Monday, October 27, 2008


back in late july, mark and i flew to hong kong.

the plan for this hk trip was just one of those spur-of-the-moment decisions. he immediately booked the flight, while we were having coffee at gloria jeans in shangri-la mall. when we were trying to book the flight, quite a few times when mark's connection would get dropped and he needed to redo the whole thing. and we should have taken this as an omen of the impending disaster that's waiting for us!

mark already had an inkling that his soon to be expired (oct 2008) passport would be a problem. but he still went with the booking anyway. he soon found out that passports need to be at least six months valid to be able to travel outside the country. since we booked a sale flight, we knew that re-booking it won't be a choice coz we'll incur additional cost. so mark hurriedly renewed his passport, even going to the point of hiring 2 queuers to fall in line for him and brave the mid-day dfa heat. to his horror, dfa's new passport printing prevents them from fixing passport renewal in under 3 days. this, even if he holds any letter from any company that would supposedly request to fast track his application, did not help him. we even bothered anabelle, high school classmate, who's now based in hk, asking her to fake a letter that she'll get married and sponsor our trip there. but anabelle advised us not to go that way coz a lot of pinoys have been airport-to-airport-ed, suspected of transporting drugs or doing the flesh trade.

ultimately, we decided to do the rebooking coz we won't be able to refund it anyway. obviously, this cost us a few thousand bucks, while also incurring a 1-night priced penalty in our hotel rebooking. while the rebooking thingie was the main blooper in our trip, bad luck kept us company for the whole 5 days of our trip. here are the top 10 kapalpakan moments (in no particular order) that we had:

1. at naia, mark was apprehended by customs agents for bringing in more than 10,000 pesos cash. he got caught because he flaunted his very thick wallet (he had about 60k cash coz our plan was to buy hk dollar when we get there) for everyone to see. i felt that the officer who stopped him just wanted to get some dibs so i requested to see that policy if they had the written copy of it. and they did. good thing, when we got at their desk, we saw the customs head... a middle aged lady who reminds me of a high school principal. this lady said that she'll let us pass coz the money changer isn't open yet (our flight was 5:20 am). haaay!

2. upon reaching ywca hotel and getting a quick brunch from one of mong kok's dimsum houses, we immediately went shopping! the ladies market was just starting to spring to life when we got there, so we were excited to do some shopping and haggling. mark saw some nice supposedly white gold bracelets in one of the stalls. and since he thought he found a good bargain and he really liked what he got, he paid hkd 200 for each bracelets. then, we looked for some shirts and other things. after i got 3 silk ties for hkd 90, we chanced upon another stall selling the same bracelets that he got. to his major dismay, that stall is willing to sell him the very same bracelets for only hkd 100! he was sweating profusely, bitterly disappointed that he got ripped, we left that stall. but the lady held his arm and offered the bracelets for hkd 80! at that point, i felt that mark wanted to drop to his knees and scream his lungs out! he lost all his energy after that and just went with the flow wherever i felt going to. poor (rich) mark!

3. we wanted to go to macau, so on our 2nd day, off we went. even if the hotel staff weren't too friendly, mark still had the patience to ask for directions. the lady told him to take bus no. 7 in front of red logoed bank (i forgot the name of the bank). we crossed waterloo road to first buy some local hopia-looking pastries and some sweets. and mark's wit led us to bus no. 7 on that side of the roads, so we boarded that bus. to our surprise, that bus was heading north, to new territories! wahahahahaha! we should've crossed the street again! good thing, we met a macanese woman who speaks very good english and immmediately told us to get off that bus and take any bus that goes to tsim sha tsui. goodness gracious! since we didn't see any bus from where we got off, we walked, heading back to where we think we came from. we chanced upon a pinay OFW who's about to fetch her alaga from school. and she said that we can take bus no. 2 to go to victoria harbour, then hop on the star ferry to get to hong kong island. so there.

4. we finally reached macau around 2 pm. but mark said that we need not get a 7 pm ferry back to hk coz the time we had would be more than enough to tour the city. but no. it took longer time. we enjoyed macau tower, walking thru macau's old city and dining on macanese food, as well as trying some of their specialties. so naturally, we missed our 5 pm ferry and needed to buy another ticket. about hkd 110 were lost because of this. waldasan talaga!

