Sunday, June 30, 2013

wimbledon 2013

what a bizaare wimbledon it has been so far. 

first, rafa was bundled out in straights sets during the opening day. yup, he lost to steve darcis, a journeyman who barely wins any match in any slams. i didn't really have high expectations for rafa in this wimbledon campaign. like his camp, i'm already happy that he won his 8th roland garros title. with the recurring knee problem, bending for low balls in wimbledon's courts would be a tremendous challenge. during his past tourneys, rafa was not too confident in early rounds and opted for safe shots and oftentimes retreated to defensive style. he of course could not afford to do that in the grasscourts of the premier tournament of this sport. 

second, maria sharapova lost in the 2nd round to another screamer in larcher de brito. i thought that maria would be able to ride with the momentum after reaching the finals of roland garros. she loves the grass and normally plays well in wimbledon. but as the results showed, she was mowed down by her unforced errors that made her opponent more comfortable.

third, there were a lot of withdrawals and retirements even before the third round commenced. victoria azarenka, a semifinalist last year, had to withdraw from the tournament after an injury sustained in her first round match. jo-wilfried tsonga, john isner and marin cilic also had to withdraw. darcis, rafa's conqueror, also didn't play his second round match.

fourth, a lot of big names lost in early in this tournament. six out of the top ten seeds in the women's singles went out before the 4th round. azarenka, sharapova, sara errani, angelique kerber (semifinalist last year), caroline wozniacki and maria kirilenko did not reach the third round. 7 former world number 1s also went on the first wednesday. this included sharapova, azarenka, lleyton hewitt, ana ivanovic, jelena jankovic, wozniacki and my pick for the trophy (if and when nadal loses early), roger federer. 

and finally, my biggest disappointment... roger federer losing in the 2nd round to sergiy stakhovsky (who subsequently lost in the next round). while i'd pick rafa over roger anyday, roger is of course the greatest of all time. he's got a tremendous record of reaching the most consecutive quarterfinals at all slams and he's the defending champion so i thought that he should at least reach the qf. but he lost to a steady player in 4 sets. 

now that they're on no-play sunday, the tournament is becoming even more wide open. of course you still have serena williams, who plays sabine lisicki in the 4th round and novak djokovic, who plays tommy haas in the round of 16. andy murray is still alive in the bottom half of the draw and i really do hope that he takes the title this year. but with the early losses of bigger names, many players who are off the radar have the rare chance to go deeper in the tournament. laura robson or kaia kanepi will meet the winner of williams - lisicki match in the quarters. waiting in the wings would be agnieszka radwanska - tsvetana pironkova and roberta vinci - li na. in the bottom half,  obscure names like monica puig and karin knapp play sloane stephens and marion bartoli, respectively. the winner from this quarter will play any of the 4 players left in the bottom quarter: petra kvitova - carla suarez navarro, kristen flipkens - flavia penetta. 

on the men's side, the winner between djokovic and haas will play either tomas berdych or bernard tomic. emerging on this side will be a semifinalist between david ferrer - ivan dodig and andreas seppi - juan martin del potro. in the bottom half of the draw, more non-household names have the chance to reach at least the semis. the third quarter features lukasz kubot - adrian mannarino and jerzy janowicz - jurgen melzer, while bottom quarter has fernando verdasco - kenny de schapper and mikhail youzhny - andy murray.

it should be murray for the title. no question. serena is in fine form and could be the champ but i would really love to see another girl lift the dish this year. li na winning the trophy or kvitova winning her 2nd crown would make for a good story. but my choice would be aga radwanska, who plays well on grass and is fun to watch.


i don’t know what’s with brit films but i always enjoy watching light dramatic films coming from this country. the latest to give me a good time is quartet, dustin hoffman’s directorial debut. set in a retirement home, quartet is about retired musicians, who are preparing for the annual concert celebrating verdi’s birthday. the future of the retirement home depends on the success of this annual gala. imdb says that this was then disrupted by the arrival of jean (maggie smith), the eternal diva and the former wife of reggie (tom courtenay), one of the residents.

