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Showing posts from 2005

Tasty seafood at Matutina's -- Dagupan, Pangasinan

Matutina's is a beachfront restaurant somewhere in Dagupan, which is being frequented for it's tasty seafood. Being the seafood-allergic that I am, I wasn't able to eat the shrimp, but the tortang talong was great. The fish were also delicious.
In the daytime, people can eat right at the beach.. on the sand.
I guess many people really eat there because the establishment is opening up a new annex.

(Visited Nov 26, 2005)

Gerona, Philippines -- Interesting restaurant

The long stretch of rice paddies was broken by the sight of a restaurant whose theme seems to pop right out of the Survivor set. The resturant is called Isdaan, and it's halfway along the route to Baguio from the south.
Customers eat in bamboo huts that float on fish ponds. There are gigantic statues of fish, of Khmer-inspired creatures, hands, and monkeys that surround the boardwalk. Plus, if the customer is particularly in a bad mood due to heavy traffic, there's a wall where you may smash plates or cups for a fee... anger management at its simplest. For children, there's a rickshaw which may be pulled by a sheep! That ride is free.
Aside from these attractions, the food is delicious. The fried fish and the longganisang Lucban were so tasty.
Parking is not a problem because the space is huge. But you'd know that the place serves delicious food because so many customers make it their pitstop on the way up, or en route to Manila.

(Visited Nov 28, 2005)

Shopping in Baguio City

There are several choices of shopping destinations in around the city proper. For the true blue tourist, there are numerous souvenir shops. the one I went to was at the Mines View Park.

For the food trip, there are lots of jams and sweets at the Good Shepherd Convent. And, there are angel cookies at the Pink Sisters' Convent.
Hard-to-find second-hand items are available at the ukay-ukay shops along Session Road.
But for the real mall-rat, there's no place to shop but SM Baguio. This mall is the only SM outlet I've been to that does not have air-conditioning.

(Visited Nov 26, 2005)

the couch potato strikes again!

Hanging out with my lola one night, I noticed that the show on ABS-CBN was featuring the new teleserye… my all-time favorite Filipino epic: Ang Panday.
Believe it or not, as a child, I even watched the animated version… and kept comparing it with its foreign counterparts (She-Ra, He-Man, and Voltron, if I’m not mistaken). And now, it was once again brought to life, possibly with the biggest budget the network can muster.
Anyway, I found the story compelling at the very beginning. How can a modern guy enter the ancient world of the blacksmith, right? I expected a scene just like in the A Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. However, I will never know because due to the unfortunate hand of fate, I missed out on that episode. The next time I watched, the kargador was brandishing the sword like a wushu champ - apparently without needing much training.
Despite this, I kept watching Ang Panday. I just couldn’t get over how a rich girl can notice a really really poor guy and leave all of her good and…

On coffee, chocolate, and cakes

I never liked drinking coffee. But somehow, I find myself sitting in one coffee shop or the other every Sunday. That’s because I’m spending some quality time with my cousins and my siblings.
Being with what remains of my extended family (on the father side) allows me to relax. More and more are migrating to greener pastures. Many of them are scattered in the United States; they themselves don’t get to see each other every week. I feel lucky to be able to see my cousins because someday, inevitably, we’ll all go our separate ways. We may be feeling the first signs of strain; we no longer see our elderly cousins who got married and have families of their own, except when we go all the way to Batangas to visit. And my younger brother will be leaving for California in a few more weeks (we might not see each other for several years) to be with our parents.
Add that to the fact that we who are staying in the Philippines are living in different time zones… my sister and a cousin are both in the…

