, I'm glad that Gaga won for Best Pop Vocal album, despite her rambling thoughts about Whitney Huston, hehe. Again, in this category, I was rooting for either her or Katy.

The most fun performance of the night, I thought was by Cee Lo Green, who looked like he plucked out all the feathers of the NBC Peacock and wore 'em (good for him, the Grammy's were on CBS), w/ a flashy headdress/skullcap(?) to boot. He and actress Gwyneth Paltrow sang his popular 'F*** you!' with some muppets as back-up singers and musicians.

As you know, Gwyneth sang the GP rated version of his song ('Forget You!') on a recent episode of Glee. She's got some pipes, mind you. But she was a bit stiff, unable to really shake her booty (unlike those muppets!) no doubt due to her killer heels from Christian Louboutin. Anyhoo, that Cee Lo performance appeared to be an homage (or a rip-off) of Elton John's gig on The Muppet Show in 1977, where the latter sang Crocodile Rock, feathers, glittery skullcap and all. (Of course, the joke was Lady Gaga's egg hatched and out popped Cee Lo. haha!)

(Btw, in case you were wondering, this is what Gwyneth Paltrow was wearing at her performance at the Grammys - Christian Louboutin retro colorblock booties from the Spring 2011. Kaya nahirapan sumayaw ang ale, hehe.)

Another favorite performance was by Mick Jagger who sang some soul, and looked really fashionable in his threads. He may be an old dude, but he still is Mr. Cool.

But the biggest upset of the night was in the Best New Artist category, which everyone thought would be won by Justin Bieber. But sorry, biebettes, the lovely artist Esperanza Spalding took home the award. This lady is one of the best jazz singers/bassists today, although I was a bit surprised that she's still considered "new" since she's been around since 2007-2008? She even visited Manila and performed at the Philippine Jazzfest in 2009. Dunno if this is true but there were some tweets that Spalding's web site crashed soon after she won, perhaps due to the number of people googling who she was. (UPDATE: Apparently what happened was some of the Bieb's cheap loser fans sabotaged Spalding's wikipedia page. Tsk tsk.)

(Esperanza Spalding performing at the White House in Feb., 2009. Watch this and you'll understand why she beat the Biebs.)

Jazz rules. Always.

The happiest girl today

...must be none other than Cecile Ang, daughter of Ramon S. Ang, CEO of San Miguel Corp. Why you may ask? Well it's because Valentine's Day has been extremely kind to this exceptionally talented young lady, and no, I'm not talking about her love life.

Check this out:

This was taken at about 5 pm today at the Royce' outlet in TriNoma. Its chocolates are almost sold out. The sales girl told me this was the first time it's happened to them, and when I asked if there were any more stocks coming in, she said there would be some sent over by the Greenbelt 5 branch. But a media colleague said, he passed by that kiosk, and all its chocolates were sold out also! I espied some boxes in the TriNoma branch's chillers, but the sales girl said these were already reserved and paid for.

Whoa! Either there are a lot of smart boys/men out there looking to impress their girlfriends/wives/mistresses, or the ladies have become demanding and more discerning in their tastes. Ahem. Sorry boys, bawal na ang Goya, Toblerone, at Cadbury's ngayon. haha ;p

(Cecile Ang, Royce' Chocolates' local franchisee. She is also president of Diamond Hotel, which is owned by her father, San Miguel CEO Ramon S. Ang. Photo from Philstar.com)

Of course, Cecile is none other than the franchise owner of this uber-hot Japanese chocolate brand, which has outlets also at the Power Plant in Rockwell and at Robinsons Place in Ermita. Cecile knows I'm a great fan of Royce', and I usually buy the Nama champagne chocolate and its dark chocolate variants.

I asked her last November when she was bringing in the brand's equally delicious ice cream. In an email, she said, "We are planning to open a bigger shop that will have Royce' ice cream and chocolate drinks and baked goods. We are just looking for an available space."

Yay! Can't wait.

