Thursday, May 31, 2012

[Lookbook 05.31.2012] The harmony of colors, the contrast of styles

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Pink and brown is a tried-and-tested combination, so my pink shirt goes perfectly well with brown pants. But a shirt with french cuffs and plaid shoes?

The trial of the Chief Justice: Epilogue

The trial is over. The verdict is out. Renato Corona is chief justice no more. Curiously, however, I am still hung up on it. So with this post I am letting it all out. I have to let go.

1. From the very beginning, and without considering any evidence, I never believed  Corona was innocent. Yes, it was baseless as it was merely my impression. Ironically, however, I wanted him to be acquitted simply because the impeachment case was not about justice but a political assassination engineered by the Aquino administration. Obviously, I loathe this cocky and unattractive joke of a president so much. It was all too clear from the start that whatever system we had in place was completely railroaded, the very testament to it being the shoddily-crafted and hastily-approved articles of impeachment by the House of Representatives. It was an attack on the Judiciary.

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Source: inquirer.net

2. Just because Corona was found guilty by the impeachment court does not necessarily mean that the Prosecution won the case. My God, as repeatedly seen on national television, they were a bunch of bumbling idiots! Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago's "mga gago naman" was but apt for them. They never were really able to present any respectable evidence to support the charges against Corona. Forty-five properties, et al.? Deny it as they may but they were simply fishing for evidence throughout the trial. Why the now-former Chief Justice was convicted was an entirely different matter, for which not even an iota of credit ever accrued to the Prosecution.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Around Siquijor in a day

See related posts:

To most Filipinos, Siquijor is usually associated with shamans, potions and whatnot, and wrongfully with aswang and such mythical creatures. Those who know better, however, regard the island province for its white sand beaches and excellent dive sites. But what else is in Siquijor?

I'll attempt to answer that by going on a day-long motorbike ride around the island and with my driver/guide Matt, sample the many sights that Siquijor has to offer.

Sandugan Beach
Found north of Larena town, this was where I set base for my backpacking trip. It's a quiet strip with only three resorts (although there's one more far up north), some mangroves, and a couple of fisher folk. It faces West, so it's the perfect spot to watch the sun dive into the horizon.

Church of St. Francis of Assisi and Bell Tower
Located right at the heart of Siquijor town, it's a colonial-era church with a belfry a few meters away (more on this in another post).

Paliton Beach
There are a couple of resorts scattered between Sandugan and Siquijor town, but we went straight to another quiet strip of beach tucked several meters away from the highway. Paliton Beach is actually part of the resort-filled San Juan town but there are no resorts here yet (although Coco Grove has a property here). Instead, you'll find small fishing boats lined up on the shore where you can enjoy your solitude.

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Paliton Beach.

Friday, May 25, 2012

American Idol hangover: The tale of the diva godmother and her protegé

Yes, I do still have a hangover from American Idol's Season 11 finale. Lots of both great and so-so moments but altogether, it was one helluva show. Yes, Philip Philips won but it's the epic duet of runner-up Jessica Sanchez and original Dreamgirl Jennifer Holliday that I still can't get over with.

Sure, Jessica already performed the song, "And I Am Telling You (I'm Not Going)" not too long ago but she was much, much better here. Arguably it's because she was sharing the stage with a monster of a performer in Jennifer -- over the top as over the top as it can be, complete with exaggerated facial expressions and incessant growling and screaming. I think she was able to feed on Jennifer's energy onstage and although there's no topping Jennifer, Jessica held her own. Watching the performance, which easily trumped the earlier screaming match between Fantasia and "Mantasia" Joshua Ledet, was all at once fun, funny and exhausting. I mean, seriously!

Now let's lighten up a bit and mess with a couple of screen grabs:

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Jessica was trying to impress diva godmother Jennifer, but...

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And so diva godmother mentored her diva-in-training...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Just saying: Jessica Sanchez and the preposterous 'Pinoy pride' at play

Let me get this out of way from the start: I'm not a Jessica Sanchez hater (although it's fun to play with the minds of Jessica die-hards). Am I a fan? A little, maybe.

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I first took note of Jessica during American Idol's Hollywood week and immediately thought she was a "Filipina." (I'm using quotation marks to emphasize the context in which the term is used by most Filipinos, which is to stake claim on someone with even the slightest ounce of Filipino blood in him/her who's enjoying some level of success or recognition outside the Philippines.)

Broadly speaking, Jessica is half-Filipina, 1/4 Mexican, and 1/4 American (God, she could sing all three national anthems in the next Pacquiao fight!). At the end of the day, however, she is an American citizen, which is why she was able to join AI in the first place. And my guess is, she doesn't really consider herself a Filipina but an American although, of course, if you ask her now -- especially after the Philippines, government included, had blatantly laid claim on her and rallied behind her throughout her AI journey -- she most likely will acknowledge her Filipino heritage (although I don't know if Arnold Clavio would consider her a Filipina).

