Tuesday, October 30, 2007


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Related link: Chinese Cemetery

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Please note:
I very much appreciate my articles and photos appearing on fellow bloggers' sites, popular broadsheets, and local broadcast news segments, but I would appreciate even more a request for permission first.
Thank you!


posted by Señor Enrique at 8:09 PM | 28 comments


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Related link: Chinese Cemetery


posted by Señor Enrique at 5:29 PM | 14 comments


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Related link: Chinese Cemetery


posted by Señor Enrique at 2:59 PM | 12 comments

Monday, October 29, 2007


Dateline: October 29, 2007
Precinct No. 1967-A - Mabini Elementary School
Barangay 391 - Quiapo Manila
National Capital Region


posted by Señor Enrique at 3:03 PM | 22 comments

Sunday, October 28, 2007


One of the world's most valuable technology companies with a presence here in the Philippines may have some grant money to dole out. The company's core competence is information infrastructure, and one of the social responsibility programs it supports is the preservation through digital archiving of historical, culturally-important information in national museums and libraries. Hence the company's global headquarters awards grants of varying amounts to worthy projects endorsed from different countries.

f you know of any local historical institutions or initiatives that might benefit from this kind of assistance, please email me your information and I will forward it to the person in charged of application solicitation.


posted by Señor Enrique at 7:44 AM | 12 comments

Saturday, October 27, 2007


"If we breathe the scent of goodly grass, the fragrance of spices, the aroma of good fruits, we pronounce a blessing over the pleasure." - Shmuel Y. Agnon

These are the empty bottles of my three favorite cologne; otherwise referred to as "eau de toilette" in Europe.

I now find these as unsuited for the tropics -- too heavy in scent, I think. Although the middle one would have been all right for Manila, it is not, however, available at the Glorietta branch of Caswell Massey.

Santos by Cartier has always been my favorite, which I used often during the fall, winter and spring seasons; whereas, the Armani I would only use every now and then. I thought I'd take a photo of these empty bottles of my three favorite scents before throwing them out in the garbage.

These days in Manila, I tend to favor those produced locally like
Prescripto's No. 21 which costs only about three dollars a bottle. Only problem is, it tends to wear off quickly, especially while commuting in Manila. I guess, any light scented cologne can be easily inundated by the jeepneys' diesel fumes. But then again, I'm sure some will argue that our skin's pH is what will determine how long a scent lasts.

Incidentally, for women, I think Yves St. Laurent's Opium is classic. But then again, nothing beats the smell of a freshly-bathed infant.


posted by Señor Enrique at 7:26 AM | 32 comments

Friday, October 26, 2007


"Jealousy is simply and clearly the fear that you do not have value. Jealousy scans for evidence to prove the point - that others will be preferred and rewarded more than you. There is only one alternative - self-value. If you cannot love yourself, you will not believe that you are loved. You will always think it's a mistake or luck. Take your eyes off others and turn the scanner within. Find the seeds of your jealousy, clear the old voices and experiences. Put all the energy into building your personal and emotional security. Then you will be the one others envy, and you can remember the pain and reach out to them." ~ Jennifer James


posted by Señor Enrique at 8:14 AM | 16 comments

Thursday, October 25, 2007


They are nowadays referred to as controversial anomalous phenomenon which is believed by some and shunned by the rest as mere figments of the imagination.

My eldest sister Fraulein could see them. Once during the night of a neighbor's death, she saw the spirit of the dead man outside his house, looking in through one of the windows as if checking on his family. On another occasion, an hour before my brother Junior died in his hospital bed in a Makati hospital, Fraulein saw him sitting on the step of her house as she was coming home from work. Instead of approaching him, she immediately turned around and took a cab to the hospital. Already comatose, Junior was pronounced dead shortly after her arrival.

Personally, I haven't seen any ghostly apparition. I could only sense them.

During the ensuing couple of years after my father's death, whenever I was feeling ill even with something as innocuous as a fever, my father would make his presence felt. At times, I could feel the denting on the side of the bed as if he was sitting on it. I wasn't afraid at all. In fact, his presence had a comforting effect that would lull me sleep.

Even more dramatic was when I was also nursing a slight fever a day or two after my high school graduation. I was tirelessly polishing my brand new Rado wristwatch with my handkerchief while lying in bed when I suddenly heard someone asked, "What time is it." As if by instinct I checked my watch and replied, "It's quarter to nine." Thinking it was my brother Junior, I looked up towards where the door was; it was closed and Junior wasn't anywhere near it. And then suddenly I realized it wasn't his voice but that of my father's. I then put the watch away and turned off the light. I went to sleep thinking that my father was probably happy that I had received that Rado watch -- a much anticipated graduation gift.

