The Great Singapore Adventure: Day 5

Continued from The Great Singapore Adventure Day 4.

Our last day came on a rather somber tone, what with the events of last night hanging over our heads. Plans of heading to the Philippine embassy was scrapped due to the lateness of the day, so it was decided that Nez and Everlo would go to the Singapore Tourism Board while everyone can do some sightseeing.

I didn’t really have plans for the day, as I was quite hesitant to go about on my own. I still haven’t done some things on my list, namely: eat Hainanese chicken, go to Funan, find some Pinky St. toys and explore Kinokuniya. We headed off to Orchard Road.

Orchard

Orchard reminded me of Ayala and Buendia Avenue. Only instead of offices, the street is lined with malls and shopping centers. Our first stop was the Louie Vuitton shop near ION, where we bought a bag for someone back home.

It’s my first time to enter an LV store. I’m not a fan of such designer labels, and I’m quite intimidated by them. A friend related a story of how her mother went to one LV store and the attendants looked down on her like she couldn’t afford to even buy the cheapest item (she can, and more). I was worried that we’d have the same treatment, especially since the attendants looked like they were earning more than I am.

However, we were warmly greeted as we entered the store, and someone immediately came up to us to ask what we wanted. She immediately showed us the bag, answered our questions and even helped facilitate a certain request. In less than thirty minutes we were done.

It was nearly noon. We just walked along the street looking at shops, stopping at a $1 ice cream stall. I spotted a Kinokuniya sign and told everyone that I needed to go there for a few minutes. Since there was a line for the ice cream, they let me go.

My kind of store
The building happened to be Takashimaya, a branch of a well-known Japanese department store. I made a beeline for the bookstore on the 3rd floor, and immediately went to look for Dianne Jacob’s “Will Write For Food”. As luck would have it, there was one copy left. I grabbed it, browsed a little more a wished desperately I had more than $50 left to spend. Kinokuniya is massive. While it’s not as big as the Fully Booked flagship in Bonifacio High Street, the selection here is massive. I found several books that I’ve been wanting to get but could never find in any of the bookstores here. However, due to budget constraints, I had to make do with this one book.

I decided to do a bit of exploring, so I headed up another floor. Here there were toy stores that had a lot of Japanese character products (no figures though, it was mostly plushies and cartoon characters). The best place on this floor was the massive art supply store called Art Friend. 10,000 square meters of art supplies. I wanted to genuflect and weep. Deovir had nothing on this place. The section near the entrance alone had me gaping in awe for a few minutes. Fabric paints of various sizes and brands had me imagining the projects I could do. Sadly, as I was pressed for both time and funds, I had to leave empty handed. I did promise to myself that I’ll come back and splurge heavily here.

Note: I wasn’t able to take any pictures because I didn’t know if it was allowed.

Hainanese

Lunch was at the Food Republic at Wisma Atria. I like how it looks like it’s all hawkers but it isn’t. The prices don’t seem very far from the ones you see in hawker places, so we settled on having lunch there. I ordered some roasted Hainanese chicken, and discovered that drinks really seem to be sold separately here.

Verdict on the chicken hasn’t changed. I still prefer tinola.

Continue reading The Great Singapore Adventure: Day 5

Huling hirit

Summer was still in full swing when Ryan broached the idea of having a picnic-slash-toy shoot at UP Diliman. Unfortunately, our schedules were full that it wasn’t until last Sunday were we able to finally get together. It had rained the days before so we were worried that it might rain on that weekend. Thankfully, the sun was bright and shining, so our picnic plans pushed through.

Joiz, Ryan, Drew and I agreed to meet around 11:30 at Quezon Hall, Oblation. Unfortunately, we all had a mishap or two so we all met up around 1 PM. Joiz brought sandwiches, Ryan had brownies, I got Ilocos Empanada and Drew took care of the drinks. We made our way from Quezon Hall up to the Sunken Garden. Despite the shade of the trees, it was still warm. Later, I learned that June 4 was recorded to be the second hottest day in Manila this 2011. No wonder we were sweating.

