Monday, December 8, 2008

RECIPE: Über-Cheesy Pan de Pizza

Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese! Who doesn't love 'em chiz? Be it soft, hard, tangy, moldy, smelly, wedged, balled, cheap, gourmet, or anything in between, one can't help but love it down to the last bite.

This recipe is a great "left-over goodie"...Why? Well, because my Momma taught me well not to waste anything (yep...she and me are the nightmares of 5S gurus--we save everything and recycle when we can!)...and this recipe calls for left-overs as ingredients. Of course, if you don't have left-overs, you can start fresh--buy 'em new! So...let's start cookin'!!!

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Ingredients: burger buns (cut into three equal slices), cream cheese, olives, onion rings, thinly-sliced tomatoes, quick-melt cheese, left-over (or ready-made, off the supermarket shelves) tomato-based spaghetti sauce, freshly-ground pepper, feta cheese (optional), chopped basil (optional)

You will also need: an oven (or broiler), cheese grater, and an iPod playing in the background, preferably some Italian dude

Pre-heat the oven to 250degrees as you're preparing (er..."assembling") the ingredients (i.e. while slicing the onions, olives and tomatoes). Dunk the buns into the oven for a good 3-5 minutes or until it's somewhat crispy. Take out to cool.

Spread the buns with the cream cheese (OK, that sounded sleazy...so let's call it bread from now on). Then top the cheese layer with the tomato-based sauce. If you opted to put feta and basil, now's the time to do that, too, champ. Spread the sliced tomatoes, olives, and onion rings all over the bread.

Finally, top with grated quick-melt cheese (or use mozarella if you're feeling more sosi...hehehe) and the freshly-ground pepper.

Put in the oven for about 10 minutes at around 175-200degrees, or until the cheese toppings melt like crazy. Serve on a kerengkeng plate together with some Ice-blended Chamomile-Pear smoothie. How to do that? OK, OK...here's how...

Make cold chamomile tea using off-the-supermarket-shelves varieties of them tea bags. Set aside. Core and peel fresh pears. Dunk the fruit, the tea, some milk, and lotsa ice cubes in a blender. Add Splenda if needed. Then blend like crazy. Pour in a tall glass and top with those totally-useless cocktail drink embellishments.

Enjoy like there's no tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

RECIPE: Oven-Baked Cream Dory with Alagau

Here's a no-brainer recipe. All you need is an oven (or turbo broiler or anything that can bake for at least 250degrees), some herbs, and Finding Nemo's Dory...and your all set!

I used a local herb called alagau. I grew up in Bataan eating another local dish called Talibubu (I'll make that some day, and I'll post it here, too), and this herb was its main ingredient. My mom would make me go to the neighbor (with a nasty askal) and ask for young leaves ("talbos"), which was really the only part you'd need--use the matured leaves and the dish turns out a bit bitter. To read more about this herb, click HERE. And since I particularly liked the taste of alagau in Talibubu, I thought of experimenting on it on a different dish.

Nuff said. Let's start cookin'!

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First, you will need the following ingredients: fresh cream dory fillets (buy this at your local wet market and ask that they filleted it for you, or you could always run to your supermarket and get the frozen ones...just make sure you thaw it first before cooking [duh]), onion rings (your choice of either local red or white), chopped garlic cloves, thinly-sliced ripe tomatoes, finely-chopped young alagaw leaves, finely-chopped basil, olive oil, sesame oil, chili powder (optional), and freshly-ground salt and pepper.

For the dipping sauce: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice or calamansi.

And make sure you have these non-food items: oven, Pam spray can, aluminum foil, metal wire plate, baking spatula, and a whole lot of presence of mind--you'll need it later!

(Remember to pre-heat the oven to 250degrees while you're doing this, OK?) Cut some aluminum foil (careful not to cut yourself, you little baby!) big enough to wrap two to three medium-to-large fish fillets. Spray the matte side of the foil with Pam spray, and drizzle with some olive oil. Spread all over the foil with the spatula till it's covered all over. Think sunblock on someone else's back...that's the idea! ;-) Put the fish side by side.

Drizzle the fillets with more olive oil, and some sesame oil. Layer it with the onion rings, garlic, alagau leaves, basil, tomatoes, and the optional chili powder or flakes. You know how to design a home-made pizza? That's the general idea. Season with enough salt, and pepper. Wrap the fillets in the foil and make sure it's sealed enough to prevent it from bursting or leaking.

With the pre-heated oven (You did pre-heat it, didn't you? Tsk!) ready, carefully set the wrapped fillets on those nifty metal wire plates so it's right smack in the middle of the oven or broiler. Set the oven to 250degrees or higher for 30 minutes. Let it cook and go do your other chores so you're more useful in the house!

