Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Winner of Gold Medal, 2014 Monde International Selection, Paris.
Made from the purest nectar of young coconut flower. Multi-distilled and handcrafted
by people who have generation of experience from making "Lambanog".
Available at Duty-Free Philippines shops of Naia 1, 2 and 3, Clark, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod,
Dava airports. Executive Creative Director, Copywriter and Art Director: Roger Pe;
Project Director: Vira Arceo; Photographer: Raul Montifar

Saturday, December 26, 2015


by Roger Pe
Philippine Daily Inquirer
December 27, 2015 issue

His Madrid customers whom he first talked on the phone would think he was a typical Spanish businessman. On meeting face to face, they would be surprised to see a Filipino-looking guy speaking with a real Madrileno accent. His flair was unmistakeably Madrileno de Madriz with a “z”.

Francisco Reyes is a Filipino professional with 25 years of experience in finance, ICT (Information and Communication Technology), retail, consumer electronics and communications acquired from working in Madrid and the Netherlands.

His business perspective is global, his portfolio, like any expat you would see in European Economic Community circles. Though he grew up mostly in Spain, he never lost his Filipino work ethics: Patient, determined and hardworking.

Throughout his career, Reyes has always given his best to deliver what is expected, supported company strategies and led his team members to excel, not only in their jobs, but also in bringing some meaning to their lives.

When telecoms and the Internet were taking shape in year 2000, Reyes and his Spanish wife Teresa (they have three children, two boys and a girl), packed their bags and decided to leave Madrid’s corporate banking scene, their bread and butter for ten years.

In Amsterdam where they were offered lucrative jobs, the Reyeses worked for Cisco Systems, Nike, Alcatel/Lucent Technologies, Palo Alto and Huawei, multinational conglomerates with multi-billion USD in revenues and workforce of thousands around the globe.

Francisco travelled around several continents while in the Dutch capital, doing business and managing teams in different locations and time zones, in the process acquiring multi-lingual skills and knowing diverse cultural backgrounds.

His expert knowledge in complete supply chain management led him to launch his own company, focusing on providing business services to European startups interested to expand their growth in Southeast Asia, and vice versa.

“We provide business solutions to global companies, specializing in operations and supply chain,” Reyes says.

“My main role is to lead the complete “go-to-market strategy” of the company and to ensure that all the right products are delivered at the right place at the right time.”

East meets west, west meets east

A little background on how he landed in Europe.

While attending a grade school class in Lourdes School, Quezon City, Reyes found himself flying to an unknown place the next day. Little did he know, Spain would become his adopted country the moment he touched soil.

Francisco (second from right) with Spanish wife Teresa (left) daughter Sofia and sons Gabriel and Sergio.

In Madrid, his life would begin to change. Here was a young boy transported to a new school (International Montessori), with new friends, language, weather, everything.

Reyes learned the Spanish language easily and merged into the Spanish system naturally. From elementary to high school to university, the transition went smoothly.

“We were a typical immigrant family, my parents were working hard, giving their best smiles, and providing all their support for the kids to cope with being a minority in a country that was not ours,” he recalls.
He describes his mother as a visionary and adventurous who had to leave him, his father and three sisters when she was petitioned by their grandmother to the U.S. as immigrant in the late 60s.

As a journalist in America, her mother travelled extensively to Europe, arriving in Madrid in 1972, a period of the last years of Franco’s dictatorial government.

At that time, Madrid was exciting, vibrant but politically agitated. Her mother had the chance to be part of that era, seeing with her own eyes how Spain’s history was being written.

When she returned to the Philippines, martial law was also unfolding in the country. Having experienced the same in Madrid from an outgoing dictator, her mother took him to Madrid together with her younger sister.

Career in Madrid

Though Reyes worked early on, it was not requested of him to provide some economical support at home. It just dawned on him that he wanted to contribute something to the family by being independent.

He worked in houses, bars and restaurants cleaning windows, sold spring rolls (“Lumpia”), engaged in some small business selling t-shirts, went door-to-door delivering parcels and did secretarial jobs. From all these, he learned the value of hard-earned money by working hard.

