Thursday, December 26, 2013

[Throwback Thursday 12.26.2013] Our first tree

Nearly a year after My Bibe and I moved in together, we got our first tree for Christmas 2006. As with practically everyone else in the Philippines, it was a plastic tree. In this part of the world, not everyone can afford, or would choose to have, a real pine tree since it would have to be imported from halfway around the world, not to mention it would be very costly.

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Our lowly tree, squeezed in between the TV and the bookshelf.

Both of us were in agreement that we didn't want a small tree. Maybe a 5-foot one would do, we thought. However, we were faced with a dilemma in that space was a bit of a problem in our new apartment. Luckily we found a slim-fit tree. Yes, it's not just pants and shirts; Christmas trees come in slim-fit designs, too.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Good old-fashioned circus entertainment at 'MagiKaria'

I was fortunate to have been invited to the gala performance of Circus Vargas' Magikaria, A Fantastical Magical Experience last Dec. 23. A two-hour showcase of some good old-fashioned circus entertainment, it was loaded with acrobats, music, clowns, illusions, and more.

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Prepping up the contraption for that classic magician's assistant's disappearing and reappearing act.

It was a rather small setup, with several rows of monoblock chairs flanking all three sides of the stage. It may not have been the most ideal seating arrangement but it was well-suited to the show's intimate and interactive premise. Everyone in the audience can very well see what's happening onstage at any given time.

The show opened in a surprisingly low-key manner with just a single performer who immediately surveyed the audience for all sorts of stuff that he could balance on his chin. From the simplest objects like a baseball cap, he sure was able to hold the audience's attention by quickly progressing to bolder things like a shopping cart and a ladder--to much applause of course! A musical number soon followed.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

[Throwback Thursday 12.19.2013] HHWW

Because it's the season, I'm looking back at the many Christmas parties I've attended in the past. This one here is from 2004 with my colleagues from Internal Audit, which I've officially christened as "HHWW." Not at all meaning "holding hands while walking," HHWW stood for "Hats, Headdresses, Wigs & Whatever." In other words, it was a hat party where wigs and other head gear were allowed.

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Don't I look like Snape here? But with glasses?

It wasn't anything big; just a simple gathering with food, a small program, gift-giving, and some raffle prizes. We were only around twenty then after all. At the time people in our department were notorious for not wanting to dress up or anything for Christmas parties and were content with the usual jeans and shirt. So it was nice how I and the rest of the organizing committee were able to persuade everyone to dress up somehow. Small steps, I thought.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Circus Vargas brings "MagiKaria!" to Manila

The magic of Christmas will be even more captivating – and jaw-dropping – with the arrival in Manila of the internationally acclaimed Circus Vargas troupe, one of the world’s biggest traveling circuses.

Showcasing gravity-defying flights, flashy costumes, fun dance routines, and other deliriously delightful antics, Circus Vargas will be bringing to the country its most exciting production dubbed as “MagiKaria, A Fantastical Magical Experience.” 

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This amazing production will feature the astonishing athleticism, physical beauty and acrobatic prowess of the men, women and children of the circus, promising to deliver the same immense joy and excitement already experienced by millions of people worldwide.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

[Throwback Thursday 12.12.2013] Moving out

Just moved in to a new place we're calling home. While there is, of course, excitement, moving out entails lots of work and causes lots of stress. This was very much the same case five years ago when we first moved out of an old apartment and into a new one--as a couple. And boy did we buy a lot of boxes!

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Just some of the boxes and other stuff ready for the big move in September 2008.

Back then we only had one cat, Kwittie Boy, who was ever curious with all the packing and all the chaos leading up to the big day. (This time we moved four cats with us.)

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Kwittie Boy whispering to me about not doing anything stupid. "Do you see this knife?" he said.

Friday, December 6, 2013

A different kind of donut in Gavino's Japanese Donuts

One of the booths at this year's Blogapalooza was from Gavino's Japanese Donuts. Excited, I was instantly reminded of my first taste of Gavino's back in October, when I chanced upon their booth at Robinsons Galleria in Ortigas. I got a dozen and even asked a colleague to bring me more that same day.

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Tastes as good as it looks.

