vaes9

Category: Personal

Visiting Rizal’s Heidelberg and Wilhelmsfeld

1:04 pm PHT

It’s common knowledge among educated Filipinos that José Rizal, the Philippines’ national hero, studied ophthalmology and wrote his famous subversive novels Noli Me Tángere and El Filibusterismo in Europe. Rizal stayed in various cities, such as Madrid, Paris, and Berlin, but out of all these places, what really sticks in my mind are Heidelberg, Germany and the nearby town of Wilhelmsfeld. You might say that this is probably due to his poem To the Flowers of Heidelberg, but the more accurate reason is that in researching for places to feature on Vista Pinas, my virtual travel blog, I became quite familiar with the various Rizal-related places in Heidelberg and Wilhelmsfeld, thanks to the extensive information posted online by travelers and by the Wilhelmsfeld-Heidelberg chapter of Knights of Rizal. Two such places that I’ve already featured are José-Rizal-Straße and Rizal Park, both in Wilhelmsfeld.

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Three-Month Essay

10:30 am PHT

Unless you didn’t pay attention, you should know by now that I left my 12-year job at Canon and started working for Cadasta since March. The update of my profile on Facebook and LinkedIn should have made that abundantly clear. And it should also be obvious that this career shift was what I alluded to in my post last year, though I didn’t expect back then that I would eventually end up where I am now.

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Fighting Inertia

6:15 pm PHT

Being an introvert and with a great deal of introspection, I know myself well enough to describe myself as an inertial person. That is, I don’t really like drastic changes. I don’t like moving around. I take comfort in the familiar and the routine. I rarely engage in new experiences unless the benefits are worth my while. This is especially true when it comes to major life decisions. I will not uproot my life unless the need for change is great and beneficial.

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Experiencing British Theater in Manila instead of in London

12:15 am PHT

One of my regrets during my trip to London was that I wasn’t able to experience British theater. As you may know, West End is the London counterpart of New York’s Broadway and there are usually around 40 productions ongoing at any given time. My not seeing any of them was not for lack of trying though.

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Finding Heritage in a Box

4:07 am PHT

Yesterday, I found myself in heart of Quiapo.

I’m the type of person who would not normally go to the more chaotic parts of the Metro, prefering to stay in the more orderly areas like the Makati CBD and Bonifacio Global City. And I really do not like unplanned events and spur-of-the-moment decisions. So it was quite a surprise for me that I let myself get tagged along with Joel Aldor and Manolo Noche to the unveiling of the Boix House in Quiapo. ("Boix” is pronounced “bosh”—don’t ask me why. It’s supposedly a Catalan surname.) It was a decision that I did not regret.

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Requiescat in Pace

7:15 am PHT

“Wala na si Homer.” Those were the first words our manager said when he held a special section meeting last November 15. I initially didn’t comprehend what he meant until my female teammate began crying and I was then taken aback with the sudden realization that we would never see Homer again. About a week before, Homer had taken a medical leave of absence and I didn’t think much of it. I never realized that Homer’s condition was quite severe.

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Why I’m Going to the Million People March

9:23 am PHT

At first, I disapproved of the idea that any citizen should evade paying tax on the sole reason that it will just be corrupted by the government. Even if we know that corruption is rampant, I thought that this was no excuse for us not to do our civic duty of paying taxes. As Jesus said, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” I guess I was surprised by the revelation of BIR that some professional pay less income tax than public school teachers.

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MNL–BKK–TLV–HKG–MNL (Part 1)

2:18 am PHT

So far, the top highlight of 2011 for me was my recent trip to Israel where I attended Wikimania 2011, held in the beautiful seaside city of Haifa. Wikimania is the annual conference for Wikipedians (and Wikimedians) and it is held in different cities every year. Last year it was held in Gdansk, Poland and next year it will be in Washington, D.C. I applied for a scholarship to attend this year’s Wikimania and I was fortunate to be accepted. The scholarship enabled me to go to Israel with practically all-expenses paid. The only thing I needed was pocket money and some transportation fare.

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The First Wikipedia Kapihan

4:09 pm PHT

A month ago on February 19, Wikimedia Philippines held its first Wikipedia Kapihan at Starbucks 32nd and 7th Bonifacio Global City. The Kapihan (Tagalog for “coffee talk”, approximately) is an unstructured meetup to introduce Wikimedia Philippines and the Wikimedia projects (not just Wikipedia) to similar and like-minded organizations. There have been plenty of Wikipedia-related meetups that have happened since 2007, but most of those have been among people who have contributed to Wikipedia. This was the first time that we had a meetup specifically targeted to people outside the editing community.

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Somebody Actually Got a Tattoo of My Phi Logo

6:22 pm PHT

I blogged in 2008 that if ever I would get a permanent tattoo, I would get something like the one pictured above. This is a stylized Greek letter phi which represents the golden ratio. The golden ratio is my favorite number by far and I just love how it is crops up in so many places and how it provides a nice blend of mathematics and art. I love it so much that I made that logo for my amateur QuickBASIC software “company”.

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Wikipedia 10: Wikipedia Takes Manila

4:21 pm PHT

Last January 15 was Wikipedia’s 10th anniversary. It’s a bit hard to believe that it’s been that long. But 10 years, especially on the Internet, is a significant length of time and it’s a testament to the universality of Wikipedia’s vision of sharing knowledge to everyone that this project—which in theory is a disaster, but in practice is a success—has lasted this long and is still thriving, having raised $16 million during the last annual fundraising.

