Hinahanap-hanap kita Manila

I really needed this two-week vacation in Manila. Work has been piling since I moved up for higher responsibilities. Before, I was going home 5.30pm sharp ---enough to catch the mid-episode of The Simpsons. Now, I barely make it in time for ESPN Sportscenter which starts at 8pm. Add to that the early-morning calls due to failed upgrades or requests to test 3G video-call, much to the chagrin of the missus who seems to be updated with my office-work that I can let her proxy for me if I get sick.

There’s not much to do but suck it all in. It comes with the work, and the paycheck. I guess they thought, “Aba tatlong taon na itong walang ginagawa ah! Kelangang sulitin naman natin yung binabayad naten sa kanya! Ilagay naten sya dun sa system na up for migration. Siguradong maraming problema yan pagka-upgrade.”

It’s been a daily battle ever since. There’s always some new issue/problem popping up, and fortunately my team of expert engineers were able to cope. The sword has to go thru fire in order to be sharpened (or something like that), and they have delivered. For that, I’ve thanked them via free-lunch at TGI-Fridays. A small gesture of saying, “Hey! You guys did a good job. Keep it up.”


I’ve been under the weather since I arrived. I must’ve been not used to the cold December weather here in Manila. It’s so cold that even our aircon back in Malaysia would have to cope (Yup sira na ata yun. Kulang sa freon siguro). Christmas morning I was feeling so chilly that I grabbed the poncho, my sister’s gift to the missus, and wore it with matching Mexican nonsense-dialogue:

“Ahere bonito!”

“Bonito tequila!”

“Eser aqui aqui!”

“Nosotros!” <-- I just love saying this word. Btw, what does it mean?

Hope I get well soon. Except the missus’ request that we watch several MMFF films, there’s so many things I want to do and visit (and eat, of course).

Manila...Manila...I keep comin' back to Manila...


The Games We Play

The missus and I have created several games, usually out of boredom. Ahhh yes, such is the beauty of married life.

SILIP. This game is played lying in bed, facing each other. Both parties close their eyes, making each other assume that they're sleeping. After a while, one party peeks at the other's face, without the other knowing that he's peeking. When the other party thinks that she's being looked at, she opens her eyes to try to catch him, that being the object of the game. The game ends when she times his peeking and catches him red-handed.

SALONG-PAA. Both parties are in the living room watching TV. His hand acts as a venus flytrap, which will try to catch her speedy foot that teases his hand, as if coaxing him to catch it. He is only allowed to look at the TV. Timing is extremely important in this game. The game ends when he gets tired of the coaxing and grabs the foot to tickle it.

TWO-WAY. This can be played alone, by the bedroom window facing the highway. You cannot leave the window until you see two cars moving in opposite directions of the highway. Warning: this game is VERY addictive.

SOFTEST "HMM." Another bed game, both parties facing each other. With both parties taking turns, they blurt out a short "hmm" which the other party should imitate/beat in terms of volume. The person with the softest "hmm" wins. I've yet to beat the missus in this one.

KNEE-SPIDER. Both parties in the living room. One party sits, knees bent. With only one hand, he willl tickle the knee slowly, starting with all ends of the fingers joined together touching the knee. The degree of tickling is increased by slowly separating the joined fingers. If the person with the knee shows her teeth, she loses.

HIDDEN CHEESE-RING. Wait for your partner to be out of the kitchen or the living room. The object of the game is to open a bag of Cheese-Ring snacks without the other party hearing the tearing of the bag nor the "crunch" of that cheesy bite. There's a bonus of 50 points if you are able to fillup a glass of Coke. Additional 5 points if your Coke has ice.


Doing Good

Last Sunday after Mass, the missus and I were in a bookstore at The Curve (that Rockwell-ish mall) doing some Christmas shopping for her inaanak: looking for a book-guide on making scrapbooks.

As the missus was searching for her gift, I passed the time by grabbing a book entitled
“Dropping The Pink Elephant" from the business-section, amazingly finishing Chapter 1 (a good read I might add). My "browsing" was nothing compared to this auntie (Malaysian term for "old lady") who was sitted comfortably along the cookbooks section scribbling out the recipe for blueberry pie on the back of an old receipt (ingenius ey?). After 20 minutes, we headed out of the bookstore since the missus' search was fruitless.

Before we went out of the bookstore, we were able to do something good. It doesn’t matter what it was we did but let me assure you that it was something good, a small gesture of kindness. What’s more important to tell was that I felt a sudden rush upon realizing that I did good, even in a small way. It was like I felt a rush of adrenalin.

After a while we were at our favorite Kopitiam (coffee house) sipping our daily dose of legalized caffeine and bread with butter and kaya. Our discussion dwelled on the issue of doing good, leading to (where else?) but PBB. Last week’s PBB task involved the housemates to take care of several Golden Acres residents. The missus shared that she and her org did something similar during college, visiting an orphanage to give sewing machines as gifts. At the end of the day she felt guilty parting with the orphans, as she and her orgmates went back to their cozy lives in the outside world.

I think the purpose of doing good, like visiting an orphanage (or anything similar) is two-fold.

First, there is the obvious: that we share ourselves to the least of our neighbors, be it financial or otherwise. The effect is towards the recipient. This is the most common.

But there is that other reason that I have just realized: it makes the giver feel better, i.e. the effect is towards the giver. No, it’s not that feeling of “ang swerte ko talaga wala ako sa ampunan” or something like that. That, I think, is a selfish reason. The “good feeling” that I’m talking about is that of realizing that you’ve given something, not of the “ang swerte ko talaga” feeling.

It’s like roti bakar (that toasted bread with butter and kaya), the missus always has that “good feeling” after she gives up her remaining share of that delicious bread to her
hungry loving husband.


"The thing is..."

The missus was able to find out my favorite phrase. She noticed it after overhearing some of my business-calls. I didn't give it much thought until I was replying to an email earlier. I started typing:

The thing is that...

I guess the missus was right. I tried to rephrase my email but I suddenly had writer's block. Just can't think of a phrase to replace it with.

Why? Well, the thing is...


Thai Conversations

We had dinner at our favorite Thai place earlier. The missus was salivating for tomyam so I obliged but on the condition that I won't sip the spicy concoction.

So with the dinner-list already reviewed from the menu, I called the waitress:

"One deep-fried ffffrawn...."

I guess my F's and P's got mixed up with that tongue-twisting appetizer. The missus obviously noticed it, unable to control her laughter in front of the waitress, who at this time was wearing a smirk.

With the rest of the menu given, the waitress left. The missus and I were discussing on our next problem: where to eat on Sunday evening (ahhh yes, we have very huge problems here). She suggested the Ming-Tien open air food court:

"Alam ko na! Portuguese Pish."




Isn't it amazing sometimes, that the simplest of things affect us in the greatest of ways? The virus that can define the line between life or death, the simple "hum" that can end up to be the greatest song you've ever written, or that right dash of pepper that will make your t-bone steak taste perfectly well.

Another example of this is a simple line. If one would see a line or two drawn on a piece of paper, for example, most often the average Joe (or Jane) would think nothing of it.

Yes you maybe curious at first, but only for a few seconds. It is of no significance so it doesn't scare nor excite you. It is totally devoid of meaning. You'd either leave it alone, or pick it up to throw in the trash bin, or recycle the piece of paper for later use. It is forgotten during the rest of your day since it is of no importance, for your mind is too busy on sentences that begin with what-if's or where-shall-we's.

