Archive for August, 2008


Here is another interesting article for The Brown Raise Movement. This was written by Leon Ma. Guererro – a hostorian and biographer. Hope you find this educational and at the same time, enlightening.

Rizal was the first Filipino. Before him were the natives of Suluan who rowed out to Magellan’s camp on “The Enchanted Island” of Humunu.

They happily gave Magellan coconuts, oranges, bananas, rice, a jar of palm wine, a fish and a cock, in exchange for mirrors, bells and red caps—a buffoon’s very apparel.

There was Humabon, the kinglet of Sulu, a short, fat tattooed man, who began by requiring Magellan to pay tribute (which not four days before a junk from Siam had done for the privilege of buying gold and slaves) and ended up by agreeing to give the Spanish sole trading rights, scared out his wits by a man dressed head to foot by an armor, lured by the assurance that if he was baptized he would never again be haunted by demons.

But there was Lapu-lapu, kinglet of Mactan, as bold and handsome and supple as the fish for which he was named, who thought himself, “as good man” as Humabon and would not pay tribute to the “Christian king.” 

There was also Suleyman, one of the two rajahs of Manila, required to surrender to Legazpi’s emissary, de Goiti, he replied that his men were far from being tattooed savages.
But the strategy of the conquest and the long Spanish dominion has been proved:
Humabon has set Magellan on Lapu-Lapu;
Bisayans from Panay would   help Legazpi take Maynilad;
Lakandula stood by while the chieftains of Hagonoy and Macabebe died fighting in Bangkusay channel;
Bisayans would fight Tagalogs;
Tagalos, Bikolanos, Pampangos, Ilokanos; one tribe against another, under Spanish command, for Spanish profit.
The Muslims of the Southern Islands would raid the Christian settlements up to the mouth of Manila Bay itself;
Bisayans under Spanish captains would march to Lake Lanao and Pampangos garrison Zamboanga;
the Muslims would fight for the Dutch against Christians fighting for the Spanish;
Lakandula fought for Salcedo against the Chinese;
his son Magat Salamat, plotted with the Japanese;
and Diego Silang offered his allegiance to the British.
His widow’s Tinggian lancers  were beaten by the Piddig archers.
Cebuanos put down Tamblot’s rebellion in Bohol and Bankaws in Leyte;
Lutaos surprised and defeated Sumuroy in Samar.

So it went throughout the centuries as one tribe after another took arms, against the missionary friars or for them, in protest against a wine tax or against forced labor on the Acapulco galleons in the name of the old gods or in the name of the new Spanish Constitution.
Malong proclaimed himself king of Pangasinan; Almazan king of the Ilocanos, and Apolinario de la Cruz, king of the Tagalogs.

No one proclaimed himself a Filipino.

Even at the time of our story del Pilar called his newspaper Diariong Tagalog and ended his denunciations of the monkish power with the patriotic cries of “Long live Spain! Long Live the Army! Down with the friars!” Rizal himself, writing to congratulate Lopez Jaena as later as 1889 exlaimed, “Sulung ang Bisaya at Tagalog!”  The eloquent Ilonggo, for his part informed Rizal with considerable satisfaction in 1891 that the Barcelona Republicans had offered him a choice of three constituencies in which they would support his candidacy to the Spanish Cortes. Indeed as we have seen, Rizal too had considered the same possibility; he did not aim so high as Pedro Alejandro Paterno who after the Pact of Biak na Bato claimed that he was acknowledged by the natives as the “Prince of Luzon” and wanted to be named also a Spanish duke, a grandee of Spain, and a senator.
Tagologs, Bisayans, Pampangos, Ilokanos, Bikolanos, were beginning to call themselves Filipinos, but they shared this name with any one of the Spanish, Chinese or mixed, blood born in the Philippines. “Philippines” was still largely a geographical expression and loyalty to the “Philippines” was the instinctive affection for the land of one’s birth, one’s “native land” rather than for a Nation.