So the afternoon was spent eating, drinking (softdrinks and water lang hehe), talking and taking pictures of our toys. Yes, that was a must. We watched a friendly soccer game between folks of two different nationalities, and pretty much just lazed the day away. When the day was ending, we went back to Quezon Hall to take pictures of Oblation, then headed to SM North to cool off.

Last hurrah before the rainy season hits, and how wonderfully timed it was.

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More Weekend Adventures

I realized that I’ve been around Metro Manila around enough to not get lost. At least, I know how the streets and places look like. I’m not so sure if I know the names of those places.

When Plurk buddies Ryan, Yue and Drew decided to go check out the Gashapon selection in Robinson’s Ermita, my first question was “Is that the same as Robinson’s Place Manila?” My best friend confirmed it, so I was confident we’d get there without mishap.

Except the cab driver asked, “Sa Pedro Gil o sa Padre Faura ba kayo?” (Are you going to Pedro Gil or Padre Faura?) Hala. I wasn’t sure so I went with the first that popped to mind. “Padre Faura!” I figured once inside the mall I could just ask where the store was. Then I remembered the last time I was there, I got lost looking for Bistro Ravioli. Oh joy. I prayed hard that we wouldn’t get lost on the way or be stuck too long in traffic.

We did arrive in good time and the fare was just below a hundred bucks. Not bad, considering we came all the way from Makati.

Gashapon Galore
Ryan told us that the gashapon place was near Toys ‘R Us. We went inside the department store and was disappointed to find not a single one. We ended up inside an amusement arcade with rather disturbing rides, but was a source of hilarity for all of us.

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Finally, we decided to ask one of the attendants at the toy section if she knew where the “toy vending machines” (I didn’t know how else to describe them) were. She pointed us to the direction of another amusement arcade… which was right next to the actual Toys ‘R Us of the mall. And there they were, the gashapon.

Yue and her sister were ecstatic. I wasn’t looking for any particular gashapon, since I already have a Kurama from Shabby. I did, however, had a few moments of uncertainty when Drew said, “Ayaw mo ng Youko?” (You don’t want the Youko?) but I somehow managed to pass it up. Besides, I had already spent half of my budget on the magazine… *ninja*

Some of the gashapon Yue was looking for wasn’t available. Thankfully, the Toys ‘R Us staff were accommodating and allowed her to buy the remaining Pentax gashapon that was on display. I think the staff was amused at us and mistook all of us for tourists.
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Continue reading More Weekend Adventures

RPG: Metanoia and randomness

RPG: Metanoia is a definite must watch! I’m a skeptic when it comes to Filipino movies, more so with the animated ones, which I am quite sorry to say. I’ve tried watching them in the past and while I love how there’s a continuos effort to make our own animation better than before, I still end up feeling disappointed after watching them.

I first heard about RPG: Metanoia through Roch, who mentioned it on her Plurk and said that she did some translation work for the movie. At that time, the trailer still wasn’t up on the site so I had to make do with choppy versions in YouTube. I was rather impressed, and felt that this would far exceed my expectations.

During the 5th Toycon, Yue mentioned that she already saw the movie (during the premiere night) and she loved it. Coming from her, I think that’s a pretty big compliment. I got more excited when I saw the official trailer.

My first impression was the animation during the action scenes were rather choppy, compared to the regular “offline” scenes*. However, as the movie progressed, that was pretty much the only rather negative comment I had. I was totally taken by the whole movie. I could relate to it in some many levels. Since I’m not very good at doing reviews (I should start improving on that though), I shall list the reasons why I like it and what I can relate to.

(*Note: After much thought, I realized that it was possible that the choppiness of the sequence was to mimic online games. Nico’s computer tends to lag, and as it is when playing video games or MMORPGs. So it does make sense.)

