Thursday, August 31, 2006

STAR WARS : The Return of the Originals

Finally, it seems that George Lucas has tired of tinkering with the original
versions of the seminal Sci-Fi films that ushered in the era of the modern movie

Just in time for Christmas, all the three films from the original trilogy
will be released on DVD for the first time: unaltered, unexpurgated, unbelievable!

So forget all the unnecessary digital additions...
(Jabba the Hutt walking around? please!!)

Our Analog Originals are finally back.

Oh, and George?

PINAYS are the prettiest girls in the world!!!


thanks to Zach Thomas & Don Leon Corleone! (pics © to the owner/s, of course...)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

What's New PUCCI KAT?

oh boy,
my ad agency copywriter frustrations are coming out again.

that pun was sooo bad!
but the new Limited Edition capPUCCIno kitKATis sooo good!!

P25/box at your suking convenience store.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

spanx' DVD watchlist : THE ROAD TO GUANTANAMO

this half reenactment/half documentary hybrid is this generation's MIDNIGHT EXPRESS;
(that movie, with an adapted screenplay by Oliver Stone,
detailed the true story of an American thrown into a Turkish Jail for years)

but this time,
the Americans and the Brits

(of the 2nd Iraqi War's Northern Alliance)
are the bad guys.

it's a harrowing, vividly retold true story of "The Tipton Three",
a group of ordinary 2nd generation Pakistani immigrants from England,
who originally just visited their homeland to attend a wedding,
and in the grandest mistake of their lives,
decide to do an Ian Wright-Lonely Planet tour....
of the neighbouring Afghanistan.

Talk about Wrong Timing.

the three mates cross over to Osama's homeland right after 9/11,
get stuck in Kabul,
somehow get herded with hundreds of Al Quaeda surrenderees,
and eventually are captured by American Forces,
who wrongly accuse them of being supporters of Bin Laden.

They eventually spend 3 long years in jails in Guantanamo.
(yup, the same U.S. base off Cuba
where Jack Nicholson & Tom Cruise clashed in
A Few Good Men)

While the story by itself already makes for an excellent, if uncomfortable,
viewing experience,
the fine camerawork that accurately captures and portrays
scenes of two places most Pinoys will never visit---
the exotic towns & wild mountains of Afghanistan,
and the efficient poultry-like jails of Guantanamo---

make this an even more disturbing, exhausting,
but ultimately gratifying tale of redemption.

spanx' DVD watchlist: THE SENTINEL

first of all,
Eva Longoria does absolutely nothing for this picture;
she's not even very pleasing eye candy.

she's simply in the cast, apparently,
to draw in the Desperate Housewives demographic.
I miss Renee Russo.

that being said,
tear up the screen just like Harrison Ford & Tommy Lee Jones did in The Fugitive
more than a decade ago.

and this new, glossy, wonderfully paced film
will remind you of another slick Secret Service saga,
Clint Eastwood & John Malkovich's In The Line Of Fire.

these three films all have the same tight "Cat & Mouse" tension,
well-executed action sequences that are not gratuitous,
and plots that don't insult a moviegoer's intelligence,
but rather,
seem to fit and lock in like well-designed one-thousand piece jigsaw puzzles.

Kiefer, congrats on your Best Actor in a Dramatic Series win for "24";
this movie turns things around with your senior co-star in the Jack Bauer role.

And Michael Douglas?
He's consistently good, jowls and all....

More so in movies where he's a vulnerable flawed aging horndog
(basic instinct, fatal attraction);
and in movies where he's playing a righteous hero,
preferably somewhere near The White House
(the american president).

In this movie,
He's Both.

and that guarantees an excellent entertaining time for all!!

