Archive for Journal

Ilocano Songs in New Apple Radio

After updating my mobile to the new iOS 7, the first thing I checked was the music icon. Being a big fan of Pandora, a predictive and automated music service that plays songs based on artists and songs initially chosen by a particular user, I was so happy to see that Apple came out with their own version of online radio that is somewhat similar to Pandora. After trying it out, I think iTunes radio is one step better than Pandora because of its extended list of songs that included OPMs, Filipino singers/bands (and even novelty singers like Yoyoy Villame) and surprisingly, songs in some other Philippine languages including ILOCANO. I made a station for 'Nagimas Kan Mayang' by the Bukros Brothers and the first song that iTunes radio played was 'Biag Ko Sika Lamang'. It was followed by Nora Aunor's cover of Pearly Shell. The picture of the album showed Nora and Tirso in their younger years. I skipped. Next was April Boy Regino 'Paano ang Puso Ko'. I skipped again. Then 'Anak' by Freddie Aguilar. It was followed by a certain Kris Lawrence singing 'Kung Malaya Lang Ako'. I skipped the third time. The next song was 'A Thousand Years'. I didn't order for an English language song so I skipped again. This is when I found out that one can only skip 4 times. I created another station and it has pre-selected 'Ligaya' by the Eraserheads station and Cooky Chua's Color It Red is in iTunes radio as well. Oh my gulay! Try it out and be surprised!


Hiking at Breakneck Ridge

Last Saturday I spent the entire day hiking one of New York's best hiking trails, the Breakneck Ridge mountain. After a 5-hour long trek, my group went to nearby Little Stony Point where there is a hidden beach with fantastic views of the Hudson River and its surrounding mountains. I have been coming back to this trail for the past 3 years and I plan to return for as long as time and my physical condition will allow me.

This year I didn't go home unscathed. My legs have a lot of bruises and scratches. Yet despite my aches, my spirit is refreshed and I came home renewed.

My Breakneck Ridge annual hike is now my favorite metaphor for life. While scaling boulders with daunting cliffs behind me, I was reminded how gripping fear worsens an already difficult situation. Watching my friends ramble through gorges showed me how a right attitude / approach defeat all other obstacles and limitations. And as I look at a heavier friend successfully climb; I again saw how confidence can be the best tool in carrying one's entire weight in one haul. Until next time!

To those interested, you may email me at to join my u[coming 2013 Fall Hike.

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Do-It-Yourself Binubudan: When Craving Gets Tough, BREW!

One of my favorite Ilocano specialties is the binubudan or tapuy. Binubudan is a wine porridge that is a favorite northern Philippine delicacy usually eaten as a snack or breakfast item. It has a soupy rice consistency and with a sweet juice that tastes a lot like sake. The key ingredient is the 'budbud' or live yeast balls available in the Philippine north. Once I tried using the yeast balls available I found in oriental stores in New York, the finished product did not quite come close to the kind we eat back home. (Maybe in the microbiological level there are also ethnic differences) In my part of the US, the perfect timing is during summer, June to August, when the hot weather is most ideal for fermenting binubudan.

Preparing binududan is fairly easy. The hardest part is waiting 3-9 days before the delicacy can be enjoyed.


1) Sweet sticky rice (for stronger wine taste) or red rice (for sweeter binubudan) 2) Budbod, usually imported from the Philippines 3) PATIENCE! - Fermentation can take 3-9 days. WHAT TO EXPECT 3 days: it starts smelling like alcohol. 5 days: my favorite when I can taste the alcohol, but the rice remains sweet. 9 days: results to a very intoxicating binubudan and bittersweet taste. 10 days or more: Expect some kind of hard liquor. Rice will disappear.   PROCEDURE 1) Steam cook the rice. (Like you always do) Let it cool.

2) In a clean (must be very sterile) container, terracotta or steel, sprinkle the powdered budbod evenly on cooked rice. For one cup of rice, I usually use half of the budbod cake. I arrived at this preference by trial and error.

3) Cover the container with a clean cotton cloth. This allows the fermentation agents to breathe and do their work well.

