Ilocano journalist Glenda Gloria named UK Education Ambassador

Glenda 1Her working table at home before going to office, after office and during weekends. A typical Ilocano, she works everyday. Photo and caption by Melvyn Calderon

Admired for her integrity as a journalist, Glenda Gloria was named by the British Embassy one of the 8 United Kingdom Education Ambassadors to be formally awarded and presented on October 25 at the Great Ball, Manila Peninsula, in celebration of Philippine-British Friendship.

Glenda, was a British Chevening Scholar with a master’s degree in political sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Glenda 2GlendaWith daughter Leona (above) and mom Linda Gloria  (in next photo). Photos courtesy of Melvyn Calderon

One of the two daughters of Ilocano educator Erlinda Gloria, Glenda spent her elementary years in Holy Spirit Academy of Laoag and her high school years in MMSU Laboratory High School, Laoag, before earning her degree in journalism from the University of Santo Tomas, all through the Marcos years.

According to her Rappler profile as managing editor, revolutions and transitions shaped her career and temperament as a journalist. She worked for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, The Manila Times, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and for international news agencies. In the dying days of the Estrada administration, she co-founded Newsbreak, which started as a weekly news magazine and became one of the Philippines’ leading investigative reporting organizations.

From 2008 to January 2011, she managed ANC, the ABS-CBN News Channel, as its chief operating officer. Under her management, ANC grew its revenues 400% and acted as the harbinger of new initiatives for the ABS-CBN news group. She played a key role in harnessing social media for the network’s 2010 election coverage.

The books she’s written include Under the Crescent Moon: Rebellion in Mindanao with Marites Dañguilan-Vitug, a groundbreaking book on the conflict in Mindanao that won the National Book Award. In 2011, she wrote The Enemy Within: An Inside Story on Military Corruption with Aries Rufo and Gemma Bagayaua-Mendoza.

Read Rappler’s story here.

GlendaGlenda and London classmates meet ex-UK prime minister Tony Blair. Photo courtesy of Melvyn Calderon.

With very special thanks to Melvyn Calderon

© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

Meeting Karla Reyes, a 4th generation Reyes of the Aristocrat clan of restaurateurs

Picture 1133

I arrived at a Mandaluyong compound earlier than scheduled. The driver washing a vehicle outside the first house asked me to knock on the door after I asked him if I was at the given address of  “Plaza Ham”. A uniformed lady ushered me to the formal dining area. I wait a little, the FoodPrints team arrives, beso-beso, Chef Sandy Daza is met by the interviewee, Karla Reyes. Little did I know that the “Plaza Ham” for the FoodPrints feature is The Plaza ham of my juvenile memory. I heard my voice go higher pitched (cringe).

Vintage family photo

If not the absorbing conversations or the dresses people wore, the food at red-letter occasions is what remains in my memory. A tangible remembrance, a photo with my family (minus my younger sister Nikko, who was not born yet), shot at The Plaza in Makati (where we celebrated my only brother’s high school graduation), is among my highly treasured things.


Karla Reyes is a great grandchild of Engracia Cruz Reyes, more popularly known as Aling Asiang, founder of the trailblaizing pre-war Aristocrat restaurant that has remained a favorite of many Filipinos to this day.  Her Lolo Joe and Lola Meldy established The Plaza restaurant in 1965 and later on ventured into catering. The Plaza Premium Baked Ham was brought to perfection by her lola Meldy and The Plaza’s Swedish Master Chef Gosta Pettersson.

Enter Karla’s mom, Millie Reyes, schooled at the prestigious Ecole Hoteliere de la Societe Suisse des Hoteliers of Lausanne, Switzerland, and Cornell University of New York. Mom Millie continues the family’s legacy of catering for important banquets such as past SONAs and other presidential functions. The Plaza’s exceptional baked ham, now being served with The Plaza’s four signature dips and dressings, never ceases to be a favorite.

Presently, youngish Karla manages The Plaza Premium Baked Ham kiosks at select locations. Together with her mom, she writes Food for Thought, a weekly column of The Philippine Star.

The Plaza Baked HamThe Plaza Premium Baked Ham dips and dressingsGutsy Garlic, Sweet Mustard, Premium Glaze and Wasabi Mayo: Taking The Plaza Premium Baked Ham to different dimensions.Baked HamSandy and KarlaChirpy Karla and Chef Sandy Daza for the FoodPrints Christmas Special, airing soon on the Lifestyle Network.The Plaza Premium Baked HamThe Plaza Baked Ham with Premium Glaze and assorted dips

Here comes the bomb! The ultimate comfort food. What is it? Extra-tender boiled Angus corned beef slabs. (Mama, if you are reading?!) The rest of the FP team were amused, if not annoyed, that I ate more than what I should have had. I didn’t tell them my mom cooks it so well, but she cooks it not too often ‘coz even in the States, it is rather costly. And I miss her cooking. The Plaza’s version was gratifying.