His first official job was for an independent news agency back in 1984. Passionate about filmmaking, he, too, tried his hand on video editing, became a cameraman and post-production editor. He learned from scratch and at the same time completed mass communication in school. He attended Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona.

With daughter Sofia
Madrid’s corporate world would soon beckon. He would be directly involved in partner management, systems platforms, stock inventory among others. Companies he worked for consistently reached 98% customer satisfaction in annual surveys.

“My current job in Amsterdam offers me a lot of flexibility and the company I am providing my services at the moment is fiftythree.com, which developed the iPad pencil app and the stylus Pencil, an awesome multi-awarded product,” he proudly says.

Presently, he is doing significant progress in forming his own company, which he plans to launch at the start of year 2016. Having done market research, networking and talked to potential clients, he is very enthusiastic of his new endevour.

Proud being a Filipino
Reyes thinks Filipinos can excel anywhere else in the world because of their nature. “Filipinos develop quite uniquely by taking the best of the cultures they are exposed to,” he says.

He makes it a point to remind himself that regardless of one’s origin, culture or position in life, one must not lose his real self. “When you’re being yourself and doing no harm to others, people give you respect,” he says.

After 10 years in corporate banking, the Reyeses moved to Amsterdam
He considers building an extensive network of contacts as an achievement as well as learning to develop a consistent learning attitude towards challenges and uncertainties.

“The moment I am faced with walls that block my path, I am quick in rethinking my contingency plans and taking the next most appropriate steps. Using common sense and instincts has helped me break the walls. Always leave your door open, you’ll never know,” he says.

A positive person, he always sees the bright side of things. He describes himself as a dreamer and achiever. The family man in Reyes enjoys the company of friends and loves to cook for them.

He loves sports and prides finishing a full marathon in Amsterdam last October. When weather permits, he enjoys a simple motorbike ride. His motto in life: “Keep the engine running, hitting the highway, born to be alive. I can go slower, I can go faster, but I never quit”

With friends in Madrid
Filipino diaspora

Reyes says, Filipinos can become world citizens by being productive.

“When Filipinos started migrating to the US and many parts of the world, many of those who remained in the Philippines stayed idle knowing that they would be fully supported by their families overseas. I think, everyone has an obligation to contribute to his family and help provide a better future for the generations to come,” he says.

He thinks most Filipinos have the ultimate goal of going back home when they have earned enough. “In general, I believe Filipinos have strong survival instincts,” he adds.

What would make Filipinos become successful abroad? His advice: “Be proud of who you are. Do not forget your heritage. Never forget where you started, where you are now, and where you dream of being in the future.”

Is he ready to go back to the Philippines? I think the opportunities back home are appealing and challenging. “I want to contribute by sharing my knowledge and experience with our fellowman. I am pretty sure I can influence some Filipinos to step out and start new journeys.

Thursday, December 24, 2015


Tribute to my home province and Pia Wurztbach, Philippines' third Miss Universe.
Photo from Amanpulo Resort, Cuyo, Palawan

Thursday, December 17, 2015


November 28-30, 2015, spent the long weekend in Alfonso, Cavite, a quiet town just after scenic Tagaytay. I volunteered to do sketches in the beautiful home of interior designer Rene Orosa and Efren de Jose, an old-friend way back my McCann days. Here's Paul Perea, friend of the two, who was so delighted when he saw the finished artwork I did in about 20 minutes.
I gave this to Rene who texted me with a beautiful thank you message.
This was for  Rene's cousin Weena,
And last but not the least, for Efren.

A photo from Efren de Jose's collection, when McCann-Erickson celebrated its 25th year in the Philippines in 1987. I am on third row, waving.

Saturday, December 5, 2015


by Roger Pe
Philippine Daily Inquirer
December 6, 2015 issue

While waiting for the rehearsal to start, Susan Garcia, sister of Rene and Dennis Garcia of Hotdog fame, was in a frenzy, talking to some very important guests on her mobile phone. She needed to secure front row tickets for them.

At the rehearsal room, new Hotdog singer Miles Poblete was gliding through the lyrics of a song. With eyes closed, you can sense that she was feeling the mood, singing from within and giving it all.

