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Showing posts from October, 2016

I see your true colours shining through...

Yes, I just quoted Phil Collins because his 1996 smooth jazz cover of Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly's "True Colors" is playing in my head as I work on this Christmas project. 
Last year, I bought a copy of Johanna Basford's Secret Garden, Artist's Edition. I am no artist but the paper is thick enough that coloured ink won't bleed through, something that got me interested because I tend to use ink in colouring. Also, the book promises to be an anti-stress regimen. Okay, I'm sold!
While I'm colouring an image, I can't help but be amazed at how the picture become alive... slowly but surely. Plus, I'm happy to see that some of my colouring skills haven't left me. The claim about reducing stress is true, by the way. The effort used in colouring does tire out my hands but it allows me to focus on something for a few hours... better than watching the telly for hours on end (which I also do when I feel really tired).
One of my favourites is an ima…

Night at the (Ayala) Museum

All Hallow's Eve... the best time to spook each other, right? Well, the Ayala Museum upped the ante by collaborating with Mystery Manila for a very memorable evening: the museum was open til midnight and visitors were turned into detectives; they were supposed to solve the mystery of the murdered curator. I was last here during the day; I wondered what the experience would be like as a visitor at night.

Fresh from solving the crime of the Century, I was raring to solve another mystery! Good thing newlyweds Noan and Joven, and their friend, BJ, were in for an adventure-filled evening. Otherwise, I'd be playing this game by myself; not as much fun as with a group. 

We started off with a tour of the museum, my first time with a tour guide, starting from the third floor. As we wound through the Lunas, the Amorsolos, and finally the Zobels, we heard a shout... the tour guide has discovered the curator's body! A voice recording made by the curator before he died was heard. We w…

Will the real Ms Janeth please stand up?

I was driving to Marquie's birthday party in Los Baños when I noticed this tarpaulin. It was so unique that I had to stop at the side of the road and take a photo.

Who is Ms Janeth? Looks like she's one lucky lady because a guy is asking to marry her again! It's so good to be true that it's almost like seeing a telenovela happy ending.
But then the more pragmatic side of me started asking questions: Why address her as Ms Janeth if she's already the guy's wife? Why the too public re-proposal? Why the cherry blossoms?
Is this for real?!?
Perhaps it's a marketing ploy designed to catch the attention of people on the road. But if it is, where's the rest of the story?


I attended two weddings in October. The first one was of my bestfriend since grade school, Noan Nepumoceno (née Pagdanganan). The second one was of one of my friends from high school, Ross Cleofe. Noan is a medical doctor by profession. Ross is a registered nurse. While Noan is based in the Philippines, Ross is working in the UK. 
Anyway, while Noan and the entourage were still at the hotel (the groomsmen finished their photo opp and the bridesmaids were just waiting for instructions), my three friends from grade school, Heiko, Brian, and Dai Rong, guests to Noan's wedding, were in a parking lot across the church, taking this photo. I was in the entourage so I wasn't anywhere near the church when this photo happened.

In Ross' wedding, I wasn't in the entourage. I was a guest. So while the bride, the groom, and the entourage were taking group shots post-wedding, I went to the church parking lot with two friends from high school, Hanna and Gladys. While waiting for the …

Ross and Roan get married!

Ross Anthony Cleofe is a friend of mine since high school. Since we (including Mafel) usually took the same jeep up til Calamba on our way to our respective homes, we used to walk together from UP Rural High to Los Baños Crossing, where we'd catch a jeep or a bus to Calamba. On particularly bad-traffic evenings, we ended up walking from Monte Vista to Calamba Crossing. Very long walks made easier by Ross' comedic stories.
Many years and a few career shifts later, we meet again on his wedding day! He's already based in the UK and works as a nurse. I was honoured to be invited to his wedding... he was marrying fellow nurse Roan, who he met in the UK. 
At the church, I was very happy to see batchmates from UP Rural High... Most of them are either married and with kids already or are engaged. Looks like they all are doing well in their careers and/or vocations. We all turned out well, I think. It's so nice to find the time to catch up with them.
To Ross and to Roan, congr…

It's okay to say "No".

"You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage – pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically – to say 'no' to other things."

Stephen Covey, the author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, was cited by Forbes Magazine for that quote. And it resonated specially loudly yesterday when I had two very interesting conversations over the phone.