In Long Island, New York one summer, my best friend and I went bicycling along the north shore for a few days with Montauk Point as our planned destination. On our first night, we stayed at a youth hostel which was a huge house next to the church. Its ground floor served as a recreation center for the parish kids. That evening, when everyone had gone home, my friend and I decided to play another game of billiards before calling it a night. Towards the middle of the game, we both felt something eerie -- a presence of some malevolent entity. I got goosebumps and so did my friend. We just looked at each other and without saying a single word, we raced upstairs to the bedroom, while neglecting to turn off all the lights downstairs in the process. The caretaker, of course wasn't too pleased to have discovered the costly infraction the next morning.

When I moved back to the Philippines, my cousins would often ask why I wasn't too keen on staying over in their rarely-used houses inside the old naval base in Subic. One of which is a sprawling residence most probably reserved for the exclusive use of high ranking US naval officials. Anyway, the one night I spent in that house provided a good enough reason for me not to return. I didn't see or hear anything, but there was definitely some eerie presence in the bedroom where I slept. The caretaker admitted the following morning that strange things do happen in that house but she had gotten used to them.

Same as in the other cousin's nearby house. There also seemed to be some presence that threatened to show itself at anytime. Once when I stayed there overnight, I had the blanket covered my entire body throughout the entire night. I was scared silly. Subsequently, at some family gathering, my nephew justified my suspicions. He told us of certain apparitions that he had experienced for himself within the house and its premises. He also made mention of a certain stretch of road in the area in which lone motorists would suddenly see in their rear view mirror a ghost at the backseat. My travels to Subic since then became mostly day trips.

Where I live in Metro Manila is somewhat of the same story. Most neighbors claim that their respective dwelling hosts female ghosts dressed in white. Some of our overnight guests claimed to have either heard unusual sounds at night, or had actually seen some ghost-like apparitions.

Personally, except for the sounds of some little feet running around in the hallway and someone sweeping the yard with a broomstick in the middle of the night, I am yet to experience a full contact interaction with a ghost. However, I'm sure they're all aware that I could possibly die of fright. And this may be the reason why they don't make any surprise appearances before me whenever I get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.

In the spirit of Halloween, check out this photograph and let me know whether you think it's real or not.


posted by Señor Enrique at 4:41 PM | 40 comments


This was the way my brother Taba loved to eat his atis; painstakingly removing each skin of the fruit's segment until he could just take a big bite. I, on the other hand, would just cut it in half with a knife, and then with a teaspoon just scoop out its sweet white segments.

This was the fruit we would excitedly anticipate every summer. But since our childhood days, atis has been made into ice cream and juice.

It was introduced in the Philippines by the Spanish during the colonial era. The atis tree will grow easily in any tropical setting. After about a year's time, it will begin to bear fruit three times a year; the sweetest are those borne during the summer months.

As for its curative properties, the seed contains a yellow, non-drying oil which is an irritant that can be used against lice. The unripe fruit is astringent and can be used for diarrhea, dysentery and dyspepsia, while the roots can be used as a potent laxative. The bark of its tree is astringent and tonic; whereas, crushing and smelling its fresh leaves help those who suffer from fainting spells.

Atis is now fairly abundant in the city markets; selling price is about 80 pesos per kilo.


posted by Señor Enrique at 7:32 AM | 26 comments

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


“Nothing on earth is so well-suited to make the sad merry, the merry sad, to give courage to the despairing, to make the proud humble, to lessen envy and hate, as music” - Martin Luther

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It has been raining in Manila these days and all I can do is stay put since the neighboring areas where I live easily get flooded. Usually, it takes a few hours for the flood water to recede; therefore, driving is not a good idea unless absolutely necessary.

However, if in case you're driving around in some flooded Manila street and your car should suddenly stop and refuse to budge, worry not for there's often a group of young folks willing to help you give it a push for a hundred pesos.

Nonetheless, for now, the least I can do is post a photograph that projects fun. You see, if I can't have the usual sunshine, I could at least fill my mind with images of color, music and joy.


posted by Señor Enrique at 7:05 AM | 30 comments

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


During the past few days, we've tackled three interesting health topics: 1) the perilous side effects of aspartame; 2) losing weight without the strenuous excercises; and 3) the healing properties, as well as the adverse effects on the male libido, of papayas.

I thank everyone for sharing their views on these matters. I am confident that the personal experiences you shared will help others decide which ideal steps to take when pursuing a healthier lifestyle for themselves.

There is one other significant health issue I'd like to bring up -- cigarette smoking.

However, the intention here is not to shame smokers into quitting. I was once seriously addicted to nicotine and realized that my inability to quit was beyond the seemingly lack of will power. The addiction, for me, was simply a soul thing; a very personal battle.

