Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Dear Kuya by Sugarfree

Rating:5/5 11111
Ikaw ba'y nalulungkot at nag-iisa? Pakinggan mo itong kantang Dear Kuya ng Sugarfree (mp3) para sa mga malulungkot na OFW tulad mo.
Dear Kuya,
Kumusta ka na dyan? Anong balita, malamig ba dyan? Dito mainit pero kung bumagyo, para bang lahat ng tubig sa mundo ay nandito. Matagal na rin mula nang ika’y magpasyang subukan ang swerte, at abutin ang yong mga pangarap sa ibang bansa kung saan ikaw ay laging mag-isa. Kami tuloy dito nag-aalala,

Nasan ka man ngayon, ano mang oras na ika’y may kailangan, tawag ka lang sa amin at parang nandito ka na rin.

Oo nga pala, kung nasayo pa ang checkered na polo ko, sa yo na yan. Hanap ka na rin ng maraming mapapaglibangan dahil balita ko mahal daw ang sine dyan. Dambuhala raw mga pinapakain dyan. Tataba ka malamang. Miss mo bang magtagalog? Kuya pag may kumausap sayo galingan mong mag-ingles. Galingan mo kuya.

Dear kuya,
hinahanap ka ni mama at daddy. sulat ka palagi. Miss ka namin, pati nga kapitbahay nagtatanong san ka raw nagpunta? san ka raw nagpunta? Nasan ka na? Kuyaaaa...!

Friday, February 16, 2007

North Border, Rochester Park, Singapore

Rating: 11110
A single lane barely enough for one car cuts through this hilly, tree-lined enclave called Rochester Park. A row of bars separated by clumps of trees line one side. I felt like I was walking through a residential village because these restos look like they used to be old colonial mansions.

We skipped sexy looking One Rochester because they don't serve dinner and decided to try dinner al fresco at North Border instead.

The atmosphere is decidedly calm, almost romantic because of the dim lights and candlelit tables. The low throb of the MRT construction outside is muted by the tall trees surrounding the patio where we dined. Comfy net chairs, hushed tones all around and a corny jazz CD playing in the background.

I tried the lamb, the steak and the ribs. Of the three, I recommend the rack of lamb which was tasty and tender. If lamb's not your style, go for the baby back ribs which is big enough for two people to eat. Not exactly the best i've had but it's not too bad. (I was a bit disappointed though because it wasn't very hot anymore... maybe it's so you can eat it with your hands.) I also tried the rib-eye steak with the Jack Daniel's sauce but I dunno the gravy just wasn't working for me.

The night's pièce de résistance came in the form of their chili ice cream! Yummy! It tastes like vanilla but after you swallow a spoonful, you'll feel a glowing hot sensation in your throat. Of course to douse the flames, you eat more of the ice cream and the cycle continues. Yum. Definitely a must try.

Four pawikan points. Extra points for Francis the very entertaining roving mariachi who claims that he can sing in 50 languages. He sang for us in Tagalog (perfect accent!), Turkish and Spanish. Also extra points to the Filipino staff who treated us to complementary chocolate cake. Minus points for their amateurish website. For a classy place such as this, surely they can afford to upgrade their internet presence!

To get here, alight at the Buona Vista MRT station, make a right at the MRT exit and walk towards NUS keeping the construction of the circle line station on your right side. You will see the Rochester Park street name after about 800m. Use the stairs at the car park and you'll see North Border on your left.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

5 Ways to Pretend You're A Gentleman (even if you're not)

It's all about being considerate. Nowadays (here in Singapore and even back home in Manila) I've noticed that common courtesy is getting to be an increasingly rare commodity. Putting the comfort of a complete stranger before your own even if you don't get anything tangible in return is hard. So let's try and fake it instead!

Here's a list of 5 things you can do to pretend you're a gentleman even if you don't mean it. (Great for dates and Valentines day!)

1. Give up your seat - Whether on a bus, train, resto, waiting in line or wherever seats are in short supply. Give up your seat to little children, to the elderly, the pregnant and even just to ordinary women. Most of the time I get amazed looks of thanks, other times i get winks from aunties (yeah baby!) and another time, a scolding from a plump lady who was insulted that I mistook her for being pregnant (boo!).

2. When crossing the street, walk on the side of oncoming traffic - If a car comes screeching, you will get hit first. Morbid huh? But this also implies that you want to protect whoever you're with. Plus it also has the added bonus of your companion being able to gaze at your brave visage while you confidently navigate these treacherous roads.

3. Hold open doors - Don't let it bang into the face of the person behind you. Most of the time whenever I do this, people breeze through as if they expected me to hold it open for them. But once in a sweet while and if i'm lucky, I get a smile and a thank you. Once i even got a wink from an auntie (no not the same one from the train.)

4. Boarding a taxi or car? Don't let her scoot over to the other side fool! Hold the door open and when she goes in, close it carefully. You then run* around the taxi and board from the other side.
*I did this once and the taxi driver thought I wasn't riding and sped away without me. So run fast.

5. Be Gracious and show a little class! - Say please, thank you, excuse me and sorry. When rushing to enter a train or bus and there's no queue and it's a free-for-all, don't go rushing in and jostling for a spot! Have you ever tried to pause, smile and say "please go ahead m'am." I've seen big and heavy gentlemen use their strength and bulk to successfully jump the queue ahead of the frail and elderly. What an accomplishment.