Monday, August 28, 2006

a WHITE RUSSIAN from 7-11!!!

very cool new drink for all you lushes and alkies out there...

your day going rough?
your boss stressing you out again?

well, now you can chill out and party at work...

with this new shooter that comes in it's own double-compartment shotglass!

for only P40.00 at your suking 7-Eleven,
you get a 40 proof cream liqueur/coffee liqueur shot.

just mix it up in your favorite brew for an instant Irish Coffee;
pour over a glass with rocks, for a classic White Russian;
or drink it straight up for a quick pick-me-up.

either way, it's guaranteed to cheer up your work day!!

also available :

Tequila Gold/Lime Juice at P65.00...
Instant Margarita!!!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sunday Lunch : ALIMANGO con BAYABAS

otherwise known as "Crabs in Guava Sauce",
this is an old, old family recipe invented by my grandmother
way back before World War II.

simply puree guava pulp,
sautee in lots of onions,
add some sugar to taste,
and pour the whole mess over fatty crabs,
and cook on low heat until done.

you get a rich dark sauce that coats the slight oceanic saltiness of the crabs
with a blanket of light sweetness, highlighted by the guava's exotic flavor.

perfect with hot steaming rice.

it's a massive mess to eat,
but it's worth it.

Intensely Scrumptious.
Positively Sinful!!!

Friday, August 25, 2006

I heart COOKIES!!!

Exciting new variant of the classic CHIPS AHOY!!

now available in Shopwise Makati for P239.75 per glorious bag.
a bit steep, at more than P15/cookie...

but I consider it an *ahem* investment.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

another DA VINCI mystery

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

IBA ang beach na ito!!!

Welcome to the last undiscovered beach less than 3 hours away from Manila.

Balintawak - San Fernando : 45mins.
San Fernando - SBMA : 45mins.
SBMA - Iba, Zambales : 60mins.

it's a dramatic beach...
crashing waves, the white foam clashing against the black sand.
windblown ocean, the soothing sound of the surf a comforting constant companion.

after the disappointment over the


this lonely lovely stretch of beach is the perfect balm
to a true beach lover's heart.

Friday, August 18, 2006

let's not forget the reason for this long weekend.

twenty three years ago, this man reminded us that our nation isn't hopeless.
hopelessly crazy, maybe.

but i'm not giving up hope yet.


below is the MANO'S HELLENIC TAVERN review from best friend Dr. Honrado Palugod, whose 40th birthday we celebrated there (along with the 20th anniv of EDSA 1),
half a year ago this weekend.
It may be of help in your deciding to visit the place soon~~

in his inimitable style,
here's Hon's firsthand account of that night:

The Dawning Of My 4th Decade:
HonHon's Odyssey to 40

It was but a thought running hide and seek in my mind, as the weeks counted down into days with the approach of my four-oh. In between schedules the consciousness of its arrival pokes into the psyche like a playful cat – uninspiring one moment, strong and beautiful in an instant. But I had no qualms. I was deadset at least to celebrate it with finality.

And with the same breath of conviction, I wanted to be with my closest family and friends on my 40 th birthday. Minor setbacks though. My wifey and a host of my good friends are in a far away continent, and it was midweek, which practically waters down the list considerably. So I scratched the plan and decided to wait for her return for a double celebration. But Elmo was arriving from the Bicol region to attend a medical convention, and Spanky had a hosting gig in far away Tagaytay. Why not have a mini celebration in this Greek Bar he saw up there, he suggested? And I agreed.

I picked up Elmo from where he was staying, the Hyatt. After a quick goodbye from his wife Ghie and daughter Angel, we were on our way to Cavite, my home province and where I practice my craft, medicine. We dragged on slowly through the traffic, coordinating once in a while with Spanky as we closed the gap to our destination, Manos Hellenic Tavern: a resto a little distance to the left of the famous Tagaytay rotunda, on the way to Picnic Grove.

At last we were in Tagaytay, and we turned left from the rotunda as we were told. Driving slowly, the streetlights disappeared and we were the only car on the road. And then the place hit us, a well-lit place to our left, yet we almost missed it! As Elmo and I entered the taverna, it felt good right away. It was that vibration that you get after leaving your car – this place was built for you, for this one special night it has been waiting for you to enter through the door. That was good omen number 1.

