SGV: Celebrating 70 Years of Strength, Growth, Vision

IMG_20160825_091226

 

It had to be the Mall of Asia Arena, no less.

SGV’s 70th anniversary celebration, after all, wasn’t just an  alumni homecoming but a gathering of the company’s clients, alumni, and friends over the past seven decades.

As expected, the large venue did not allow for much interaction among colleagues. The hall was just too big, making it difficult to look for familiar faces. As early as 4:30 pm, guests were already queueing for their tickets for admission to the concert featuring Lea Salonga, Gerard Salonga, and the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra. The show was set to start at 7:30.

 

Cocktails had to be kept short. But oh, the spread orchestrated by Bizu Catering Studio made me wish I could stay a little longer before finding a seat at the concert hall. Fat chance.

bizu cocktails.jpg

After getting my souvenirs (commemorative magazine and glass paper weight) I quickly joined Mitzi Villespin at the photo booth for some souvenir shots. She said Dittas Formoso and Fe Ferriols were there earlier, but had to leave soon. No ops for a group photo, so I just grabbed what were posted on the Project Smile FB page and turned them into a collage. BFFs Jo Cariaga and Arcel Joven were there, too, but there are no pics of them to show.

photobooth.jpg

 

For those who didn’t make it to the event last August 24, here are some video clips I grabbed from YouTube. Happy viewing!

The SGV Story; Welcome Message by Cirilo P. Noel, SGV Chairman and Managing Partner; Opening numbers of the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra and Lea Salonga.

 

Lea Salonga’s opening songs took us on a nostalgic trip to the ‘70s through the Carpenters’ hit tunes.

 

Gerard Salonga and the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra did some numbers that required audience participation. The catch: they were songs from 2013 onwards. Sorry, but Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Sia and their tribe are just out of our league.

 

What was supposed to be Lea’s finale number drew not a few sniffles because of its soulful lyrics. Indeed for many SGVeans, it has been a meaningful journey.

She had to heed the call for an encore. When she came back to do Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and the Donna Summer/Barbra Streisand hit “Enough is Enough,” the audience (including this senior) just went wild.

 

IMG20160824213934

The evening ended with a burst of colors.

 

Thank you and congratulations, SGV. Till next year’s homecoming.

 

 

Who’s afraid of hungry ghosts?

 

By Chinese culture reckoning, August of each year is a month to be very mindful of one’s usual activities. It is the 7th month of the lunar calendar when restless spirits are believed to visit the physical world and make their presence felt. Unless appeased, they could cause many forms of trouble and damage to the living. One way of preventing their negative manifestations is to make incense offering rituals because the spirits are said to “feed” on the aromatic smoke coming from the burning incense.

This year, the dreaded Hungry Ghost Month from August 3 to 31 climaxed yesterday, August 17, the 15th day of the 7th month. On a day when the influence of the hungry ghosts is said to be most potent, I opted to go out and pursue my scheduled activities with my sisterhood at the Carewell Community. Wednesday is our qigong, dancing, and yoga or gong healing day, after all; and what could be a better way of deflecting negative vibes than filling oneself with happy and positive chi instead through these wellness pursuits.

Sheng Zhen Healing Gong yesterday with teacher Roger Simone went particularly well. Truth is, after joining his qigong class more than two years ago, it wasn’t until lately that I started to enjoy its true flavor. The practice grows on its own pace for different people. I’m a “slow” student, but with the patience and resolve of our excellent teacher, plus his inspirational sharing of his thoughts and personal experiences, my belief in qigong has developed firm roots.

After gathering energy for the day, we were all for expending it in an hour-long dance class with our LeBran shapers Abby and Axl. Both are regular staff members of a Latin dance health and wellness provider named after its founder, Brando Balmedina. Teachers are not called DIs or dance instructors but “shapers,” because the LeBran business model provides sustainable income for talented but financially-challenged Filipino dancers. While helping to put clients in better physical shape, the program also helps shape the future of its young and promising talents. Just like qigong, every LeBran session means expelling a lot of toxicity, this time by sweating it out, and cultivating more happy hormones.

