Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year's Party 2009

It's good to see how things have changed with your college buddies. As for me, I was lucky to have seen them last night with the help of Third's (my blockmate and kumpare of 10 years) constant nagging of a get-together. Fortunately, 6 were available that night, so we decided to meet up.

It was good to see that we were able to build our respective careers. Two were into development work, the other media, the other into the legal career, and the other in pharmaceuticals, and with me in financial services. Despite our career differences the common denominator prevailed: We were bred by the best University in the country, bearing the inculcated principles of integrity and excellence.

But of course, another two great values that we also share are the value of good fun and camaraderie. :) And we exhibited those values in our one-night-only KTV Christmas Party. We reminisced the good old times when our tummies were flatter, our problems lighter, and our challenges easier.

See how things have changed among my Devstud brethren:
Before (Circe 2000)

December 29, 2009 (L to R: Me, Third Espero, Brian Novero, LJ Castel, Carrie de Guzman, Alvinne Pamintuan, Nikki

Circa 1998

Today

"Napakahirap malimutan and saya ng dating samahan. Kahit lumipas na ang ilang taon, magkakaibigan pa rin ngayon."--Sa'n Na Nga Bang Barkada, Apo Hiking Society

Monday, December 28, 2009

Long-distance Connection

I am now officially involved in a long-distance relationship... I honestly do not know how to handle this, but I sure will find a way to do so. I just have to keep myself busy and look forward to the happier days when all things will go back the way it used to be. I am now beginning to understand my situation and slowly trying to see the positives in this negative.

I thank God for the vast technological developments. With plenty of options to communicate, the sadness somehow subsides, the loneliness somewhat disappears.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Countdown

Another countdown begins. Today I sent my lady to the airport to work in the States. I'll be counting another 350 days to see her again.

So what's in a year? A year is simply:
1. 12 visits to the barber
2. 26 cinema changes
3. 1 NBA season
4. 52 Church sessions
5. 12 paydays
6. 1 Valentine's Day, 1 Easter Sunday, and 1 Halloween
7. 1 Birthday
8. 52 Friday Madness nights

Wish I could borrow Adam Sandler's remote in Click so I could make a fast forward to December 2010. But of course, stupid fantasies aside, I will have to make do with the reality of having to wait for 350 days. I just have to keep myself busy with work. Sanity check as well from time to time.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Save the Date!!!

Finally! Floyd Mayweather Jr. found his balls and is now ready to take on a REAL challenge in Manny Pacquiao! This will be a classic battle between the reigning pound-for-pound king versus the pretty boy! This will truly be a fight to remember for all eternity!

I sure hope Floyd will be a pound-for-pound guy as he claims to be, and not some jackrabbit fighter who like running more than boxing. Let's keep an eye for his shoes. If he's wearing a Newton or a New Balance, this fight will go nowhere...

After making the world record for 7 titles in 7 weight divisions, Manny Pacquiao is ready to take on the fight of his career. What a way to end an illustrious boxing career! After this fight, after he gives the pretty boy his needed cuts and bruises, Manny can now retire a boxing superstar. He can now concentrate on acting, on his family, on politics (hell no!).

My fearless prediction in the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight: Pacquiao by unanimous decision.

Save the Date! March 13, 2010!


-----

Let's hope Z Gorres is doing fine now in the hospital in the States. In his recent battle with a Colombian slugger, he won the fight but suffered internal bleeding when he got knocked down in the 12th round, despite winning the fight. I haven't heard any news from him since then. Hopefully he gest back in normal shape. Though it is very slim for him to be fighting again, I sure hope he could still do things normally after this.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

December 1, 2009 - Deadline!

A lot of things have passed and I have not been writing lately. :) I'll try to keep up with the things I haven't wirtten about in the past 2 months or so.

The filing of certificates of candidacy has just come to an end, with all the expectations and surprises coming into play. Just to highlight a few:
  • There's Bayani Fernando who swore not to become anybody's VP ending up under Sen Dick Gordon's party.
  • A flurry of stars and starlets diving into the realm of politics, an industry closely related to theirs since their offices are filled with character actors.
  • Senator Jamby Madrigal finally filing for a Presidential candidacy... Nuissance?!? Nah. With Judy Ann again on her side, she might get at least a thousand votes from Juday's avid fans.
  • Edu shouts "Game Ka na Ba?" for the Vice- Presidency. The Filipino people shout back: HINDE!
  • Buboy, Goma try local politics. I hope Goma doesn't fence with or shoot voters into voting for him, nor will Buboy do the singing bee or buy a fabricated proclamation in Recto.
  • Ate Vi and Ralph jump ships from Lakas to Liberal. And now, Luis (The son formerly known as Lucky) is totally confused on who to support.
  • Ebdane bids goodbye to his Presidential hopes for lack of funds. Blessing in disguise ain't it Secretary?
  • Ampatuans allegedly massacred 56 people including the family of Vice Mayor Ishmael Mangudadatu in what is believed to be the worst election related violence in the country. It's just so confusing to see a grieving Mangudadatu smiling in front of the camera beside Gibo Teodora, just a few days after his wife was massacred in his hometown. This just earmarked the Philippines as the most dangerous place for a journalist, beating the war-torn Iraq!
  • ...and the best highlight of the 2010 elections is the utter demotion of our beloved President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who decides to vie for a Congressional seat in the 2nd district of Pampanga. Another first from the Philippines!
And this is just the beginning!

God bless the Philippines.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tac Returns! 2009 Edition

It's good to see good friend going back to their home country! Once again, my good friend Tac is back in town, preparing for his grand return to the country as an expat (in his own country)! Tac's currently connected to a BPO company that is planning to acquire one of the local companies and set up operations here in the country. This is a sign that the Philippines has not lost its competitiveness in the international BPO industry. Good news indeed!

Good thing the gang was able to convene and we gave Tac a good bienvenida and despidida dinner. He was just here for two weeks. We were not able to meet that often because of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng. Still, we were lucky to have had dinner on his last day.

Present were Juaqui (congrats bro!), Mitch A., Eli, Jayvee, Bubbles and Me

See you in January as an expat, bro!

Mabuhay ang mga dalubhasang Pilipino!

