Monday, November 1, 2010

The Chateau de Busay Experience

I had the chance to sing in a wedding ceremony last Saturday in Chateau de Busay. It was my first time to actually set foot on the grounds of this famous wedding venue. I’ve heard about it from friends and passed by it a couple of times when I was on my way to Balamban, town known for its famed liempo.

    
     

Going to the place was not that easy. A few taxis would dare to get you there only for a fixed rate of 300 pesos. Their common reason is always that they’ll lose on the gas spent in coming back from uphill down to the metropolis with no passengers on board. So, my only option was to ride via motorcycle which will take you up to Chateau de Busay in 15 mins for as low as P40. These motorcycle drivers and their PUVs are hard to miss when you are at JY Square in Lahug. They are lined up on the street side eager to pick up passengers whose fare becomes an additional earning for the day.




As you ascend uphill, the cold mountain breeze becomes apparent, the tall city buildings become smaller, and the wide expanse of Cebu becomes more picturesque. Mind you, air pollution is less atop. These luxuries are what Chateau de Busay offers on top of the usual wedding venue amenities offered in other places.


As the day grew dim, the city lights became clearer. They look like plenteous stars lighting the lowland. Paul Keiner must have envisioned the same sweet, tranquil scenery way back in 1968 when he built the place. The same builder is responsible for the creation of Cebu’s Mactan International Airport and other famous Philippine landmarks. He and his family lived there until they decided to sell it to a Swiss cheese maker and gourmand, Roland Werro in 1983 (read more of its history in Chateau de Busay’s website). Owned by a food lover, that explains why its restaurant serves excellent meals.



To this day, Chateau de Busay remains a convenient escape from the hassles of the busy metropolis. It continues to open business for casual diners and hold party and wedding events at easy-to-pay packages. For more information about its offerings, visit their website: http://www.chateaudebusay.com.

CHATEAU DE BUSAY
Lower Busay Hills, Nivel Hills, Lahug
Cebu City, 6000 Philippines
Tel. No. (032) 231-2000 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fixating Fascination: The Jazz'n Bluz Experience

Jazz’n Bluz has always fascinated me everytime I pass by Ayala Access Road going to my former workplace. I worked in the evening then, so all I saw lighting the thoroughfare were street lamps and those coming from the buildings and establishments lined up next to each other. Jazz’n Bluz’s wall sign was always bright and colorful. I knew then that I’ll get in that music bar one day. Despite the intense longing, however, either I didn’t have the time or I didn’t have enough audacity to get in there by myself.



I let that go until opportunity opened itself. Just yesterday, my present company concluded Fiscal Year 2010 inside Jazz’n Bluz. We had to wear our 60’s outfit and everyone was up for it. The ambiance inside the bar was just as I thought it would be – dimly lit with colorful lights, a drinking bar, a stage, and a set of musical instruments. It was the kind of place where you can chill out either by yourself or with a group of friends. The show spotlights the band and its music and nothing more. But of course, since it was a company celebration we had to steal a little of the limelight by holding our short progam and presentations. The rest of the night was spent partying and grooving in the music performed by two of their excellent live bands.




I have to say that the experience was great. One of my confreres confessed that what stood out best is the atmosphere in the venue which dispelled her discomfort and encouraged letting loose of one’s’ reservations. To me, it was more than just about the party. It was the satisfaction brought by the quiet fulfillment of an old fascination.

Jazz’n Bluz is open to holding special occasions and parties. They serve good food and prides Itself to be the town’s maker of the best ceviches (an English term for “kinilaw”), baked scallops, and tiramisu. Not much has been said about the owner but it could be Yuko Ishikawa, whose visibility commands the place. For more information, you may visit their website: www.jazznbluzcebu.com .

JAZZ’N BLUZ
27F Cabahug Street,Ayala
Access Road,Mabolo Cebu City
TEL : (6332)232-2698
FAX : (6332)231-4373
URL : www.jazznbluzcebu.com
E-MAIL :info@jazznbluzcebu.com

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Time-traveling Vigan

Vigan will never be unfamiliar to any schooled Filipino because several significant and memorable events in Philippine history took place in the city. Regardless of whether they call the  high school subject Sibika at Kultura, Araling Panlipunan, or HEKASI, its books contain “Vigan”. People like Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo, Padre Jose Burgos and many others walked along its streets.

Calle Crisologo in Vigan, Ilocos Sur
Despite its popularity, it was to me just history until it became part of me that fateful night of June 30, 2010.

