Monday, November 30, 2009

silent mode


I miss the ringtone of my cellphone

In the middle of the night

Every time you send me

A three-word text message

I smile

Coz it means a lot to me

I miss the miss calls in my cellphone

You’re doing in the middle

Of my daydreams

My heart skips a beat

You swept me off my feet

For a while

I miss the wallpaper of my cellphone

Where your face paints hope

That fulfills a destiny

That I am meant to be loved

By a stranger

Who send me sweet message

Every other day

I miss the inbox in my cellphone

Where your sweet nothings and unfulfilled ardor

Paints a thousand reveries

Of you and me

Reaching the sky

With our undefined friendship

And you defined

Something real inside

I miss my cellphone so much

We’ve been through a lot with life

Before you started texting me

With saccharine promises

That only soulmates could define

But now

I can’t hear the ringtone

wait for your miss calls

See the wallpaper with your face

Or read your romantic messages

For I lost it last night

To a thief who stole it

Just like the way your stole

my heart away!

(remembering your sweet messages in my stolen cellphone…phoenix

sign in


I hate to open my YM

when you have no

offline messages to leave

and leave my thoughts restless

chasing dreams with your presence

out of my unspoken misery

sometimes I wonder

if you made yourself invisible

when you sign in and chat

for other fidgety strangers

while I am waiting you’d show up

and heal my emptiness

with your meaningless words

shallow it might seemed to be

but it felt like I’m alive

every time you read

my long poetic lines

and emotional dialogues

that could have move mountains

and rearrange stars in the sky

instead of visual stimulations

and hopeless happiness

you react bluntly

I smiled silently

as if the world turns around

for me and our reveries

but how can I dream on?

when your offline messages

spoke nothing but pressures

and obvious denying lately

what have I done to you?

that you mysteriously

left me without words to ponder

I may not be perfect like others

but I am perfectly sensitive

with the obvious change-of-heart

that your silence spoke sincerely

nothing but conclusion and commas

so I wish you’d remember me someday

like a song in the radio

that after you heard it

it leaves echoes of ardor

I have no intention to search

for another stranger

and exchange flowering words

for you are there inside me

I’m hoping and waiting

You’d leave something

like offline messages

So before I sign off

give me a chance to let you go

and remain a stranger from afar


open inside...


I have to send this email

To the wind and stars

That made up your eyes

And numb heart

It’s nothing personal

It’s not even all about you

Or the “what-ifs”

And “what-might-have-beens”

Very honestly

It’s about me and my misery

To find myself again

After I risk the sanity

Of my defensive heart

It’s time to grow up

And leave the fairy tales

Behind the innocence

Of my childish thoughts

I’m twenty seven

And you’re twenty nine

We’re old enough for games

And the “signing-ins”

To strange relationships

And “lovers-to-friends” thing

I hope you know

And let me know

If we’re meant as friends

And end up friends forever

I thought love knows no face

and inequity from gender issues

but this is the real world

we were meant to live with it

and die in your silence

which you claim to be your nature

after one year and seven months

you still take my breath away

with your cryptic responses

but hurts me when you sign off

for I have to tirelessly wait

for your offline messages

I hope you feel

I hope you understand

That my email contained

My “supposed-to-be” closure

Close enough for you to see

the open door I left

and my hushed adieu

last night

Sincerely weary…pheonix

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

Passion for food review


(published in itravel Philippines July-August 2009 issue,

Sometimes, I have this desire to satisfy my craving for the word “scrumptious.”
It was more than five years ago when I first set foot on a high-end bistro called The Promenade of Days Hotel Iloilo in The Atrium on Bonifacio Drive just across the Iloilo Provincial Capitol. Honestly speaking, those early years of my exploits as a newbie features writer for a local tabloid led me to discover a lot of fascinating destinations in Iloilo. Writing about the sprawling restaurants and bars in the city was indeed a fascinating delectation. The Promenade is no exception.

