Friday, May 29, 2009

Last Blog for the month... Promise

Before I really really officially close this month's blog, I just remembered that my mom will be celebrating her birthday tomorrow. Oops, it's already 12:02 am in my clock, so that means...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOTHER!



On my way to work this morning, my dad told me how upset he was for the past few days that we have not been seeing each other in the house. We don't eat dinners together (we seldom do), but much worse than that literally we don't see each other. Period. I go to work late and come home pretty late as well that I don't get to see my parents, my brother or sister. Harvey seems to be the only one "consistent" day in and day out in my life, except when I'm traveling of course.

My dad asked me of my plans for my mom's birthday. Sometimes I think he doesn't really know me because technically, I'm the wrong person to ask. I would always say that a cake and a party would be nice, but those are way out of their interests. He wanted to treat my mom to a grand family dinner. He asked me to research and block the date when I quickly reminded him that I'll be leaving for Camiguin on my
mom's birthday. He was about to rant, when he remembered for his own sake that I clearly told him this trip a month ago. To make things sweeter, I told him my mom doesn't mind at all. She gave me her blessings. In fact, she doesn't care because she doesn't like celebrating birthdays too much due to obvious age defying reasons.

So mother, Happy Birthday and yes, I promise to bring you luscious Lanzones from Camiguin.



***

Moving along, I really have to say this, I'm sorry. I'm tired of this issue as well but...

I didn't realize that the Halili-Kho case will undergo a PUBLIC hear
ing in Senate today until I called up my friend Khae to discuss an impending travel plan and she told me to shush up because she cannot hear Hayden Kho's speech.

Unbelievable.

First of all, intimate and sensitive topics like this deserve a proper heari
ng, a hearing that is secluded from immature and sensational perceptions of the media. True, that the people involved are "public" figures, but what good would detailed information on how "Hayden Kho assured me he loves me...." kind of drama do to the general public?

Second, a woman, who if ever was scorned and exploited, wouldn't be in her right mind to opt for a public hearing. Wouldn't she be, in a way, exploiti
ng herself again? Unless of course, she's trying to create some noise and soak up all the public sympathy.

Third, come on...a Senate Hearing on this??! Surely the subject at hand is a grave and moral concern for the whole country. But how come I'm feeling that it sounds and looks like a circus and a stage play for wannabe politicians and actors alike? I could see the "over" sincerity and in-depth concern of the chosen Senators in this hearing, but aren't there any more important issues to deal with that deserve more s
erious attention like Swine Flu virus actions perhaps? How come the world just stops over this sex video? And how come the once "low profile and performance" senators have begun to voluntarily man the ship with passion at this time and at this particular case? The issue at hand is about exploitation and degradation of a human being's life. I'm sure proper punishment and laws should be enforced, but I do not approve of the method they are using and most certainly I do not appreciate this as Philippines' only glaring and national concern. Countries with the likes of Paris Hilton, Pamela Anderson Lee, who have their own sex videos to boot, maybe think that we are too cheesy.

Also, didn't it ever occur to us that Hayden's life is destroyed already? He said it himself, he tried to commit suicide and that was when the situation was not as bad as now. I'm not his fan, hell, I want him to pay for what he did the hard way, but sometimes we become immature ourselves. Soaking him with water, in front of the senators, was funny, but highly immature. How long can Hayden last with all this mocking and degradation? Frankly, I don't want to know.

***

Enough of this. It's time for me to sleep. Technically I have less than 2 hours already since I'm blogging past my intended bed time. So, I would have to officially end my May blogging with this post. By the time I get back, I'm sure I have more stories to tell and hopefully it wouldn't be about Hayden Kho and Katrina Halili.


Oh, by the way, due to Cebu Pacific's seat sale, guess what I have in store for the month of July.


I will be officially going for another vacation with Khae and his cousin in Roxas City Capiz, my father's hometown. I've been here since I was a kid, but unlike Cebu, I don't go there every year unlike before when my sister and I had to choose. If we were to spend Christmas in Cebu, we were expected to spend summer in Roxas. That was the rule. But when the rule melted we started imposing our own decisions. My father, I know even if he doesn't show it, thinks we favor Cebu over Roxas. He would always ask us if we would want to come with him whenever he goes to his hometown, but we would always find valid reasons to decline.

Unlike Cebu, that is widely developed and urbanized, Roxas is still what you would describe as provincial. They have sufficient towns, baranggays and facilities, but this is not the place to go if you want to party or do something highly urbanized like what you do in Manila. The entertainment there is cheap and simple. Going to a beach in Baybayon, visiting cathedrals, go bangus fishing and driving are just the top activities to do there. Simple and provincial, but I love this city. In a way, my childhood wouldn't be complete without Roxas. Nothing beats the SEAFOOD capital in the Philippines. Where can you get a plump scallop for 5 pesos each, fresh and big bangus and oysters dirt cheap? They do not call this seafood capital for nothing, folks. Whenever I go there, it would be definite that I'd crave for a Hamburger in McDo as soon as I get back in Manila. It's like "Cebu is to Lechon as Seafood is to Roxas." I do know my yin and yang in food.
Anyways, I miss this place. I miss my dad's home and I miss the feel of this city. Another VACA-y to look forward to.

The wonderful pictures were taken by great photographers who captured the beautiful side of Roxas sans the aswang.

Find the pictures' links below:

http://lh5.ggpht.com/bleuken02/SLq4_H0KhMI/AAAAAAAAAO4/lnwiuYiVzW8/s800/roxas-city-capiz-baybay.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2109/2321416580_9e6131d2c3.jpg




Thursday, May 28, 2009

Last Blog for The week, for May and for Summer

This would be my last blog of sorts.

I would be flying to Cagayan De Oro tomorrow morning via Cebu Pacific airlines at exactly 4:40 am. This vacation is of exploring Camiguin and CDO is one year in the making. Any longer our anticipation would've gone stale.

I've accomplished the horrendous task of packing, making lists and picking the perfect book for the trip that I don't think 2 hours of sleep would be sufficient with all the lined up activities packed for tomorrow. My uncle reminded us that we would be traveling to his aunt's house via motorcycle, not a tricycle and not a pedicab, but motorcycle. He also reminded us that we would have to trek a good 30 minutes or so to get to the famed Tuasan Falls. Multiply that by two then add the Soda Pool visit for a finale.

Aside from my uncle reminding me the activities for tomorrow, I was touched that Mitch reminded me to pack a good book. He diligently computed the travel time from the itinerary I made and he wanted me to feel comfortable throughout the whole trip. Which technically means that he has already made preparations for himself that is downloading 8 full movies in his IPOD video that would make me technically "alone" for the whole trip.

What can I say, but I am very excited for tomorrow. Wrong word. I'm anxious. I'm anxious to check in, have my first step in Mindanao soil and pray that a storm won't welcome us there. I just wish simple things to push through to finally fulfill this year long anticipated vacation. Come to think of it, this would be my last post until I come home by Tuesday of next week. A last blog of sorts indeed, and I'm excited to start the new June-Blogs to kick off the wonderful experiences that Camiguin and CDO have prepared for us.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Texting Etiquette


Evvajean Mintz’s husband, Richard, a partner in a Boston law firm, arrives at the table with his BlackBerry clipped to his belt. “If there’s one second of spare time, and if you look away from him and lose eye contact, he immediately whips it out and starts looking at it,” she said. “I suggested I’d throw it out the window.”(Time)






I find texting while eating most of the times rude. It also goes the same for conversing with someone. But I'm not implying that I don't do it (if needed). But normally if I'm not catching up on a pertinent information through text, I don't do it.

Simply put there are places that I observe texting manners.

I. DATES

On a date, it's proper courtesy to engage more in conversation and keep cellphones in vibrate mode. You can never put your best foot forward when you converse and then stop to look at your phone and text. It's pathetic and more annoying if you try to do it secretly when your body movements give you away. This could be adjusted of course based on your profession. But even so, a simple courtesy of asking permission to text or answer would do, explaining that it is important. This certain excuse is only quite applicable to a few. If you're working for a top security agency or an on-call doctor. The rest just varies on the gravity of the text subject.

