traffic analysis

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Exactly a month ago, I clicked on an ad in this blog for a blog counter. The counter was for a one-month free trial only. So I said, why not?! For those of you who may have noticed, there was a small counter at the top left side of this blog.

Today I got a notice from the website that hosted that counter and said my free month trial was over and if I should wish to continue their services I had to pay for membership. Anyway...

The counter's last reading was 799. Phew! 799 visits in one month. My heart is fat. I clicked on the stats report and here's a recap.

Kudos to the visitor from Dagupan who came back a total of 35 times. A lot of friends also visited regularly as their google or blog handles identified them. Meow, Nowhere Woman, Mnemosyne, Brookside Baby, etc. Thanks for visiting.

Now here's the funny part. I had first time visitors from around the globe. Australia, The US, Hong Kong, Japan, Belgium, Iceland, South Africa, England, France, Spain, Italy, Thailand and the common post that brought them together was "When I Fell In Love" -- specifically Kevin Bacon! Hahahahaha!

Apparently these people googled Kevin Bacon and came across my blog. Other searches that brought visitors to the blog were 'guavas', 'tropical fruits', 'Cory Aquino', 'Michael Schoeffling', 'Christopher Atkins In Shorts', 'Young Scott Baio' even 'How To Peel And Cook Guavas' -- now these are actual search terms that appeared in the report.

Makes me want to experiment on future blog posts.

I am still busy finalizing everything for our production next week. I have a dress/tech run on Tuesday. Will lay-out the Souvenir Programme. Rehearse the alternate actor. And so on and so forth. After our first weekend when I shall be able to relax, I shall continue blogging. Sorry for the absence of Grammar Posts and Toti & David. I will get back to 'regular programming' after the 6th of September, Promise.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Yesterday during rehearsals, Beth Calinawagan who chairs the UP Baguio Committee on Culture and the Arts brought suman from her hometown La Union. The suman was (of course) wrapped in banana leaves and shaped into triangles. We dipped these in brown sugar while waiting for the rest of the cast to arrive. Some of us had coffee with the merienda even. I was hoping we had tsokolate eh too. The suman was perfectly sticky and had a tinge of anise flavour to it.

This morning while walking along Session Road, I saw two women sitting by the sidewalk with baskets full of other native rice cakes. Puto, kutsinta, palitao, patupat... but hanging on the handles of their baskets were plastic bags of halabos na hipon. I asked where the shrimps were from and the woman said from fishponds in Pozorubio. For fifty pesos per bag I decided to buy two -- one each for my mom and me (I take my lunches with Mama in her office in Laperal). I also buy puto which I decided to eat with the shrimps. I was glad that on the third floor of the building is a small counter that serves lunch. I order rice and ask for vinegar. The shrimps were perfect dipped in the sukang iloko with chillies... not to mention using your hands to eat. I felt I was by the beach!

On my way to the internet shop I decide to buy siopao for my merienda during rehearsals this afternoon. Aaaah... the simple pleasures of Baguio food. Food I grew up with and didn't know how much I missed until now.

At UP Baguio I will ask Manang Mani to peel me some santol and prepare me a dipping sauce of vinegar, chillies and salt... I love rehearsals!!!

Monday, August 17, 2009


It's been a week since I came up to Baguio. I arrived at the last typhoon's tail end. Pine needles were strewn in the garage of my brother's townhouse. My brother had offered me to stay in his townhouse as his former renter, a Korean, had left two months ago and my brother had decided not to rent out the property anymore. I do have until November to use the place as a buyer will be moving in on December once full payment has been remitted. I think I shall come up more often before the sale is finalized.

The townhouse is located in Pacdal. My first day there I was awakened by the sound of the brook fronting the house. How nice for a change to hear water instead of tricycles. I also didn't realize how much I miss taking long, hot showers. I must've stood under the shower for 10 minutes my first morning. The steam misting the mirror. When I opened the bathroom door there was mist all over the living room as well. I thought it was due to my shower. I realized I had left the door and window on the second floor open, early morning fog crept inside the house.

