Saturday, December 30, 2006

Christmas party with my mother's friends

This year we attended the annual christmas party of my mother's friends (parents of my classmates since playhouse in Angelicum) without my mother. It was only last year when we attended the same party at the very same house with my mother. Little did we know that a year later, we would not be attending the party with her. My tito Rudy (the husband of our host Tita Net Munar) went to our table and fondly recalled his craving for my mother's staple "toka" for the party -- Laing. He told us (me, my brother-in-law and sister Rose) that it was his favorite dish and that he looked forward to these parties for a taste of mama's laing. Of course, we didn;t bring laing this year. My mother's friends are still the same, although a little older. Tito rudy munar still gave money as gifts, and tita net prepared her specialty paksiw lechon and dinuguan. It was fun, but we all knew there was something missing. We missed our mother at that party -- although im sure she was there in spirit.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Prayer for Christmas Day By Robert Louis Stevenson

Loving Father,Help us remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and worship of the wise men.Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.May the Christmas morning make us happy to be Thy children, and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake. Amen.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Eve at Home

This is our first time to celebrate Christmas Eve at our new home in Marikina. Though we miss our parents greatly, their absence (for the first time in my life) this christmas eve made this season a bit gloomy. That is, until my 2 cousins and 2 nieces decided to join us for Christmas eve dinner and Noche Buena. Ricky and Bobby Banares arrived with Bobby's 2 beautiful kids, Lyca and Bea. They brought with them chicken curry, lecon manok, liempo and fruit salad. I prepared some roast chicken in tamarind marinade and pansit canton with oyster sauce. Some would call our dinner a chicken overload, but no one's complaining. After dinner, my sister Ruth arrived with her husband Vic and kids Miel, Dan and Lee. they brought us honeycured ham from Santis, a can of broas, tuyo with capers and some gift giveaways from Meralco. My brother Ben arrived a few minutes later with a bag full of Kowloon Special Siopao. After dinner, we had a couple of bottles of brandy with some Cola chasers. My friend from College, Nigel, arrived later in the evening for a few drinks as well. What turned out to be aq gloomy christmas eve turned into an instant fun family party, not just for me, but for all of us present.

Here's wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

L-R: Cousins Bobby and Ricky, Brod-inLaw Vic. Dan, Lee, Lyka and Bea, Ate Ruth, Karla and MielBack: Ate Rose and Kuya Ben (Bentot)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Additional Artwork

Hi guys. I'm posting 2 new additions to my powerpoint artwork. The first one (in blue) is entitled "Misa de Gallo" and the one on the bottom is entitled "Simbang Gabi". They were done entirely from scratch using Microsoft Powerpoint. Hope you like them. :)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Inspiration at our xmas party

I was looking at our host poppo's framed paintings of old philippine Churches and i was inspired to make a powerpoint art myself with the theme "Old Philippine Churches". Here's a sample of my work.

"Altar" -- inspired by the altar of our old church in Aringay, La Uni

FWPPi Induction of Officers at the Penn

The Filipinos Worldwide for Progressive Philippines Inc. (FWPPi) of which i am a proud member of will be holding their induction of officers at the Manila Penninusla this saturday at 6pm. I just finished chatting with fellow FWPPi member Joe Smith and i was informed that no less than our president Gloria Macacapagal-Arroyo will be attending. Good job, guys! I'm not sure if our fellow member Tita Merlie will be coming home srom the US to attend but i know that our Hong-Kong and Dubai-based members will be attending. I'm looking forward to meeting with you guys very soon. More power to FWPPi!

Monday, December 18, 2006

X'mas party pics!!!