I joined a double date once and my good friend, a girl, kept texting in front of us. The guys, which included her date, didn't mind because the mood was casual and they can talk about stuff not limiting the conversation with us girls. But I was there itching to tell her to stop texting every five minutes. Hers was not a passing text, it was chronic. It was like she was reporting the developments to a bunch of people every five minutes. She might be very popular and outgoing, but her fingers were non-stop. His date at some point maybe turned a blind a eye and thanked the heavens he was with other people. But in fairness to my girl friend, she was paying attention. She could multi-task, but still, the act is kind of strange. I guess the first date of massive texting didn't matter because they're still happily together.

If it were to happen to me and my dead would text like crazy, I would drop a sarcastic note and bring out my laptop instead. At least with my laptop, I could do multiple things like blog, chat and update my facebook account. In dates, especially intimate ones, it's always proper not to text and divide your attention. Aside from giving off a bad impression, you could risk losing the man and woman of your dreams.

II. DINNER TABLE

This doesn't apply to me. My family condones texting while eating, as long as it's not chronic. Minimal texting is fine. This is where my parents aren't strict because they sometimes do it as well. We're not the type of family that are into deep conversations while eating anyways. We eat, we share a line or two then we go. It's even rare if we eat together. Even though that's the case, I do not text during dinner. It's not because I would be distracting my family members. It is because texting distracts me from food.

III. MOVIES

I'm sorry, I don't initiate texting while watching a movie. I always put my phone in vibration mode. When I'm expecting a text from my parents or my ride, that is the time I would peek and choose to reply or not. But if I'm into deep with the movie, I wouldn't lift my phone the entire duration. I get annoyed sometimes if Mitch would suddenly text in the middle of the movie. I would always peek at his direction and take note of the parts in the movie he missed. If an important scene is coming up, I would catch his attention and remind him to watch.

IV. DRIVING

I don't text and drive. If I have someone with me, I would let him or her read the text and reply if it's that important. This is not an etiquette thing, it's car safety 101.

V. CHURCH

Texting here is a no-no. This is where my parents would draw the line. It would be embarrassing to text in a holy place while the mass is going on. You could feel heated eyes burn your back. If an important call or text is expected, it is with utmost courtesy to leave the church before answering the text and calls.

VI. FORMAL EVENTS

There are certain events that require your attention full time. Meetings, parties, ocular inspections and consultations make texting look rude. It seems you are disrespecting the entity of the activity. The prime example of this is in any given classroom. The teacher finds the rieght to confiscate cellphones if some students are not paying attention by texting. It seems the student is not taking the class, which the teacher prepared seriously. Office meetings when someone is talking in front might be disrespected when he or she sees someone texting, missing out on most important information. Even disrespectful to the designers in basic fashion shows when full attention should be focused on the collection. Especially if you find yourselves in the front row, in a privileged seat, it is expected to display courtesy and respect to the designer by paying attention to his or her clothes. There's nothing more annoying than to feel unimportant and useless.

In the end, texting no matter how brilliantly it connects people could as easily destroy ambiance and relationships. Texting etiquette varies on a particular time, situation and place. One should always consider the feeling of the person or institution you would be disrespecting. Texting rules is a no-brainer. Just think of yourself in other people's shoes to know when's the best time to text or not. Then when all points are considered and the situation allows or demands you to text then fire away.

Pix Source:
http://images.teamsugar.com/files/upl2/0/88/08_2009/0ccd9507329afa79_HiltonsTexting.jpg

Vacation 101: Last Summer Getaway

My last summer getaway was planned more than a year ago. I was still working for a research company then and had the opportunity to work with Carlo, kegler747.blogspot.com, a most trusted, informative travel guru as I call him. I would get dazzled at his monthly trips and wait for him to tell us all about his new experiences. He is the epitome of a traveler. He researches, checks hotels, works around the budget, goes to tourist and not so tourist spots, takes beautiful pictures and engages with people. He could live his life traveling and he's good with it. With all his experience, he is also knowledgeable on travel rules and tips we really don't pay attention to. He's also following the progress of the travel industries and share his opinions in his blog. He could perfectly work for a travel magazine, be your personal travel organizer, analyst for an airline company or a high-class travel agency.

June of last year, I caught a travel bug. My last year summer vacation was so short that I was looking for more. Just in time, I found out that he was looking at Cebu Pacific flights for his next adventure. It was then that I had the sense to consult with him. I told him that I wanted to go somewhere very relaxing, nature-inspired and budget friendly, preferably a place I've never been to before. He paused for a few seconds and mentioned CAMIGUIN. My face immediately lit up.

But of course. I've been hearing about Camiguin for quite some time and most of it are good reviews. It is a small island at the tip of Mindanao that showcases a clean provincial life with lots of scenery, springs, beach and volcanoes. Carlo insisted that it is a place I should visit at least once in my entire life. He told me he was more relaxed in Camiguin than in any part of the country. He visits there regularly because the scenes are relaxing, there are tons of springs to choose from, the white beach is very nice and compared to Boracay-living, Camiguin is very cheap. Except for the night life and mainstream restaurants, Camiguin has more mystery and character than any other island. He even mentioned that it's one of the photographer's heavens.

With all the build up, I quickly googled the place and was captured indeed by the images. I quickly called Mitch to confirm if he wanted to explore the island with me and he obliged... after I built it up of course. I went to the Cebu Pacific website and Carlo assisted me to get some really cheap round trip tickets for two. With patience, I got two round trip tickets to Cagayan De Oro for around 4,500 pesos. Not bad considering that I had picked better travel time. We scheduled it for October of 2008 as Carlo suggested.

Unfortunately before we were able to reach October, a corporate dysfunction was upon us. Our start up client in New York got bankrupt and was forced to liquidate its assets. By around June we were advised that we would be properly and generously compensated and would add another extra month to secure ourselves another job. I for one didn't suffer from any emotional outbreak. Both Carlo and I knew that we were just having fun with work and it was not something we took seriously. Research is like air to us, there wasn't something new that could hold us back and cry over the retrenchment. In fact, we welcomed it because of the compensation. For the first time in my ever professional life, I experienced a company shut down. We know what happened from there. After a few months or so, just like a domino effect, America went on recession.

By around July we were already cashing in our last paycheck before I moved on to a new corporate home of mine. But then again I still have something to look forward to, but Mitch had a once in a lifetime opportunity to go with is uncle, the master photographer, to Kota Kinabalu Malaysia to shoot the Shangri-la Resort. It was an all expense paid trip. How could anyone beat that opportunity? Although it is exactly on the same weekend as our Camiguin trip. It was a no-brainer. He had to go to Malaysia first. So, we re-booked the Camiguin trip to late summer of 2009, which would actually materialize two days from now. Good things come to those who wait.

This vacation is one year in the making and you could just understand how much excited I am to finally see Cagayan De Oro and Camiguin. Without any hindrances at bay, I called up Carlo and he helped me organize my trip. Thank god for him he was able to give me a reliable contact where we could stay for a very cheap price with all the amenities that we require. The place is air-conditioned, with own private shower, cable TV and a paluto-service. It is across a popular resort and restaurant with round trip boat rental fares and multi-cab fares. Since Carlo helped me with the itinerary, he called up his contact and was able to secure us very discounted rates in all services and rentals. Not to mention, I was sharing this with my uncle yesterday in Facebook when he insisted that I go to his aunt's house in Camiguin. Both of us hailing from Cebu, I didn't realize that he has relatives in Camiguin. So, he organized a scheduled lunch for us at his relatives' house and organized a trip for us at the soda pools and falls. Everything seems to be falling into place. I am overly excited.