The jeepney stop is a few meters from the gate so I have no trouble getting to town although I usually stop in front of Teacher's Camp and walk the rest of the way. That is how I will get my 30 minutes of brisk walking each day.

My first day here I had lunch at Mandarin Restaurant. I always make it a point to eat at Mandarin when I am in Baguio. My favorite on their menu is the Beef Tomato with Chinese Sausage. This is served with a bowl of hot corn and crab soup and a cup of rice. The beef is tender, the tomatoes plump, the chinese sausage not too sweet and the rest of the vegetables crisp. After, I usually take a pot of hot service tea. Burp.

Rehearsals for the play we are mounting for the Baguio Centennial is underway. I didn't know I'd miss the UP Auditorium so much. When I first went onstage again, I wanted to sing "I don't know why I'm frightened, I know my way around here...". One of my actors, Luchie Maranan, handed me three photos last Saturday. These were taken in 1997. We had a fashion show at the former PERK BAR at the top of Session Road. The bar was owned and operated by some friends from UP Baguio and it was there where we would usually go after rehearsals. Joining me in the fashion show were my lesbian friends -- and we all wore finds we got at the ukay-ukay.

Speaking of which, I only came up to Baguio with two pairs of pants, some t-shirts and two jackets. I went to the ukay-ukay last Saturday to look for my costume and also to buy some clothes suited for the cold, rainy weather up here this time of the year. I found some nice baby doll t-shirts, a bespoke white shirt, and a pair of wool, herringbone slacks that I am wearing as of this moment.

It is nice to be home. This morning I had breakfast at Mandarin again and had fresh fruit juice, a slice of fresh papaya, pork chop, chopsuey, garlic rice and hot chocolate. The papaya was of the red orange variety. Perfectly sweet and not at all over ripe. The tsokolate ah, (made from scratch and not powdered chocolate) I dribbled onto my garlic fried rice. The breaded porkchop was not what I had in mind. I thought they would serve me a whole chop with fat and bone and all -- instead, they breaded the pork pieces and fried them. The chopsuey was like my grandmother's. Crisp veggies in an oyster sauce base. The brocolli florets and cauliflower were crisp. Ditto the snow peas and mustard greens. There was also pork liver and button mushrooms. All these I ate with the chilli-garlic sauce I mixed with calamansi and soy. Bigger burp.

I think I will gain (wait) weight while up here.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

TOTI & DAVID (The Blogcom 9)



(It is raining hard outside. Toti has just arrived from work. As he puts down his things, David enters and is soaking wet...)

Honey, what...?! You're soaking wet...

Those idiots! They better wish that's the last time I'm going over there...

Did you have an argument with a cab driver again...?

Nope. I went to the other street to your friendly neighbors, you know the Makati's Got Talent contestants, Toti, I can't believe they've been on karaoke since 11am. And every time they would sing a new song, it seemed they would put up the volume a notch higher! It was driving me nuts! I couldn't finish my work...

Oh honey, tell me you didn't...

Oh you bet I did! I told them they could sing all they want but could they please do it indoors and make sure to close all their windows and door and turn down the volume. You know what those bums did?! They offered me a shot of gin, told me to pick a song and handed the microphone to me! And everyone was calling me Joe! I was furious! I told them I didn't care if it was Jun-Jun's birthday, or Len-Len's first month on the job, or Bing-Bing's baptism, or Pao-Pao's circumcision, or whoever redundant-named idiot is celebrating -- I don't care!!! I told them they were bothering the whole neighborhood and it's past 10 pm already! You know what they told me?! Those friggin teens told me they were celebrating the death of Cory and the Philippines' Pride and Nationhood or some words to that effect and that it was their right to do whatever they wanted because they were within the confines of their private property anyway! I told them I would report this to the Barangay Captain only to find out that idiot was right there just about to sing! I told them it may be their right to do anything they want but it's also MY RIGHT TO SOME PEACE AND QUIET!!! Aaaaargh!!! You Filipinos don't know what freedom is... you don't know what nationalism and patriotism is... you don't know... Oh never mind! I'm just glad they've stopped singing!

