The Stories Behind the Ten

In Prime Movers, The Suprim Class on October 6, 2012 by thesuprimo

The Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines is a continuing vision of two Jose’s, born in different generations under different circumstances.

The first Jose paved the way for independence and died by firing squad. Jose Rizal lived and died a hero whose nationalism was instilled by a household who called him Pepe.

Sixty-five years later, a visionary who was aware of Rizal’s unwavering conviction on the Filipino youth as the fair hope of motherland, commenced a Rizal-inspired awards-program to honor the tertiary students who are exemplars and leaders in the academic field and in their contributions to society, with the hope of inspiring others. Thus, on the 100th birthday of Rizal, 1961, the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP) was aptly established. Jose S. Concepcion, Jr. is a modern-day hero whose idealism continues to fuel the youth, who have learned much from his example as Joecon.

Fifty-one years after, TOSP continues to be stirringly relevant, both as an awards program and a youth movement.

This year, much has been said about TOSP. From the stolen kiss from the President of the Philippines to the celebratory Choosing Leadersfeature of Maria Ressa, the news about this year’s selection was positively trending, that it even landed a page in Vietnamese and San Diego-based newspapers. And thanks to Maria Ressa, their quotable quotes during the National Interview and Judging made the tag ‘#TOSP’ trending in Twitter.

But there are behind-the-scenes stories that barely reached the pages of national news or get into the trending topic of the social media. These stories were beautifully hidden in the youth activities, written essays, and featured stories compiled in a bid book submitted to the TOSP National Secretariat by this year’s TOSP awardees. And these stories inspired and moved the notable and prominent Filipino leaders who composed this year’s National Screening Assembly and Judging and Interview Committee to tears. These young individuals gave them a glimpse of what these future leaders can do and affirmed their individual beliefs that indeed, change is happening.


His Excellency, President Benigno S. Aquino III, with 2012 TOSP Executive Committee Members and 2012 TOSP Awardees. Second row: JC Tejano, John Michael Dellariarte, Angel Bombarda, Kenneth Abante, Maria Janua Padua, Ruthell Moreno, Jerome David, Kurt See, Jay-R Mendoza and Daniel Dy.

Kenneth Isaiah I. Abante

BS Management Engineering, Minor in Philosophy | Ateneo de Manila University

A class valedictorian from grade school to college, Kenneth views excellence as a means to serve. Despite graduating as Ateneo’s Class Valedictorian, he opted to work with the government instead of the private sector as a step closer to his 10-year goal of going back to Bicol to organize local industries and enterprises.

Angelita A. Bombarda

BS Psychology | De La Salle University

As a scholar and fellow of various journalism programs from New York Times to Singapore Management University, Angel is a firm believer in Jose Rizal’s ‘the pen is mightier than the sword.’ She sees her passion in writing as a contribution to society, having recently bagged the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award with her essay, On Being Filipino: A Citizen of the World.

Jerome V. David

BS Industrial Management Engineering | De La Salle University

Jerome has represented the Philippines in a variety of international assemblies such as the ASEAN Youth Forum and made his country proud being the ‘voice of the youth.’ To make sure that he professionalizes his passion for his profession, he helped developed leadership capacities of industrial engineering students nationwide.

John Michael F. Dellariarte

Doctor of Medicine | Ateneo de Zamboanga University – School of Medicine

Mike set up the Halfway House Project for expectant mothers made out of PET bottles. His floating ambulance project has transported sick people from one side of town to the health center located on the opposite side of the lake. He has facilitated the creation of yellow boats, which brought the children across the lake so they can go to school.

Daniel Philip V. Dy

BS Business Administration, Major in Management Honors’ Program | Ateneo de Naga University

Passionate about promoting Bicol’s indigenous materials, Scud volunteered his time and resources in co-founding Mr. Kengkoy, a social enterprise which advocates for culture preservation. He has helped mothers in Brgy. Masnog have a sustainable livelihood. He is proud of their organic backpacks that were woven by the mothers living at the foot of the beautiful Mayon volcano.

Jay-r M. Mendoza

Bachelor of Secondary Education, Major in Mathematics | University of Rizal System – Morong Campus

Migo founded the Leaders in Motion, which aims to change the political landscape for the youth in the province of Rizal. With this endeavor, the residents of Rizal can be assured that their young leaders are capable of providing a principle-centered leadership and good governance.