Majority of our trip, we would stay in Camiguin allowing only an overnight stay in Cagayan De Oro. As much as I want to do white water rafting and all the extreme water sports Cagayan is known for, I don't think I could do it alone. My companion is not willing. So we have to maximize what we could see and do for this trip...on budget of course.

I've researched all the stops, made budgetary notes that I'm sure Mitch wouldn't read, printed travel schedules and list of places to visit. The only things left for me to do are to shop for toiletries, medicine and pack my stuff. I've also researched the weather forecast last night due to thunder and heavy rains that are making me nervous. As long as it won't develop into a storm, we're fine with it. For the past two trips that I had, we had rain. Gosh, let this be my rain-free trip, please. I'll remember to pray and offer eggs because I'd really hate to miss these:





*Famed White Island with Mt. Hibok-Hibok backdrop



**Ardent Springs (one of the few springs in Camiguin)




**Tuasan Falls



**Sunken Cemetery

These are just few of the places we'll visit. Clearly, anyone would understand my anticipation. Soon, I would have my own pictures to post.



Pix Source:
gallivanttours.com
www.pbase.com
www.nasipitsite.com
www.lakbaypilipinas.com
upload.wikimedia.org

Blogcatalog: An unwanted reminder

Apparently I can't sleep. After reading a chapter or two I found out the wifi is still on. An automatic reflex told me to blog. So here I am, blogging at almost 2 am in the morning and I still have to go to work in a few hours or so. I thought I might as well make the lull times productive.

To kill time productively, I intended to manage some posts in this blog, posts that have never progressed from being mere drafts. Some entries were done out of emotional rampage that seemed too destructive to read. Others are simply unfinished due to time constraints or arrival of sleep. Other posts are not worth posting at all.

After sifting through about 40 drafts, I curiously clicked on the blog catalog and browsed at bloggers who happen to read my site. There are some clearly regulars, while others were obviously merely passing by. Unfortunately the list goes on and on until it shows this particular profile of a "blogger" that I once had to deal with last year at around this time due to personal reasons. To find that particular "blogger's" profile stored in my blogcatalog database, at almost the same time she "came" into my life, is a bit eerie.

It is eerie because life reminds me exactly what transpired a year ago and forces to tie it up to where I am right now. I honestly felt that it was ages ago. It made me realize that I was almost at the same time of the month last year that I unraveled something that I had to deal with for the midyear. It was a horrible experience, but it was worth it. What really ticks me is that of all the memories and point of comparisons that I had to go through, destiny picked this particular cold spot. But since it's already ignited and I'm literally starting to blog about it I might as well do it nicely.

At almost the same time of last year, 2008, a challenging year of sorts, I was at Starbucks with my boyfriend and his friend happily making my last blog for the month. Due to technical difficulties, I was able to tinker around and saw unfortunate threads of conversation not meant for me to read. It involved an unknown girl and my significant other. I felt cold water was splashed all over my body. I was shocked. From a happy camper, a threat came plaguing my horizon.

I did the normal confrontation, but instincts took the best of me. I did what I do best. I researched and gathered information patiently and painstakingly. I chanced upon her online profile. She is a blogger, a graduate of Ateneo and ironically a psychology graduate. From phone number, to aspirations, to residence number the information was presented to me. At the end, I found out all I needed to know about this girl, what she represents in my relationship, and what she will ever be to me.

I tried to be patient and and make things less complicated despite the fact that it was she who messed up my sublime existence. There were lots of factors and people involved. One crucial move was all I need to make things right. Then it came to a point that I had to fight back and put her and some people in their right places. From last week of May 2008 to July 2008, I felt like I was eternally cleaning my backyard. I was on a rollercoaster ride. While juggling my work, I suffered from psychological and emotional stress. I felt my castle was on the verge of collapsing because of the malevolence this girl generated. She decided to ruin a part of my life and I would never let that happen. She messed up with the wrong person and life punished her in return.

To cut the story short, I put her into her proper place and forced her to retreat. It was not even a full effort on my part. Karma did her share. Like the Hayden-Kho scandal, an anonymous blog erupted in the blogosphere disclosing her nasty reputation of a homewrecker and a liar. Basing it on my own perspective, I could not agree on it more. As far as I'm concerned, it is a particular scandal on a minor level on a medium she once used against me. Karma is so sweet.

After a few months of regaining normalcy, I did learn a few things that I would carry on as long as I live. I learned lessons the hard way and as far as emotional trials are concerned, it was the worse so far. It took me a few weeks to recover and be my normal self. The remaining months I've gotten back on track and programmed my mind to disassociate anything that might lead me to the girl and the situation. I did all of that brilliantly.

It came to the point that she became a comedic relief for me even. At first, my boyfriend and I would comfortably make fun of the situation, but now it's stale news. Whoever cares about her is definitely not going to be me of all people. So literally I repressed her in my memory and forgot all about her existence. Then this blog catalog list appears.

There I saw her profile pic clearly indicating she read and viewed my blog. I clicked the link and discovered a deserted blog site of hers. How peculiar, I shouldn't be there wasting my time in the first place. How bizarre but I would actually feel flattered that she is reading my blog instead, but then again I do not want to attract the wrong types of persons. I do have some standards. When past is indeed past, it only takes a funny reminder to know that you've healed but recognize that the the memories are still intact. Thanks to blogcatalog I was able to compare previous year's muddle to this year's glory. Talk about a major improvement. Talk about being productive.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I got to Shake it off

There are couple of things I want to shake off.

First, my past weekend was plagued by the Hayden Kho scandals that people were talking about like how they talk about the weather. We echo how immoral Kho is, this and that. But was he the one who distributed the video while his thing kept "dangling" in front of the screen? I don't think so. Was he the only one engaging in premarital sex and having collections upon collections of sex videos? I guess not. I think we are sucked into one big hype of black hole. After talking about it for more than a day, it leaves an acid taste in your mouth. But this is what sells in the media, and this is what we get and casually talk about. From primetime news to showbiz news everyone has a special on Hayden Kho.


Whoever released the videos is a grand hunt, but after almost the whole nation saw it, I guess catching the guy would just punish him for his act. Unless the "victims" of this immoral distribution demand millions as payment for moral damages, then acceptable justice over tarnished reputations will never be fully satisfied.

Naturally as I watched the news last night certain developments were revealed. It seems that the ex-friend of Hayden Kho released the videos, allegedly with an indirect help from Vicki Belo, out of revenge because the celebrity doctor had an affair with his girlfriend. Another common friend of theirs, who was a businessman was the one who allegedly got the files from Hayden Kho's hard disk and sold it for 2 million pesos.

As expected all parties denied the allegations except for Hayden Kho of course who is left all alone with the knowledge that his face and his sexual prowess are being watched and made fun of nationwide. While experts are trying to figure out who distributed the videos, Hayden Kho seems trapped and exposed with no one to blame. Not to mention, the mother of the accused, the senator and countless leads are now defending their stands leaving Kho in the middle of the squabble.

Is this how adults deal in the real world? Exposing people's video tapes to get back at them? A Professional as noble as a doctor getting his license revoked to appease the crowd because of his 'private' now 'publicly exposed' immoralities are condemned. People engaging in extra-affairs until the shit hits the fan?


******


Second, the supposed to be one of the most respected entities in the legal system, is having an inner squabble of their own. Geez, talk about privilege bashing. It's very humiliating to hear that senators use that time to get back at their personal grievance and insights on another senator calling each other hypocrites and cowards. They are supposed to be fighting for laws and creating one, not using the senate as an open forum of feelings and sorts. No matter what they say that the speech was official, it tainted objectivity and hindered what needed to be done. Whenever they clash, the most important issues simply evaporate making way for a "juicier" collision. It robs everyone of good and productive spirits. In the end, the senate session was adjourned after the clash and certain amendments were postponed due to the unnecessary fireworks. What did they achieve? Nothing.

Our high school debate and speech formats are more civilized than this.


