Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Revitalized Tutuban Center reopens Central Mall and Prime Block

The newly renovated Tutuban Center of Divisoria Market, Manila is now open again for a renewed shopping experience.  The front building of the main mall has been remodeled, repainted, and restored its main entrance’s  vintage design and to conserve the heritage value of was left after of the 19th century’s  central train station. It still has the feature of brick walls and retained those century-old wrought iron pillars that would serve as your guide to the food court
Tutuban Center opens 
9:00 AM every day

The place is among the historical spots of Manila and a memorable place to  any one of us who might had been shoving elbows and pushing butts to win a bargain hunting adventure.  The small plaza fronting the Tutuban Center still features the controversial statue of Gat Andres Bonifacio erected by the National Historical Institute (NHI) in 1971. The monument was meant to mark the site where Bonifacio supposedly was born on Nov. 30, 1863 to which some critics pointed out was an error because he was actually born in... (See and read more here)

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Dreamer Turned Achiever

Edgie Polistico
Q. What do kerosene lamp, mimeographing paper, computers, and food have in common?
A. They were all instrumental to the realization of a 14-year old boy’s dream of writing and compiling his own dictionary.

While many his age were busy balancing their studies and “social life” (hanging out with friends, gossiping, writing love letters to their crushes only because internet, mobile phones and other gadgets weren’t available to them yet) this young man was already busy weaving an extraordinary dream of writing a book, a dictionary, to be specific. Thirty-three years later, the dream would become a reality with the publication of his book, the Philippine Food, Cooking, and Dining Dictionary (PFCDD), published by Anvil Publishing, and launched during the recently-concluded Manila International Book Fair at the SMX Convention Center in MOA, Pasay City.

The boy-turned lexicographer is Edgardo B. Polistico, or Edgie for short, a loyal employee of IL for 23 years, 20 of which has been spent with the Company’s Legal unit, now known as Legal and Corporate Services Division.

Fueling the dream.

Edgie was all of 14 when his dream started. Born to a humble family in Inopacan, Leyte, his school did not have enough reading and reference materials. “My classmates would ask me for English translations of Cebuano words every time we had a theme-writing session in English. We mostly spoke ‘carabao English.’ We actually had a very big Webster Dictionary displayed at the school’s hallway. The trouble was, we did not know how to use it because the book’s main entries were all written in English. What we needed was a Cebuano – English dictionary.”

This piqued his curiosity. At night, he used a kerosene lamp to help him read. (At the time, electricity was not yet available in his hometown.) “I spent time browsing  through (my) notes, some old books, and a worn-out copy of a Webster Dictionary belonging to my grandfather.” 

A page in Edgie’s mimeographing paper-turned high school notebook.

In order to have money for kerosene, he resorted to various means of earning with his mother: he farmed in the mountains, harvested coconuts to be made into copra and peddled different kinds of food around the town. “One day, while in town, my mother bought a small English-Cebuano dictionary from a street peddler. It was thin, and contained lexicon-type of entries. I read it every day and brought it with me even to wakes, to keep me awake. They all thought I was reading a prayer book! Then a thought occurred to me. I reversed the entries of that small dictionary and made the Cebuano words as the main entries. I compiled and added a few more Cebuano words. That was the start of my Cebuano-English dictionary.” With the money he earned, he would buy reams of mimeographing paper he turned into notebooks which he later used not only for school but also for his researches for his little project. 

After high school, one of Edgie’s uncles sent him to the Divine Word University in Tacloban. While there, he had money enough only for transportation. “I didn’t have money for textbooks and snacks so I frequented the library. And because I was always in the library, my desire to complete my Cebuano-English Dictionary continued. The Filipiniana section became my favorite for researching new entries.” On weekends, to supplement his reading habit, he would take the big Oxford Dictionary from his Uncle’s study room. 

After college, he worked as the personal secretary of his uncle who was elected provincial board member of Leyte. Guess what he bought with his first salary? You guessed it right, his first own dictionary, a pocket Collins Gems English Dictionary. It took him 2 years to translate all the entries of this dictionary into Cebuano.
Fulfilling the dream.

In 1993, Edgie was hired by Insular Life’s Tacloban District Sales Office as a data encoder and service clerk. Three and a half years later, he was asked to join the Company’s Legal office, being told that “my 201 file spoke for itself, which is why they needed me to join the team. My life here enabled me to develop my other talents, such as the creation of electronic logbooks that became an indispensable tool for monitoring and data storage of cases we handle until now. Above all, it is here where my writing skill was honed because of the reports we have to write.” 

