Filipino stewards in the White House

Action this weekend is my column for today (JB Baylon makes a call of his own). Newspapers are crowing about a Filipino-America chef in the White House, while ignoring the decades and decades of Filipino mess stewards in the White House, since the U.S. Navy has favored Filipino stewards since at least the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The President has proposed a truce, which some oppositionists have rejected, although Senator Angara says he’s happy to help on conserving… energy.

The Palace, the Standard-Today claims, has muzzled Sec. Defensor; Ricky Carandang, in fact, thinks Defensor has saved impeachment (for now):

Given Defensor’s botched attempt to discredit the tapes, will the House majority still try to vote down the impeachment next week? I asked Majority Leader Boy Nograles today and he said he did not think they would….at least not on Tuesday or Wednesday.

So it looks as if the impeachment complaint will survive another week, thanks in large part to Mike Defensor.

Still, after the initial nervousness of this weekend, the Palace legal strategy seems set. A full-page ad by certain lawyers has set the proper tone for the defense. Newsbreak reports on the opposition’s legal strategies.

The punditocracy has Fr. Joaquin Bernas clarifying that each house of Congress has to vote separately on constitutional amendments, and stating publicly he’s thankful unicameralism lost in the 1987 Constitutional Commission; Billy Esposo remembers his work with Raul S. Roco’s campaign; Lito Banayo speaks of dominoes falling and the witching hour; H. Marcos Mordeno bewails the planned destruction of forests in Mindanao.

In the blogosphere, Edwin Lacierda asks why there don’t seem to be pro-President blogs:

Like it or not, the blogosphere is the next agora where the war of ideas will be waged, battled and tested. And unless some giant can advance an intellectual and spirited defense of the president, from an IQ viewpoint, her administration will be remembered where intellectual orcs roamed free and where the talents like reasoned and enlightened thinking were all hidden in a bushel.

Rank Merida describes eating dogfood(!); Madame Chiang describes what a disgrace our airport is:

Leaving Manila, I was reminded of just how terrible their airport is and what a bad impression it must leave on the average tourist who has had a wonderful holiday enjoying the beaches, sights and hospitality that the Philippines has to offer….and then they have to sit in that awful airport….made particularly worse by the fact that there is a brand new terminal just sitting and waiting to have some life breathed into it…plus think of the extra revenue that could be generated with some half way decent shops and restaurants.

World Famous introduces us to to free internet TV! And finally, BatJay has a hilarious (but then usually all his entries are just that -hilarious) entry on encountering a dishwashing machine.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

8 thoughts on “Filipino stewards in the White House

  1. Action…

    Finally, we the so-called silent majority have come into a concrete action against the issues of the day. Above all other issues, i think the most serious here is the dishonesty of the president. T-R-U-T-H is given. We demand transaprency,responsibility… from people trusted with peoples will. But first we must resolve the issue on wether the present occupant in Malacanang has the peoples mandate on the first place.

  2. truce?

    IS GMA TO BE TRUSTED? starting from the surveys
    less than 20% says GMA can still be trusted.

    daughter like father, recalling the conversation i had with a former con-con delegate;

    when MARCOS called for a con-con among those elected is former pres. diosdado macapagal the choice of MARCOS et al, to be con-con president is the late julius ledesma, father
    of cong. jules ledesma.
    upon learning of who marcos would be supporting former pres. diosdado macapagal sought an audience with marcos.

    accordingly as alleged macapagal was able to convince marcos to “allow” macapagal as former pres of the country to be elected con-con president and so it happened.

    but in return upon the final draft of the constitution macapagal for his part supported the inclusion in limiting the term of marcos as alleged, when marcos was informed he smiled and shook his head…. the rest is history.

    such a similarity of attitude, character…as one would say its all in the family….

  3. Ah, finally, a subject that’s closer to my heart than politics and history, food! Plus, I know that cuisine is something that we can really excel in. I’m glad a Pinay is now the head chef at the White House, the first woman, too, for that matter; and it’s the only move that this Bush White House has ever made that’s made me happy. Kudos to Cristeta, as well as to the U.P. Food Science department for graduating her! When it comes to cooking, we can juke it out with the best!

    Also, a few weeks ago, the New York Times ran a glowing review of Cendrillon, owned by chef Romy Dorotan and his wife, Amy Besa. Any one lurking in New York should check out Romy’s terrific resto in SoHo. It’s a one-of-a-kind, groundbreaking Filipino resto in the U.S. A welcome departure from the very tiring and underachieving turo-turo/carinderia, Goldilocks, Max, Jolibee that proliferate in Filipino communities abroad. Romy serves creative Filipino dishes, haute-cuisine style, that’s casual and easy to enjoy. He tells me that many skilled Filipinos work at line chefs and sous-chefs work at some of Manhattan’s best restos. I hope they get a chance to be the head chef or open their own resto someday.

    I can’t agree more with Madame Chiang, NAIA is awful and deteriorating. Not a single restaurant or café in there or an interesting store. Puro cheap souvenirs at low-quality pasalubongs. These are not very exciting to travelers, especially foreigners. And it’s ironic because all our burgeoning malls are filled with great stores and restos. Ano ba naman yung magbukas sila ng branch doon sa airport! I’d be elated if Recipes would open a branch there or if Gaudi opens a tapas bar. And instead of the cheaply made pasalubongs you find being sold at the airport, I wish Blue Kitchen at Shangrila would open a small stand there as well. What about an Ice Monster outlet there, too? And one of my pet peeves, sa dinamidami ng bottled buko juice sa Metro Manila not a single store in the airport terminal sells it! Hello?! This is much better than bottled water or soda to take to the aircraft.

  4. Like it or not, the Filipinos are claiming right to be the world’s premier servants. Which is not bad at all. Think of how the Mamelukes of Egypt were once.

  5. An Executive Chef is not a servant. It’s really an honor for Cris Comerford to be chosen the first woman WH Executive Chef. It took months for the decision to be made and she had some stiff competition. Here’s a link about her nomination:

    I checked out the Philippine Embassy (DC) online to check for more news on this piece of news and found someone who looks very much like MLQ3 in the photo gallery!

  6. F. Someone getting paid $80-100k a year must be some kind of servant! And when Cristeta finishes her White House stint, she could make double that salary working in top restos in Vegas, New York, D.C., L.A., and San Francisco. As White House chef, she probably has a dozen or more staff obyeting her command, probably a good portion of them whites and male. Again, some kind of servant she is!

  7. I meant “servant” to mean the hired provider/deliverer of end services, i.e. medical, culinary, domestic maintenance, accounting, customer service including call center agents, etc. On the opposite are those who pay for these services. As the Inquirer noted, Comerford may never become a US president due to her naturalized citizenship but she can always cook for one.

  8. Alex, I’ve eaten in Cendrillon, it really was fantastic. Heard the wife is working on a Filipino cookbook of some sort. A friend wiser in the ways of food says that our hope for a Filipino haute cuisine lies in the hands of the owners of Cendrillon.

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