Episode 102: A Spicy Encounter at the Grand Chili Meet!

Chili farmers, foodies, entrepreneurs, and lovers of everything spicy took the time to gather together at the 1st Grand Chili Meet hosted by Chili Growers Philippines on May 13 and 14. This was held at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife in Quezon City.

The event’s highlights included seminars for chili growers on the latest technology in cultivating chili, the exhibition of various chili varieties, and pod tasting for those who dare to challenge the hottest peppers in the market.

Local entrepreneurs also showcased their products, from chili-infused vinegar and oils to chili sauces and snacks with chili. Some were mixed with fruit essences, while others come with a sweet or savory kick, all of which come with a unique blend meant to compliment any meal. Guests were given the chance to sample these products, and judge which among them are their favorites.

A country’s cuisine won’t be complete without something spicy on the menu, and that much can be said about Filipino cuisine. Chili-laden dishes such as laing, pinangat, and Bicol Express tickle the fancy of diners who seek something fiery for their palate. Ordinary favorites get the extra kick with some chopped chili here and there. To that end, chili sauce, chili oil, and vinegar or soy sauce with chili have become staple condiments.

We owe this culinary wonder to our local chili pepper farmers, traders, and entrepreneurs, whose expertise and dedication bring us the spicy products we enjoy today.

Events such as the 1st Grand Chili Meet give our farmers and entrepreneurs the opportunity to get the word out about their wares to the local market. Their contributions and creativity boost the agricultural sector and its capability to produce home-grown, quality household products that anyone are sure to enjoy at their table. Here’s hoping that our local chili industry will continue to grow and set fire to plates and palates everywhere.


Episode 98: Spreading Christmas cheer with Blacksoup’s Suspended Noche Buena

15726353_10155004143187573_3853160072597708668_nI’ve been spending Christmas without immediate family around for a few years now. Most of the time, I spent it at work, after which I would buy a KFC meal and watch drama series at home. It’s quite lonely, but it was a good chance to have time for myself.

This year’s Christmas is different. Instead of celebrating it alone, I devoted my time for a worthwhile cause.

15741247_10155004146457573_7254132937462489720_nBlacksoup Café + Artspace started the Suspended Noche Buena project to provide food for the poor. The idea, which started in Europe, was for customers to buy meals for those who cannot afford it.

15747732_10155004141062573_6429558850952636599_nCustomers bought a suspended Noche Buena pack for P250 each. Each pack contained a serving of Spanish sardines with sundried tomatoes pasta, slices of ham and quezo de bola, Blacksoup’s deep fried pudding with caramel sauce, and a bottle of iced tea.

15672623_10155004139437573_6998660192975369947_nBlacksoup collected a total of 288 meals this year. Volunteers went around the streets and gave these away to street dwellers, beggars, and poor families.

15726384_10155004144332573_10487745477907442_nMy team – there were three of us, consisting of fellow volunteers Karl, Diane, and myself – ventured on Christmas Eve around Quezon Avenue, Roxas Boulevard, and the Ermita-Malate district in Manila to give away these Noche Buena meals.

Joining the Suspended Noche Buena project was quite an adventure, especially that children and adults (even the unsavory ones, admittedly) flocked to us to get food packs. More importantly, it was a reminder of the struggles that the poor endure this Christmas, much more throughout the year. We’re glad that the food packs we distributed found their way to those who truly need them.

15727067_10153995395945124_1450896553784458874_nWe’d like to thank Blacksoup Café + Artspace for giving us the opportunity to make others’ Christmas a little more cheerful. I for one look forward to helping out again someday.

The number of the poor and hungry is ever growing. May the ranks of those who can reach out to them increase as well.


“Wala kayong gagawin kundi maupo sa baso, magsalin ng tsinelas, uminom ng sofa, magpulutan ng sapatos, uminom minsan ng bote.”
– Dolphy

John Puruntong has joined his beloved Marsha. Kevin Cosme has taken the one way train to heaven. The curtains have closed for Facifica Falayfay.
Heaven is surely a happier place now. RIP, Dolphy, the one and only Comedy King. You will be missed.

The Professional Heckler

“Doon ako natatakot eh. Baka manalo ako. Madaling tumakbo, paano kung manalo?”
~Comedy King Dolphy on why he wouldn’t run for political office

Kahit wala ka na, mananatili ka pa ring hari ng komedya sa puso ng bawat Pilipino. Sabi nga sa Twitter at Facebook, “ang dami naming tawa.”

Sa bawat halakhak na ibinahagi mo sa aming lahat, marami pong salamat, Mang Dolphy!

“The only honest art form is laughter, comedy. You can’t fake it… try to fake three laughs in an hour — ha ha ha ha ha — they’ll take you away, man. You can’t.”
~Lenny Bruce

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