Manos Hellenic Tavern. Tonight, this tavern will be the tabernacle of your four decades, because it holds the sacred cup where the bitter sweet memories has been waiting for your lips, a drink to be brought close to your mouth again, to be enlivened once more and be invigorated by the color, drama, joys, bitterness, sorrows, failures, triumphs – call it what you may, it is the conundrum of the sport of life well played out. And you are going to share this drink with your friends!

Ian, the headwaiter for the night, welcomed us right at the door before we entered. We saw that we were the only customers. "Are you going to stay long?", he asked. We will see, we replied. "Because we're almost closing". Let us start then, we decreed.

We asked permission for Johnnie, a Black dude with a Scottish heart, another long time friend, whose soul we wish to liberate, to sit with us for the night. He said all right and no corkage. Good omen number 2.

There was a beseeching rhythmic song, dancing in the air, carried by guitars – probably sung by a fisherman pining for his love on an isolated white sand beach somewhere in the middle of the azure Mediterranean. Greek music. Good omen number 3.

And behind the kitchen door, the scuffle of activities. Of a kitchen being caressed by loving hands to give birth to homemade possibilities. The smell of freshly baked bread, from the nostrils, to the brain, then to the furnace of your belly. Good omen number 4.

Spanky, my brother and good friend, I feel the eyes of the Hellenic gods, looking down upon us tonight. May your car be Apollo's chariot, and let you fly thither with us, and please, bring not the sun. I wish for this night to tarry longer than its appointed hour!

As usual, Bro. Elmo, ever a trusted friend and ally in our drinking sessions, requested for the ceremonial opening of the bottle. I poured the first amount of the fiery liquid into the earth in commemoration of Bacchus.

Then I ordered the aperitif – SAGINAKI, a concoction of shrimps baked in feta cheese, fresh tomato juice and olive oil, brought to the table with cuts of the freshly baked bread and yellow butter. Their menu and leaflets claim that they use only Greek Olive Oil. That their feta cheese is freshly made. That they use no preservatives, no sugar because they only use honey, not even MANTIKA, and absolutely no VETSIN (their literature). I do not know what to say to this. But with the first morsel in our mouths, we were transported to a place by the sea with the kisses of the waves on the sand in our ears.

We wolfed down that first of many servings in the silence that only men satiating their hunger could understand. With each piece of the bread that we alternately dipped into the aperitif or coated with butter, we followed it down with sips of Johnnie the Traveler. Not a word was said in the midst of that early feast! This food is meant to energize us! And it did, in a multitude of means.

When the initial fires in our belly had died down a little, in comes the third party to this play. Spanky was his usual ebullient self. Describing his long 20-kilometer trek up the caldera from Nasugbu where he was billeted for the night.

We transferred to a table by the windows. Flung them all open and hastily, the fresh Tagaytay air skirted slowly into the room. It played mischievously with the white curtains, diaphanous like a lady's skirt in the middle of the Hellenic afternoon. We held them down with blue laces and settled down once more to start the travel together.

We poured the whiskey, clicked our glasses, and emptied our bags of stories into the table like treasures from a great adventure. In between, we picked on grilled favorites to enliven the palate – the pork chops, the chicken and the lamb shoulder were all lovingly cooked to a juicy finish and with a tasty Greek marinade. And surprisingly, it was served with a sliced kalamansi to complement the flavor! Laughter flowed out from us like mirth from some enchanted era. We were the Lost Boys reunited. Carefree, restless, unafraid. We were young again!

In the middle of this celebration, and perhaps, inspired by our company, Es, gracious hostess and wife of the owner surprised us with a change in music. The first notes from a piano struck us like lightning. The Englishman who played it more than 35 years ago told of how Mother Mary spoke to him about words of wisdom. I raised up my glass, Spanky fell silent, and Elmo closed his eyes …" in my hours of darkness there is still a light that shines on me …"

Half a lifetime ago to this date, we were also together, celebrating the same occasion. On the radio, the sudden silence, and the voice of a revered cardinal calling us to EDSA. We welcomed the news like soldiers being given their marching orders. We were ecstatic. We were young and crazy enough to feel lucky to be given the chance to die for the country. Let It Be.

