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Showing posts from May, 2012

joel and trixie's getting married!

We are all growing up, and older. One trusty sign that me and my friends have gone a long way from high school is the fact that friends from back then are getting married.
The latest pair is Joel and Trixie. Joel is in the same batch as I was in UP Rural High School while Trixie was in the year ahead of us.

And later this year, they'll be tying the knot.

Congratulations, Joel and Trixie!!

on the road, listening to Pure... Drive

The CD subtitle and cover was what piqued my interest. Who could resist such a CD compilation after being promised a long drive with some of the greatest songs in the background, right? After all, long road trips could be a bore while listening to endless radio jock banter, current music selections, and the old and reliable long-drive CD (in my case, it's my 2-CD EWF compilation).
Anyway, I got Sony Music's Pure... Drive, a four-CD music compilation, and was very excited to find out that some of my favorite songs are in it! I always look forward to listen to songs from decades past on Fridays (when the local DJs play the 80s and 90s music). Now I can listen to them ANYTIME!! The only caveat, however, is that the songs in Pure... Drive are best played when driving on the open road; much like when Lightning McQueen and Sally Carrera went driving along the old Mother Road.
There are some songs in the four CDs that are definitely great driving companions. However, there were a fe…

Lola Bats is now a techie!

Not convinced? Then check out the picture below.

Lola always says she only got educated until first grade (and that's during the time that the Philippines was a commonwealth of the USA). Despite being barely able to read and to write, she absorbs new information like a sponge -- whether this is gossip or a new language (she knows how to speak in English, she always points out). When my brother showed her how to use an iPad, she was able to explore the picture application on her own in a few minutes.

No, she's not into computers just yet. In this picture, Lola Bats was learning how to use the computer to chat with my cousins who are currently overseas. Kuya Jun-jun was helping her out.

Cool, huh?

Lola Bats' day out

My father's mom, Lola Batangas (Bats, for short), turned 96 last April. Despite the advanced age, she prefers to remain active even if she's being relegated to a wheelchair lately. For instance, she takes tours whenever possible and if she feels up for it, we visit the farm in Batangas.
The opportunity to take the two-hour trip came up when she was deemed healthy enough by one of my aunts, a doctor. Our first stop was lunch at the Lipa Grill, a popular restaurant along the highway to the Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church.

After taking our fill of sinampalukang manok, pinakbet (bagoong on the side), and fruit shakes, it was time to continue with the trip. However, since I was with Lola Bats, I had to take a slower pace than what I'd normally do; after all, this was a leisurely trip with an elder. Lola Bats must not feel rushed and tense.
Several minutes later, we reached her old home; the home I used to spend lots of hours with my grandparents as a toddler and several summer v…

"beauty is in the phi of the beholder"

Yes, apparently, beauty has a mathematical equivalent.
In the Mind Museum, I came across this exhibit: examples of the Golden ratio -- phi -- and how it relates to people's perception of beauty. I cringed; art has some mathematics in it as well?!?
However, I shouldn't really have been so shocked when I came across this infinitely long number. After all, it's been introduced in the Dan Brown novel Da Vinci Code (which now has a movie adaptation). The fictional Louvre curator, Jacques Sauniere, used the Fibonacci sequence as the password for his Swiss bank account. This same sequence translates to the "golden spiral", the invisible curve that the eyes follow when looking for the center of a photo's subject.
It does look like there's order in chaos and there's math in beauty. There's no escaping math!