Moreover, in the blog entry I had written, No Butts No More, I said, " Ask me to talk to someone about kicking his smoking habit and I wouldn’t do it. First of all, I was once in his position — the more people would tell me to stop smoking, the more I would light up a cigarette; not out of defiance, but because just the thought of how tough it is to quit would only make me light up another stick."

I remain steadfast in this personal belief.

Now, for this particular entry, I'd like to put the spotlight, so to speak, on the op-ed article published in yesterday's New York Times -- A Two-Cigarette Society.

Authored by David G. Adams --
lawyer and director of the policy staff at the Food and Drug Administration from 1992 to 1994 -- whose goal is to prevent our children from developing nicotine addiction. He argues that "decades of addiction will mean disease and death for millions of our children."

Adams claims our children begin to smoke cigarettes largely because of peer pressure, and will continue to smoke due to the nicotine's addictive qualities; too powerful for most young people and adults to conquer. Supposedly, about 90 percent of smokers regret having developed a nicotine dependency, and have made attempts to quit.

As a possible solution to this growing problem, Adams suggests a two-cigarette strategy.

As he envisions it, the tobacco industry will produce cigarettes that are nicotine-free (which it is capable of doing) while regulators will develop clear standards for non-addictive cigarettes.

He goes on to suggest, "The age to purchase addictive cigarettes might be set at 21. Better yet, sales of addictive cigarettes could be restricted to individuals born 19 or more years before the two-cigarette strategy was put into effect. Under this approach, 18-year-olds who start smoking non-addictive cigarettes would be prohibited from switching to addictive cigarettes even after they turned 21. In addition, a higher federal excise tax on addictive cigarettes than on non-addictive cigarettes would create a financial incentive for smokers of all ages, including scofflaw adolescents, to select non-addictive cigarettes."

Essentially, If addiction can be prevented at the outset, Adams would not want another day wasted.

Health officials ought to give Adams' recommendations a very serious consideration. Each day, many of our children are getting addicted to nicotine. Personally, I wouldn't wish even on my worst enemy the experiences I had gone through as a nicotine addict.

Incidentally, it is worth noting that in New York, since Starbucks has become very popular for children to hang out at after school, its staff would serve decaffeinated coffee on any of its coffee-based refreshments ordered by minors whether asked for or not. I think this is a very responsible attitude by Starbucks. Last thing we need is to have some of our school children running around strung-out on caffeine.


posted by Señor Enrique at 8:54 AM | 28 comments

Monday, October 22, 2007


Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Master, grant that I may never seek so much to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love with all my own.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

* * *

This entry is in response to a call for all Pinoy bloggers for prayer and sobriety by Ding of Inkblots - Life Unraveled.

Since I have no decent photograph of a white flower, I have instead posted this prayer and a photograph of our wooden statue of Saint Francis. They are for the bereaved families of the victims of the Glorietta 2 explosion, as well as to all its survivors.

This prayer for peace, is attributed to Saint Francis who was born in Assisi in 1182, although the prayer in its present form can be dated only as far back as 1912, when it was printed in a French magazine, La Clochette (The Little Bell), as an anonymous prayer.


posted by Señor Enrique at 9:18 AM | 22 comments

Sunday, October 21, 2007


I was watching the Larry King Show the other day on CNN, guest-hosted by Joy Behar. She had a panel of weight loss and physical fitness experts as guests, including the notable health guru, Dr. Weil.

What grabbed my attention the most was what one of the guests, Gary Taubes, had said -- that contrary to common belief, exercise does not make us thinner. And that it only makes us work up an appetite; thus making us gain weight in the process.

So right after the show, I googled the name Gary Taubes. Being a well-published writer, the results listed a few links. I clicked on his New York Magazine article, "The Scientist and the Stairmaster," in which he discussed with certainty his theory that exercise can be a significant factor in making us gain rather than lose weight. Maybe not immediately, he asserted, but eventually. "Burn more calories and the odds are very good that we’ll consume more as well. And this simple fact alone might explain both the scientific evidence and a nation’s worth of sorely disappointing anecdotal experience."

He went on to say, "It’s difficult to get health authorities to talk about the disconnect between their official recommendations and the scientific evidence that underlies it because they want to encourage us to exercise even if their primary reason for doing so is highly debatable."

Taubes cited Steve Blair as an example. A University of South Carolina exercise scientist and a co-author of the AHA-ACSM guidelines, said he was once short, fat, and bald when he started running in his thirties and he is short, fatter, and balder now, at age 68. In the intervening years, Blair claims, he estimates, he has run close to 80,000 miles and gained about 30 pounds as well.