When you hear your oven's "TING!", then it's time to open up the foil wrap. Careful now, careful now...you don't want your perky porcelain skin burnt, do you? Poke the fish with a salad fork and check whether it's already good for you...otherwise, bake it some more, this time with the foil already unsealed.

Serve on a plate with its dipping sauce on the side. How to make the sauce? Just combine all the ingredients and mix till it's already good for your discriminating taste buds.

Enjoy!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cooking ng Ina Mo

Unbeknownst to most people, I love to cook. It's actually a new-found passion. It is in the kitchen where I feel my most comfortable and...at home. I always look forward to snatching my apron off the hook, chopping up my onions, garlic, and basil, and heating up my gas stove to High...and filling up the dirty kitchen space with the heavenly aroma of my cooking. Of course, the occasional blisters, cuts, and burns usually round up the experience of feeling gourmet chef. And the experience of the first bite is usally either mouth-watering or simply...ethereal.

I grew up to a family of cooks--my Lola being the Grand Momma of Cooks in my town. She was called Justinang Baboy...because she sidelined as a slaughterhouse employee. All but two of her seven children were amazing cooks--each specializing in their own cuisines. So you can just imagine the feast my aunts and uncles would whip up during our town fiestas. They'd cook days before the actual event. And my role in all this? I was the official taster. Yes. They'd cook, and I'd taste. I'd judge whether a dish was lacking (or exceeding) in saltiness, sweetness, sourness, etc. So I was literally their food critic...and it served me well to actually know how to perfect the tastes of dishes--because it helped me to this day how to make my cooking close to umami, as the Japs would call it. =)

I remember leaving the Philippines more than five years ago knowing nothing about cooking except for the occasional sunny sideup (which always ended up being sunog), scrambled egg (which also was either too salty or sunog as well), and the staple sinangag. Of course, there were hotdogs, and Ma-Ling (yum!), and other quick-no-brainer fried straight-from-the-can fried meats. Remember, I said I was a food critic/taster...but never a cook!

But born out of necessity...and the predilection for actually living longer than 35 years old (read: living in the States made me eat McDonald's, Long John Silver, Wendy's, and Whattaburger for every freaking meal of the day), I decided to finally heed the call of the kitchen. It was two days after Thanksgiving, when I've reached my threshold of eating turkey sandwiches, that I decided to cook my very first dish. I called my sister and she literally guided me de numero with my recipe. What was my first recipe? Lechon Paksiw ala Turkey Meat. Haha! That turned out to be a very expensive dish...that is, if you factor in the overseas call minutes that I've spent while being coached by Taba on the step-by-step procedures of the dish. Everybody loved it! They actually thought it was the most yummy and unique "Teriyaki Turkey". I was like, "Duh. Whatever." ;-)

Coming back from the US, I've literally left everything there except for my passport, my few essential belongings, and of course, my kitchen savvy-ness. And boy, let me tell you, my friends and family actually get a kick out of my cooking, that they actually gimik at my house just to make me cook for them. Cheapskates! LOL

So...I've decided to let some of my "top secret" and family-kept recipes...and even my own personal concoctions. ABANGAN!

RECIPE: Paradadas

Para...what??? Paradadas. Don't ask me the etymology of that...but as long as I can remember, my Lola Justina would make us these yummy beef-filled French-toast style bread every merienda time or breakfast. Hers, of course, because there was no Teflon pans yet at that time, were really oily. But who cared about cholesterol in our youth anyway? Blech!

So, here it is. I especially dedicate it to my good friend Erik from NooYorrrk. It's because of this recipe that we found each other from literally both ends of the globe. So, Erik...first bite's for you! ;-)

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What you will need are:

Filling:  can of corned beef, onions, garlic, ripe tomatoes, potatoes, and freshly-ground pepper

The whole thingamajig (hehe): 10-20 pan de sal, 2 eggs, liquid milk, salt to taste, cooking oil

(If you know how to make corned beef hash, then that's all the instruction you'll need. Hehe)

Cut potatoes into small (about 1cm) cubes. Slice tomatoes into strips. Chop the onions and garlic into stir-fry size/shape. Stir fry the onions and garlic (in that order!). Throw in the corned beef. After about 2 minutes, throw in both potatoes and tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are soft (but with a bit of a bite still). Set aside.

Tear open the pan de sal into halves--but not all the way. Stuff with just enough filling. Set aside. Then, in a hollow bowl, beat the eggs with some milk and a dash of salt...until almost fluffy.

