When Wicked Is Both Good And Sinful

Jazz, Neoli and I agreed to meet Sunday after lunch at McDonald’s Philcoa. The destination: late lunch at Wicked Kitchen in Maginhawa then drop off the children’s books for the Yolanda Book Drive at Haduraw Pizza. The sweltering heat of the afternoon sun could not sway us from the lure of gastronomic delights. We know our priorities.

Image source: pinayads.com

Image source: pinayads.com

From Philcoa, we took a tricycle to Maginhawa and would have easily missed Wicked since the resto was situated on the third floor of a mostly restaurant-occupied building. At the ground floor is Breakfast Table, a breakfast all day shop with a gorgeous blue door. We kind of promised, before we headed to Wicked, to sample their food some other time.

Neoli and I in front of Breakfast Table Photo by Jazz Braganza

Neoli and I in front of Breakfast Table
Photo by Jazz Braganza

Wicked lies unassumingly at the third floor beside a spa. No fancy store signs. The interior borders on minimalist with black and red as the motif, black and red walls with a few unpainted concrete ones. Wicked loves mason jars. They hang them as lamps and use them for cocktails. Mason jars are pretty.


If you’re snarky, this wall will remind you to tone it down a bit with its positivity.


Same thing with the bathroom wall.


Anyway, going back to the food, we ordered rice bowls because we were famished but we shared only one dessert. Sorry to disappoint those who were expecting this to be a thorough review, we didn’t order a variety of dishes. We didn’t go there planning to write a review but rather, to satisfy our tummies. As I said, priorities set. Besides, we were kind of hoping we could still have pizza and beer at Handuraw after.

Crunchy Bagoong Rice

Crunchy Bagoong Rice

I ordered Crunchy Bagoong Rice (P152.00), their bestseller. I was surprised that the food was not stir fried. Instead, it was boiled rice topped with bagoong (shrimp paste), which was just the right amount of salty, green mango sticks and crunchy liempo bits. The green mangoes and bagoong is a classic combo. I’m not fond of pork but the liempo wasn’t bad either. It would have been better if the bagoong was spicy to enhance the flavors. But no worries, they have hot sauce you can douse your food with.

Spicy Mongolian Rice

Spicy Mongolian Rice

Jazz ordered Mongolian Rice (P175), which is rice topped with chicken, squid and fresh vegetables tossed in Mongolian sauce. It tasted good, just like the usual Mongolian food in other restos. Hah! Again, this tastes better with hot sauce.


I thought Neoli had Kimchi Rice because that’s what I remember from his bowl, the kimchi. But when I checked the menu while I was writing this, there was no Kimchi rice. They have Bulgogi rice, which was the only Korean food on the menu so maybe it was what he ordered. I didn’t get to taste his food because he said he has colds and I could get infected. Or he could just be not in the mood to share.

Wrath: Mango crepe with vanilla and spicy Nutella

Wrath: Mango crepe with vanilla and spicy Nutella

We capped the meal with one of the deadly sins: Wrath. Yes, they named their desserts after the seven deadly sins because, yeah, they’re supposedly sinfully good. Well, we only had wrath and it was good. Wrath is a mango crepe with vanilla ice cream and spicy nutella. The tragedy is that Nutella loses its spiciness in the midst of the ice cream and the crepe. But here’s what we discovered, a very important learning we will carry on in life: you can put hot sauce on vanilla ice cream and then voila, vanilla transforms into an explosion in your mouth. You may try it, too, with other ice cream flavors.

The ghosts of Neoli and a server roam the resto.

The ghosts of Neoli and a server roam the resto.

Overall, food was filling and worth the price. The staff are attentive and ever so helpful. Or it could also be that at 3 in the afternoon on a sleepy Sunday, we were the only patrons so they didn’t have much choice but to be there at our beck and call.

Judgement is nothing too special but place is really nice. Definitely coming back to try other dishes and sample the other sins. By the way, don’t forget to check out their bathroom even if you don’t need to go. They have wickedly sweet messages there for you.

