Category 1

Wednesday, April 28, 2021




Bacolod Chicken House...the local legend


If ever there was any reason why Bacolod chicken inasal became the legendary Bacolod delicacy it is now known to be, it can all be traced back to Architect Joe Cajili's Chicken House. Currently known as Bacolod Chicken House, the real Chicken House started as a hole-in-the-wall at San Sebastian Street, catering to everyday passers-by.  Later on, it opened as a  small restaurant just across Colegio de San Agustin along North Drive (B.S. Aquino Drive today).

It's humble beginnings as a restaurant included an al fresco (back in the days it was just called "open-air") section which one was able to access through the sidewalk and that small street leading to the back of the Redemptorist Church. Long before there was a Manokan country at Bacolod's reclamation area, Chicken House had already set up shop. Joe Cajili's initial patrons were also his golfing buddies at the nearby Marapara club (Negros Occ. Golf and Country Club)

Chicken House's next branches were located at the downtown area along San Juan street (across the current location of Sylvia Manor) and at Mandalagan where it still serves its mouth watering roasted delights to this day. In the days when Chicken House was at San Juan, which was around the mid 1980s, I would only have to cross the Bacolod Public Plaza with my classmates from La Consolacion College to get to the little haven of chicken barbecue.  There, we would while away some time before catching up with one last class at 6:30 p.m.

Many other chicken houses or "inasalans" have followed the path led by Joe Cajili's local legend of a resto. One thing is sure though. One cannot claim to have been in Bacolod if he or she hasn't eaten at the real and only Bacolod Chicken House.

I wrote this in 2008 on the Multiply.com platform.

Bacolod Chicken House...the local legend

Bacolod Chicken House...the local legend If ever there was any reason why Bacolod chicken inasal became the legendary Bacolod delicacy...

Sunday, April 25, 2021

 



April 25, 2021.  Today is the ninth death anniversary of Bro. Rolando R. Dizon, FSC.  Bro. Roly, as he is fondly known by the many who have met him and loved him has always been a person esteemed for the wisdom that would flow out of his mouth.  Very articulate in his words, I would always be careful to listen to the nuggets of truth that would be delivered with his well modulated voice.

Bro. Roly, for me was not just the Bro. Roly we commonly know.  As it was, Bro. Roly was also my uncle.  A cousin of my mother through the Ramos family of Bacolod, Bro. Roly (or Tito Roly when I first met him as a 6 year old) was the first one to welcome me to La Salle Greenhills in 1974.

Through the years and by way of the many occasions Bro. Roly would have the chance to speak, be it at a lectern on an official school occasion or over the dinner table when we had the chance to be at family gatherings, I likened myself to a beggar with cupped hands waiting for his next few lines of wisdom to be handed out.

Yet nothing prepared me for what he would say at the funeral of one of my great aunts in the mid 1990s when he was already based in Bacolod as President of the University of St. La Salle.

At any funeral regardless of who is speaking, we often hear the same thing over and over again, that is how good the person was throughout his or her lifetime, or even how Christ-like he or she was. 

What Bro. Roly said about my great aunt that morning totally changed the way I started living and gave me a good mental picture of what to aim for.  In today's business-speak, it was as if he had outlined a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) for goodness.

In reference to my late great aunt, Rachel C. Estrebillo, Bro. Roly said, "Rachel was a person who enriched the life of others".  When I heard that, it struck me so deep that it made me realize that it's not just all about being a good person, but really being good and making impact to enrich the lives of the people around us.

I'm sure we all know of people who may not be rich in the way the world measures financial wealth.  Yet they are the people who bring more than wealth into our lives and by doing so enrich us in a way deeper than what money could bring.

From then on, I have always borne this in my mind. "How could I enrich the life of this person?".

As a husband I ask myself, "How could I enrich the life of my wife today?". 


As a parent, I ask myself, "How could I enrich the life of my kids today?". 


As a friend, I ask myself, "How could I enrich the life of my friend today?".

As a newly introduced acquaintance, I ask myself, "How could I enrich the life of this person today?".

That was how Bro. Roly impacted me.  I hope that this has enriched your life too.

God bless you, reader.  Have a great Sunday!





What Bro. Roly Dizon said at a funeral totally changed the way I started living

  April 25, 2021.  Today is the ninth death anniversary of Bro. Rolando R. Dizon, FSC.  Bro. Roly, as he is fondly known by the many who hav...

