Saturday, January 31, 2009


rafa needed 5 sets to oust verdasco, in a 5 hour and 14 minute thriller that was completed way past midnight. nando hit an incredible 95 winners, but of course with whole lot of unforced errors as well. according to some bloggers, this match now sets the record for the longest match ever in australian open, as well as the first all spanish men's semis clash here.

"remarkable!", as the very pro-federer vijay amritraj quipped. speaking of vijay. all throughout the match (and other rafa's matches), he seemed lacking at remarkable adjectives to describe rafa's performance. he just says how fast rafa gets to the ball or how quick he sets himself up after scrambling around the court to defend. he always says that rafa only waits for his opponent's errors to win a point, altogether neglecting rafa's ability to set up the point well and pound on balls at more opportune time. this is what federer also does, as both of them are not players who will go for each shot every single time, a la james blake or fernando gonzalez. vijay fails to point out rafa's offense, from his angled forehands that opens up the court or backhand slices that keep the balls so low.

i hope that rafa still has got enough gas to beat roger in tomorrow's final. nando, even if he has lost the chance to play roger for the title, criticized the australian open organizers for scheduling the other semi-final match ahead of theirs.

“i think the semi-finals are supposed to be the same day, both semi-finals,
because i think it is the most fair for everybody.
because like right now, yesterday federer played three sets,
and today rafa played five sets, five hours,
and he will have one day less (to recover)."
- fernando verdasco.

another clash of the titans tomorrow... another grand slam title on the line. rafa has an advantage of 12 wins in 18 matches against federer. i hope that this streak continues, especially as rafa's playing his first aussie open final. may the tennis gods be on his side! (",)

Friday, January 30, 2009


rafa's playing compatriot fernando verdasco in tonight's australian open 2009 semis, which i hope he wins to have another date with roger federer (who defeated, yet again, andy roddick). as usual, i won't be watching it live, even if i can, coz as zel puts it, he's seemed to be jinxed whenever we watch the whole thing.

anyway, this 5-time grand slam champion is featured in an ad that promotes spain's balearic islands (illes balears in catalan). rafa of course comes from manacor in majorca, the largest of the islands.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


one of the nicest perks that i got so far when i moved out of macabulos was getting back my star sports and espn channels. so i was able to watch almost all televised matches... and even if i missed out on some, i still get to see it on replays. yay!

the biggest surprises thus far are these:
- venus williams lost to carla suarez navarro in the 2nd round
- ana ivanovic lost to alisa kleybanova in the 3rd round
- jelena jankovic lost to marion bartoli in the 4th round
- novak djokovic retired in his quarterfinal match against andy roddick
- andy murray lost to fernando verdasco in the 4th round
- jelena dokic reached quarterfinals
- elena dementieva, dinara safina and vera zvonareva reached the semis, best aussie open record
- fernando verdasco will face rafa in the other semis

no surprises on these:
- roger federer is through to the finals, beats andy roddick again
- serena williams is in her 4th aussie open final (odd numbered year kasi!)
- the williams sisters is in the women's doubles finals and will face daniela hantuchova and ai sugiyama
- rafael nadal is through to the semis

vamos rafa!

Monday, January 26, 2009


i came to know about this brazilian model's story thru cnn, when i was waiting for world sport updates. gosh, the bacteria that caused her limbs to be amputated and ultimately, her death is notoriously known to be antibiotics resistant and is usually found in hospital environment, particularly respiratory equipment, disinfectants, sinks, toilet, showers and mops. haaayy... ingat-ingat.

Brazil model who lost hands, feet dies

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil -- One month ago, 20-year-old beauty queen Mariana Bridi was living the dream of many young Brazilian women, trading her striking good looks for a modeling career that promised to lift her family out of poverty. Then she contracted a seemingly ordinary urinary tract infection. The bacteria spread quickly and inexorably through her body, proving to be extremely resistant to drugs. In a desperate bid to save her life, doctors amputated her hands and feet. But by today she was dead. "God is comforting our hearts because he wanted her to be with him now," her father Agnaldo Costa told reporters outside the hospital where his daughter died. "I can't accept that my daughter left us so soon."

Bridi's Web site says she began modeling at age 14 with the hope of giving "a dignified life to her parents."

Her father is a taxi driver and her mother a house cleaner.

By the age of 18, she was well on her way: In 2007 and 2008, she was a finalist in the Brazilian stage of the Miss World pageant.

