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The Credibility of the 4th Estate

I don't think I've ever written a proper news item on this blog. Most everything I write here is an opinion that I have to express, which sometimes makes me worry that I'm not really doing my writing chops—or my blog—any justice. I find nothing wrong with standing on my own soapbox. But making your posts subjective has the tendency of turning you into a dubious source—something that often makes a world of difference, as far as journalists are concerned. See, I believe that in order to be a credible source, you need to focus on the facts, and less on your gut feel. Back in the day, when the facts were in limited supply due to one reason or another, journalists focused on the little information they had, and built on them. It wasn’t the best kind of journalism, but at least it didn’t rely on the broad leaps of logic that most of the columnists today employ. You’d think that that’s still how it works today, but the truth is, it isn’t. Let’s use my process to get this point a…

The Fat Man Supports Bill 5098

The other week, Representative Sherwin Gatchalian of Valenzuela filed HB 5098, a bill that would require all car owners and buyers in Metro Manila to provide proof of owning garage space for their vehicles. This is some thing that we should have passed a long time ago, especially because this city’s not getting any bigger, but the population is.A lot of people think that this could just be another avenue for corruption. That might be true. Another set of people like the idea, but don’t think that Metro Manila has the proper manpower or political will to properly execute and police this law. That’s also true.But the fact is, the only problem we really have when it comes to parking—or in everything we do, if you think about it—is that we Pinoys just don’t know how to be courteous. Let’s take the issue of parking, for instance; I will share with you my experience in how fellow Filipinos can be abusive of free parking.See, our house has enough parking for two and a half sedans out front. …

The Last Naruto: The End of an Era

This week, we witnessed the end of nearly two decade’s worth of love and hard work. Last Monday, Masashi Kishimoto released the last chapter of a manga that has managed to win its way into the hearts of multitudes, the likes of which had not been seen ever since Akira Toriyama started working on Dragon Ball. I speak, of course, of Naruto. For those of you who have yet to read the last chapters, or those of you following the anime instead of the manga, avert your eyes! Close your browsers! Don’t read this post up until you’ve finished watching the show. Because I will tell you now: spoilers follow.Kishimoto-sensei ended the series in a manner that would have made J.K. Rowling proud; Madara’s Eye of the Moon plan, although successfully pulled off, is defeated by Sasuke. Hagoromo Otsutsuki’s mother, Kaguya Otsutsuki, is defeated by no less than the original Team 7. And finally, there is a land-disfiguring final battle between Naruto and Sasuke, which even I had to admit felt so satisfyin…

Pot Calling the Kettle Black

The campaign against Jejomar Binay is in full swing. Alan Peter Cayetano and his cohorts are keeping themselves busy in trying to destroy as much of the VP's reputation as they can before the campaign season even comes close to starting.This early in the game, there's already evidence of campaigning (from the Binay camp) and black propaganda (from everybody else).I know enough about the Binays, thanks to a very good source, to know that most of the charges being piled on them isn't hogwash. But you know who are? The senators pursuing these cases.I don't know enough about Koko Pimentel to accurately judge his point in all this; he's virtually an unknown. And Antonio Trillanes can be summed up as a power-hungry, backstabbing tool. I don't know why people even take him seriously.But I do know enough about Alan Peter Cayetano and his family to say that pursuing this case against Binay is hypocrisy. See, Alan Peter is the husband of Lani Cayetano, incumbent mayor of…

The Sinking of the Good Ship MVP

What is Manny Pangilinan doing?Two (three?) years ago, the marketing campaign for many of the MVP-owned media centers was impressive. I couldn’t help but get excited for the many shows TV5 had on its broadcasting roster, thanks to the wide banners the station had placed in the Cubao terminal of the LRT 2. I still remember the ad for the Vic Sotto-led Who Wants to be a Millionaire? because you seldom saw Bosing wearing a suit.And when I checked out the channel, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that most of the station’s shows were pretty good! I found the Tulfo brothers enjoyable, and the late night shows—the likes of My Darling Aswang—were hilarious. But where is TV5 now? I don’t even know what they have going for them anymore. And with the advent of CNN Philippines come next year, that’s just going to be another competition for airtime. That won’t be good for TV5 and its ratings.Thankfully, the station’s radio arm—Radyo5, for those of you who aren’t aware—is still going fairly …