Sunday, March 14, 2021

 

 


MAKATI, Philippines, March 14, 2021 — As we hit the anniversary of the declaration of the Enhanced Community Quarantine, I look back at what transpired in the last 12 months. To say that the Coronavirus, more aptly called nowadays as COVID-19, has changed the way we live is an understatement.

It is clear that we are not really going back to the way we used to live before. As we’ve often heard it, the New Normal has come. The time when we could freely crowd a mall, a government office, a restaurant, or attend a seminar/event is gone. Even with the vaccine in sight and within reach, at least for other countries, it will be hard for us to resume the old patterns of living, traveling, and even celebrating.

Such behavior has impacted the industry that I am in. I come from the outdoor advertising industry. In the past, this field was commonly referred to as billboard advertising. Today this industry and the medium it literally banners is known as Out-of-Home media or OOH. Much like the travel industry, OOH media has really taken a big hit because of COVID-19. Out-of-Home media thrives on the premise that 94% of the Filipino population is outside of their home at least once within their day.

Being out-of-home makes the perfect case for us who are in the OOH industry to erect billboards, posters, and LED signs, in order to convey the advertisers’ message to the commuters and pedestrians in the course of their daily activity.

When the Enhanced Community Quarantine was declared in March 2020, the metropolis suddenly became a ghost town. Suddenly, the need to view the billboards on EDSA or SLEX, and the lightboxes on Ayala Avenue or in the malls became irrelevant. This predicament obviously made the business I had started and operated for the past 15 years slide.

Like all other businesses which have been greatly affected by COVID-19 and the quarantine, I would say that I valiantly tried to keep things up for as long as I could. In the time that there were no billboard bookings and the advertisers pulled back their budgets, the upbringing instilled by my late father, who taught me practicality and mental fortitude was undoubtedly put to the test. As I’m writing this, I’m thinking that other entrepreneurs, most especially the men would agree with this, that COVID-19 has brought out the best in us despite the mental strain. And that strain is different especially if one is the head of the family, for therein lies the responsibility to provide that hedge of protection over the wife and the children.

There are times though when courage is best displayed not by fighting on, but by surrendering. So by September 2020, I made the decision to finally close the business I had started from the time I left my employment in McCann-Erickson in 2005. In my mind, fifteen years for me was a good run. It was not an easy run. There were many hardships in between especially with government regulation perennially at the throat of the billboard industry.

With hardly any advertisers making bookings on billboards, I had to tell my staff that we would be closing shop. It was sad, but it made us all realize that no matter what,God’s sovereign hand was guiding us in everything. Finding out what would be next to do had to take some time. However, one of the things I have really wanted to do was be a full-time artist. I’ve never had the chance to be that given the frenetic pace of the advertising world. I also believe that I am not alone among advertising peers who wish to break free and just do art.

Throughout the quarantine period, we’ve heard a lot of talk about innovation and reinventing ourselves. That holds true for me as well. I had to dig into what I really love doing. The long and short of it is that I love to write and I love to paint. As a child, I used to draw and color a lot. I hung around a lot of artists and visited galleries. My late father even gave me the opportunity to go sketching with the late National Artist Cesar Legaspi.



My 7 year old self sketching with the late National Artist Cesar Legaspi in Bacolod City, 1975.


Recently, I painted the largest abstract painting in the Philippines, entitled “Alab ng Sining” (Blaze of Art), a poignant reminder for me to stoke the flames of art. The size is 62 feet high by 40 feet wide. The total surface area is 230 square meters, which is about the size of a regular subdivision lot. It is too big to hang in a gallery so I hung it on an EDSA billboard.



IN FOCUS : My artwork, “Alab ng Sining” which is the largest abstract painting in the Philippines.


This is where my profession as an advertising guy meets my artistic self as a painter and artist.

Despite the loss of my business, I am finally finding myself, and the purpose for which I was cut out for. This for me is the silver lining of the pandemic — that things slowed down enough for me to reassess what I really need to do. As what the Generation X hero, Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

So going back to innovation and reinvention, sometimes the personal “innovation” or “reinvention” we need is nothing really new. Most of us need to just go back and RECAPTURE the vision of our best selves — that person we were supposed to be before the cares of this world took us down a different path.






Link to PeopleAsia Article






How I Lost My Business…But Found Myself Along The Way

    MAKATI, Philippines, March 14, 2021 — As we hit the anniversary of the declaration of the Enhanced Community Quarantine, I look back at ...

