The 2013 Apples & Lemons Awards

ANOTHER year is almost over. That was quick one ergo I am getting aging swiftly as well, too fast for comfort. Not that I am complaining, the years have treated me kindly (with the assistance from good surgeons like Dr. Dennis Tan who re-introduced me to my long lost waist LOL) and surrounded me with kind-hearted (and super understanding) family and friends who matter, and that much, I am very grateful for.

And, it’s that time of the year again that I am leaving either apples or lemons under your Christmas tree (Santa has agreed to deliver them for me since he took part in checking the bitch’s naughty and nice list) and stuff more into your Yuletide stockings if you deserve more. So, here goes….

Apple Awardees.

Best lover. The world. Yes, the world. It’s heart-warming that everyone around the globe turned their gaze on us and extended their helping hands when Yolanda’s wrath came upon our family members in the Visayas region. The love was overwhelming. Thank you. Please take as many apples as you like.

Best man for the job. Art Boncato. From being the Region XI Tourism head to becoming the Assistant Secretary of Tourism, this hard-working Dabawenyo has never wavered in making Davao and Mindanao a must-visit destination to both the domestic and foreign tourists. It’s not an easy task since the “cloud over Mindanao” is a complex task to clear. But Boncato and his team are constantly blowing that cloud away to let the sunshine in—forevermore. With faith and hard work, nothing is impossible, slowly but surely. Congratulations and good luck Mr. Boncato. How many apples do you want, Asec.?

Asec Art Boncato is making sure IT is more fun in Davao & Mindanao.

Best-dressed. Joji Ilagan-Bian is still my best-dressed woman. Impeccable at all times, Ms. Bian is the epitome of classy lady. Whatever role she takes during the day or night—a dutiful wife, a doting mother, or a (hard-) working woman, a guest or the hostess—she makes sure she does it with grace and style (and she is clearly passing these traits to her daughter. What a wonderful legacy!) What makes her persona even more alluring is her best accessory—her smile, which she constantly wears. An apple a day for you, Ms. Bian.

Joji Ilagan-Bian is an epitome of style & grace.

Best designer. Edgar Buyan. Davao has hordes of modistas, hundreds of dress shops run by so-called designers, but there only a handful is gifted with style and a true sense of fashion. One of the more talented ones is Edgar Buyan. Now that he finally has his very own atelier, my favorite designer in the city is back with blipping brightly on the fashion radar.

Edgar Buyan, who now owns & runs his own atelier, is blipping brightly on the fashion radar.   

Edgar’s attention to detail has always been impressive and his interpretation to the season’s trend is very striking. Whatever the look he creates it will easily be easily recognizable as a Buyan.

Buyan's creations: A terno with golden peacock detail that landed Kay Gempesaw on the best-dressed list for Hijos de Davao, and one of his SS 2014 Mens Collection on the ramp at the recent Manila Fashion Week.

Best shows. The art scene is steadily gaining a bigger market as days pass. The most impressive performance art staged this year were created by the very talented Agnes Locsin (Sanga at the Locsin Dance Studio- a “growing” series of powerful and moving interpretations of nature) and Steps Dance Project (Pepe’s Secret Christmas at Abreeza Mall- fabulous interpretation of Pinoy Christmas, amazing costumes). Davao is truly lucky to be the venue of these beautifully choreographed ballets that are so-Pinoy in its values and aesthetics.

Sanga is an installment of a series of ballet movements created by Dabawenya Agnes Locsin, one of the country's most respected choreographers. 

Pepe's Secret Christmas, a ballet by the Steps Dance Project, is a very heart-warming presentation that
is educational, entertaining and deeply rooted in Filipino Yuletide traditions.

Best-tasting finds. The taste buds are rejoicing with these finds in the booming food scene in Davao: a. SIONGA- a SIOpao with shredded tuna paNGA filling (the new baby of Hoy Panga!, the one-and-only grilled tuna panga take-out counter that recently rose—and fast expanding— around the city). There is steamed but the FRIED VARIETY is to die for! Believe me, you can’t stop munching on these;

Fried Sionga—SIOpao with shredded tuna paNGA filling, is to die for! Available at the fast-rising Hoy Panga! take out counter around Davao.

b: The slow-cooked Chicken Adobo at Park Inn by Radisson. It’s my kind of adobo—tender, really tasty with loads of garlic on the side. Extra rice will be in order.;

Rich-tasting Chicken Adobo of Park Inn by Radisson is a "fork dropping experience" for me. You have to try this dish by Chef Jayme Natividad.

c. Yellow Fin’s Halo-halo. With a secret ingredient, this is the best halo-halo I’ve had by far—perfectly sweetened with smoothie-like ice shavings showered with wonderfully tasting ingredients.

Thank God for Davao's so-tropical weather you can have this wonderful concoction any time of the year.
The secret ingredient is what makes Yellow Fin's Halo-halo a pang-himagas you can't say no to.

Lemon Awardees.

Because of Yolanda, the bitch will try to channel energy to emitting good vibes.

It’s a losing battle.

Worst-dressed. Unfortunately, we have our version of Yolanda that is devastating the fashion scene and they appear during big parties like Hijos de Dabaw and someone’s birthday bash that requests to come in formal wear. I think it’s time to hire the services of stylists (with taste, please.) Channeling Chanel will never work on men, prom gowns are for teen-agers, and super-embellished shiny fabrics is very Sto. Niño. Take a lemon if you think you’re one of them.

Blog-a-dag. Epic fail. Media event. Non-raffle winner. Complained why the “rich” won instead. Swore never to attend the brand’s events ever. But on the next event, surprise!, the complainant was present. Joined the games with gusto to win this time. Paki-explain at paki-ngatngat ng lemon while doing so.

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Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 22, 2013.