  1. The MMORPG/gaming life in general. I’m a very casual gamer, and I never really got into the MMORPG scene, but if I find a really good game, I get so into it until it’s done. Plus, my brothers are all into MMORPGs (they’re currently playing Allods) so I’ve seen the whole stay-up-til-morning-just-to-finish-the-quest-and-find-that-elusive-item or the omg-my-pc-is-too-slow-damn-its-lagging-I-need-to-upgrade drama.
  2. The slices of Filipino life. It was quite something to see things that were normal for you on screen. It was one thing to watch foreign animations (like the Japanese slice of life) shows. It was another to see Pinoy life gloriously animated. Fristine mentioned the little things like the longanisa, and I noted things like “Bawal Umihi!” or the details in the sari sari store. Anyone notice how that building with laser bars look like a giant mosquito killer? However the part I liked best when they were outdoors playing the games I used to play as a kid.
  3. Seeing Pinoy elements in an “international MMORPG”. I love how the Philippine portal looks like an old Spanish town, and there were so many adaptations of our culture around it. The mechanical calesa was a favorite.
  4. Jejemon-isms. C’mon, don’t tell me you didn’t laugh when you saw Mark erase “Adonis” and replace it with “Ahdonis”. How about those players who needed help and had a “Pa-heal po me” sign board?
  5. The music was just AWESOME. I did wonder if they were going to make a totally new soundtrack for it, then I saw “Gerard Salonga” on the credits. Heck, if that didn’t mean some badass score, I don’t know what it would be. I loved the score, and I liked the use of APO’s “Bawat Bata” for the street games scene.
  6. I loved the costumes and character design. I like May’s avatar, I liked Bryan’s Mang Ernie and his skill/class is probably the one I’d like to have. Each character was pretty interesting on their own. Daniel was funny because he barely said anything in the whole movie except for his attack “Bato bato pick!” The designs on the players on the foreign servers were pretty cool too, and I love how their home portals aptly fits their country.

While I’m aware that the movie wasn’t perfect and still has things it can improve on, it was truly a big improvement over the other animated movies we had in the past. It was very gutsy to venture into 3D animation when the industry has barely cracked the 2D animation scene. I wasn’t too impressed with the voice of Nico/Zero, but everyone else was fan. Still, after a while you get used to the voice but his first few dialogues were rather hard to take. On the whole, the movie is really first rate and a very impressive one too. I wish it won more awards, but getting 3rd Best Picture, Best Original Theme Song and Best Sound Recording isn’t bad at all.

I’m hoping the guys behind this film would create more animated works not just for the MMFF but also for regular screening and maybe get an animated TV series. If this becomes a full fledged MMORPG, I just might sign up. Congratulations!

Randomness after the jump
Continue reading RPG: Metanoia and randomness

5th Christmas Toy Con

Today, I went to the 5th Christmas Toy Fair. It was also a joint event with the Mom’s Holiday Finds. I really wasn’t planning to get anything, but I was hoping to score some Pinky:St parts from Akihabara Toys. It was also my first trip outside after a week’s seclusion thanks to my infected eye. My sister gave me the go-signal to go out, so long as I take care of myself.

Yue, Ryan and I agreed to be there at 10 AM so we can maximize the morning. Yue arrived first while the mall was still closed. I arrived a few minutes later and Ryan came much, much later, thanks to the traffic in his area.

While waiting for Ryan, Yue and I went ahead exploring the booths that were there. According to Yue, this was a much bigger event than the last one she attended. Ryan said the same thing later on, that the space for the 2009 con was smaller than this year’s.


Here is the Akihabara Toys booth. They’re a toy store located at Malolos, Bulacan. Field trip, my fellow toy collectors?

Japanimation also had a booth there.

Since there’s so much to see, I will refrain from trying to write something in a narrative form. Instead, I will spam you with pictures (which you will see by clicking on “Read more” below) and provide some comments.

