Monday, November 14, 2011

100 Days to Heaven nears end--Kuha mo?!

"100 Days to Heaven" is a primetime drama series on Philippines's ABS-CBN Channel 2. The series started in May 2011 and will end this week. It's airing nightly Monday to Friday. When the series ends, it will be much missed by its viewers who've been touched in many ways not only but its wonderful storyline but also by the great acting of its lead actors. Connie Reyes and Xyriel Manabat are among the actors in this series that have hooked with their acting chops the viewers who've lovingly watched this series from start to finish (and that includes me and my family!). Connie plays the character "Madam Anna Manalastas," a successful but much-feared businessperson who was murdered (killer unknown). When she dies, she's sent back to Earth by a character, presumably St. Peter, to have a chance to make up for the bad she did while still alive. This arrangement was to save Anna from hell to which she was supposedly destined to because of being a "bad person" in her lifetime. But the hitch is that Anna is sent back as an adult in the form of a child (actually how Anna supposedly looked like when she was small), played to perfection by cute seven-year-old Xyriel Manabat. Big Anna has the habit of retorting to people "Kuha mo?" (or "Get it?") in her high-pitched voice. Of course, in her teeny high-pitched voice, little Anna (but actually adult Anna) shared the same habit. And one of Anna's mistakes-to-correct-on-Earth is finding and making up with her child Trisha. Anna gave up Trisha for adoption after giving birth to her as a teenage single parent. And, as the storyline goes, Trisha turned out to be Sophia, who was part of the family that "adopted" Anna when she came back to Earth as a child. (Sophia doesn't know at the start that she's adopted by the family that she's known for so long and that Anna's her real mom. In fact, she doesn't know that she's the heir of rich Anna.)

Clever dialogues, credible and creative storyline, many lessons in life to pick up from many episodes, memorable scenes, good acting by the main cast and also the guest actors every week, a beautiful theme song ("Mahiwaga," a classic Filipino song)
and more factors conspired together to make this series one of the best that a local TV network has produced. Hopefully in the years to come, Philippines's TV networks will produce more such good shows. These good shows make staying home and watching them with the family a great time for bonding.

Poster of "100 Days to Heaven," featuring adult Anna (Connie Reyes), and Anna as a child (Xyriel Manabat). (Photo source: Internet)

In this promo photo, Anna as a child (Xyriel Manabat) bonding with her daughter Sophia/Trisha (Jodie Sta. Maria). (Photo source: Internet)

In this promo photo, big Anna and little Anna pose at a shooting break with Anna's long-lost Mom played by Susan Roces. Susan was only one of the many popular actors who guested in the series. These actors played characters that have, in one way or another, been part of Anna's life when she was alive and to which she had to correct some not-so-good thing she'd done to them. (Photo source: Internet)

This the appearance of the cast of "100 Days to Heaven" on November 6, 2011 on TV show "ASAP Rocks," prior to their last week of airing. Fatima Soriano leads the singing of the series theme song "Mahiwaga" (literally meaning "magical," "a source of wonder." (Youtube source: channel owner )..

Friday, November 4, 2011

Ramona Revilla allegedly flies to HK--sign of guilt or what?

Some people say that when someone accused of a wrongdoing (e.g., a crime) takes flight, it's a sign of guilt. Well, I just saw a breaking news tonight on TV that Ramona Revilla, one of those being implicated as a suspect in the recent murder of her brother (Ram) and attempted murder on Ram's girlfriend a few nights ago in a plush village south of Manila, has supposedly just flown to Hong Kong (HK) through the Manila airport.

The large and rich Revilla clan is well-known in the Philippines's showbusiness and political circles. Actors and politicians make up this clan. The events in the past days involving the murder of Ram and the subsequent tagging by the police of Ramona and another brother as main suspects in the murder has inevitably captured the attention of every Filipino. The accusations have also rocked the Revilla family into a frenzy of denials about their kins' involvement. Ramona, after giving an initial statement to the police on her version of what happened, couldn't be found for a few days after the crime. Earlier today, she suddenly surfaced to deny the accusations and retract her previous statement given to the police. But with her surprising alleged flight tonight to HK amid her and her family's denials of her and her brother's involvement in the grisly crime, more questions are raised and begged to be answered.

The brother also being tagged as a suspect (and co-mastermind of Ramona, in fact) is, by the way, already being held by the police. But his lawyer is accusing the police of illegal detention or a similar case. Ram's girlfriend is still being hospitalized for the serious wounds she got when she and Ram were attacked. Her version on how the attack happened and whom she saw as their attackers would be really be interesting to hear.

