Monday, January 29, 2007

... and on THE SIXTH DAY

True Confession Time

I never have finished watching a complete season of 24.

Way back in 2001,
back when my VCR was still functioning
and dibidis still cost P250 each (!!!) in Greenhills,
I taped a few episodes of 24's Season 1 off RPN-9.

I never did get around to watching them past the 4th "hour",
and never got around likewise to buying the DVD Box Set of Season 1,
or any other of the other 4 seasons of 24 for that matter.

I thought the high-concept gimmick would wane quickly,
and it seemed to do so after I read the disappointing reviews of Seasons 2-3.

And then, Season 4 came along
and was called "the best season of 24, ever",

and when Season 5 was simply called
the "best TV show on air, period",
I knew I had to see what the heck was going on in 24-land.

I dilly-dallied further until I finally tested the waters
with the 1st 4 episodes of Season 6....

and I just finished viewing four of the best hours
of television I've seen in years.

yes, 24 is The Bomb!!!!

they should give a gold medal to that marketing genius
who had the bright idea of officially releasing
the 1st 4 episodes of Season 6 on DVD,
a day after they were shown in the US of A two weeks ago....

you can start right here,
and be absolutely confident of not getting lost
in Jack Bauer's groundhog day world,
and without fear or trepidation
of being confused by all the characters and events;

the 1st 4 episodes of S.6 can be considered as stand-alone episodes,
and you will enjoy them despite not having seen
any of the previous 5 "days",
the first 120 episodes of the show.

at worst,
these 4 episodes will make you an instant 24 fanatic,

and at best,
you'll be compelled,
just like me,

to run to Q and get the box sets with the complete Seasons 1-5,
and that's exactly what I plan to do 1st thing tomorrow!!!


Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire, Shawn Marion,
Kobe Bryant,
Lebron James,
arguably the BEST FIRST FIVE of the NBA this year,

lead a high-flying All-Star Team
in showcasing the 25th Anniversary edition
of Nike's bestselling Air Force b'ball shoes.

Rakim, KRS-One, NAS and Kanye West
provide the soundtrack song,
produced by Rick Rubin and Just Blaze,
and written by Juelz Santana.


ever since our beloved TOK-DO Korean Grill closed down,
the "We Love Liempo" Drinking Club
has been looking for a new BBQ joint
to satisfy our Sam Gyup Sal cravings.

Saturday night,
I traversed
the streets of Malate,

entering one Korean and Japanese joint after another,
looking for the just the right BBQ restaurant,
until I found GYUBOU,
right at the corner where the fine BRAVO! Italian resto used to be.

All the best cuts of pork and beef are available,
including the now omnipresent "wagyu",
at very reasonable P200-P300 per plate of raw meat!

As the rest of the Liempo Lovers arrived,
we immediately honed in on the BACON bbq,
a.k.a. our immortal beloved pork belly,
and started grilling...

and chilling,
with the Philippine National Elixir,

one free mug of draft beer
is also given to each patron
as a welcome drink.

but the discovery of the night
really didn't need any cooking at all:

a.k.a. beef sashimi,
or the Japanese version of Steak Tartare.

Gyubou's version is the best I've tried in MMLA:
tender, tapa-cut strips of prime beef,
perfectly marinated and seasoned,
topped with a golden yolk to add to the decadence,
and served with a fresh lemon slice for spice.

We ended up having 3 servings of this carnivore's ambrosia.

This Yakiniku restaurant is relentlessly Japanese,
complete with a shelf full of Manga Comics
and Japanese Showbiz and Fashion magazines,

a constant stream of J-Pop on the sound system,

and even a mini-store
that features Japanese wooden toys,
plastic Samurai swords,
and all sorts of Japanese candies and snacks.

Very LITTLE TOKYO indeed!!!

Friday, January 26, 2007

7 - 1st 4 - 24 - S.6


It only took 7 days

for the 1st 4 episodes

of "24"

Season 6

to land in Quiapo!!!

(and it's great to see the Golden Globe winning comedy
UGLY BETTY, a.k.a. Betty La Fea to Pinoy MexiNovela fans
available as well!!!)


Our family never lacked for Krispy Kreme,
simply because when my Ninong Raffy
moved to Seattle from Vallejo,
he found himself managing a couple of KK stores
up in Washington state.

The Glazed Donuts became a standard pasalubong
for Lola Sally's Clan,
hundreds of them each time
a Hizon would come home to Pampanga!!!

which is exactly why I never felt the urge
to join the rush and the mad queues
during the Krispy Kreme opening in Serendra
before Christmas.

this afternoon,
i found myself in Megamall
and finally gave in...

