Archive for June 2010
As you know, things are busy at Kabbalah Philippines – which is a good thing.
On Monday July 5th, we’re having our first Intro To Kabbalah lecture in almost nine months! And we’re not entirely sure when the next one will be.
The Intro will be given by Sarah Lopez who does the Intro talks at the London Centre now. I’ve heard the lecture many times but what I love about it is that it reminds me of how simple and universal Kabbalah is. And it makes me think, how can anyone NOT want this wisdom in their lives? It works at such a seed, fundamental level! It’s so useful – in every aspect of life!
Praying and pushing for nothing less than a fabulous turnout. It’s gonna be great!
As I was drying myself off after a shower the other day…
Rocio: Nice boobs, Mom!… Getting BIGGER!
(This second post is coming a few months after the first one, but better late than never!)
The time difference between NY and SF made it easy for us to get up early on Saturday, despite our efforts to paint the town red the night before. (Now that we’re older, perhaps I should say that we painted the town a pale shade of pink before passing out.) Fortunately, we were blessed with amazingly sunny and warm weather, unlike the chilly days my family and I dealt with last May. So what does one do on a beautiful Saturday in San Francisco? Head to the Ferry Building, of course!
We hopped on the trolley and took a bumpy ride from Union Square to the northeast end of Market Street. It was about 10:30AM, and the crowds roaming the outdoor stands were still manageable. Our initial plan was to locate some breakfast grub to fill our grumbling tummies, but the breeze carried over a waft of savory deliciousness that could have only come from one thing: pork.
In the minutes that followed, several pieces began falling into place in my mind: (1) a number of SF Chowhound posts mentioned a roaming food truck that served some of the best porchetta on the planet, (2) said food truck could allegedly be found parked in the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market every Saturday, and (3) Twin-ham and I happened to be standing in the middle of the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market. On a Saturday.
Like well-trained bloodhounds, Twin-ham and I sniffed our way to the source of those delicious aromas. We found ourselves standing before an awe-inspiring sight: a shiny food truck equipped with at least 15 separate rotisserie rods on each side. Each spinning metal rod held either golden chickens or THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PORK ROASTS I HAD EVER SEEN. And as though this wasn’t sufficient, crispy potatoes lay beneath the roasting meat, happily soaking up all delectable drippings. The company website states that Mr. Odermatt is one of the world’s foremost authorities on rotisserie grilling, and I believe he deserves a Nobel prize for contributions made to the world of pork cookery.
By the time we got in line, there were about eight or ten people waiting for whatever Thomas was selling (roast porchetta, roast chicken, roast spring lamb, and roast pig knuckles), with a shorter ‘express line’ specific to chicken only. (And when I say that line was shorter, I mean no one was waiting in line for the chicken.) All this led us to the conclusion that something else was worth waiting in line for, and that something was the roast pork sandwich. The menu described it as a full slice of roast porchetta, topped with a fresh herb salad, onion marmalade and served on ciabatta bread. We decided to share one sandwich (it was massive!), and settled on a nearby bench to stuff our faces. Following my first bite, my brain nearly exploded. Clearly, I was holding the world’s most perfect sandwich in my hands. The porchetta was moist, savory, and perfectly seasoned, while the bits of crackling were salty/crunchy accents. Following my second bite, I was practically in tears. And following my last–heavenly–bite, I was seriously considering getting back in line to buy another sandwich. (And I also scolded myself for sharing the other half with Twin-ham.) Unfortunately, the line had grown to about 20-25 people, which is a testament to the sheer perfection of RoliRoti’s porchetta.
Twin-ham and I both agreed that the RoliRoti porchetta sandwich was one of the best sandwiches on the planet. The next time you happen to visit San Francisco, make sure a RoliRoti stop is part of your itinerary!
Summertime is all about outdoor activities in this city. Strolling, biking, running, picnics are the activities of choice for those who have spent many a winter’s night indoors keeping warm from the biting New York cold. For years now the Public Theater has been performing in Central Park’s Delacorte Theater for New Yorkers gratis. This popular and beloved summer tradition is on most new yorkers’ bucket list…mine included!