5. both of us did not have any roaming service.

6. we brought laptops with us so that we can log in, for him to check the apprrovals and for me to send some emails. but we also didn't get any chance to do so. first, the hotel didn't have adaptors, and we couldn't find any wifi zone! even starbucks crew couldn't point us how to access their 1-hour free wifi access! talk about bad luck!

7. it was summer in hk, but mark brought winter clothes! wahahahaha! i already told him that he should bring comfy clothes but he opted to follow his friend’s advice! he was practically dripping from all the walking that we did!

8. when we got to disneyland, we had all our baggage with us! just imagine riding the a space-themed rollercoaster with your backpack full of dirty clothes with you! we deposited the big suitcases, but because of the exorbitant price of doing so, we opted not to deposit our backpacks and some paper bags. and these made our theme park trip a really dragging one.

9. mark wanted to buy some phones. so he wanted to go to wan chai coz his friend told him that this is the place for electronic items. i didn’t bother checking, so when we got there, we got another surprise! that place doesn’t have any stores selling electronic items. Instead, its streets were lined with girlie bars, with pinays roaming around and doing what japayukis are known for. the funny thing was, there were bars with pinoy names like boracay!

10. to me, one of the kamalasan was having a really bad photographer for a travel buddy. i wanted to have nice pics with the big Buddha, but all i got from mark were shots that had clouds covering the buddha entirely! whenever i tell him to include the scenery or some european or chinese architectural pieces in the background, all i got were pics that had only myself on it!

while that trip was really a waldasan session coz all items were expensive, i enjoyed it. it was a chance to learn how to be extremely patient with food attendants coz most of them do not understand any english. we also learned how to fully use maps and understand that other countries’ systems are way different from what we’re used to follow at home. of course, you need to really scour every store to get the best bargain possible and make sure that your haggling should start at hkd 30!
i think i’ve had hk's best already. i won’t go back unless it’s for work or somebody will sponsor me.

Friday, October 24, 2008


muy buena pelicula! simon es muy mono y lindo! i just love simon! el orfanato is just one of the best horror films i've seen, if not the best. the filmmaker's quiet approach in telling a story of a woman named laura (along with her husband and adopted son, simon, who's hiv positive), who grew up in an orphanage and decided to live in it and set up a home for children with disabilities, set the tone. there, other worldly presence started to appear, especially as the cute simon tells laura of a group of imaginary friends who regularly play with simon. aside from stunning photography, very capable set of actors and superb pacing, what i like about this film, is the poetic or almost lyrical terror brought about by simple child games and intelligent twists towards the end. this film is really worth seeing! in this year's spanish filmfest, this was voted as viewer's choice award, second to the comedy fuera de carta. spain also sent this as their official entry to 2007 oscar awards.

talking about an academically (more than a decade ago) learned language... i don't remember much about what i've learned in my 12 units of spanish. aralin ko kaya ulit?! wahahahaha!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


oh yeah, i entered this year's idg calendar contest. actually, the whole office (almost) joined! thanks to my's insistent reminders that made us scour the folders of our thousand photos. of course, majority of these photos were taken to amuse ourselves and in a way, discover the professional models in us, so it was hard to find really good ones that can be considered as entries. cath was lucky to have a bunch of nice ones, which she sent to everyone for us to single out the nicest to help her decide which 2 photos to send.

i haven't got a lot to choose from. most of the pics that i've taken are either of and about me or just the usual rural or beach landscape or not so spectacular urban setting pics. to make things worse, i lost most of the nice ones (based on my standards only) that i've taken in our sagada and palawan trips when my hard drive crashed sometime in june last year.

good thing, we took to dumaguete this year and made a short trip to siquijor as well. there, we stayed in coco grove, which was nice and cozy. and in this resort, zel and i happened to bump into 9 wooden bowling tenpins sprawled in san juan's white sand near the resort's swimming pool and parked surfboards. we didn't see any bowling ball and the tenpins are missing 1, there were only 9 of them, so i just took 1 shot of these tenpins before zel arranged it. then, that was it.

