Dying for a burger?

Heat Attack Grill waitresses

Heat Attack Grill waitresses

A woman in her 40s collapsed at the Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas recently while tucking into a monstrous Double Bypass burger, smoking cigarettes and drinking a margarita. She was found unconscious at the restaurant.

Two months before, a man at the same restaurant suffered a heart attack while dining on an 8,000 calorie Triple Bypass burger with 15 slices of bacon.

Restaurant owner ‘Doctor’ Jon Basso said they’d had a variety of incidents in the past at the hospital-themed burger joint in Las Vegas, but this man’s coronary was their first full-scale medical emergency.

The Triple Bypass Burger - all 8,00 calories of it

The Triple Bypass Burger – all 8,00 calories of it

“He was enjoying his meal when he began experiencing severe cardiac problems”, said Basso. He could hardly talk, and I’m not actually a medical doctor, so I called 911, and they took him to a real hospital. I hear he’s recuperating.”

But these unfortunate events have had little effect on the restaurant’s business – quite the opposite as the place is even more popular than ever as diners are drawn to the giant burgers.

At 10,000 calories, the restaurant’s Quadruple Bypass burger was crowned as the most caloric sandwich on Earth by the Guinness World Records.

Basso defends the provocative names of the high-calorie items on the menu. “Our declared intent is to serve nutritional pornography, like our Fatliner Fries cooked in lard, food so bad for you it’s shocking.

Heart Attack Grill owner Jon Basso

Heart Attack Grill owner Jon Basso

“Our waitresses dress as nurses, our customers are patients and their food order – or prescription – is written on a tag around their

wrists. If you weigh over 350 pounds (159kg), you can eat here for free.”

The restaurant has signs that read ‘This Establishment is Bad for Your health’.

“Unlike cigarettes, I have had warnings labels since day one when we opened in 2005 telling people how bad our food is for you,” Basso told reporters.” I think that skirts any liability we might have.”

The latest victim is recuperating.

Incidentally, last year the restaurant’s 575-pound (261kg), 29-year-old spokesman died.


Rotary Clubs Inductions Slated for July 18

Four local Rotary Clubs – Bacolod Marapara, Bacolod East, Bacolod West and Bacolod Central – will hold joint induction ceremonies for officers and directors and new members on Wednesday, July 18 for Rotary Year 2012/13 at L’Fisher Hotel at 7pm.

Guest of honor and keynote speaker Melito Salazar, Jr.

Guest of honor and keynote speaker Melito Salazar, Jr.

The theme for the new Rotary Year is ‘Peace through Service’.

The new Rotary Cub presidents are Michael Bantug – Bacolod Marapara, Miguel Sarabia – Bacolod East, Cosette Villaluz – Bacolod West and Roberto Aguillon – Bacolod Central.

Inducting officer will be Rotary District Governor Rafael Jocson.

Guest of honor and speaker will be noted Rotarian and editor-in-chief of the Philippines Rotary magazine Melito Salazar Jr.

Brickbats and bouquets

I used to use DHL/WWWExpress when I needed to get a letter or parcel somewhere in a hurry. Their service was efficient and friendly, but I got fed up with the usual long wait to be served. So I moved my business to Air 21 – they were slightly more expensive, but no waiting time and staff members were always helpful.

Last week I went to Air 21 to send a letter from Bacolod to Manila. Imagine my surprise to be told the price had shot up from P112 to P196 – that’s almost a 100 per cent jump.

Air 21 - highly-priced service, but at least with a smile

Air 21 – highly-priced service, but at least with a smile

I tried to contact Air 21 president, Bert Lina, to ask why such a huge increase, but no response. However, one of his minions emailed me saying:

“In our continuous efforts to serve you better we have updated our shipping rates to give you the same convenience and reliable service we provide. Rest assured that our rates are still competitive with the existing market industry shipping rate.”

I thought that was laughable. Competitive? Who do they think they are kidding? DHL/WWWExpress charges 97.75. LBC P100 and the humble PhilPost Express Pouch service is a modest P80.

As they all provide the same service, there is clearly no need to bother using Air 21 again.


I’ve been paying my PLDT bills religiously and promptly for the past 12 years. I’ve never missed a beat until recently when there was a mix up and I failed to make a payment.

If this happens in Hong Kong, Japan or England, the telephone company will send you a polite, but firm letter alerting you to a missed payment which must be made by such-and-such a date or the service will be suspended.

PLDT - no warning if you miss a payment

PLDT – no warning if you miss a payment

Alas, not with PLDT. They simply cut you off – just like that. No warning, no notice. Snip, snip. Rather brutal I thought.

This came at a bad time for me as I’m in the middle of a major project that requires constant calls to Manila.

At least I now know where I stand with PLDT. And I’m a long-time shareholder too. Something to raise at the next AGM perhaps.

But a bouquet to the PLDT employee who saw my predicament and, once I had paid the bill, had my service restored within 24 hours rather than the usual three to five days.

I can’t wait forever

Like most men, I loathe shopping. But I do the grocery shopping for the family because I can use my HSBC credit card and get points for free (well almost free) flights on PAL.

What amazes me is the time it can take to actually reach and then pay the cashier in local supermarkets.

Self checkouts are becoming very popular in some countries

Self checkouts are becoming very popular in some countries

When one shops in Hong Kong, Singapore or Australia — and even in some supermarkets in Manila –  the shops have conveyor belt counter tops to quickly move the purchases along to the cashier. But not here.

And overseas it usually only takes 5 to 30 seconds to pay by credit card.

But not here. In Bacolod, it can take five minutes or more. And when I hear the dreaded “for a while Sir” from the cashier, I know it’s time to take out a book or newspaper from my bag as there’ll be a long  wait.

