Monday, August 21, 2017


There is a price to pay for the liberty of taking out my bike [almost] every morning through my preferred trails.

That is eating alone after the kid and the wife has left for school, usually leftovers from yesterday's dinner, which was happily punctuated by a Persian dinner of Kebab and vegetarian samosa while watching Mr. Phogat transform her daughters Geeta and Babita into world class wrestlers in the Bollywood hit "Dangal", but not after going against the resistance of deeply-rooted traditions and beliefs, quelling a rebellion from Geeta and getting locked in a storeroom up by her coach during the final match of the Commonwealth Games.

In other words, Geeta who have been mostly trailing in the final round managed to defeat a superior but snobbish Australian opponent by a point to win the gold medal, and I got to take out my small city bike the next morning for hohum buffet breakfast at Finio's along Tomas Morato Avenue.

But there is a prize for the price, which is helping the wife cook our early morning breakfasts which made her very happy, and being able to watch La Vuelta Espana updates on cable TV every night which made me very happy too.

It was also the last Sunday of the 2017 Bowling Games which is a relief but also a prelude for a gruelling next 4 weeks of travelling.

Monday, August 14, 2017


More than 11 years ago from today, I started blogging about the colonial churches of the Philippines and campaigning for the pansit to be proclaimed as the Filipino national dish.

Hundreds of photographs and 656 blog posts later, the pansit has somewhat faded away.

Maybe because I just had too much of it, or perhaps there were more interesting dishes to shoot and write about from the countries I've visited around the world in the last 11 years.

It took a spur-of-the-moment lunch at a Kapampangan buffet restaurant to remind me that I was the Pansit Guy of blogsphere, and that there's a lot of pansit dishes still to be discovered out there.

And it took me the pansit puti, sauteed bihon noodles wafting with ground black peppers that was supposed to have originated from the LSS Fastfood in Makati, to realize that I was a pansit connoisseur second, my MVI persona being the first.      

So hail to the pansit sang the band as bilaos of its various interpretations were brought to the 2017 Bowling Games, to be consumed by the drunk and happy crowd, to be balo-ted by the Atengs, or simply to rot in the heat of a fierce August sun.

Shooting churches and eating noodles might have segued into The Bicycle Diaries and a travel and food blog of sorts, but I always tell the sheep, cows, carabaos and dogs that I meet in the bike trail that it all started with pansit and two old churches in Obando and Bambang...  

Monday, August 07, 2017


"Bisukol", that with an ebony black hard shell, used to be the King of Snails back in Almaguer until the imported "Golden Kuhol" --- light brown, brittle and almost inedible --- was introduced and radically altered the ricefield ecosystem.

The Prince and Princesses would be the "Agurong" and "Dukyang" that we usually picked in places where there is running water.    

What can be trash snail is the slimy "Birabid" that, if not cooked the right way, can daze its diners.

I enjoyed harvesting these "Treasures of the Ricefields" with my childhood friends but have never eaten any of it in lieu of my Sabadista upbringing.

Until now.  

I was introduced to the culinary pleasure of the "Agurong" much later in Nueva Ecija where my gustatory senses were teased by a plateful of "Kalderetang Susong Pilipit".

My drinking buddies in Bacal 2 would later introduce me to the pleasure of the ginataan version which is the standard pulutan during San Miguel Beer-spiked birthday celebrations.

Anything cooked with coconut milk is supposed to be anti-beer but that turned out to be hearsay.

"Ginataang Susong Pilipit" in fact blended well with beer.  

But I had too many of snails and beer last week, including a feast of "Ginataang Batukari" --- large sea snails tenderized in coconut milk all the way from Casiguran during Day 1 of our annual Bowling Games --- plus sinful dishes of pork [dinakdakan, sisig, barbecue, chicharon] that I've been eating a lot lately.

That plus the small folding bike in Manila acting up and hindering my daily early morning urban prowls has created an uncomfortable sense of fullness inside me.  

So for this week, I decided to work-at-home and so far, I have been trail biking a lot for the sake of being able to enjoy more snails and beer.