Saturday, December 29, 2007

BENAZIR : Farewell to Pakistan's CORY

Back in 1988,
directly following the footsteps
of our own
President Corazon Aquino,

two other women became symbols of democracy
in their countries, and is so doing,
became icons of freedom around the world.

Aung San Suu Kyi
of Burma (now Myanmar)
Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan.

They shared very similar histories:

Both their fathers were their nations' leaders,
and both men died by the gun.

Both daughters were forced into exile,
and both were educated at Oxford.

Both returned to their countries in 1988,
and both led revitalized opposition parties
to landslide wins in parliamentary elections.

In 1990, Aung San Suu Kyi was prevented from assuming
the office of Prime Minister by Burma's military junta.
She has been under house arrest for the past 17 years.

Benazir Bhutto served as Prime Minister of Pakistan
from 1988 to 1990, and again from 1993 to 1996.

Just two months ago, she began a political comeback
in her tumultuous country that was fast descending into chaos.

She was assassinated by a suicide bomber on December 27.

The picture below was taken
just moments before the tragedy,
one final look at a true paragon of courage.

Benazir was back once again with her people,
and sadly, this time, it was for good.

Her life taken much too soon,
but certainly, her death will resonate
in her native Pakistan, and all over the world,
for generations to come.


This tragedy brings me back to the late 1980s,

an era when it felt really good to be Pinoy,
perhaps the Philippines' proudest,
most influential moments ever on the world stage.

We've plummeted downwards since then,
going from the shining example that was Cory
back to Imeldific levels of hubris and corruption,

and I hope that Benazir's sacrifice will remind
some of our politicians that public service
is not all about personal avarice.

It's the Season of Hope, after all.

One can dream.

Friday, December 28, 2007

PLAYHOUSE : brand new magazine out to challenge FHM & Maxim Philippines

Men's Magazine, Issue #1

I saw this while on an erstwhile wholesome errand:
late christmas shopping for my inaanaks.

And after just one glance at the cover,
my inner Joey Tribbiani screamed out at me
to buy, no, grab the magazine!!!

The pictures inside are much more,
errrr... inspiring,
and seem less airbrushed than FHM and Maxim,

and since I really did buy it for the articles,
I can confidently say that Playhouse definitely
comes close to Rogue magazine in terms of chutzpah,
writing quality, and sheer variety of topics covered.

There are quite a lot of gadget/hi-tech features
a la Stuff and T3.

But let's be honest, gentlemen.
This is Playhouse's reason for being:

I love the name of the magazine,
a smart, retro-cool nod to the most popular
magazines of my High School daze,

and the editors do have a wicked sense of humor;
how appropriate is it to have,
as the first interview subject of this
excellent new prurient publication,

a guy named "DICK"?

DaBest Pinoy DYOKS op da Yir!!!

May isang manok,
ubod ng libog.

Sa farm,
lahat pinapatos:
baboy, baka, kambing,
bibe, pati palaka!

Kaya wish ng mga animals doon,
mamatay na siya.

One day,
nakita nila yung manok sa lupa,

Sabi ng baka:
"Buti nga sa 'yo,
mamatay ka na,
sobrang libog mo!"

Sagot ni manok:
"Kala niyo?
Hintayin niyo lang matapos
ako dito sa langgam,
yari ulit lahat kayo sa akin!"

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Return of SHOWTIME!!!

I've always been a LAKER fanatic.

During the 1980s,
Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers
and Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics
rejuvenated, reinvented, and relaunched
the NBA to what it remains to this day,
the most spectacular sports league on Earth!

I hated Kevin McHale, Danny Ainge,
& Robert Parish with a passion,

and idolized Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,
James Worthy, & Kurt Rambis.

The Celtics and the Lakers
won 8 of the 10 NBA Championships
from 1980 to 1989.

To this day,
with all due respect to #23,
#32 Magic Johnson,
Master and Commander of L.A.'s Showtime,
has got my vote as the
Best Basketball Player of All Time.