Heat up the pan...preferably Teflon. Optional: coat the pan with Pan spray cooking oil. Dunk the filled pan de sal into the egg mixture--as if you're making French toast, that is--and fry in the pan until golden brown to dark brown. Flip and wait till both sides are cooked. 

Place on absorbent paper towels to drain the extra oil. And....serve with gusto! Hehehehe. Eat while warm and crispy. =)

Enjoy!

Am I Strong Enough to Be Your Man?

To help people uncover their talents, Gallup introduced the first version of its online assessment, StrengthsFinder, in the 2001 management book Now, Discover Your Strengths. The book spent more than five years on the bestseller lists and ignited a global conversation, while StrengthsFinder helped millions to discover their top five talents. In its latest national bestseller, StrengthsFinder 2.0, Gallup unveils the new and improved version of its popular assessment. While you can read this book in one sitting, you'll use it as a reference for decades. Loaded with hundreds of strategies for applying your strengths, this new book and accompanying website will change the way you look at yourself -- and the world around you -- forever.

After taking the assessment (we're having a seminar on this later), this is a brief summary of my top 5 strengths ("themes") and descriptions:

1. COMMUNICATION -- People who are especially talented in the Communication theme generally find it easy to put their thoughts into words. They are good conversationalists and presenters.

2. WOO -- People who are especially talented in the Woo theme love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. They derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection with another person.

3. INDIVIDUALIZATION -- People who are especially talented in the Individualization theme are intrigued with the unique qualities of each person. They have a gift for figuring out how people who are different can work together productively.

4. STRATEGIC -- People who are especially talented in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.

5. EMPATHY -- People who are especially talented in the Empathy theme can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others' lives or others' situations.

Read more about this book http://www.amazon.com/StrengthsFinder-2-0-Upgraded-Discover-Strengths/dp/159562015X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1209068281&sr=1-1"> HERE

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Buddy-buddies

I got a "Friendster smile" from a lady named Jennifer from California. I clicked her profile, and her shoutout happened to be one helluva nice one...thought I'd share it with you.

There are three types of friends. One is like FOOD--those you cannot live without. The other is like MEDICINE--those you need occasionally. And there's one like ILLNESS--those you never want to have.

So...I am pulling out my hard-bound notebook and folding one page into three columns...Let's see which column YOU fall under. ;-)

OK, OK...Back to work!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Love Letter to Patrick

Dear Pat,

It's lunchtime and I can't seem to eat anything, considering I'm already hungry and I only ate for breakfast a tiny slice of leftover calzone from last night. I tried watching Heroes episode 7 to help ease my mind (weird, noh?), but I couldn't even follow the very basic storyline. I've been staring at the same TRIEFs page (don't even ask me what that means...argh!) in Excel but I can't seem to move past line 2...so I guess that's a goner.

So, here. I decided to write you a "love letter". You know how we'd laugh about that? Err...how YOU'd laugh about how I love writing letters that can't seem to end--with my 2-, 3-pager printouts? Haha...Lagot ka...this is going to be one of those letters you dreaded.

Pat, my Pat...how long had it been since we first met? 2001, right? I was a few weeks from leaving Manila to fly to Marianas and never come back again, leaving everything behind. For some trick of fate, our paths crossed and we've never been the same again. Two matapobre, mataray, siraulo, clubber, gastador, social-butterfly (...o climber? hahaha), bigo sa pag-ibig, jetsetter, sawa-na-sa-'Merika, balahura, sarcastic, techy souls finding each other in this otherwise--as you'd pompously call it--poor, third-world, commoner country. You have unknowingly stolen a huge chunk of my heart, attention and regard...and summarily claimed the title "Best Friend for Life"...way before the term BFF was ever uttered in South Park.

I remember all those phone cards I've heedlessly used up just to call you from the US to either make chismis, ask for advice (which was mostly the reason for my calls), whine (second most important reason for my calls!), share a funny/boring/exciting/sad moment at the exact time it was happening or just happened. If I could've just made rebates out of those calls, I know I would've mad a fortune! ;-) You were the only one who cold talk sense into my utterly stubborn, overly-sensitive, hinde-na-nagtanda self. The well-known statement "hinde pa ipinapanganak ang makakapagtaray kay Ben"

almost always gets disputed when you're the one in question already. Only you can get through to me...in the same way that you've claimed that I'm the only one who could also talk that much sense into your--and I'm just repeating my just-used adjectives--utterly stubborn, overly-sensitive, hinde-na-nagtanda self. After all, you and me are kindred souls...two identical peas in one cramped, campy pod.

