Singapore’s leading publisher, SPH, reported that the country has the “highest density of millionaires” around the world because of the state’s small size and the number of millionaires living here: 99,000! A typical millionaire, the report says, has an average of 3 signature watches (SGD15,000 each or half a million pesos), and...
Once upon a modern time, before iPhone 4s was released, my game designer friend Jay warned me, in an arcane tone, that the way you look at mobile phones will never be the same again once you use an iPhone. Since I was never a techie person, that geek data he was trying to feed my electronics-proof head didn’t really come through. The...
Today’s a lovely day. I’m back at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) headquarters in Los Baños to start another issue of Rice Today. IRRI is just beside the UPLB campus, so walking around the university brings me back to my golden days of 2001 when I was a freshman. I felt like a student again walking with young...
For the most part of my life, I was that skinny little poor flat-chested thing buried on the pages of novels well into my early 20s. Until one day, like in the movie Persepolis, the body decided to pop some boobs and swell the hips to 35 inches. The face remained boyish with thick eyebrows and upper lip hair, zits every ‘bloody’...
When I checked in and entered my room, I literally stopped in awe at the room reserved for me (my mind said: omigoshoigoshomigosh). Like in my other trips, I don’t expect much from the places nor do I read so many travel guides since they may spoil my own impressions. One funny habit I have is, I read travel blogs of a place after...
Oh my. Vietnamese food is all goodness. Heaven’s delight. pho Honestly I had zero idea what specialty Vietnam has, until my co-editor at IRRI, Lanie, advised me to try pho, noodles made of rice! (they’re abundant with rice, Vietnam being the world’s second largest rice exporter (after Thailand). That advice came to me weeks...
Do you remember me, Ms Ai? would always be the exacting question of a former student whom I'd run into; I'd answer not with a categorical yes or no, but with a classroom no. and seat location, or a topic in research paper--that's where you sat, that's what you wrote in class, I would answer; then comes the predictable reaction...
Couple of days ago, I solicited suggestions for all-time tear-jerker movies, the kind that will give you swollen eyes and runny nose. And here’s what I got: Rizza: A Moment to Remember Kamille: I Am David Andre: The Notebook Raymond: Simon Birch, The Love of Siam Jay: Never Let Me Go, Grave of the Fireflies, Toy Story 3, Up Connet:...
In Japanese, the name Ai means- love. (Says meaning-of-names.com) If the tsunami in Japan sent waves of panic and end-of-the-world thoughts (and jokes) around the globe, I could only think of that statement. In Japanese, the name Ai means- love. Our social conscience would tug at our heart strings, feel for Japan, and offer a prayer or a...
*to Juni, who lent me dvds of gayness, after he talked about his clothing designs and love affairs, the first time I met him one evening in Quezon Ave. Issues of gender are difficult to evade because along with social class, education, religion, nationality (among others), gender is part of one’s subject position-or the...
Once, my prof in Classical Literary Theories teased us: do you want to know the books that you should read at least once in your lifetime? We asked for the list and he e-mailed us this. How many and which of these have you read, dear reader? You can’t possibly be reading blogs all your life, can you? I hope my professors don’t...
Mike knows that mangoes tame my inner monsters, so since the onset of summer he’s been buying me kilos of yellow mangoes that exude that familiar smell of ripeness.
One second, I could be a complete worrywart, the next minute, I am Zenlike, eating bite after bite of mangoes divine. On Sundays outside the streets of stinky Manila, all he would say is “mangga?” and I would smile sheepishly and nod, and he would walk to the nearest cariton of those sweet smelling summer fruit, choose the fat ones, and show me the plastic bag full of happiness.
He once stared at me, looking at the way I ate mangoes – I don’t chew them, he thought out loud. I chuckled, eating some more.
It’s not only Mike who supports my addiction. My mother climbed a tree (which, I just learned, my father planted at an emptied lot), picked and plucked more than a dozen, and brought me bags of green indian mangoes, the shape and size of a human heart.
The fruit is a national favorite. Our memories of summer would always have that one time we were climbing mango trees, or eating indian mangoes with salt or bagoong or alamang or sukang iloko.
When I was in Singapore, I witnessed how Filipinos go crazy over indian mangoes – pasalubong from the Philippines – and munch on them in no time. Even I myself missed it a lot when I was abroad, so I had to settle for mangoes from Thailand or Vietnam, but I found them less sweet than ours. I wondered why.
You know the best mangoes I’ve tasted so far were from the Visayas. Holy tropical miracles, those mangoes from Cebu and Bohol are so juicy and packed, they’re like the fuji apple of mangoes (if that makes sense).
If at this point, you still aren’t craving for mangoes, let me tell you their health and beauty benefits.
Mangoes may help prevent cancer, help lower cholesterol, promote eye health, help normalize insulin levels, help improve digestion, and boost immune system, and that’s because these fruits can supply us our needed vitamin C (very good for the skin), vitamin A (good for your eyes), and daily fiber (good for your diet).
