Vernon Velasco

107 posts


IT’S one thing to investigate whether one is a gay male; it’s quite another when it occurs to you that you might be caught in a possible same-sex couple’s lovers’ quarrel.


THERE are a lot of things that are forever showing up on my newsfeed like “Five Ways to Avoid Testicular Cancer,” etc.

‘Don’t burn bridges!’

City Garden GRAND Hotel (CGGH) is TripAdvisor’s No. 7 out of 86 hotels in Makati City. And while the rest of hotels around this part of the metro strive to serve remarkable food, deliver outstanding service and world class facilities, it all boils down to how a brand of hotel is able to sustain its constant pursuit of excellence in a world where everybody is very good at something.


I WAS on the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) during rush hour, and this guy to my right accused me of touching his butt. This after the back of my hand accidentally brushed against his ass when I stuffed my pockets with my hands to keep safe my billfold and cell phone, which I always do when riding a train.

Talking to the dead

FOLLOWING the law of matter, I’ve been trying to figure whether souls are solid, liquid or gas. But since not everyone can see them, I surmise they most closely are gas, mixed with the air we ingest by eating too fast and sometimes come out as a fart.

I was flying!

WHEN I was in fourth grade, my class took a field trip to the nearby Enchanted Kingdom (EK), which my teacher said would teach us a lesson about flying. I didn’t know about that; I used to think that the only things that could teach you how to fly are birds and airplanes. When I told my friends this, they wondered if I had ever been to a carnival, explaining that EK is a theme park, “a place where everything flies.”

The corpse stealers

THE ghosts I’ve seen on Halloween TV reenactments are all dressed in barong. My late friend Mel’s explanation was simple: You carry on the outfit you’re wearing when you die.

Of etiquette and blunders

THE thing with social functions is the constant assumption that everybody is watching you. And so it goes with a caveat: “Be graceful always,” which otherwise means “Be yourself.”

I made love in the kitchen

SO much like almost infanticipating, my girlfriend would, as a matter of habit, crave for something, most often at such ungodly hours. And like fawning sycophant I’m like, OK, I’ll get it for you, “but, Miss, where am I supposed to get banana cue in the dead of night?”

A homage to history

I HAD seen Rizal Park Hotel somewhere, but I can’t quite remember where. If I may hazard a guess, it might be in a picture-perfect postcard lost in a pile of its kind, gathering a veneer of permanent dust.

Where business travel is leisure

SUCCEEDING the establishment of its brand of hotels in the country’s main cities, Best Western International opens its newest addition in the relatively bustling—at the same time laidback—city of Pampanga. Called the Bendix Hotel, the property was the fruition of the partnership with local enterprise Hilcres Consolidated Corp., a straight-forward businessman and leisure-travelers hotel that’s unique and superior to other accommodation around these parts.

The future of cash

“BELIEVE it or not, there are more live SIM cards in the Philippines than there are Filipinos,” G-Xchange Inc. CEO Albert Tinio said when faced with the gap in statistics on Filipinos who are either underbanked or unbanked. Three out of four Filipinos don’t have a bank account. 40 percent of people in municipalities and cities in the Philippines do not even have access to banks.

An ode to a lifework

TWENTY-FIVE years ago, Elmarie Reyes (then Elmarie Silvino), was looking for something that she couldn’t find in her previous employment. She had a lucrative job as a treasury manager, but she was also young and precocious and idealistic, nursing a gaping void in her work life and was always mooning over what’s outside the fence.

Gaming the correct way

AT a recent discussion with Widus Hotel & Casino Vice President David Lawrence, he shares how Widus is a premier destination for leisure and how the sprawling metropolitan that is the Clark City in Pampanga has become a major entertainment hub in the north.

solb! transforms the way you pay

EVEN before “PokémonGo” had yet to happen, I had thought of, well, a card that you could use to purchase everything. Everything. Think of it as something a kiss shy of a magic card emblazoned with the number of God’s bank account, a piece of plastic less bulky than a bottomless billfold.

Dear Cobie

IT wasn’t too long ago when, once you’re heartsick and scathed from a previous relationship, you guilt-tripped me for a petty wrongdoing and (you said as my way to make up) talked me into drinking with you at a bar until the wee hours. There you got drunk a kiss shy of passing out, and felt the need to cop out from our table from time to time to ease at the female washroom.

Carol Colborn became a wife at 65

AND she went to the states to look for a husband. She was the CEO of the ICT titanic BayanTrade, and had everything we thought we could ever equate “the life” to. But something was amiss, and there was a gaping void in her life.

The luxury of sleep

AS your home is your haven and intimate space, premier bedroom gallery Luxeroom allows homemakers to design their own sanctum by making sense of its array of exquisite mattresses, beds, bath and decorative inspirations, as it recently opened on the fourth floor of Shangri-La Plaza Mall in Mandaluyong.