****

Third, I'm excited for my upcoming trip to the beautiful island Camiguin. My last set of vacation to officially close summer. This would be my first ever trip to Mindanao and I'm very excited to see nature and another festive city of Cagayan De Oro. I cannot wait. I have to shake off the excitement for the mean time and focus on my work just for three more days! More imporant things first than figuring out what clothes to bring.

Space Shuttle over Edge Coaster

I do not shy away from roller coasters. It is supposed to be the best ride in any theme park. The suspension in mid-air and the racing adrenalin make me want to scream and laugh at the same time. The feeling is euphoric especially if you need to let go of something emotional. After every ride, I would feel refreshed while all the unused nerves effectively tinkered.

But we're lacking it in this country. Whenever I think of Space Shuttle in Enchanted Kingdom, I want to to cry out of pity. Don't they ever change it, even the angles? It's been like that forever. I remember in grade school I rode that. In our soiree in first year high school I rode that. In my third year bonding with friends, I rode that. Even in college when I found myself there, I would ride it five times straight forcing myself to get excited. Pathetic.

That's why when I heard about the edgecoaster ride in Cebu that was recently put up, I immediately found a reason to go home. Good enough, my cousins were also excited. Apparently, no one encouraged them to try to it. When we got there and paid a hefty sum for only one round in the edge coaster, I felt the ride was predictable.




Unlike any normal roller coasters, this is not fast moving one. It's a snail coaster that aims for everyone to appreciate the view of downtown Cebu literally at the edge of the building. There is a lever for the passenger to control if they want to torture themselves and tilt the car enough to view the drop in 90 degrees angle. Sounds fairly easy, right?

The car is for two and initially I was paired with the most daredevil one. I rode with my equally daredevil cousin Den and I let her control the lever. At the back of my mind, one of my concerns was that the ride would bore me. By the time we reached the first corner, the car automatically tilted giving us a mild angle. After passing the first corner, the lever was ours to control. Apparently, my cousin put the car in an extreme angle and it was then that I knew it was not the ride for me.

Give me rollercoasters anytime, edgecoaster is a different monster. There is something freaky about being tilted in an extreme angle while your whole body is being sucked up by gravity enduring the entire vision of the possibility of a drop. In rollercoasters, fear is not "nursed" because of the refreshing adrenalin caused by fast movement. It would devoid mind of thoughts as the senses are given more importance. In the Edgecoaster ride it is quite the opposite. It gives passengers more time to think as mind is not preoccupied by movements. In fact, the mind is preoccupied with visions that are healthy ingredients for imagination that might lead to paranoia that will lead to fear. In short, I got scared.

Probably this is the first time I ever got scared in an extreme ride. It was also not a happy one for me. Edgecoaster wasn't relaxing and refreshing at all especially if you are with someone who wanted to tilt the car. I could appreciate the ride if the car was steady and not tilted. The views were majestic, but if it is slowly tilted and is to remain like that, it gives my mind more time to nurse fear and unnecessary imagination. That is something that I do not need.




It was an experience. But I'm not thinking of doing it again. I'd rather ride Space Shuttle than this.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Angels and Demons: Best to read it

Good thing I was able to read the book to fully appreciate Angels and Demons or else I would've just forgotten the movie was exciting to begin with. The movie, for me, to put it gently...sucks. It was overly compressed with details twisted due to time constraints without the much-needed refinement. It is a murder mystery with great amounts of history and code breaking involved. It is one hard movie concept, but the much needed details and revelations will not come from text book explanations that are delivered in such a rehearsed manner that the element of suspense is evaporated into thin air.

Reading the book, I can vividly remember the feeling of amazement everytime the main characters figure out one Altar in the Path of Illumination. Reading it makes my mind appreciate the revelation because I got to think myself and appreciate developments. In the movie, there was none. You would never feel the A-HA moment and the thrill of the chase in every lucky guess. Before one could "sift through" the mediocre explanations on how they were able to figure things out, they are already on the second leg. They are running, cursing in Italian, entering churches, that at some point as a viewer, you wouldn't know why they are doing that in the first place. If I have read the book and got stoned at some point, well I pity those who didn't read it because as far as they're concerned, they're watching a celebrity Amazing Race with no visible plots and mental challenges.

Horrible. My first movie after the "hiatus" was a bad choice. If only I had known I would've watched Night at the Museum 2, which by the way also received poor reviews compared to its first installment. What's wrong with the sequels of our blockbuster movies? Is this some kind of trend?

I can't wait for Transformers II though, but at this point, it's best not to expect too much.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

All Guilty

After this weekend's over, I bet almost everyone in the country (who has means of course), in secret or out in the open, has already watched the Hayden Kho scandals. And by scandals, I mean many. Those who have not watched the videos, either by choice or not, are just satisfied with feed backs for the meantime. From broad sheets, to tabloids, to dining conversations, to tete-a-tete with friends, cramped in your office elvators, this weekend is all about the Hayden Kho.

I admit I was curious. I thought the scandal people were referring to was the ridiculous "Careless Whisper" dance video that had just as easily killed Hayden Kho's umm...manly reputation. Him with the full emote singing just made me want to puke. Disgusting, what's so "sex-y" about that except that he's trying hard to sing a Wham song in briefs? But according to revelations I heard at the office, the sex videos were indeed "sex" videos of different girls, one of them turned out to be with Katrina Halili. To be honest, I wasn't surprised if Katrina Halili admitted she was the one in the video with Hayden Kho. The reason for them being together seemed too obvious anyways. And my curiosity was doubly ignited because I heard the Modess Commercial Girl, Maricar Reyes, also had a video with the professional pervert.

By friday, almost everyone in my office was talking about it. The scandal was a topic in elevator conversations and in long lines in the canteen. Dining out with my boyfriend and his brother, we talked about the scandal and the person's different opinions as if it's a matter of great political and economic subject in the country. It was on broadsheet headlines. I was even amazed that both of them have already downloaded and seen the entire "collection," whereas I had to settle with other people's feedbacks. As soon as I got home, I turned on my computer and downloaded the scandal to personally see it with my own two eyes. I was skeptical of course. While downloading, I heard my mom and my aunt talking about how much they wanted to rip Hayden Kho's balls off and how my mom wanted to tear down Katrina Halili's Bench billboard. My aunt, being the more updated, even voiced out her immense pity on the pretty Modess model. To have heard them speak so strongly about the issue, I willingly endured the endless minutes of download until finally I got to watch it.

As expected, the videos were disgusting and pitiful. Disgusting because the mere fact that the act was filmed; and pitiful because clearly the women didn't know they were being filmed. How much lashing Hayden Kho would receive from women all over the world will never be my concern. Katrina Halili, despite bravery and stupidity, could've easily denied her resemblance in the video. Whereas for the Brazilian Model and the doctor-actress-wannabe who used to be fantasized as the girl you'd like to bring home to your mom, had their faces visibly displayed on screen...boobs and all. That is something that could drive anyone crazy angry.

As to the person who uploaded these videos, the press has a name and the people have their own speculations. Whatever punishment the law upholds for the likes of him or her wouldn't help much in erasing those memories of sex, lies and videotapes. In short, everyone's guilty.

Hayden Kho guilty for filming his sexual escapades without the other person's consent;
the Girls (Victims) guilty for engaging in pre-marital sex;
the video uploader guilty for using a very sensitive property that isn't his to begin with for commercial purposes.
For all of us, who downloaded the videos and watched

In the end, everyone's guilty one way or another. Because of this scandal, lives were destroyed in other people's eyes. Because of this people, including me, are stoned for downloading and watching the videos influencing others to do the same. Watching would not make any of us any better, it just makes us feel better that we weren't involved in this reputation muddle.

A couple of days ago I was eager to watch and prosecute. Now, I'm guilty that I am no better. I never got any pointers in the video tape, just visuals of an act that was supposed to be done in private. It made me feel a lot worse. Aside from the smell of disgust, it's guilt.

