Sunday, December 30, 2007

Looking Out For "Lobo" On ABS-CBN In 2008

I'm not really ang Angel Locsin fan but Papa Piolo Pascual is number one in my book of local actors. The first time I saw this trailer I was genuinely intrigued though for the life of me I still can't figure out why she turns into a white wolf (Lobo is Spanish for wolf) from time to time.

And omygawd, he is so drop dead gorgeous in the trailer. Something to look forward to in 2008. Pinoy TV is starting to show some promise in 2008. The show also stars the artistas I grew up watching - Pilar Pilapil, Robert Arevalo, Dante Rivero. And admittedly, there is some degree of chemistry between the Angel and the Piolo. View the trailer to see what I mean..

Monday, December 17, 2007

Restaurante "Pia y Damaso" At The New Greenbelt Five

Noli Me Tangere was a huge part of my high school life.

When I first read about this new restaurant at the spanking new Greenbelt 5, I knew I just had to go. Last Saturday I spent a lovely afternoon with a very good friend and dined on dishes that brought to life Rizal's immortal characters. Think Maria Clara, Crisostomo Ibarra, Dona Victorina, the notorious Padre Damaso (after whom the restaurant is named after) and a host of others. Take a look at the interesting array of entrees on the menu that brought to a long-forgotten era. I secretly wondered to myself if these were the dishes that the friars and Filipinos once dined on. Probably. There is an interesting entry on the drinks page - "Tubig Ni Maria Clara" made from cucumber juice, ginger syrup, and citrus water - sounds very refreshing and something you would love to have on a summer's day.

Trivia - for those of you wondering why the name Pia y Damaso, they are the names of Maria Clara's parents, Pia Alba and the evil Prayle Damaso. Interesting huh? Do the meals here cause one to sin as well? Hmmmm. Not quite.

We started lunch with Croquetas de Jamon, which was delicious.

My friend decided on the Chicken Parian (with sticky rice, sausage and which was quite tasty and had an interesting presentation and texture to it.

I opted to go for the Fileto Empanado with dayap and caper butter (crisp, marinated and pounded and breaded beefsteaks)and was not entirely happy with it.

Aside from the fact that they were a bit greasy, they were quite gamey too. Not a good choice, really. My friend remembered how they used to cook something similar at home and together, all the siblings would pound on the beef in the kitchen. "Carne ng mahirap..." he described it so aptly. Something that the poor people from Noli Me Tangere probably ate. The version I had was quite malitid as well. Di ata nakuha sa pukpok.

Dessert demons that friend and I both are, it was a good thing that dessert was the saving grace to my meal. I had Padre Salvi's Canonigo (the infamous friar who lusted after Maria Clara) and true to it's inspiration, the dessert was, yes, quite sinful.

Friend had some version of the ever-popular Banoffee pie and the chocolate that was used on this treat was really so scrumptious and velvety. Truly exquisite.

The restaurant is small but its interiors are oh-so-charming, lovely and very-well done. Owned by Chef Bambi Sy Gobio (she of Kooky and Luscious fame), it's no wonder that the dessert menu is a fabulous and interesting one. I love the pretty details, the ribbons on the chandeliers, the paper that they line your table with, etched with swirly pen and ink designs, the menu itself, and the logo of Padre Damaso holding what appears to me like a giant chicken drumstick.

"Pia y Damaso" is located on the second floor of the beautiful Greenbelt Five. Not too many stores and restaurants are open yet, but those that are, deserve a second look. I didn't have time to browse through my friend Ruby Gan's "Mythology" a beautiful store that puts together the talents of five highly talented Filipino designers. The new mall is beautifully lit and so well-laid out. I will definitely go back to explore some more. Meanwhile, enjoy more pictures of the mall, here.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My Grown-Up Christmas Tips List

ROOTS&WINGS Column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, December 16, 2007

Christmas day is just a heartbeat away and you can really feel it everywhere. In a week’s time, the kids will be done with school and I suspect that most homes will be in a mad state of preparing the homes for the holiday. Already, there are sales galore in practically every mall in the metro and many stores are doing brisk business.
So much of Christmas has become commercialized but let not the material trappings put a damper your holiday mood or take away the true meaning of Christmas. As we prepare to remember our loved ones with gifts of appreciation, and prepare sumptuous meals in anticipation of family reunions, let us not forget that there are many others who are in need. Not only during Christmas, but each and everyday, we must strive to pay it forward. Here are a few ways to celebrate a more meaningful and hopefully, stress-free Christmas.