Gong sound healing with yoga teacher Rosan Cruz may seem like a passive activity, but it is a great way of achieving a state of harmony and balance. Using soundwaves, it helps clear blockages and enables  deep healing of the mind, body, and spirit. We always end each session by chanting the OM (or AUM) mantra to signify our oneness with everything that is good in the universe.

So, contrary to the belief that everything that could go wrong will go wrong during the Hungry Ghost Festival, it was all good for me and my sisterhood yesterday. To top it all, teacher Roger treated us to a yummy surprise like he would often do. Yesterday’s decadent caviar pie will be talked about for a long while, just like the couscous salad and the banana cake (the best ever!) he had shared with us in the past.

caviar_n

For those who would like to try this caviar pie, visit Mellissa’s Facebook page to order straight from the source. Otherwise, please click on this link  to view how this creamy, sinful treat is made.

Play safe and offer some incense to feed the hungry ghosts. For Carebelles like us (term for Carewell members)  who may not be exactly hungry but are mortals with HUGE appetites, make it caviar, please.

 

Rak is for all Ages

RakofAegis2016_cover_02.jpgI’m trying to be a punster here, with Rak of Aegis, a hit comedy musical inspired by the songs of Aegis, a Filipino rock band, as my object. Admittedly, my husband and I weren’t too keen on the prospect of sitting it out for two hours to listen to their pipes-busting songs—the reasons we are not too fond of neighborhood videokes. That, plus the feeling of unease that we would stick out like wrinkled thumbs among the young crowd expected to fill PETA Theater last Sunday evening.

The fear was unfounded, it turned out. There were quite a number of oldies present that night, confirming that having danced and loved along the music of Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Richie Valens, and many latter-day pop stars, seniors have earned the right to be there. Rock is in our soul.

This Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) production is now on its fifth run since it started in January 2014.  Since then it has garnered over 20 awards and citations, including Outstanding Original Musical, Outstanding Musical Direction, Outstanding Stage Direction, and Outstanding Original Libretto.

But PETA being what it is, one gets a lot more than what is expected of a record-breaking musical. Through songs, Rak of Aegis weaves a social commentary on poverty and struggle, commercial greed, and modern values, using the  flood-submerged Barangay Venezia as the backdrop.

Aileen (Alisah Bonaobra), a young resident, dreams of instant success via YouTube and ultimately meeting Ellen DeGeneres. She sees it as her way of helping out her parents, Mercy (Kakai Bautista) and Kiel (OJ Mariano), whose source of livelihood is threatened when the shoemaking business in the barangay suffers as a result of the floods and tough competition. Kiel blames the flooding on the tree-cutting practice of a neighboring subdivision headed by developer Fernan (Gie Onida). Thus, he is constantly at odds with Barangay Kapitana Mary Jane (Sweet Tiongson).

There to help out Aileen pursue her dreams are her friend Jewel (Phi Palmos), suitor no. 1 Kenny (Vince Lim), and suitor no. 2 Tolits (Jerald Napoles). One day, when she loses her job as a promodizer, she sings her heart out in the rain. Tolits catches her outburst on video and posts it on YouTube. It goes viral and Aileen becomes popular.

Through the prodding of Fernan, Mary Jane convinces Aileen to stage a concert set at Barangay Venezia. But just as everything is ready for the commercial intent, the floods subside. The proposed concert is called off. A twist of fate makes the people of Barangay Venezia realize what really matters and leads them to a more viable solution to their plight. The result is a fitting finale that allows them to show their moves and put their best foot(wear) forward.

Rak of Aegis is a collective genius:  Maribel Legarda (Director), Liza Magtoto (Writer), the PETA artistic and production staff, technical crew, and the cast. Worth every minute of your time, up to the end of the play when a voice-over asks the audience to “look under your seats.” Whatever for?

You have until August 28, 2016 to find out.