Ondoy Hits Brgy. Bagong Silangan

I joined Bubbles' family in their relief operations with the victims of Typhoon Ondoy in Brgy. Bagong Silangan, Quezon City. Brgy. Bagong Silangan is a barangay just behind Filinvest Village, in the border of Quezon City and San Mateo Rizal. It was a downhill drive towards the barangay, obviously a potential flood basin due to its terrain.

As Ondoy poured in rains worth a month's downpour, this barangay was one of the most devastated. The houses, being made of wood, were swept away, leaving lots of people homeless.
We tried to somewhat alleviate their woes by providing for a day's food and some clothing provided by the clothing company "Whoops!" We were able to give out relief goods to at least 100 people. We knew that this was not enough. At least, even for just a day, we were able to bring a few cheers and smiles to those people who needed much help after the wrath of Ondoy.


Art, this Village's coordinator, calls out the people that were heavily affected. They are prioritized in the relief operations.


People fell in line after all the high-priority names were already called

The community volunteers with the donors and volunteers from the Vincetian Seminary, clothing company Whoops!, and the Apostols

Typhoon Ondoy is not all disaster and tragedy. On a positive note, the typhoon has awakened the Filipinos' solidarity, unity, compassion and hospitality as a vast majority has awakened their senses, reached out to their fellow countrymen, helped out even the smallest way they can. With this, we can still see hope that the Filipino is still worth living for.

Basketbrawl: Arboleda hits Fan

Next time you watch a PBA game, be sure to be equipped with the latest protective head gear, gloves (better yet, brass knuckles), body armor and a mouthpiece. Better be safe than sorry because the PBA is now becoming a haven for collateral damage. Hotheaded players might just hurry towards you and give you a good beating.

Now on its third edition this year, the Philippine Basketbrawl Association's latest edition stars no other than The Snatcher himself, Wynne Arboleda. After the incidents involving veterans Marlou Aquino and Danny Ildefonso, here comes another furious player beating up the other team's fan for excessive "cheering!"



As preventive measure, the PBA proposes signboards in the Araneta Coliseum that say "Silence Please." This is to avoid excessively commenting fans from engaging with the players.

Sometimes, these players just forget their purpose in playing for the PBA. They forget that their fans are the heart and soul of the league. Without spectators like Wynne's newly found friend Alain Katigbak, baka tigbak na rin yang PBA. Keep on doing what you're doing guys and you'll all end up in the barangay leagues.

Next time you cheer for a team in the PBA, better make sure you learn your martial arts.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

UAAP Season 72: Back to Back

After a long and grueling season, the Ateneo Blue Eagles finally grabbed its second back-to-back championship, after defeating the UE Red Warriors in game three of the best-of-three series of the UAAP Season 72 Senior Men's basketball. The Eagles recorded a remarkable 16-2 win-loss record for the season.

Game One ended with a 7-point win for the Eagles, which showed that the series will be a neck and neck match up. UE proved to be an ultra tough opponent after defeating the Blue Eagles in game 2 with a 20-point spread (88-68). This gave way to a do-or-die match, which was decided with a 13-point commanding win of the Blue Eagles. Once again, Ateneo proved to be the toughest team of the season.

Despite having a season marred by controversies following Andy Barroca's alleged game-fixing in its second-round matchup against Ateneo, the season 72 was a fun and exciting one. In fact, Ateneo did not breeze through the season. It had at least 5 games which they came from behind. The league had equally-competitive teams in UE, FEU and UST. Even La Salle's slump was the season's biggest surprise turnout! Overall, it was a fun-filled season of college run-and-gun hoops.

The Blue Eagles ended their UAAP season with a bonfire held at the Grade School parking ground on Saturday, October 10, 2009. The bonfire celebrated several Ateneo teams' glorious championships in several sports fields, including the Juniors and Senior basketball championships.

Macky Escalona talking to the Rookie Eagles

Fashionista Jai Reyes with the Newspaper boy hat and shades

Future Leader: Eric "The Salutatorian" Salamat

Nameless wood burn in the Ateneo grounds

With Rabeh Al-Husseini, Nonoy Baclao at Jai Reyes graduating from the team, the challenge for the remaining players is to keep up the winning streak, and reach for the school's first-ever three-peat. In the bonfire, both soon-to-be superstars Nico Salva and Ryan Buenafe promised a three-of-a-kind championship. Hopefully, they'd be able to fulfill their promises.

Go Ateneo! One Big Fight!

The 2009 Ateneo Blue Eagles Official Lineup

Rabeh Al-Husseini (Finals MVP, Season Mythical Five)
Nonoy Baclao
Jai Reyes
Kirk Long
Eric Salamat
Ryan Buenafe
Nico Salva
Bacon Austria
Justin Chua
Emman Monfort
Oping Sumalinog
Frank Golla
Luis Gonzaga
Vince Burke
Chris De Chavez
Juami Tiongson
Head Coach: Norman Black

2009 UAAP Men's Basketball Awards

Rookie of the Year
Jeric Teng - UST Growling Tigers

Mythical Team
Rabeh Al-Hussaini - Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles
Aldrech Ramos - FEU Tamaraws
Elmer Espiritu - UE Red Warriors
Paul Lee - UE Red Warriors
Dylan Ababou - UST Growling Tigers

Most Valuable Player
Dylan Ababou - UST Growling Tigers

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Wrath of Ondoy

Most of us will probably mark the 26th day of September, 2009 as one of the most unforgettable days of their lives. I would be one of them. For most people, it would be their first-ever experience of a neck-deep, even higher, flooding in their areas, brought about by the heavy rainfall of might Typhoon Ondoy.

At first, I thought the typhoon was just an ordinary heavy rainfall that would end in 15-20 minutes. This Ondoy was real different. It did not stop raining from around 9am until 2 or 3 pm! The volume was so heavy it immediately caused flash floods all over Metro!

Probably you've already heard about many stories of tragedy and survival as it has been in the news, social networking and video-sharing sites for quite some time. It was really a typhoon we will never forget.

In my 27 years of existence, and in living in my house in Quezon City, never was a time when our indoors were flooded by a typhoon (categorically speaking, we've already been flooded when MWSS' aquaduct exploded some years ago). But last Saturday, I witnessed one of the heaviest precipitation yet in Ondoy. At around 11 am, water rose slowly and a little over 1pm, our house was already flooded thigh-deep. I though it was going to rise further so we decided to pack up our things in the car (I managed to bring the car to a higher ground, thus, not damaging the engine) and leave as soon as my dad arrives from work. We waited for him until finally, it was fortunate to see the water already subsiding.

