07 Nov2010

A New Dawn…

by Marketman

IMG_8464 copy

For the past six years, I have written the majority of posts on this blog on my small, nondescript, rather ugly fiberfill and laminate desk that was probably purchased for less than PHP1,500 at some discount office warehouse more than ten years ago. It is often cluttered, crowded but functional. I have a rollaway drawer cabinet that which conceals a shocking mess of papers, office supplies and miscellaneous items. Beside my desk is an industrial stainless shelf on which I store dozens of food reference books, cookbooks, magazines and files. All of this is located in a small home office in Manila. During my two-month “hiatus” or more accurately “slowdown,” I had vowed to decide whether or not to attempt to write a cookbook or food book of some sort. But first, I promised myself a proper desk/workspace. Psychologically, I suppose it was a bribe. If I finally got my act together with respect to a desk, then I could comfortably sit down and draft out a book. But there was a twist. I was going to get a new desk at the beach; spend long weekends in our kitchen there away from distractions to write, update, refine and test recipes…


For ten years I have looked at the same spot next to a window in the bedroom that was an ideal setting for desk. You sit facing the back of our modestly sized lot, staring onto the “rough” of a small golf course. The “rough” is planted with hardwood trees, many of them mahogany and narra, which we planted several years ago. This view should always remain green, without another house and only an occasional passing human in sight. It looks up a hill, and it is extremely calming.


I have searched for an appropriate desk on and off for years. But never quite found one that was the right size, nor design, and at a justifiable price. Finally, I decided to design or draw one up by myself and have it custom made. This is the result. I just installed the desk a couple of days ago, and the photo up top was taken at roughly 5:30 or so in the morning, as the first light made its appearance, a new dawn and my new desk. Now, I have no excuses. :) It really isn’t a desk; more like a few legs and supports in kamagong (one of my favorite hardwoods) that hold up a very substantial seven-foot long and half-inch thick glass top. I had the unvarnished frame made by roadside artisans on the way to Tagaytay and the glass was ordered from a shop in Nasugbu. I love the result. Very simple, not heavy and imposing, and provides a lot of room for my computer and assorted doodads.


And let’s talk about those “doodads”. Just like my collection of small leather goods, I have, over the years, acquired or saved various items that I thought might eventually make a “revolving” appearance on my mythical desk… They include boxes/containers of all sorts made from exotic woods (hardwoods, burlwood, juniper, etc.), gorgeous specimen shells from my mom’s collection, antique ceramics from my grandparents, and several pieces of crystal that were either gifts or purchases. I have a “crystal ball” on my desk, pen holders, paper weights, picture frames, a tray for personal items, etc. Specimen shells are an odd category of collectibles, as once “HIGHLY RARE” shells can quickly become rather common when new sources are found. When my mom was building her collection, she had some of the most sought after pieces including several beautiful conus gloria maris (yes, that’s what the Chinese restaurant is named after), golden cowries, and even a cyprea guttata. At the time, it was believed there were only a dozen or so equally unblemished specimens of the guttata around the world. Today, all of those shells are still beautiful, but they are worth 1/20th what she paid for them, because so many more “rare” shells have been found in the oceans around the globe. But the value doesn’t matter, it’s just nice to have something to remind you of your ancestors. So this is how my new desk looks now. I am sure the items on it will come and go, and it will never be perfect, but always a work in progress. So, YES, I am back and will continue blogging for now, albeit in a more sporadic manner. And YES, I will do a spirited attempt at drafting out a cookbook. And NO, I cannot promise you it will ever be published. But stick around and you will see that I will turn to all of you for your opinions, help, advice, tips, etc. to keep the momentum going. :)



  1. britelite says:

    Will be waiting for the cookbook MM…

    Nov 7, 2010 | 9:01 am


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  3. Rebecca says:

    Welcome back, MM. :)

    Nov 7, 2010 | 9:02 am

  4. Roland says:

    great days ahead brother – for both of us – i pray…

    Nov 7, 2010 | 9:07 am

  5. lee says:

    yes you will continue blogging. :)

    Nov 7, 2010 | 9:38 am

  6. Lydia P says:

    What a wonderful piece of news to start the week! If and when you do need your recipes kitchen tested, I would be more than happy to help with whatever equipment and skills your recipes may require. God speed, MM!

