28 December 2006

Silent night

I had cooked up some new, fun things to write about. But as I stare at the blank screen and the incessant blinking of the cursor, I couldn't help but think of the many sad things that have happened recently.

Pyro has passed away. Part of his battle against cancer was televised in "Wish ko Lang", with his dream of seeing the wrestler Batista coming true.

Tito Rolly also experienced the loss of loved ones recently. I remember Tito Rolly as the jolly guy who called out my name in our blogger's Christmas party many Decembers ago as I entered the restaurant, unsure if I will push through with joining the party. He made me feel welcome. I'm sure I cannot truly comprehend what he must be going through right now.

My condolences and prayers.

19 December 2006

A new house!

If I were to have a house built, it would have a high ceiling with a loft. I nearly realized that dream when we started building our house at Crystal Cave. Alas, we underestimated the labor cost and the house went unfinished. I hope I can continue it real soon.

At any rate, we had a business-related event that had us doing a contract signing, and we did it in the model unit of their condo. It was really nice. The space was maximized and due to the high ceiling, it looked so roomy. We couldn't help but have a couple of shots taken.
Cheers to my new pad! (I can dream, can't I?) That's fellow blogger Follen at the left. And at the right is our guest who wishes to remain anonymous. Eh?
This is a section of the living room. I like! But an essential component is missing... where's the TV?!
This is the upstairs bedroom. This loft has a really nice bathroom here and a smaller one downstairs.

All this opulence had us thinking we were part of a royal Spanish family. harhar! Here's our portrait without the smiles. Yes, we laughed heartily after this shoot.

13 December 2006

Gift wrap

In this age of electronic greeting cards and instant gift bags, why take the hassle of wrapping the gifts one by one? Why not ask the department store to wrap it for you?

In this hustle-bustle life we live in, stopping to smell the flowers seem like a luxury. But there's something to uniquely-wrapped gifts that say "hey, I took time to wrap my gift because you're special to me". So if you want your gift to stand out from the rest no matter how simple it is, it only takes a bit of imagination and believe me, wrapping not as difficult as it seems.

For this year's bunch of gifts for friends, my wife and I bought some nice christmas trinkets and table decor. Good thing we bought these when we saw them last October because when we went back, they were gone!

To wrap these dainty little things, I bought the following:
- Cellophane paper (pink for the girls, blue for the boys)
- japanese paper
- curly ribbons
A pair of scissors and stapler also helps.

- spread out the cellophane paper. place the gift item in the middle. Make sure all four corners will overlap the item.
- cut the cellophane paper, then cut a sheet of japanese paper equal to or larger than the cellophane paper. Approximate. No ruler required.
- Put the japanese paper over the cellophane paper. Put the item in the middle, and raise all corners of the papers. Squeeze the part where the item gets covered.
- Take a couple of these curly ribbons and tie on the squeezed part.
- I made custom gift tags (see previous blog post). Write the name of the recipient on the gift tag, and staple onto cellophane paper.

Ta-daa! Customized gift wrap. You can do the same with rectangular boxes.
I also bought a tree ornament to use on gifts but I can't find them. Me and my forgetfulness. Anyways, with a little creativity, you can make your gifts really special.
Merry Christmas!

08 December 2006

Electronic Surgery

Allow me to share with you something that I will call a "thought experiment."

A couple of days back, I edited one of our family photos to use as customized tags for our christmas gifts. While staring at our photos, I noticed just how tired we looked, what with the dark things going on under our eyes.
So I experimented a bit with Photoshop and lightened those dark areas.

I think I erased too much though. Har har. I blurred the background a bit to put in our Christmas message there. It was a hasty job really, and when I separated the background from us, the cut was a bit rough so I added a shadow to soften up the edges a bit.
Anyways, I had a meeting with a supplier the following day. As I stared at her explaining their products and services, my mind went blank. I looked at her face and saw the rather dark eyebags and some skin blemishes. I imagined having her face on the computer screen and then I clicked the healing brush tool and tried to lighten up the dark portions. And then I moved on to the blemishes.... I wondered how long it will take me to touch-up the photo.

And then I snapped back to reality when she asked me a question and I had to ask her to repeat her question. Hmmm... I wonder if this also happens often to those digital artists doing digital surgery on actors and actresses to make them look good on screen. Hah!