Ruthell A. Moreno

Bachelor in Special Education, Major in Teaching Children with Mental Retardation | West Visayas State University

Inflicted with lupus, Ruthell did not allow this to stop her from touching people’s lives. She paid for miscellaneous school fees and supplies for five indigent students at the San Fernando Elementary School and sponsored school supplies of 20 indigent elementary students. To make sure that lupus patients are surviving the signs and symptoms of the disease, she established the Lupus Support Group of Panay, Incorporated.

Maria Janua B. Polinar

AB Political Science | Central Mindanao University

Janua was brave enough to admit that she was sent to school by the leftists to recruit new members, but was bravest to switch, clamor and push for good societal change. She moved for electoral reforms through various education initiatives and led efforts to combat rising prevalence of drug addiction in her community.

Kurt Gerrard T. See

BS Applied Economics | De La Salle University – Manila

Kurt entered debate in college to help him with stage fright and stammering, and he ended up as one of the Top Ten Best Speakers in Asia. Through debate, he continuously rekindles social consciousness and empathy among the youth. He has been instrumental in empowering aspiring young students to be good debaters as well through his active community involvement setting up the Balboa Cup of the Children’s Museum and Library, Inc., the Binondo Schools Debate Camp and the Filipino-Chinese Debate Consortium.

Juan Carlo P. Tejano

BA Political Science | University of the Philippines – Diliman

JC has dared to question the status quo. Motivated by an inner drive to protect the rights of the marginalized, he has risen up to the challenges of setting up an opposition political party in his university to advocate a variety of causes. As a student funded by the Filipino people, he strongly believes that it is his personal duty and obligation to become an iskolar para sa bayan.

Indeed, the shining example of Pepe and the motivation of Joecon to leave a youth legacy called TOSP are lived out by these youth leaders who are the hope of the youth. And just like Pepe and Joecon, these young leaders will soon be a household name synonymous to a life led, learned and servedfor a cause greater than one’s self.

Special thanks to The Outstanding Students of the Philippines Alumni Community: Pamela Asis-Layugan and Johncy Concepcion for the impact statements and Mina Akram for the Malacañan photo.



Youth Hours 2012 Goes Regionals

In Prime Movers on April 5, 2012 by thesuprimo

We are in an age that a simple click is all it takes to move a community, ripple a change and even spark a revolution. And Philippines, being one of the social-networking capitals of the world, has witnessed how digital platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have been utilized and maximized to link a good social advocacy from a cause seeker to a multitude of cause providers and helpers. The aftermath of this year’s strongest typhoons clearly shows how cyberspace paved way for resource and community mobilization to offer relief operations to calamity-stricken towns all over the Philippines, with aid coming from all corners of the world.

With more than 25 million Filipinos on Facebook, mostly youth, cyberspace seems to be the best medium to tap the youth and deliver into their screens a strong message to Like the Vision, Share the Mission of #NationBuilding.

This year’s theme was inspired by the social-media boom and aimed to help the participants create a vision for themselves and the nation (Like the Vision); to promote the exchange of positive ideas on how to contribute to the nation’s progress (Share the Mission); and to build a network of young leaders and school administrators to spread the passion for nation building and love for country in their own schools and communities (“trend” #NationBuilding).

Youth Hours is a whole day activity, which features inspiring Filipino movers in the morning plenary session and four simultaneous workshops in the afternoon. For the afternoon workshops, student leaders can choose one from the three parallel workshops – academic excellence, leadership, and social responsibility; while school administrators are given a separate workshop focused on student-development better practices and TOSP program appreciation.

For 2012, Youth Hours was replicated in four regions.

In NCR, 37 participating colleges and universities housed in PLDT Innolab Building, Mandaluyong City were inspired by RFM Foundation Chairperson and TOSP Founder Jose S. Concepcion, Jr.; RFM Foundation President, Marie C. Young; and Assistant Vice-President for Corporate Affairs of GMA Network, Teresa Pacis.

TOSP Founder Jose S. Concepcion, Jr. addresses the NCR Youth Hours attendees

RFM Foundation President Marie C. Young at NCR Youth Hours

GMA Network’s Teresa Pacis speaks before NCR Youth Hours participants

In Bicol Region, 22 colleges and universities were gathered at Bicol University, Legazpi City and learned from the wisdom of TOSP Alumna and Roco S. Foundation Founder, Sonia M. Roco and young Mayor Ronnel Lim of Gubat, Sorsogon.