Interestingly, Gavino's is a Filipino brand. If you're wondering where's the Japanese in all of this, it's in the donuts' consistency. Unlike your usual fried variety, these are mochi donuts that have a chewy consistency bursting with seriously gooey filling. Mmmmm was all I could say when I had my first bite.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

[Throwback Thursday 12.05.2013] Our second cat Foreman arrives

It was around September 2008 and we were about to move into a new apartment. My Bibe, who at the time was into online shopping on Multiply, came across something rather different from what she normally checks out on the now-defunct site. It was a kitten, a black one to be exact. He was up for adoption, hence, the "ad posting," which described him as a "quiet cat."

It hasn't even been two years since we got our first cat Kwittie Boy and I wasn't prepared for another one. My Bibe wanted him and I looked at each photo closely, looking for signs of his behavior or something that would support my hesitation. Secretly, though, the thought of having an all-white fluffy cat (that's Kwittie Boy) and an all-black shorthair seemed exciting to me. But after some discussion between us and while My Bibe checked out the Multiply post about this kitty almost everyday, we decided to adopt him.

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The cat formerly known as Snowflake, here with his former mom Rej.

Then on October 1 we met up with this couple, Oneal and Rej (now happily married), at a Starbucks in Makati. They drove us home with our little black baby inside his pet carrier. They called him "Snowflake" but because of our love for House (the TV series) back then, we re-christened him "Foreman."

Monday, December 2, 2013

When love birds make love

I mentioned a few months ago in my review of Acuaverde Beach Resort in Laiya that they've built their restaurant around two trees where they've also set up two mini aviaries housing a bunch of love birds. And then I saw this:

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I already noticed these two behaving differently, with the green guy seemingly pursuing the yellow one relentlessly. So this is how love birds make love, complete with pecking and all.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

An awesome caffeinated discovery in Brownbag Coffee Solutions

A self-confessed coffee lover but one who shamelessly admits I want my coffee sweet and creamy, I fell in love with Brownbag Coffee Solutions. It was one of my standout personal discoveries from last Nov. 16's Blogapalooza 2013. Oh yes, and I'm just as shameless in admitting I had more than one cup that Saturday.

There I was standing in front of their booth, perusing their goods, and I was offered a cup of awesome. It was love at first sip, that rich coffee flavor still dominant over the sugar and cream that I messed it with. I'm no coffee geek but I believe I know good coffee when I taste one (most of the time at least), and this one was definitely good. This was validated when a friend sampled a cup after I blabbed about how good it was and he basically shared my opinion.

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The Brownbag Coffee Solutions booth at Blogapalooza 2013.

Spilling the beans
Brownbag's main man Enrico Curioso, who curiously picked "Chief Caffeine Junkie" as his job title, gave me the lowdown on the company and everything coffee. Let's just say he "spilled the beans on me." Well, they basically have four variants that revolve on only two types of coffee beans: arabica and robusta, labeled, or rather, numbered, according to strength.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

[Throwback Thursday 11.28.2013] When Kwittie Boy first came into our lives

Kwittie Boy is my and My Bibe's first pet as a couple. We adopted him on Nov. 19, 2006 and this was the very first picture we took of this adorable furball as he peeked out of the old laundry basket that housed him as he made the trip from Parañaque to Makati:
 
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Peek-a-boo! Kwittie Boy's first glimpse into his new home.

While My Bibe had lots of different pets before, I've never had one for myself (although we once had two family dogs named Oliver and Monay). So when she brought the idea of Jecco, a friend of ours, who's adopting his cat out, I didn't know what to do. Not used to having pets, I was already thinking what if he turns the house upside down along with other ridiculous thoughts.

Well, it really didn't take much convincing on my part and I ended up meeting Jecco at our office one Sunday morning. Manny Pacquiao had a fight then against Oscar Larios. There he was in the car's front seat, inside a broken laundry basket with crisscrossing strings and a small blanket atop it to prevent him from getting out. He was so quiet and remained so as we drove to our apartment.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Discovering Cafe de Lipa

It's been more than two months already but I still haven't forgotten our overall pleasant experience at Cafe de Lipa. We were driving from Laiya, Batangas and thought of dropping by somewhere for coffee. After some Googling, My Bibe found out about Cafe de Lipa in, well, Lipa City, which was just along our way.