We arrived at Laoag Airport straight from Manila close to 6PM, rode on a jeepney and headed straight to the bus in the terminal which brought us to Vigan Public Market. Vigan is 80 kilometers away from Laoag and takes about 1½ hours to commute. Once you are there, trikes are the other popular means of transportation let alone a few traditional kalesa. Seven pesos per passenger will take you to any destinations within the city – the same took us to Villa Angela.

Villa Angela Heritage House is a beautiful Spanish house which was built by Gobernadorcillo Agapito Florendo y Bonifacio in 1870 and originally owned by Engr. Candelario V. Verzosa, Sr. and Dra. Purificacion Lahoz-Verzosa before they bequeathed ownership to their own present-day generations . Although online marketing does not make mention of visits and short stays by local and foreign artists, Piolo Pascual’s framed picture with his affixed signature hangs proudly on its hallway wall. Other than that, the attendant revealed about Tom Cruise’s 6-month stay in the place

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Stuck on May 15

Stuck at the memory of the great CIO Summer Outing,
We vividly recall the events unfolding:
Excitement-filled bus ride, warm reception in Plantation Bay,
Amazing Race, great water sports, what more is there to say?













While nearing the entrance, everybody was beaming with joy.
Smiles on every face, laughter here and some giggles there –
All complemented to a sound we listen and enjoy –
Everyone scattered in every place, just being everywhere.











Shortly thereafter began the game
Each one expected to involve and participate
Young and old, boss or subordinate
All were contenders, all, the same.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Child in Us

Toy Story 3! Huh! I know writing about it can be quite risky. It could mean you are immature and have never outgrown your childhood, or perhaps, stuck in a 6-grader mindset. I don’t know, but, maybe yeah! I guess, somehow, Pixar packaged the story too entertainingly that you could forget that toys cannot move nor speak. More than great graphics, I believe the lessons behind the story are Walt Disney’s primary driver for a movie sale.



In this third part of the Toy Story sequel, Andy, the passionate toy-keeper is getting ready to go to college. He has grown a lot through the years and has come to the point where he has to decide among four ways to deal with his childhood toys: a) keep them in the attic, b) throw them away, c) donate to the Day Care center, or d) take it with him to college.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Vote


This blog is not for the sole and mere purpose of campaigning but primarily to key my thoughts about the coming May 10 elections. I took time to research about criteria for choosing the best leader but I am oftentimes led to nonetheless second-hand, biased suggestions. To be honest, I have made up my mind. It has been quite a struggle deciding especially because competence-wise, more than two candidates bear outstanding qualifications. I admit to have not done sufficient research about the candidate I am voting for but I feel guiltless and shameless now, more than ever, to declare that I am for Eddie Villanueva.



I am a Christian and you can presume that anything I write from this point onward can be partial and would certainly advocate Christian leadership. At some point, you are right, but I prefer to term my stand the advocacy on “Applied Christian Leadership” – one where Christianity has become one’s lifestyle. It does not infer perfection on the individual but more on established relationship and the conscientiousness of his action. In other words, I am in favor of voting for one who is a “doer” more than the “label-bearer” although both are essentially understood to have journeyed the road of acceptance and confession of Jesus, as Lord and Saviour - they mainly differ in the score of maturity.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

THREAT, TREAT, THREE


Threat

Warning: Reading this article causes profuse salivation and surging urge to gorge. Too much calories, kills!

Treat, Three

Being a food addict gets one sort of inevitably connected to where good food is. Your ears become trained to hear even the slightest buzzes from avid food hunters about their new discoveries; your eyes, alert to read on new food blogs; your nose, highly sensitive to what's cookin' in the nearby shop or restaurant; your legs and feet are quick to head out to where the smell comes from, and your hands are ready to empty your pocket from even the last centavo just to get a bite on what's hot and new.






I have had the recent fulfillment of eating in 3 ("three") famed Liempo shops in Cebu. My sources? Friends! Visited all three in less than a month.

Kusina ni Nasing is situated at V. Rama near the Security and Exchange Comission office. A friend of mine told me about the place and I had to travel to unfamiliar territory just to find it. My landmark--SEC. I knew which jeepney to ride but I didn’t know where my exact stop is. I mustered my courage just to find the store – got lost a couple of times but finally got there. The smoke diffused from its rotisserie smelled so good. It was a very simple store and it is no wonder why it is named as such because the actual kitchen is right where the dining area is. To some, it can be quite uncomfortable – the smoke from the roasting spot gets into your nostrils as it passes through the screened door of the dining room. Adding to its temperature, are the hot pans in the kitchen in the same room. To me, it was fun experiencing all that, although, you definitely gotta do it after work. You don’t want to blend in a crowd smelling like liempo and roasted chicken.  When the order was served, man, you just know you have to get a bite of that big slab of roasted pork. I did. And I chewed it together with some of my friends to the last chunk. My favorite part has always been the skin and fat layer. When the skin is roasted to perfect crisp and the salty fat juice oozes, that, at lunch, is uber-temptation (super temptation). They said this is one of the oldest running liempo shops in Cebu. Its name is still BIG to liempo lovers, but the shop hasn’t really branched out yet.