Hello everyone. Sorry for the late blog regarding our saturday night's xmas party. I just uploaded the pics of our party. Medyo kaunti lang nga but i hope you like them just the same. :)

Saturday night's party saw the reunion of old friends like Ferdz Lim and wife Aimee, Jackie and our host Poppo, Pooh and Ayds Aguirre, Noel Young and Luwi Balboa. We were joined later in the night by Popp's younger sister Pami. It was fun. 9 good friends partook in a feast of sisig, chicharon bulaklak, 3 crispy patas, pork kaldereta, a yellow cab pizza, 3 yellow cab pastas, Jackie's mouth-watering cheese cake and 2 cases of beer, and lots of softdrinks. BURP! We had a grand time reminsicing about old times, jokes all around about my "political affiliations", Pooh's "gantihan moments", Ayd's new hairdo and playing billards. It was fun and we're definitely looking forward to more! Thanks to Jackie and Poppo, Luwi and Noel for their gifts and Adrian who offered to drive us home. :) Merry Christmas, guys.

Poppo, Ferdz and Aimee, Ate Rose and Noel gathered around the
table at Poppo's residence in Quezon City.

Jhackie G. and our host Poppo

Ferdz Lim with wife Aimee

The future Bata Reyes and Alcano, Adrian Aguirre

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Barkada X'mas Party Tonight!

Tonight, our barkada will be holding our annual Christmas Party at our good friend Poppo's house in Quezon City. We've been having our christmas party for the past several years now and I always look forward to seeing old friends. It doesn't really matter where we choose to hold our party, whether it be at a friend's house, a bar, or a restaurant, as long as "kumpleto ang barkada". Maybe it's just me, but i do get sentimental during the holidays. Or maybe i just enjoy my friends' company--or maybe both-- whatever it is, it's really magical when the barkada gets together, especially those you haven't seen in almost a year, and just talk about the good ol' days, the places we've been to, the people we've met, and the places and people we'll get to see and meet in the future. The gang and I have been through a lot. They were there when my father was hospitalized, then later when he passed away. They were there when my mama was rushed to the hospital after suffering a stroke (They were there at the ER with us an hour after getting the call!). They were there when she was in intensive care, and they were there when she passed away. Some would say (and i know of at least one person who did say) that we are a barkada "sa ginhawa lang", but i know that is not true. I know because they were there through the good and bad times. And it is christmas when i get to think about how lucky i am... how lucky we all are... to have loyal and trustworthy friends to joke with, cry with, travel with and do everythingelse in between.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


I will deviate from my regular rantings to make way for a press release from the Office of the Press Secretary ( regarding the Bicol Caravan. - rodel

PGMA sends off "Caring and Sharing Caravan" to Bicol


Some 250 trucks and other vehicles laden with relief goods left for the Bicol region this morning in what was aptly called by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as the government’s "Caring and Sharing Caravan."The caravan, spontaneously organized by civic-minded groups, is a tribute to the theme of the 12th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Cebu that was called off on account of Typhoon Seniang which ravaged most parts of the Visayas over the weekend."I want every Filipino family to know that their government is ready to serve them in times of extreme distress when food, clean water, warm clothing and shelter cannot normally be availed of," the President said in her sendoff statement at the Central Business Park (CBP) along Diosdado Macapagal Ave. in Pasay City."Your President and the entire Cabinet feel your pain and we will do all we can to gather the energies and resources of the nation to help you," she added.It will be recalled that the President agreed that the Summit in Cebu be postponed to January next year despite contrary opinions, as "she doesn’t want to be attending the Summit when the typhoon was ravaging most homes along its path."The President came to the sendoff to check on the schedules and destinations of the trucks in the caravan which was led by the Office of Civil defense (OCD) and the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC).Military and police elements escorted the caravan to secure the relief goods for the victims of the typhoon.The President commended all government officials as well as civic spirited leaders of the private sector who have joined the caravan."As this humanitarian effort traverses the disaster areas, giving aid and comfort to our distressed brethren, we symbolize a nation of one heart and one mind, a nation that derives its strength from unity and compassion, from the spirit of bayanihan and damayan," she said.The President wished the convoy Godspeed, saying "I join the nation in their prayers for the comfort of the distressed, the healing of the families and communities that have lost brethren and loved ones in the wake of misfortunes."