It was Rizal as we have seen, who taught his countrymen that they could be something else, Filipinos who were members of a Filipino nation.

He was the first who sought to “unite the whole archipelago” and envisioned a “compact and homogenous” society of all the old tribal communities from Batanes to the Sulu Sea, based on common interests and “mutual protection” rather than on the Spanish friar’s theory of double allegiance to Spain as Catholic and the Church as Spanish…

Burgos, Gomez and Zamora, traditionally identified with the birth of Filipino nationalism, were but the precursors of this new community, the Filipino nation, and this should be obvious for the Philppine seculars.

They were priest from beginning to end, with purely priestly grievances and ambitions, and thus they moved by necessity in the wider reaches of the Universal Church. The intellectuals of that generation, who shared the fate of priests were equally untouched by the concept of the Filipino nation…
The Filipino nation was a narrower concept, more exclusive than the Universal Church and the Empire on which the sun had once upon a time never set; but for those who would call themselves by the new name of Filipinos, it was also a larger and more comprehensive community of all the tribes on all the islands of the archipelago, with duties and responsibilities that were more urgent and immediate.

But Rizal’s concept of a nation, as we should perhaps remind ourselves on occasion was moral, unselfish, responsible, based uncompromisingly on a general recognition of mutual rights and duties. “What is the use of independence if the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow?”  He never confused national independence with individual and social freedom.
Rizal is also the first Filipino because he is first in the hearts of the Filipinos. Nations are known by the heroes they have. If the people have the government they deserve, they also have heroes made of their own images and likeness.

—————————————————————————-At the end of the day, we are not Ilocanos nor Visayans. We are not Muslims nor Christians. We are not Kapampangans nor Tagalogs. WE ARE FILIPINOS.

God bless 🙂

Let me share with you guys a very interesting article from F. Sionil Jose.

In the Fifties and Sixties [the Philippines] was the most envied country in Southeast Asia. Remember when Indonesia got its independence in 1949 it had only 114 university graduates compared with the hundreds of Ph.D.’s that were already in our universities. Why then were we left behind? The economic explanation is simple. We did not produce cheaper and better products.

But this physical poverty is really not as serious as the greater poverty that afflicts us and this is the poverty of the spirit.

Why then are we poor? More than ten years ago, James Fallows, editor of the Atlantic Monthly, came to the Philippines and wrote about our damaged culture which, he asserted, impeded our development. Many disagreed with him but I do find a great deal of truth in his analysis.

This is not to say that I blame our social and moral malaise on colonialism alone. But we did inherit from Spain a social system and elite that, on purpose, exploited the masses. Then, too, in the Iberian peninsula, to work with one’s hands is frowned upon and we inherited that vice as well. Colonialism by foreigners may no longer be what it was, but we are now a colony of our own elite.

We are poor because we are poor — this is not a tautology. The culture of poverty is self-perpetuating. We are poor because our people are lazy. I pass by a slum area every morning – dozens of adults do nothing but idle, gossip and drink. We do not save.

We are great show-offs. Look at our women, how overdressed, over-coiffed they are, and Imelda epitomizes that extravagance. Look at our men, their manicured nails, their personal jewelry, their diamond rings. Yabang – that is what we are, and all that money expended on status symbols, on yabang….

We are poor because our nationalism is inward looking.

And finally, we are poor because we have lost our ethical moorings. We condone cronyism and corruption and we don’t ostracize or punish the crooks in our midst. Both cronyism and corruption are wasteful but we allow their practice because our loyalty is to family or friend, not to the larger good.

I am not looking for a foreign power for us to challenge. But we have a real and insidious enemy that we must vanquish, and this enemy is worse than the intransigence of any foreign power. WE ARE OUR OWN ENEMY. And we must have the courage, the will, to change ourselves.

Think about it, guys. Have a fruitful day!

Hey everyone! How’s eceryone doing?

