The Social Climber Chronicles (6)…A Chilly Comeback.

•April 21, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Hello, ladies. I’m sorry I haven’t touched base in a while. I had to go on a long hiatus to take care of “non-frivolous” things. I’m glad to report that my little venture has been successful and I look forward to telling everyone about my “adventure”. But I missed telling you about my many junkets during the hiatus. I will find time to fill you in later on. (My boyfriend says I keep making that promise but I post so sporadically, the blog almost seems like a semi-annual magazine. Pfft. Well, if he wanted me to write more, he should take me out of the city more.)

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The Rearing of SwankChild (8)…The Saga Won’t End…

•April 17, 2014 • Leave a Comment
My favorite of the franchise. No contest. (Photo screengrab from itsmegracee.blogspot.com)

My favorite of the franchise. No contest.
(Photo screen grab from itsmegracee.blogspot.com)

In 1984, Regal films produced the first “Shake, Rattle and Roll”.  It was an aberration from the insipid movies that were being churned out by the movie companies of the time.  This movie was good.  More than good, it was effective.  It scared the bejeezus out of it’s viewers.  When Joel Torre’s hand crawled its way from the grave to haunt Arlene Muhlach (Unfortunately, I never saw the beginning of the segment), to that naughty, naughty refrigerator and its trysts with Janice De Belen, and finally to the terrorizing Irma Alegre stalking Herbert in the dark forest.  It was a winner.  Hailed as a triumph way ahead of its time, the first SRR managed to scare its audience without breaking the bank in special effects.

As Tina Fey said decades later, “If something kinda works, we just keep doing it until everybody hates it.” The same production outfit proceeded to churn out SRR sequels with the same formula that has made educated audience scorn at Philippine Cinema and dread the Christmas season where all sorts of crap earn money because foreign films are banned.  Now, instead of eager anticipation, the Shake, Rattle and Roll franchise is met with eye-rolling and disdain.

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High Hopes (Introduction to the MD Saga)

•February 22, 2014 • 4 Comments

Something wonderful just happened to me.  In a rare occasion, I managed to make everyone around me happy.  I did this by passing the Physician Licensure Examination of February 2014 <insert applause here>.  Such a wonderful event surely has an epic saga attached to it and the sheer relief I feel and the jubilation of those around me demand that I narrate it to you.  But ever since I found out that I finally made it, I have been stumped at trying to find the right words.  For some reason, everything that I wrote in the last two days concerning this topic has been, well, crap. Then, I realized that this was not the first time I wrote about my uphill battle with The Big MD.  I had started this series years ago, five years ago to be exact in a defunct blog I had but did not maintain.  So, because things have come full circle, I will share with you my journal entry/introduction to the series “High Hopes”  by finally publishing my unfinished thoughts from five years and a million stories ago.

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The Social Climber Chronicles crossover with Things That Make You Go Hmmm…Cebu Sights and Insights (2)

•October 9, 2013 • Leave a Comment

After the first of many gluttonous experiences in our three-day stay in Cebu, my fiancé and I decided to take in the sights of Cebu.  He made a list of things to do in Cebu and of course, a lot of the tourist-ey things involved sightseeing and shopping for gaudy souvenirs.  So, off we went to be tourists in The Queen City of The South.

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The Social Climber Chronicles…Cebu Lechon Tour (1)

•September 30, 2013 • 2 Comments

What makes a Cebu Lechon special?  First of all, let’s not kid ourselves.  A roasted pig regardless of origin is the Daniel Matsunaga of the palate.  It’s not like I’d say no to putting that in my mouth.  (I meant the pig…I think.) But what makes a Cebu lechon so special that social climbers raise their voice a little louder when they talk about their menu?  “Pina fly-in ko pa iyan sa Cebu, dahlin.” with matching unilateral eyebrow raise.  While the lechon is a favorite of many, Cebuanos take it up a  notch and give it an extra oompf.

I looked for articles on the net regarding Cebu lechon’s secret and the most informative article I got is this article from Reggie Aspiras (Click here for the article).  The secret, she writes, is two-tiered.  The first part is the stuffing. According to the article, Cebuanos guard their stuffing recipe as fiercely as Col. Sanders does.  But there are lemongrass, native spring onions, and Camel soy sauce that are only available in the region.  How to mix the marinade and the exact recipe is the secret that makes their meat tasty and their makers proud.  The next secret in process is the manner of cooking.  “Don’t use coals, use fire.” The article says.  It is responsible for the crisp and crunch of the pig’s skin that brings the eater to his knees.