A rather new liempo shop is also gradually taking ground and is slowly saturating Cebu Province. Its name, Balamban Liempo, is said to have taken its origin from a shop in Balamban, Cebu. They say, the popularity of the liempo in Balamban cannot be contended, but since the original owners who are now really old and very well settled in that small town didn’t risk in branching to other places, an entrepreneur decided to bring the name instead and establish his own shops in different locations in Cebu rendering his own liempo version. You will know it is Balamban Liempo because it is sliced elongated as compared to other shops which sell it in big square slabs. Like the other two liempos in this blog, it is packed with lots of herbs. The only difference, they say, and as observed, is that the herbs are grounded or chopped thinly. Powdered pepper is quite distinguishable too. The only obstacle we encountered at first is that it doesn’t provide customers with a dining area, like the branch in Talamban. Internet, however, redeems it by informing customers that there are branches which have dining rooms like those in Mabolo and Capitol. There are plenty of information you can get from the web advertising this shop since its marketing also tapped online resources like Facebook, Multiply and Google.

The last of the three, is Porky Belly, Atbp. As of this time, the only shop I know they have is situated fronting the entrance of the Sto. Nino Village, a subdivision you find when you are on your way to Talamban, just right after getting past the overpass. Set-up and infrastructure-wise, I think it is better compared to the other two. It has an air-conditioned and spacious dining room separate from its smoking rotisserie outside. Location-wise, it can be disadvantageous. It doesn’t provide enough parking spaces and since it is right alongside the highway, short-stops are discouraged. The sound of its name,  Porky Belly, makes my taste sense tell my brain it is a grilled belly brushed with sweet barbecue sauce. I would admit that conditioning your mind with that thought will be quite frustrating. Proper mind setting should be Kusina ni Nasing cooking. When I tasted its liempo, my memory quickly fetches the taste of Nasing’s. After overhearing my friend talking to the part-owner of the shop, my hunches were confirmed. The store was established by multiple shareholders. Part of which is Nasing herself whose major contribution is on the recipe. The taste and the big pork slabs are very Nasing. The only difference, I was told was that their product is more consistent in terms of taste. The ingredients and its measurement are standardized and documented. Nasing’s cooking on the other hand is mostly due to her own handling and experience. (I quite agree especially because after two visits I made to Nasing’s shop, I did notice a difference in terms of saltiness.) What’s good about this shop’s entrepreneurs is their open-mindedness to venture into a franchising business. Soon, they say, they too will spread across Cebu.

All three are great places to visit in Cebu. They cater mostly to everyone whose palate favors herb-packed recipes. They creatively combine plenty of herbs to come up with a distinct taste which you continue to savor even after eating the meal. The tasty meat juice trickles down meeting the sweet flavor of the cooked herbs keenly inserted between the pork layers as the rotisserie turns it at consistent intervals over the burning coals. It is simply irresistible.

Price per slab of liempo is between P150 to P170 and good for up to 3 persons. Reservations and delivery is catered by these shops, too.

When your feet brings you to Cebu, defy the Threat, and never miss the Treat from all Three.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Type That Thought

I was just about to sleep when I decided it’d be best to put into writing some pressing thoughts I have been thinking concerning random issues. A lot has been going on in the community these days and everybody finds certain news too redundantly mentioned that it is getting difficult to put them off that easily.

May Elections

It is a little depressing to think about our nation’s current political situation. Being hailed to be one of those at the top in terms of corruption, the Philippines has been ardently fighting against it to regain its dignity among other nations. Despite the attempts, there seem to very little progress. People are trying to hold on to any glimmer of hope they can get from church sermons, Pineda, PeƱalosa and Pempenco achievements, and the quite convincing platforms showcased by our current presidentiables. At times we rely on the little comfort we get from denying the sad facts at hand and quietly telling ourselves that “things will change for the better”. But, will change really come? And if it comes, will it be for the betterment of the country and its people?


