I was watching AI5 a couple of days back. Nope, I'm not a fan of the show coz it seems this year's crop of contestants are below par against last year's. It was because I heard from the missus that the guest for this week was the great Andrea Bocelli. I am truly amazed with his voice and the way he had blended with mainstream pop. But what truly amazed me was that he was blind. Actually, my ignoramous self didn't know he was blind until I saw him plugging the Olympics on TV. Yup, a real "duh!" moment for me. Andrea's a really amazing chap.

AI's other guest was David Foster.

I remember David Foster well. His CD, Rechordings, was one of my favourites back when I was still a skinny...

(Yes, I know. It's hard to believe that I was skinny but go along with me on this. Or ELSE I'll be uploading my pictures that'll make you believe that lack of exercise, especially walking, will make you fat!).

So, moving along:

...back when I was still a skinny fresh-grad working in Alcatel. Back then, before the days of mp3 players and Napster, I was switching between Kenny G, Jim Chappell, and David Foster cassette-tapes for my source of jazz-juice. It was a quenching respite from all the E-Heads, Gin Blossoms, and Yano that my ears were so accustomed to.

David Foster is an amazing songwriter. I'm glad he had put some of his greats into the CD as intrumentals.

Excuse me as I listen to the Rechordings album, reminiscing my 1997 skinny post-grad self, wondering what/where I will be 10 years from then:

"Me working abroad? Naaah! That's totally outta the question!"


No, I didn't make a typo. I've learned a new Malay word yesterday when I received my 1st parking ticket ---ever. The missus and I went to McD for brunch so I parked in the usual spot. I never felt the need to pay for the 60-cents
(P8.40) parking ticket since I've always parked on that particular area regularly ---during weekends.

If I only had the presence of mind to realize that it was a Friday I would have gone to the parking meter. But the parking-police had a better way to carve the parking rule on my noggin':

Ah yes. 100 Ringgit for a kasalahan ("fault" in Malay). The most expensive McDonalds brunch that I've ever had with the missus.

Damn. I could've used the RM100 for a new pair of futsal shoes.


Mall scam (Guys beware!)

I got this from RT:

Please have time
to read....for your awareness...

I am posting this to you to warn you of something that happened to me,
as I have become a victim of a clever scam while out shopping. This
personally happened to me at a mall, and it could happen to you.

Here's how the scam works:

Two seriously good-looking 18-year-old girls come over to your car as
you are packing your shopping in the trunk. They both start wiping
your windshield with a rag and soapy water with their breasts almost
falling out of their skimpy t-shirts. It is impossible not to look.
When you thank them and offer them a tip, they say "No" and instead
ask you for a ride to another Mall. If you agree, they will get in the
back seat fast. On the way, they start having sex with each other.
Then one of them climbs over into the front seat and performs oral sex
on you, while the other one steals your wallet.

I had my wallet stolen last Tuesday, Wednesday, twice on Thursday,
again on Saturday and also yesterday. I'm on my way to the store to buy more wallets.

Be careful.

I've forwarded this to my officemates and they seem to be "slow" on the joke. They kept asking me where is this mall located.

As Vic Sotto would say, "Acheche!"

Paris here we come!

Not me and the missus, but my favorite football team Arsenal FC will be going to Paris for the UEFA Championship Final next month! Woohoo!

Barcelona FC, their opponent, is a good team so Arsenal is the underdog in this matchup. Hope we win this one guys!


Morning Juice

"Anong gusto mong palaman?"

The missus would always ask the same question every weekday when I'm about to go to work. She has been making me baon every morning, i.e. toast-bread and fruit juice, ever since we got married (Yes, it's one of those little things that make me love her more).

The palaman rotation is chosen between cheese-whiz, peanut butter, kaya spread, and butter. Lately it's the cheese-whiz that gets my vote since it's a freshly-opened stock from the padala brought by our houseguests. The way the spreadable concoction reaches my finger tips when it climbs out of the two pieces of bread when the missus gives a generous helping is heavenly. Add to that driving at 60-80kmh, it's my typical start of the working day.

I've had a taste of Orange and then Apple as my morning juice. Needless to say that my being adventurous required that I try something new. Our last trip to the grocery saw me looking at the juice-row again, glancing at this somewhat intriguing flavor by Marigold:

Carrot and Mixed Fruit juice.

Rewind to my post-college days. I was amazed at this new kitchen gadget that Mom had bought recently: a blender. Just seeing all those fruits getting crushed with ice and converted to a smoothie health-drink made me want to blend my own concotions myself ---just like Tom Cruise in "Cocktail." I was able to come up with the following esfesyal summer-drinks:

1. coconut
2. avocado
3. and carrot-pineapple

Fast-forward to last week, the Carrot and Mixed Fruit juice found its way to our fridge.