This is what our house looked like 4-5 inches earlier:


Kitchen

Our garage looked like a river stream

Our neighbors outside decided to have a good time in the flood

Little did we know that my dad got stranded in KFC Congressional Avenue, with high-current flood which is breast- to neck-deep floods. It was also the first time that my dad experienced flooding in that area! The strong current prevented him from going home! But he managed to go home earlier than expected, with more than 7 hours travel time from his EDSA office (where normal travel time from office to home is 8 minutes). We traversed the breast-deep waters just to make sure that we were all doing okay. Our family was complete by 6:30pm, and the water subsided. Thank God.

My experience was nothing compared to that of my Tita Egie's. She lived in SSS Village in Fairview and the water went up to as much as 12-15 feet (thigh-deep at the 2nd floor)! Incidentally, they were about to leave the house when they caught up traffic in the Regalado and Commonwealth areas. They decided to come back and check on the house when they already saw their house with ample water! They tried to save as much appliances in the ground floor but it was too late! Water went in fast and high up to their second floor! Luckily they managed to escape via a neighbor's terrace. They managed to leave their house that day. When they came back the next day, they found their ground floor completely washed out and drenched in dirty water and mud. Furnitures destroyed, appliances all wet. Luckily, they all survived. Here are a few pictures of SSS Village post-flood:

Cars swept by flood as if they were just Matchbox toys

The Streets of SSS Village after the flood: Full of Trash


Destroyed roofs and walls

Look closer: there is a Pajero swept to this house's front door

We are still very thankfull that we got minimal damage. Plus we were all alive and healthy after the tragedy. My heart goes out to all the victims of Ondoy, which up to now are still in the evacuation centers because of the fear of another typhoon, Pepeng, and because their houses are still flooded up to this writing.

If you are able to read this, that means you have the capacity to do your share and give a little of yourself to the typhoon victims. There are a lot of groups taking the lead, all you have to do is give your share. This is already within our vicinity.

The wrath of Ondoy is a message (a big, hurtful, devastating message) that we Filipinos should take into heart. It is a message to our leaders: that climate change and environmental protection is now and will be the most pressing concern in the near future; that budgets meant for disasters and MEANT to be spent in disasters; that they should moderate their greed and spend the people's money in matters of their welfare and safety.

It is also a message to our countrymen: that it is about time that we change our current ways of life and give a little to preserve nature; that we as Filipinos start to unite and be as one family in helping each other and be with one another.

God bless the Philippines.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Red vs. Blue

We'll be seeing a new set of colors this year, as the 72nd UAAP Senior Men's Basketball Championship will be a contest between the defending champs, The Ateneo Blue Eagles, and the 2007 finalists UE Red Warriors. This was after the Red Warriors' come-from-behind victory over the FEU Tamaraws this afternoon. The Tamaraws had a great elimination round, finishing second in the team standings, only to suffer from the third placer UE. The Tams were plagued with another game fixing controversy that involved superstar point guard Andy (Mark) Barroca. This led to the team's decision to pull out Barroca from the team just to avoid the controversy to spread deeper into the team's chemistry. Well, so they say.

FEU ended up losing twice to the pesky Red Warriors, who struggled early in both their games, but ended up triumphant. All these were due to the heroics of their mighty P.E.P. squad, veteran Paul Lee, high-flying Elmer Espiritu, and most improved Pari Llagas. Coach Lawrence Chongson's debut mentoring of the Warrior was a success.

We will see another epic battle between these two strong teams. The Warriors have to content with the Ateneo's powerhouse cast led by last year's MVP, the towering Rabeh Al-Husseini, alongside defense minister Nonoy Baclao, the quick and cunning Eric Salamat, the sophomore phenom Ryan Buenafe, and the sweet-shooting El Capitan Jai Reyes. The supporting cast who are equally talented like Kirk Long, Nico Salva, Bacon Austria, Emman Monfort, Openg Sumalinog and Justin Chua are sure to provide the needed bench support. The Warriors will have to check on how they can overcome Ateneo's extremely deep bench.

It's a battle between the two contrasting colors of our nation's flag. The champs will take home the highly-coveted UAAP crown and another year of bragging rights before we once again wait for the following year's new surprises in rising stars and future league leaders. What's good about a non-La Salle finals is that it's easier to get tickets. But we terribly miss our beloved arch-rivals. Coach Franz, hurry up and get back in shape!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mom's Collection

I have always been fascinated, and a big big fan of my mother's green thumb. I took a souvenir photo of one of her newly-blossomed flowers. :)
I'm not sure what this flower is. If there is one Botanist who will read this entry, kindly comment and tell me what this flower is. Thanks!

Noynoy for President

And so it is final: Noynoy is going to run for President in the coming elections.

As I have always been saying, coming from a Great but allegedly corrupt Presidency, the Filipino populace now is looking not for another great leader, but a leader that is clean and honest, with the highest form of integrity among the candidates, and with a heart of true nationalism. So far, I think Noynoy fits the bill.

However, there is still so much to be done for him. First and foremost, he should learn to control his destructively tactless youngest sister, Kris Aquino. If past Filipino Presidents were blamed for having problem First Ladies/Gentlemen, this time, Noynoy's First Lady won't be much of a problem. It will be his sister who will be the biggest problem. Kaya Kris, if your want your brother to win in the coming elections, SHUT UP.

A Noynoy-Mar tandem for me is perfect combination. One has the charisma, the other has the substance. Together they can bring about genuine change in the current Philippine political and economic state. They just have to make us believe. Mar, for Christ's sake, please, no more of that stupid "padyak" political ads!

I am still undecided on who to vote for in the coming elections. My shortlist is down to only 4 candidates, and one of them is Nicanor Perlas. :) I'm serious!

UAAP Weekend: Surprising Results

Last weekend feature three classics of te UAAP season 72...