like the best exotic marigold hotel, quartet has that warmth and vibrant feel... two adjectives that in normal circumstances will not be used to describe a movie on retirement, aging and twilight years. hoffman was able to put together a feature that shifts successfully from amusing to poignant in a solid manner. characters were well drawn out and the setting provided the required texture through contrasting themes such as friendships (bromance if you may, between wilf and reggie) and rivalry (jean vs. dame gwyneth), sexual tensions between the young and wild and rekindling an old love affair, health problems versus throwing-caution-to-the-air attitude, as well as great love for one’s craft and waning, almost insecure attitude towards a lifelong career. 
central to the success of the story is its wonderful ensemble piece, which made the film a true actors movie. it may be because dustin hoffman is also a wonderful actor, with his gifts clearly transcending behind the camera, guiding an outstanding assembly of some of britain’s who’s who in this art called film and stage acting. billy connolly played wilf, the flirtatious and joker of the bunch, with evident delight. tom courtenay’s reggie provided the counter balance to wilf as reggie was more of the quiet type, preferring long walks and was played with an hushed but endearing height. his scene with the visiting students was one of the film’s best, especially when he listened to rap and the student went into freestyle rapping. michael gambon (the other albus dumbledore) was the film’s other diva, the scene-stealer director of the annual concert who was a joy to watch hurling insults here and there under the premise of being artsy fartsy.

i wasn’t really familiar with pauline collins as i haven’t seen her in any significant outings in the previous years. in quartet however, she obviously provided the heart-rending nub of the story. her cissy is that likeable character who loves life and is always looking to its everyday beauty even in her twilight years. cissy of course is suffering from dementia’s advancing stages and collins essayed the character with versatility, from inadvertent comedy to uncertainty and all the way to innocent or pure trust. we all know that maggie smith can play snooty grand dowager countesses even when she’s asleep so her grand diva jean was altogether not new. what’s impressive with jean was dame maggie injected an unexpected vulnerability in the character, even charismatic and girlish at times, especially during her exchanges with courtenay.
the movie was by no means perfect. for one, we did not even see the quartet lip synch the rigoletto and some even said that jean and reggie’s love story was dull. for me however, the movie was a delight to watch from start to finish. it provided that restrained joy of retirement, not awkward incredulity brought on by frustration or regret. it had a healthy dose of sentimentality, witty exchanges and was armed with lovely music. i was definitely entertained.

malaysia airlines

i have flown via malaysia airlines over the years and today, i'm declaring this to be the worst non-budget airline i've ever tried. i thought philippine airlines sucked big time but no, malaysia airlines is by far the more disappointing one. 

while b737 400 is fine since i'm not too big anyway, malaysia airlines' planes are not as tidy as one could expect for an international flag carrier. tray tables have withered in color and would give you the feel that you're really in an '70s aircraft. i sat in the window seat when i was flying home and the window panes have scratches, almost as if freddie krueger was flying beside the plane. 

second, the entertainment options were very limited. singapore airlines would have almost 10 new movies while MAS would only have 2-3 new releases. the rest are what they call "favorites". other carriers would provide headsets in tightly sealed plastics but MAS does not. their headsets don't even have earpiece foam cover. MAS does not even offer any pillows. for somebody who has back problems, pillows would come handy. when you request for one, they will just tell you that we don't have any. MAS does not provide any local pinoy dailies and does not even provide magazines other than their inflight one.  

some of the things above may be disappointing but generally forgivable... but just make sure that the food is ok. malaysia airlines, unfortunately for me, has the worst flight meal ever. PAL, during its labor dispute days, offered stupid meal that consisted of rice, blanched veggie, bland chicken and some local sweets. fine. one would understand because they were having problems back then. but MAS does not have these problems (or i just haven't heard of any). their tray was the saddest one i've ever seen... a meal in one of demo classes during my grade school was far better! it's as if they run out of ideas and just opened several boxes of totally "unjiving" treats and put it together in a tray. why would anyone put a cup cake with a chocolate bar? they could have gone with bread or roll and some butter but they chose cup cake. ice cream would have been a lot better than the chocolate bar because it'll light up anyone's eyes and appetite. there was not even an ounce of fruit or salad on the tray. on my way to KL, they were offering fish + rice and chicken + noodles. i chose fish and rice, which was a big mistake. again, it was the saddest fish fillet i've ever seen and tasted. no flavor at all. it would remind you of hospital food intended for someone who had just undergone an operation. the food didn't have any hint of "passion", as if telling the passengers "we're up here so no choice for all of us, just eat it".

