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Showing posts from June, 2014

A dash of football on my pre-birthday night out

My birthday week has begun! 
To celebrate it, Nikos, Val, Matty, and I popped into Greenbelt for dinner at Sugi Japanese Restaurant in Greenbelt 2 and to watch the Brazil vs Chile World Cup match. Thank you, guys, for making my birthday week start off with a bang!
Here we go...
With all the options around the area for football watching, we ended up at Burger Bar in Greenbelt 2. The major pull? This restaurant was serving milkshakes, but one milkshake flavour caught my eye. Burger Bar was serving Speculoos Cookie Butter milkshakes!  

I'm a fan of the gingerbread and caramel flavours and of the grainy texture of the Speculoos Cookie Butter bread spread of Trader Joe's... I even eat it straight off the spoon (no bread needed)! It's definitely miles better than peanut butter and chocolate sandwich spreads. So when I saw a milkshake version on the Burger Bar menu, I just had to try it out. 
It was yummy! I can't say that it's better than the sandwich spread but it is d…

My birthday wish/shopping list for 2013 revisited

I am going through my blog posts and thought that it would be nice to review what I actually crossed off my 2013 list. I'm amazed that I have realized quite a few items before my next birthday. Seven out of ten... not bad at all!!
Noise-reducing earphones. Courtesy of my brother. What a very nifty gadget!
Pretty flatware (spoons/forks). I got these on sale at the Rustan's outlet store. They're quite simply designed, but still pretty enough for daily use.
Vacation. Yes, I've been able to get one at the end of 2013, finally. I visited my brother, parents, and future sister-in-law while I was on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. And I watched all the tv series on Netflix as much as I could... oh, and I also saw The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug too. Poor Daddy was lost at why the dragon was talking. :)
A good chef's knife. I bought this also at the Rustan's outlet store. I even got the steel for free too!
Wakeboarding at Nuvali. Yeah, well... I went there after m…

The longest day in 2014: June 21

June 21st was the longest day of the year. I found myself agreeing when I noticed last night that I hadn't switched on the car's headlights while driving past 6:30pm in Manila. In other parts of the world, the sun is normally far from setting at 7pm, yes... But where I am, normally the night starts at 6pm.
Longest day... Indeed. 
I go out with friends (Ate Bing, Ate Mary, and Man) to visit Dr Jose Rizal typically on his birthday (June 19). Sticking with the history theme, we also visit museums and art galleries to soak a bit more about our cultural heritage. AND we go on a food trip.
This year, June 19 did not work for us, so we decided take our dose of cultural education on the 21st. It proved to be a really long day for me. In fact, this weekend turned out to be a series of really long days. Our route took us to where I've been at least once before but I didn't mind because I learn new things on different visits. Here we go:
San Agustin Museum
I've been to the mu…

my reading list for 2014

I was a bit wary about shifting from paper-based books but now I fully appreciate the e-book format. While I love turning the pages of real books, I know that they can weigh me down during the times when I have to wait in line or when I'm taking a walk (armed with my camera of course). I'll probably stick to paper-format textbooks and reference materials but if I can get e-book formats for my leisure reading, I think I'll go with that more and more.
Enough of that...
This year, I'm listing books as I start reading them. That way, I can see just how many books I've gone through for 2014. Here we go...
1. Inferno by Dan Brown (2013) 2. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown (2009)
3. Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling (2012) 4. Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog by John Grogan (2005)

And the FIFA World Cup 2014 begins...

I used to play soccer. No kidding! I had to stop, however, when the ball hit my face and broke my eyeglasses in high school (as you can see, I'm used to having my face get hit by hard surfaces while playing sports). Since then, I watch soccer matches from the relative safety of bleachers and on the telly... I am not watching the matches as closely this time around as compared to many years back when I'd drive all the way from Los Banos to Makati on school nights to watch the live midnight games with my cousins and nephews!
Anyway, the FIFA World Cup 2014 has started on June 13 and I've watched the first two games so far (Brazil vs Croatia and Mexico vs Cameroon). The nice thing about this World Cup, is that there are more ways to see the games... other than going to sports bars, or actually flying to the venue. The game times are still off for people living in my time zone this year but at least the replays can be seen during more reasonable hours over cable tv. If the li…

The day I gave in to temptation

... also known as the Cara Mia gelato.