Her Web site said next month she was to participate in the second stage of a modeling competition held in Sao Paulo by Dilson Stein, the Brazilian model scout who discovered supermodel Gisele Bundchen.

Last year, she took fourth in the Face of the Universe competition in South Africa and she had won bikini competitions across the globe. The Miss World Brazil organization said she was an example of someone "who knew how to intensely live her life."

Half a dozen memorial groups on Facebook had already sprung up just hours after her death. On Bridi's own page on Orkut -- the most popular Web social networking site in Brazil -- dozens of memorial messages were left.

The course of her illness was swift. In late December, she fell ill and doctors in her native state of Espirito Santo -- northeast of Rio de Janeiro -- initially diagnosed as having kidney stones. She returned to a hospital on Jan. 3 in septic shock -- life-threatening low blood pressure -- from the infection that would force doctors to amputate first her feet, then her hands.

Doctors said there was little they could do but pump drugs into her and hope for the best. was a nightmare scenario for anyone with an infection: Her body did not react to the latest and most potent drugs while the bacteria in her veins spread from head to toe.

In Bridi's case, the culprit was the bacteria
Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is known to be drug resistant. According to the January 2008 book "Pseudomonas: Genomics and Molecular Biology," edited by Pierre Cornelis, a researcher at the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology in Brussels, the bacteria has the "worrisome characteristic" of "low antibiotic susceptibility." It also easily mutates to develop resistance to new drugs.

Death from infections caused by the bacteria are relatively rare, but not unheard of: In late 2006, an outbreak of the bacteria at White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles sickened five infants -- leading to the deaths of two of them. The bacteria causes about 10 percent of the roughly two million hospital-acquired infections each year in the U.S., according to health officials.

A short statement from the Espirito Santo State Health Secretariat announced her death today "despite all the commitment of the hospital team."

Her aunt said the hundreds of messages left on her Web site had lifted Bridi's spirit in the past weeks." I believe that the serenity on her face came from this spiritual comfort," Oriendina Pereira Wasen said outside the hospital.

Bridi's funeral was planned for today in the town of Marechal Floriano.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


year of the ox starts on january 26. some fortune tellers predict that the economic turmoil will continue. but come second half of the year of the ox, the global economy will slowly and gradually improve.

my zodiac year is monkey. what's exactly in store for monkeys like me during the year of the ox? this was lifted from philstar's sunday magazine

Metal Monkey (February 16,1980 – February 4, 1981)

The Monkey has the closets affinity to man and therefore inherits most of his intellgince. He is quick-witted, clever and innovative, and can solve intricate problems with ease. The Monkey is innately warm, natural and spontaneous. He exudes self-confidence and has an enviable joie de vivre.

The Year of the Ox will require lots of hard work and caution if the Monkey wants to see progress. Trim your excess energy and spend more time for introspection. This will be the best time for you to look back and tackle unfinished business.

If you want to see significant progress in your career, you need to be more informed, more resourceful and more teamwork-oriented. Doing it alone will bring unproductive results. For Monkeys longing to change careers or jobs, this is not the year to do so. Stay put in your present job and focus your energy on skills development instead. You need to be disciplined in financial matters. Do not be easily tempted by bargain purchases and endeavor to save more than usual.

However, your domestic life will be most enjoyable. Time spent with your family, particularly for travel and vacations, will bring you much pleasure and will offer great opportunities to strengthen ties or to smooth out soured relationships. Also be vigilant as far as your health is concerned. Do not overlook or ignore small aches and pains. Consult your doctor immediately. While your lucky months for romance are April, September and December, love at first sight will not necessarily lead to something permanent.

most naysayers opine that horoscopes or predictions such as the above are misleading people to rely heavily on luck and make them believe that by following certain strict guidelines will make them "lucky" this year. while i'm not a fan, i maintain that there's nothing wrong if you read and follow some of these predictions or advices from certain feng shui experts... just don't overdo it. most of these are practical advices anyway. we all know that 2009 is and will be an even challenging year, so hard work is really needed, not only by monkeys, but by all individuals. skills development is really a must, but i think if an opportunity presents itself to you, it's worth examining your options whether to move to a new career or job or stay put at your present one. we might miss out on golden ones if we don't keep our options open.

what i mostly like about the predictions for monkeys is that this year favors travels, specifically travels with family. we're thinking of going to the beach this summer, so i think we'll plan early. yay! ok, this year, i won't hesitate to go to the doctor if i feel something. i always fall prey to my own laziness whenever i feel something's not right and tend to ignore small signs of aches and pains. anyway, the company pays and covers check-ups, so i should really maximize this benefit. finally, i don't vet on finding any romance during those lucky months. if it'll happen, it will. it doesn't matter if it's this year or next year. i'm not on a rush.
kung hei fat choi!

