Author Archives: Kat

Coming soon

After eight years of blogging with Blogspot, I’ve finally decided to get my own domain. It’s something that I’ve been planning for years, but it never really entered my mind to really get one. My plans for it included a portfolio, or a writing blog, but as years went by, it just kept getting pushed back.

Thanks to my good friend Yvie, I have a host and a domain. She got it all up really fast. I just shot her an email asking if she’s still a reseller, and the next thing I knew, I was sending the payment and filling up an application form.

It’s still not ready, although the domain is functioning. For now, I’ll be found on this domain, but soon I’ll move. I’ll miss Blogspot, as it’s been my home for so long. I’ve learned the basics of HTML through here, and I’ve seen the service change from it’s pre-Google days to what it is now.

Oh well, it’s about time for a change right?

Getting lost in Binondo

Finally, our plans of going to Binondo pushed through. Aldekari has been planning on this trip for a long time, but for some reason or the other, we never really got to doing it. Sunday was our day, and despite a few setbacks, we were off.

Our transportation of choice was the jeepney. We met up early at Edsa/Shaw and took the jeepneys going to Quiapo. The driver mistook our destination for some other church and tried to drop us off at San Sebastian. “Sabi namin Quiapo!” we said, and he charged us an additional P3.00 each. Oh well.

Quiapo was bustling. There was a mass going on, and there were people doing their business along the streets and in Plaza Miranda. I am truly amused at how Quiapo has a big Catholic structure there, at the same time around it are people who offer the non-Christian services like card reading and fortune telling. Such a lovely study of contrasts.

Also, that day, people were selling fresh produce at Baguio prices. Den, Ching and I were all agog, wanting to buy whatever we can carry. Then again, it wasn’t advisable since we were going for a long walk after all.

And walk we did. From Quiapo down to Hidalgo then to Carriedo, crossing from Sta. Cruz Church, past the fountain, to the archway saying “Welcome to Binondo.” I acted as a tour guide, having gone to Binondo before.



Den gleefully asked for a picture with this statue

First stop was lunch at Waiying. I ordered roast duck with soy chicken and had a glass of lemon Coca-Cola to go with it. Sarap! Busog!

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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
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First post for 2011

Happy new year! Hello 2011!

I’m back in Manila and slowly adjusting to the thought that I’ll be back at work on Monday. My December seems to be mostly vacation, what with that eye infection and the holidays. Still, I think I’ve accomplished much, and I feel rather good about it, but that’s no reason to rest on my laurels. Kailangan pa ding kumayod. ๐Ÿ™‚

Last night, my family (minus Nunik and Lolo) went to the beach to watch the fireworks display that was going to be launched from Potipot Island. We stayed at my great-uncle’s place and waited until midnight. Unfortunately, we miscalculated the distance and instead of seeing a truly awesome fireworks display, it looked rather small. The good part of it is that it wasn’t the only fireworks display that we saw, but even those of the neighbors and in Sta. Cruz town. It was also fairly quiet due to the distance, and the fact that most people didn’t bother to buy their own firecrackers but opted to watch the display. By the time we got back home, there were only a few stragglers setting off some sparklers but most of them were already settling down in their homes.

For me, the best part of the new year was being with my family. Lolo greeted us when we got back, and I missed Nunik, who was in Manila. Also, the night sky was a far more impressive display than any fireworks showcase. There were so many stars out, it was like being in a planetarium, only… well, it was the real thing. I even saw a shooting star. I truly wished I had a much better camera that could capture the awesome view. It was perfect night for a bonfire (which some folks did) and hanging out with friends and loved ones, beer and food optional.

To cap off this post, let me share with you a quote from Neil Gaiman:

A blessed and totally awesome 2011 to all of you.

Darren Criss: Totally Awesome

I was giddy when I heard the news of Darren Criss coming to the Philippines. I’ve long been a fan of his since I saw “A Very Potter Musical” months back. I was also a fan of the entire Team Starkid because of all the love and effort they put to make this project. There’s also “Little White Lie”, “Me and My Dick” and of course, “A Very Potter Sequel”. A new project “Starship” will be showing soon.

When the news that Darren was going to be on Glee, I was half excited, half skeptic. As I always am when something I like breaks into the mainstream, I was worried how this would affect the Starkid fandom. Darren himself had an inkling about this and said in one tweet of his:

StarKid fans, meet your new baby brother GLEE. We’re all family now, so play nice ok? Remember, this doesn’t mean that I love you any less. Darren Criss, Nov. 10, 2010.

