It’s about time Filipino cuisine got some love

It’s about time Filipino cuisine got some love

This is a topic that friends and I sometimes talk about when we’re out gorging on Filipino food — why our homegrown cuisine never gets the same kind of international publicity/recognition Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese and other Asian cuisines get. My own theory is that our cuisine, like us as a people, can adapt or blend into its environment. Filipinos are great adapters, a survival skill we have honed to perfection especially since so many of us work outside the country. Same way with our cuisine. I love Filipino food, not just because it is my own, but because I personally think that it can compare with the best in the world. But why has it not been publicized more often than it should? Because it is adaptable. Add a few ingredients here, replace something with another, and you have a familiar dish that might have come from somewhere else. It frustrates me sometimes — which is why it always gives me a kick to see Filipino food getting attention in the international press, like these reviews in The New York Times of Pinoy restaurants thriving in the Big Apple. Hey, it’s New York. If we can make it there, surely we can make it anywhere.

[photo of Pig and Khao, one of the Filipino restaurants]

[image borrowed from the article in The New York Times]

Pilipinas represent!

Been spending a lot of time in io9.com lately. I used to read this site all the time then kind of forgotten about it until Karen reminded me of it (Methos!). Anyways, I’m really proud of these writers — proof that our lit landscape is vastly underrated and undiscovered. So here’s doing my bit to push Pinoy talent out there.

Pilipinas represent!

Giving everyone the finger, hehehe…Voted last Saturday. I had to get up early on a Saturday to do it, but I figured, a little lost sleep for my crazy, chaotic, in-a-class-by itself Philippines is a small price to pay so she gets the leadership she needs. I hope I made the right choices.

And the world was yellow*—got this from the status message of a friend on FB—and how right he was. The years 1983-1986 were pivotal ones for me personally and for the rest of us. To quote another writer, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Cory Aquino symbolized what was the best of us then.

I remember that time was a bit divisive for the family. The rest of the Gutierrez clan were staunch Marcos supporters except for our branch, which proudly wore yellow. I remember my mom was a Cory’s crusader and wanted to always be at the rallies supporting Cory. The family did what we could to help—even if the rest of our relatives were on the other side.

Feb 1986 passed by in a haze of yellow, sleepless nights, and a great deal of tension. It was all worth it—we elected a president and proudly told the world we stood up for democracy. How times have changed.

I just hope we wake up this time and remember what we fought for then. Elections are coming up. It’s time to choose leaders of Cory’s caliber and honesty. Problem is, are there still any out there?

*James, pahiram ha? 🙂

Teehankee released in the dead of the night

WTF?!? Why release a convicted murderer who has only served 14 years for killing two people and wounding a third, when our jails are full of political prisoners whose only crime is having different ideological beliefs?! Somebody high up must be calling in favors owed by Arroyo. She’s not stupid. She knows how this news will be received. Maureen Hultmann would have been 30 today had she lived. Roland John Chapman would have been 35. So much lost potential. News like this makes me think there’s no hope for this country. With the Arroyo government in charge, this country is going to the dogs—except that this is an insult to dogs everywhere. Grr!

Teehankee released in the dead of the night

eheads, buklod, and my tibak* past life…

1. Eheads hangover—again! I blame Pierra and Cha for this, actually, hehe. Pierra because of the eheads concert pics and the Cubao X pics she emailed and Cha coz of the Raymund interview. Anyways, this was a mass email that Raymund sent a day or so after the eheads concert. I don’t know why I didn’t post it before. I must’ve forgotten about it. You can tell he was pissed off about what was said about the band after the concert. One a positive note, if the email is any indication, friends na ulit sila ni Ely, hehe…

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to whom it may concern

i dont usually rant but ive been hearing reports about people
questioning why we played saguijo after the concert.

first things first. when marlboro pulled out and cancelled the show a week ago, the band was free of all obligation to play the show. if it was about the money we could have just walked away fully paid no explanations to the press or anybody. free from the contract. the band decided to play nevertheless. the tickets and the prices was for the new promoters to buy out the production from philip morris to put it simply. contrary to what some people think it takes money to stage a concert. stage, lights, and video screens don’t magically grow out of the ground. that’s what the ticket prices were for. the band was not in the negotiation meetings between the the two promoters and we did not want to be in the meetings.

personally i said just call me cos i’m ready to rock. no extra pay no contract negotiations. as far as the eheads was concerned were out of the contract.

but here’s what you dont understand. playing music is what we do. we play when we’re happy, play when we’re sad, play when we’re angry, play when we’re sick, play til we die.

painters paint, writers write, my skateboarding friends skate or die. when u ask nba superstars what they do in their spare time. they play basketball.

us musicians, we play. thats what we do. getting paid is a bonus. i will not apologize for that. when we don’t get paid we still play.

