Tag Archives: philippines

Lifestyle is about our lives: why Pinay Lifestyle is here

On May 10, 2010, Pinay Lifestyle published its first post. It was about the Philippine national elections held on the same day. I wrote about how proud I am of the Filipino citizens who, despite the heat and the crowds, stayed on to cast that single vote. Looking back, it was quite apt that this was the topic of the first post. It somehow embodies what Pinay Lifestyle stands for.

Girl power!!!I built this site after seeing the plethora of lifestyle content out there, whether on TV, print publications, or the Internet. I realized that while the topics covered were legitimately about lifestyle—dining at restaurants, luxury trips, shopping, skin treatments, parties—they didn’t seem to touch on what most of my life is about. Like any average Filipina, I spend the greater part of my days working, having humble meals with family, colleagues and friends, strolling at the mall and enjoying affordable treats, staying home to clean up, etc.  I do get my own share of luxury on occasion, but that’s the point: it’s more the exception rather than the rule. It’s ironic that “lifestyle” tends to mean the rarer parts of our lives, or, from another perspective, the lives of rarer people. I found that a pity because I find the everyday lives of women quite beautiful. Even if an ordinary Filipina is just one more in millions, even if she’s only one vote, her life is worth hailing and forwarding, especially considering how Filipinas put so much love into daily life.

So, in 2010, I decided to set up a blog that represents this cause. Pinay Lifestyle started in Blogger as a personal initiative. Later on, I invited some people to blog with me, since my lifestyle alone would not be enough to forward the cause. Seeing the limitations of Blogger, I then moved the blog into its own home in 2011. Today, more than two years since the first post, Pinay Lifestyle is moving along as planned: a website with the necessary features and basic content. We also have a handful of people in our community, which we have yet to even promote.

I’ve been very busy with the backend. Many people know me as their go-to techie, but I’m not a web developer or a network administrator by profession, so I’ve had to do a lot of the site building by trial and error. I’ve made many errors, mind you, though you might see only a few left now. Hopefully it gets to the point that backend matters are minimized so that I could blog more (my last post before this one was in March!).

I’ve also put this site under the wing of my new business, Magnetic North Enterprises. Yes, this site is now part of a for-profit endeavor. How about the cause, you ask? Newsflash: a cause doesn’t run without money. I don’t plan on making gazillions through Pinay Lifestyle, but the profit potential at least justifies the investment, which has already been significant for this average-income Filipina.

But despite all the work that’s been done, many things still has to happen for us to move the cause forward. We need more community members and contributors. We need editors. We need sponsors. We need premium content. We need incentives (prizes! yay!). We need… so many more people and so many more things. How is this possible, with the meager investment we have? I don’t know, but I’m sure God does.

Filipinas are women of great love. This website is dedicated to them.

It’s a grilled night-out

Dining out can be taxing at times. It feels a burden sometimes to think of where to eat, and or what everybody wants to eat. We usually end up in the same restaurant, eating the same food almost all the time. We’re often caught up with the idea of settling with our “favorites” instead of trying out something new. Location is also something that we consider, especially here in Pampanga, where there are but a few restaurants that actually serve good food.

A couple of days ago, we were celebrating two occasions, so we wanted to try something different. We’re tired of eating food that’s peppered with so many ingredients and been sitting in marinated sauce for awhile. Korean Barbecue came into mind.

Korean Barbecue or better known in Korea as Gogigui literally means grilling meat. You order whatever meat you want, including fish and seafood and they serve it to you raw. Your table is equipped with a griller in the middle and you cook your food yourself.

My sister likes to do Gogigui because it makes her feel like she can actually cook. I like it too because I’ve always considered grilling as one of the healthiest forms of cooking. In Korean Barbecue, most meats are given to you as is, not soaking in marinated sauce and or coated with so many herbs and spices.

In the Philippines, Bulgogi is one of the more popular forms of Gogigui. But you should know that there are different forms of Gogigui depending on the meat that you’re grilling. I personally love Galbi and Chaldolbegi. The meats are thinly sliced and are not marinated in any sauce.

But I find that the Japanese raised this form of grilling to a higher level, by way of Teppanyaki and Hibachi. I like going to Hibachi places because there’s a chef in front o f you who will do all the cooking while you watch your food getting cooked. If you’re into Japanese cuisine, they also have their own version of Korean barbecue. Theirs is called Yakiniku. There’s actually an ongoing debate on where grilled meat originated: was it really the Koreans who first introduced it, and then adopted by the Japanese, or the other way around? If you ask me, this is like the issue about the chicken and the egg—a debate that will never end.

If you want, you can try this at home. There are personal-sized grillers that are being sold in the market. Prepping is a little bit tedious, but imagine the fun your family will have at the dining table, cooking your own food and eating it straight off the grill.

This post was written by Rita Salonga.

The Philippines in 1845-1909 according to Scientific American

Scientific American: Employing the Carabao for Army Purposes in the Philippines

Scientific American is opening its 1845-1909 archive for free, but only until the end of the month. I clicked randomly and found gems like Fifty Years of Photography, the death of Michael Faraday, and the Invention of the Telephone (published a few days before Bell filed his patent). But, given the time frame, I thought that they might have some material on the Philippines. I was wrong—they published a lot of material about us. Below is a selection.