However, the thought of negotiating our way through the traffic-ridden streets of Lipa didn't sit so well with me. Good thing My Bibe read that there's a branch just right outside the city, at a Shell gasoline station along the Star Tollway. Perfect!

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Different coffee variants for sale at the coffee shop.

Interiors and ambiance
As with most coffee shops, Cafe de Lipa went for that familiar warm feel, this even if you see yellow and red paint inside. At least in this particular branch, shelves line up a portion of the glass windows where everything from coffee to bottled pickled goodies is on display and for sale. And then there's the familiar mishmash of couch-style and regular seating options.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Blogapalooza 2013: My first time attending any blogger event

Yes, I have never attended any blogger-related event up until Blogapalooza 2013. I never really thought about it that much when I signed up. I was going alone, which was quite the step for me since I hardly know any other bloggers. But I showed up last Nov. 16 at the SMX Aura and I must say I actually enjoyed the experience.

After registering, I went inside the hall and was greeted by rows of booths from partners and sponsors. At the rear was a stage and a few chairs where a program went on for the whole day. YouTube sensations Mikey Bustos and Bogart the Explorer were onstage when I first checked out what was happening. They were talking about vlogging (video blogging) in a talk show-type panel discussion hosted by Blogapalooza main man Vince Golangco. It was fun watching them and I really wanted to steal Mikey's wings!

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All about vlogging: Bogart the Explorer and Mikey Bustos.

After a few more talks, bloggers were treated to a series of standup comedy routines courtesy of Comedy Cartel. My favorite of course was Tim Tayag, who was completely uncensored he even tackled Jesus' abs.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

[Lookbook 11.19.2013] (Late post) Olive and denim

An almost forgotten outfit post, this was taken before Halloween, during happier times before Yolanda struck and left a trail of devastation of biblical proportions across most of the Visayas and parts of Northern Mindanao and Southern Luzon. Not that I'm forgetting all that but I'm just forging ahead. I mean, how can I forget about our completely flattened house in Ormoc?

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If my memory serves me right, I think I've never owned a denim shirt before up until this point. I don't know why but I'm liking it.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Bali's cultural and religious identity

The island of Bali in Indonesia is often regarded as a must-visit place as it is dismissed by some as a tourist trap. My personal experience, thankfully, is on the positive side. Yes, its beaches may not be of the pristine, powdery, white-sand type but Bali has its charms, most notable of which is the fact that despite the tourism boom it has enjoyed through the years, it has never lost its identity.

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Prayer has always been a constant in Bali. Here an old man prepares his offerings at a restaurant along Jimbaran Beach.

Predominantly practicing Hinduism, the Balinese people are generally nice and warm. I don't know if religion has anything to do with it but they seem to be a peace-loving lot. Well, it's Eat, Pray, Love country after all.

Amid all the grandiose resorts and commercial establishments that have continually sprung up across the island, their traditions are never lost. In Bali it is not uncommon to see these cute little square baskets made of leaves containing food, flowers, and even candies and cigarettes. Just please be careful so as not to step on them as these are offerings to the gods called canang sari, which they make thrice a day. It is basically a ritual of giving back to the gods as gratitude for the bounty of life.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Goodbye, ancestral house (The aftermath of super typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda)

Yolanda was definitely one helluva bitch. And the world's strongest tropical cyclone at landfall made sure everyone knew it with the untoward havoc her 195mph winds wreaked across central Philippines last Friday.

I was in constant touch with my mom in Cebu City that day, who in turn was also in communication with our relatives in Ormoc City. Cebu City was on typhoon alert no. 3 while Ormoc was on no. 4, the highest possible warning by our local weather bureau. Ormoc is in the province of Leyte, one of the first hit by super typhoon Haiyan (locally named Yolanda).

I asked about my grandpa and the rest of our relatives in Ormoc and she said they had already evacuated to our aunt's house next door the night before. It sounded very familiar to me because when I was growing up in Ormoc, moving to a relative's more secure house during typhoons was not at all uncommon, just like we did during the 1991 Ormoc flash flood. My mom said she had been texting with a cousin till the wee hours and again early morning Friday just when Yolanda's fury was starting to be felt.

And then the replies stopped.