Let me share with you a very interesting article from the late Barth Suretsky. In the light of the recent terribel showing of the Philippines in the 2008 and Beijing Olympics as well as all the things that have been happening around this country, this article is a strong voice of reason from an insider-outsider, so to speak. Feel free to leave your comments.

God bless!

Barth Suretsky was an American ex-pat who, after several visits in the Philippines since 1982 and immersing himself in the history and culture of the archipelago, decided to live permanently in the country in 1998 as he fell in love with the country. He died in 2001 and left a lamenting article about his thoughts on the root cause of the problems in our country.

I love this country, but not uncritically, and that is the purpose of this article.

The basic problem seems to me, after many years of observation, to be a national inferiority complex, a disturbing lack of pride in being Filipino.

Maybe it will sound simplistic, but…it is my unshakable belief that the fundamental thing wrong with this country is a lack of pride in being Filipino. A friend once remarked to me, laconically: “All Filipinos want to be something else. The poor ones want to be American, and the rich ones all want to be Spaniards. Nobody wants to be Filipino.” That statement would appear to be a rather simplistic one, and perhaps it is. However, I know one Filipino who refuses to enter a theater until the national anthem has stopped being played because he doesn’t want to honor his own country, and I know another one who thinks that history stopped dead in 1898 when the Spaniards departed! While it is certainly true that these represent extreme examples of national denial, the truth is not a pretty picture.

Filipinos tend to worship, almost slavishly, everything foreign. If it comes from Italy or France it has to be better than anything made here. If the idea is American or German it has to be superior to anything that Filipinos can think up for themselves. Foreigners are looked up to and idolized. Foreigners can go anywhere without question. In my own personal experience I remember attending recently an affair at a major museum here. I had forgotten to bring my invitation. But while Filipinos entering the museum were checked for invitations, I was simply waived through. This sort of thing happens so often here that it just accepted routine.

All of these things, the illogical respect given to foreigners simply because they are not Filipinos, the distrust and even disrespect shown to any homegrown merchandise, the neglect of anything Philippine, the rudeness of taxi drivers, the ill-manners shown by many Filipinos are all symptomatic of a lack of self-love, of respect for and love of the country in which they were born, and worst of all, a static mind-set in regard to finding ways to improve the situation. Most Filipinos, when confronted with evidence of governmental corruption, political chicanery, or gross exploitation on the part of the business community, simply shrug their shoulders, mutter “bahala na,” and let it go at that.

It is an oversimplification to say this, but it is not without a grain of truth to say that Filipinos feel downtrodden because they allow themselves to feel downtrodden. No pride.

However, the most shocking aspect of this lack of national pride, even identity, endemic in the average Filipino, is the appalling ignorance of the history of the archipelago since unified by Spain and named Filipinas. The remarkable stories concerning the Galleon de Manila, the courageous repulsion of Dutch and British invaders from the 16th through the 18th centuries, even the origins of the independence movement of the late 19th century, are hardly known by the average Filipino in any meaningful way. And thanks to fifty years of American brainwashing, it is few and far between the number of Filipinos who really know – or even care – about the duplicity employed by the Americans and Spaniards to sell out and make meaningless the very independent state that Aguinaldo declared on June 12, 1898. A people without a sense of history is a people doomed to be unaware of their own identity. It is sad to say, but true, that the vast majority of Filipinos fall into this lamentable category. Without a sense of who you are how can you possibly take any pride in who you are?

These are not oversimplifications. On the contrary, these are the root problems of the Philippine inferiority complex referred to above. Until the Filipino takes pride in being Filipino these ills of the soul will never be cured. If what I have written here can help, even in the smallest way, to make the Filipino aware of just who he is, who he was, and who he can be, I will be one happy expat indeed!

In 1542 to 1877, the word “Filipino” referred to a Spaniard living in the Philippines—the rest of the natives were called, “Indios.”

In 1878, Jose Rizal, for the first time, used the word Filipino to refer to the native population in the country.