Enjoy the read! Remember: you can’t love someone don’t know, and that goes for your nation too.

They’re only free until November 30, 2011, so save them to your hard disk if you think you’d read them later on 😉

Trade-Marks in the Philippines
Scientific American 88, 371-371 (16 May 1903) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican05161903-371a

Tobacco Raising in the Philippines
Hamilton Wright
Scientific American 96, 152-153 (16 February 1907) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican02161907-152

Gold in the Philippines
Scientific American 80, 356-356 (3 June 1899) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican06031899-356d

Employing the Carabao for Army Purposes in the Philippines
Scientific American 82, 99-99 (17 February 1900) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican02171900-99a

The Pirates and Brigands of the Philippines
Scientific American 80, 51-51 (28 January 1899) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican01281899-51b

Cable Laying in the Philippines
Frederick Moore
Scientific American 85, 326-326 (23 November 1901) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican11231901-326

The Wild Tribes of the Philippines
J. B. Steere
Scientific American 78, 407-407 (25 June 1898) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican06251898-407

Transport Service to the Philippines—I
Scientific American 84, 182-183 (23 March 1901) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican03231901-182

Army Transport Service in the Philippines—II
Scientific American 84, 262-263 (27 April 1901) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican04271901-262

The Laying of a Pacific Cable
Scientific American 87, 133-133 (30 August 1902) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican08301902-133a

Languages of the Philippines
Scientific American 79, 163-163 (10 September 1898) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican09101898-163a

Trade with Our Newly Acquired Territories
Scientific American 81, 178-178 (16 September 1899) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican09161899-178c

The Blood of all Races
Scientific American 88, 238-238 (4 April 1903) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican04041903-238

Natural Products and Resources of the Philippine Islands
M. W. Harrington
Scientific American 78, 355-355 (4 June 1898) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican06041898-355

Pineapple and Banana Fibers
Scientific American 33, 288-289 (6 November 1875) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican11061875-288b

Shipping Submarines Intact to the Philippines
Scientific American 98, 335-335 (9 May 1908) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican05091908-335a

Colonists for our New Public Lands
Scientific American 88, 54-55 (24 January 1903) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican01241903-54f

Volcanoes and Earthquakes in the Philippines
J. B. Steere
Scientific American 78, 395-395 (18 June 1898) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican06181898-395

The Climate of our New Possessions
Gustave Michaud
Scientific American 83, 171-172 (15 September 1900) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican09151900-171

The Civilized Indians of the Philippines
J. B. Steere
Scientific American 79, 184-187 (17 September 1898) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican09171898-184

The Philippine Islands
Scientific American 78, 290-291 (7 May 1898) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican05071898-290a

Some of the Singular Foods of the Filipinos
George D. Rice
Scientific American 84, 35-35 (19 January 1901) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican01191901-35

The Pythons of the Philippine Islands
Scientific American 66, 359-359 (4 June 1892) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican06041892-359

The Government Philippine Exposition
Scientific American 91, 64-66 (23 July 1904) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican07231904-64a

The Plant Products of the Philippine Islands
Scientific American 80, 357-357 (3 June 1899) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican06031899-357a

The Water Buffalo
W. Ross Cockrill
Scientific American 217, 118-125 (December 1967) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican1267-118

A Philippine Leper Colony
Newton Forest Russell
Scientific American 98, 461-462 (27 June 1908) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican06271908-461

The Mineral Resources of the Philippine Islands
Scientific American 80, 114-114 (25 February 1899) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican02251899-114b

The place of media in a democracy: the HK hostage crisis

After watching this afternoon’s senate hearing with the media on the hostage crisis, I felt that we need to be more clear on the role of media in a democratic society. I’m not saying that media practitioners had no fault in this incident; on the contrary, as they have found themselves, they need to establish a few more guidelines here and there. But I think it would do well to understand better why they’re there.

I’d like to address this matter with respect to the following areas:

Reporting to the world

Photo by Sakuradate
Much has been said about the country’s maimed reputation because of the broadcasting of the hostage incident. Yes, it’s true, we’re now economically worse off because of the whole thing. Yes, it’s true, our fellow Pinoys in Hong Kong experience much greater discomfort than ever before. But to say that the media are at fault shows a grave misunderstanding of their role. The media serves as a check and balance for the government. That’s why they’re called the “watchdog” of the government in a democratic state. If, in reporting the facts, they expose the mistakes of a government, then that’s all in a day’s work, and sometimes even a job well done. The negative economic repercussions arising from the government’s mistakes, therefore, are not the media’s fault.

But how about protecting the nation’s interest? Don’t journalists have a role in that? Yes, precisely, they do, and that is in doing their job well. The media will not push for our nation’s progress by “marketing” our nation to the world. That’s the role of marketing people. They will serve the nation by bringing forth the truth that the public ought to know. The moment we ask them to lose their objectivity for the sake of making our country look good, we would have done our country a great disservice. So, regarding Sen. Enrile’s question on where journalists draw the line between national interest and professional ethics, I’d have to say that there is no conflict between the two.

