Tag Archives: fun

I love my Saturdays

The weekend’s coming up again soon. I’m loving my Saturdays because I get to see my friends and do fun things with them. I really wish I could split myself a la Naruto so I could see all my friends, but alas, I can not.

Therefore last Saturday, I could only do two out of three: go to the Nihongo Center Foundation Open House with Drew, and attend the first Human Heart Nature Summit with Fristine, Lornadahl and my Tita Rose.

I was late in meeting Drew, who patiently waited at the MRT station. The NCF was a jeep’s ride away, and was already in full swing when we arrived. There were various exhibits, lectures and activities guests can participate in, including an aikido demonstration, origami lessons, tea ceremony basics and a trivia booth. There were also a few items for sale, and for Php5, you can rent a cute hat for a photo op.

You can also rent and wear a yukata for the day. Drew agreed to wear one after I said I will, but the girls’ yukata had a long line, and I didn’t bring mine.

There was also food available. They looked yummy, even if they were packed in styrofoam boxes.

We spent less than two hours there. Headed off north so Drew could go to Gilmore and I to Ateneo.

The 1st Human Heart Nature Summit
I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to attend because I wasn’t able to pay for the tickets. Imagine my surprise (and glee) when I got a message saying that tickets would be sold for half the price! Instead of paying P500 for two, I got to pay P300! What luck!

I arrived shortly before one. I picked up my tickets and purchased the mineral make-up at only P215. Haven’t used it yet, so don’t expect any reviews.

Fristine was already inside, and I got to hang out with Lornadahl. We saw Bryan McClelland, the guy who makes bamboo bikes. Tita Rose arrived shortly after and we went inside.

Suzy Andrada-Abrera, a Human Heart Nature dealer herself, was one of the lively hosts of the program. Anna Meloto-Wilk, her husband Daniel and HHN spokesperson Rachel Grant all said a few words. Daniel also introduced members of the HHN team who are from various GK villages. As they told their stories, I couldn’t help but tear up. Awards were also given to the best performing HHN branch and dealer.


My beautiful friends

HHN also introduced the “One Heart, One Community” program, where 100% of the proceeds from the company’s best selling product will go to the community who provides the main ingredient for that product. Imagine, ALL the proceeds go to them and not Human Heart Nature. Wow.

The program lasted until 5 PM. There was also a search for the next HHN ambassador, as well as a very rousing performance from the Ryan Cayabyab Singers. Tony Meloto, founder of Gawad Kalinga, said a few words as the program ended. It rained while we were inside, making the air cooler as we stepped out to head our own ways. There were various booths outside, other organic producers, NGOs and groups.

It was definitely a success. Until the next summit!

Photography wan-oh-wan

Presea told me about a basic digital photography workshop she was going to attend. Given that the price is reasonable and the location good, I thought I’d give it a go as well.

The class was small, which was good because it allowed us to feel more at ease with our teacher James Nicolay (who really is a teacher by profession, rather than a photographer). The er, lesson was easy to understand. A bit overwhelming at first, perhaps, plus a little daunting when everyone else had a DSLR or at least a semi-pro camera.

Ego moment though, when I was told that I had a good eye for photos and should consider upgrading my camera (my ever lovely and reliable Canon Ixus 80 IS) soon.

Here’s the five photographs I submitted for critique, already edited and watermarked.

Carillon

Van

Carillon II

Leaf

Tin Tin

You can view the other photos here in my Flickr.

This class was very helpful in learning the basics of photography. Sure, I read books and tutorials but sometimes, the terminology and the text can be daunting. At least now I have a better idea of the technical side of photography and I’m also more familiar with my camera. I’m considering getting a DSLR sometime this year, but that’s all plans. Still, I had great fun and I’m more confident now with what I can do, photography wise.

2010’s generated New Year’s resolutions

I posted a link on Plurk about a New Year’s Resolution Generator. Most the stuff it throws up are pretty decent, but it becomes funny depending on the person’s point of view.

