A thing that makes me happy

17 08 2010

Part of my collection of Teodoro "Teddyboy" L. Locsin, Jr.'s "Free Fire" in TODAY

I AM A COMPLETE NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS junkie.  In this day and age when information travels through optical cables underground and underwater, beamed through satellites in dizzying speed, I still crave for the feel of paper between my fingers, not the click of a mouse, when I wake up in the morning.

So you see, I love newspapers.  I still belong to the old school – okay, ancient – people who prefer to pay for the content that they read.  Not that there’s anything wrong about totally relying on what’s made available free on the net.

For a couple of weekends now, I’ve devoted a huge chunk of my weekends to preserving my more-than-a-decade-old stash of newspaper clippings.  By preserving, I don’t really mean slipping each clipping in a polyester-film folder with a sheet of alkaline-buffered paper as the backing.  No.

I simply mean cutting each article to size – or cutting them into two to three parts – then pasting them on white bond paper.  My specifics are quite simply sourced – legal sized (8½” x 13”) “substance 24” bond paper, and a heavy-duty glue stick that glides on smooth.  Of course there’s the trusty cutter, and a lot of plastic rulers (I end up cutting their edges so I go through them quite fast).

My newspaper clippings run a gamut of feature subjects – wristwatches, wristwatch stores, restaurants, recipes, food, Teodoro “Teddyboy” L. Locsin, Jr., interviews, the “Playtime” features in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Margarita Araneta Fores, and Kris Aquino.  Yes, Kris Aquino.  But only her broadsheet interviews and stories about her advocacies – not the sleazy showbiz gossip people make up about her.

Some of my favorites

"What's respect got to do with newspapers?"

My all-time favorite from his "Free Fire" column... "Really something about Mary."

As for columnists, I’ve collected and continue to collect the works of Teodoro “Teddyboy” L. Locsin, Jr. (his “Free Fire” in TODAY), Kris Aquino (her “Kris & Tell” in the Philippine Daily Inquirer in the early 2000s), Celine R. Lopez (“From Coffee To Cocktails” – the one with the really nice essays), Winnie Collas Monsod, and Jessica Zafra (from “Twisted” in TODAY to “Emotional Weather Report” in the Philippine Star).  For a while, I followed Scott R. Garceau.  But not anymore.

"Kris and Tell" from a decade ago!

One clipping that made mention of the late former president's fresh corned beef. Just reading about it whets my appetite!

So far, I’ve finished working on Mr. Locsin’s.  I’m contemplating on starting Jessica Zafra’s.  But that’s quite a lot.  I’m daunted to say the least.

Jessica Zafra from over a decade ago!

That's the look of a writer who seriously means business.

Part of my Jessica Zafra collection is this thick! Though, I want to clarify that I still buy the books.

Working with newspaper clippings can be a dirty job. Hehehe.

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

Of icons and heroes

29 07 2010

Twenty-four years of The Philippine Star

THINKING OF what-might-have-beens is a bitch.  And it doesn’t help that I have Lou Pardini on heavy rotation in my head, provoking me with the line that says I could very well be the “fool wondering what might have been.”

In early April, I seriously considered joining The Philippine Star’s “Star Lifestyle Journalism Contest 2010” with the theme:  My Icon, My Hero.  It was a no-brainer who I wanted to write about – Mr. Teodoro “Teddyboy” L. Locsin, Jr.

Mechanics to the Star Lifestyle Journalism Contest 2010


Not only have I admired the man for so many years now.  Not only did his then column “Free Fire” serve as a formative influence to my own principles.  Not only do I unequivocally declare his “Assignment” to have given us some of the finest hours on Philippine television.

I have actually written about him here already, that I felt I had a good start for a contest piece.  But I had a swamped schedule (right now, I’m culling from memory a defining moment that happened to me last June 12.  It was punctuated by the line, “But Tim, he has a full-time job!”).  And I eventually yielded to self-doubt.

Finally, the 10 winning pieces were published in yesterday’s 24th anniversary edition, easily The Philippine Star’s thickest ever, together with features on 24 luminaries from diverse fields of specialization or calling.  I believe it’s going to be a collector’s item so my propensity for contingencies kicked in – I asked my brother to get me another copy.  Besides, I’m so looking forward to the weekend to work on clipping my favorites and putting them in an album.  (I have a modest collection of clippings of Mr. Locsin, Jr.’s “Free Fire” from over a decade ago.)