Freedom of expression

Freedom of expression is a basic element of a democratic society. It’s important because democracy, as a political ideology, assumes that persons bring themselves to fulfillment through freedom. To express oneself is one of those freedoms. This applies not only to media organizations as institutions, but to individual citizens as well. We must protect the freedom of expression because not doing so will endanger our democracy. Remember what happened back in 1972? Given this, I’m in agreement with Maria Ressa, Senior Vice President for News and Current Affairs of ABS-CBN, and other media professionals in saying that we don’t need more laws in this area. Adding legislation that places restrictions on the media could give a few ill-willed or ill-witted government authorities their precious windows of opportunity.

However, there are limits to the freedom of expression. I learned from media law class that there are two specific limits: national security and the right to privacy. I suppose it would be enough to discuss national security in this case. During the hostage situation, police intelligence was obviously compromised, since the Mendoza knew some of the actions of the police through the television on board. Maybe the media should have been further away. Maybe there shouldn’t have been any live coverage. Maybe they should have assumed that there could be a television on board.

I was filled with all these maybes until I heard the testimonies of the media executives during the hearing. Maria Ressa explained that, in the past, there had been worse crisis situations, but none of them ended like this one did. Why? Because the “crisis managers” (probably the police) used their right to set parameters on the media. But this time, the authorities did not use that right as extensively as they had done so in the past. On the other hand, the media set up and went on with their live coverage, trusting that the situation was being managed as well as they had always been in the past, thinking that the meager guidelines they were given were enough. They were wrong.


That’s where the “major major” mistake and resolution arise. Maria Ressa said that the media’s biggest mistake was to assume that the authorities were managing everything properly. She and Jessica Soho had discussed that the media ought to know what to do if the authorities weren’t doing their part, which I hope would give way to more concrete guidelines for operating during such circumstances.

Of course, we’re talking about the media’s role here. We’re not touching on the government’s role yet. But in a democratic society where people should care for each other, the media have now learned to not assume that the other party is doing well. After all, they are the watchdog of the government, so that’s one reality they have to factor into their professional practice.

Thankfully, the senators were very open and constructive in their inquiry, even if some of them didn’t seem to know much about the media. One senator admitted to simply fearing them. But, through this experience, I hope the Filipino people have gained a better understanding of their role in our country. We need to understand each other if we are to support one another in building a great nation.

A nation’s greatness: May 10, 2010 election day

This is my fourth time to vote. And of all those times, I just have to say that I’ve never been more proud of my countrymen than in today’s elections.

When I got to the precinct at around 10:30 am, there was a queue of around 500 meters. I know many of those who I joined in the queue wouldn’t ordinarily bear with that kind of a line. The sun was shining like there was no tomorrow, enough to scorch any Pinoy’s kayumanggi complexion. But no, we stuck it out, with our umbrellas, fans and drinking water. There were even people distributing bottled water for free (how grateful we were!) and, further down the line, I discovered a tent manned by UNTV where one can get a cup of water. Thankfully, the precinct was also near a wet market, which meant there were enough food vendors around. I treated myself to a glass of taho to strengthen myself before entering the crowded public school.

My family and I were very lucky. The room where our precincts were lodged had very few people in it, so halfway through the queue, a man picked out those who were assigned to this room. We skipped the rest of the line and headed straight to Room 209. We queued up again in that room, appreciating the three electric fans that cooled us a little. We then took our ballots and shaded those ellipses (which, I may add, are not circles. Ang oblong po ay hindi bilog. I’m sure many school teachers will have a hard time persuading preschool kids to accept that after this year’s COMELEC campaigns). We smoothly fed our ballots into the PCOS machine. Two hours in all; that certainly went well. The others probably spent around four hours because of the long queue.

Yes, there were complaints, but there could have been so much more. Yes, we all expressed our dismay at this seemingly slower process, but many of us also gave our government the benefit of the doubt since it’s the first time we’re implementing an automated system. Yes, some people gave up, but many did not. Yes, some PCOS machines broke, but many waited five or six hours for them to get fixed. All that just to get your own vote as a Filipino in.

If there’s one thing that Filipinos could teach the whole world, I think it’s this: that suffering is meaningful if you’re doing it for someone or something you love. People in developed countries, however progressive they may be, tend to be a lot more unforgiving of such inconveniences. But not we Filipinos. Whether it be going out of the country to feed our family, giving up some comforts to help flood victims, or bearing such heat for hours, we don’t mind as long as that love is in place. Today, out of love for our country, or even a candidate, the nation bore its sufferings for a purpose.

Let’s not make the mistake of ruining that strength. Yes, we can legitimately want the comforts of life, but let’s keep in mind that life is necessarily better when it’s more comfortable. What’s important is to love and to have the right loves. And sometimes, when suffering is in the way of that love, the Filipino’s greatness shines when he perseveres through it.