As tickets are given away for free you can imagine the number of people that camp out early to fall in line just to score tickets. Guess what? I was lucky enough to be invited and I didn’t have to line up for hours! Woohoo!
I took a picture of the hundreds of people waiting to enter the theater to give you an idea of how coveted these tickets are.
Every year the Public Theater invites veteran actors to star in their summer production. Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Denzel Washington, Ed Harris are just some of the stars who graciously donated their time and talent to produce these plays.
This summer we have none other than Al Pacino to star in the Merchant of Venice playing Shylock the Jew. How. Cool. Is. That?!
Here is another shot of him that I grabbed from gothamist.com
To my pleasant surprise, the cast consisted of some fairly known yet super talented actors. Jessie Martin, who played on the original production of Rent as well as starred in Law & Order, is also part of this production playing Gratiano.
Max Wright, who is most known playing the father in the 80′s sitcom ALF, also stars in the play as the Prince of Aragon. His voice sounded so familiar it took me a while to figure out who he was. Apparently this guy is quite the thespian with numerous Shakespeare plays in his resume!
The Merchant of Venice is the first Shakespeare play I read. In fact I still have the book I bought in High School complete with margin notes. So I was pretty excited to revisit this play through Al Pacino’s unbelievable performance.
Shylock the Jew is a reviled character and his persona is written in a way that draws out extreme emotions from you: hatred and sympathy. Pacino does this with so much precision. You abhor him yet you feel his pain. The most moving moment in the play for me was when he was baptized as a Christian against his will. It was just so painful to watch, seeing a proud proud man humbled in such a humiliating way. Pacino rocks!
I remember enjoying this play as reading material but watching these great actors give life to their characters stirred so much emotion in me (Cancer month, is that you?). Really, I was speechless.
I wish we were allowed to take pictures because the set design was also pretty awesome. I found a model of the set in broadwayworld.com. It’s a clever design making efficient use of these iron semi-circle gates to shift from one scene to another. Hope this gives you an idea.
Watching an outdoor play with amazing actors on a cool summer evening while the sun was setting was just so surreal for me. It just doesn’t get better than that! I’m going to try to line up (online) for A Winter’s Tale which is also showing in the park. I hope the gods of chance are on my side this summer. If not, I’m just thankful I got to see Pacino in the park this year.
This was aired yesterday. Missed the airing so ended up watching it online just this afternoon.
It’s a candid, casual, sincere look at our nation’s leader. All biases aside, I think he puts his critics to shame with his informed answers couched in a disarming folksiness. None of that arrogance that so often accompanies political successes and egos.
I liked that he showed subtle but telling emotions when talking about his dad’s incarceration and assassination. And how he joked about what he would say to his folks if they were still around.
My hope is that he stays this grounded and accessible for his entire term.
* The video doesn’t seem to want to load. You can click on here.
I must admit, coming to this book launch initially felt like a chore. But there was no excuse for me not to go as I was already in the area and I told your Little Twin-hubby and another friend who invited that I would go (yes, I my word is as strong as oak). And so it came to pass that the girl believed to bring bad luck to the basketball team and banned from basketball games ends up in a book launch about basketball. Correction: Basketball in the Philippines.
And what a pleasant and immensely entertaining surprise this guy turned out to be. As you already know, Rafe Bartholomew went to the Philippines as a Fulbright scholar and spent 3 years in Manila meeting average height men and immersing in a culture so tightly intertwined with basketball. He served us a generous helping of excerpts from his book, Pacific Rims, which only brought out laughter and more laughter from us, his captivated audience. Here are some shots I took of him.
Check out the full house.
And the groovy host of the event. She caught me about to snap a photo of her and immediately struck this pose. Taray!
After the reading and Q&A, he agreed to sign some books.