From the 24 icons and heroes written about by 24 of the paper’s columnists, I have two favorites – Erwin Romulo’s piece on Kris Aquino, and Jessica Zafra’s on the Roger Federer.

Erwin Romulo wrote about Kris Aquino.


Jessica Zafra on Roger Federer.


Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

Excellent read from the magazine rack

9 11 2009
Town&Country - Cory's Girls 00

Top of the heap! "Cory's Girls" – all grown and accomplished women now – grace the cover of the November 2009 issue of Town&Country Philippine edition.

THE NOVEMBER issue of Town&Country Philippine edition is a casting coup!  It was Friendship who actually first clued me in that this was going to happen – all of the late former President Cory Aquino’s four daughters on the cover!

Ms. Lorna Kalaw-Tirol’s cover story – “Lessons from Mom” – was a nice read it kept me up at 1:10 AM (and I start work at 7:00 AM sharp!).  I loved how she started with a narrative of how the photoshoot with the beloved Aquino sisters turned out to be.  Through her eyes I could see how the three publicity-shy daughters of Mrs. Aquino metamorphosed to the elegant cover ladies they are, together with their “baby”, Ms. Kris Aquino-Yap.  The best part?  All the sharing Ms. Kalaw-Tirol captured in succinct but vivid detail.  “Their mother taught them not with words, but by the power of example – her own.”

The other reason I had to have this copy bought for me was what the cover says, “Teddy Boy Locsin on Working with Cory.”  You should know by now just how much I look up to Mr. Locsin – both as a newspaperman/publisher and as a speechwriter.  I first wrote about him here.

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"Like a Place in the Country" – a fond recollection of times with Mrs. Aquino, by my favorite Mr. Teodoro "Teddy Boy" L. Locsin, Jr..

In his essay, “Like a Place in the Country,” Mr. Teodoro “Teddy Boy” L. Locsin, Jr. allowed me a glimpse – no, a deeper realization and understanding – of the kind of president the late Mrs. Aquino was.

In his opening line, “I was young then and woke up late,” I couldn’t help but manage a chuckle.  Why?  Because as has always been the case with him, I felt that he was speaking to my generation, making me feel that it wasn’t wrong to go through that part when you’d stay up so late into the night and start the next day equally – if not more so – late.  But like the wise man that he is, Mr. Locsin spoke about the wisdom of realizing that you are in someone’s service and if needed, you have to change: “That was how she was, at least with me.  Never a commanding voice or a stern word, only the quiet expectation she would never be disappointed:  one look and I knew I had overstepped.”  I guess this could be one of those instances about being ennobled in the presence of Mrs. Aquino, as he claimed in his eulogy.

As any reference to food never escapes me, I find myself totally engrossed with an anecdote that showed Mrs. Aquino’s brand of thoughtfulness and generosity by way of a fresh box of chocolates.

But the best part of Mr. Locsin’s fond recollection of his days working for and with Mrs. Aquino has to be his short – yet profound and truthful – response to any criticism about the latter’s administration’s shortcomings.  I totally agree with what Mr. Locsin said.  I actually have known for the longest time I felt the same way.  But it took our country’s foremost speechwriter’s words to make my feelings take form, evoking images of a place and time when greatness was determined by the purity of one’s heart, the diligence in one’s work, and the sincerity of one’s intentions – both in the smallest and the grandest of one’s deeds.

The November 2009 issue of Town&Country Philippine edition is now available at bookstores.

Copyright © 2009 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MuchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

Presidential foodie

10 08 2009


TALK ABOUT wearing my heart on my sleeve!


Tita Cory - Food Fresh Corned Beef 00

From my years-old collection – newspaper clippings of Kris Aquino's column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Yes, I read her, together with Mr. Teodoro "Teddyboy" L. Locsin, Jr.!

My slew of posts this past week has revolved around the passing of our dear former president, Mrs. Corazon Cojuangco Aquino.  Yes, around her and at least a couple others – Ms. Kris Aquino and Mr. Teodoro “Teddyboy” L. Locsin, Jr..  And it just occurred to me that, together with Prof. Winnie Monsod, three of my most admired people (listed in my “35 Things) have Tita Cory as the common denominator.  And if I’d count the perfectly tempered PROFILES feature Ms. Cheche Lazaro made for her, that makes four of my most admired people!