Guaranteed to make you instantly feel better!

Guaranteed to make you instantly feel better!

First Batch of Book Donors

Last Sunday, I delivered the first batch of children’s books to Handuraw Pizza at Sikatuna. This entry is just to say thank you to the first batch of book donors: Hazel Mae Pan, Nadia Dua, Jazz Braganza and Neoli Marcos.

Thank you, Nadj Dua! Image source: Nadj Dua

Thank you, Nadj Dua!
Image source: Nadj Dua

Thanks, Hazel! Image source: Hazel Pan

Thanks, Hazel!
Image source: Hazel Pan

Jazz and Neoli at Handuraw Pizza.

Jazz and Neoli at Handuraw Pizza.

I’d also like to thank those who already committed to donate more books. You may drop them directly at Handuraw Sikatuna. They open at 2 in the afternoon. You may also contact me so I can pick them up for you.

Uhmm, I don't recall writing this book. Photo by Jazz Braganza

Uhmm, I don’t recall writing this book.
Photo by Jazz Braganza

If you haven’t read my previous post, the book drive is for the benefit of the children survivors of Yolanda in Samar (Eastern and Western) and Iloilo.

First batch :)

First batch 🙂

Damo nga salamat!

Yolanda Book Drive

I didn’t have Barbies when I was a kid, nor did I have stuffed toys, except for that one owl holding a diploma, which was my parents’ gift back in fourth grade. I didn’t play with the owl because it didn’t look friendly and the diploma doesn’t exactly look like a playdate invite. So it stayed wrapped in a clear plastic sittting, collecting dust in one corner of our wooden divider. Instead of toys, my parents bought a lot of books for me and my brother along with sporadic toy purchases from Tupperware, of which my favorite was the red and blue shape sorter. That’s how my love affair with the printed word started (no, not with the shape sorter, the books).

Until this day, I can still see the white paper with colorful images of blond children kneeling beside their beds, reciting their nighttime prayers while an angel hover above them; or the brownish paper with Jonas inside the stomach of the big whale or of baby Moses in a basket floating in the river. Yes, my first books were Biblical stories and prayers. Then as I started school, I got introduced into the local classics like Ibong Adarna, the fables like Ang Pagong at Ang Matsing, then Pambata comics and other educational comics. Then when I was 7 or 8, my mother would take me with her to our local bank (a credit cooperative) on weekends and there I started to read The Philippine Free Press. I read about the Allan Gomez-Aileen Sarmenta case on The Philippine Free Press, as well as the Angel Alquiza rape case. My parents didn’t enforce censorship as long as my reading materials were seemingly legit. So yeah, you can see where and how my trust issues started. (Hah!)

I read practically everything then, Readers’ Digest, Health & Home (The Seventh Day Adventist’s magazine), Philippine Journal of Education, The Modern Teacher, Women’s, The Woman Today, Mod Magazine, Sweet Valley (SVH and SVU), Sweet Dreams, Mills & Boon’s, Harlequin, Sillhouette, Sidney Sheldon, Danielle Steele, Liwayway Magazine, Tagalog pocketbooks, the Nido classic fairy tales (loooove those), Arthur Maxwell Bible Stories Vol. 1 to 5, my father’s Teacher’s Board reviewer, film synopses on VHS tapes and so on. My parents blamed my poor eyesight on too much reading.

Back in 2009, the apartment I was staying in, in Marikina got flooded. The place was submerged in water and so were my clothes, photographs, my books (my printed and hard bound college thesis, my classics esp, Huckleberry Finn and The Great Gatsby and my friend’s Murakami), a few furniture and DVDs. After the flood, there was an outpouring of support from my friends and family. A lot of people donated clothes, money, food, furniture and most of all, books. I remember how happy I was when my friends gave me the books. I mean, after a disaster, the usual donations are for basic needs to help you survive and get back on track and then they gave me books. After Ondoy, those books became a promise to me, a well of hope that things will be back to normal, if not better.

