Search and You Shall Find in My World

27 May 2010

Hungry for Vietnamese-style adobo

I haven't had my breakfast and lunch because of the American Idol Finals. But one dish that came to mind as I suppress my hunger in the office is Ila Puti's Saigon Adobo, a Vietnamese lemongrass tenderloin tips adobo with garlic shrimp rice and nuoc nam (Vietnamese dip made from fish sauce, garlic and chili).

Just in case you too, are salivating, you can visit Ila Puti which is open 24 hours at the I1 Building, Asiatown IT Park, Lahug, Cebu City. You can call in advance through telephone number +63.32.415.8800 or email

25 May 2010

Misteryo: Demystifying the Aswang and the Filipino

Last night you were, unhinged. You were like some desperate, howling demon. You frightened me. Do it again. –Morticia Adams

The other day, while waiting for sleep to come, I chanced upon a TV program over at QTV about the mysterious world we are in, aptly titled Misteryo.

The topic was about Aswang, that vampire-like witch I used to fear when I was younger and would have me goose-bumped when some occasions arise.

Hosted by Ryan Eigennman, the program transported me to Cavite where a supposed “victim” was being studied and protected by albularyos (generally, witch doctors). That albularyo insisted that the woman was indeed a victim and mumbled some Latin version of a Roman Catholic prayer. The victim was a woman who had miscarriage.

The program took pains in interviewing everyone in the family, even putting cameras in the roofs just to record the possible coming back of the aswang. Interestingly, only a cat sniffed their cameras. The albularyo justified that aswangs could trick us and took forms with whatever they want.

There was also a “self-confessed” aswang who allowed an interview to justify herself that she did not cause the miscarriage.

Instead of being terrified I was in fact laughing at the interview. The usual pinakain ng bato (swallowed a pebble allegedly coming from a dying aswang, mostly a relative so he/she could die peacefully and that the aswang tradition will live on) was rather cute.

It reminds me of my Lola who used to terrify us with her stories of the unknown. She would insist she saw aswangs and other mythical beings of the night. We would cower in fear, usually under a comforting blanket. Those stories would sometimes leave us children prisoners in our house while the adults would go out not guilty of child neglect doing whatever business they do outside of the house during the night because the children were safely tucked in bed having nightmares of aswangs.

To demystify aswangs, the program also interviewed a doctor who said that the cause of the miscarriage could be attributed to several factors like the shape of her uterus or stress-related problems because pregnancy could do a lot of psychological harm to a woman.

The series is quite clever and a bit informative. I salute it for the reason that it once again revives our culture no matter how ignorant we may seem to be from other people. Although I for sure know that these mythical beings never ceased to exist especially in rural areas. But still, the aswangs, manananggals, tiyanaks, etc. are part of what we are as Filipinos. These mythic ghouls make us more than an interesting nation.

We have an Aswang Festival in Roxas City, right?

Mooon Café never fails to deliver

For a drinker like us, Mooon Café is a favorite hangout because of one reason, no, two actually- cold beer and food. Never mind if it really is not serving authentic Mexican food.

Mooon (take note of the three Os) has the best deal in town. With only 485 pesos, you can have a seven-bottle ice cold San Mig Lite (other choices include of Red Horse or SMB Pale), a bowlful of nachos with three-kinds of dressing, chicken chicharon and chorizos.

Notably, this place is THE hangout worth hanging around.

22 May 2010

Indulging in Bohol: The Buzzz Café of the Bohol Bee Farm

Coming home to Bohol is a welcome respite from the demands of highly urbanized cities like Cebu. That and despite of the fact that Tagbilaran is becoming like a suffocated city and criminality abound with no solutions in sight.

But coming to a place I call home exudes another dimension, a sense of belonging I would not or could not solicit from someone or somewhere else.

The Buzzz Café (Upper Ground Floor of the Island City Mall; telephone 63.38.501.7818) was my first destination. I missed the food here and the company of familiar servers who would give you something of an extra of just about anything.

Honestly, I came here just for their famous Organic Salad which I truly missed since no restaurant would dare serve them. Famous because people are almost always amused at the sight of its ingredients: lettuce, pineapple bits, strips of vegetables and flowers. Yes, flowers. As what the owner and a good friend Ms Vicky Wallace told us long time ago, whatever the bees visit, is mostly edible. But I think what made their organic salad palatable is the syrup that comes with it: a combination of honey, cheese, vinaigrette and mustard. Yummy!