our supposed past

I turned a corner and was surprised to see strangers looking at me at the Mind Museum. They looked like people caught in the middle of doing some mischief... particularly the guy with an armload of firewood. After recovering from the shock, I realized that these barely clad "people" formed a tableau of what human evolution researchers believe to be our ancestors. It was such a surreal experience being in front of life-size models of hominids because I've only seen these in books or in the internet before. In the museum, they seemed more human, more real. 
However, is this model right? Did people come about via creation or was it through evolution?
I've heard people defend either side of the debate. Evolutionists point out evidence that seemingly show that humans evolved from apes. People who believe in creation maintain that humans were created by God. (Note: by 'God', I do not limit the term to the Christian one; different religions have their own version o…

bag shopping

No trip to a shopping area would be complete without buying something. The goods at the Bonifacio High Street, however, did not fit the price range we'd set for ourselves (that's me, Ate Bing, Ate Mary, and Carina). I, for one, had to buy a bag that will be durable (to last several years), that is classically designed (I didn't want to change bags just because the trends change), and that is of the right size (to avoid carrying too much stuff). The catch: it had to be REASONABLY PRICED.
You see, I'm a picky bag-buyer. It's been several weeks since I've started hunting for my next bag. Despite the numerous bags on display in the different shops that I've visited, none of those bags waved at me beckoning me to buy them. I'd searched all over: from the bag racks of SM and Landmark to the boutiques of Louis Vuitton and Burberry. The bags in SM and Landmark failed to convince me that one of them was the ONE because the designs were not what I was looking fo…

trying out Sariwon Korean Barbecue

Ate Bing, Ate Mary, Carina, and I were all in unfamiliar territory when we went to Fort Bonifacio's upscale area, the Bonifacio High Street (Taguig City, Metro Manila). None of us had really explored the place before and our "feeling sosyal" tour guide (his words, not mine), Manuel, didn't join us on this adventure. Instead of eating dinner in a restaurant we all had tried before, we took our chances with a restaurant that didn't have a branch back in the province BUT with a specialty that some of us are familiar with. On this trip, we went to Sariwon Korean Barbecue.
Figuring that the place would be filled by dinner time, we got ourselves a reservation while the sun was still up in the sky. The building where the restaurant is located wasn't "alive" at that early hour but as soon as the sun had set, the restaurants popped to life; Sariwon was filled to the brim by our reserved time! Getting a reservation earlier was definitely a good call.

Soft op…

What to see at the Mind Museum

What to see at the Mind Museum, a set on Flickr. Via Flickr: "Don't lose your adult."
I laughed when I first read the warning. However, it was a warning well placed, I realized, when in just a few minutes, I got separated from my three companions: Ate Bing, Ate Mary, and Carina.
It's no wonder that kids could get lost here because there are lots of things to see and to do (yes, people can play with the exhibits... I did!).
Is it worth the trip? Yes, it is. Just make sure that you get there at the beginning of your three-hour time block, or else you won't be able to play with everything. That happened to us because I had a sudden schedule change in the morning.
The entrance fee for adults is STEEP at P600 for a three-hour block. Students from private schools are charged P450. Tickets for teachers and public school students are priced more affordably at P150.

an hour of touring Jeffrey Sachs in the lab

Ria, from the Visitors Office, called up mid-afternoon on Friday last week with an urgency in her voice. She informed me that Professor Jeffrey Sachs was dropping by the lab the following day (May 5) and I was to give him a brief tour and some rice sensory evaluation activities.
Wait. Jeffrey Sachs... the JEFFREY SACHS?!?
Why, he's only one of the most famous economists in the world! Director of the Earth Institute at the Columbia University; regarded as the hero of several Eastern European and South American economies; and is an adviser to the United Nations Secretaries-General Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-Moon. He rubs elbows with U2's lead singer, Bono, and with Microsoft's founder, Bill Gates. A litany of his achievements can make anyone star-struck... and nervous.
The following day -- tour day -- I was surprised to find out that not only was Professor Sachs dropping by for the tour, but the IRRI Director General, Dr Zeigler and IRRI Deputy…

sunflower surprise!