• Give gifts that give back.

This year I made a conscious effort to try and choose gifts that one way or another give back. One of the nicest and most practiocal ones I found are Ichay Bulaong’s Luntian bags at Her bags are completely sewn and printed by a group of womenfolk from San Teodoro, Mabini, Batangas. Starting off with one mananahi, the livelihood program now benefits 21 families. Email Ichay at for orders.

Another environmentally-friendly gift that gives back are safe, non-toxic,
environmentally correct household cleaners created by a company called Messy Bessy Cleaners. Krie Reyes-Lopez and her siblings set up a project called HOUSE (Helping Ourselves Through Sustainable Enterprise) and Messy Bessy is one of the enterprises that helps disadvantaged youth. Krie says that while they are aiming for Messy Bessy to provide homes with safe and natural cleaners, they are also providing marginalized people experiences in manufacturing, accounting, sales and hopefully a lot more. I like their lavender linen spray and eucalyptus all-purpose scrub. Email them at or call 0917-830-3003 for inquiries.

• Pack Christmas care packages instead of giving money to those who provide services.

When December comes, many of our homes become flooded with the ubiquitous white envelope with the “Merry Christmas Ma’am/Sir” stamped on it in various hues of red, green or blue. For the last few years now, I decided that I wasn’t going to give money anymore to our usual service providers – postman, garbage collectors, and every imaginable bill collector you can think of during Christmas. Instead, my children and I, together with our househelp will put together a Christmas care package composed of noodles, sardines, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush for the adults; and one with cookies, candies and some toiletries for the children who ring our doorbell or knock on our car windows. In doing so, you can be assured that the goods will be for their personal consumption and the money you have spent does not go to waste.

• Sing or play Christmas carols.

Every morning now, for the last week or so, my children wake up to the sound of Christmas music. In the evenings, we play the softer, slower ones that lull us to sleep while the mornings are reserved for the hipper (I just love Babyface’s version of “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer”) Christmas carols. Nothing says "holiday season" like Christmas carols and so I make sure that I have them playing whenever possible. Since I discovered this wonderful website the music on my laptop has been on, non-stop.

• Clean out your closets and donate your children’s old (but in good-condition) toys and books.

This holiday season, teach your children the true spirit of giving by asking them to choose one of their new or still in good-condition toys to give to a child in need. There are many organizations that you can choose to donate their books and toys too. This year, Migi’s Corner, a foundation we set up in memory of my son, is doing a toy drive for the children of Barangay Rio Hondo in Zambonga. During the last typhoon, several towns were hit by giant waves and the effect was tsunami-like, diplacing a total of almost 2000 families. If you would like to bring cheer to these children who have lost not only property but in many cases, family members, as well, please donate your old books and in good condition toys. Email or call 0910-744-6469

• Volunteer your time and energy.

Give a little of yourself this holiday season and helping others is always a great way to spread cheer and love. Take time out of your busy holiday schedule to volunteer at a hospital ward, an orphanage, a women’s shelter or an old folk’s home. Bring them a little something or at th very least, bring them your smile and your companionship.

• Spend time together as a family and watch uplifting Christmas-themed movies.

My personal favorite is the 1946 Frank Capra classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life”
starring James Stewart. Stewart plays a man about to commit suicide during the holidays (statistically, the highest suicide rates unfortunately always occur around the holidays) because he’s financially ruined. An angel stops him in his tracks by showing him what life would be like if he’d never existed. A beautiful movie that celebrates the resiliency of man and the beauty of life.

• Shop in comfort.

