Search and You Shall Find in My World

30 September 2009

In this troubled world, it's refreshing to find someone who still has the time to be kind. Someone who still has the faith to believe that the more you give, the more you receive. Someone who's ready by thought, word, or deed to reach out a hand, in the hour of need. – Helen Steiner Rice

The floods helped Manila clean up

I saw this article in and I believe, is worth a reprint here. 

For so long, Manila and its suburbs have not done their share of cleaning up. The government agencies were inutile enough to dismiss this as a problem and focused instead on corruption, a not so alien job with our government agencies and also with the corrupted and corrupt people of the Philippines. The typhoon Ondoy became history and so was (is?) the tragedy that surrounded Manila.

Not so long time ago, the Supreme Court ordered government agencies to cleanup Manila Bay, an obvious choice because everybody could see it. But until now, they still pass the buck, blaming everyone but not everybody on who was not cleaning up and instead showed us how much paper work they already have done.

So nature did its share of cleaning up. The harsh way.

by Thelma Sioson San Juan
Philippine Daily Inquirer/

ALYA CUT out the "hello" on the phone and instead sobbed straight into my ear. I could hear more sobbing than words. I finally did make out what she was trying to say: Our friend Joseph, who lives in San Juan, had to swim out of his house when the water rose up to its second story. Seeing the water rising to his knees, he decided to swim out with his loved one and only housemate—Princess, a dachshund.

They had been swimming away from his house, he doing the backstroke so Princess could perch on his chest, when the current grew stronger. He flipped to swim free style, with Princess still swimming alongside him, but they were being sucked towards the river. Joseph was able to grip a steel pole.

Glancing beside him, he saw Princess already way beyond his reach and being spun into the current towards the river.

That was what Alya was sobbing about—Princess’ death and Joseph’s near-death.

Turned out, that tragedy—no matter that we love Joseph and Princess—was not, by any measure, unique last weekend. There were far, far worse.

Metro Manila and the outlying provinces were one big tragedy. A tragedy waiting to happen.

While “Ondoy” dumped the highest rainfall in decades, still, what happened was a man-made disaster.

The past decades we’ve been building the most beautiful malls, gated subdivisions and high-rises—amid the dirtiest esteros and unkempt neighborhoods. In fact, Metro Manila is at its filthiest.

Cities have been overrun with squatters, many of these settlements in esteros—coddled by city mayors who could use their vote.

The mountains, from the north to the south, have been shaved of trees. Environment advocates have to fight tooth and nail to protect the trees, even right in the urban landscape, like Katipunan Ave. (It is ironic coincidence “Ondoy” struck as environment and waste recycling activist Odette Alcantara was being laid to rest.)

And the rivers—the Pasig River stinks. Peer down on Manila Bay and you see plastic bags, food wrappers and all kinds of debris floating.

When disaster strikes, as it did this week, you could count the government’s rubber boats with your 10 fingers. People using toy floaters to save people—this tragic sight is in a country where billions of pesos go into the pork barrel of politicians and government officials, and that’s not even counting what’s in the coffers of local officials.

Clearly, the environment and infrastructure have been suffering from sheer neglect.

Indeed, the unimpeded degradation of the environment is matched only by unconscionable corruption and greed of government. It’s bad governance that’s been our real disaster.

The nouveau riche sprucing up the house with opulent furniture and decor, but never bothering to clean up the house and unclog the toilet—that’s our “disaster lifestyle.”

Photos from (and you think your garbage is overflowing?)

29 September 2009

Insensitive Facebook user named Jacque Bermejo on the plight of Filipinos during the onslaught of Ondoy

"buti n lng am hir in dubai! maybe so many sinners bak der! so yeah deserving wat hapnd!"

"ppl hu r left behind r left behind.luckier us we got better countrys better dan pinas so many ways!dats wat i meaning"

This obviously Filipino domestic helper may have hit it big in Dubai by eating lots of Arabian shit!