Saturday, January 17, 2009


gosh... i hope this doesn't happen to the philippines! when i was in indonesia, it was already overwhelming to handle 1,000,000 rupiah, which was my 7,000 pesos' worth. but when you're already dealing with trillion dollar notes, people will literally drown in zeros just to buy basic goods.

Zimbabwe unveils $100 trillion banknote

HARARE (AFP) – Zimbabwe unveiled a 100 trillion dollar note Friday in the latest grim measure of its staggering economic collapse, heightening the urgency of a new round of unity talks set for next week.

Veteran leader Robert Mugabe and opposition chief Morgan Tsvangirai are set to hold talks Monday with key regional leaders in a bid to salvage a four-month-old unity accord, which has yet to be implemented.

The stalemate over disputed elections last year has only fuelled the economic and humanitarian crisis that has impoverished the country, leaving nearly half the population dependent on food aid as a cholera epidemic sweeps the country.

The Reserve Bank announced in the government mouthpiece Herald newspaper a series of trillion-dollar denominations to keep pace with hyperinflation that has left the once-dynamic economy in tatters.

The new 100,000,000,000,000 Zim-dollar bill would have been worth about 300 US dollars (225 euros) at Thursday's exchange rate on the informal market, where most currency trading now takes place, but the value of the local currency erodes dramatically every day.

The move came just one week after the bank released a series of billion-dollar notes, which already are not worth enough for workers to withdraw their monthly salaries.

Inflation was last reported at 231 million percent in July, but the Washington think-tank Cato Institute has estimated it now at 89.7 sextillion percent -- a figure expressed with 21 zeroes.

When Mugabe took power at independence from Britain in 1980, the Zimbabwe dollar was equivalent to the British pound.

For years, the nation's farms, schools and health care were considered a model for Africa. Now 80 percent of the population is in poverty, 1.3 million are living with HIV, five million depend on food aid, and more than one million others have fled overseas.

A breakdown in basic sanitation and water has spawned a cholera epidemic that has killed 2,100 people since August and shows no sign of slowing.

Despite the ever-worsening crisis, Zimbabwe is locked in a political limbo following elections last March, when Tsvangirai won a first-round presidential vote and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) seized a parliamentary majority for the first time.

The MDC victory was greeted with a wave of political attacks that Amnesty International says left more than 180 people dead -- mostly opposition supporters.

Citing the violence, Tsvangirai pulled out of a run-off election in June, allowing 84-year-old Mugabe to claim a one-sided victory condemend by western powers.

Former South African president Thabo Mbeki brokered a power-sharing deal signed September 15, but the rivals have yet to agree on how to form a unity government, while attacks and arrests of MDC members have continued.

Hoping to salvage the deal, South Africa's new President Kgalema Motlanthe plans to fly to Harare on Monday with Mbeki and Mozambican President Armando Emilio Guebuza to mediate new talks.

"They will focus their discussions on the outstanding matters in the implementation of the global agreement," Motlanthe's spokesman Thabo Masebe told AFP in Johannesburg.

Tsvangirai told reporters Thursday that he remained committed to the unity accord. "All I lack is a willing partner," Tsvangirai said.

But he said he was not willing for talks to drag on indefinitely.

"At some point we will have to decide whether it is worth going into this government or not," he said.


the main attraction of this whole trip to china was probably this - the great wall of china. so even if the train from shanghai cost us around 3,ooo pesos (one way only), we took it and headed to china's capital. even the biting cold of beijing's frigid winter did not deter us from climbing the steep walls in mutianyu. its scale was grand, grander than any other man-made monuments in the philippines! i'm also glad that we booked a room in peking backpackers coz we were able to see and experience the very essence of beijing life - the hutong.

patikim pa lang 'yan! i'll post some more pics soon. (",)