Eating ventures and Future plans

After finding out that Kris Allen won over Adam Lambert, I was slightly upset. I wanted to pamper myself by having a great lunch on that day; and instead I ended up having great dinners and lunches for the entire week.
  • I ate at Aveneto for lunch at Glorietta with my office mates
  • I ate at North Park with my office mates for dinner
  • I picked up Starbucks drinks in between
  • I had dinner with Mitch and his brother at Cafe Bola last Friday
  • I had dessert and coffee at Seattles Best also on Friday
  • I had a smashing breakfast of Siomai and Vanilla Cream crepe of Dessert Du Jour sold in Salcedo Market on Saturday morning
  • I had a stuffed lunch at Bubba Gump with Mitch last Saturday
  • I had a Starbucks breakfast this morning
  • Enjoyed a lunch invitation at Mitch's house (Fish Fillet and Sinigang)
  • Had a stuffed Teriyaki Boy dinner
  • Finished it off with a McDonald's Oreo Fudge Sundae
For the past couple of days I've been spending and spending for food like I don't have any other financial worries in the near future. I keep on eating and eating as if I was pregnant and I can literally feel my skin stretch sometimes that it itches.

I should really watch my diet. Aside from the fact that it's not healthy, I don't want to shop for bigger clothes. Well, I don't like to shop in general. So, I really have to watch out. I have an impending vacation in three days and god knows I want to wear something cool..like a swimsuit.

I hope reasons to stop eating would dawn on me sooner. No more parties for the mean time! And if I ever something upsets me I'd just have to suck it in. But then I again, after my trip to Camiguin this week, my relatives from Cebu will be visiting for that following week. I cannot let them find me in a grumpy situation. HO well, I guess correcting my diet would just have to wait.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Credit Card Reform might mean..

Credit Card Reform might mean three things:

1. A reform on Education
2. A reform on Cultural consumption
3. A reform on Company accountability

In terms of education, it's been long debated that PERSONAL FINANCE MANAGEMENT course should be added in a student's curriculum as early in high school. We're not talking about hundreds of formulas and the same text book problem solving year after year. This particular course should strictly focus on the consumer trends and factors that directly affect the financial standing of a person. It should teach sound decision making skills in managing ones finances. As early as High School when students start budgeting their allowance while exercising their decision-making skills in matters of spending, the course should be able to teach them to efficiently budget and think of money-saving alternatives. The proper budgeting skills and being smart about resources should be mastered like ABC's. It would also introduce basic money computations of monetary resources that would later turn into dabbling knowledgeably in investments and stocks. The course would eventually teach people to be smart about finances by letting money work for them and not just by focusing on how to work hard for money.

I admit that I am the last person to love mathematics, particularly algebra or calculus. If you know some people who question why we are studying these subjects unless we wanted to be programmers and scientists, I'm one of those. I knew early on that I would forget the fundamentals of algebra as soon as I step into the real world. Why study it in the first place? Why not study finance?

As far as I'm concerned, it's more practical to rehash the course involving too much mathematics that we don't need and instill the kind of math in the realm of finance. It is the kind of math we could use regardless if we decide to be engineers or programmers in the future. Take for example with credit cards. If people are educated enough of the responsibilities behind using one, then I don't think banks need to educate and spend more time running after people. If credit card holders know how much they are paying for their bills and are knowledgeable on how to compute which particular credit card to use that has enticing interest rate schemes, then I don't think we would be causing ourselves too much financial stress. We would be empowered.

With the proper education, monetary instruments such as credit cards would be used less and wisely. Also, properly educating ourselves in terms of budgeting, investing, managing credit card bills, purchasing and basic tax would be more useful than all the advanced algebra and calculus students need to pass without exactly knowing and appreciating the reason why.



II. Change in Culture

Credit cards have contributed much to the global financial crisis. People have become trigger happy. I know the psychological feeling that using Credit Cards do not really feel like paying with cash. There's an instant satisfaction of purchasing something without the need of producing resources at hand....until the credit card bill comes of course. Some even assume that people with too many credit cards is financially appealing....unless they don't pay their bills on time. With credit cards, we find more justifications to buy stuff sometimes we don't need.

Credit Card issuers in the meanwhile make money out of interest rate payments. They encourage people to spend through credit cards in the hopes that users would delay payments and purchase more than they could afford. There's a malevolent factor to it because banks hate people like me who pay their dues on time and in full. They don't make a profit out of credit card users like me, that's why they encourage spending and attract people with lower interest rates to strengthen our culture of using plastic.

With the credit card reform that the US proposes, banks will be obliged to produce statements that reveal computations of the supposed interest rates the consumer would pay in the event they missed the due date. In short, banks would technically present to the clients how they would generate profit out of their delayed payments. With the knowledge at hand, users would be forewarned and start paying in cash. They would change the culture on how we rely heavily on credit cards. Happiness in spending would be altered. The culture of people on spending and using credit cards would be more vigilant, more cash intensive and more independent.

III. Company Accountability

Companies are created to produce something for their consumers. Banks should be financial allies of people, and not the institution who would destroy them. Before the financial crisis erupted, banks were wealthy, greedy and powerful. They created Credit Cards for everyone's convenience, but they do not explain fully how they are making money out of a person's bad decision and impulsiveness.

Credit card issuers should be vigilant enough to remind their clients to pay up. If it sounds too noble, enforcing interest rates should be realistic given the circumstances. With the unpredictable nature and financial glitches people face, the credit card companies should have thought of producing a buffer or a game plan. It's not always nice to be driven by greed by charging more interest rates until the person cannot afford to pay anymore. As the cycle goes on and on, all of us finally realize what the end product is.
In 2007, a group of Senators introduced a bill that would have required credit-card companies to state on each billing statement how long it would take a person to pay off his balance and how much it would cost in principal and interest should he make only the minimum required payment each month. (TIME)

Sunday Itemized

This is the first time that I would get to be online. The day unfolded from one activity to another. In short, I liked how my day turned out. This is one of the steady and productive Sundays I've ever had and the experiences are worth mentioning.

8 AM:

I was sleeping soundly in my room when my sister barged in to tell me to dress up because we're going to mass in Makati. I immediately thought "What a strange dream." I was about to sleep again when my mother missed called me and texted to wake up and prepare for the 10 am mass. I regained my senses and moved my extremities as I began to read the text again. It's real, alright. Without further questioning, I did what I was told while figuring out what led us to change our usual afternoon schedule on a Sunday.

10 AM:

We heard mass at Don Bosco Makati and learned that my father planned to take us to Trinoma, which for Southerners like us, is considered a JOURNEY. To have my father propose the trip to Trinoma was bizarre. My father never liked long drives and on a lazy Sunday, anywhere beyond Makati was unacceptable. Nevertheless my sister, mother and brother were all excited. They've never been Trinoma and as for me, I figured it was about time to visit the place again. The first time I went there, majority of the stores were still closed and majority of my stay was spent watching Ratatouille.

11:30 AM:

After mass, we directly conquered the long stretch of EDSA without encountering heavy traffic jams. Since I seldom go north, I'd always prefer to be the passenger than the driver. Aside from the fact that I hate driving in EDSA and I don't know the important exit points, if I was the one driving I wouldn't be able to properly scrutinize and appreciate the billboards without having the highest potential in getting into an accident.

12:00 PM"

By 12 PM we reached Trinoma and had problems finding vacant parking slots. I know the new Ayala mall is huge, but we reached level four for crying out loud. It somehow prepared us for what to expect.

12:30 PM

By 12:30 PM we found ourselves marveling at the place...and the insane crowd. We made sure we all had cellular phones just in case we got lost. The mall is huge and crowded. The domesque architecture gives general view points of the place. Being a Sunday and a payday weekend people swarmed in like ants. Others were obviously just taking advantage of the airconditioning, while others are seriously window shopping. The crowd was a mix of people. The crowd has a way of balancing affluently dressed individuals to those who are dressed in sandos and rubber slippers. The intensity of crowd got me thinking that with all the malls in close proximity with each other, it's still amazing to find out that almost all of them are pressumably crowded. It makes me feel the need to push through the Reproductive Health Bill. If people want to have a feel of how Philippines, particularly Manila, is so crowded and overpopulated, I say GO TO THE MALLS.