Other domestic helpers out there may blame me for bringing them down with this Bermejo asshole. I know you are not like her. And I know that unlike this Jacque Bermejo, you know how you love your own country despite the seemingly pompous life in other nations. Now it is your time to prove otherwise. Donate to the Philippine National Red Cross. See what you can do below:

1.  CASH or CHECK 
Please send cash or check donations to the PNRC National Headquarters in Manila. Checks should be made payable to The Philippine National Red Cross.  We can also arrange for donation pick-up.

Account Name:  The Phil. Nat’l. Red Cross 

    Port Area Branch
    Peso Acct.: 151-3-041-63122-8
    Dollar Acct.: 151-2-151-00218-2
    Type of Acct. : SAVINGS
    Swift Code: MBTC PH MM 

    Port Area Branch
    Peso Acct.:  4991-0010-99
    Type of Account: CURRENT

    UN Branch
    Dollar Acct.: 8114-0030-94
    Type of Account: SAVINGS
    Swift Code:  BOPI PH MM
For your donations to be properly acknowledged, please fax the bank transaction slip at nos. +63.2.527.0575 or +63.2.404.0979 with your name, address and contact number.

Credit Card                

Please fax the following info to +632.404.09.79 and +632.527.0575:

Name of card member, billing address, contact nos. (phone & mobile), credit card no., expiration date, CCV2/ CVC2 (last three digits at the back of the credit card), billing address, amount to be donated.

For online donations you may also visit our website at  .

In-Kind Donations            

Please send in-kind local donations to The Philippine National Red Cross – National Headquarters in Manila.  We could also arrange for donation pick-up.

  1. Send a letter of intent to donate to the PNRC
  2. A letter of acceptance from PNRC shall be sent back to the donor
  3. Immediately after shipping the goods, please send the (a) original Deed of Donation, (b) copy of packing list and (c) original Airway Bill for air shipments or Bill of Lading for sea shipments to The Philippine National Red Cross–National Headquarters c/o Secretary General Gwendolyn Pang, Bonifacio Drive, Port Area, Manila 2803, Philippines.
The PNRC does not accept rotten, damaged, expired or decayed goods.  Though we appreciate your generosity, the PNRC also discourages donations of old clothes as we have more than enough to go around.

SMS and G-CASH (Globe)        

REDAMOUNT  to 2899 (Globe) or 4483 (Smart)


Most urgent needs

Food items: 
Rice, noodles, canned goods, sugar, iodized salt, cooking oil, monggo beans and potable water

Paracetamol, antibiotics, analgesic, oral rehydration salts, multivitamins and medications to treat diarrheal diseases

Non-food items: 
Bath soaps, face towels, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, plastic mats, blankets, mosquito nets, jerry cans, water containers, water purification tablets, plastic sheetings, and Laundry soap

Rehabilitation Programs: 
Shelter materials for house repair

Call Hotline 143 or 527.0000

Bonifacio Drive, Port Area,            
Manila 2803, Philippines 

My crab mentality will help bring you down Jacque Bermejo. LOL...

28 September 2009

The Professional Heckler Survives

Personal: I Survived! This street in Makati City used to be submerged in chest-deep floodwaters. I had to wade through it before three men pushing a tryke-kuliglig hybrid vehicle offered me a 300-peso(!) ride to our house at the end of the road. Two monoblock chairs were placed on the sidecar so i could stand on them. I had to raise my hands (a la-Pacquiao holding his WBC belt) to protect my bag with laptop. Para akong santong ipinaparada sa binagyong fluvial procession! Kulang na lang may magsabit sa ‘kin ng dried everlasting. It was Bocaue Pagoda tragedy meets MMFF Parade of Stars meets Manny Pacquiao victory motorcade! Insane!

(No! That was not The Heckler on the trike. Photo from Facebook by Kathy Zablan)

Christmas Won't Be The Same...

The Nativity scene found floating among the debris caused by typhoon Ondoy. Photo from Kat Palasi @ Facebook.

27 September 2009

Nature Strikes Back

“Nature often holds up a mirror so we can see more clearly the ongoing processes of growth, renewal, and transformation in our lives.”