Friday, January 16, 2009


i just got back from shanghai. yes, we braved china's winter! even if i don't have hugely thick coats or jackets, i survived, hehehehe! thanks to 4 layers of clothing - t-shirt, sweatshirt with a hood, knitted sweater (from ukay-ukay sa baguio) and finally, denim jacket. what i lacked was a leg warmer and gloves, so i bought those from shanghai's qi pu lo market. otherwise, i won't be able to get thru beijing's 7 degrees below zero!

i'll post more pictures soon and add in a bit of shanghai travelogue soon. trabaho muna, coz i have tons of emails to work on! (",)

Saturday, January 10, 2009


my family's new year celebration culminated with a nice lunch with tita nor (mama's elder sister) at krocodile grille in greenbelt 3. it was a great time to catch up with her, after what happened (again) in july 2006. although i know that she's not the type who harbors ill feelings and "walang masamang tinapay sa kanya", i know that she was deeply hurt with what had transpired. but the good thing is that tita nor takes things lightly and doesn't dwell on what had already happened. instead, she takes whatever good things and fondly remembers the good times. and to top it all off, she gave us pamasko! hehehehe!

this lunch was also a milestone, i should say. the six of us, yes papa's brood of six, were present in one big hearty meal. while we had ate ne during christmas noche buena, liezl, kuya bob and ate joy weren't there. in new year's media noche, only half of us were present. we rarely get the chance to be together, except on special occasions such as papa's birthday or mama's death anniversary. so this one was unprecedented... and to think that this was finalized only the night before! ate ne came all the way from bulacan, while papa, tita jo, ate she, utoy, liezl and izhi took the mrt to get to makati. kuya bob traveled with ate joy and izhi from mandaluyong.

i hope that we can have another one like this in the near future... kahit ako ulit ang taya! (",)

buo ang pamilya! anim na magkakapatid, kasama si papa at tita jo. plus julia, izhi and utoy (who took this picture).

Friday, January 9, 2009


nitong nakaraang disyembre, nagpatumpik-tumpik kami nila cathy at mark sa pag-aapply ng visa papuntang tsina. nasanay na yata kami sa ura-uradang proseso ng lahat ng bagay, hehehehe! walang sinumang nag-asikasong tingnan kung ano talaga ang mga rikisito sa pagkuha ng visa. maraming nadaanan si cathy na mga pahina sa web, na kesyo kailangan pa ng nbi clearance, sertipiko ng empleyo, at kung anu-ano pa. kaya naman ganu'n na lamang ang kaba at pag-aalinlangan ng lahat na baka di kami maaprubahan sa aplikasyon. siyempre, enero na. at sa linggo na ang lipad namin patungong shanghai.

nitong martes lang namin ipinasa lahat ng mga papeles... nagbakasakali na di na kailangan pa ng anumang dagdag na papeles, maliban sa aplikasyon, pasaporte, larawan, e-tiket at reserbasyon sa hotel. sinabi kasi ng isang empleyado sa embahada ng tsina na maaaring di maaprubahan ng visa ang anumang aplikasyon na walang nbi clearance, haaaayyyy! sa kabila nito, ipinasa pa rin namin ang aplikasyon. ang magandang balita lamang dito ay 1,400 pesos lang ang kabuuan ng aming ibinayad dahil maaari rin naming makuha ang visa sa biyernes (itong araw na ito).

at nakuha nga namin... sa awa ng diyos. ang nbi clearance ay kailangan lamang ng mga taong lilipad sa ibang bansa sa unang pagkakataon. buti na lang! ibig sabihin nito, tuloy na tuloy na ang lakad namin sa linggo. ang mga tanong dito ay:

kayanin kaya namin ang lamig sa tsina?
gaano karaming pera kaya ang magagasta sa lakad na ito?
may isyu kayang mamuo?
at higit sa lahat, anong kamalasan kaya ang naghihintay sa amin?