I didn’t note the ones I got that time, but I’m going to give it a go again. Here are my top ten generated resolutions, followed by a brief commentary hehe.

This year I will…

1. Let go
I laughed at this first, given the events of last year, but when you think about it, it makes sense. I need to let go of the things that burden me emotionally and spiritually, as well at the material things that I don’t need or just clutter up my life.

2. Be happy and healthy
I made a mental note late last year to start living a more healthy life. I’m mostly sedentary, but I do a lot of walking to and from my office. This year, since I’m moving to a new place, I’m planning to find a route that’ll allow me to get my exercise in as well. I’m also planning to do some exercises to tone my body. I’m not really fat, but I’d love to be more fit.

As for being happy, I’d like to think that I am, but I know I still feel discontent with a lot of things. I guess that’s related to generated-resolutions no. 1.

3. Grow basil
I have actually been meaning to do this for a while now. I love pesto, and I’d love to have my own basil so I could make pesto any time I like. I already know where to get seedlings. I just need to put the plan into action.

4. Wear sunglasses
There’s a reason why I don’t really wear glasses of any sort. First off, it’s hard for me to find one that fits me. I have to get them custom fitted. Second, I tried, I really did, but I get irritated by the feel of the glasses. Although, I’m seeing the merit of wearing a good pair, especially if I’m going to be walking around most of the time.

5. Get married
As I’m typing this, I am hearing “The Wedding March” playing somewhere in the building. Huh? Well, I’d love to get married but for the fact that I don’t have a groom. Hehe, oh well, there’s still plenty of time left in 2010 right?

6. Appreciate the simple things
Even though I already do, it’s nice to be reminded this every so often.

7. Throw a dinner party
My sister and I are actually planning one! I hope it pushes through! I’m excited!

8. Get to know the neighbors
I live in a condo building with my three brothers. They already know a lot of people here, while I only know the shopkeepers (some who already moved away). So yeah, I should get to know them, even bit by bit.

9. Throw a penny in a fountain
Then make a wish right? 🙂

10. Back up my computer files regularly
I am guilty of not doing this! As my laptop is approaching it’s second year, I really should get to cleaning it up. I really need to back-up my photos too. Time Machine must be engaged!

I made a mistake and clicked on the generator 11 times, so here’s an extra one:
11. Stay in touch
Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, it’s far easier to stay in touch with people, but it’s also difficult because there’s a mindset that “Oh I can contact them anytime.” I love finding friends online, and I love talking to them about how they are. I hope I can talk to more friends this year, and better yet, meet with them in person. 🙂

What’s your resolution?

Baguio weekend

Last weekend, Den and I went to Baguio. She told me that she had been hankering for a visit to our college town and asked if I wanted to come along (then again, whether or not I could go wouldn’t stop her hehe).

I had several reasons why I couldn’t go: work, lack of budget, plus I promised to go to my best friend’s thanksgiving dinner that weekend (she just passed the bar, yahoo!). But then, it was Baguio… and I wanted to see my sister who my parents said wasn’t feeling well when they visited her the previous week.

It took some juggling, but I managed to get a Friday leave and cough up some funds. I planned to go back on Saturday around lunch, leaving Den in Baguio. The last minute, my brother Miks and Den’s sister Mic joined us, so not only was it a friend bonding trip, but a sibling bonding one.

We decided to take the earliest trip from Manila to Baguio, but instead of the midnight trip, we got the 2 AM one. Not bad, but somehow, there was another mix-up in the tickets (which happened the last time Den & I went to Baguio too. I wonder if there’s a jinx of sorts?). The trip was rather long too, closer to seven hours instead of six like it was originally.

We arrived in Baguio amidst the sounds of Air Supply videoke and the Pork Chop Duo. Upon arrival, we went to meet my sister Otki, drop off our stuff and go to UP.