For the rest of the day we had no news whatsoever about what happened to them in Ormoc. My mom, sister and her family were thankfully okay in Cebu after the typhoon hit the province at around 10am. In the meantime devastating photos of some parts of Ormoc City were trickling on social media.

Finally at 9:46pm I got a text from my mom: "ang blay ormoc natumpag" (The house in Ormoc gave out.).

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A picture of shocking devastation: our house in Ormoc now gone.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

[Throwback Thursday 11.07.2013] The 1991 Ormoc flash flood

Reading something like "The Biggest Storm in the World This Year Is Headed for the Philippines" doesn't sound very reassuring. It's also heartbreaking to know that the provinces of Bohol and Cebu, which have just recently been devastated by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake, are right in the path of super typhoon Haiyan (locally named Yolanda). My mom, sister, and her family, by the way, are living in Cebu.

Furthermore, the province of Leyte is also expected to take a beating. Leyte, particularly Ormoc City, is where most of my relatives from my mom's side are. It's also where I've spent the rest of my childhood since fourth grade and practically all of my adolescent years. Twenty-two years ago on this very day, I was most probably helping with some major house cleaning because just two days before that on the 5th of November 1991, Ormoc City was ravaged by an epic flash flood.

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Isla Verde, one of the worst-hit areas of the 1991 Ormoc flash floods. [Photo source]

We were in the middle of a school break and I was holed up in an uncle's house. My sister and I were better off there because our house was an expected mess whenever there's a typhoon. Close to noon we heard a loud booming sound, which we mistook for thunder. Everybody there breathed a sigh of relief since it meant the typhoon was over and it was now only a thunderstorm. (I can't vouch for any scientific basis here, though.)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Halloween hangover: Alice in Wonderland and beyond

And just like that, the long weekend's over. It's back to work and there's absolutely nothing to cheer us up but those fresh memories from that little fun day called Halloween.

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After going Goldilocks and the Three Bears last year, My Bibe and I went for another fairy tale theme this year: Alice in Wonderland. Or Underland, whatever. (I was also The Joker in 2008, a devil-turned-angel in 2010, and Dr. Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory in 2011.)

My Bibe, of course, was Alice and I was The White Rabbit. No, I didn't put on a gargantuan bunny suit. I wore a suit but I had bunny ears and bunny paws. And a bunny tail.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

[Throwback Thursday 10.31.2013] Angels and demons: I'm the new angel in town

Being just three years ago, this doesn't sound like a veritable throwback post but I'm going ahead anyway since it's Halloween and the post is about Halloween.

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So three years ago today I wore this at the office while celebrations were in full swing. Our department went for a heaven and earth theme where half of the floor space was designated as heaven and the other half hell. Unfortunately I was assigned to heaven and I dreaded dressing up as an angel. That is until I thought of a compromise.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

[Lookbook 10.26.2013] Military on the runway

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Got invited to the Penshoppe SS14 show last Saturday, my first time attending any such show for Philippine Fashion Week. It was also highly unusual for me to go out of my comfort zone that is Makati and brave the crazy traffic going to the SMX Convention Center. But I made it, so yay!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Love it or hate it: Wakeskating atop the Banaue rice terraces

So there has been some uproar over this wakeskating stunt atop the centuries-old Banaue rice terraces. Yes, it's on top of the rice paddies along the mountains of Ifugao. To the uninitiated like me, wakeskating is akin to wakeboarding, except your feet aren't bound to the board.

Screen grab from YouTube.
 
The mere thought of staging such a stunt right atop these postcard-perfect terraces is bound to elicit a lot of opinion. But my, watching the video, there's no denying that it's just awesome!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Penshoppe SS14: The men's pieces

Last night Penshoppe presented its new collection for Spring/Summer 2014 at the SMX Convention Center as part of Philippine Fashion Week. The hall was all black, so both backdrop and runway, which were made of mirrors in a sleek and edgy arrangement with varying degrees of protrusion and elevation, stood out.

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Spectators descend on the runway after the show.

The collection was characterized by stripes, palm tree prints, and other graphic patterns, as seen across polo shirts, t-shirts, tank tops, lightweight pullovers, and a few long-sleeved shirts. The patterns likewise extended to ball caps and bags. There were a lot of short shorts (something I personally like) in light colors and prints, with a couple of light-colored jeans thrown into the mix, while sandals was the footwear of choice. The models, who all sported a wet-look, brushed-up hairstyle, either wore long beaded or braided fabric necklaces, sometimes both.