In the play bill, Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM) President Ogie Alcasid writes: “A show like Rak of Aegis is an embodiment of what we have to do as Filipinos—suportahan, tangkilikin at ipagbunyi po natin ang OPM!”

 

From Tuesdays to Fridays, shows are at 8 pm, and with 3 pm and 8 pm shows on Saturdays and Sundays. PETA Theater is at No.5 Eymard Drive, New Manila Quezon City.

 For tickets, go to http://www.ticketworld.com.ph or call 891-9999 or contact PETA at 725-6244.

 

The future is green: Quezon Province eyed as PHL Herbal Capital

(An edited version of this article is in today’s issue of The Philippine Star, Business/Agriculture section.  Posting this full, unedited version with the additional photos not found in the hard copy.)

 

In July 2014, typhoon Glenda (international name: Rammasun) caused extensive damage to Central Luzon, Mimaropa, Bicol and the Cordillera Administrative Region. Quezon province was among the worst hit with at least 10 persons killed and some P2 billion worth of agricultural crops and both public and private facilities destroyed.

But every cloud, as the saying goes, has a silver lining.

The Quezon provincial government soon initiated a relief campaign, which included a rehabilitation caravan to help survivors by distributing relief packs to thousands of families in badly devastated areas. During this campaign, the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) introduced its Herbal Program as a possible livelihood alternative to residents. Many local government officials responded positively to the concept, having been oriented on the increasing global demand for medicinal plants as an alternative way to health and wellness.

Herbal farming sounded like an economically viable proposition.

Herbalism, then and now

The oldest recorded proof of using medicinal plants to alleviate medical conditions were found in ancient Sumerian writings, estimated at 5000 years old. The illustrations depicted instructions on how to use various plants for treating ailments. Yet even before writing was invented, skeletal remains of Neanderthals aged at 50,000 years found in a cave in northern Spain suggested that prehistoric humans might have resorted to herbal remedies as well. Their teeth samples revealed a diet that consisted not only of meat, but also of some bitter-tasting plants. The conclusion was that because of their unpleasant taste, the plants must have been eaten for reasons other than flavor, most probably for medication.

Since then, there had been descriptions of how Arabs, Romans, Chinese, Indians, and other indigenous cultures, including African and Native American, had used herbs in healing rituals. Traditional herbal therapy systems, such as Ayurveda, emerged. Researchers have shown that in different parts of the world, people tended to use the same plants for healing purposes.

The turning point

Between the 16th and 17th centuries, iatrochemistry, a school of thought that sought to provide chemical solutions to medical ailments, started to drive a wedge between herbalism and science-based medicine.  In the early 19th  century, scientists learned how to isolate and modify the chemicals from plants. Over time, the use of herbal medicines declined in favor of modern drugs. Still, most pharmaceutical drugs were derived from botanicals.

Today, an ideological shift back to the merits of herbal medicine is sweeping both developed and developing countries all over the world.  Widespread dissatisfaction with the high cost and declining efficacy of prescription medications has driven consumers to return to natural remedies. Plant-based health and wellness as well as beauty products proliferate. Alternative health clinics and spas using herbal preparations are flourishing. Studies have shown that herbal remedies can actually complement conventional healing modalities.

There’s money in those plants

A study published in the World Journal of Pharmaceutical Research (WJPR) in 2015 stated that the global market for herbal medicines currently stands at over $60 billion annually. The sale of herbal medicines is expected to get higher at an average annual growth rate of 6.4%. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), herbal medicines are lucrative globally and they represent a market value of about US$43 billion a year. The global market for all herbal supplements and remedies could reach US$115 billion by 2020, with Europe the largest and the Asia-Pacific the fastest growing markets. In another article published in the International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences in 2013, the global market growth for the herbal industry is expected to grow at 7% annually from year 2000 to 2050, at which time it is forecast to reach US$5 trillion.

global market value of the herbal industry

The diversity of categories for traditional or herbal medicine products makes it difficult to make an accurate assessment of the actual market size. Still, available figures suggest that the industry is worth big money.