RFM Foundation President Marie C. Young, TOSP Alumna Sonia M. Roco, Hon. Ronnel Lim and CHED Region 5 Director Dr. Freddie Bernal at Bicol Youth Hours

Social Responsibility Track at Bicol Youth Hours

In Region 7, Youth Hours was replicated in 5 key areas – Cebu City (University of San Carlos), Northern Cebu (Cebu Technological University – Danao), Southern Cebu (Argao Training Center), Negros Oriental and Siquijor (Foundation University) and Bohol (Holy Name University). A total of 63 colleges and universities attended the Region 7 Youth Hours series.

The Suprimo sharing his “Stories of Three Works” to the Cebu Youth Hours participants

Leadership Track at Cebu Youth Hours at University of San Carlos, Cebu City

Student Leaders at Bohol Youth Hours at Holy Name University, Tagbilaran City

TOSP Alumnus Richardson Navor, a cerebral palsy survivor, inspires the participants at Negros Oriental – Siquijor Youth Hours at Foundation University, Dumaguete City

Social Responsibility Track at Negros Oriential – Siquijor Youth Hours at Foundation University, Dumaguete City

In Region 3, TOSP alumni were featured as speakers to an audience representing 23 colleges and universities at Holy Angel University, Pampanga. Motivational speaker and author, Oliver Tuazon shared his personal and professional Thoughts on Nation Building while inventor and entrepreneur, Elma Arboleras challenged the youth to breakthrough with her award-winning Intelligent Bus Utility System (iBUS).

TOSP Alumni Oliver Tuazon, Elma Arboleras and The Suprimo sharing their leadership stories at Region 3 Youth Hours

Student leaders and school administrators at Region 3 Youth Hours 

Leadership Track at Region 3 Youth Hours

Youth Hours also served as a launch for RFM Foundation – TOSP Alumni Community commitment project – the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines 2012.

Youth Hours was made possible through the combined efforts of RFM Foundation and TOSP Alumni Community and its Regional Chapters with TOSP National Partners – Commission on Higher Education, National Book Store, and PLDT.

[As published in RFM Newsletter for March 2012]

With Maika Q. Bernardo, Documentation & Publication Head of TOSP Alumni Community – National Capital Region. 

Photos | The Suprimo and TOSP – Alumni Community Regional Chapters


Twelve Fascinating Gifts

In Prim's Pickings, Primatology on March 27, 2012 by thesuprimo

2011 was my milestone year. It was a difficult year of unexpected twists and turns which greatly challenged my faith, personal values and moral compass.  If it were a cupcake, I would thought of it as a moist chocolate cupcake with hard dark chocolates flakes infused with Kahlua liquor. A serious cupcake that requires a strong conviction and an adventurous taste.

Like that cupcake’s aftertaste, 2011 ended with lasting impressions and new perspectives. It taught me to be more introspective and more grateful. It made me extra-closer to my inner circle. It beautifully married my inner concerns and my inner circle. It made me more generous and hopeful. It made me more driven.

But life has it own ways of delighting you with little presents. Even if it allowed me to outgrow the Christmas baby in me, 2011 still spoiled me with little presents. For someone who was born four days shy from Christmas day, gift hoarding is a birth right and giving it up is like giving up an esteem need.

And so, for my first blog entry for 2012, I am sharing twelve  fascinating gifts I received last Christmas and during my birthday from few of the most beautiful people in my life who willingly sailed with me in my 2011 expedition.

Vintage Sign

A jewelry designer friend, Diana Chua, gave me this one. Like her usual personal gifts to friends, this vintage sign, which has my name and birth year , was skillfully painted by her creative hands. It was her interest in something old, something borrowed which led her to this fascinating creation. PS: I share that peculiar interest with her.

Audio Dock

I am not a music person but there are days and nights that I just badly need the healing and/or companionship of music. For two years, I got stuck with Skullcandy earphones and this habit worried my sister, Dol Paypon-Sorra, because she caught me several times lulled to sleep, bubbled in and unconscious of any sound from the outside world. Since my sister is an eternal worry rat, she generously gifted me an audio dock to remedy my bad habit. At first, I was giving her arguments on austerity measures because I knew how expensive such accessories are until the brag New Year launch of my audio dock. It was intense (for karaoke singing), moving (for some Jagger dancing), and sinful (for being inconsiderate). So right now, it’s my best friend every night when I am lulling myself to sleep with the help of a good book and a glass of wine.