Here are all the men's runway pieces from the show:

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Bali's Geger Beach: Where sunbathers converge

In the posh resort area of Nusa Dua in Bali, not all hotels are on a beachfront property and such was the case with our second hotel while in the island, Mantra Nusa Dua. Not to worry, however, since these hotels have special access to a nice little patch of cream-colored sand called Geger Beach.

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Yeah, life's a bitch. I mean, beach.

A five-minute ride from Mantra, Geger Beach is several meters from the main road bound by the gargantuan resort The Mulia on one side and the exclusive St Regis on the other. In between are a few residential homes, concession stands, and other structures.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Blogapalooza 2013: I'm attending!

I have never attended any blogger-related event before. I guess I'm just wrapped in my own little world while blogging away. But finally I've signed up for one, the Blogapalooza 2013, for which I'm excited!

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Happening on Nov. 16 from 11am all the way till 9pm at the Function Room 1 of SMX Aura, Taguig, Blogapalooza 2013 will be a gathering of bloggers and businesses in what is touted as the biggest business-to-blogger networking event. So yes, it's time for me to step out from my own little world and go meet other people.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

[Throwback Thursday 10.24.2013] United Nations Day

I just learned that today is United Nations Day, thanks to the many posts I've been reading on social media, most of which are about reminiscing what country they supposedly represented back in school. Well I thought hey, I had a few photos of me for UN Day when I was a kid!

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My AirAsia Zest destination wish list

I got my first taste of flying AirAsia back in 2010 in Thailand via a domestic flight from Bangkok to Phuket. It was a good experience and I was more than pleased with their really low fares. I actually remember getting excited while booking and I went ahead with pre-selecting our seats, a feature that was still unheard of among local airlines at the time, pre-purchasing hot meals, and even getting comfort kits that included an inflatable neck support among other things. I still have those kits with me, keepsakes from my first AirAsia flight.

Not long after, AirAsia started its Philippine operations. But because they only flew from DMIA in Clark, Pampanga, I wasn't really able to travel in the Philippines or travel in Asia with AirAsia because of proximity issues. But I had always hoped they'd fly from Manila.

Fast-forward to September 2013, my wish was granted.

AirAsia has partnered with Zest Air in a bid to further revolutionize air travel in the Philippines. As such, Zest Air has now been rebranded as AirAisa Zest.


The new AirAsia Zest logo. Visit the site now by clicking on the photo!

With this alliance, AirAsia Zest can now bank on the strength of these two airlines' network of domestic and international routes as well as, of course, unrivalled daily low fares. Best of all, this now means AirAsia Zest flies from Manila!

From NAIA Terminal 4, AirAsia Zest flies to the following domestic destinations: Cebu, Davao, Kalibo (Boracay), Puerto Princesa, Tagbilaran, Cagayan de Oro, and the following international destinations: Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Shanghai, Incheon.

This much-welcome news has gotten me into coming up with my AirAsia Zest destination wishlist. Here's my top five:

1. Incheon, South Korea
Is it just me who hasn't been bitten by the Korean bug yet or what? The prevalence of K-Pop, K-Drama or Koreanovelas, Korean groceries, Korean ice cream, Korean salons, and everything Korean in the local Philippine scene is undeniable.

Monday, October 21, 2013

REVIEW | Mantra Nusa Dua: The (fairly) new kid on the block

(Update, Nov. 23, 2014: I just learned that the hotel is no longer part of the Mantra chain. It's now called Puri Nusa Dua.)

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My view every morning at breakfast.

The thing with staying at newly opened hotels is that, well, everything is brand new, much like our experience at Hotel Icon in Hong Kong back in 2011. You're almost always sure you don't have to worry about dated furniture, icky bathtubs, or poorly-maintained facilities in general.

Just recently we got to try another new hotel, in Bali this time. And this new kid on the block is Mantra Nusa Dua, the Australian hotel chain's latest addition to its family, which is just around four months old. Here's a rundown about our experience.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Swapping your old car and looking like a badass with Foton

Our old little car we fondly call "Minitron" is gonna be five years old soon. That means it's high time to say goodbye to him and welcome a new baby. But I don't think it will be just some "baby" that I'll be looking for considering how bad flooding has become in Metro Manila of late. Oh, the horrors of having to brave the streets inundated by heavy rainfall, where you're never sure if your car's gonna stall!