A few hectares away, in a different part of the farm, I caught my first glimpse of yellow flowers against the greenery. As if by magic, the flowers seemed to have sprouted out of nowhere; but in reality, I've noticed the broadleaf plants before though I never gave them a second thought.
Lenie had mentioned that this field was going to be cleaned up soon; hence it was the best time to drop by and have a closer look. Kuya Ferdie kindly drove all of us to the sunflower patch and we took the opportunity to shoot photos.
Nothing but the sight of rows upon rows of sunflowers could wipe away my fatigue after a morning of work under the sun's heat. Well, unless it's a field of tulips, my favorite flowers. :)
Seeing the field with the happy sunflowers reminded me of the Disney Alice in Wonderland classic (1951), one of the cartoons I used to watch every single day back when I was younger. In the movie, Alice found herself in the midst of such giant plants with snobs as flowers. So…

The sunflower patch

The sunflower patch, a set on Flickr.

They just bloomed seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Lenie and Kuya Ferdie just had to take the photo opportunity before the sunflower patch was removed later in the day.

model student! :D

First day of sensory evaluation class
I arrived in the Institute of Food Science and Technology, UPLB, bright and early... raring to start the day. VERY prepared to learn new things from the short course.

Then, while everybody else started preparing their notebooks and their pens, I realized that I didn't have any respectable pens and notebooks in my bag. All I had was a Mickey Mouse memo pad and a pen with a panda on top. It didn't matter, I thought; nobody's going to look at my pen and paper.

However, during the first few minutes of the class, the teacher mentioned that we were going to conduct statistical analyses on the data we'd be gathering during the sensory evaluations. Calculations?!? Who said anything about calculations?! I've got my mobile phone with me and I'm sure I can do the basic computations in my head. But statistics? I need a scientific calculator with the STAT function or a computer to hasten the calculations.

Luckily, the statistical ana…

a course on sensing food

For two days, Lenie and I attended a short course on sensory evaluation. It's a course offered by the Institute of Food Science and Technology at the University of the Philippines Los Banos. Dr Linda Mabesa and Dr Wilson Tan were the resource persons during the course with Wilson taking over much of the lecture and the discussion. We were also supervised by Rona, an instructor in the institute, and Mang Emong, the guy who worked a lot behind the scenes to prepare the samples we would be munching on.
I liked how the course had been structured. We had a few hours of introduction; Wilson attempted to squeeze in what Food Tech majors study in five months into two hours of lecture. It was a very typical first meeting; however, what made it more interesting was getting to know our classmates during this short course. We, it turned out, were a motley crew of people from various food industries: cereals, organic vegetables, snack foods, bottled beverages, meat products, and seaweed by-pr…

Review: The Joneses (2009)

"I don't want to keep up with the Joneses", an aunt of mine declared one time, when she was talking about luxury goods and high standards of living in people she had encountered. From then on, I wondered who the Joneses are and why people want to keep up with them.
A few months later, I caught the movie "The Joneses" during one of my couch-potato-weekends. Its cast is led by David Duchovny and Demi Moore, as Mr and Mrs Jones. Their family appears to be well-off and they always had the coolest toys, clothes, and beauty products. They ate and drank nothing but the best food and beverages. They eventually got their neighbors into buying the stuff that they're using because these things are marks of affluence, of coolness.
Even though it's a fictional story (about a unit of stealth marketers), I finally understood why there are people who go the opposite direction from the Joneses. Real-life Joneses wannabes are examples of lives lived in excessive consume…

an afternoon with Lola Bats

Lola Bats is my dad's mom. She's the last grandparent alive and this year, she's entered her 96th year in April. She celebrated it with a pizza and pasta dinner and coffee (chocolate milkshake for me) in the nearby mall surrounded by her daughters, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Unfortunately, she's not as strong as she used to be so she couldn't travel long distances as often as she liked anymore. Since she couldn't go to the farm just yet, I brought young coconuts for her, freshly harvested from the farm. I thought that it was the perfect pasalubong because of the hot weather (she could drink as much buko juice as she wanted... straight from the source too).
Anna and I dropped by to bring over the young coconuts and to catch up with her today, a holiday. As usual, this afternoon flew too fast. I enjoyed spending time with her because of all the stories about her younger days, the places she's been to (today, I just learned that she's been to …