Saturday, June 30, 2012

Busted: Our cats's secret plot to "walk" us

So our lovely feline duo -- Kwittie Boy and Foreman -- have made public their true feelings about that Tagaytay trip of ours (read their blog post here). There was the incarceration, the motion sickness, the unfamiliar territory, the bathroom, the jealousy, and the treating them like dogs. Little did I know that they were secretly plotting something on us, their human slaves.

I absentmindedly left the bedroom door open last night and the two cats pounced on the chance to sneak into the room. I take it that they were too preoccupied with their plan because they didn't notice me come in. I was stunned as they were right in front of the Mac intently checking this out:

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Okay, I thought. So let's see how these cats are planning to take over the world, one human at a time...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Guest post: Our weekend Tagaytay escape with the humans (The story according to the cats)

Bringing pets to Tagaytay sounded like a really nice idea, so after finding a pet-friendly bed and breakfast where we could all stay together, we did bring along the cats to Tagaytay over the weekend. Apparently, however, the cats weren't too happy with the experience. They talked to me and demanded that I post this account of theirs on their behalf or else they'll release incriminating photos of me that they secretly took while I was in the shower, the toilet, and when I was asleep, among other instances. I can't believe they blackmailed me! So here I am, left with no choice but to publish "their side of the story."


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Kwittie Boy: Hello, my name is Kwittie Boy. I am the fluffy, white cat that my pathetic human slave sometimes refers to as his "stuffed toy." Frankly, it's embarrassing. My human slaves named me as such, thinking that adding a "w" within the word "kitty" was cute. And I don't know why they spell it with "ie" instead of a "y."

Foreman: Hi, my name is Foreman. I am the cat with the coat of shiny, black fur. Either my human slaves are racist or just plain stupid, having named me after that doctor on the now-defunct television show "House" just because I'm black.

KB: So our humans were so proud to have brought us to this faraway place called Tagaytay, which I honestly don't know what's so special about.

F: And so proudly declared that they loved the experience of bringing us along! (Hiss) The instant the guy-slave brought out those so-called "pet carriers," I knew something wasn't right.

KB: Needless to say, we protested but were eventually overpowered. So we ended up like this:

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KB: I mean, we were like inmates in some mobile prison.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Our weekend Tagaytay escape with the cats

The extreme lack of pet-friendly hotels here in the Philippines can be quite frustrating for pet owners like me who would just love to bring our furry friends along but obviously cannot. Time and again when going on a vacation or even someplace not that far away, we always have to leave them behind. Last weekend was different, however. As I was booking a room at Sonya's Garden in Tagaytay last week, I chanced upon the FAQs section of their website and noted -- with much delight -- that they allowed pets (which I didn't know about before)! It was a no-brainer; we had to bring the cats.

Our cats rarely go out, and with me and My Bibe being the only two persons they regularly see, they're not used to seeing a lot of people. When at times we bring them out the door at night, they cautiously explore their surroundings but scamper away at the slightest disturbance on the street. Yes, we do need to bring them out more often.

And so last Saturday we packed an overnight bag, brought out the pet carriers, refilled the litter box with fresh cat litter, packed enough Fancy Feast and Friskies, then drove off about 60km to Tagaytay.

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Me behind the wheel, constantly in communication with our cats in the backseat.

We knew the cats would be upset and Foreman (the black one) made sure we knew, who was meowing sporadically throughout the first half-hour of our trip that we had to "talk" to him constantly. Kwittie Boy (the fluffy, white one), on the other hand, was his usual quiet self, letting out only a few meows throughout the drive.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

[Lookbook 06.21.2012] Me gone brogue

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Been a little lazy in the dress-up department lately. But I guess scoring a new pair of shoes was all it took to get me back to my lookbook posts. And oh, this is only my third for the month and there's only a week left to make up.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Boracay for the nth time

Despite being perennially upset about Boracay, with its unabated over-development, with its ridiculous local ordinances, with its garbage and sewage woes, with the sea claiming more of the beach each time, with that green muck that never seems to go away, et cetera -- I still keep coming back. I just love Boracay.


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The beach: still lovely in spite of the monsoon waves and the dead seaweeds washed ashore.

So we went there yet again on a whim just as the monsoon season started kicking in. But as luck would have it, or divine intervention if you may, we enjoyed lots of sunshine while we were there. Not a single drop of rain although the waters remained slightly rough.

