Just Dropping by at the Philippine Congress

Batasang Pambansa - The Philippine Congress Main Hall

It was one Monday rainy afternoon. I was in a mission: To drop by at a Congressman’s office for an official endorsement. I have been to Malacañang, the Senate and the Supreme Court, but I haven’t been to The House of Representatives or locally known as Batasang Pambansa-that’s the legislative center of the Philippine Republic.

Yup. The area I guess most of us know as the center stage of the State of the Nation Addresses (SONA) of Philippine presidents, and as some critics would say, “The Crocodile Pit.” The Batasang Pambansa is where the Philippine assembly of legislative representatives from all over the archipelago, converge and make laws for the republic. Given the bicameral nature of our government, The House of the Representatives is the “lower house” while the Senate (which is in Pasay City) is the “upper house.” However, the said lower house is composed of influential people coming from the local governments.

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The Fiasco at Baclaran: Commuter’s Misery with MMDA Dispatch

Roxas Boulevard near Baclaran

PARANAQUE CITY, PHILIPPINES — Today is Baclaran Day, or the day when the devotees of Our Lady of Perpetual Help converge at Baclaran Church in Parañaque City, one of Metro Manila’s busiest and most congested districts. As expected, early morning will be the start of the traffic jam that normally occurs every Wednesdays. But this Wednesday, August 4, was no longer ordinary for me. MMDA failed big time! It failed the commuters way big time!

At around 6:10 AM, our bus from Cavite, bound for EDSA, entered Baclaran’s bus stop for the usual dispatch. They have a new chairman, a former mayor of Tagaytay City. So like always whenever there’s a new king to lead his men, they implement the traffic rules strictly. So those who disobeyed are instantly reprimanded or apprehended. Just to play it safe, the driver of the bus entered the dispatch bus stop area at Baclaran, rather than risking to pay P1,000 fine…from that time on…it was ‘haynakupo!’ for most of the passengers. It’s Baclaran Day, obviously you’re entering the eye of the storm! Continue reading The Fiasco at Baclaran: Commuter’s Misery with MMDA Dispatch

How Does It Feel Like Being a Caviteño Commuter?

Waiting Commuters at Talaba, Bacoor, Cavite -- ang tagal dyan kahit bukana na ng Maynila!

The first is, have you tried combat commuting? I think if you live in Manila, it is essential to know combat commuting. Its a war waged every single weekday in the Philippine capital. The climax of the war at Hell’s Gate? Rush hour madness. Everyday, people try to cram themselves in buses, jeepneys and metros. Well, asi es la vida en Manila! Can’t deal with it? Might as well leave for the provincias.

Now, for a Cavite resident like me, traveling from home to work is a fact of life. Manila has become crowded and the urban expansion reached the doorsteps of its neighboring provinces, one of which is Cavite. There may be 12 million residents in Metro Manila but including the Greater Manila Area (encompassing Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan), we may even be comparable with the population of that of Mexico City, Tokyo or Mumbai! Cavite has the largest share of GMA residents-3 million people, tw0-thirds of it lives in towns near Metro Manila and along Aguinaldo Highway-the sole main artery of the province. Three million, the most populous province in the country-and with real estate blooming like lumot in the pond, its like a heart chocked with cholesterol! After all, Cavite IS a bedroom of Metro Manila.

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The 112th Philippine Independence Day Celebrations at Luneta: A Reflection

A century and 12 years later, the Republic of the Philippines celebrated its freedom from the Spanish Empire with a float, performance and parade gala at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta, Manila. Since this is the last year of the outgoing president Gloria Arroyo, the government allotted PhP10 million for the whole programme. The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (Yes, another name change. It was National Historical Institute) was the main organizer of the programme “Kalayaan 2010″ (Freedom 2010). I wasn’t able to see the traditional flag raising at Aguinaldo’s House at Kawit (its too early! Good luck at baka trapik sa Binakayan galing dito sa Imus!) so I went to Luneta that afternoon for the civic and military parade.

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Refreshing at Le Bistro Vert

Slow-cooked corned beef of Le Bistro Vert

The stress of fast-paced city life has left us something to crave beyond the usual stuff that we see, feel or eat. We look at the countryside and imagine the fresh foods that the people consume there. How we wish we could have those in the metropolis, however, we are imprisoned with a whole lot of love from MSG and other stuff. The good thing though, fresh farm produce cooked to perfection and served by one of the country’s best chefs, is just located right at the heart of Philippines’ financial capital—right at the heart of Makati City!

Le Bistro Vert (“The Green Bistro” in English) promotes sustainable food by sourcing out its food ingredients locally, from small farmers, organic farms or community groups. In turn, these fresh produce-void of those fertilisers and other harmful ingredients—are cooked to perfection by Chef Sau Del Rosario, one of the finest chefs in the country.

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