So here – yet again – is another Tita Cory post.  There really is no doubt I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve!  At some point in the past, Batman told me that I was fortunate I have a blog, which he called something to the effect of an “outlet” for me.  And all the many personalities that make me up.  And all the many emotions in my wide spectrum.

But this time around, I want to talk about a different aspect of our former president that I have come to love – her love for food.

It was in her daughter’s column Kris & Tell’s December 25, 2000 edition that food first heightened my curiosity about and admiration for our former president.  I quote my favorite excerpt: “…and then we eat heartily from the Christmas buffet that my mom has prepared.  We normally have lechon, roast turkey (prepared by my sister Ballsy’s mother-in-law, Tita Caring, which is the most delicious turkey and stuffing I’ve ever tasted), pasta and fresh corned beef which my mom herself prepares, and various desserts.”  From that short – yet impressive – list, it was the fresh corned beef that tickled my imagination especially since the former president would make it herself!

Tita Cory - Food Fresh Corned Beef 02

A vivid description of the Aquino Noche Buena table. It was the "fresh corned beef" prepared by the former president herself, that really caught my attention – and made my mouth water.

From that point on, I would picture the Aquino Noche Buena (Christmas Eve dinner) table in my head every year.  My curiosity was particularly and incessantly piqued by the fact that in the midst of that spread would be corned beef that wasn’t akin to the ones I’d shake from out of a can.  No wonder that when I heard of Sentro 1771’s Sinigang Na Corned Beef (Corned Beef in Tamarind Broth with Vegetables), I immediately tried it… and added it to my list of faves.  I thought to myself that that could be the closest I could taste home-made corned beef.

And these past days, on morning shows and in the papers, I got to know about food items that Tita Cory loved.  She liked the ensaymada from Hizon’s.  She loved the special queso de bola on top!  And if I heard it right, she was also partial to their caramel cake.  (Now I don’t know if Hizon’s does have a caramel cake!)

And on the day after her interment, it was Tita Cory’s trademark chicken liver pâté that I learned about, courtesy of Vangie Baga-Reyes’s article in the Inquirer.  What actually got me was the mention that even during her illness, Tita Cory managed to whip this up three months ago.

Like the mention of her fresh corned beef eight-and-a-half years ago – and all subsequent references to it that I had heard or read about – this recent article on her chicken liver pâté didn’t share her secret recipe.  Though it offered someone else’s.  But compared to the one on the fresh corned beef, it did one better by at least mentioning that Tita Cory’s secret to her chicken liver pâté were red wine and cinnamon.  I couldn’t wait to try making it myself!

Tita Cory - Food Chicken Liver Pate

Our Tita Cory would make her trademark Chicken Liver Pâté for family and friends.

Teodoro “Teddyboy” L. Locsin, Jr.

8 08 2009

[I’m writing this in cursive when a text message from Friendship came in.  It said, “Ang galing nung eulogy ni teddy locsin!”  (“teddy locsin’s eulogy was great!”).  I’m finding it creepy that Friendship seems to be able to read my thoughts lately.  Even funnier is that she always steals the words from right the tip of my tongue just when I’m about to articulate them and type them down on my cellphone in a text message for her.]



THEY ASKED me to wait in a seat by their office’s front desk.  I crouched down to whisk off the trickles on my leather shoes.  I braved the rains to get there but in minutes I realized that what I braved more was enclosing my feet in those tight shoes that I felt my feet would burst out of them, tearing the genuine leather at the seams.  “Mr. Quickie, I need you.”  In front of me was a flurry of activities that involved piles of their newspaper.  “Must be back issues,” I supposed to myself, turning pensive with the thought, “People should really see beyond the Inquirer and the Star.”

In a couple of minutes, the nice gentleman who attended to me was back with what I asked for in his hands.  Just when I was about to pay for it – with my knack for contingency plans kicking in – I asked for another one of the same issue.  He looked at me quizzically – frozen in suspended animation as he was about to settle in his seat when I blurted out my whimsical request – but still managed to smile and said, “ok po.”  In a jiffy he was back and he handed me the two identical copies I asked for.  I tightly clutched my purchase in my hands and was about to go when I realized that he was handing me an official receipt for 14 pesos.  “Wow, that was a nice touch for a very measly sum!”  The gesture made me love the newspaper more.