My first Promenade dining experience enticed my keenness on food writing. Irrevocably obvious, the culinary creations, serene ambience, and congenial staff are sheer elements of its success in capturing countless diners that made the bistro their regular habitué. Its international culinary connoisseur, food and beverage manager Rey Ponsaran has the knack for conceptualising unique, if not tastefully themed, gastronomic fare. A reason why it has established a word-of-mouth praises from food lovers who have a taste of Iloilo’s best.

This bistro is a hub of delectation for diners and their dining affinity. For one, diners can pick anything from the menu book and can expect something scrumptious. The Promenade buffets are tongue-pleasing, eye-catching theatrics of culinary parade that climaxes to a satisfying and fulfilling healthy feast. Salad bowls are freshly prepared, appetisers are succulent, main courses are mouth-watering, and desserts are simply a treat to one’s sweet tooth.

In lieu of its tradition for capturing the taste of food aficionados, The Promenade redefines its reputation as metropolitan Iloilo’s finest through its palate-pleaser buffets: daily Power Breakfast from 6 AM to 10 AM, “Indulge” Saturday dinner buffet from 6 AM to 10 PM, “Meshi” Japanese dinner buffet from 6 AM to 10 PM, and Las Paellas Spanish dinner buffet from 6 AM to 10 PM.

Every dining experience at The Promenade leaves a pinch to the heart, a distinct pull to the taste buds, and a desire to come back again.

So, I realise my first dining experience at The Promenade wasn’t the last. It feels and tastes like it’s always the first every time I follow my desire for the word “scrumptious.”

The Promenade is located in Days Hotel Iloilo in The Atrium on Bonifacio Drive— with telephone number (033) 3373297.

Chinese savour


(Published in itravel Philippines July-August 2009 issue,

No flight ticket is required. Not even packing up your bags. Just follow your palate for some scrumptious cuisine without ruining your budget. Head to the premier shopping malls of Iloilo and Bacolod cities, then, viola, you have Hong Kong Kitchen to fulfil your gastronomic cravings.

More than a food trip, Hong Kong Kitchen started to fascinate local Chinese food lovers a few years ago on the ground level of Robinson’s Place Iloilo. Since its opening, the bistro’s authentic Chinese cuisine has magnetised people from all walks of life. A real trip to Hong Kong can be self-indulging by savouring its dishes which are reasonably-priced to woo the discriminating taste of the Ilonggos.

Hong Kong Kitchen’s restaurant manager and food connoisseur who has worked in the food industry for 14 years, Arceli Parreňas Abria takes pride of the restaurant’s authentic Chinese cuisine. Peking duck is what Hong Kong Kitchen is known for amongst its regular diners. And amidst its high-end price, some of them find the right reason to spoil themselves on such palatable gastronomic fare. All-time favorite Chinese dimsum, noodles, soup, fish, veggies, and poultry specialties are worth flaunting the way they tease the tongue with authentic and healthy cookery. Preserving their reputation in the food business, Hong Kong Kitchen chefs use only imported natural herds, secret spices, and cooking techniques to create the best culinary creations. Even in the midst of recession and price increase nowadays, the resto’s food quality is maintained in a high-standard height to satisfy its diners. Cost cutting of ingredients is not its option.

Diningwise, Hong Kong Kitchen’s ambience appeals to all and even to the discriminating diners of Iloilo and Bacolod. Its Chinese elemental atmosphere exudes an inviting feeling for everyone to dine in and enjoy a good meal.

At regular weekdays, most especially during lunchtime or dinner, their usual customers are students, yuppies, and professionals. The bestseller is its budget friendly merienda meals from 2 PM to 5.30 PM for only Php 78. The luscious Chinese combo meal is worth dying to the palate for as much as Php 98. Of course, ala carte and short orders are still available for choosy diners who want a more personal choice of premium Chinese dishes. At weekends, families and sweethearts often find the place perfect to spend their special moments over luscious gastronomy. To cater groups of diners, Hong Kong Kitchen offer a set of menus just enough to tickle the tummy of five or more people for Php 980. Whatever choices and variations of Chinese dishes you have in mind, their affable and customer-oriented wait staff is always there to assist and definitely never forget to wear a smile.