Another triple-win for Smart at the Asia Communication Awards

Philippine wireless leader Smart Communications, Inc. is on a roll, winning big at the 2012 Asia Communication Awards at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel in Singapore last night. The Philippine carrier won three awards, tying with Huawei for the most number of awards received that night.

Smart was named Operator of the Year for the second straight year, beating out heavyweights SingTel, StarHub, Telstra Global, and Unitel. Smart also won the Innovation Award for its Smart Netphone, while its m-health platform SHINE (Secured Health Information Network and Exchange) nabbed the award for Emerging Market Initiative.

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Perry Bayani (middle), Sales and Customer Service Group Head, and Gio Bacareza (left), Telco Plus Product Managemet Department Head, receiving the awards of Smart from Paul Michael Scanlan, Huawei Vice President for Solution, Sales & Marketing.

Smart was also shortlisted in three other categories and is the only Philippine carrier to figure out in the list. Earlier in April 2012, it also won three awards at the Telecom Asia Awards in Bangkok, Thailand.

Monday, June 18, 2012

[Lookbook 06.09-11.2012] Color me beach

The rain is pouring hard as I write this and I'm in a bit of reminiscing mode here. Last week, our spur-of-the-moment decision to hit the beach in Boracay couldn't be any better. I guess I've been a very good boy that God blessed us with fine, sunny weather throughout our stay even if weather forecasters predicted some rain. Call it perfect timing but my outfits seemed to reflect the sunny vibe with lots of color.

Day 1
I brought Enchanted Kingdom to Boracay with my purple and bright yellow ensemble. But common, purple goes so well with yellow!

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I love how the shorts fit -- tapered and sufficiently short. Because we were flying to Kalibo instead of Caticlan, which meant an additional two-hour ride, I just slipped on some Sanuks for comfort.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Red Coconut Beach Hotel: Surprisingly, I loved it!

Red Coconut Beach Hotel has been around for a very long time now, and I've passed by it countless times already while walking aimlessly in Boracay. But for some unexplained reason, I've always shunned it every time I look for a place to stay on the island. And I honestly don't know why.

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The hotel's facade, which overlooked the pool and the lovely beach beyond that.

Last week, however, in a slight mode of panic brought about by a last-minute, spur-of-the-moment decision to go to Boracay, I finally succumbed to booking a room there. I availed of a package from a travel agency but all of the hotels I shortlisted were booked, and I was left with Red Coconut. Shucks, I thought. So I checked in with no expectations whatsoever. But lo and behold, I loved it there! Let me break it all down for you.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Stylish glasses from Warby Parker

I'm a bit jealous that people in other parts of the globe are enjoying summer right now while I'm stuck with rain and an approaching typhoon here. But I'm just taking comfort in the fact that I just came back from a beach holiday and was blessed with fine, sunny weather there.

While I'm waiting for this storm to pass and once more enjoy the sun, I was looking at these stylish sunglasses from Warby Parker. The brand has a rebellious streak in that it produces quality eyewear at par with most high fashion brands -- even better -- but which goes against the grain in terms of pricing. Yes, they're more affordable, which is great for the rest of us who don't belong to the 1%. And did I mention that they're really stylish?

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Winston in old-fashioned fade. It's so "Mad Men!"

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Winston in revolver black. This one's perfect if you don't fancy even a bit of color.

As if style and affordability aren't enough to entice you, the brand is also into a really good cause: for every pair of glasses sold, another pair is given to someone else in need. Here are a few of my picks from their summer collection:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Quilted beauties from Barbour

Coming from a lovely and sunny beach weekend getaway, I'm now greeted with rain back here in the Metro. Nevertheless, it's the perfect time for some layering and putting on a jacket, so I'm not really complaining. But I'm fancying some quilts right now.

Though they're meant for temperatures much cooler than where I am right now, I'm liking these quilted jackets from Barbour. They're classics and there's no topping that, much like this one below:

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The Barbour Microfibre Polarquilt in olive; extra-warm, fleece-lined with microfibre outer.

J. Barbour & Sons have been producing such classic beauties along with other pieces of clothing since 1894. While the clothes are primarily meant for country living, there's no stopping city folks from donning them as well because they're as stylish enough as they are functional. The British brand, after all, is known for its high quality, stylish, and practical clothing.