Continue reading 5th Christmas Toy Con

I suck at titles, seriously

Saturday had me visiting Riverbanks for the Hobbyworx toy fair. Last month they had their event at Glorietta 5, where my friends managed to get great bargains on some merchandise. This month’s event had fewer booths, but had a cosplay and auction activities in partnership with Cosplay.ph.

I met Ryan, then with Drew. Nothing much to look at (except for the fascinating and somewhat creepy giant janitor fish in Marikina River), so we decided to head on to Makati to meet up with the rest of the Plurkers for pizza. I missed seeing Yue because I didn’t get there fast enough.

The trip to Cubao itself was an adventure. We were stuck in traffic next to a truckload of pigs. We couldn’t take the smell, so we got off at Project 4 and took a different route to Cubao. It was a familiar place for both Ryan and myself, so we pointed out places to Drew (much like touring a foreigner, which is now a running joke amongst us). When we got to Cubao, we stopped over at Ali Mall only long enough for me to get my Pinky:St dolls and the Chopper hat for Joiz.

The line for MRT tickets was long. It was also crowded inside the train, so we sort of just squeezed against each other. It was marginally better than the horrendous traffic along EDSA. When we arrived at Magallanes, we took a jeep to Makati Cinema Square, where Joiz was with Shabby, Marsha and Jan.


Danbo and the Chopper hat


Danbo wants pizza


Danbo loves the giant juice


I like the Chopper hat!

We ordered pizza, and knowing that it would take a while, Ryan, Drew and I went to Waltermart to look at Great Toys. Drew wanted to buy a toy because I got some and Ryan got comics. :p He ended up getting Revoltech Airi from Queen’s Blade.

Dinner was fun. We had the 27″ pizza and a plate of pasta. Surprise! Busog. Took pics, made fun of Joiz then headed off to Greenbelt for drinks. I got sleepy after one bottle of Super Dry, so I had coffee. I looked so cool.

I had to leave early because I had to be up and about by 6 AM the next day for the Samsung Galaxy Tab tour. I was late in getting up, but still earlier than everyone. I should get plus points… say, a free Tab. Hehe.

Saturday again

Fourth October Saturday with friends. Tally: Drew – 4, Ryan, Fristine & Lornadahl – 2, Joiz, Shabby/Marsha, Den & Ching – 1 each. New people I met: Fritz and Yue. October rocks, although next week’s pretty much reserved for family. I’m going home to Zambales!

Finally got together with Den and Ching. We haven’t seen each other in weeks, what with Den being in Dumaguete for a while and Ching and myself off doing our own thing. Yesterday, we went to our usual haunts, did some food trip, videoke and book browsing. I also got to check out the newly opened Muji at Bonifacio High Street. As much as I loved it, I probably won’t be making any purchases from them in the near future. I do want the storage though, and the food stuff.

I missed my friends terribly. They’re among the rare ones whom I know I can count on anytime, no matter the distance. As I told Den, “I may be having fun with my new friends, but you guys are the ones I keep coming back to.” Aww, mush.

It rained late in the afternoon, delaying my trip to Makati where I was meeting Ryan and Drew. We met up in Hana in Little Tokyo, so Ryan and I could pick up the Pinky St. dolls we were getting from Yue. I also decided to give in and try Hana’s takoyaki, which I have been wanting to try for a very long time.

It did not disappoint. If you are looking for a takoyaki fix and you have the time to go to Hana, do so.

I also got to try the dynamite roll, California maki, and that spinach/bacon dish (I don’t know what it’s called). We also tried the coffee jelly, which I absolutely loved. While you can taste the coffee, it wasn’t that strong so it just balances out the sweetness of the cream. The shaved ice is also delicious. Ryan also share the cupcakes he decorated, and Yue’s toys posed a bit with the food hehe.


It would look better if I composed the shots no? >.< 

Hoping to return there this time with the family in tow. 😀 Many thanks to Yue and her mom. 😀

New collection?
So I finally got my Pinky St. figures. I got PK014 Maki from Ryan, then a mix of some loose Pinky from Yue.

Here’s a combination of the pieces.