But, what if, you see those same two lines on something like this?

You become curious and amazed at the meaning of these lines. Time suddenly stops. It scares and excites you, both at the same time. You'd never want to throw it away, for its meaning is of the greatest of importance. You spend the rest of your day on a high, for you know that, through those 2 lines,
its meaning has affected you in a whole new way, and you are changed forever.

Originally written on Nov. 1st, 9:57pm, I only sent this blog out to the world now since we've confirmed the baby's heartbeat earlier today. We first learned about it last Oct.29 thru a home-pregnancy kit.

Yup, it's the best belated birthday gift I've ever had.

Back To The Beach (Day 98)

Nasa huli ang pagsisisi.

I’ve been eating a lot again lately. Sunday dinner was no different. We ate at The Gourmet CafĂ© at a Rockwell-ish mall called The Curve near Ikea. We satisfied our tastebuds with meat antipasta, veg-cream soup, baked shepherd’s pie, and chicken-pineapple adobo casserole (yup, amazingly they had adobo, a favorite Filipino dish). Like my friend CM once said to me while sipping nilaga in Singapore,

Ipikit mo mata mo pre habang hinihigop mo ang sabaw, parang nasa ‘pinas ka na, di ba?

The missus’ appetite was low so I had to lend a helping hand stomach. I had to finish it in aid of the old adage “madaming nagugutom na bata ngayon.” (as if makakatulong ano?)

Thoughts of Sunday after-Mass family lunches at Jollibee in Makati Cinema Square come into mind. I remember clearly during my early-teens when my 3 sisters would all order 2-piece chickenjoys each and I’d only order pancit-palabok with toast bread. Mom was surprised the first time I did this.

Yan lang kakainin mo?

Ahhhm. Opo.

Halfway into my palabok, my sisters, all being takaw-mata, would’nt or couldn’t finish the remaining 1pc chicken so they’d all look at dear old Kuya and say,

Kuya ayaw ko na. Gusto mo (nitong chicken)?

I guess as young as I was I had the gift of foresight. Yup I ended up eating 3pcs of chickenjoy aside from my original order. Well to my satisfaction hindi ako tinablan ng taba coz my metabolism was still high at the time (I was an all-around athlete: piko, tumbang-preso, taguan, taguang-lata, monkey-monkey, patintero, and of course that high-burning calorie game called TEX). I could swallow all I can eat and won’t feel guilty of gaining weight coz, tried as I would, I didn’t gain a single pound.

Ahhh yes, life was good back then. Of course it became a gamble on the following Sundays as my sisters’ appetites grew. So on the lean days (pardon the pun) I’d end up with only palabok and bread for lunch that I would crave for merienda at 3pm (ensaymada and Coke…mmmm).

Fast-forward to 2005 and I’m a hefty 176-pounder who can’t simply deny the penchant for food. As our previous houseguests here can agree, except for last Friday night where my homemade contribution of beef with brocolli was a disaster, ang sarrrrrap talaga ng mga pagkain dito! It is really hard to lose all the unwanted weight (40lbs to be exact, as was indicated in the ideal BMI for my height) but the important thing now is that I KNOW that I need to lose it.

Nope I’m not saying that I’m going to go on a son-of-a-beach diet again. I’m also not saying that I’ll be exercising everyday (I could hear the missus now saying “Yeah right” if I said it). What I’m saying is I’ll try to be MORE AWARE of losing weight while I look, sip, and gobble up the sumptuous food that’s on the dinner plate.

Or I can always try on the sauna-belt that the missus bought.

Yeah right.

Hmmm…san kaya kami kakaen bukas? Hehe.



Expect a lot of trade-ins to occur once this phone is out.

Speaking of trade-ins, I finally got to replace my old phone (Nokia 6260) yesterday. Here's my new toy packed with full 3G service:

The missus was able to "break-in" my new phone last night when she used it for surfing the 'net via bluetooth connection to the laptop. She says the speed was as fast as when we go wifi at Starbucks.

Sarap eh!

Hopefully may 3G na sa 'pinas next year.



On the way to church for Sunday Mass earlier, I plugged in our American-Idol 2005 collection in the CD-player. We were able to download most of the video-files from a website and put most of it on CD for driving-enjoyment. It was really for the missus since she's a big Bo fan.

Well as Bo's "Time In A Bottle" played, I as usual, sang with it. I am convinced that I sound like Bo, much to the despair of the missus since I seem to have desecrated her crush. Anyway the song was ending so I went:

"if I....could spend time....in a bottle..."

Ano sabi mo?

Spend time in a bottle.

(laughs) Mali!!!! Save time in a bottle yun ah! Spend time in a bottle pala ah! (laughs)

continuous laughter)

Then thoughts of a future MTV of Bo Bice trapped in an empty Johnny Walker bottle were circling my brain. I guess it went worse on our way home after dinner at KLCC:

("The Way" by Fastball playing on the FM radio)

Yang kanta na yan parang lumang style ano? Parang yung mga kinakanta pag may nagiinuman sa kanto nuong araw?

Onga parang yung Delilah.

Avoiding the obvious, I instantly replied with the song-title:

Ah oo yung "Why why why why Delilah?"

(2 seconds of silent assessment)

(continuous laughter again)



If you’ve ever watched TV-Patrol or Private-I, you may have come across a reporter by the name of Gus Abelgas. He’s been of interest lately by me and the missus since we’ve noticed that he likes to prolong his lines. He has somehow unintentionally provided us comic-relief while we watch the sad state of our country through the news.

To give you an idea, here’s a sample mp3 (363kb). Take note of the following words he has “stressed” in his report:

Taguig cityyy





syempre paaaah



Ok baaaaah?


Japanese Cake

Hmmm....yung kakaning Pinoy kaya ganito din ginagawa?

Kakatuwa talaga mga Hapon.


Stuck in Reverse

When you try your best and you don't succeed,
When you get what you want but not what you need...
-- "Fix You" by Coldplay

I've come into liking Coldplay's X&Y album. It just grew on me, really, while I'm driving from home to the office and vice-versa. Bamboo's self-titled and LifePeaceAndLove, and Hale's self-titled album had a similar effect. Thus Bamboo, Hale, and Coldplay are regularly spinning in the car's CD-player.

Well the missus thinks otherwise of Coldplay.

Ang boring naman ng tugtog nila e. Kakaantok.

Well beauty is in the eye (and ear) of the beholder. I find Coldplay as a breath of fresh-air after a long queue of alternative-rock songs on my MP3 list (add to that the missus' Kelly Klarkson and Luther Vandross CDs). Soothing, Colplay is like a kaleidoscope to the ears.

By the way, the attached pic was generated by typing my name on a website I found. Cool huh?


What you've missed

It was hectic at work last week so tried as I did, I never had a chance to blog. That is of course, say for one piece of good news. Nope I'm not gonna say anything yet but it will come soon enough. Just view my blog site in the next couple of weeks for it. So for those of you who know about it, just "zip it" for the meantime until I tell you so. ;-)


I'm finally getting into the thick of things in terms of work. Last week had two major holidays clashing so I had to be on-site most of the time due to some outages resulting from high-load. I have to admit that I love getting into the system, running scripts, analyzing technical faults, etc. but one week on standby-duty is enough for me. Hey I'm a manager! It's time to focus my energies from system-management to people-management. My "peeps" are already back from their holiday so it's time for them to "haul-ass" in work and for me to start, well, managing them.