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Kiwi Dive Resort: Where 'The Backpacker' stayed in Siquijor

Me backpacking in Siquijor didn't just mean going there with a backpack. So to lessen the chances of me being tagged as a poser, I sought out the cheapest accommodation that I can find. After much thought, and for just Php 690 a night, I picked Kiwi Dive Resort.

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My little cottage at Kiwi Dive Resort.

The resort is located along Sandugan north of Larena, which, in turn, is north of Siquijor town. From the port, it's a thirty-minute ride to Kiwi. Although it's the only one of three adjacent resorts in Sandugan that offers full diving services, it's a small resort with only seven cottages.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Backpacking in Siquijor

Last week I did what I haven't done in almost ten years -- travel alone. My Bibe had a work-related event, so I went by my lonesome. Destination: Siquijor. It was a quasi-budget trip for me. I got me some cheap accommodation but I didn't hold back on food. I ate what I felt like eating but even then, everything was still quite cheap in general.

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Question, though: I traveled with a backpack. Does it make me a backpacker?

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A welcome sign at Siquijor town, with the church of St. Francis of Assisi in the background.

Siquijor isn't really on top of most Filipinos' travel lists because I think its reputation precedes itself. It's been unfairly associated with aswang, kulam (hex or curse), and mythical folklore whatnot. Sure, some Siquijor locals would vouch for the existence of kulam, shamans and all their potions, but aswang? They'll laugh at you. But I think this perception of Siquijor adds up to its charm and mystique nonetheless.

Vacation rentals: An alternative to hotels

Does your hotel room feel like, er, a hotel room? Although it isn't necessarily a bad thing (in fact, I do enjoy hotel stays), wouldn't it be nice to rent a real home while on vacation? Assuming I could afford it, wouldn't a villa in Tuscany or a cabin somewhere in the woods (not the horror film) sound good? Aha, and even in Siquijor where I've been recently, there are private beach houses for rent.

But how do you find these vacation rentals? There's actually a site by rent-your-space startup Airbnb that caters to this need. Search for something from your target destination and let great-looking photos and reviews help you decide.

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A screenshot of the site, www.airbnb.com

On the other hand, if you have a great property somewhere that you rarely visit and thought it would be a great idea if you could actually earn something out of it, you can also have it listed on Airbnb. While, yes, you can rent it independently, having it listed on a platform like Airbnb has its benefits, the most important of which for me is that it lends you credibility. It somehow assures the potential customer that your property is not a phony.

Another benefit is access to professional photography services. Hosts can simply place a request from anywhere in the world and a contracted photographer can then come and photograph their place for free. It can't be denied that great-looking images spark the interest of anyone far better than a crappy-looking one can.

Now ain't that cool or what?

Friday, May 18, 2012

[Lookbook 05.17.2012] Boots, denim, and some bowling

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Yesterday was a fun day for us because our entire department went out for a game of bowling and an eat-all-you-can Mongolian buffet right after. Felt like Friday actually!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Penshoppe's next endorser is a vampire

Ian Somerhalder is arriving in the Philippines on Saturday, May 19, 2012 for his Penshoppe shoot.

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It seems only yesterday when Zac Efron came on board Penshoppe's growing stable of international celebrity-endorsers. Now, a vampire from Mystic Falls tweeted:


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It doesn't take a rocket scientist (let alone a theoretical physicist) to deduce that Ian Somerhalder of The Vampire Diaries is next in line for Penshoppe. And he's coming over? Hmn... Nice one again, Penshoppe.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tyler giveaway: And the lucky five are...

Congratulations to the winners of my Tyler giveaway! You'll each receive a Tyler gift card valued at Php 1,000 each. Expect an email from me so I know where to send your prize.

Thank you to everyone for joining! Special thanks as well to Erica Cortez of Tyler and Penshoppe!

Monday, May 14, 2012

[Lookbook 05.09.2012] Maroon casual

Okay, I forgot about posting this last week before I left for a short vacation. So here goes...

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Despite the sporadic rains, it was still very much hot and humid here in Metro Manila (and probably everywhere else in the country except those in the highlands). So I was in a really casual mood last Wednesday and went for a polo shirt. I don't know if I was just deluded into thinking that because of the print the polo looked less casual than a plain solid one. Okay, I was delusional.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mid-week news roundup: We belong to China

Lots of crazy stuff happening lately. Here's but a few of them:

A Chinese news anchor blurted on TV that the Philippines belongs to China. Who knew? I must have slept through all my history classes.

The website of the Philippine News Agency was hacked by the Chinese. Wow, I didn't even know they had a website!

Chinese travel agencies have suspended travel packages to the Philippines. I didn't know travel packages are also subject to disciplinary action. Better behave.

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The impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona has just resumed last Monday. It's reality TV at its finest once again!

The President struggled with a coughing fit during his speech at the opening ceremonies of the Palarong Pambansa. Sorry, smoker's cough.

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Mexipino contestant Jessica Sanchez got a standing ovation on American Idol today. The judges must have been tired of sitting already.