Amazon Gift Certificate

All my closest friends know that am a big book lover. But since I got my Kindle last year, I tried to make my reading paperless. Unlike most Kindle owners, I don’t purchase my e-books. I simply appeal to closest friends’ generosity to share and email me their purchased e-books. But Keisha del Castillo made me proudest and happiest! (You have to speak in superlatives when you are talking with/about Keisha). Her thoughtfulness (a colorful Japanese kimono card birthday card from her collection) and generosity (an Amazon gift card) blew me out of water. Her dear Joe-inspired handwritten card was so funny because she narrated how she fooled me with her Kindle and Amazon inquiries. Nice plot, Peg!


Christmas Card

It’s an annual thing.  One of my college best friends, Anne Mallari-Stroud, sends us Christmas cards, signed and sealed all the way from Australia. Her thoughtfulness never fails to make me smile. Thank you, Anne, for proving that good friendships know no boundaries.


I am particular with keychains. Usually, I only keep the ones which came from a travel until Kat Cheng gave me this cute gift. It reminds me of my childhood penchant for Batman.  Talk about ‘blast from the past.’ For the record, this is the only keychain which is hanging in my laptop bag and at times, shifting from one bag to another.

Portable Speaker

When I was in Shanghai, Tiffany Villamor was my beautiful and responsible transient sister. Like my biological sisters, she would give me friendly sermons on bad habits, e.g. sleeping with earphones, hoarding, overspending. In our monthly and randomly planned post-Shanghai dinners, we would usually reminisce about our good and free life in Shanghai. One of the many things we enjoyed doing was watching downloaded movies in her room (because movie tickets in Shanghai were damn expensive for students). And in all those occasions, we always borrowed portable speakers from either RG or Evert. And her gift reminded me of those borrowed movie moments.

Handwritten Letter, Chocolates, A Game of Thrones Paperback, and Stresstabs

Sign Maano is one of those kind-hearted friends whose thoughtfulness and encouragement are always articulately and nicely written on a piece of paper. The first letter she gave me was one of my greatest takeaways from Shanghai. On her special day in Shanghai, she wrote personal letters to select friends. In the letter she gave me, she recapitulated the birthing our friendship. Believe it or not, it was a lovely surprise to both of us. After reading her letter, I deeply fell in love with her kindness. In fact, I pocketed her letter in my Bible bag and from time to time, I take it out for my heart to read.

During my birthday dinner, she gave me another letter so full of heart. This time, she gave the letter with three Hershey nuggets, Stresstabs and A Game of Thrones paperback novel. Each of the little presents reminded me of our special connection on life, career, and interests.


Smartphone Winter Gloves

I love winter, even the hassle of wearing gloves. In fact, the only time I hate wearing gloves is when you have to reply to a message using your touchscreen smartphone. I remember looking for a pair specifically designed for such purpose in Shanghai and Guangzhou when I was still based there. Sadly, I was not able to find one. So you can just imagine the surprise of my life when a good friend, Rain Siy, gifted me with a pair. Now, after being overjoyed, I am looking forward to visit winter wonderlands.

Souvenir Magnets

Europe is a personal dream destination. But for now, I am contented listening to my life mentor and dearest friend, (Ate) Pamela Asis-Layugan and her travel stories. Her topics are blissfully diverse –  architecture, churches, history, dining, international affairs, trivial knowledge. As a generous soul, she always makes sure to bring us souvenirs from most of her travels. In her second honeymoon in Europe, she gave me two gorgeous souvenir magnets from Belgium and Greece. Like a true mentor, she never fails to motivate my senses, particularly my sense of adventure.

Collectible Art Pads

I love notebooks and art pads. The foreign-er, the better. And I have to thank Karen Nomorosa for giving me these cute Koolbarrdi Design art pads she took home from a small shop in Australia. These art pads flaunt the intricate paintings of some of Australia’s best Nyoongar Aboriginal artists. As her protege, I inherited her fondness for collecting notebook and her unusual choice of not using them. It’s enough that my eyes could feast on them. I know that it contradicts my ‘Kindle’s paperless philosophy.’ I guess I am just waiting for my eureka moment to have something memorable to write in these artsy notebooks.

Foldable Water Packet

This Aquapura water packet was given by my sister, Joy Paypon-Destao. Like her other surprise pasalubongs, this one reflects her keen sense in always finding something new and interesting. I am always amused by her thoughtfulness. But I am certain that this little present has a fine text – please be outdoor active.