Sampling Dumaguete's 'Lab-as'

Almost immediately after having my fill at Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries, I went straight to the seafood restaurant Lab-as. Aptly facing the sea, it sits along a strip of restaurants north of the Dumaguete port. "Lab-as" is Visayan/Cebuano for fresh, used in the context of fish and other seafood, so it comes as no surprise that the menu here is dominated by seafood.

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The restaurant's exterior.

Lab-as is an airconditioned restaurant with warm, wooden interiors. Newspaper and magazine clippings, along with printouts of testimonials all raving about their food, are framed and displayed prominently on one wall. Outdoor seating is also available. And coming from a place with overpriced seafood restaurants that is Metro Manila, I must say that Lab-as's offerings are quite affordable.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

10 Personal theories on why Manny Pacquiao lost to Timothy Bradley

So the uproar over Manny Pacquiao's loss to Timothy Bradley. So people were crying foul and believing Pacquiao was robbed. So everyone, celebrities included, vented their frustration online. So Filipinos tried to comfort each other with a Twitter hashtag (#mannypacquiaoisstilltheworldsbestboxer). So the memes followed. Now the topic has ceased to trend and everything is back to normal -- for now.

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But why did Pacquiao lose? I had a dream last night that he would lose (seriously, I tweeted this before the fight) but I don't think of myself as a seer. I was hard at thought, and here are 10 theories of mine on the real reason behind Manny Pacquiao's heartbreaking loss to Timothy Bradley:

Discovering more of Dumaguete's 'Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries'

I had a few hours to spare between arriving at Dumaguete City from Siquijor and my flight back to Manila. With my backpack in tow, I walked my way under the unforgiving sun along the city's famed 700-meter boulevard to Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries for some pasalubong.

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Dumaguete's Rizal boulevard.

It was my first time to this pastry shop cum restaurant although I've already tried their silvanas a few times already (thanks to an office colleague). I was there to get me some silvanas myself and pick up some pasalubong. The place had two indoor sections and one outside. There's an explosion of cakes and pastries here, as expected, but they also serve some hearty meals FYI.

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Inside Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Rediscovering Jockey

In as much as I'm drawn to fashionable clothing, I'm likewise attracted to stylish underwear. I'm not a tighty-whiteys kind of guy and I normally go for black or any other dark shade when it comes to briefs, but I am, however, also quite fond of colorful designs.

It's good to know, therefore, that pioneering brand Jockey is gradually stepping out of its default white, gray and black pieces. They now have some color!

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Ever since the first jockeys (it's what they named the design) were sold in 1935, Jockey has successfully created a necessity for men. Because briefs are obviously indispensable nowadays, it's hard to believe they never even existed until the mid-1930's and I really just can't imagine what they wore underneath their pants back then.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bow & Wow to host benefit dinner for CARA Welfare Philippines

Bow & Wow, the Philippines's first all-natural pet foods store, will be hosting a benefit dinner for CARA Welfare Philippines, a non-profit organization that's all about compassion and responsibility for our furry little friends. The event is scheduled on June 30, 2012, 6:30pm at The Rockwell Tent in Makati City.

I first learned of CARA in September last year when they held a pet adoption event at Greenbelt 5 and I instantly felt their cause (see why I fell in love here). The organization aims to inspire and educate Filipinos about animal welfare, animal population control, and proper treatment of animals. It's run by volunteers, so if you can't adopt one of their rescue cats or dogs, kindhearted donations will provide tremendous help for them in caring for these animals.

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[Photo from CARA's Facebook page]

The dinner will be preceded by fun-filled activities that both pet parents and their furry little friends will enjoy. There will be a "pledge of love walk" featuring pieces from Filipino designers like Rajo Laurel, a magic show, and a pet grooming station by aromapet grooming and dogspa, among others.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

[Lookbook 06.06.2012] I committed a crime

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Yes, I did commit a crime today, a crime of fashion. You know when you're never supposed to wear a single brand head-to-toe? I did just that, albeit unknowingly. I very well knew that the top and trousers I would be wearing were from the same brand but I went on anyway because I loved the color combination so much. Besides, two pieces don't necessarily mean head-to-toe already, I thought. Until I picked the shoes, which, I realized only now, are of the same brand as the clothes.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Heritage site: Siquijor's St. Francis of Assisi Church

After seeing Lazi's San Isidro Labrador church, it was time to see the church of St. Francis of Assisi right smack in the town of Siquijor near the pier.

