Saturday, 27 June 2009

Riding the Banka Boat

Here's some video I caught on our banka boat ride from Mangenguey back to Coron. Our boat was headed by Normita Portuguez, a feisty and fascinating woman who not only bosses the guys around on her boat, but is also an amazing cook; doing all the cooking right in the back of the boat!

Watch on. The scenery is simply amazing!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Island Life (Helena's Island)

Just sit right back and you'll hear the tale...

No, I wouldn't put you through that...

...or would I?

Well it is a tale!

...the tale of a fateful trip...

Which it wasn't.

...that started from this tropic port aboard this tiny ship...

Well, banka boats are tiny vessels!

OK, that's where it kind of stops. (Yeah, you're welcome.)

There was no Gilligan, though in our party there was a photographer, an architect, an IT guy, an African safari explorer, and the lively former fashion designer and restaurateur who owns the island where we were to stay.

Edson was invited by Helena Carratala Mander to aid her in sketching out her vision of how she wishes her island Mangenguey to be developed. To do this it would be best if he actually saw the island and worked there with her to do the sketches. I spent time photographing the island (over 1300 images total), many of which he will use to aid his final work.

We just arrived back in Manila last night.

At any rate, it was a beautiful ride there.

A beautiful time spent in exquisite weather conditions.

A nice side trip to Calauit Island to see the Calauit Island Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary, where African animals mingle with native Filipino species, roaming virtually wild. Helena had invited Donald Young along to help her formulate plans for possible ways in which they might together help the suffering park of animals the Marcos regime had transplanted from Kenya in the 1970s.

The sand of the beach at Mangenguey is a fine powder on par with Boracay, but the waters are much clearer, due I'm sure to the presence of only a handful of people on Mangenguey compared to the umpteen thousands crowding Boracay nowadays.

Pictures speak better of the beauty of the place than can I, so look on.

That not enough for you?

How about some video!
And here we are!
That's all for today. More pictures and video clips to come!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Lovin' Lasagna Pizza

Pizza Hut here has a new menu item: Viva Lasagna Pizza. It's my new favorite thing and, as luck would have it, it's not available in the US. I checked. Pizza Hut's menus here and there are available online. All you have to do is click on the "here" or "there" to read them. I also have a serious weakness for their Insalata di Verdura Salad. The dressing is perfect: not too tangy or tart...and the croutons are buttery...nice....!

It's a shame the Viva Lasagna Pizza won't make it in the US. I'm sure it would fail, despite how delicious it is. Although Americans would fall in love with the taste, they'd never go for a pizza they couldn't eat without a knife and fork.

Let's face it: lasagna is a messy kind of food. And lasagna noodles, once criss-crossed over each other, placed atop a pizza and baked, are assuredly going to be firmly attached to each other, coming off each pizza slice as one.

You know what that means? You'd get slapped in the chin by a long lasagna noodle full of cheese, meat, and sauce! Let's not even think about that white shirt or blouse you were wearing at the time!

No. Americans like their pizzas cheap and ready to eat, with no utensils required. Filipinos usually eat their pizza with a knife and fork. The famous Kentucky Fried Chicken "finger lickin'good" slogan is also lost here, as I've yet to see a Filipino eat it without a fork and spoon.

Americans don't like our pizza places to look good either. Did you see the interior of the ones they have here? No? Well, go back and click on the link that says "here". I'll wait while you do and say "damn!" In the US we think every pizza place (and way too many other restaurants) have to be sports bars with televisions in every corner tuned in to as many sporting events and channels as are available. The restaurant is usually in good need of proper cleaning, is using the same hard, laminate benches and tables that were installed during the Carter or Reagan administrations, worn carpet (if it wasn't replaced with cheap, dark tile for easier cleaning), and dingy team pennants and jerseys to cover the walls that are in need of painting.

See, not everything in the US is better than here! Pizza Hut US could use a serious makeover and use their operations here as a starting point.

I better get my fill of Viva Lasagna Pizza and Insalata di Verdura Salad while I can, since I'll never see them in the US.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Am I?

I received this text the other night at almost midnight, just as I was drifting into a good sleep.There are several problems with this:

1. I don't know who sent it. There is a rule regarding calling, emailing, and texting others, and that is: One should always introduce themselves when initiating contact.

