Monday, March 28, 2016


It was actually a not so usual week, more than business as usual, and a big let down of a pansit canton, that thing served by the Hive Hotel masquerading as food, as it was in fact a pile of tasteless strands of glistening and coagulating yellow matter marinated by airconditioned air, its sublime insipidness magnificently breaking through the barrier separating human food from zombie non-food. 

And I was an ass for trying even a nibble, for holding on to that tiny strand of belief that culinary miracles do happen, reprimanded that judging-a-book-by-its-cover is gastronomically true, but atoned by the words in a plastic laminated menu which spelled FRIED CHICKEN, CHOP SUEY, CRISPY PATA, KARE-KARE, BANGUS TOFU STEAK, and a dessert sampler that ignited the sign of the cross in our foreheads, it being Ash Wednesday at Max's Restaurant and Bulan's first home coming after two months of academic exile.

The next day, Thursday turned out to be anything but Maundy as sacrilegious crispy pata was served for the Jewish Feast of the Paschal Lamb, topped by a boodle fight lunch of chicken-pork adobo, fried salmon belly strips and squid rings, and boiled vegetables, no semblance at all to the stewed lentils, roasted lamb, the fruits and bitter herbs, and the unleavened bread and wine of the Last Supper, although fish sauce on the side is strikingly familiar even for non-Catholics.      

There was of course Manera de las Bicicletas, the Way of the Cross for irreverent mountain bikers, through roads less traveled west of the highway on Maundy Thursday, the rugged trails on the east side on Good Friday, northward via rough pathways on Black Saturday, running into a procession in Villanati, catching whiffs of the pasyon in Balante, in tandem with Bulan, the flagellants of the 373 Bikers, and Balong who wanted to give up on the 27th kilometer, hoping to miraculously dissipate the crucifying stones that burn my insides after every episodic gluttony.

Then Sunday, the first day of the week for the Jews and the last day for most Christians, the conclusion of Semana Santa that resurrected the crucified Jesus on an Easter, when we woke up at 4 am to beat the post-holiday traffic to Manila, breaking the fast on a Junior Whooper at a Burger King pit stop, the Miracle of EDSA, traffic-less and fast, Bulan walking into the departure hall of Terminal 2, poignant and almost heart-wrenching, Japanese for lunch, filling but disappointing, taking a selfie with Superman at SM North, walking lost like Judas along the aisles of Trinoma, watching kids hunt for green plastic Easter eggs at Centris, before a slow walk to an empty 4th floor rented room.

But it was more than Semana Habitual, unusual from the usual, so I finally bought an aircon unit to help me endure the lonely and humid Panay Nights...    

Monday, March 21, 2016


Maalinsangan, naglalagablab, mainit, nakakapaso

parang 'nung gabing pumasok si Daniel Fernando sa loob ng kulambo ni Anna Marie Gutierrez

nag-aalimpuyo, tumatagaktak ng pawis

maingay, maliwanag, malamok, makati

nakakapuyat, nakakaantok, nakakagutom

nakakabulabog ng bato, nakakamaga ng apdo

nakakapanghina, nakakahika

nakakahadlang sa pagbibisikleta namin ni Rommel Padilla.

Kaya bibili na ako ng aircon sa susunod na linggo


Saturday, March 12, 2016


Delft I thought

was Chinaware pouring out of workshops run by elves who paint the famous blue designs with their magic wands, 

burly cheese bearers in their white costumes and hats prancing the Edam cheese ballet, 

and multi-colored tulip fields blooming, canals rippling, and windmills fluttering.

But Delft 

is a half-finished Central Station with no luggage lockers

and the information center near the New Church where I left my baggage.

The New Church

old actually [1381] and later claimed by a protesting new religion who feuded with the pope,

guardian of the forbidden royal crypt of William the Silent's House of Orange-Nassau,

and host to the second tallest Dutch church tower that imposes over the Old Church.

