The economic downturn hasn’t persuaded everyone to pinch pennies. Philippines President Maria Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was at Le Cirque the other night with a large entourage enjoying the good life, even though the former comptroller of her country’s armed services, Carlos Garcia, was found guilty earlier this year of perjury and two of his sons were arrested in the US on bulk cash-smuggling charges. Macapagal-Arroyo ordered several bottles of very expensive wine, pushing the dinner tab up to ,000.

— Richard Johnson, “Eat and Drink”, New York Post, 7 August 2009

“What we had in New York was a simple, late night dinner because it was already late at night when we arrived there from Washington DC and, of course, we were all hungry,” (Press Secretary Cerge) Remonde said.

— Christian V. Esguerra, Christine Avendaño, and Norman Bordadora, “Palace: Just Simple Dinner”, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 10 August 2009

A fortune for a meal, and they say it was a simple dinner.
Never mind that they ruffled feathers for their profligacy
in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
In their behalf I beg your indulgence:
they were merely exercising a right denied
to the great multitudes of their countrymen –
the right to fill their stomachs
when hunger claws at their abdominal walls.
Never mind that the fortune they spent in a night
could easily feed legions in one sitting.
They were well within their rights
when they shelled out a fortune for a single meal.

Alexander Martin Remollino

Alexander Martin Remollino was's associate editor. He was a poet, essayist, and journalist. He also wrote some short fiction.

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