Ah, UP. No words could describe you. You’ve changed but I still love you. We had breakfast at the Upper Canteen and went around the campus, with me as the tour guide. We had the requisite pictures with Oble and waited for Otki.





Just because there’s a UP in Diliman or Manila doesn’t make this UP less of… UP. ^_~

We spent the rest of the morning at SM while waiting for 2 PM so we could check in. Den & Mic slept the afternoon away, while my siblings and I went back to SM to shop and meet my friend Yvie. Afterwards, Otki went with her friends, while I lounged at the hotel using their free wi-fi.

Dinner was at our staple restaurant, Steaks and Toppings, and afterwards, a nice walk along Session Road.

The next day, Miks went home early, while Den & I met up with our classmates Kat and Jang for breakfast at Pizza Volante along Session (this branch is what the locals like better than the one at SM hehe). It was a wonderful hour of chatting and good food.

Afterwards, Den went to meet her friend in SM (again, hehe) and I went to meet Otki. My friends from our office’s IT were in Baguio to work on something, so I thought I’d visit them. I wouldn’t want to pass up the opportunity to see this place up close.





I caught the 1:10 PM bus to Manila, while Otki went back to school. My trip was more than eight hours, and I barely made it to my best friend’s party — but I did! The only thing I wasn’t able to do that weekend was watch the Davids in concert, but I didn’t mind… much :p

Busy weekend, but such fun. I am thankful.

Hopeful

Three day weekend, I decided to speed of to Zambales for a much needed R&R. My siblings were all there, and they said that my grandpa was asking when I’ll be home. I had planned to wait until Holy Week to go home, but I figured I could use the few days extra.

So after the TDT, I tried to catch a trip to Iba. I knew I wouldn’t make it to the Caloocan station, so I decided to take one from Cubao. Unfortunately, there were a lot of travelers so I had to compete with all those people. I couldn’t find the line for Iba, so I decided to get one to Olongapo and take a bus there to Sta. Cruz.

Luckily, I was able to talk to the conductor of the bus to Iba, and I got to grab the last free seat. Even though it was at the very back, I took it. To my left was a couple who sounded like they work in a call center; to my right, was a pair of middle-aged ladies who talked non-stop from Manila to Olongapo.

My parents picked me up from Iba, which was lucky since I missed the last trip to Sta. Cruz. Now I’m home… and tomorrow I’ll be heading back to Manila.

Waiting… hoping I’m worthy
So I took the Talent Determination Test for the College of Fine Arts in UP Diliman. Since I’m a UP graduate, I didn’t have to pay the fees and take the mental test thing. I did the interview two weeks ago, and took the test yesterday morning.

The interview wasn’t what I expected. I thought I was going to be asked some questions like “Why did you choose to take a second degree here in UP Fine Arts?” or “What do you expect to learn?”. I was quite surprised that it was very informal, and that we didn’t really get to talk much about my art. I was told though that they encourage students not to do much cartoon style work unless they can develop their own style. I can understand that, and believe me, I want nothing more than to do just that.

The test itself was alright. It rained during the first half of the test so the air was cool and I felt relaxed. I didn’t have trouble with the first part of the test (can I reveal it? Nah, I’ll play it safe and won’t), but the second part had me stumped for a few minutes and I was literally grasping at straws for ideas. It’s what somehow makes me worried about the test, especially when I saw the works of the other people. Talk about intimidation. Though I’m no longer as confident as before, I’m still hopeful and praying that I get a good birthday gift when the results come out on the 17th.

Snippets
Congratulations to my brother Gerone who graduate high school yesterday. He’ll be heading to Manila for enrollment after the Holy Week.

Congratulations as well to my best friend Carmenez for passing the bar! I now have several lawyers to defend me if the need arises.

We got a new puppy and named him Samer. Had a chat with my friends via Skype. Went to the beach today with my siblings too. Didn’t swim, just hung out.

