Sunday, May 25, 2008

Dive Coron: Multiple Penetrations

May 23-26, 2008
Discovery Divers Resort
Coron, Palawan

Sleepy 13-hour Super Ferry ride to Coron. Sunset view from the deck. Crappy ferry food. 1 awesome dive master (Thanks Bryan!). 3 wreck-penetration dives. Underground cave dive at Gunther's Cathedral. Barracuda Lake dive (thermocline experience). Reef dive. Delayed but crazy fun 13-hour Super Ferry ride back to Manila (13-hours of kupalan!).

Probably one of the best experiences in my life. Certainly a one of a kind dive experience. Good company and good diving is ALWAYS an awesome combination!

Rest of the pictures can be found here at my Multiply site.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

260 Degrees Celsius

May 22, 2008
Pepper Lunch
Rockwell, Makati City

The last time I was in Singapore, I didn't get to try Pepper Lunch since I opted to try Mos Burger instead during one of our lunches. I had good reason and it was because Pepper Lunch was opening in the Philippines and I can try it here. Pepper Lunch recently opened here in the Power Plant Mall and we were very excited to be the one of the first people to sample it. When we got there, we were shocked to see that the line reached the outside of the restaurant. We were about to change our minds and try it some other time instead, good thing we asked what the line was for... The line was only for ordering. There were a lot of seats inside. I think they did this to prevent over-crowding inside. A lot of hot plates were going around routinely so maybe the management opted for the process of lining up to make sure no one gets accidentally burned. Then again, maybe it's just a marketing technique exploiting the Filipino's weakness, curiosity. Good or bad, only time will gauge their method's effectiveness...

I mentioned hot plates, this was basically the concept of Pepper Lunch. Dishes were served half-cooked or close to raw on a 260 degree Celsius sizzling plate. You cook the dishes fully on the hot plate via turning it over to prevent from burning or mixing it ala stir-fry. This is indeed an impressive way to keep the dish warm before eating and as long as you cook it fully, you are ensured of clean food. The best seller or the most popular dish was what I ordered, the Beef Pepper Rice. I loved this dish! It would arrive as thinly sliced beef scattered around a mound of rice and as soon as it comes to your table top, you mix it right away so the meat wouldn't get overcooked. The sauces (garlic and/or sweet) is optional. For me, I prefer the dish without the sauce because it is really flavorful already. The pepper butter is enough to flavor but not to the point of over-powering the dish's original taste. The Beef Pepper Rice is really awesome and worth it IF AND ONLY IF you mix it right away. I can't stress this enough: MIX IT RIGHT AWAY else you'll have burnt rice and overcooked beef... and that is not good.

We also ordered the Combo Cut Steak & Hamburger. Didn't like this one as much as the Beef Pepper Rice but it was also good on its own. It is cooked via spreading the special butter on the meat, searing the cut steak, turning it once in a while to prevent it from burning, and placing it on top the steaming vegetables. The meat juices would trickle down on the vegetables, seasoning them in the process. You can just imagine the orchestra of flavors in this dish. The hamburger was already half-cooked to you just heat it over the hot plate. Again, the process of cooking it was really cool so I think that was the best part of the Pepper Lunch experience. The fact that the customer is included in the cooking process and is partly responsible for the outcome of his/her order. A very good idea. At times, simplicity in itself, is the ultimate invention.

I can't wait to try the other dishes next time like the Curry Beef Pepper Rice and the other steaks. I will surely come back to Pepper Lunch and I hope I see all you guys there...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Injury Update

Fourteen (14) weeks post-op, my ankle looks better and feels better. I'm happy I've seen the best doctor in Manila when it comes to sport-related injuries, Doctor Edgardo Eufemio. I'm still in the process of rehabilitation and currently undergoing strengthening exercises on my own. The only problem is that I still can't bear too much weight on the ankle and do sports. The only sport I can do is swimming and scuba diving, which is also cool! I've been well taken care of and I feel so lucky that I healed really fast. Maybe the combination of home remedies my grandmother would give me and of course, proper multivitamins and vitamin C. I've been also trying out Revicon Max since I needed some ginseng in my diet on top of the basic multivitamins and minerals. Yes, it's just a multivitamin but its edge is the fact that it has royal jelly and ginseng added to it. Which is very beneficial for my injury. Ginseng, as we all know, are given to us as kids so that we can go taller as we go through puberty. Well, that's what my grandmother used to say to us but I really didn't believe her until now. The ginseng in Revicon Max sped up the healing process of my injury and instead of going four (4) months of rehab, at the rate I am going, I think I can do it in less. I hope to go surfing again soon and get to play some basketball during the weekends cause I really miss them.

