Wednesday, October 17, 2007



HOME IS SATTI

We really appreciate all the feedbackyou have been giving us by signing up in our Sattisfaction Feddback Form. Your feedback means so much to us, specially since we are new in the food business and we want to make it right with all of you our valued customers and friends.
In fact, we used some of those feedbacks when we contributed an article for the anniversary issue of our very own newspaper Zamboanga Today during its 8th anniversary last Oct. 8
This was the news feature that appeared in the paper then:

SATTI, BIG HIT FOR HOMESICK ZAMBOANGUENOS

People from Zamboanga City, Sulu and Basilan now living in Metro Manila are gravitating towards the Satti Grill House in Shoe Mart (SM) Fairview to savor satti, locot-locot, tamales and other authentic food from Zamboanga City.
Since the Satti Grill House was opened June at the SM Fairview branch along Quirino Avenue, Quezon City, the food outlet has become a meeting place for Chavacanos and Muslims who get together not only to savor satti, but also to renew ties with relatives and old friends.
Those who frequent the place swore that the satti tastes better than the ones sold in Zamboanga City, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. Many are only too happy that they can now savor satti even in Metro Manila.
``Masarap kasi mas marami yung karne. Friendly ang mga crew. Masarap balikan,’’ gushed Dendi R. Conception III, a registered nurse who lives in Bulacan.
``Masarap po talaga at sulit,’’ chimed in Lawisa M. Impis who now lives in Novaliches, Quezon City.
Business couple Armand and Annura Nocum, who opened up the Satti Grill House because of their shared love for satti, said that they were happy people are finding satti as a cure for homesickness.
``Actually there is a social aspect in our business – we want to put Zamboanga food in the gastronomic map of the Philippines,’’ said Armand, who recently resigned from the Inquirer to put up the satti business.
``Zamboanga has been left far behind. Until now, people ask me about the Abu Sayyaf whenever I introduce myself as a Zamboangueno. I dream of a time when such kind of introduction will be followed by a remark like ``Oh, you come from the satti country. I love satti,’’ said Armand, who also runs a communications, marketing and used car businesses.
Nocum said that he wants people to associate satti to Zamboanga City, Basilan and Sulu the same way they associate molo and chicken inasal with Iloilo, sisig with Pampanga, tuna with Iligan and Cagayan de Oro; and durian with Davao.
Mr. Nocum had called on all Zamboanguenos, Suluanos and Basilenos to tell their relatives in Manila that there is now a Satti Grill House in SM Fairview and that they should be ones in propagating it to Manile?os.
``Satti lovers unite, let us join forces to show that our place is rich with exotic food that are unique and as delicious as the other delicacies that are now popular in the country. Let us `sattinize’ Metro Manila,’’ Nocum said.
To further propagate the satti and give people from here an Internet portal, Nocum has put up a blog known as ``SATTIsfaction’’ and is reached through www.sattisfaction.blogspot.com.
Please contact the Satti Grill House through Tel. Nos. 9323609 or 4300282 and through cellular phone no. 09175208013. Next week, Satti is now also available at the Razhev’s Favorites branches in Timog Food Plaza (Cor. Timog Ave. and Scout Tuazon), Timog and at IBP Road, Batasan Hills, Quezon City.

We hope you like it and if it makes you feel homesick, I have included here a picture of La Paz, Zamboanga's very own version of Baguio. Please check the place out next time you go to our beloved Zamboanga.
Gracias.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Palace Also Bribes Reporters

Yesterday, as friends from GMA 7 radio DzBB were discussing about bribery in the Palace, I sent them this text: ``Giving of bribe is nothing new in the Palace, it was done by almost all administrations. The only difference is that now we have a Pampanga Gov. Eddie Panlilio admitting to it. It also helped that many those who received only P200,000 felt insulted enough that they did not receive P500,000 as the others did. The ones who received less then went out to media to settle score with the Palace.’’

Colleagues Arnold Clavio, Ali Sotto and Orly Trinidad were gracious enough to read my text during their radio show at ``Double A Sa Double B’’ and they even made fun out of the fact that someone made ``kapkong’’ or skimmed the P300,000 so that many got only P200,000.

