18 Aug2009

So now new details of the real “extravagant meals” of the Presidential party on their recent trip to the U.S. dribbles out. It must be hard to keep up a unified fib when there are so many involved and the meals were taken in such high profile and public restaurants… Now it’s FOUR controversial meals! And members of congress and others who dined are the ones who confirmed the meals occurred. First there was the dinner on July 30, Thursday at Bobby Van’s in Washington DC for 60-65 persons reportedly paid for by a large woman but which Congressman Suarez claimed he ultimately paid for. Then there was apparently a dinner at Le Cirque in New York for 20-30 people on July 31, 2009 Friday, paid for by Congressman Romualdez or his brother, depending on which report you read. Then on August 2 Sunday, after mass at St. Patrick’s, some of the Presidential party had lunch at Wolfgang’s on Park Avenue (reportedly confirmed by Ms. Villarosa according to television reports), with as yet unidentified person picking up the tab. Then again, another anniversary dinner on August 2, Sunday for roughly 40 persons (according to Congressman Mandanas) at Bouley in New York that lasted from 8pm to roughly 12 midnight. I have not heard any reports as to who paid the bill at Bouley.

NO WONDER THE CONGRESSMEN/WOMEN’S post trip stories were so confused, it’s because there apparently were SO MANY different dinners, and not everybody attended every lunch or dinner. Tsk. Tsk. Listen, I don’t have a problem with people eating and eating well. But when you are elected or appointed government officials of a third world country with tremendous poverty, and are travelling to a foreign land to meet their President, (but it was NOT A STATE VISIT where the host country would take care of accomodations and meals) then it is SIMPLY INSENSITIVE, INAPPROPRIATE and SERIOUSLY POOR JUDGMENT, in my humble opinion, to spend such reportedly lavish amounts on meals. And almost laughably, in the post trip analysis, all of these folks treated to meals are all complaining that the food wasn’t particularly good, that the service often sucked, that the meals were just plain and simple. What a joke! They were invited by whom, it wasn’t clear to all of them, it wasn’t clear who hosted and paid for dinner, and because they didn’t know, are we to believe they didn’t even know who to thank for the dinner? And after they get home, they complain about the quality of the restaurants and meals? What a bloody big joke. If I were the owners of Bouley and Le Cirque, I would give copies of the restaurant bills to the press since they are being bashed for having such substandard food. Absurd. Oh, and yes, in all fairness, I should mention that our government has decided to cancel/postpone their planned purchase of a PHP1 billion plus Presidential jet and will supposedly divert the earmarked funds to anti-poverty projects. Duh.

For a great running post (constantly updated) on the matter, please read Manolo Quezon’s post, Le Circus Freak, here.

Related Posts:

GMA’s $20,000 Dinner at Le Cirque in New York?!? – 8 August 2009
Do The Math – 10 August 2009
GMA & Party Enjoy $15000 Dinner at Bobby Van’s in Washington, DC?!? – 12 August 2009



  1. chinachix says:

    amazing how easy it is to spend money that does not belong to you. imagine what $15,000 or PhP 1B can do to buy books, feed hungry schoolchildren, or increase schoolteachers pay so they can just put their energies in teaching, and not sell longganisa to make ends meet while their top superiors thoughtlessly gorge on luxury meals…

    Aug 18, 2009 | 6:45 pm


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  3. kitongzki says:

    Oh well, the people in the government are really insensitive and they no longer have delicadeza. I’d slit my throat if I hear or learn another expensive dinner by those pxxxx.

    I just want them all out of the office…

    Aug 18, 2009 | 6:51 pm

  4. Marichu says:

    @chinachix, I once read a report on DepEd (cited from pcij.org) and the whole palangis system. A P20 million “budget” for books would actually end up a paltry P1 million due to langis palad from everyone, top bosses down to secretaries. Tsk tsk. I think even if that P1 billion were “budgeted” for books, the kids will still end up with a measly P1 million. And have you seen the quality of those books? I could print out better qualities from my home printer. Sad.

    Aug 18, 2009 | 7:00 pm

  5. millet says:

    the columnist de Quiros said everything i wanted to say about the whole mess: http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/columns/view/20090817-220654/May-araw-din-kayo

    Aug 18, 2009 | 8:49 pm

  6. sanojmd says:

    millet: i read that article too from my fave columnist conrado de quiros.. he said it all..ang galing..!

    Aug 18, 2009 | 8:53 pm

  7. Marketman says:

    millet, I agree, another reader sent it to me yesterday and while I struggled with the Filipino, I really think I understood everything that was written!

    Aug 18, 2009 | 8:57 pm

  8. edee says:

    read that de quiros article too, express my sentiments exactly……grrrrr…..kaya nga minadali namin ang re-acquisition ng aming filipino citizenship para maka-register to vote …..to overseas filipino voters till 31st aug na lang ang registration for OAV (overseas absentee voting)…..