UP vs. Adamson: Arvin's final Game

First was UP's last game versus the Adamson Falcons. It was more of a no-bearing game for both teams as they were just battling the 6th spot in the elimination round. What made it a game to remember was it became Maroons point guard Arvin Braganza's last game of his UAAP career. A game that his father had wished to see but failed to do so...

Last week, in the second meeting of UP against Ateneo, Arvin's father watched in the sidelines as his son's opponents broke away early in the game. He collapsed in the midst of the second (or was it third) quarter, and was immediately attended to by the standby doctors. He was able to move that day, and somewhat signalled that he was going to be okay. He was hurried to the hospital that day, along with UP's skipper Arvin who left in the middle of the game. It seemd like everything was going to be okay, but then I was shocked to have read the news that hours later after that collapse, Arvin's dad passed away. It was very difficult for Arvin, especially that he was about to get married the following Friday...

So that game last Saturday, where he played his last as a UAAP cager, he dedicated it to his father, who was, until the end, his number one fan. Unfortunately, his efforts were not enough to bring the Maroons to win number four. The lackluster defense, alongside the killer threes of the Adamson sealed the league with a double-digit win over the Maroons. But I'm sure Arvin's dad would have been proud of his dear Arvin, for he has played hish eart out in his final game as a Maroon, and proved that he can deliver through adversity and much pain. To Arvin, as part of the UP community, my condolences to you and your family.

Ateneo vs. FEU - Surprise Comeback

The second game was a nail-biter! It was Ateneo and FEU's battle for the highly coveted top see in the UAAP final four. They both want to evade the tremendously deadly UE Red Warriors team as they posted third place in the final four. FEU was defeated by UE once, so they would try their very best to stay away from UE's path.

FEU led by as much as 18 points late in the Third Quarter! I was about to turn off the television in disgust, until I saw Emman Monfort's three-point prayer in the dying seconds of the third quarter. That gave FEU a 15-point margin entering the fourth. With that, I stayed on to watch, and voila! In just a few minutes in the fourth quarter, FEU's 18-point lead disappeared! Eric Salamat, Ryan Buenafe, Nonoy Baclao and Rabeh Al-Hussaini brought their "never say die" attitude in the fourth, giving Ateneo a scoring streak in the fourth! Nonoy Baclao sealed off FEU Center Reil Cervantes as he blocked Reil's turnaround shots! Andy Barroca had a hot start but finished off cold and damp as he was not able to make a conversion in the dying minutes of the game. FEU needed to win this game by five or more points in order to be in the number one spot, but the Reil Cervantesmis in the free throw line during the final seconds gave Ateneo a 74-73 win over the Tamaraws. Now, they will face the streaking UE Red Warriors, while Ateneo will battle the silent but deadly UST Growling Tigers. It really feels different to not having La Salle in the final four. The Blue Eagles surely miss their beloved arch-enemy. Better luck next year boys.

Cheerdance Surprise!

Another surprise show was the Cheerdance Competition, where, for the first time in years, neither UP nor UST won the top award! FEU Tamaraws won the championship, followed by Ateneo and UP. UST came out fourth.

Many UP alumni and alumnae went ballistic over the results. Some would even say that the judges did not appreciate art, grace, and real cheerdance when they see one. My take on this is that it is sometimes good to not win a game. This often gives the team a wake-up call in its strive for excellence. When you are already on top, much is expected. UP has already set the bar in terms of making the moves and doing the grooves in cheerdance. This year, they came short of expectation. They had a repertoire and other symbolisms that only UP students and alumni could understand. If UP was one of the judges, they could have won the competition since it concentrated on UP culture, school spirit, student activism, and other pressing issues of a UP student, then and now. But still, we have to consider that some of the judges are not from this country, and they might not have a single idea about UP's idealism and culture. That's how this competition works. They might have done an excellent routine in a deep and Isko perspective, but of course, judges would look at it differently. And on this note, they failed to please the judges.

In fairness to both Ateneo and FEU, their routines were okay, their gimmicks were good enough. This is just a reflection that the UAAP Cheerdance Competition is no longer a bi-polar competition between the Maroons and the Tigers. All schools have stepped up, the competition has become more exciting. What UP can do is to stop sulking and sourgraping about this year's results, but look forward and strive harder for next year's competition. I'm confident that being Iskos and Iskas, they know well how to handle adversities, pick up the pace, and move on. Next year is a totally different year. We will return to being champions. :)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

"Lalaban Tayo" no more...

I thought I shall never see a modern-day Filipino statesman. Today, we just witnessed Mar Roxas announcing the "heaviest decision" he has ever made in his entire political career, and that is giving in for fellow Liberal Party member, Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III. Whatever his reasons were for his sudden backing out, what matters is that in the eyes of the Filipino people, he chose the harder side, the more righteous, and that is to give way to a colleague whose popularity has risen after the demise of her of her mother, former President Cory Aquino.

Initially I was a silent, informal supporter of the Mar-Roxas-for-President-moves. He was one of the most ideal Presidentiables, backed with exceptional credentials and political blood. A few wrong moves here and there somewhat tainted my support, one of which was his public cursing at the current administration during a rally in Makati. Another is his public display of affection for TV announcer Korina Sanchez. Okay, they have every right to be happy, but please! You're almost 50 for the love of... Oh well. Love knows no boundaries.

I was about to abhor Mar for his ill-advised "Lalaban Tayo" and "Padyak" commercials over radio and television, but with this most recent development, I am back to admiring this guy. The fact that he is about to give up the power that he has long cherished is simply astounding. Admirable.

I have never seen genuine statesmanship like this in my generation. With this, we can see his true intentions for genuine change, and that it was his primary aim at Presidency. He gave up his ambitions for this objective. He already has a stable and solid political machinery. I hope he lends this to Noynoy, should he decide to run for President. I heard he is backed by very bright, optimistic, service-oriented supporters so probably he could get things done.

Just like in the United States, the Philippines needs change. In order to have this change, we need people who shall initiate change. Today, Mar has started a change. A change in the political landscape. A change in the seemingly rotting political system. A change that no other politician dare touch. I sure hope this change does not end here. I also hope this is no gimmick. Let this change start and spread now. Mar did the right thing and he'll be remembered in history books for all eternity.