Photos from Facebook: Jade Tamboon, Blacksuperchad Maglonzo, Julz Ilano, Wenzzo Pancho, Ryan Ramirez, Savann Oeurm, Atom Araullo, Rafa Dinglasan, Kathy Zablan and other unknown sources.

24 September 2009


The past days of my life, I might have been experiencing miracles every day but I never really cared. Not until now. I was always the bratty child. Selfish. Did not care much about the world and if it ended way back then.

But lately I could not help but notice these small miracles.

The past months I really did not have enough funds for myself. You know- food, fare, and some personal splurging have to be set aside. I even wondered why I have survived today.

But suddenly, friends just give me money. Honestly. A friend handed me a 100 peso bill while we were in a jeepney. I asked what for? Just keep it, was the answer. Some extended me a loan. I told them I could not pay on time. Just pay anytime, was the answer.

The Ramadan was also a good excuse for not eating, although I only realized this after a month-long fasting. But having no funds to buy a decent meal, my friends also invited me to lunch, dinner, snack. A good friend even buy me cans of tuna and some rice and store them at home for my consumption.

Humbled, I am truly grateful to you guys for being afforded these gifts. They were not expected of course, but miracles DO happen. It is only up to us to see their gifts being brought to us. I mean, it might not be food or money but the fact that I have friends who shared their blessings, that is miracle enough!


Superfetation is what they call to a pregnant woman who becomes pregnant again. This is a rare case, this being the second time I heard about. Many years ago, I think an Italian also give birth to her children weeks apart. Neither of the children are twins or triplets, etc.


Another "miracle" we did not know- Michelle Pfeiffer sang this beautiful rendition of the song When You Believe in the movie Prince of Egypt. Some say this is more operatic and technical than the version done by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. And I believe so.

...Yet now I'm standing here
My heart's so full I can't explain
Seeking faith and speaking words
I never thought I'd say

There can be miracles, when you believe
Though hope is frail, it's hard to kill
Who knows what miracles you can achieve
When you believe, somehow you will
You will when you believe...

20 September 2009

All together in His glory

We were all there doing our supplications.

Some gave thanks. Some asked. Men. Women. Young. Old. And children. Innocent children not knowing what was going on. Some a month old.

We were all there. Praying, each a different one. Except the children. Yeah. Except the children who were running. Or crying.

Men. Women. Men who dressed like women. Women acting like men.

Some smelling like heaven. Others like fish rot. Some sweating. Others acting cooler than the electric fans. Some danced. I don't know why. Others stiffled a cry. Others obviously happy. I saw a woman who was laughing and talking to herself. I was hoping some angel whispered something to her. Some touching the glass-framed photos of unknown saints and made the cross. Some actually kissed the frames.

Others pushed other people oblivious to the ongoing mass. Others come and go like the mass they were seeing was a bad movie. There was even a couple smooching in the small plaza inside the basilica.

All came to this place asking solace, comfort, peace, thanks or just be seen.

I came here in gratitude.

I was at the Basilica of Sto Niño in downtown Cebu this morning to give thanks to the Almighty for the rare opportunity of experiencing 30 days of fasting and surviving the process with a different outlook in life.

Despite the ambivalence, these people made life colorful. Life is beautiful.

And the cantor sang: A---MEN. A---Men. A---men.

Eid Mubarak! May you enjoy the blessed Festival!

19 September 2009

Fasting and Ramadan: Last Night

I am quite emotional. Tonight is the last night of my fasting. For 30 days during the Ramadan, I have survived whole and alive.

And tonight, the last night of my fasting, I could not help but cry and give thanks to Him that made me stronger each day of the fast.

The Holy Quran says tonight is the night to give and forgive. In my heart, I have forgiven all who have caused me pain and sorrow. Likewise I asked them to forgive me, which I also did in the beginning of the fast.

Quoting from the Muslim's Holy Quran, it says- The good deed and the evil deed are not alike. Repel the evil deed with one which is better; then lo, he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a bosom friend.