Books of Wisdom

I was so lucky to receive two books of wisdom. The inspiring multi-tasker, Allan Ngo, gave me Bo Sanchez’s Simplify and Create Abundance. It promises to enlighten the reader with practical pointers on how to be really wealthy without robbing your soul. My life mentor and dearest friend, (Ate) Pamela Asis-Layugan, gave me Lindsay Falvey’s Reaching the Top? It is a short and positive parable about a new and life-altering discovery of an average man, his friend and a few others.

I have been controlling myself not to read these two books until Holy Week. So far, my bag of patience and self-control isn’t depleted yet.

Even if I adore technology, I am still old-fashioned on few things. I still love the traditional manifestations and expressions of giving. I still write letters and love receiving them. I still write special messages on Christmas or birthday gift tags. I still take time to wrap gifts. Believe it or not, I still keep gift tags in a clear canister. For me, the short messages, the well wishes, the revealing slice of life are the real heart of the gifts. They remind me of how generous and beautiful life is. As I’ve said, each gift tells a story and affirms a testament of friendship and love. Suffice to say that those deep expressions of love made my milestone year more monumental.

Photos | The Suprimo


Bulgogi Brothers is in Manila

In Primo Gastronomics on September 10, 2011 by thesuprimo

I love food, next to books. I have to be clear with that one because most of the time, people see calories through me more than wisdom. Not that I am perturbed. At times, being associated with books dictates intellectual responsibility. While it is true that books allow you to reap long-term investments, the fulfillment you get from a good read though takes a day or two. Not that am impatient but as part of the ‘instant’ generation, I also have loose cravings for  ‘give me what I want now’ moments. And dining gives me that pleasure. The moment you take your throne, leaf through the menu, and order you heart’s desires, fulfillment kicks in, excitement flickers, and happy calories start to replenish those disconsolate cells in your body. Delightful!

So what do you do when your FFF (favorite foodie friend) invites you to indulge in a pre-opening experience of a much-anticipated restaurant invasion in Manila to relive your unrestricted Shanghai days (reason sounds like an alibi)? You just say ‘aye’ with pleasure.

30 March 2010| Tiffany and I saved our student allowance and patiently waited for a week to have our turn at Pankoo, a Korean restaurant in Wan Da Plaza, Shanghai.

According to my FFF, Tiffany Villamor, Bulgogi Brothers is one of the pride restaurants in Korea. In fact, it’s so famous that its family owners are listed in Korea’s most successful and richest entrepreneurs. So when her radar picked up a positive signal for a Bulgogi unleash in Manila, she informed her office that she would take a Friday day-off and readied her paunch. (Kidding, Tiff! FYI, she had to offset a weekend business trip.) I knew that she categorically wanted Bulgogi Brothers because she was wearing a predetermined smile when we were initially informed that the next seat for lunch will be available at around 3 PM. Yes, she was so hungry but very willing to wait. But good things come to those who wait because the receptionist strategically got us a table in less than an hour.

The most interesting part of our Korean Friday, 9 September 2011, was that we were lucky guts to experience Bulgogi Brothers two days prior to its official 11 September 2011 opening. That explained the ‘Training in Progress’ signage posted on its glass wall. And that also explained the motivation behind this ‘urgent’ blog entry – to own and post that rare experience before mainstream food blogs will rave about Bulgogi Brothers.

The minimalist interiors and cozy lighting were enough effects to lure us in. Since Tiffany and I were both hungry for Korean meat, we gave in.

Bulgogi means ‘fire meat’ in Korean which describes a cooking technique rather than the spiciness of the marinated beef. Bulgogi Brothers, an upscale Korean BBQ restaurant, claims to be the home of the renowned Bulgogi beef.

According to Tiffany, one of the authenticity measures of a Korean restaurant is copperware. Korean history recorded that royal families used copperwares for their security because a utensil made out of copper produces a color change when it reacts with a poisonous chemical. Being an inquirer, I asked our server named Kris and was assured that indeed, their utensils are made from copper. He even affirmed that particular snippet of Korean History.

One of the things I love about Korean restaurants is their free appetizers and tea. We were served with a flavorful kimchi, a Kimchi Spinach salad, and a sweet corn tea called Oksusu Cha, which was served at a temperature appropriate enough to warm the stomach without hurting the tongue.

Though she looks Korean, Tiffany is a proud Filipino-Chinese. Her looks never fail to deceive people even the real Korean waitress at Bulgogi Brothers. Yes, there is a small Korean crew at Bulgogi Brothers. (Look, she didn’t mind how steamy hot the dish was.)

