Saturday, December 27, 2014

Steve Farzam, CEO of Shore Hotel: Santa Monica, California

Steve Farzam
Photo credit:

The California Attorney General's E-Crime Unit in cooperation with the United States Bureau of Tobacco, Alcohol & Firearms, the FBI, State Vehicles Agency of California, arrested Steve Farzam, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Santa Monica's Shore Hotel on June 27, 2014 on various charges of felony, misdemeanor, theft and grand larceny. He posted bail the same night. Steve Farzam was charged on 77 counts of mostly felonies: 18 counts of identity theft, 19 counts of impersonating police officers, and the manufacture and attempt to sell assault rifles.

Among the alleged crimes constitute:

Misdemeanor, involving identity theft and assault of several people;

Falsified license plates, official seals of the State of California, and gun permit at the day of his arrest;

Illegal possession of police properties: police official colored bars, radio, and siren, that were apparently taken from the County Sheriff of Los Angeles.

As regards charges of identity theft, Steve Farzam allegedly impersonated a police officer and committed the following crimes:

Arresting, detaining and made threats of arresting and detaining a person;

Intimidating another;

Made unlawful searches of people and their personal properties, and;

Theft and grand larceny.

According to the company website, its CEO was a police officer,  having graduated from the Academy for Police Officers at Santa Barbara at age 19. His activities include flying aircrafts and doing restoration of his 51' fire truck, and volunteering as tactical officer of a charitable organization that deals with "at risk" youth.

Shore Hotel, Santa Monica
Photo credit:

Shore Hotel is ideally located in the central area of the city, a mere six minute walk from Santa Monica Pier. It boasts of eco-friendly rooms, state-of-the-art gym that is open for 24 hours, and a business center. Each room has its own balcony and room massage service, among other amenities. It opened its doors to the public in 2011 and room rates are from $279 upwards per night. The Pacific Amusement Park is a mere six minute walk away from the hotel.


Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
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Monday, December 15, 2014

Scum of the Earth

What do you consider as scum of the earth?

The word represents the most offensive and demeaning that any person can be called. What it means, is you are judged as one of the lowest life form that walks this earth. It is an insult which says---you amount to nothing.

What we normally do with scum, is throw them out like garbage. I threw out a pile of twigs, leaves, and various bric-a-brac this morning. I have to pay a little extra for the garbage truck doesn't usually accept this stuff. Only household garbage, they say.

50 sacks were thrown

After doing away with them, I went out on an errand and rode a jeepney. While seated cozily, I noticed this young boy who sat on the stairs sniffing a bottle of rugby. I stared at him--- helpless, and unable to do anything.

How can somebody so young, act so brazenly, as if "getting high" in public is normal? He sat there, sniffing, and holding on to the rails for about half a kilometer. The passengers sat there stupefied, and unable to do anything. They looked at him with disdain as if, he was a total scum of the earth.

Garbage collection  every Saturday of the week 

I remember the garbage that I threw away a couple of hours before, and I would have liked to do the same thing for this young boy. But, I can't. So, I just stared there---helpless,   until he took off in an alley, where he can probably get another fill.

What a pity! A sheer waste of humanity for somebody so young.


Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
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Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Time: On My Way to Buy Parol Blinkers

It is Christmas time, and everybody is out and about to do some last minute shopping.

While on the way to Almanza Hardware to buy electrical wires, plugs and blinkers for our parol, I saw a man grabbed the bag of one pedestrian along the highway.

It was a group of three to four kids who were on the way to Southmall. They attracted a lot of attention from passers-by as they were in skimpy shorts, tight pants, and see-through blouses.

It was just a matter of seconds when I first saw them, that a man grabbed the bag of one of the kids. Nobody was able to do anything as the man ran across the street and jumped on a waiting motorcycle.

It was fast and I was not even able to take pictures of the incident. That kid might have only around P100 on her bag as she was crying that it was what was left of her allowance for the week.

Parols along St. Joseph in Las Pinas


Please do not wear clothes that calls attention to yourself while gallivanting around. Moving unnaturally like, screaming, shouting, and laughing while on the streets would not get you the kind of attention that you want. You would only attract the criminal elements that abound during the Christmas season.

Also, never wear high heels while commuting. It looks funny when you walk along the uneven pavements/and or streets of Las Pinas. Doing so would most likely make you an easy target of snatchers and hooligans.