Cheers to Sen. Mar Roxas for showing the younger Filipinos how it is to retreat and accept, how it is to be a true gentleman and a true statesman' and for showing the older ones that there is still a light in this very very long tunnel.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Pure MOA Shores

This is the closest I've been from the USS George Washington. The US aircraft carrier was in Philippines waters a few weeks ago. Just like this man, I was at shore envious of those Filipinos who had the opportunity to tour the famous carrier. All I saw were a bunch of small ships used to transfer the thousands of sailors shopping in Mall of Asia.



Photo taken with Canon A590IS


It's funny to see a few sailors bidding their farewells to their newly found "friends" at the shores of MOA. Indeed, where there are foreigners, there are the Fiipina-bride-wannabes. Haven't we learned anything from Nicole, one of the most controversial rape cases since VFA?

Down with the Sickness

What do you do if you're down with a communicable, debilitating Tonsilitis? For me, I had the most productive recuperation: I had the opportunity to watch at least 5 videos and almost all locals shows from yesterday to early today. That's for not having a local cable provider. :)

I did not plan to watch the four UAAP games this weekend because they all were virtually no-bearing games (except of course for the UE-La Salle match up yesterday). Because I had nothing else to do, I watched all four. It turned out to be exciting games! The UP-FEU game (2pm, August 29) was okay, with UP giving their 110% to narrow down the double-digit deficit against the #2 team in the league. Their efforts were futile, giving FEU their 10th win of the season against 2 losses.

The second game of Saturday showdown also ended as gut-wrenching, after a controversial "not counted" call with Hyram Bagatsing's and one play. I think they should have given the "counted" call on that play. Even if how many times the tape was played, it was an obvious counted possession. La Salle ended up losing by two points after a turnover caused by no other than La Salle's "rising star," Joshua Webb. La Salle fell to 5th spot at 4-7 and UE took on solo-third place.

The Sunday Spectacle featured two seemingly lop-sided games, with NU taking on UST in the first game and Ateneo going up against their bird brothers, Adamson. As expected, UST gave a blowout loss to NU, with NU failing to keep up with UST's steam. At first, I thought this was another upset in the making with NU taking the lead in the early strages of the first quarter, but when I browsed to the Brian Viloria match and got back to the game, UST was already leading by double-figures. And the rest was history.

By the way, my congratulations to Brian Viloria for winning via unanimous decision over Jesus Iribe of Mexico. I still can't figure out if he's the Hawaiian or the Filipino punch. No matter what punch he carries, I hope he punches big.

The second game between the two high-flying mascots in Ateneo and Adamson turned out to be a nail-biter. Ateneo was struggling with offense, turning over the ball at least five times per quarter, with a miserable field goal shooting percentage. Meanwhile, Adamson thought it was never too late to bring in their A-game towards the season's homestretch. They rebounded and defended well against the Eagles, who could not penetrate the paint during the first half. Just like the other close games they fought against other teams, they lost steam in the final 2 minutes of the fourth quarter. They gave up useless fouls, executed sub-par plays (Lester Alvarez and that Cabrera should realize that they have teammates even in the final minutes of the quarter), overall played miserably. In a tightly contested game, the fourth quarter is all that matters. Even when you shot perfectly in the first three quarters, if you play dismally in the fourth, expect to get down. Ateneo took on the first twice-to-beat slot in the UAAP final four with that win.

I hope I get well soon. Looks like one tablet of Clarithromycin a day is not powerful enough for the virus I got.

Go Ateneo!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

San Jacinto: Since 1894

My good friend Titan was back in town two weeks ago, so my high school barkada had another chance to get together and reminisce those good old times. We decided to take Titan to an old familiar Chinese restaurant/pansiteria along Quezon Avenue, San Jacinto.

San Jacinto is located beside the old Delta Theater (I forgot the name of the billiard hall in Delta) near the corner of West Avenue. It is a quaint, comfy restaurant that gives you the old pansiteria feel. It seems like its interior has been that way since its opening in 1894. It is famous for its varieties of pansit, and of course, the traditional Chinese food. Among the favorites was the Shrimp Balls. It was highly recommended by my lady. :)
Must Try: Shrimp Balls

We tried their yang chow rice, Hototay Soup, Mixed Vegetables, and of course their Pancit Canton.
Hototay!


The Pancit lacked the flavor it used to have before. Probably it was because they were about to close down when we ordered. They might have forgotten to put a few more seasonings... Nelo, Mike, Kit, Titan, Eli, Me

The food might have lacked the flavor, but the stories, the bond and the friendship remained full of flavor. Almost 15 years has passed since this group of young men first came across each other's path in that school on a hill. See how time flies, indeed. In this get-together, one of the topics discussed was health. Some of us are already complaining of age-related diseases!!! :)

I hope the get-together happens more often. Thanks for the treat, Captain Planet!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

UP's Third Win

And the La Salle slump continues... This time, they lost to the UP Fighting Maroons. UP now has three wins on top of seven losses. La Salle, now 0-3 in the second round, posts a 4-6 record. This is probably one of the worst seasons since Franz Pumaren's entry into the Archers.

Why has La Salle been slumping so far? This is because until today, they can not find their trusty go-to-guy. Yesterday, UP found a one-two punch in rookie Mikee Reyes and veteran Mark Lopez. The support staff in Martin Reyes and Woody Co sealed the deal for UP. As for La Salle, they lack the superstar power. When the going gets tough, no one wants to step up. James Mangahas lost his steam from his good performance last year. Is it because he wasn't given the Captain position? :) Team captain Hyram Bagatsing cannot deliver when it's needed the most. Arvie Bringas is just too young and turnover-prone. PJ Barua is inconsistent. Kish Co lacked the minutes. Maui Villanueva just can't seem to go the distance.

Joshua Webb? I need not say more about Joshua Webb's lack of spark. He simply can't pull it off. As I said in my previous entry, Joshua Webb needs to accept that he is not the superstar that he once was. Yesterday, I will give him the credit for trying. But in these tries he gave up 4 blocks and a few more turnovers. He needs a bit more effort (and humility) to get things done in the La Salle squad. They wouldn't want Pumaren's "last season" to end in a sour note. :)

UP will have a bigger fighting chance if the Growling Tigers and Warriors lose their respective games today. They have four games left, two of which are from the two biggest teams in the UAAP Season 72, FEU and Ateneo. For UP, they proved that they can beat down Goliaths so I think this is still n exciting season for them.