Happy Valentine's Day to all!

February 12, 2011

Chot and Cherry at 25

Cherry and Chot with their kids: (from left) Rebekah, Joshua, Moses, and Isaiah, at the couple’s 25th wedding anniversary celebration in Discovery Shores Boracay. (Photos by Philip Sison)

THE love story of basketball coach Chot Reyes and his wife, professional hairstylist the former Cherry Tiosejo, has all the makings of a great telenovela.

There is an unplanned pregnancy, enmity between parents and the prospective son-in-law/daughter-in-law, screaming fits, doors slammed preceded by departures in a huff, big fights, threatened separations—I can just imagine the dialogue in my head. It’s the stuff that keeps most people glued to their afternoon TV screens.

But just like any great telenovela, there are no tragic endings but only happy ones. After all that drama, Chot and Cherry joyously celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary last December 16, and did it so in style at the posh Discovery Shores.

With their four children, close family and friends all dressed in beach white, they commemorated the glorious occasion with a thanksgiving Mass that ended just as the sun was setting, painting the Boracay sky in postcard-pretty wisps of orange and blue and gray.

A wonderful intimate dinner followed, with relatives and pals toasting/roasting the two, and after the last dessert had been savored, the entire group partied all night. “Everyone was thankful for that party,” Coach Chot, fresh from the recent win of his Talk ’N Text team at the recent PBA championship, tells me. From the photos I’ve seen, there can be no doubt that everyone who went home did so with a huge smile on their face and a skip in their step.

Watching the couple as I interview them for this Valentine piece, I am not at all surprised why they lasted this long. (Officially, they have been together for 28 years.)

There is an easy bantering, a kind of cariño or affection for each other that is reminiscent of how best friends behave, or, in this case, a pair of well-seasoned lovers. There is also honesty—the kind that never hurts, but only acknowledges what they had been through as a couple—just the facts folks. And the interview is always peppered with witty declarations, both having a healthy sense of humor.

I ask, for instance, how they met, and Chot playfully boasts: “’Yung klase nila sa Miriam [College], ang tagal pumipila sa klase namin [sa Ateneo de Manila University] sa soiree. Mauutak, sporty na mga cute, pinipilahan kami talaga, six months ang waiting list!”

How do they settle arguments? Cherry retorts: “Palayasin mo muna, tapos pigilan mo.”

But both turn serious when talking about the early days of their relationship. Just five months into the relationship, Cherry became pregnant, yet both decided not to get married until after Chot graduated from the university. “Can you imagine the dilemma nung in-announce ko na buntis ako, pero ’di kami magpapakasal? Sobrang iyak ng mommy ko,” recalls Cherry, the youngest in the family, and who describes herself as having led a very sheltered life. Chot was the eldest in his family, and being male at that, there was also a lot riding on his future.

Everyone said the pair wouldn’t last, both being just in their late teens and early 20s. And what did they really know about life and raising a family? But both persevered despite the huge odds against them. Chot worked even while studying, and as soon as Cherry graduated, she learned to cut hair. (She now co-owns Toni&Guy Essensuals and styles the hair of a number of celebrities and VIPs, including President Noynoy Aquino.)

“To support them, I had to take a part-time job,” Chot continues. “I worked at the Ministry of Transportation from 8 am to 12 noon. Then papasok ako [sa school] from 1 to 4 pm, wala akong kotse ha. Then from 4 to 6 pm, I’d coach the high-school team. Then 6 pm, I had to play for the college team for my scholarship. For two years ’yun ang buhay ko.” He proudly says he was able to graduate on time, then went on to work full time at the transportation ministry.

They finally got married in 1985, much to the relief of their respective families and friends. Chot says, “We spent for our wedding,” which was held at the Archbishop"s Palace, and reception at the Makati Skyline.

Still, there were more trials to come, as they adjusted to their new life as a married couple. Chot recalls, “There were a lot of big fights early on,” which Cherry says were mostly about money and jealousy, the latter, of course, due to Chot’s popularity as a star basketball player with a bevy of female fans around.

