Braving a Feast amidst Force Majeure

Friday, May 20, 2011 0 comments
This was supposed to be last week's post, but since Blogger went into some sort of hiatus, I postponed the same blog to this day.

Tonight, I will be featuring a happy event in our family that took all the odds to happen, despite the heavens seemingly preventing it from pushing through.

Two Saturday ago, the whole clan made the short trip to San Fernando, Pampanga for the 18th birthday celebration of my cousin, Isay, or as we call it, the Debut. I've been somewhat a part of the planning process for this event, and ended up hosting the program along with another cousin, Mabelle.

We arrived a good 3-hours before the event is set to begin. Everything seems to be perfect: all the flowers have been set-up, the cake has arrived, the food is on its way and the staff and crew are right on schedule... As anyone in event-planning knows, careful planning doesn't always assure that the event will roll-out as planned.

And so, the unthinkable happened. On a hot, summer's day, just before the sun set, heavy rains came pouring down as Typhoon Bebeng crossed the country's territory. Part of the event area, including the grand staircase through which the Debutante and her court will descend, became a flooded mess.

The venue's crew tried to dry the necessary spots for use, but they weren't even halfway done when another big drop of rainfall begins and drenches the same areas. When the rain stopped, the wet areas included the main stage, the cake table and the sound system booth...

Quickly, the crew started the whole 'operation' again (I must give them due credit), and thankfully, the rain didn't come down until the next day, far after the event has finished.

Partners-in-crime, Echo & Mabelle
We started the program 2 hours behind schedule. A number of guests weren't able to arrive, but Isay's beloved friends and relatives were there, most of whom comprised the Roses and Candles. Besides some sound glitches, the program went smoothly (Kudos to my partner-in-crime, Mabelle) and everyone had their fill of food, entertainment and souvenirs... I slept that night too tired from the exhaustion but appeased by the extraordinary turn of events.

To Alisa Mae Concepcion Reynaldo! Happy 18th Birthday again!!!
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Ten Firsts in the Province of Bohol

Friday, May 6, 2011 0 comments
My Editor-in-Chief Niña Terol-Zialcita shares, "Here's another great piece by Jerricho Reynaldo, who makes us see Bohol in an adventurous new light!"
Photo by Niña Terol-Zialcita

It was my second article for AsianTraveler magazine, and my first travel article.

My first article on Gaudi can be read in AsianTraveler's Food Trip issue

I've been to Bohol once in 2009 but I would admit that the place was enchanting enough that second times are most welcome. But my recent visit last March was, again, a trip of firsts:

1. Witnessing an airport commotion

NAIA3... Because a group missed boarding and found the gate closed. Their fault, anyway. There was a lot of time between the closing of the check-in counter and the closing of the boarding gate. Lots of shouting from 50 seats away.

2. Being fetched at the airport

Tagbilaran airport... I've always had this fantasy of being fetched at the airport, a placard up high with my name written on it. There was a placard, but it said "AsianTraveler." Much thanks to the Bohol Tourism Office!

Restie Pinat, our ever-efficient guide from the Bohol Tourism Office
"As our vehicle traversed through cozy establishments and quaint homes until there was the frequent sight of free-growing trees and shrubs on the road-side, our guide, Restie Pinat, promised to show us “Bohol like we've never seen it before.”" - Article

3. Eating Landang with Buri

A delicacy from Cambuhat, Buenavista... It tastes much like your regular "ginataan" but with a creamier and delicate texture. It tastes good when hot, and feels nice for the full stomach.

"I was treated to landang, a dish of cooked rice, coconut milk, tapioca, and buri powder. It’s best to enjoy the delicacy as a dessert after a hearty meal, and while it's still hot." - Article

4. Up-close but professional with Municipal Mayors

Chatted with two Mayors: Danao Mayor Thomas Louis Gonzaga & Loon Mayor Lloyd Peter Lopez... Talks were purely professional and delved into the beginnings, status and futures of their respective destinations.

5. Wall-climbing

15 meter wall-climb... I tried the moderate challenge. The photo might fool you, but I never made it to the top... my arms just couldn't handle my weight!