Remember that day I got "deported" from the US? Any other Pinoy would've gone ballistic or hysterical...but not me. Soonest I touched down the airport in Manila, I gave you a call to tell you that I was on my way to your condo to drop my luggage--because I had to come home from the US on an "emergency"--and for you to get ready because we were going clubbing right away?! That was crazy. And I remembered having missed you so much--our kalandian with our conquests, our hysterical laughter, our endless banters. I also always remember how I'd always crash at your place and sleep on the folding bed, because we found it so repulsive to wake up on the same bed with our skin touching or inadvertently cuddling up as if we were boyfriends sleeping with each other? That last time that it happened, we screamed so loud and pushed each other so hard we both fell on our asses on the hardwood floor? That was one good chortle I got there, and we learned our lessons well: never sleep on the same bed, lest wake up with sore asses (HAHAHAHAHA...this private joke always get me).

Remember how you'd always have little thingamajigs and knicknacks for me whenever you go on a trip? The Castro Street baller ID, the Human Rights messenger bag that Julius has always begged of you to give to him, the surprise Banana Rep office shirt inside the Jack Spade bag for my birthday, the big bottle of ID4 (hehehehe), and a whole lot of other things? And how I couldn't seem to find the perfect gift for you because you have everything?? I was so grateful when Koko--your simpangit-ng-paniki-but-supahdoopah-adorable Chihuahua--came into your life; at least I could shower him with loads of gifts and not even bother racking my brains for any gifts for you...to which you'd dramatically say, "Hinde mo na ako mahal, mas love mo na si Koko"...and to which I'd say, "Oo naman noh!" Ah, Patrick Manuel...Maarte ka.

Pat...why did you have to leave? You are my rock. Paano na ako ngayon that I'm weak because you left without saying goodbye? Who will be my rock now? Who's going to tell me that I'm just being praning and that everything will be ok...that "celebrities" like us need to go through these bumps in the road, but will see the light of day in no time?

Pat, I'm so sorry. You have no idea how guilt-stricken I am right now. Words cannot even begin to describe how regretful I am. I should have been there for you. I should have been by your side when you were in pain, when you were having a hard time breathing, when you couldn't eat, when you just needed someone beside you. I shouldn't have been too preoccupied with my life--my own avalanche of problems were nothing compared to what you went through. I am so, so sorry, my Patrick. If there's anything I could say or do or unsay or undo just so you could forgive me, I would take that moment or instance any second.

I should have come earlier. Not just last night. Not when the hospital priest was administering final rites to you. Not when you were only breathing because of the respirator. Not when the tubes and wires and cables were all over your body. Not when you were already pale and grey and lifeless. Not when you were already gone.

Patrick...I can't seem to get that picture of you in anguish and pain out of my mind. I didn't want that picture to be the last image of you in my head. I've always known you as the exact clone of me--maingay, effervescent, boisterous, and colorful.

The hourlong time I spent holding your slowly getting cold and stiff hand in your room will never be enough time for me to tell you all of the things that I wanted to tell you. Last night, all I could say was I'm sorry, and that I hope you could forgive me for not being a good friend, and not being there to see you through like you've always had for me. I wanted to tell you how much you mean to me, how much you're loved, how I would give a limb or a heartbeat just to save your life. I wanted to tell you that you just couldn't die on me and everyone else who loves you. I wanted to tell you that the world--my world, and everyone else's--will never be the same without you in it. I wanted to tell you that if I could just go back in time and tell you all of these things, and hell, even forewarn you of what's about to happen, I would do that in a heartbeat.

I wanted to tell you that you will always be in my heart, in my prayers, and in my every single thought. And our little secret, which I whispered to you as I kissed your face for the last time last night before they covered you with that cold, white sheet, will stay with me.

I love you, Pat. My best friend. My brother. My partner in crime. Be good where you are. And no. I am NOT saying goodbye...we don't do that kind of thing. I will see you again, right?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Disconnected and Overwhelmed

HAY.

The last couple of days (hell, weeks) had been overwhelming for me--what with the (training) budget preparation in full swing, my move from my old condo to the new apartment, the left-and-right shoots/hosting/other rakets, that health-related issue, the sleepless nights, the choir rehearsals, and the constant problem/issue management. In writing that statement, I had to type, edit, type over, and think twice, thrice, and more, whether to use the word "had" or "have"...considering I don't think I'm quite done yet. So...hohum. Yada-yada-yada.

