Mong Palatino

blogging about the philippine left and southeast asian politics since 2004


@mongster is a manila-based activist, former philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of asia-pacific affairs.

If a solon is not inside the plenary hall during session days, he/she could be…

a. absent (nasa district? nasa isang official trip? nagbabakasyon?)
b. late (dumarating ang marami after 5pm)
c. somewhere in batasan (inside the office entertaining guests and constituents, speaker’s office receiving or asking for official instructions, mitra hall participating in an extended committee hearing)
d. inside the members only lounge

The south wing lounge is an exclusive room for members of congress. It is a mysterious place. It functions as the ‘other plenary’ where legislative and political matters are discussed. This is also the room where lawmakers take their merienda or light dinner. There is also a smoking room and wash room inside the lounge.

My constituents are curious about the food we eat inside the lounge. Below is the list of food items we consumed in the past month:

December 15, 2009 Tuesday – pork barbecue, chicken barbecue, molo soup, puto binan, pansit guisado, fresh lumpia ubod, hamon, bibingka, spanish sardines, keso de bola, puto bumbong

January 18, 2010 Monday – pansit guisado, tuna panini sandwich, fried lumpia, chicken barbecue, pork barbecue, chicken and shrimp molo soup, assorted kakanin, buko pandan

January 19, 2010 Tuesday – roasted pumpkin and sweet potato soup, lasagna beef, bolognese sauce, chicken lollipop, potato chips, honey mustard sauce, tuna and cheese sandwich, herb garlic bread, ham and cheese sandwich, chocolate cake, fruit salad

January 20, 2010 Wednesday – pork siopao, pork siomai, chicken siopao, chicken siomai, westlake soup beef and tofu, chicken and mushroom efu noodles, lumpia sariwa, banana fritters, pichi-pichi

January 25, 2010 Monday – lugaw, ox tripes, bami guisado, vegetable ukoy, tokwa’t baboy, empanada, halo-halo, cheese rolls

January 26, 2010 Tuesday – frankfurt sausage, chili con carne, chicken sausage, fish and chips, chicken asparagus soup, spaghetti noodles, putanesca sauce, three mushroom sauce, blueberry cheesecake, mango crepes

January 27, 2010 Wednesday – beef brisket, chicken soup stock, seaweeds with century eggs, seafood rolls, lumpia shanghai chicken, tuna asado, lumpia shanghai pork, bacon asado, brazo de mercedes, almond with lychee

February 1, 2010 Monday – chicken macaroni soup, pancit malabon, pork chicharon, camaron calamares fritos, lumpiang bacolod, mini pandesal, spanish sardines, pork dinuguan, puto binan, suman pinipig, ginataang halo-halo, sago at gulaman.

February 2, 2010 Tuesday – cream of mushroom soup, pasta with bolognese pinoy style or roast vegetable and tuna, southern fried chicken, steamed buttered corn in cob, tacos with cheese tomato salsa, sour cream, beef, roast beef panini sandwich, cheese puff, banana coffee cake, sweetened banana

February 3, 2010 Wednesday – miso soup, chap chae, vegetable kakiage, grilled chicken teriyaki, japanese chicken siomai, sushi and maki, japanese pork siomai, caramel cake, avocado ice cream, vanilla ice cream

Everyday, there are fresh fruits (banana, pineapple, watermelon, papaya, manga) and mixed greens with italian, thousand island, or caesar dressing. Members can ask for coffee, tea, soda, bottled water, and red wine (even brandy). I think red wine is available only during the last few days before the end of regular sessions.

The normal procedure in the lounge: A lawmaker will select his/her preferred food items. Then the lawmaker will look for an unoccupied seat in the lounge. The food will be delivered by a waiter. Members also have the option to get the food directly from the food table. This allows us to eat in one sitting our desired food serving.

A special dinner is offered before Congress goes into recess (June, September, and December). A sample of the special menu: tuna or salmon sashimi, egg caviar salad, steak – medium rare, well-done with mashed potatoes, lechon, babyback ribs, maya-maya steamed fish, mixed slices of meat.

Lunch is provided by the speaker at the conference hall during the president’s annual state of the nation address. Sometimes, lawmakers celebrate their birthdays by contributing a few native delicacies in the lounge food table. During budget season, the lounge is open and lunch is available for members and special guests.

Since a perfect attendance is rarely achieved, what happens to the excess food? I believe it is distributed to Congress offices. Or in the case of kuripot lawmakers like me, I bring home some food items. After session is adjourned around 7:30-8pm, I always ask one of my staff members to accompany me in the lounge.

I thank the waiters, cooks, and helpers who provide us with excellent and gracious service inside the lounge. I hope to see them again on May 31 when Congress resumes session to canvass the presidential election results. I wish them well knowing that they don’t get paid when Congress is not convened.

Related articles:

Eating and Evat
Workers exist
Rice revolution

3 Responses to “The way we were. The way we eat.”

  1. Mon, I am not sure if you still remember me..But surely, I do remember and look up to you…Way back our collede days, we were classmates at PE- Philippine games. Classmate natin ung isa pang great achiever na nanalo sa battle of the brains a few months after nung ating PE semester and I think hes a lawyer na ngayon…

    You were urging me then to join your org and to take part and take action for a cause.. I did not join..bec I can’t..masyado kaming gipit at hirap sa buhay nung time na yun.. now, I am a Civil engineer still working, nagbabanat pa rin ng buto bilang isang manggagawa. But now I think I am more capable to contribute to our society and to those in need. Although I do not have enough for myself yet, alam ko na mas madami sa atin ang mas aping api at mas kalunos lunos ang kalagayan kaysa sa akin.

    Just send me an email on how I can be of service to you so that I can now finally start acting like a true ISKOLAR NG BAYAN.

    Salamat ng marami…

    Michael dela Cruz

  2. […] my first time to interpellate a colleague, my first privilege speech. I even blogged about the food we are eating inside the members only lounge: Last February 2, we were offered cream of mushroom […]

    Mong Palatino » Blog Archive » Reflections of an activist/blogger/legislator

  3. […] my first time to interpellate a colleague, my first privilege speech. I even blogged about the food we are eating inside the members only lounge: Last February 2, we were offered cream of mushroom […]

    Reflections of an Activist/Blogger/Legislator | Kabataan Partylist

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