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Showing posts from January, 2009

Review: Buon Giorno

Rating:★★★★Category:RestaurantsCuisine: ItalianLocation:Cliffhouse, Tagaytay, Philippines
The food was great! For starters, I absolutely loved the minestrone, which was the perfect comfort food for a cold and windy night. The soup fit well with the bruschetta, which was served with cheese, tomato, and basil. The margherita pizza was not oily at all. The salad was refreshing as well. Then the entree came: I ordered pink salmon risotto with asparagus... it's a bit salty for my taste; otherwise it's also good.

Calaruega 25jan09

Impromptu trip to Caleruega, a set on Flickr.
Another trip to Calaruega. The mission: go beyond the church and the retreat houses, and reach the koi pond and the hanging bridge. Clouds made the sunlight less harsh, and made interesting pictures.

Hanna Odejar

While having some down time in my cousin's house, I took the opportunity to take some photos of my niece, Hanna:

Review: Lions for Lambs (2007)

Rating:★★★★Category:MoviesGenre: Drama A film starring Tom Cruise, Robert Redford, and Meryl Streep is expected to be great; hence, I waited until "Lions for Lambs" was shown on cable (being busy on my thesis during the movie's theatrical release). The movie was on the War of Terror told in three angles: a professor and his student, a senator and a journalist, and two soldiers on their first assignment.

Though I was expecting more action from this film (because of the two soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan), the arguments between the student and the professor, and those between the journalist and the senator, were all compelling. Indeed, these discussions may not present any new position or preach a new strategy, but these provide different points of view; foreigners watching on the sidelines can glimpse at what is going on in America. Movies could be reflections of one's version of reality after all... a social commentary, for some.

Does this mean that lions are …

Murphy's Law

"Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong." 

Earlier tonight, I heard a jeepney ram onto a store's doors. I had just gone out of the car, when the commotion began. Apparently, the vehicle's brakes didn't work, and the driver lost control while descending a bridge. The jeep must have been moving fast because it went over concrete stairs before hitting the store's doors. On it's way to the store, the jeep hit a person, who was rushed to the doctor.
As expected, a crowd began to gather around the scene of the accident. When I got back to my car, the jeep has apparently been removed from the crash scene and was finally back on the main road. However, because it did not have brakes and the jeep was on an incline, it inevitably hit the next object blocking its path: a motorcycle. The motorcycle's driver limped away from the downed bike, and other people nearby once again took hold of the jeep.
I didn't stick around to watch if there would be another accid…

Review: Twilight (2008)

Rating:★★★Category:MoviesGenre: Romance
I finally watched Twilight after being assured that it's not a scary movie. I don't understand what the fuss is all about with this movie... perhaps because I am not a fan of the book series.

Can't wait for the next installment of the Harry Potter series... seven months to go.

President Obama's inaugural speech

The 44th president of the United States of America was sworn into office earlier today (and I watched the ceremony on CNN in the wee hours of the morning). His speech highlighted the troubles USA - he - is going to face once he steps into the Oval Office. And like any good president, he assured the country that those challenges will be met.
I would have expected him to highlight his history-making ascent as the first African-American president, but he didn't (or at least not explicitly). Its absence, I think, is a good thing: he is now president of the American people, regardless of race and colour. Hopefully, his not being a Caucasian could actually bridge the gap between the USA and the countries it is in conflict with.
My favourite part of his speech was: "... greatness is never given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the p…

Lola Estay's New Year party

The whole clan showed up to greet Lola a belated 91st happy birthday on New Year's Day! The reunion was held at the Del Riyo Resort in Brgy Pagsawitan, Sta Cruz, Laguna.

Dinner at Max's with the Atengs :)

Mommy and Daddy had dinner with Mommy's closest friends from IRRI on January 6, 2009.

Ice skating in the tropics!

Anna, who had won a silver medal in ice skating in a SM mall-wide competition, guided the cousins, nephews, and nieces on the ice. Everyone had fun, including the photographers. :) Too bad I only had the kit lens. I used Biboy's camera, with the telephoto lens, to capture the best shots.

At the Mall of Asia Food Court

Biboy and Ken introduced our moms to each other. Then Hannah and her mom, Ginny, showed up! It turned out that the cousins were there at the food court too! I went to the parking lot to get Anna's skates, then the kids went to the rink for more ice skating.

the song in my head last year

Everyone has a special song that defines one's experiences at some point. For me last year, it's David Cook's winning song (during the seventh season of American Idol) "Time of My Life." The message of the song was an encouragement to me. It put the challenges I faced last year into perspective.

Time of My Life (Regie Hamm, songwriter)
I’ve been waiting for my dreams To turn into something I could believe in And looking for that Magic rainbow On the horizon I couldn’t see it Until I let go Gave into love and watched all the bitterness burn Now I’m coming alive Body and soul And feelin’ my world start to turn
And I’ll taste every moment And live it out loud I know this is the time, This is the time To be more than a name Or a face in the crowd I know this is the time This is the time of my life Time of my life
Holding onto things that vanished Into the air Left me in pieces But now I’m rising from the ashes Finding my wings And all that I needed Was there all along …

IFSA Christmas costume party (2008)

A party I sort of crashed into because I wasn't planning on attending it at lunch time. In the end, however, I became an unofficial member of the documentation team all because I had my trusty camera with me. :)

... and now there were two

The reality that the holiday season has ended has come at last. Fireworks have been spent, the Christmas gifts have been opened, and the holiday food have all been eaten. The Epiphany is over a few days ago, and devotees of the Black Nazarene are currently now in Quiapo, Manila risking life and limb to touch the statue while its is being transported back to the church from Luneta Park. 
Anna and I have said good bye once again to the balikbayans in our family; the first time was the hardest, but the second time isn't less sad. Life goes back to what has been "normal" in the last four years. Everyone will be back to his/her daily routine by Monday.
Their leaving reminds me of the final chapters in "The Return of the King" (J.R.R. Tolkien): one by one, members of the Fellowship returned home. In the end, only the hobbits were left to go back to the Shire.


I don't know whose bright idea this is, but it seems like someone had a field day last year installing rumble strips on the national highway in Laguna. If I'm not mistaken, there are about seven or eight sets from Halang in Calamba to just before the road going up to PCARRD and Jamboree in Los Banos.
Yes, these are traffic calming solutions that alert sleepy drivers and remind them to slow down because they are approaching a highly dangerous area; however, four sets of rumbling strips with less than two hundred metres between each set has become excessive that it's plain silly! Each time my car passes over one set, I fear that parts of my car would fall apart! Then there would be another set in about two seconds! This is at the Monte Vista area in Pansol. Wouldn't it take just one rumbling strip set per accident-prone area to jolt a driver awake from the monotony of the road (if the obstacle course of a southbound expressway at its present state can be called monotonous…

Christmas lunch 2008

Christmas lunch 2008, a set on Flickr. We had lunch at Tita Tessie's house before going to the cemetery to visit Lolo Bats, Papa Mallari, and Tito Nani.

Post-Christmas Dinner at Tita Tessie's (2008)

Post-Christmas party 2008, a set on Flickr. Tita Tessie's Christmas dinner was held off until December 30 to give way to the arrivals of the balikbayans. The Mallari side of the family, and some friends came by to visit as well.