That stoked more charcoal to the fire for that night. And the music kept on coming. And for a while we sang the music of a generation before us, as we enjoy all good music of whatever age. My Fair Share. Blowin In the Wind. Leaving on A Jet Plane. Eye In the Sky. The roller coaster ran on with unfailing energy.

Es rejoined us for a little conversation. She told us that she worked and lived in Crete (surprisingly, pronounced correctly as Kriti) for 25 years where she met her husband Emmanuel aka Manos. Had Manos been there, he would have sat down with us, she said. I like the guy already.

Then she gave each of us a jigger of OUZO, the famous Greek anise brandy. As is our norm, we raised our glasses, clicked them together for the hostess, the night and our years of friendship, and drank the new liquid. It was sweet and refreshing and had an undercurrent of licorice! And for a change of tempo, she suggested a piece of BACLAVA which is a fillo pastry inundated with rich amounts of walnuts, almonds and cashew nuts sweetened with Greek Honey. Any drinker worth his salt knows too well that a sugary treat serves as a good complement to whiskey. And that BACLAVA – it was moist and succulent and opulent to the tongue, neither left nor right but deadcenter good.

The night wore on and the company stayed. To add luster to a night that we know is for the books, I received two overseas calls. From Agnes, the woman, the wife, My Wife. She, whose absence has felt like a lifetime of isolation. And bradder Ronnie Baylon, breaking all expectations with a serendipitous call from Toronto, finding us once more with a bond that distance and time cannot break. What a night it was. What a night it was.

In one of our breaks, we all stood outside of the tavern to breathe in the ambience of the place. The looming shadows of a church stood in front of us. The cool Tagaytay air blew constantly, making the leaves of the trees sing together in chorus, perhaps in consonance with the magic of the cloudless night, the silent stars, the heavenly food, the soulful music and the eternal spirit of the company.

Eventually, we poured the last amount of the Walker's bottle into our glasses. This was it. The drink that was borne out of four decades of living, of a travel of twenty five years in the company of brothers, of the near cancellation as we weaved through the traffic and up into the mountain, of the late hour of our coming.

As we raised our glasses for the final shot, I could not help but think of absent friends. They have a journey of their own now, but we travel the same road together, that I am certain. Because like this drink, our spirits were bonded in a cacophony of flavors strung into one by the fire of love and friendship. I look around me and they are there, young and unaging, singing and laughing through the musical strands of time.

So ends my time in Manos, so begins my journey into the flowing decades. A story that has not seen its finale, and Manos, a Hellenic tavern on top of a mountain overlooking a lake with a volcano, a trip worth its while for a promise of return and more good memories.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

PINAYS are the prettiest girls in the world!!!


INXS rocked the Araneta Coliseum (and The Dawn & MiG weren't too shabby either!)

It was a real rock and roll party.
Despite the coliseum only being half-full,
(scalpers were selling tickets at a discount (!) outside)
the band from Oz, with their newly-minted reality TV-generated lead singer,
proved that real rockers don't need a full house to generate mega-decibel roars from a crowd of die-hard fans.

It seemed as if almost all the Australians in Manila showed up to support their "national band",
and with San Miguel Pale and Light available at a very reasonable P40/can,
it was party time with Rowdy Aussies indeed!!!

THE DAWN warmed up the crowd with a tight 5-song set,
starting with "Iisang Bangka Tayo",
and "ending" with the Best Pinoy Nuwayv Song ever, "Enveloped Ideas"
(that made me flashback to the 1st UltraStorm, when the The Dawn's equivalent of the tragic Stu Sutcliffe, Teddy Diaz,
mesmerized the crowd with the very same song, back in '87 (!). Olongapo's AMO and Juan Miguel Salvador's RAGE band
completed the bill that memorable rainy evening, the first time I drank beer (lots of it) while watching a concert).