Traditional medicine in the Philippines

Herbal medicines had been widely used in the Philippines long before modern Western medications were introduced. In many rural areas in the Philippines in the past and up until now, the albularyo is a prominent and sought-after person for his ability to cure common diseases. The term albularyo was derived from the Spanish word herbolario, which means herbalist.

There is an astounding variety of medicinal plants in the Philippines. The health advocacy group Alay Kapwa Kilusang Pangkalusugan (AKAP) has been able to list 1,297 plants in the Philippines that are known to have folk medicinal uses. There are reportedly 9,000 different plant species, 60% of which are believed to be endemic to the Philippines.  So far, fewer than 500 of those species have been identified to have medicinal uses.

In 1992, then Health Secretary Dr. Juan Flavier parlayed his decades of experience as a barrio doctor into championing the use of herbal drugs. During his term as Health Secretary, the DOH endorsed 10 Philippine plants clinically tested to have medicinal value. He also co-authored the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act (TAMA) that gave legal recognition to natural healing side by side with pharmaceutical drugs. It was signed into law (R.A. 8423) by then President Fidel Ramos in 1997. The law also created the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care, a state-owned corporation supervised by the DOH designed to promote scientific research on medicinal herbs and plants.

The Quezon Integrated Herbal Industry Program (QIHP)

Against the background of increased awareness of the health benefits of herbal medicines and growing demand for plant-based products globally, the Herbal Program envisioned by the provincial government of Quezon, which was warmly received by local residents after typhoon Glenda, was immediately set to motion. In 2014, Quezon Gov. David Suarez issued an executive order that created the Quezon Integrated Herbal Industry Program (QHIP) Committee composed of different government agencies, academic institutions and representatives from the private sector.

The QHIP Committee drafted the Herbal Industry Development Program, which focuses on five major areas: research and development, enhancement of herbal production, information and education, promotion and marketing, and agro-enterprise development. The Quezon Herbal Program is supervised by the OPA headed by Provincial Agriculturist Roberto Gajo with Mr. Walter Dapla as Program Coordinator.

Before the year was over, the provincial government led by Gov. Suarez conducted its first-ever Quezon Herbal Conference with the theme, “The Prospects of Herbal Plants in Quezon Province” in Tayabas City. The conference brought together municipal mayors, municipal agriculturists, municipal health officers, department heads of the provincial government of Quezon, non-government organizations, academic institutions and herbal health advocates. Participants were briefed on the significance of the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act, the herbal plants found in Quezon Province, global market positioning of the Philippines, processing and manufacturing herbal plants as medicines, and business opportunities in essential oils, among others.

The provincial government identified co-operators (individuals, groups, cooperatives) to participate in the production and processing of selected medicinal plants that have huge market demand. Six towns were initially chosen as pilot areas for the program and were given planting materials. Various forms of assistance were provided to the chosen co-operators, including needs assessment, training in production and product development, provision of equipment and tools, and financial management.

The Quezon Protected Landscape Herbal Pavilion

Last May 26, 2015, Gov. Suarez led the Memorandum of Agreement signing between the provincial government of Quezon, the local government of Atimonan, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region IV-A for the beautification of the Quezon Protected Landscape (formerly Quezon National Park) and developing it as another tourist destination in the province. It also marked the groundbreaking ceremony for the Quezon Protected Landscape (QPL) Herbal Pavilion along the iconic zigzag road known as Bitukang Manok in Atimonan.

Quezon Protected Landscape Herbal Pavilion, Photo courtesy of Neil Alvin Nicerio

The Quezon Protected Landscape Herbal Pavilion (Photo courtesy of Neil Alvin Nicerio)

 

Along with recreational facilities for visitors, the QPL Herbal Pavilion will have a display center for products made by different organizations, cooperatives and individuals involved in the Herbal Program. It will be a sanctuary for different types of medicinal plants and other species endemic to Quezon province, making it an ideal destination for those who want to enjoy nature and feel its healing power. Gov. Suarez was unequivocal about his vision when he said “I want Quezon Province to be the center of herbal medicine in our country, where all kinds of herbal plants and requirements can be acquired.”  The Governor also sees this initiative as a way of promoting environmental protection and rehabilitation by providing alternative jobs for those who still resort to cutting trees and slash-and-burn activities in the area.