Upon moving to the new apartment, I had my SmartBro broadband connection disconnected and concurrently applied for a new landline-with-broadband Globe connection. I won't even go over my ordeal with Globelines tech support and customer service--well, at least not in THIS blog...I will on a different, more relaxed time schedule--but needless to say, it was hellish for me. Dig this: seven days of no internet connection and constant headaches about it with the phone support team. (You just wait for the gory details on a different blog!) Couldn't open my inbox even at work because I was tremendously busy with all the meetings (one after the other) and that left me with hardly any time to even browse. I could only glance at my inbox using my GPRS phone, and as such, I couldn't stay connected long. Well, that was, of course, primarily attributed also to the fact that my new apartment still looks like a hurricane site with all the boxes and tools and knick-knacks lying all over the place. (Don't worry, soonest the house is finished, I'll post pics!)

Finally, this morning, my internet connection went from dead to resurrected. With hope, when I get home this evening (assuming I'm not yet exhausted from this whole day Problem Solving and Decision-Making seminar [which is where I'm getting to post this blog--haha], two more client meetings in the evening, and still more fixing and tidying up of the apartmen), I could at least queue up my downloads--HEROES episode 7!!!!!!--and check my gazillion emails.

It's been a REALLY rough few weeks. I wish I could just blink my eyes and make all the stress go away. I SO totally need to rest.

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Trepidation

Have you ever been so scared in your life, you can't even think? Or...you keep thinking about it, can't seem to stop, and it bothered the hell out of you? 

Have you ever been scared shitless, you had to work yourself to exhaustion just so you'd have no more energy left when night falls, so you can just drift off to sleep and evade one more night of unending worry? 

When was the last time fear took over your entire existence that it paralyzed you, and had precluded your every opportunity of having peace of mind, and even the simple act of being happy?


Right now, I am very very terrified. God help me as I face this fear.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I See Trees of Green...Red Roses, Too!

What a Wonderful World album art


This is my surprise for someone (actually, it ain't much of a surprise anymore because na-text/email ko na sya about it e...hehehehe, talk about low EQ!). This is B's ultimate super duper over mega blockbuster to the maximum and still going peborit song of all time daw--What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong. So........tada!

And since I'm already--er, STILL--up (time check: 4:15freakingAM argh), might as well do another cover art for the compilation album...and hopefully fall asleep due to strained eyes! 

Just like my earlier posting, I was surprised to come across A LOT of versions of this classic. So, I chose those ones I like, mostly the easy listening genre, and compiled it into one collection.

Here's the listing of this one:
  1. Celine Dion, What a Wonderful World
  2. David Foster & Renee Olstead, What a Wonderful World
  3. Dianne Elise, What a Wonderful World
  4. Emi Fujita, What a Wonderful World
  5. Englebert Humperdinck, What a Wonderful World
  6. Eva Cassidy & Katie Melua, What a Wonderful World
  7. Guy Sebastian, What a Wonderful World
  8. Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, Somewhere Over The Rainbow...What a Wonderful World
  9. John Legend, What a Wonderful World
  10. Keane, What a Wonderful World
  11. Keiko Lee, What a Wonderful World
  12. Kimber Manning, What a Wonderful World
  13. Leann Rimes, What a Wonderful World
  14. Louis Armstrong, What a Wonderful World
  15. Martin Nievera, What a Wonderful World
  16. Michael Bublé, What a Wonderful World
  17. Mimi Lo, What a Wonderful World
  18. Misty Blue, What a Wonderful World
  19. Philippine Madrigal Singers, What a Wonderful World
  20. Richard Clayderman, What a Wonderful World
  21. Robert Thiele, What a Wonderful World
  22. Rod Stewart, What a Wonderful World
  23. Shane McGowan, What a Wonderful World
  24. Sofia, What a Wonderful World
  25. Stephen Bishop, What a Wonderful World
  26. Thomas Newman, What a Wonderful World
  27. Tony Bennett & k.d. Lang, What a Wonderful World
  28. Tony Evans and His Orchestra, What a Wonderful World

Here are the links for download:

[Oops...I'm still uploading them. Should be done by tomorrow morning! Keep checking back for updates]

ROYGBIV Kung ROYGBIV

Over the Rainbow album cover

Who knew there were over fifty versions of that Judy Garland song from The Wizard of Oz, "(Somewhere) Over the Rainbow"?

And who knew I was going to wake up yet again at 230am after falling asleep at 10ish last night...and would have a bitch of a hard time to fall back into dreamland (er...nightmareland was more like it kanina. Argh)...so, I decided to just do an artwork cover for this collection I've made of THIRTY versions/interpretations of the classic song.

