Sunday, September 18, 2011

Kamayan sa Palaisdaan, Kamay ni Jesus, Pansit Habhab and Longganisa in Lucban in ONE day

Three days before our departure back to UAE in May 2011 during our vacation in Philippines, my wife and I decided to visit Lucban and Tayabas in Quezon. In Tayabas, Kamayan sa Palaisdaan restaurant in particular, is a memorable place for me. Because Kamayan sa Palaisdaan was the place where I invited my wife for our first date.     

We had to live early from from my wife place Batangas. We travelled from Batangas via STAR tollway to Turbina in Calamba. From Turbina we took another bus to Lucena. But we did not reach the Grand Central terminal. At the junction, there was already a Jeep terminal that will take you either to Tayabas, Lucban and Sta. Cruz, Laguna. Jeepneys travelling to Lucban and Sta. Cruz are particularly big jeep with double tires at the rear. 

Our first stop was the Kamayan sa Palaisdan, famous for the floating bamboo dining area while enjoying the cold breeze and panoramic view of Mt. Banahaw. Nothing has changed that much in the restaurant since the last time we visited the place. A collage of photos of local celebrities and politicians was proudly displayed in the reception area.

There are is another Kamayan sa Palaisdaan owned by the same family located just 500 meters apart. One can also relax at Kamayan Hotel and Resort located opposite of the road.

A shot at Kamayan sa Palaisdaan

We ordered the all-time-favorite Sinugno, sizzling sea foods combo and garlic rice. Sinugno is a local recipe of Tilapia, grilled then cooked in coconut milk then garnished with Pechay. I tried once cooking Sinugno but could not get the distinct Tayabas taste.

This is the "Before"

and the "After"

After a heavy lunch and + 3 bottles of San Miguel Pilsen, we proceeded to Kamay ni Hesus in Lucban 30 minutes away from Kamayan sa Palaisdaan. In this site is a 292 step hill with life size figures depicting the station of the cross. And on the top is the 50-foot statue of Jesus Christ said to be the 3rd biggest in the world. I even saw Fr. Joey Faller the founder of the Kamay ni Hesus Ministry Foundation from a distance. I could not miss his curled right fingers that curled due to a car accident that is said to resemble the hands of Little Jesus - known as El Senor Sto. Nino-and of he hands of the risen and victorious Christ.

Ala Hollywood Walk of Fame
Kamay ni Hesus Church
Large statue of Jesus Christ on top of the hill

Noah's Ark retreat house

There is also a replica of Noah's ark that function as retreat house located inside the site.

Kamay ni Hesus Shrine
Closer look at Jesus Christ statue
House of Longganisa in Lucban

We then took another ride toward Lucban. After visiting the church, we went opposite the street where we bought longganisa Lucban. Longganisa Lucban is garlicky in taste and smaller compared to other longganisa.
And of course we would not miss the authentic pansit habhab in the Old Center Panciteria in Lucban. Pansit got its name because of the way you eat the pansit on banana leaf without using fork. 

Old Center Panciteria

Since it was already getting dark we requested two serving of pansit habhab take away just in case we get hungry on our way back to Batangas. 

That was a memorable day with my wife.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

PHOTO OF THE DAY: Fish Market in Ajman

Fish in Ajman fish market ready for bidding. Photo taken by cellphone camera.

I go to Ajman Fish Market every week to buy a week supply of fish. But I never realize that before the fish are sold in the market, the fish are freshly unloaded from the big fishing boats and goes thru a bidding process.

Men, mostly of Indian origin lined the fish in a big concrete ground (shown in the picture). A middle man usually an Emirati guy holding a megaphone, will approach the ground and start shouting the wholesale price. Once the favorable wholesale price is reached the buyer, usually a fish vendor will hand over the money to the middle man. Then the fish are then brought to the fish stalls where people can buy. 

One thing I like buying fish in Ajman is that the area is clean , the floor is dry and you leave the place without smelling like fish. Unlike the fish market in Sharjah and Deira fish market where you have to be extra careful or else you will slip on the floor. 