The Parables of Juan Flavier

I remember my grade 4 Language professor fondly, because of many things. Firstly, because his first name—Henry—was such an oddity for a ten-year old Pinoy who mostly read American books but was surrounded with names like Jose Luis, Robertino, and other such remnants of our Spanish forefathers. Secondly because he was such a strict man who liked reading a lot.In hindsight, perhaps he wasn’t really as strict as I made him out to be. I was, quite possibly, just a child who had too much respect for authority back then, and would quail from the sight of a teacher who raised his voice even by just a bit. But the most memorable thing about Mr. Avecilla (that was his last name) was that one of his weekly projects for the class was the collection of Senator Juan Flavier’s—then DOH secretary— weekly parables. I forget which paper it was his stories appeared in, but Mr. Avecilla’s demands had us children scrambling for clippings of Senator Flavier’s stories around every Friday, I think it was.I …

LTFRB’s Uber Problem

I don’t Uber. I think it’s expensive. I think it’s stupid for people to pay that much for a ride, when you can just as easily use GrabTaxi or EasyTaxi to get a cab who won’t charge you exorbitant fees, unless the cab’s just as greedy.I also read a friend’s post saying that Uber is just as greedy. I don’t think the company’s a saint in any way. And if they refuse to cooperate with the LTFRB, then they deserve what they received; operating under the radar of a government institution isn’t just illegal, it’s also dangerous. There’s no regulating body, which means that if a Uber driver decides to rip you off, you’re in the lurch.But the problem is, this is the Philippines, and the regulating body in question is the LTFRB, or Lotsa Traffic from Recto to Buendia. These guys don’t know the meaning of the word regulate; they just keep on giving out franchises, and the only people they regulate are the ones who don’t do what they say. I mean, what have they done with all the taxi abuse cases t…

Ateneo Hardcore

So last Tuesday, I was floored by the following news item, which I will tag to through an image, since I don’t want you readers to miss clicking on, and reading through, the subject of my ire today: Go ahead. Read it first. You done? Okay, let us proceed. If you’re anything like me, then you would have found this outrageous. For plenty of reasons, most of which, I’m betting, is the fact that Pinoy teleseryes are drivel-driven pieces of pandering commercialism disguising themselves as art. Feel free to disagree with me if you want. Now here’s the thing: my parents watch ABS-CBN’s teleseryes often. And I usually catch glimpses of it every once in a while. So I’m not unaware that some of these shows do try, and can actually be entertaining, if not decent. And if the intellectual society wants to study teleseryes, then who am I to argue? I think it might be a good thing to actually figure out how the local culture lends itself positively to the acceptance of these things. But I read fr…

I Don’t Know How I Survived

So for most of last week, I was without a computer as water managed to get to my laptop. I managed to survive it, somehow, but I learned that after nearly a decade and a half of being connected to a computer, living without one was like scraping my nails slowly across sandpaper. I could imagine the rough paper slowly eating away at the edges of my nails, barely perceptible but you know it’s happening. You know it’s happened.So the question is, I suppose, how I passed the time without a laptop. I suppose I could have just borrowed one of the other laptops lying around in the house, since, you know, they’re computers too right? Well, I didn’t. Mostly because they weren’t mine, they didn’t have my stench, and I’m very territorial. But it was also because they didn’t have the files I needed to get my work done. Luckily, I was raised as part of the generation that actually did stuff. We were only allowed three hours on the Super NES before we had to go do something else. So I learned to li…

Why Isn't the Philippines Investing in WTE Energy?