Geography lesson

Rachelle, one of the students in the lab, gave us an “orientation” about Australia. She drew a map of the country and had the rest of us identify the cities and the states in Australia. The clueless traveller in me forgot my high school geography lesson, and asked if Perth is the capital of Australia. Big mistake, because the capital is Canberra. The convicts were sent to Sydney, the Britons settled in Adelaide, and the friendliest Australians can be found in Perth… according to her.
She was giving us the white board tour because an officemate, Vito, is going there next week to attend a month of training at CSIRO. I am scheduled to be in Sydney in February 2006, so it’s high time to learn the locales.
Rachelle also thought we need to learn the local terms… the dunny (that’s the toilet), a bloke (a guy), a git (an idiot), the lift (the elevator), the uni (the university). Crikey!
During our morning tea, we asked her about accents. We are exposed to the Crocodile Hunter, and we’ve heard To…


Being the couch potato that I am, I find myself once again typing away my thoughts on a new series I’ve seen on the telly. This time, its NUMB3RS. The show is very fascinating to watch (enough to distract me from the fact that CSI: Crime scene investigators is still not being shown in AXN).
Anyway, there are two brothers, on is an FBI agent and the other is a mathematician. Through the use of real math models, the genius is able to predict where the crimimnal is, when the next crime is going to be committed, and where the disease is being spread, and how. The FBI agent, on the other hand, is on the ground actually catching the criminal, or curbing an epidemic from spreading. Despite their busy lives, they find time to bond with each other and their father.
The last episode is really great because it focused on a potential spread of the Spanish flu (which wiped out thousands of young, working age people in 1918). By using a stats model designed to predict the spread of epidemics, the mat…


There’s a new series in AXN, and it’s called House. I’ve seen it a few times. And each episode never fails to shock me with how insensitive doctors can be to their patients. Dr. House proves to be a brilliant medical doctor, but he is as rough as he can get to his patients. My favorite case was when one kid was showing signs of lupus, but in fact, he was suffering from naphthalene poisoning. House’s logic explained all the symptoms that appeared. But the way he talked to the patient’s father was really shocking, to say the least!

The most relaxing mall -- Alabang, Philippines

The Ayala Town Center or ATC is one of the most relaxing malls this side of Luzon. The parking lot is spacious, the food is terrific, and the atmosphere is basically homey. These are absent from the larger malls in the Makati area, where everyone seems to move so fast!
This is my personal weekly hangout. :) For budget meals, the food court at the second floor offers cheap but delicious food. Try Mong Kok. Or if you've got the money, go for CPK or Tony Roma's.

(Visited Oct 16, 2005)

Birthday party -- Liliw, Laguna

My friends and I decided to sample the pasta concoctions at Arabella's, a tiny restaurant in one corner off the main road. The Milky Way shake is heavenly and the pasta was good!

And don't miss out the kesong puti pizza. Yum!

(Visited: July 3, 2005)

Kissimmee, Florida -- My home away from home

I spent six days in Kissimmee because this was the venue for the AACC 2005 conference. The hotel was spectacular, the food was scrumptious, and best of all: the tourist destinations were amazing!

The must sees that I've been to: Pleasure Island and Magic Kingdom in DisneyWorld, and CityWalk at the Universal Studios. There are countless more places to see and it will definitely take more than five days to go to all of them!

(Visited Sept 11, 2005)

The Kennedy Space Center

A few weeks after being in Florida, I found myself watching Apollo 13 on Star Movies. Apollo 13 is the movie that made me skip reviewing my Biology notes the night before my second quarterly exam back in high school. Only a Tom Hanks movie can do that!
This movie also brought me back to my first day in Florida… September 10, 2005….
The staff at the Grain Quality and Nutrition Research Center in IRRI had betted that I won’t be able to tour the area during my first day there because of jet lag. After all, the plane rides took more than a day! A two-hour flight to Hongkong, a thirteen-hour flight to Los Angeles, an eight-hour wait at the LA airport, and a six-hour straight flight to Orlando (or was it four?)… they expected that I’d be wrecked by jet lag and disorientation!
Jet lag? What jet lag?!
And so I arrived on a bright and early morning. I barely slept in the planes because my body clock had gone haywire on me. But once I landed at the Orlando International, I was bright-eyed and ready…