Even with full-time work in Insular Life, Edgie never lost sight of his dream. Realizing that part of the fulfillment of his dream involved the use of computers, he went on to read about computer programming during his free time. When he was able to set aside money, he went back to school, studying design at AMA Computer Learning Center in Makati City and Alabang.

Finally, in 2004, he wrote and designed his first software application for his Edgie Polistico’s Cebuano- English Dictionary, a dictionary listing thousands of Cebuano words and their meanings in the English language. Still, this dream Edgie had was not easy to sustain. It needed time, and most of all, money. But with persistence, heart, and passion for it, he produced hundreds of CDs of his dictionary. These CDs were given for free whenever he would travel in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Today, a free downloadable version of the dictionary may be accessed at

Beyond the dream.
With the fulfillment of his dream of writing a dictionary, Edgie set his sights on another project, this time, making use of his thousands of photographs gathered during his travels around the country. Aside from writing, he also dabbles in photography, something that goes back to his high school days as his town’s commercial photographer, covering school and social activities, and later, as a photojournalist for his campus publication in college.

Cover of the Philippine Food, Cooking, & Dining Dictionary, now available via Anvil’s website  for P795.00

In 2008, he started the Philippine Food Illustrated (PFI), a blogsite meant to accompany his Edgie Polistico’s Encyclopedic Philippine Food, Cooking, and Dining Dictionary, the latter, the precursor of what would now be called PFCDD.
PFI is a compilation of photos of Philippine food from Luzon down to Mindanao, most of which are not the type one usually sees on the streets or even restaurants, and are usually native to a particular area. (I happened to stumble upon this website while I was researching for photos that would accompany articles for the Life Cycles Magazine. Needless to say, I was happy to find out that the person who took all those good, high resolution photos was just literally 21 floors below me. And as generosity comes natural to Edgie, he allowed the use of his photos for free.) 

On September 18, 2016, Edgie’s years of research and hardwork bore fruit, when his publisher, Anvil Publishing, launched PFCDD. In the words of culinary author and cultural advocate Felice Prudente Sta. Maria who provided the Foreword to the book, “Edgie’s list of food from all over the archipelago offers a lot to signify as cultural heritage. He records variations of a cooked food not only by region but also sometimes from town to nearby town…Indeed food feeds body and soul. This dictionary will feed both as well as a national hunger for celebration of Philippine cultural heritage.” 

The 380-page reference material on Philippine food, cooking and dining will be available soon in branches of National Bookstore. You can also get a copy from Anvil's website.

Edgie says that now is the perfect time to publish a dictionary on Philippine food, cooking and dining because “…culinary courses are now among the popular courses in colleges and universities. Pinoy cuisine and delicacies are also now gaining recognition in other countries, some of which even attract foreign food enthusiasts. Moreover. during my years of research, I realized how rich we are because of our culinary treasures. My dictionary tries to introduce less commonly-known culinary terms from all over the country, aside from the usual terms we already know. If we are not able to record and preserve them, there will come a time when we will lose part of our identity as Filipinos.”

To date, Edgie maintains 11 blog sites, a feat he is able to accomplish all during his free time away from work. “My blogging habit is not so demanding as I don’t update them frequently. However, the site Philippines Illustrated is my main blogsite.” The site lists the other blog sites he currently maintains. The fact that he is now a published author, however, has not diminished Edgie’s passions outside of work— whether for writing, or photography. “I aspire to finish and publish more books that include the following: my true first dictionary, the Cebuano-English Dictionary; the 2nd edition of the PFCDD with twice more entries - expanded and more detailed entries to include our food culture, history, legacy and culinary development; the first Philippine Illustrated Dictionary (on food, transportation, places, etc.); and my biggest and most ambitious project, the Philippine multi-language dictionary. The last will be my contribution to unifying our diverse culture. This is my ‘Tower of Babel,’ an impossible dream that I would like to make possible.
For someone like Edgie who dreams big dreams and goes on to fulfill them, even the impossible might one day give way. 

* Edgie is the featured author of Anvil Publishing in October 2016.

Written by Kaye Liangco-Plata
PR Specialist
Public Relations Staff
Office of the Chief Executive Officer 

This article is a reprint from "In-Focus" a section of the Life Cycle, a monthly magazine digitally published by the Insular Life (IL). This section features employees and their hobbies/activities/passions outside of work so as to inspire fellow employees to take up something different, reach for their dreams and enrich their personal lives.


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