Whenever I have to speak in public (i.e., training courses, seminars, conferences, lab tours), I've developed the habit of not projecting my voice too much and I avoid ice-cold food and drink before the event . After the event (especially if I didn't use a microphone), I normally don't talk for an hour to help rest my throat.
However, there are times when I forget that I have to speak in a few days AND then get tempted by ice cream cravings. One example: when Anna and I passed by Cara Mia Gelateria in Alabang Town Center last Sunday. I've been wanting to eat ice cream for several days already but I was nursing a sore throat so I didn't really need to eat ice cream. The pull of chocolate ice cream was just too strong... and so I ordered two heaping scoops of ice cream.
Did I enjoy eating the ice cream? Absolutely. But now, I'm suffering the consequences. Sore throat worsened by the ice cream AND my first speaking assignment…

The Jane Austen Book Club (2007)

I can't believe that this movie is actually seven years old! And that I saw it in the cinema with one of my housemates in Queensland back then. I write about it now while watching it being shown in HBO.
Before this movie, I have only seen the film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and I don't think I've read any of Jane Austen's classics (unbelievable, but true) at that time. I'm amazed that the members of the book club were so immersed in the stories that they could relate with the characters in the Austen classics.  
It must be cool to find a set of friends who are so into books that they could discuss the characters' motivations and the plots passionately. Maybe I need to find friends like that: they make reading classics sound fun... not as a school requirement. I have yet to return to reading The Little Prince (Antoine Saint-Exupery) and The Prophet (Kahlil Gibran) because I absolutely did not appreciate these works of art when I was in high school. I did…

Hooked on Arrow

I admit: I am a weekend couch potato. There's a whole list of television shows I go through on Saturday and Sunday evenings (which means I am normally on do-not-disturb mode then). That is, until recently of course.
If there's one tv show I really drop what I'm doing for these days, it's Arrow.
While I was on Christmas break last year, the tv series piqued my interest as I was browsing my parents' Netflix subscription. Intrigued, and having no idea what this was about (as usual), I started watching the show with my mom. We quickly realized, as we were going through Season 1 episodes, that Arrow was a show we couldn't stop watching... after an episode ended, we had to go to the next episode to see what happened next. It was like watching a 22-episode arc of cliffhangers! So when I got back home, I just had to continue on watching Season 2, one episode a week, since I don't have Netflix at home.
The premise of the show is not all that different from Batman&#…

Review: The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

Two cancer patients met at a support group session, became fast friends, and fell in love... setting things up for them to end tragically. Basically, that's the premise of The Fault in Our Stars, a movie adapted from the book of the same title by John Green.

I know a lot of people would be moved (even to tears, perhaps) by the romance between the two characters. For me, the tragedy that was of cancer patients Griffin and Phoenix was more difficult to watch because I felt that they've accepted their fate and were just spending as much time together before one had to leave to die alone. A Walk to Remember was also a difficult movie to see because the sick girl knew she was dying, she had warned the boy not to fall in love with her, and yet he still did (knowing full well eventually that she's dying). Hazel Lancaster and Augustus Waters, in The Fault in Our Stars, were also stricken by cancer but somehow saw the beauty of being alive and were able to travel on their good day…

Review: Arabian night (?) at Raha Sulaiman Restaurant

One evening, Manuel, Ria, and I were all geared for a long drive. However, we were dissuaded from doing so. Therefore, our long road trip became a food trip! A restaurant caught our eye in Pagsanjan, named Raha Sulaiman; probably a new place or it's just an establishment we hadn't noticed before. We thought it would be a good time to try it out.
The restaurant held a lot of promise. We were expecting a unique dining experience since the menu featured international cuisine and the sign said there's Arabian food. However, I was not quite happy to learn that the restaurant was not serving basmati rice for South Asian and Middle Eastern food items. The food itself was good though... if only the restaurant owner/s can decide what its specialty is. After all, it was quite disconcerting to pair hot and sour soup (Chinese) with chicken biryani (Indian)... and we did just that because these items were on the menu.  
The servers also need a bit more practice during our visit. They…

Video: Wakeboarding in Anilao, Batangas

On that fateful day when I was able to successfully stand up on the wakeboard, I was also still photographer and spotter (assisting the boat driver in communicating with the wakeboarder and making sure that the rope is not under the towboat). After our day out in the water, I took care of the post-production bits. 
Without further ado, the video documenting our Sunday wakeboarding session is included in this post. If I were to write the credits for this video, it would go this way:
Cast and crew: Joann, Yvette, Maya, Rochie, Kor, Matty
Music: "Stringed Disco" (by Kevin MacLeod ( 
             Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Look, Mom! I'm wakeboarding!!

For the past several months, I've taken up a sport that I have meant to try since the Republ1c Wakepark in Nuvali opened: wakeboarding! It's even part of by 2013 birthday wish list!
Ironically, my first (and disastrous) bout with the wakeboard was in open water, being pulled by a towboat... NOT in the wakepark. Subsequent trips to Republ1c definitely helped me prepare mentally for my second round with the towboat. Instead of in Caliraya Lake, however, I found myself spending a Sunday 80 km away from home, in the waters of Anilao, Batangas. 

I am thankful to Maricor and to Joann for kindly taking photos and videos of me in and on the water. This was a rare opportunity; normally, I'm the one behind the lens.

As luck would have it, I was an (un)lucky product tester. Matty had devised a way to attach a video camera on the wakeboard rope and it was during my turn in the water when the contraption was tested. The rope mount was so heavy that it made the rope unstable when the t…

Lunch party with the Aunarios

I got invited to Tito Tony and Tita Ching's house for a lunch party. As always, time spent with my dad's best friend's family was time well spent. :) 

Thank you for inviting me over!