    Nov 7, 2010 | 9:49 am

  7. JE says:

    That’s a really wide desk. And the view sounds somewhat idyllic. No music during your writing spells?

    Nov 7, 2010 | 10:30 am

  8. betty q. says:

    MM….I offer my undying passion for food..be it cooking/baking and be one of your testers…with spoon and fork in hand just like Lee!

    Nov 7, 2010 | 10:55 am

  9. acmr says:

    Awesome news. I was wondering about this limbo we were in. Good to know you are “officially” back!

    Nov 7, 2010 | 10:55 am

  10. GayeN says:

    Welcome back MM! I love your new desk. ;)

    Nov 7, 2010 | 11:59 am

  11. chrisb says:

    I like your wallpaper of lechons roasting :) and I hope you do go ahead with the book!

    Nov 7, 2010 | 12:33 pm

  12. natie says:

    you have already unselfishly shared your inner thoughts with us, MM..we will be here for continued sharing.

    Nov 7, 2010 | 12:57 pm

  13. Joey in Dubai says:

    Oh my! Thank God you have decided to continue blogging—that’s one piece of awesome good news to start my week! (I’m in Dubai so our week starts on Sunday).

    Nov 7, 2010 | 1:23 pm

  14. bearhug0127 says:

    If ever you are in need of a taster (yes, taster….);D. and will we all be waiting for that book!

    Nov 7, 2010 | 4:23 pm

  15. eustressor says:

    welcome back MM! =)

    Nov 7, 2010 | 5:07 pm

  16. kerie says:

    Great to hear, welcome back.

    Nov 7, 2010 | 5:14 pm

  17. Norma says:

    Great new! It’s an early Xmas gift to your readers. Looking forward to your book.

    Nov 7, 2010 | 5:23 pm

  18. tna says:

    (giddy) YAY (giddy) =)

    Nov 7, 2010 | 5:24 pm

  19. J says:

    dear MM,
    i’m of filipino descent but i grew up overseas and i didn’t really have much on an interest in filipino cuisine beyond what was served at the dinner table. in my later teenage years i took an active interest in gastronomy and foodie shows and the like. along the way i discovered marketmanila and it’s taught me so much about filipino food and our heritage. this is just to thank you and wish you happiness and luck in all your subsequent endeavours.


    Nov 7, 2010 | 5:47 pm

  20. Carol Geron says:

    Dear MM – I wish you all the very best on your new adventure. Knowing your passion on food, I am sure it would be one worthy addition to Philippine cookbooks that will cater to the global market. Please do let us know what help we can give, in any way, in any form, as you write your cookbook. As we all know, life is short, so I am really glad you are doing what you have long wanted to do. You can count on my support and I am looking forward to attending your book launch, so I can buy an authographed copy !!!! :) :)

    Nov 7, 2010 | 5:51 pm

  21. krizteene says:

    MM, it’s nice to know that you’re back! I love the simple yet elegant look of your new desk and your “doodads” =) we’ll be sticking around for updates regarding your attempt in writing the cookbook. God bless!

    Nov 7, 2010 | 6:17 pm

  22. deirdregurl says:

    i love the title of your post—SOOO twilight ;) i’m glad you are rejuvenated and will blog some more. daghang salamat, MM!

    Nov 7, 2010 | 6:49 pm

  23. Helen says:

    Welcome back….Nice Table….I like the lamp. Where did you get it?

    Nov 7, 2010 | 8:02 pm

  24. joey says:

    Hooray! Looking forward to what you come up with next, whether it’s a cookbook or simply more blogging! :) Fabulous desk and arrangements by the way…it is really true that our surroundings do inspire us!

    Nov 7, 2010 | 8:13 pm

  25. Tanja Lumba says:

    hi, I love your desk. I too am in search of one for the house since I work from home. If it’s ok, may I know where in Tagaytay? Kamagong is such a beautiful wood. Hope all is well!


    Nov 7, 2010 | 8:18 pm

  26. anton says:

    We are happy that you are back, MM!

    Nov 7, 2010 | 8:42 pm

  27. marilen says:

    Thank you, how you treasure the memories of your Mom when you cradle the shells in your hands, the simple refreshing structure of your desk (I picture your pit stop at the highway furniture makers’ strip on the way to Tagaytay – ‘so, ganito ang dimensions na gusto co, kailan caya niyo matatapos, babalik aco dito sa friday, ha – maraming salamat’) thanks for a beautiful ‘read’ this Sunday morning. And thank you for not leaving us orphans!