In a recent survey among Filipino supermarket shoppers the biggest complaint was the time it takes to get to the cashier. Clearly, I’m not the only one who gets fed up with all the waiting.

I’ve often wondered why big international stores like Walmart or Tesco do not have branches in the Philippines. I believe it’s because foreigners are barred from owning and operating retail stores leaving the market wide open for a few local players. What a pity. If the big international stores were here, they’d certainly give the big local chains a run for their money.

But shopping in China can be worse

Chinese people in Lanzhou scrambling to buy salt. But shopping in China can be worse

If there was international competition, I’m sure consumers would be better off, prices would be lower and the selection of products much greater.

But, surely the big boys here make enough money to modernize their stores and employ more cashiers to make life easier for shoppers. Or maybe they don’t really care as they know we have little choice.

As for express lanes in supermarkets here – forget it. I was shopping last week and had one item so went to the basket lane. In front of me was a man and his wife doing their month’s shopping. I’m sure they knew this was the express lane, but chose to ignore it as it suited them to use that lane.

Shopping in a wet market is usually more fun

Shopping in a wet market is usually more fun

Never mind about other customers. Or maybe they spoke no English so did not understand the sign indicating this was an express lane.

Supermarket managers should train their staff to politely say no when some inconsiderate person tries to dump a month’s shopping in an express lane.

But there are bright spots. One store where it is relatively easy to get out of quickly is Lopue’s Mandalagan. The staff there are quick and efficient.

And shopping in a wet market is usually a more relaxed experience than in a supermarket. I’m a regular at Burgos Market. I rarely have to wait and the vendors are a friendly bunch – and one can even haggle.

Online shopping with home delivery is in its infancy, but I look forward to the day I can do my week’s shopping on a computer, pay online and then take the rest of the day off and go fishing.

Lakawon fisherman takes pump-boat title

Celebrity is off to a good start

Celebrity is off to a good start

Thousands of spectators watching this year’s Bangkarera pump boat races on Lakawon Island on Wednesday were treated to a day of exciting racing as 21 of these specially modified craft battled for top honors.

Spectators wee treated to a day of exciting racing

Spectators wee treated to a day of exciting racing

The races, and a jet ski exhibition, were a spacial feature of the 45th anniversary of Cadiz City’s Charter Day. Competitors, mostly fisherman, came from Lakawon Island and neighboring communities. Their lightweight boats can reach speeds of 70kph.

Overall champion Elpidio Temporada (2nd right) with his team mates. Looking on are Victor Puey and Cadiz City councilor Bamboo Puey

Overall champion Elpidio Temporada (2nd right) with his team mates. Looking on are Victor Puey and Cadiz City councilor Bamboo Puey

Overall champion was 18 year-old Lakawon fisherman Elpidio Temporada, who powered his team’s boat Celebrity past favorites Diablo and Galileo to take the champion’s trophy, a cash prize and a new Lonsen pump boat engine.

Among the media covering the event - British film maker Hazel Stuart and ABS-CBN's Rushty Ramos and Jay Jalandoni

Among the media covering the event – British film maker Hazel Stuart and ABS-CBN’s Rushty Ramos and Jay Jalandoni

The Lakawon Bangkarera is the island’s biggest annual boating event. It’s organized in conjunction with Victor Puey, director of the Lakawon Island Beach Resort.

A Marcos by any other name

Most Filipinos are surprised when they hear there’s a legendary English sports car marque called Marcos. No, it’s nothing to do with the late Filipino president – the name is a combination of the first three letters of founders Jem Marsh and Frank Costin.

A 1961 Marcos Gullwing

They founded the company in 1959 in Luton, north of London. Their first cars drew on Costin’s aviation experience and were remarkable in their use of wood laminates for the monocoque body/chassis unit. Lightweight and good streamlining gave outstanding performance from the relatively modest 1 liter and 1.5 liter Ford engines they used.

A notable early customer was future F1 World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart, who gained his first racing experience in a Marcos.

The company designed and produced elegant, innovative and distinctive sports cars that were ahead of their time. Today they are treasured by their many fans and owners around the world.

The first real Marcos classic was the The Marcos GT 1800 launched with considerable acclaim in 1964 at the London Racing Car show. With its stylish lines and sleek looks, it soon became a much-sought after car. Later models, powered by Ford V6 and Volvo 3 litre straight 6 engines, achieved speeds in excess of 120mph (195kph).

A year later the company launched the Mini Marcos. This was sold as a kit car and used Mini subframes as an affordable GT sports car.  Although not a great success as a road car it earned its spurs and reputation on the track and was the only British car to finish the 1966 Le Mans 24 hour race in France.

Production of the mini Marcos continued until 1975. The question was often asked “is this the ugliest car in the world or the GT wonder for the masses?”

After poor sales of a new model, the Mantis, and a badly managed move to expensive new premises plus problems with the importer in the US, the company collapsed in1971.

1998 Mantis with the first production Concorde at Brooklands Museum  Weybridge, England

1998 Mantis with the first production Concorde at Brooklands Museum Weybridge, England

Jem Marsh continued in business by establishing a spares and service facility for existing Marcos owners. but  in 1981, the company was back in business making cars. Marsh soon launched the Marcos Mantula with a top speed of around 140mph (226kph).

New models followed, but despite some notable competitive victories and universal acclaim for the new cars, especially for the 170mph (280kph) Mantis LM series and the 200mph (322kph) Marcos Mantaray, the company became insolvent in 2002.

Canadian entrepreneur Tony Stelliga moved in and tried to save the company and a new model, the TSO, was produced, but is was too late. The company went into voluntary liquidation in 2007.

A sad end for a unique marque that has become a legend among British sports cars.