I have become my mother when it comes to shopping – scouring the shops in my jeans,
tees and hoodie. My greatest find this season has given me so much comfort while walking around. The Merrell Women’s Relay Stretch is awesome in the support that it provides. When I tried to find out what made it different, I discovered that it was because of the Q-Form™ technology that compensates for a woman’s pronounced “Q angle” (the angle between hip and knee) to alleviate discomfort. This also reduces the wear and tear of shoes, enabling them to last longer. For women who love to walk, this is the perfect shoe!

• Re-connect with old friends but don’t stress yourself out trying to get-together with everyone.
It’s the time of the year when there are parties all over town and suddenly old friends whom we haven’t seen the rest of the year, pop up from out of nowhere wanting to get together. Christmas is a wonderful time to re-kindle and renew ties but don’t stress yourself out and in the process get yourself sick. Prioritize the events you really must say yes to. The rest can be put off after the madness of the holiday season.

• Get your kids involved in all the preparations.

A child is the reason for this wonderful season that the whole Christian world celebrates. Christmas to my mind will always be magical in a child’s eyes. Involve your kids in as many activities as they are able to – wrapping the gifts, trimming the tree, doing charity or volunteer work, cooking the meals. It is in the making of these memories together as one family that makes the Christmas season all the more meaningful, making memories that they will carry with them until the time that they have families of their own.

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Night With The Spice Girls Plus David and Tom

Okay, I'm not too crazy about the Spice Girls but when I saw them, I still got starstruck.

My anak-anakan Dagth Perez had the rare opportunity to see them in the flesh at their one-night only show in Los Angeles last week. Dagth who takes awesome photographs was blessed enough to bring "Turtles" (her beloved camera) into the jampacked Staples Center. The results are the photos you see on this page.

To boot, she got a close-hand look at Tom Cruise with Suri and Katie - best friends of the Beckhams. And, the David Beckham himself buying cotton candy and popcorn for his kids. At the end of the day, these celebrities are just like ordinary people too -- except that there are millions of dollars in assets between them and us.

Dagth says the show was really awesome and Victoria, the woman who bought a $50,000.00 pllayhouse for her sons (walang magawa sa pera) was the "fakest" but neverthless, she was the star of the night. Prettiest was a tie between Emma and Mel C; Jerri was the hottest and Mel B was the "scariest" whatever Dagth meant by that.

You are one blessed girl Dagth! Thanks for sharing your photos with the rest of the world. Sana susunod si Mc Dreamy na ang makita mo ng up close and personal.

Enjoy the photos below...
Tom Cruise was the evening's opening act

Followed by papa David Beckham

If you wanna be my lavah...

because friendship never ends...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

First-Rate Entertainment At The Ateneo De Manila 2007 Homecoming

It's been a quite a week with a flurry of events swirling all about town.

The partying hasn't stopped since Friday evening when we attended a fabulous dinner party at a family friend's house where in addition to a sumptuous dinner, we were serenaded no less by the U.P. Chorale and the dynamic and super talented husband and wife team of Isay Alvarez and Robert Sena. It was truly a night to remember - great food, the presence of old friends, fun conversation and world-class entertainment.

Saturday afternoon we had a special merienda for one of Griefshare family members and it was pretty poignant yet light-hearted as this young man in our group who had lost both his parents in a span of six months last year, talked about his memories of mom. God always brings people together to fulfill his purpose and the afternoon we shared was a clear example of that.

In the evening, I found myself at the Ateneo De Manila High School Covered Courts to join in the celebration of the Ateneo De Manila H.S. class of 1982 as they celebrated their silver jubilee. These were the same boys I grew up with who studied across the creek from my girl's school in Katipunan. Some of them became classmates as well in college at the Ateneo. It was great fun seeing them and reminiscing about our old times. I had front row seats courtesy of good friend Mikey B whose class, 4-G '82 was one of the homecoming's major sponsors. A stone's throw away from me were the boys of 4-B '82, some of whom I got to know pretty well during college and beyond. This batch is apparently the largest ever homecoming group with all 160 plus members from a class of about 300 in attendance. And with entertainers from the different generations such as the original Spirit of '67, Marc Abaya (HS'97), Jose Mari Chan (HS '57) plus a host of other bands who came much later it was really pretty impressive! I heard that the party lasted until 2AM the next day.