Here's the listing of what's in the collection...
  1. Over The Rainbow - Angela Zhang
  2. Over The Rainbow - Angelis
  3. Over The Rainbow - Attila Fias
  4. Over The Rainbow - Celtic Violin
  5. Over The Rainbow - Cliff Richard
  6. Over The Rainbow - Connie Francis
  7. Over The Rainbow - Dave Koz
  8. Over The Rainbow - Drews Lullabies
  9. Over The Rainbow - Emi Fujita
  10. Over The Rainbow - Harold Arlen
  11. Over The Rainbow - Hayley Westenra
  12. Over The Rainbow - Jane Monheit
  13. Over The Rainbow - Jason Castro
  14. Over The Rainbow - Judy Garland
  15. Over The Rainbow - Justin Cady
  16. Over The Rainbow - Katharine Mcphee
  17. Over The Rainbow - Kelsey Stone
  18. Over The Rainbow - Kimberly Locke
  19. Over The Rainbow - Kyla
  20. Over The Rainbow - LaVance
  21. Over The Rainbow - Luiza Possi
  22. Over The Rainbow - Misty Blue
  23. Over The Rainbow - Nicole Henry
  24. Over The Rainbow - Richard Clayderman
  25. Over The Rainbow - Richard Poon
  26. Over The Rainbow - Russell London
  27. Over The Rainbow - Susan Wong
  28. Over The Rainbow (MTV Unplugged) - Tori Amos
  29. Over The Rainbow, If I Only Had A Brain - Tuck & Patti
  30. Over The Rainbow, What A Wonderful World - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole

And here are the links for download...


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Metropop Overload

Metropop Music Festival

Metropop rocks...or at least it used to. Back in the 70s (HOY, I wasn't coherent or aware then of these song festivals/competitions, but I do remember having listened to cassette tapesof such), the quality and content of the songs were much, much better. When it stopped in 1985 and then got resumed in 1996, the flava came back. The 1996 Metropop was, by far, the best "comeback" of all Metropop comebacks. The rest were just, uhm, blech.   

I've compiled a couple of finalists and winning entries from majority of the "seasons". I removed some icky tracks and included some so-so as well. My all-time favorites would beRico J. Puno's All I Ever Want (though his articulation totally sucks), Angelika and Zebedee's Out In The Open (I really thought this should have won instead of Jaya's), Martin Nievera's Pag-uwi, Bong Gabriel's Ang Aking Awitin and of course, Tillie Moreno and Ray Ann Fuentes' Umagang Kayganda.

Here's the list of all FIFTY SEVEN tracks in the compilation: 