Monday, December 11, 2006


In what to me was a done deal, Mau Marcelo was declared the first ever Philippine Idol this evening at the result night of Philippine Idol at the Araneta Colliseum. ABC 5 did not disappoint its viewers as we were treated to spectacular song and dance numbers from great performers like s Haji Alejandro, Gary Valenciano, Aiza Seguerra, Cueshe, G. Toengi, The Sex Bomb Dancers, Francis Magalona, Ryan Cayabyab, Pilita Corales with no other than the big three and the ex-Miguel, Arms, Pau and the rest.
As I've said before in this blog many times before, Mau will be the first ever Philippine Idol because of her world-class voice. If there will ever be an Asian Idol competition, she's sure to be our best bet to win that, as well. Congratulations Mau, and the ABC 5 Family, for making this happen. More Power andwe'll see you in the next Philippine Idol!
P.S. Ryan Agoncillo's get-up was better than his God-awful get-up last night. It was Dracula meets Austin Powers!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Tonight is the final performance night for Idol Hopefuls

For those keeping track of the Philippine Idol scene, you don't need to be told that tonight is the final performance night before the people choose between the big 3 at the Big Dome. Will it be John, Gian or Mau? Personally, i am rooting for Mau, who i believe to be of world-class calibre. Well, let's see what they've got up their sleeves tonight. I personally heard that stringent preparations are being made for tonight's event, and i am expecting a spectacular performance from all three of them.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

To Sheila re Bacacay Query

Hello Sheila. I just finished reading your email regarding your mother's friend in Bacacay, Albay. I will ask my relatives in Bacacay to find out about the Bechayra Family. Please send me your e-mail address at so ican email you any information i may receive.

It is possible that your mom's friend is okay. Bacacay was not hit by the mudslide although it is just a border away from Sto. Domingo. I will also forward your query to the Bacacay Association here in Manila. I think they are planning to go to Bacacay to check on things so i can ask them to check if your mother's family friend is okay.

You may also check on updates via our clan's website at We post updates about bacacay there as well.

Thank you for writing. I hope to hear from you soon.



Friday, December 08, 2006

What's the fuzz about cha-cha?

Honestly, i don't see the point about all the fuzz being made by charter change through a convening of a constituent assembly. America had their constitution changed more tha ten times, for God's sake, and they're supposed to be the bastion of democracy! And now we're crying foul because we believe cha-cha is illegal and unconstituional? Then why bother with a provision that allows for ammendments if we won't allow ammendments to be made in the first place? Kinda stupid, when you think about it. Now, if we're all concerned about the people and how cha-cha will affect them, then let the people decide for themselves when they choose to ratify or not the ammendments. Another funny thing about the people crying foul like the El Shaddai is that, before, they were dead set against a constituional convention, and now that the cha-cha is being fast-tracked in congress, they syuddenly changed their tune and decided that a constitutional convention would be the best alternative to a constituent assembly. Make up your mind, brother mike Velarde! Are you in or out? We can't be half-way in or out on this issue. Take sides. I have! And i've taken the pro-cha-cha side. Does that make me a fascist? Of course not. That is the essence of democracy. It is proof that democracy is alive and well in this country.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