About an hour later, DzBB’s Malaca┼łang reporter Nimfa Ravelo then quoted DENR Secretary Joselito Atienza as admitting that giving of cash gifts amounting to P100,000 to P200,000 in the Palace is a normal thing.

That news brought a smile to my face, content with the thought that I know my Palace well, having covered it during the tumultuous period leading to the ouster of President Estrada and the exciting (or so we thought) days of the new administration under President Arroyo.

My knowledge of the Palace stemmed from the fact that I too was offered bribe in its hallowed halls. This gives me a rather a first-hand and personal experience of the Palace’s bribery machine.

The bribery incident happened in the height of the impeachment trial of ousted President Estrada and the bribe-giver was a former press official and who is now a staff of Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno.

Although the official concerned was not very close to me, I was surprised by his invitation to go to the new Palace Press Office to point out the place I was to occupy. This was around the time that I wrote in the Inquirer that the Estrada Administration was reported to have shelled out around P300 million to the media to paint the former President in a good light.

After inspecting the place, he then handed me a brown envelope saying it contained press material and he then asked me to help give Mr. Estrada good publicity. I said I have been fair to Mr. Estrada and that he did not have to ask that of me. Then he handed me the envelope.

It was good that my exposure to wads of money as a used car dealer with outlets in EDSA, Quezon City and Zamboanga City had thought me to ``feel out’’ bundles of money in envelopes. As the first family in Zamboanga to pioneer the sale of used cars, I have become adept at estimating the amount of money in hundred thousands by looking at the bundles based on the denomination.

So, without opening the envelope, I told the Palace official: ``If this contains money with P1,000 denominations, it would amount to about P15,000 to P20,000, if it contains bills of P500, it would amount to P30-40,000.’’

Surprised, he gave me an impish smile and said: ``Yes, it contains P30,000 and you can have that amount weekly if you tone down your attack on the President (Estrada).’’

But I politely told him that I would have to think things over and returned the whole envelope to him. Later, I realized returning it was a big, big mistake.

After the incident, I immediately called up then Inquirer desk person Stella Gonzalez to break to her the news and you can imagine her shock upon hearing it. I said I planned to get the money back and expose it to show that there was truth in my scoop about the P300-million payola for the media.

Ms Gonzalez said that that was a good thing to do but she would have to call Inquirer Editor-In-Chief Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc about it. I was later told that Ms. Magsanoc then referred the matter to former Inquirer resident Ombudsman Raul Palabrica to study the implication of the PDI becoming embroiled in the payola controversy.

But calling the PDI by phone was a big mistake. In my excitement about the whole thing, I used the Palace telephone lines even if months before, I have written a story about how the Presidential Security Group was bugging the President.

Before I got a feedback from the Inquirer, the Palace official – visibly irked – called me to say that the deal was off.

So there went my shot to fame and immortality. I was already then imagining my self presenting the money and envelope to then Press Secretary and Palace Spokesperson Ricardo Puno during the regular Palace press conference called in the day. I was imagining myself being hailed a hero as Panlilio is praised for now. I would have also been called to the impeachment trial to say my piece.

It was decided that without the money as a ``body of evidence,’’ there was no use of even writing the payola story. It was also feared that doing so would only open the Inquirer to criticisms that the paper allowed itself to be used by the dirty tricks group of then Vice President Arroyo and the anti-Estrada forces.

But looking back and seeing how the Arroyo Administration turned out to be, I am happy to realize that I did not help put this new administration in power by my bribery scandal expose.

I have not attained fame, but my conscience is clean.