With two of the Tuesday, October 6, 1998, No. 1,724  issue of TODAY newspaper in my hand, I left their EDSA office with a very fulfilled smile pasted on my face.  I took a bus that plied the long stretch of the parking lot that is EDSA and turned to page eight where Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr.’s column “FREE FIRE” would be.  The title said, “Really something about Mary,” his take on the then smash hit movie “There’s Something About Mary.”

Teddyboy Locsin 01

From my years-old collection of newspaper clippings – Teodoro "Teddyboy" L. Locsin, Jr.'s "Really something about Mary" on his TODAY newspaper column "Free Fire". See the date? That's October 6, 1998!

I devoured his writing in minutes, totally oblivious to the pouncing rain outside or to the other commuters around me who probably thought I was nuts.  Worse, nuts in stitches!  If it were a fantasy, I would regard his writing genius.  The reality though was that it was.

I really felt that anybody who could look that way (his way) at a movie that on face value undeniably appeals to the basest of morality – however pradoxical that may sound – deserves to be president of my country!  Especially someone like him who managed to juxtapose this “startling work that succeeds brilliantly in the teeth of its technical inferiority” with the “huge, sprawling works of art that tackle the fundamental questions” and the “modest endeavors that tackle the smaller but equally elemental questions.” …  All in all with the goal of helping me understand all the questions of my youth.  His column has only been the sole reason I have ever made an effort to look for back issues of ANYTHING.  I’ve never felt as passionate for any other writer.  I’ve believed that the moment Mr. Locsin writes or talks about something – it is definitely worth my time, or any other Filipino’s time.

Later on, my strong personal conviction that Teddyboy Locsin, Jr. should become president of the Philippines finally showed a relation to reality when I learned that he was speech writer to former president Corazon Cojuangco Aquino.  I guess that could be as close as any writer could get to being president.   To organize the president’s thoughts.  To write them down clear, succinct, and grammatically correct.  To help the president tell her story  to the people.  At the very least, Mr. Locsin did just that.

I sorely miss TODAY newspaper.  Nowadays, everytime I attempt to reach the end of any other columnist’s ranting and raving, I would fail.  Unlike Mr. Locsin whose writing would make my eyes excitedly leap from paragraph to paragraph – breathless in anticipation for the curve ball of thought that waits or the sarcasm that snatches insult out of the jaws of a compliment – most of today’s writers are much like a bed in a five-star hotel.  They are so boring they wouldn’t let me get past the first sentence and I’d doze off.

So when I was told that, as expected, Mr. Locsin would eulogize the former president, I stayed put and eagerly waited.  Honestly, I stayed put and eagerly waited… to be enthralled by his words and his own unique sense of humor.  But what I later realized was that I should have prepared for my heart to break yet another time.  It first did when I saw the news catch a glimpse of Mr. Locsin weeping in one of the healing masses for the former president then battling for her life at Makati Medical Center.  He then broke down on the phone, on national television, the morning of her passing.  So for him to eulogize her at the wake not only showed to me the kind of courage that he must have mustered but also the kind of man he really is.

Sure, a lot of people spoke at the necrological mass.  And I shall forever have a clear imprint in my head of that snappy, heartwarming – heartbreaking even – salute that the former president’s long-time close-in security gave her.  And sure, for all the admiration I have professed for Kris Aquino – for all the facets of her life that have made her the Queen of All Media – I shall never forget her memorial thank you speech.  Though hers was expected to make an indelible mark, she being the former president’s youngest child, I have to say with all honesty that my heart broke the most after hearing Mr. Locsin speak.

As I write this, I cannot get out of my head the vivid picture Mr. Locsin painted of “a knight at the bedside of his dying sovereign, on the eve of a new Crusade, oblivious to the weight of the armor on his shoulders for the weight of the grief in his heart.”  And with an anecdote I caution to label as funny, he even allowed me a glimpse into the kind of special bond and rare closeness that he had developed with my generation’s icon of democracy: “And because she always doubted my ability to be good for very long… Indeed, when my wife told Ballsy that I prayed the rosary at Lourdes for her mother’s recovery, Cory said, ‘Teddy Boy prayed the rosary? A miracle! I feel better already.’”

I was really moved by Mr. Locsin’s eulogy.  Not so much because he wrote the best tribute.  But more so because he was not afraid to share with us the letter of love he has written for our Tita Cory.  Yes, he wrote her a letter of the purest love.

Teddyboy Locsin 00

"Respect for the reader" – that's what I loved most about TODAY!