Originally a science journalist, Taubes was in MIT interviewing an economist about another story, a guy who runs a laboratory of financial engineering. He told Taubes about being on the Atkins diet, and how effective it was. The man was an Asian-American who had lost 40-50 pounds by giving up white rice, in effect.

Taubes later on tried to do the same as an experiment since he was going to write about fat and whether it is a cause of heart disease and weight loss. He lost 20 pounds in six weeks, and stopped exercising. It was a surreal experience for him and in a sense, formed his opinions from there on in. He has since authored two books on the subject of weight loss, The Diet Delusion and Good Calories, Bad Calories.

Incidentally, the Google search results also listed
his New York Times op-ed article, "What if it was a big fat lie?" I then remembered having read it when it was first published. Its basic premise was, "what if the American medical community who has been accusing the unrepentant Dr. Atkins of quackery and fraud were to discover that he was right all along?" The article attracted national attention and proved controversial, for in essence, it was sort of perceived as a New York Times nod of approval for the low-carb high-protein diet advocated by a Manhattan doctor, Robert Atkins.

So for those contemplating on shedding some pounds in time for the holidays
without doing any of those strenuous exercises. you may want to check out more on what Gary Taubes has to say. After all, he lost 20 pounds in six weeks without it.


posted by Señor Enrique at 5:59 AM | 30 comments

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Waverley Root, an American journalist wrote, "The papaya leads a disorderly life. Normally some plants bear female flowers and others male flowers, putting it in the category of 'harem trees' -- male trees are thinned out as soon as their sex can be determined, to leave one male for each eight to fifteen females. The papaya is not normal. Hermaphroditic trees appear, bearing both male and female flowers, while others change their minds in midcareer and shift from male to female or vice versa. Miscegenation is rampant, too"

Be that as it may, papaya, especially when chilled, make a wonderful breakfast treat -- a fine alternative from the usual morning pandesal.

It has curative properties, too, as confirmed by the researches of Russian State Medical University. A papaya-based medication was confirmed to accelerate the healing of burn wounds because of its antiphlogistic and antibacterial action. According to the report, "It was discovered that papaya weakens the action of an enzyme excreted by pathogens in the wound. Pathogens excrete the enzyme to protect themselves from the enemies - phagocyte cells that destroy bacteria. In the presence of papaya, these purifying cells find themselves in an advantageous position, and efficiency of their work increases. Therefore, the wound will depurate and heal up quicker. In addition, the precious fruit does not allow leucocytes to produce too much oxygen and nitrogen, which further hurt the wound."

Emma Dawson of Southern Illinois University, on the other hand, wrote, "Papaya can be used as a diuretic (the roots and leaves), anthelmintic (the Leave and seed) and to treat bilious conditions (the fruit). Parts of the plant are also used to combat dyspepsia and other digestive disorders (papaya contains a proteolytic enzyme which soothes the stomach and aides in digestion) and a liquid potion has been used to reduce enlarged tonsils. In addition, the juice is used for warts, cancers, tumors, corns and skin defects while the root is said to help tumors of the uterus. In African a root infusion is also used for syphilis and the leaf is smoked to relieve asthma attacks. The Javanese believes that eating papaya prevents rheumatism and in Cuba the latex is used for psoriasis, ringworm and the removal of cancerous growth.

There are more information available online regarding the healing properties of papaya, but for now, I plan to simply enjoy it chilled for breakfast.

* * *
Additional source:
Fruits of the Philippines
by Doreen G. Fernandez


posted by Señor Enrique at 8:27 AM | 34 comments

Friday, October 19, 2007


This is the newly-erected structure that now occupies the front part of the property where the Avenue Theater once was. This single-story structure features retail shops offering cellphone accessory merchandise. And right behind it is a vast parking lot.

The Avenue building -- designed by Juan Nakpil and built during the 1930s -- was the tallest in the area and boasted a movie theater, hotel, retail shops and small offices. It was among the few buildings on Avenida Rizal that survived the American bombardment during the Battle of Manila.

Suggested read: Sigh ... Sigh ... Sigh by Carlos Celdran


posted by Señor Enrique at 7:33 PM | 11 comments

Thursday, October 18, 2007


It has been almost two years since realizing that I may be addicted to aspartame, the artificial sweetener used in diet sodas. In fact, I had posted a series of entries about its perils, side effects, and about the man who may have been largely influential for lobbying the Food and Drug Administration to declare this dangerous chemical safe for human consumption.

It has been more than two weeks since the last time I had a glass of Coke Light, and haven't craved for it since. I am now confident and secured enough to bid adieu to aspartame, because I have finally kicked my addiction to Coke Light, as well as for any kind of soft drinks.

I thank God's help in this personal battle of mine.

Goodbye, Coke Light!


posted by Señor Enrique at 1:24 PM | 28 comments

Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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