To the Albay Tsunami Scare Texter

The recent tsunami scare in Bicol following the mudslide that killed hundreds and flattened at least three municipalities in Albay show how Filipinos can be so inconsiderate of others and how text messaging can become a tool for mischief. These idiot initiators of this tsunami scare should burn in hell for their acts! The scare revived the fears that our town mates in Bacacay experienced during the height of Reming and the mudslides. Kung ikaw ang tarantadong nagpadala ng text message na iyon, mahiya ka sa balat mo, Gago ka! Yung mga matatandang kababayan ko na hindi na kaya tumakbo, nagpaiwan at handa na mamatay! Ang auntie ko na may sakit at bed-ridden had to be taken out of her house and carried on a folding bed just to be saved from your malicious and fictitious lies. If the NTC ever finds out where this message originated, you can be sure I will be the first to skin you alive, you heartless son-of-a-bitch! You have no idea how much anxiety and stress you caused. You didn’t even think of the children! When my relatives finally reached the small hill in the barrio of Gubat, the whole hill was packed with people. Are you happy? You are probably laughing your heart out at that prank you pulled, you gutless sadist! When others are out helping the people trapped in mudslides all over Albay, you have nothing better to do than play your little practical joke. Cargo de Consiensya mo ang mga hindi nailigtas dahilan sa kagaguhan mong siraulo ka! Dakol ang nagadan dahil sa ginibo mo! Nasa kamot mo ang buhay kan mga nagadan! Ultimo mga rescuers, tumakbo dahil sa walang kakuwenta-kuwenta mong kalokohan! Kung bicolano ka, makinig ka! Garo ka gamadya! No, i take it back. You’re worse than a dog. At least a dog knows loyalty. You, you’re cow poo. Caipohan sa imo, idarang ki buhay! Dai kang puso! Pati mga gurang asin mga aqui, pig atake kan nerbiyos dahil sa pig-gibo mo! Ano? Siguro muya mo sana takutin su mga tawo para makapag-habas ka ki mga gamit kan mga nasalanta? Dai ka bang pamilya na nabiktima ki mga pag-arog-arog mo!? Maray ngani kung ngunyan, uminabot sa talingug-ngog mo ang ngislo mo, ta baka dai ka na abutin ki aga, animal ka! This example of blatant disrespect for one’s fellow man is inexcusable and unforgivable. Kung ako sa iyo, kung ikaw man nagkalat ng balitang yan, mabuti pa magpatiwakal ka na, tutal sa impyerno din ang bagsak mo. Masaya ka na? Namatay na ang isa sa mga tinakot mo! Gago!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

World AIDS Day

Support World AIDS Day


You might have noticed from the Google homepage that today is World AIDS Day. We want to remember all those who have suffered from HIV/AIDS in the 25 years since it was first identified, and we want to support everyone working to eradicate this scourge: Today, there are about 40 million people living with HIV worldwide, and it is increasing in every region in the world. In Africa, it is the leading cause of death -- 5,500 Africans die each day from this insidious disease.One effort that is making a difference is (RED), a company founded this year by Bono and Bobby Shriver. A percentage of the profits from each (RED) product sold is given to The Global Fund. We are supporting the (RED) effort by offering promotional support to (RED) and (RED) products on Google properties throughout the holiday season.We hope you choose to support them with your purchases. Companies offering (RED) products have committed to contribute a portion of profits from the sales of that product into Global Fund-financed AIDS programmes in Africa.Together, let's make a big difference. Read more at or visit the (RED) blog.

On the Subic Rape Case Judgment

For me, in my personal capacity as a citizen of this Republic, a grave injustice has occurred in the Subic Rape Case Promulgation of Judgment this afternoon because not all American servicemen were acquitted. I have always contended that the alleged rape could not have happened primarily because the alleged victim Nicole accepted the invitation of Smith to go to Subic from their province in the Visayas. She willingly went to Subic to meet with Smith without the knowledge of her American boyfriend. She willingly went back to the Neptune Club after her sister asked her to leave with them. This decision of the Makati Court is a grave travesty of justice especially when it denied the motion of the defense to place Smith in the custody of US Military authorities according to the conditions of the Visiting Forces agreement.

It is not that I am being a male chauvinist. I would easily defend any woman I know from people who would do harm to them, it’s just that I am not thoroughly convinced of Nicole’s hole-riddled story. To punish someone with reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, one must be proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt, and with due respect to the court, I believe that Smith has not been proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. When reasonable doubt is absent, an accused must be acquitted. I have spent enough time with my father, a trial lawyer, to know some of these basic tennets of the law. Let us hope that the Court of Appeals will overturn the decision of the lower court on this issue.