365/Oct. 24: Mallory

Seriously going to check out what’s available in the stores next payday hehe.

Control your emotions. Please do not touch.*

Saturday found me with friends and fellow toy enthusiasts Drew, Ryan and Joiz browsing through the booths of various toy shops at the October Toy Fair in Glorietta 5.

Ryan jumped into the comic book bins, while the rest of us went around looking at what’s for sale. I never really intended to buy anything, but I did get my first Pinky St. from Ryan.

There were more than twenty booths that fit in the activity area of Glorietta 5. My favorite booth had to be Akihabara toys, which mostly had anime figures. Original, high priced toys stood side by side with bootleg copies, while vintage toys also attracted some attention. I saw two complete sets of Voltron Go Lion die-casts (just the figures, minus the accessories), while there were also some loose lions for sale. Sadly, it is very much over my budget so I just gazed at them until I was dragged away by my friends.

After lunch we planned to head to Bonifacio High Street but the rain was too strong, so we went back to the toy fair to wait for Fritz. He went there solely to buy the Black Rock Shooter figure from Figma.

Everyone got something that day. Joiz hauled a set of four Ruroni Kenshin figures, Drew gave in to buying a Peter Venkman figure while I got a cute pendant, aside from the Pinky St. figure.

Afterwards, we went to UCC near 6750 to take pictures and trade other stuff.


Some behind the scenes

Speaking of toys, here is one that I haven’t shared with the world just yet.

It’s a pair of Star Wars chopsticks from Kotobukiya US. Rochelle of magnetic_rose.net had a raffle for two of these babies, and I won one of them. This is Mace Windu’s. It’s nine inches long, made out of plastic. The saber handles are detailed like the actual weapon it’s patterned from, and the “light” part is also made of plastic that is safe to use with food. There’s also a chopstick rest with the logo “Star Wars”. As my cousin and Star Wars fan would say, “Awesome!”

And here is my new Pinky St: Maki. Thanks Ryan!


I haven’t edited this, so sorry for the awful photo.

*A warning posted at one of the displays. No pic, tsk.

I’ve just seen Toy Story 3 and I’ve got spoilers

I just saw Toy Story 3 (yes, weeks late, I know) with my sister and I had one of the most enjoyable times ever. Kids my age (yes, I’m a kid haha) would definitely have a fun time with it. Toys are toys, but it’s far more enjoyable in so many ways.

I don’t do reviews (because I find it hard not to gush or bash and just be objective), but here are my thoughts on the movie. Warning: Spoilers, and possible nonsense.

  • Recognizable toys – Since Toy Story 3 is about toys Andy’s outgrown, there are no fancy gadgets here. At most, you get battery operated toys (like Buzz) and a few others. Many are action figures, stuffed toys and dolls. I was very amused to see Totoro (of Hayao Miyazaki’s “My Neighbor Totoro”) among Bonnie’s toys. I squealed, yes.
  • Any one who’s played with toys as a kid and have outgrown them can recognize Andy’s concern when he realized his mom had thrown out his favorite toys, ones that he’s kept all those years (you’ll also see the parallelism of this to the first Toy Story, where Andy was moving to a new place and he thought he lost Woody and Buzz). You’ll also be able to relate, I’m sure, to the last part where he was giving them away and was very reluctant to part with Woody.
  • Ken. OMG. He’s so gay, but he’s not. I would presume his personality is because he is a girl’s toy (no matter how hard he protests). He may be flashy and vain, but I think he’s really a manly man.
  • References to other toys. “I know you don’t know me from G.I. Joe!” This had me laughing because I used to pair my Barbie with my brother’s G.I. Joe, wishing they were taller and bigger so they’d be more compatible with my doll.
  • Buzz’s Spanish mode and dance. Wahahahaha. Nuff said.
  • Poor Woody. Bo Peep’s gone. 🙁 It’s presumed that somewhere between the TS2 and TS3 she either got sold off at a garage sale or donated somewhere.
  • Effin’ creepy Baby Doll. My great-grandma had one and it’s still around at our house in Zambales. I usually yell when I come across it while digging through old stuff. I don’t know why they kept it.
  • The trolls on the train. My god, I really, really laughed out loud. It was embarrassing but dammit, I didn’t care. My best friend had a cabinet full of those stuff, while I had one and it came from a old crush who got me for Kris Kringle back in 6th grade.
  • I literally teared up at the last scene, where Andy gave Bonnie his toys and had one last play time with them. You can see the likeness of that with the first TS and the opening scenes of this movie. Just goes to show that no matter how old you are, there’s still a kid inside you.