We got to chat longer than usual when I dropped your Little Twin-hubby’s name. And the animated conversation just revolved around your in-laws.
At the end, I went home with a new book to devour and a short note…
Operations audit at work? Done. Drink with NYU friend? Done. Pacific Rims book launch? Done! Today didn’t turn out to be so bad after all.
And that’s exactly what we did. After work, I rushed down to Irving Place, which is a quaint and surprisingly quiet little street off of Union Square. They managed to preserve the luster of the brownstones lined up on this street. Take a look!
I’m obsessed with brownstone stoops. If there was a worthy reason to lose my battle against nicotine addiction, it would be to smoke on these steps watching people go by.
“And a big yellow taxi took my girl away…”
Here is a building I fancy.
I tried to take a closer look at the intricate facade.
And a pretty street like this would never be complete without its ubiquitous accessory, the fixie. Work of art!
Standing unassuming on the corner of this lovely street is Mario Batali’s Casa Mono. His version of a spanish taverna. The food here is amazing, it deserves its own blog post.
As I was just having a few drinks with a friend, we opted to go to the adjacent tapas bar, Bar Jamon.
We feasted on vino tinto from Alicante, jamon serranno and lotsa cheese! I took some shots from inside.
And after my castillan fill of wine and grub, off I ran to the book launch.
We called it my birthday ride (bida!). 65 miles of mostly long and steep uphill climbs doesn’t exactly sound like a party. But the feeling you get after the 65th (65.8 to be exact) mile is better than a birthday party. It’s just gratifying. And when you find out that this long and punishing ride burned you about 4,400 calories, well you just feel like a million bucks…and 10 pounds lighter! Just to put things in perspective, 65 miles is about 100 kilometers, so do the math and tell me how far 100 km is.
We started in Madison, NJ and crossed various counties which took us through the most breathtaking sceneries I’ve ever seen. Even nicer than the Long Island vineyards. Here is a shot of our starting point, Drew University.
And then we were off! That’s Little Twin-team mate breaking away with a sprint.
And here is a backside shot of moi recovering on this downhill. I’m glad you can’t see my face wincing in pain. Hurt so good baby!
Let me give you an idea of some of the inclines we had to climb. It doesn’t look so daunting in the photo but believe me it is challenging.
Here is just some of the landscape we were biking through. Given that we were busy pedaling, we really couldn’t take more photos, but this gives you an idea.
Sometimes on rides like these someone is bound to have a flat tire. That’s Little Twin-team mate changing his tubes and showing us how it’s done and done right.
About 5 hours later, here we are still standing…and sitting!
Which is more than what I can say about our bikes…death by hills!
This ride was one of the most organized bike events I’ve attended. So thanks to the Morris Area Freewheelers and their team of volunteers. You guys rock!
Next on the agenda, 100 miles! God help us…
This was emailed to me today. And it is simply too good, too true not to share. So reproduced here, without permission but with great humility, are the words of the very wise Tony Meleto.
The Challenge of a Hundred Days: Believing that Filipinos can End Poverty and Corruption in the Philippines
by Tony Meloto
Is it possible for Filipinos within my lifetime – I just turned sixty – to unite and raise a great President who can
make us believe that ours can be a strong nation?
I believe we can.
That leader can be President-elect Benigno C. Aquino III. The historic moment can be now.
Hopefully, we don’t squander this chance. Time is running out on my generation and I don’t want my children
to inherit a country that they cannot be proud of, that will not guaranty them safety and opportunity for a
The first 100 days after June 30 is not just for the new President to prove to us that he can lead but, more
importantly, for all of us to prove to ourselves that we love this country enough to set aside our differences and
interests to help him succeed and finally show the world that we are not too selfish and self-serving. .. and
downright stupid… in the practice of our faith and freedom.
The first 100 days is our test if we can do things differently given this new window of opportunity. We not only
need a good leader but we have to prove to ourselves that we are deserving of a good one.