Winchester Mystery House

This mansion in San Jose CA is the spookiest location I’ve been in recent years, primarily because it was the actual home of Mrs. Winchester, the wife of the inventor of the Winchester rifle. The house is the longest continuous construction site in the whole world, taking 38 years to build, and yet it lies largely unfinished. The construction went on only as long as the madame of the house was alive, but as soon as she died, the construction stopped.
Mrs. Winchester was convinced that she was being haunted by the souls of everyone killed by the Winchester rifle. Proof of that convinced her of this were the deaths of her husband and of her daughter. I think she became bonkers by then; she decided to build a mansion where all the souls that wanted to terrorize her would be lost and won’t find her.
Thus, using her bulging savings account, she started building a modest house with 160 rooms and seven floors. The guide called some of the stairs “easy rider” stairs because of the height of the…

The AACC conference 2005

Jokes are always half-meant, or so they say. And now I believe the wisecracking person who said that. A few months back, I joked that I’ll be going to the US really really soon and visit the Kennedy Space Center and DisneyWorld, and see my family in California. Then, in June of this year, this joke came true when my paper was accepted for oral presentation at the annual meeting of the American Association of Cereal Chemists! With only a few short weeks to prepare, I hurried to organise my travel documents, my presentation, and my itinerary to visit all the places I’d liked to visit. Finally, on September 9, I took off for Orlando (which I think was posted in another of my blogs).
Anyway, I finally arrived at the conference. The venue was breath-taking! Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center was so huge I got lost while exploring it! The pictures in the website were deceiving… there was more to the hotel than what was in the site!
On the first day of the convention, I attended the…

Pier 39: And the Saga Continues

Still on my “field trip” to the Americas…
I’ve never been to Pier One, one of the hottest nightspots in Metro Manila, but I have been to Pier 39 on Fisherman’s Wharf, one of the must-sees in San Francisco.
Despite not immediately seeing water, I knew we where near the wharf because of the huge number of birds traversing the Embarcadero. There were pelicans and sea gulls and albatrosses. These birds were not flapping abut as in Florida. Instead, they were nesting on top of cars, scavenging for food, walking along the streets with people… it was so amazing to be in a bird “sanctuary” where people and birds coexist! I’ve never seen this large bird populations in the Philippines primarily because I don’t live or work near the sea.
Dining at Fisherman’s Wharf is all wrong without taking the traditional fare of seafood. Ah, my good cousin Donnell knew the best place for clam chowder. We went to one of the oldest restaurants in the area (no Bubba Gump of the Forrest Gump fame… I’m very allergic…

There are no cats in America…

“There are no cats in America/ and the streets are filled with cheese/ There are no cats in America/ It keeps your mind at ease…”These are the lines of a song I have learned since I was a kid watching The American Tail on Betamax. The lyrics suddenly came to mind while I was on my way to Florida to attend the American Association of Cereal Chemists meeting in Florida (Sept 11-14, 2005). The song spoke of finding greener pastures on the other side of the world.
True enough, when I got to my destination, everything was more abundant, more grandiose, larger than life even. Primarily because I was staying in a tourist spot designed to take everyone’s breath away. The Kennedy Space Center was definitely the highlight of my trip, with all its gigantic machinery that has brought man to the moon and back again. Disneyworld in downtown Orlando was also a sight to see. The hotel I stayed in, the Gaylord Palms, was a great place to stay with the themed restaurants that make you feel like you’re i…

Grave Danger… spoilers beware!

