Monday, February 27, 2017


There's not much actually along Jl. Taman Marga Satwa except that it's near the Oxfam Country Office and just a turn away from the expressway to the airport.

It was for me a lonely hotel with a forlorn bar, crappy internet connection, busy traffic with no pedestrian lanes, and convenience stores selling non-alcoholic beer only.

Thank God for Google Maps who led me to the Sate Tegal Ibu Tri where getting lost in translation locked me on Nasi Goreng Kambing [fried rice with mutton] on my first lunch, to Pondok Geulis for the Nasi Bakar Special [fried rice in a banana leaf roll with tofu, tempeh and chicken] for dinner, the next day's combo of Satay Ayam and Satay Kambing [chicken and mutton satay] with grilled gurami and a tasty beef rib soup, the last day's lunch of Satay Sati Kambing which turned out to be grilled goat liver and the Sop Kambing [goat soap] that came with it, and a last day dinner of the Sahati Hotel's version of the Satay Ayam.

Throw in the chicken spring roll from a place called The Great Indonesia Restaurant at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport and I say it is overall a good food trip! 


The best spread however was served at 19 Jl. Kedondong Blok C where the Koalisi Rakyat untuk Keadilan Perikanan feted us to a lunch of Indonesian vegetable platter with peanut sauce and a really delectable chicken dish from Aceh.

The downside is except for the two bottles of Bintang in my mini-bar, the hotel has nothing else.

I rummaged at a 7-11 outlet and a gasoline station store, usually bastions of alcoholic beverages, but in vain.

The hotel reception said the nearest watering hole will be some two kilometers away which is not really a desirable option considering the traffic and the rain.

So I settled for two pricey Heinekens at the hotel bar where I was the only guest.

That plus the two cans of Bintang at the airport is all that it is of my Indonesian beer quest.

But that is enough to justify a weekend in the trails of Nueva Ecija...   

Monday, February 20, 2017


Because if I don't hit the trail, I have to cut down on the beer.

It is as simple as that.

I like beer so therefore, I love biking.

There was beer after Johnny Walker Gold on Valentine's Day, and beer after Fundador Lights on Saturday.

So there was a need to bike on Sunday.

But I have yet to have beer in Jakarta.

So I have no need for a bike.

Not yet...

Monday, February 13, 2017


"0" for Oxfam in Myanmar at 
34 Aung Taw Mu Lane corner Govel Hill Avenue Road
Golden Valley Bahan Township, Yangon

where I took my shoes off, wore a sash, waved, and had a meeting with a Caucasian, an Asian-Caucasian, and an Asian. 

But was that at Hotel M instead at
29 KanBawZa Avenue Street
Buhan Township, Yangon

where we broke bread and documents with a Filipina and a Myanmarese and came up an agreement?

Or perhaps at Changi Airport at
Airport Boulevard in Singapore

2,995 kilometers from Yangon
2,378 kilometers to Manila

Kilometer Zero for SQ flights
where I finally caught up with a Hong Konger and Task 3 of a work plan. 

Finally Kilometer 0

at Willy's Place 
in one of the Abars of San Jose City
with an all-Novo Ecijano cast

where the Prophet autographed his books
after Kilometer 0 in CLSU
and a sojourn to the memories of Capintalan. 

Kilometer 0 in Ground 0

where it all began
where Balong came face-to-face with a Mad Hatter
perhaps thinking "what is so with my Ninong"?

Thursday, February 09, 2017


luscent jackfruit, burnished lacquerware
James George Scott trumped by General [Bogyoke] Aung San

ageing buildings, gaping windows
Pagoda Road embellished by art deco shells

female longyi, phallic monument
City Hall and the Sule in an equidistance

peanuts and corn, chicken and pork
skewered offal crumbling at Maha Bandula Park 

wooden bridges, boiling water
a buoyant restaurant in Kandawgyi Lake

gin and tonic, rum and coke
liquid fire discerned by the Blind Tiger

saffron monks in a golden stupa
the struggle of night and day at Shwedagon Pagoda

crabs and prawns, cold beer at Min Lann
thank you Bobbie for the half-day out

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

19TH grub STREET

It seems that in every country there is a Chinatown.

And that in every Chinatown there is a street.

But not every country or Chinatown has a Rhea Catada.

And not all streets is like Yangon's 19th Street.

On my first day in Yangon, the Miss Philippines of Oxfam-in-Myanmar took me to Downtown's 19th Street in the heart of the city's Chinatown, through the less busy side where the taxi dropped us, passing between rows of archaic colonial buildings with gaping art deco windows, seguing from locals quietly sipping tea in the sidewalk to the welcome gastronomic chaos of people, food and cold Myanmar beer as we approached the Chinatown side.    

19th Street is barbecue strip so we loaded our basket with skewers of century egg, squid, chicken liver, pork ribs, boneless chicken feet, vegetables wrapped in a salmon strip, and okra that were washed down with a quick succession of Myanmar beer and good conversation.

Rhea said I should try the red and yellow thing which turned to be a medley of boiled peanuts and corn kernels, chopped onion and tomato, crisp-fried anchovies, and a dollop of chilli paste dressed in a mysterious blend of condiments.

And it is indeed as good as the deserved fame of 19th Street! 

Monday, February 06, 2017