The damper on the evening was when my celphone was stolen. Yes, unfortunately, it happened within the confines of the homecoming, just as I was busy taking photos of the grand finale. Nakakainis nga, major. Nevertheless, it was still one pretty memorable night. Congratulations on a job well done boys! See you at your 30th!

More homecoming pictures here in my Multiply account.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Online Shopping and Gifts That Give Back

December is here and you can really feel it in the air, literally, that is.

I love the weather and the cold mornings. Makes it harder to get up but I love that the cool air lasts almost throughout the day making it more plesant to walk outdoors. The shoppers though have not yet quite gone out in full force. Though the malls are all decked beautifully in Christmas colors - Rustan's Makati is especially magical and I also love the underwater theme over at Shangril-la Mall - the shoppers are not quite there yet and I'm enjoying the quiet that it affords, for now.

We were at The Podium yesterday to catch "Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium" which is a great movie to watch with the kids. Many teachable moments there about the power of believing in oneself and in one's dreams and of course in moving forward in spite of. No crowds at the Podium and so it was very pleasant to shop around. Bumped in my mom and brother and we all had coffee at Segafredo after lunch. We planned to all get together again on the 15th when the mall-wide sale would be ongoing. Crowds galore.

This Christmas I want to give gifts that give back. One of the nicest ones I've found are these bags from Ichay Bulaong that are super reasonably priced and give back in many ways. That's what you call a truly meaningful gift with a bang for the buck. Check out the rest of her bags here and read about the wonderful ways by which her livelihood program is helping the women of Batangas. These bags really make cool, Christmas presents. If you know of any other vendors who make gifts that give back, please send me a link to their site.

Online shopping is another thing that I find myself doing a lot nowadays. There are so many young entreprenurs who sell their wares online and I am continually amazed by their creativity and even better, how reasonable their wares are! Name it - clothes, bags, accesories, shoes, abubots -- everything! For example, the cute charm bracelet here is from Claylettes. I discovered the wonders of online shopping through my daughter P and now, aside from watching "Grey's Anatomy" together, we send each other links to our favorite Multiply shops. Many of these young women have become my Multiply online buddies and I enjoy browsing their sites and inter-acting with them whenever time allows.

Today I am busy getting ready for my classes this evening and a Bible study later on tonight, and trying to complete a Christmas list with the objective of doing all my shopping by the 15th of the month. Over dinner last night, while talking about our lists, we decided to give loot bags (with candies, chocolates and either Pokemon of Hannah Montana items) to L's third grade classmates. "Loot bags?" he asked wide-eyed. "Yes, diba it's Jesus' birthday?" P replied. "Oh yes, we can tag them Happy Birthday Jesus!" he grinned and agreed immediately.

Don't you just love December?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Piolo's Araneta Coliseum Show

Darn. I missed this one and I regret it.

For weeks I had been planning on catching his big show at the Araneta Coliseum but kept putting it off. I hope they do a repeat because judging from these photos which I borrowed from my friend Girlie Rodis, the show was a blast! And of course Piolo was looking so FAB :)

The man is so disciplined so it's no wonder he looks that way. Thanks to his trainer Ace Duque whom papa P acknowledged in a Star Studio interview earlier this year, as the one who helps discipline and shape his bod. I see him at the gym, remember? And I can attest to this. Can't wait to watch "Lobo" his latest Star Cinema movie with Angel Locsin. But just like Girlie, I wonder what their chemistry will be like. I loved him with Claudine in "Milan". And Claudine is a way much better actress than Angel. Then again, if you use the San Mig coffee commercial where both of them look so, ok, hot - there might be the possibility of great chemistry there. Abangan na lang natin.

Hay. Sayang talaga. Gotta get back to the gym soon to get my Piolo fix. Hahaha. Congratulations on the success of your concert PJ! The heck with what Lolit saw or didn't see. According to Girlie, the shrieks all around Araneta that night proved that the women really didn't care whether P is or isn't. Eh ano ba? Guapo pa rin.

More Piolo pictures here in Girlie's site