The Verdict?


exactly the same as the melt-in-your-mouth calorie bombs
Ninong Raffy brings home from Seattle!!!

My Reading Backlog : The BOOKLOG

You may call this MULTI-TASKING,

Whenever I teach my English classes,
I never fail to tell my students
that the backbone,
the solid foundation of improving one's English proficiency
is via READING.

And since I practice what I preach,
I'm constantly scouring all kinds of bookstores
for the latest finds,

from so-called real literature to edgy business books,
from popcorn bestsellers to serious non-fiction.

And now,
I find myself reading 5 books simultaneously!!!


Imagine if Bridget Jones were a high-class hooker
working the high-end hotels of London,

and you've got this excellent book
that details the INs and OUTs,
literally and figuratively,
of the pay-for-play scene in The Queen's city.

Warning : NOT for the faint of heart
and those with MTRCB sensibilities.

BOOKS are getting LONGER...

well, TALLER actually.

the increased vertical height of new pocketbooks
is starting to wreak havoc on my shelving system!!!


this looks more like a hi-tech prop
than a simple shaving implement.

when I saw this on sale
(P50.00 off!!),
i just couldn't resist...

but seriously.

why will men need 4
(count 'em!)

the answer?

same reason why men climb mountains:
because it is there!!!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

DEJA VU: one of the best Time Travel movies ever!!!

if you love the Time Travel genre,
from TV's Time Tunnel to Quantum Leap,

from movies as diverse as Somewhere in Time to The Final Countdown,
from Back to the Future to Austin Powers in Goldmember,
from The Minority Report to Planet of the Apes,
from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to The Terminator,

you will absolutely cheer for DEJA VU!!!

Tony (brother of Ridley) Scott,
director of TOP GUN and Denzel Washington's heartbreaking MAN ON FIRE,
does another bang-up job with the omnipresent Jerry Bruckheimer.

again to get the full DEJA VU experience!!!

DEJA VU: one of the best Time Travel movies ever!!!

if you love the Time Travel genre,
from TV's Time Tunnel to Quantum Leap,

from movies as diverse as Somewhere in Time to The Final Countdown,
from Back to the Future to Austin Powers in Goldmember,
from The Minority Report to Planet of the Apes,
from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to The Terminator,

you will absolutely cheer for DEJA VU!!!

Tony (brother of Ridley) Scott,
director of TOP GUN
and Denzel Washington's heartbreaking MAN ON FIRE,
does another bang-up job with the omnipresent Jerry Bruckheimer.

again to get the full DEJA VU experience!!!

BABEL : The Ultimate FEEL-BAD Movie!!!

like those people in that biblical tower,
i couldn't comprehend anything after watching this movie.

maybe my cinematic tastes are getting too pedestrian,
but jeez, louise!!!
what's the point of depressing audiences for two straight hours???!?!?!?

about this film is uplifting
(well, save for perhaps one act of surprising kindness in a desert town)......

harsh, depresssing, dehumanizing events
take place simultaneously in Mexico, Tokyo, and Morroco:

a standard immigration/deportation story,
a perverse suicidal exhibitionist schoolgirl story,
and an allegoric terrorists vs. America story,

and all are intertwined a la Magnolia/Crash/21 Grams.

I cannot understand how this movie won the Golden Globe for Best Drama.
It's got absolutely nothing on The Departed or The Queen.

Maybe the critics are just competing amongst themselves
to prove who among them is deep and artistic enough
to appreciate the merits of this movie.

In short, Babel, the ultimate feel bad movie,
exists mainly to make movie critics feel good about themselves.

I'm throwing away the DVD,
so as not to make other viewers suffer through this
piece of pretentious depressing crap.

Friday, January 19, 2007

let's pray she doesn't supersize on Mc DO like her mom...

NOT the next Mayor of MANILA!!!

WHO'S HE?!?!?


Ali Atienza,
that's who!

Chairman of some imaginary never heard Commission
of the City of Manila,
and Presidential Adviser on something or the other,
and most importantly,
the sartorially similar offspring of outgoing Mayor Lito.

btw, who gave his father,
the last-term Mayor of ManiLA who seems to
have caught a fatal case of GMA-itis,
the right to close down both lanes of Roxas Boulevard
for 4 (!) hours yesterday afternoon,
causing massive traffic gridlock,
just to give a so-called "State of the City" address
cum Proclamation Rally for this wannabe nobody???

and do the Atienzas really have to trot out Manny Pacquiao
like their favorite family bobblehead doll
everytime they have a "State of Nepotism" rally???
(their official motorcade driver,
btw, is Congressman Miles Roces,
Mayor Lito's son-in-law

just because Kuya Kim decided to transform
himself into a weird ABS-CBN amalgam of
Steve Irwin & Amado Pineda,
this other son of the mayor is suddenly qualified
to lead the City of Manila?
(at least Kim was the Councilor with questionable taste
who lit up Malate with those funky lampposts...)