    Nov 7, 2010 | 8:54 pm

  28. Gia Mayol says:

    :) :) :)

    Nov 7, 2010 | 9:04 pm

  29. millet says:

    yehey! best news to start the week! and might you be turning furniture designer, too, MM? that’s a mighty fine-looking tab le!

    Nov 7, 2010 | 9:06 pm

  30. linda says:

    MM,this is indeed great news! I’m so glad that you’re back!

    Nov 7, 2010 | 9:07 pm

  31. Melanie says:

    YAY!!!! The best news on my birthday month! Looking forward to many many more informative and entertaining posts,MM. To whom much is given, much is expected….for someone as generous as you, how could you leave us all waiting in vain? No way! Thanks a lot,MM!

    Nov 7, 2010 | 9:10 pm

  32. chreylle says:

    finally ur decided MM!!! tnx for coming back for good :D

    Nov 7, 2010 | 9:21 pm

  33. Divine G. says:

    Thank you very much….That is all I can say.

    Nov 7, 2010 | 9:22 pm

  34. chinky says:

    Good to know you are back!!! I hope you publish your cookbook or book about food!!!

    Nov 7, 2010 | 9:38 pm

  35. Lou says:


    Nov 7, 2010 | 9:42 pm

  36. odie says:

    I was holding my breath until the “YES, I am back”!! Thank you, thank you MM!!

    Nov 7, 2010 | 9:45 pm

  37. Buddy says:

    Nice desk, always dreamed of having a glass top work station facing a nice view.

    Nov 7, 2010 | 9:51 pm

  38. myra says:


    Nov 7, 2010 | 10:09 pm

  39. SD says:

    WB MM!

    Nov 7, 2010 | 10:10 pm

  40. chibi says:

    i have to give a thumbs up sign for the desk design! simple, elegant, and looks functional! hmm, my only caveat though is you using the chair shown in the photo. since you will be spending more time writing (and sitting) you might want to consider a more comfortable and ergonomically designed chair =) hehe, take it from someone suffering from frequent back pains due to prolonged sitting. Good luck with your book writing journey and thank you for deciding to “go on”!! cheers!

    Nov 7, 2010 | 10:46 pm

  41. joyce says:

    wohoo!! this is great news. looking forward to your new posts and the planned cookbook. i am a willing recipe tester. the desk is just lovely!

    Nov 7, 2010 | 11:16 pm

  42. maia says:

    yehey! looking forward to your new posts, and also the cookbook…:) thanks, MM. btw, simple and elegant desk you have there, and the “doodads” give it a personality.

    Nov 8, 2010 | 12:25 am

  43. mardie c",) says:

    finally! the words that I’ve been waiting to say……”welcome back MM”.

    Nov 8, 2010 | 12:45 am

  44. faye says:

    That’s a great decision!

    Nov 8, 2010 | 12:55 am

  45. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    okay…come over and help me with my home office.

    Nov 8, 2010 | 1:29 am

  46. akosistella says:

    what a handsome looking desk! well if the cookbook doesn’t work out, you have a great future as a furniture designer…joke! welcome back MM. looking forward to more blog posts. ;p

    Nov 8, 2010 | 1:29 am

  47. Gej says:

    Great news! You’ve got yourself a cheering squad.

    Exotic rug …

    Nov 8, 2010 | 6:58 am

  48. Betchay says:

    That’s really good news! We will all happily accompany you while you write that cookbook. Good luck! :)

    Is that an ostrich egg? and are those antique ceramic bowls? Nothing on display on your leather collection?

    Nice looking desk–double purpose.When you get tired of using it as a writing desk it will also pass as a buffet table in the dining room or a display side table in the foyer or sala! Good modern design. I like your glass top as it gives the idea of more space.

    Nov 8, 2010 | 7:53 am

  49. gli says:

    if you need people to taste test, we’re always here. :))

    Nov 8, 2010 | 8:21 am

  50. Bijin says:

    love your desk. the best thing is that you designed it with very fine wood! deciding not to varnish it makes it very shibui…simple, rustic, organic and elegant..just lovely!