Sunday, November 8, 2020

 


As 2020 came in, most of us had great plans of what to do over the next 12 months, each of us setting great and audacious goals.  The number 2020 had a great sound to it connoting clarity of vision and purpose, thus all the excitement for everyone to accomplish something big and meaningful from a personal perspective.

Then the pandemic hit. All the world retreated into quarantine with borders closing and on-ground events, as well as international travel being placed on hold.  I was looking forward to some milestone events including a trip to Japan with my family early this year and another trip to Negros via boat on the eve of the 40th Anniversary of the sinking of the ill-fated Don Juan vessel, which was a pivotal moment in the history of Bacolod and Negros Island.

The plague and the subsequent series of quarantines in varying levels just threw chaos into whatever plans we had for ourselves.  Looking back, no matter how bad it was, there were moments of Divine Providence which would straighten out our situations.

Then in June of this year, I got a call from my good friend, Alan Gensoli, to explore some work on a project called the Negros Season of Culture.  Alan is of a kindred spirit in the sense that we are both marketing communication professionals.  There was a time about 25 years ago when Bacolod did not really know the role of an advertising agency and both of us were blazing trails by teaching the market how things should be done.  We were running our own ad agencies in that limited market of Sugarlandia.  Alan brought to Bacolod his experience from many years in New York, and I from London.

With Zoom being the preferred method of communication these days, Alan gave me the brief on the Negros Season of Culture.  We were joined in by another seasoned professional, Producer Mayee Fabregas.   The Negros Season of Culture project is an effort by the Angelica Berrie Foundation and its thrust is to promote the cultural assets of our Negrense heritage and traditions, showcasing the unique identity of the province of Negros Occidental and the talent of its people, the Negrenses.

The task was to create an online destination where all these cultural assets of Negros may be seen.  But more than just creating an online destination, it had to be a celebration - yes, a celebration of the Negrense artistry, heritage, values and culture which has propelled so many sons and daughters of Negros onto the world stage.  All this is encapsulated in the tagline of the Negros Season of Culture, "Rooted. Taking on the World." The online platform would herald the uniqueness of Negros culture by threading stories of creativity in a platform that dramatizes a regional narrative, local, national and global audiences can discover what makes Negros special.

I was "all in" on this one.  For those of you who know me, this project is really down my alley.  As an artist/writer/creative/Negrense, this is one task which I know I have the credentials, experience, and above all, THE PASSION to work on.

I'd have to say, I consider this among the most meaningful projects I've been a part of in my life, at par with all other campaigns I was part of during my years at McCann-Erickson.  This project goes beyond just making people aware of a product and letting them buy it.  This project has to do with me - the Negrense.  This project has to do with my children - for them to understand how beautiful and how blessed they are to have a heritage wherein rural simplicity meets a unique blend of sophistication melded from both Eastern and Western hemispheres.  That is the beauty of Negrense culture.

I say that this is really down my alley for two reasons.  First, it jives with all the writing and documentation that I've done.  It brings me back to the years in the late 1990s when I had my own column in the Visayan Daily Star aptly titled as "Artspeak", a column on art and culture.  It also complements all the writing I still continue to do on my blog, El Talonggo, which is my chronicle for the Tagalog-Ilonggo-Negrense subculture.

Secondly, the Negros Season of Culture jives with my belief that one has to understand his or her beginnings or origin of place in order to discover their inner workings and their world view.  A best example of this statement is my article on "Demistifying Negrense Decadence".  There still remains a multitude of things for us to discover an unravel about ourselves - the Negros Season of Culture as an online destination helps us unravel that.


The Negros Season of Culture is a whole program and slew of events, both online and on-ground which will highlight the many aspects of Negrense culture.  All activities and stories found on the website or on the ground will weave stories of creativity that dramatizes a regional narrative which local, national and global audiences can discover.


That being said, isn't this is the main reason we have physical museums? That we may not just discover objects presented on a pedestal, but discover the stories of the people behind the objects.  With this, I recall the days when I was working on a section of the Negros Museum, entitled "Sugar and Other Negros Tales".  This section of the Negros Museum, then located at what is now the Provincial Capitol, had to do with the beginnings of the planting of sugar in Negros influence of British Vice-Consul Nicholas Loney in the trade of sugar, all the way to the years of plenty when Negros had to fill US quotas for sugar.