Happy weekend everyone!

06 December 2006

December flowers

Our Christmas tree is up! Actually, we just let Halloween pass by and then we already took out our Christmas tree.
The photo above is one of the few photos I was able to save from my 6630 before it got stolen. *sniff*

Have I mentioned before that we moved house again in Baguio City? Well, it was a nice change actually. There's a playground outside the house (though it's cemented but it's nice just the same), it's a bit far from the road so it's relatively quiet, and there's a bit of land where I can plant!

Here's the plot of land when we moved in ...
And after. I planted roses and ostrich feather-like plants here, and bought some anthuriums. I love the place because butterflies would occasionally drop by and flutter around the plants. It's a sight you never get to see everyday.
December is also a very nice time for sunflowers. It's the time when they get into full bloom mode and follow the sun as it travels across the sky.

Here's a photo of the view outside the house when we moved in last November ...
And here's what it looks like just last weekend.

So here's to a meaningful December to all of us, and may your surroundings be filled with flowers and butterflies!

28 November 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

I first saw the announcement about this movie from the World Wildlife Fund e-newsletter. I watched a movie about our Oceans and the Life therein some months ago. Though it was rich and colorful, the orchestral music at times made my mind draw blanks, and my companion snore.

Not so with this movie. It's a presentation of facts by no other than Al Gore about the current trend and effect of global warming. He presents numerous data and photos substantiating the global warming phenomenon and it is indeed very disturbing.

Within 50 years, we will have fresh water shortage.
Why are we having typhoons and hurricanes of magnitudes never seen before?
What will happen to land masses when the glaciers in the North and South Pole melt?

This movie is an excellent educational material not only for viewing by students but by people from all walks of life. It explains in plain detail and with illustrations what global warming is.

Sit in his lecture and you will learn a fact or two about what is happening in the world around us today. And it will move you to think about your lifestyle, and how to make a difference.

Click on the button above to pledge to see the movie. Currently showing in SM Mall of Asia and SM Megamall.

Visit the Climate Crisis website and get an equivalent pledge widget to place in your blog or site.
Additional scientific reading on global warming at Wikipedia.

25 November 2006


I just finished my Business Plan presentation! Time is 9:20PM! Now I can finally sleep well tonight!

I would like to thank my team members who gave valuable inputs for the plan, to the cook for the wonderful meals, to admin for the transpo, to management for the nice accommodations, and to my officemates who did not ask mind-boggling questions.

20 November 2006

Mushroomed burger

Business Planning season! I will be quite preoccupied until the end of this week. Thank you all for visiting my blog. Hope things let up after our planning.

At any rate, we had an event at Tagaytay last week. While on the way to the town proper to buy some school supplies, we spotted Mushroom Burger, a restaurant where they use mushrooms for the patty. You may also buy mushrooms if you want. We decided to drop by for a quick lunch.

Mushroom Burger once had a branch in Greenbelt. But when the place was renovated years ago, the restaurant row disappeared, which included a Japanese shop (was it Tokyo Tokyo?) and a "lugawan" (congee shop). So I believe you can have your Mushroom Burger craving only at Tagaytay these days.
The place is laid-out cafeteria-style. My companion said the place gets filled with customers in the weekends. Students also have field trips there and visit their mushroom farm which is adjacent to the restaurant.
I had my first mushroom burger years ago, so I was likewise excited to taste it once again.

Well... I was a bit disappointed actually. Filipinos in general like their burgers sweet, but in this case I wanted to really taste the patty. But the dressing (mayo and ketchup combination) overpowered everything else. My companions, though, loved it, and they were pleasantly surprised that it was like eating a regular burger.

The photos by the counter, of course, displayed really nice photos of the burgers. We ordered the jumbo versions. But when it arrived ... it mushroomed! Oh well. Sign of the times eh?
Maybe it's just me. Maybe I expected too much. Anyways, if you happen to drop by Tagaytay and get curious about having mushrooms for lunch, do drop by there and let me know!

15 November 2006

A series of unfortunate events

Oh wow. It's been a week since my last post. Things are really getting busy at the office, and I have been going to Baguio every weekend for over two months now. It leaves little time for blogging and bloghopping. Things should normalize by mid-December.