In 1998, a Greek dictionary defined the word “Filipina”, as a domestic helper.

Today, “Filipinos” is the brand name for a series of biscuit snacks made by Kraft Foods in Europe.

In Boracay, a white man was heard calling a waitress, “Hey monkey, come here!” and the poor Filipina dutifully approached.

Sad but true, the perception of a Filipino today is a striking contrast during the time of Rizal when Filipinos in Europe were referred to as “the glory of the universities”.

F.Sionil Jose’s article “Why We Are Poor” looks back in the 50s and 60s when the Philippines was still the most envied country in Southeast Asia. Today, we are alongside Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Ghana, in terms of economic and social standing.

THE PHILIPPINES TODAY:

• 880,000 Filipinos leave the country every year in pursuit of more gainful employment abroad. They’re laying pipelines in Siberia, mining diamonds in Angola and sailing ships in all the world’s oceans. They clean thousands of homes a day from Hong Kong to Dubai to London; Bahrain’s prime minister employs some 50 Filipinos in his own household (Philippines: Workers for the World, Newsweek, Oct.4, 2006)

• The Philippines is currently the world’s leading exporter of nurses, with 164,000 or 85% of the country’s trained nurses are working abroad, with doctors becoming nurses [1]

• About 200 hospitals have recently closed down across the country because of a lack of doctors and nurses with another 800 hospitals considered to be “partially closed” due to the lack of qualified health personnel[1]

• Last 2006, the National Career Assessment Examination showed that out of the 1.3 million examinees, only 3.7%, or 49,066 students, are fit to enter college.[2]

• The Philippines is No. 41 in Science and No. 42 in Mathematics among 45 countries.[3]

•  “One of the defining characteristics of the Philippine middle class,” says a senior Western economist in Manila, “is that they all want to get out.” (Philippines: Workers for the World, Newsweek, Oct.4, 2006)

THE BROWN RACE:

As Barth Suretsky, an American expat who lived and died in the Philippines lamented, the fundamental thing wrong with this country is a lack of pride in being Filipino. “All Filipinos want to be something else. The poor ones want to be American, and the rich ones all want to be Spaniards. Nobody wants to be Filipino.” No pride, no identity, no recollection of his glorious past that can project him in leading the future of his country. “A people without a sense of history is a people doomed to be unaware of their own identity.”

Are the Filipino people such a weak race that we cannot find our place among the world’s nations?  (In the United States, Filipinos are described as “the invisible minority”)

Will the Filipino always be ashamed of his brown color, short height and snot-nose? 

Will the Filipino always look to a foreign country, a foreign husband, a foreign citizenship for hope and salvation?

 The words of Rizal, written in 1890, unfortunately, still reverberate…

“Alas!  The whole misfortune of the present Filipinos consists in that they have become only half-way brutes.  The Filipino is convinced that to get happiness it is necessary for him to lay aside his dignity as a rational creature, to attend mass, to believe what is told him…without aspiring anything…without protesting against any injustice…any insult… that is, not to have heart, brain, or spirit; a creature with arms and a purse of gold. . . there’s the ideal native!.” (The Indolence of the Filipinos by Jose Rizal, 1890)

RAISE THE BROWN RACE

The Brown Raise is a movement to CREATE A NEW PATH for the Filipino people—that his world need not always have to revolve around the shallowness of money, pleasure and survival, but that he is also capable of remarkable character, dignity, honor, visions for humanity and depths of nationhood.

The Brown Raise is a movement that seeks to unlock the secrets and strengths of a race and country which was once called, “the pearl of the orient seas”, and to discover and pursue the Philippines’ unique contribution to the hall of nations.

The 21st century Global Pinoy must have the spirit of the Brown Raise… the same spirit that Rizal, our national hero possessed from childhood.