(We hear the neighbors sing the refrain of 'American Pie' on the loudest volume)

"Ba-bay Miss American Pie, sold my tse-vy to d' lebee but d' lebee was dry. Dem good ol boys were drinking red horse and sprite singing dis will be d' day dat YOU die! Dis will be d' day dat you die, JOE!" Hey JOE! Come back here! You want some more gin?! Ip you cannot beat dem, join them Joe! Hahahahahahahaha!

That's it! I'm taking a shower. Please pack our bags, we're checking-in at the Pen! (David goes upstairs)

(To himself) Yippee! Manila Pen! I think I should ask those boys to sing every weekend so we can check-in at a hotel. (Shouts to David teasingly...) David! If Imelda is at the Pen's Lobby and sings 'Dahil Sa Yo', will we fly to the Hong Kong Peninsula instead?! (Imelda the dog goes to Toti...) Imelda, I was not referring to you.(Toti grins sheepishly as he goes upstairs to pack their bags)

Thursday, August 6, 2009



Many of us inadvertently use lie when we actually mean lay and vice-versa. Lie means 'to recline'; it is intransitive and never takes an object. Lay means 'to set down' -- it is a transitive verb thus always takes a direct object, naming the thing that is set down.

An old woman amongst the crowd that attended Cory's wake was made to lie down as the medics took her blood pressure.

Mourners lined up the streets in Manila on the day Cory was laid to rest.

There is of course another meaning to the word lie, as in this case:

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo lied to the Filipino people when she spoke of the 'Hello Garci' case and other scandals revolving around her presidency.


Raise is a transitive verb and can only be done by someone to something. Rise, on the other hand, is an intransitive verb and can never affect something else.

Supporters of Cory raised their arms with the Laban sign as the funeral cortege passed through the streets.

Filipinos indeed rise to the occasion and express their love for country during times of crisis.

The man wanted to lie down after being laid off when he demanded a raise to cope with the rising cost of basic commodities.

Remember: (Present Indicative -- Past Indicative -- Past Participle)

lie -- lay -- lain

lay -- laid -- laid

raise -- raised -- raised

rise -- rose -- risen

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


The latest brouhaha surrounding The National Artists Awards is another low in Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's presidency. How she could bypass the other deserving artists and confer the awards on an undeserving person by the name of Carlo J. Caparas is evidence that she needs a lobotomy more than a boob job.

I have aired this to friends before and I will write about it now. We seem to have forgotten our ideals. We seem to be content with sub standards. I think it all started with Kuya Germs' That's Entertainment. What began as a showcase for talented teens (eg. Lea Salonga, uhm, yeah, Lea Salonga...uh...and...yeah the rest) morphed into a free-for-all, pa-cute, jologs-fest. Although the term jologs was not coined yet, it sums it up to a tee. The only requirements needed to be included in the show were a set of perfect dimples and the willingness to be an asswipe to Kuya Germs. Thus the cast of the show ballooned to more than my high school graduating class.

That's Entertainment and its penchant for mediocrity slowly crept into the national psyche. Gone were ideals of perfectionism, artistry, integrity and truth. We just toppled Marcos then, we were happy. We were free. The Arts in general was swept under our rugs for there were other concerns that needed immediate attention.

Because we tolerated mediocrity, the majority voted Erap. The president who was known for his unprofessional work ethic, lackadaisical approach to governance, penchant for amassing property, orgiastic drinking sessions in the palace, and gambling aboard The Presidential Yacht. Not to mention his womanizing. Erap has mistresses galore and we put him into the highest office. Bill Clinton has one lousy blowjob and the US Congress jumps on its feet to impeach him. Again, this demonstrates how low the Filipinos' standards have become.

Vestiges of this mentality is in Wowowee. Ditto most government offices and the incompetent people that claim to be public servants. Mediocrity is the first leg down the road to corruption because all morals are set aside in pursuit of what will eventually be ill-gotten wealth.