Let’s face it. Fans can be rabid and petty, especially if it’s about a person and they’ve crossed boundaries, there’s bound to be “I knew him first!” wars. I’m guilty of this, even though I try to curb it.

So, Darren on Glee. Excited too, yes. When he came out… um. I loved “Teenage Dream”, but to be honest, I didn’t like his role, and I still don’t. I had long stopped watching Glee, and I guess I didn’t really miss out. But I still love Darren… and Joey, Joe W, Bonnie, Devin and the rest of the Starkids.

Tonight, thanks to Glee’s popularity, I had the good fortune of watching Darren Criss perform live at Trinoma. I was with Presea, who used her A-Card to get free passes. We were surrounded by fangirls, most of whom we thought were there for Glee. Ah, we were mistaken. They were Starkid fans. A lot of Starkid fans. It was fun for us, probably not for those sitting behind them.

The kids loved our AVPM/HP Musical poster, but the Ayala people didn’t so they took it in until after the show. Boo. We also made a new friend who knew every single song that Darren sang. The stage was rather far from the audience. There was still a big gap between the edge of the stage to the first few rows so cameras had to be in zoom mode. Too bad my video camera had a limited zoom, so Darren looks really small.

Darren. Ah, Darren. Watching you live has further cemented my awe of you. Hearing you sing your songs live has made Starkid the more real for me. I sang every single song that you played, nearly lost my voice but boy, it was fun. Best song of the night? Well, all of the Starkid and Human songs, but I truly enjoyed “Granger Danger” and “Getting Back to Hogwarts”. Seriously, singing that long song and letting us go crazy with it? Totally awesome.

I think the people who were there just for Glee were totally shocked when a lot of us started singing out loud to the songs they didn’t know. Especially with the two songs I mentioned. I also loved how often he mentioned Starkid. That’s where it all started and while they weren’t physically with him, the songs made them feel a heck of a lot closer. Seriously, no drama.

While my heart is still disappointed and somewhat bitter that I didn’t get any passes for either the meet & greet or the CD signing, knowing that I’m more a fan than half those who got their stuff signed, I feel happy. I repeat. I am happy. Really ๐Ÿ™‚ In any case, if Darren or any of the Starkids read this, please send me something signed by you *wishful thinking*

I’m currently editing the pictures and figuring out how to work the videos that I have. I got all of his performances. For a list of the songs he sang, please see this post. For the meantime, I shall head off to bed.

Edit: First video up. “Not Alone”

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.

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Dear Universe

I started blogging in late 2003, and since then, there’s this meme that I do every year. It started in Livejournal, and I first saw it through Roch of magnetic-rose.net. It’s where you write down ten things you want for Christmas, and your LJ friends will try to fulfill them for you. It doesn’t have to be a wishlist full of expensive, material things. It can also have silly things like “I want someone to go with me to an STP concert” or something.

This year, I made my list (I decided to keep it in LJ for sentimental reasons) and some friends did theirs too. However, thanks to a post on Plurk from Yvie, I thought I’d make another wishlist, this time full of things that I want to happen rather than material things that I want to have.

It’s a more tough list to make because these are things that aren’t really that easy to think of, if you get my drift. These are things that you know will affect you, your life and possibly the people around you too.

So what grand things do you wish the Universe will grant you?

House Arrest

It’s the fourth day of my house arrest. I started counting from Monday, where I first took a sick leave. I am very grateful that there’s Internet, or else I’d be bored silly. I’m also thankful that even though it’s my eye that’s infected, I can still use it. I have a cousin who occasionally get severe eye allergy and he literally is blind for a few days.

“It’s tough not to be able see, Ate,” he told me the last time he had this allergy attack. “You can’t read, you can’t watch TV, you can’t play video games. There’s music to listen to but that’s still not much.” True indeed. If I played a musical instrument it would be fine, I suppose. But my guitar lacks a string and there’s only so much I can play without resorting to chords.

I’m not making much sense now, am I?

This eye virus/infection is really something. I am not really sick, meaning I don’t have any fever or anything that renders me physically incapable of getting out, going to work and doing my job. However, it’s the kind of illness that makes you stay home because it’s quite contagious, and it doesn’t look pretty. I’ve gone through several rolls of tissue because it’s like I’m crying all the time. *sigh*

Anyway, I’m off to the doctor. My youngest brother Dion said that it’s healing how since I’m “crying” all the time. I’ll be glad to get rid of this. While getting some rest is nice, I’d like to go back to my regular schedule.