To an ordinary listener, that would merit a 10. But Rene, lead guitarist and vocalist of the iconic band, would push her, coaxing her that she could outdo herself.

In those tiring rehearsals, it was tempting to drop an octave while singing passionately. There were possibilities, too, to make the repertoire perfect. Rene was there - to pivot everyone, to sing flawlessly and perform with oomph.

In a Makati recording studio where Garcia and his group were preparing for “Hotdog: 40 Years” concert, each song had to be rendered perfectly, every line must be delivered from the heartand not just being blurted out.

They were what you call the nuances of the song ordinary listeners do not “see”.
Under Garcia, one’s voice would go to an altitude spin. Would he tell you if a pause was necessary? Yes. Would he tell you, that to be able to sound like a nightingale, emotions and the right vocal tickle would make a difference? Absolutely.

The scene went on and on until perfection was reached. It was the same with the guys who were manning the bass guitar, drums, keyboards, percussions and alto sax.

Some may call it,the Garcia ‘Bandrobatics’. Here, your voice is maneuvered to roll and take vocal loops. Sideward and upside down, the texture of “Manila Sound” was like a plane designed to hold the audience spellbound.
“When you do a concert like this, you should aim for perfection,” Dennis Garcia, bass guitarist and principal auteur of all Hotdogs blockbuster songs, underscoring his musical standards.

“You need to uphold the Hotdog legacy that made generations of Filipinos from all walks of life “kilig”, he says.

Dennis, together with his younger brother Rene, past and present female vocalists and new generation of Hotdog artists, performed last December 3, 2015 at the PICC Plenary Hall to SRO crowds. The country’s current hottest band, “Up Dharma Down” was their special guest. Presidential candidate Grace Poe and Senator Bongbong Marcos were there to give them support.

The event celebrated Hotdog’s Ruby anniversary (40 years) in the entertainment world, with over 600 songs written over a span of four decades, several dozens of them turning into classics and became soundtrack of multiple generations.

The hit songs

It took Hotdog, the band that started it all, to bridge the big Philippine social divide with its romantic, true-to-life songs, gems that had a pack of wicked wallop.

They made Filipinos throw their colonial mentality away into the garbage bin. The band made Taglish cool, collegialas and boys from exclusive schools rocked and jammed with them in schools gigs.

When most local artists were copycats of foreign songs in the 70s, Hotdog was the game changer and was “orig”, proudly born in the Philippines.

The birth of "Manila Sound" was the dawning of a new era with most of Hotdog compositions achieving platinum status.

“Panaginip”,“Annie Batungbakal”, “Beh, Buti Nga”, “Bitin Sa 'Yo”, “Bongga Ka 'Day”, “Can't Forget You” (English love song with Zsa-Zsa Padilla) “Dying to Tell You”, “Ikaw Ang Miss Universe Ng Buhay Ko”, “Ikaw Pa Rin”, “Kasi Naman”, “Langit Na Naman”, “Manila”, “O, Lumapit Ka”, “Pers Lab”, “Pulang Kamatis”, “Sana Maganda/Guwapo Ako” and many more made the Philippine music industry flourish.

Many bands followed Hotdog’s footsteps but its trademark originality made it a cut above the rest.

Named Filipino artists like Gary Valenciano, Eraserheads, Side A, Parokya Ni Edgar, Acafellas, True Faith and several others paid tribute to Hotdog songs and did their own versions. Fil-British Singer Charlie Green even covered “Pers Lab”.

For its extraordinary contribution to Philippine music,  Hotdog received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Metropop Foundation in 2001 and was honored with the same award by the Awit Awards and Original PinoyMusic (OPM) in 2009 and 2010.

Philippine Daily Inquirer picked Hotdog as one of the 20 most important composers of the 20th century in year 2000. Previously, the National Press Club gave the band Best Performer Group Award in 1975.

On his Facebook timeline, Dennis said of the band’s “40 Years Concert”: “We did not do it for the money but to show our gratitude to a nation that has been enjoying and building memories around our lovingly crafted music for four decades.”

If plans push through, Hotdog’s “Manila”, the song,will be immortalized in all Philippine Airlines’ flights, a feel-good strategic move long overdue and could have been one of the best tourism advertising campaigns we never had.

