At Large


There’s a term for the antics of Sen. Bong Revilla, his family, friends (like actor Phillip Salvador), his followers and even a professional “look-alike” who volunteered to take the legislator’s place in incarceration.

It’s called “pa-victim,” or acting like a victim, seeking to milk public sympathy for all its worth in a bid to gain people’s support that, they hope, will convince authorities to treat the senator with more gentleness than they would otherwise deal with hardened criminals.


For the most part, acting “pa-victim” is also resorted to by Revilla’s fellow accused: Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile. Although I must say Enrile is best at playing it cool, stating simply that he has packed his bags and is ready to be arrested anytime.

But that’s what Revilla said, too, but look at the zarzuela he, his family and supporters staged, promising never to leave each other’s side. The gentleman(?) from Cavite even wore a t-shirt bearing a biblical saying, as if wearing words from scripture automatically absolves him of the crime he’s accused of.


* * *

Given the dramatics that attended Revilla’s arrest and detention, I wonder how much more “pa-victim” antics his coaccused will resort to. Although, we must note, that humbler personages named in the charge sheets surrendered to authorities without too much fanfare and media coverage. And to think they are mostly subordinates and employees of the three senators or else bureaucrats tempted by easy money to take shortcuts and play fast and loose with the people’s money.

Is Ma’am Jenny, Janet Napoles to everyone else, taking notes? Having exhausted such ploys like a sudden illness, hospitalization, a threatened tell-all, and spreading a wide net of culpability that she hoped would faze her accusers—perhaps she’s taking acting lessons to bolster her sympathy factor.

Is it too much to ask for at least a little dignity for everyone facing charges and detention because of this scandal? We already get our fill of melodrama from local TV, we don’t need any more “pa-victims” in our newscasts as well.

* * *

There’s been a plethora of “eat-all-you-can” buffets in hotels and stand-alone establishments that have opened recently. While many customers flocking to these places go there more for quantity rather than quality, there are a number searching for a more satisfying taste experience even as they seek to stuff themselves.

After all, given the prices some of these places charge, there shouldn’t be any distinction (or contradiction) between the number and amount of food available and its taste and flavor, not to mention quality, nutrition and safety.


Well, there’s one place in the Metro where both ends are met. This is “Food Club,” a stand-alone establishment that seats 500, located at the Bluebay Walk on Macapagal Avenue, fast becoming a foodie destination. Food Club serves dishes in all their amazing variety, covering cuisine as varied as Asian (Filipino, Japanese, Chinese, Singaporean, Indian, Vietnamese, Thai, Malaysian and even Mongolian); a Western kitchen that features dishes from Europe, and North and South America, including pasta and pizza stations and a carving station; as well as a separate dessert section; a cold section of salads, appetizers, and cold cuts; and a separate counter for breads and cheeses.

There is as well a beverage station, with sommeliers offering wines they have in storage, as well as sodas, local beer and fresh fruit shakes, as well as coffee and tea—served from a trolley with a samovar and a selection of teas from Sri Lanka.

Our group visited Food Club on a Tuesday evening, and to our surprise found the place fairly full. There was no special public occasion or holiday, but while we were there, we noticed three tables hosting birthday feasts, with the wait staff enthusiastically serenading the celebrators.

* * *

Having arrived ahead of the others, my companions and I immediately “attacked” the appetizer station, filling our plates with sushi, sashimi, cold cuts (meltingly soft slices of jamon Serrano and roast duck) and shellfish like oysters and mussels.

We decided to pause and wait for the others to arrive before proceeding with our food journey. Among our more outstanding pickings: roast beef, ramen rich with a variety of seafood, outstanding Chinese chorizo, grilled and oven-baked tuna, a palate-cleansing bowl of chilled soba and broth. We saw folks lining up for Filipino classics like sinigang, while we waited patiently for our pizzas—which can be customized—to make it from the oven to our tables.

Perhaps part of Food Club’s success is the attention given to clients by its service staff—from waiters and chefs to food service managers, some of whom, when we asked about their backgrounds, had served aboard cruise ships before deciding their sea faring days were over. We were even introduced to a Chinese chef whose last stint was in a Hong Kong restaurant.

By the time we finally felt ready for dessert, we were flummoxed choosing among the offerings: sorbets and ice cream, cakes and pastries, halo-halo, native kakanin, fresh fruits and even candies and jelly beans which young customers spent a long time studying and perusing.

For the month of June, Food Club offers clients as much as a 40-percent discount (for a group of at least 12, cash only) which may explain the number of family groups and birthday celebrations we encountered.

So, while there are buffets and buffets, there’s one place where you need not set aside your taste buds in favor of your appetite—or gluttony. At Food Club, you can satisfy your gut as much as you want, while treating your palate well.

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TAGS: At Large, opinion, pork barrel scam, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Rina Jimenez-David
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