A lot of guys usually only turn on their gentleman face when trying to impress someone. That's OK! At least that's a good start but remember these five things can be applied to everyone, anywhere. It'll make the world a better place, you may even get to score this Valentine's Day and more aunties will wink at you.

If you're feeling romantic, you might enjoy my review of Brett Dennen's Desert Sunrise. You can't go wrong with lyrics like: music drips from your lips like sweet sips of a summer's kiss summer raindrops.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Young Pinoy helps design USA's Ballistic Missile Defense Radar System; named top 15 young engineers of 2007

Rating:5/5 11111
Balita.com reports that 24 year old Filipino Earl Valencia is the youngest of the 15 men and women chosen by USA's National Engineers Week Foundation as one of the New Faces Of Engineering of 2007.

A Lasallian who graduated from De La Salle Zobel High School, he has a BS in Electrical Engineering from Boston University, an MEng in Systems Engineering from Cornell and is taking his PhD in Systems Engineering at the University of Southern California.

According to the foundation, he "has had a hand in some of the most critical defense projects sponsored by the U.S. military, including the design phase of the DDG 1000 Next Generation Naval Destroyer and the Ballistic Missile Defense Radar.
As a systems engineer, he has played an active role in developing proposals and has led a major process improvement initiative for a factory of airborne radar antennas. "

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know na meron pa ding malulupit na mga Pinoy!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Antonio's Tagaytay

Rating: 11110.5
Antonio's lives up to the hype of being THE fine dining destination of tagaytay.
At first I was complaining to Agent A about the long drive to Tagaytay, the snaking, narrow side-road that's barely wide enough to fit one car and finally the tight carpark which requires better-than-average parking skills.

It was grumpy, grumpy me until finally the double doors were opened to reveal a lush oasis with dining tables and chairs cleverly tucked amidst the greenery.

Despite my grumpiness and perception that this would be another expensive, overrated lunch-- I was impressed. Let's see if this first impression would last the whole meal.

I've reviewed a lot of restaurants but Antonio's is the one that gets my award for best use of music. The ambient/chillout sounds were very well chosen and serve to highlight the difference between the noise, dirt and hassle of Tagaytay versus the indoor calm. The music was the first thing that struck me but as my meal progressed, it blended unobtrusively into the background. Very nice. Very subtle.

The service is excellent. Waiters who pay attention and know what food is being served, a roving maitre'd who actually cares about what we thought of the food and even engaged us in some light banter. Easily this is one of the more well trained staff I've encountered in the Philippines.

And the food? The set meals cost between Php1200 to Php1800, (about SGD$40 or USD$25) it's pretty expensive for Philippine standards but hey it's white-tablecloth fine dining!

I had the Mojito encrusted lamb which was very good but the meat wasn't as tender as I wanted it to be. The refillable house dalandan juice was too sweet. They should've served it without sugar and let us sweeten it to taste.

Best part is the dessert-- don't leave without trying their special chocolate cake which has the consistency of thick fudge. Sinful but verrry yummy.

For those of us with exhibitionist tendencies, you'll definitely enjoy their restrooms with the wide-open panoramic windows. Enjoy the view while you pee and just hope that nobody's on the other end with binoculars and a camera to catch you with your pants down.

Four and a half points. Unless you're really rich, it's too expensive for a casual meal with friends so best to go only on special occasions. Don't forget to call ahead because reservations are a must.

If you're coming from the Tagaytay rotunda, make a right at a small side road half a kilometer after the city proper. This road is marked by a sign pointing to Antonio's. Just follow this road for about 2km and you'll see the resto with the security guard and a gate with the road sloping downward on the left.

If you liked this review, you might also want to check out my other site, whatsikat.com which is updated twice an hour with reviews from other Pinoy bloggers, celebrity bloggers (Leah Salonga, Bianca Gonzalez, Jim Paredes, etc...), chismis, news at kung ano-ano pa...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Samar Arabic Cuisine, Singapore

Rating:3/5 11100
Smoke a shisha (water pipe), soak in the great-for-tourists ambience and stay for the live music during Friday nights but skip the so-so food.
Located in the strip of halal restaurants at the Arab Street area is the homely Samar which serves middle-eastern cuisine.

It's a two-storey place that reminds me of those old wooden houses in the Philippines with the wide-open windows that are perfect for harana.

During that Friday night that I went for dinner, I was lucky enough to catch the live middle-eastern jamming session complete with dance number (S$1 cover charge)! The music, carpets and barefoot dining greatly contributed to the whole 'Arabian nights' ambience and took my mind off the fact that I couldn't find a comfortable way to sit on the pillows.

The food is so-so, nothing to rave about and I think are a bit expensive relative to the quality. You get great service if the manager (usually the guy in the long sleeved polo) is the one waiting on you but the rest of the staff could learn a thing or two from him.

Come here for the steady vibe, smoke a flavoured shisha (S$12) and just chillax. Leave your Manolo Blahniks at home and make sure you're wearing nice socks because you have to leave your shoes at the foot of the stairs.

Oh and if you're squeamish, you may not want to drink too much because barefoot + male urinals = yucky.

Three pawikan points. Bonus points for feeling like Aladdin and wanting to sing "A Whole New World". Minus points for getting my feet wet in the restroom with what I hope was just water.
To get here, alight at the Bugis MRT. Follow the signs to the Mosque. Samar will be at the corner of Kandahar and Baghdad st. Tell the manager in long sleeves that reviewsbyp sent you and watch his blank reaction.