    Aug 18, 2009 | 9:34 pm

  9. James says:

    Reading that people were complaining about the food … wow. At the restaurants in question, I find it very difficult to believe that there were so many bad plates.

    Also, one of the people was complaining that the plates were changed between courses? Please, what’s this … some lame attempt at trying to sound like having a multi-course meal is BAD?

    Clumsy, at best.

    Aug 18, 2009 | 9:54 pm

  10. marcial bonifacio says:

    thank you MM for not letting go of this issue until it comes to light who paid what, how and WHY? it is very much clear now to us SAMBAYANANG FILIPINO that not only these Government Officials who partake in this issue are professional liars, but also very INSENSITIVE.. i think everybody knows, JUDAS not pay.

    Aug 18, 2009 | 9:59 pm

  11. Vanessa says:

    Diverted into anti-poverty efforts instead? Puh-lease! They would have totally gone for the jet if the public did not discover the lavish meals.

    I echo what you wrote, Marketman, that eating well itself is not a problem. I’d love to try one of these restaurants at some point in my lifetime! But I definitely will not do so as a public servant on an official trip. It’s called delicadeza, apparently more a prized commodity than caviar.

    Aug 18, 2009 | 10:15 pm

  12. zaN says:

    The trip was planned to EXTRAVAGANTLY celebrate the wedding anniversary in the U.S. and NOT really a state visit.

    My suggestion regarding how to treat these kind of people still stands, NUKE ’em!

    Aug 18, 2009 | 10:29 pm

  13. joyce says:

    i am praying for their comeuppance.

    Aug 18, 2009 | 10:37 pm

  14. Charlotte says:

    Have you heard of this very awful rumor…. To divert the public’s outrage on these outrageous dinners, the military people loyal to “Gloria in Dedecus” staged the Mindanao ambush, with the lost lives of underpaid soldiers as collateral damage kuno. When I heard this, I had to go to the bathroom and retch!!! Mr De Quiroz, please please let us start our version of the civil disobedience ala Feb 1986… This is really getting creepy…

    Aug 18, 2009 | 11:39 pm

  15. mommy says:

    wish an audit on how the various embassies spend for the houses and limo of our various ambassadors also be made. From past travels, i’ve noticed they’ve been living a luxurious life, as if they’re not representing a third world country.

    Aug 19, 2009 | 12:00 am

  16. Tricia says:

    Hmp, kung sino sino tinuturo nagbayad, si FG lang yan!

    Aug 19, 2009 | 12:09 am

  17. Carl B. says:

    Ang KAPAL talaga niyang si Congressman Suarez. May budget para i-libre ng hapunan ang Presidente habang ang distrito niya sa Quezon, patuloy na nakalugmok sa kahirapan.

    Konting delikadesa naman!

    Aug 19, 2009 | 1:04 am

  18. farida says:

    Very pathetic of what she did, I could cry for our country. It is just too bad I can’t get my citizenship til October pa. Have to fly to San Fran pa for that. We are not allowed to use the Phil Consulate in the Vancouver location anymore.

    Aug 19, 2009 | 1:20 am

  19. Maja says:

    So more or less 4 million was spent for the first couple’s anniversary dinner. In a third world country, such as ours that’s a lot of money na sana for classrooms or textbooks or poverty alleviation and feeding programs.

    Aug 19, 2009 | 1:27 am

  20. Tonito says:

    It sickened me to see these people receiving Holy Communion at the mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

    Aug 19, 2009 | 2:05 am

  21. baycas says:


    August 16, 2001

    “As I seek to provide food for every table. I need you to help me to pray so that I can do what is right, do my best and let God take care of the rest, in providing the jobs, the schooling, the homes and the food on every table.”

    November 30, 2001

    “…make food available at the table of our most depressed brethren.”

    January 28, 2002

    “Everyone must appreciate that our obligation to our people in the Philippines is to put food on the table for the hungry today and not merely promise a better life tomorrow.”

    February 21, 2004


    July 23, 2004

    “…our will and resolve to bring food to every table.”

    September 12, 2007

    “…the way to peace begins with providing a person a job, food on the table and human dignity.”

    April 8, 2008

    “Our near-term objective is to focus on putting food on the table for our people.”

    July 07, 2008

    “We are focusing on fighting for the average Filipino. Therefore, we are focused on putting food on the table.”

    October 17, 2008

    “Government is doing everything in its power to put food on the table…”

    July 30, 2009


    August 2009


    Dangan nga lang sa Amerika naganap…at sa mga piling iilan lamang!

    *please contact Le Cerge to fill in the missing dates and speech excerpts

    Aug 19, 2009 | 2:25 am

  22. ted says:

    Para kay Conrado deQuiros, mabuhay ka!!!