I'm writing on my lunch break to share with you ... a series of unfortunate events. Last weekend, I lost my camera phone in Divisoria. Things were just fine, until it was time for me to go home. I had 4 huge bags of purchases that I was trying to balance all the way to the FX station. One minute my phone was in my pocket, the other minute, it was gone. That was Saturday.

Then last night, my wife called to inform me that our car was broken into. The car stereo was gone. Not that it was a high-end car stereo, but it was lost nonetheless and it became an urgent issue where to park, for the car might get stolen the next night. There was no place by the house to park so we, along with other cars, park by the road near our place. Five cars were broken into that night.

And when my wife got home, baby Jo-Lo had accidentally broken the glass top of our living room table. Fortunately Jo-Lo wasn't hurt.

I hope this string of misfortune ends soon.

09 November 2006

Yacon: down to earth goodness

Isn't it strange how one fails to observe may things in his surroundings, but when we are alerted to its presence, it seems like it's everywhere?

Before I hardly take notice of the brand of cars that ply our streets. But when I started driving, I suddenly realized how many Honda Civic ESIs there are still being driven around.

And then there's the trekking adventures. Going to the mountains and staying by the river is a treat I always look forward to. When I come back to Manila, I notice the prevailing absence of vegetation and the presence of pollution. But sometimes in the late afternoons, when the skies are clear and the clouds lazily drift by, I sometimes catch myself staring upwards and wishing I was back in the mountains.

I'm veering off from the subject matter on hand. Have you ever heard of "Yacon"? I wouldn't be surprised if you haven't. It was, in fact, my first time to learn about this two weekends ago! I was in Baguio when a friend here in Manila sent me an SMS asking if I knew what Yacon was. I didn't, so I asked my wife. "Sure", she said. "It looks like potatoes and it's said to have medicinal properties."

Whoa. She knows about it. And it's being sold in the local market!

That afternoon, I went out and searched for this Yacon. And there it was. It was not clearly a popular item; only a handful of stores sell them. But those who have them have a large "Yacon" sign to attract buyers. I bought 3 kilos for my friend's father.

When I hand-delivered it to them, his father sliced up some for me to taste. It was crunchy and a bit sweet. It tasted good. We finished one batch and we were served up another.

Yacon is good for people with diabetes, it aids in digestion, and may help prevent colon cancer. As stated in the website I have referenced below, Yacon is "high in fiber, low in fat, and rich in oligofructose, Yacon is considered by many to be a superfood of the future."

Amazing. A superfood of the future, right under my nose.

Read on about Yacon at Seeds of Change: Certified Organic.

06 November 2006

The Black Story

I promised to narrate the "black story" in my previous post so here goes ...

Unlike in other places where Halloween is being celebrated with parties and trick or treating, we just wanted to quietly observe the day by having some furniture fixed and purchase flowering plants that will be placed in our small garden, and have candles lighted in strategic places inside and outside the house so no ghosts come wandering where they're not supposed to.

So off we went in the early afternoon carrying four black chairs that comprise our dining area seating that needed upholstering. After some considerable arranging and rearranging, we managed to stuff these all in Blackie, our black Honda Civic.

We got into the car and turn on the ignition. The engine rumbled slightly then died off. Uh oh. A couple more tries revealed the same "uh-oh" result. A neighbor passed by and said it might have trouble starting because we did not use it for a couple of days so we just have to try and try and try.

That we did, until I finally gave up. I told my wife that I better carry the chairs by twos to the upholstery shop because they might close early. So I carried two chairs to the shop, then went back for the next two. My wife accompanied me on the second trip so she can haggle the price with the shop owner.

A black cat appeared out of nowhere from our right side and cross right in front of us. We stopped. Wasn't that a sign of bad luck? Where's a pinch of salt to throw over your shoulder when you need one?
It's turning out to be a black day for us. Black chairs, black car, black cat. Is this Friday the 13th? Did this mean we were being warned not to continue with our trip to the Orchidarium?

We went back to the car. Lo and behold. The engine hummed at first start! Well, there's no turning back now. We made our way to Burnham Park to buy our plants.