Cheers to the UP Fighting Maroons!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ateneo - La Salle (2-0)

We just witnessed over the past two weeks two-straight blockbuster games from the country's greatest rivals, the Ateneo Blue Eagles and the De La Salle Green Archers. Both games were expected to be jampacked, and indeed it was. The UAAP board anticipated the capacity crowd, thus, they decided to release two separate tickets for the double headers that will feature the arch-rivals. Ticket prices from scalpers and opportunists have hiked their prices as though it was already the finals! Sellers from both schools have become more strict, now providing a no-ID, no-ticket policy for buyers, so as to discourage alumni from sending their drivers to fall in line on their behalf.

We witnessed something unusual during the two teams' first encounter. For the first time in UAAP history, both schools have agreed to let go of their team colors and gave the late Former President Cory Aquino a great tribute by wearing the traditional yellow shirt. Around 80% of the stadium wore shirts that had a touch of yellow, while others wore black as a way of mourning for the loss of one of the most beloved leaders of all time. Many thanks to the text brigade that circulate Ateneo and La Salle alumni and alumna. There were a few who did not heed the call, still wearing the traditional colors. Well, probably they did not have a yellow shirt, did not get the text message, or simply did not care.

The first game was a gut-wrenching, heart-stopping spetacle, where both teams never let go of the game until the final stretch. Just when you thought Ateneo was pulling away with the win, De La Salle stars stepped up and hit two-straight three-pointers with less than one minute to go in the 4th quarter. This led the game to a 5-minute extension. But the Blue Eagles came out hungrier and they pulled away with a 4-point win at overtime. Some fans figured that President Cory was on Ateneo's side that game since Ateneo's final score was President Cory's age.

The second encounter fell short of being another memorable game. La Salle's lackluster display gave them a double-digit deficit from the second quarter onwards. During half-time, Ateneo pulled away with a 17-point lead, special thanks to their main man, 6'7 behemoth, surprise-standout Rabeh Al-Hussaini. The team's supporting cast, Eric Salamat, Nico Salva and Nonoy Baclao also brought in quality numbers in the statistical and score boards. It was obvious that La Salle lacked the go-to guy, relying only on youngsters Arvie Bringas and Joshua Webb.

Joshua Webb. He is now the Ateneo's Public Enemy. Special thanks to his unsportsmanly kick of Ateneo's Bacon Austria during the first game and his arrogant (but snappy) salute to the Ateneo crowd during one of his "And One" plays in the second game.

When I watch him play boastfully every La Salle game since his debut in the UAAP Seniors last year, I often stop and think: What are all these arrogance about? What has he achieved that is worth bragging?

Okay. He was the superstar player during his high school days in De La Salle Zobel. He was so "good" that his #10 jersey in high school was retired. Looks like his achievement in high school went too deep in his head. But now in the UAAP Seniors Division? I don't see any achievement yet, except of course being in the All-Rookie team. But of course he did not win the Rookie of the Year award. It was won by no other than the NCAA standout Ryan Buenafe. He did not even get quality minutes during his rookie years. He barely made 4 points every game.

We is lucky to have lost teammates JV Casio and Rico Maierhoffer in season 72. Because of this, he was elevated to the starting lineup. But what has he done in his "quality minutes?" Before the Ateneo-La Salle game, he barely made 8 points a game. And when it was his time to shine, churning 26 points in a game, the team did not register a win. During the second Ateneo-La Salle meeting, he scored 13, a warning from the referee, and double-digit loss. In short, he hasn't proven anything yet. :)

But of course we need someone like that in the team to fire up the teammates and give them the needed motivation. But ofcourse when you toy with the crowd, you start to think if he is worthy of doing such. For me, he is just a playing heckler. During the homestretch yesterday, I saw him ankle-broken by Eric Salamat's crossover plays. Now that is worth bragging!

Mr. Webb, before you get too much air in your head, I think it's about time to think and reflect. Are you there to simply heckle and fool around with your rivals, or is it time for you to really step up and prove that you are no fluke with your basketball talent? Of course we Ateneans want you guys to win so that it will be possible for us to meet again in the final four, or even the finals. We are used to playing with La Salle more than twice since 2001, and losing you in the Final Four would make the season incomplete. That's why Mr. Webb, it's about time you get your act together and wake up! You're no longer in your High School dreamland! Welcome to the UAAP!

Right now, Ateneo is at 8-1. We hope that the streak continues so that we would once again see Ateneo win a championship back-to-back for the first time in 21 years! But it's perfectly okay to lose against UP again in the second round. :)

Go Ateneo! One Big Fight!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Le Cirque (de Soleil?!?)

Is eating in a posh restaurant really big a crime for a Philippine President? Personally, there's really nothing wrong with the President eating in some high-end food places in the United States. She's a President for crying out loud!

For me, I'd say that she's just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Wrong place: All eyes are with the President these days. With tons of controversies hounding her and her "beloved" husband, anything that involves big money, lavish spending and socializing ires the Filipino populace. Taking off from the Hello Garci, ZTE Broadband Deal, Jose Pidal, and all other controversies involving money, another one like spending millions of pesos in a high-end New York restaurant is a big hit among rumor mongers and investigative journalists. This is a simple case of piling on.

Wrong Time: We are now in the crossroads of recession. Millions of Filipinos go hungrier. Jobs are harder to find. Development was slower. Could this have been Erap during his "mabango" years, the media would have just disregarded the news. If it was Fidel Ramos during the "Tiger Economy" years, no one would have highlighted this incident. But no. She is now in a situation where the Philippines is not in a very good state. But despite that, she and her cabinet were able to eat out. Eat with a million-buck bill. The people will see the irony of it all: People get hungrier while the President has a $2,000-meal on her plate.

It seems like the media and people is in close watch. Every action is one big spectacle. Every move (especiall the bad ones) is front-page material. The Administration needs to act more carefully especially towards the end of the term.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Cheers to the Living Legend

Ms. Jose L. Cuisia Jr. has retired from Philamlife last month, in view of his 65th birthday. In his 16 years of service to Philamlife, he has consistently made the company the number 1 life insurer in the Philippines. This lead to Philamlife's continuous growth and stability, even despite what happened to its mother company. Now, it continues to grow and lead the industry for more than 60 years now.