We love their Seoul Style Bulgogi of sliced beef with vegetables. The Bulgogi broth was made of onions, soy sauce, and fruits. According to Kris, it is best served with Makguli.

A seafood stew was a perfect stomach-growling pacifier. Their Haeml Doenjang-jjaed was a good balance of soybean stew with assorted seafood and vegetables. This one was served with rice. Best ordered with Bokbunja Bohae.

Hungry stomachs turned happy souls. We gave Bulgogi Brothers our FFF approval!

For a ‘training in progress’ period, giving customers a ‘thank you’ note was a cute gesture. I hope the management will continue such sweet gesture. Suggestion: Please name-personalize the notes.

Tomorrow will be the official opening of Bulgogi Brothers. So if you plan to be one of the first fans of this sure hit, please do reservations. Below is their business card profile:

Located at 3rd Floor, Greenbelt 5, Makati City | Thru Bayani G. Albiento, Jr., Director for Operations:  (landline) 899-0220, (mobile) 0909-4491312 and (email)

Photos | The Suprimo


At Romulo Cafe, History Repeats Itself

In Primo Gastronomics on September 2, 2011 by thesuprimo

There’s no place like home, but there’s a place like food home. And Romulo Cafe is my special food home. Not that I frequent the place on a monthly basis. In fact, I only had three visits in three years. Suffice to say that my affair with Romulo Cafe is on a yearly basis. Each visit was memorable and looking back, each was historical because in each visit, I had the most special reasons to dine and celebrate with few of the most influential persons in my life. Mind you, eating and dining are two different activities for me. When I am hungry, I eat. When I am happy and celebratory, I dine. I can eat elsewhere but I can only dine in places where special is served. And that makes Romulo Cafe my special food abode where dining makes you closer to home.

There are just so many things to like about Romulo Cafe. Aside from its homey and unpretentious food, it has a Romulo-history to tell. Most of its walls have photos of the late Carlos P. Romulo and his various affairs as Philippines’ Secretary for Foreign Affairs and President of the United Nations General Assembly. I think in my fourth visit, I should look for his ‘Pulitzer’ photo. (To those who aren’t aware, he is the first and only Filipino who received a Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Correspondence after he predicted that the imperialist Japan will attack the United States.) Like its hanging photos, its painted walls have different stories to tell. Each room has its own singular color and is named after Romulo’s favorite places when he was a student (according to the waiter who toured us).  Since I can’t remember its room names, I prefer to call them by color. Speaking of hospitality, service is swift and personal. In fact, a simple facial expression or a light hand gesture can get the waiter’s attention.

Here are my favorite histories with my little historians at Romulo Cafe:

December 2009 | It was my friend Maida Salcedo, a certified bon vivant, who introduced me to Romulo Cafe.With Mardel Mission on the phone and a location printout, Maida and I braved the streets of Tomas Morato to find Romulo Cafe. Exhausted but successful, we knew at first sight that Romulo Cafe will be one of our favorite dining places. While waiting for our food, the waiter was kind enough to tour us around and take our photo inside the ‘Brown Room.’

December 2009 | This ‘Blue Room’s is my personal favorite because it gives you a serene certainty. Aside from discovering Romulo Cafe, Maida and I wanted to celebrate my post-hospitalization wellness and my successful bid for the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation – China Scholarship Program.  Cheers to Shanghai! was our toast.

December 2009 | This ‘Green Room’ has the least number of tables and chairs because it houses the dessert bar. Why did we choose this place for our Romulo baptismal? Because we wanted to be so close with the desserts!

December 2009 | My first dish was pork bagnet. Yum! Good thing, I was still eating pork at that time, without any soupcon of guilt.

5 January 2010 | Ben Secretario and I celebrated our birthday with few of our favorite TOSPians. One of Ben’s simple dreams is to share an intimate dining experience with Karen Nomorosa, Maida Salcedo and Pamela Asis-Layugan, who happen to be my TOSP best friends. Before the night ended, Ben got one dream fulfilled!

5 January 2010 | In this photo: (back) Ben Secretario, Ace Padua, Maida Salcedo and cool boyfriend, Mardel Mission; (front) with Pamela Asis-Layugan (then pregnant with Baby Mattie and came in fresh from the airport from a business trip abroad) and Karen Nomorosa (then a grad school student enjoying her usual Christmas holidays in the Philippines).