when uploading the photos from our trip, this photo turned out to be one of the nicest! i made it my wallpaper for the rest of august, but i haven't changed it since then. cath even said that she thought that i (again) downloaded it from the net! and after zel's pushing, i decided that this one would be one of my entries. i was thinking of including one of my moto razrvx pics of the bangui windmills, but decided to send one photo of the hanging coffins of sagada instead. i thought that they'd like cultural stuff better.

then it was announced that my photo named "strike" was one of the top 40! super happy! and online voting (and editorial preference) would determine the top 12, so we promoted the 4 PH entries that made it to some of our ap & asean colleagues. my "strike" didn't make the final cut (zel's and elke's did, congrats!!), but i'm glad that it was chosen... i've taken a calendar-worthy pic! wahahahahaha! big deal ba! it wouldn't hurt to put some extra effort next time.

and here it is!


he's at number 30 of this year's top 49 most influential men of 2008. yes, rafa's popularity, influence and overall likeability has put him in the league of barack obama, steve jobs and michael phelps. this resulted from over 200,000 votes of users who were asked who have had the biggest influence on the way other men behave, buy and think. according to

All sports need subplots, and Rafael Nadal supplied men around the globe with a scintillating story this year when he faced off against No. 1 seed Roger Federer in the Wimbledon finals for the third consecutive time. The pair proceeded to play the longest final in the tournament’s history, with Rafael Nadal ultimately coming out on top four hours and 48 minutes later with a hard-fought victory. Sports scribes and fans alike were left breathless by the phenomenal spectacle and three-time champ John McEnroe even went so far as to label it "the greatest match I have ever seen."


Sunday, October 19, 2008


after a nice meal with kr and mujin at avenetto in glorietta, i instinctively went to check if rafa's already sealed the number 1 ranking. and he did! you see, i was practically on my knees last night begging for him to win that match coz if he reaches the final, he'll clinch it. i guess the curse of my tuning in to live scores or watching his live matches still paints a bad luck and is continuing on, as he dropped an 8-6 final set tiebreak decision to simon. waaaaaaaaaa! good thing, roger also lost in the semis, so no more waiting till paris to determine who's going to end the year as number 1. yipeeee!

anyway, it's still good, 'no?!!! considering what he's achieved this year, he greatly deserves the number 1 ranking. he's racked up 80 wins so far, resulting to 8 titles: 4th straight roland garros crown; epic win at wimbledon, denying federer his 6th straight title; 3 masters series shield (monte carlo, hamburg and toronto); titles at london queen's club and barcelona; and the gold medal at beijing olympics. all these while also helping spain to reach this year's davis cup final against argentina.

i know a lot has been written against his grueling type of tennis. but his presence and heroic pursuits are bringing the game to a new level. even djokovic and murray are trying to achieve his disciplined musculature, sublime stamina and overall athleticism to up the ante on their quest for even greater glory. and to this day, he's the only one who's consistently provided the stumbling block to federer's dominance... it's not nice to see federer win 'em all! with his rivalry with federer, tennis has been more exciting, more focused on the game rather than personalities. his and roger's contrasting styles have provided a new standard for up-and-coming players and i think his wins have inspired other players to believe that they can beat federer and bag significant wins like what djokovic, karlovic, simon and murray did this year. even federer now thinks that he needs to improve his game, as gone are the days when he always beats all players. rafa has shown that it's never too late to work on honing your game to suit other surfaces, given that he's so at home playing on clay but has struggled at times on harcourt and on indoor carpet.

"To become No. 1 during the year was one of my goals and it is important to have achieved it. Moreover, if you finish the year as No. 1 it is even more special. I am also very happy to bring something more to Spanish sport, something for Spanish history and for our great tennis tradition." - Rafa, 18 Oct 2008.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


today is sweetest day! ... at least in some parts of the u.s., as this is not as popular as other hallmark holidays like valentine's day, mother's day, father's day, among others. while this was a philantropic idea of candy confectioners, observance of which is by no means devoid of any capitalist aims and gains. of course, these candy honchos wanted to do "some good" while promoting their products, that's why they distributed sweets to orphans, old people and the poor. this happened back in october 8, 1921 (according to msn a-list), and soon after was being observed during the 3rd saturday of october. what's good with this one, it has come to evolve as another special day to remember the kindness we've got from friends, relatives and associates.