His accomplishments in the industry earned him 2007's Management Man of the Year.
Mr. Cuisia's speech to the Third Floor as he makes his final rounds.

Cheers to the company's Captain, General, Head Coach. Happy Retirement! :)

Thanks to Tata for my picture with Mr. Cuisia. :)

Mall Terrorists(?!)

I just get so afraid to walk on the floors of SM North EDSA. This is due to the new type of terrorists that hover the area! Before you get all scared please read on...

I was walking along SM North EDSA one day, just doing the usual stroll, leisurely observing the people, looking at good buys, etc. etc. Then suddenly I was attacked! I was attacked by what I termed as the mall terrorists! They are no other than the pre-need sellers in malls! They disturb the peace and impede personal space just to make a sale!

The deed begins by them approaching you and asking if you have a credit card. If you do and you show it to them, they will entertain you, grab your credit card, and offer you to join a raffle or something. Then, without your knowledge, they will swipe your card to purchase a product you don't fully understand, and obviously you didn't expect to buy. After which, they explain what had just happened. Isn't that terrorism in its highest sense?!?!

One time I just felt like I wanted to act stupid. When I already spotted the pre-need guy about to approach me, I suddenly screamed, shrieked like when a baby is stripped off his candy. :) The guy got scared and just walked away from me. My screaming just saved me from another few minutes of hawking! Yahoo! :)

I understand that the times have been hard and selling those types of products can be very difficult. But that does not give these people the license to terrorize mall-goers by unethically swiping their credit cards for a product sale.

I myself am working for a company that has a pre-need arm. Given that we belong into one financial services industry, alongside banks, mutual fund coimpanies, and stock brokerage firms, we should exercise the highest level of integrity and honesty. Sales and profit should go hand in hand with ethical business practices.

I sure hope these people would stop sowing terror among the regular Filipino people.

Brothers and sisters, beware!!!!!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Rule of Four

They must have been the most photographed people that day. These four, who used to be honor guard John Does in their respective units, became the four most famous military men during the funeral of Former President Cory Aquino. These men withstood pain, hunger, thirst and successfully finished the procession that lasted for more than 7 hours yesterday. Amidst the intermittent rain, stops and go's, and a flurry of coins being thrown at them (a famous Filipino superstition during burials), they made it through. All these sacrifice for that sake of service to the most beloved President of the Republic.
Photo taken from www.philstar.com.

These four now form part of every historical book that shall tackle the most attended funeral since Ninoy's. The four honor guards were: a) Army Pfc. Antonio Cadiente; b) Airman Second Class Gener Laguindan; c) Navy Petty Officer 3 Edgardo Rodriguez; and d) Police Officer 1 Danilo Maalab.

Last thing I heard in the news is that they are going to be honored with medals and a much-deserved promotion. Cheers to the four who accompanied the former President in her last few hours. Their sacrifice and service will be remembered not just by the thousands who joined them in the march, but of the entire nation who never took their eyes off the TV screens and bid goodbye our beloved Queen of Democracy.

Typo?!

At first, her name was misspelled to a Spanish term for “robber” in a 2007 version 100-peso bill. Just a side story, this blunder pushed me to collect not just erring local bills, but also rare, collector’s edition bills. Now I expanded to collecting foreign bills. :)

There is really something about President Gloria that makes her the darling of typo errors. This time, Manila Bulletin has mistaken President Cory’s funeral march for President Gloria’s! The editor must be one of the four Honor Guards who stood in the four corners of President Cory’s coffin during the 7 1/2 – hour procession. Or maybe he was just plain tired when he proofread this.

Is it plain human error, or is it an honest slip that reflects the subconscious of the common Filipino? I sure hope it’s the former.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

August 5, 2009 - Paalam, President Cory

Thousands have once again flocked the streets. But this time, not to protest against a tyrant administration, but to pay last tribute to the country's most sincere, most loved President, President Maria Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino. Up to this writing, the funeral convoy has just reached Manila Memorial Park. The procession/convoy started at around 11:00a.m., but due to thousands of people who want to see the President for the last time, the procession took more than 6 hours.

Good thing President Gloria Arroyo declared today a holiday or else traffic would have been worse.

It has been a while since we saw this massive outpouring of support and prayers towards a major political icon. And it was sad to say that we have once again lost one of the symbols of that peaceful revolution heard around the world.
I had my share of attempt to view the Former President for the last time. Unfortunately, though, I was only able to see the church from afar because the line going inside the church spanned from the Cathedral to I don't know where. I didn't attempt to look at the end of the line because it was reached even past through the old Comelec building. I figured I did not have enough time since I was supposed to pick Bubbles up from the airport. :) Ivan and I instead took a few pictures and just observed how people of all walks of life lined up just to see the remains of one of the most influencial Filipinos of all time. People from all age ranges, all social status, have lined up to pay their last respects to their idol, their symbol of freedom, independence, democracy, hope. May the next generation of Filipinos remember how Cory Aquino fought for and saved the Philippines from tyranny and oppression. May she be remembered as the leader who knew nothing much about governing, but had a gargantuan heart to lead a country towards freedom and democracy.
May your light shine upon the Filipino people forever.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Last Supper #3

My officemates and I watched another entry to the Cinemalaya Cinco, this time at the University of the Philippines Film Center. The entries were showing in the theater for one week. We were fortunate to catch this year's Best Picture, Last Supper No. 3.

Due to many reasons including expected traffic going to the State U, we were'nt able to start the movie. Lucky we were with someone who was able to watch it before, so she told us what we missed. Last Supper No.3 is a true story about an advertising officer, Wilson NaƱawa, and his officemate/buddy Andres Pamatid, who were about to shoot a corned beef TV commercial. They needed Last Supper pictures to be used as background in their dining hall seen. Many have lined for their Last Suppers to be included in the advertisement. They shortlisted the applicants to three finalists, and they have chosen the Last Supper No. 1. When they were about to return the remaining two finalists, Last Supper No.3 got lost.

The film focused on how Wilson and Andres got in so much mess with so petty infraction. The lost Last Supper led them to a series of events, including being summoned by the barangay hall, and even arrested for Estafa and Serious Physical Injuries.

