|Singing at the Manila Hotel's Tap Room (photos by Shaira Luna)|
2011 was a great year for me. Very diverse endeavors but all very fulfilling. Some highlights (and, sadly, a couple of goodbyes) and sincere thank you's:
Column in Inquirer Lifestyle
I was quite down by the announcement that Sunday Inquirer Magazine went from being a weekly magazine to a monthly magazine so I was elated (that is an understatement) when Inquirer Lifestyle (Thursdays) adopted my column Menu. Thank you so much first of all to the Magsanocs for always being so supportive, esp. to Dr. Marti Magsanoc who is always pushing me to write better. Thank you to my new bosses (hehe!) PDI EIC Letty Jimenez Magsanoc and Thelma Sioson San Juan for the opportunity to have a column in Inquirer Lifestyle. To me this was the most delightful highlight of 2011.
On January 4, 2011 to be exact, I got a call for a new albeit controversial client, thanks (I think - hah!) to college friend and now Undersecretary for Political Affairs Vince Dizon, who contracted me as spokesperson/media consultant of Stradcom Corp., "the corporation responsible for making the Land Transportation Office the first successfully computerized government agency." I got my first ever libel case defending the corporation but thankfully, as expected of course, it was dismissed. I will never forget Senate Pres. Enrile advising, "Enjoy it. It comes with the game." This was the most challenging undertaking of the year and hopefully our efforts will be rewarded in 2012.
It was also a pleasure working with PDP-Laban, especially Senator Koko Pimentel, who was finally declared senator (definitely a highlight of the year and in our country's history) and Joey de Venecia. Watch: this is the party to beat in 2013.
I was also asked by former Senate President Ernesto Maceda to co-host his weekly radio show Mr. Expose on dzRJ 810 AM with him. I appreciate this opportunity and experience because listening to Amb. Maceda's commentary there is always something you learn.
I want to thank Tito Joey for talking me into pursuing singing (somehow) and to Erika Aquino & dad Manolo for allowing me to try it out at Charlie's. And of course to the amazing Sandra Viray for allowing me to sing at the Tap Room of the Manila Hotel with no less than Romy Posadas! Thank you also to my favorite musician friend and kumare Jane Banta for introducing me to Gian and his jazz band. If the fates allow, hope to take it to a higher level this 2012 (naks, as if!) ;-)
Dinner for Willin Low
This has to be, hands down, one of the most amazing Filipino dinners I have ever had - thanks in large part to the fact that I organized it, hah! An appetizer of roasted bulalo from Margarita Fores' Lusso; Kurobuta sinigang from Mamou; paco salad from Abe; inasal by Pauline Gorriceta Banusing/Freska; pinais by Suzette Montinola/La Cocina de Tita Moning; lechon roulade by Myrna Segismundo; cochinillo from Cirkulo; pistacchio sans rival by Jill Sandique; and Benguet arabica from ECHOstore/Chit Juan. How do you top that?? This would not have been possible, of course, without the help of Enderun and the lovely Tricia Tensuan. And of course to the chefs who so generously donated each dish for our pleasure! Tricia, we should start doing this annually ;) Thank you also to Nana Ozaeta who featured this dinner in FOOD Magazine and Cheryl Tiu for Lifestyle Asia. :)
|Lechon Roulade by Myrna Segismundo|
|Roasted bulalo by Margarita Fores|
My favorites for this year: partying in Singapore with travel buddy Erika Aquino and meeting the KL crew. And Marnie Arcilla's wedding in the beautiful Boracay and experiencing Shangri-la Boracay (AMAZING!).
|Altitude. One of the RARE times I partied!|
|The view from a room in Shangri-la Boracay|
Tito Louie & Tito Freddie
The low points this year were the passing away of TWO of mom's siblings, Louie (eldest) and Freddie (second eldest). They brought music and food and joy into our lives and were the leaders of the family, the rock that held us together. It was a sad, sad year for my mom's side of the family. But we paid a beautiful tribute to them during the visit of Tito Louie's wife, Belen, and daughter Pixie and I like to think that, especially with the efforts of my mom and her sister Cory, our family will continue to be strong and close and still filled with music (and stuffing ourselves with yummy Bulacan cooking). Thank you to President Erap who joined us for this tribute and played Tita Belen's "pretend Papa Louie" for the night. Thank you to Banda 88 for the great music!
|Tito Freddie (L) and Tito Louie (R) standing.|
Nana Meng's Kitchen
Nana Meng Tsokolate in Glorietta and Robinsons Galleria have also closed. (Galleria's last day is today, Dec. 31). The rent got too high and we felt like we were working for the malls and we were advised by a consultant anyways that mall stores may not be the best way to market the tsokolate. Instead, we have partnered with restaurants with like visions of promoting Filipino cuisine so look for Nana Meng Tsokolate at 1521 on Burgos Circle at the Fort and at ECHOstore at Serendra, which promotes sustainable eating and advocates organic food. It's always sad to see structures you built torn down, little as they may be, but do watch out for the opening of Nana Meng's on Pililia St. in Makati in the first quarter of 2012.
Ancestral Home Comes Alive
Even if Nana Meng passed away in 2009, in 2011 the house in Bulacan seemed to be in demand, being featured in various magazines. Thank you to Amy Besa for getting the ball rolling by approving of Ka Tage's dinuguan and having no less than Neal Oshima take photos of it! Thank you to Cyrene dela Rosa for pushing for that lunch at the house; and to Jayme Natividad for introducing me to Devi de Veyra, Carlo team which led to the fabulous feature in Metro Home. Thank you to Micky Fenix for the feature of Nana Meng's chicken galantina in Town &Country. Bongga!
|With foodie friends and Metro Home editor Devi de Veyra|
|Tita Cory making my favorite dessert: her fruit salad|
|Neal Oshima takes a photo of our kitchen|
Also, thanks to Amy Besa, I have met a beautiful new bunch of friends this year who have come together for the love of food: Cyrene, Edi, Aleth, Tricia, Melissa, Karen, Eddieboy, Tiff - it's always a good time around you guys! So happy to have met & become friends with you :) And of course I met Amy Besa through none other than the fabulous faggiedo Jayme Natividad so much love, hugs and kisses to mother Jayme too :)
|Cyrene dela Rosa, Tricia Tensuan, Amy Besa, Jayme Natividad, Edi Sian|
|True or Tough Love? Jayme N. & THE Romy Dorotan|
Finally, I am forever grateful for the gift of our family. I thank God that we are still complete, even with their stinky feet, bwisit days notwithstanding, it is the greatest blessing. (OK ba ang rhyming?).
May 2012 be even more amazing!!!
Happy New Year, everyone!!!