Thank you PLDT!

I have Hong Kong guests arriving tomorrow. Actually they are Hong Kong residents arriving from Boracay.
One of them is creating the Chuvaness app and I owe him tons. So I invited them to stay in my one-room Hotel Whereabouts, instead of checking in somewhere in Makati.


The place isn’t 100% finished. It still needs wallpaper, cable TV, the pendant lights have to be slightly relocated, and the bathroom tiles and toilet need repair. All of those will be done next week, and I’ll show you when it’s ready.
But today I really needed the Internet connection for the guests.

Two days ago I woke up in a state of panic and basically tweeted everyone in PLDT, including God and Manny Pangilinan to please help me get my PLDT fixed. I also blogged it.
Lo and behold, PLDT came this morning and installed.

Installing PLDT

The guy worked really fast. I am so grateful. Thank you!! And now I must fix the Skycable. So help me God!!

PLDT: Cry for help

Dear PLDT,
Please connect my Internet na.
Paid this last January 10. It is now 17 days later.
Have guests arriving on January 30 and I’m getting nervous.
How long do I have to wait?
Thank you very much,


The magical 1760 Sandejas house

“Don’t leave without seeing me!” I messaged, almost threatened my high school classmate Anna, who is visiting from Uruguay.
“Let’s have lunch in your house na lang,” Anna replied, “para we don’t have to rush out or be worried about being overheard by people in the next table (if we meet in a restaurant).”
So while having a hearty lunch of spicy crabs and Stevie’s chicken rice at home, the four of us—Anna, Loumag, her son Paolo, and I—discussed what to do next.

Two years ago I stumbled upon a blog called 1760 Sunday House and was spellbound by a retro wooden house owned by the Magsaysay family.
In June 2011, the house was featured in Metro Home magazine, where I saw my New York buddy Victor Magsaysay with his cousin, the aforementioned blog’s author Anna Rosete.
Sandejas house in Metro Home
Sandejas house in Metro Home

I wished to God I could see this house in person. But Victor lives in Paris and his sister Loumag I rarely ever see.
But today since Loumag was already in my home, I decided to ask if there was any chance I could visit the legendary 1760 Sandejas house.
You can imagine my excitement when she said we could drive to Pasay this same day.
So the four of us took my car and driver all the way to Pasay. We hardly felt any traffic as Loumag, Anna and I reminisced about our high school days and caught up with the latest Manila chismis.

It didn’t take long. Soon a caretaker was greeting us at the gate. Loumag introduced herself as the granddaughter of Jesus Magsaysay, who built the house for his wife Miguela and their children back in the day.
My jaw dropped at this sight of this—floor to ceiling narra.

Visit to Sandejas house

Loumag said only one craftsman built and finished the woodwork.
Check out the ceiling. I’m sure yoo would approve.

Visit to Sandejas house

The crystal lamps are really magical

Visit to Sandejas house

A portrait of the country’s most beloved President Magsaysay watches from the second floor.

Visit to Sandejas house

He was the brother of the owner of the house.

Visit to Sandejas house

Under the glass of a long table are photos of former inhabitants, including Loumag’s ’90s glamour shot

Visit to Sandejas house

How precious are these crystal ashtrays and antique bell

Visit to Sandejas house

The Last Supper was a fixture in every Filipino dining room when I was a child

Visit to Sandejas house

Many of the doors were locked. I wish I could’ve seen all the rooms.
Here’s a creepy corner with a built-in shoe rack at lower right

Visit to Sandejas house

This was a creepy bedroom

Visit to Sandejas house

Paolo shows us a secret passage or escape hatch from one of the bedrooms downstairs

Visit to Sandejas house

Loumag says this is a great spot for a photo op

Visit to Sandejas house

We went upstairs

Visit to Sandejas house

Illuminated by natural light from the glass-brick panels

Visit to Sandejas house

Here’s the view from the top

Visit to Sandejas house

I felt a bit sad when I saw the bedroom with the glass door. Loumag said his grandfather wanted to check up on the kids all the time. I feel sad when I think about lonely children who had to grow up with overly suspicious/strict parents.
(Then again, I don’t know these people…)

Visit to Sandejas house

I was amazed at the tall, slim doors. Loumag said this particular door opens up to three bedrooms. So sad it was locked!

Visit to Sandejas house

Loumag herself lived here for a few years as a school girl. I asked if there is mumu. She said it wasn’t exactly a child-friendly house, especially at night. I could only imagine.
And so I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this day, with Anna, Loumag and Paolo. It was one of those unplanned days that turned magical. Thanks so much for taking me! Finally 1760 Sandejas is off my bucket list!

Is taking food pics becoming demodé?

This was the very first photo I ever uploaded on Flickr. It was December 22, 2004 and the camera used was a Sony Cybershot. Ben was three and Markus was a baby.

Frog suit

Here’s my very first food shot on Flickr—the famous Chatterbox chicken rice set at the Mandarin Hotel, Singapore, taken September 30, 2004.

Chatterbox chicken rice

Followed by the Mezza9 dessert platter at Grand Hyatt Singapore (October 1, 2004)

dessert sampler

Many more food photos followed, as my Flickr album grew to 50,000 photos and counting.
I remember one dinner we had at the defunct Parallel 45. It was September 2005. My brother groaned as I took out my Olympus camera and took a picture of my espresso-marinated US flank steak and everything else we ordered.

espresso-marinated US flank steak

At that time I don’t think my family was even aware I had a blog. I just took pictures of everything.
And so, when we opened Pepper Lunch Rockwell in May 2008, we had a free-for-all policy for picture taking. We knew that social media paved the way for Pepper Lunch’s success in the Philippines.
Here’s the very first meal I ever had at Pepper Lunch, Ngee Ann City, Singapore. This salmon pepper rice really hit the spot. It was February 13, 2006.

Salmon fried rice

Last year I heard about a very popular Singapore restaurant that forbids guests to take pictures.
Jiro Ono, who makes the best sushi in the world absolutely forbids it in his restaurant.
My cousin Keri had the presence of mind not to pull out her camera while dining at Per Se last year.
And good for her. Apparently the idea of taking food pics is becoming demodé in fancy New York establishments.

Read HERE.

What’s your view on restaurants banning food photos? Or people taking food pics?
How would you react if someone stopped you from Instgramming your roasted bone marrow with caper berries and toast?

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