In spite of my insistence that I would only have the organic salad, Ms Ynday, my former head of office insisted that we also try their spicy seafood pasta which came in a huge plate. The pasta was served with another organic salad on the side (one bowl is already enough, please) and an herb bread with pesto and mango-cheese spread. Now this is truly an achievement I should be proud of since I don’t eat this much.

The pasta was perfect, firm and not soggy, the texture quite notable as the aroma from the seafood and herbs made it a drowning experience. Although I was wondering why there were five big heads of prawns on it with only 3 bodies we accounted. I should file a missing report, I joked.

As if the carbo load was not enough, we order another dish we could not resist- Bread Pizza. Now this sure is unique of The Buzzz Café. A thick slice of herb bread is doused with a special sauce combined with tomatoes, peppers, cheese and other herbs. The smell is heaven enough and the taste equally filling.

A glass of fresh buko shake and corn coffee completes our meal.

Burp! Excuse me, but that meal deserves a good siesta.

Angel Moroni sounds his trumpet in Cebu

I had the rare privilege of visiting the second temple in the Philippines of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons, as we know them) in Lahug, Cebu City.

The temple was opened to the public yesterday, May 21 and will remain open until June 5, 2010. After June 5 it will be closed in preparation for it's consecration on June 13th and will no longer be accessible even to a Mormon who won't have a recommendation to enter this most sacred place.

If you have time, do make a visit (remember, until June 5 only) and be awed by its marvelous architectural design and accessories. 

You don't need to be a Mormon to go there and take note, the people there are very hospitable and will welcome you like you are their own kind. So if they ask you to turn off your cellphones and cameras upon entering the temple, please do so.

21 May 2010

Good morning

A cup of coffee and some weird notice posted at the door of the comfort room of Weesam Express, fast ferry plying Cebu-Tagbilaran-Cebu route, make my day!

20 May 2010


I had the chance to visit Alona Tropical Beach Resort (telephones 63.38.502.9024; 502.9148) in Panglao Island for a photo shoot. Although this was not my first time to that resort, it was only when we stayed for several hours at their restaurant that I noticed several pieces of Santos surrounding the dining area. I felt holier-than-thou as I devoured their food with gusto.

16 May 2010

Food for the hungry soul

People might have noticed that I got thinner so they were more worried what I was eating (or not eating) than I actually did.

The Ortegas, Glo and Gilda, brought me to Khrua Thai again and treat to me a sumptuous dinner despite my insistence that I was really not hungry. But still I ordered Sticky Rice with Mango Ice-Cream as a consequence.

The girls had a great dinner ordering vegetable salad, some rice that looked like nasi goreng but with Chinese sausages, and a Phad Thai. Yeah I only took a taste of the salad since most of the dishes the girls ordered had pork on them.

As usual, Khrua Thai delivered its signature dishes.

09 May 2010

Money is evil

The distribution of inangayan (what we call the vote buying here in Batuan, Bohol) has started since last night. I have here with me 20 and 50 peso bills with names of candidates stapled on them. They are cool to look at and a very harsh truth that despite the Catholic Church's demand that candidates should not give money, they even had a document to sign on for Christ's sake!, they still go on distributing them. Talk about promises and integrity.

I was awakened early this morning because of my mother's shrill voice demanding that she would return the money some candidate gave us through my sister in-law. I thought there was a fight. She started Mother's Day with a fight!

Evil. Evil. Evil!

Pic from

08 May 2010

Sundogs could be very hot dogs :p

Yesterday at past eleven in the morning, we experienced a sundog (usually seen during cold weather) here in Cebu despite of the very hot weather. The phenomenon created a text buzz, some predicting the end of the world. Again. As usual.

06 May 2010

Philippine presidential candidates I voted

1986 Elections

1992 Elections

1998 Elections

2004 Elections

2010 Elections

05 May 2010

Blogging my way for 4 years now

I started blogging in 2006. I admit I was only interested after several invitations to do some blogs without really knowing what it meant. Someone told me I would just do like some journals of which I actually did way back then. The thought of mumbling online with just about any topic under the sun amazed me. So this blog. (What is a blog?)

