Month: September 2014

Filipino Game Made Into An Appetizer Tray

Sungkaan

Sungkaan

When I was a little boy over 40 years ago, electronic games and toys didn’t exist. Kids entertained themselves by playing tex, marbles, cards. Sometimes I would play sungka in a Sungkaan with some smooth sea shells. It was fun trying to move all of the sea shells to my side of Sungkaan but just like another old game called Monopoly, I hardly ever finished a whole game coz it took too long. Chess was faster and more interesting.

Anyway, about a month ago I heard about this place in Silay called, “Chuck’s” that had a promo of 5 beers plus a Sungkaan full of appetizers for about P299. So I asked an uncle who liked to drink to join me for some beer and bar chow. My treat. Beer was very cold coz they have a “Beer Below Zero” freezer. When the appetizers arrived I was pleasantly amused. Never have I seen a Sungkaan used this way. In fact, I thought the Sungkaan was already non-existent! Each hole was occupied by different types of bar chow namely siomai, peanuts, fish, lumpia, pork and fried squid. Actually, this promo is enough to make two people full! The food in this resto is also quite good so if one is ever in Silay, try out Chuck’s Restaurant along Locsin St (going towards the sea). Kaon kag inom na ta!

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Gilas Pilipinas: You’ve Come A Long Way Baby

Looking Good!

Looking Good!

Not many people believed Gilas Pilipinas would do well even in the Asian level. Then some people dared to dream and worked hard to bring the FIBA Asia tournament to Manila. The Phl placed second in that said tournament and qualified for the FIBA World tournament in Spain.

Filipinos tempered their expectations for the tournament in Spain. Nobody thought the Phl could beat Argentina, Greece or Croatia. To make the second round, Gilas Pilipinas had to beat Puerto Rico then go all out vs Senegal. Well, Gilas Pilipinas reinforced by Andre Blatche nearly beat Croatia and Argentina, getting worldwide attention. Gilas Pilipinas could have beaten Puerto Rico but it wasn’t meant to be. This FIBA World experience however, would go a long, long way for the Phl.

Our better-than-expected-performance in Spain has now raised the expectations of our fellow Filipinos. Being the best performing Asian team in Spain, some people expect to get the Gold. The Asian Games organizers disallowed Andre Blatche from playing but not Marcus Douthit. Can Douthit help us get the Gold? It’s a tall order so let’s see.

As I watch the Phl play Iran in the Asian Games, I notice the Filipinos aren’t intimidated with the Iranians anymore. Two years ago, Haddadi had a field day against us by having a double-double and Iran seemed to be toying with us. Iranians are big and tend to bully smaller opponents. Take out Haddadi, Iran becomes nothing great. Just like Yao Ming to China. Skill-wise, Filipinos are better than the Iranians. But we are just significantly smaller and lighter. We can beat Iran but we need a good import.

The Gilas pool has been together for over a year now. With team members practicing together and playing international tournaments, Gilas Pilipinas can only get better. Currently the Phl is ranked 31st but if one looks at the FIBA rankings, we can realistically go as high as 13th. With the current success of the team, I’m sure any Filipino basketball player would love to play for Gilas and his country. Now if only the other team owners of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) can lend their players foregoing business rivalries. We all know basketball unites this country so Gilas success is Philippine success. Good luck Gilas! Make us proud. Puso!!!

My Wife Finally Saw The Light

Just Saying!

Just Saying!

Ever since we were dating in the early 80’s, I asked my then girlfriend Kaoru, if she found me good-looking. No daw. She liked me for my personality.  We eventually broke up then but reunited in the late 80’s and finally married in June 1990. So I ask her if she married me for my good looks and she responds by saying she married me for my personality. Twenty four years later same question, same answer.

But a few days ago, my wife comes home from the mall and says, “I got you something.” Lo and behold it was a Coke can with the label, “Gwapo!” What?! She had never done  this to me before. What did I do to deserve this? I can’t think of anything. Must be some random act of kindness. But then again, we now have 31 cats and 4 dogs and she knows I don’t really like animals. I used to tease her, “What do you take me for? Granted?!”

