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Showing posts from January, 2013

Review: Florenel Cafe & Restaurant

My cousins Kuya Jun-jun and Ate Lorna mentioned, before Christmas, that there's this new restaurant in Cuenca, Batangas that serves delicious food. In fact, the first event hosted by the restaurant was their son, Julo's, birthday party. Their story about big servings of burgers and pasta at reasonable prices kept the restaurant in my head as a place I should visit next time I'm in Batangas.
And so yesterday, after an errand in Lipa City, I called Kuya Jun-jun and he told me that we'd meet up at Florenel Cafe & Restaurant for lunch. Yes, I drove all the way from Lipa City to Cuenca, worked up my appetite, supposedly for lunch. Good thing it was easy enough to find. After a long stretch of houses along the national highway, an orange building with a parking lot pops up just before the boundary between Cuenca and Alitagtag. That's Florenel's.

When I got there, the parking lot out front was full so I had to park the car in the back. It looks like the restauran…

Team Manila Lifestyle

One Saturday afternoon, Noah (who recently flew in for the Joel-Trixie, Ian-Michele nuptials) was in the search for statement souvenir items to bring back to school. He wasn't looking for the usual souvenir shirt found in tourist spots; he was bent on buying shorts or other items that reflect the Filipino culture... something that could start conversations with fellow Pinoys abroad or with other nationalities.
So he suggested that we go to a Team Manila store in Makati. The branch that we went to in Glorietta didn't have a wide selection of items (and mostly were for girls) so we transferred malls. We went to the Power Plant Mall at Rockwell (also in Makati).
The Team Manila Lifestyle store at the Power Plant Mall had lots and lots of shirt designs, knick knacks, and cameras to choose from!

Team Manila Lifestyle looks like a popular shop stop for expats and balikbayans. The messages of the shirts are reflective of Filipino culture, the juxtaposition of the traditional with th…

Review: Negotiate a Kick Ass Salary (2012)

It doesn't take a thick book to learn how to develop one's negotiation skills. It doesn't need a jargon-filled document either. This is what Nelson Wang demonstrated when his 32-pager, "Negotiate a Kick Ass Salary", was published in late 2012. 
The one thing emphasized is the importance of preparation. Go to the battle well-armed, as people used to say. One cannot just go up to the boss and demand what one wants without supporting information. It's the prep work that takes the most effort because that when we need to answer the tough questions, to make the decisions, and to sweat it out. Nelson Wang does not promise that things will be easy; instead, he says that if we are willing to push ourselves that extra mile, we'll get what we want AND we'll develop some kick-ass negotiation skills along the way.
The nice thing about Nelson Wang's tips is that they are universal in nature. Aside from salaries, the negotiation skills one gets using the steps…

Review: Life of Pi (2012)

pi (π), an irrational number equal to 3.14159. It is the ratio between a circle's circumference and its diameter. Pi is also the nickname of a boy who got lost at sea, sharing a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger.
Ang Lee and his team had done a great job of putting such an imaginative story onto the silver screen. To me, the biggest magic of all was the amazing use of CGI. The team's genius was in full display when it unleashed a realistic, convincingly ferocious tiger onto the lifeboat. I thought, at first, that the trainer did a good job at preventing the big cat from eating the actor portraying Pi Patel. Then a friend told me: the cat was pure computer-generated imagery. But that's not all. The sea creatures that made Pi and Richard Parker (yes, that's the tiger's name) realize that they are not at the top of the marine food chain were also all CGI.
What amazed me even more was the portrayal of Pi by Suraj Sharma. The animals were only realistic because the sole h…

Review: Les Miserables (2012)

"Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.
                                            -- Alain Boublil and Herbert Kretzmer                                                (the musical Les Miserables, based on Victor Hugo's novel)
I had been to the cinema over the weekend to watch the 2012 film adaptation of the hit musical Les Miserables (directed by Tom Hooper, starring Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway). The story, set during the time leading up to and during the June Rebellion of 1832,  is about ex-convict Jean Valjean dodging the authorities (specifically the dedicated Inspector Javert) while taking care of his adopted daughter Cosette, whose mother (Fantine) died many years ago.
The lead cast's acting was great. Hugh Jackman was a convincing Jean Valjean while Anne Hathaway's Fantine could move even the most unsympathetic audience because of the unfairness of her plight... with the exception of black-and-white rule-of-law Javert, of course. …


I was watching Up! on cable tv several weeks ago and got reminded of the squirrels I had encountered in Davis during my brief stay there last year. During my trip, I had only two meetings in the Uni so I used the rest of my time to explore the campus... and see the wildlife. 
There are no squirrels in close proximity to people where I live in the Philippines so I chased after these critters in a "wildlife photo shoot" (yes, armed only with a 35-55mm lens). I must've looked like a fresh-from-the-airport new foreign student. Hahaha! 

