September 2009

It was supposed to be an uneventful tour day.

At around 11: 00 AM last September 26, I was wrapping the the Walls of THIS Content (Intramuros) walk when water started creeping in San Agustin Museum.

Oh wow, that’s something else. Realizing that the water was not going to go down any further, I told my group to take off their shoes, jump in the water and continue the last part of the tour.


We were going to finish this with or without my shoes on.

Of course,  typical of Filipino resilience, everyone jumps in and gleefully poses a pic for posterity.

Ondoy 2

I was so glad the participants were all locals.

The tour ends memorably for me and (Im pretty sure) for my group as well.

The courtyard of San Agustin was now flooded and water was seeping in the church.

There was a wedding going with a tricycle parked outside to carry the bride.

What a memorable wedding for the couple,  I thought.


It was only around Sunday evening when we got our power backed that I realized the extent.

Water, water everywhere and even places which Ive never seen flooded in living memory like Makati and Binondo.

Im so glad I canceled my tour for Chinatown in the afternoon.

To all the victims, I pray for strength to all of us who were victims of this tragedy.

If you want to donate and help, you may direct your donations to these two following outlets:

1. Kaisa Heritage Center (Bahay Tsinoy Museum)

Anda Corner Cabildo Street , Intramuros

Tel:  526-6798 and 527-6083

2.  Binondo-Paco Volunteer Fire Brigade

1245 Paz Street, Paco

or at Cafe Mezanine

650 Ongpin Street, Binondo

Cash or Kind donations accepted. If you’d rather,you can also spare some time in repacking for relief goods at the Kaisa Heritage Center


I found myself being among the select few to be invited to the  Filipino and Proud series hosted by the Asia Society. On the menu was  Cristeta Comerford, the Filipino-American who just happens to be executive chef of the White House (yes, Obama and his family too).  It was an interesting one-hour talk where the chef shared nuggets of her life starting living as girl in Manila ( Sampaloc ) to eventually  being the lead kusinera of the most powerful kitchen in  America.

Cristesta Comerford

I learned one important lesson that day: When the telephone rings and you are eating, answer immediately as you never know who’s calling!

Could be Malacanang or the White House. You never know.

Also met the who’s who in the Philippine culinary industry: Glenda Baretto of Via Mare, Jesse Sinsioco of Le Souffle ( I had to tell her how much I enjoy her restaurant and kamias juice) , Gaita Fores of Cibo (I though she was really tall) ,  Mikey Fenix of Food Magazine and my fellow-kabalen Claude Tayag.


After that it was off the Fort with my fellow brods Ivan Henares and Anton Diaz together with Claude Tayag to try out a new French resto. Yet another culinary lesson from the master, this time, how to distinguish a good croissant from a bad one.

According to Claude, authentic ones are flaky on the top just like hopia.

So there.


Hey, hey hey, thank you to John Landers of the  Toronto Star for the feature on Manila and yours truly.

Maraming Salamat!