Monday, November 28, 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)

Friday, November 25, 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 comfortable life behind to be with him. An ever present element in Pinoy movies.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

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 call center industry, which means night shifts. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen my sister for a few days now!

That’s why I find dinner and coffee on Sunday nights a really refreshing experience. I get to see my cousins and my siblings.

Thursday, November 3, 2005

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 Today pronounced like To Die. So, we asked her about that. She was really embarassed because we pronounced the words really badly.

It looks like our next lesson will be on pronunciation!

NUMB3RS

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 math guy was able to say that the “patient zero” started the spread of the disease at the bus station. Only, the FBI brother suspects that this was a case of bioterrorism.

In the end, the brothers solved the case… a mad scientist wanted to spread the virus to see if his new drug can work against it.

A brilliant show by Ridley Scott.

House

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!