From print to digital

HEALTHCARE organizations commonly face challenges with administration of information via physical records and documents management, leading to counterproductive results such as excessive manpower resources and longer response time.

Knocking on heaven’s door

THERE is an elaborate house of cards perched on a cliff facing the sea, where a panoramic view of the sunset makes you wax poetic verses and dream that one day you could touch the ochre sun. But if you’re, otherwise, on the other side of the threshold and see this landmark from the vantage point of that sun, you might as well long to go to the place the way you might long to reach the sky, wondering if God is somewhere up there.

Business ultrabook makes the grade

I FELL in love again and again. I did every time my finger’s skin touch the new AsusPro Advanced BU201 Ultrabook.  That is, if love means burying the review unit between the sands of a beach in Pagudpud before taking a dip. That is, if love is taking the unit along when playing tag for the sole reason it kills me to be separated from what I regard as my girlfriend one minute.

Daring to disagree

OUR National Service Training Program (NSTP) in college meant two things: either you go to public schools feeding malnourished children or you teach them. I was, in every grace, schooled in La Salle, an institution that invests a great deal in education.


THERE are days when you wonder where your youth ended and your responsibility began. But when it finally dawns upon you, you would wake up hungry on a weekend and realize you’re alone in the house, nothing on the fridge but a box of cold pizza.

A buffet and more at Marriott Café

SUPERLATIVES run out when trying to describe dining at Marriott Manila’s namesake café. The friendly and well-informed staff, the spacious dining area and of course, the food all make for an unforgettable meal. Even the most discriminating gourmand should find that Marriott Café can more than meet the most exacting standards.

Play bares difficulty to talk about the birds and the bees

BACK in the day when my uncle Elmer still lived in the neighborhood, he would accidentally leave seedy tabloids in the parking lot. These I would “accidentally” pick up and, from the paper’s raunchy covers graced by the likes of scantily clad sirens, I would, again, “accidentally” jump to the entertainment section and read the comics, titled “Buhul-buhol na Init” (Tangled Heat).

Nonplussed with the Plus

digitallife010-041216THE D-Lite Plus 2, this newest addition to Happy Mobile’s roster of ever-affordable phones, reminds me of the first time I laid hands on the Samsung Galaxy S2, the first touchscreen phone that ever sat on the palm of my hands three years ago.

At Peperoni Pizzeria all they knead is love

PEOPLE who care about you always say this when preparing something for you. But what is love when put into food? I learned somewhere that love is not a flavor and doesn’t make a dish more salty or more pungent or more sour. Rather, it is something added to food in the process of cooking. It can also be added while dining, when a meal is shared.

Asahi Super Dry Beer available at Ichiba Market

ASAHI Super Dry, the most popular high-quality beer in Japan, has partnered with Ichiba Japanese Market, the recently opened first-of-its-kind Japanese seafood-concept restaurant in the Philippines, to give Japanese-cuisine fans a more authentic dining experience. With also the first-ever Asahi Super Dry Bar in the country, nestled at the very heart of the thematic restaurant’s bustling Japanese-market setting, dinner in Ichiba Japanese Market is a kiss shy of the real McCoy, whether you enjoy your crisp Asahi Super Dry beer to cap off the night, or while indulging in platters upon platters of freshly grilled yakitoris.

A different breed of sports is entertainment, too

THE last time I was this fat was when I was 10 years old, days when I could get along just fine playing slide alone at the playground because nobody wanted to play with a “fat boy” like me. I was too fat, I couldn’t catch up with my childhood friends when we played tag, so that I would stand there panting: “Time first! Time first!” Worse, I was too fat, I would often either get bruises from a bad fall or accidentally bang my shin on the slide’s iron. There was even a time I slid real hard—“Woooo-hoooo!”—that my butt hurt from too much friction, only to realize later when I touched it that I had a gaping slit on the rear of my short.

A penchant for hospitality, and then some

OVER dinner at the Phoenix Court at the Bellevue Hotel Manila in Alabang, my girlfriend KC told a story: “I was on a plane to China, and the flight attendant kept on addressing me as Miss Pusing,” this, as to substantiate why, earlier, she summoned our dinner attendant, Wilson, by his name.

When everything unfolds at a breakneck speed

I WAS in grade-school at a time when computers had yet to happen. By computers, I mean the standard desktop we know of today or something as nearly as recognizable, not its roomy precedents we learned about in our Computer subject. The introduction chapter taught us about Eniac and Edvac, which are clunky apparatuses that I identified in a quiz as “students’ lockers”. Back then it was easy to just agree to the teacher that these are the first-generation computers that made the world then “digital”. Back now, however, you might as well say that these are the kind of crap our parents had to live with.