With Cory's death, we should again be reminded to aspire to achieve the ideals not only for ourselves but for the nation. Enough of 'pwede na yan' or 'bahala na'. How else could Mr. Caparas (and Cecille Guidote-Alvarez) have gotten the award if not through sheer palakasan. Kissing-ass breeds mediocrity. Or is it the other way around? It's a chicken and egg thing. If Mr. Caparas were a chicken, better to do as the highlanders do... pinikpikan. If he were an egg, he'd definitely be as rotten as PGMA.

It's time to raise the bar. It's time to raise our hands with the Laban sign and fight for everything Cory represented -- transparency, integrity, and honesty.

In the meantime, Mr. Caparas can join Kuya Germs every Saturday night, er, every Sunday morning. They can call their show "The Walang Tulugan Massacre... God Help The Two Of Us".


Dear Friend,

Sorry for my tantrum last night. The foul weather does put us all in a bad mood.

I was just aghast at your disgust towards the overflowing support for Cory. How come two nights ago you were raring to go and attend her wake? Why the sudden turnaround? You know I loathe fence-sitters. Make up your mind. I will have more admiration for you if you stick by your convictions.

In the heat of our argument, you must have forgotten that during the dark days of the Marcos dictatorship -- such display of dissent was not even warranted. The freedom you enjoy today is borne out of the collective opposition of the '80s that culminated in People Power and Cory's presidency.

You should not lose hope for our country. Neither should you lose faith in the Filipino people. It is desperation and cynicism that breeds corruption. Desperation drives some of us to steal from the coffers of government funds. Cynicism makes us turn our faces the other way -- since everyone is doing it anyway, we like to tell ourselves. Such skewed values make you root for candidates during elections whom you can directly benefit from. Never mind if you cheat in the elections -- you try to convince yourself you are making a choice for the nation, when deep inside it is for self interests only. Or at least for loved ones and family. Even if they have erred.

Have you become so inured to corruption? Have you lost your basic sense of decency? Is this why you seem to have a difficult time comprehending all the good that Cory represents?

Think of your kids and the kind of society you want them to live in. Think of their kids too.

Thank you for all the wonderful times,


Sunday, August 2, 2009

TOTI & DAVID (The Blogcom 8)



(The doorbell rings, David goes to open door and sees their new neighbor, a young girl, by the door, she has a package with her...)

Hi mister! May I come and play with your dogs?

Why sure, come in, and please call me David. And what is your name young lady?

I'm Kim. We just moved in next door. My mom says I should give you these if I want to be your friends... (she hands him the small box)

Oh thank you very much... tell your mom it is us who should give you something to welcome all of you in the neighborhood...

(Toti who has just woken up enters...)

We have a guest... how charming...


Toti, this is Kim... our new neighbor... she's come to play with the dogs and has brought something specially for you, so why don't you be a darling yourself and get her some juice and cookies... Kim, this is Toti... um, my friend...

(patting the dogs on their heads) Are your dogs gay too?

Um, Kim... no they're not... Pacquiao here is male and Imelda is female...

And Imelda has got taste, Kim... by the way how old are you?

I'm four (raising four fingers on her left hand)...

Alam ba ng magulang mo na andito ka? (Do your parents know you're here?)

I don't speak Tagalog. I only speak English and Cebuano...

Oh, I'm so sorry, Miss... I asked, do your parents know that you're here?

My mom knows I would come today... I told her I wanted to play with your dogs... they don't want to buy me a dog... my stepfather says I'm still too young to take care of one...

Stepfather...?! Come sit down and have breakfast with me and tell me all about, um, your family...


Hans is German... he met my mom in Cebu... but now that they're married we had to move here to Manila because Hans owns a company here...

When did they get married? David, East meets West... How nice... how sweet... I loooove love stories...

The wedding was two days ago... I was flower girl but I really wanted to be the one holding the rings and giving it to them. Why do the boys get to do all the fun stuff?

Two days ago? So they must be on honeymoon now? Who is left with you at home?

Oh no, my mom was brought to the hospital last night... my yaya (nanny) is with me...

Hospital? What happened?

Was it an emergency?

I don't know... I don't think so...she seemed ok...

Must be the stress from wedding preparations and then moving in to your new apartment and all that...