    Nov 8, 2010 | 8:35 am

  51. mudra says:

    This is GREAT news, indeed MM! Welcome Back! Yey! =)

    Nov 8, 2010 | 9:05 am

  52. mbv says:

    big…THANK YOU!!!

    Nov 8, 2010 | 9:11 am

  53. Ley says:

    You have no idea how happy you have made all of us MM!

    Nov 8, 2010 | 9:19 am

  54. Lex says:

    I think you mean desk of particle board laminated office furniture rather than fiber fill (for pillows). Nice set up and very tasteful. Desk height a bit high for long term computer work though. Might be ergonometrically uncomfortable for the long term. Typing height should be 28-30 inches max :-)

    Nov 8, 2010 | 9:27 am

  55. madgwenny says:

    Woot-woot! ;p

    Nov 8, 2010 | 9:45 am

  56. james1 says:

    Gor for it MM! We are behind you all the way

    Nov 8, 2010 | 10:11 am

  57. Madeline says:

    I had been reading your blog for years. I will definitely be one of the first to buy your cookbook once its out on the market.
    Its nice seeing your workplace. Ergonomics are really important if you really are working the whole day to avoid back pains. Isnt it too hot in the room in the afternoon?

    Nov 8, 2010 | 10:16 am

  58. ge says:

    Yehey! Good news for all of us marketmanila readers. Thank you MM.

    Nov 8, 2010 | 10:22 am

  59. Marketman says:

    Lex, thanks, particle board it is. The desk is precisely 29 inches high. And since I am quite tall, it seems to be the right height for me, but I agree any lengthy typing is always bad for my back regardless of table or chair…

    Nov 8, 2010 | 10:22 am

  60. psychomom says:

    yipee!!! you are back to blogging!!!

    Nov 8, 2010 | 10:45 am

  61. cumin says:

    Salamat, MM. I would be quite bereft if you stopped blogging.

    Nov 8, 2010 | 11:25 am

  62. jigs says:

    Hay salamat, MM! Everything is right in the world again. :)

    Nov 8, 2010 | 12:46 pm

  63. sonny sj says:

    welcome back MM!

    Nov 8, 2010 | 2:15 pm

  64. gigie dela cruz says:

    Thanks po!

    Nov 8, 2010 | 2:17 pm

  65. Eileen Clement says:

    You’re new work station is classy and tastefully adorned ..bu then again, it doesn’t matter which desk you write on MM, as long as you write! Even when you said you’d be on sabbatical, I always visited your blog…. YIHEY guid, kay balik naman ka!
    I eagerly await your book… do you have a working title already?

    Nov 8, 2010 | 2:22 pm

  66. Sleepless in Seattle says:

    yesss!! So happy you are officially back!! Thanks.My bedside laptop will be used more often now to read MMblagosphere.

    Nov 8, 2010 | 2:42 pm

  67. faith says:

    Doing the happy Snoopy dance with this news ;p

    Nov 8, 2010 | 2:42 pm

  68. Susan says:

    Great taste! Can’t wait for the cookbook to join my others…and I’m willing to test recipes. But, yes, do get a more comfy chair.

    Nov 8, 2010 | 2:51 pm

  69. Lilbeth says:

    I hope you will make your cookbook available to us here in the US too! I’ve tried many of your recipes and I’ve been making them over and over again because they are delicious!

    Nov 8, 2010 | 3:22 pm

  70. MrsKookie says:

    This is an early Christmas gift – your confirmation that you will be “officially” blogging again :) Thanks MM! Rest assured that we will be here and if and when your cookbook comes out, it will stand proudly among my collection :)

    Nov 8, 2010 | 4:55 pm

  71. scramoodles says:

    More power to you MM! I wish we could buy it ahead and then receive signed copies. What say you MM? Can’t wait.

    Nov 8, 2010 | 5:22 pm

  72. Mom-Friday says:

    Good news to us readers that you’re as inspired as ever! Thanks to the desk? :))))
    We’ll be waiting for your book :)

    Nov 8, 2010 | 6:00 pm

  73. maria says:

    looking forward to that book. : ) just keep writing…just keep writing : )

    Nov 8, 2010 | 6:04 pm

  74. joy says:

    Whatever you want to write about, whenever , wherever…I will still open your blogsite everyday. Welcome back!