“As a child I was educated among Spaniards; I was nourished on the great exemplars of the history of Spain, of Greece and Rome; afterwards in Spain my professors were all great thinkers, great patriots. Books, newspapers, [historical] examples, reason, all made me desire the good of my native land…I was so far from thinking that I was doing wrong that I have never wanted to accept the protection of another nation; twice I was offered German nationality, once the English, and I have never accepted.” – JOSE RIZAL

This is just so timely guys. For more info, please visit http://www.thebrownraise.org/ and help spread the word.

Personal Mushy/Sad Songlist

After all the work’s been done last night, I was once again toying with my Ipod. I managed to create a new playlist. I named it Personal List of the Saddest Songs in the World. Let me share the list with you. Feel free to comment if you know the songs:

1. Take Me I’ll Follow by Bobby Caldwell – This song reminds me of a very good friend who died at a very young age. This was one of her favorite songs. Nevertheless, the song is really gloomy on its own. You really get to feel the loneliness and quiet desperation of the person singing it. It feels as if the this song is from someone who has tried so hard all his life to belong and get people to love him for what he is. And when he finally meets that person, he is unable to let that person go. It could function as a sad song about friendship, love, a farewell ode to a dying friend or relative, and so much more. It gets you in a sullen mood, really.

2. I’ll Be Over You by Toto – This is the ultimate broken hearted song for guys! Haha! There has been a point in my life where every lyric of this 80’s song meant so much to me—a time in my life when I totally related to the song. Well, those were the days. Thank God, times have changed.)

3. Angel by Sarah Mclachlan – Here’s the deal. One moment inside your room, well into the dead of night. The lights are all off and it is just the gloomy, starless, moonlit sky that gives light to your small corner in the world. Listen to this song and you’ll go crazy! I tried it once a few years ago. I actually cried for no apparent reason! The song really gets you in an eerie, sort of ethereal kind of way. Sarah Mclachlan is really one talented woman!

4. Walang Kapalit (No Substitute) by Rey Valera – This is the ultimate Filipino song about unrequited love. It functions like a stubborn kundiman. It has been covered by contemporary singers several times in the past but it is perhaps the original version that one really gets to feel the full emotional impact of this song. It is the only song from Rey Valera that I have learned to appreciate over time. He is indeed a talented singer albeit a better songwriter.

5. Kiss The Rain by Billie Myers – This sad and angst-ridden song came from a one hit wonder British songstress. This song is about a long distance relationship that has gone sour. The premise may be corny, but the strength of Myers’ voice and the sheer soulfulness of the song won this writer over. It reminds me so much of my senior high school days.

6. A Love That Will Never Grow Old by Emmylou Harris – It is the theme song of one very controversial movie way back in 2003. This was also the first time that I heard Harris sing. Her voice is really one of a kind. Introspective in spite of being old fashioned, soulful with a country twist as if she is already channeling Dolly Parton. I can probably relate this song with my grandmother’s love for my grandfather who had already passed decades ago.

7. Landslide by Fleetwood Mac – This is perhaps one of the best written songs in the history of music! It talks about loss, loneliness, uncertainty, and even emptiness. Ironically, these are things that I am so not feeling right now. Hehe..:)

8. Somewhere, Somehow by Michael W Smith and Amy Grant – This 90’s song is a farewell ode to a loved one who is about to leave for a distant place. It is mushy in the mushiest sense of the word. This can probably function as a song for overseas workers as these unsung heroes leave their loved ones behind for greener pastures abroad. Truly, one of the saddest experiences in the world is finding yourself in a foreign land, away from loved ones and from home. Amy Grant is really good in this song, too.

9. I Can’t Make You Love Me by George Michael – The original is from Bonnie Raitt but I like the George Michael version better since it is from a man’s point of view. I have the live version in my Ipod and I really love how George Michael effectively emotes the powerful lyrics of this song. The first time I listened to this song was when I was making my final term paper for my Social Anthropology class back in college. It was close to midnight and I tuned in to Wave 89.1 when the song started playing. I was hooked. I even had to call the radio station to ask the disc jockey on board about the song’s title so that I can immediayely download it. I’ve never stopped liking it eversince. It’s real sad and it’s real good, too. Get the picture?