After our Vietnam trip, we got an urgent memo from our condo-security that there has been a spat of minor robberies recently. We went to the homeowners-meeting and discovered that due to poor security, there were a few units that were broken into, mostly the 4th and 5th floor units. This shocked me and the missus coz our unit is on the 4th floor. We initially thought that since our unit was on a high-floor, we should not be worried. But after the meeting, the missus and I were already thinking of moving somewhere else.

So we called up several condos-to-let. Yes it's called TO-LET here instead of TO-RENT. Must be a British influence. Since I only have until April to work here, the most that we can stay on a new apartment is 6-months max. Unfortunately most of the sales-agents said the owners renting out the units prefer 1-year minimum. So the least we could do now is stay at our "safe" apartment and maybe move to a trendier (posh?) service-apartment by March.

Anyway I've set up "high-tech" burglar alarms on all the living room and kitchen doors during the night, i.e. pots and pot-covers hanging from the door handles. It's actually an effective deterrent against burglars as proven by my Dad. The burglar tries to open the door and when he does, KAPLAAANG! The pots emanate a medium-frequency clang that alerts both the household and the burglar thus preventing the crime. O ha o ha! Well I've been in the unit for almost 3 years now and, knock-on-wood, I haven't had any untoward incident. Hopefully it stays that way until we leave.


I remember when I weighed in last December 2004 for my medical-checkup, I was at 80kgs. After all the "attempt" to diet, exercise, badminton, futsal, and what not, I'm very happy to inform you that I weighed in a hospital-scale last week to find out that I AM STILL at 80kgs! Crap!!!! ARRRRGHHH!

I think when I go home later I'll throw our home weighing-scale (who's a f*cking liar) out the window.


Vietnam Notes (Part II)

War Museum. It posts a collection of memorabilia from the Vietnam War. The journalists’ photos were deeply affecting. It told of the travesty of war and the hapless victims that were the Vietnamese and Americans alike. I was amazed to find out that the Philippines sent a battalion as part of the allied forces although they were not armed with guns but with T-squares and scales (it was an engineering battalion). Thus the risk of dying from dengue was higher for them as compared to perishing from an enemy bullet.

Having watched such films as Platoon, Band Of Brothers, and Saving Private Ryan, I was gawking at the site of vintage tanks, 150mm howitzers, grenade launchers, an F5 fighter, and a Huey chopper at the museum grounds. Not to mention a real guillotine used during the French occupancy, I posed for a pic at each weapon of destruction, of course.

Cu Chi Tunnels. Mukhang nawaha na ako sa missus. She used to have a problem saying the word Wednesday (she pronounces it as Weh-nes-day para Tagalized daw). My Weh-nes-day is Cu chi Tunnels.

Galeng ng pagkakagawa ng CHU CHI Tunnels ano?


Onga, CHU CHI Tunnels.


It just happened. I dunno why. I must’ve confused it with an old sitcom character with the same name, a.k.a. Lola Chu Chi of Chicks2Chicks.

Anyway this was the highlight of our trip. We were made to crawl a 20-meter section of the complicated web of tunnels so that we can get a feel of the VC experience. As you can see, the picture is quite dark such that only my phone can be seen. It was held by the missus as I tried my flash-less digicam on her. It was pitch black, I tell you. You can’t see a damn thing. Add to that the assortment of traps, no wonder the Yanks weren’t able to penetrate these tunnels.

You should see my video on it. It was also pitch black, except for the phone light illuminating the missus’ chin lagatak-ing with pawis. Yep we were laughing all the way from start to finish, only disturbed by comments such as:

Teka teka! Picture muna! Ay potek ang dilim!

OMG ang dilim!

Wow pawis na ako. Hmmm….ang alat pala ng lasa ng pawis ko.

Asan na? Ang layo pa ba ng dulo? OMG!


I guess that last one was too much. Good thing there were no US-veterans with us. They would’ve grabbed a bayonet and stabbed the alleged VC.

Notre Dame Cathedral. Located in a picturesque European-like square aptly named Little Paris, we were fortunate enough to attend the 6.30am Sunday Mass. Yes 6.30am. The last time I woke up THAT EARLY for Mass was for Simbang Gabi. I was able to complete the 9-day Novena only once so far. That was when I was still a teenager with raging hormones, and pimples.

You have to admire the Catholic Vietnamese there. I observed during the Mass that ALL MEN hearing Mass (save for one Pinoy tourist) were wearing shirts with collar and were politely dressed, much like going to work. Taimtim talaga silang nagdarasal. Admirable, really. Too bad the Mass was ENTIRELY in Vietnamese. But as Sam, our atheist tourguide said, “Praying is not with the mouth, but with the heart.” Or something like that.

Well the rest of the tour was spent on shopping at Central Market (damn cheap but not as cheap as Divi), Saigon River Boat Cruise (most of the damn tourists were singing and dancing (asses flying) like your Dad and mine, noisily with the band; good thing I got it all on video…hehehe), Picture-taking in front of a 100+ year old post office, city hall, and Ho Chi Minh’s statue.

All in all it was great trip. Bagong tatak pa sa passport, as the missus would say.

Hmmm…dunno yet where we’re going this December break. The missus wants to go somewhere with snow. I aptly told her we just go up to Genting Highlands. I heard they have a “winter-wonderland” snow room there. Hehehe.


Vietnam Notes (Part I)

So far we've enjoyed our stay here in Vietnam. The hotel was kind enough to give us a complementary 1-hour voucher each so we're here at the internet cafe checking our emails (and PBB updates for the missus). Here are some things/places that we recommend you try or go to when in Vietnam:

Christ's Temple. Located in Vung Tau some 120kms away from Ho Chi Minh City, it is a massive 22-meter statue of Jesus Christ standing on top of a hill with its arms wide open facing the ocean. Similar to that in Rio De Janeiro, it is the 2nd tallest statue of J.C. in the world. It takes 920+ steps to go from the bottom of the hill to the shoulders of the statue (yes you can climb up the statue) so comfortable walking shoes, a face towel, and a whole lot of stamina is required. No fees to pay.

Vietnamese Coffee. In the words of the great comedian Jimmy Santos, "HOLY COW!" This is THE BEST coffee I've ever tasted. Costs around 15,000 dong (or less than 1 US-dollar) for a cup, it is a must for every coffee-lover. Vietnam is the 2nd largest coffee exporter after Brazil and before Colombia. Another interesting fact: don't you know that there are NO STARBUCKS NOR MCDONALDS here in Vietnam? I find it quite refreshing, really. It makes you think at least there is one country in S.E.A. that will not succumb to American commercialism. Kaya ang papayat ng karamihan ng mga tao dito. I guess they don't need to watch that Supersize Me movie.

Oops my 1-hour voucher is almost up! I'll just blog the rest when we get back.



10 Updates

Three straight days working from 1am-10am. This system-migration stuff is really killing my body in terms of getting the right amount of sleep. Although the abundant food-delivery of Dominos and McD is steady, I'm glad today's the last day of this project.


Food intake is back to normal. Bochog normal, that is. I still try to exercise at least twice a week but I guess having to remember that I'm on a diet is rather difficult. This leads to BTP phenomena when trying on an Ambercrombie shirt at the mall (BTP = Big Tummy Protruding). The missus seems to agree as she gives a disappointed look after she tried out a ladies shirt.


