Andrew E

The song Binibirocha made famous by Andrew E in the 90s is very popular today in Tiktok. Who is Andrew E? Andrew E is a Filipino rapper whose full name is Andrew Ford Valentino Espiritu. He was first known for his song “Humanap Ka Ng Panget” in 1990. The message of this song is the appreciation of people who are not beautiful or handsome but have pleasant character.

To those who are not yet born when this song became a hit, perhaps you are wondering who is Zoraida as mentioned in the song. Zoraida Sanchez was a popular comedian from the 1980s to the 1990s. But other than that, she is also a writer in a newspaper publication and also a television and film scriptwriter. She graduated cum laude from the University of Santo Tomas and had a degree in journalism. Other songs by Andrew E have a double-meaning theme such as Binibirocha which implies oral sex.

In Binibirocha, the emcee (or DJ) at Euphoria Disco meets by chance a beautiful woman who looks like Rita Avila. Her name is Bini B. Rocha. Euphoria Disco was formerly a popular disco located at the Intercontinental Hotel in Makati. The beautiful Rita Avila was a famous sexy star in the 90s. Her peers in ST (sex trip) films were Gretchen Barreto and Cristina Gonzales.

In the song, the second time that Andrew and Bini met turned his fantasy of an adventurous night with Bini into reality when he was invited to go on a joyride in a Pajero. The Pajero was the most popular car in the early ’90s because only the rich could afford it then. The song suggested that there was car sex between Bini and Andrew.

But if there was one woman who really captured Andrew E’s heart back then, it was the then teen star Ana Roces. She mentioned the name “Ana” in her song “Andrew Ford Medina” and he admitted that he admired the beautiful teen star a lot. They also starred in several movies such as “Alabang Girls.”

To date, Andrew E is happily married to his wife Mylene. They have three beautiful kids together.

My Christmas Story and Holiday Blues

A holiday is supposed to be the season to be joyful and celebratory but not everyone is happy during this festive season. To some, a holiday is a reminder of a happy past that can never happen again. I grew up in an era when holidays were something that we look forward to. Unofficially in the Philippines, the Yuletide season begins in September. Therefore, the running joke on Jose Mari Chan’s Christmas songs being played on the first day of September would probably not get old.

As a child, I used to wonder what to ask Santa for Christmas. During my age of innocence, I did not make a big deal out of my mother’s spontaneous questions about what gift would I like to receive from Santa. Of course, it would make sense to me later that the reason why she asked was because they (my parents) were the ones playing Santa. I believed in that magic until puberty hit me–I found myself asking questions why the gifts that we received looked like the ones that were available at the mall. I kept quiet about the Santa thing so that my younger brother could still experience the magic. When I was 12 years old, Santa “told” my parents that that would be the last gift that I would receive from him.

Gift-giving was something that had become a tradition in our house. I guess it was the reason why I did not feel deprived of gifts even when the truth came out that Santa was not real. There were gifts from our relatives in the form of cash and goods. The Yuletide ambiance was kinder, more loving, and more magical with the presence of traditional decorations like Christmas lights and Christmas trees.

It was a must to celebrate Noche Buena with the family. As a young child, I did not appreciate it because I would rather spend my time sleeping but it was my father’s rule to wake up for Noche Buena. My family was not the pious type, we just wanted to celebrate Christmas as a tradition. In fact, I attended my first “Simbang Gabi” when I was already in college. But as a family, there were times when we attended the Christmas mass before heading to my grandmother’s house for the celebration.

Our Christmas lunch was attended by my mother’s relatives. Kare-kare was a staple menu in lunch along with grilled chicken, barbecue, and grilled fish. Our last Christmas lunch celebration with my mother’s relatives was probably sometime in 2004. The following year, my grandmother passed and that was the start of the gradual changes in terms of how we celebrated the Christmas lunch.

From 2005 to 2008, we celebrated Christmas in the confines of our home. The first Christmas without my grandmother was lonely but we avoided the topic to focus more on being happy. In 2008, it was the last Christmas celebration with my mother and coincidentally, my last Christmas, too before I changed my religion. If the changes in terms of Christmas celebration were gradual when my grandmother passed, it was the opposite when I lost my mother. Her demise was a huge blow to each and every one of us in the family—we were just too stressed out how to live our lives without her.

For a time, I think that I hung on to my religion to justify my non-celebration of Christmas. But years later, I realized that the deeper reason why I avoided Christmas was because it reminded me of the happy years that I had with the ones that were no longer with me—it was a case of the holiday blues.