Yeah... maybe... last night at the hospital Mom told me to give you the dried mangoes when I come over and to be a good girl, that's all... and to go home when you guys tell me to... and that I shouldn't bother you...

Kim, Darling, you can play as long as you want with the dogs... right, Toti?

Hmmm...yeah, sure... so, it's Hans who's staying with your mom in the hospital?

Yes... but they'll be back tonight... can you open the box I gave you now, I'd like to have some of the dried mangoes...

Oh sure... you really didn't have to bring some you know... when your parents arrive, tell them Toti and I would like to meet them... maybe we all can have dinner here someday... Toti, don't you think that's a good idea?

You cook... you cook for Smarty-Pants, Miss Cebu, and Hansolo The Hun...

Okay, David, I'll tell them... (She plays with the dogs. After a few minutes...) um, David... what is the meaning of 'post-coital laceration'?

(In shock) HUHHHHHH...

(she just shrugs then continues to play with the dogs) Manggawas ta magdula sa gawas... (come let's play outside)


(This is an excerpt from the essay 'Revolutionary Food' I wrote in 2001 as part of a collection of essays I was amassing for the book "This Is Not A Cookbook". I share it now that President Cory Aquino has passed away in the hope it will remind us all of the dreams we had for our country in 1986. It is my fervent wish that those dreams are still with us. And that we are working towards their becoming real.)
"We've all heard of Marie Antoinette's famous quip re: the peasants' clamor for reforms wherein she allegedly retorts "Let them eat cake!" eventually leading to her neck being under the guillotine. In Classical Greece, specifically Athens, the upper class males ate separately from the females. These privileged males usually were served and entertained by hired lower class males (hmm). The females dined separately with the servants and children. In Classical Rome entertaining by way of banquets was observed to preserve the pervading patron-client relations. Centuries later in Medieval Europe, the food one got depended on his status. Mere laborers had less quantity and variety when it came to food as compared to the higher ranking scholars, military, abbots, etc. One got bigger portions and more types of food as he ascended the social ladder. Throughout history food has not only played a crucial role in society but was indeed a reflection of the society it was feeding. Rich civilizations enriched their cuisines with exotic foodstuffs from faraway places through trade and barter. Big cities today boast of mixed cuisines reflective of the peoples that inhabit them.
"Emilio Aguinaldo's assumption to the presidency was marked with a banquet to rival those of the Spaniards. Imported ham and other foodstuffs were included in the predominant Spanish menu. A telltale sign that our 'revolutionary heroes' had not totally let go of the Spanish influence. After World War II, the Americans did not waste time in reversing the centuries-old Spanish influence. They set out to 'educate' the Filipino by deploying Missionaries to most parts of the islands. But subliminally, they pacified the Filipino people by giving him Spam, Hershey's, and other PX goods that beguile us up to now. Today they threaten regional palates by infusing cities with their franchised fastfood worldwide. In turn hoping to have a control of the global economy.
"In February 1986, the Filipino people toppled a dictator in less violent means compared to what befell the French monarchy of 1789. We have all heard of that little boy who decided to celebrate his 8th birthday in EDSA with cake, balloons, family and all amidst the drama that was to unfold leading to the strongman's exile to Hawaii. Such is the Filipino character, always involving 'food' in major events be it baptisms, fiestas, weddings, graduations, (the measly) payday every 15th and 30th of each month, and not surprisingly even during ousters of despots. Back in Baguio, during and after the elections in 1986 my mother and an aunt set out to volunteer as poll watchers in our city. Their headquarters were at the old Cafe Amapola. The eve before elections, my mother and aunt were busy preparing sandwiches to be given to the other poll watchers. Basins of prepared diced luncheon meat and sandwich spread were spooned onto countless loaves which were individually wrapped in paper napkins ready for distribution the next day - -election day. I remember them laboring till the wee hours of the morning with hushed tones of the yet uncertainty that would befall our nation. Hushed talks of another martial law looming, or a civil war, or chaos pervaded the evening. Along with Manila's Coryistas who ascended to Baguio that fateful February my Mother and Aunt did their best to feed the pollsters, keep abreast with the latest election developments and also to keep the family calm.
"My more radical friends at the UP Baguio had chided me for being centrist as opposed to their stand to boycott the elections. During the eve of February 25, the entire 'vigilant' Baguio had a gathering at the Baguio Cathedral at the top of the city proper. The more progressive groups (mostly students and organized forces) were, not surprisingly, assigned to occupy the left side of the church with the centrist and right-leaning groups spilling out of the service into the right side of the cathedral. It was thus announced from the 'right' side of the cathedral that Marcos had indeed fled for Hawaii escorted by the Americans. (The moderates had better communications systems - this was after all pre-egalitarian-text-messaging).