When it’s more than just an ‘aircon’ brand

IN the Philippines among the many things that get one’s turkey is the heat. Take it from me, had not been for the aircon, I would have had every reason to have early on left this sweltering country for Alaska. Then again, thanks to air-conditioning units installed just about everywhere I go, I would not have to suffer all my life from the scorchin’ heat from which I am luckily insulated.

The hardest thing about connecting is that you’re two

THE Internet is among the very few things that stand between me and a complete nervous breakdown. Because it is true that the world is increasingly becoming ever smaller and hyper-connected, so that, I think, the books have changed and the five basic needs of man are food, water, shelter, clothing and Wi-Fi.

When a text scam isn’t funny anymore

SENATOR Cynthia Villar was having a bad hair day and was recently in a snit with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on account of the, quote unquote, inaction of the NTC over the involvement of the foundation she runs, the Villar Foundation, in text scams.

DOST-ICTO develops digital start-up road map, eyes to multiply new businesses by 2020

THE emerging global start-up hub that is the Philippines will now have a benchmark pattern in the Department of Science and Technology-Information and Communications Technology Office’s (DOST-ICTO) Philippine Roadmap for Digital Start-ups, which provides a framework for the development of the Philippine start-up ecosystem mainly consisted of Internet-related innovation.

When art becomes your bedroom space

THERE’S a boutique hotel nestled where the landmark Blanco Center used to be on Salcedo Village in Makati City, which reminds one of Frank Gehry, the iconic architect who did not just change the face of architecture but an entire city’s economy, and is perhaps among the very few marketer extraordinaire Seth Godin referred to as “a purple cow in a field of monochrome.”

It’s a granules generation

IMAGINE a magical time in the kitchen where all you have to do is sit back, open a packet of granules or broth cubes and—voilà—you conjure a genie chef, say, an Ina Garten, perhaps, a Boy Logro, who’ll concoct your raw ingredients.

Matters of the heart

CARDIOLOGIST Dr. Alan Maisel has seen the worst—and probably the best—through a lifetime of medical practice, but the one that really lingers, and which he brought up over a recent lunch with the press, was the story of a patient whose life he could have saved.

Finding expression in the abstract

I had my first brush with the “abstract” as an “expression” in a high-school art class. A friend was painting something amorphous, glow-in-the-dark specks floating in what looked like a murky pool of water. Neutral colors went every which way on the paper that I could not make sense of the subject. If I could hazard a guess, it most closely resembled bacteria under the microscope in one of those household cleaning agent TV commercials. And I wondered why, given so many things—the sky, the birds, the trees—someone as reasonable as he was would pay germs any mind.

Discovery uncovers the mystery behind the tragic AirAsia Flight QZ8501

SINCE last December 28, when AirAsia Flight QZ8501 en route from Indonesia to Singapore inexplicably went off the radar, the mystery has spurred all kinds of conjectures, informed or otherwise. Now, Discovery Channel will shed some light as to what really happened to the ill-fated flight in a comprehensive 60-minute documentary, Flight 8501: Storm Disaster, which airs today. It explores the tragedy that took the life of 162 people onboard, and one that has baffled many.

‘Bituing Walang Ningning’ goes onstage

In playing the rags-to-riches Dorina Pineda in the upcoming stage adaptation of Bituing Walang Ningning, Monica Cuenco might as well be playing the lead in her own biopic. During the news conference for the upcoming theater production, she stood against a backdrop of stars and the prelude to the iconic titular theme song, made famous by the young Sharon Cuneta, began to play. In a moment, Monica began to sing—her voice trembling, her eyes moist. The song, in her rendition, didn’t lament the story of the character as much as it lamented her own.

‘Are we there yet?’ Yes, dearie, we are

IT sounded misplaced, quite unbecoming of an “international” show that supposedly saw both connoisseurs and believers of Filipino craftsmanship flying in from half a world away to take in—and take home—our furniture, the design realm from which Filipino Kenneth Cobonpue has emerged as an international luxury brand. But it was posed, time and again, amid a global audience and with a tinge of half-assed pride: “Are we there yet?”

Have your kids explore the Exploreum

YOU can’t always fool this generation’s 10-year-olds into believing that babies come from monggo beans and get away with it. In fact, they can already make mincemeat of you, when they want to, should you spin them tall tales about babies being harvested on experimental tin pots on Day 49.

Making kids their own environmental hero

THE last time I took the cudgels for the environment, it was in high school. I was involved in veganism, as I was in an Adventist school where you stumbled upon “veggie meat” (the most sorry-looking “meat” one could ever see, made out of, well, vegetables and batter) and quickly guilt-tripped by an enumeration of what’s so wrong about eating pork chops.