10. My Love by Westlife – Boygroup? Hehehehe. The vocals are admittedly mediocre but the lyrics of the song is totally something else. It mixes feelings of nostalgia, sweetness, longing,and even impending doom. It is a song about a loved one’s departure but at the same time, a hopeful expectation of a sweet reunion sometime in the very distant future.

11. Sa Kanya (To Her?) by Ogie Alcasid – Another hopelessly romantic track on a failed but stubborn love. They say Filipino men are cheesy? Well, cheesy is an understatement! This is probably the direct opposite of Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable.”

12. Keep Me In Your Heart For Awhile by Warren Zevon – This is a true to life ode to the fleeting life of all men as the singer wrote this song and finished his last album after being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. It is quite admirable and compelling to know the story on how Zevon managed to run against ime to finish the last album of his long career as a folk and rock musician. This song, the last track in his farewell Cd called “The Wind”, is his formal goodbye to his loved ones. He dies several months after.

13. Dreaming With A Broken Heart by John Mayer – The title of the song couldn’t put it any better. This is like a 21st century update of Toto’s “I’ll Be Over You”. John Mayer lends his songwriting and vocal skills to create a song that is emotional, soulful, mushy, and gritty all at the same time.

14. Lately by Stevie Wonder – This is a man’s sad ode to a cheating wife or girlfriend yet he loves the woman so much that he just finds it hard to let go. And so, he renders a last ditch attempt through this excellent lovesong to salvage a faltering relationship that is being torn apart by dishonesty.It’s an all too familiar story but the song drives home its point straight into the heart of the listener.

15. Separated by Usher – A mushy song at its corniest, Thank heavens that it is saved by Usher’s lovely rendition which made the song a tearful, soulful, and tender pop ballad about accepting the fact that two people are really not meant to be with each other and that moving on apart is the only bitter pill. Listen to this song while driving inside the car on the streets of Metro Manila and surely, you’ll forget the cacophony of noises outside. Trust me.

16. Anyone Who Had a Heart by Luther Vandross – Another song about unrequited love. This song is at its desperate and helpless best and Vandross’ vocals are just excellent.

17. Home by Michael Buble – This is probably the song of an artist who is on tour around the world but at the same time, missess the love of his life badly. The song is tender and raw, the lyrics are heartfelt and aptly written, and Buble achieves a career high with this song. Personally, it is also a song that I listen to to be able to doze off on a sleepless night.

18. Steep by Lauren Christy – My good friend Pia loves this song so much. I don’t really know why. Maybe it reminds her of someone. Haha! 🙂 Christy’s vocals are thick and melodious. It has vulnerability and conviction. Moreover, her voice allows for introspection – a rarity for female voocalists in this day and age when good singing seems to be equated with having an impressive vocal range (Mariah, Celine, Christina, and all those people are just a pain the eardrums sometimes).

19. If I Was The One by Ruff Endz – This underrated rhythm and blues group manages to upstage the great Luther Vandross in this song about falling in love with your bestfriend’s significant other. I personally have never been in such a situation but I can only imagine how hard the circumstances could be for someone who is. Anyyway, this song was sung in perfect soulful harmony and is actually a gloomy ear pleaser, if there’s such a thing.

20. Tonight I Wanna Cry by Keith Urban – I just like the grit and rawness of this song, it’s as if the singer was really drunk and wasted when he sung this song. Gotta love as well the piano performance in this track which is actually, the real soul of this country ballad.

Click on this link to listen to a few of the songs listed and some others…enjoy!

http://www.imeem.com/people/gwgvXy9/playlist/FRXvbzTr/sad_songs_music_playlist/

 

 

Up next: Choices for the happiest songs in the world (or at least my world 🙂 ) ….