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The Long Tail of Game Development (or How I Got to Talk at Y4iT)

11:27 pm PHT

I last blogged about Wikimedia Philippines’ participation at Y4iT 2010 or the 8th Philippine Youth Congress in Information Technology which happened two weeks ago. Well, I was also involved with this year’s Y4iT in a personal capacity, separate from being a member of Wikimedia Philippines: I was invited as a sort of last-minute speaker to talk about (video) game development.

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Wikimedia Philippines at Y4iT 2010

9:46 pm PHT

Before today, Wikimedia Philippines has not had a public event since it was founded back in April. Well, today was the first day of the Philippine Youth Congress in Information Technology 2010 (aka Y4iT 2010) and Wikimedia Philippines decided to become a Silver Sponsor of the said event. Y4iT is running from September 14 to 17 and is being held at the University of the Philippines Diliman at four venues: University Theater, UP Film Institute, Ang Bahay ng Alumni, and CSWCD.

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Kubuntu Chronicles: A Tale of Two Laptops

1:06 am PHT

Guess what? I have finally taken the plunge and switched to Linux, specifically Kubuntu, as my primary operating system on my main home computer. Although I am using Eeebuntu (now known as Aurora) on my netbook and I work with Slackware at the office, my operating system on my main home computer had always been Microsoft Windows (Windows 98, Windows XP, and Windows 7).

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Nightscapes

6:50 pm PHT

I’m a night person. There, now I admit it. Despite having a regular daytime job and usually sleeping at night, I like spending my free time in the evening and I am in most creative phase late at night. I’ve blogged about my preference to get away from it all while the sun is out a few times before and those entries were full of emo-ness which only serves to highlight that I really, personally love the nighttime.

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Recent Members’ Meetings of Wikimedia Philippines

1:57 am PHT

Here’s an update on Wikimedia Philippines (WMPH), which I’ve blogged earlier this year. The organization has had two members’ meetings already. The first one was the first Annual General Meeting held last May 15 at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila in Intramuros and the second was the Second Quarter Meeting held last Saturday, June 19, at the UCCP Shalom Center in Malate, Manila.

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Trying Out Baang Coffee at Tomas Morato

11:39 pm PHT

Two Sundays ago, I ate dinner at the Tomas Morato branch of this coffee house called Baang Coffee. I wasn’t actually planning to eat at Baang. My original target was Kozui Green Tea almost next door and I wanted to try out Kozui’s cold soba and green tea concoctions after reading positive reviews from foodies online. That planned excursion was however canceled when I couldn’t tell whether Kozui accepted credit cards or not (my cash flow was a bit crazy that time and I needed to use my card).  :-/ Good thing I went to Baang and saw that they accept Visa and that’s how I ended up there!

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6 Years of vaes9

5:24 pm PHT

Since vaes9 is my first official blog, I’ve now been blogging for 6 years already having written my very first official blog post 6 years ago today. I am still continuing to churn out blog posts (like yesterday’s feature article on the Pamintuan Mansion at Vista Pinas). While my blogging volume here at vaes9 has significantly decreased these past several months, I will still continue to blog things about my personal life as well as on tech and mapping topics. I actually have quite a lot of things to write about except that finding the time is extremely difficult!  :-/

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The Moon-Venus Occultation

12:44 am PHT

Occul—what? An occultation is an astronomical event wherein a heavenly body passes in front of another and hides it from view. That’s what happened earlier tonight: an occultation of the Moon and Venus. Most people saw the very close conjunction (an astronomical term signifying that two objects appear near each other in the sky) and appreciated the beauty of a “star” on top of a crescent moon. You can actually see plenty of pictures and status messages about this relatively rare Moon-Venus event and there were observations that it reflected some Islamic flags or that it looked like a one-eyed smile. What most didn’t know (and missed) was that the “star” was actually Venus and that the occultation itself is much more interesting scientifically. (In addition, the Moon and Venus are the 1st and 2nd normally brightest objects in the night sky so this occultation is actually quite special.)

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Bloggers Conquer the Max Road Challenge 3

2:33 am PHT

We won! Team Bloggers, which consisted of Benj, Jeff, Hannah (whom I only met then), and me, conquered the 3rd Max Road Challenge, organized by 103.5 Max FM. The Road Challenge happened last Sunday, December 13, and had us traveling all the way from Caltex along Julia Vargas in Ortigas to Leslie’s Restaurant in Tagaytay.

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QuickBASIC, SEAV Softwares, and GeoCities

6:10 pm PHT

Back in the early to mid 1990s, I was already a geeky young man having taught myself how to program BASIC from several books borrowed from the school library. While I enjoyed playing games on the PC (Sid Meier’s Civilization rocks!) and the Nintendo Family Computer (Super Mario Brothers 3 is still the best), I eventually realized that it was more enjoyable creating programs and with it, the ability to create my own (simple) games. I eventually discovered the QBasic and QuickBASIC variants of BASIC that have their own IDEs and it was such a powerful feeling having the power to create your own EXE files. When the World Wide Web came to the Philippines, I quickly discovered that there was a worldwide community of QuickBASIC enthusiasts with plenty of websites containing tutorials, programs, and discussion forums.

