Saturday, December 24, 2016

First Pinoy food dictionary won the national FOOD WRITING category

Just now, I got an email from Gourmand Awards. My knees and hands are shaking. I can't explain what I feel.

Here's the mail:

Gourmand Awards>
Today at 5:32 AM



The Gourmand Awards jury is delighted to announce that Food Cooking and dining dictionary is the national winner in
(READ more here...)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The launching of ‘RARA’ Art and Tradition of Mat Weaving in the Philippines

It was on 30 November 2016 that Elmer G.I.H. Nocheseda of Pateros invited us to attend the special launching of his book, the rara art and tradition of mat weaving of the Philippines at the Villa Monica Clubhouse in Pateros, Metro Manila.
Elmer G.I.H. Nocheseda is a local historian of Pateros who authored several books.  His latest book is the RARA. It is all about the art and tradition of mat weaving in the Philippines. Shown also in the launching is his awesome personal collection of  (Read and see more photos here...)

Friday, November 4, 2016

Camp N Incubator Trail and Bike Hub - Nuvali's latest healthy outdoor activity

Click or tap the image to read and see more photos
The Camp N IncubatorTrail and Bike Hub of Nuvali has been developed in the northwestern side of Calamba, Laguna. It is the latest outdoor fun in partnership with Specialized Philippines and it offers bike clinics for both beginners and intermediate riders.

We were there on the opening day, 29 October 2016, and tried the 3.4 kilometer winding bike trail that traversed through and around the 6-hectare ground of...(read and see more photos here)

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.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Alviera Camp Hero - the training camp for wannabe superheroes

Now on its second year of camping season, Alviera is announcing and accepting participants to Alviera Hero Camp to be held on October 15 to 16, 2016 (Saturday to Sunday). This year, camping experience is unique because it is themed as a training camp for wannabe heroes.

Yes, the Alviera Hero Camp is for you who dream to become a superhero as part of your lifetime. Here is your chance to become one by participating over a weekend of purposeful adventure and learning. Participants will experience the thrills of hero role-playing throughout their stay at the camp. They will learn and earn some of ... (read and see more photos here

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The ancient smoked ham of the Philippines

etag – (é-tag; Ilocano and Cordilleran [Ifugao, Igorot, Kankanay, and Benguet] preserved) (also spelled as itag in IIocano; a.k.a. innasin in Ilocano) [n.] cured and aged slab of pork; An indigenous smoked or sun-dried salted slab of pork.

....With due respect to customs and traditions of all the ethnic groups of Cordillera and northern Luzon, the process of making etag and how long the aging process would take to complete reminds me of the Fire Mummies (a.k.a. Kabayan Mummies) of Benguet. The mummification process of fire mummies was unique compared to on how mummification was done in Egypt and the rest of the world. It was like the natives were preserving their dead in a process similar to when making an etag. The mummification would begin right after a person died, whom they would let ingest a very salty drink. The corpse was washed and set over a fire in a seated position to dry out bodily fluids. The dead was also subjected to smoking process. Tobacco smoke was blown into the mouth to dry further the inside of the body including the internal organs and then herbs were rubbed into the body before the mummified body was placed in a ... (Read and see more here)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Here’s why if you run with Anne Curtis you become a hero to children.

Anne Curtis was inspired by the outcome of last year’s first run that she continued to promote the second run on September 4. “This year, I’m inviting everyone again to be a hero for more here

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Why until now Filipino spelling and alphabet remain imperfect

Basically, I found no standard rule on what vowel to use when spelling a Tagalog word. Why some prefer o and other choose u, and why i is used while others put e instead. What I only know is that some publications set a vowel preference in their stylebook, and yet again the stylebooks are not the same from one publication to another and they made variations and revisions from time to time. 

Tagalog orthography actually and more often used o and u interchangeably and it continues to evolve even to these days. Even the Filipino alphabet   could not settle yet until now on what letters to include and exclude. We are still using the “most pretentious alphabet ever made in this world.” But wait, contemporary Pinoy dictionaries now started to drop NG and fused it under N. A UP cultural dictionary has entries that followed the pattern of English alphabet. It has entries with letters that you cannot find yet until now in Filipino alphabet. Have we not realized that there are consonants that we do write and read every day in our lives that are still inexistent in Philippine alphabet. 