Photo by Don Manganar
"... climb moderate, hard, or extreme up a 15-meter rock wall." - Article

6. Rappeling

60 meters by the mountainside... It was easy it first, but when the cliff turned inward I had nothing to jump on. Tried to speed things up, but ended with a blister. Might challenge myself again soon...

Photo by Don Manganar
"One can also choose to rappel 60 meters down the smooth mountainside..." - Article

7. Zipline

Suislide... The name betrays the experience. It was bliss! 45 seconds, 480 meters afar and 200 meters deep is a must-do-again!

Photo by Don Manganar
"...Suislide is an enjoyable-yet-practically-suicidal 45-second inclined zipline atop the sprawling trees and the rushing river." - Article

8. Canyon Swing

The Plunge... Not for everyone, but definitely for me! Feel your weight go away as you fall into the abyss, then dangle to and fro before being hoisted back up.

AsianTraveler's Don Manganar ready for the Plunge
"Soon, I was left to dangle across the half-kilometer distance between the ranges, down a 70-meter cable, enjoying the sights and the sounds of nature around my own, personal void of consciousness..." - Article

9. Spelunking

Kamaria Cave... Been to caves before: Caves with big entrances and wide tunnels. Though they say it was the easiest, Kamaria Cave was a challenge for me... but I enjoyed it. In the end, I got out with sore legs and wet clothes.

Restie, Don & myself inside Kamaria Cave
"Getting in was no easy task, but ropes, rock protrusions, tree roots and our ever-helpful guides made it an active but enjoyable experience." - Article

10. Monkey bonding

Loon's Macaque Monkeys... 21 uncaged monkeys come up to be fed. There's a huge alpha male who gets a bulk of the food... the rules of the band say so.

One of Loon's monkeys
"The tour is perfect as an up-close animal-watching opportunity." - Article

The details and the rest of the trip can be found in the latest issue of AsianTraveler Magazine entitled "Philippine Summer: Hidden Destinations" now out in all major bookstores and magazine stands.

Turn to Page 102!!!
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A Jedi Knight's "Colorful" Holy Week

Friday, April 29, 2011 4 comments
Many of us spend our Holy Week out-of-town, going on vacation or enjoying the alluring scene at the beach. This year, while I spent most of the Week at home, the highlight was one unforgettable out-of-town trip, not with swimmers or tourists but with kids who "live life to the fullest."

Being a member of the Philippine Chapter of the Rebel Legion, I've been to a number of events where our presence as a costumed group was requested. The principle of the Legion, inspired by its sister organization, the 501st Legion, is to don costumes for charity. And one charity we've promised our appearance this year is the Rainbow Camp at Hermosa, Bataan.

Rainbow Camp is an annual Holy Week camp designed by volunteer doctors, nurses and health professionals for kids with diabetes. Everything from food, activities, schedules and games take into account the risks involved and the needs of the participants, the oldest at 18 years old.

This year, they've chosen Star Wars for their camp theme. So, I and Macy, a fellow Rebel, together with the 501st Legion's Jerome and Jovan set out for Bataan to surprise the kids and show them how we adults enjoy donning costumes and playing with toys.

The camp was so enjoyable. After our appearance, we were whisked into the judges' table to give scores to the participants' costumes. The kids (and the adults), in all their make-up, clothing and props would resemble an invasion in the Empire. The effort was just enlightening.

In the end, it was the kids' time to shine. Despite battling with a sickness, no hint of tire or weariness can be seen from them. The camp was like a home where they learn the beginnings of being normal... that having diabetes is just a different lifestyle for a normal person. People must learn from them, to not dwell on problems but live and work with it.

Before leaving the camp, we saw some of the participants graduate. We're sure that they will bring to their lives what they've learned in their years at Rainbow Camp. Not to mention the friendships they've earned... when they've grown mature over the years, they themselves will be teaching young ones how to cope with their disease, just like a Jedi Knight teaches his Padawan Learner...

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Lenten Surprise!

Friday, April 22, 2011 1 comments
It's Good Friday today. For all practicing Catholics out there, it means it's the last day of the weekly gastronomic sacrifice of fasting and abstinence for the Lenten season...