The car has not been cleaned for almost 3 weeks now. It looks as if I've taken it for a drive from the desert, the rainforest and back. I have this spooky feeling that the gods are always conniving to make it rain after I've washed the car EVERYTIME. Note that this has been happening even when I was still in Pinas. Weird isn't it? I guess the rain-gods are daring me to wash the car so that they can prank me again but I'm not budging (it's been raining here everyday this week). You should hear me when I'm passing by the carwash-bay of our apartment, as if cursing the heavens: "Ha! Di ko pa din lilinisin ang kotse! Belat."


Boss is asking me (again) how's my job-hunt coming along ---with a "belittling" accent. I smiled and said, "Don't worry about me." Hmmm, I should've told him I had an ephipany two days ago. It told me to go back to Pinas and venture into franchising instead of looking for work. Well that's the plan at the moment. Subject to change, of course, depending on what other offer comes into play.


I've heard a lot of people migrating to Canada, Australia, and the US. The missus, in particular, has 3 close friends who've migrated to Canada and one just got approved to live in Australia. Hell, even April Boy Regino is migrating with his family to the US. Huwaw!


Got introduced to a new local snack: Roti Bakar. Toast two white bread. Thenafter, layer one side with kaya and butter. Goes best with coffee. Mmmmm....yummy.


There this unknowing geek neighbor at our apartment who has a wifi subscription that he lets open. There's no security at all that I could log-in and surf the 'net for FREE! I would use my laptop to find the strongest signal in the house, much like what we'd do with tv-antennas during the pre-cable-TV era. That was a couple of weeks back. I guess the geek noticed his 'net connection was slowing down (I was trying to download a large video-file once) and thus discovered my presence in his network. Since then I've not been able to connect to his wifi network. I assume that he has enabled the anti-barat-surfer feature in his wifi-router. *Sigh*


I've been loving the eletric-mosquito-racket at home. Yes, there IS such a thing. There've been frequent bwisitors in the sala and bedroom that the local mosquito-repellant is not really effective. The mosquito-racket has lessened the pest population effectively, with my Agassi-like forehand and backhand strokes electrocuting the damn bastards to death.


After 3 years I still haven't picked up the local language. The security guards at the office always assume that I'm local so they talk to me casually in Malay. All I could do is reply, "Aaahhh" and smile. It seems to be the only effective response with every "conversation."


Semi-excited about the Vietnam trip this weekend. "Semi" coz the Yahoo-weather forecast does not look good (partly cloudy with scattered t-storms in Ho Chih Minh). Even the travel agent has advised us to bring raincoats. Damn, I hope Yahoo-weather is not that accurate. Oh yeah, we'll stay away from eating chicken there as much as possible.



(ABOVE) You have to agree: he does look spooky when wet. I couldn't put my finger to it at first but he reminded me of someone from an old Disney cartoon...

...Ichabod Crane.



Halfway into the PBB season, ABS-CBN is milking the said show for all its worth: SMS-voting, tshirts, caps, 24/7 subscription of livecam, and lately, the PBB magazine. This is aside from the fact that the show is already earning from the numerous sponsors, with their ads streaming endlessly DURING the show.

I'm saddened by this since PBB-mania is draining the texting-public of all their hard-earned load just to vote for their manok from being evicted especially this week since there are 5 nominees. Add to that those senseless multiple-choice sms in between the votings that lures the ignorant cellphone user into wasting his money for nothing.

This just proves the bankable partnership of reality shows and sms-voting. That is why I think Filipino telco-operators are not eager to rollout 3G services at the moment as they are still profiting from the SMS phenomenon. In tandem with advertising and media companies, they are eager to dangle the bait. Texters are then hooked and waste money.

So, who are you voting for this week? If you're voting for Chx, I suggest you don't contact the missus.


Dear Santa

The Nokia N70 3G phone. Ah yes. Bee-you-tea-full!

I've been waiting for this phone to be released in the market since I first saw it on the Nokia website last Q2 of 2005. Finally, it's here! I just saw it from one of the cellphone shops here at the grocery. My current phone, a Nokia-6260, is a total crap. Its software hangs a lot, the bluetooth has problems connecting to a laptop, the shine in the volume buttons has faded, etc. Yeah, I was taken in by the hype of its looks. I should've listened when Melanie Marquez said "My brother is not a book!"

Hmmm...I wonder how much this phone costs. Good thing my company has just given all the employees a RM500 rebate (approx. P7,500). Some of my officemates are selling the vouchers for RM350-400 so I'm thinking, I may save an additional 300 bucks (P4,500) more. Add to that the trade-in value of my 6260.

Hmmm...not bad as an advanced Christmas gift for myself don't ya think?

Yeah, you're right. I'm one selfish bastard.

So bite me.


Morons At Heathrow

I got this (349kb) from an officemate. Sort of like what Bart Simpson does when he calls that guy tending the bar at Springville. I can't believe these guys pulled it off at Heathrow Airport.



Ah yes. London. I remember vaguely a week of training (which was more of a sight-seeing tour) last Sep. 2000:

Hyde Park.

King's Cross.


Trafalgar Square.

The Underground.

Buckingham Palace.

Tower Bridge.


Too bad I wasn't able to watch a Premier League game at the time. It would've capped a great week in England.

So while I'm waiting when I'll fly back to that wonderful city, the Travel-Channel and ESPN's English League will have to do at the moment.


Sweet Torture

After watching a travel-show on Thailand last Saturday, we decided to head to a Thai-resto for dinner.

Under a year, the missus has become a converted lover of tomyam. She classifies it as something of "sweet torture," much like the Japanese wasabe. The latter, when taken in above-normal portions, hits the nose's path going up your brains as if fumigating your nostrils. The feeling is overwhelmingly hot (and embarassingly stupid) while you try to quench it with green tea. Stupid because after a sip of green tea you realize that the drink is hot. So it was like trying to douse a bonfire with gasoline. Ahhghhh should've ordered a Coke!

Tomyam has the similar effect, especially when you sip it wrongly. I, for one, have been a victim to this. I would take a sip, then I feel something building up at the back of my throat, like hot magma about to flow to my lungs. I have no other recourse but to cough, to the weird smiles of the waiters and other guests of the resto.

The missus has found a way to sip the spicy concoction without coughing. She says the idea is to stop breathing while you sip the tomyam. Easy right? Unfortunately I couldn't get it right. I always had to cough. Anghang kasi eh!

Of course, there's no need to mention that I sweat heavily when I have tomyam. I could feel the sweat accumulating at my shirt collar. It's like going to a sauna, only you feel a slight guilt of the additional calories that you need to burn on the next badminton session.

As we walked out of the resto, I could feel the tomyam spice palpitating on my lips. Hmmm...this must be how lip-enhancement surgery feels. There's no other way to tone down the spice-level but to grab a cup of Baskin n Robbins and use it as a lip-icepack.

All in all it was like crossing the Sahara and then ending up at the Antartic.



Terabyte anyone?

Talk about waste of space, RT has found two websites offering free-email with mailbox sizes at 30-gigabytes and 1000-gigabytes! That's 1-terabyte! It's like uploading 25 copies of the entire contents of my laptop to the damn thing! Wow!

Man. Nakakauyam naman nun. I think Gmail's 2GB+ size is alright for me at the moment. 2gig nga wala na akong malagay, eh 1-terabyte pa? Plus I'm very O.C. with my mailbox: I always empty my trash-bin and sent-items. I want to keep my mailbox spick and span. Eliminate the "eyesores" as the missus would put it.