Have you noticed recently that most Pinoy dictionaries now have “K” that is no longer after “B” (as in A B K D - abakada)? It is moved next to “I”.  Is there still no need for us to overhaul and create a modern Pinoy alphabet?  Well, we cannot ignore that our National Hero’s name is Dr. Jose P. Rizal and that our national language is Filipino.  What crime do you commit if you replace J with H (to make Jose a Hose) and Z with S (so we can have Rizal as Risal)? Legally, the answer is that you commit no crime, but sarcastically you can be guilty of murdering the name of our National hero. If you insist that you are a Pilipino, your declaration could be a violation to our constitution (Hence, unconstitutional blah-blah-blah) for it had been declared literally in the Preamble of the Philippine Constitution that we are the sovereign Filipino people, and our language is also called Filipino. Yes, with letter F that you cannot find until now in our very own alphabet. Do we really  have to follow strictly the alphabet that our educational institutions and school mentors obliged us to recite? Go around and look around and you will find that street names are spelled with letters you cannot find in our Abakada alphabet. There are more: family names (check the names of Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino officers and the names of the Presidents of the Republic of the Philippines), food names, plant names, name of cities, names of planets (e.g. Venus, Jupiter), book names and peculiar names of places and people in the Bible, computer lingo, etc.). Why not overhaul the Filipino alphabet and stop pretending that we can spell all words with Abakada.  It was a long due that we have to include C, F, J, Q, V, X, Z in our alphabet. Shall we not remove NG and move K next to J now? I suppose that Ñ should be included also as replacement to Ng. We are not living, writing, and communicating in the past anymore. If you call it preservation of Filipino literature and culture, don't worry, we can hang the Abakada on the wall of the Philippine National Museum for all to see the history of our own alphabet.

In my blogs, I once wrote that this was the same dilemma encountered by John U. Wolf when he compiled his Cebuano dictionary. He obviously and seriously got confused on how to spell Cebuano words using our alphabet that he was obliged to put  kumbinsiyun  as an entry  for “convention”, and Lawril for Laurel that refers to Pres. Jose P. Laurel), San Huwan Bawtista for San Juan Bautista, and more… Cebuanos found the entries awkward and unacceptable. Wolf also used “u” heavily in his dictionary that he seemed forgot that “o” do exist in our alphabet.  Wolf’s unintended misspelling reminds me of some Tagalog words spelled with u even if the word has a soft o-sounding word. It flashes back my childhood memories of reading the old printed prayer books in our altar and some religious reading pamphlets sold nearby and around Quiapo church in Manila and other old churches across the country. I could vividly recall the balloons (dialog) of my old favorite Tagalog and Cebuano comic magazines that used letter “u” heavily.  Here comes the latest in the list I just found in the Philippine Daily Inquirer's front page: "The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) launched its 73-page “Patnubay sa Weder Forkasting.”  Can you spot the unfamiliar words and how they are spelt. Don't ask anybody from Pag-asa, they already admitted that our weathermen were confused by the terms translated by KWF for them.
news clipping from

The evolution of Pinoy spelling these past few decades had some publications (newspapers, tabloids, vernacular magazines, etc.) started using o in place of u and among them is the way they spell inom (drink), another notable spelling I observed is when they adopted to spell balut for balot (boiled fertilized duck egg) for o that turned into u. The changing of vowels eventually stirred the norm on how to spell correctly the Tagalog words.  Our spelling even got worse when other literary writers and publications decided to spell words based on how we stress the five vowels (a-e-i-o-u) and match it on how we pronounce the vernacular words. The more popular contemporary publications (newspapers, book publishers, literary writers, etc.) tried to standardize by claiming that their stylebook should served as the standard. That’s why we have now irregular Tagalog words that for no reasons or lack of explanations decided to change vowels across tenses and conjugations.  

In my recent and first food dictionary project with ANVIL, my proof readers called my attention to look over if I made a mistake of using inum for inom and vice versa. Well, the answer is really a mind boggling for me to explain. To make things easy for me, I settled to agree the trend of using u and o in the dictionaries of Prof Almario and Fr. English to help set the standard of Tagalog spelling.  But for now, I had a reservation as to whether or not to include inum as an alternative for Tagalog inom in my PFCDD. I need much time to dig this spelling confusion.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

These facts about homosexuality in animal and plant Kingdoms will blow Manny Pacquiao's mind

Sinabi ba ni Manny Pacquiao na walang homosexuality sa mga hayop? Teka muna. Akala ko ba merong "alimangong bakla". ha-ha-ha!

Scientific studies of plants and animals found homosexual behaviors of other living things other than human beings. Here are few of my finds. But before you go on reading, I will set it clear that I'm a straight guy. Just sharing this FYI.

Marine biologists will agree that the following story also happened to our tilapias and bangus - Studies show that in seeking mates, fish switch sex. Exactly how the female fish pull off their sex-changing stunt is not clear, though researchers say it's a natural phenomenon not connected to pollution or other man-made factors.In a 2006 University of New Hampshire lab study, female fish kept in coed tanks for nine months remained female. But in a group of female-only tanks, six out of 24 females switched sides... ( more about this HERE)

Here  is a list of animals displaying homosexual behavior. You can read this in Wikipedia with enormous bibliography of references. Read it HERE

Here is an article that will blow Manny's mind. It says that "Homosexual behaviour is natural in the animal and plant kingdoms." Read it HERE  ....or continue reading the following reprint of the same article originally published in October 2006.