Thanks to my bestfriend Jench for giving me samples of Revicon Max from Unilab. Funny to think that from heartache to my physical injury, Jench has always been a part of my healing process... Love you bestfriend! :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pirate's Booty

May 13, 2008
Carlo's Pizza
Metrowalk, Pasig City

We've been looking for a place to eat at Metrowalk after getting some faulty pirated DVDs replaced. I was shocked to find out that they already have pirated copies of Blu-ray and HD-DVD movies so I had to buy some to test its quality. Yes, I am a client of the pirate world but I DON'T buy pirated local DVDs and CDs. I'm sorry Sir Edu but what do you expect? It's dirt cheap! And yes, I'm an arse because of this... :( After all that pirating or piratism (whatever you call it), we got hungry and were in search for some pirate booty! Without a treasure map, we came across Carlo's Pizza. I believe that this is same as the one in Tagaytay. I haven't really tried it yet so we decided to have a go at it.

The place is like any normal run-of-the-mill pizza place, much like the ambiance of a Don Henrico's. As usual, the smell of pizza cooking in the oven engulfed us and surrounded as like a swarm of bees to honey. I'm calling for a bit stronger ventilation in the place though unless you mind sitting al fresco staring and (sometimes) making fun of passers-by. The service was really fast and it was really nice since we were really hungry. A good combination of pizza and buffalo wings were in "order" so we decided to get the Capriciossa Pizza and the Buffalo Wings. It both has your usual tomato (or was that an apple?) on the side of the menu item signifying that it was their specialty so we had to try these:

The Capriciossa Pizza was very good. I like it because the cheese was very strong and tasty. I always love that distinct cheese taste on the pizza that is why one of my favorite pizzas is the quattro formaggio pizzas because I love cheese. Carlo's Pizza also has this type of pizza but we decided against it since both of us could not actually finish two 9-inch pizzas. The Capriciossa Pizza we got had a bunch of toppings like Salami, Italian ham, pepperoni, mushrooms, green bell peppers, and onions. A lot in variety but not in quantity. I don't know what's wrong with pizzas nowadays, they seem to have less and less toppings as time goes. Good thing this pizza tasted good hence I would have damed this pizza to hell. It is kinda pricey for its size and toppings but nonetheless delicious!

Our next order was the Buffalo Wings. I was really excited about this since when it came to our table, it was literally smoking hot. The smoke would rise consistently off the glistening chicken wings. Size-wise, the chicken wing was definitely humongous and it was a relief to have ordered just 3 pieces instead of the initial plan of ordering 5 pieces. My excitement and anticipation though turned counter-clockwise upon sampling the dish. I knew it was gonna be a tough thing to swallow (no pun intended) when we tried cutting a piece. It was, yes, crispy outside, which was good BUT very stringy and tough inside. You know how breast meat toughens and becomes like cardboard when overcooked. That was what I think happened to this dish. It was really tough and hard to slice. We also noticed that the chicken wing part was not deboned and chopped properly which left shards of broken bone sticking the upper wall of your mouth. The order was also very salty. Delectable and tasty when you start but it became saltier the more you dig in to it. The sauce was an utter let-down. It was ranch dressing. Very bad ranch dressing. Very runny and lacked a certain flavor to it. Maybe some blue cheese. I don't know. The only good thing about the sauce was that it was a breath of fresh air from all that saltiness. A palette cleanser of some sort. It was really sad though that I was really looking forward to the Buffalo Wings and it did not deliver. Sad that it was not that good. Sad that we had to wash it down with some bottomless watery Lipton Iced Tea instead of cherishing the flavor.

I WOULD comeback to Carlo's Pizza though and WOULD, in fact, recommend it to my friends. Next time, I would probably sample the other pizzas and pastas they have to offer. I don't wanna judge Carlo's Pizza just because I didn't like their Buffalo Wings. The fact is, Carlo's Pizza is a pizza place, stick with the pizza (or pasta)...