so, spread the sweetness! give everyone some sugar!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


yummy cookies kept me company last sunday, when i watched todos estamos invitados and fuera de carta. initially, i planned to watch fuera de carta last saturday. but to my horror, the tickets were already sold out for the 3 movies for that day, even if i was at greenbelt 3 at around 2 pm. so i went to landmark to do my grocery instead. and this led me to pepperidge's soft baked choco chunk cookies. i'm not a fan of imported cookies coz they're too pricey (this one is PHP 126, 8 cookies), but i'm glad that i bought this. the cookies are very good! lovely chocolate-y smell, nice texture highlighted by nuts and milk chocolate. one of the best that i've tried.

bili pa nga ako.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


after lengthy email threads and scheduled ym ballyhooing, this gimik came through. but not without the usual hassle and unexpected twists... atee didn't make it! yes, she didn't. she did a pocahontas (read, indian.) on us! she was ringing ate pops and i around 5 am of that day, well first she thought that our call time is 7:30 (it was 9:30), but more importantly, she wanted to say that she could not make it. iyah (her daughter) was sick and of course, as a mom, she could not afford to go somewhere and leave her daughter just like that. anyway, just the same, pops and i were disappointed that "she had to go to the market once again". and how about jake? well, let's just say that atee's absence (or presence!) was the least of his concerns. wahahahahaha!

but i could tell that jake was also a bit disappointed. he didn't bother changing his outfits and making use of the clothes that he brought all the way from antipolo because we weren't complete. and to think that he brought all of those jackets to his shift the night before! well, the whole thing is all about our group pic, so if atee wasn't there, it defeats the main aim of the lakad. of course, we were there already and i won't let atee's absence drive the whole effort to waste. it's just too hard to nail jake and ate pops in a single date, given the immensity of their social lives - pops is married and involved in a lot of photo shoots while jake has a dozen (or more) sets of friends with whom he spends time with. so we just enjoyed the humid day talking with each other, first about atee and then celebs, before jumping on our professional careers and the usual jokes.
then we headed out for the pictorial. i didn't know that it was forbidden to shoot pics of the buildings in serendra and the whole stretch of boni high street. good thing, pops already knew how to respond to inquiries from serendra's men in blue. one interesting portion of the shoot was when pops had me sit at a pedestrian lane, then she waited for the oncoming traffic before shooting. yup, she wanted moving cars in her frame. and the model in me just obliged! the result was these pictures. thanks to ate pops' digital photography genius.

i couldn't wait for our segundo asalto!

Friday, October 10, 2008


since last week, i've been pretty much engrossed with catching as much peliculas as i can in this year's spanish filmfest at greenbelt 3. as of now, i managed to watch 7: concursante, los crimenes de oxford, yo soy la juani, la caja, bajo las estrellas, siete mesas de billar frances and el violin. the most recurring and glaring theme across these movies is the topic of death... one's death and how it frees you from this cycle called life and how with death of a loved one (or despised one), one chooses to move on and start all over again.

in concursante, martin dies when trying to destroy all the prizes he won so that he can run away from the hassles these things have brought him. the oxford murders is a mathematical whodunnit tale of murders in the university town of well, oxford, that starred elijah wood and the convincing john hurt. juani's dad is about to die, when she decided to leave her town (mainly due to the failure of her teenage love affair with jonah) for a more promising career (as a calendar pinup) in cosmo city of madrid.

la caja is about a don lucio, a universally despised man in a town in canaria and how this whole town led a new life, found their voice and freedom after his passing. benny went home to his native town to see his father who was dying in bajo las estrellas. along the process, he saw how his brother deteriorated and how a new life was granted to him when he got close with ainara, daughter of nines, an old friend who was his brother's live-in partner.