    Aug 19, 2009 | 3:38 am

  23. Thel says:

    Que barbaridad! Sa hell ang tuloy ng mga ganid na iyan.

    Aug 19, 2009 | 6:32 am

  24. chilli-hot-tamale says:

    Dear MM,

    I’m very curious to know IF- the said lavish dinner was done
    in manila or anywhere in the Philippines? Which restaurant will it be? and how much will it be per head?

    They probably be forgiven IF they spent all that money in the Philippines? Most australians last year and this year spent their vacations near home or within the country to help w/ Mr. Rudd’s stimulus plan to help raise our economy.

    Aug 19, 2009 | 6:44 am

  25. Marketman says:

    chli-hot-tamale, I would imagine a hotel restaurant or a top fine dining restaurant outside a hotel would be the venue in your “hypothetical” extravagant meal in Manila. I would have to guess that the maximum tab for food per person would be say PHP5,000-7,000 ($100-140) per head on average, but the wine COULD and WOULD be even more astronomical in price than New York. The priciest meal I have ever eaten and paid for in Manila was a roughly PHP5,000 per person Valentine’s meal for two in a hotel and I was in shock and NEVER EVER returned to that restaurant. I found out later that the same meal NOT ON VALENTINE’S DAY was less than HALF the cost. I don’t think we even consumed one 750ml bottle of wine at that dinner. That experience many years ago led to my annual “Anti-Valentine’s Dinners” at home for about a dozen friends. We eat and drink very well, for a fraction of the highway robbery prices in restaurants and hotels at that time of year! :)

    Aug 19, 2009 | 6:55 am

  26. chilli-hot-tamale says:

    Dear MM,

    I am very curious to know as of two weeks back- how many filipinos overseas living and working are now queing outside their consulates to claim back their rights “to vote” and HELP
    reclaim a best practice government????

    Are YOU overseas filipinos SENDING MONEY HOME to boost the economy in the Philippines??? CLAIM your right to vote OR
    BETTER- come HOME to PINAS and be the next PRESIDENT !

    Aug 19, 2009 | 6:57 am

  27. Marketman says:

    chilli-hot-tamale, yes, absolutely, EVERYONE who is ELIGIBLE needs to REGISTER to vote. A lot of folks residing in the Philippines still have not registered. Please do so.

    Aug 19, 2009 | 6:58 am

  28. kakusina says:

    may araw din sila?
    kung kikilos tayong lahat, NGAYON NA.

    Aug 19, 2009 | 7:02 am

  29. franco reyes says:

    I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg. The president has gone on way too many trips during her term and this is the 1st time her meals have been scrutinized. When will the rest come out?
    This clip came from philstar earlier this morning:
    “P1.4 billion had been allocated for local and foreign trips of the Office of the President (OP) from 2001 to 2009 but the actual amount spent was close to P2.5 billion.”
    Go figure.

    Aug 19, 2009 | 8:23 am

  30. Cris Jose says:

    Akala ko ba when she became president she wanted to leave a legacy to the Filipino people… eh bakit ngayon why does she want to be remembered by the Filipino people in this manner?… tama nga ang kasabihan.. POWER CORRUPTS… ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABOSOLUTELY… and those who are as greedy for power and money are along for the ride…

    I wonder if I would still be able to witness in my lifetime the rennaisance of the Philippines… nakakaiyak!!!

    Aug 19, 2009 | 8:32 am

  31. bernadette says:

    at first, i was laughing at the shenanigans for these clowns in malacanang…now, I am just bristling. bristling. find myself cursing and clipping de Quiros’ column “may araw ka rin” for posterity’s sake. Your expose MM is enough for me, complete with the websites of the few of restos mentioned.
    The gall of these ignoramuses!…they think they can sourgrape all they want about the food and service so we sympathize with their “miseries”??? They really forget they’re the public servants of Juan de la Cruz!!!! Children here where I live usually go to school without breakfast. They learn to bully their other classmates (who are more taken cared of) to give up their own baons or filtch them!

    Aug 19, 2009 | 9:39 am

  32. buddy says:

    hindi ko nabasa ang column ni condrado de quiros..pero ito lang masasabi ko..ang pilipino kasi pag nasa marangyang lugar na punta..nakakalimot kung sino sila…nakakalimutan ang kahirapan..lalo na’t may dalang pera..typical Filipino character yun..yung mga kongresista na kasama ni GMA sino yun..balikan natin..sino ba ang nag lagay sa kanila sa posisyun..tayo yun..ang mga pangyayari sa politika IS A REFLECTION OF HOW WE PEOPLE VOTED..kung hindi binibenta at nabibili ang boto ng mahihirap na pilipino..walang ganitong pangyayari..ang kahirapan na natatamo ngayun nag maraming naghihirap na Pilipino ay kabayaran sa natanggap natin bawat piso tuwing eleksyon..Pilipino mag dusa!