Friday, May 09, 2008

Private Practice

My crazy uncle is scared of the dentist so he decided to pull-out his dead tooth out by himself. Good thing he actually did this when we were done with lunch else we would have all barfed! The incident was really funny though so I'm sharing it in my blog. Please do not try this at home kids:


Calling the tooth fairy: One tar-stained full tooth ready for pick up tonight under my uncle's pillow.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

This Is Just Sad

You know mankind is in trouble when:

Incest dad upset at media 'monster' image

c/o cnn.com


VIENNA, Austria (AP) -- The man accused of imprisoning his daughter for 24 years, fathering her children and keeping them locked in a cellar agreed Wednesday to further questioning, prosecutors said.

Josef Fritzl and prosecutor Christiane Burkheiser did not discuss allegations that he repeatedly raped his daughter over two decades, fathering seven children, an official said.


But he agreed during their roughly two-hour talk -- Fritzl's first face-to-face meeting with a prosecutor -- to provide further testimony, St. Poelten prosecution spokesman Gerhard Sedlacek said. Further questioning is not planned for at least two weeks, he said.

Authorities say Fritzl initially confessed, after news of the family's existence surfaced last month, to keeping daughter Elisabeth, now 42, and some of their seven children locked in a reinforced basement cellar.


But Fritzl, 73, who has not been charged, has not elaborated further on his confession. Sedlacek said he provided the prosecutor Wednesday with details about his background, including his professional career.


The underground family came to light April 19 when the oldest child, a 19-year-old woman, was hospitalized with a severe infection in Amstetten, west of Vienna.


Doctors, unable to find medical records for the woman, appealed on TV for her mother to come forward. Fritzl then accompanied Elisabeth to the hospital April 26.


He subsequently told police that he had fathered seven children with Elisabeth: three kept all their lives in the cellar, one adopted by him and his wife, two others raised in their custody and one who died as an infant.


In Amstetten, specialists continued to sift through the Fritzl home for evidence. Chief investigator Franz Polzer said that in addition to the cellar, Fritzl had deemed several rooms of the vast house off-limits to others.


These are now being examined in detail, he said. At some point, investigators also are planning to check the yard using sonar technology.


"We don't have any concrete reason to suspect there is anything else, but we want to be absolutely sure," Polzer said.


Justice Minister Maria Berger acknowledged that authorities may have shown a certain "gullibility" in accepting Fritzl's claim when Elisabeth first disappeared in 1984 that she had run away to join a cult.


"Today, one would certainly pursue this more precisely," Berger told Der Standard newspaper in an interview published Wednesday.


Local authorities in Lower Austria province have maintained that they acted appropriately.


Fritzl's lawyer, Rudolf Mayer, said his client had access to a television in jail and was closely watching coverage of his case, which has garnered worldwide attention.


Mayer said Fritzl was bothered by the fact that he was being made out to be a monster. He said Fritzl told him, "I'm only being portrayed as a monster and not as someone who committed monstrous acts."


Mayer made his comments when asked to confirm a report Wednesday by the newspaper Oesterreich that quoted Fritzl as saying he was not a monster and that without him, his 19-year-old daughter Kerstin would no longer be alive.


Berger told parliament that what happened to the Amstetten victims "couldn't be made right" and stressed the need to better shield children from sex abuse.


Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer and Vice Chancellor Wilhelm Molterer announced plans to tighten laws for sex offenders.


"We will boost prevention because it is most important that criminal offenses are averted," Gusenbauer said in a statement.


Fritzl reportedly was convicted of rape in 1967. On Wednesday, Gusenbauer said that the federal government considered it "completely inconceivable" that a convicted sex offender was able to adopt a child and that such individuals would be allowed to do jobs involving contact with children and adolescents.


What the f right? I mean, yeah, innocent until proven guilty, but damn him to have the audacity to complain because the media "labeled" him a "monster"... What, "monster" isn't strong enough for you? This is really sad...

May God have mercy on his soul...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

La Bocca Della Verita

The Mouth Of Truth

tells me that:

and:

I wasn't gonna believe it until I saw I had 3 stars with regards to the SEX aspect of my life. It tells the truth, apparently...

The Steakhouse

April 28, 2008
Clarke Quay, Singapore

I'm at a lost for words with The Steakhouse. Probably one of the best steaks I've ever had. And we are not talking about the overrated Wagyu Beef.

I've eaten my fair share of steaks and I love it. But for me, the best steak is a piece of perfectly cooked black angus rib-eye steak. Luckily, our partners in Singapore treated us to The Steakhouse, a high-end steakhouse found at the heart of Clarke Quay, where I got to try one of the best steaks I've ever had. This is indeed a very bold statement but you have to try it to believe it. Cooking steak is about timing. The time the steak arrives from being air-flown. The holding time in the chiller. The cooking time. All about timing. It isn't as easy as it may seem. Eating a perfectly good steak requires perfection from the butcher and cook. And we all know, it's hard to reach that level of perfection without a few crossroads. It is a very good thing that the experience I had with my order was a perfect one.