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Tropical Storm Ondoy and Park 9

3:01 am PHT

Our house and immediate vicinity was pretty much spared from all the flooding that beset the metropolis and the surrounding areas. Aside from the fact that our terrace completely flooded due to inadequate drainage and which almost brought some rainwater into the house, it was a pretty much run-of-the-mill stormy day for us in our household. So I was pretty much oblivious to the widespread calamity and record-breaking rainfall. It was only a few hours ago when I decided to browse around that I freaked out with what I saw.

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LazerXtreme and Serendra

10:18 pm PHT

Late last month, I went to Bonifacio Global City to meet up with my college barkada. One of us would be migrating to the States (where her family already is) in October and the gang decided to have an early despedida. I came a bit late since I was in Nasugbu and caught up with them having dinner at Gerry’s Grill in Market! Market! Afterwards we had a game of laser tag at the popular LazerXtreme before crashing at Serendra where one of us has a unit. That was the first time I tried LazerXtreme and also the first time I stepped inside the condo proper of Serendra.

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2² + 3² + 4² = 29

1:13 pm PHT

Aside from being the tenth prime number, 29 is also the second sum (when only considering whole numbers) of three consecutive squares, namely the squares of two, three, and four. (The first such sum is 14, which is 1² + 2² + 3².) In addition, all the numbers in the sequence from 1 to 29 have at most 2 unique prime factors and that this is the longest such sequence.

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I Would Have Been on a Flight to Amsterdam Right Now

2:45 pm PHT

Well, I would be had my previous passport not been due to expire later in November (and I’ll explain why in a bit). By tomorrow, I would’ve been in Amsterdam to represent the Philippine OpenStreetMap community at the 2009 State of the Map (SOTM), the annual OpenStreetMap conference that started in 2007. For this year, the organizers announced back in May a scholarship program to bring 15 mappers from the developing world to attend the conference and to show the world about OSM activities in their home countries. SOTM will cover the full travel and accommodation costs for these lucky people. Out of 39 people nominated from 19 countries, I was one of the 15 selected.

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vaes9 Turns V!

1:45 pm PHT

It’s been exactly five years since I wrote the first post here in vaes9. This also means that I’ve been a blogger for five years now. I’ve written anniversary posts for the first year and the second but I neglected to write posts for the third- and fourth-year anniversaries since the occasion was eclipsed by Lakbayan, which I launched on June 12, 2007. (That means that Lakbayan is now two years old!) So let me indulge myself as I write a fifth-year-anniversary post to celebrate this milestone.

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Revenues vs. Expenses 2

8:26 am PHT

A year ago today, I blogged that my online revenues have hardly covered my online expenses making blogging and other Internet pursuits more of a hobby than a sideline. Well, I guess in these past 12 months, I have been quite lucky since I am already quite near the break-even point as shown in the updated chart below (contrast with the similar figure in my year-old post). I suggest you read that old post to get the proper background for the rest of this article.

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Plurking on Qtube

9:29 pm PHT

Back in June of last year, I wondered if was the first plurker based in the Philippines. Well, the answer to that question was answered for me by the researchers of Qtube, this new magazine TV show on QTV 11 focusing on Pinoys on the Internet. They had their pilot episode last March 12 and their sophomore episode last March 19 had Plurk as one of their segment topics. As it turns out, the first Pinoy plurker is a guy named Kerwin Rosete with Plurk username kimforlai. He registered way back in April 4, 2008, which means that he got the account during the private beta phase since Plurk was launched in mid-May 2008.

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How I Manage My Money (Part 1)

8:07 pm PHT

I plurked in early January that I finished my initial draft of my personal 2009 budget. I mentioned then that I only increased my projection by 1% compared to last year’s budget due to, yes, the worldwide economic crisis. Based on the comments to that plurk, I thought it would be interesting to do a series of posts explaining how I manage my money such that I am actually able to do a year-long budget.

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Creating Traffic Lights from C2 Bottle Caps

3:16 pm PHT

I often buy C2 bottled iced tea for lunch and I had the brilliant idea to make traffic lights out of the bottle caps of the apple, lemon, and green tea variants. Using some extra cardboard I had lying around in the office, copious amounts of glue, a sheet of white scratch paper, and a felt-tip black marker, I created this cute model traffic lights. It has certainly become a minor hit in the office with my colleagues that have seen it.

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The Untold Story of the Globelines DSL Outage

7:04 pm PHT

It’s been more than two months since our home DSL broadband connection with Globelines got disrupted for 24 days. So in the interest of consumer interest, I decided to recount my own “horror” story even though it happened a long time ago. All I can say is that it was quite a difficult three weeks and I managed to subsist on retail Wi-Fi in various hotspots and about a week of ümobile 3G. it’s really a good thing that my livelihood is not dependent on having reliable broadband connection at home, though my sister could not telecommute in her work as a result. Our troubles started on the night of June 25 and lasted until servicemen from Innove restored our DSL connection on July 19.

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28 is the Second Perfect Number

12:36 am PHT

And 6 is the first. Perfect numbers are positive integers that are equivalent to the sum of their proper divisors—that is, when you list down all the factors of a perfect number (except itself) and add them all up, you will get the number itself. The proper divisors of 28 are 1, 2, 4, 7, and 14 and their sum is 28. Neat eh? Incidentally, I expanded the Wikipedia article on perfect numbers in 2003 based on a tutorial I wrote back in 1998.

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Globe DSL Woes and ümobile 3G

11:12 pm PHT

There’s nothing like the loss of Internet connection to confirm that you’re an Internet addict.