Once again, the sun in setting,
literally and figuratively,
on my beloved city.

so sad....

Danny Lacuna,
who's been Vice Mayor on and off since 1986,
(he deserves a slot in the 2nd Banana Hall of Fame)
is using "HINOG na HINOG na si LACUNA"
as his Mayoralty campaign slogan.

He's gone way past HINOG, folks.
Anak ng Potassium naman!!!

And speaking of bananas...

Lacuna's more like a mushy banana turning brown
with fruit flies hovering over it.

What's the Pilipino word for overripe again?

since we're on the topic of panis/bulok,
the Atienzas are seriously considering
a scion of former Manila Mayor
and Legendary Imelda Parasol Holder

Ramon Bagatsing as Ali's running mate.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

FAB FOUR kids & adults!!!

just got this CD (and book!) from a most gorgeous friend,
and it's the best belated Christmas gift, ever!!!

great for kids,
even better for adult Beatles fanatics,
and definitely,
the best way for parents to introduce their kids to the Fab Four.

how does it sound like?

imagine the Vienna Boys Choir singing along to faithful arrangements
of Beatles classics, with excellent vocal and instrumental support from
artists such as The Bangles, Rachael Yamagata, and Marshall Crenshaw.

and yes,
it comes packaged in a kid-friendly book
complete with poems for the children,
and Beatle factoids for their folks!

my take on the CD?

it literally and figuratively makes you listen to the Beatles
as if for the first time, listening to it with the innocence of babes,
and amazing you with the sheer brilliance and exuberance of the music.

and yes,
I love it as much as "LOVE",
the recent re-imagining of the Beatles by George Martin!!!

the review from
Barnes & Noble:

In an effort to introduce the greatest band of all time to yet another new generation,
All Together Now joins rock stars and kids on favorites from the Fab Four's rich catalog.

It's a fairly sweet selection of Beatles songs --
don't worry, your toddler won't be marching around to "Come Together" or "Ballad of John and Yoko."

The disc opens with New York Dolls guitarist Steve Conte,
who maintains the gritty spirit of his day-job band on the vocals for "Magical Mystery Tour."

Marshall Crenshaw harks back to his days on the road-show version of Beatlemania with "Love Me Do,"
spiked with some brilliant harmonica work.

Two sunny tracks stand out as highlights:
"Good Day Sunshine" sounds as if it were written just for the Bangles,
who apply their signature harmonies to this luscious tune (we see a children's lullaby CD in their future),

and "Here Comes the Sun" from Rachael Yamagata
(tweens may know her song "Be Be Your Love" on the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants soundtrack),
whose gravelly, whisper-like vocals intensify this already complex and ruminative track.

This very unique package also includes a storybook that illustrates the songs --
a great tool for youngsters not quite ready to jam on their Fisher Price guitar or discuss the musical merits of "Yellow Submarine" -- plus poems and Beatles facts that are sure to prompt lots of storytelling from Mom and Dad.

What'll really bring the little ones All Together is that this Beatles tribute,
unlike many children's sing-along albums,
boasts authentic, organic, and inviting vocals,
with nary an overproduced intonation on a single track.

And that's something to sing about.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Well Worth the P150.00 Pale Pilsens!!!

The New HYATT Manila

I know.

P150 + service charge + VAT
comes up to almost two hundred bucks a beer...


> you get all the spicy sesame-seed encrusted casuy you can eat,
to hell with your gout!

> you can smoke all the yosi you want, and even cigars,
since this Lounge is in the City of Manila!

and on Friday Nights,
when Suzy and her piano/bass/sax/drum Quartet
take the stage

and blow you away with their ultracool versions of

> you can imagine that you're the Talented Mr. Ripley,
in an authentic Jazz Club somewhere in the South of Italy
circa the late 1950s!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

I can be your HIRO, baby....

"My name is Hiro Nakamura,
and I'm from the Future."

What do you get when you have a time-travelling hero,
who, in the very 1st episode,
makes a direct reference to "Days of Future Past",
one of the best X-Men storylines ever???

The Best New TV Series of 2006-07!!!

It's like ""LOST" but less frustrating.
It's like "THE X FILES", but less heavyhanded.
It's like "SMALLVILLE", but less hokey.

It's all the Superhero and Sci-Fi movies you love,
from Spider-Man to The Terminator,
from Buffy The Vampire Slayer to The X-Men,
all rolled into one FAN-tastic series!!!