Now how about a badass "baby" like the Foton Thunder pictured here:



Thursday, October 17, 2013

[Throwback Thursday 10.17.2013] Baclayon Church, Bohol: Regret for my past underappreciation for heritage

Seeing those images of Bohol and Cebu's old churches destroyed, I understand that after expressing their horror and sadness, people are suddenly filled with an air of nostalgia about past trips to Bohol, particularly to these once-glorious heritage structures.

I'm no different, but I realized how little attention I actually gave to these churches. Of the churches affected, I've only been to Baclayon (although I've seen the Loboc Church but never went inside). Oh yes, regrets. And more so because I've only managed one decent photo of her:

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The Baclayon Church belfry, as viewed from the back near the convent area.

That was in April 2005 and I haven't even been able to photograph the church! It's just the belfry, which topmost portion had since collapsed. I have a couple of indoor shots but since I was just carrying a lowly Kodak KB-10 point-and-shoot at the time, the prints were dark and simply terrible. I was, however, able to snap a few low-res shots from my Nokia 6600.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

From heritage to ruins: The old churches of Bohol and Cebu

Yesterday's magnitude 7.2 earthquake sure jolted the nation. Amid all the photos and clips we saw of people scampering for safety, heartbreaking evacuations, and of the resultant destruction, it was hard to ignore the images of centuries-old Catholic churches in Bohol and Cebu that either sustained major damage or were simply reduced to rubble.

Truly one doesn't realize how important something is until it's gone. I never really cared much for such heritage structures before and it was only recently that I started developing some interest in them. However faint that interest is, at least I'm starting to point my camera at them.

While I'm relieved to learn that the old churches in Siquijor are intact, including the one with the wooden floor in Lazi, regret is the only thing I feel with regard to the ones in Bohol, some of which I've never even seen.

I found this collage of before and after photos of these churches from Facebook, which is just hearbreaking.

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Collage circulating throughout social media, downloaded from a Facebook user.

I also saw this YouTube video of the actual collapse of the belfry at the Basilica Minore del Sto Niño in Cebu. It's just terrifying.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My belated introduction to Korea's Caffe Bene

Thanks to a colleague who's a diehard Koreanovela fan, I got introduced to Caffe Bene. And who knew there was one just a few steps away from our office?

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The Caffe Bene exterior along the Valero Access Road in Makati City. Love that brick wall and decorative clock!

So the uninitiated in me learned that Caffe Bene is a Korean chain of cafes, the leading one so to speak. We tried the one along the Valero Access Road one afternoon, which is located rather inconspicuously at the ground floor of the Multinational Bankcorp Center right next to LKG Tower. Much like myself, I don't think many people know that such a cafe existed in the area.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The chill vibe amid all the chaos at Bali's Jimbaran Beach

It's where Balinese locals readily tell you to go to catch the sunset and enjoy fresh seafood. Jimbaran Beach is a ridiculously long stretch of cream-colored sand located on the southern tip of the island of Bali, Indonesia. It's just a short 15 to 20-minute ride from Alindra Villa where we were holed up for one night and which provided complimentary shuttle service to this spot.

Apart from a good view of the setting sun, they also promised fresh seafood. Well, this was what My Bibe and I had:

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As fresh as they can get!

The restaurant and the food
A strip of about 24 different restaurants line up the beach, all of which have a small area for unloading passengers, a wet market-like section where you choose your fresh catch for cooking, an adjacent grilling section, an indoor restaurant, and of course, an outdoor area by the beach where everyone basically is. I mean, who stays indoors when there's a gorgeous sunset outside?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

[Throwback Thursday 10.10.2013] Forklift float

So Ms World 2013 Megan Young will be holding a motorcade tomorrow along Ayala Ave. in Makati City. I certainly don't know how riding a float and waving in front of a crowd feels like. Well, this was probably the closest that I could get to that:
 
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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

[Lookbook 09.23.2013] Working the camera all by myself

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This is what happens when I'm all alone in our hotel room, all dressed up for dinner while waiting for My Bibe--selfie shots. With a remote whose battery had run out, I resorted to my camera's timer, carefully positioning my equipment atop pillows and alternately a table. It took a bit of practice, I must say.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Alindra Villa's Terracotta rooms and pool villas: An attempt at fusing traditional with modern

After showing you the ethnic villas at Alindra Villa, I'm taking you to this property's other two compounds: the Terracotta compound housing their more modern rooms and suites, and the back compound where the swanky pool villas are found.