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Lakbayan and the Enigma of Filipino Nationalism

11:39 pm PHT

I grew up being taught that Filipinos hate the Philippines and that we have this stupid colonial mentality sickness. It’s been said that Filipinos prefer products made by industrialized companies over local products and that our countrymen prefer to migrate elsewhere to escape the hellhole that the Philippines had become. It’s also been said that Pinoy immigrants to the U.S. and Europe are afflicted with the so-called IMSCF syndrome ("I’m Spanish/Chinese-Filipino”), where they downplay their Filipino heritage and promote, possibly invented, foreign ancestors.

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Expectations of Pepper Lunch

6:23 pm PHT

The opening of Pepper Lunch in the Philippines (which happened the other Friday, May 16) has been eagerly awaited by my officemates ever since word that it would come to the Philippines was circulated last year. (See the blog entry by Chuvaness, the owner of the Philippine franchise.) Well, I haven’t eaten in the Rockwell outlet yet and I’ve only passed by it (and took the photo below) when I went to Power Plant Mall last Monday, but my sister and I definitely have plans to try it out one of these days.

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Ferdz Decena: Living by Water

1:48 pm PHT

One of the photo-bloggers that I admire most is Ferdz Decena. He has a travel blog over at Ironwulf.net Ver 6: En Route where he shares photos and his observations as he travels in the Philippines and abroad. While I have a pseudo-travel blog in Vista Pinas, Ferdz has done the actual traveling to many of the places I’ve featured in my blog. The photos he takes are excellent and I am a first-hand witness to his dedication to his craft when he and I were together in the January Boracay weekend.

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Revenues vs. Expenses

4:35 pm PHT

Some people consider me a problogger but I can assure you that my online activities, which includes blogging, are hardly my main source of income. While I did get my first AdSense commission last year, I’m still in the red as far as revenues versus expenses go. Just look at the chart below.

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“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”

2:40 am PHT

Connie, over at Write Life Guide, asks “Can you remember your first Internet experience? How was it like?” Well, surprisingly, given the fact that my non-work waking life is centered on the Internet, I can’t remember exactly when I first got on the Internet or what was the first web page I visited.

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Flying SEAIR to Boracay

1:20 am PHT

In the Blogger Boracay Weekend a little more than two weeks ago, our flights were sponsored by SEAIR, one of the small local airlines that prioritizes leisure and luxury domestic destinations instead of major local cities. (Like, they have flights to Tawi-Tawi but not to Davao—at least not yet.) You might recognize SEAIR from their many ads and billboards saying that they have the fastest flights to Boracay (and most flights to Palawan) and for capitalizing on Marc Nelson’s abs. (The airline got a bit of very minor publicity because of Marc in the Amazing Race Asia 2. During the Singapore-Manila leg, an all-ladies team were amused to see Marc, also a race participant, on SEAIR’s ads with their airport pamphlets.)

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The UP Centennial Questionnaire

12:20 am PHT

I’ve seen this particular questionnaire pass through the blogs of some U.P. people, especially since this year is the U.P. Centennial, so it’s only a matter of time before I’d get to answer this nostalgic set of questions. This time, the transformed meme tagged me via Juned.

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Zuzuni Hotel and Restaurant, Boracay

12:06 am PHT

During the second night of our trip to Boracay, we were treated to a full-course dinner by Zuzuni Boutique Hotel and Restaurant. Zuzuni is a Greek cuisine restaurant and the name is a term of endearment in the Greek language (it actually means “little insect”). The resto and hotel is owned by Filipino-Greek Geni Psinakis, and Greek-American Nick Gitsis, who is also a director of Seair, our flight sponsor.

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Ati-atihan de Boracay

2:15 am PHT

Last weekend I was in Boracay together with several travel and photo bloggers and some of us (at least those who woke up early on a Sunday morning) had the lucky chance to witness the island’s version of the Ati-atihan Festival which apparently is celebrated one week earlier than the mother festival in Kalibo, Aklan. This year, the celebration was on January 13 and the parade started at the Balabag Plaza after the Holy Mass and wound its way along the stretch of Boracay’s White Beach before going back to the Plaza via the internal roads.

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Weekend in Boracay

11:25 pm PHT

Well, I’m typing this entry now somewhere near Station 3 on White Beach in Boracay Island. I’m one of the “travel and photo bloggers” that Abe mentioned is on a sponsored trip by Microtel, Seair, and Zuzuni. Apparently, having a virtual travel blog and a travel quiz site makes me a travel blogger even though I don’t really travel (my Lakbayan grade is a measly C minus). But, that’s fine by me since I got to go to Boracay for free! And this is my first time here to boot.  :-D

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Did the Earth Just Move?

12:36 pm PHT

An earthquake occurred about three minutes ago. Did anyone else feel it? (See a related blog post in 2006 or the one in 2004.) The shaking took only a little time, no more than 10 seconds, but it was quite strong. I’ll update this post when I get more information.

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The Wensha Spa Experience

1:58 pm PHT

Would you believe that I have never availed of any massage treatment at a spa before? The only massages that I’ve had was from your local manghihilot and a beach massage in Puerto Galera back in 2004. So I had placed “get a massage at a spa” on my proverbial things-to-do-before-I-die list and finally crossed that item out last weekend.  :D

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Antipolo Joyride

12:22 am PHT

Funnily, I don’t recall ever going for an out-of-town trip this year. Well, my group in the office had a team-building activity about a month ago in Laguna, but I don’t consider that as a “real” trip. So when a good friend of mine invited me to go to Antipolo just for the heck of it, I took up the offer and drove there the other Saturday.