1:00 PM

We had lunch at Sizzling Pepper Steak. We ordered our own respective dishes; and unfortunately we didn't like it. WE didn't like the cubed steak, my tonkatsu with egg, the seafood rice and the salad. I thought Pepper Lunch might be more expensive, but it's a lot better.

2:00 PM

We separated ways as I headed to the least crowded coffee shop to read. I don't have time and energy to roam about and with my financial standing as of the moment, I don't really think I should.

3:00 PM

After an hour of finishing chapters of the current book I'm reading, my mom joined me followed by my sister and the rest. They had coffee and debated on whether to stay for merienda. Since it was getting too crowded for our taste, we decided to skip it and end our trip there.

3:30 PM

We found ourselves cruising in Edsa with a "sleeping" driver. My brother kept distracting my dad from sleeping and instead of us, the passengers doing that, we were the ones nervously awake for the entire trip.

4:00 PM

I found myself home and decided to treat Harvey after a long weekend of absence and neglect. I originally thought of bringing him to Serendra, but I remembered that I have to save so we just settled for the village park. I attempted to jog as he kept stopping me at unknown trees, yards and fences to pee. I watched once in NGC that animals have their thing of marking their territory with their pee, an effective scent. On my count, I believe Harvey peed 12 times on various spots. I didn't think it was done out of biological needs, but it was done out of his ego. He didn't much pee, but released a quick squirt of his urine all over the place.

5:00 PM

Harvey and I visited Mitch and got to hang out there. He had merienda courtesy of Mitch's mom. And he was able to have a rendezvous with Rocky.
5:30 PM

We walked Mitch to the church, met some village friends and decided to go home. By that time Harvey's tongue was rolling, but he still peed all over the place.

6:30 PM

I went to Mitch's house to accept a dinner invitation. In all those four years of friendship with his family, I know much not to decline dinner or I'll definitely be sorry. Mitch's mom is a very fine cook and baker. Their dinners are quite exemplary compared to our humdrum feast at home. There was a time that I ate dinner with them the whole week and my only contribution was a can of pineapple juice. Admittedly at first I was embarrassed, but dinners of fish fillet, spicy tuna, salad, steak, roasted chicken, Max-like fried chicken and morcon are so hard to decline. Dishes that I never even eat at myown home, I would surprisingly devour at theirs. And for our dinner tonight, we had RIBS marinated in Hickory Sauce, Potato salad, Bacon Carbonara and hot pandesal. I asked his mom if we're celebrating someone's birthday just to make sure, but it was just something she decided to cook for dinner. And you think I would miss this?

7:30 PM

We stuffed ourselves like there was no tomorrow. But we were tough because we still decided to have coffee afterwards. As usual, we ate and run or I shall say I ATE and run. Mitch and I decided to go to Starbucks Magallanes to unwind. We went there, did our usual intimate discussions about life, the past and certain realizations we've had recently.

8:30 PM

By 8:30 I was home. Played with Harvey for a bit and arranged a couple of things in my room. I immediately felt sleep creeping in, but there's still one more thing that I need to do to end the day right. Go online and blog.

10:00 PM

I'm still here, uploading pictures, blogging and will be done in a few. I'm enjoying myself too much that I might forget I have an early schedule at work tomorrow. I hope next Sunday would be this steady.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Swine Flu live...in Asia

I'm reading the headlines now and it's not that good.

SWINE FLU hits...

MALAYSIA...confirmed
JAPAN...confirmed

as far as Asia's concerned.

In the middle of those two countries is the Philippines. Are you scared?

Be vigilant, but not paranoid. There's nothing wrong consulting with the experts if something comes up, so calm down. Like what I said, if the disease won't kill you, paranoia will.

My Angels and Demons Version

While most of the people here are itching to watch ANGELS and DEMONS on the big screen, I just purchased myself a brand new copy of the book. I plan to read it as soon as I get home, but before that I'm enjoying my afternoon here in Bubba Gump Greenbelt, shaded against the scorching reach of the summer sun with full blast air conditioning, strong wi-fi, ice cold softdrinks and basket-full of fries. Nothing beats looking at people walk outside in the sweltering heat when I have everything I presently need with me. I'm not that sadistic, really.

To be honest, I'm in a good mood right now. I felt nothing could rain on my parade. I went early to "work" to finish my deliverables, had a smashing lunch of Shawarma rice and delectable Chocolate cake at Salcedo park, and by three o clock, I was picked up by Mitch to melt a hot afternoon in Greenbelt, in which I fulfilled my plan to buy a book and upload my pictures. Everything so far is going according to plan and I feel that I'm maximizing my day.

While I was walking at the overly posh Greenbelt Five, I was on my way to Fully Booked to buy an Angels and Demons Book by Dan Brown. I know I am overly late. The film adaptation is now showing in cinemas and I heard tickets were impossible to acquire since Friday night. I didn't mind. I'm never bothered by much book hype anyways; and based from my Da Vinci Code experience, I'd appreciate the movie more if I would read the book.

While appreciating the clandestine location of Fully Booked, which is on my way to Bubba Gump, I grabbed a copy of Angels and Demons and was about to pay for it when I saw the tag price. The book costs PHP 337. Hmm..not that it's a shocking commercial phenomenon. I've longed accepted the fact that fiction books used to cost 190 bucks. 337 php now is considered a fairly acceptable price. Only if I didn't see the copy first in National Book Store Greenbelt.

You see last Friday, while waiting for Mitch in Greenbelt for lunch, I decided to step inside National Bookstore. I browsed through the magazine rack and immediately landed in the fiction area. Before I knew it, I finished reading the first chapter of Angels and Demons and Mitch was calling to meet me up. I quickly glanced at the price and promised that as soon as I reach another bookstore, this book is next on my list.

And that time was today and I found myself in Fully Booked dangling Dan Brown's second best seller. AT that point, looking at the counter then back, I can distinctly remember that the price of the same book with the same cover in National Bookstore didn't reach 300 bucks unless there was a daily increase of fiction bestsellers like how gas prices used to tick up in the world market. The Angel of Spending in me whispered to return the book, exit the store and travel to National Bookstore. The Devil in me wanted to skip the added walking and additional hurdle of going to National Bookstore. Well, the Angel prevailed.

There is seriously something smart about following my instincts in double checking. And it proved me well. Upon reaching National Book Store in Greenbelt, as if eager to prove something to myself, I grabbed the same Angels and Demon's copy, neatly sealed, and looked at the price. 299 Pesos. A matter of almost 40 bucks difference from Fully Booked. Not bad, right? The cover is pretty much the same, both are neatly sealed and National Bookstore is just 1-2 minutes away from Fully Booked. The glaring difference might not be over the top, but thinking about it, 30 bucks will go a long way. And I know that I might sound like a broken record, but I dearly need to save in any way possible.

To cut this story short, I got the book, lined up at the counter and paid for it. I followed my instincts and was able to save almost 40 bucks. Angels won against Demons this time. National Bookstore, you're the bomb.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

TEAM ADAM

I've never been a fan of American Idol...until Adam Lambert came along.

I applaud his talent, his bravery and his artistry.

I wasn't surprised when it was recently announced that he would go on to compete in the final showdown next week. To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised at all if he would be crowned the next idol. Gosh, for all the winners that I have come to hear and observe, he is the best. If there is an American Idol Winners showdown, he would still come to the top. That is how great he is.

But for him to advance on the final round, one of the three remaining contenders would be eliminated. Unfortunately that was Danny Gokey. I like Danny Gokey better than Kris Allen actually. Both may have amazing voice and have the same boy next door aura, but Danny Gokey exudes maturity and his voice is on the raspy side, which I love. But I have to hand it to Kris Allen. His face could easily sell records and he is braver for showing his more artistic side.