Although there’s a lot of thriving bistros and specialty restaurants in Iloilo City nowadays, Hong Kong Kitchen may be one-step ahead not because it serves authentic Chinese cuisine or having an inviting ambience. With no pretense, it strives to exceed what excellent dining truly means—value for money, delectable food, and an ounce of positive energy.

Fly straight to Hong Kong and savour its luscious kitchen creations without actually going there. Hong Kong Kitchen is strategically located both on the ground floor of Robinsons Place Iloilo and Bacolod with telephone numbers (033) 338-2677 and (032) 441-0718.

Of oyster and gastronomy


(Published in itravel Philippines July-August 2009 issue,

Alan Legislador may have been a simple guy from Villa, Iloilo—unassuming, patient, and realistic. But fate has its own way of finding our place under the sun. Fortunately, that destined place is intertwined with our passion and rooted from what we really want to do in life.

His story started with the same success story that we always read from books or see in movies. Fifteen years ago, in a small kiosk sheltered by ordinary trapal (tent), Alan started to sell talaba (oysters) in Oton, the first municipality south of Iloilo City. Everyday he purchases a sack of talaba delivered from Roxas City and sells it patiently under the scorching heat of the sun. Though Oton is a shoreline town in Iloilo, it’s not suitable for cultivating talaba. But the locals are inclined to eat talaba since it is a well-known and favourite Ilonggo delicacy either grilled or steam. And since he is the only talaba vendor in Oton at that time, his kiosk attracted many customers. Some are locals while others came from Iloilo City and far away provinces.

Five years later, Alan’s Talabahan expanded and catered large number of customers demanding more space and upgrade of services. The business minded Alan convinced himself to embrace the demand of change for his business. With the support of his wife— Jocell, an HRM graduate—together they ventured in mounting their menu, adding more dishes mainly seafood, grilled native chicken, and pork chop in the tradition of Ilonggo cooking. The lack of proper studies in culinary arts did not hinder Alan’s desire to expand his minibistro business slowly gaining a name.

He experimented with flavours, spices, ingredients, and techniques in cooking but making sure the scrumptious quality of every dish he added to his menu remains acceptable to the palate of his growing loyal customers. His artistry is also evident in his effort to creatively redesign the interior of the restaurant reflecting native ambience and using exotic recycled materials like seashells and plastic containers.

But the attractive, if not magnetising aspect of his business is the excellent flavour of his food which loyal patrons are gushing about. With the absence of commercial advertisements, word-of-mouth praises from diners and customers did the walking talk about Alan’s Talabahan. In fact, famous people and personalities from different parts of the country visit his restaurant just to dine in and enjoy the same homegrown service. Steadily, Alan’s Talabahan has carved a gradual niche in Iloilo’s local gastronomy scene if we base it in affordability of food and word-of-mouth referrals. Such fact is indeed true and visible. At Alan’s, one can order per serving of talaba ranging from Php 30 to Php 60 which depends on the way it is cooked—either grilled, steam or the bestseller baked talaba with mouth-watering quick-melt cheese. Native dishes such as boneless bangus (milkfish), pusit (squid), steamed kasag (crab), pork chop, native chicken, and a lot more are reasonably priced for people with tight budget. The name Alan’s even reaches the shores of Manila since he got several offers of catering services from notable corporate events and parties which he gladly accepted. But in the meantime, the proposal for franchise is not his interest. He is grateful that even if he only has one branch, he still believes that honest and homegrown service will keep the loyalty of his regular customers who do the personal promotion of the place.

Fifteen years later, Alan already has what he wants in life—a happy family, hardworking employees who help him expand his thriving business, and a countless number of customers who keep coming back. Typically, they are coming back with friends or buddies who can’t get enough of Alan’s Talabahan.

Alan’s secret of success is no secret at all. His passion is a word-of-mouth story that reminds the Ilonggos of delicious yet affordable gastronomy in a close-to-home setting.