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A Good Samaritan

11:27 am PHT

A very, very big shout-out to Ma’am Sol Roque for going out of her way to make sure I got the wallet I carelessly left at a fast-food restaurant this morning. She said she looked for my address in the wallet and tried going to my house, but since she couldn’t find it, she searched again my wallet for my cellphone number and texted me her home address so that I can go and claim it.

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Finding Peace in the City at Night

12:31 am PHT

I want to share that among the most peaceful experiences I’ve had is staying high up in a skyscraper at night—usually at the roof deck or at the balcony of a condominium unit—and just stare out for quite sometime at the city spread out before me. I greatly enjoy these moments. Just looking out at the bright city lights far below. Or observing the cars come and go. Or hearing the muted sounds of the city winding down to sleep. The normal chaos associated with the urban jungle is dimmed and toned down from way up high and that makes such moments something I cherish.

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3 Cubed

12:08 pm PHT

Despite the special significance of this day, I’ve always thought that it’s just an ordinary day like any other. Well-wishing is always appreciated and merriment is part of the package. It’s not that I’m a prude or a killjoy, but my practical and usually unemotional mind does not attach any sort of momentousness (or portent) that many other people feel when their own annual commemoration comes. People say you should be happy. Others feel depressed. Me? I’m just here blogging and surfing the web as if it were any other day. Nevertheless, I write this entry to pay tribute to that gift of life given to me. After all, while we may not know the meaning of life, it doesn’t hurt to appreciate it, right?

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Worst Travel to the Office Ever

10:50 pm PHT

Today saw the worst travel to the office of my entire working life. My sister and I left our home in Las Piñas at 8:30 this morning with the sky bright but promising rain. We normally arrive at our offices in Quezon City by 9:30 after passing through Coastal Road, EDSA, Fort Bonifacio, then C-5. The rain started pouring when we were along Coastal Road and what followed was three hours of traffic hell.

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Swerving?!

1:58 am PHT

So as I was driving home from work along EDSA Extension in Pasay early this night, I switched lanes from the one that goes into a U-turn slot to the straight-ahead route. (See the location in Google Maps.) Immediately after, I was pulled over by one of the Pasay City traffic enforcers that were manning the U-turn slot. He charged me with committing swerving. I protested calmly but vehemently saying that what I did was not swerving. I have read before that there’s really no such violation as swerving (a real related violation is reckless driving, but I wasn’t at all reckless) so I was prepared to fight it.

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Back in Las Piñas

9:25 am PHT

After staying in Parañaque for 5 months, we’re now moving back to Las Piñas. I was supposed to blog about the Philippine Blog Awards Night, but I didn’t knew about the plan to move back and so I spent Sunday hauling our stuff. We’re now living in in the general vicinity of this satellite image.

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A Personal Annual Report

11:33 pm PHT

Check this out. There’s this guy who made his own annual report (like the one’s made by companies for their investors) but this one is about his own life during the past year. The layout, graphics, and color scheme is top-notch. The depth, breadth, and subject matter of information is interesting. And the individual statistical data points border on the anal. (He documented how many times he went out drinking, what he drank, and which bar he went to—can you believe that?—though there is an inebriated disclaimer. Hehehe.  :))

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No Grand Fireworks for Me

11:24 pm PHT

I so wanted to watch one night of the second World Pyro Olympics and I did plan to go see China’s and the Philippines’ show last Saturday but I never did get around to doing it. The primary reason was that I was dissuaded by anecdotal reports of the horrendous traffic within 10 kilometers of the Mall of Asia and the secondary reason was that I didn’t relish the idea of spending a lot of time at the mall just to avoid the peak of the traffic.

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A Five-point Disclosure

12:52 pm PHT

Ok, so I was tagged by Miguel Paraz with the disclosure meme wherein you share five secrets about yourself. I saw this meme pass through some of the foreign blogs that I read (e.g., Tim Bray and Philipp Lenssen) but I didn’t expect it to reach the top-tier Philippine blogging scene (i.e., Marc and Father Abraham) through the SEO-related blogs.

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Super Escher

9:52 pm PHT

I have the lucky timing of being in Tokyo during the time a selection of M. C. Escher’s works were being displayed at an exhibit in Shibuya. The Dutch M. C. Escher has been one of my favorite artists, ever since I saw his work, Relativity, in a Childcraft volume from World Book Encyclopedia. If Relativity seems familiar, it’s because the concept has been used many times, the most notable reference for me being the climax scene in the movie, Labyrinth. In fact, Relativity can be seen hanging on the wall of the bedroom of Sarah, the movie’s lead character.

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Japan Travelogue (Part 3)

12:31 am PHT

It has been almost two weeks since I’ve been here in Tokyo. The weather has been mostly overcast, with isolated rain showers, and the temperature is slightly uncomfortable at 10–20°C. (The coolness is actually quite bearable, if it weren’t for the icy wind.) Right now autumn is catching up with about half the trees still in summer green and the other half in fashionable fall colors or winter nakedness.

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Raishuu Watashi wa Nihon e Ikimasu 2

12:23 am PHT

Well, what do you know. I’m going to Japan again. That’s the second time this year. I’m staying there for 4 weeks as well, same as last time. I’m actually looking forward to this trip, though I’m kinda put off by the cold temperature that’ll greet me (5 to 15 °C—colder than your normal aircon!) and that’s not even the coldest it can get in Tokyo. I’m just glad my trip’s not in the middle of January.