Somehow the two always managed to patch things up, and despite the bumps in the road, life moved on. Soon the other children came—Moses, Isaiah, Rebekah. From raising each other as husband and wife, they were soon nurturing their growing brood. Cherry says she is the round-the-clock disciplinarian in the family, “pero ’pag major kasalanan, si Chot na.”

I don’t sense any insecurity about each other’s professional successes, and I ask them about this. “I think that one of the secrets of lasting marriages is to let two people continue to grow as individuals, continue to learn, continue to evolve,” stresses Chot. “She [Cherry] continues to do her training in London, improves her skills; same thing with me, I’m leaving for Brussels for an executive coach-development program.”

Of course, both say that despite the 25 years behind them, they still continue to work at the marriage, although it looks more like play to an outsider like me who observes their kulitan. In their case, they say they are best friends, they go out without the kids because they genuinely enjoy each other’s company. “Barkada kami eh. I look forward to going home and being with him,” Cherry says. “Kinikilig pa din ako when he picks me up from work. Magkwe-kwentuhan kami.” Chot says, “I pick her up from the salon in Makati, we go out to dinner, we have wine....”

(Partying with Gary V. after the reception)

Both add that basketball also plays a part in strengthening their ties: “It’s a common activity [that bonds us],” acknowledges Chot. “Masaya kami when we’re champions,” says Cherry. “’Pag matalo, malungkot, malungkot together,” Chot says, finishing the thought.

He stresses that by no means is their marriage perfect, but both have learned to live and tolerate each other’s quirks or insecurities. There is a time, for instance, to just keep quiet and let the other spouse vent his/her anger. Or perhaps sleep it off, so cooler heads can tackle the issue the next day. “The best way to each your children about love and about God is to show them how to love your spouse. Kasi yung iba d’yan grabe magdasal, sobrang religious, tapos bastos, nangbubugbog pa....I think our marriage is strong; we can overcome a lot of crisis,” Chot confidently shares.

Asked about the secret to their lasting marriage, Cherry says half-jokingly, “Magaling ako magbantay, man-to-man guarding.” Ahem, ladies, pay attention. More serious now: “Perhaps what we went through, everyone said we wouldn’t last, parang we wanted to prove them wrong.”

Cherry advises all couples who reach a milestone like their 25th year together to celebrate it. It’s a way of reflecting on their lives, she explains, seeing how they managed to overcome the challenges that presented themselves, and a chance to begin a new chapter in the relationship.

“So tanong [ni Cherry], ‘mag-renewal of vows ba tayo [during the Mass]?’ Sabi ko, ‘I have nothing to renew because I’ve never broken any vow,” declares Chot, and we all dissolve in a fit of laughter. Game over. Another championship round won. It’s never a dull moment with these two.

(Originally published in the BusinessMirror, Feb. 11, 2011. My column, Something Like Life, is published every Friday in the Life section of the BusinessMirror.)

February 04, 2011

A different kind of Valentine story

(Mars Reyes - founder of Joseph & Jaemark's, and his new partners Neneng and Reggie Arceo.)

THIS being the month of hearts, let me share a different kind of Valentine story.

You could say that it was for the love of their five-year-old Matthew that persuaded Reggie and Neneng Arceo to invest in reopening Joseph & Jaemark’s, considered the Holy Grail in grilled-tuna goodness among local foodies.

Neneng narrates that Matthew was just desperate for the “crispy fish” from the restaurant’s Magallanes branch. But the branch closed already, so her husband had to look for the restaurant’s founder, Mars Reyes, to persuade him to partner with the couple and reopen.

“If it’s not Jollibee, it’s Joseph & Jaemark’s that Matthew looks for,” says Reggie. “When I found Mars—matagal na akong fan since the Katipunan [branch] days—I gave him the big ‘What if?’ I’m not a Henry Sy. I had to look for the financing, I had to look for people to put it up, but, you know, after less than a year, nabuo namin ’to, from k’wento to meeting to opening.”