The plot thickens as this real-life telenovela unfolds with more surprises and revelations, and accusations and denials, every day.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Yolanda's Eatery in Tacloban, Leyte (Philippines) beckons

(NOTE: On November 8, 2013, Leyte province described below, where Yolanda's restaurant is located as mentioned here, was one of the areas devastated by supertyphoon Yolanda [or Haiyan as internationally known]. I'm sure Yolanda's is now gone because it's right beside the sea that became a monster wave because of a terrifying storm surge that was caused by the strong typhoon. The storm surge from the sea flattened many structures in the area including several houses, buildings, the airport near Yolanda's, and hurt and killed many people. My sympathies and prayers go to my countrymates involved in this calamity.)

If ever you’ll come to Leyte, a province in the Visayas region of the Philippines (that’s about in the middle part of the country), be sure to get your fill of the wonderful food at Yolanda’s.

Yolanda’s is a seaside eatery in Barangay San Jose in Tacloban City, the capital of Leyte. (Barangay is a small village or community.) A meal at Yolanda’s will definitely help make your stay in beautiful Leyte even more memorable. This eatery is just a few minutes away from Tacloban City’s airport. It's also not far from your next possible stop after Yolanda’s for a photo op, which would be the “Leyte Landing Memorial Park” in Palo town, also known as “MacArthur Park.” The Park features big bronze statues immortalizing the team of high-ranking soldiers led by Gen. Douglas MacArthur as it waded its way to the beach, fulfilling MacArthur’s “Second World War” promise to the Philippines that he will return to help liberate the country from the Japanese forces.

Back to Yolanda’s. You see in the photos here (which I took when I had lunch there on a recent trip to Leyte with some friends) that the place is low-maintenance inside and, more so, outside. Even its signboard seems to have fallen off. But anyone wanting to savor what Yolanda’s has to offer wouldn’t have a hard time getting directions on going there because this restaurant is famous in the locality not for its looks but for its delicious food. The eatery is like a "well-kept open secret" for the townsfolk. (But then, the simple seaside ambiance of Yolanda’s could be a come-on for people who would want a countryside [or seaside] feel while having their meal.)

Yes, Yolanda’s sits on the beachfront but don’t expect a whitesand beach. But you’ll have a nice picturesque view of the wide sea from your seat as you partake of your freshly cooked food. And expect refreshing seabreeze wafting through Yolanda’s dining hall throughout your lunch or dinner. While at Yolanda’s, you can also get a glimpse of the life of the community in Yolanda’s neighborhood. Small fishing boats (bancas) with outriggers are resting on the beach; newly washed clothes are hanging from the nearby houses’ clotheslines, fences, and boats' outriggers; and the residents are busy going here and there for their chores or sitting around for some chit-chat.

Yolanda’s may be simple in looks, and its servers are als
o simple folks. But you’ll be there expecting good food, and that’s what you’ll get. This eatery’s menu is basically what’s found in a regular Filipino home, and you can choose from seafoods, chicken, pork and beef meat, and vegetable viands. You can go to Yolanda’s kitchen to choose from its stock and discuss with the server or the cook the way you want your food to be done. Of course, you should also take the cook’s (and even the server’s) suggestions on cooking your food (they are Yolanda’s experts, after all). When my friends and I were there, the cook was a man, whom we later met when we were about to leave the place. I just don’t know if he’s also the cook for dinner time.

A meal at Yolanda's is worth the bit of waiting for it to be served to you. Your
discriminating taste buds and grumbling stomach will truly be happy with the wonderful taste of the fish cooked in hot broth (fish tinola); prawns fried in ginger (among other ingredients); and grilled fish. My group didn’t quite understand what the names of the fish were in the local dialect, but we were too busy enjoying our food to ask more questions. On our table were condiments like vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce, and small lemons (calamansi) for anyone who wants to mix some dip or sauce (sawsawan) for her or his food. Bottled drinks are available at Yolanda's. After finishing off your food, you can refresh yourself at the eatery's washroom where there's plenty of water.

Among Yolanda’s many specialties, the fish tinola, fried prawns, and grilled fish
were the ones that my friends and I enjoyed that lunch time. And I hope you, too, will experience Yolanda's in your trip to Leyte, someday. Hopefully, soon.

And, by the way, finding out at Yolanda’s that prawns fried in ginger could be tasty was quite a discovery for me!
That led me to do some experimentation upon going home to Manila. After adding ginger to my own version of fried prawns, it then seemed to me that ginger WAS the missing ingredient in my prawn dish! Yummy! I’ll tell you about that in another blog entry soon.