i wonder whether malaysia airlines take time to look at the very detail of their services. probably not, based on what i've seen and experienced. so for my next KL trip, let's go with PAL or SQ. never mind the PAL middle-aged flight attendants or the 1 hour layover in singapore, no malaysia airlines for me from now on.


different world from up there. happy sunday!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

do what's right


i'm not a fan of steak really. maybe because i wasn't used to any big slab of meat when i was young. you see, i come from a big family so meat will always be adobo-style or bistek or sinigang. just last thursday, i wasn't really sure if i'd be able to chow down a huge piece of nice and tender steak. and of course as you may know, i can eat (as in really eat!), so in no time i was done with that huge slab. i probably wouldn't have finished my piece if it wasn't as tasty and tender as it was. for the record, it's the best one i've ever tried. oh by the way, this steak was cooked and prepared by my new boss, jim, together with his lovely wife june. 

as i've said on instagram, thursday was a carnivore night!

Friday, June 28, 2013


mandrake should learn from this little richard's quote: i try to be a guide to people, to make their darkness bright and to make the pathway light, and never to condemn or control or criticize.

above picture is of course that 6th floor pathway connecting gardens hotel and residences. i was upgraded to a one-bedroom suite in the residences so i had to walk thru this pathway everyday to get to the breakfast resto on the other side.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

chicken rice

i've been to mid valley's megamall in the past but this trip was the first time that i was able to sample chicken rice. i always thought that the chicken rice served in malls is in no way better than those authentic ones in KL's hawker centers. but this chicken rice healthy option from the chicken rice shop, i was convinced that mall-based food can also be good. the roasted chicken was nice and the rice complimented well. healthy option gives you 2 choices of side dishes so i went with bokchoy and tofu + egg. very good dinner!

Sunday, June 23, 2013


really long way. 30. 
thirty. thirtieth edition of this countdown. 
all good so far. 
nothing to complain.
in wedding anniversaries, pearl year.
kung geometry ito, tricontagon na.
kung sa US politics, pwede nang tumakbo sa senado.
sa tennis, naka-2 points na. 2 more points at game na.
ano pa kaya ang nasa dako pa roon? 
mukhang di pa susulat ng -30- eh.

Friday, June 21, 2013


tropical storm fabian is on its way out and is not expected to make a landfall. but it actually intensifies monsoon, which brings heavy rains in the metro. this is how the view from my office window looks like.

i hope that by 6 pm, the skies get clearer and the rains stop. papa and tita are on their way to cagayan de oro city. rain, rain, go away.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


maligayang kaarawan, unibersidad ng pilipinas!

UP Naming Mahal
U.P. naming mahal, pamantasang hirang
Ang tinig namin, sana'y iyong dinggin
Malayong lupain, amin mang marating
Di rin magbabago ang damdamin
Di rin magbabago ang damdamin.
Luntian at pula, sagisag magpakailanman
Ating ipagdiwang, bulwagan ng dangal
Humayo't itanghal, giting at tapang
Mabuhay ang pag-asa ng bayan!
Mabuhay ang pag-asa ng bayan!

Monday, June 17, 2013

seize the opportunity

During a robbery in Guangzhou, China, the bank robber shouted to everyone in the bank: "Don't move. The money belongs to the State. Your life belongs to you."

Everyone in the bank laid down quietly. 

This is called "Mind Changing Concept” Changing the conventional way of thinking.

When a lady lay on the table provocatively, the robber shouted at her: "Please be civilized! This is a robbery and not a rape!"

This is called "Being Professional” Focus only on what you are trained to do!