(Steaming bowl of hearty Halaan soup.)

You could also say that it was because of his passion for tuna and his customers that led Mars to allow himself to be drawn into the zealousness of Reggie and Neneng to re-establish the landmark restaurant, now in its new location at Sgt. Esguerra, Quezon City. Of course, there was some amount of faith as well that convinced Mars that the couple and their partners were the right people to do business with.

“Madaming ibang nag-offer na i-reopen ang restaurant. Pero nakita ko naman [sina Reggie] nasa tamang edad, may maturity, ’di tulad ng iba—madaming pera nga, pero sobrang bata. Mahirap ’yung ganun, kasi baka madaling magbago-bago ng pag-iisip. ’Tsaka sina Reggie ang unang kumausap sa akin, at matagal na din silang customer. Alam ko seryoso sila. Inisip ko din meron market agad kasi dahil sa mga kaibigan ni Reggie. Madali s’yang humila ng tao,” Mars says.

The Arceo couple admits that while they did have a broadcasting business before, the food industry was a completely different animal. So they got other partners who could fill in the other skills needed to run a business, and were knowledgeable in financial projections, planning supplies, recording inventories—mostly financial/administrative stuff. “S’werte kami ni Mars at nakahanap kami ng mga business partners na summa cum laude in Business Administration,” according to Reggie.

It seems that despite some minor setbacks, everything just fell into place as well. Finding the Sgt. Esguerra location was quite providential. They were about to close the deal on a 60-sq-m space along Mother Ignacia, but when they returned to give the reservation fee, the building owner told them someone else had already ponied up the fee to rent the space.

(Guinataang Kuhol w/ a hint of curry.)

“So Mars and I, riding on my 600cc motorbike, started cruising the area looking for the other vacant space that Mars had noticed but just couldn’t remember the exact location. Then we found [the Sgt. Esguerra spot]; we inspected the area, saw its huge size, and thought the Filipino interiors even fit with the kind of food we were going to serve,” Reggie says.

Mars says he just had a “good feeling” about the space, and soon after, they spoke to the lessor and managed to get a deal even better than the initial space they had originally eyed. And voila! The restaurant reopened in November 2010, much to the delight of many of its devoted aficionados. (Rumor has it that even Sharon Cuneta—a long-time fan of the restaurant—told her driver to immediately stop the car when she happened to pass by the new location. To her delight, it still served her old favorites and has been a regular customer since.)

Just to backtrack a little, Mars established Joseph & Jaemark’s—named after his two children—back in 1993 to while the time away while he was on vacation from his job on one of those Miami cruise lines. He saw the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City being built, which would then become the home of the PBA games, and he applied for a space. At first, he just offered light snacks like sandwiches and goto at his still-nameless stall, one of the 22 which offered similar fare to customers, mostly to fans of the games.

But a cousin visiting from General Santos encouraged Mars to offer something different that would make the stall stand out from the rest. The cousin suggested jaws (panga) of tuna, which was such a delicacy in GenSan and Davao. So Mars told his cousin to send him some and started grilling them. Needless to say, the dish became an instant hit. (The Astrodome’s capacity is about 11,000 – a veritable captured market for all the small stall owners, Mars points out.)

(Crispy buntot, or tail of the tuna)

While he had no formal culinary training, Mars says he had learned a trick or two from his colleagues from the hotels and cruise ships he worked for. With some experimentation, he came up with his winning basting sauce for the grilled Panga, and soon after he was grilling tuna belly, while the tail (buntot) of the tuna, he deep-fried to a crisp. “Actually 'yung buntot iniihaw ko pa dati. Kaya lang ang dami kong natanggap na reklamo sa buntot na ang tagal maluto; sunog na balat, di pa luto. Pinag-aralan ko kung pano gawin para di masunog at mabilis maluto. Kaya naisip kong i-deep fry ko.” Just think of it as a healthy crispy pata.