"Shortly thereafter, delegates from the studentry, labor force, NGO's, church, etc. gathered in Taloy, Tuba to 'exorcise' the Marcos bust. We gathered in jeep loads to the foot of the bust where speeches and cultural presentations were exchanged. The main event would be the pouring of fresh blood from the sacrificial pig onto the cement monstrosity that was the Marcos bust. Much like the blood serving as a giant pin to the bust that was a giant voodoo doll. The Ibaloi representatives, (the Marcos bust was erected in Ibaloi ancestral land) proceeded to do a cañao. In a cañao, a sacrificial pig is butchered by an elder of the tribe. This elder or mambunong is a shaman/priest presiding over the ritual. The manner in which the animal is butchered depends on the occasion or purpose of the feast. The shaman aided by other males from the tribe slaughter the animal eliciting loud wails from the pig. The innards particularly the bile sac is 'read' by the elder for omens or signs from the Gods. When all is well, they methodically burn the pig then cut up the carcass to specific cuts for the varied dishes to be cooked. Blood is saved and sometimes mixed for dinuguan or for blood sausages called pinuneg. Most commonly the meat is boiled in water and salt and thus served with a bowlful of minced chillies and salt or soy sauce. Much to the appalled expressions of my lowlander friends, they were in fact admonished by our group leaders to partake of the food, with scoops of rice on cut out banana stalks for plates and pieces of cut bamboo as utensils. I remember thinking that even with the dictator out, much had still needed to be done to unite the nation -- culturally, psychologically, sociologically and above all, gastronomically, we were and still are a divided race.
"But such was the character of EDSA 1 and 2: a spontaneous reaction of fed-up Filipinos eager to replace first a dictator and second time around a corrupt incompetent. But the provisions of food were just like the act of the gathering itself, spontaneous and from the heart. The infamous gathering of May 1, 2001 was engineered, planned and even catered. We all saw the styro trash that thronged the highway. We all heard of the matinee idol donating styro-packed lunches/dinners for the erap-crowd. Oh well. Erap's much publicized lunch with the urban poor on banana leaves and sans utensils was very good application of semiotics I must say. But that is what the former president excels at; image building, him being a former actor. He could have saved us a lot of trouble had he resigned at the onset of jueteng-gate. The great French chef Vatel opted to take his life in 1671 instead of facing a life of ignominy from serving a bad meal. Such was his dedication to his craft and sense of duty to those he served. Our politicians have lots to learn from Vatel.
"Today there is unrest in Muslim Mindanao and in the mountains of the Cordilleras. For as long as there are hungry mouths, there will be no peace."


We have a lot to be grateful for Corazon C. Aquino (1933 - 2009). The selfless person that she is, President Cory restored democracy in the Philippines in 1986. With People Power she survived numerous coup attempts hardly unscathed. The 1987 Constitution was ratified unanimously by Filipinos who wanted to ensure that Martial Law shall never take place in our shores again.

Presidents Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo have benefited from Cory's restoration of peaceful elections. Ramos would not have been President without Cory's endorsement. Estrada would not have been president without free elections. He landed the top post in the land but what he did with his mandate was his downfall. Arroyo would not be in Malacanang without People Power.

Respect for the Constitution and rule of law was President Aquino's mark in her presidency. Her consistency in her faith, strength of character, and integrity in office should be emulated by our elected leaders.

The best thing Cory gave the Filipinos, I think, is hope. She made us all believe that; yes, we can make things happen if we come together as one nation.

Let's not let that flicker of hope die out with her.