On a side note, I loved the short at the start, “Day and Night” (or was it “Night and Day”). Best part? The sunrise/sunset.
There’s probably more I’ll remember, but for now, that’s it. I hope you got to see this movie. It’s truly enjoyable.

Labor day events

My Labor Day events anyway.

Fristine told us about this food tour event at Bonifacio High Street happening last Saturday. I dragged Presea and Ching along, but it turns out we didn’t make the cut-off even if we were early for the sign-up. Pfft. Although I was disappointed, I didn’t feel it much of a loss, as opposed to this woman who said she was from McCann-Ericsson and was informed that someone else already signed up for the tour in her name, and brought along a few other people to boot. Talk about stealing identity.

Ching, Presea and I ended up at Conti’s. Afterwards, we walked around and met Den, who decided to go to Taguig to beat the heat. We got her books (may bagong convert haha!) then she got into a conversation with Presea about writing, and along with Ching, decided to establish something that’ll combine our interests and earning.

Franco live in Eastwood
I went home with just enough time to freshen up. It took me roughly ten minutes to get from the house to Eastwood, where I met Miel and Vero, and their friend Pieter (who is Belgian, likes beer, can speak Tagalog and Cebuano, and thanks to Vero for the lesson in the differences between the Visayan dialects ^_^).

We stood for about 30 minutes before the band played. It was awesome. From the first, they really rocked the place. I love Franco’s aura. He kept saying “positive vibes!” and I really believe in it, coming from him. Think about this. All my photos of the band members were blurred. With Franco, even if he was moving around, I managed to get clear pictures (as clear as you can get with a compact point and shoot).



Anyway, I love this group. Nunik was already sharing with us Franco’s songs even when he was still with Inyo, but to hear him live, wow. Get his cd, purchase, not download.

Passed up on Route 196 (glam rock night) with Miel, Vero and Pieter.

Professor Layton
I went to Greenhills today to pick up my Revoltech Professor Layton. The ride was pretty quick from our place, but when I arrived at Virra Mall, I was in shock. I’ve been to Greenhills on and off the years, but I’ve never stepped inside Virra Mall. Gone is the old, dark and rather dangerous mall that I know, replaced by a bright and very busy commercial complex. If it weren’t for the fact that I was entering from the garden, I wouldn’t even realize where I was.

The National Bookstore I know is now an appliance store. The Dec and Baker’s Fair is some shop I can’t remember. The area where C.A.T.S used to be is now Banco De Oro and the Metrobank outside was now a cafe of sorts. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Post Office was still there, but it was rather sad to realize that when I stand in front of Virra Mall, I can’t see my high school anymore. I told it to David (my high school guy best friend) via SMS, and he couldn’t believe I haven’t been back since then.

Shoppesville, on the other hand, is more familiar than Virra Mall. Even if it had a facelift of sorts (the lighting’s brighter for one), it still had many of the same shops that I used to visit back then. The Mercury Drug was still there, and the shop above it that was full of knick-knacks. I didn’t see if the Booksale was still there, but the fabric store where my grandma used to go was still around.

I spent a few minutes getting lost, then got my toy, then got lost again. But all in all I was in an out of Greenhills in less than an hour. I didn’t feel like going around. Maybe next time.

Cooked some pasta for dinner. Not bad. Now I need to catch up with some work.