1.                                  Al Santos, Let Us Stay The Way We Used To Be

2.                                  Anthony Castelo, Hahanapin Ko

3.                                  Anthony Castelo, Ibig Kong Ibigin Ka

4.                                  Apo Hiking Society, Ewan

5.                                  Bong Gabriel, Ang Aking Awitin

6.                                  Brix Ferrari, May Pag-Ibig Pa Kaya

7.                                  Celeste Legaspi, Pagdating Mo

8.                                  Cynthia Garcia With The Kabataan, Ngumiti Tumawa Magsaya

9.                                  Cynthia Patag, Laruan

10.                             Dulce, Ako Ang Nasawi Ako Ang Nagwagi

11.                             Eileen Espina, Memories

12.                             Ernie Tagle, Gusto Kong Umawit

13.                             Eugene Villaluz & Louie Reyes, Falling In Love Again

14.                             Florante, Kahit Konti

15.                             Freddie Aguilar, Anak

16.                             Freddie Aguilar, Bulag Pipi At Bingi

17.                             Hajji Alejandro, Kay Ganda Ng Ating Musika

18.                             Iwi Laurel, Come Be Part Of My Song

19.                             Jacqui Magno, Laging Buhay Ang Buhay

20.                             Jam Morales, A Smile In Your Heart

21.                             Janet Basco, Minsan Pa

22.                             Janet Basco, You Made Me Live Again

23.                             Jaya Ramsey, Sometimes You Just Know

24.                             Jennifer Ramos, Away From You

25.                             Joel Navarro, Swerte-Swerte Lang

26.                             Kuh Ledesma, Till I Met You

27.                             Lani Misalucha, Ang Iibigin Ay Ikaw

28.                             Lea & Gerard Salonga, Musika, Lata, Sipol At Lalala

29.                             Leah Navarro, Isang Mundo, Isang Awit

30.                             Leo Valdez, Magsimula Ka

31.                             Lerma De La Cruz, Ako'y Ako

32.                             Louie Reyes & Eugene Villaluz, Nothing I Want More

33.                             Maricris Bermont, Narito Ako Umiibig

34.                             Martin Nievera, Pag-Uwi

35.                             Martin Nievera, Pain

36.                             Mon Del Rosario, Sino Ang Baliw

37.                             Nanette Inventor, Salamat Salamat Musika

38.                             New Minstrels, Ikaw Ako Tayo Magkakapatid

39.                             Odette Quesada, You're My Home

40.                             Passionata, Sa Duyan Nang Pag Ibig

41.                             Pat Castillo, Laging Mayroong Bukas

42.                             Pedritto Montaire, Be My Lady

43.                             Ray Ann Fuentes, Nandoon Na Nawala Pa

44.                             Ric Segreto, Give Me A Chance

45.                             Richard Tan & Bambi Bonus, Kailangan Ko Kailangan Mo

46.                             Richard Tan & Maraya, Think It Over

47.                             Rico J. Puno, All I Ever Want

48.                             Rico J. Puno, Lupa

49.                             Rico Puno & Ivy Violan, What Are You Doing On A Rainy Sunday Morning?

50.                             Session Road, Gravity

51.                             Sonia Singson, Isang Dakot

52.                             Subas Herrero & Noel Trinidad, Kahit La La La Puwede Na

53.                             Susana Pichay, Dont Deceive Yourself

54.                             Tillie Moreno & Ray Ann Fuentes, Umagang Kay Ganda

55.                             Verni Varga, My Love My Soul My Everything

56.                             Zander Khan & Miriam Pantig, Pag Ibig Mo, Pag Ibig Ko

57.                             Zebedee And Angelica, Out In The Open

  

And here are the download links:

PART 1 OF 3

PART 2 OF 3

PART 3 OF 3


Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Power of One

I very recently caught myself in a state of reverie--I think it was during one of those hellish commute nights when the storm was at its worst, when I couldn't hail a cab (or finally get one but would eventually get said no to because my freaking destination was flooded knee-high) and just decided to take a jeepney and walk the rest of the way home.

I was in that state of mind when I realized how so many people are literally dying to get hitched. Committed with someone. "Coupled". And I find myself asking me this question: "What's the rush?"

In my very distant past, I had been very reckless and foolhardy. For the most part of my--ahem--youth--I had been, to borrow my caster friend Enrique's terminology for his ex, a serial monogamist, i.e. someone who would be seriously involved in a monogamous relationship, then split up, only to get himself into yet another monogamous relationship almost instantaneously after the break-up. Yes. I had been like that. I remember being with someone, eventually breaking up with them, and barely a week later, be with someone new...on a "committed", "supposedly long-term" relationship. I say that in quotes for obvious reasons involving tongue-in-cheek, unfortunate and lamentable retrospection. In hindsight, I think the longest I've ever been single (in-between almost proximate relationships, that is) was 26 days...and the shortest? 2 days.

You might be thinking, What is he thinking??? If you've asked me that years ago, I probably would have replied, Because the time's right; I need someone to help me forget XXX and move on, If I don't seize the opportunity now with so-and-so, it might be too late; or worse, Because nobody else might take me in 'cuz I'm damaged good already, and so-and-so seems to be quote-unquote The One.

Pathetic, right? Right. But you must know this fact: some people--and I'm sure you would agree with me here--actually eat these lines for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some people just can't live with the thought that doing things him/herself could actually be, for lack of a better, more simplistic Kindergartenish term, FUN.

For a while...for a very long while, I'd been in deep consternation about the probability that I would (or could) end up alone. The very simple acts of buying clothes and apparel, watching a movie, having dinner, traveling, hearing mass, and doing the groceries were all requisitely done with a companion--preferably a mate or romantic partner. It was almost taboo to be actually doing these things alone, as if being caught dead doing these solo was a shameful, unacceptable acts somewhere in-between a venial and mortal sin. I was needy; I needed constant affirmation, companionship, and both emotional and egoistical nurturance...and in the process was getting involved with individuals of the same species. Consequently, throughout the aggregate of all these relationships, I had ceased growing individually, stopped pursuing self-awareness, and arrested any liberal enjoyment of my lone self.

It was like that until almost two years ago when I woke up, stepping out of yet another failed relationship, and realized that I wasn't getting any younger and should most definitely start acting my age--less insecure, more in control, and definitely abundant in self-respect.

From that point on, I have discovered--slowly, day after day--that one is actually a good number; that a solo flight could actually make one take wings and reach greater heights of discovery; and that alone doesn't always have to be equated with lonely.