I remember during high-school that we'd give out ooh's and ahhh's whenever our rich classmate would bring his 1.44MB, 3.5inch floppy disk to computer-class. It seemed to have made our 640kb, 5.25inch double-density floppy disks so uncool. But we had the same argument: "What do I need a 1.44MB disk for? It's just too much!"

Years later, having a 1.44MB-diskette case-cabinet on your desk seems so uncool. It's like that scene from Austin Powers where Dr. Evil asks the US-gov't for only one million dollars ransom so that he won't destroy the earth with his (slight pause) "laser beam" a.k.a. "freakin' laser" ---to the unstoppable laughter of the US-president and his staff.

That's computer-technology for ya. We just have to expect that it will always evolve in size and shape every now and then. I guess the era of the terabyte is just around the corner.

But for now a 30-gig or 1-terabyte mailbox seems too much. I find it unnecessary at the moment.

Btw, you can email me at daytripper1021@30gigs.com.



Laptop ist repariert!

At last!

After 21 days our IT-dept has finally fixed my office-laptop yesterday. They were able to put in a new harddisk and CD/DVD-drive. It's as good as new! Too bad I wasn't able to coax the technician to replace my 40GB harddisk with a higher-capacity one so that I can put in more MP3s. Sayang.

Good thing it came back this week. If not, the missus would have asked me to reprimand them for slow-response since she cannot do her "work", i.e. emails and watching ABS-CBN shows (she's had a lot of "backlog" on the PinoyBigBrother videos). Incidentally, I haven't been watching a lot of ESPN since our sound-surround system (PC speakers) is being used when playing the ABS-CBN videos from our personal laptop. Nothing left to do but surrender to watching The Buzz as Kris Aquino unmercilessly talks about herself and her overdressedness (is that a word?). Ahhh yes, vanity becomes her. Don't you agree that you somehow get hypnotized when Boy Abunda speaks?

"So....kumusta ka na Ruffa?"

"Yes Tito Boy I'm ok naman"


I just don't have the penchant for watching Sunday Pinoy TV shows. Take the Sunday variety-shows like ASAP and SOP, for example. It's like every dance/song number has so many artists(?) performing that a can of rotten sardines seem to taste better. Moreover, they ride on the hype of budding singers and bands such that the likeability of the hit-song is plunged into the deepest recesses of Hell. Back in the days when I was a fan of The EraserHeads with Ely Buendia, I would cry out in disgust when they would guest in such shows and have the "buset naman" host sing with them out of tune.

T*ngina naman mag-host ka na lang! Buset!

I felt a little relieved, however, when the E-Heads seemed oblivious to answering the host's questions after the performance. It was like showing them the finger "with a smile" pardon the pun.

Hahahaha buti nga sayo kupal ka kase!

Like my Mom's special Ilocano pakbet, the TV is an important dish to our Sunday lunch. As per instruction, the TV is adjusted such that it faces the dining table, thus offering an unobstructed view of the disgusting show(s). I had no other option but take an afternoon siesta or go out and play darts with my buddies.

Of course, when I get back the TV's still on. This time my sisters are switching the channels between The Buzz and S-files. If the variety shows were Purgatory, the showbiz talk shows were Hell.

"Wala pong katotohonan yun..."

"Ay di po totoo yun..."

"Huhuhu....he promised he will work things out..."

"Sinaktan po nya ako..."

"Yes Tito Boy..."


Never-ending interviews of denial, please-star-me-in-a-movie tears, accusations, gay reporters, lesbian reporters, Mahal, the list goes on. So when I found work abroad I felt relieved that I would never see these shows again.

Then, on the 8th Day, Man created e-Commerce. ABS-CBN was now online. Double arrghhh.

For the purchase of 12 US-dollars, you get to waste your money for 3-months' worth of downloading the crappy shows that you never wanted to watch in the first place. The Sunday shows have penetrated these shores and onto my apartment living room where the missus, a self-confessed "Claudine-hating RicoYan-loving Raymart-adorer-but-now-hates-Raymart-for-wanting-Claudine" fan, awaits.


Italians vs Europeans

I got this from a former colleague. I think "
Filipinos vs Europeans" is also applicable.


The "O" Cult

The missus is a member of what I fondly call the Oprah Cult. Shown at Star-World every 9am and 1pm on weekdays, she would watch every episode without fail ---including the replays.

“Di ba napanuod mo na yang episode na yan?”

“Eh Oprah eh.”

About 30% of our conversations involve the missus uttering, “Ang sabi nga ni Oprah…” or “Parang ganyan yung sa Oprah…”

I’ve got nothing against Oprah. Her topics are very timely and every new episode gives me a new reason NOT to migrate to the States ---stories such as teenage depression, child molestation, extreme obesity, infidelities of married couples, Tom Cruise dating Katie Holmes, to name a few. It makes you feel glad to say, “Buti na lang walang ganyan sa ‘Pinas!”

I think if they set up a big screen in front of the Embassy showing only the Oprah show, it will definitely deter the would-be immigrants from going to the States ---hence shortening the queue. The fishball and sago stands nearby will definitely lose profit.

The only thing I hate is the “clap-happy” audience. They seem to be applauding anything (and I mean ANYTHING) that Oprah says ---most of which I don’t even think deserves an applause. I’ve been telling this to the missus since Day-1 but she seems to have been brainwashed by the all-knowing priestess.

Then came last Friday’s 1pm show.

Fridays are a time for me to have lunch at home since it’s 2.5hours “unofficially.” With 2 packs of pork-rice, my lunch with the missus reached her 1pm high-Mass with Sistah Oprah.

The topic was regarding mean teenage-girls that had issues on not feeling pretty, and alcoholism, among others. As in most episodes, Oprah would hire a psychologist to have a professional opinion on the matters at hand.

There was this instance wherein the psychologist was explaining beautifully the reasons as to why this one girl had a certain issue (sorry the exact details escape me at the moment). I myself was amazed at how this shrink was able to analyze the whole thing. “This better deserve an applause,” I thought. To my surprise and disgust, the audience didn’t applaud.

Then the camera focused on Oprah. For a brief moment, she seemed lost for words ---rightfully so since the shrink had covered everything that needed to be said. Oprah had nothing left to say except, “Talk to the people.”

Then, as if on cue, the audience gave a loud applause.

“What the freakin’ ass was that?!?! Nakita mo ba yan?!


“Ayan oh! Yun lang sinabi ni Oprah eh pinalakpakan pa ng audience?! Ano ba naman yaaaan? Yung psychologist ang ganda-ganda ng sinabi di man lang inappreciate?”

“Eh si Oprah yan eh.”

It's official: the missus has been brainwashed.

Ayos talaga. There goes another reason NOT to migrate to the States.


Morning Coffee

How's this* for your morning coffee?

*requires Quicktime



One of the team-building activities last weekend was to build something entirely made of straw (and masking tape). It could be anything according to the trainor. Much to our detriment, our group was not exactly the creative bunch. We were 8 men who had more calories and fats compared to brain-cells. We were like a herd of cows grazing in the grass, obviously enjoying the beach view nearby.

I could read the sentiments in the group. We're engineers for crap's sake! Creating something without a template of some sort is not exactly our cup of iced-lemon-tea! Who invented this game anyway? Borrrring.

We only had 15-minutes to do it so time was of the essence. I opened the plastic bag containing the straws, bunched up around 20 with one hand and started thinking. Actually I was just holding the straws and daydreaming. Just random thoughts really: my new mp3-player, what food will be served for lunch, can we go pedal-rowing instead, if a tsunami hits us right now will our caffeine-loaded trainor be washed up, etc. Funny thing was when I looked around, my groupmates were also daydreaming. Our minds must've gone pedal-rowing at the beach. Yeah I can see that now: 8 cows pedal-rowing. A rare sight that can turn out to be a tourist-attraction for the resort.