Saturday, January 3, 2009


it's always nice to be a kid from time to time. yes, a kid. a baby at heart or a tot. hehehehe!

well, i had fun time with my niece, izhi, the past holidays. from liezl and ate she's stories, izhi likes to run things from her own "little" point of view. since she's the baby of the house, she'd always direct all the people to do crazy stuff such as sing barney songs or imitate animal moves. she's the only one who can make papa move or get up from his beloved bed, even do splits in front of other people. she likes to get other people dressed in funny ways, but rarely does she make herself the clown so to speak.

when i was at home, she concocted an idea of us in a jungle, where she was stuck in a huge tree. while we were having our nth serving of tita jo's caldereta, the inglisera just shouted, "tito nonoy, help me. i'm stuck in a tree!" of course, the kid in me obliged. i was just so happy to be fully imaginative and pretend that we're really in a jungle, surrounded by huge trees, when in fact, the tree was just the christmas tree! upon rescuing her from the "monster" tree, i brought her to the hospital, which was just the long sofa (kunwari!), got her to lie down and call the doctor. the doctor in this instance was our very own malambing na askal, mommy lupe. then, we bought some medicines from the drugstore (our altar), and went home (home is our balkonahe). this was pretty much the script. then, izhi would go back to the christmas tree, will blurt out, "help me, tito nonoy! i'm stuck in a tree!", then we'll do the drill all over again. we did the whole routine for about 5 times.

and then, the boss in me noticed that this director tot isn't going to be tired of the drill anytime soon. so for me to still enjoy playing, the leo (read: leader) in me added in my own ideas and some scenarios! after going to the hospital and going home and getting rest, i initiated that we needed to prepare breakfast and prep ourselves up for the upcoming out-of-town trip. we rode the tricycle (which was the smaller sofa) to get out of our village, paid the driver, before boarding a jeepney. izhi would always pay the driver even if i forgot that part already. then, we reached the beach! yes, at this point, i added in a beach. we'll dive and swim (of course, complete with all the swimming actions), that is after applying sunblock lotion and all! kumpleto! then, izhi added the idea of a boatride. after swimming for what seemed to be hours, we'll head to an island, where our "original" jungle is located. there, izhi will get "stuck in a tree" again, will be rescued by me, we'll go to the hospital, she'll be treated by doctor lupe, she'll buy medicines, then we'll go home. after that, the story goes back to where we started.

it was fun. especially when the leader in izhi insisted that we trade places after one go. what will happen is that i'll be stuck in the tree and izhi will do rescuing. after going thru the cycle several times, she added a "cellphone" scene. when she gets stuck in a tree, instead of just crying for help, she'd dial her cellphone (but that was our landline phone!) and call me to ask for help! wahahahahaha!

i enjoyed it, really. when you're a kid, pure fun won't be prevented by missing out integral props or other visual aids. pure imagination can work wonders! you don't have to spend so many hours figuring out how things will work because eventually, all the pieces of ideas will be fused together to make a long narrative. you don't have to be serious at all. you can let loose and play for all it's worth. i was able to practice some of my childish but creative ideas, away from the usual "creative" endeavors either to write a document or prepare slide decks. what seems to be foolish becomes an enjoyable activity, kids really know how to get good fun. this just goes to show that for most part, we all will always be a kid at heart. what's important is that we know how to draw the line between reality and imagination, and that we know our roles and responsibility. happy new year!

Friday, January 2, 2009


new year 2009!

the whole family welcomed the new year with a bang! not that we spent on firecrackers or even fireworks, but we had a blast all throughout the 31st and on january 1 itself.

first, we all had fun preparing the food. liezl & tita jo were the designated cooks... utoy was their sous chef. ate she prepared fruit salad, while i was the food critic as always! i don't have the patience in food preparation, opting to just be the food taster and 'bisor as always. while the noise of firecrackers hovered in the air, we all feasted in what was the best homemade meal i've had in a long while! pasta, lumpiang shanghai, crispy pata, inihaw na liempo and beef caldereta were all great. add to that our long list of sweets - fruit salad, halayang ube and the s'mores chocolate cake, which wasn't a hit coz it was way too sweet. it's really not about preparing a lot of food or dishes. it's about carefully choosing which one will go better with others.

on jan 1, we trooped to tialo, ate ne's home. the food-star (if there's such a term!) was ate ne's sinampalukang manok and kuya ato's dinuguan! while kuya bob bought another s'mores choco cake, the best dessert was selecta's simple queso real ice cream. with all the kids running around, our time was spent talking about funny escapades, about tialo's basag community, of course creatures from capri, as well as some serious stuff like utoy's and bang's high school (both of them are graduating this march) and whether nice will still transfer from UP baguio to diliman.

all in all, it was a great time. i got to spend quality time with my siblings and my nieces and nephews, who are all growing up fast! the holidays strengthened our bond. and even if we're in rough times, we know that we have each other and that we can depend on each other to weather whatever difficulties that may lie ahead.