I don't understand why we're not inching our way to sustainable energy plants here in the country. As a large, trash-producing sector of the world, the Philippines has one of the best potential for producing 49 megawatts for every 950 tonnes of of garbage.



Given Metro Manila's production of 8,600 tonnes of trash per day, one could easily see the amount of energy just this metropolis can produce. If you're too lazy to do the math, that'd be roughly 443 megawatts per day. To put it in perspective: the overall demand of ten large malls with centralized air conditioning is 200MW / day.

So far, however, we've only one waste-to-energy power plant in the country: the pilot project of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation in Davao del Norte. The said power plant can only produce at most 6MW of energy, although its representatives say that it could easily scale that up to 300MW.

And the kicker…

Whale Sounds on a Friday Evening

Here in this country, weekends and holidays are automatically branded as karaoke nights. It is one of the hazards of living in the Philippines. People fight because of karaoke. People even die because of karaoke. If you're ever here, don't even think of singing "My Way", unless you've a death wish. Trust me. Just don't.



Half the time, these evenings are filled with loud, bass-driven pop songs of the 90s and 80s (and 70s, my goodness), and, depending on where you are, can be some of the most impressive things in life, or the boombox from the gates of hell. Most of the time, it's the latter, since the impressive crooners are either in some of the older piano bars of Malate / Ermita, or in the comfort of their own homes, with their magic mics.

The destitute, the drunk, and a good majority of the general population, however, gather into these dingy dive bars called beerhouses where t…

The Cat Revolucion

The cat revolucion began, at least in the Philippines, way back in the early 2000s when sites like I Can Has Cheeseburger started operations (although that particular site was born much later in the decade). To this day, however, finding a decent cat implements remains to be problematic in a country that increasingly sees our fun feline friends as pests who steal from the table at every opportunity.

Hey Cute Colegiala on the Jeep

You're young. You're pretty. And you've got your problems up your sleeve. It's a pleasure sitting next to you on this crowded thoroughfare.You're looking doggedly at nothing in particular, alternating with quick, furtive glances to your phone. There isn't a new message from Viber or Whatsapp, or whatever it is you young whippersnappers use to chat nowadays, but you channel absently through your active messages anyway, before shifting to the true purpose of your charade: to look at the time.Oh I know it's just at the upper-right section of the screen, but I can see the quick darts your eye makes to that corner of your phone. Your breeding - if at all - prevents you from admitting this out loud, but you can't stand where you are right now. I mean, right right now. This jeep on this busy thoroughfare, with the radio on full blast playing a song by Sugar Ray, a song from a band that's not your generation. You'd rather listen to something from today,…

The Dangers of Living in the Internet

Today, social media - and social networking - dominates the online landscape. This is great, since it facilitates conversation, makes collaboration easier, and virtually cuts the distance between you and your loved ones.

But there are dangers. Oh yes, there are dangers. Let's look at them one by one:

1. The very first danger of social media is that you're exposing yourself to people. Even if you set your accounts to the highest levels of privacy, the administrators will still know when you're complaining about your cat retching on the carpet, or when your dinner gave you the runs. So share responsibly: Ted from Silicon Valley might be compiling a dossier of your bathroom habits as we speak.

2. Speaking of bathroom habits - who's to say that the guy you're talking to on chat isn't taking a massive #2 while he's replying to your question about the existential properties of the upcoming Chris Nolan film?

3. And speaking of films - the availability of online s…

A (Short) Letter to Our Dear Leader

Dear President Noy,

Ever since the Yolanda debacle, I've been of the opinion that you're an incompetent nincompoop with the inability to make strong-willed decisions. But having said that, I've no problem letting you finish your term in peace, because of the following reasons:

1. Kicking you out of office will likely put a majority of your projects in a standstill. That's a lot of money down the drain, especially since you've spent trillions on 'em.

2. With the exception of erecting more bloody highways throughout Manila (really?), some of your projects were good-intentioned.

3. Seriously, if we have another people power revolt, this country's going down the drain.

But let's stop talking about changing the charter so that you can run a second term, yes? If your mother were alive, she'd have smacked your bottom for even thinking it.