Monday, May 7, 2012

[Lookbook 05.07.2012] Knit-pick

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Knits aren't really associated with warm weather but I insisted on wearing one today. In my defense, it's not a chunky knit piece in the first place. Second, it's short-sleeved. Third, I'm in an air-conditioned office the whole day. Besides, it wasn't as warm as the last week. Fourth, look at the color! Fifth, it was 60% off!

I picked up a couple of knits last week from Tyler, and a lot of them were either 30% or 60% off (and still are as of yesterday!). The colors were just amazing and I completely went crazy over them. (If you want to own one, go ahead and join my Tyler giveaway.)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

[Lookbook 05.06.2012] Self-portrait practice

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I went out today to have a haircut and to pick My Bibe up. I got to wear my new shorts from Regatta (that I love so much) and I thought of doing a lookbook post before heading out. Problem was, I had no one to take my photos. So I brought out the ancient tripod, mounted the camera, framed the shot, set the timer, and stood in front of the lens. Click! Then I checked the shot, set the timer again, posed again, checked the shot, and the cycle went on. Geez, I need a remote!

I was sweating through the whole process but I thought it would be a good practice for my lonesome trip this Friday. Yes, I'll be traveling alone again after almost a decade and who do I expect to take my pictures but myself? But I really need a remote.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Balay Negrense: A retroactive glimpse into the lives of an affluent family

I never thought of myself as one that would be into heritage stuff but when we visited Balay Negrense in Silay City, Negros Occidental last month, I realized that at the very least, I was appreciative of such. This was also my reaction when we dropped by The Ruins that same day.

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The facade of Balay Negrense, which is now a museum.

What used to be the ancestral house of then sugar magnate Victor Gaston, Balay Negrense is now a museum. It was built in 1897 where Gaston, his wife and twelve children lived a comfortable life. Okay, maybe comfortable is an understatement since these people were extremely rich back in the day when sugar production in the Philippines was at its peak. Perhaps opulence would be a better fit.

Give an online gift card with GiftRocket

Finding someone a gift can be tough at times, especially if you don't have the luxury of time or if you simply don't know what to give that person. More so, what if you're giving a gift to someone who's a hundred miles away? Problem, right?

Now what if you can just save yourself all that hassle and give him or her an online gift card instead? It's seems like a cool concept, and GiftRocket does just that.

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Here's how it works:

H&M's 2012 swimwear collection

It's really frustrating that we still don't have H&M in the Philippines despite several rumors before (at least Uniqlo's opening in June). And seeing their new swimwear collection only makes me pine for the Swedish brand even more.

I especially love the swim shorts here. They're of the perfect length for me although they also have longer ones like board shorts. If H&M were open here right now, I'd instantly break my promise not to buy any beach-related items this summer.

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The shorts are short enough for me, and the tank top is just awesome.

Friday, May 4, 2012

[Lookbook 05.04.2012] I'm always angry.

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Finally everyone in the U.S. can watch The Avengers starting today. Was lucky it opened way ahead here in the Philippines. After watching that movie, I instantly became a fan of the Hulk (here's why). My Bibe says I have this repressed anger in me, which is maybe why I'm always angry. Just like the Hulk, eh?

So of course I got me a Hulk tee. I just had to. And at only Php 350, it's a good buy. So if you want a cheaper alternative to the ones at Folded & Hung -- over which everyone seems to be going bananas -- go to SM Department Store.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Smart dominates Asia Communication Awards nominations

Coming hard on the heels of its recent triple victory at the Telecom Asia Awards, Philippine wireless operator Smart Communications has just earned six nods at the Asia Communication Awards 2012, the most of any operator.

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Smart is a finalist in the categories for Customer Service Initiative (for Jump Experience Center), Emerging Market Initiative (for Secured Health Information Network and Exchange, or SHINE), Green Technology Award (for Smart Green Merchandising), Innovation Award (for Smart Netphone), Social Media Initiative (for SmartCares), and Operator of the Year. (For the full list of nominees, click here.)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

[Lookbook 05.02.2012] Brighten up the blues!

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Oh, so the month of May was greeted by rain on its first day. But honestly, it's like it didn't rain at all. I didn't feel any of its effects. Today, while cloudy at certain times, remained pretty much the usual hot and humid summer day.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Giveaway: 5 Tyler gift cards worth Php 1,000 each

Yes, five (5) lucky peeps from Metro Manila can each win a Tyler gift card valued at Php 1,000! I'm limiting this giveaway to Metro Manila only because at the moment, Tyler only has stores in Metro Manila. So I hope everyone understands.

The giveaway runs from May 1 to 9, 2012 is extended until May 15, 2012 (12:01 EST)! To join, just check out the details below. (REMINDER: Be sure to do what is asked of your entry option -- follow, like, tweet, share, etc. -- and fill out the information required.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

On following via GFC, I think you have to have a Gmail or Google account first, then you can just click the "Join this site" button on this page, as shown here:

follow on GFC screenshot

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