Suddenly, one guy blurted out, "Hey that bunch of straws your holding looks like the Petronas Towers! We can make the Petronas Towers!"

"Borrring" was the obvious reaction of some while the rest of us were indifferent, seemingly awaiting for 12-noon a.k.a. lunchtime to commence. My initial thought was to say, "You wanna see the Petronas Towers shoved to the back of your head?"

Of course I didn't. To cut the long story short, we finished the task with a rather "believable" version of the real thing, complete with the M-company HQ at the side.

Yup. A herd of cows did that. I guess a group of 10 year olds can do better.


The Best Things In Life Are Free

In the telecom business, being on the operator-side has its benefits. The operator (buyer of equipment), has the right to choose and reject proposals from vendors (seller of equipment). The winning vendor of the bid gets to cash-in on the millions of money incurred thru that sale. So every vendor has to find ways of charming the operator, seeing to it that the operator is made comfortable of the system that is being sold.

Take for example vendor S. They had invited us to a team-building session over the weekend to better improve relations between operator M and vendor S. Venue was in Avillion, Port Dickson which is one of the most high-end vacation resorts, one and a half hour's drive from KL. I invited the missus to tag along since there weren't enough people joining in.

If being pampered in a 5-star resort wasn't enough (water-chalet accomodations, buffet breakfast and lunch, and BBQ-dinner by the yacht-club), as a parting gift, we were each given a 512-MB thumbdrive/mp3-player.

"Say wha?!"

Yes my friend. A 512-MB THUMBDRIVE/MP3-PLAYER as a token of appreciation. I was quite surprised with the present. It was a big improvement from the usual crappy gifts I've received from vendors (planners, pens, shirts, calendars, mugs, etc). This one really takes the cake coz mp3-players are one of those things that were in my nice-to-have-but-not-practical-to-buy wishlist. I've already got a portable minidisc(MD) player so buying an MP3-player was not really needed. I just find it difficult to transfer songs to my MD-player that I'd often wish I had an MP3-player instead. I guess Santa Claus thought I should get an early Christmas present for being such a good boy. Ho-Ho-Ho!

We got the gift during our BBQ-dinner so I felt like a five-year old wanting to be excused from Christmas dinner so that I can go back to my room to tinker with my present. During the after-dinner drinks and conversations, my mind was actually trying to remember all the songs that I'd like to copy into this tiny little bugger. It was just difficult to contain my excitement as I was opening the box from time to time to look at this amazing tiny gadget that I believe every 30-something music-lover, mp3-downloader should have. Wouldn't you believe that I gave more priority to the mp3-player that I almost (almost!) forgot our videocam from the dinner-table? Hihihi.

Oh yeah, the afternoon before we left, they gave us a handsome polo-shirt that I can use for work.



Reality Bites


It was a regular Sunday evening when I heard the missus scream. I was lying comfortably on our sofa watching ESPN-Sportcenter which incidentally the missus is convinced that the Australian-host is gay simply by the fact that he tilts his head too much. Ever since then, I found it quite disturbing since I can't seem to watch the sports-news as normally as I would since I see the alleged gay-host. Kind of disrupts the manliness of watching ESPN, doesn't it?

Anyway, the reason for her scream was simply three words: Pinoy Big Brother (PBB). She is one of the first to see the breakthrough reality show while she was still in Manila. Not seeing it while in Malaysia was not an option so I subscribed online to ABS-CBN on the internet to be able to watch the PBB shows and live-cam. Forty US-bucks for one whole season. They’re even encouraging subscribers to text-vote and even sell PBB shirts and prepaid cards. I guess ABS-CBN is doing all it can to sell so that they could gain back the franchise-fees (which I assume to be quite pricey) paid to the US company that owns the rights. Damn bastards.

The missus was lucky enough to watch live the controversial hawaiian-party night on the live-cam broadcast on the ‘net. She let out a scream when she saw Chx teach Sam the intricacies of mouth-to-mouth, tongue-to-tongue, and tongue-to-ear conversations. Since Day-1, the missus has hated Chx so her actions towards the new housemate had made the missus hate her more. She found solace in the PBB-forums when she saw one topic on reactions to Chx’s punishment to stay at least 3-meters away from Sam. She was described as a “housemaid” (instead of housemate), gilagid, Sadako (of ring-o), pokpok, impakta, etc. to the missus’ delight.

Like the missus who’d always look thru the doors of the other units of our condo, PBB’s success may be due to the Pinoy’s inherent character to be usiseros, always wondering what the neighbors are doing.

As for me, I’ll continue to download the daily PBB episodes for the next 60-over days. As long as the missus has her PBB, I’ll have my ESPN.


The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse

The missus and I have been watching Saturday Night Live (SNL) on CNBC for the past two Saturdays. Needless to say that I was laughing my head off on the skits shown, particularly the skit called Weekend Update with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

I just couldn't get enough of this "news-item" in the said skit:

"According to a new report, children do not necessarily get enough calcium from milk and scientists suggest kale, tofu, oatmeal, and broccoli, or as children call them, the four horsemen of the Apocalypse."


Vacation's Over

(For those of you who read my blog entitled Who's The Boss?, there is another side to my discussion with the HOD that I deemed appropriate of writing on a separate post. So here it is.)

I've always trusted my instincts. When my 1st contract here was expiring last 2003, I had a funny feeling that I'll get renewed. The missus, still my gf back then, didn't believe my vibe coz she said why would I get renewed when in fact I was doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING 95% of the time? Of course my instincts were correct. I got renewed for another year (and a salary-increase for all that "work").

Late 2004 my contract was near expiry again ---and again my "sixth sense" told me I was getting renewed. I signed another contract until Jan.10, 2005.

Prior to my discussion with the HOD, I tried to feel what my instincts would say about the prospect of getting another year's contract. Unlike my last two vibes, I felt that I was not going to get renewed at all. By this contract's end I'll be 3 years here. Most of the expats have stayed for 3 years or less. I don't know if it was an HR-rule, but I just trusted my guts and conditioned myself that I'd better start looking for other prospects.

So last Thursday, after the HOD discussed my new role, he came to the subject of my contract. I was ready to face the music since I had a similar discussion with him last year (He was particularly keen on asking if I have tried applying somewhere else since HE felt that I might not get renewed. To his surprise, and mine, I would stay for another year). I knew that if he ever discussed my contract again, he would go about the same line.

So here's the decision: I'm getting renewed for another contract....

Hold it! Hold it! I'm not yet finished!

I'm getting renewed for another contract BUT until early-April 2006 only. He was kind enough to fight the matter over higher-management to renew me for another year but 6-months is the longest that they could give. 6-months FROM NOW, that is. Thus April 10, 2006 will be my last working day here. That is, of course, if there won't be any change of plans by the management. Who knows, I might be outta here as early as January?

As I was driving back that day after that conversation, I just started memorizing everything to every minute detail: the houses with the red roofs, the freshly-paved roads, the Proton and Perodua local-cars, the mall that we regularly go to, the Chinese take-out shop that I regularly buy my dinner, and the people going about their business. All were unaware that I'll be leaving soon. I've said to myself, "Mamimiss ko talagang lahat ng 'to."