Manila bound tomorrow.

Monster daze

Disclaimer: I wouldn’t actually call this a review, as I feel that I’m not good at them, but more of just my quick thoughts on the movie itself. I tried not so put spoilers though.

Compared to its predecessors in the computer animation world, such as The Incredibles or Monsters Inc. or Cars, Monsters vs. Aliens is a very light movie, plot-wise but also in terms of running time (about an hour and 45 minutes). I didn’t feel any anticipation (you know, the “Uh oh, what happens next?” feeling) as the story went along, nothing exciting like the climax or conflict.

However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t like the movie. On the contrary, I found Monsters vs. Aliens a pretty good watch. For me, the story is simple and you can easily see where it’s headed. In a way, the outcome of the movie is a tad predictable. So what makes it attractive?

Animation-wise, I was impressed by the textures of the characters’ skin. The freckles and pores on Susan’s face were clearly seen, showing realism that wasn’t possible some years ago. Check out the scales on Link’s body, or the movement of the hairs on the giant insect’s body.

The dialogue, the tongue-in-cheek one lines and innuendos had me laughing for most of the movie. I couldn’t help but wonder if there was any meaning to the the president’s portrayal (but he was good for a lot of laughs throughout the movie). I also wondered if it’s a testament to my age or geekiness that I could identify a few references to other pop-culture icons.

Again, I don’t find Monsters vs. Aliens an awesome movie, but it’s a good watch if you want to relax and just have a good laugh.

Got my cannoli
On the recommendation of a friend via Plurk, I headed to Marciano’s in Greenbelt 3 to finally get me some of my long desired cannoli. Drew wasn’t feeling well so he skipped trying it. It wasn’t bad. The crust was crunchy, with the insides softened by the creamy strawberry flavored filling. I didn’t know if it was cream or cheese though (but I know most cannoli’s are filled with a cheese based mixture).

I’ll try to make some of my own one of these days.

what more…
The guy known as Secondhand Serenade was doing a soundcheck as we left GB3. Either that, or his concert was woefully under-attended. I hope it was the former.

Spent a few minutes in Powerbooks, looking for something to get and read but the books I wanted were way over my budget. Didn’t find anything in Booksale later on either, so I’m determined to head to Recto for something. Waiting for payday though.

spotted
At the dimsum section of Shopwise in Cubao

A tale of great adventure and victory

Once upon a time there was a man who, from the comforts of his home in his native land, traded with merchants from far off places. Places where one needed wings to cross the seas even for just a visit, where one can find numerous treasures and discover places not found in any other land.

Though happy with this means of acquiring things, the man wondered if there was anything similar anywhere in his country. A market where he could share his own wares with his people, and spread the joy of acquiring interesting items. He searched high and low, but unless he wasn’t as thorough as he thought, he couldn’t find any. So, armed with nothing more than basic knowledge and a passion to succeed, the man braved the world he once was just happy to be a mere participant of.

A decade later, the man takes a step back to admire all that he has achieved. It wasn’t a smooth sailing by any means, but it had been a journey where challenges were overcome, lessons learned and friends met. Today, he enjoins all to help him celebrate by sharing words that they have stumbled across in sacred tomes and found memorable. A prize worthy of the name Avalon would be given: a book penned and illustrated by two well known names in the literary world, with even the author’s own signature marking it. Should one decide to seek more ways to ensure that prize (and get some other items along the way), it is possible.

So head on to the Avalon.ph blog, check out the mechanics for this newest contest to win! Good luck, for you’ll need it as I intend to be the winner! *cheers*

up, up and away!

I haven’t attended a flag ceremony in a long time. Today, we were asked to attend because our office was hosting it for the entire division. My shift was supposed to start at 10am and end at 7pm, but I started it early today. I still had to leave at 7 though.