4) Keep and place in a cool dry place away from sunlight and movement. Do not disturb until its ready.

5) Once the binubudan is ready it will smell sweet and with soup that tastes a lot like alcohol. No need to add anything. I like serving it cold though so I put it in the fridge to cool before enjoying.

Like any alcoholic beverage and food, it can be intoxicating so eat moderately.


Yeast cakes imported from the Philippines


I prefer using the red rice variety. The red wine once fermented is sweeter compared to the usual white sticky rice.

Stumbling on JOSE GARCIA VILLA in Greenwich Village

Yesterday, in one of my quests to illuminate a Fil-American about her very rich heritage, my focus was showing her the poems of the Filipino writer/poet and National Artist for Literature Jose Garcia Villa who once roamed Greenwich Village, NY. In my online search, I accidentally found out that when he died in 1997 he was interred at Our Lady of Pompei Church, now my chosen parish Church in NYC. Trivial as it may be to some, I find it absolutely stunning! One of my greatest literary-historical moments ever! I wish I could retrace his steps in Greenwich Village and actually create a JG Villa Tour for Pinoys and literary lovers! Dreams!

Here is the link:

Also a literature guzzler, Atty. Mitzi Arao checks out JG Villa's death registry at Our Lady of Pompeii Church in Greenwich Village. Mitzi, also an Ilocano, is Ilocano York's classmate in numerous comparative literature courses at the University of the Philippines-Diliman.

Also a literature guzzler, Atty. Mitzi Arao checks out JG Villa's death registry at Our Lady of Pompeii Church in Greenwich Village. Mitzi, also an Ilocano, is Ilocano York's classmate in numerous comparative literature courses at the University of the Philippines-Diliman.

Anyone who knows Prof. Luis Francia's contact information?

Empty Bowl

I started my early evening calling friends to check if they can have dinner with me somewhere in Manhattan. No one was available so I went home and ended up spending time with a surprisingly enjoyable company ... myself. The dinner was a bowl of homemade sinigang na baboy.



Blood Today, dear Victoria , I bleed. My feelings are beyond any grief Old wounds still left unhealed Much more sore than before, it's sick. Scarlet blood flows freely, Like water rushing without a course. Carving new wounds, it hurts. Red blood gushes, to where, I don't know. Pain cuts deep in my memory In ugly crevices I've never seen Probing further, slowly stealing my verve I am bleeding badly, it kills. Blood, sweet Victoria, is life. Red, hot, warm, so alive. If my bleeding means I'm up Then blood, just flow out, I'd be glad. 2007, NYC

My Little Blue Bird

hi, handsome bird.

your eye is filled with meaning that I cannot yet understand. your feathers of blue make me want to look at the sky and the sea more than i should have been through these years.

i very much admire how you proudly stand guard by your nest that you built prodigiously and patiently. i wish i can do the same for my future home ...

i wish i can tell you how you make me smile every day i look at you ...

and i wish you know how you remind me of how beautiful that mind is of whoever created you.

A picture of a blue bird borrowed online. The source had been lost, but this site id thankful for the one who took the picture of this wonderful creature.

A picture of a blue bird borrowed online. The source is lost, but this blog site is thankful for the one who took the picture of this wonderful creature.


The frightening thought that age is catching up with me worries me every time I fall into the habit of comparing my generation to the youngsters now. It was the same way my Mom or Lola would elevate their times by discrediting ours. They would say:

"Kami noon pandesal lang at mga prutas ang baon okay na. Kayo paresto-restoran pa! Para namang kumikita na kayo ng pera. "

" Noong bata kami palaging may chaperone sa sayawan, ngayon kayo ang gagaling tumakas."

"Sa paaralan namin noon walang calculator pero ang bibilis naming magcompute. Kayo may computer na pero ang bobobo nyo pa rin sa Math!"

I'm starting to sound like my Mom. I would tell my panganay:

"Kami noon walang facetime pero mas masaya kasi face-to-face interaction".