Working on the Negros Season of Culture website was just like building a section of the museum all over again.  Only this time, in the age of technology, fiber optics, 5G technology and the pandemic, the construction is digital.


The Negros Season of Culture online platform focuses on six main "Stories" of creativity.  These are Negrense Food, Cultural Experience, Art, Handicrafts, Heritage, and People.

Last November 5, 2020, as the province of Negros Occidental celebrated its public holiday known as Cinco de Noviembre, to commemorate the Negrenses' revolt against the Spanish colonizers on that same date in 1898 when the uprising led to the surrender of the Spanish troops, a new revolution took place in a different realm.

The new revolution is a revolution of heritage, culture, and art wherein the cultural riches of the island of Negros are showcased through the online platform, and eventually be supported by on-ground events as soon as the plague is gone.

Multi-awarded Negrense actor, Joel Torre, hosted the launch with his daughter, Marela, who also toured the audiences through the site.  We also heard from Angelica Berrie herself, and Baba Torre, the President of the Angelica Berrie Foundation.  We saw how emotions welled up within Joel Torre as he paid tribute to his teacher, mentor, guru, friend, and sometimes, his father, the late Peque Gallaga. 

The first year of the Negros Season of Culture is dedicated to the memory of Peque Gallaga, who in the words of Angelica Berrie, “inspired many of us to be something bigger than ourselves, teaching us to express our creativity in big, bold ways that contribute to the story of this place (Negros) which we call home,”.  Honor where honor is due.

With that cue, I thank you, Alan Gensoli, for allowing me to be part of this revolution, along with Mayee Fabregas and Stephanie Hilado-Lindaya. Salamat gid.

Thank you, Angelica Berrie and Baba Torre, for spearheading the aggregation of Negros' cultural and heritage assets and heralding it to the world.

The new Negros revolution has just begun.



-----
To my wife Regina, my daughter Bea and son Joaquin,
and to the generations to follow,
this effort is for you.



Related Post :



Five Things You Should Know About The Negros Season of Culture

As the province of Negros Occidental celebrated its public holiday known as Cinco de Noviembre, on Thursday, November 5, 2020 to commemorate the Negrenses' revolt against the Spanish colonizers on that same date in 1898 when the uprising led to the surrender of the Spanish troops, a new revolution took place in a different realm.......Read More


Why the Negros Season of Culture Website is one of the most fulfilling projects I have worked on

  As 2020 came in, most of us had great plans of what to do over the next 12 months, each of us setting great and audacious goals.  The numb...

Tuesday, November 3, 2020




 



Neatly tucked in the center of the Philippine archipelago is a sock shaped island known as Negros.  Negros, known for its vast sugarcane plantations set before scenic mountains as its backdrop is also known as the Sugar Bowl of the Philippines.

I personally call it, The SWEET SPOT of the Philippines.  The term SWEET SPOT has so many connotations to it given the different facets of sweetness this island brings to me.  There are so many sweet stories of Negros to tell - there just hasn't been THE perfect medium to tell it through.

That was then.  This Thursday though, everything is bound to change.  The Angelica Berrie Foundation will be launching a website that hopes to become a global messaging platform to promote Negrense heritage and culture.

The launch aptly falls on November 5, 2020 at 8pm Philippine Standard Time and 7am for those in New York ( and 12 noon for those in London).  November 5 is the day the province of Negros Occidental celebrates its annual Cinco de Noviembre feast to commemorate the day Negrenses revolted against Spanish colonizers and won in 1898.

The November 5 revolt in Negros led by Generals Juan Araneta and Aniceto Lacson.

In the same manner, the launch of the Negros Season of Culture website is a revolution of its own.  The Negros Season of Culture was meant to be an extended slew of on-ground events which would highlight the art, food, heritage homes, people, and handicrafts of Negros.

The pandemic changed all of that as everyone around the world got locked-in by way of quarantine.

The silver lining is found in the fact that as everyone spend more time on the internet, the Negros Season of Culture becomes a window for all the world to discover the beauty and uniqueness of Negrense culture through this online channel.

Its underlying purpose : "to promote the cultural assets of our heritage and traditions, the unique identity of this province and the talent of its people," according to Angelica "Angie" Berrie through a Zoom meeting which took place two weeks ago.

Suffice it to say that the Negros Season of Culture is not just an online platform but an online celebration of Negrense uniqueness neatly stated in the tagline, "Rooted. Taking on the World." 