I’m now convinced that my wife has finally seen the light. In her own subtle way she is saying,” You are the boss! I am your slave!” Yah right! Hehe. Nevertheless, her random act of thoughtfulness has brightened up my day. I love my wife!

I’m Still In Denial

Checking The Bill

Checking The Bill

I’m 50 years old and my eyes are starting to fail me but I still don’t bring reading glasses as a habit. I find it bothersome. During the day when I bring my work bag, my reading glasses are snuck in there somewhere. When I go out for dinner, I don’t bring a bag and putting reading glasses in my pocket is a hassle. Oftentimes I borrow my wife’s glasses. When I’m feeling really lazy, I just ask the waiter to read to me every order and the total bill.

On my recent trip to Tokyo, I purchased a magnifying glass that’s small enough to put in my wallet. It makes my wallet a little thicker but not bothersome at all. At least it’s not like putting a banana on my left pocket! My friends have seen me use this before and we all have a good laugh. Oh, conversation piece pa!

Only in Iloilo International Airport Departure Lounge

Batchoy!

Batchoy!

I’m a Frequent Flier with Philippine Airlines (PAL) fortunate enough to use the Mabuhay lounge every time I travel PAL. I’m used to the food in the Manila airport and I look forward to their famous arroz caldo. Since the entry of San Miguel Corporation into PAL, some of their lounges now serve beer and if lucky, Asahi Dry. I believe Manila and Cebu serve beer. Since I’m a frequent Bacolod traveller, I know they don’t serve beer there despite my friends repeated pleadings to tell management. Our arroz caldo in Bacolod is a local one and pales in comparison to its Manila and Cebu counterparts.

I have heard that Iloilo International Airport is a beautiful airport and when my friends said let’s meet up in Iloilo I jumped at the chance even if I had to take a ferry from the neighboring island of Negros. From there I just take a PAL flight back to Manila. So my friends and I meet up in Amigo Hotel, attend a seminar and take a quick cruise of the city. Iloilo City is really booming! Construction everywhere because the APEC Summit next year will be held there.

So it’s time to go home to Manila. After check in, I head for the pre-departure lounge at the left end of the airport. Btw, the airport is nice! Anyway, I get acquainted with the lounge and I notice a cauldron. Ok so they have arroz caldo here as well was what I thought. Upon closer scrutiny, I noticed that they served noodles! And I opened the cauldron to see soup. Batchoy! When a tourist visits Iloilo, he must try the batchoy. Like a little kid who will eat even when not hungry, I made my little bowl of batchoy overstuffed with chicharon. SARAP! Batchoy is my Ilonggo Ramen. Very simple but tasty! It’s all in the broth. Now I’m thinking of my next trip to Iloilo. But before that, would it be too much to ask if PAL Iloilo can serve beer in their pre-departure lounge?

UAAP Season 77 Team Performances

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The second round of the Season 77 UAAP Men’s Basketball Tournament is over and the Final Four games start this Wednesday, September 23. So how did the different teams perform? Let me count the ways…

1. Ateneo- Unbelievable! Who would have thought that Ateneo would top the elimination round? Though they had to go thru the eye of the needle in many of their matches, a win is a win no matter what. No team can count Ateneo out even if leading by 19 points with 7 minutes remaining, as FEU can attest to. This is definitely Kiefer Ravena’s team and wherever Kiefer goes, the team goes.

2. FEU – Surprising! During the pre-season, critics predicted FEU to fight for a Final Four spot. Not the twice-to-beat advantage. With the loss of Terrence Romeo and RR Garcia, the team learned how to pass the ball and play like a team. Mike Tolomia has become the new leader of the team and Mac Belo has been a revelation. FEU could have even finished number 1 had they not suffered a meltdown vs Ateneo in the last playing date of the second round.

