Monday, December 26, 2016


Alas-12:01, madaling araw ng Disyembre 16 sa Kuala Lumpur, nang matuyo ang bolpen na sumusulat sa ika-apat na kabanata ng talambuhay ni Bertong Langis.

Sa gan'un ding oras at petsa sumargo ang mga letra sa mga unang pahina ng ika-limang kabanata ng kanyang mga kawili-wiling paglalakbay, mga paunang salita tungkol sa mga stewardess na konti na lang ay mag-aalok na din ng balot at mani sa huling lipad pa-Maynila ng Air Asia na para bagang biyahe ng Baliwag pa-Cubao tuwing Lunes ng umaga, at ilang nakakangarag na talata na sumunod sa ala-ala ng mga kamanghamanghang tren ng KL habang kami ni Bulan ay nakikibaka ng espasyo sa bawat hinto ng MRT, sa bawat bagon ng LRT, at sa karapatang magpa-selfie sa UP-Manila na bawal daw ayon sa guwardiyang may sumbrerong Santa Claus.     

Sa ika-limang kabanata din mababasa ang kuwento ng aking epikong paghahanap sa nawawalang "The Breakfast Table", ang pagkakaduro ng aking dila sa "Skewr Mediterranean", ang mga bulsang biglaang nabutas sa "Pi Breakfast and Pies", at ang mga ugat na naprito sa mantika ng bagnet sa "Ally's All-Day Breakfast Place".      

Iginagayak na ang lamesa namin sa Cabalen nang pumihit kami bigla sa inihaing litson ng King Bee kaya kinabukasan ay muli naming nasingkawan ang mga bisikletang matagal na panahon ding napahinga. 

Ang litson para sa kasiyahan ay pinera na lang para ipambili ng noche buwenang pansit at tinapay na pagsasaluhan ng mas marami, katulad ng Emperador Lights na mabibili sa kahit saang tindahan na kaperahas din lang naman ang lasa sa Alfonso Platinum na bibihirang mailatag sa handaan. 

Ito ang unang sampung pahina ng ika-limang kabanata at kami 'yung tatlong siklista na sumagasa sa bagyo pagkatapos ng pasko.  

Saturday, December 17, 2016


Thursday night in KL is too late to go back to Jalan Alor for the oyster pancake and Wong Ah Wah's famous chicken wings.

But it was just alright for one last foray to Jalan Petaling, KL's Chinatown and the equivalent of our Divisoria, to sample a plate of Hokkien Mee, those thick yellow noodles darkened with soy sauce and cooked over a raging charcoal fire.

Google said the best place for that would be at the Kim Lian Kee Restaurant who have been serving the dish since 1927, perhaps the heirs of a food hawker named Wong Kian Lee who is credited with cooking up the dish from his stall in the 1920s.

Ulrike's verdict: the noodle is just fine but the spicy fried rice, stir fried vegetables, and chicken pot are better.

My verdict: the flavor is there and I like the crunch of deep fried pork fat lurking between the noodles, waiting to ambush the palate with every bite along with the embedded pieces of shrimps and vegetables, and it went well with the Skol beer forced on us by the hyperactive server!  

Back at the Seri Pacific Hotel, the almost all-women unrolled it's agenda on business and human rights.

Their verdict: the corporates should account for the impacts of their investments and business operations, especially on women.

The other guy also got to present the story of Assam tea plantation workers.

His verdict [I presume]: he is as happy as I am to know that there are in fact two guys in the meeting.

I was in the company of amazing women from around the world and listening to them inspired me to assume that I can and I must deliver what I am being asked to do in my new work in less than 3 months.

I sure got a lot of help from them in understanding the United Nations General Principles on Business and Human Rights, and I cheered silently when big business was described as "EVIL" several times because I totally agree that they are indeed such. 

Okey then Bulan, go and prove that the P6k registration plus your P3k allowance for the National Debate Contest is worth the stress of taking the MRT from Quezon Avenue to Taft, and then the LRT from Taft to Pedro Gil after my jaw-dropping experience of riding the seamless train system of Kuala Lumpur. 

And we have to take the bus home on the last working Friday before the holiday break!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


The thing about travelling is getting lost while exploring new routes and destinations ain't bad at all.

It's part of the learning curve and getting the feel how it works.

But it helps a lot if advance research is done so after settling down in my cavernous room at the Seri Pacific Hotel, I immediately consulted Google on where to eat in KL and how to get there.