It was interesting. I didn’t know that there have been changes to the flag ceremony, like the panatang makabayan was no longer being recited (though I don’t know if this was done in schools as well. After a few words from one of the officers, we sang “Pilipinas Kong Mahal” (I was a bit ashamed that I struggled over the words, while I saw museum director Jeremy Barnes singing it with no difficulties at all).

14th Hot Air Balloon Fest
I went with my cousin Miel and her family to Clark for the lat day of the Hot Air Balloon fest yesterday. I spent the night at their house after we watched Boyce Avenue. Dinner was best described as homemade gourmet courtesy of Ate Angge (salamat, Ate!) and we spent the rest of the night just hanging out. I watch Nodame Cantabile on Animax and didn’t fall asleep until midnight. Woke up around 2 am and got ready to leave for Clark.

We sort of got lost on the way but we arrived safe and sound at the venue. I thought I was going to have some problem with the ticket as mine was the one printed out by Ticketnet, but aside from an odd look by the ticket guy, he let me through. Weee.

I felt like a kid. There was so many things to look at, so many things to try. I wanted to ride the balloon, climb in the jet or the tanks, people watch, eat all sorts of food…

It was a good day, if a bit warm towards midday. The weather was great, allowing the balloons to fly. It was amazing to see them rise to the sky. Had some delicious German sausages for breakfast, expensive, but worth it.


Notice the guy on the right, both his hat and apron

Also checked out the exhibit by the army, navy and airforce. Got to hold a bazooka, but I wasn’t able to ride the jet.

When we were heading back, we saw a gathering of vintage car enthusiasts. Volkswagon, Fords, Toyotas, Mitsubishis, etc. It was really interesting to see them all tricked out and in excellent working condition.

It was a good morning. Will definitely have to check it out next year again.

More pictures here.

Culinary experiment #I-don’t-remember

My grandfather is here with us for the weekend. He’s having his regular check-up on Monday, and had his blood chem yesterday. He usually stays with my uncle and his family but lately he likes to stay with my brothers and I.

It’s always nice to have Lolo. I don’t see him as much as I’d like, with him living in the province while we live here in Manila. He’s always got a lot of things to say, a lot of stories to tell, his mind still spiry and alert at 82. He always has alot of stories to tell, and keeps abreast with the news, and is more updated about it than I am.

One of the difficulties of having Lolo around though, is the restrictions to his diet, which shouldn’t really be a problem as it allows me to experiment in cooking. His current list of food no-no’s include a huge number of vegetables we normally consume, so that pretty much left me clueless as to what I can prepare. Thankfully, fish is ok for him.

For lunch today, I prepared some tilapia fillets cooked with garlic, onion, basil and butter. I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do when I bought the ingredients, sort of just throwing them all together into the pan. When I served it, I was apprehensive, but Nunik and Lolo said it tastes good.

I don’t really measure when I cook, unless I’m following a recipe or I’m baking (which is rare). Everything is more like “what I think feels right” or simply just eyeballing the measurements, and tasting if it’s all right.

I call this another one of my culinary experiments hehe.

Ingredients:
4 tilapia fillets, defrosted
6 cloves of garlic, crushed and coarsely chopped
1 big white onion, chopped into strips
2-3 basil leaves
1/4 c. water
1 teaspoon butter
1 tablespoon salt
dash of black pepper

1. In a shallow pan, boil water and salt.
2. Add garlic, onion and basil. Simmer for 2-3 minutes
3. Place fillets, cover and let sit for 5 minutes
4. Turn the fillets if needed
5. Add butter. Let it melt.
6. Add pepper

Serves 4-6 people, depending on their appetite :p

You can adjust it to fit your taste. I thought of adding tomatoes to it, but I didn’t have any on hand. Or perhaps strip of ginger for extra flavor. I eliminated oil for sauteing, instead letting the flavors boil and be soaked by the fish. To prevent the fish from flaking, you can lightly fry or broil it, I guess.

Happy eating!