Homosexuality is quite common in the animal kingdom, especially among herding animals. Many animals solve conflicts by practicing same gender sex.

From the middle of October until next summer the Norwegian Natural History Museum of the University of Oslo will host the first exhibition that focuses on homosexuality in the animal kingdom.

"One fundamental premise in social debates has been that homosexuality is unnatural. This premise is wrong. Homosexuality is both common and highly essential in the lives of a number of species," explains Petter Boeckman, who is the academic advisor for the "Against Nature's Order?" exhibition.

The most well-known homosexual animal is the dwarf chimpanzee, one of humanity's closes relatives. The entire species is bisexual. Sex plays an conspicuous role in all their activities and takes the focus away from violence, which is the most typical method of solving conflicts among primates and many other animals.

"Sex among dwarf chimpanzees is in fact the business of the whole family, and the cute little ones often lend a helping hand when they engage in oral sex with each other."

Lions are also homosexual. Male lions often band together with their brothers to lead the pride. To ensure loyalty, they strengthen the bonds by often having sex with each other.

Homosexuality is also quite common among dolphins and killer whales. The pairing of males and females is fleeting, while between males, a pair can stay together for years. Homosexual sex between different species is not unusual either. Meetings between different dolphin species can be quite violent, but the tension is often broken by a "sex orgy".

Homosexuality is a social phenomenon and is most widespread among animals with a complex herd life.

Among the apes it is the females that create the continuity within the group. The social network is maintained not only by sharing food and the child rearing, but also by having sex. Among many of the female apes the sex organs swell up. So they rub their abdomens against each other," explains Petter Bockman and points out that animals have sex because they have the desire to, just like we humans.

Homosexual behaviour has been observed in 1,500 animal species

"We're talking about everything from mammals to crabs and worms. The actual number is of course much higher. Among some animals homosexual behaviour is rare, some having sex with the same gender only a part of their life, while other animals, such as the dwarf chimpanzee, homosexuality is practiced throughout their lives."

Animals that live a completely homosexual life can also be found. This occurs especially among birds that will pair with one partner for life, which is the case with geese and ducks. Four to five percent of the couples are homosexual. Single females will lay eggs in a homosexual pair's nest. It has been observced that the homosexual couple are often better at raising the young than heterosexual couples.

When you see a colony of black-headed gulls, you can be sure that almost every tenth pair is lesbian. The females have no problems with being impregnated, although, according to Petter Boeckman they cannot be defined as bisexual.

"If a female has sex with a male one time, but thousands of times with another female, is she bisexual or homosexual? This is the same way to have children is not unknown among homosexual people."

Indeed, there is a number of animals in which homosexual behaviour has never been observed, such as many insects, passerine birds and small mammals.

"To turn the approach on its head: No species has been found in which homosexual behaviour has not been shown to exist, with the exception of species that never have sex at all, such as sea urchins and aphis. Moreover, a part of the animal kingdom is hermaphroditic, truly bisexual. For them, homosexuality is not an issue."

Petter Bockman regrets that there is too little research about homosexuality among animals.

"The theme has long been taboo. The problem is that researchers have not seen for themselves that the phenomenon exists or they have been confused when observing homosexual behaviour or that they are fearful of being ridiculed by their colleagues. Many therefore overlook the abundance of material that is found. Many researchers have described homosexuality as something altogether different from sex. They must realise that animals can have sex with who they will, when they will and without consideration to a researcher's ethical principles."

One example of overlooking behaviour noted by Petter Bockman is a description of mating among giraffes, when nine out of ten pairings occur between males.

"Every male that sniffed a female was reported as sex, while anal intercourse with orgasm between males was only "revolving around" dominance, competition or greetings.

Now that's gay pride! Two male lions appear to be mating while lioness looks on confused - Daily Mail online (UK).

Masturbation is common in the animal kingdom

"Masturbation is the simplest method of self pleasure. We have a Darwinist mentality that all animals only have sex to procreate. But there are plenty of animals who will masturbate when they have nothing better to do. Masturbation has been observed among primates, deer, killer whales and penguins, and we're talking about both males and females. They rub themselves against stones and roots. Orangutans are especially inventive. They make dildos of wood and bark," says Petter Boeckman of the Norwegian Natural History Museum.


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Author of Philippine Food, Cooking, and Dining Dictionary. A lexicographer since the age of 14.  Filipino Linguist. Blogger with 11 blog sites. Researcher of food culture, pop culture, places, structures, transportations, churches and whatever interest him about the Philippines. Visual artist. Photographer. Traveler who had been to all four corners of the Philippine archipelago, and still setting more footprints. 

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