"Noon malandi ka kung may boyfriend o girlfriend ka sa high school, ngayon kayo naglalambutsingan pa daw sa classroom sabi ng Madam mo."

"Bastos na mga bata ngayon. Di na nagmamano at di marunong gumalang sa matatanda. Noon kabataan ko tatayo ako sa bus pag may matandang sasakay."

The whole point is to prove that the past -- the subjective past --  is much better than the present, an aging ego's favorite past time. 

Tonight what triggered yet another sickening comparison was when I listened to 'Himala'  by Rivermaya. Why Rivermaya, of all the 90s band? Not that I am a fan. They were just the first thing that crossed my mind because I keep seeing event posters of another contemporary band from the 90s -- Side A -- on my Facebook newsfeed. The band will have a reunion concert in New York soon. (I am not too fond of Side A Band so I contented myself with a Rivermaya song instead as a representative of that era.)

<Click here to listen to the song Himala by Rivermaya.>

Twenty years back I was singing popular love songs that mentioned conservative and religious notions such as 'langit', 'himala' (from Himala by Rivermaya), 'Diyos' (from Gary Valenciano's Natutulog Pa ang Diyos) and even the phrase, "O, Dios ko!" (from Eraserhead's Pare Ko). Eraserheads and Rivermaya are popular alternative rock bands in the 90s that were supposed to be satanic (backmasking scandal) and supposedly rakistas  that are substance addicts as were de riguer for most band members then. And yet their songwriting is still deeply influenced by religion. That's how spiritual we were then that even love songs were peppered with religious elements.

Last year my public schooled binata whom I see as the typical lad of their generation, cluelessly asked me this while pointing at the picture of Virgin Mary with a toddler baby: "Sino yang batang buhat-buhat ni Mama Mary?"  Duh! Naloka ako! 

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Habang itinituro ang larawan ng Our Mother of Perpetual Help, ang tanong ng teenager sa akin, "Sino yang batang buhat-buhat ni Mama Mary?"

This is a true story that I keep on repeating to my contemporaries. At the very end of each kwento, I would blurt out with matching dramatic hand gestures, "Ano na ang nangyayari sa mga bata ngayon?" That said with the air of arrogance based on the biased notion that our generation is better.

In conclusion, given those songs as examples and even before I cared to listen to what the kids in the Philippines are listening to right now, I just feel like my time were much better than theirs.

Parang noong sa nanay ko lang. Tumatanda na talaga. Matigas pa ang ulo.


Poetry Contribution: iMessage

20140224-010053.jpg iMessage By I. Regalado i said, "you have to peel it off, strip to the bone, i want to see you naked" you said, "in your dreams" I said, "sure, but even my dreams wouldn't oblige" You were walking around with a pink umbrella, And it wasn't even raining. I pictured in my head thousands of black umbrellas, and, one of them was pink, underneath, one of them was you, walking the cobbled streets, of SOHO, like something from a film by Kurosawa, or a photoshopped photograph, the sound of Nolita Fairytale playing in the background (or was that a film that I have not seen?) I said, “I’m amazed at the randomness of our conversation. I feel some kind of fever coming. I have to fight it.” “It’s a song,” you said then you pointed to the wooden balcony. “Do you see it? Do you see us?” I asked. “I see you, us,” you answered. Meanwhile, our hands held each other, Our eyes stared at each other, Nothing to hide here, Everything known. “Me siento mejor,” la Niña sang through my iPhone, Yes I feel better, ya me siento mejor. Now I feel better. “Quiero quitarte la ropa!” “Si yo pudieras mover la manilla del reloj del tiempo” There is a scent here with me That isn’t mine. (I’ve walked that street with you before, Everyone should be jealous.) “Scent?” you asked. “Yes, it’s a woman’s scent, But it’s gone now.” Then my mind added, “Was it you?” Contributed by I. Regalado 20140224-010038.jpg

As I Looked Up the Sky

20140211-033011.jpg Athena and the Moon laughed tonight With keen wintry eyes they knew I hurled them searing torches Fire came back, my doom.