As I chewed on every bit of The Plaza’s specialties, my very own family, who I rarely see, play in my mind. Our mutual love of food keeps us together like real.

Ultimate Comfort FoodThe Plaza Boiled Corned Beefwith Karla Reyes and Sandy DazaPicture 330The FoodPrints team had a casual lunch at Aristocrat a week before the shoot at Karla’s. Aristocrat Pork BarbequeAristocrat Pinakbet

The Plaza Catering’s website

With special thanks to FoodPrints, Chef Sandy Daza and Karla Reyes.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

Via ferrata in Narvacan: Explore your audacious side

Bantay Abot

Freedom, they say, is both a curse and a blessing. To the anxiety of my housemates, my instinctive ability to take to the road will never be tamed (like photographer Marianne Pasion says about me here, pretty embarassed).


As I recoil from crafty Frankenstein-like writing, seaming together a story about fresh ways to enjoy the Ilocos provinces, both here in Norte and Sur, for the October 2014 issue of Mabuhay Magazine (the Philippine Airlines’ in-flight read), was not a cinch.

I haven’t read the magazine, I saw snippets from a stewardess friend’s phone, so I’m starting anew with the story of my journey to Narvacan.

Rainbow CloudA rainbow on a cloud.

I didn’t know the whereabouts of NOAH, hence I picked the oldest manong tricycle driver waiting at the curb in the centro of Narvacan. All heart, he was heaven-sent. As we approached Bulanos Beach, Bantay Abot (not to be confused with the Bantay Abot Cave in Paqudpud) towered more and more upon my sight.

Narvacan Outdoor Adventure Hub - Bulanos

A container van structure facing the beach beckons. The sun was fast going down. While manong parked his tricycle, I entered the doors, my eyes wandered around the stark white room and as fast as I could, I introduced myself as a writer and photographer for the magazine.

Via Ferrata adventure. Screengrab from Direk Arman on YouTube

The 250-meter via ferrata adventure at NOAH. Screengrab from Direk Arman on YouTube

The Narvacan Outdoor Adventure Hub or NOAH has made via ferrata its hallmark. Via ferrata is a passage through a steep rock wall, aided with harness and anchor cables that secure the climber from a fall, so it might be as well safe, unless, of course, the person has extreme fear of heights. As I had already rappelled from a chopper, a worm’s eye view from the foot of the hill was just the same intimidating. (Learn the ropes of via ferrata in the video below.)

NOAH equipment centerNOAH, Bulanos, Narvacan, Ilocos Sur

I ran around the vicinity. I imagine, after letting out a hurrah and sucking in a bird’s eye view of Bulanos from the peak of Bantay Abot, one can rappel back down and enjoy the other thrills of NOAH as kayaking, paddle boarding, ziplining, and kitesurfing are within reach.

Bulanos RiverBulanos RiverNOAHThe lounge and cafe.A Glorious Sunset at Bulanos, Narvacan, Ilocos SurSunset BeachSpaceBulanos

The appeal of Bulanos Beach is in its bucolic scenery and sedate locality. One of these days, I’m heading back to NOAH to get on that iron path.

Beach CommuteSunset over Narvacan TownBack at the center of Narvacan. UNESCO World Heritage Site Vigan is about 30-45 minutes north of Narvacan.

With special thanks to the Narvacan Outdoor Adventure Hub, Mayor Zuriel Zaragoza, Ace Corrales, Eastgate Publishing and the wonderful staff of NOAH.

NOAH (Narvacan Outdoor Adventure Hub) Bulanos, Bulanos Beach, Narvacan, Ilocos Sur CP No. 0905 3396624 Facebook page

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

Ilocos Norte events this Halloween season


It’s the season once again for platefuls of atang and burning candles. When you’ve already exhausted the Nation white paint you bought from Ace Marketing, you may want to pay Requiem a visit. Young Ilocano artist Khervin Gallandez is all set for his first show. The Halloween art exhibit opens on the 25th at Samtoy Books, La Tabacalera Lifestyle Center.


On the same day, have a beer, or more, at the Eagle’s Nest Night of the Living Drunks. Be a Drunkentein for a night, but please, people, don’t be accurate zombies. Enjoy!

© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014