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. :)