Despite the tandem's misadventures, the film had ultra-hilarious scenes with Wilson's funny antics, plus situations that were so mundane, yet so funny come to think of it. It gave a funny side to the country's erring justice system, and how a simple case can turn into a big big mess.

Cameos by Maricel Soriano, Ricky Davao, Alwyn Uytingco, and Liza Lorena also helped add to the film's series of surprises. Overall, the movie was an enjyable one. Good thing we made it just in time for the important scenes.



Kudos to indie!

After the movie, we had dinner at Chocolate Kiss, a famous fine-dining restaurant inside campus. I ordered the Fish Kiev, and it was a winner. :)

Friday, July 31, 2009

President Corazon C. Aquino, 76

Former President Corazon C. Aquino succumbed to Colon Cancer at 3:18 this morning, August 1, 2009. She was 76.

The whole world mourns the death of a truly sincere leader.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Aquaproof Underwater Camera Case

Epektib!Nung una, kinakabahan pa akong gamitin dahil baka masira ang camera ko! Ako na ang nagpapatunay na totoo nga ang bisa ng Aquaproof Underwater Camera Case na nabili ko sa E-bay! :)
It was my first time to take pictures of marine life! Galeeeng... Sa wakas nakunan ko rin ng litrato ang tunay na Nemo. :)

Mabuhay ang camera case na ito!

Photos taken with Kodak Easyshare C310.

Cinemalaya Cinco

I was able to watch the Cinemalaya Cinco Film Festival held last week. I was able to watch the opening movie, Manila, which was shown for FREE! I am not much of a movie critic, nor am I an avid Indie film enthusiast, my utterly baseless and unsolicited comment of the Adolfo Alix-Raya Martin Masterpiece was that it wanted to tackle on a lot of issues about Manila, but failed to concentrate heavily on one. Maybe I a just a shalklow observer, but I could not see the connection of middle credits with the movie's overarching theme. Perhaps the directors would explain it in their respective interviews. Overall, Manila had its drags and bores, but it was okay. At least we are seeing improvements in the Filipino movie industry as it veers away from Filipino-Chinese overexposed culture multi-sequels, or the horror flick fever. At least from movies like this, we can see that we can still make quality movies for a reasonable budget.


On Wednesday that week, I was able to convince two of my officemates to join me in watching a Cinemalaya Cinco entry. I was choosing between 24K and Colorum because they were the two movies available at 9pm that day. We went there and found that Colorum was already full, so we ended up watching 24K. Being a fan of treasure adventure movies like Indiana Jones and National Treasure, I expected some sort of the same thing by reading from the festival's brochure. Well, it did not disappoint that much. :)
The film shot directly from Suyo, Ilocos Sur. The place was beautiful, breathtaking, picturesque. The director had no problem shooting for beautiful angles because it seemed like there is a beautiful spot in every corner of the place. Thus, it gave the movie the highest honors in Cinematography. The stars Julio Diaz, Archie Adamos and Jojit Lorenzo were fantastic. The exchange of lines, though sometimes inaudible, were very natural and smooth. The comedy and the tragedy of the movie was well put into place. Until now, I still recall a few exchange of lines between treasure hunters Manok (Diaz), Ninong Fred (Adamos), Boyet (Lorenzo), Karlo (Miguel Vasquez), and Arturo. Their funny and sometimes insane ways of looking for clues while digging into a hole in the fabled treasure spot was truly catchy.

I enjoyed the film and recommended it to my other friends. To bad it did not gather much attention and hype, thus garnering the lowest box office turnout among the finalist. Nonetheless, the film is a must-see, especially by nature- and culture-loving Filipinos like myself. Kudos to director Ana Agabin for her work!

Apparently, my officemates enjoyed the 24K experience so we decided to watch again the next day! We then watched the movie Colorum same time Thursday. Luckily, it was Colorum's Gala night, so the cast of Colorum headed by Alfred Vargas and Lou Veloso were there.

The movie had a simple and mundane plot, which developed into a big bloody mess towards the end. Simon (Vargas), a decent cop by day and Colorum FX driver by night, crossed path with Pedro (Veloso), an recently-pardoned ex-convict. Their meeting was the usual driver-to-passenger relationship, until suddenly, they were caught in an accident that immediately changes their lives. The recently released Pedro, was once again bound by freedom constraints because he was the only witness to the bloody accident which led to the death of an American serviceman. Simon accidentally run over the guy while looking for Oasis Transit, Pedro's supposed drop-off point. And it was a rollercoaster ride after that.

Veloso's powerful performance in this movie earned him a Best Actor nod in the recent awards ceremonies. His tandem with Alfred Vargas was the main highlight of this movie. There were a few dragging scenes in the start, but were quite necessary to build up each of the casts' characters. The subliminal excerpts that somewhat linked to the Marcos era, were seemd unnecessary. But overall, the film was okay.

Of the three movies I watched, I enjoyed 24K the best.

After the film, we were fortunate to be able to mingle with the cast of Colorum. I approached and congratulated Alfred Vargas, who was my high school batchmate. I also requested a souvenir shot with him and Lou Veloso. :)We also got to see Ninong Fred (Adamos) during the Colorum showing, since he is also part of the cast of Colorum being Alfred Vargas' Colonel Ninong. My officemates and I became instant fans of Archie Adamos, for his versatile acting from both movies we watched.

Overall, the Cinemalaya Cinco was a success. From the three days I went to CCP, the hall was filled with people: fans, movie-lovers, enthusiasts. Whatever their intentions were in going to Cinemalaya, one thing's for certain. The Filipinos' innate love for art will surely help revive the dying movie industry through their support in festivals like this. Filipinos may now exercise their craftsmanship and talent in an industry that is seemingly expensive to practice, with very minimal budget.

Thanks to my Cinemalaya buddies, Tata and Herzon! Also, thanks to Joan, Tere and friends for having been convinced to watch Colorum over Public Enemies! :)

Cheers to the Philippine independent movie industry!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dondon and Ichi Nuptials - 16 May 2009


May 16, 2009

Chapel on the Hill, Nasugbu Batangas

Reception at Sonya's Garden, Tagaytay City

Congrats Dondon and Ichi! :)

I'm so honored to have witnessed this momentous occasion.

Cheers!