Without completely detaching myself from the outer circle, I have enjoyed being single. I would find pleasure in putting on my iPod, listening to an audiobook, munching my onion rings and burger, and getting lost in my own world amidst a clamorous food court. I'd literally look forward to coming home to a quiet, empty, dark, and nonjudgmental bedroom, pour myself a few swigs of last night's left over wine, and sit alone in the terrace overlooking the busy city, with a feeling of contentment and a slight smile on my lips. I could just stop-and-go and make decisions freely without having to worry about how anyone would feel about such matter, by asking myself first what I would feel about it. Alone, I could go places where my worn-out pair of shoes would take me and not be concerned about where others would want to go. I could spend quiet to loud to deafening moments alone or in the company of some nice friends and stay up all night and wake up insanely late the following morning without having to worry about who was waiting for me to come home or get up the next day.

Never have I enjoyed being single, carefree, at ease, and composed as I have in my last year and a half. And I can't seem to will myself into plucking myself out of this newfound comfort zone. A wee bit part of me shudders at the idea that I might forever and a day be completely immersed in that territory, that I'd refuse to leave. Maybe...or not.

Solo. Single. Alone. One. Singular. I see all these words in a different, more positive, and welcoming light. Can you actually see them this way?

Basura is Basura Part Deux

As I sat slumped on the area rug of my living room with Walt and Rolli having lunch (I asked them to buy me rice, daing na bangus, bananas and Imodium because I was having a REALLY nasty diarrhea), we started talking about a motley of stuff. Rolli started playing Boy Abunda and when he called me Kris, I pretended to plunge the slicing knife down my rib cage and did the whole world a huge favor of ridding it of Kris. Anyway...

Doing his uncanny impersonation of Boy and his Mahiwagang Salamin, he asked me, out of the blue, "Ben..kunwari, XXX (my ex's name) asked you na magbalikan kayo, what will you say? Nandito sya ngayon sa loob ng mahiwagang salamin..." I pretended to be grabbing the imaginary hand mirror, stared at it blankly, and then threw it on the floor and stomped on it intensely, until all imaginary shards of imaginary broken glass were imaginarily pulverized into imaginary powdered glass...and then said, "Next question Kuya Boy..."

I don't see the logic in balikan blues: it's tasteless, it's tacky, and it takes a lot of effort to put fragments back together into an almost-unfractured whole. It's always best to start anew. And although I can almost predict that a whole lot of you reading this will have differing opinions, I still don't buy the cliché "Love is sweeter the second time around".

As I've posted in an earlier blog, basura is basura. It's perfectly alright and acceptable to look at it again, but never to pick it up once more...it's already dirty. Now, my version of all that would be a totally gross interpretation: It's like throwing up. After a period of not feeling good, you vomit...and then it makes you feel so much better. So, even if you already feel better now, don't swallow it back.

I rest my case.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Return of the Comeback.....HEROES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My jaw is still agape, my eyebrows raised and furrowed at the same time, and my heart is still skipping a beat or two.

Heroes is finally back. And I just finished watching episodes 1 and 2. Now I am wishing I was Hiro Nakamura with his time traveling ability, so I could fast forward to next week, and next, and next to get to the next episode(s). Then again, if I were Hiro, I'd just skip to next year when Season 3's entire DVD collection is already on sale...or shared on Torrents. Hehehehe.

Last season's storyboards escalated into more gruesome, more stunts-y, more daring, and more mind-boggling scenarios, it left us hanging (and crying out for more more more) as we saw Sylar finally resurrecting his ability with his dark proclamation, "I'm baaaaack..."

The season opens with high energy right away, and from the first 10 minutes, you would be left staring wide-eyed on your boob tube, wondering what the hell was happening and trying to force-remember last season's last two episodes...assuming you did not sit through the "pre-season 3 teaser", which was really a retrospect episode. And it doesn't give you even the decency of recovering from the cliffhanger adrenaline rush while commercials are airing...because it comes back with more scenes that will most definitely keep you hanging at the edge of your seat...er...bed...er...somewhere.

There's more new characters. More new abilities. More new plots. More new places. And...more new showing of skin. And sex. And if that alone doesn't keep you excited, I dunno what else will.

Download them here:
Episode 01: The Second Coming
http://rapidshare.com/files/147726018/hio-her.301.0tv.part1.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/147726019/hio-her.301.0tv.part2.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/147726609/hio-her.301.0tv.part3.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/147726588/hio-her.301.0tv.part4.rar
Episode 02: The Butterfly Effect
http://rapidshare.com/files/147726176/hio-her.302.xor.part1.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/147726184/hio-her.302.xor.part2.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/147726065/hio-her.302.xor.part3.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/147726067/hio-her.302.xor.part4.rar
Laterz!

[...leaves and then time travels]