siete mesas de billar frances tells the story of angela, who, after losing her father, decides to get out of a full-of-lies marriage and face her own demons, then embrace her true calling. el violin chronicles the struggles of a family of musicians who supports a rural insurgency in an unnamed latin american country. don plutarco, thru his violin, tried to aid the rebels by hiding ammunitions in his violin case but was killed when the military troop learned of his m.o.
i'm still planning to watch 3 more this weekend, so i'll write more about the ones that i like next time.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


makailang ulit nang niresaykel ang tema ng isang babaing api-apihan na sa bandang huli ay papaimbulog. dami nang mga teleserye ang kinagat ng tao na umiikot sa paghihiganti ng isang babaing lumaki sa probinsya at dumanas ng sangkaterbang pagdurusa sa kamay ng isang makapangyarihang kaaway. siyempre, palabok dito ang ligawan, agawan ng kayamanan, palitan ng maaanghang na linya dahil sa mga kalaguyong makakapal ang mukha, paistaran ng kontrabida at ng bida, paghahanap sa nawawalang miyembro ng pamilya at sangkatutak na mga krimeng tunggak. lahat ito ay tema pa rin ng iisa pa lamang. pero ang bentahe ng teleseryeng ito ay ang paglalahok ng mga di inaasahang linya ng mga nagsisiganap. kakatwa ang mga ito, nakakatawa, masiste at bago, tulad na lamang ng palitang ito:

isadora: isa ka lang dumi, aura!
aura: ang duming ito ang pupuwing sa 'yo!
isadora: eh di magshe-shades ako! hahahaha!

ngunit anumang linyang buong husay na isinulat ay di maigiging epektibo kung di mahusay ang magbibitiw nito at gaganap sa karakter. ibang klase si cherry pie picache! buong giting niyang nabibigyang-buhay si isadora, isang sakim, materyosa, pekeng sosyal at jologs na kontrabida. tamang-tama ang tayming ng kanyang mga mapang-uyam na mga linya. sangkatutak na ang mga nakatatawang tulad nito ang binitawan niya, kasama na ang mga ito:

"so, ano? pera-pera na lang? hindi mo man lang naisip na kinuha kita galing sa bundok, binihisan, at nakatikim ng corned beef dahil sa akin"

"pinaaral natin sila sa UCLA para maging remote control. ang saya noh? isang pindot mo lang, sumusunod na agad."

"gusto mo ng pizza? ay, ipagbubukas na lang kita ng de lata wala naman tayong pizza."

dagdag pa!

Friday, October 3, 2008


while i think that not all good things come those who wait... coz if you wait and wait, you tend to just force yourself to accept that what you ended with is some of the best (even if it's not) or missed out on other opportunities because you waited so long for something to finally happen... this line was put to good use in this tv/cinema ad. i'm a big discovery/animal planet junkie, so any pop material that touches on man's evolution would be a big hit to me!

weekend na! yeheey! (",)

Thursday, October 2, 2008


too bad, tita c is on leave... she wasn't able to join in our suweldo gimmick last friday. the aydisi oldies - kr, mylene, zel and myself were in marciano's to have a sampling of their "new age italian - american" food. and we really enjoyed the food. freebie was a serving of long corn chips with 3 different dips. seafood pesto is very good. i also like their seafood pizza, although it became a bit too chewy for a thin crust pizza after a while. the panseared tuna spaghetti wasn't bad either. their herbed roast chicken had parts which are too bitter, maybe due to the concentration of special herbs in one side, but was still good enough.

the serving is too small for my liking but it was enough to fill 4 hungry bellies. nice ambiance and good service overall. price-wise, i think it's ok... i can definitely go back and try other dishes.


while the chinese women are doing well in singles and doubles and ai sugiyama is still very much around, asia has only 3 male players inside atp's top 100 - dudi sela of israel, yen-hsun lu of taiwan and kei nishikori of japan. thailand's paradorn srichaphan was ranked as high as no. 9 back in may 2003 but fell off the radar at the end of 2006. well he's married to a ms. universe, so that's understandable!

anyhow, it's still exciting to see the above mentioned players doing well. dudi was the runner-up to roddick in china, while kei (who looks like sam concepcion) is doing well in the japan open being played this week. i hope that asian players keep on improving and winning important tournaments to go up the rankings.

separated at birth?

kei nishikori & sam concepcion