When the bank robbers returned home, the younger robber (MBA-trained) told the older robber (who has only completed Year 6 in primary school): "Big brother, let's count how much we got."

The older robber rebutted and said: "You are very stupid. There is so much money it will take us a long time to count. Tonight, the TV news will tell us how much we robbed from the bank!"

This is called "Experience.” Nowadays, experience is more important than paper qualifications!

After the robbers had left, the bank manager told the bank supervisor to call the police quickly. But the supervisor said to him: "Wait! Let us take out $10 million from the bank for ourselves and add it to the $70 million that we have previously embezzled from the bank”.

This is called "Swim with the tide.” Converting an unfavorable situation to your advantage!

The supervisor says: "It will be good if there is a robbery every month."

This is called "Killing Boredom.” Personal Happiness is more important than your job.

The next day, the TV news reported that $100 million was taken from the bank. The robbers counted and counted and counted, but they could only count $20 million. The robbers were very angry and complained: "We risked our lives and only took $20 million. The bank manager took $80 million with a snap of his fingers. It looks like it is better to be educated than to be a thief!"
This is called "Knowledge is worth as much as gold!"

The bank manager was smiling and happy because his losses in the share market are now covered by this robbery.
This is called "Seizing the opportunity.” Daring to take risks!

So who are the real robbers here?

Thursday, June 13, 2013


it was a choice between a light movie (oz the great and the powerful) and something dark and unsettling (stoker) on my way back to manila this early june. thinking that i probably can copy the james franco – michelle williams starrer from emma or pops, i chose the much darker stoker.

india’s (mia wasikowska) father (dermot mulroney) mysteriously dies in a car accident on india’s 18th birthday. soon after, charlie (matthew goode), india’s uncle, comes to live her and her unstable mom, evelyn (nicole kidman). as imdb puts it, “india comes to suspect this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives and becomes increasingly infatuated with him.” this movie is disturbing and meant for those who do not easily get bored with long drawn scenes. the first half of the film depicted everyday domestic activities such as having dinner, gardening, playing piano, which of course are all laden with quiet but vile overtures. mysterious as he is, the audience immediately knows that charlie is up to no good. first, the housekeeper suddenly disappears. the dinner with aunt gwendolyn was just an introduction to her being strangled in the phone booth and being buried in the estate with her cellphone. india, when being attacked by whip, witnesses the boy being murdered by her uncle charlie. this then led to their “deeper” connection as well as india’s sexual awakening, getting off to the thought of charlie breaking whip’s neck. india then learns that it is charlie who is responsible for her father’s death, shoots charlie when the latter tries to kill evelyn. she then speeds off to begin a new life only to be stopped by the sheriff. india then stabs the sheriff with pair of shears and shots of rifle being heard at the end of the film.

stoker is captivatingly different from the usual thriller fare. while it may be lyrical or tranquil at the onset, the horror beneath the surface made it engaging. as beautiful as the cinematic shots that were everywhere in the film, as they say, park chan-wook’s style, the movie is disturbingly good. the sequences in the basement when india was putting the ice cream in the freezer and getting some for herself while the light fixtures were swinging were particularly well put, ominous and creepy. the thought of india realizing her darker side as her true self is altogether disconcerting and not your everyday flick afterthought, which might stay with you in a long while. first-rate cast was also one of the key strengths of the film. nicole kidman’s evelyn was superbly vulnerable and matthew goode’s charlie was charmingly manipulative and  sinister at its best. mia wasikowska was far from her mirror mirror ladylike character. in stoker, she effortlessly conveyed india’s naivete or susceptibility to being devoured by a vile character,  inner strength and inherent wickedness.

evelyn stoker: you know i've often wondered why it is we have children in the first place and the conclusion i've come to is at some point in our lives we realize things are, they're messed up beyond repair. so we decide to start again, wipe the slate clean, start fresh and we have children, little carbon copies we can turn to and say, you will do things i cannot. you will succeed where i have failed because we want someone to get it right this time. but not me, personally speaking i cannot wait to see life tear you apart.