Emotionally speaking, I am now in a better place than the previous years. I still don’t celebrate Christmas because of my new religious belief but I can now look back to the happy times without feeling bad about the present. I fully understand that CHANGE is really constant and those who could not adapt to it would find it hard to survive. In the case of my brothers who are still celebrating Christmas, I think that they came to realize that the old tradition must retire for a new one to start. My brothers could start their own family tradition that would leave happy memories to their children.

Typhoon Odette in Surigao Del Norte

Sharing with you the situation of the people in Sani-Sani, Surigao del Norte. 95% lost their homes. Access to food and drinking water is still limited. The people evacuated but most of them underestimated the wrath of the typhoon— they did not bring extra clothes with them. They said that it was the first time in many years that a typhoon of this magnitude happened again.

I am confident that help is coming in the coming days. Food, water and clothing can be shared for the meantime. What I am more concerned with is how these people will rebuild their homes and livelihood in the coming days.

Sabang, Puerto Galera Memories

“Where do you prefer to go? White Beach or Sabang?” the petite woman in front of us asked her boyfriend.

I poked my husband’s arm and whispered, “Are they any different?”

Clueless, my husband turned his head in the direction of the ticketing office in Batangas Port. It was 2009 and the availability of fast internet service to do rush research was next to impossible. We were too busy with the wedding preparation and worrying about my mother’s deteriorating health so the trip to Puerto Galera was actually a last-minute attempt to consume our honeymoon. We originally planned to go to the island in the Southern Philippines but I scrapped the idea because it would have been harder for us to get back to our province should my mother needed to be confined in the hospital again.

In Batangas Port, there were two queues: one was for those going to the White Beach and the other one was for those who wanted to go to Sabang. I asked an elderly man in front of us which one was better in terms of adventure and without batting an eyelash, he suggested Sabang.

“If you want to try scuba diving, Sabang is the place to go,” he said.
I saw the petite woman with her foreign boyfriend again. They were already buying tickets for Sabang. The line going to the White Beach was getting longer and longer and I did not have the patience to spend another hour just to get a ticket so I thought that maybe, we should go to Sabang instead.

The waiting area inside the port was clean and spacious. Instead of airplanes, you could see large boats floating on the blue seas. After 15 minutes, they allowed us to get loaded on the boat. My husband and I were the first passengers for us to choose the best spot. The boat kept dancing on the silent waves of the water, I started to feel sick. Motion sickness has always been my problem so I was nauseous even before the boat started sailing. The petite woman with her boyfriend seated on the other end of the boat. Most of the passengers in our boat were foreigners.

Travel time from Batangas Port to Puerto Galera took 45 minutes. It was windy but cold sweat formed on my forehead due to seasickness. I saw a school of flying fish swimming after our boat, I wanted to dive in the water if only to reduce my seasickness (anyway, I was wearing a life vest). Not even the strong citrus scent of the local oranges eased my nausea but as soon as I saw the island, I felt a little better. How I managed to walk later without falling from the plank of wood was a miracle because I was dizzy.

While I was naturally systematic and organized, there was a time when I preferred to be spontaneous. When I say spontaneity, it means that when we arrived in Sabang, we had no idea what kind of accommodations they offer there. At the port, a woman asked if we already had some place to stay while in Sabang. She asked us to follow her when we told her that we were looking for a place to stay. (Again, the paranoid me would never do that in the present time)

We checked in at the Steps Garden Resort. The resort was elevated so we had a fantastic view of the seas. I stayed in the balcony to shake off my seasickness. It took me until dinner to finally let go of my headache.

I didn’t know the kind of nightlife that they offer in White Beach but in Sabang, the ambiance was similar to Olongapo. More foreigners were roaming around than locals, some with a can of beer on their hand. The next morning, we explored the island and found a shortcut leading to a beach in front of a Korean restaurant. We found that the rocky beaches in Sabang were not ideal for swimming so we must be patient in finding a smooth spot to swim.

We explored the market and the grocery store to compare prices because foods were a little pricey at the resort’s restaurant. We ended up buying grilled plates of seafood from the eateries outside of the resort.

To fully appreciate Sabang, we availed of the tour package with free snacks and lunch. We were in the company of an older couple and an American guy. The woman who assisted us in our hotel accommodation was the one who arranged for the tour (I forgot her name). Her nephew named Marvin was our tour guide. We took a dip at the Tamaraw Falls and had our lunch in their simple gazebo. We went to see the river (I forgot the name) but decided not to swim because the water level was too low as it was summer season. We had a carabao ride on another site when the rain started to fall leaving all of us wet. We went to the Mangyan Village and crossed the hanging bridge there for souvenir photos.

It was one hell of an experience at the tail-end of my spontaneity and being adventurous. Two months after that trip, I lost my mother. From then on, I couldn’t afford to be gambling again on my safety or future.