Stop with the stupidity, eh?

Love,
The Fat Man

Monsoon Madness #1

I generally dislike rain. I made the mistake of thinking that I could learn to like it back when I was much younger - rain being a romantic thing close to the heart of many an artist and all. This is the part where you laugh at the stupidity of that notion.Man, did I suck as a kid. Not only was I mistaken in thinking of rain as a conduit for the creative energies, but I was also wrong in thinking that I could like the damnable weather. You'd think that dealing with a school bag sopping wet after a downpour, with the contents soaked to uselessness, would be enough to snap me out of my delusions, but no. I suffered initially with braving the weather since I despised bringing umbrellas into enclosed spaces, then I dealt with bringing umbrellas, unweildy as they may be. Today, I usually face the rain with my bag's interior wrapped in garbage bags, slippers (since I cannot stand wet socks) or shoes with a very good water seal, a jacket, a cap, and an umbrella. All that hard work ju…

Collective Intelligence at Kitchen Diaries

I had the opportunity to reconnect with my high school batchmate, former bandleader, and good friend Louie Ocampo just the other day at the opening of his little boulangerie in Pasig’s Baranggay Kapitolyo. It was a couple of hours to closing time by the time I reached the aptly named Kitchen Diaries Cafe, but the place was still bustling and packed to the rafters, giving the rudimentary three-man crew quite a challenge—one that, I’m happy to say, they met with aplomb.

Age and the Ever-Declining Lust for Wanderlust

I love reading Yann Martel’s short stories—although they’re anything but short. He is, for those of you unfamiliar with the author, is the writer of Life of Pi, an awesome book about a boy and a tiger set adrift on a boat in the open ocean. His style is full of whimsy and what I’d like to call floating language, not in the same way as Murakami is whimsical; whereas the latter is like a sunny afternoon where the quiet pierces the monotony, the former is like a lazy Sunday spent outside in the sun.A long time ago, this was me. From the Wanderlust movie website. Last Sunday, while having breakfast at Dunkin Donuts and waiting for the 7AM mass, I went through one of his stories called “The Time I Heard the Private Donald J. Rankin String Concerto with One Discordandt Violin, by the American Composer John Morton”. The story sees the main character stumbling upon a dilapidated concert hall in the slum area of Washington, D.C. He then proceeds to watch the titular Private Donald J. Rankin str…

What a Week

Just a quick one today. Sorry for the lack of any post last Wednesday. I didn’t have enough time to hammer out something for that day, since Typhoon Glenda happened. Luckily, we didn’t deal with that much damage, aside from some roof damage (not so severe) and broken windows (again, not so severe).I have to say, though, wind’s more my element than, say, water. I can’t stand it when it rains, and when storms bring in terrible flooding—well, let’s just say I can’t help but get anxious whenever it rains. And we’ve got four storms barreling their way into the country. Bleh.And then, to cap off the week, there’s all this news about MH17, and the continuing saga of the Russo-Ukrainian battle over territory. I don’t know what to make of all of it for now, but I can’t help but feel sick to the stomach when I hear how civvies became casualties over something that could and should be resolved through dialogue.Bleh.Anyway. That’s it for me on Friday. Hope everything’s okay in your corner of the …

A Trip to Antojo’s

The time of the day: afternoon. It was a hot, sunny day in San Juan when I stepped off the trike who’d gotten lost in Little Baguio on our way to Antojo’s Restaurante. I knew where the restaurant was; I could see its location in the Google Maps app of my phone. The driver just didn’t know the street I’d directed him to find.It was a good thing that the place was near the Balkan Express. I sorta knew my way around that area, and with the help of GMaps, I was finally able to make my way to Antojo’s. The place was in some side street off Little Baguio’s Abad-Santos avenue, a stone’s throw from what looks like a pretty serious antique store. This wasn’t exactly quite out of place, since at noon, Little Baguio’s a relatively deserted area, save for some spots, and this area was pretty quiet.The antique store was quite the partner for Antojo’s, if you think about it. Stepping into the restaurant was like stepping into the galleries of the 70s. The lobby leads to arched doorways framed by wh…