I love to travel! But before ever leaving the Philippines to see what the world has to offer, I’d like to be sure that I did not miss anything from the many beautiful places worth visiting in my native land. I’ve been to several destinations so far, yet I still have so many places to see. This year, I plan to visit at least two more destinations. If only I have the means, I’d leave Metro Manila on a weekly basis. Ha!

Here are a few pictures and notes of the great Philippine destinations that I had so far visited. In spite of the many obstacles and problems of this country, it is still a glaring fact that God truly blessed the Philippines.

1. Ilocos Norte – History, Beaches, and Nature Trails Combined. Must sees are Saud Beach, The Blue Lagoon, Paoay Church, Burgos Lighthouse, Kaibigan Falls, Malacanang of the North, Fort Ilocandia, and many more churches and natural sceneries. Superb province! (See first 18 pictures below)

2. Sagada, Mountain Province – This place is just so tranquil and majestic. The many fascinating views and walks that you can take from your hotel are nothing but a great feast for the eyes. Culture and nature combined – great cool weather too. Everything is just worth seeing – the rice terraces, the hanging coffins, the wondrous falls, the impressive church, everything!

3. Boracay – Need i say more? Boracay is JUST the BEST BEACH IN THE WORLD! Whitest sand, best nightlife, clearest waters,a tastiest food…what more can you ask for?

 

To be continued….

Hey everyone!

Yes I know. I have a rather somber title to this blog. But the topic of my first entry is a little less noble. Haha! 🙂 But I hope that whoever is reading will enjoy it just the same. The topic says it all, doesn’t it?

I’ve always been a food monster. I save on new clothes, new shoes, and new gadgets but there has never been a time in my life that I deprived myself on food (that is if you count out prayer and fasting hehehe).

Anyway, i have been on vacation mode since Saturday (16 August) and will not come back for work until Thursday (21 August). Envy me all you yuppies!

In between reading and working on my graduate thesis, I have plenty of time to search around for great food choices – from the fancy to the mundane streetfood. Here are my pleasure-filled adventures so far:

1. Mahn Hahn – It is their Trinoma branch that I frequent. Gotta love their sweet and sour pork, beef with broccoli, and crispy lechon macau! The Yang Chow rice is also tasty and delicious. I prefer this Chinese restaurant more than say, David’s Tea House or Superbowl of China. Their dessert of sweets is also not to be missed. The only trouble is that you always have to queue for a table before you are served. Nevermind. The food is well worth the wait. Moderately priced too!

2. Kipp’s Chicken – They have a branch located at the SM North Edsa foodcourt. Word of caution though, everything from Kipp’s is rather oily and not for those who are hypertensive. Nevertheless, the fried chicken is very delectable and the gravy is creamy – a perfect match for the Spanish (margarine) rice that accompanies each order of Chicken. Their fried chicken is juicy and is marinated well. Nevermind though the burgers and pasta. Just concentrate on the chicken – crispy, tasty, and quite affordable! I’ve had this long affair with Kipp’s Chicken since my high school days.

3. Savory Chicken – Maxx’s Fried Chicken and Kenny Roger’s Roasters would be put to shame if you compare their fried chicken with Savory. My Savory branch is the one at the lower ground floor of Ever Gotesco Commonwealth. Actually, it is the only reason why I still frequent that forgotten mall. Their chicken is tender and cooked to perfection. It is perfectly combined with fried rice or pancit canton and you get a gastronomical feast that is both filling and quite affordable. If you are alone or in a small group, they have set meals that are priced from PHP100 to PHP165. It comes with chicken, noodles, or other specialties like spring rolls, sweet and sour pork, calamares, or pancit canton. Everything here is really superb!

4. Snackaroo – The original branch is located in Judge Jimenez Street in Quezon City but there’s also one in Matalino Street, Diliman, QC. Although poorply ventilated, Snackaroo offers the best T Bone in the land! Prime Beef, cooked well done and never burnt, this is perfect with plain rice and drinks. You can even specify if you want something that is pure meaty or, for the younger and less health conscious, one that has generous amounts of fat. hahaha! They also serve excellent beef caldereta. Truly filling and the steak, I must say, is incomparable!