Note: Pictures of Las Pinas lanterns along the highway of St. Joseph. I was there this afternoon to buy blinkers for our parol. The selection of parols are awesome!

Price ranges from a few hundreds to several thousands of pesos


Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Collegiate Education and Opportunities: Social Inequity

photo credit:

I bumped into a "kakanin" vendor outside of the subdivision a few days ago. She inquired about collegiate opportunities for her child. I say to her that there are several choices ---DFCAMCLP, PLMun, UP, and TESDA.

She told me that her kid doesn't stand a chance in UP. She frowned on TESDA and wanted proper collegiate education for her child. She looks forward though, of trying their luck on either DFCAMCLP or PLMun.

Local public colleges are a boon to impoverished families who can ill-afford a college education. Students from these schools are considered intellectually superior; hence, are given access to free college education by either the local or national government.

I know that the parents of these gifted kids try hard to eke out a living by doing menial jobs like the
vendor above. They work rain and shine just to be able to send their children to school. Much sacrifice is given by parents just to give their children opportunities to have a better life.

Nonetheless, some parents may be more financially able than the others. But kids from these families should show sensitivity to the plight of their less fortunate schoolmates.Meaning, that ostentatious display of 'high living' should be avoided at all times --- like expensive gadgets and high-end lifestyle.

photo credit:

When I was still in the academe, I know of several students who did not have the luxury of having breakfast before attending school.Some walked from one to two kilometers to and fro, since they can't afford a jeepney fare. Many can hardly afford to fund school projects and activities.

Such is the plight of these students whose only dream is to finish a college education. Now, comes the social network like FB, where we get to see some students posting about their meals in fast food centers, almost on a daily basis, as if money is not a problem to them. 

I also see some of them in malls watching movies or attending expensive shows of local and foreign artists at prices that I can even ill-afford.This would be alright if you're out of school and are already working. But it is so out of place if you're still in college and supported by your parents.

Had you been well-off in the first place, you would not have attended public school.I should know, since my only kid attends a public university. There is no ostentatious display on her part since she is aware that her schooling comes from the largesse of the national government.

So please, have an even keel --- don't show off. It doesn't make you a bigger person than what you really are. You only succeed in making a mockery of yourself by looking so pathetic.

A dreary outlook on a dreary day this 9th of December 2014.

My one cent...


Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
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Monday, December 8, 2014

The View From My Side of the Earth: December 8, 2014

 As Typhoon Ruby batters the country,

My side of the earth looks dire and gloomy,

 The view from my window

Only my plants look so happy and carefree,

As I watched the pattering of rains with my cup of coffee.

Vegetable patch in my backyard

Though the typhoon is wreaking havoc along its path,

I pray to the heavens and the angels above,

Welcome plant bought in Alabang Market

Families with little children now suffer from God's wrath,

Oh Dear Lord, have mercy! Heed our calls for the rains to stop.

Veggies needing trellis

Pechay reaching cooking stage

Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Cellway-Southmall, Las Pinas City, Metro Manila

Cellway at Southmall, Las Pinas

Cellway is a mobile and cellular company that you can find on the 3rd floor of Southmall. They have a vast array of techie stuff on display and amiable salespersons to help you with your tech needs.

My techie stuff is ok, but I have problems with my Sun Broadband stick. It just went dead on me, by stopping to install midway. I had it checked with the service repair center of the Sun, but they were unable to do something about it.

They told me, that I need to have my laptop checked, and they referred me to Cellway. So, there I was at the repair center, and patiently waited for my turn.There were three technicians, and one tinkered with my unit.

Well, it didn't get him anywhere, to the bemused of the other technician who was seated near him. When this other technician was finished with what he was doing, he took a look of my unit to see what's wrong.

I can say that he is a master of the trade, who knows his way around. In just 10 minutes flat, the Sun Broadband stick was happily purring into action!


I went back the following day and informed him that the stick didn't work when I reached home. I said  that I uninstalled it again, and was no longer able to reinstall it back.

He looked at me bemused, installed the broadband, and gave me instructions on how to do it right. I dare say, that this technician is a professional, friendly, and knows his stuff like the tip of his nose.

It is good to see highly skilled professionals like him who can help us, should the  need arises. His name?

Eugene Villaraza of Cellway-Southmall.

Go see him for all your techie needs. This is not a paid advertisement. I am just a satisfied customer.

Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
Copyright © csmiravite™. All Rights Reserved

Monday, December 1, 2014

Quickie Meals at Fast Food Joints in Metro Manila

Burger King outlet at Southmall, Las Pinas

Filipinos have a penchant for cheap and quickie meals. For P200 and below, one can get a variety of choices in the malls and in the hole-in-the- wall food outlets that are found all over Metro Manila.

I am no exception, as I try to savor the food in most of these outlets and in the iconic places like those found on Masagana Street in Quezon City. I do not get paid to do the reviews, I merely do it for the love of eating, and in finding out where I can get the best value that money can buy.

Where do we find these fast food joints?

Oh, they are everywhere. Most of them are in the fast food centers of malls like Southmall, Festival Mall, Metropolis, among many others.Some of those that I have tried follows:

Ilonggo Grill

Batchoy at Ilongo Grill

This stall can be found in most malls in Metro Manila. You can buy native cuisine ---from kare-kare to batchoy and more. It's a few pesos more expensive than other food stalls, but the food selections taste better.

Nacho King

Nachos with cheese and meat dips at Nacho King

Most mall goers try to get several snack food in one run, or those that can be eaten right away. An example would be nachos with choices of toppings--- from cheese, meat with chilis, or a combination of both. This is a snack food to have if you just like to munch something, and not be filled up while on the run.

Burger King

Whopper Burger at Burger King

Their signature product is the whopper burger, a bigger version of the  traditional burgers that we see around. The meat is about 1/4 lbs of grilled beef patties, with slices of onion, tomatoes, pickles, lettuce, and a generous serving of mayonnaise. It's big, filling, and great tasting!

Tropical Hut Hamburger

Hawaiian Glee at Tropical Hut

Macaroni Salad at Tropical Hut

Their burgers were pioneers that always come  with a big bun, a quarter pound of grounded beef, pickles, mayo, and tomato. They came out with several variations like Rancho Ranchero and Hawaiian Glee, my favorites. Another specialty is macaroni salad and clubhouse sandwich.

Kentucky Fried Chicken

Spicy Gangnam Chicken at KFC

They are known to introduce food variations like spicy gangnam chicken, fully loaded meals, and bucket meals. Favorite add-ons would include potato salad/gravy and coleslaw.


Isn't it a wonder that Filipinos are now getting bigger? With the many choices of food that are made available at a click of a finger, who could forego having quickie meals in  easy to find fast food joints that are, delicious and not heavy on the pocket?

C'mon, let's grab something to eat!

Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
Copyright © csmiravite™. All Rights Reserved

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Home Gardening in the City of Metro Manila, Philippines

Home Gardening in the City

Home gardens in Metro Manila subdivisions usually consist of landscaping with expensive plants and decors that is meant to please the eyes. I love gardens, especially those with intricate designs and  cascading waterfalls.

However, the inner me, longs for something different. I like to plant veggies and herbs that I can eat, freshly picked from the garden. Though I like to look at flowers, they need not  be expensive for me to appreciate them. The burst of vibrant colors is a feast to my eyes, regardless of price.

I bought some seedlings (5 in 1 pack composed of eggplant, squash, lady fingers, and okra) at Ace Hardware and bought planters from the nearby  "P10 pesos stall " in the highway, near our place.

The small pots cost me P10 each, and the bigger ones at P25. Since we don't have enough loamy/garden soil, I bought 25 sacks more from the Greeneries in the next subdivision of Pilar Village. It costs me from P35 to P50 a sack, inclusive of delivery charges.

Since I plan to eat my produce, I was hesitant to use chemical pesticides for pest control. The outcome is that, around 20 percent of my plants were ravaged by pests. I decided to buy a small bottle of pesticide (Kilabot)for P200, and sprayed twice using  a half teaspoon with a liter of water ---with good results.

They look alright now and I took photos of the plants early this morning.

My plants are in planters for lack of space

This plant, a cactus, caught my fancy. I like looking at its fatty leaves and the robustness of the entire plant. I got it for P40 and it's a bargain!

One other plant that I am so happy about, is this multi-colored chili plant (white and violet). I got it cheap at P40  at Alabang Market, and I just keep on staring at it every morning. I don't think I will eat it. Looking gives me more pleasure than the idea of devouring it with my chili con carne.