Four Reasons Why We’re Never Going to Improve as a People (Or Why Martin Hates Motorbikes)

People keep looking for a better Philippines, but then they end up doing things that prevent a better Philippines from happening. And in case you didn’t get it from that first sentence, this is a post dripping in irony, sarcasm, and perhaps more than one cuss word, so I’m going to cut the article after this paragraph. You have been warned. Click on if you wish to read, or look at the pretty picture, then leave.Jesus bridge when it was being demolished. It’s better now. From Balita.

Indulging In Coffee

I’ve never had trouble in proving that I loved coffee. I make my drinks using either a Moka pot or an ibrik (since drip coffee is swill), and then I limit my visits to Starbucks because I believe that McDonald’s and Dunkin make better coffee. Hell, even Krispy Kreme makes better coffee. But Mickey D’s and Dunkin aside, some of the best coffees I’ve had in the Metro are usually of the cappuccino variety, which is an insult to my taste for the vilest, blackest liquid known to grace the lips of man. The thing is that they just taste so good, it’d be a shame to pass them up. I had the pleasure of visiting the vanguard of craft coffee in Manila. The owners were, tongue-in-cheek, droll enough to call their shop Craft.

The Real Train Wreck Here Isn’t the Car

People appall me sometimes. It’s surprising how self-absorbed some folks can be without realizing it. Like last week, there was this news item about a pick-up truck that had been dragged by one of the PNR trains. The driver was safe, thankfully, but his pick-up was demolished.The first thing people had to say when GMA news posted its full story on Twitter, however, was sobering:Sorry for the quality. I suck with GIMP / Photoshop. This was probably within thirty minutes after the news item was posted. One retweet, one favorite. And the responses were asking if the item was newsworthy, or if the traffic in the area was back to normal.Yeah, the driver of the car was okay, people. Thanks. His car’s a wreck, though. If that were your kid, or your brother, would you care if the traffic was back to normal? Does it matter whether what happened to your bro was newsworthy or not? Where’s your empathy, people? Are you really just stone-cold selfish beings living just for your own selves?

Michael Bay Should Do SWAT Kats Next

I have a very complicated relationship with director / producer Michael Bay. I hate him because of Transformers. The first movie was great, the next two (or three?) not so much. But I love him because of The Rock. And I think that Black Sails is one of the best things that happened on cable. So you could say things got even more confusing when the third trailer for Bay’s version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. You can see it here, if you want; I’m quite pleased with how it’s turned out, trailer-wise, so far.In relation to this: a friend of mine mentioned how he’d pay good money to see Michael Bay make a reboot of SWAT Kats, a short-lived cartoon from the 90s peopled with anthropomorphic cats. And I can’t help but agree: if a petition asking Michael Bay to translate the show to the big screen is made, I’m on board.

Life Hacked?

One of the more popular things on the Internet is the Life Hacker website, which gives you plenty of tips on how to improve the way you do things in your life. Another of the more notorious personalities on the web is Maddox, the self-styled guru of everything manly. What happens when you put the two together? Portions from the full Life Hack poster. Taken from Holy Cool. Utter chaos. That’s what. One of the more recent videos released by Maddox is him refuting some of the more well-known life hacks from Life Hacker, such as the following:

Elsa Vedder? Maybe Not

Last week, during a show in Milan, Pearl Jam inserted a few snippets of the Oscar-award winning song Let it Go into a medley which included time-honored PJ numbers Daughter, It’s OK, and Jeremy. The effects on social media were immediate, the feedback divisive. I’m on the camp that thinks the “cover” stank like cat piss, mainly because of Eddie Vedder. You can watch the whole (12 minute) video here.Sorry, Eddie. Elsa is not amused. Taken from KSDK. Don’t get me wrong. I love Pearl Jam, and I love Eddie. And I understand that they sang it for fun since the chord progression for Let it Go and It’s OK were technically similar (listen to it!). I don’t think it was a terrible thing to do. But that doesn’t mean that I think it was a good cover. And here’s why.

