Tuesday, February 25, 2014


12 NOON of Day 1 (Talisay, Batangas)

Is Club Balai Isabel owned by Kuh Ledesma and named after her daughter?


What I cared about is the sinaing na tulingan which blended well with the pancit canton and what looked like a Greek feta salad that we had for lunch.

That was before the putong binan during breakfast and turon drenched with an amazing sweet sauce for the morning snack, and after at least two rolls of fried lumpia in the afternoon, before riding the van to Manila.

9 PM of Day 2 (Quezon City)

Baluarte JTG was packed.

The lechon from Quezon, the halabos na hipon from Bulacan, the tiim na bibe from Nueva Ecija, and bilaos of pansit from wherever were gone.

I did managed to salvage half of a steamed boneless bangus and eased into the comforts of a wine bottle as the Dutch lady sang with the one-handed guitar man while the strings of Jess Santiago's ukelele rioted with the shrill of a harmonica, the wailing of a violin, and the explosions from a variety of drums.

The thing is, the first bus to San Jose City leaves at 4 am even if it's a Saturday.  

9 AM of Day 2 (Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija)

I had N3 [palabok with french fries and black coffee], Balong opted for Jollibee's newest longga breakfast value meal, while Bulan decided on the familiarity of Chicken Joy.

1:30 PM of Day 2 (Cabanatuan City)

Again, Jollibee palabok for lunch but with corn on the side that time.

That was because Jollibee Circumferential is the eat nearest to the Kapitan Pepe Lodge and its snack menu of bihon guisado, fresh lumpia rolls, and chicken sandwiches before moving to the Amaranth District Convention where I graciously refused a styro-packed pansit.

Later that night though in the 4th floor restaurant of Marry's Hotel [that's right, 2 Rs], I just can't refuse a freshly cooked spread of bihon guisado with chop suey and sweet fish fillet.

Day 3 (Bacal 2, Talavera, Nueva Ecija)

I am nearing pansit overdose so it was adobong sitaw and daing na bangus for breakfast at Epay's in CLSU after the prologue of our maiden bike ride and before the first lap of our own Tour ng Model Lodge.

Lunch was a forgettable deep fried bits of pink salmon plus whatever. 

Dinner was more memorable with nilagang kasim ng baboy and pangasius fillet in orange sauce.  

11:30 AM of Day 3 (Greenbelt, Makati)

Manila through TPLEX was a breeze.

Early lunch was originally at Red Crab's.

Take God we didn't.

The shabu-shabu was superb [I had a seafood platter] and a fitting exclamation mark to an almost sleepless 3-days of something worthy enough to be a pansit festival.

Friday, February 21, 2014


It's been a rough two weeks.

I would easily qualify for a frequent rider or platinum card reward if provincial buses plying the Manila-Nueva Ecija route issue travel points to their passengers.

4 am wake up calls, a cigarette or two until the bus comes, breakfasts at McDonald, taxi rides to wherever and then the bus station, and bland dinners in La Paz have become a way of life.

Candy Crush kept me company most of the time.

Still, a box of freshly cooked Goldilocks bihon guisado washed with Coke during a high rise meeting somewhere along Panay Avenue miserably failed to assuage the routine-ness of it all.

After another early trip to Manila and another meeting along Elliptical Road where a mother-and-son-in-a-taxi was just ambushed by a riding-in-tandem, I flagged a cab, hauled my luggage that was intended for a 4-day road trip, and absentmindedly told the driver to take me to the bus station for the trip back to Nueva Ecija.

The round-trip routine has become a hard core habit.

Thus was a British knight and a forum at the National Museum got snubbed.

Should I join a 2-day assessment and planning session in Batangas?

I decided it was more likely not while I nibbled on the fried corn served at the wake of somebody else' dead mother.

But that night, I dreamed of the band and the dancers who perform at funerals. 

So early morning the next day, I was back on the bus after killing a cigarette, worked the Candy Crush, took a taxi from Quezon Avenue, had breakfast at Kenny Rogers' for a change, and endured an uneventful 2-hour trip to Talisay.

The sotanghon guisado served with sweet-and-sour tilapia steaks, buttered vegetables, beef kaldereta, and pork asado was an omen of the good choice I made. 

Club Balai Isabel is a blast of fresh air.

I'm glad I'm here. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


May ipinadala nang visa ang Riyadh.

Official daw 'yun at for pick-up na lang sa Saudi Embassy sa Manila.

May plane ticket na din.

Kung sakali, first time akong masasakay ng Gulf Air.

Pero heto ang nagyari:

SEKRETARYA NI AMBASSADOR: "Pre-approved visa lang 'yan sir. Kailangan pa din ninyong magsubmit ng mga requirements sa mga accredited travel agencies namin. Sila ang mag-eencode at magpa-process sa visa ninyo".

AKO: "E sa linggo na ang alis ko. Biyernes ngayon. Ang advise kasi ay for pick-up na lang ang visa".

SEKRETARYA NI AMBASSADOR: "Gan'un po talaga ang protocol namin. One day ang visa processing at sa hapon lang ang releasing. Ang irerekomenda kong puntahan ninyo ay ang East West.

A ewan.

Buti pa nga Pakistan, nag-issue agad nang visa kahit Biyernes dahil sila ang host noon ng G20 meeting.

'Tsaka hindi nga nag-require ng visa ang Panama, South Africa, at Qatar dahil sila ang mga host.

Kaya best wishes na lang kina Vice at ComYeb na siyang natirang kinatawan ng Pilipinas sa Riyadh LMDC workshop.

Heto ang ramen para sa inyo, mga komrads.

Gawa ng isang Japanese restaurant sa isang baryo ng San Jose City.

Medyo lasang mami ang sabaw pero puede na din.

At para sa Saudi Embassy sa Manila, heto ang malabsa at kinapos sa timpla na pansit malabon.

Bagay sa inyo 'yan. 

Wednesday, February 05, 2014


Nanundo at naghatid ako ng patay n'ung huli akong bumiyahe sa Nueva Vizcaya.

Halos isang taon na pala ang lumipas.

Siguro puede na ulit akong bumalik. 

Kaya na marahil pumasok sa bahay kung saan huling natulog ang isang kaibigan...

...at kunan ng pityur ang mismong lugar kung saan siya kumatok ng saklolo [na isa na palang opisina ngayon].

Heto ang aking atang para sa nalalapit na pagtatapos ng isang taong pagluluksa...