    Nov 8, 2010 | 6:16 pm

  75. mbw says:

    Thank you for sharing your workspace, MM! Like the rest, I am happy that you have once and for all, said that you are back blogging and!…coming up with that dream cookbook! Your blog is an all-time favorite and a precious cacophony of other experienced foodies so (my gosh!) a publisher would just be a breeze away!

    Nov 8, 2010 | 6:57 pm

  76. Rowi says:

    Welcome back, MM! Glad to know it was a short hiatus.
    Nice looking workstation (love your Ming bowls and the tiny jar and Ostrich egg) but you would not sit on that chair for long, I think. With your Macbook you could literally work any place just make sure you have one of those nice laptop pillows. How about a chaiselongue of the Le Corbusier kind in the room as an alternative when you get tired of the view from your desk? : )

    Nov 8, 2010 | 9:38 pm

  77. tonceq says:

    Yeeeeeeyyy!!! welcome back MM! it’s nice to see where the great ideas and awesome posts gets cooked up! I’ll always support your endeavors no matter which path you choose (book or no book)! a suggestion though, Sir Bond (aka Marketman) might like to include some of his gadgets (aka kitchen doodads) on his book? or maybe even some stories from your adventures on this blog! thanks again! :)

    Nov 8, 2010 | 11:23 pm

  78. Melissa says:

    Hooray!!! =)

    Nov 9, 2010 | 12:42 am

  79. Maddie says:


    Nov 9, 2010 | 7:25 am

  80. bubut says:

    i agree with chibi that you should get an ergo chair as you prepare for your book. thanks for being active again and more power!

    Nov 9, 2010 | 7:46 am

  81. cindz says:

    yey! you’re back MM! :)

    Nov 9, 2010 | 8:46 am

  82. Quillene says:

    May the kitchen gods and muses always be at your beck and call! :D

    Nov 9, 2010 | 9:32 am

  83. ysa says:

    wheeee!!!!!!! thank you MM for an early Christmas gift…. waiting eagerly for the book. :)

    Nov 9, 2010 | 10:39 am

  84. mary says:

    MM you are a gifted writer with a passion for good food. So pls. continue to share. The desk looks elegant, uncluttered, and ideal for writing. Thank you for promising your readers to continue to write.

    Nov 9, 2010 | 12:01 pm

  85. mary says:

    MM you are a gifted writer with a passion for good food. So pls. continue to share. The desk looks elegant, uncluttered, and ideal for writing.

    Nov 9, 2010 | 12:01 pm

  86. eden claire says:

    MM – don’t worry of becoming too famous on the streets! just have your alter ego do the promo for your book :) I’m not a fan of cooking, but definitely I’d buy your book – so please, please, go on and publish that masterpiece

    Nov 9, 2010 | 3:38 pm

  87. bluegirl says:

    I have been having a bad week… But reading this erases all the blues away. Yes!!!!! MM is back and will continue blogging!!!!! Great Great news!

    Nov 9, 2010 | 6:40 pm

  88. Maricar says:

    welcome back MM! thank god you will continue this blog……

    Nov 9, 2010 | 7:14 pm

  89. jhaz says:

    Thank you so much MM! I’m so happy that you are back, you inspire me a lot.
    God bless!

    Nov 10, 2010 | 1:43 am

  90. eej says:

    Nice to have you back! I guess that means I have to check in daily once again knowing that you’re back in the driver’s seat – new table and all.

    Nov 10, 2010 | 6:57 am

  91. sur says:

    having that tolomeo task light from italy is a good start

    Nov 10, 2010 | 7:36 am

  92. Grace says:


    Nov 10, 2010 | 1:27 pm

  93. QueenB says:

    Yehey! So happy to learn you’ll continue blogging! Looking forward to your future posts.

    Nov 11, 2010 | 8:35 am

  94. sophie says:

    am glad to hear that i will be reading a lot of your blog MM in the future even how sporadic it is as you said but still i would be happy to read and share it with friends and family. looking forward really for the cookbook :)

    Nov 11, 2010 | 11:59 pm

  95. Lannie says:

    Yey! Don’t care if you post only once in a while MM :) I, and I’m sure many others, look forward to your future posts and would-be cookbook. Count me in as one of the active ones filling out your survey!

    Nov 12, 2010 | 12:46 am

  96. Eileen says:

    Looking forward to your cookbook, MM! :)

    Nov 13, 2010 | 11:27 am


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