CHICAGO (jGLi) – There are times in a columnist’s life like today when there is a glut in the news  -- yet it is a slow-news day.

And this gives me a reason to pause so I can review emails in my folder that has been in a holding pattern for some time and is waiting for my attention.

After taking up the mining issues in my maternal hometown of Matnog, Sorsogon in the Philippines in my last column, I would like to stay around a little bit in that Bicol region.

Altho, this is the first time this year that I will be socially active in the affairs of Bicol USA, Chicago chapter that will be headed by Ms. Evelyn Tolledo of Catanduanes, let me start by mentioning the press release emailed to me from Down Under by my long-time friend, Renato Perdon, a prolific book author. Mr. Perdon is promoting the book, “Magayon: A Taste of Bicol … A Touch of Class,” (Manila Prints, Sydney/Manila, 2011) written by Neria Nidea-Soliman.




This new, 280-page book on Bicol recipes and selected biographies of prominent Bicolanos was released last December 2010 by Sydney-based Manila Prints publisher.

With a brief history of Bicol cuisine, compiled by the author, Neria Nidea-Soliman, a gourmet who was born in Albay province, this book will bring together for the first time an extensive collection of Bicol recipes.

In retrospect, I am really reluctant to take on this topic because it will only make my mouth water and revive my boyhood and my teen-age appetite for such original and reliable Bicol recipes found in the book such as the famous appetizing Bicol Express, Pinangat Camalig, alimango sa gata, arroz a la Bicolana, beef puchero, chilli con carne (the Bicol Way),  dinarang na Balidbid, bayway, Bicol langka salad, Bicol’s pride, daing na sinarapan, dinarang na hito, dinuguan Bicol,  estofado, tapang pawikan (turtle), ginisang piga sa lada, gulay na hito sa kalunggay, tabios tortilla, pinacro na duma, pinacro na pulutan,  santan sa pili, empanaditas, gulay na kuracding sa lada, kandingang Bicol, Kinunot (several recipes), and, of course, the dependable laing, and many more

The book has a scheduled launching in the Philippines and Australia. Bicol associations throughout the world which would like to make arrangement for a joint sponsorship of  the launching of the book in their area, may contact the author at 111 Stockholm Avenue, Hassal Grove, NSW 2761, Australia or in Manila: Phone: +63 2 828 5163 or write Manila Prints, PO Box 1267, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010, Australia, Ph/Fx: (02) +61 2 9313 8179. Or email Mr. Perdon at renperdoni@hotmail.com




Speaking of recipes, when I wrote something about the White House Chef Crestita Comerford based on  the interview by Sarah Lee, food editor of Via Times and TV Cooking Show Host, The ClebrEaTy Circle of Chicago Philippine Reports TV, Ms. Lee asked me to publish a recipe she developed for Aroma Rice Cooker and was posted in the company website (Bibingka Malagkit).


The sweet rice cooks perfectly using the Cool-Touch Digital Aroma Rice Cooker.

Prep: 10 minutes Total: 90 minutes

Rice Cake:
3 cups sweet rice, washed and drained
3 cups water
1/2 can coconut cream
2 cups white sugar
Yummy Topping:
1 1/2 cans coconut cream
1 cup light brown sugar

1.    Place washed and drained sweet rice (malagkit) and water in Aroma Rice cooker and cook until done.

2.    While rice is cooking, combine the yummy topping ingredients in a large saucepan and cook until it turns caramel-colored and reaches a thick syrupy stage, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

3.    Fluff cooked rice with paddle and stir in coconut cream and sugar, mixing well.
Spread the rice mixture (don't press down but just smooth the top) into a greased 9 x 13 baking pan.

4.    Pour the thickened yummy topping on top of the rice cake and spread it out evenly. And

5.    Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 40 to 50 minutes.

Interested parties may get in touch with Ms. Lee at divasarah@sbcglobal.net




And speaking of book launching, I have another press release from the spokesman of former President Fidel V. Ramos, Atty. Frumencio A. Lagustan and Lucci C. Coral. It is about the Jan. 14, 2011 launching of the book, “Colors of Light: The Life Story and Paintings of Lucia Najera Mangapit Valdez,” at Manila Hotel. The book is written by my old friend Mel T. Velasco of the Media Touchstone Ventures, Inc. (MTVi).
Lucia Mangapit Valdez, or fondly called as Auntie Lucing by her relatives and friends --still hale, hearty and lucid at age 92 -- is a native of Batac, Ilocos Norte. She earned her degree in Education from the University of Manila and her degree in Fine Arts and Theater at the American University in Washington D.C.
She is also equally known as a fearless guerilla and freedom fighter, who served in the Ilocos Norte Liberation Forces under her brother-in-law, the late Colonel/Congressman Simeon Marcos Valdez, who is the younger brother of Angela Valdez Ramos (FVR’s mother). Simeon M. Valdez is known in Ilocandia as the veteran-warrior who was the uncle of two Presidents during his lifetime—Ferdinand Edralin Marcos and Fidel V. Ramos. Interested parties may email Mr. Velasco at  




And last but not the least, I would like to mention the observation of top Filipino American cyber lawyer Ben Maynigo, who attended the three-day Consumer Electronic Show convention in Las Vegas, Nevada last Jan. 6-9. He said the convention turned out to be a “Battle of the Tablets (that) will go down to Blackberry’s Playbook,  Motorola’s Xoom which has the Android 3.O (Honeycomb), Windows 7’s IdeaPad by Lenovo and of course, the IPAD 2 of Apple which will also have two cameras.”

But very close to Attorney Maynigo’s heart is the “eBookMan,” the predecessor of Amazon Kindle. He describes it as a “library in your pocket, (that gives you) knowledge at your finger tips.” His company exclusively distributes it the Philippines and lets its user, “take the law into (his) own hands.” You can reach Attorney Maynigo at ben.maynigo@gmail.com  (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)


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