india: my ears hear what others cannot hear; small faraway things people cannot normally see are visible to me. these senses are the fruits of a lifetime of longing, longing to be rescued, to be completed. just as the skirt needs the wind to billow, i'm not formed by things that are of myself alone. i wear my father's belt tied around my mother's blouse, and shoes which are from my uncle. this is me. just as a flower does not choose its color, we are not responsible for what we have come to be. only once you realize this do you become free, and to become adult is to become free.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

the hobbit

while it wasn't as grand and as engrossing as the LOTR trilogy, i still enjoyed the first installment of the hobbit. running for almost 3 hours, it never felt long. instead, i was actually hoping that it would continue to show what's in store for the bilbo and his gang. but of course, they had to divide it to 3 movies and the next one should be out by late this year. i must say that martin freeman lacks the screen presence for a central character (james mcavoy could have done better in this role) like bilbo but he carried himself quite well, especially in the company of the dwarves and gandalf. the adventure sequences were exciting and the whole movie was made entertaining by good banters such as below.

BilboBaggins: Good morning.
Gandalf: What do you mean? Do you wish me a good morning or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it to be or not or that you feel good this morning or that it is a morning to be good on?
Bilbo Baggins: All of them at once.

Bilbo Baggins: Why don't we have a game of riddles and if I win, you show me the way out of here?
Gollum: And if he loses? What then? Well if he loses precious then we eats it! If Baggins loses we eats it whole!
Bilbo Baggins: Fair enough.

Bilbo Baggins: I have... I have never used a sword in my life.
Gandalf: And I hope you never have to. But if you do, remember this: true courage is about knowing not when to take a life, but when to spare one.

Galadriel: Why the Halfling?
Gandalf: Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay... small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? That's because I am afraid and he gives me courage.

Saruman: Do not speak to me of Radagast the Brown. He is a foolish fellow.
Gandalf: Well, he's odd, I'll grant you. He lives a solitary life...
Saruman: It's not that. It's his excessive consumption of mushrooms!

Monday, June 10, 2013

roland garros king

after being sidelined for seven months, he fought his way back to the top of tennis echelon. now, he has capped off that return with another winning performance in court philippe chatrier against david ferrer. by winning his 8th roland garros title, he is the first player to win any of the four grand slams 8 times. he has won his 12th grand slam title, his 57th overall and his 7th of the year, reaching the finals of all 9 tournaments he has entered so far.

in the first two rounds, he was obviously feeling a lot pressure, surrendering the first set to daniel brands and martin klizan, respectively. against fabio fognini in the third round, he was out-winnered by the italian but stayed competitive enough (read: defensive) to win in it straight sets. he finallly got confident in the fourth round, defeating an in-form kei nishikori and then dismantling another in-form player in stanislas wawrinka in the quarters, both in straight sets. 

the match with novak djokovic in the semis was altogether a different story. nole had just beaten rafa in the monte carlo finals in april, which was djokovic's third claycourt final win over nadal. while rafa still has the overall edge in the head-to-head (20-15), nole holds an 8 to 5 winning edge over rafa starting in 2010. in that span, djokovic won 8 titles (including the aforementioned 3 titles on clay: madrid and rome in 2011 and monte carlo 2013), as well as 3 grand slam titles (wimbledon and US in 2011 and the epic australian open final in 2012). djokovic has become the only player that could stop rafa from another title in roland garros. nadal won the first set and was leading in the second when djokovic mounted a comeback to even the score at 1 set apiece. third set was a blowout for rafa and he carried that momentum to the fourth set, only to have his serve broken serving for the match at 6-5. djokovic consolidated the break by winning the fourth set tiebreaker handily. in the fifth set, rafa was down a break until getting the chance to even the score in the 8th game. the match went on serve, until rafa finally broke djokovic's serve to win the set and the match at 9-7. what a relief that was. my friday couldn't have been happier!