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The Terracotta compound open grounds.

The Terracotta Compound
As with the front compound, this area has an open lawn at the center. We were told that this space is also used as a venue for parties and other events. Surrounding it is a two-story building where the Terracotta rooms and suites are located. There's a restaurant on the ground floor but which, unfortunately, we haven't checked out. There are also an open-air terrace and two lounge areas upstairs for guests.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The ethnic villas at Alindra Villa: A showcase of traditional Indonesian architecture

In my recent review of Alindra Villa, I basically gushed about how beautiful and relaxing this place is in the lovely island of Bali, Indonesia. There I mentioned that the property is zoned into three distinct areas: the front compound where their ethnic villas stand, the Terracotta compound housing their more modern rooms and suites, and the back compound where their three modern pool villas are.

I took a ton of photos but I couldn't use them all in my review, which in itself is already brimming with pictures. So I thought of dedicating two separate posts to show you their different accommodation options. This first one is all about their ethnic villas.

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The front compound where Alindra's four ethnic villas stand.

Alindra Villa is the brainchild of an Indonesian architect and painter who has a profound love for antiques and traditional architecture. Employing his vast collection of antique wooden Indonesian homes, he reinterpreted these traditional abodes and fitted them with modern comforts. And so his four ethnic villas were born.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

[Throwback Thursday 10.03.2013] Cap and socks

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Aww...such a cute baby I was back then, huh? This was taken in the late 1970s on the street where we used to live in Moonwalk Village in Parañaque. Judging from the pic, I wasn't even a year old here yet.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

REVIEW | A wonderful Balinese experience at Alindra Villa

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The showstopper ceiling of our joglo-style villa.

Surely I can just lay in bed and stare at that exquisite ceiling, marvel at the amount of detail that went into that beautiful centerpiece. I feel fortunate to have stayed in this villa with My Bibe recently, even if it was for just one night. Needless to say, I am in love with the place and I know that I run the risk of turning this review into a gushing writeup. But here goes...

Welcome to Alindra Villa in Bali, Indonesia!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Snapshots from Laiya

On our recent trip to Laiya in San Juan, Batangas, I tried to break away from my usual routine as far as taking pictures on our holidays is concerned. So apart from ourselves and the resort in Laiya where we stayed, I tried at least once to walk around and snap some shots of what else is there outside our resort, and here's what I got...

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I reckon they must be from somewhere nearby and were headed home after work at one of the resorts. My Bibe would freak out at the size of this outrigger (or lack thereof) yet one of them was comfortably texting her way away.

Friday, September 27, 2013

REVIEW | The "shady" Acuaverde Beach Resort

Two weekends ago My Bibe and I hied off to Laiya in San Juan, Batangas for a weekend getaway. We booked two nights at Acuaverde Beach Resort, which is managed by the same people behind the more popular Acuatico Beach Resort just a few meters away. Judging from the photos I've found, I suspected it was where Balai sa Laiya used to stand.

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Turns out I was right. It was the exact same place we've been to and loved more than six years ago, only now it's a different resort. So how is this new establishment? Here's a rundown.

Architecture and general ambiance
What we loved about Balai sa Laiya was that there were lots of open spaces and huge trees. So I was glad to see that the trees are still there and despite adding more rooms, Acuaverde has maintained its wide open spaces.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

[Throwback Thursday 09.26.2013] Beauty queen

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As the Ms World finals in Bali draws near, I've unearthed these photos of me with a beauty queen way back in 2002 (I think). I forgot her name but she was the reigning Miss Earth Philippines back then. These were taken in Zamboanga during one of our field assignments in the city.