    Aug 19, 2009 | 11:30 am

  33. terrey says:

    i have not done any voting for the last two presidential elections…so ive registered for the OFWs absentee voting this time. this way, im trying to do my part to make a difference pero sana nga lang, wla nang “hello garci”.

    Aug 19, 2009 | 11:43 am

  34. dragon says:

    I don’t think these people even deserve such respectable titles as congressman, senator or even government employee. Start calling them PUBLIC SERVANTS; they seemed to have forgotten…

    Aug 19, 2009 | 12:01 pm

  35. kitongzki says:

    MM, check out my friend’s post. I think she was able to get a hold of an article written by Conrado De Quiros. Solid article if you ask me… MAY ARAW DIN SILA!


    Aug 19, 2009 | 12:23 pm

  36. joel says:

    1. they spent beyond their means (1 BILLION)
    2. no self responsibility
    3. no transparency
    4. no leadership by example

    what more do you want from the people whom we voted for to run this country? get smart guys, next year, when the dust settles, i hope they all end up in jail. i know it’s a shot in the dark, but it’s my shot

    Aug 19, 2009 | 12:57 pm

  37. Lava Bien says:

    Si Gloriang Punggok na Magnananakaw, nalasing sa sarap ng salapi at kapangyarihan.
    Manhid, Magnananakaw.

    I pray that justice and the law of Karma pay you back 100 folds!

    Aug 19, 2009 | 2:22 pm

  38. Mangaranon says:

    The comment of GMA’s son that it is beneath the dignity of the Philippine president to eat at less expensive restaurants is appalling, much less stupid. Does he mean that those of us who eat at McDonald’s don’t have dignity? Give me a break. If it is your money and you are a private person, that’s fine. But if you represent people who cannot even eat, that is a crime!

    I don’t care who paid for the dinners; those monies were ill-gotten anyway.

    Aug 19, 2009 | 4:32 pm

  39. edel says:

    how can they spend thousands of $$$ on food? it makes me mad!!!

    this is off topic but — GMA’s Pulis Oyster receives P300 a month per person. i don’t know how one can live on a P300 budget but GMA et al can dine in a restaurant that costs $100-300/person.

    Aug 19, 2009 | 6:24 pm

  40. cheeseheadeatsushi says:

    Mikey Arroyo said, “Do you want your president to eat in McDonald’s or in some turo-turo? I think there is more dignity in having your president and her cabinet members and members of the lower house to eat(sic) in a decent restaurant…”

    Surprise. The answer is yes. Perhaps eating in a cheaper (but still decent) restaurant might make us believe, even for a nanosecond, that you have moderated the greed.

    Aug 19, 2009 | 8:57 pm

  41. cumin says:

    cheeseheadeatsushi, thanks for very timely remark re moderate the greed. Should bring out the tshirt again!

    Aug 19, 2009 | 9:15 pm

  42. edee says:

    bumanat ulit sa tagalog si de quiros :)http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/columns/view/20090820-221118/Teyktu

    Aug 20, 2009 | 4:36 am

  43. Cynthia says:

    Gloria Arroyo has just been named 44th most powerful woman in the world. I’m not sure of the criteria used to determine this, but it must be a great feeling to exercise power over the helpless, the poor, the starving and the apathetic.

    Aug 20, 2009 | 8:16 am

  44. bernadette says:

    what is this I read that Remonde or another blubberhead said that the trips of Gloria are ministerial in scope so are not part of the austerity program of the government??? Isn’t that a statement that is completely non sequitur (pardon if it is spelled wrongly)?!

    Aug 20, 2009 | 9:57 am

  45. meekerz says:

    I’m curious if GMA’s lunch at Sala (Locsin) today is as extravagant as her other meals….

    Aug 20, 2009 | 2:39 pm

  46. Marketman says:

    meekerz, hahaha. Now everyone will report in whenever she or her entourage is spotted eating out. I passed a large convoy in front of Sala today on my way to a birthday lunch and wondered what the hubbub was about… so that’s what it was. She’ll have trouble living down those meals abroad. The average price of a meal at sala without expensive wine would probably run P1,000-1,500 ($20-30) per head, with a softdrink…

    Aug 20, 2009 | 4:19 pm

  47. James says:

    If the President of the United States can eat simple hamburgers (Clinton at McDonald’s, Obama at a local gourmet burger joint) … then simpler meals are acceptable for PGMA.

    Acting with humility, consideration, and restraint is the sign of a superior person. These “leaders” are showing none-of-the-above.

    While I’m on the topic, why is it “Her Excellency”? Isn’t that normally reserved for royalty. Perhaps pinoy should start there and use something more reasonable as your President’s title.

    Aug 27, 2009 | 5:10 pm


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