Saturday, October 13, 2007



Satti is Worth the Sacrifice
I have a good news and a bad news.
The good news is that me and my wife Ann have decided to speed up the spread of Satti in Metro Manila by supplying it to the restaurants of our trusted friends in Quezon City.
Last Thursday, we started making satti available at the Razhev's Favorites in their outlet at the Timog Food Plaza, Corner of Timog Avenue and Scout Tuazon Road, Quezon City.
Next week, satti will be available at the Razhev's outlet at IBP Road, Batasan Hills and is just in front of the House of Representatives. Razhev's is owned by fellow journalist Rey and Venus Requejo. Razhev's specialty is their mouth-watering bulalo.
On Monday, satti will start to be served at the Green House Restaurant in Matalino Street, Quezon City. It's near Sulo Hotel, the Tree House and Trelis Restaurants. The place is owned by former Comelec Commissioner Mejol and Nilda Sadain.
Thus, the good news is that satti will be closer to those who love it enough to make the long trip to our Satti Grill House outlet in SM-Fairview.
The bad news is that with this move, we are practically giving up the monopoly of the secret Jimmy's satti ingredient that have acquired through five years of negotiations with some family members.
We must be the worse businessmen to be giving up total control of the spread of satti. But then we are not just businessmen, we are social entrepreneurs – we believe money should not be the sole motive for business and there should be a social dimension to it.
And our social cause is to showcase satti as the best indication that Muslims and Christians do live in peace in Mindanao and that they even share the same kind of food. Come to think of it, satti is really a merging of the best in Arabian and eastern taste and the mix of original Chavacano flavor – so east and west merges in satti.
We also want to show that there is more to Zamboanga City, Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi than wars and that these places are full of cornucopia of yet undiscovered exotic cuisine. Verily it's not a land or promise, but a land of surprise – you'll be surprise by its beauty, food and people.
Likewise, through satti, we are happy and contend with the thought that we are helping the cause of peace and progress in Mindanao by pulling out Christian and Muslim relatives from poverty and war and giving them work here and hopefully help them get a good education.
So, what's important to us now is we spread the taste of satti faster by sharing it to friends.
Yes, we are crazy businessmen. But we also believe that if you do good first, profit – perhaps (and we pray) – will follow. (By the way, the picture you see above is of anchorpersons Aljo Bendejo, Bobby Yan, among others, during their simulcast shows at Channels 4, 9, 13 and where satti was featured recently).

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


SATTI + Exotic Taste = Good Health


As a matter of public service to all fellow satti lovers, we have done an initial internet-based research on the health benefits of our favorite spicy food.

We are happy to declare that not only does satti tastes incomparably good, it also packs a wallop as far as health and well-being is concerned. Satti is really a HEALTH FOOD.

As a bonus to its exotic taste and unique dining experience, satti’s peanut- and siling-labuyo-based soup have been proven by scientists and medical experts worldwide to cure some of the following ailments and diseases:

*High Blood Pressure

*Diabetes

*Arthritis

*Cluster Headaches and Migraines

*Depression

*Flu or Respiratory Problem

*Muscle Pain

*Overactive Bladder/Incontinence

*Pain and Discomfort

*Psoriasis

*Sore Throat

*Sinusitis, Tension and Sinus Headaches

*Ulcers

*Surgical and Osteoarthritis pain

*Acne

Satti’s curative effect comes from the fact that the loads of chilies and peppers used to spice it up contain a substance called ``capsaicin’’ and which has been found to literally destroy or cause the destruction of bad cells and is known to possess strong ``antibacterial properties.’’

A study made by the prestigious University of Nottingham, England, show that spicy food ``can kill cancer by attacking the mitochondria of the tumor cell … without harming the healthy surrounding cells (http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/public-affairs/press-release) .’’

In a study published at the Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications journal, anti-cancer drug development expert Dr. Timothy Bates described the findings as ``incredibly exciting and may explain why people living in countries like Mexico and India, who traditionally eat a diet which is very spicy, tend to have lower incidences of many cancers that are prevalent in the western world.’’

He than advised cancer patients or ``those at risk of developing cancer’’ to eat spicy food ``to help treat or prevent the disease.’’

The online encyclopedia Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsaicin) also cites a study by the American Association for Cancer Research showing that capsaicin has been found to cure prostrate cancer.’’

The study said capsaicin has ``component hot enough to trigger suicide in prostrate cancer cells (http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-03/aafc-pch031306.php).’’