However, with Magic's shocking retirement
and the ascent of Air Jordan
at the onset of the 1990s,
the Laker Dynasty likewise, was abruptly retired.

But it only took a decade
for a new Purple & Gold dynasty to begin,
the reign of ShaqKobe!

Soon after they teamed up,
Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant
won a Three-peat for the Lakers;

but cracks began to show,
as the two Alpha Males couldn't decide
on who really was the Lead Laker.

When the Unstoppable Force that was Kobe
clashed with the Immovable Object that was Shaq,
something had to give...

and Shaq moved to Miami to heat up the East,
while Kobe remained in La-La Land,

the former partners, now bitter rivals,
each trying to prove that they could
win a crown without the help of the other.

The NBA quickly capitalized on
this latest and greatest feud between
former blood brothers,

and Shaq drew first blood:
winning a championship with his new partner,
Dwayne Wade,
a superstar whose game is not unlike Kobe's.

While the feud has now simmered down
in the twilight of Shaq's dominance
and in light of Kobe's maturity as a player,

one thing remains for #8:
a pure white Laker Championship
achieved without #34.

It's been frustrating for Bryant;
despite having 9-time champion Phil Jackson as his coach,
his team has been rebuilt in fits and starts,
and without a strong presence
to take over Shaq's role in the middle,

the Lakers became a Krispy Kreme team,
a donut without a center,

often resulting with all the pressure
on just one Mr. Bryant, practically killing
himself to win it all for the Lakers.

But finally,
there's light at the end of the tunnel;

in the same way that Shaq found a new Kobe
in Dwayne Wade,

Kobe has now found a new Shaq in
Andrew Bynum!

The 20-year old NBA sophomore Center
is now averaging a double double:
12.5 pts. and 10 rbs. per game,

and during their Christmas Day game,
Bynum scored a career-high 28 pts. on top of 12 rbs.,
Shaq-like numbers that struck fear

into the hearts of the Phoenix Suns,
a team that has been dominating the West
along with the San Antonio Spurs,
two older teams that are now suddenly vulnerable,

facing a real challenge from a Laker team
now strong and centered with Bynum,
with excellent contributors in the persons
of veterans in key positions:
the pesky Trevor Ariza, the smarts of Derek Fisher,
the hustle of Luc Walton, and point-forward Lamar Odom.

But the glamour team of Hollywood
will still live and die with this man,

the most enigmatic and explosive player on the planet,
still young and at his peak at the age of 29,
ready to take on the challenges of winning it all again.

Let the SHOW begin!


The Best Thing
about serving a whole turkey at Christmas?

Grilling the leftover wings, ribs, and butt!

Better than any Chicken Inasal you'll ever have.

The intrinsic flavor of the skin and the tastiest
bits of meat right next to the bone make this the
best Yuletide leftover meal ever!

Serve it with the simplest of dips,
calamansi sprinkled with rock salt,

and make sure you have lots of hot white rice!


if you rate your movies as i do,
on a scale of:

1 ~ bored to copious tears, prone to texting
10 ~ entertained every single fooking minute

then this would have to be in your Top 10 for 2007,

along with this movie,

featuring Clive Owen as a mysterious cold-blooded
sharpshooting avenger
spouting the best Bond-ian one liners since Connery,
and in fact looking eerily like failed 007s
Timothy Dalton/George Lazenby;

(don't ask!)

Monica Bellucci as a Lactating Hooker with a Heart of Gold;
(don't ask!)

and character actor supreme Paul Giamatti
as a shady government/gun industry hitman
who, by the way, is also a bit of a necrophiliac.

(don't ask!)

is a mishmash of ;

classic John Woo,
back when he was still making movies in Hong Kong
with Chow Yun Fat;
(before he became too Hollywoodish & lovey-DOVEy),

Quentin Tarantino's dark comedic dialogue and
Robert Rodriguez's outrageous action sequences,

all the best parts you love in James Bond movies,

a classier,
but grittier version of Jason Statham's warp-speed Crank,

and strangely enough,
Three Men and a Baby.
(I said, don't ask!)


