Thursday, October 14, 2010


October 13, 2010
Mt. Cloud Bookshop
Baguio City
(Photos grabbed from Ani V. Habulan's FB page).

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


… and home is:

BULAN & BALONG: Tatay, masarap ba ang Chinese Food?

TATAY: Oo, lalo na 'yung pansit nila.

NANAY: Sige nga, i-treat mo kami ng Chinese food.

TATAY: Oks, 'dun tayo sa Binondo mag-dinner.

BULAN & BALONG: (after 10 minutes of travelling from the airport) Puede po bang sa Burger King na lang? Wala kasing ganu'n sa Nueva Ecija e puede ka namang magluto ng pansit everyday.

-End of story -

Monday, October 11, 2010


This is for my former boss, Conrado "Ding" Navarro, in memory of our dinner at the Hong Kong airport some 3 years ago while on our way to Benin in West Africa (bottom photo). He ordered this same dish --- Taiwan beef noodle from a restaurant with the same name --- and I took a photo of him eating it. He underwent a heart surgical procedure a year later and never fully recovered. I was leaving for the US then and his parting words to me were: "One month lang ako sa ospital. Pagbalik mo okey na ako."

The broth is rich and flavorful, the noodles firm and just right. The chunks of beef are tender and the litid is so soft it literally melts in the mouth. But all that is lost as the memories of 3 years ago came flashing back...

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Chris Sabian (aka as Kevin Spacey) is a baby compared to those negotiating an international treaty on climate change. And Danny Roman (aka as Samuel Jackson) is peanuts compared to the challenges of negotiating that treaty.

Me is just another NGO bureaucrat trying to make sense of the nonsense that’s going on. It’s amazing how diplomats can be so nice amidst all the sell-off and reneging and blackmailing.

In the end, the real culprits were the Niebaums, Argentos, and Hellmans. They get all the goodies while the good guys like Danny Roman get all the blame.

In Tianjin, the Niebaums and Argentos and Hellmans are pretty much around. Sometimes I ride the bus with them too on my way to my small hotel and them to their huge 5-star one. The United Nations is supposed to be the Chris Sabians but…

Perhaps it may be better just to walk away from all this madness. But Danny Roman must prove his case. We are him. We will survive and triumph. And that hope alone deserves a bowl of the tastiest and delicious-est bowl of noodles I’ve ever had in my whole life.

Thursday, October 07, 2010


Our hotel serves breakfast in an Italian restaurant. So it’s not unusual to have fried Chinese noodles and greens with European bacon and sausages. I wonder about the cheese and was on this contemplation mode when I decided to take a quick side trip to what is indicated in the map as a sightseeing street.

Some 2,000 buildings of European architecture built between the 1920s until the 1930s are showcased in Tianjin's Wu Da Dao District (aka The Five main Venues) and serves as reminders of the city's colonial past. In 1858, British and French gunboats induced the signing of the Treaties of Tianjin that opened the city to foreign trade. In 1900 as an aftermath of the Boxer Rebellion, an eight-nation alliance composed of Russia, Britain, Japan, Germany, France, the United States, Austro-Hungary, and Italy occupied and governed Tianjin. The city was effectively under foreign occupation until the end of World War II with Japan's surrender in 1945.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


I have to follow a tight schedule and was only able to sneak out 3 times during my 8 days in Tianjin. The first was an attempt to find a church to pair with my first noodle shots. I did find one at the banks of the Haihe River. And right in front of it is what I thought to be a monument to the Chinese socialist revolution which seemed to remind those who pass by with that Marxist idiom: “Religion is the opium of the people”.

Across the church is a pedestrians’ bridge that leads to the Ancient Culture Street where remnants of Tianjin's ancient past is showcased for curious tourists. This 600 meter long pedestrian street bursts with Tianjin's cultural traditions and feature buildings from the Qing dynasty. It used to be the site of the earliest boat docks of Tianjin which was then one of the most important cities of China in terms of trade and commerce. The street was rebuilt and transformed as a tourist spot in the 1980s.

And right in the center of the street is the ancient Tianhou Palace that was first built in 1326 and one of only 3 Mazu Temples in the world. Mazu according to Wikipedia literally means Goddess of the Sea who is protects the fishermen and sailors.

I rushed back to the UNFCCC intersessional at the Meijiang Convention Center and was just in time for the day’s first session after which I treated myself to a traditional Tianjin lunch of Goubuli Baozi (steamed stuffed bun/dumpling/siopao), a bowl of what may be dan dan noodles with a piece of something like a century egg, and fried dough.

Monday, October 04, 2010


I thought Tianjin is almost not China. It seems a first world city with its wide streets and high rises.

Then the frequency of the red flags with the yellow stars matched that of the countless street lights.

A nice smile and sign language became the medium of communication.

We were moved to another hotel because that which we have been booked is not allowed to take in foreigners. I was told that came from the police who immediately installed detection devices and a 24-hour security detail in our new hotel.

I am in China. And this is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

FOOTNOTE: According to Wikipedia, Tianjin was once known as Zhigu which means “Straight Port”. It was in 1404 that it became known as “the Heavenly Ford”. The top photo was the first image I shot of Tianjin as our plane touched down at the Binhai International Airport. The bottom photo is my first Tianjin dinner at a Taiwanese restaurant just below our hotel.

Sunday, October 03, 2010


Thank God for the unlimited wifi access. The 4-hour lay-over at Hong Kong's International Airport passed by unnoticed. Which was my last chance of flickring and Facebooking I would found out later. Lots of noodle shops too. But later, after Tianjin...

Photo shows one of Hong Kong International's Chinese noodle shops.