i was talking to zel before the match with djokovic and she was saying that the djokovic match would end with 6-1, 6-2, 6-0 scoreline. what a fearless forecast it was, as if saying that djokovic will implode and commit mistake after mistake. djokovic is as ambitious and competitive as rafa is. it would all depend on who can grab the opporunity and build on it. both are consistent, good returners, all-court players. they move very well around the court and both have the needed tennis smarts to win at big stages. rafa and nole do not have a weak shot to speak of and both have that needed spirit to compete in the highest level. plus, djokovic seemed to have found that additional mojo to physically compete for prolonged hours, hence the recent successes against rafa, murray, federer and other fit players. so i know that djokovic can beat rafa in roland garros... may tulog 'ika nga. but anyway, rafa won and his name will forever be etched in the record books. claycourt king, one of the very best the sport has ever seen and one very good ambassador for tennis and sports in general. on to wimbledon's grasscourt and the rest of the season. vamos rafa!  

Sunday, June 9, 2013

wat saket

between boriphat and lan luang roads, off ratchadamnoen klang road, the temple of the golden mount is located. i didn't have any trouble finding it as this is a well-known bangkok attraction. i went there past 4 pm, so i was expecting a lot of tourists. to my surprise, it wasn't crowded at all, which was good. i run out of battery so i needed to go to a 7-11 nearby. coming back, the temple was already closed, so i just had to be contented taking below picture from afar. gotta go back to this bangkok attraction as well.

according to bangkok site: "Wat Saket, popularly known as the Golden Mount or ‘Phu Khao Thong’, is a low hill crowned with a gleaming gold chedi. Within, the 58-metre chedi houses a Buddha relic and welcomes worshippers all year round. Built on an artificial man-made hill, the Golden Mount is the temple’s most well-known landmark and is a sacred pilgrimage site during the weeklong worshipping period in November. To get to the top requires a climb up some 300 steps, which encircle the chedi like a loosely coiled snake. The path is well-paved and the climb relatively easy if you avoid going at midday or during peak summer months. Before beginning the climb, you will find an unusual cemetery built into the base of the Golden Mount. Covered in vines and overgrown trees, it emits a rather spooky out-of-era vibe. Perhaps this is because in the late 18th century, Wat Saket served as the capital's crematorium and the dumping ground for some 60,000 plague victims. Approaching the top of the hill, you will be welcomed by a wall of bells and panoramas of historic Bangkok."

loha prasat

when i was in bangkok in january, i really didn't know of this place. i walked from the giant swing all the way to where the golden mount is located and i found one of my new favorite bangkok sights, wat rachanadda, best known as the loha prasat. when i was there, not much tourists were around so i was able to have some me time in its labyrinthine passages as well as climbing its levels, along the way learning buddhist teachings. i should be back here the next time i'm in bangkok.

according to time, "The Loha Prasat is one of Bangkok's more eccentric religious buildings, a metal-tipped complex of concentric boxes that resembles the inner sanctum of an Egyptian tomb. If climbing its levels or browsing the adjoining market for outlandishly showy Buddha amulets builds up an appetite, adjoining Mahachai Road just happens to host the Thipsamai restaurant, (66-2) 221 6280. It's famed for its pad thai, lusciously soft noodles heaped from fiery woks and served with giant prawns and egg as gleaming yellow as the nearby spire of the famed Golden Mount."

Saturday, June 8, 2013

amazing race

amazing race. yup, that was the highlight of our we day back in april. while it was all good family fun, there was much air of competitiveness... just like any of aydisi games in the past. while i expected to finish only second among five teams of two (one was made up of 3), surprise came in when tessa (who did a very good job in organizing this we day) announced that royd and i actually won! all good... that was really because we were pretty consistent throughout the 4 legs of the race. we won two legs while also faring well in the others. on to the next aydisi game!

Friday, June 7, 2013


29 is rarely used in the NBA, hence this number has yet to be retired. it is also a prime number, and the total number of letters in the turkish, finnish, swedish, norwegian, danish and faroese alphabets. it has been this much and still counting. one can't really say no when the going gets better. we'll see.

Saturday, June 1, 2013


there's nothing like spending a friday afternoon malling and having dinner with the family and then coffee-ing after doing some groceries and before going home. lovin life and lovin my fabulous family. thanks for the gift of family, almighty lord.