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Moved to Palanyag

11:11 pm PHT

To Parañaque that is. My family will now be staying here in BF Homes temporarily, at the home of my great-aunt (while she is with relatives in Canada). We will be moving back to Las Piñas as soon as we have settled on which house to go to.

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Requiescat in Pace

11:18 pm PHT

 Arnel Agbay, 1979–2006

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Typhoon Milenyo (Xangsane): Field Report

7:17 am PHT

As luck would have it, we were one of the last few areas in our village to get back electricity. (Thank you, Meralco; I know it’s hard being overworked to bring back electricity.) I think the power came back at around 3 to 4 a.m. this morning. And the first thing I did? Open the computer and type this entry.  :p

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Not So Sick

11:01 pm PHT

I’ve been on leave from the office for the past two days due to some unknown viral disease. Thankfully it’s not dengue fever which requires a hospital stay. I’ve succumbed to dengue before and it’s not fun having your blood extracted every 6 hours so that the doctor can monitor your platelet count.  :(

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What is this Number?

1:17 pm PHT

  • What is the only number between a square and a cube?

  • What is the atomic number of iron?

  • What is the number of letters in the English alphabet?

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Food Memories

11:07 pm PHT

Almost all people have their favorite foods, of course. I generally like many dishes based on potato or chicken. I like pasta too. But whether favorite or not so favorite, I’m sure practically everyone has some fond memories attached to some foods. Here are some of mine.

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Are You a Consumer or a Producer?

10:26 pm PHT

Read this post by Tim O’Reilly on the O’Reilly Radar about the seeming renaissance of amateurism in the creative processes. The last paragraph strongly resonated with what I have been contemplating for quite some time now.

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Japan Travelogue (Part 2)

12:00 am PHT

I’m extremely impressed by the railway system of Tokyo. For me Japan’s railways epitomizes their efficiency. You will really pity Manila and its traffic-congested streets, polluted metro air, and reckless bus and jeepney drivers after having a taste of Japan’s trains.

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Japan Travelogue (Part 1)

11:27 pm PHT

When an officemate asked me what my impression of Japan has been so far, the number one word I can think of is “efficient.” From their mass transportation system down to the way one orders food in restaurants, their efficient use of technology drives their way of life.

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Kawasaki-Kaizuka Weekly Mansion

7:48 pm PHT

Just a quickie post. I currently staying Kawasaki-Kaizuka Weekly Mansion which you can see here. If you couldn’t tell, switch to the Map view. It’s the dark gray building nearest the 7–11 on block 13 at the center of the map.  =)

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Raishuu Watashi wa Nihon e Ikimasu

9:22 am PHT

It’s official. I just got my Japanese visa yesterday so I’m going to Japan next week on a company-sponsored trip along with two of my groupmates (five of my groupmates are already in Japan and one of them is coming home tomorrow). I’ll be in Japan for 4 weeks which means that this will be the first time I’m spending Holy Week away from the country.

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Dear Diary…

6:07 am PHT

Yesterday was pretty good. I went to Gold’s Gym in Alabang for the second time again. Went there about three weeks ago. Ok, so they have pretty much complete equipment this time but there are still no showers! No towel service either! And the steam room and sauna were not operating. I so wanted to try and relax in the heat… Oh well. Maybe they’ll be okay in a month’s time. (They’d better.) Good thing I always bring an extra small towel with me. Forgot to bring alcohol though.

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Trying Out Fitness First (And Comparing it With Gold’s Gym)

9:44 pm PHT

I recently got a complimentary workout at Fitness First Eastwood and availed of it last Tuesday. I’ve never worked out at Fitness First before and I wanted to try it. My current gym is Gold’s Gym (I decided to get a membership after trying it out last year) and I was curious about the differences between these two popular fitness franchises.

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EEE Day

1:32 am PHT

What an interesting day. I’ve never seen so many of my UP EEE batchmates in one day ever since college. And I wasn’t really expecting it.

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First Post on Earthquake!

7:08 pm PHT

Ok, so the earth shook just a little more than a minute ago. Am I the first Filipino to blog about it?  =) (Was sitting in front of the computer when it happened.) See also this previous post.

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Introspection

12:08 pm PHT

Last night, I wanted to go to Makati, buy an expensive cup of Starbucks frappucino from the Leviste branch in Salcedo Village, and cross the street to stay by myself at the Velasquez Park. I wanted to think things over and to get away from it all but still be in the urban jungle.

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The Fortune Cookie

1:35 am PHT

I was ordering dinner at Chowking the other night when I saw that they had fortune cookies for sale. Since I’ve never touched a fortune cookie before and they only cost 5 pesos each, I gave in to my impulse-buying side (which is very tightly repressed) and bought one. What a fortunate cookie!

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Lucky Friday the 13th

8:59 am PHT

I got two free invites to go see Jam 88.3’s advanced screening of Little Manhattan. I was the fifth texter to correctly answer the question, “What does the acronym MoMA stand for?” The answer is the Museum of Modern Art. The screening is later at 8:00pm at Robinson’s Galleria.

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The Great TBL Has a Blog (and A Look Back In Time)

4:10 pm PHT

Tim Berners-Lee has a blog! If you don’t know who he is, then you either probably haven’t read Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons, or you haven’t carefully read Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons. For the still clueless, he’s the reason you’re reading this blog entry now; he’s the inventor of the World Wide Web.