Hating to be self-righteous and preachy and all, I hope I have done better. The Ramadan has taught me a lot. More personal actually, and I hope I can keep it up. Some say I was just another hypocrite, or just doing the fasting for show (how will we know you really are fasting?), and some other judgmental issues they throw against me, but it is not my capacity to judge back. The fact is that I have done what is best for me and for me only. My fasting has taught me how to become resilient, to restrain myself from food and sexual desires and eventual control of myself. A better and experienced person I hope.

And for all of these, I thank Him more than anything. Or anyone.

In closing, I would like to share you these secrets I read as I do my last day of fasting from the book titled The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die by John Izzo:

First secret: Be true to your self.
Second secret: Leave no regrets.
Third secret: Become love.
Fourth secret: Live the moment.
Fifth secret: Give more than you take.

I wish you all peace and good health and camaraderie for the year round. May God bless us all.

Eid Mubarak!


Pic from here.

18 September 2009

Fasting and Ramadan: Sick

Two days more to go and I would complete my fasting during the Ramadan.

But in the final stretch, my body seemed so weak. I could no longer wake up at 3 in the morning to prepare my food. So I spend the whole day weak, hungry and barely have the time to move around.

Maybe this is a test of strength and patience, so I believe. I have been remiss in my prayers actually and succumb to the pleasures of waiting the breaking of fast.

Patience, patience, patience, that's what my brother Muslim told me.

So these final days, instead of getting more sick, I conditioned myself to make it to Eid. And doing so I could do the giving and forgiving part.

A note on giving, maybe because I am fasting, I realized I have so much graces at home, including abundant food. I never had it before. Before they turn useless, I share them with a needy family.

This is the month of kindness and charity. Be kind to everyone, I was told, even to myself. And so I share.

15 September 2009

How we rate the different restos in Cebu (feeling Bourdain)

This 25th day of my fasting made me realized that it is not only a personal and spiritual journey but also a culinary discovery as well.

With my Muslim friend (who do most of the paying part, thanks brother, hehehe), we hopped on to different restaurants where we could find something for us to eat during the breaking of fast. That means- no pork, more vegetables and fish and should be fresh.

Not knowing it but at this time, we already have our system of grading them. The ambience, the food, the service and the place, we rated them as we eat or in the case of bad experience, we do the rating outside after we paid.

Here are the places we have gone to and with an overall scores right after the names. Please take note that we are not experts on the culinary field and our scoring should not be used as basis for intimidating the restos mentioned. (As if, hahaha.) Our scoring is based on our personal likes and dislikes. The scores are ratings from 1-10, 10 being the highest and 1 the lowest.

Nivel Hills, Lahug, Cebu (near Bellini)

This place is expensive but the food is extremely superb. A bowl of soup costs about P450(?). But the service is impeccable. Even if you see how tired are the faces of the service crew, they still give you a heartwarming smile. The place is cool for an intimate date, although it would be full on weekends.

Salinas Drive, Lahug, Cebu

This is also quite an expensive Chinese restaurant. You can actually select your food on display from the aquariums before they are cooked. The place is frequented by foreigners (Koreans, Chinese, some Europeans) and tour groups as evident from the buses waiting outside when we went there.

Salinas Drive, Lahug, Cebu
Andres Abellana, Guadalupe, Cebu

I prefer to eat at their branch in Guadalupe because the service crew there are more attentive and will always give you what you want even if it was not in the menu, like for example, caramelized sugar. The Lahug branch is stuffy with smoke from their grills.

Banilad Town Center, Banilad, Cebu

Although the place is nice but the ambience is not good. The music is blasting with pop culture. My favorite food from here is pomelo salad and tom yum gong. I ordered my pomelo salad without pork, but when it arrived, the pork was still there.

Don Jose Avila St., Capitol Site, Cebu

We ordered fish, prawn, vegetables, clam soup and they all arrived one by one in a span of 20-30 minutes. Except for the excellent clam soup, everything we ordered were salty, as if their chef wanted to marry but his parents won't let him.

Casa Escano B&B, Juana Osmeña St., Cebu

This restaurant is quite a find. Situated outside the heavy traffic of Cebu, the place is just perfect. The ambience is that of an old hacienda, only you wish there are horses outside. Their salmon dish is excellent with mashed potato. The chicken is also sweet and delicious. The price is affordable.