The new President has feet of clay who has yet to end his nicotine addiction and he will most likely fail us if we
do not give him the strength he needs to overcome his weaknesses. He needs us as we need him to be strong as
a people. Let’s try our best not to fail one another. Now that elections are over it is time to come out and
express solidarity with our chosen leader for the good of all by being what we demand him to be.
I deliberately hid from sight in the last election to remain non-partisan and respect the choices of friends with
their multi-colored political loyalties. While I prayed for good leaders I personally knew to win, I kept my
silence… and peace, and waited for winners to be proclaimed, eager to get back to work with those who want to
work with us.
I saw no candidate as adversary or enemy. I engage those who respect our terms of engagement. Anyone
who is a friend of the poor is a friend. Anyone who loves my country is family. I regret the defeat of good
leaders I know, but look forward to working with the victors that I have yet to know. Leadership after all is not
about winning elections or staying in power but about going beyond self-interest and rising above rivalries for a
higher cause, even working with political opponents – call it balimbing or whatever name you like – for the
To build a strong nation, we must learn to engage everyone, bridge gaps that divide and leverage limited
resources by encouraging those who have, to give more to those who have less.
While we must engage every politician without judgment and without compromise, our cause of nation-building
must transcend politics. Politics is for politicians, nation-building is for everyone – from the highest leader of
the land to the weakest squatter in the poorest slum. It is for ordinary citizens like me to help provide
connectivity to the un-reached, build trust among the wary and give hope to those in despair.
In the first 100 days, let us be a people of faith.
First, it is good to start by having faith in our leader. We must accept him wholeheartedly as the President for
all Filipinos, including those who did not vote for him.
Given the circumstances of his miraculous ascendancy to power, reluctant in the beginning yet resolute with an
overwhelming mandate in the end, we must accept that it is his divine destiny to lead us. If he is God-sent then
we must treasure the gift and provide him all the support and encouragement to build a just and prosperous
Let us not trivialize the opportunity to start right with our petty politics nor be influenced by ugly cynics who do
not see anything good in this country or in this life. Let us be radical optimists and hope-weavers for a change,
to give our new leader and our country a chance.
It is imperative for those who worked hard for his victory to remain noble and true by not expecting any favors
in return for their efforts. Great leaders are often pulled down by followers who demand their share of power.
Great chances to do great good are spoiled when nobility is exchanged for the spoils of victory. On the other
hand if asked by their leader to do a crucial task, they must also be humble enough to accept.
From our new President, let us demand nothing but faith in himself that he can be faithful to his covenant to
govern with integrity, courage and justice.
From every Filipino, let us also demand nothing less than faith in ourselves that we can transform an entire
nation – slum after slum, barrio after barrio – by transforming ourselves first. Let us not simply depend on the
awesome power of the President and blame everything on him if he fails to deliver. Rather, let us harness the
awesome power of the people, united and committed to do good, to help the President deliver.
Concretely, what can we do?
Start by believing that every Filipino can help, even the poorest among them.
Like the poor in Payatas (Quezon City) who did not sell their votes but even contributed their meager resources
to his campaign or carried his yellow ribbon in their tricycle without getting paid. We must see the poor as a
blessing, not a burden… as assets, not liabilities.
The poor are starting to see him as hope. This was their statement in the last election when they chose
Noynoy. We must therefore help him champion the rising Filipino poor for their hope not to be dashed again.
Help him help them out of extreme poverty and give them middle-class aspirations. That will motivate them to
work and send their children to school. The rejected stones can be the foundation of a strong nation. A true
leader is one who will make this happen.
To usher in a season of hope, we can do many things in the next 100 days.
* Give unproductive land to the squatters.
* Build a home for the homeless.
* Start a business.
* Join a medical mission.
* Plant a tree.
* Send a poor child to school.
The list of good things to do is endless. The list of things to complain about is also endless. Better to walk the
talk than preach and bitch.
To start a period of grace for corruption to end, we can also do many honest things in the 100 days.
* Do not cheat the wife.
* Do not give or accept a bribe.