This beauty looks so dainty that I had to buy it. Cost?  P25 at Alabang Market


Two days ago, I was able to buy some more plants at the Alabang market. There is this lady selling different kinds of plants near the fish section. I saw nice looking daisies with a triple array of flowers and I wanted to buy it. But at P200 a plant, I decided to buy the planters (without flowers) instead, which I got for P25 a piece.

caught sight of these little plants with miniature flowers and loved it instantly. It is multi-colored: yellow, orange, and pink. I got these for P10 a piece on Alabang Market.

Dragon plants that would need replanting in bigger drums alongside other plants in the pathway
Pechay galore! I have eaten some of them...added to century tuna. Yummy!


Metro Manila is a city on a fast lane. Nothing can be more enjoyable than having plants  and greeneries around you. Nothing compares to seeing things grow - right in your own home. It is akin to seeing one's money multiplying several times over, like the plants that we tend and grow  in our own backyard.

Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
Copyright © csmiravite™. All Rights Reserved

Sunday, November 16, 2014

One Ghostly Apparition

I saw her silently opening the door, walking airily as she tiptoed to watch my computer monitor. She sigh with disgust as she read what's on the screen.

"You're losing steam, my friend! You have to push that brain of yours to continue writing. You're stagnating. There is nothing but blurry particles coming out of your system. Write...write...write!" she blurted out relentlessly.

I looked at her from the corners of my eye, and saw a pesky apparition that I have battled with a couple of times before. I say to her, "Go away! You disturb my peace." But, to my dismay, she didn't move an inch.

I turned around to angrily confront her. I was stunned, as I watched in horror a mirror image of myself, staring at me with cold and blood-shot eyes! A piercing scream came out from nowhere...and I woke up!

It was just a dream.


Photo credit:

Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Philippine CPA Board Examination of October, 2014


The results for the October 2014 CPA Board Examination have been released, and as usual, we have the losers and the winners from among the takers.I feel bad for those who did not make it, since time and money were spent in the 5 month review.

"A journey to hell," are apt words to describe it. Those who survived may have used all survival skills and a streak of luck to go with it.

I took the same exam decades ago, and to tell you frankly, I don't know how I even made it. It just happened and bazoom! I am a CPA.

It is nice signing your name with that 3 letter tag; but, it doesn't really make you a better person than the next fellow. It is just a tag, and what you make of it, would depend on you entirely.

For heaven's sake, I have seen some very rich folks with no college education and still make a good living, despite this handicap.

The bruohaha will die down after a couple of days, until the next CPA Board Examination again. The saga continues, from one batch to another ad infinitum. It's a never ending cycle.

* CPA-Board-Exam
+Certified Public Accountants Examination

Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
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Fruit Slush Drinks-Healthy Eating Habits

Fruit Sluch - Green Mango with Nestle yoghurt (raspberry and apple)

Fruit slush drink, anyone?

I have been doing combinations of fruits for my daily intake of fruit slush drinks. This has become habitual that whenever I go out, I buy fruits that would go into my slush drink whenever I reach home.

However, I noticed that the shelf life of fruits is just around two days. After that, it discolors and the taste is affected. The kiwi fruit can get mushy after two days. Green mango would lose its tang and crispiness after two to three days. Grapes (seedless variety) will hold in the fridge for around five days. Guayabano would have to be eaten within two days of being cut.Apples, papaya, and dragon fruit can hold up to three days.

After several days of mixing my fruit juice, I conclude that any fruit can go well together. It becomes a nice slush drink after mixing it with non-fat milk and a pinch of muscovado sugar. I sometimes have a fruit mixture without ice and drink it straight from out of the blender.It's swell and I get my kick out of it!

My meal at home - Pineapple Juice, Nestle Fruit Yoghurt, and fruits

Really delicious!

Today, I tried green mangoes with Nestle Yogurt (raspberry and apple), without sugar. Wowee! It's sour but yummy! It feels good in the tummy right after gulping a cup of the slush.This I may say, is real food! It's filling and your body doesn't hate it. It's so good that I may try several yoghurt flavors in the next few days in lieu of the non-fat milk.


I hope to be able to get the right combination of fruits--- and who knows, I might be able to come up with a franchise of  nutritious fruit slush drinks! I'll see if there are still available stalls in Southmall. I might do a test run first, to know what's saleable and voila! I am in business! :D

I'll have a doable project by next year, God willing. Who knows I might be the Fruit Slush Queen, before you know it!  Lololol!

It's a fun, fun day while drinking my favorite slush drink.


Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
Copyright © csmiravite™. All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Eating Healthy by Using Food Blenders

Blender with fruits
I saw a recent advertisement about food blenders and it gave me an idea about my style of eating. As I am always online and hardly has the time to eat, I planned to do a short-cut of my eating habits.

What seems to be the problem?

I always get sleepy right after eating; most especially, if I have an enormous intake of carbohydrates. Before I knew it, my eyelids droop, then I see my body hit the sack, and before the count of three---I  am oft to dreamland.

This tendency to fall asleep at a drop of a hat, is horribly annoying. I have to pump so much coffee into my bloodstream to waken me up. I have to do something to keep me awake, and at the same time address my hunger pangs.

Guyabano with grapes ---delicious!
What to do?

I have to eat food that will fill me up and not make me sleepy. I can do that by eating fruits. But, eating fruits per se is messy. I end up messing my work and getting my computers and tech paraphernalia dirtied--- by having morsels of food into the word processor.

That's a disaster, and I never like disasters. The saving grace is the blender. What I can do is peel my choice of fruits, and put it in an osterizer or blender. I can then add a little muscovado sugar and low fat milk, and I'm oft to a good start.

My first taste test

I tried mixing a few seedless grapes with green apple, a pinch of sugar and non fat milk. Wow! That's good! I did away with the hunger pangs and was wide awake for a few hours.

What I did next was mix a few seedless grapes with guyabano.Oh boy, superb! It is like tasting a few drops of heaven!

I am going to try to mix dragon fruit with a ripe mango in a little while, and put crushed ice like a slush. I hope the grinder blades don't break since it is not an expensive variety. I only bought the unit for P500 at Southmall the other day.

Grapes and Guyabano inside the blender

Bottom Line

As I am getting picky with my food, I better create the kind of food that suits my lifestyle ---healthy, easy to prepare, fast to eat, and cheap. I am thinking of cooking crispy kankong one of these days as snack alternative.

I have been longing for bulanglang (leafy greens with a dash of fish bagoong) for sometime now, that I may ask the old woman in the barrio, to cook for me this coming weekend on my way to the farm.

Ah, food! Glorious food!  :D

Fruits that I bought for slush juice drink

Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
CSMiravite Copyright 2014

Monday, October 6, 2014

Mr. Kimbob of Southmall, Las Pinas City - A Food Review

Mr. Kimbob at Southmall, Las Pinas City

A friend inquired why I did a nasty review of this iconic Korean fast food chain, Mr. Kimbob, a few weeks ago.

I said to her that I have been a long-time customer of the now defunct, Kimchi Restaurant and that this stall pales in comparison with Kimchi.

Kimchi did not have many cuisines on its lineup. They have barbeques - chicken, pork, beef, and squid that were cooked in a hot circular iron plate. They have beef kalbichin that I ordered once in a while, and they were great!

Mr. Kimbob has many loyal customers and there is hardly any time of the day when people do not flock to their stall in Southmall. This is confusing to me, as I cannot understand why lots of people would like something that I find ordinary.

I first had their Chicken Mix a few weeks ago, and it tasted like any sweet and sour pork that anyone can buy in Chinese Restaurants.

Mr. KIMBOB Food Stall-Southmall, Las Pinas

The friend told me to try their bestseller, Bibimbop. Who knows, I may turn out to be a convert and change my initial negative review.

Well, that's what I did today- I gave it a second chance. I ordered Beef Bibimbop and paid P99 for the meal.

The result? I still don't like it. It looks like a Chinese fried rice with vegetables and meat. I could have cooked a better version of this meal at half the price.

What is wrong?

Most Korean, Japanese, and Chinese Restaurants have their own spices and condiments, so the taste would mostly differ from one venue to another.

Filipino entrepreneurs, come up with these same names, but do not bother to use those special spices/condiments, thinking that people will not notice it . Well, I did --- and I feel disappointed.

What they did come up with was their own version of these dishes, made a nice presentation of the  meal, and that's just about it!

Bottom Line

If I have to try new kinds of food, I better try it in localized places like those found in `the Ayala-Alabang area. I can never find the right mix and taste by going to fast food stalls like those in Southmall.

Beef Bibimbap at Mr. Kimbob
Probably, I need to check out North Park for Chinese dishes, a Vietnamese Resto along the same route, and Barrio Fiesta for original Filipino cuisine!

It may be more expensive, but I am assured that I will get the pleasure of enjoying my meal.

Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
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