``It has long been noted that in Thailand, where lots of spicy food is consumed, there is a very low incidence of gastrointestinal cancers, including colorectal, stomach, cancers, compared to the rest of Asia, including Japan and China. Mexico has low rates of the same cancers compared to the USA (http://jjco.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/32/suppl_1/S82).’’

Capsaicin has been found to fight acne ``through a thermal heat action that helps to open pores and increase blood flow to the surface of the skin,’’ thus prompting a drug company to develop the world’s first pepper-based face wash (http://www.thankhealth.com/health-informations/Resources-0464.html).’’

Chilies lower blood pressure by increasing blood circulation because it helps the vessel walls to become more elastic and better able to adjust to differences in blood pressure.

So, please help us spread the good news regarding the health benefits of satti to friends, relatives and people you truly love. Tell them that finally, there is a health food that is not tasteless and boring.

Our research on the health benefits of satti truly fits our description of this food as exciting, life-giving and with a soul to boot. Life is truly enjoyable to live if you are relatively free from pain and discomforts brought about by ailments and diseases.

So now you can take your satti and eat it too!!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


DESPERATE PINOYS

Here we go again, beating our chest and making hell out of a perceived racial slur made by American actress Teri Hatcher in her ABC Television Network show ``Desperate Housewives.’’

Oh! Come on, pusong mamon, we only make ourselves look ridiculous for being this sensitive. The more noise we create about this issue, the more we bring ourselves down and the bigger rating we are creating for the show. For all we know, the show’s writers might have intentionally cooked up such remark to trigger international outcry and to push their ratings up.

Making a big thing out of the supposed slur only reinforces the negative perception that we are a race of ``insecured’’ people prone to smashing the mirror and shooting down the messenger because we don’t like what we see, hear or listen from other races or from the international media.

Wake up people! We are living in an internet-linked ``global village’’ where any perceived slur can come our away any time of the day and from any Mang Tomas, Dick Gordon and Dirty Harry with a keyboard or IPod to push. We are indeed just a click away from any slur from any moron anywhere in the world; do we then have to do battle against all of them?

Look at China, we have no less than a highly controversial senator – the iron-tongue Sen. Mirriam Defensor-Santiago -- accusing the Chinese race of allegedly inventing corruption in the world and did we see Chinese all over the world raising a collective howl against it? What Defensor did was far worse; she insulted them in an official capacity as a Philippines senator during a Senate hearing and before the media of the world. Yet, that did not wake up the sleeping Chinese dragon.

Remember, the Chinese are known to be the biggest population in the world with Chinatowns sprouting in all the nooks and crannies in the planet; and a collective protest from them could drown us. Just imagine half of their population firing anti-Pinoy hate mails and blog entries our way? It could very well crash all our computer systems. No need for them to use their arsenal of nuclear weapons.

So what if Hatcher insulted our nurses and medical professionals, we may even deserve such kind of a wake-up call. Why? Just recall how we all reacted to the issue involving the nursing board exams leak? Did we all go out in the street to condemn and call for the public hanging of the nursing board officials and review centers responsible for the mess?

No! All of us where either quiet or most were even advocating for a no-retake for a misplaced pity for the nurses. We even blamed the media and those advocating for retake for the whole mess because it had already then reached the US and other international news fora. Did we ever lift a finger to damn the perpetrators? What did the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) do about it? What did you do about it?

Back then, I already had an inkling that one day we will pay for our sins of allowing the perpetrators of the nursing leak go unpunished by public indignation and ridicule. In trying to save the thousands of examinees, we have nailed the entire 80 million Filipinos to the cross of world public opinion.

Now we are reaping the whirlwind.

How can we expect Hatcher and the rest of the world to respect us and our nursing profession if we ourselves did nothing to help keep its integrity intact by joining calls and demonstrations calling for a retake and for the prosecution of the guilty? Had we done that then, it would have shown that Filipinos don’t condone cheating in the profession that is virtually keeping the Philippine economy from collapsing.