For a more detailed discourse on the reasonable doubt clause in American jurisprudence, you can visit this link:

Questia Online:

Monday, December 04, 2006


Our cousin Emily Banares-Basbas was able to contact her sister Lisa Banares-Eusebio later today to report that their house in Bacacay was destroyed by Typhoon Reming. The only part of the house livable now is the kitchen, were the family has established temporary living quarters. No reports on the condition of ailing clan elder Virginia Banares vda de Dado who lives a few distance behind the destroyed house.

The BCIS wishes to call on members of the Banares Clan to send any help they can. BCIS will be establishing a plan to help our relatives in Bacacay. For now, you may send any help you can by calling Lisa Banares-Eusebio at (02) 646-95-61.

We appeal to ALL BANARES CLAN MEMBERS to extend any and all help possible. Bacacay was also hit heavily by Typhoon “Reming”. Many of the old houses have been destroyed. By tomorrow morning, BCIS will post a disaster relief plan for our relatives in Bacacay

If you have any news regarding other members of the clan in Bacacay, please call us at (02) 933-17-96.


Send us your messages and pledges at,, and

We will be posting your pledges along with the corresponding amount in the Banares Clan blogsite at

Founder / Administrator
Banares Clan Information Service

Video Clips from our recent Bataan Trip

December 1, 2006 -- my friend Poppo and fiance Jhackie invited me to go to Bataan for some R&R in the former's home in Bataan. Though I've been to their place several times now, it is always an exciting adventure when I am invited. We arrived in Bataan under overcast skies brought about by tphoon "Reming". It was very windy and gloomy when we first arrived. We rested a bit and went to Balanga and Orani to find some fish and talaba, only to find out that no fishermen went out to fish due to the storm. So we ended up buying candies and imported corned beef instead.

As we were heading back to our host's place, rain started to pour and we were worried that Noel and Aubrey (who took the bus to the place) might not be able to make it. We were wrong. They left Manila at around 4 and arrived shortly before 6pm. Come dinner time, the weather was already clear and we were treated by our gracious host to a sumptuous dinner of roasted chicken, Adobong Talaba, Inihaw na Tilapia and steaming white rice. After the sumptuous feast we had a few bottles of San Mig Light to cap the night.

The next morning, we were taken by Poppo to their homestead in the mountains of Bataan. The trip was an adventure in itself. We took their APV to the farm and along the way we experienced adventure 1: Traversing the muddy and rocky road towards the farm. We got stuck in some mud but it was nothing we couldn't handle.

We arrived at the farm a couple of hours before lunch. Everyone was excited, especially the guys who were looking forward to doing some rifle firing. At the entrance to the farm, we could see the cows roaming freely in the grass. At the far end of the farm is the caretaker's cottage and to its left is a quaint little hut were we ate our lunch "army" style. 2 native chickens were prepared and we had a simple but delicious lunch of sinigang na labuyong manok, salted eggs and tomatoes and steamed salted shrimp-fry or bagoong alamang.

After lunch, the guys tried their hand at rifle shooting. A modified .22 rifle with silencer was used and the guys had a fun time taking turns shooting at an imaginary enemy (a tin can).

There were horses on the farm and we just couldn't resist asking poppo and the caretakers for a ride. Noel, Aubrey, Pooh and Jack had a grand time riding "Madonna", the name of the horse.

All in all it was a very exciting weekend.

More Photos from our Recent Bataan Trip

Here are some photos from our recent Bataan trip. Hope you guys like it.

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Dinner time at Poppo's two-storey kubo

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At the "kubo"

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Our gracious host's guest house in their family property in Bataan

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The porch of the guest house

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One of the many beautiful orchids at our host's place in Bataan

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A hearty breakfast before setting off for a drive to our host's farm in the mountains

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Our host with Pooh walking along the farm trail leading to the caretaker's cottage

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Pooh getting soem shut-eye on the way to the mountains

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Jack, Aubz and Noel on the trail

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A view of the sprawling farm in the mountains

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Our host Poppo at the farm's "multi-purpose" hut

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Aubrey posing before the farm's natural spring well

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Mapangurirat with Noel and Aubrey at the farm's hut

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The mapangurirat taking a picture after leaving the farm