The nice thing about these animals is that they're not shy around people; it was easy photographing them. I just needed to take care that I didn't get too close.

Review: Sosy Problems (2012)

I decided I wanted to see this movie because I didn't want to see those with more serious plots during the holiday season. Sosy Problems is the second 2012 MMFF entry I watched. The first being Sisterakas.
I have barely taken my seat when I started cringing... 
The movie begins by defining the different social classes. People were grouped into: (1) poor, those who can't buy their own food and aren't working; (2) working class, people who receive minimum wages and travel via public transportation; (3) lower middle class, those who have jobs, can eat three times a day but have to skip snacks, and can only afford second-hand cars at best; (4) middle class, people whose houses are in subdivisions and villages but NOT the gated ones with security guards, who buy the cheapest brand new cars, and can afford five meals a day; (5) upper middle class, they live in gated communities, have SUVs, and can afford as much food as they want. 
But wait! There's one more!
(6) The super …

playing with moonlight

New Year's Eve had a waning gibbous moon. I was trying, with no tripod (because I thought I didn't have enough time to get back in the house for the tripod), to get a good photo of the moon using a telephoto lens. Unfortunately, I couldn't get an image I really liked because of the blur associated with long exposures. So I thought it might be a good idea to try abstract art with light streaks.  A fireworks display got into frame too. Here's what I got in the end. Next time, I'll use a tripod.

IYSC 2012 in photos

The first ever rice science conference specifically for young scientists was held in November this year. I didn't take photos during the first day because I was moderating a session in the morning and was presenting a paper in the afternoon. I started taking photos during the second day, when the panel discussion on the "excellence in rice science" and the paper competition was scheduled. 
During the competition's awarding ceremony, India's Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and and Cooperation, Hon. Shri Ashish Bahuguna, graced the event before continuing on with his meetings and laboratory visits. One of the first scholars welcomed by IRRI, Reynaldo Lantin, was also on-hand during the celebration of 50 years of IRRI scholarship.

Photos from the IRRI Young Scientists' Conference below:

Ian and Michele get married! :)

December 30, 2012

Ian and Michele, two of my friends from grade school, got married in Bay, Laguna. I'm sharing some of the photos I've taken during the event in the slideshow below. 

2012 AFSTRI Cultural Night

As part of the celebrations for the 50th year of scholarship in IRRI, the Association of Fellows, Scholars, Trainees, and Residents in IRRI (AFSTRI) held its annual Cultural Night during the same week as the IRRI Young Scientists' Conference.
The Cultural Night was, indeed, a welcome break from all the science talk. Nurul, one of the hosts for the event, mentioned that this year's Cultural Night was all about the peak of the "art-genes" expression.  For the next two hours, young scientists showed that they're not just scientists, they're artists as well. 
Proof? Here's proof. :)

The Gangnam bug has infected the audience by the time the Cultural Night came to a close thanks to the Korean students who gave the most rousing performances of the night.

Hello, 2013! :)

As the clock approached 12mn on January 1, 2013, I went outside the house to take photos of the New Year's Eve revelry going on in my neighborhood. Lo and behold! There's significantly fewer fireworks (most of them were lit 30 minutes to midnight) than last year (people were lighting up firecrackers at 10pm!). Plus, there's noticeably less smoke earlier today; last year, the neighborhood looked like a movie set for a war zone with all the smoke. The big daddy of firecrackers, Judas' belt, was not among my neighbors' repertoires this year. Most of them used fountains and rockets.
Anyway, here are some photos taken as my neighbors welcomed 2013. As for me, I jumped a few times just in case I will get a bit taller this year and I prepared some food for my media noche. Yes, just me; the younger sister was on duty at the time.