5. Cocoy Grill – If you’re into Beef Pares and Beef Mami, then I would surely recommend this Pares House located at Visayas Avenue, Quezon City. While also working as a sauna room for it’s poor ventilation, Cocoy offers the best Beef Pares in the city and at a very affordable price. It is perfectly combined with fried rice that is overdosed with garlic bits. The beef wanton mami is also not to be missed. This is the place where you can eat to your heart;s content without shelling out too much. Try it!

6. Cho Nam Panciteria – Located at the heart of Quiapo in Old Manila, this is probably the dirtiest place that I’ve ver been to where, to my surprise, offers the best rice toppings in town. Their specialties include Lechon Rice, which is actually several slices of crispy fried pork mixed in a hearty bowl of rice and vegetables. very filling for less than PHP100. You may also want to try their Chop Suey Rice and Beef Rice, all reasonably priced at below PHP100. Pancit Miki Bihon and their sweet and wour fish specialties, while taking longer to prepare, are also well worth a try. The place though is definitely not a date spot! haha!

7. Wai Ying – This Chinese restaurant in Binondo, Manila feels as if you’re in the busy streets of Hong Kong during the middle part of the twentieth century. This place offers the best dumplings and dimsum. Siomai is really authentic, with pork and shrimp inside, unlike those in fastfood chains which are rather forgettable and expensive. Wai Ying is in Benavidez Street, a bust joint right in the heart of Chinatown. Everything here is authentic Chinese and the best thing is that it is served in generous portions albeit without a single touch of fancy. Soy Chicken, Peking Duck, Yang Chow Fried Rice, Chicken Feet, and sweet and sour dishes are also must tries.

8. Senor Pedro Lechon Manok and Liempo – Move over Andok’s and Baliwag. Senor Pedro is the new king of Lechon Manok and Liempo! They serve chicken and pork that is marinated to perfection is also grilled in a very efficient manner, unlike in Baliwag or Andok’s where the grilling most of the time results to chicken/pork that is dry and burnt. Senor Pedro, on the other hand, offers chicken that is really juicy and truly delectable. The lechon liempo, on the other hand, is also juicy and the pork skin – crispy! Another thing that sets Senor Pedro apart is that you are not given liver sauce together with your pork or chicken. Instead you are given soy sauce with vinegar and chilli pepper. Yummy! It is also pleasing to note that the price is a few Pesos lower compared to Baliwag or Andok’s. Truly a better alternative! My favorite branch is located near the Iglesia ni Cristo Church in Lagro, Quezon City.

9. Una Sikat pares House – Unforgettable sizzling bulalo steak with fried rice (and coke!) ! This spacious pares house is located in Anonas, Quezon City. Again, this delicacy is not for those who have hypertension or heart disease. make sure to do some brisk walking right after your meal! hehe.

10. Tong Yang Hot Pot – This is a great place for all you can eat endeavors, perfect for a group of friends who are also voracious eaters! Everything here is great as well. You are provided a hotpot and a grill around it where you can put everything that you deem appetizing – seafood, squid balls, pork, beef slices, fresh veggies and seaweeds, fish cutlets….as in everything! They also serve bottomless iced tea and unlimited rice. Costing at PHP495 per meal, this is perfect for birthday treats and family celebrations. be sure though to bring an extra shirt (no kidding) as the aroma of the food would literally follow you wherever you go. They have a branch in Quezon Avenue, just right before Delta Theater.

11. Hotshots Burger – I love this burger joint! Here is where the burger really tastes like pure beef. The patty itself is thick and the dips for the fries are are also delicious. My favorite is the crispy burger bacon melt. No other burger joint int he world can compare with Hotshots! My favorite branch is located in Glorietta Mall, Makati City.