As to the final outcome, like most of us, we have our bets but we can never tell who's going to be the winner. Danny Gokey's fans might easily shift their votes to Kris Allen and knowing that there are lots of factors for people to vote and technically a million of Americans who are given the power to choose, at this point, it's anyone's game.

Hands down I vote for Adam Lambert. Forget about his personal tastes, his hairstyle, his preference. He has got an enormous talent that people deserve to hear and appreciate. It is what the competition is all about.

Kris Allen is good, but Adam Lambert is better...for me. Nevertheless these two would sell records later on; and winning American Idol would just end up being the icing on the cake.


http://addybw.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/adam-lambert-1.jpg

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Potential Stage Mother In Me

I am a "parent" of a cute and intelligent 9 month old Jack Russell Terrier named Harvey Elizander. Harvey for short. The reason why I got a Jack Russell instead of something else like a beagle or a shih tzu, is that I want a dog that is "portable," a dog that requires less maintenance, but considered very agile and playful. Everything that I was looking for, I found in the likes of Jack Russells. Plus the fact that I was an avid viewer of Wishbone and The Mask.




When I got him, everything changed including my bank account. I treat him like a person, talk to him as if he'd understand; and expect things from him that could only be done by humans. Actually it's his fault. He is super smart and he can easily pick up things. I taught him the sit command in less than 2 hours. He usually slants his head as if trying his best to understand whatever I'm saying. He automatically plays with me fueled by his infectious energy and also he has lots of ways of keeping me irritated yet entertained. He is an active dog bursting with intelligence and vitality. He might be too smart to obey sometimes, but this dog always wants to have fun. I can't blame him of that.

Also in our bonding times I always make it a point to play with him and bring him to places to socialize. We'd go to my friends' house, village park, Serendra, CCP and just about anywhere he's allowed to go. One thing that I'm proud about him is, he is behaved in the car. He doesn't shit around and jump like crazy as long as he sees me close. He just finds his niche and sometimes stares outside the window. I can just ask him to get in the car and drive off without worrying that he might pester me around. With his ability to stay put and be convenient in trips, I initially planned to bring him to Boracay and bring him to Tagaytay, but certain party poopers won't let him. That's why I promised him that as soon as I get my very own car, I would whisk him away to Tagaytay for a field trip.




Second attribute that I'm proud of Harvey, contrary to popular assumptions, is that he is very cooperative in taking a bath. A dog with his mischievousness and energy, is expected to thrash around while being groomed. All dogs in general hate baths anyways. In terms of seeing Harvey, most people would assume that they would have a hard time bathing him and making him stay put. Even though he doesn't bark or bite, his energy is a human's pitfall. But due to familiarity and training, he cooperates in baths. He doesn't thrash around and give us an attitude. He stays put while we rinse or scrub him. When Ate Ne would say "Left," he would voluntarily move his leg up so that we could scrub and rinse his inner thigh. When we say "right" he does the same to the other leg. He lets others touch his paws and rinse him without the added stress.




Lastly, I am proud of him because he is highly approachable. He likes people. He likes all dogs. He likes observing and befriending anything breathing. He is the type of dog that loves to see and to observe new things. A call to satisfy his craving for attention. When people come to pet him, he tries to engage them in play. He is not overly territorial, which pesters other dogs. For him, he just wants to befriend people and other dogs no matter how hard it takes. His mantra is "PLAY ANYTIME, WITH ANYONE, ANYWHERE." But the downside of it is that he can never be a reliable guard dog.




With all the things that he could do and still do, he would continue to wow me and my family. He is our simple joy and pride. We've grown accustomed to his ways and we have fully adjusted to his needs. He never gives me trouble except when sometimes he wants to start troubles and finds enough reason to chase him. I guess I have to accept him, the good and the bad sides. But knowing me, I would only see the good.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Pacquiao's Bohol Intervention

At exactly last Sunday at almost the same time as now, my family and I were in Bohol preparing to check out at the hotel and travel back to Cebu. It was also at this time that premier global boxing champ Manny Pacquiao was winning over the British boxing sensation Ricky Hatton.

While I was trying to savor Amarela Hotel's lush interiors and landscapes; and trying to get the grasp that my Bohol weekend was finally over, I nursed the feeling of disappointment because we initially planned to go to an island hopping trip much to the disagreement of my father and Mitch who aren't fans of it. True enough the weather didn't permit us so we just settled hanging out at the beach and swimming in the hotel's pool. To my dismay I was looking for Mitch because I haven't seen him since breakfast. He didn't swim with us in the pool like he intended, nor did I see him join us at the cold beach front. I checked his room, but it was empty. Where could he possibly be?

On my way to my room, I saw a group of waiters clustered at the main restaurant. Pure delight was in their faces. Together with my father, brother and guy cousin, they were all enjoying watching the live fight via web streaming care of my netbook Harriet, Amarela's great WI-FI connection and Mitch's surfing brilliance. So this was where the guys have gone to.



My father who was grumpy the whole morning because of the heavy rains and the ballooning budget deficit we incurred from our Bohol trip, was automatically appeased by the live coverage Mitch was able to put up. I saw my father in a lighter mood and sharing jokes with waiters hovering their table. My father even had the audacity to call his colleagues in Manila to engage in their own boxing analysis as he was able to watch it live.

Unfortunately Mitch, a first timer in Bohol didn't even get to swim in the resort pool nor see the beach of Panglao. I forced him too, but he didn't want at all. Like my father, he is a hotel-dude and not a traveler. It was enough that he saw a glimpse of everything and truth being, he was enjoying the fight more, being served authentic brewed coffee by the waiters...on the house.

We thought that with our scheduled check out, we wouldn't be able to see the entire fight. But like most of us know, the fight only lasted about 2 rounds and by the time Ricky Hatton was knocked out, our serviced van to Tubigon port parked outside the resort.

My dad was happy. The waiters and other guests who joined the show were happy. My cousins were ecstatic and Mitch was solved. I guess it was a perfect ending to a gloomy Bohol vacation. Remind me to bring Harriet at times like this and pray for good wi-fi.


Kindle Me This, Kindle Me That

I attended a birthday party of a new found friend last Friday and somewhere between picking up a friend and going to the bar, we discussed the new revolution of reading brought by KINDLE.


The Amazon Kindle is a software/hardware platform that allows you to read electronic versions of the book. This Kindle has evolved through time and just like how cellular phones evolve, the latest version has wider screen, new better features and an improved ergo factor. Kindle is light weight and could store up to thousands of pages, which means a good number of books that you can carry with you. It's the latest revolution in reading. And just like cd's to MP3s in Ipods, this is the version for those literature classics we know such as books.

Of all the media and leisure aspects in our lives, Books have remained untouched. It's not drastically transformed by technology. OF course there is the presence of e-books in palm pilots, but let's face it, the reach is very minimal. The most improvements that we see come from how the books are printed and how fast they are produced. But no one has ever thought of producing a complete electronic device that could solely attempt to wipe out the physical concept of books forever, until Kindle came into the picture.

I am always for technological improvement, yet reading the book in it's original form would be a great leap to reading it through a small "screen." The experience of reading would change 360 degrees, and I don't think I would enjoy books half as much as reading it on Kindle. Smell, Pages and authenticity would be lost. I've even tried reading ebooks from my laptop from time to time in one of those free library sites where they have extensive book collections, but yet I still find something missing. Up to this date, I still enjoy going to bookstores (another book experience) and still buy copies to get a much better reading experience.

Bottom line, I don't mind if I don't get Kindle any time soon, it's an item of curiosity and not of need. And the mere fact that I have tons of books in my library still unread, I guess I'm happy with what I have now (or what I don't have). I wouldn't be surprised though in a couple of decade's time everyone, including students, would be required to have Kindle to eliminate the dependency on those heavy text books. Book signing would have to be done by encrypting electronic signatures in your kindle and storing it in a personal folder. There are tons of possibilities that I acknowledge, but that's enough for now.