Online friends encouraged me to go proceed despite of the fact that my blog has no focus. Yes, like me, this blog has no focus I can brag about so that people would be interested to follow me. Very much unlike the more established bloggers who specifically put their niche on travel or food or photography, etc. Mine is a topsy-turvy of just about everything.

But despite of the fact that I am merely writing this to satisfy my need to write, that need to pour out so that my mind can rest, I gain some readers and followers. Not that big but enough to satisfy my ego.

Interestingly, I got enemies or shall we say critics, out of my blog. One fellow blogger reprimanded me because I copied the whole article in his blog despite of the fact that I put his name and links as the appropriate author. Blogs should not be like that, he said. You can comment about my article and quote me, but still you have to have your own.

One time (or was that many times?), I also blog about my clients who literally abandon me after completing our projects, without even thanking me for the designs I made. I mentioned their names and their companies as a revenge for not paying me a single cent. Those instances got me various feedbacks from their friends and my friends. It was unfair and a demolition process I should not be doing- was the drunken spiel I heard until it died down.

I got tips from well-meaning acquaintances on how to do with my blog. Some suggested that I advertise what I do. Others even wanted to design the look of my blog as if this was their own. Advertisers emailed me and told me what to do so I could get money, a dilemma that entailed complicated manipulation of my blog. Money or not, I do not want to complicate my life.

I have had enough of everyone’s bright ideas.

In the end, despite of their perception that my blog is without focus, I have survived four years of blogging and I have no plans of stopping. I decide what I should do with my blog and what I write on it. I would share with the online community and to my followers what are my thoughts, what I have seen and experienced, what I’ve done and planning to do, what I’ve eaten or cooked. I gain friends, I got enemies here.

After all, this is the world according to Melchizedik. And that is me.

Pic from

04 May 2010

I don’t know or so said the waiter from Handuraw

I’ve been to a lot of restaurants, carenderias and unusual dining stalls all over the country and outside of the Philippines and one thing that annoys me most is a waiter or a server who does not know what he is about to serve. I believe staff like them should be fired immediately or else they would do more than harm to the establishment.

I would take consideration when that staff is from some unknown carenderia where dining (or just eating at their place) is a risk you should take as part of the bargain. But mind you, that is not always the case. Most carenderia staff knows by heart what is the name of the food on display, and even know how they are made.

I met once that kind of staff in Naga City who even told me the ingredients and how Bicol Express should be made, offering me to write them so I could try cooking them. I should say that that staff should have been given an excellent grade like the ones they do in Jollibee or KFC.

Today, I am invited by a friend to join him for late lunch at Handuraw. I asked him we find another place since the last time I was there, the place looked like a tame version of a strip club. The lights were so low I had a hard time reading what was on their menu. The waiting staff did not offer a flashlight or a torch to justify their low light drama. And I had trouble looking for them since they were nowhere to be found after you order or after serving them. Unlike other restos of their kind when just a turn of your head a staff is there asking you if there are problems.

But since he insisted that Handuraw is the nearest from his place and he is paying, I accepted the invite.

In view of the fact that I was really hungry and nursing a bad hangover from last night’s drunken episode, I was considering their rice toppings. One in the menu caught my eye. It said Vegetable Meat Teriyaki. I asked the waiting staff what they meant by vegetable meat and what meat if there is any, since I am very concerned with anything pork on my food.

I was shocked when he replied: Wa ko kahibaw Sir kay pinalit ra na namo sa gawas. (I don’t know Sir because we just bought them outside.) I was imagining the food cart outside of Handuraw selling fish balls and I don’t eat them much more buy from them.

My expectation from Handuraw who is known by many as a distinctive restaurant and owned by aficionados from UP, dropped so low. I never expected “distinct” meant that their staff is ignorant of what they were selling.

Which reminds me that the last time I was there a foreigner was pissed with a staff and I thought it was just a matter of cultural difference.

Now I know.

I think the Handuraw management does not know what is going on so I called up the attention of another staff even if the owner, Ms Becky Smith is four tables away from us, and informed her what happened. The staff we called apologized.

And based from stories some kitchen staff told me, the ones you heard about how they take revenge on irritating customers, I still ordered. No longer interested how was my food, I just gobble them up just to satisfy my gnawing hunger pains.

I miss the old Handuraw in Mabolo.

(Above pic is the tuna sandwich I ordered the last time I was in Handuraw. The sandwich was very plain and could have been made better.)