We started out with Grilled Portobello Mushrooms which was a treat since it was perfectly cooked and the tenderness of the mushrooms was very noticeable. The mushrooms were still warm from the griller, served in a warm plate, and drizzled with a balsamic vinegar dressing. The mushroom still had bite and the texture was perfect. It was not rubbery like I expected with overcooked mushrooms. The burnt flavor from the grilling complemented the acidity of the balsamic vinegar and everytime you bite a piece, you get a taste of the salt grains. So, from texture to taste, it was an orchestra of flavors. Something I could still cherish up to this day.

Air-Flown Chilled Grain-Fed Black Angus Rib-Eye Steak. If the sound of that doesn't make your mouths water like a leaky faucet, then I don't know what will. Now add to that, grilled and medium-rare on your plate... This was definitely a great great dish. The beef was so tender and perfectly cooked. It tasted sweet and very flavorful. The steak knife would literally slice through the steak like it was butter. That was how tender it was. The meat was cooked consistently all throughout the piece and there was no sign of burning. The juices of the meat oozed out upon every slice. It was simply amazing. The pictures will never do this dish justice. You have to see for yourself and experience The Steakhouse when you're in Clarke Quay.

A note to all restaurateurs, go ahead and overprice your Wagyu's and Kobe's, I'll stick with my come-from-behind-underdog Black Angus Rib-Eye Steak! :)

The Original

April 27, 2008
Mos Burger
Isetan Department Store
Orchard Road, Singapore

When I first tried Sango Burger I was really impressed and I loved it. I posted it a couple of days ago and my friend Andrew told me that it was just a copy of Mos Burger in Japan, I vowed to try it one day...

I was in Singapore looking for a quick place to eat since we had to rush back to the hotel to freshen up before our meeting. Walking around Orchard Road was indeed a treat and yet so confusing at that. We went back and forth on the road in search for a quick and yet "blog-worthy" place to eat. We decided to go to Isetan Department Store on the corner of Orchard and Scotts to look for a good lunch place. Low and behold, I found a Mos Burger branch at the grocery level of the big department store. We were in a dilemma though since there was Mos Burger AND Pepper Lunch there. I haven't tried both so I was juggling between which of the two to pick. I've tried both their "clones" here in Manila: Sango for Mos and Sizzling Pepper Steak for Pepper Lunch, hence my small predicament. The way that I decided this was via the fact that Pepper Lunch is about to open in Rockwell anytime soon and so Mos Burger it was! I was excited with this, The Original, and I was about to try it for the first time. I certainly had high expectations and I wished Mos would not fail me.

I ordered the Yakiniku Rice Burger since I haven't tried it in Sango and I might say that it was one of the best burgers I've ever had. I mean I have nothing to compare it with, not even the "clone", but it was really tasty. The tender beef was very good and it tasted very good. A right blend of the saltiness and sweetness topped with the tender sukiyaki beef cuts was awesome. I have a few complains though: it was a bit too oily and the size, OH MY, the size! The burger was so small! Maybe because of the rice shortage, huh?

There is an actual silver lining to the tiny burger that I had. It was the opportunity to try ANOTHER burger! I wanted to try the Master Cheese Burger so that I can compare it to the clone so because of the tiny Yakiniku Burger, I had this chance. And I grabbed it, bit on it, and called it MINE! The Master Cheese Burger was not as sloppy as Sango's and this was really a good thing rather than a bad thing. The sloppiness of Sango's Master Burger hid the taste of the actual burger pattie whereas in Mos' case, the meat sauce and the burger pattie complemented each other. Topped with cheese and the classic sliced tomato, it was heavenly.

Being able to find Mos Burger is probably one of the highlights of this trip. Thanks Andrew for telling me about Mos! By the way, I tried the mustard and it was indeed yummy!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Dive Acacia: Practice Makes Perfect

May 1, 2008
Acacia Resort
Anilao, Batangas

Exactly 5 months since my last dive. Oli's resort is doing great. Pool construction is almost done. Can't wait for it to finally open. Congrats Oli!

Dove at Daryl Laot and Batok. Did a practice wreck dive and saw a Sea Turtle for the second time!!! Coolness! :)

The rest of the pics can be found here!
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