That led us to Jalan Alor, with the confirmation of the Hotel Concierge who gave us the shortest train route possible, and a map to refer to just in case.  

Formerly a red light district, Jalan Alor is a swat of road with rows of plastic monoblock chairs and tables overflowing from the sidewalks and a host of yellow-shirted hawkers selling their menus to the horde that came for a taste of Malaysian street food.

Jalan Alor has been called the "cultural hearth of [KL's] local cuisine" and rightly so judging from the variety of food displayed in the menus although I say it's dominantly Chinese influenced.

It took a while to decide on our dinner before finally opting for satay which is basically Malay, spicy seashells which is more Chinese, and grilled sting ray as recommended by Shelley who I presume is more knowledgeable about the local street food cuisine having been in KL before.

That we washed down with three big bottles of Tiger Beer which unfortunately switched wide open my pee valve [as beer always do to me], and I must admit I can feel warm urine dripping down my legs as we made our way back to the hotel.

The marmite chicken will have to wait for another day.

Monday, December 12, 2016


The white smoke spewing from the belly of the mountains, that must be the seething anger of the dispossesed whose decades-old efforts to till the land that have been rightfully and legally declared as theirs have been denied by the blessed few and powerful landlords.

Yes, they have been installed by the government but no, most of them still don't have access to their lands and declared trespassers if they try.

Yes, some of them have finally prevailed after 20 years but no, many are still locked out by the resistance and intimidation of the landed few whom the government seem to favor.

Yes, some support has been provided that can enhance their property rights but no, these are not enough for the 1,000 smallholder farmers.

That makes me mad and red as the steamed mud crab served for lunch. 

Where is Ka Paeng and the hope he kindled?

Where is the best breakfast served in the QC area because it certainly is not at Jonas who might have invented the pares but turned out average.

What is the best pansit served in Binondo as the chami I had for lunch at Delicious Restaurant turned out good but not enough to qualify for best, that is why I will be coming back for the bihon guisado

Back in Bacal 2, the frozen pork and cuchay dumplings from Dong Bei turned out mangled but still eatable, the Shanghai Fried Siopao certainly eclipsed that from Salazar Baker, Diao Eng Chay's chicken pies were too filling but quickly consumed, Riza's brownies were as amazing as narrated, and Nanay's Krispy Kreme Doughnouts is as crisped coming from the ref.

That we served for the boys' first breakfast together in a long while. 

And then a deluge of Christmas parties announced by two bottles of Alfonso I Platinum for Emperador Light drinkers on Friday followed by Saturday's strong dose of white Pisco brandy that's been sitting in a corner for some time and then Sunday's cowboy-themed events where sweet left-over wine was poured into plastic water bottles as the lechon for lunch got picked while I posed with a fellow cowboy-inspired Royal Patron.

Finally, the big dot on the week's series of Christmas parties as the Sunday drinking cascaded to a case of warm San Mig Lights in a chilly auditorium, and thank God that last one was cowboy-themed too so we don't have to change costumes.   


Monday, December 05, 2016


"Breakfast in the City" which is my new Facebook biking album was somewhat inspired by a full streamer of John Arcilla endorsing a strong beer brand that gazed on me while I wait for my train ride at the MRT-Quezon Avenue Station. 

I don't know why but it did although I was tempted to shout at him "Punyeta Heneral! San Miguel ang pambansang serbesa natin! Sinverguenza!" but my biking forays did shift to breakfast tripping the next day, my biking legs taking me to Tapsi ni Vivian near the Cubao area and on the way back exploring inner streets with fancy names like Potsdam, Ermin Garcia, K-J, and K-9th for the first time.

I was enamored by a rave review on "Gourmet US Angus Beef" at Angus Tapa Centrale along 11th Jamboree corner Kamuning so I listed it for a breakfast hit only to drop my expectations in a pavement of pale strands of fat-pretending-to-be-beef paired with fried, as in OVERDONE sunny side-up, as the fried rice swim in a puddle of oil where the tapa was cooked.

At P165, that was a heist compared with the taste and price of Vivian's and I'm not going back and endorsing the place, and THAT I told old comrades when we met for Phase 2 of the Coca Cola water project.

That I also told D' Originalz (Yeb-era PhilDel) during the AMIA Exhibit hosted by the Chief ALDAB (A-daptation, L-oss and D-amage, A-griculture, B-arkada).

And to the Kuyangs who lined up to hear my story as crappy cobra-flavored brandy and cheap Chinese champagne got toasted as the first of a month-long Christmas party rolled off to a blazing start.