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Kevin love stars in Banana Republic ad campaign
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Banana Republic is proud to introduce power forward and gold medalist Kevin Love as the brand’s inaugural style ambassador. The partnership marks the first time Banana Republic has teamed up with a pro basketball player.

Banana Republic x Kevin Love 15

“Kevin embodies the confidence and optimism our customers find inspiring,” said Aimee Lapic, SVP and General Manager of Customer Experience, Banana Republic.
“He expresses the best version of himself with everything he does, which makes Kevin a natural brand ambassador for fans and customers alike.”

Banana Republic x Kevin Love 13

“Banana Republic is such a classic brand and I am excited to be chosen as the first athlete ambassador for the brand,” said Love.
“Since I am always on the move, it is important that my clothes are not only stylish, but are functional as well. Banana Republic absolutely hits the mark on both.”

Banana Republic x Kevin Love 04

To kick off the partnership, Love will be featured in Banana Republic’s Spring campaign, which debuts across all brand channels when the Spring 2016 collection will be available in stores and on BananaRepublic.com.

Banana Republic x Kevin Love 14

In the Philippines, Banana Republic is located at C1 Bonifacio High Street Central, Greenbelt 5 and Shangri-La Plaza. Follow @ssilifeph on Instagram for more information.

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Bilins for the next President of the Philippines
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Before anything else I would like to thank President Aquino for finally fixing the airport during his term. It is no longer a pain to be at NAIA 3 (haven’t been to Terminals 1 and 2 ever since).
Thank you we don’t have to pay Php 550 airport tax at departure anymore. And thanks that we are no longer scared of customs lagay during arrival.
Thank you also in behalf of our expat friends who saw progress during your term.
Except for the traffic situation which has only gotten worse.

Monumental traffic

A few years ago, we suffered really bad traffic only during the “ber” months, especially December, when everyone would go Christmas shopping and balikbayans would arrive.
But a couple of years ago when I started going to my office at the Fort, traffic got worse overnight.
When Dinna and I started working together, it would take us 30 minutes tops to go home from BGC to Pasig. Now everyday is a nightmare. Not just in BGC, but even during summer when school is out.
Everyday (except Sunday) feels like December traffic.

Jessica Zafra wrote:
“At this point, we narrow down the criteria for next President to: 1. Will not steal. 2. Will fix traffic.” Source.

I fully agree with her. Now ask yourselves, who among the presidential candidates are not likely to steal? I believe Mar Roxas will not steal because he said so when I brought up Jessica Zafra with him.

But who can fix the traffic?
I’ve ridden trains around the world and tried the MRT once in Manila. I was shocked at how small and few the cars are. I feel bad for all those people waiting for rides at the stations. Is there a monthly pass so that people don’t have to line up for tickets everyday?
Read my godson’s assessment of our MRT versus Japan’s Tokyo’s railway system HERE.

“A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transport.”
— Paraphrased from Enrique Penalosa, former Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia

Dear future President,

1) Please do not block UBER. It is the only public transport I take in Manila. Please don’t allow NAIA from blocking UBER because foreigners who don’t know GRAB can benefit from UBER. Let us stop hearing about corrupt taxi drivers who take foreign visitors for a ride. Really bad for tourism. CLICK

Uber Manila

2) Could you please get rid of all the assorted, unsightly, unsafe bus companies on the road? Can we just have one standard bus company that run on time at real bus stops? With new buses, not ugly hand-me-downs from foreign countries?

New York bus

3) Is it possible to clean up Pasig river and have a ferry that runs through there, for a small fare? Maybe we can hire Dutch people who know how canals work for people.

CANAL_BUS_AMSTERDAM

4) Can we do something about traffic cops who try to extort money from driver? Why don’t they issue tickets instead of confiscating driver’s licenses? Isn’t driving without a license another crime?

5) Can we do something about the BIR corruption I can’t even write about?

6) Can you provide free meals for underprivileged school children, so they will go to school everyday? Is free education possible? Can teachers be paid more?

Meals for school children

I’m going to stop here now but feel free to use the comments section for your bilins to the next President.

