Tuesday, July 31, 2007


After quite a lot of energy pinning Lane Movers and Storage to giving me a firm delivery date of my cargo from Manila to Cebu, they finally said, Monday, July 30 would the the date. After experiencing the disappointing and inconvenient postponements of the delivery of my cargo, I made it a point to call and text Lane representatives in Manila and Cebu Sunday and early Monday, to make sure they'd be on top of things.

Monday Lane people arrived with one crated item, my day bed. They said there was another large container with my things and asked permission if they could open it at the warehouse and transport the contents to me. I declined. My arrangement with Lane was door to door, precisely to minimize chances of loss or damage. Then Lane people left to find a big truck that could move the container. Apparently they were relying on Sulpicio to provide this, and Sulpicio kept them waiting. Lane told me they'd be back by 2 with my container. Two o'clock came, then 3 o'clock - no container. I called the men who said they were still waiting for the Sulpicio truck. I asked if they'd talked to a Sulpicio officer - no. I called the Lane representative in Manila and Cebu to tell them to talk to a Sulpicio head to secure a truck for the container, that their men were sitting around waiting, and soon it would be five o'clock, and I had to receive the shipment Monday, not Tuesday.

Honest to God, I never did so much nagging in my life. Finally, at around 5:15, Lane people returned with my container.

In all fairness, the items were in good condition. Lane packers and the ones who unpacked did a good job. My representative in Manila did not. And I cannot for the life of me understand why Lane insists on working with Sulpicio, who apparently has a reputation for bumping off cargoes, as they did mine - tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow...

I told the Lane people that I would write a long letter to evaluate their performance. I expressed in very strong terms my frustration at why Lane insists on working with Sulpicio when this sort of delays has happened before. Why not work with Aboitiz Lines or some other shipping lines?

The Lane guys who did the unpacking said some of their clients have been very, very angry over the delays. They thought I wasn't as angry as others - and believe me I was quite angry at the whole thing.

I should say, "All's well that ends well," but it really ticks me off that this outfit which is the most expensive door to door cargo shipper can do this sort of thing to their clients.

Photo shows furniture and stuff that made if, but only after so much hassle!

Saturday, July 28, 2007


I was supposed to have returned to the US early Sunday, but had to stay on because of delayed cargo from Manila, which I must receive here in Cebu.

I will point fingers here because this kind of mistake is unforgiveable, especially for an outfit that charged an arm and a leg. Never, but never use Lane Movers and Storage in Manila! I trusted them, contracted with them a door-to-door service to ship from furniture and household items from Manila to Cebu. The manager, Dennis de Guzman met with me once, and when I paid him, never showed up again. The packers did show up - and they seemed efficient. But Dennis never showed the day of the packing. The other thing Dennis did that was annoying was to give an initial quote, without mentioning that crating and insurance would be extra - and the costs were large - so the final price was a shocker. Insurance was mentioned to me AFTER the packers had whisked away my things.

But here's the really unforgiveable part. I made it very clear to Dennis that I was scheduled to leave for the US on a particular date and I had to receive the cargo in Cebu before then. He understood me clearly. Then this is what happened. I was told I'd get the cargo on Monday, then it was delayed, then I was told it'd get in Wednesday, then Thursday, and meantime, I'm scheduled to leave Sunday. The recent report from Lane is that my cargo will get in Monday - tomorrow. I had to cancel my Sunday flight to the US, with great difficulty as it is high season, not to mention the upset to my schedule and my family's disappointment.

So let us see if the cargo arrives tomorrow.

Meantime, Lane blames Sulpicio shipping for bumping off my cargo. A nephew said Sulpicio does do this. It seems unthinkable that I contracted Lane to send my cargo on July 16, and here it's July 30 and I don't have my cargo. This is not international shipping.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

People and Places I've Seen This Past Week

Mila and Sito Santillan, Lilu Gimenez; Cynthia Posa, Araceli Lorayes, Nadne Sarreal, Karina Bolasco, Marily Ysip Orosa, Ambeth Ocampo, Guia Lim, Ina Garcia, Titang Gonzalez, Rene Wage.

Places: Japanese Restaurant in Rockwell; Ermita's Remedios Circle; Las Pinas Boys Choir performing in Phil Am Life auditorium; Sentros in Greenbelt 3; Breton's in Greenbelt 3; Old Manila; Glorietta; Dusit Hotel; Greenbelt Chapel; Don Bosco Chapel; Landmark; SM,Katutubo.

and I'm sure there are more people and places which I've missed.

Photo Above l-r: Nadine Sarreal, Cecilia Brainard, Karina Bolasco
Photo Below l-r: Sito, Cecilia, Mila

Friday, July 13, 2007

What Does One Do in Manila?

And what does one do in Manila?
1. Eat at Fat Michaels - now, unfortunately I can't give you the address of Fat Michaels because it's in the middle of nowhere. It's not that far from Makati, but it's not in Makati. It's near a building that says something like Makati View apartelle. It's a 1950s house that's been converted into a restaurant - very homey, artsy, eclectic indeed. And so successful, you need to make reservations. So successful they've opened a Fat Michaels in The Fort - fine dining here, which means more expensive. Order their Black Paella, and their salad is very nice, also their iced tea.