Whatever the secret of Cebu Lechon is, it has kept Manileños flocking to Cebu like a pilgrimage to decadence.  It has brought back kilos and kilos in laps of travelers and carry on cabin in airplanes causing their fellow travelers to salivate.  It has piqued my curiosity.

The last days of August and the first ones of September have been filled with Lechon in my household.  There has been a lot of reasons to celebrate and indeed, we have been doing a lot of celebrating.  A fixture in most of the parties that we attended or have thrown ourselves is the lechon.     Because really, what would a Filipino celebration be without it?  After the round of parties that we attended, my fiancé wanted to sample the most popular of Cebu lechon and compare it to the pigs we consumed here in Manila.   It was the unhealthiest question we have had to answer, but is Cebu Lechon really better than Manila’s?

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It’s a tough job, but someone had to do it.

So, off we went to Cebu to take on the task of trying three of Cebu’s most popular lechons and compare it to Manila lechon.  This is  why I always wanted to be a food travel writer. What a job that would be.  Our flight to Cebu was at 4:25am and we arrived in Mactan International Airport at 5:40am.  Thankfully, our hotel, Marco Polo Plaza arranged for a car to meet us.

Marco Polo Plaza Hotel is in the heart of Cebu City.  It was built in 2006, but it has the interiors of a much older building.  It had the ambience of the late 70’s with it’s deep brown wood and beige marble.  I was almost expecting a woman with too much hairspray to walk by the grand foyer while smoking.  But only the interiors remind you of a less rigid past, the amenities and policies are thankfully up to date.  Construction also underway to get the hotel in with the times. But from the quiet and comfortable environment, you wouldn’t know it.

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Marco Polo Plaza is a beautiful hotel in the heart of Cebu City.

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View from the grand foyer.

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Yup, we got stuck with a queen and a double. I hate to admit it, but I miss sleeping in separate beds, sometimes.

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This is the view from our room.

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Fake workout. I hope God saw the effort.

First order of business of the day  was different for me.  While my fiancé went straight to bed to get some shuteye. I, knowing that the task at hand would take its toll on the body headed for the gym for some fake workout.  I call it fake workout because the minute I started, I knew my heart wasn’t in it. But I was going to consume one of the Philippines’ most fattening food for three days.  Fake or not, we must run.

IMG_0849 IMG_1679Around lunchtime, it was time to start the lechon mission.  Our first stop was Rico’s lechon, taglined as Cebu’s best although not a lot of Manileños have heard of it.  We heard about Rico’s from endorsements in Facebook when we told friends that we were going on a lechon tour in Cebu. To make sure we do not gorge ourselves, as one tends to do when lechon is so accessible, we limited our orders to half a kilo of lechon, 1 cup of rice each and something like soup to contrast the fat. We had this gluttony down to a science.  I feel kinda proud.  But I digress.

We ordered ¼ kilo of the spicy variety and another quarter of the regular kind; we got fish soup so assuage our guilt in the cholesterol that was about to come our way.

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Really nice, clear broth with fish. Perfect complement for the lechons.

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Do not judge me. This is science.

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What makes Rico’s lechon delicious?  Well, the regular lechon is definitely a step up in regular lechon.  It’s aromatic,  stuffed with intriguing spices, and it had just the right crisp to make you ladle rice to tone down its richness. The spicy variant is not as crispy.  But what it lacks in crisp, it makes up in flavor.  It was an interesting blend of regular lechon with the spice slowly creeping up on your palate until BOOM! the spice hits you.  It was perfect for a Bicolano like my fiancé.  He loved the spicy lechon, which worked out for me because I loooved the regular kind.  Oh yeah, the fish soup was really good, too.  Perfect for a breastfeeding mom like me. Crunch, chew, slurp, burp.  Cool.  My hips just got thicker.  First part of the Lechon Tour, check.

Things That Make You Go Hmmm (11)…Losses

•September 7, 2013 • 4 Comments

I usually try to keep sentiment out of my blog.  This isn’t a journal of private thoughts. It’s a bunch of posts that I write to entertain in the hopes that someone out there is reading it.  Hence, writing about my own mush as a whole piece and not just in mere passing seems indiscreet.  But I suffered a huge loss today and my heart is broken in a million places.  So, forgive my indulgence.

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Things That Make You Go Hmmm (10)…#3 of My Top Five Worst Dates Ever

•August 19, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I wasn’t always a mom (I’ve been at it barely a year) and I was never a good girl.  For a long time, I was a consummate single girl. I wasn’t THE single girl; I didn’t travel enough.  But I certainly had my share of the woes, fun, and shoe addiction that came with being unattached and socially eligible.

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