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The church's facade.

Another colonial-era structure, the church was built beginning 1793 and was completed only in 1831. And as with most structures of that era, the St. Francis of Assisi church was made up mostly of coral stone.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A taste of Balkan Yugoslavian Home Cooking

I've been seeing this restaurant along Perea Street in Makati for some time now but I've never actually got to go inside until last Friday. We were supposed to have dinner someplace else but finding a parking spot on a rainy Friday night led me to almost exactly across Balkan Yugoslavian Home Cooking. As we were working our way to our original destination, we stopped right in front of Balkan and thought of trying it instead after buying some cupcakes and bread.

The place was warmly-lit, with wooden floors, tables and chairs. The cushions and table runners were, as My Bibe put it, "communist red." From the walls hung several photos of communist-era USSR (of which Yugoslavia was part), including some of their Olympic basketball team when they won the gold in Munich, Germany in 1972.

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Blown-up photos of the Russian Olympic basketball team in Munich, 1972 in the background.

I've read that the place is owned by a former De La Salle Green Archer (Marko Batricevic) and it's actually his second restaurant already, the first being in San Juan (Balkan Express). It seems that the Serbian is proving to be quite the entrepreneur.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Siquijor's San Isidro Labrador Church: A national cultural treasure

See related posts:

I've had the chance to see two of Siquijor's oldest churches during my trip there last month. I'm not really a heritage site fanatic but I'm appreciative enough of such architecture, as I've realized in my earlier trip to Bacolod (see here and here).

The San Isidro Labrador parish church in the town of Lazi was the first old church I entered in the island-province. I wasn't really planning on seeing it but my guide suggested I take a look because it had a hardwood floor. Well, I've never heard of a colonial-era church with wooden flooring before, so it was enough to pique my interest.

Built in 1884 under the supervision of the Augustinian Recollects, the church used coral stone and hardwood. It has two pulpits but is best characterized by its hardwood flooring. On July 2001, the church complex, which, I believe includes the old convent opposite the church (see here), was declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum through Presidential Decree No. 374.

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There's no denying that this church is really old. I mean, it shows.

[Lookbook 05.11-14.2012] Backpacking and beach bumming

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While summer is just starting in other parts of the globe, the rainy season has already kicked in here in the Philippines. While I don't necessarily hate the rain, I miss the sun. Good thing I made just one last trip to the beach last month. But traveling alone presented a slight problem in who's gonna take my pictures.

The solution came in the form of a tripod and my driver/guide in Siquijor, so I was able to bring home photos for a lookbook post.

Day 1
En route to Siquijor I was in shorts, a tee, and a pair of Sanuks. But once I hit the beach, it was swim shorts all the way.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The waiver dare 'waived' off: Something to hide?

Only a few so far have taken the challenge that Renato Corona posed just prior to his ouster as chief justice. In a country ruled by -- I daresay -- a corrupt government, I am not surprised that only a handful have signed the waiver over their right to secrecy of their bank accounts and other properties.

As Corona's accusers taunted him over why he was afraid to disclose his dollar deposits if there was nothing to hide, now the tables have turned. The impeached chief justice waived his right to secrecy and challenged his accusers of doing the same. Senator Franklin Drilon did not want to fall into a trap, he said. Lead Prosecutor Niel Tupas dismissed it as a tactic to divert attention away from the real issue. Others chimed in, saying it was Corona who was on trial and not them.

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However, now that Corona was found guilty by the Impeachment Court, why are they still not signing? Does Drilon still regard it as a trap when Corona was already convicted? Does Tupas still think of it as a ploy to divert the issue when that issue was already resolved three days ago? Do the others still stand by their dubious excuse that they are not the ones on trial? Is Drilon suddenly afraid that he left out some assets in his SALN, or that he did not pay the appropriate taxes for some transaction? Did Tupas suddenly realize that his purported 50 million-peso mansion under construction could not possibly be explained by the salary he earns as a congressman? Without anyone actually looking into their SALNs, bank accounts, property records and tax returns, I could only wonder.
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