Visitors from the media get a glimpse of ongoing work at the QPL Herbal Pavilion

Participants in the “Experience Quezon: Discovering New Destinations” media tour organized by the Provincial Tourism Office of Quezon get a view of the Herbal Pavilion as a work in progress.

 

With the targeted opening of the QPL Herbal Pavilion this year, Quezon Province is well on its way to becoming the “Herbal Capital of the Philippines.”

###

 

 

 

 

Rated “C”

lorenaprofile

Her name is Lorena—a derivation of the Latin word “lora” or laurel tree, which symbolizes honor and victory. People with this name are believed to be idealistic and highly imaginative. They find expression in creative pursuits and are usually musically inclined. They tend to inspire others because of their genuine love for people.

Since our paths crossed last year, she has never ceased to amaze me with her positivity, unwavering faith, and infectious sense of humor.

This is her story, in her own words:

Cancer is an emotionally and financially crippling disease that makes everyone inflicted with it suffer. Being stricken twice by cancer made me miserable. On June 2013, I was diagnosed with endometrial adenocarcinoma, Grade 2. My ONCO-gyne advised me to undergo cobalt radiation and 4 cycles of low dose chemotherapy. I had total hysterectomy operation on October 18, 2013. Biopsy result showed I have endometrial cancer stage 4 b. I was then advised to have 6 cycle high dose chemotherapy, radiation and brachytherapy which lasted until Aug. 2014.

For one year and 10 months, I was declared “cancer survivor” and I religiously submitted to follow up check-ups. As a way of thanking God I, with the help of relatives and friends, organized a group “ Adopt A Cap” to help my fellow cancer patients. We provided caps for their bald heads which was a result of chemotherapy. The project continued to grow because more friends and relatives donated cash and chemo drugs for cancer patients who needed chemo drugs and cannot afford them.

Early September, 2015, I underwent regular CA125 test and the result indicated it was 43 points higher than the normal range of 0-35. I saw my ONCO and I was advised to get series of tests, such as Ultra sound and transvaginal. It was found out that there were 2 lumps with sizes 5cm and 2cm. Furthermore a CT Scan was advised. After 3 sessions of chemotherapy worth 55,000 per session, I underwent another CA 125 test. The result indicated it was 160 points higher than the last test in the month of September. From 2 lumps they became 3 lumps and the first two increased in sizes. There was tumor progression.

On JANUARY 2016 my gyne oncologist decided to have another set of CHEMOTHERAPY worth 155,000 pesos per session. This is a Combination of GEMCITABINE AND AVASTIN CHEMOTHERAPY DRUGS. I am on my 22nd round of CHEMOTHERAPY as to date. I still need 9 sessions (3cycles). Fighting cancer for the second time is hard. My relatives and friend thought of organizing a fundraising to finance the costs of this new set of CHEMOTHERAPY. We came up with “I CAN SURVIVE TSHIRT FOR A CAUSE”.

The “I CAN SURVIVE TSHIRT FOR A CAUSE” WILL COST P350 each available sizes are small, medium, large and XL. You can request for reservation by sending a message on this thread or sending a private message to me. Payments can be deposited to my savings account. Account details are as follows: Ma. Lorena David, BPI Account No.: 8179 0732 19

Anyone can also support the cause through donations and deposit using the bank details above. Hoping for all your support. Thank you very much and May God shower you all with more blessings.