I watched the season ender of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation last Wednesday on AXN. It was literally a heart stopper! The episode, directed by Quentin Tarantino, was a case where Nick Stokes was the kidnap victim of a bereaved father. Nick was buried alive in a plexiglas coffin with limited air supply, a gun, and a tape recorder. The kidnapper asked for ransom, and then blows himself up after showing himself to Grissom! At this point, I was hugging my pillow out of fright!
And when Warrick and Greg began digging at the kidnapper’s scene, I really thought they’ve found Nick. Too bad for me, the coffin they found only had a dog inside a prototype plexiglas coffin…
This is one episode that gripped me from the start to the end. George Eads acted superbly under the direction of Tarantino. He whould be nominated, even awarded, an acting plum for his performance… I was so nervous I almost bit my nails. And I was teary-eyed the whole time!
Tarantino once again showed a masterful hand in directin…

il divo

Anton San Diego once praised their music in his column in the Inquirer. That made me curious with the cosmopolitan “boy band.”
Last weekend, I finally got a copy of the group’s self-titled CD. And I fully agree with Mr. San Diego’s review… the music was great!
I have never heard classically trained vocals approach pop music without sounding contrived. The arrangements of all songs were soothing to the ear. Though I couldn’t understand a word they’re singing when the song’s not in English, I could still feel the emotions rendered by “Regresa Mi” and their version of “My Way.”
It was a surprise to learn that American Idol’s Simon Cowell produced the album. No wonder he’s brash and blunt in AI. When he sees talent, he sees REAL talent. After a few rounds in the CD player, I still couldn’t get enough of Il Divo. This is going to be one more permanent CD in my play list… and I’m now looking forward to their next album.

Dr. Punongbayan: Scientist and Hero

I’d like to thank Dr. Raymundo Punongbayan for being a great scientist. He’s name is forever associated to lahar, Mt. Pinatubo, and earthquakes. More importantly, he was a mentor to so many people, even to kids who needed answers about that fateful volcanic eruption in the early 90’s.
He was a role model to budding scientists: he was very generous in sharing his knowledge; he was passionate about his craft; and he was an expert in his field (he was recognized worldwide). Plus, his job was the most exciting professions I’ve encountered. Most importantly, he died doing what he loved.
In short, this geology professor, who I never met personally, but have seen countless times on television, inspired me to pursue the field less traveled. He gave a face to the word SCIENTIST. And he was a HERO.
His legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of the young scientists, who as kids, watched him talking about volcanoes on national television. His accomplishments will forever challenge us to strive …

Seeing things from a different perspective

The doctor said I won’t be able to see properly for the next six to eight hours. I should bring a companion who could help me go home because I would have difficulty seeing. Internet sites said that people who underwent the procedure couldn’t drive home, and had to arrange their transportation before hand. I should just keep activities to a minimum, and rest the day off…
Yesterday, I had an eye exam to check my retinas. The doctor dilated my pupils using eyedrops… the drops effectively reduced my reading capacity to zilch, but distant objects remained clear. In short, I was far-sighted for about eight hours.
What did the world look like through dilated pupils? During the first few hours, I felt like I stepped into a dreamy, surreal world: the sharp contrasts between bright and dark reminded me of the final scenes in LOTR: Return of the King. I could not distinguish white from silver, or even from yellow. The dullest greens burst as if they were neon signs. Yellow flashers were as fie…

Finally, I finished the LOTR trilogy

I was formerly intimidated by this book… primarily because it was too long. But now, I’m proud to announce that I’m done! Hurrah!
Plus, I’m so hooked with the story, like everyone else, that I “found” my elf-name… it’s Orelinde (which was of, course, picked out at random).

Review: Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

I love this movie… Thank you Dial and Jill for watching it with me! : )
It’s just quite creepy watching Orlando Bloom as a knight in Jerusalem… on a set that looks a lot like Minas Tirith (though the colors had a tinge of brown instead of bright white) wielding a sword (not a bow and some arrows) against Saladin’s men (with shields that remind me of those used by orcs).
Ridley Scott again presented a great story. I enjoyed watching it a lot! : )

I finally entered the blog age

Blog… ano ba yan? Online diary? That was my question when my siblings were introducing me to the concept. But when friendster started this new feature, I decided to give it a go and find out what blogs are.
So, what really are blogs?