Most important of all, you help mango farmers all over the Philippines earn their living whenever you eat mangoes. I know the Philippines is already big in exporting mangoes to countries all over the world (you can check out the Philippine mango ad at the MRT Edsa station), but we can support the local mango industry more by buying those ripe mangoes from Pangasinan or Zambales.
I say this with a heart for mango ‘farmers’ because my father once planted hundreds of mango trees in Mindoro when I was younger, in a time when all I had to worry about was how to finish eating all those baskets of harvested mangoes.
Planting mangoes (the carabao variety in particular) and taking them to the market is not easy.
My father said the soil has to be well-fertilized, with moderate irrigation, and void of weeds which could suck out the macro and micronutrients of the soil. Pests can destroy the trees while they’re growing so years of care have to be dedicated to it. And come harvest time, perfect ripening has techniques.
Maybe that’s why I eat my mangoes with such relish – because I am aware how so much love and care can go into producing the golden ripe tropical goodness that is the mango.Read More
At the sound of hello, I quiver holding the telephone connecting me to a voice from the land of aborigines, kangaroos, and koalas.
Koalas. Seventy-five percent of a koala’s day, they say, is spent on sleeping. There’s no way you can say hello to them while they’re up there with their arms looped around branches, dozing. Cuddly sleeping furballs.
Sleeping. I always like to sleep at work, but I can’t do it all the time.
My job is to write stories. I write news and feature articles about health, ageing, nursing, education, and technology. These stories are relevant to people in New South Wales, West Australia, Queensland, Tasmania, Northern Territory, Victoria and Canberra (yep, that’s just about all the Australian states and territories).
Believe it or not, I was clueless about Australia’s geography until the first day of my Manila-based work. Did I get an orientation or training on the culture, territory, or history of the state-continent?Read More
Women, they say, are most physically attractive when they’re in their late 20s and early 30s. Natalie Portman easily comes to mind as an example. This is the time of maturity for many in terms of physique, career, romance, and well-being. (If you’re 28 and you still baby talk in social media, perhaps you’re a sad case of under-development.)
One person I know of, though, has been beautiful ever since I’ve known her. She just announced her having a baby, and I’m blogging about her because I almost missed the big news.
I’m talking about a fellow Comm Arts graduate and staff of UPLB Perspective, April.
April’s smile sets a room aglow.
She’s one of those girls back in college enviable for sex appeal and graciousness. The university newspaper office would swell in envy whenever a bunch of expensive-looking flowers would come from her then suitor, now husband.
April wasn’t born in April, but her personality brings about the promises and warmth of summer (I was about to say spring, but using that metaphor in this country is just not fit).
Whenever we would enter the office, and hear the Hanson roaring “rooool the wiiindows down” we know April is on the desk happily typing her draft by the window. If she’s high, I mean, hormones high, she would sing with the brothers while snapping and clapping her hands and swaying in her chair. She loves being in love.
Cause Penny and me like to roll the windows down
Turn the radio up, push the pedal to the ground
And Penny and me like to gaze at starry skies
Close our eyes, pretend to fly
It’s always Penny and me tonight
Since I come home after work early in the afternoon, siesta time, I would usually take a nap, read a book, walk around MOA (Booksale or Fullybooked or fashion stores), watch BBC/CNN/HBO, or prepare merienda.
Pasta is my pastime because all it takes to cook it is boil the pasta and prepare the sauce. All in about 15 minutes ala Jamie Oliver. Black pitted olives, parmesan cheese, basil leaves, lots of garlic, and Clara Ole sauce are my favorite combination. Not only does the dish serve a holy treat but it gives our place a coffeeshop-ish aroma.
If you are obsessing over pasta, you would also invest in good oil and cheese, that is, splashes of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of mozzarella. It doesn’t really matter for me what meat I put in, whether hotdog for spaghetti, tuna for pesto, or ground pork/beef for bolognese, because I usually like mine puttanesca style – ”whore’s style spaghetti” containing only olives, garlic, tomatoes, and herbs.
When I finished reading a novel called The Food of Love I got all excited experimenting with different pasta: spaghetti, linguine, fusilli, fettucine, rigatoni, and farfalle. The story is set in Italy and I felt like roaming Rome and eating Roman dishes prepared by one of the chef characters. The effect of reading it is unbelievable. A turn on, sensually and gastronomically. I picked up the book at Booksale, because I saw Jamie Oliver’s commentary on the cover: “A fantastic story, you can almost taste the wonderful Italian food.”Read More
It’s a shame that the world is crazy over news on Boston bombing while ignoring or ignorant of that bombed Afghan wedding where casualties were ten times more than the marathon tragedy. This is not to say that little attention should also be given to Boston, but that equally big, caring social media space be given to the Middle East, Asia, and the rest of the world.
That is the bad news, and hopefully beautiful things alight from these rubble in the coming days. Surely, there are inspiring stories every day but we tend to focus on what will make us anxious and angry. (Sadistic tendencies in today’s media?)
Good news is, after completing short written tests and passing a phone interview, I was offered a place at Westminster University in London. Should I be given one of the so many generous scholarships that the University offers to international students, I will start this September.
Crossing my fingers for more Good News.Read More