 

My friend Lorena is a beautiful woman—hair or no hair.

lorena collage

 

Through trying times she has kept her faith and gets by with a lot of  help from friends and supporters.

boo

Here in a playful mood with other patients, she says “Boo to cancer!”

life

One of her Facebook posts

 

She deserves lots of brownie points, too, for her resourcefulness and determination in raising the funds needed for her treatment. It’s not unusual for her Facebook page to show photos of sundry goods—food items, t-shirts, perfumes, gadgets, among others— that she sells to help finance her chemotherapy needs. Her medical outgo, which reaches up to Ps108K a pop, is clearly not for the faint-hearted.

goods collage

 

With Lorena, the expression “the big C” takes on a different meaning from what others associate it with. In her case, and in many others who are in the same challenging journey she is in, the big C more aptly stands for Compassion and Courage.

Why the Mayohan sa Tayabas is a festival with a heart

 

We have Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach to thank for the now viral ‘confidently beautiful with a heart’ phrase. This expression does not only apply to beauty queens, however. It also aptly describes some festivals in Quezon province that draw local and foreign visitors here in the month of May.

mayohan logo.jpg

Quezon celebrates four major harvest festivals in honor of San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers. The most ornate and colorful is, of course, the famous Pahiyas Festival of Lucban, with the Araña’t Baluarte of Gumaca steadily gaining more visitors each year.  The Agawan Festival of Sariaya and the Mayohan sa Tayabas may lack the frill and flamboyance of their sister festivals, but they build their activities on a different objective—that of giving and sharing one’s blessings. And that means more action-filled fun and experience for Mayohan visitors.

Photo 7.

Mayor Dondi Silang: “The Mayohan is a symbolic way of sharing our blessings after a good harvest.”

An online source cites writer and film director Orlando Nadres and then Mayor Faustino “Dondi” Alandy Silang as the originators of the Mayohan Festival in 1988. Both avid heritage advocates, they envisioned it as a way of renewing social and cultural awareness among Tayabasins (or Tayabeños), as natives of Tayabas are called. It was meant for them to honor their humble origins as peasants and farmers and to give tribute to San Isidro and to the land they till for their primary source of livelihood. It has since evolved into a week-long festival that opens with the Parada ng Baliskog, a parade of welcome arches created by various government and private groups using local materials. It peaks on May 15 of each year with the traditional Hagisan ng Suman.

 

Why Suman?

Photo 3.jpg

City Hall employees proudly hold up clusters of the ritual giveaways

Mayor Dondi Silang shares a no-nonsense explanation on how the native rice cake called suman came to be the ritual gift of the Hagisan. Farmers harvest rice from their land, but since it is inconceivable to throw rice in its raw form as thanksgiving gift, they thought of making suman out of glutinous rice and wrapping them in young coconut leaves for easier sharing.

The suman is creatively wrapped in such a way that when it is thrown, the tail called tatangnan graciously swirls behind. It also makes it easy to tie several pieces together or to hang them on bamboo poles called bagacay. He stresses that this special way of wrapping is done only for the May 15 festival. For the rest of the year, the Tayabasins use banana leaves as suman wrappers.

 

Photo 2.jpg

Thousands of suman lined up at the balcony of the Tayabas City Hall

Judging from the amazing number of suman shared (thousands from the city hall alone), others would think that the goods thrown to the visitors are of inferior taste and quality. Mayor Dondi is quick to counter that that is not the way in Tayabas. He cites an instance when, during a past Mayohan, a balikbayan commented to have tasted the best suman ever during the festival. “I always tell people that whatever they give away comes back to them in similar form. Sacrificing quality has its karmic effect, and so care must be done to give only the best out of one’s bounty, as it could affect future harvests or income.”

Sharing is not limited to the tasty suman, however. Since Mayohan has become an occasion for much-anticipated homecoming of family members and friends, a lot of balikbayans from different parts of the world find their own way of symbolically sharing their blessings. In some instances, crowds scramble for dollar bills being thrown in place of suman from lofts or upper floors of residential houses. Some local businessmen happily give away other forms of consumables or whatever products they derive their income from.

Photo 4.jpg

The San Isidro image passes by, signaling the start of suman throwing.