Back to the present:
before signing off, lead singer Jett Pangan promised a surprise...

and sure enough, MiG Ayesa, the Fil-Aussie who placed 3rd in Rockstar:INXS,
had The Dawn as his greatest "house band in the world"!!!
MiG and The Dawn tore through "Wrapped Around Your Finger", "All Right Now", and "We Will Rock You".
(note : QUEEN should really get MiG to front the band for a 100% sureball money making tour;
he's got the flamboyance and the vocal register,
well, close enough, sort of, kinda, puwede na that is, to approximate Freddie Mercury).

All the ladies in the house, and probably some men, shrieked their lungs out
when MiG accompanied himself on the keyboards and delivered a perfect version of his best song from Rockstar:INXS,
Peter Frampton's "Baby I Love Your Way", and took of his shirt soon thereafter to even louder shrieks.
(but I still think Lisa Bonet's lovely, and unexpected performance in "High Fidelity" was better. Jack Black certainly thinks so too.)

But the stand-out song was MiG's last,
when Jett Pangan returned to the stage and they both sang U2's PRIDE (in the name of love).

for just a moment there,
I could almost imagine how it would feel if Bono and Co. actually performed in Manila.
I think that was exactly the same thought in the minds of most of the audience last night.
Like what the sentimental Dave Navarro loves to say, "it gave me chills, dude"!!!
(note: The Dawn used to kill crowds with their cover of With or Without You)

After a half hour intermission,
the main event:

Suffice to say, they SWITCH-ed on the crowd.
I was afraid that it would be a concert of songs mostly from the new album;
but fear no more.... it was a GREATEST HITS show.

Starting off with Suicide Blonde,
the rejuvenated boys in the band looked reborn with their new frontman,
and J.D. Fortune proved that he could ably fill Michael Hutchence's kinky shoes.

Slinking around the stage as is his wont,
kicking mic stands arrogantly,
playing up to the crowd,
and defying the law by constantly smoking cigarettes,
J.D. certainly delivered the goods.

All the classic hits-----
What You Need, New Sensation, Need You Tonight, Devil Inside, Disappear, Never Tear Us Apart, etc, etc.
and the surprisingly good songs from the new album,
highlighted by Afterglow and Pretty Vegas,
were rendered to absolute perfection.

and the one song that I really really watched the concert for?
INXS didn't let me down:
they played ORIGINAL SIN (Yeah, Baby!!!)

Dream on white boy
Dream on black girl
And wake up to a brand new day
To find your dreams have washed away

Damn fine job, mates!!
Thanks for rocking the Araneta,
and for not letting our rock dreams wash away.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

SASS - maryosep!!!

so who's YOUR SASSIER GIRL : Jun Ji-Hyun or Elisha Cuthbert?

Monday, August 14, 2006

HUSTLE flows....

All Marketing professionals are, to a certain extent,
Con Men.

While the word "con" now has an established criminal definition,
the word is actually derived from "confidence",
Confidence Artists being what Con Men used to be called in polite society.

Marketing professionals are the corporate Con Men,
since they're great at convincing people that they need a certain product/service;
simply put,
they build confidence in things that eventually "con" you out of your cash.

(see Marketing 101:
Marketing is the aspect of business that has the customer firmly in its eye,
creating a need that was not there to begin with)

So, as a career Marketing Man,
I'm fascinated by movies and TV shows about The Art of The Con.
THE STING, starring the incomparable duo of Newman and Redford,
remains the benchmark for this genre of entertainment.

OCEAN'S ELEVEN, with the less comparable Clooney and Pitt,
made the con man popular all over again.
However, the sequel totally sucked eggs,
yet conned moviegoers of more than 100,000,000 $$$,
proving that there really is a sucker born every minute.
Cinema Verite' indeed!

and now, thankfully, there's HUSTLE,
a TV series from the UK's BBC,
the network that puts a sheen of class in each and every show they broadcast.