See, I tend to try to help people as much as I can. But there are instances when my priorities are so high up on my list that I cannot accommodate short-notice demands on my time. Yesterday was a case in point:

I am currently loaded with a lot of technical writing assignments, a series of experiments that I actually perform (not like others who have staff to do the lab work), and preparations for upcoming presentations and events in early November. Meaning, til the middle of next month, I'm truly living the PhD life: Piled Higher and Deeper. A staff member who assists me in experiments is also v…

Inferno (2016)

Robert Langdon is back on the big screen! And the timing couldn't have been better because I just finished racing around the mall, solving the crime of the Century with friends.
This time he found himself in Florence, in the midst of a race against time. A genius megalomaniac who believed that the only way to solve environmental problems is by killing off the human population. To do that, he placed a pathogenic agent somewhere in the world. It is up to Professor Langdon, with his knowledge of Renaissance art and symbolism, to find where the pathogen was... before it spread out.
But isn't finding pathogens and centres of epidemics the task of the World Health Organisation? And why get a Symbologist to do the searching?
Apparently, the evil genius had left clues in case he got himself killed before the time to release the pathogen of mass destruction arrived. These clues are in the form of writings in artworks, invisible to the uninitiated to the works of Dante Alighieri and Bo…

Solving the crime of the Century

I was pretty confident that this time, my team would be able to solve a mystery at Century City Mall's Mystery Manila. Yes, I was back with a vengeance because the last time I was here, my team hadn't retrieved the Pym Particle with time to spare. The team I was in, this time around, was composed of college degree holders, but I was the only one with a PhD. There's a lawyer and the rest had at least taken units towards their Masters... or had finished them. I was the only self-declared overthinker in the team... for a change.
(Don't rely on the PhD's to get you through this type of game. We always overthink; we can't separate real clues from red herrings.)
We attempted to solve the Crime of the Century. It's basically a hunt all over the mall.

When we started the game, the first thing I noticed was that my teammates just ran off without reading the materials given to us in their entirety. They just started hunting for clues! When we did start getting them,…

Learning one's history through food

Ambeth Ocampo, one of the professors I wish I had as a history teacher back in college, was back at the Ayala Museum for yet another session of History Comes Alive, as #HugotHistorian! This time, he took us on a different path, not quite as Rizal-centric or hero-centric as his previous lectures; he traveled with us through history lane via food.
Sure, food is clearly linked with culture and national identity. For instance: the USA is known for its burgers; China is famous for its noodles and dumplings; India is linked with curry and chicken biryani; and Japan is associated with ramen and sushi. The Philippines? Food historians say that there is a toss up between adobo and sinigang for the title "National Dish"; curiously, both terms refer to cooking methods rather than actual dishes. And it is difficult to pinpoint the most appropriate version of adobo and sinigang to vie for the coveted title because there are just too many variants!
Although I'm fascinated by this aspe…

something like this should happen more often: grade school reunion!!

There's an oft-quoted statement saying that if a friendship lasts more than seven years, it will last a lifetime. I don't know who originally said that, hence I cannot quote him or her. However, what I feel blessed about is that I have many life-long friends; and the first half of October 2016 is proof.
I studied Christian School International in Los Baños, Laguna from nursery to grade school. Back then, I had the opportunity to befriend students of different nationalities. Thanks to social media, we were able to keep in touch... and so when three friends based overseas (by some sort of coincidence) decided to fly in to Manila on the same weekend, we just had to meet them. Brian flew in from Malaysia; Heiko, from Germany; and Dai Rong, from the USA. Yes, all around the first weekend of October. Well, Heiko and Dai Rong planned to visit together. Brian's homecoming trip came as a surprise to me. Admittedly, we who are based in the Philippines don't meet up often becaus…

Day at the (Ayala) Museum

The Ayala Museum is one of the most accessible spots of culture for me because it's right smack in the middle of Makati's central business district. So naturally, when I meet a friend in Makati and he blurts, "Talk nerdy to me," how can I resist the pull of the museum, right?
Heiko and I went to Ayala Museum one Sunday afternoon, before he left for Hanoi, Vietnam. It's certainly a different experience from when I'm touring museums with the museum hoppers. It was refreshing. Finally, I was with someone who reacted with the same flabbergasted expression I always have when I "educate" myself on contemporary art. We both went, "That's art?!" when we saw scribbles on canvas, before moving on to the next art piece. This reaction is typical of me when I go to museums of modern art alone and don't get what the pieces are saying. I just found it surprising that someone else reacted the same way... and there's no need to act all art-crit…

My bestfriend's wedding

Noan finally tied the knot! 
She invited me to be one of her bridesmaids and she told me that I could bring a plus one. It's the first time I was told I could bring one. And I had no idea who I should bring with me. A few days later, Heiko said that he and Dai Rong were coming to the Philippines on a short vacation... and so I asked him if he could be my plus one. He said yes. And when Noan learned about the arrival of two overseas-based friends from grade school, she was thrilled. A week before Noan's marriage, Brian announced that he was visiting the Philippines too... and he got invited into the wedding as well.
The night before the wedding, we (except for Brian) were billeted at the SEARCA Guesthouse. That was convenient because we (except Noan) were scheduled to meet up with other batchmates for dinner too. With an early call time for me, it was much more convenient to be at the Guesthouse than go home late and then drive out very early on wedding day itself.
Before the …