So my Malaysian-adventure will be ending soon. I have enjoyed living in this country for the past 33 months so another 6 months will be a bonus. I will definitely miss the diverse culture, the food (damn! the food!), the sights, the pirated-DVDs, the popularity of football, and of course, the people. There's nothing left to do but strain my eyes out and suck up all the beauty that Malaysia has to give. As the missus and I have discussed, we'll just look back fondly on our stay in this wonderful country on how we enjoyed this vacation away from the Philippines.

Yes, we're looking at this as just a vacation. A very long one. When I first took this contract I told myself that I will just stay here for ONE YEAR and that's that. Who would've thought that I'd still be here until now? It may have been due to the fact that I've grown to like it here. Add to that the undeniable fact that I'll be earning in 3 years the amount that it would take me in 3 LIGHT-YEARS in the Philippines.

Frankly, I've never lived so comfortably in my entire life. But living permanently in another country is such a foreign thought to me. Iba pa rin kase sa Pilipinas. Like my friend BN, I want to settle in the Philippines for good (after saving money from job-contracts, of course). Like any other vacation, I will always have that need to go back home. Back to the real world where family, friends, and tapsilog await.

But until April comes, I would have to consult my instincts again. My Mom, the eternal optimist, once said: "Naku sana naman ma-assign naman kayo sa ibang bansa para naman may bago akong pupuntahan." How's that for motivation? You can't help but love her for that.

Maybe my Mom's predictions will come true. By some weird work up in the heavens, I might be going off on another "vacation" by then. (wink wink)



The movies below have been somehow banned for showing in Malaysia. Too bad since the missus and I were raring to go last Thursday to watch Drew Barrymore's film (
actually the title Fever Pitch was changed to The Great Catch for the Malaysia release) when the guy in the ticket-booth said that it has just been banned in Malaysia (the opening day, at that).

I'm really wondering why they banned these films. Was it too much sex? Too much swearing? Or did the censors felt that Chris Rock had too much bed scenes with one of the prison-inmates?

Well whatever the reason was, it only proves that the censors feel that Malaysian movie-goers are still immature at being presented with these types of films.

Yes the censors here are damn strict. Buti pa sa 'pinas pag na-rate ng MTRCB ang isang pelikula ng "XXX" eh napapakiusapan pang ibaba ng Rated-PG (remember the classic film Live Show?).

Well anyway, good thing I'm at the pirated-DVD-capital-of-the-world so I'll just wait for the next few months for the DVD-release at my favorite DVD-shop (pirated, of course).


Who's The Boss?

Our new HOD (Head of Dept) talked to me this morning about my future with the Company. Alas, my time has come to play musical-chairs once again since the latest reorg is being set up for October. Finally, he has asked me to step-up to the role of Head of Intelligent Network (IN) Operations.

The role has actually been running away from my sights since I first reached these shores 2.5 years ago. The reason for my prying is that I was initially hired for THAT ROLE but then I ended up doing something else. It's like Michael Jordan being sent to Mogadishu thinking that he'll train the national basketball team but instead is given an AK-47 and is told to start shooting at them American-varmints (pardon my simile). It may have been due to departmental-politics or insecurity, I assume, but nevertheless I made good use of my time here. I've developed my skills in non-IN systems, mostly to the admiration of my peers and my boss, but hey, you always have to be alert for the reorg that often happens once (or even twice) a year.

The decision was quite easy. It's either I stay with my current role (part of a team managing mobile-data systems) or move back to the IN-group where my expertise is PLUS I can begin my career-shift to a more managerial position. Of course, I chose the latter. I've been doing the role of "systems-engineer" for far too long (10 years in fact) that I need a change by handling a more complex component of the Company: people.

That, I think, is where the challenge will be. The current group of IN-engrs and I treat each other as friends, lunch-buddies, badminton-buddies, mp3-sharing-buddies, what-color-do-you-recommend-for-my-house-buddies, I-saw-you-pushing-the-grocery-cart-last-weekend-buddies, your-boss-sucks-and-I-have-the-email-proof-buddies, etc. I may have to tell them that I'll expect a little more when I'll be heading them, and I think they'll be kind enough to give something back. I've learned a lot with my current boss (however absurd his views are, according to most of the people he's met that I've met) and I hope to implement his useful ideas to this new group.

The only hindrance that I could think of if he (my current boss) will have violent-reactions to my new role which meant moving out of his group. But of course you have to follow your boss' orders and his boss' orders are for me to report directly to his boss. That means I'll be in the same-level as my current boss, which was supposed to be in the first place (whew! ang daming boss! hehe).


Harddisk kaput

Kung mamalasin ka nga naman, I suddenly heard a "cracking" sound on my laptop today---specifically in the harddisk area. The Windows welcome-screen upon startup just seemed to stay there forever, the progress bar endlessly illuminating from left to right like that of Michael Knight's car.

I removed the battery and put it back on again. Still the same thing happened. I tested my patience and waited for it to finish booting ---cracking sound in tow.

Well I can sadly say that the harddisk may be faulty. The occassional cracking sound, aside from being annoying, seems to be telling me that it has taken the last straw from all my WMV and MP3 downloading.

Our IT department says the harddisk replacement will come in 2 weeks' time. So I will have to bear with this for a little while longer. In the meantime I'm backing-up all my important files to our server (good thing it has a lot of space; gigabyte heaven!).

Damnit! There goes the cracking sound again! Arrrrghhhh!



Don't you have those times when you said to yourself you'll never do it again, but still you do? And, as you're done with it, you only have yourself to blame for the repercussions.

For me, it's the subject of horror films. I've never been a fan of watching horror shows/films. I recall when I was a kid, the first time I got scared was when I watched a tv-documentary on Jack The Ripper. I had sleepless nights just thinking about it. I promised myself I'll never watch another horror flick again.

Then came Ring-O.

Ohhh man! It was damn scary. My kid sister recommended that I should watch it. The missus, my girlfriend at the time, swore that I had one of the loudest screams in the cinema (Greenbelt-3 pa naman yun). Yeah it wasn't really one of my "knight in shining armor" moments. Knowing that my then-gf lived near Balete Drive was not a comforting thought either. After I drop her off I would hit the gas on the way home via Balete Drive, not looking at my rear view mirror, afraid that Manang would be waving from behind the rear-seat, hitching a ride to Cubao.

I said to myself that I have to cure this. So I bought a VCD of "The Eye" on coming home to Manila. Yup it was another recommendation by my kid sister (dang! does she get a high on watching horror flicks?). I watched the movie with her, but I was only able to finish the 1st scene. I told her kindly, "Putek ayoko na! Manood na lang tayo ng TV-patrol!"

You have to be amazed at the evolution of horror films these days, specifically those from Asia. Except for the depressingly funny Feng Shui, the success of Ring-O has been honoured by The Eye, Sigaw, and lately, The Maid.

Oh yeah I watched The Maid. It's a Singapore film that starred our very own Alessandra De Rossi. I didn't know much about the film but when I saw that it starred a Filipina actress, I knew the missus would like it since she misses Philippine Showbiz. The film description stated it was of the "horror" genre but I was not deterred since I knew that I've gotten over my fear since I last watched Sigaw last December.

Needless to say that I was covering my eyes and scared outta my mind like a sissy-boy on most scenes of the entire film. Yup, it was damn scary. I think I even had trouble sleeping that night, afraid that Ah-Soon (one of the characters there) would creep up and pull my legs down to hell.

To my kid sister: yes you better watch it if it's showing near you. You'll definitely gonna love it so much that you'll want to sleep in Mom & Dad's room for the next few days.