Pond St., near Ramos, Cebu

We requested a table for two and was shown at the garden. Most of the dishes in the menu are pork/beef so we asked the waiter what is their next bestseller. He pointed out the fish something. I ordered the fried fish with veggies and my friend the grilled fish with veggies. They came in oily and looks the same. The veggies dry and no longer appetizing. Our fresh mango juice smelled like it was stored in a cupboard for a long time. We ordered iced tea again but they only serve the flavored iced teas. No choice but to order the raspberry flavor. It was a disaster.

near Diplomat Hotel, Ramos St., Cebu

After that disastrous meal (we barely touched our food) at Casa Verde, we walked just a few steps towards Velez Hospital hoping to have a good dinner at this small Thai resto I saw there. Eating Thai would be a relief from the hunger we felt. The food is so-so and some nice. The tom yum very salty. The pomelo salad and the spring rolls out of stock. But I love the sticky rice with coconut ice cream! And also the tamarind juice was heavenly. We went there towards closing time (9pm) so almost all their stocks are also gone. The waiter said the place is also owned by the Krua Thai management.

SIAM - 8
The Terraces, Ayala Center, Cebu

The food is great here. Not too expensive. Lots of choices.

The Terraces, Ayala Center, Cebu

An Asian food fusion, you will love their food as well as the place. For those who are fasting the whole day, the citrus drink with fresh mint is a welcome relief.

The Terraces, Ayala Center, Cebu

An excellent place to experience Filipino cuisine at its best. Authentic, affordable and excellent service. A good place to recommend to your foreign guests.

The Terraces, Ayala Center, Cebu

More Asian food here. Although I find their nasi goreng quite lacking in texture, but still is passable. The pomelo salad is way behind Krua Thai's. I asked the waiter why the pomelo is bitter and not sweet. He told me the purchaser wasn't able to find a good one. Speaking of quality control.

CYMA - 8
The Terraces, Ayala Center, Cebu

If you crave for Greek and Mediterranean food, Cyma is the right place. The restaurant is quite expensive though but the food serving is generous you can't make a clean swipe off your plate. Ambience is great but be sure not to panic when all the staff would shout OPAH! everytime somebody orders a flaming dish. And they would insist you do order them, so be prepared to join the yell so the newbies would feel what you felt.

Watefront Hotel, Lahug, Cebu

Buffet starts at P650 per excluding taxes. They have an excellent array of Asian, European food. You can have it grilled, fried, toasted, whatever. The pastries are varied and a welcoming sight for the sweet tooth. The waiting staff are very attentive and helpful.

Ramos St., Cebu

My friend went there with his newfound friend but he said he didn't like the food. Although he said the place is nice with that old house ambience. I was able to eat at Abuhan Tres in IT Park but I also did not like the food there.

at the back of Sarossa Hotel, Kasambagan, Cebu

When I brought my friend there, he fell in love with the place. The resto is not too warm and not too cold. The music is cool. The whole place is actually cool. Like its name, you can see assorted things around the place aside from the extensive menu. The food is great and affordable. We actually go there from time to time.

near Andres Abellana St, Guadalupe, Cebu

We went there near closing time and the staff were quite tired. The second floor was already closed, and the seats and tables near the road were dusty. We ordered pizza but was not able to eat them so we have it packed. The place was full of mosquitos and smoking Koreans.

Salinas Drive, Lahug, Cebu

This is also a nice Filipino restaurant. The food is great and not too expensive. So many people come here during dinner and getting your bill and your change would always take longer.

Escario St. infront of Capitol Building, Cebu

I ordered beef menudo, rice, fried fish, and Fit 'n Right juice and paid only P88. This carenderia boasts none of the trimmings of classy restos but is frequented by regular patrons especially during working days. The food is great and cheap.

14 September 2009

Alindahaw Hotel in Pagadian: A welcome relief

A red wine waiting for you in your room is one of the pleasures the Megayon Festival organizers in Pagadian City is giving to their guests. Thank you very much.