we played saguijo because we wanted to, we needed to. our hearts and souls dictated it. we could just go home and sleep. we did not talk about it. there was no invites there was no plan. we did not get paid. we borrowed equipment.

yes ely knew about it. buddy told him the next day. yes pupil was in saguijo too.

yes marcus buddy and i have lost a parent. we know how it feels.

ive been playing music for more than 30 years. professionally since 1993.there have been a few times when it was me who was unable to continue the set due to illness. albeit it was a lesser scale and (thankfully) never reported. it was nonetheless life threatening. ive had a run in with losing my voice, food poisoning diarreah (embarassing) and a few more i do not care to mention that involved blood and bones. i had to drop out of the set from the eheads, cambio and sandwich. thankfully there was always someone there to finish the set for me. and i am thankful that they were there. i did not feel bad. ive also saved a few shows from other bands when [gooey brown stuff] happens. we dont plan this and we dont complain but we still play.

my bmx friends ride with broken bones.

if we finished the eheads show that night you would STILL have found us in guijo playing after.

yes i visited ely in the hospital yesterday. i hope he recovers soon. we have a show to finish.

music is life
ill only stop playing when i die.

raym<s>

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O, diba? How seriously badass! He really told off the detractors. Guess he can do that na at this point in the game, hehe…

2. I was at Filipinas Heritage Library (FHL) earlier today to get some pictures I plan to use on an article on heritage conservation (yes, I finished the frakking article!). I really love this building. I wish I had a camera with me so I could have taken pictures of it. Now, being the person that I am, I can’t pass a bookshop without exploring it and FHL has a gem of a bookshop right inside the entrance. Lots of books and other things that I covet and want to buy! Sigh. Hate it when my pockets are to let. But I couldn’t resist a CD compilation of Buklod songs that was paired with a CD of Gary Granada with all his jingles (“Pamilyang Pilipino” for Jollibee, anyone?) and institutional songs he wrote to keep body and soul together. I only wanted the Buklod CD but Granada’s was packaged with it so had to get that as well. Good thing the two CDs cost only P250. I figure it’s a cheap price to pay for the tibak memories, haha!

[*tibak is activist-speak for, well, activist. :)]

—This will always be how I’ll remember the Eraserheads—young, full of it, and still trying to carve their place under the sun.

Last Saturday’s concert will go down as one of those defining moments in Philippine rock&roll history, right up there with Joey “Pepe” Smith writing “Ang Himig Natin” in the toilet just 20 minutes before their big concert on an acid high, no less, and Teddy Diaz of The Dawn getting stabbed to death.*

The Eraserheads was a band that everybody loved. As Raimund said when he texted me the day after the concert, “”I felt the overwhelming love during the countdown before I even saw the crowd.” And so he should.

From around 3pm onwards, the crowd kept getting bigger and bigger. And during the 30-minute countdown before the show started, the crowd’s mood was exuberant and excited, with everyone shouting out the seconds as they passed. It was intense. There isn’t another Filipino band who can generate that big a crowd, that kind of excitement and, yes, love from all sorts of people. And from the first bass riff of the first song, “Alapaap” the crowd was theirs, as it has always been. I had goosebumps when they started playing.

After Buddy, Marcus, Raimund, and Ely’s sister announced to the crowd that Ely couldn’t continue the concert and was being rushed to the hospital, the mood of the crowd was overwhelming concern that he be all right. Everyone went home in a subdued but orderly manner. Name a rock band who can cut a concert midway and not have a riot on its hands. I can’t think of any. And before Saturday night, I didn’t think it was possible.

For me, Saturday’s concert was a farewell of sorts, a fitting postscript or closure to a band whose music was the soundtrack of my college years and captured so well the Pinoy’s trademark smart-alecky wit, humor, and sarcasm. On the way home that night, we saw sk8rboyz, punkilitos, the Cos-Play crowd, who might not even have been born yet when the Eraserheads started jamming in the dorms of U.P. And during our late dinner, the sound system at the restaurant played “Overdrive.”** Goodbye, Eraserheads, it’s been a fun ride.

[*the original entry said “shot to death” but a friend said he was stabbed. Edited it accordingly.]

[**Original entry said “Drive” but the correct title of the song is “Overdrive.” Mali ako.]

Today’s hard times—and no times have been harder—is all that Arroyo needs to justify extending power. Abnormal conditions call for abnormal solutions. Abnormal times call for abnormal times.—

from Conrado de Quiros’ column today, “Future of the Nation” in the PDI. I like de Quiros. He gets what I feel about this country. Especially during times like these, when you can practically feel the unease all around—skyrocketing gas and food prices, scandals (smuggled cars? bribery charges?) and tragedies galore, and weird weather—that if someone told me that end-times are nigh, I’d have no trouble believing it. End-times, or the Philippine equivalent—martial law. Sigh.