What? Not showing there? Don't worry. I'll buy you the VCD-version for Christmas. Hehehe.



Da Vinci Code (Fin!)

After almost a month, I've finally finished reading Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. This is only the 2nd fiction-novel that I have read from cover to cover in my entire life, so imagine the amazement I'm feeling right now. Yeah, I should've paid more attention to my Reading-Comprehension classes when I was in elementary. But heck, recess and lunch-break were more important matters at the time. Well the only advantage of that is until now I still have perfect 20/20 vision. Di kase nagagamit ng madalas. Hehe.

Finally I get to experience what you book-worms feel when you see a film based on a book. Btw, I've read somewhere that Tom Hanks will play the lead-character in the movie-version so that's a big plus already. I now get a chance to utter "Ay mas maganda yung libro kesa sa film-version."

Dan Brown's story-telling is remarkably impeccable. I have to admit that what drew me to reading this book was "What the hell is all this hype/controversy about?" I was lucky to have borrowed a copy from my sister who's classmate has forgotten to claim it back from her (btw, as a side-note, that classmate of hers had a verrrry 'shitty-episode' in our car, but THAT's another story

His method of presenting accurate facts and inserting questionable fiction may draw the unwary reader into believing/protesting on what he has written, but of course, that's all for the reader to decide. It's just Brown's way of "spicing up" the plot, to get the readers hooked.

Bottomline, I don't believe in Dan Brown's concoctions (it's just FICTION my friend, so stop squabbling that your "decisions may be unconsciously influenced by it." That, I believe, is a lot of bullsh*t). But the STORY per se, was appealing. It was like watching HBO and Discovery Channel at the same time. Unputdownable, if there ever is a word.

Btw, here's the movie-trailer and the list of actors portraying the roles in the novel. It opens in the US on May-19, 2006.

Yeah, I know. It's gonna be a long wait.


Say YES to lap dancing...or else

I found this article on Yahoo-Odd-News. I guess my init-friends have a new excuse when caught red-handed:

But honey! I had no choice!



Salamat Fibisco!

Here's what the missus brought back from Manila:

The box at the top has already been emptied by yours truly. Hee Hee Hee.


Back To The Beach (Day18)

It’s been quite a big effort on changing my eating habits for the past 18 days. I can only count around less than five occassions when I had a cup of rice for lunch or dinner. My meals were basically ham and low-fat cheese sandwiches, canned-soup, salads, fried fish, and 3-in-1 packs of oatmeal, and apple juice. Add to that the occassional wantan mee dry noodles, diet coke, kitkat, and about 2 packs of cheese-rings. Oh, of course, there was the slaughter of 12 choco-mallows to boot.

Our inexpensive weighing scale has somehow been cooperative, indicating a loss of 8 pounds in 18 days. That loss doesn’t really show since I still notice my love-handles and my beer junk-food belly greeting me at the mirror. I’m undeterred about it so I still try to exercise thirty-minutes a day, thrice a week.

We finally had our formal training for one of the new systems that came in 2 months ago. Our trainor, named Frank, was from California. He looked like he was in his 50’s. We had a casual conversation while we were waiting for the test-server to finish the installation.

He knew I was Filipino even if I didn’t mention it. Hmmm…. Maybe my cool, cable-tv english-spokening accent gave it away.

Well anyway, we somehow arrived on the topic of dieting (I guess it’s something Californian). He mentioned that he was overweight sometime ago but he was able to lose 30-lbs in 3 years. Yup I agree with what you’re thinking. “Why did it take that long to lose 30-lbs?”

He mentioned that his diet was done gradually. What he did, as he so aptly put it, was a ‘change of lifestyle.’ He stopped eating junk food (McD’s included) and gradually changed the way he was eating. He was also religious in his daily-exercise, at least one hour a day.

It really helps when you get to talk to someone about common interests, in this case, losing weight. It has somehow inspired me on continuing this ---whatever it is. If I do go down to my ideal weight, sooner or later I’ll be flying back home. Next thing you know, it’s the Holidays, and the dieting cycle starts again.



One of the malls here holds a flea market every Sunday. It's an array of assorted second-hand stuff that the average collector will surely love. They've got almost everything. From old stamps, old coins, old paper-bills, old phonographs, pocketbooks, cassettes, LPs, cassettes, CDs, and more.

Whenever I'm there on Sundays, I always go to the old hippie guy selling second-hand CDs and LPs. Hoping I could find something I'd like. The last time I went there I was able to buy a Third Eye Blind cassette. I had an amazing find yesterday. I chanced upon this:

Yup, it's an original 1992 Tears Roll Down album of one of the greatest bands of the 80s: Tears For Fears. I remember this album during my college-days when I was able to borrow the cassette from a college buddy. I can honestly say that this album is, shall we say,
sulit. Sulit in the sense that I know AND like all the songs in it. Finding this album has always been at the back of my mind ever since but then I never really had the time (or memory) to buy it. Who would've thought that I would be able to see it here, on a second-hand stall?

The CD-cover is not in mint condition but the original owner still took care of it, preventing from getting it teared or smudged. Needless to say I bought it for 20-ringgit (around 300pesos) off the original 22-ringgit tag price set by my old hippie seller. Why not a pirated or download a copy from the 'net, you might say? Well, some things are just not right to be pirated, especially this one.

It's quite nice to buy something used. It's like I've inherited something. As in the book "Second Hand" by Michael Zadoorian, "Secondhand. The word says it all ---other hands have touched that object.....Think of all the stuff you've ever owned, that's ever passed thru your hands, where it all might be right now."


"Don't.......you'll ruin it"

I went to my favorite [pirated] DVD shop earlier today. It's been quite a while since I last bought some so I thought it was high-time to replenish my [pirated] DVD collection. I bought 2 films, one of which was entitled A Lot Like Love which starred Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet.

Well, I loved it. I loved it so much that I can't wait to watch it again with the missus. As Charlie Arceo of the now-defunct Movie Magazine would say, I give it "ffffayb ishtarsh!"

What can I say? I'm a sucker for romantic-comedy films. I can't agree more with what my Dad often says, "Bakit di tayo [mga Pilipino] makagawa ng ganyang pelikula 'no?"


I think the mosquitos here are immune to the anti-mosquito sprays. For as long as I’ve been here, I’ve bought ALL the sprays available in the supermarket to kill these irritating varmints ---but to no avail. They seem to be either immune or have access to the use of micro-size gas masks.

Ever had the experience when you think you’ve been bitten by one of these critters but when you look, nothing’s there? It’s as if they were invisible, or their dead coming back for revenge. It’s really irritating, especially here on the couch.

I have to convince the missus to bring in some Raid-brand mosquito sprays when she arrives this week (yup they don’t have Raid here). I have this theory that *maybe* these blood-suckers are immune to the local brand so they may get the shock of their lives when they inhale something new ---hopefully bringing fatal results. Secondly, I can honestly say that Raid IS more effective than the other brands from experience.

I remember when we were still living in an apartment in Makati we’d have infestations regularly (cockroaches, mostly). I night’s spray of Raid kills almost all the stupid bastards by the next morning ---to the screaming delight (or horror, that is) of my younger sisters.

Bottomline is that I think the mosquito-sprays sold here are more of fragrance-sprays (“sissy-spray” is more applicable). They don’t really have that fatal punch to exterminate this little sons of b*tches.

Crap! There goes another "invisible" mosquito-bite.