3. DLSU – Embarrassing! DLSU won it all last year and have even improved their roster for this year. They are 3-deep in every position and were supposed to dominate this year by going 14-0! So what happened? DLSU all season long seemed to be content to win with just enough effort which was dangerous because they were ambushed by Feu and Ateneo to start their season at 0-2. Then they lost Thomas Torres and had other injuries. Why the coaching staff didn’t complete their 16-man roster haunted them. Though they won most of their games after that, they weren’t that dominating. Then, on the night before an important game vs FEU to determine which team gets twice to beat advantage, two key players participate in a fashion show. WTF?! Sorry about that but what stupidity is that! Where are your priorities? If you really had dengue, even a mild one, common sense says it’s best to rest! I guess the money was too big to pass up. And I thought you were student-athletes with a benefactor who takes care of everything. I hope for your sake it was all well worth it.

4. NU – Overachieved. Give credit to Coach Eric Altamirano for molding his players into a cohesive unit despite losing Bobby Ray Parks. This team plays tough defense and is anchored by their import Aroga. NU players are tall and athletic and most of all have learned not to collapse in the endgame. This makes them very dangerous.

5. UE – Regrettable. This pre-season top 2 pick started off at 3-4 then finished with a 6-1 run to force a playoff with NU to determine the fourth placer. Charles Mammie is the best center in the UAAP who dominates games but at times, he disappears too! Roi Sumang is a super-guard but he didn’t play that well this season. Maybe his style of play doesn’t fit the Pumaren system. UE had the momentum going into the do-or-die game but somehow faltered. I give credit to Altamirano out-coaching Pumaren to boot out UE and UE has one year to ponder what to do next.

6. UST- “Sayang.” UST had a chance of entering the Final Four with a core of Abdul, Mariano and Ferrer. Mariano didn’t play well all season. Only God knows why. Then when Kevin Ferrer went down with a season-ending wrist injury, so did the chances of UST. I believe they only beat the teams lower than them. Next year UST has to overhaul their lineup.

7. UP – Forgettable. Their coach predicted 3 wins. And when UP beat Adamson in the first round, it seemed pretty doable. But alas, as games went by, it seemed the most UP could win was two. Then they nearly beat Ateneo had Mikee Reyes converted even one free throw. That would have sent the Final Four standings topsy- turvey and UP would have had a bigger bonfire! But it wasn’t meant to be and they even lost to a determined Adamson squad.

8. Adamson – Hopeful. With 11 rookies and a new coach what could one expect? Maybe 14 losses but just avoid being blown out. Well that really didn’t happen and I’m giving credit to Adamson fans for still coming out to cheer for their young team. Next year they will have more experience playing together and they should win more games.

Fans were treated to many exciting games this UAAP Season 77 and the Final Four seems to be an unpredictable one. Ateneo is number 1 and will play number 4 NU which it hasn’t beaten in two years. And defending champion DLSU needs to beat FEU twice when it has already lost to FEU three straight times. Something’s gotta give and may the best team win!

Manila Polo Club Cogon Village

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I’m a Manila Polo Club baby. I have been going to the club since I was 10 years old and that’s about 40 years now. After school, during weekends and holidays or anytime friends want to meet up, the Cogon Village never fails to impress. Want to swim, sunbathe, eat, drink or just hang out? We can do it there. It’s a relatively cheap
place to entertain. Yun lang, someone has to be a member.

Entertaining on a lazy Sunday afternoon is so relaxing. Aside from the regular club food, there is a Sunday Mongolian buffet which my son loves. So we just lounge around, making kwento and cracking jokes. Perfect for bonding with my uncle from Sfo. Swimming pool seemed inviting but we didn’t bring our gear. We were there for the Mongolian and crispy pata. Not bad, not bad at all.

Best of all when the bill came, the waiter asked my uncle for his Senior card. All that my uncle had was his California license and this was enough. I didn’t know that! Uncle Joe, come and eat with us all the time and you order the expensive items ok! 🙂