19 August 2011 | Third visit was to celebrate Tiffany Villamor’s 20-something birthday. Tiffany is my ultimate Shanghai buddy who basically shares my most favorite vice — food addiction! Since she wanted a new and interesting restaurant, Romulo Cafe was the perfect choice. Mind you, she practically knew in theory Romulo Cafe from her wide blog readings before her birthday dinner. In fact, she already had the menu list fixed in her mind!

19 August 2011 | A rare occasion to meet and dine with our best pals in Shanghai. In this photo: (left, from front to back) Kat Cheng, Diana Rose Chua, Allan Ngo, Keisha del Castillo; (right, from front to back) With Ace Padua and Tiffany Villamor.

19 August 2011 | What do you do while patiently waiting for other friends to arrive? Arrange the elements for a good photo opportunity.

19 August 2011 | This cheesy camote appetizer was so good! So good that we  (Tiffany, Keisha and I) ordered for a second helping. This was one of the rare moments that waiting did not bother me at all.

19 August 2011 | Lola Virginia’s Chicken Relleno was stuffed with ground pork, raisins, and peas in right proportions, making it a guiltless pleasure.

19 August 2011 | Flying Tilapia with 3 Sauces was a new alternative to the usual fried tilapia/pla-pla dish. The 3 sauces were Sweet Chili Garlic Sauce, Honey Bagoong, and Pickled Ampalaya with Vinegar Sauce.

19 August 2011 | We love kare-kare and Tito Greg’s Kare-Kare was to be loved than to be just liked. The flavors of the nicely cooked vegetables blended so well with the kare-kare sauce. Talk about an almost-dish sauce!

19 August 2011 | Reminiscing my first spot at Romulo Cafe two years ago and the reason why we chose this particular spot — to be a wink away from their dessert bar!

19 August 2011 | Reasons why I love Romulo Cafe: history for 2009, homey for 2010 and happiness for this year. What will be my H for 2012?

19 August 2011 | After two years since I first laid eyes on this room, the Kapayapaan Room aka Blue Room still perfectly stands with the same serene certainty.

19 August 2011 | This alcove in the ‘Yellow Room’s spells luxury and privacy. This happens to be the largest private room which houses several small and medium dining sets.

19 August 2011 | I don’t mind climbing the stairs to visit this particular toilet. How can a toilet be this comforting and comfortable?

I can’t wait for my next ‘down memory lane’ at Romulo Cafe. 

Location | 32 Sct. Tuason corner Dr. Lazcano, Tomas, Morato

Photos | The Suprimo & Tiffany Villamor


Jump for Joy

In Priming and Going on August 27, 2011 by thesuprimo

“Not even weight can stop me from doing jump shots!”

That’s my ‘motivation cum argument line’ every time people are plainly skeptical of my leaping capacity. Like with most things, I refused to be bothered by other people’s incredulities. As far as I am concerned, ‘jumping’ is a verb-mate of ‘traveling’ and ‘dining.’ Unlike most dining (gastronomic) shots, you don’t need a penny for a jump shot. All it takes are ounces of unwavering guts to turn each photo opportunity into a funny but striking/haunting memory.

[After my sister voluntarily cleaned my external hard drive, which she did perfectly with literally zero file left, and my laptop got consumed by a Chinese virus proliferation; I sank with regrets and despair. Five years of documents, directories and photos are now non-existent. The problem with me, I regularly photo-document events in my life but not perturbed to upload and share them with friends. So when my ten thousand photos or so vanished like bubbles, I had to ask my closest friends to lend me some copies. Lucky me, I have few friends who took the extra-initiative to give me their flash drives just to strong-arm me to give them copies of my photos; otherwise, I won’t have any other way to retrieve them. And now, I am reaping the benefits of commensalism mutualism.

Here are few of my most favorite jump shots:

January 2011 | With RG Orense’s motivation and Jillian Sze’s dictatorship, I gave in to have my most outrageous jump shot on a highway street in Guangzhou, China.

April 2011 | Would you believe that I am the only one who is not a physician in this photo? Well, these cool and sexy physicians definitely know how to live a work-life balance in Boracay, Philippines.

April 2011 | Playing monkey with Kat Cheng in Date Garden Park in Xi’an, China.

July 2010 | My greatest jump shot photographer, Tiffany Villamor, took this shot in front of Chairman Mao’s landmark statue in Fudan University, Shanghai. Yes, there were a lot of foreigners waiting for their turns. Again, we weren’t bothered.

July 2010 | Tiffany Villamor was such a demanding perfectionist while taking this shot. And I was one willing model to materialize a thrilling art vision! Again, not bothered by tourists.