The following morning was time to try out the new drink. The missus had put the same proportion to my empty 500ml water-mineral bottle. I was excited to find out how this new juice was going to taste. I left the house at 9am.

9:30am. The trip to the office is just over 10minutes so the missus was wondering why I haven't sent her an sms-update. She grabbed her phone and sent:

"So how's your new juice taste like?"

Here was my reply, in verbatim:

"Lasang carrot juice na tinapunan ng pritong isda."



In the midst of all the mess going around in the world, it's nice to read something like this.



Earlier today I was browsing the airline websites. Since I'll be flying back to Manila late next month, it would be a good idea to book a flight early.

I absolutely love flying: the added stamp on my passport, the moment of takeoff, the inflight movie, the inflight meals ("chicken or fish?"), the orange juice (Yes the orange juice. It tastes absolutely fantastic. Could it be the air pressure?), the view of Manila or KL when I land, and the touchdown. Minus PAL's "dinosaur" stewardesses that remind me of my grade-school English teacher with matching pilit slang and strictness, that is my ideal flight.

I remember my very first plane ride. It was '97 (or was it '96?). I was a young engineer working for Alcatel installing fixed-switches all over the archipelago. I was assigned by our team-leader to go to Cotabato City for 2 weeks. As you know, Muslim extremists are ever-present in Mindanao. So the Company had me and CC fill-up a short-term life insurance amounting to 1M. Not bad, except that I will not be the immediate beneficiary if you know what I mean.

I was actually more nervous of the destination rather than the journey. The thought that I'll be taking a plane never really entertained my mind since I was more worried of what awaited for me in Cotabato. Long story short, all that waited for me in Cotabato was balbakwa (a local dish), and a failed picture-taking moment with an MNLF tank (that I wrongly assumed as an AFP tank).

From then on I told myself to enjoy the moment of flight. Who would've thought that I would be flying at least 2 or 3 times a year? There was even a time, make that two times, that I flew on first class: once to Singapore and then another to Finland. Man oh man! Once you fly first class you don't want to go back to economy (or "cattle class" as some people would say). But of course times are hard these days so my odds of flying first class is 1 in a billion.

My 'net-surfing stopped at philippineairlines.com. Since I've been flying low-cost, i.e. Air Asia, recently, I wanted to go one notch higher. Honestly, my real reason was that I miss the inflight meal, nearer port of destination (Manila), and the seat-numbers ---in that order.

After clicking my preferred date and time, I clicked "continue" to proceed with the pricing. I almost did a Vic Sotto "Acheche!" when I saw the amount (click the pic to enlarge).

The missus says the price is even more expensive than a Manila-Los Angeles flight. PAL is stupid to even think of offering such a, pardon the pun, "hijack" price.

I guess I'll be surfing back to airasia.com after all. Bye-bye inflight meal. Bye-bye inflight movie.

So here's what my flight will look like: the LCC-T terminal which is nowhere near the beauty of KLIA, a long queue involved with pushing and jockeying in front for better seats, no inflight meal (waaaah), the view of Mt. Pinatubo and its trail of lahar when we land, touchdown at Clark where I know I still have to take a bus for 1-hour before reaching EDSA. Hopefully not on a Saturday since it will be a long crawl from Balintawak to Megamall.

And, after reaching home and hugging the missus, I will be lying in bed thinking that I'll be doing the same flight again in 2 days, this time in reverse order.

At least I don't get to see my grade-school teacher on the flight. All thanks to PAL's "creative" pricing scheme.

Ang pangalan nya'y JACK...

...as in JACKPOT!



To my wife,

Two years into this journey of ours, I would like to say "thank you" for being such a wonderful and loving wife. I just want to let you know that I am still hopelessly and madly in love with you ---each and everyday.

*Traditional symbol for the 2nd wedding anniversary


Travel Advisory

The Australians won't be coming to see the Holy Week festivities in the Philippines.

Here's why.


Bali pics

Hard Rock Hotel (Main entrance)

A hallway in HRH full of Fender Telecasters used by the masters

Tanah Lot Temple

Taman Ayur Royal Temple



So far the missus and I are enjoying our stay here in Bali. Checked-in at the Hard Rock Hotel (major "wow" factor for every rocker like me), I feel like I'm staying at a rock-museum. I saw guitars used and signed by Nuno Bettencourt, 7Mary3, Sting, a GNR drumset, among a few. Oh yeah, they also have an eternity of Beatles photographs which should be a standard for every rock n' roller.