2. Eat at Cafe Juanitas - This restaurant is in Pasig, owned by a doctor turned restaurateur. It's an enchanting place filled with flamboyant, colorful, and unusual items - I understand the things in the restaurant are all for sale. Every corner is filled with a surprise - quite a fun and magical place. Try their callos, and fried fish.

3. Have a drink at the Handlebar in Bel Air Makati - bikers' bar this one; then have paella in nearby Alba's and La Tienda.

Photo above shows Cecilia and St. Theresa's HS classmates and Sister Consuelo Varela dining in The Fort
Photo next shows Guia Lim (VP Union Bank) in Cafe Juanita

Friday, July 6, 2007


What does one do in Cebu?
1. Go South and visit the old churches in Carcar, Argao, Boljoon and more. Aside from the Spanish colonial churches, you'll see old houses, and the countryside is green and beautiful, the seaside pristeen;
2. Eat at S.T.K. Ta Bay on #6 Orchid Street where they serve the best authentic homecooked Cebuano meals. Order shrimp sinigang soup, not the mixed seafood because you end up with unedible shells and crablets. Also try their fried garlic shrimp, scallops, and grilled tuna belly. All very good!
3. Well, you have to do the Historic town tour: Santo Nino Basilica and Museum, Magellan's Cross, Fort San Pedro, Cathedral and Museum, Casa Gorordo Museum. Take a peak at the Cebu Malacanan near Fort San Pedro, and the Yap-Sandiego house on the way to Casa Gorordo. Between the Cathedral Museum and the Yap-Sandiego house is the Shamrock where you can pick "pasalubong" - native delicacies for gifts. The small street fronting Santo Nino Basilica has little outdoor stalls that sell Cebuano delicacies such as bibingka, budbud kabug (Fridays), tagaktak, masareal, and more.
4. Other restaurants to try: Ocean Seafood on Sanson Street, near Gorordo; Bols Arciaga Restaurant that also sells native products.

Photo shows Cecilia, Manager of Thai Restaurant, Erma Cuizon, Gavin Bagares, Susan Evangelista, and Bingo after great Thai food

Monday, July 2, 2007


Saturday, June 30 - Karina Bolasco, publishing manager of Anvil, arrives Cebu from Manila, 9:10 a.m. I go to Mactan Aiport to meet her. At 1 p.m. Erma Cuizon picks up Susan Evangelista at the Mactan Airport; she's flown in from Palawan. We lunch, then Karina runs off to meet with a librarian. There is a heavy downpour at around 3:30, and we are slightly worried because the book launch of Ala Carte: Food and Fiction is at 5 p.m. The rain stops at around 4:30, but roads are wet, traffic bad. When we get to the Aboitiz Center for the launch, the guests have not arrived. WILA, who is the cosponsor of the event, decides to let the guests eat merienda first, which initially puzzles some of us, but it turns out to be a wise decision, becuase it gives people time to arrive. The program starts at around 6 p.m. Gingging Dumdum is the emcee; Ester Tapia speaks on behalf of WILA, and Karina Bolasco speaks on behalf of Anvil publishing. Then the reading begins, and we have: Carlos Cortes, Erma Cuizon, Susan Evangelista, Karina Bolasco, and Cecilia Brainard (me). Brief words by me, closing by Gingging, and then book signing. Around 50 people braved the wet roads and awful traffic, but they are a fantastic audience and were also generous in buying books. Seen among the crowd: Lucy Franco Garcia; Helen Franco Misa; Inday Blanco; Louie Nacorda; Linda Alburo, Jun Dumdum, Juliet Basa, Gavin Bagares, Andy, Tina, Angel Manguerra; Jojo, Tanya, and Inez Manguerra, and many more.

After the launch, Erma, Susan, Karina, Jun and Gingging Dumdum, and I came to my place for snacks, wine, some unwinding, and literary talk.

Sunday, July 1 - Karina, Susan, Erma, and I go to Plantation Bay for brunch; Karina leaves noonish back to Manila. The remaining three of us spend the rest of the day lounging in front of sparkling blue sea and watching a man raking the white beach clean. Later, a trip to Marco Polo so Susan to give Susan a bird eye's view of Cebu; then dinner at Ocean Seafood off of Gorordo.

Monday, July 2 - Susan, Erma, Gavin Bagares, and I do a tour of Southern Cebu, visiting Boljoon, Argao, and Carcar - great countryside, and old churches! Dinner in a lovely Thai restaurant in Talamban.

Ahhhhh - no rain on Saturday and Sunday!!!!

Photo above,l-r: Erma Cuizon, Susan Evangelista, Cecilia Brainard, in Boljoon
Photo in middle show Susan and Cecilia kicking back in Plantation Bay
Photo in bottom shows backside of someone