Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Meat: You Know You Want Some

Monterey is the latest entry into Barretto's retail meat business. Brettos has been around for awhile. Then we have Subic Meats and Fresh Options. Each has something unique to offer as each possess things the others do not.

Brettos is definitely the only deli style operation with a wide variety of sliced meat and cheeses. They sell some hard to find food condiments such as mint jelly and European mustard. They also sell turkeys and hams for the holidays.

Subic Meats has some excellent bread and bakery items such as English muffins and cinnamon rolls. The beef here is stored in vacuum sealed packages and is usually a pretty good deal. The Bugle also thinks their bacon is the best.

Fresh Options is the place for fresh chicken and pork. If your kids only eat drumsticks you can buy fifty at a pop. They also carry local style meat products that can just be heated up and served. (sisig, tocino and such)

And now along comes Monterey with a pleasing, sanitary layout and a 21st century feel to it. Monterey has 'presentation' in that you can visually inspect what looks good to you. Much of their meat is pre-seasoned. BBQ sticks are all set for the fire.

Just for fun the Bugle priced chicken breasts at all four businesses. Keep in mind there are some variables. Brettos and Subic Meat are frozen and filleted. Fresh Options and Monterey are fresh and include skin and bone. The kilo price of chicken breasts at Brettos was P220, Subic Meats P239, Fresh Options P144 and Monterey P142. Monterey Meat is located next to Dunkin Donuts on National Highway.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Grow Your Own???

Ashley's is a real 'niche market' store in Barrio Barretto. Did you ever wonder where to find vegetable or seeds to grow your own plants? Would you enjoy some fresh Thai basil seasoning from your own yard? Well in Barretto, Ashley's is the place to find seeds. We are not just talking about basil as they have over 30 seed choices that work in this climate and humidity. Alfalfa, squash, parsley, chives, and oregano to name a few. Priced at P200 a pack. You can also get seedlings of most of these plants for the low price of just P100 plant. Thai and Purple basil are both available as starters as are a couple of different kinds of pepper plants. It is a cute and tidy little place with a variety of gardening tools, fertilizers, pots, brooms and yes they have rice. Ashley's is located on National Highway near Rizal Avenue.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Barretto is a Changing

Some things never really change in the PI but other things are always changing.  Take this photo that the Bugle took the other day.  It is of the building that is located on National Higway near the corner turn to the old Marmont Hotel (now called Westbay),  There at one time stood Three D's (1986), Proud Mary ( 1989), Siam Thai restaurant (1998), Bar Dixie (2002). The new two story building is a local Filipino food francise called Ricos.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Botolan Wildlife Farm

The Bugle went out on a little road trip the other day and decided he was going to finally check out something that he had been curious about for several years.  The Botolan Wildlife Farm.  For 85p for Adults and 75p for children you can't go wrong.  They had an small yet impressive collection of animals on display.  The place was clean and best of all the animals weren't on the verge of starvation like several of the animals being kept in the Manila zoo.  The kids there all seemed to enjoy running around the manicured grounds and checking out the various enclosures.  The monkeys seemed to get a lot of attention from the kids but the Bugle thought the Philippine Eagles and the Tiger were the must sees while at the park. 

Driving to the place was fairly simple just follow the signs off the National highway.  Drive slow when going over the bridge that is on the dirt road that acts as an entrance to the place as the drop off is a bit steep.  All in All an easy place to let the kids burn off some calories.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hole In the Wall

The Bugle has been wanting to highlight some of the new or unusual businesses sprouting up in the Barrio Barretto area. Here is one that you can walk past again and again and never dream what is going on inside. It is a legitimate on-line casino run by PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation) Inside it is dark, cool and orderly. It resembles an upscale internet cafe. There are forty plus computers and on the day we visited there were three patrons at 9 AM. Each computer has a multitude of popular games. Some are western in nature and others distinctly Chinese. The poker games run through both cultures. To play you deposit money with the cashier and she credits your computer. The amount accumulates or diminishes depending on your luck and skill. The minimum is a P500 startup. E-Games is located on National highway near the Rizal St. talipapa area.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Biking on SBMA

A reader wrote in and asked the following:

Cannot find any infomation on motor bikes, scooters allowed on SBMA and why they are disallowed, etc. I hear different things from different people but all that may be just heresay. And if those bikes and scooters obey the traffic rules and anti-noise rules, then why not allow (if that is the case).

What the Bugle knows is that scooters/motorbikes are allowed on SBMA.  The only thing is that they mandate proper footwear which eliminates most of the local riders. 

What is not allowed on SBMA is trikes.  Which in the Bugle's opinion should not be allowed anywhere in the Philippines at all.