Five Things You Learn With Having a Dog Inside the House

My niece got herself a little dog recently. I’m not really that fond of dogs; they’re high maintenance creatures and take quite a bit of patience to train. Unlike cats, who you don’t really train. You just adapt to them, and everybody’s happy.Cats Master Race. All Your Gigs are Belong to Me. But this dog – a (currently) three-month old Jack Russell terrier – is something else. She’s a really friendly dog, and aside from all the pooping and the barking and the yapping and the peeing, she’s quite the charmer. Now if only we could find a way to get past the chewing.But here are some of the things I’ve learned about having a cat and a dog in the same house:

Cheap Coffee Hits: The Case for Dunkin Donuts

In a Manila full to the brim with artisinal coffee shops, both commercial and otherwise, it’s easy to forget that the pioneer commercial donut-maker in this country was none other than the humble Dunkin Donuts. This little donut shop has obviously seen better days, except in the United States, where it actively competes with coffee and donut giants Starbucks and Krispy Kreme donuts. Here in Manila, it has gone in the way of the bakya and the passe—which, in retrospect, probably did wonders for its yearly returns.The Dunkin Donuts in Taft. Photo from Raincheck. Now I am generally not a fan of anything bakya. But I love Dunkin Donuts. I particularly like three of their branches: the small, cozy waystation across the street from the Philippine General Hospital; the large coffee shop pretender along Aurora Boulevard in San Juan; and the main Dunkin Donuts branch in Cagayan De Oro’s Divisoria district. I used to kill time in between classes and / or work in any one of these branches through…

The Fat Man’s Cardinal Rules for Frying Eggs

You know, I’ve never really liked eggs. When I was a kid, I avoided eggs whenever I could, which didn’t really fly very well with my grandmother, who would feed me raw eggs over hot white rice whenever she had the opportunity. I didn’t understand why she did it; all I know is that eventually, I got so used to the taste of raw eggs, I developed an even stronger dislike for the food in its other forms.Quickchow Mami with Egg. Taken from my Twitter. I think it had something to do with how my dad liked to eat his eggs, which is to say, as a salad, slathered on a sandwich. I couldn’t understand why the eggs were always so sour (it was due to the mayo of course), and the sandwiches were always these sad, soggy messes after spending a couple of hours in my bag. There was also the whole problem with cholesterol casting a stigma over the whole thing, so it goes without saying that for most of my life, I avoided eating eggs.But as an adult, I discovered that eating eggs wasn’t just a great way t…

Eating (Ta)Batchoy

Just the other week, I discovered something new about one of the places I frequently visit, thanks to an article on Spot.ph about the best-kept secrets of Manila. I speak of the La Paz Batchoy de Manila, a small restaurant along Escoda street in Ermita. Or what I now call batchoy heaven (at least, until after I taste Deco’s batchoy in Magallanes). This photo I took does not do the batchoy justice. Trust me. But first, a background on the area of Escoda: I am extremely familiar with this street because of the fact that it is the end point of the Pandacan-Ermita jeep, one of the few ways out of my hometown. Back when I was in college, I would spend a lot of time hanging out to read at the Dunkin Donuts in front of the Philippine General Hospital’s main gate, and when I was in nursery, I was schooled at the nursery in what is now the National Federation of Women’s Clubs of the Philippines, at the corner of San Marcelino street and Escoda.You’ll probably have a hard time finding the La Paz…