Now the few brave souls led by UST Dean Rene Tadle and the handful of students from Baguio City who brought the matter to the Supreme Court could only say: ``I told you so.’’

By keeping a collective silence or apathy over the nursing scam, we have condoned cheating. What does that make us? A country of cheats, of course! There is just no two ways to look at cheating, you either go marching to the depths of hell to condemn it or you keep quiet about it and in doing, help perpetuate it.

Hatcher’s scriptwriters clearly saw things as they are and wrote about it. So who then is to blame for creating the perception that we all allow cheating in our nursing examinations? Most of us did.

Instead of blaming Hatcher, I would rather we put the blame on the nursing board officials, the reviewers who continue to act as if nothing happened and all of us for bringing this slur upon ourselves. Let’s boycott the review centers involved in the mess!

Instead of flooding ABC with hate mails and blog entries, let’s all strive to stop letting people here cheat us out of our dignity and next time a scandal erupts, let’s go out in the street and show in no uncertain term our national disgust to it before the whole world. Please, let’s take this Pinoy image problem by the horn!

He who is without sin should throw the anti-Hatcher e-mail petition/blog entry first …

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


BENJAMIN ABALOS OFFERED ME SOMETHING TOO

These days, I have to admit that I do miss my days as a journalist. Each day, I instinctively look for the name Armand Nocum when I read the Inquirer, a habit I had nurtured for 14 years as an investigative reporter of the paper.

For a journalist, many of the names and faces you see and hear in the media are not just ink, voice clips and images, but they are actual people that one met along the way in pursuance of one's journalism career.

One of them is now the much-aligned Benjamin Abalos, who recently resigned as chair of the Comelec in the light of the lobbying and bribery issue involving the multi-million telecommunications deal with China's ZTE Corp.

I met Abalos years ago when he was then mayor of Mandaluyong City. Back then, he was simply known as a former judge who supported former President Aquino. As early as then, he was already embroiled in controversies involving alleged substandard housing projects, land-grabbing and for amassing ill-gotten wealth.

Modesty aside, I would say that I was considered one of the groups of young journalists perceived to have been giving Abalos hell in reporting about all these alleged irregularities. By that time, I have already honed my skills in investigative journalism and was fairly successful in getting documentary evidence and testimonies to pin Abalos down.

Stung by my write ups, Abalos invited me to a posh hotel in Mandaluyong one morning and there he made his defense from all the issues I have written about him. An hour deep into our conversation, he finally offered to make me one of his in-house writers in city hall.

New in the print industry and highly idealistic, I politely refused the offer, saying that my editors and the Inquirer readers are following up the issue and they would surely notice my change of stand relative to his alleged irregularities.

Later when I went to the restroom, his press relations officer followed me and handed me an envelope which he said contained P10,000, a substantial amount back then when all I had for a vehicle was a beat-up Yamaha DT 175 which I brought straight from Zamboanga City.

I told the mayor's PR that I already made my point and that I'd rather they respect my decision. When I returned to our table, Abalos was clearly distraught, perhaps having noticed how even his PR failed to get me to drop my investigations on him.

But being a consummate politician, Abalos was not about to throw in the towel and had laid out one more weapon or argumentative tool to get my sympathy – the appeal to my emotions. This, I would learn later in my career, is the politicians’ ultimate weapon of choice when intimidation and bribery had failed to get their targets among members of the media.

At this point, he then started to recount his humble beginnings, how he grew up the son of a caddy at the Golf and Country Club and how he completed law school working at a textile factory.

With watery eyes, he relayed how his classmates made fun of him because he still had pieces of textile and cotton on his hair when attending night classes. ``That was because I barely had time even to wash my hands because I have to rush from the factory to the law school,'' I recalled him saying.

He then said that it was a pity if all of his sacrifices will be lost as his name continuous to be maligned in media. Hearing that, I admit that I then felt sad for him and at the same time I felt a surge of admiration towards the self-made mayor. He nearly got me there.

But it was only a matter of time before I again resumed my investigation of him when fresh issues of graft again hit the controversial Abalos.