Monday, September 23, 2013

[Lookbook 09.21.2013] Sunset reveler

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After a very relaxing Balinese massage at our villa, we checked out Jimbaran Beach where people troop to catch the sunset while enjoying fresh seafood along the sandy shoreline. We did just that and had a great time.

I wore these teal shorts that I paired with a multicolored stripe tee, which were perfect for the beach in my opinion. And yes, I did load up the color factor since my sunnies were bright yellow. However, I must argue that this outfit isn't really loud at all.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

[Throwback Thursday 09.19.2013] Garbed in garbage bags

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It's still my birthday month and it had me thinking about these little monthly "photo shoots" we used to do at the office for birthday celebrants. This one here is from not too long ago in 2010, which makes it my youngest throwback post.

For this shoot we made an attempt at garbage bag couture and fashioned different outfits from plastic. We took to the all-powerful internet for inspiration and although it took a lot of work, I think it's safe to say we were all very pleased with the end result. And this was the main image that went on display on our fun board:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

[Lookbook 09.14-16.2013] Short weekend

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My Bibe and I took to the beach over the weekend just to unwind for my birthday. We went to Laiya in San Juan, Batangas, to the exact same spot we've been to almost seven years ago, only now it's a different resort. It was overcast for the most part although there were few brief moments of sun. At least it didn't really rain.

Being at the beach, I was clad in shorts the whole time, mostly brightly-colored ones. On the three-hour drive going there (that stretched to four because of a pit stop), I wore an electric blue number that I paired with a printed gray tee to balance out the loudness.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

[Throwback (Travel) Thursday 09.12.2013] A look back at Laiya and Kwittie Boy's first beach outing

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That's the face of a very paranoid cat. Our dear Kwittie Boy is not used to being around unfamiliar people or territory. We feel guilty that we don't get to bring him (and our two other cats) out really and this one time that we took him to the beach with us back in February 2007 was definitely something he did not enjoy. He spent the whole time under one of the beds in our room and didn't really eat much or go to his litter box either, a behavior he once again exhibited when we had a short getaway with the cats at Sonya's Garden in Tagaytay last year.

Six years and seven months later My Bibe and I are checking out the beach in Laiya, Batangas once more. I can't believe it's been that long and I thought of reminiscing our time back then -- when I was several pounds lighter and before all the surgery scars.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

FRAGRANCE | Terre d'Hermes: My all-time favorite

I'm a sucker for fragrances and I do try different bottled scents all the time. But despite using different EDTs and colognes from different brands all the time--and by the way, liking them as well--I always go back to my one true favorite, Terre d'Hermes.

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Packaged in a simple yet elegant--not to mention sturdy and heavy--bottle, the liquid's color is consistent with the luxury brand's trademark orange. Not that it really matters because what's most important is how it smells.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Wrong Ramen: A very wrong decision

I forgot about this already until I tried freeing up space on my phone and saw photos of our first and only visit there. It was towards the end of July and while My Bibe and I were at the BGC area, we decided to try Wrong Ramen at Burgos Circle. We had high expectations given their audacity to declare that their ramen sucks and that it was better for people to try to verify.

The waiting list was loooong. It was close to 6pm and we were 12th or so on the list. The hostess said it would probably take an hour before we get seated. Since we weren't that hungry yet, we took the wait list and checked out the stores nearby. An hour has passed and we were still 4th or so when I came to check. It probably took another 30 minutes before we finally got seated.

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Wrong Ramen's "F.U. Ramen;" an absolute letdown.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

[Throwback Thursday 09.05.2013] Training the new recruits

Although I've been out of mountaineering since the last quarter of 2005, a colleague from the Smart Mountaineering Club asked me to talk about the club's history at the start of this year's Basic Mountaineering Course (BMC) for new recruits. Having been part of the core team that institutionalized the club (translation: I'm old), they thought I would be in a better position to give this retrospective account.

And this request reminded me of this:

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

[Lookbook 09.04.2013] Wingtips are red, outfit is brown

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Yes, that's a red shoe you see in the photo. You can say that I'm bored with the usual black and brown, so why not go red?

Monday, September 2, 2013

[Lookbook 09.02.2013] Casual Monday

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Well, well, well... it's been months since my last outfit post. And who says casual is confined to Fridays only? Luckily for me, we had a little activity today that gave us the perfect excuse to wear jeans.
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