Earth Hour

Monday, April 28, 2008

Hapag Kainan

To celebrate our father's 77th birthday, he asked us to bring him to Market!Market ! in Taguig City. We got there early, and the place was busting at the seams with people. We could only go to the National Bookstore to get some stationery supplies before deciding to have dinner.

Our first destination was the open-air food center, but he didn't seem to be impressed with the choices and the location. We finally decided to eat at Hapag Kainan, a restaurant within the area that offers an "all-you-can-eat" buffet of Filipino dishes.

The buffet has a good set of choices; traditional Filipino dishes, shellfish, pork barbecues and even ice cream for dessert. Soda and Iced tea are refillable too.

I first got some crispy fried shrimps and broiled pork liempo. For my soup, I chose the tahong swam (mussels). After this, I tried the Kare Kare, bopis and calamares. I finished my dinner with broiled hito (catfish), deep-fried pork chops, more shrimps, and calamares.

There were still other choices, but I was already so full.I only had enough room for my favorite dessert, sweetened saba.

I should also add that the service crew was very attentive. They were always ready to refill our drinks and take the used plates.

There were four of us and we spent even less than half of what we usually spend in other buffets. Hapag Kainan buffet really gives value for your money.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Rice Problems Even for the Global Pinoys

I must blog this.

I just saw on local TV a news story about Filipinos in California panic buying rice! This is due to the steep increase in the price of imported rice in the US. The news showed Fil-Ams buying sacks of rice at US$42 per sack. An elderly couple in Union City even bought 2 sacks just to be sure.

One Piinoy told the reporter that even if bread were readily available in Union City, he still wants to have rice on the table. Rice is more filling than bread, he said.

There was also an interview with a CostCo employee who said that they will limit the amount of rice that could be bought by one family. Hey, that sounds familiar already!

The only difference is that Fil-Ams do not need to fall in line for hours to get their rice unlike their poor kababayans here who need to line-up for hours under the sun. Oh and also, while they in the US are limited to just 1 sack per family, the people here are limited to just 3 kilos per day.

The Strange Summer of 2008

Following the annual tradition of writing about the summers of the last three years, I decided to write a piece on this year's warm weather. It's almost May, anyway and it should be raining soon. But wait, I must say that this is the strangest summer we had in years.

For one, there was a typhoon in the middle of summer. Although it wreak havoc in the Southern parts of the country, it also brought some rains here in the Metro. No floods this time and no school cancellation. Well, how would they cancel school when there's none!

Anyway, I call it a strange summer also because there was no water shortage! What we had was rice shortage which I wrote about earlier.

High temperatures and humidity still hounded us the last two months but they're not as unbearable as last year. May be because half of the time, there were rains in the afternoon. This could also have contributed to the lack of water shortage this year.

Oh, I must also add that my electricity consumption remained the same. Meaning, there was no need to use so much electricity to cool myself unlike last year when I had to use the air-conditioner almost 24 hours a day on weekends.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Random Thoughts on a Full-Moon Night

After dinner tonight, I went out of the house to find a beautiful full moon in the night sky. Immediately, random thoughts filled my mind; some good, some utterly corny. I believe thought that one can be forgiven for being corny on a night the moon lords over the darkness of the night sky.

One of the advantages of living in the suburbs away from the glaring lights of the city and its pollution is being able to observe the magnificence of a full moon. Even as I write, I look outside and find the streets covered with a silver filament of light. It is so beautiful.

When I was still in college, I pass by a lake on my way home and on nights when the moon is at its brightest, it casts a reflection on the lake. It never failed to make me sigh. I always made sure that I sit on the side of the bus facing the lake every time I go home on a night like that just to see the sight.

I sometimes imagine our ancestors looking out of their dwellings to find a moon so round and glowing like a giant ball of silver in the dark evening. Were they scared of it? Or did this give them the opportunity to get together and tell stories to each other?

Young Filipino lovers of old probably met in secret and whispered sweet nothings while being illuminated by a silver disk in the sky and covered by shadows of trees and plants that capture some of the light.

Or did the Katipuneros meet under the moonlight as they planned their revolution to free us from our colonial masters?

On several occasions, I find myself staring at the full moon and wonder whether this is the same moon looking down at my friends and loved ones in distant places. I wonder whether they, just like me, are staring at the moon, struck by its beauty as it floats silently above us.

Such is the power of a full moon on me that I could get corny. But as I've said earlier, one can be forgiven for being so sentimental when possessed by the beauty of the moon.

Even if man have reached it and found that it is a cold desolate place, the moon will never cease to amuse me. In this age of the Internet, wireless communications and globalization, I still believe that the moon will remain a source of inspiration for people like me.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

It's the People Again Who Should Make Sacrifices

The TV newscasts are filled with it. People lining in the streets, wet markets and other places to buy rice. Rice that are within their means. It all happened after the country's agriculture secretary announced that we better cut down on our rice consumption or we will end up with out rice! All hell broke loose as soon as after he said those words.

I thought at that time how stupid it was that instead of government doing something about the impending rice shortage, the secretary himself would ask the people to eat less rice. What's even weird is that he even asked food centers to offer half cup of rice instead of one cup per meal (we serve rice by cups). It's almost as if he's asking Filipinos to go on a force diet!!!

It was almost a joke until I saw the news stories and find my countrymen falling in line for hours on end just to get three kilos of rice a day at a price they could afford. Of course there were available rice but these were priced at no less than 30 pesos per kg. for the cheaper kind and 45 pesos for the more fancy kind such as Jasmine rice.

Why not buy the 30 pesos kind, you ask them? Well, minimum daily wage in the country is 300 pesos something or some 7 US dollars. That is, if the company one is in gives the minimum wage. But most companies in the country are small and medium enterprises so they end up exempted from paying the minimum wage.

With so many filipinos classified by the World Bank as earning less than a dollar a day, buying those readily available rice is out of the question. So they endure the heat (it's summer here) and the lack of a proper system of distribution by the food authority just to get rice that they could afford and don't go hungry for the day. So bad was the situation that at one time, those who were not able to get rice started weeping and begging like we were back in the dark ages!

Speaking of hunger, a few months ago there was report that some 70 percent of Filipinos go to sleep hungry because they don't have the means to buy food. And what did our president say about this? Well, she said that sometimes when she's too busy at work she forgets to eat too and stay hungry. I think that there's a vast difference between being hungry because you don't have money to buy food and forgetting to eat because you're busy making money.

Now here's even worse. A report came out saying that we do not have enough rice because there's so many of us! So we must all make sacrifices and stop making children who will compete for food in the future.

It's always the people who are the source of our woes!

Can't we stop and look if distribution of our resources as well as governance have in any way contributed to this problem and not just too many Filipinos?