When I learned about Air Juan’s book drive for Yolanda kids survivors in Eastern and Western Samar, as well as Iloilo, I just knew I had to get involved. I could only imagine what the world of literature can offer a young mind who just went through a tragedy. Maybe it can offer relief, healing, hope, a chance to dream, knowledge or if they’re not into reading, maybe a page they can tore and make paper planes with. Well, hopefully, not.

If you would like to donate books, (textbooks, children’s stories, dictionaries, young adult fiction, etc.), you may drop them off at these locations:

59 Salvador St., Loyola Heights, Quezon City

ESI Bldg., Miriam College (Mar 24-28)
Quezon City

Handuraw Pizza, 1A Masunurin St. cor. Anonas Extn
Sikatuna Vill., Quezon City

You may also email me at 7pmtrain@gmail.com or text at 0906-487-3234. I can pick them up wherever it’s convenient for you, granted, of course, you’re based in Metro Manila 🙂



That Awkward Moment When I Was A Drunken Tiger

On the 9th of March, along with five other Greenpeace volunteers, I donned a tiger costume, faked fierceness and roared to campaign against the deforestation in Indonesia. To clarify, I was not in Indonesia, I was at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife. It was my first foray in environmental campaigns.


It was a beautiful Sunday morning, the sun not too hot and a mild breeze was comforting for the crowd at Wilflife, mostly families, hobbyists and the GP (Greenpeace) activists. It was an almost perfect day for a save-the-trees campaign. Almost.

If we’re friends on Facebook and/or Twitter or in real life, you may have remembered me posting about GP’s campaign to stop the massive deforestation in Indonesia. You see, big corporations have this not-so-great, in fact, a fraction below evil and totally irresponsible idea of clearing the forests and replacing them with palm tree plantations. Why? Because palm oil is like gold in manufacturing. A lot of the products we use in our daily life uses palm oil: soap, toothpaste, shampoo, chocolates, cooking oil, you get the picture. To be fair, and this may restore your faith in humanity, some manufacturers have already committed to join the campaign and not to get their palm oil from the Indonesian forest turned palm tree plantations. But as it is, there are still major corporations who have not joined the call. I’m looking at you Procter & Gamble. Hello, there, Head & Shoulders.

So Greenpeace is urging the public not to boycott P&G products but rather, ask P&G to use palm oil from sustainable sources. See, profit or progress is never an excuse for destroying the forests.

By the way, the forest in Indonesia is considered the lungs of Southeast Asia. You don’t want your lungs destroyed, right?

jump shot

Anyway, on a lighter note, I just want to share what I learned from the activity:

* Don’t attend a GP event (or any outdoor activity for that matter) with alcohol still in your bloodstream or hungover as alcohol has been infamously linked to impairment of judgement. So expect a lot of second guessing your actions and trouble remembering instructions. Also, decision making skills may be a bit slow, at times, almost nonexistent and definitely not so impressive.

* Being lethargic does not really go well with a tiger costume at the park. Faking alertness and an upbeat mood is inversely proportional to the amount of alcohol you have just consumed a couple of hours prior.

* Keep in mind the importance of staying vertical when you’re nauseous. At one point, they asked us to be on all fours because, you know, tigers, and I almost hurled. I tried my best to stay standing from that point onwards. There is no way you can be fierce while vomiting.

* If you hold a sign saying Free #TigerHug, random strangers will approach you for a hug. Maximize the awkwardness by educating them on the campaign. Hey, they owe you for the hug.

* You get instant good vibes when you hug a tree. Enough said.

* Trees do have a way of reminding you of beauty and selflessness and first love and poetry and rusty childhood memories. No, seriously, they give us oxygen and then we cut them. Harsh much?

* Doing something for the environment gives you a high. Alcohol can do that, too, but the former does not make you puke.



Note: Photos by Isko Noveda

PS. To get a better picture about this campaign, please watch this t.co/7s588QSMap