Apparently failing to get me, Abalos eventually won our little war when he reportedly went to one of my bosses and complained against me. Soon after, the investigative stories I was writing on Abalos stopped appearing and I was eventually transferred to another beat.

Later, rumors went around that that boss of mine got a hefty share of the stocks at the Wackwack Golf and Country Club, but I don't believe them, mindful of the fact that the former mayor had political enemies of his own who could have cooked up such yarn to hurt my boss.

Like I did to my former boss, I gave Abalos the benefit of the doubt following our unfinished war. However, Abalos went on to become Comelec hair and got mired in allegedly far bigger scams -- multi-million computerization program, Hello Garci and now ZTE. Is there a pattern here?

So, as these negative stories on Abalos continue to haunt him, I can only smile with the thought that I too – in a tiny way – got to experience what former NEDA Chief Romulo Neri supposedly went through.

Monday, October 1, 2007


SATTI IS ASIA’S FAVORITE FOOD


Those of us who are introducing our very own Satti to friends should be proud that our kind of food is not only delicious; it is one of Asia’s favorite foods as well.

Here is a letter I wrote to my friend Carla Paras-Sison in response to her query about Satti in preparation for an article she plans to write in the Philippine Star newspaper.

The letter reads in part:

``Per your questions, for one, I am targeting people in Metro Manila as my main customer base. I am out to ``Sattinize’’ non-Muslims here who are looking for something new to try.

``I believe that people here are gastronomically adventurous judging on how they have adopted to foreign foods to include Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Singaporean and now even the spicy Korean food which actually taste like medicine.

``People seem to go for the novelty of the food concept and I tell you Satti is one such kind of food. It’s unique taste can only be found in Zamboanga City, Basilan and Sulu because a Chinese-Muslim family there had been successful in keeping the secret recipe to themselves – well, not until now that I too obtained the recipe from a Muslim cook in Sulu.

``Aside from the unique taste of its peanut-based soup, it also presents a totally new dining experience because this is the only food where the rice served has been cooked in coconut leaves and it is then immersed (or dunk Oreo-style) in the soup.

``Satti also has all the attributes of becoming a popular food to all Filipinos because it has its origins in Mediterranean countries and Southeast Asia where it is known as sate or satay.

``Satay is so popular in Singapore that there is a Satay Club – which is made up of satay outlets – along Beach Road and Clarke Quay. Satay is even served to First and Raffles Class passengers of the Singapore Airlines.

``In Malaysia, satay is only only served in almost all restaurants, food courts and street stalls; it is also served to First and Business Class passengers in the Malaysian Airline and Air Asia flights.

``In Bali and all other key destinations in Indonesia, sate is served with turtle, pork, goat, snake and even crocodile meat.

``In the next 12 months, we plan to expand Satti Grill House into about five to six more outlets all over Metro Manila, after which we plan to offer the business for franchise to speed up the spread and reach of this kind of food all other the country.

``In serving the satti to our customers, we don’t differentiate between Muslims and non-Muslims because we want everyone to have the taste of satti according to its original and unadulterated flavor. That includes not serving pork or using any pork ingredients or utensils cooked with pork oil. If there is a minor change in our servings to non-Muslims, it is the fact that we tone down the spicy taste for those who are not used to spicy food.

``As to your question on why we chose SM-Fairview, it is because we know there is a heavy concentration of Muslims in the Fairview and Bulacan areas to such extend that even action star Robin Padilla had opted to put up a Madrasa school in the area.

``I hope I have answered all your questions. Thanks a lot for your big help in our desire to show Filipinos the rich and incomparable food that our brother Muslims in the country have to offer for all of us.’’

From my letter, you can readily see that it is only the Philippines that had not jumped into the satay, sate and satti bandwagon. So, what are you waiting for? Go out and taste satti at baka maiwan kayo ng train …

Vamolos amigos y amigas, comer y man alegria con el sabor de satti – El Rey de mga comida na Asia (Chavacano for ``Let’s go friends, have a hearty taste of satti – the king of food in Asia.’’)