Music Formation

Both my niece and girlfriend listen to a lot of pop music, current hits for the former, and more tasteful classic potentials for the latter. As an ardent hard rock / smooth jazz listener, I can only roll my eyes towards some (not all!) of their music; but having an eclectic taste demands that I can adjust my criticism to suit whatever music is available, which has been quite a valuable life skill, as I’ve discovered.Because surviving Miley Cyrus is a life skill. Image from Digital Spy. Of course, when a song that you particularly dislike gets stuck in your head—this tends to happen more often with my niece’s music—I have to fire up my laptop’s music player and blast something from Liquid Tension Experiment or Incognito to get the backwash, as it were, out of my head. Thinking back, I would imagine that my musical tastes, perhaps, annoyed my parents just as much as my niece’s music often annoys me. But funnily enough, my taste evolved from the music that they used to play on the radio; …

Dusting Off The Writing Machine

I AM ALIVE!Yes ladies and gentlemen, or whatever form of creature out there reads my blog on a relatively regular basis, the fat man lives. The fat man is back, is still fat, and is surprisingly spending more of his time actually writing sensible work-related things.Me, during a fit of work-induced insanity. Which is why I haven’t been writing. I usually clock out at the end of the day with my mind so beat that the only form of creative writing I could take is playing something on the DS; I have recently just finished Golden Sun: Dark Dawn (a wonderful follow-up to the first two games on the GBA, complete with a despicable cliffhanger), and will be proceeding to replay Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 2, which I threw away in disgust when my original save file vanished, more than two years ago.This sounds terribly complicated, but the truth is that when I finish working, I pack my laptop into my bag, step out of my office in the first floor of the house, shove off for my room, and sit in …

Doctors and Taxes and Hate, Oh My!

So the Bureau of Internal Revenue recently started relying on advertising to push for proper tax collection. And as with everything tax-related, their efforts have been met with a rather incensed response from the public, especially after the ad you will see below:The face of discord. Taken from Rappler. Now, let’s get this out of the way first: this approach is divisive, blatantly demeaning, and can be misconstrued as an attack against a select profession. I don’t think I’d want the government to focus on freelancers and pit them against, say, agency laborers. To pit two professions against each other when only a select few of one has been gaming the system is quite the bold move, and Kim Henares deserves a special level in hell for being so bold as to risk the anger of one sector of society just to promote taxation (and how easy it is to pay taxes, if their new website is to be taken seriously). Shame on the BIR.But with that said,it’s time to play the devil’s advocate: the comparis…

The Vacationer’s Return to Reality

There's always a disconnect between real life and reality when you're talking about two separate instances. In one, you're lounging at the foot of a beach, waves lapping at your toes, the sun baking you to a nice golden brown. In another, you're hastily preparing dinner for a crew of people who might not even eat. And finally, you're in a car, driving home against the backdrop of a setting sun, searching for a perfect spot for a quick dinner before the long haul back to the city, and away from what, in the last twenty-four hours, was your whole life.Lanoa Beach, Samoa. No, I did not go here. Taken from Wikipedia. Life happens in snippets. We don’t always remember them, and we don’t always notice the transitions. Mostly because we’re usually traveling during these transitions. That commute to work separates home life and work life. That trek to your girlfriend’s house is a return to one of your realities. And stepping out of that car, or jeep, or tricycle, is like cr…

Freshly Baked! Pork Chops

Some time ago, a friend wrote about this little hole-in-the-wall silogan in the Little Baguio area for Pepper.ph. Quirkily named the “Yakitate Pork Chop House”, I encountered this little shack in the woods—so to speak—quite often, especially back when I was commuting to the Greenhills area on a daily basis. I’ve never had the time (or, truth be told, the guts) to give Yakitate a shot, but after Nico’s review, I knew I just had to stop by and check out what they had to offer.You may be wondering why I would be so interested on a roadside eatery like Yakitate. The reason behind this is the fact that the restaurant is named after a popular anime called Yakitate! Japan—which is all about making bread. But the disconnect notwithstanding, the name Yakitate translates to “Freshly Made!”, which is unusual when it comes to something as pedestrian as pork chop. But that’s where the, shall we say, uniqueness of Yakitate Pork Chop House begins. On the outside, it won’t seem that different from an…