I myself took a little time to discover truths about our country’s candidates for the presidential post. I have attended the recent Choices and Voices for 2010 held in Cebu International Convention Center (thanks to Cebu’s Chambers of Commerce and Industry) and attended IVCF-CEV’s lecture about responsible voting. In these participations, I found out bits of information about the candidates. I am glad to have heard the candidates speak about their platforms and plans for our government, too. Each one determined to win the Filipinos’ heart by promising solutions on poverty, injustice, and freedom from corruption.

Just as I have heard their promise-filled speeches, I also learned their weaknesses brought up by the people who questioned them during the forum. Banters on Noynoy opportunistically riding behind the given popularity of his parents being renowned country leaders in the past and his involvement in the age-old Hacienda Luisita controversy were hot discussions. Fears of Gordon’s tendency to become a dictator following Ferdinand Marcos’ footsteps, Gibo’s questionable loyalty to the administration and his inability to have a solid stand on certain issues concerning President Arroyo’s reported governance oversights and lapses were repeatedly asked. Erap himself couldn’t seem to justify clearly the cases filed against him during his short-lived reign as the country’s president jokingly entertained the audience by responding “I’ve been there” to the questions raised against him. All brings us down to the question, “Would we want to entrust authority to these individuals?” Why not cast our vote to Villanueva who claims that righteousness will remedy these problems? Unfortunately, for him, Christians find it odd to hear news of his supposed support to party list LADLAD’s cause. Villar’s shout out as “tunay na mahirap” might sound very appealing but questions of him spending millions for his campaign seem to become an issue. Jambi, Perlas, and de los Reyes’s lack of solid track record in higher office seem to be resoundingly countering their efforts to market themselves.

These propagandas about them emphasize the negative. I’m sure they do have good intentions too. They wouldn’t put their reputations at stake for defamation or disgrace. I’m sure they ardently advocate good causes. If we effort on doing our own personal research not only finding the negative news but also fairly seeking the good information about them, we will arrive on an unbiased and well-informed decision. If we are able to do this, then we render value to our votes. This is the least we can do to contribute in making our country recover from pits of shame and further corruption. So if I be asked again “will there be changes after the election?”, I am sure there will be. As for whether it be for progress or regress, I’d let time tell. For now, I’d like to be certain that I’ll get past elections guilt-free by casting a wise vote. Anyone else can do the same!

End of the Line

Quite related to the dilemma on elections, I have also been made conscious about our ability to contribute to the preservation of Blue Fins and other extinct fish species. End of the Line was a very informative documentary. It narrates in vivid video footages how certain fish types are rapidly becoming extinct. Certain populations of fish species have been reported to have declined substantially since 1950. The video ended reminding people to be conscious on what type of fish to buy. If it belonged to a class that is extinct or endangered, it was advised that we can contribute by not patronizing these products until their population recovers. Marine preservation was also encouraged while fish farming using a large quantity of small fish to serve as bait for the large ones was discouraged. Sharing this documentary and information dissemination via blogs could be a good start.

Earthquake

Chile shook after an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.8 hit the country. Philippines is said to experience a magnitude of 1 anytime soon. Events like these make me think that most things are really uncertain. We are at the mercy of a God who makes our protection and salvation sure. I have lived through a long battle of disbelief in the past because I couldn’t buy the idea of believing on something or someone I couldn’t see. But the thought of rendering life meaningless due to death is far unbelievable. I began thinking that I haven’t been given life only to die and be inexistent and forgotten. Life must continue after death. The existence and concept of a Creator and eternal life or eternal damnation fits the void about living and dying. There is a God!

Self

At the end of the day, everyone returns to self. How am I living my purpose? Am I making a difference? Did I do any good? Did I make God smile? Concerns and issues keep coming. They come in many varieties. Worries about life and one’s interaction with the people and the rest of the creation around him makes the frequent visits. Sometimes I worry about my ageing parents and how their health is becoming worrisome. Marriage, investments, properties, and work add to my anxieties. Peer and parental pressures make it even harder. At the end of all these, however, you have only yourself to decide and (a) God to confer with. Although we rely on Him for guidance, but it is the times when His grace makes the hard decisions for us that are the sweetest. Nevertheless, there are major parts of life where he chooses to be silent and watch you apply what you have learned all throughout these years. Every obstacle and every difficulty serve to strengthen. For every decision, never fail to allow God’s intervention. It is when we think we don’t need him that we in fact need Him the most. Face your fears bravely knowing that God and you face it both at the same time.

It’s 10:14 pm. This will be my most restful bedtime in almost a year. Sometimes thinking aloud makes the most part of release and recovery. You too can find the time... type your thoughts.

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