And that's the end of the black story. Bitin ba? :-) How anti-climactic! lol

Here's Jo-Lo enjoying our trip to the Orchidarium.
My wife and Jo-Lo buying grapes from a wandering vendor.

02 November 2006

Belated Happy Halloween everyone!

Firstly, thanks everyone for greeting me on my birthday! Actually, I did not have any plans of celebrating. I just wanted it to come and go. But as early as the day before, I was receiving greetings already, and it indeed lifted my spirits so I said, what the heck. I'll just celebrate it on my blog! :-).

Fast forward to Halloween...
Have I mentioned before that I'm choosy with my friends? Yep. I celebrated Halloween with only a few select pals. Here they are:
Oooh, Death hasn't aged one bit!
Here we are, hanging around with Sadako.
And here's my good friend from Tales from the Crypt whose eyes whitened by the sight of me and played me a merry old tune on the piano. Awww....

Kidding. Those figures are from the Mimosa Leisure Park in Clark when we had a seminar over there a day before my birthday.

I celebrated Halloween in Baguio. Thanks to the typhoon and GMA declaring only Nov. 1 as the holiday, I wasn't able to visit my parents' house on that day. We visited them instead last Sunday, which is my father's birthday. The following day, the typhoon arrived, making it dangerous to make a second visit.

On Halloween, we visited the market. Coconuts are very popular at these times, as it is a primary ingredient for making rice cakes.

Inspite of the rains, we placed candles in each room of the house and the surroundings. It was raining at this time, making it impossible to place candles by the gates.
It was a silent Halloween for us. Oooh I have to tell you about the "black event" that happened but I'll talk about that in the next blog.

They said all I talk about is food these days. Not! I talk about it too in my Baguio-Quezon blog! :-)

Belated Happy Halloween everyone!

27 October 2006

Guess what day this is?

One of our bosses dropped by my table a few moments ago and asked for updates on some tasks he requested the group to do. After that, I decided to update him too on some other activities we were doing. After less than half an hour he left. Pauline, my cubicle neighbor, remarked: "he forgot to greet you Happy Birthday". Ah, well.

So I'm writing this so you'd know and send a greeting my way (hehehe!). Thanks to my friends, relatives, wife, baby Jo-Lo, blogkadahan, for the greetings as yesterday!

Advanced "thank you!" for the greeting, and have a great weekend ahead!

24 October 2006

Have your fish and eat it too

Here's a different dining experience. Go to the wet market, purchase your seafood of choice (with a bit of beef of pork too!), have it cooked, and dine on this sumptious feast fresh from the ...er... market!

The fish is indeed fresh, with their clear, bright eyes staring at you while the clams squirt water every once in a while in their tub.

Here's a photo of the wet market. Ummm... it's right behind these pretty ladies. Negotiate your way between the sellers who vie for your attention by calling out to you and announcing their fresh produce and what you can do with them (shrimps for tempura! Clams for soup!). Don't forget to haggle for discounts!

Next, go to the dining area where your purchase is weighed, asked what you want to be done with it, and you choose your cook for the day.

The cost of cooking is prominently displayed here. After this task is done, you finally sit down at the airconditioned dining area and wait for the hot and tasty food to arrive!
Expect your food to start arriving in about twenty minutes time. The clam soup arrived is usually the first to arrive. Yum yum! Sarap!

Soon enough, talk was replaced with silence as each savors the feast laid out before them. Galit-galit muna!

Ever had seaweed salad before? Though Baguio is located atop the mountains, we have seaweed in the market regularly and we love it with chopped tomates and sprinkled lightly with salt.

Remnants of clam shells and tuna bones pile up on the extra plate. Hey, that's not only from my plate!

This is truly a seafood feast that you'll love. Don't forget to order steamed fish! Absolutely divine.

Dampa has many branches. This one's in Libis, Quezon City.

Going ... going ... gone!

20 October 2006

Advanced Christmas greeting

The spirit of Christmas arrived early in our office today. My share of postal mail contained a Christmas card from a fellow blogger and friend. Even though we have not seen each other personally, he thoughtfully sent me a card with greetings to Jo-Lo as well. My first Christmas greeting for 2006. I'm so happy!
Merry Christmas to you and your family, Tito Rome! Merry Christmas to my blog visitors as well! Happy weekend!

