Manila, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles) – Kim Henares will go down in history as the most enterprising commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the Philippines’ tax agency.
She has been in the limelight for her personal crusade to collect taxes from the earnings of world Filipino boxing champ Manny Pacquiao. But she is not focusing only on the rich and famous. She has issued new policies taxing cigarettes and ultimately the cigarette vendors, as well as small business people who make a living by selling used items at flea markets and other short-time street festivals like the Christmas night market.
Now, in the boldest move yet in her career as the taxwoman, Henares has announced that all street food vendors will now be required to pay taxes and to issue official receipts for every sale. These include vendors of balut (boiled duck embryo), taho (sweet tofu snack), mani (roasted peanuts), barbecue pork, chicken, and other favorites like pig ears, chicken feet, and pork blood – more popularly known in the Philippines as walkman, adidas and betamax, respectively.
Balut and taho vendors will feel the brunt of the new regulations because in addition to the sales tax, they will be charged an additional 5% travel tax. Unlike other street vendors who set up stationary stalls along Metro Manila sidewalks, balut and taho vendors are constantly on their feet, moving from one neighborhood to another to sell their goods.
Puerto Princesa, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles) – The Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea is among the disputed territories between China and the neighboring countries. Both the Philippines and China have laid claim to the shoal, where a Philippine navy vessel, the BRB Sierra Madre, has been grounded for months now.
Since its grounding, the Philippine military has been standing guard and protecting the vessel, replenishing both troops and supplies, despite several attempts by the Chinese Coast Guard to block the Philippine operations.
Yesterday, as part of its supply replenishment, a Philippine Navy plane airdropped several packages of food supply for the Filipino navymen currently stationed at the grounded vessel. The packages consisted of the popular chicken joy from Jollibee.
Upon learning of the special airdrop, both McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) cried foul and accused the Philippine military of unfair business practice. “We have been at a great disadvantage, because the chicken joy airdrop gave Jollibee free advertising,” officials of McDonald’s and KFC claimed. ” We could have provided complimentary chicken McNuggets and original KFC chicken for the troops,” they added.
McDonald’s and KFC are filing a joint formal complaint against the Philippine military before the Department of Trade.
The rivaly between McDonald’s and Jollibee in the Philippines is no secret in the business circuit.
Daly City, California (The Adobo Chronicles) – Filipino restaurants in the U.S. and Canada are experiencing a rare phenomenon never before seen since the introduction of Philippine cuisine to the Western world.
From 5-star restaurants in New York, Chicago and California to fast food stalls in American malls across the country, Filipino restaurant owners have reported an unusually high demand in just the last week of two items on their menu: lumpia and adobo. Many of them have run out of the food items despite conscious efforts to double their daily preparation and cooking.
This sudden surge in the demand for lumpia and adobo came soon after U.S. President Barack Obama delivered his speech at a state dinner in the Philippines last week . Obama was in Manila on the last leg of his tour of Asian nations. During that speech, Obama lauded Cris Comerford, a Filipino who has been working at the White House since 1995.
“There’s our shared pride in the millions of Filipino Americans who contribute to our nation every single day,” said Obama. “There’s one in particular I’m grateful for — Cris Comerford, our executive chef at the White House,” he added. Obama then proceeded to say that he and his family in the White House “enjoy the occasional lumpia and adobo.”
Comerford is the first woman and first person from an ethnic minority to become a White House executive chef.
It looks like the prediction of Andrew Zimmern, host of “Bizarre Foods” on the Travel Channel is finally coming to fruition. Sometime last year, Zimmern said that Filipino food “is going to be the next big thing.”
When asked by reporters if The Adobo Chronicles is on the list of what he reads on a regular basis, Obama simply winked his eye and said, “No comment.”