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Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Mother's Day Weekend Plan

It was only last Friday that it completely dawned on me that this weekend is the much-awaited and highly commercialized Mother's Day Weekend. Coming from a recent trip and working hard to finish all lined reports and tasks at work, I didn't see this coming. Yesterday, in between day dreaming and having lunch with Mitch, I was exposing myself to possible ideas on what to do or what to"give" for my mother this weekend. Not to sound so pessimistic, but I'm having a rough time because I completely have no idea on what to give her. Take out the fact that I'm nearly financially broke, my relationship with my mother was never even sweet or ideal to being with. Cuddly mother-daughter scenes in TV commercials simply puzzle me. I squirm when mother and daughter tandems get so graphically shown on TV that I instantly flip the channel or leave the room. Perhaps simply because my mother's personality does not jive with mine. Also we do not share a love for a certain activity. My mother doesn't like cooking, she seldom travels, she doesn't read and she doesn't share my intense love for food. Our outlooks in life are often different and she can easily find my actions and desires easily despicable. I have easily accepted the fact that early on my mother and I are two very different individuals.

But that doesn't mean that I do not respect her. As long as she gives me the same respect and she doesn't get attacked by her menopausal moments, then we can live harmoniously in one roof. She is good with my friends. She finds time to understand me and she is somehow my human bridge to my very difficult but lovable father. I will always be her daughter (even if it's hard to believe) and it is my duty and pleasure to be "amicable" and "disgustingly considerate" on this very special weekend.

So yesterday I was browsing through online suggestions and I singled out to treating her for a day trip to Tagaytay. I figured it's been a while since we've visited the place and there are couple of restaurants lined up in my list that I'm itching to try. I initially wanted an overnight stay and treat her with massages at spa hotels, but I have to be realistic with my loser bank account. I had to scale down a notch and figured to just treat her (and my family) to a great lunch in Tagaytay. I tried budgeting already on my way to meet Mitch for yesterday only to listen to his reaction if it was a good idea. Knowing Mitch, he would not see the point and effort of going there just to have lunch. He cited out tons of reasons why it was not advisable to push through with my plan as I wanted to drop the issue. I might not want to acknowledge his suggestion directly, but I must admit he was successful in making me think twice.

Having lunch in Tagaytay on a Sunday, which happens to be a mother's day is quite suicidal. I'm sure I'm not the only one who thought of the idea and half of those who did might have already secured reservations and own itineraries. My family is so hard to please especially if the plan is for them is to go beyond Makati or Alabang. Not to mention, the traffic might be terrible knowing that there are road obstacles in the south and the weather seems to be very unpredictable.

Assessing my parents' personalities also helped me reconsider. My father's luxury is to spend his time playing golf and succumbing to DVD marathons in his room. He doesn't like to travel. He travels just because it's needed and usually he just stays in the hotel. My mother however has a potential in traveling, but knowing that she just came from Cebu, she would not go looking for another expedition any time soon. Both parents hate heavy traffic and both parents are too practical to the point of sometimes fizzling out the fun in things. In the end, a day in Tagaytay just for lunch, on an expected jammed day, is not quite advisable.

After my lunch with Mitch, I went back to the office and began searching for possible restaurants to treat my mom...in Manila. I chose L'Opera, known as the best Italian Restaurant in the country, even to the point of browsing at their website and listing down dishes to choose from. I wanted to make reservations and order in advance. I'm sure each dish is excellent, only that my mom is not a big fan of Italian food. I tried searching for other options, but the options may be many but I cnanot fully decide on which one to pick. I was still dead locked on L'Opera and I figured because it was ME who want to eat there in the first place. After work, I met Mitch and told him my dilemma. He even offered to help me get a discount at L'Opera, but by that time my interest had waned down.

Now I'm left with zero plans. I'm already a day short. Contemplating on my status in the usual Salcedo Market, in the hopes of finding something there, I heard from an unknown whisper, a sound idea. This particular idea was so strong that I immediately acted on it like an automatic command. I got my car keys, fled from Salcedo Market and went to Powerplant. I overheard that Powerplant has their usual Dessert Bazaar for this month of May to commemorate the mother's day season. Then suddenly other plans started falling into place. Upon arriving there, I tried to calm myself down over a succulent heavy meal at Pepper Lunch. After organizing my thoughts, I immediately went to the Bazaar and in less than 15 minutes ended up purchasing two large 7x9 Costa Brava Caramel Cakes specially designed for Mother's day. I absolutely love the Caramel Cake of Costa Brava. It might not exactly like what they have in Estrel's, but this is the closest version I could think of. Knowing my mother who is a fan of fluffy and moderately sweetened cakes, I have a great feeling that she would love this. The other cake I bought, I would give to Mitch's mom. I also bought a box of cupcake goodies to give to other Sun Valley Mothers I personally know. This is what happens when I get struck by a great idea. I end up trigger happy. Having almost emptied my wallet, I went to Starbucks to calm down and kill my whole afternoon.

But it doesn't quite end there. While doing this post, I was browsing through Shakey's online and decided to order two family thin crust pizzas and a basket of mojos to take home together with the cake. Again, my mother absolutely loves Shakey's Thin Crust Pizzas. She likes this particular brand of pizza so much that she got herself a discount card. For some reason, I believe she would appreciate this with the light Caramel cake.

Now, I'd like to believe that I'm on the right track. I have lined up what needs to be done and order the pizzas for pickup on my way home. Frankly I couldn't think of anything better to give her. I may go with something over the top and expensive, but I have to be realistic and consider what would make her genuinely happy and not wow her just to prove anything. In fact, just for a bonus round, if they would permit, I will call for a home service massage tonight for her and my father. Additional purchase of wine and a small trinket as gifts are not necessary. Giving material gifts is not my expertise. I rely on what I know best, which is food, and most especially make sure to keep it real by doing things her way.

My mother and I may not be close, but for living with her all my life, it must be pretty stupid of me not to figure out simple things that would make her happy without the added stress and drama. A luscious cake and a pizza dinner at our own house are more than enough to remove the stress away. My instincts say that she would positively respond. Real and simple things tend to highlight sincerity. I think my mother and I would agree on it.

A close encounter with Edu Manzano

Before I start proofreading my posts and start enjoying my cold isolated afternoon, I just have to mention that I just saw Edu Manzano, a premier mestizo Filipino actor, walk by outside Starbucks Rockwell. I was at the corner trying to be invisible when he walked by. I must say he doesn't look like 50 at all. I don't even know his exact age, but I don't think it's around 50. If it is, then he could have easily fooled anyone.

He is still amazingly fit, exudes that millionaire aura that I always get to read in fantastic epic drama novels. Unfortunately, that also goes the same that he has a womanizer aura. It's somehow packaged. But he is gracious to guards and I believe a devoted father observing his youngster companions. I guess his ability to laugh and be approachable amidst his sharp and aristocratic look is his main charm.

I remember ever since I was a kid my aunt Susan is quite infatuated with him. Whenever I ask who is her most favorite actor, it's always Edu Manzano. Her face lights up in a subtle way as if she always can relate when Edu Manzano is on screen. Whenever I see and hear Edu Manzano, I remember my aunt Susan. An autograph with the famous actor could have been a perfect pseudo-mother's day gift for my Nanay (Aunt Susan), but alas I was only this close.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fazed but not panicked

Whenever new strains of virus seem to hit the main news, I pay attention. I read facts as much as I can and try to understand scientific terms and implications that my brain would permit. But sometimes it's easier to listen and consult from more knowledgeable individuals. I will always be fazed with biological discoveries, alarming or not, but I do not panic. People tend to react and over-sensationalize things that are not necessary. No one uses the rule of probability anymore. The effective media coverage that makes the global world smaller is all we'll ever need it seems.

Being realistic and vigilant is one thing, being paranoid and depressed is the another. If the disease won't kill you, probably paranoia will.