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Is Livestock’s crispy pata worth the hype?
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Lechon is one of my Top 5 favorite foods. But lechon you can’t have everyday, unless your mom is Mila of Mila’s lechon.
One good alternative to lechon is porchetta, which I used to buy at Rustan’s Shang. Business used to be good until their heating lamp got busted. Nobody bothered to fix it and people stopped buying and it eventually closed.
So another alternative would be crispy pata. We don’t really look for crispy pata but decided to try Livestock’s after seeing it on Andrew Zimmern’s show. Watch:

(U.S. viewers can watch HERE)

On Holy Wednesday, Grace and I decided to take my boys to Livestock in Quezon City for lunch.
Like most restaurants in the area, it’s huge and looks like it used to be a house.

Livestock QC

They have a cool looking bar and Grace and I were amazed at their very cool musical playlist.

Livestock QC

One order of crispy pata is Php 650. At first I thought it seemed expensive, until it arrived and it’s a big one!

Livestock crispy pata

Initially, we ordered two but it was so good, we ordered another one, which we didn’t finish but took home instead. We also ordered liempo and sisig, but were disappointed with bastardized versions of the classic Filipino dishes.
Conclusion: just stick to crispy pata and rice.
Oh, they don’t serve Coke so I asked my driver to buy me a can outside. Because crispy pata without Coke and rice is not worth it (for me).

Bring your own Coke

At first the waitress said they would charge me corkage for the Coke (they only have Pepsi) so I raised an eyebrow and they didn’t charge me. Of course I would’ve paid had they asked me to.
On Holy Saturday we were back for dinner with Jeroen, Patrice and the boys.
This is how it looks at night

Livestock QC

We ordered salad, fried chicken, and three crispy patas. It was a too dark to appreciate what was in front of us

Livestock crispy pata

I suggest you come in the daytime because crispy pata has many nice parts that are good for picking with your fingers.
Markus liked the chicken and Patrice said the salad was OK.

Salad

But Jeroen and I agreed—as did other friends—that crispy pata is the only thing worth ordering at Livestock. Well, that and a huge plate of rice.

Here’s why I think it’s good:
1) It is really cooked to perfection. Not all crispy patas are crispy. I have had kunat pata before. This one is crispy all over but tender enough to cut with the tongue depressor it is served with.
2) I love the skin but my kids like the meat. It has many good parts, even when you turn it over, so best to go at daytime where you can see all the goodness.
3) You can also see the seasoning (read: pepper) even under the skin and I like that it’s tasty all over.
4) Their sauce is really good.
5) The portion is really generous. One order is good for two to three people.
6) It comes out really fast. While most restaurants take 30 minutes to serve crispy pata, this one comes in just 15 minutes. So even when you’re starving, you don’t have to wait so long.

Livestock is at 34 Sgt. Esguerra Ave. Brgy. South Triangle, Quezon City.
Walk-ins are welcome but you can also reserve at (02) 332 0409.
For more information, like them on Facebook.

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Mines View condominium remembered
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When I was a kid my maternal grandparents used to take us to Baguio every summer. We took my aunt’s Volkswagen combi for the trip. I used to fall asleep en route and would wake up when we reached the Lion’s Head.
I don’t remember how long we would actually stay but they had a three-bedroom unit at Mines View condominium.
This picture was taken in the ’70s.

Mines View Condominium, Baguio

My grandfather’s unit was on the second floor, right side. There were only six units in this particular building.
This was my grandfather with my cousin Gigi in May 1981.

Papa and Gigi in Mines View

I had such delicious naps there as a child, in the afternoon without aircon. Just the window open. And when I woke up I would look out the window and see Everlasting flowers. Gosh, I miss those.

When Hyatt Terraces Baguio opened, our family eventually stayed there. Our grandparents eventually sold their unit. All this time I thought the property had been demolished and developed into a high-rise.
Last night I found out it still exists in the same spot!! Looks like they’ve added a gate.*

Mines View condominium

It’s been 14 years since I last saw Baguio. Ben was still a baby.

When Ben was a blond

We stayed at the Manor at Camp John Hay, which was newly open. It was heaven on earth!
But now that I’m older, I’ve developed an extreme phobia for unrenovated bathrooms. Tripadvisor tells me the bathrooms there are still dated. Sorry but I can’t.

The Manor bathroom

I’m always hoping that someone will open a new hotel in Baguio with really modern bathrooms.
Till then, I’ll be dreaming of a place not too far away where I can take delicious naps with no aircon, just cool air from the windows, a view of the mountain, pine trees, and beautiful flowers outside.

*Photo: http://baguiotoday.blogspot.com/

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