It's a shame really that Bali has to suffer from the decrease of tourists since the 2 Bali bombings. It had reversed all the hard work that the Balinese had put up in order to make this place tourist-friendly. Tourism, as the missus and I agree, is a great source of income for any country. It helps the community by offering jobs and at the same time it promotes the beauty of any country ---even if the beach here is nothing compared to our very own Boracay (which I have not seen 'til now. "Ikaw na lang ata ang kilala kong di pa nakakapunta ng Boracay," was what the missus and my Mom would say).

The people here are very warm and friendly, much like the Malaysians. I've noticed that Indons and Malaysians have this custom of greeting a stranger with a nod and smile. A real smile. I wonder why we Filipinos don't do that as often as them. I guess nawalan na tayo ng tiwala sa isa't isa that we don't do it. Oh well.

Anyway, the missus and I will have a vacant period from 12pm-6pm tomorrow before flying back to KL. We have yet to think of an itinerary on which places to go. Considering that the missus has to carry Lucas around, trekking or hiking activities are a no-no (I almost enrolled us to a "learn to surf" class). So good-luck to us, or else it will be an afternoon of lugluging at the Hard-Rock pool, which I don't mind at all.


A Jolog's Tale

"Parang masarap uling magpakasal."

That was the missus, while watching the Raymart-Claudine wedding special last night on the 'net. The missus, who has this notion that her crush, Raymart Santiago, was stolen from her by Claudine, was teary-eyed all night while watching the program. She even noticed that Raymart and Claudine hired the same musicians (JJS) to their wedding.

"Wedding musicians to the stars," she said.

"So does it mean na star-quality din tayo? Hehe." I quirked (Apparently she didn't had the same sense of humor like the Two Damatans that visited us several weeks ago. Bentang-benta mga jokes ko sa kanila eh!).

"Ginaya pa yung bridal march song ko lav," referring to the popular Panunumpa.

The missus has this love-hate relationship with Claudine. When Rico Yan died a couple of years back, the missus was one of the thousands who cried with Claudine when she went on TV to air her despair ("Huhuhu, he said he was gonna work things out 'to Boy! Huhuhu"). It could've been worse, for we had an officemate's wife who suddenly woke up in the middle of her sleep crying her eyes out while shouting "Ricoooo! Ricoooo!"

Yup, true story. I can only imagine how the husband felt at the time.

The "hate" part came when the Raymart-Claudine love-angle came out. The missus was obviously pissed at Claudine for stealing *her* guy and lying to Rico. It's as if she swore that she would never greet Claudine if they meet in the next party. As if Claudine knows her. Really now!

Such are the problems of the typical Jolog. They are found glued to the TV set every Sunday afternoon, switching between The Buzz and S-Files, deciding on which party's tears were more believable. The next morning, they read Ricky Lo's column at the Philippine Star, who by the way, I believe and have proven, jinxes every Pinoy contestant that joins an international reality show or contest. Recognizing the characters in Ricky's blind item seems more important than checking on the front page headline. Haaay.

Lucas Elijah had the same sentiments as mine. He would be kicking hard everytime the missus watches Hiram, an old telenovela being shown here. He'd also be kicking when the missus reads entertainment news or watches The Buzz.

3 months na lang anak. Makakapanuod ka na ng Cartoon Network.


7 Habits

"If you want to make minor changes, change your behavior.
If you want to make quantum changes, change your paradigms."
---Stephen Covey

I was fortunate enough to have been chosen to attend the "7 Habits Of Highly Effective People" Program these past 2 days. Based from the successful book of the same title, the Program provided a deep understanding of the 7 Habits and how we can live it in the workplace or at home.

As I've discussed with AP this morning, the 7 habits are actually core-values that you and I already know. Stephen Covey, the author, only did the compiling, i.e. aligning the values into the 7 Habits, publish it on a book, and earn millions. Who would've thought that something so inherent in the human conscience can sell like pancakes?

Like any other workshop or self-help book that I've read, the important thing is practicing it. That's the hard part. There were soooo many points discussed during the program that it was simply overwhelming. Too overwhelming that I'm worried that I'd forget them all. I would also have to adjust my current paradigms on certain methods/values to be open to new paradigms. Paradigm-shift, as Stephen Covey would say.

The program provided us with a free copy of the book plus some other materials that can help in living the 7 Habits (Covey planner, weekly tasklist, 7 Habits contract, etc). I hope I could make full use of them or else they'll just end up as the missus would say, as dust-collectors.

Habit 1: Be Proactive
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Habit 3: Put First Things First
Habit 4: Think Win/Win
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Habit 6: Synergize
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw


The Ride II

Here's the car I mentioned previously. It's exactly the same model and color as this but this one's driven by one of the tenants at our condo.

Coolness isn't it?