The Old Church

old indeed [1240] and grave keeper of the famous and a Dutch master who died a pauper,

Bible stories shinning through its stained windows as church music echoed from massive organs,

tower a-tilt like Pisa without the the risotto, the pizza, and the pasta.

And lunch

is deep fried herring tempered with garlic sauce and washed with orange juice,

the famous Vermeer lady stared back with Delft-blue blank eyes,

as lesser churches got snubbed by habitual bikers and sudden Instagramers.

Friday, March 11, 2016



Hey Derk, is there a Dutch beer that's not Heineken? 

The next morning, Ed announced that somebody who forgot to pay last night's dinner owe him 30 Euros. He never found who that was and never got his money back.

(O'Casey's Irish Pub)

"You tell me" I told Derk who asked me my brew for the night.

Ed made sure it kept coming, so I had too many Irish beers and started calling Snehal as Justin, and ordered Irish breakfast for dinner.

Total cost: 34 Euros and several trips to the toilet the next day.

(La Liguria Ristorante Italiano)

No further comment, other than Italian beer is served in small glasses and the aperitif at Het Heden is fruity but with a mean Red Horse kick. 

I paid my 40 Euros, said goodbye, and walked to the hotel with Binbin.

Thursday, March 10, 2016



External perspectives on the post-Paris scenario with cucumbers and Hollandse garnalen

Pannenkoeken with slices of 2015 achievements and GROW campaigning goals, with a sauce of post-Paris climate finance and an icing of shifting-the-trillions

A botterkoek of bilaterals and cluster meetings 


A frikadellen of WIN and 2020 with sweet and sour energy work mustard fruit

"Zero hunger, zero emissions" erwtensoep with a "human face of climate change" bread and smoked inputs for strategic planning

 A pepernoten on ways of working


Smoked MEL overview with slices of thematic strategies and GROW priorities

ToC enhancement stamppot with smoked advocacy milestones and a gravy of South Africa insights

An appletaart of potential publications

Monday, March 07, 2016


But before Sunday is a deluge of pasta [gourmet tuyo at the ABS-CBN Food Court and something cheesy served in Casa Pura on Wednesday, a tomato-based version pulsing with seafood at PRRM on Thursday], a pansit-free feast anchored on tinapa rice in celebration of Balong's kumpil on Friday, and bilaos of bihon guisado to send me off from Nueva Ecija on Saturday. 

But Sunday it was as KLM's Flight 808 touched down at Schipol after serving us mostly chicken meals and I sleep-walked to the trains, to the train ticket booths, to Hoofddrop that brought me to Leiden, to my first cigarette in 15 hours at Den Haag Centraal, to the welcome pooh of Haagse Harry at the tram station through the empty streets and closed shops of the Grote Markt... the Hotel Ibis where I was told that I can only check in at 2 pm which was 4 hours away, to the Grote of Sint-Jacobuskerk, now also a convention center and a restaurant, along the Riviervismarkt, the Schoolstraat, Dagelijkse Groenmarkt, and back to Torenstraat, conjuring how the royal family from the House of Orange-Nassau were baptized there, deciphering the stained glass windows from Charles V, and finally checking in at the Ibis.

But it was a Sunday and I still have half the afternoon to kill, so to the streets of the Grote Markt and the building facades of The Hague.. the rich history of the Binnenhof and the Ridderzaal where the King delivers his speech at the opening of the parliament, the Mauritshuis and the allure of Veemer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" and the intrigue of Rembrandt's "The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolas Tulp", to a viewing of the city skyline at Het Plein.

It was a Sunday with sporadic dark 5-minute rains and thankfully longer clear skies and a Turkish lunch at the Grote Markt, to a herring sandwich half-of-a-dinner at the gate of the Binnenhof and a biiterballen sandwich for the other half at De Passage.

It was a full day, a Sunday, cold and drizzling, in The Hague...