Friday, October 19, 2012

PLDT's New Billing Charges

A reader sent in the following note about VAT
I have lived and worked within the Subic Bay Freeport Zone for several years. I have had telephone service from PLDT Subictel at both my office and at my home since I moved here. I noticed last month that PLDT Subictel started charging me VAT. I have never been charged VAT prior to last month so I don’t understand why they started charging it last month.
Anyone within the Freeport Zone should check their PLDT Subictel bill and if you are being charged VAT. If you are being charged you should take up this matter with PLDT immediately! PLDT Subictel is a VAT free operation and their customers within the Freeport Zone should NOT be charged VAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Subic Bay Dumping

Those of us who happen to enjoy living near the shoreline know that we have to be on the alert for things that will mess with our quality of living.  Things that pollute our bay must be reported so that we can ensure the cleanliness of the bay for the future generation of Bugle readers.  Recently there have been several reports of locators within the Freeport of not following the proper protocols in the dumping of waste water in the bay.  You can read one of them here from the PhilStar.  The Bugle is happy to hear news that these offending firms will be taken to task for their dirty deeds. 

Now if only we could have someone check out those "honey wagons" and follow them to see where they have been dumping their dirty discharges.  Now you may ask how did the Bugle hear about something like that?  Well The Bugle has a little story to tell.  Several years ago the Bugle's toilet was not flushing properly and after looking into the status of his septic tank he realized that it was time to get it pumped out.  So the Bugle told one of his workers to get one of the septic services to come and pump out the tank.  This worker went out to one of the local firms in Olongapo and in order to facilitate them arriving at the correct address this worker rode along in the "honey wagon".  Prior to coming out to the Bugles residence the driver of the truck to my worker out to one of the local rivers.  When asked why they were stopping at the river the driver/operator told him "This is where we discharge the waste"

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Construction Update

A reader commented about the latest construction project that the Bugle wrote about in Flood Control or Dam? and stated that it is a government funded project to put a wall in along the river.  While this person posted anonymously and the Bugle respects that right, it did bring out a few questions.  Questions like who/what Department is paying for this repair?  Where is the Environmental Compliance Certificate in order to undertake this repair.  While I am sure that the folks living on the Baloy side of the river will like having a wall along the river to protect them from flooding, the last time the river flooded it was higher than the bridge itself so what actually is the wall going to do?  Has there been any engineering study done to ensure that the wall is not going to collapse.  Where is the construction/building permit for this operation?  While the Bugle is all for improving our infrastructure he also thinks that if the river was dredged properly one wouldn't need to build a wall along a river bank.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Most Dangerous Crossing

It is hard to believe a fatal crash does not occur every thirty minutes at the Kalaklan gate intersection. It is classic Philippine driving lawlessness. Lanes no one follows, lights that work intermittently, turning arrows no one pays attention to, random jeepney stops, buzzing motor bikes. Undiluted anarchy. Funerals even slowly lumber through several times a day. Every driver is playing by his own rules. It is a challenge not to hit or be hit. Total concentration is required to maneuver through that intersection. To add chaos to turmoil local businesses have made the graveyard mountainside an assault on perception, adding visual confusion to successfully making the turn. Quick now, "What's the phone number for a pizza?" Guess how many signs are on that hill? The Bugle took the time to count the other day, not while driving though. Twenty-one.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

New Cyber-Martial Law

Last Wednesday a new law went into effect in the Philippines that may make what we say in blogs, e-mails, social media and Internet voice services a serious crime with heavy penalties. Young people across the country went on the offensive Tuesday blacking out their Facebook profiles, marching on the supreme court and in some cases purposely infecting and crashing government computers. They may have been too young to remember but they compared the current government to that of the late dictator/strongman Ferdinand Marcos.
This law seems to usurp all provisions of the 1987 constitution guaranteeing free speech. Media's take on the cyber-law is as follows:
Under the new law, Filipinos will face sentences of up to 12 years in prison and a fine of one million pesos ($24,000) for posting comments on social media, such as Facebook or Twitter, if those comments are deemed defamatory by local authorities. About one third of the country's 100 million people use the Internet, with nearly 96 percent of them on Facebook. With the new law, authorities will have the power to collect data from personal social media accounts and listen into conversations on Internet voice services, such as Skype. The United Nations Human Rights Council has described the existing criminal libel law as "draconian" and "excessive."
My daughter claims that using torrents and downloading MP3's are now illegal. She was plugged into the collective-cyber-protest action on Tuesday. It was a nice change from her usual preoccupation with boy bands and gangnam style. So much of our population is under 20 and when they flex their text and tweet muscles they feel their combined, concerted outrage. Filipino kids Tuesday night were giddy with the rush of power that youthful political solidarity provides. Sometimes only youth can see what conceited outrages can be perpetrated by politicians on the citizens they claim to represent. Go kids. You rock! Don't back down.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Flood Control or Dam??

This photo is a view from the bridge on National Highway Between Baretto and Mataain.  What it is being done has the Bugle a bit confused...  Is it supposed to be some kind of flood control project to keep the local residents dry?  Or is it supposed to be a dam that will keep the residents of Baloy dry?  The Bugle has witnessed the backhoe being used to dredge the river somewhat but at he has also seen a big truck dropping pretty hefty sized rocks into the water/silt also in what could be an attempt at a dam. Any engineers out there who have a clue to the thinking behind this feel free to pontificate for our readers.