After only two months in operation, and with business brisk, Mars completely forgot about returning to his old job in Miami. “Nag-enjoy na ako eh,” he chuckles, especially since he started meeting the players and a number of well-heeled customers, the VIPs, some of whom would motor from their palatial homes to Pasay just to eat his food.

After every game, basketball players like Robert Jaworksi would descend on the little stall to gorge on Mars’ grilled tuna specialties. “Lima [buntot] ang in-order nun,” Mars says of Jaworksi, marveling at the appetite of the star player and that of his colleagues, especially after a grueling game.

And this being the month of hearts, Mars and Neneng also shares that one-time bold actress Cristina Gonzales said in one interview that during their courtship, her then-suitor, now husband Alfred Romualdez, took her out to J&J (“a hole-in-the-wall kainan”) on a date. “The food was good, huh! At mura,” the sexy star told Philippine Star’s Ricky Lo last year. Indeed, the restaurant not only satisfied starving tummies, but hungry hearts as well.

(Thai-style Catfish salad - a crispy-sweet 'uya'-breaker.)

Joseph & Jaemark’s reputation as a haven of "pangantot" (panga and buntot) spread, and soon the restaurant branched out to other areas (Katipunan, Makati, Magallanes and C5).

Aside from the love and passion that rebuilt Joseph & Jaemark’s, there is also the genuine respect for a fellow foodie. Culinary heir Sandy Daza, according to Mars, graciously shared recipes for dishes like the crispy catfish salad to add to the restaurant’s menu. “Sabi [ni Sandy], ‘Pare, kailangan mo nito para ma-break [ang lasa ng mga ihaw].’ Napakabait na mama.” Mars says before he serves a new dish, he asks Sandy to taste it first. “S’ya nagsasabi sa akin kung okay na, or kung meron pinapadagdag s’ya [na ingredient]. Kasi s’ya ang nag-culinary arts so alam nya ’yan.” Sandy has become a reliable friend and a generous spirit to Mars since his Cuneta days.

Then it is my own fondness for simple food cooked really well that has made me into a certified fan of this restaurant, now in its nth reincarnation in Quezon City.

(Stuffed pechay - with pork and tinapa - a surprisingly pleasant combination.)

Aside from the deliriously delectable tuna dishes, I love the hearty Halaan soup, a spicy and smoky stuffed cabbage (with pork and tinapa, what a surprisingly pleasant combination! again, a Sandy Daza creation), and Mars’ own take on the ginataang kuhol, with a hint of curry. All of these no-nonsense dishes reminds one’s palate of my Lola’s home cooking, or evokes memories of a leisurely food trip to the provinces eating at roadstop stalls and tasting the local cuisine. It’s all very rustic and comforting.

The prices of the dishes continue to be friendly on the pocket. The highest-priced dish is the crispy pata (P460)—yes, aside from seafood specialties, there are down-home pork dishes as well.

While Reggie is wont to declare that reopening Joseph & Jaemark’s Family Grill is “in the service of the Filipino palate,” to me it is all about love, passion and faith—just like any great Valentine romance.

(The main headliner at Joseph&Jaemark's - Grilled Panga or Jaws of the Tuna)

(A condensed version of this piece was published in the BusinessMirror, Feb. 4, 2011. My column, Something Like Life, is published every Friday in the paper's Life section. I own the copyright to photos that appear here. Joseph & Jaemark's is at #5 Sgt. Esguerra, South Triangle, Quezon City. For reservations or inquiries, pls. call 410-TUNA. Check out its Facebook page here.)

February 03, 2011

The Year of the Metal Rabbit

Check out how your Chinese astrological sign will fare in the Year of the Metal Rabbit. Click hare (hehe).

Feng shui readings are courtesy of Joseph Chau, resident feng shui master/geomancer of the Mandarin Oriental, Manila.

Kiong Hee Huat Tsai!!!