Update
Just go back from the clinic. I went to Medical City at SM Marikina and the doctor who attended to me was Dr. Jaime P. Capco. He said that while the problem with my eye is not contagious (so you don’t have to run when you see me people), it is caused by a bacterial. He had me do some tests (which proved that my eyesight is still pretty good) and said that I need two medicines: one to drop on my eye and the other to take orally to fight the bacteria. I can go out and work, he said, but I’d better take some precaution to protect my eyes. If by Saturday it’s still like this, I have to go back and see him.

I hope the medicines will take effect ASAP. As nice as the doctor was, I don’t want to see him again, and I mean that in a good way. ๐Ÿ™‚

Hello weekend

I woke up yesterday with my right eye feeling a bit swollen. It didn’t look like it was bitten by an insect, so I didn’t give it much thought. When I got to the office, Gio commented that it was somewhat red. The nurse at the clinic gave me some eye drops to help relieve it. Later, I went to see the company doctor who told me that I might have viral conjunctivitis. She gave me a med cert and told me to go home.

I missed out on the office get-together, but that’s all right. I’d rather be here than infect everybody, then we’d all be out on Monday. Weeee. The business would love that.

Human Heart Nature haul
After a long time, I finally got to order some things from HHN. They’ve released several new products this year, which replaced some of the things that they’re removing from their line up. I’m a bit sad that the mango butter conditioner line is phased out, and they’re just emptying out their stock. It’s my favorite conditioner, and the peppermint one is really very nice.

I decided to get their new balancing facial wash. Fristine had the privilege of testing that before it launched and she said it was great. I must agree. It’s made for normal, oily or combination skin, which is exactly what I have. This wash is so refreshing and it makes my skin feel very clean. I haven’t tried the toner yet, but I will hopefully soon.

I also have the hand sanitizer, which is small enough to fit my bag. I didn’t like the smell at first, but when I got used to it, it was pretty nice. They also have a new make-up like called “Love Minerals” but since I don’t wear make-up, I’m not sure if I want to try it. Still, HHN has a lot of hits with me. I look forward to trying out their new products.

Food trip: Sambokojin Yakiniku

Last Thursday turned out to be food trip day. The guys decided that they wanted to try out that new smokeless grill place above Something Fishy in Eastwood called Sambokojin Yakiniku Smokeless Grill. We’ve been seeing the ads about it for quite some time now, and we thought it would be nice to give it a try. The day before, Arpee passed by and inquired about their prices and service, so he was raring to go, as was Gio. At first, I didn’t want to because I wasn’t feeling particularly hungry, but then again, I’m glad I gave in.

“Sambokojin”, as the waiter told us, is the Japanese god of the kitchen, which should be very apt for the restaurant since in essense it’s one big kitchen, since you cook your own food at the grill on your table. Sambokojin (the restaurant, not the god) has several sections of food that’s already prepared, like the wide selection of Japanese sushi and sashimi, as well as choices of other Japanese and Korean dishes.

The restaurant also has a wide array of meat for grilling. The clever thing they did was to arrange it by sauce, so you can take your pick of different sorts of meat marinated in teriyaki, kimchi or the special Sambokojin sauce. Seafood is also available and there was also choices of bacon-wrapped goodies. I’m a big fan of the Shitake mushrooms, enoki mushrooms and asparagus.

Sauces are also available on your table. The Sambokojin sauce is a favorite.

There’s also a good selection of desserts and salads, which I unfortunately didn’t get to taste. I tried their ice cream and some pastries, but I feel that I wasn’t able to really taste them because I was so full. It’s enough reason to go back.

Buffet prices vary. Lunch during Mondays to Fridays are P495, while dinner is P595. Lunch and dinner on weekends are both P595. Not a bad deal right?

I waddled out of Sambokojin a very happy customer. Not only was the food good, but the service top notch. No sooner than I finished the contents of one plate, a service crew is right there to whisk it away. They also call you by your name, which is really nice, making the dining experience more personal. You also won’t have to run back and forth if you need an extra plate while getting your food because the entire shelf below the choices are full of plates.

My only complaint? An hour’s lunch break isn’t enough.

You can read Arpee’s post about Sambokojin here.

Update: Sambokojin will open a branch along EDSA! I saw a sign next to Dad’s/Saisaki. That’s great news for those who find Eastwood far away! More updates! I think the EDSA branch is now open! I passed by it the other day (I was on the MRT hehe). If anyone can confirm, I’d appreciate it! ๐Ÿ™‚