"Save the Cheerleader,
Save the World!"

just won the People's Choice Award for Best New TV Drama,
and is also nominated for a Golden Globe Award
as Best Dramatic TV Series.

With characters and locations spanning the globe,
extremely violent and grisly villains
and sympathetic heroes just discovering their powers,

It's truly a Comic Book come to life,
with each addicting episode as a "chapter"
ending with "to be continued..."

is freakishly & geekishly great!!!

and to add to all the coolness,
the musical score is by Wendy & Lisa,
formerly of Prince and the Revolution.

What are YOU waiting for?
Get the DVD.

the dibidi only has the first 9 episodes

To Be Continued.............

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Imagine White Toblerone,

coating your favorite OREO Cookies...

Chocolate CHUNKS, not chips!

And they're soft-baked,
all the better to expedite your enjoyment...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Penguin Cafe' was my home away from home
for most of the first half of the 1990s.

I wooed women
got mind-numbingly wasted
there so often

that I eventually became the only regular
who got invited to
the serving staff's Christmas parties.

It was THE BAR of my reckless youth,
and to this day,
no other 'gin mill' has come close
to replacing my affection for it.

until I wandered into

COPA's Tapas/Cigar Bar
at Holiday Inn Mimosa in Clark,
an old-school drinking joint
fully infused with the spirits of Old Havana.

It's definitely worth the hour long drive up
to the Dau exit of the NLEX,

since it's hands down,
absolutely the most authentic bar I've been to in the Philippines
since ......

I guess,
my all-time favorites,
where I learned to befriend bartenders and flirt with the waitresses,

four of the Great Bars of MMLA:

the quaint Penguin on Remedios Circle,
the debauched Firehouse on Mabini,
the original incarnation of Cable Car on Pasay Road circa 1992,
and the demolished Larry's Bar in the old Greenbelt.

Copa's compares very favorably with those stalwarts
of my alcoholic days of yore,
since it fulfills my three criteria for a great bar :

1. reasonably priced alcohol, and ice-cold beer
2. an expansive bar with a hardwood finish, complete with barstools

and most important of all,

3. you should be able to enjoy drinking there, even alone;
specially when it's raining.

With it's
circular bar, fully stocked with rums from the Caribbean,

cigar and cognac cabinets,
which lead to the additional privacy
in the alcoves,

and dim lighting, cozy chairs,
and a verdant view of the Mimosa gardens,

Copa's is definitely HEMINGWay-esque!!

the perfect place
to read this book,
and to listen to this CD!!!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Absolutely NO DOUBT About It......


It's amazing what a little guy with a big smile
and an even bigger punch can accomplish.

While the heavyweight division was bogged down
by mediocrity last year,
the junior lightweight class soared to new heights
thanks in large part to
Manny Pacquiao,
The Ring's 2006 Fighter of the Year

It's no secret among that the lower-weight fighters
are capable of providing scintillating action.
Even so, the mighty mites' contribution to the sport
has not been as well-represented among the winners
of our most prestigious annual award as one might imagine.

Since The Ring originated the award in 1928,
only six fighters below the lightweight division—
Henry Armstrong (1937),
Willie Pep ('45),
Carlos Zarate ('77),
Salvador Sanchez ('81),
Michael Carbajal ('93),
Paulie Ayala ('99)—
have been previously selected for the magazine's top honor.
Pacquiao is number seven.

Although Pacquiao tallied three impressive victories in '06
(Erik Morales KO 10, KO 3; Oscar Larios W 12)
it was the manner in which he accomplished them,
as opposed to the victories themselves,
that earned him the distinction.

"Pac-Man" is one of the few fighters
in any weight class who goes all-out for the knockout
from the opening bell.

And isn't that,
when you cut away all the baloney,
exactly what all boxing fans really want?

Pacquiao's two fights with Morales in '06
generated more than 700,000 pay-per-view buys,
and the live attendance for their third encounter was 18,276,
the fifth-best of all-time among fights held in Las Vegas.

The big bonus is Pacquiao himself.
Carefree and fearless,
he seems to love to fight as much as we love watching him,
and his modest demeanor and ever-ready smile
are the perfect counterbalance to his in-the-ring ferocity.

And as if that wasn't enough,
his incredible rags-to-riches story
is one that resonates with the downtrodden everywhere.

Pacquiao carries the hopes and dreams of his fellow Filipinos
into the ring with him every time he fights,
but has never allowed it to weigh him down
once the bell rings.

All of this came together in 2006
to make Pacquiao the Fighter of the Year—
and the scary part is that he's still improving.

With Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Edwin Valero
all being talked about as possible opponents in 2007,
Manny has a fighting chance of being back here again next year.

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