2. They sent me a text at midnight! Good manners (severely lacking nowadays) says you don't call or text someone (especially someone you don't know) outside of normal working/awake hours. Between 10am and 10pm is a reasonable time period. What is it with people who text others in the wee small hours of the morning?

3. My name is Jay Plogman, not jayplogman. Two words. The first letter of each is to be capitalized.

4. I am unaware of any fame I may have, and if I am the famous photographer they claim me to be, I'm really not interested in it at midnight when I'm trying to sleep.

It does remind me of the text Edson received once asking if his Jay Plogman was THE Jay Plogman.


There's only one of me. In fact, Plogman is a pretty rare name - anywhere. Smith, Gonzales, or Chang it isn't!

Sunday, 14 June 2009


In their online profiles, the vast VAST majority of Filipinos state they are "simple", "a simple person with simple needs", "lead a simple life", "want a simple man/woman", etc....

All the simplicity is not only nauseating, but nothing could be further from the truth. (Surely there are many who are simply simple-minded, but that's another matter.)

Filipinos are quite complex people, especially the gay...excuse me, bi (they're really messed-up on this one!), let's just say the non-heterosexual ones.

I think I've found the answer as to why there is all this annoying "simple" talk, and the answer was found in Facebook, of all places!

Facebook has all those cute quizzes people are always taking to find out "Which Osmond are You?", "Which Superhero are You?", "Which Sex and the City Character are You?", etc. A friend of mine took the "Which Wizard of Oz Character are You?" quiz. He is Dorothy. We knew he is "a friend of Dorothy" (ie: gay), but this quiz says he is Dorothy.

So, who is Dorothy?According to the quiz, if you're Dorothy: "You're a simple person with simple needs. Family, friends and home are very important to you. You want to help others obtain their goals, even if it means sacrificing your own."

This also answers part of the other question about Filipinos and the martyr complex so many have. (It's worse than H1N1, I tell ya!) Edson and I are constantly hearing of others giving up their dreams so they can be the only breadwinner in the family while the rest of the family members sit at home doing nothing, even those who are perfectly intelligent and able-bodied. Others are forced to give up their friends, sacrifice their individuality and dignity, all to try to cling desperately onto their abusive, self-absorbed, uncaring, or cheating boyfriend.

So there we have it.




Of course, knowing the love Filipinos have for telenovelas; if the Wizard of Oz were filmed here, the Wicked Witch of the West would have killed Dorothy (and her little dog, too!), making her the perfect simple martyr.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Of Slugs and Men

While out at the far end of the pool the other day I noticed a slug making its way along the side of the stone privacy wall. It was headed downward towards the concrete walkway and infinity water return for the pool water.

It was a very hot and sunny day. Knowing there was nothing of any value or interest for a slug in the direction he was heading, the Dr. Doolittle in me told it to head back up and over the wall to the garden area on the opposite side. At least there a slug might find itself not being fried 'n dried by the unrelenting summer sun.

And it did.

Well, it headed back up the wall, turned right about three-quarters of the way up and then headed right back down where it started from, plunking it's head right into a puddle of chlorinated pool water.

So much for talking sense to a slug.

It's a bit like talking sense to people. It usually doesn't work. Giving them a good slap upside the head helps, but I find the effects to be mostly temporary.

In the end people, like slugs, learn from their own mistakes, if even then.

Friday, 5 June 2009


Edson received a piece of mail. It was sent May 14th from New York state and arrived in Makati May 20th, as indicated by the postmark.

How long do you think it took for the Post Office across the street from us to deliver this piece of mail?

Think good and hard, now.


OK, here is the answer:

It took two weeks for it to be delivered here!

Six days to span half the globe and fourteen days to cross the road.

What do people do who work at the Philippine Post Office? (Obviously not their jobs.) Why does the Post Office even exist if they can't deliver something across the street any faster than two weeks?!

The sad thing is we've had mail delivered from one part of metro Manila to another that has taken as long as three weeks as well...

...and I'm still waiting on that letter my mother sent me in August of 2007...

...and those two packages from Australia, October 2007.