* Do not rob the poor of just wages.
* Do not pad the expense account.
* Do not cheat in exams.
Again, it is a long list but it always begins with me.
I cannot demand honesty from our government leaders if I cannot be honest myself.
As for me and my household, we will offer the 100 days in simple and sincere service to our poor countrymen.
We will pursue our drive to build sustainable and empowered communities in every barangay in
the country. The Gawad Kalinga People Power Over Poverty campaign we launched in 2004 with Tita Cory
will be a great legacy for the son to continue 6 years later. Continuity is key to development which does not
Many social initiatives that bloomed during the term of the mother may finally bear fruit and be ripe for harvest
during the term of the son. But they must be willing to work with one another to make things work for the good
of an entire nation.
This is key to the first 100 days. It must send the signal to everyone, starting at the top all the way to the ground,
that the interest of the country is first.
To have impact, it must be supported by those who placed him in the highest office of the land. Imagine the
power of the 14 million Filipinos who voted for Noynoy to lead in being good citizens – obeying traffic rules,
avoid polluting our waterways, staying away from drugs or simply not pissing in public.
We must be first in showing discipline and character in defining our own 100 days. An important statement needs to be made.
The Yellow Power is not just about waging a political campaign to win an election. It is about winning the campaign to build a nation.
This is also true for Filipinos abroad who gave Noynoy a big vote of confidence. They must have enough
confidence in him to match this with action. They can visit, volunteer, remit, donate or invest or whatever they
can do for the country’s benefit – things they have been doing before, but must now do so, more than ever. Most
importantly, they must herald the advent of hope for a beloved Mother-land and the emergence of the Global
Filipino who will no longer allow himself to be defined by poverty and corruption.
I’m writing this piece at 4 am in Washington DC on the third leg of an eight city tour to rally Filipinos in
America through GK USA to build our Filipino Dream in this new springtime of hope with our People Power
For this to happen, this must be clear to me. Noynoy is no longer just the son of a great mother and father; he is
now my President who deserves his shot at greatness with every Filipino’s support and prayers.
Pardon the musings of a senior citizen who is tired of waiting for the right leader to come. This time I cannot
afford to fail. I owe it to my six grandchildren and those who are still to come to give my all to make my new
President the right one, for them and every Filipino to have a future full of grace in this cherished Pearl of the
Before I sleep let me end this with a prayer.
Dear GOD, bless us with a leader who will be bold, able and true and grant us the faith to believe that the
Filipino’s time to shine has come, that the Philippines is finally treasured as a precious gift… from YOU. Amen.
This post may be out of character for Kiki, the non-shopper, but I wanted to show you the multi-faceted shopping experience this city offers. Our plan to go to the Brazil Film Festival morphed into an evening of vintage shopping and an impromptu picnic at the park. Not a bad trade-off.
In my favorite part of the city lies a consignment store where you can find vintage clothes and accessories in tip top condition. The second hand market in this country is really fascinating. Clothes, cars, electronic equipment to just about anything pre-owned can be sold to the highest bidder. This boutique specializes in men’s and women’s luxury fashion and accessories.
Owned by this very friendly and hospitable man.
He gives constructive fashion advice which really helps when you are in his shop. Believe me its very tempting to max out the plastic even on things that aren’t very flattering to you because everything in his shop is a deal. So he happily shares his unbiased opinions even if it means losing a sale. Cool no?
So come take a look see into his shop.
I really liked this Marni dress in the center. It just didn’t come in my size.
Hanging on the wall is a lovely Derek Lam skirt and a Gucci leather jacket. I was drawn to the skirt for some reason.
Here I am examining this DVF wrap dress. I tried it on and boy was it sexeh! I so regret not buying it. It was picked up by someone else the day after. Boo!
This is Little Twin-girlfriend assessing her shopping damage. Not a huge damage at all!
And here I am striking a pose. Like the bag?
It’s a very unassuming shop which pretty much characterizes the shops in this part of town. I’m hoping it stays this way.