HUSTLE is about a group of London Con Men,
not smarmy and too cutesy like Danny Ocean's Vegas boys,
but true con men in their intelligence, charm, and sudden outbreaks of violence.
Sure, it's a bit romanticized, since this is still, after all, a TV series,
but it's as sharp as a Saville Row suit.

The cast is exceptional,
with Robert Vaughn, the last surviving member of The Magnificent Seven,
shining in a "mentor" role not unlike that of Sean Connery's in The Untouchables.

There's a gorgeous femme fatale played by Jaime Murray,
who just captivates in every frame she's in.
she's sort of a gorgeous European Toni Gonzaga, but not "banlag". hehehe!

Every episode is a movie in itself,
(and film geeks will love the homages to cinema in almost every episode)
much better than any execrable, opportunistic Ocean's double digit movie.

Do the HUSTLE.
It redeems the Art of the Con,
and that makes this Marketing Man very happy indeed!

forget Milli Vanilli, meet MANILA VANILLA!!!

blame it on the rain...

I enjoy checking out new consumer products;
I believe that it's the best indication of a country's state of development.
In Manila, everything is "tingi" or in sachets or single packs.
Alam niyo na kung bakit.....

Whenever I travel abroad, the first place I visit
would be the supermarkets, even in countries like Germany or Japan,
where you're liable to buy some strange new bottled fruit sauce,
or so you think,
only to find out later that it's fruit-scented shampoo.

That's also why I explore convenience stores on an almost daily basis.
you can always find the Gokongwei's new products on the shelves of Mini Stop,
and everything else (severely overpriced) at any 7-11.
Ditto with duty-free stores,
and my favorite has to be Pure Gold in Clark.
One is always bound to encounter some exotic new stuff:
Heinz Purple Ketchup, Dark Chocolate Pepperidge Farm Cookies, Diet Coke with Lime,
and just this past Saturday: Vanilla flavored Crest Toothpaste!

it's plain white appearance belies its exotic origins.
Absolut Vanill, Vanilla Coke, the resurgent Magnolia Vanilla Ice Cream. YUM!
and now, Vanilla Toothpaste.

Vanilla is the hot new flavor indeed!

Girl, you know it's true!

i am curious.... YELLOW

Sir Richard Branson is a certified marketing genius.

the very brand name,
the fluorescent/neon colors,
the highly desirable shape,
makes this new softdrink the most eye-catching beverage in the market.





Discover Your Inner Porn Star!!!

just log on to:

must watch : KISS KISS BANG BANG

one of those DVDs that sat on my shelf for more than 3 months
until I popped it in last weekend,
and surprise, surprise!

This Movie is Laugh-Out Loud Funny.
and not in the Wayan Brothers/Adam Sandler one-joke "you know it's coming from a mile away set-up" either.

It's real comedy that won't insult your intelligence.
Take note, you have to pay careful attention to the movie's smart script.

KKBB is a film noir spoof, complete with a flickering motel neon sign,

a dame-to-die-for, a true femme fatale, literally and figuratively, in the character of Harmony, played by the supercute Michelle Monaghan,

and completed by hardboiled dialogue, violent action, multiple murders,
with two rogue "detectives" superbly played by Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer,
who haven't had this much fun acting since Chances Are and Top Secret! respectively.

The movie looks like it was shot by Michael Mann, very sharp and glossy.
It's also a love story, a buddy movie, a twisting mystery, and a kinky comedy.

If the silliness meets violence formula seems familiar,
no surprise there,
as this movie is the directorial debut of Shane Black,
writer of the Lethal Weapon series.


p.s. the title, KKBB is actually a homage to none other than 007.
"Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" was the theme song of Sean Connery's James Bond in "Thunderball".

the new look of Coke Light

getting closer and closer to the old Diet Coke design.....
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