For weeks now, in keeping with tradition, our family has restricted our Friday diet to seafood and vegetables, which was the perfect time for me to experiment on new recipes to utilize our limited stock. One of my favorite discoveries was... Shrimp Thermidor.

I've always known Thermidor as a lavish and luxurious dish served on rare occasions. The movie "Julie & Julia" featured the making of Lobster Thermidor during the birthday of one of the protagonists. What surprised me is that the sauce itself is easy and inexpensive to make... it's the seafood ingredient that makes it expensive.

The sauce is a superb melange of buttery, cheesy and bit-of-spicy flavors that it can be eaten in itself as a viand along with rice. Mix in a bit of the cooking water where your seafood was boiled and you'll have the flavor of the sea in it. I've done this dish twice already, and it never fails to surprise me.

My Shrimp Thermidor was actually an improved version of's recipe. If you wish to make the sauce but you don't have access to lobster, shrimp or other seafood, adding a shrimp flavor cube dissolved in a cup of water does the trick. And if, like me, you don't have an oven, try melting your parmesan cheese into the sauce right before you take it off the heat. That way, it's flavors blend into the sauce...

The sauce works with most seafood, but I prefer lobster, shrimps (the big ones), scallops & cream dory.

Try tweaking the recipe a bit... add other spices, play with the formula... That's what I do in the kitchen when I feel like it or if I'm missing an ingredient. Your cooking skills may just surprise you...

Here's the recipe from Shrimp Thermidor
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This Time Around in Boracay

Friday, April 15, 2011 2 comments

Ah yes! Boracay, the exotic beach-lined tropical getaway that always makes it to the list of favorite summer destinations. Getting there isn't easy... nor is getting out. And yet, I found myself in its pristine beaches again this 2nd week of April, with a full week left before vacation-laden Holy Week started.

It was my 2nd time in Boracay. The first one was in 2008, in a stress-relieving post-concert treat for my college choir... I remember, we took the RORO route then, eating half a day for travel time one-way. This time, I took the plane with 2 of my cousins, and 3 friends who've all had their fair share of traveling around. We landed at Kalibo... where we took off as well.

The main reason I thought of going to Boracay was to visit my cousin Dale, who's doing his training as a chef in one of the hotels there. The trip was essentially fruitful since we were able to meet him up and bond while he was enjoying his day-off. I have high hopes that his training at a fiery, busy kitchen will finally teach him lessons on ample schedule and preparation of dishes... Good luck, mate!

Boracay hasn't changed much in 3 years... the same bars stand, the same hotels reign supreme, the same food get served and the same waters hit the shores, much to the delight of the beach-savvy folk. Underneath all those exterior displays of bliss is the blessing of nature through the peaceful sunset, the white sand and the leisurely contemplation of families having fun and friends hanging out. Just ignore the occasional lumot and you'll enjoy Boracay just by walking along its shores, with all the sights of heaven before your very eyes...

And, I have to say this... the Chori Burger remains immaculate!

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The Friday Blog

Friday, April 8, 2011 0 comments
This is Jerricho, signing in... it's been a while since I last blogged over at my Livejournal account. For the past 2 years, it's been pretty much social networking and micro-blogging sites... just letting people know where I am, what I'm doing or what-the-hell fancies my coconut.

I make a living out of writing nowadays. Varied stuff from cyanobacteria to recipes eat my week that when Friday comes, my brain is all stuffed and ready to be delivered to the oven. Here enters the Friday blog...

Starting today, I'll be blogging about interesting stuff that make my life vibrant: dishes I make, places I've been to and other quirks unbeknownst to most of my friends. Think of it as my weekly dose of coffee. I hope you enjoy this as much as I hope to... the Echo Brew...

Let's start brewing!!!

P.S. The blog banner was made by yours truly: the scrabble tiles were taken by a good friend, Lianne; the bamboo path and the crabs were taken during my recent trip to Bohol, about which I'll be writing soon.

Off to Boracay within 12 hours. Watch out for the entry next week...
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