The Gaston Mansion at Hacienda Sta. Rosalia in Manapla


By threading stories of creativity (for which Negrenses are known for) in a platform that dramatizes a regional narrative, global audiences can discover what makes Negros special.

Personally, what I am excited about is being able to showcase the heritage homes of Negros.  While so much has been said about Negros' food, art, handicrafts, and agriculture, the heritage homes are for me, an item where attention must be drawn to. 

The Ruins - remains of the ancestral home mansion of the family of Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson and Maria Braga Lacson.


Every other island or province has  their own culinary story, their own art and handicrafts.  But all of these take on a different dimension as the stories are framed within a physical place where the stories are anchored to.  Such is the case with the ancestral homes on Negros Island.  The stories are amplified and emotions are heightened as they are set within an actual place that people can see.

All these stories will be aggregated into that website which will be launched this Thursday with famous Negrense actor, Joel Torre and his daughter Marela.

The Negros Season of Culture, this is Negros Island's Window for the World.

Join the Negros Season of Culture launch this Thursday by tuning in and following the Negros Season of Culture Facebook Page.






While Europe is in Lockdown, The Province of Negros Occidental Opens a Window to the World

  Neatly tucked in the center of the Philippine archipelago is a sock shaped island known as Negros.  Negros, known for its vast sugarcane p...

Monday, August 31, 2020



Today, August 31, 2020, is the day some of my dearest friends from my old place of employment (McCann-Erickson Philippines), will feel the weight of the loss of the network franchise of ABS-CBN.

Sometime between 2005 and 2010, a lot of these friends found a new zest for life in their advertising and communications careers, moving from McCann to ABS-CBN.  There, they shined brightly in their respective duties.  Their diverse talents allowed them to make ABS-CBN spring forth in wonderful and innovative ways.  Blazing trails, creating new departments, innovating business were the order of the day.

As we all know, ABS-CBN lost its bid to have their franchise renewed on July 10, 2020.  As a result, here we are today, seeing the last day of my ex-colleagues with ABS-CBN.

Hold your heads up high.  With "TRUTH WELL TOLD" on your left hand and "IN SERVICE OF THE FILIPINO" on the right, today is really a day for heroes.

I cover you with my personal prayers, but above all, at this time, I send you this prayer.  It comes from St. Augustine.  I hope you will find comfort in it.

God of our life,
There are days when the burdens we carry
Chafe our shoulders and weigh us down;
When the road seems dreary and endless,
The skies grey and threatening;
When our lives have no music in them,
And our hearts are lonely,
And our souls have lost their courage.
Flood the path with light,
Run our eyes to where the skies are full of promise;
Tune our hearts to brave music;
Give us the sense of comradeship
With heroes and saints of every age;
And so quicken our spirits
That we may be able to encourage the souls of all who journey with us
On the road of life, to your honor and glory.




Godspeed, my dear friends!

A Prayer for my Ex-McCann Colleagues who moved to ABS-CBN and have now lost their jobs

Today, August 31, 2020, is the day some of my dearest friends from my old place of employment (McCann-Erickson Philippines), will feel th...

Thursday, April 30, 2020

I just remembered that there are two words for time in Greek. Chronos, from where we get the word chronometer, refers to the measurement of time; seconds, minutes, hours, years. 

Then there is Kairos - the opportune time. That singular moment when everything is in place and everything is ripe for the picking. The appointed time in the purpose of God. Our best response is to move in that window of time as guided by the Holy Spirit and not under compulsion.



I pray that despite the chaos that COVID brings, we will find some Kairos within ourselves. It's not even Carpe Diem, or seize the day. It's more like "the decisive moment" in photography.





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How to get QUAN Delicacies during the Quarantine
 

After having a sumptuous Quarantine lunch or dinner, the best thing to have for postre (Hiligaynon for dessert) are authentic Negrense delicacies! Just in case you are scampering for these delicacies, you can now get them from QUAN at Dian St., Makati City....Read More




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Reviving The Lost Art Of Riding The Boat To Bacolod

This past Christmas season has been highlighted by so many horror stories of air travellers experiencing flight delays, bump-offs, and other inconveniences brought about by airlines which lacked the foresight to staff up given the hectic holiday season. Much noted was the chaos which took place at NAIA Terminal 3 when ......Read More











Negros Island.  The SWEET Spot of the Philippines.

Thoughts on Time

I just remembered that there are two words for time in Greek. Chronos, from where we get the word chronometer, refers to the measurement of ...

 

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