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

You Can't Celebrate Christmas Without the "MA"*

for Mama, Mom, Mommy, Mother

we're having this 26th of December;
I woke up to a cold, rainy morning,
the exact opposite of the hot, sunny Christmas day.

It's just as well,
it's the perfect excuse to just laze around
and reflect on yesterday's excellent gatherings
with my family and loved ones,

and to digest all the food that we ate yesterday,
a whole day, wall-to-wall,
smorgasborderiffic extravaganza
of a Christmas Celebration!

Lunch at Oroquieta was with the ENRIQUEZ CLAN, and
Dinner was with the HIZON FAMILY and the LIEMPO GANG,
and it was non-stop eating and drinking all the way!!!

Our Yuletide Soundtrack
was provided by the wonderful Christmas albums of
Frank Sinatra, Ray Conniff, Doris Day, Johnny Mathis,
The Core Group's "Puto at Suman", Charlie Brown & Friends,
Vanessa Williams, Kenny Loggins, Sarah McLachlan,
Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, and Lea Salonga.

Ageless and sentimental Carols,
made more so because this collection
of CDs and Cassettes (!) nurtured for 30 years now,
includes the favorite Christmas music
of my beloved Lola Sally and my dear old Dad.

And speaking of my late father,
I'm sure that he would have loooved the booze:

V.S.O.P. Cognac from Courvoisier,
Chivas Regal, Johnnie Walker Gold,
that rare Chocolate Vodka,
Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon,
and lots of Heineken and San Miguel Beer!

And of course,
the food,
The Food,


A Ham and Cheese Platter
with Hoc Shiu Ham direct from Mainland China,
Quezo de Bola, and a couple of soft cheeses from Canada;

Almejas en Salsa Verde,
a clam and garlic broth
that's actually a dip for toasted baguettes.

A family favorite invented by my brother Joey,
thin slices of premium Quezo de Bola
zapped in the microwave until soft and gooey;
in my opinion,
even better than the Raclette at the Old Swiss Inn!


Chicken Relleno,
never absent from the Enriquez and Hizon buffets;

the classic Pinoy Kiddie Spaghetti
that even the oldies love and line up for,
chockfull with chunks of hotdogs and ground pork,
and sweetened by the secret sauce:
UFC Banana Ketchup!

another Pinoy Christmas staple,
Hawaiian Style Ham;

everyone's favorite and most requested dish,
the melt-in-your-mouth Lengua;

Baked Norweigan Salmon,
topped with French Onion Soup mix
for that extra-special zing!

The Fixins' for the Butterball Turkey,
roasted at Hizon's Bakeshop/Za's Cafe
by Tita Mila and Tita Gina:

the sweet kamote soaking in the buttery syrup,

the castaƱas-studded stuffing,
the rich brown gravy,
the dried cranberries,
and the cranberry sauce,

all complementing the dark and white slices
of the best Turkey Platter in Manila!

But the star of our Christmas Dinner
was undoubtedly the Garlic Roasted Leg of Lamb!

Check out the garlic slivers...
and the perfectly pink slices;

the meat was roasted so perfectly,
everyone forgot about the mint sauce
and just went straight for the lamb!!!


Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake,
topped with a thick cacao-condensada icing
and peppermint candy canes;
tastes like a solidified version of Starbucks' Peppermint Mocha!

Buttery Bundt Cake,
blessed with a glaze infused with Tanduay Rhum!

And an exotic treat,
the rosewater-fragrant sweet known
in the cradle of civilization the as "lokum",
the Turkish Delight!

A truly amazing spread,
the best we've had in Oroquieta in years.

And the truly amazing thing?
There was but a single chef working non-stop
in the days leading up to Christmas,

ensuring that the hungry hordes would be fed,
and fed most memorably on the best day of the year:

Meet my mother,
Chef Elsie Hizon Enriquez!!!

You run DaBest restaurant in Manila!

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