Invited guests from the media were given a chance to join Mayor Dondi and his city hall staff in the suman-throwing experience. The goods were neatly lined on the balcony of the Tayabas City Hall ready for the passing of the all-male revelers participating in the procession. As soon as the image of San Isidro went past the balcony, the suman throwing started, resulting in pure chaos with the men (and a few women) below jumping and jostling to get as much suman as they could. It is believed that the more suman a person gathers, the better his harvest or income gets.

 

Photo 5.jpg

The coveted goodies are thrown while the crowd chants ‘hagisan na!”

 

Photo 6.jpg

Catching suman by its tail

But wishing for more bountiful crops is not the only reason some people risk being trampled on. A man carrying a young boy on his shoulders tried to catch his share and almost did when a piece of suman hit the boy on the head.  The goody fell on the ground but was snatched by another man, unfortunately. The boy was close to tears, probably not because of pain as the force could not possibly hurt that much, but at the thought of losing his snack. His facial expression promptly changed into a smile when the man carrying him managed to catch a bunch of suman.

There was just plenty of good stuff to go around that afternoon.

Several years back, I was at the bounty-grabbing side in another event at the Araña’t Baluarte Festival in Gumaca. In this festival, the coveted objects are not bunches of suman but the freshest and the best green harvests of this town. The choicest fruits and vegetables are beautifully arranged in chandelier fashion (arañas) and hung in artistically designed arches (baluartes). After the festival, I went home with a big plastic bag full of various great-tasting veggies.

The experiences of giving and receiving leave feel-good memories and are both rewarding albeit in different ways. As American entrepreneur and author Jim Rohn, who became famous for his rags-to-riches story, said: “Giving is better than receiving because giving starts the receiving process.”

World Street Food Congress 2016

 

My hubby and I decided to visit the World Street Food Congress on its last day today at BGC. I insisted on catching the opening hours at 12:00 noon to be able to cover much ground.

It was a bad call.

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

This is just a short portion of the line that had its tail on another block

At 15 minutes to 12:00 there was a long queue waiting to be allowed entry into the event grounds. Not wanting to melt under the noontime sun, we chose to wait it out on the opposite side of the street, which was shaded. When they finally announced that the gates were open, we immediately went to buy bottled water as our first line of defense against the oppressive heat. I gave the attendant money for two bottles of distilled water and waited for him to hand me some change. When he didn’t budge, I reminded him that I just gave him a hundred pesos. He just stared at me and said no change was due. That was P50 bucks for each 500 ml of drinking water! I was too parched to complain so I simply walked away. Another red flag.

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

Singapore Seafood Tempura for the hubby

Without much thought, hubby went straight to the first stall to buy food. Probably didn’t even know what he lined up for. Didn’t even bother to ask for his senior citizen’s discount for the Singapore Triple Sauce Seafood Tempura he ordered.

I was hungry, too, but I took time to check out what the other stalls had to offer. I finally settled for Chicken Biryani and joined my husband pronto. Lunch at the tent-covered dining area was so-so except when hot and dry wind would sometimes blow carrying dust particles that landed…guess where. Yum!

chicken biryani

Chicken biryani for me

 

There were other options for dessert, but we went for the churros sundae from Churros Loco. You guessed it. Naloko kami. No like. I’ll have Dulcinea churros anytime.

Many of the food choices were hot and spicy. AND fried.

ayam taliwang

carrot cake

banh can

hoy tord

mee siam

penang laksa

Buti na lang, there’s Pinoy street food to save the day. Even if some of them are also, er…fried.

north philippines

one visayas

one mindanao

lucban treats

Couldn’t go home without these: Lucban Longganisa and Duo of Sugar Glazed Pilipit and Suman

bicol

and spicy Pasta Bicolandia

Given that we chose the worst time to visit, but I wish we had better memories of this event on its first time in Manila. Too bad, there’s no more chance to experience it on a better day.

Overall, I can safely say I’ve had more fun and better choices at the Legazpi and Salcedo weekend markets.