Oftentimes used without permission and remuneration, “Manila” is a national anthem by default, for those returning to the Philippine capital or by millions of Filipinos scattered all over the world.

Pulse of the Filipino

“Hotdog knew how to speak the language of the audience, all the more with self-deprecating humor. “Ikaw Ang Miss Universe Ng Buhay Ko”, for example, was not only about pageant-crazy Filipinos but also a tribute to women regardless of social status, beauty queenor not,” says a loyal fan.

Two Hotdog songs were turned into movies “Bongga Ka, ‘Day” with Nora Aunor, Vilma Santos, Joseph Estrada, Fernando Poe Jr. and Boots Anson-Roa.

“Annie Batungbakal” also became a successful movie with Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos wanting to star in it. Aunor eventually got the plum role.

Hotdog was a breed apart. It didn’t just make albums, it did all-around performances in parties and was a permanent fixture in top-rating tv shows.

Ella Del Rosario, Ramon "Mon" Torralba, Tito Del Rosario, Lorrie Ilustre, Jess Garcia, Roy
Diaz de Rivera, Rene Enriquez, Odette Quesada,
Andy Caberte, ZsaZsa Padilla, Maso Diez, Gina Montes, Rita Trinidad, Nadia Moore, Elaine Evangelista, Joy Reyes were some of the illustrious members of the original Hotdog band.

Dennis takes pride in shouting to the world that God has been good to Hotdog for giving his band “the most talented and prettiest singers.”

Geting inspired

“Our songs have human insights and based on universal truths, love and affection and real emotions. We are just being as honest we can,” Dennis says.

When he writes a song, Dennis does not wait for the moon and the stars to shine. It just happens.

“I guess it’s just being as human like anyone else,” Dennis says who was an advertising copywriter and Creative Director who have penned many memorable San Miguel Beer taglines like “O, Anong Sarap”, “Isa Pa Nga”, and “Kahit Kailan, Kaibigan”.

The band has performed in all continents of the world (except Africa and South America), spreading Pinoy music that as original and true-to-life as “mga dyipning nagliliparan” (speeding jeepneys) and “tigyawat sa ilong” (pimple on the nose).

Just recently, Hotdog performed in London and plans are afoot to do more in Rome, Dubai and other parts of the world with large Filipino communities.

With history kind to the band, Rene, however, has one big lament: Filipino musicians (songwriters, drummers, guitarists, pianists, and other instrument players), the backbone of any concert, continue to take a back seat and being pushed as second-class citizens in the country. He wants to fight for them and he is referring to Filscap (Filipino Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers).

“Instead of enriching themselves, Filscap should care more about Filipino musicians and guide them. They shouldbe more transparent,” he says.

Rene is also one of the founders of “BandangPinoy”, an organization that helps aging musicians develop new skills and find work. “Most musicians at the peak of their careers do not save up for their future. When contracts are hard to come by, they find themselves at the losing end,” he says.

On question most people ask: “We came up with a name that has double meaning and we did it intentionally. I wanted a name that was “medyo bastos” (a bit kinky) for a bit of a recall,” Dennis says, who also did the lyrics of the band’sf irst album,“Unang Kagat".

Rene and Dennis would recall that they were given graveyard shifts at the recording studios because nobody would believe in them. Technicians were grouchy old men and would fall asleep waiting for them. When “Ikaw Ang Miss Universe Ng Buhay Ko” became a big hit, everyone chased them. The rest is rocking history.

Hotdog’s music is now archived in Philippine music history. It has carved a nameso rich and solid it cannot be erased from the books.

Past and current membersof the band who performed at the “40 Years Concert” were: Rene Garcia, Lead Guitarist, Lead Vocalist; Dennis Garcia, Bass Guitarist; Maso Diez, Gina Montes, Rita Trinidad, Joy Reyes, Elaine Evangelista and Miles Poblete, Vocalists; Lyen Belgera and Roy Pangilinan, Lead Singers; Lehi Rebosura, Drummer; Roy Sadicon, Second Lead Guitarist and Singer; Vitt Villavicencio and Junno de los Santos, Keyboards.