April 2010 | Even the insane height of Asia’s tallest bridge, the Luohe Bridge in China, did not demotivate me to jump for joy.

April 2010 | This Lacoste-ish jump was my pretest for the ultimate Luohe jump shot.

April 2007 | After a successful TOSP – Region 7 Formation Program, we were all giddy to give in to our TOSP energies and make Dumaguete’s Boulevard springy.

August 2008 | Anawangin Island in Zambales forced us live in tents with no toilet, water supply and electricity. After two days of chocolate fondue, hamon, and wine (I was forced to sip), our sanity got subverted. Cheers!

April 2010 | Kickboxing with Kat Cheng on top of a sacred mountain which housed the remains of a famous Chinese emperor in Xi’an, China was cool!

April 2010 | Kat Cheng’s long legs were enough to shoo me away in Xi’an, China. 2-4, in favor of Kat Cheng!

April 2010 | Kat Cheng and I were chasing winds ala Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in Xi’an, China.

April 2010 | Trying my best to be Kung Fu Panda in Xi’an, China in front of an altar while it was still empty. “Prim, quick!” was my only direction from Tiffany Villamor.

August 2009 | Sharkies on the loose at the Fertility Tree in the Los Banos campus of the University of the Philippines.

December 2009 | Ditas (Diana Jeanne Tee) and Dodong (Matt Damon) enjoying some R&R at Enchanted Kingdom, Laguna. Of course, with Mamtep’s permission and allowance.

February 2010 | Jumping in the rain, literally, at The Bund in Shanghai, China.

Until I retrieve and do more jump shots.

Photos | The Suprimo, Tiffany Villamor, Ryan Yu, Maida Salcedo


There is a Pepe in Every Filipino

In Prime Movers on August 17, 2011 by thesuprimo

There are 25 million Filipinos on Facebook as of May 2011. Most of them are youth. That’s nearly a quarter of the projected population by the Philippine National Statistics Office. With such figures, one can only imagine the strength and power of digital networking to convey a thought, to influence a character, and to create a change.

A brilliant thought. A nationalistic character. A transformational change.

Three things that Philippines needs from its people. Three things that every Filipino can afford to give and share. Three things that define a modern-day Filipino hero.

Acknowledging that every Filipino is born a hero, the alumni of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP) program created BAYANiBOLUSYON, a digital movement to unleash the bayani in every Filipino, especially the youth.

RFM Foundation President Marie C. Young with Team BiB during the launch of BAYANiBOLUSYON at the 2011 Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines Welcome Dinner last 29 July 2011

Drawing inspiration from simple Juans whose lives are made remarkable by their generosity in spirit, BAYANiBOLUSYON seeks for their stories to brave fears of cautious and uncertain Filipinos who lost hope in heroism. Learning from the everyday examples of Juans who are changing lives one deed at a time, BAYANiBOLUSYON aims to educate Filipinos that heroism is simply an act of doing good, that no act is too small or too big, and that no one is too young or too inept to do something, somehow.

To respond to the different ways of inspiring and educating others, BAYANiBOLUSYON created four simultaneous digital projects all featured in its Facebook page:

BAYANiHAN. A feature that will acquaint others of the TOSP – Alumni Community National Chapters and the nine Regional Chapters (CAR, NCR, OSOM, Regions 2, 3, 4A, 5, 6, 7). Each chapter doing its task to mobilize and galvanize the youth to nation building.

Bagong BAYANi. A feature on 50 TOSP alumni from its birthing in 1962 to present. Each feature will recapitulate a TOSPian whose life is lived with passion, fueled by love.

EDGE. A feature on 150 Filipinos coming from different walks of life. Inspired by TOSP book entitled “EDGE: Everyday Great Examples,” Filipinos will be posed with a question, “Anong ginawa ko ngayon na nakatulong sa iba/bayan ko?

BAYANiTAKTAKAN. A survey poll which features 150 questions pertaining to modern heroism, pop culture, and trivial thoughts.

Yes, we are in an age where our fingertip can move and change the world. We are in an age where service can be done and inspiration can be shared virtually, across islands and continents. We are in an age where Filipinos have so much potential to lead, learn, and serve. We are in an age where heroism has evolved from Bagumbayan to streets, from garrote to volunteerism. And we are in an age where a digital revolution can celebrate our being Filipinos, affirm our potentials, and inspire others.

BAYANiBOLUSYON dreams big for the Philippines and it is taking every modern Pepe with it.

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