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The Manumission

10:14 pm PHT

I’ve been meaning to blog about this dream of mine a couple of days ago but the reminder escaped my mind. I’m not a dream person. I don’t usually remember my dreams even if they were very scary or quite happy. The only reason I can recall this particular dream of mine is that I suddenly remembered about it about an hour after I woke up. And I tried my best to recall the details of the dream because it was really weird.

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Megacities and Time

11:26 pm PHT

I just watched the majority of two episodes of National Geographic’s Megacities Week, which explores the underlying vital infrastructure that powers or protects eight cities in the world. The two episodes I caught dealt with the power and electricity demands of Las Vegas in the United States, and the defense systems and engineering safety that built Mexico City in the wake of the devastating 1985 earthquake.

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Unconscious Mistakes

11:12 pm PHT

There’s nothing wrong with making mistakes. Everyone makes them. That’s how we learn and grow. Hopefully you don’t make the same mistake twice.

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Beinte Singko

1:59 am PHT

Last Saturday was the silver anniversary of my birth. So that will make me nominally 25 years old. But technically, I’m about 25 years and 8 and a half months old since I started to exist the moment I was conceived. (And I was about two weeks premature; I was supposed to be born in September, the same month as my dad’s birthday.)

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Impersonal

11:45 pm PHT

I was reading somebody’s journal a while ago and noticed the stark contrast between that person’s blog and mine. That person’s blog is quite personal (though not quite) while I blog about a lot of impersonal things. Oh, I’ve read a lot of really personal blogs (like some of the ones on my Biblography list), but I just noticed the stark contrast because this person is someone I know in a professional manner. I’ll definitely never look at that person again in the same way.

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Lex

11:39 pm PHT

That’s me with my son. Godson that is. His name is Lex and he lives with his mom over in Tarlac. Last Sunday was the first time I got to visit him. I went along with some of my other fellow ninongs and ninangs from our barkada. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to go to his Baptism last year since my parents wouldn’t let me go to Tarlac (but they surprisingly let me go without comment this time). Lex just turned one last June and so we decided to visit him once most of us had a free weekend.

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Crashing

9:51 pm PHT

Hay. Malas naman talaga o. I went home last night, turned on my PC, and wondered why it wouldn’t detect my new S-ATA hard disk and why there was some weird clicking noises when I boot the PC up. It seemed that the hard disk crashed. The brand-spanking-new hard disk. The 5-year Seagate warranty sticker on the hard disk mocks me.

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C’est la Fête

7:35 pm PHT

Wow. El Pueblo in Ortigas was packed to the rafters in this year’s Fête de la Musique. As usual, various strata of Manila’s society were there enjoying the free music and emptying the coolers of their beer cans and softer drinks. I had a great night enjoying the music at the Alternative and Electronica stages.

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First Year Mo?

8:15 pm PHT

I didn’t realize that I posted my first entry a year ago the other day. I’ve written just under 100 posts . Not bad.  :)

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I’ve Got a New Baby!

12:03 pm PHT

I can’t think of a clever and witty rejoinder to that title so I’ll go straight to the point and announce that I bought myself a new computer! I’ve been meaning to buy one for a very long time since my 5-year-old AMD K6–2 500 MHz PC with its 64 MB of SDRAM and running Microsoft Windows 98 SE is now inadequate for my computing needs.

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Occasionally You Do Something Really Stupid

11:47 pm PHT

Like almost crushing your Nokia 6610. I “misplaced” the phone under an equipment bar at the gym today, under the mistaken impression that it’ll be safer there (safe from prying eyes). What escaped my mind was that that bar goes down to the floor when using the gym machine. So I almost crushed my already battered phone.

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Okay, I’ll Say Something

10:42 pm PHT

Nah, I don’t think enough has been said.

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Pampanga Games

11:43 pm PHT

Last Friday, my company trooped to Clark in Pampanga to hold the main event of our annual sportsfest. Six teams have competed in various events like basketball, volleyball, and badminton months before, so the only remaining event was the parlor games.

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Kamaynilaan

10:49 pm PHT

I love the metropolis, despite its choking atmosphere, infuriating traffic jams, and above-average crime rate. I love looking at the tall skyscrapers of the Makati Central Business District. I enjoy driving through the city’s thoroughfares late at night (when there’s little traffic). I savor the visits to the classy malls and hangouts like Greenbelt, Eastwood, and Malate. I like window shopping in Megamall and going out on gimiks with friends.

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Bad Haiku

10:55 pm PHT

Haiku in Greenbelt
Had really lousy service
Food was expensive

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Musical Notes

5:51 am PHT

The Slinky and Hed Kandi parties are back-to-back weekend events in Boracay organized by Big Fish, the same company that brought Paul van Dyk here in Manila last December 9. Slinky happened last March 26 while Hed Kandi will be this Saturday, April 2.

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Holy Week Musings

5:54 pm PHT

So it’s Holy Week once more. I’ve almost always stayed at home during Holy Week and never gone out of town or wherever especially on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. I’m a bit envious of all the people heading out to the beaches, whether in Puerto Galera or Boracay. But, I don’t feel it’s an appropriate way to spend religious holidays, especially the culmination of Lent.