How to to Ajman Fresh Market
From Dubai or Sharjah via Emirates Road:

Exit from Emirates Road and follow the highway until you see the Wasit Power station on your right. Take right and slowly merge to the right when you see the overpass ( the bridge is under construction as of this posting). Make left turn under the bridge ( you will see Gulf Craft office) and take first right. Then first right you will reach a signal. make left turn from this signal you will reach the Ajman Fish market to you right.
From Sharjah via Corniche road:

Let's say you are driving from Sharjah Ladies Club. Continue driving on the Corniche road until you will reach Ajman R/A before reaching Kimpinsky Hotel. Make right on this R/A and then left on the next R/A. Then you will reach Ajman Free Zone R/A. Make left. Continue driving about 1 km. You will see Ajman Fish market on your left side. Make U-turn to go to the opposite road.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Language, learning, identity, privilege By JAMES SORIANO

This article appeared on the website of Manila Bulletin on August 24. Because of this article JAMES SORIANO became famous for wrong reason  and with the deluge of criticism received by this piece, Manila Bulletin removed the article from the website.

Tell me what you think after reading this article.


MANILA, Philippines — English is the language of learning. I’ve known this since before I could go to school. As a toddler, my first study materials were a set of flash cards that my mother used to teach me the English alphabet.

My mother made home conducive to learning English: all my storybooks and coloring books were in English, and so were the cartoons I watched and the music I listened to. She required me to speak English at home. She even hired tutors to help me learn to read and write in English.

In school I learned to think in English. We used English to learn about numbers, equations and variables. With it we learned about observation and inference, the moon and the stars, monsoons and photosynthesis. With it we learned about shapes and colors, about meter and rhythm. I learned about God in English, and I prayed to Him in English.

Filipino, on the other hand, was always the ‘other’ subject — almost a special subject like PE or Home Economics, except that it was graded the same way as Science, Math, Religion, and English. My classmates and I used to complain about Filipino all the time. Filipino was a chore, like washing the dishes; it was not the language of learning. It was the language we used to speak to the people who washed our dishes.

We used to think learning Filipino was important because it was practical: Filipino was the language of the world outside the classroom. It was the language of the streets: it was how you spoke to the tindera when you went to the tindahan, what you used to tell your katulong that you had an utos, and how you texted manong when you needed “sundo na.”

These skills were required to survive in the outside world, because we are forced to relate with the tinderas and the manongs and the katulongs of this world. If we wanted to communicate to these people — or otherwise avoid being mugged on the jeepney — we needed to learn Filipino.

That being said though, I was proud of my proficiency with the language. Filipino was the language I used to speak with my cousins and uncles and grandparents in the province, so I never had much trouble reciting.

It was the reading and writing that was tedious and difficult. I spoke Filipino, but only when I was in a different world like the streets or the province; it did not come naturally to me. English was more natural; I read, wrote and thought in English. And so, in much of the same way that I learned German later on, I learned Filipino in terms of English. In this way I survived Filipino in high school, albeit with too many sentences that had the preposition ‘ay.’

It was really only in university that I began to grasp Filipino in terms of language and not just dialect. Filipino was not merely a peculiar variety of language, derived and continuously borrowing from the English and Spanish alphabets; it was its own system, with its own grammar, semantics, sounds, even symbols.

But more significantly, it was its own way of reading, writing, and thinking. There are ideas and concepts unique to Filipino that can never be translated into another. Try translating bayanihan, tagay, kilig or diskarte.

Only recently have I begun to grasp Filipino as the language of identity: the language of emotion, experience, and even of learning. And with this comes the realization that I do, in fact, smell worse than a malansang isda. My own language is foreign to me: I speak, think, read and write primarily in English. To borrow the terminology of Fr. Bulatao, I am a split-level Filipino.

But perhaps this is not so bad in a society of rotten beef and stinking fish. For while Filipino may be the language of identity, it is the language of the streets. It might have the capacity to be the language of learning, but it is not the language of the learned.

It is neither the language of the classroom and the laboratory, nor the language of the boardroom, the court room, or the operating room. It is not the language of privilege. I may be disconnected from my being Filipino, but with a tongue of privilege I will always have my connections.

So I have my education to thank for making English my mother language.

A Top Shot @ the Top @ Burj Khalifa

Alisdair Miller got got a chance to go to the very tip of the Burj Khalifa (tallest building/structure in the world - 800m). It took over 2hrs to get to the top. For this shot he was holding on to the lightning conductor with one hand and his camera with the other.

Click here to view a much larger and crispier image.