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The Irony of the Movement

1:16 pm PHT

I expected more from the event that called itself The Movement. Sadly, it failed to deliver what it promised on the promotional material:

Clubbing is getting classier and more sophisticated. Clubs abroad such as the Supperclub in Amsterdam have made elegance and clubbing synonymous. It’s now time to show your style, sip your cocktails and unwind to the soothing sounds of a more refined groove within a chic atmosphere.

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I Found Gold…

11:04 pm PHT

For the month of March, I’m spending more of my time in Robinson’s Galleria instead of SM Megamall, thanks to the 1-month gift certificate my sister got from Gold’s Gym where she’s enrolled. I’ve been going to the gym for over a year now and during the past year, most of it has been spent at Excel Fitness Center at the fifth floor in Megamall.

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Sunday at Tagaytay

12:27 am PHT

Yesterday my sister celebrated her birthday. And so on a whim, my mother decided a few days ago to catch the 7:30 a.m. mass at the Adoration Convent of Divine Mercy (a.k.a. the Pink Sisters Convent) in Tagaytay.

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They’ve Shown Us Love

10:34 pm PHT

A bunch of us watched the Jars of Clay Show You Love concert here in Manila (Araneta Coliseum) last Wednesday. I think it was the first time I really watched a concert of my own volition (and the first time I visited Gateway mall). The mall was nice enough. The Jars of Clay concert was even better.

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Sunday at Ayala Center (and Other Musings)

10:41 pm PHT

I spent Sunday lunchtime over at Ayala Center in Makati to attend the baptismal reception of Evan Andre, the son of my cousin. The lunch was at one ballroom of the New World Renaissance Hotel. Well, Jun Capulong, the husband of my cousin is rich. So I guess they can afford to throw a grand celebration.

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Toki #2

1:00 pm PHT

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There are 72 Starbucks Branches in the Philippines

12:34 am PHT

Via Jason Kottke is this link to Starbucks’ online store locator where I found out that there are 72 branches in the Philippines, all owned by Rustan’s Corporation, might I add? (I’m surprised—there’s only one branch in Cebu City?) From Jason’s post and readers’ comments, you can see that there are locations in New York and London where there are more than 150 Starbucks branches within a five-mile radius!

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If Money Were No Object…

10:39 am PHT

If I were asked the question on how I want my life to be if money were no object, I’d have a few ready answers. You could say that my answers would be my dream goal in life. It might be farfetched, but I think it’s achievable.

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Rubik’s Cube Madness

1:45 pm PHT

An officemate of mine, Joanne, gave everyone in our division Rubik’s Cube for Christmas. These are not the official versions, but are imitation versions with maddeningly weird cartoon figures on the stickers. (Solving the Cube with these figures is actually more difficult since not only do you have to have the correct colors, you have to have the center cubes rotated correctly.)

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Retrospect: Puerto Galera

12:22 am PHT

My trip to Puerto Galera has been 2 nights of well-deserved fun. I’ve partied for two nights, snorkled among the fishes and the corals, ate enough sisig to last me the rest of the year (and probably half of next year), and had my first ever paid massage!

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Shoelace OC-ness

9:13 am PHT

I chanced to read Dan’s piece on choosing laceless shoes and while interesting (both my shoes have laces, but I don them slip on/off style like some of the commenters, but I do occasionally re-tie), the more interesting bit is the shoelace knots site linked to from comment #19.

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Off to Puerto Galera

6:05 am PHT

Hooray for long weekends! I’m going to Puerto Galera with Renz and some of his friends from the 13th to the 15th. The last (and first time) I’ve been to Galera was on the Palm Sunday weekend of this year. It’s great there; nice beaches, lots of people, and partying at night.  :D

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“Irrelevant”

10:56 pm PHT

“A man went into a restaurant, ordered penguin soup, tasted it, went home, and killed himself,” so starts the lateral thinking puzzle that kept us busy for two hours at Eileen’s get-together party last Saturday.

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God’s Personal Gift

6:35 am PHT

I believe that the best compliment one could ever receive is “you’re my personal gift from God.”

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When the World Shakes

12:35 pm PHT

I was eating a heavy Jollibee dinner last night in Makati when I felt a bit dizzy (my inner ears tell me that I moved, but my eyes tell me I didn’t). I thought Renz, who stood up at that exact moment, pushed my chair or something, except that I was very sure that he didn’t push it at all. Of course it was just the earthquake [Phivolcs].

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Who Wants Paintball Tickets?

6:19 am PHT

One of my favorite FM stations, Jam 88.3, regularly runs trivia contests where they ask listeners for the answer to trivia questions. Winning answers that come via their textline are awarded goodies like paintball tickets, gift certificates to DermStress, and movie passes to Ayala Cinemas.

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24

8:05 pm PHT

No, this number isn’t about the hit TV series shown in the Philippines through AXN and with the dubbed version by ABS-CBN. This is, as many of you will guess, is my age for two days now. I celebrated my birthday last Friday by watching The Stepford Wives with some friends in Greenbelt 3 and hanging out at Café Breton after. And today, I celebrated it with my family by eating out for lunch at Kitaro in Starmall Las Piñas.

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Makati Reunion

11:55 pm PHT

I met up with a bunch of my high school classmates last Friday. It was nice seeing them again after a long time. The occasion was that Eileen was going to Bangkok to work there and this get-together was a farewell party for her organized by her college friends. Present among my classmates were Ann, Erika, Rianne, Pia, Rose, Princess, Tintin, Charlie, Roi, and Benja. Joyce wasn’t there since she’s in Germany, while Paul, Robert, and Henrique were absent, as usual.

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