19 October 2006

Parent's Instinct

I had a difficulty sleeping two nights ago. I tossed and turned, got up and turned off the fan, then got up and turned it on again, then drank water, only to find myself still staring at the floor or at the ceiling.

It was really strange. I normally do not have a problem getting sleep. I get deprived only when I'm on the road. But other than that, I just find a comfy position and doze off.

Sleep finally arrived at around 2:30AM. I'm one of those regular guys who need 8 hours and so I woke up late, the alarm clock's ringing at 6:30 a futile attempt at going to the office on time.

I exchanged SMS with my wife later that day and told her about my sleep deprivation. It entered my mind that something might be wrong at home, and I guess it did not help with the sleeplessness. My wife then told me that Jo-Lo fell off the bed at 12:30 in the morning! He sustained a bump and bruises near the left eye.

We're having rubber mats placed on the floors. Jo-Lo is becoming increasingly boisterous these days. Thank goodness he's ok now.

Would you call that a parent's instinct?

17 October 2006

Adobe and Pizza

I started the week with a whole-day seminar for Adobe InDesign CS2 with Pauline and Kenneth (our web designer). I also attended the session when CS2 was launched last year and it was a blast! Fun and educational at the same time! Their seminars are really more like workshops. They teach you tips and tricks that you can use in your own environment. Last year, they focused on PhotoShop and Illustrator. This year, they dabbled with InDesign (for desktop publishing). It was indeed a whole day well worth it.

Last year, I also saw friend and blogger Ginno but was not able to talk to him. I was expecting to see him at this session too. Lo and behold. He was indeed there! We caught up with old times during breaks. I also saw Azrael (a friend from my active anime days) and chatted about how life is treating him. Seems like everybody's gaining weight these days.
Was there a blogger's EB yesterday I wasn't aware of?

Anyways, I'm all excited to apply what I have learned on those sessions. Marianne and Tim Cole (the resource speakers) were hilarious! And so learned.

We are about to revamp the Company Guidebook and this seminar really came in at the right time. I'm all fired-up.

At lunchtime, we went to A Veneto Pizzeria Ristorante at Glorietta (this is with the Tower Records row). Pauline ordered pasta and pizza and some finger food. We were already halfway with the pizza and almost done with the pasta when I exclaimed, "blog material!"

Too late for the pasta. But I was able to take a shot of the wonderful seafood pasta. Shrimps, clam, octopus, with pesto served on thin crust. It was absolutely scrumptious. So flavorful it was that we had the family size but each got two slices each, on top of our pasta and potato balls and crab meat sticks. Yum yum.
Their seafood pizza is highly recommend! Family size costs 460 pesos. Chicken pesto at 360 pesos. Veneto family platter (with crab meat sticks, potato balls, and french fries) at 210 pesos, bottomless lemonade and iced tea at 60 pesos each.
I'm looking forward to the next Adobe Conference (and lunch with friends).

13 October 2006

A golfer's paradise

About a month ago, we went out on a road trip that took us to golf courses south of Manila. Nope, we weren't there to play golf. We were the occular inspection team for our company's business planning venue on November. A considerable number of our management team plays golf, so it pretty much dictated the choice of venue for the planning. Plus, we also had to check out other sporting activities that can be had in the area such as badminton, tennis, bowling, and such for the others.

Going to these places made me realize just how dedicated golfers are with their game. With vast expanse of land spared at no expense to create the perfect course. I am also being encouraged to try this game out but I really cannot see myself playing golf.

They say that golf is not an expensive sport. But what about memberships to country clubs, purchase of golf clubs, and everytime you play, you pay for the green fee, caddy fee, golf cart fee, and you need to be properly attired for the sport of course. And these pristine golf courses! They aren't there for free, that's one thing for sure.

I enjoyed our trip, though, because of the nice scenery, the opportunity to step into clubhouses, and the team imagining that this were ours and our maids were out in the greens driving golf carts and playing during their free time. Hahaha!

Choose your golfer's paradise!

Tagaytay Highlands in Tagaytay (duh)
Offers a magnificent view of the Taal lake and Volcano. Photo below is the clubhouse. Area in front is where actress Claudine Barredo had her wedding.
I like their sunken living room . It faces a roundish fireplace. Very cozy. There's Pauline taking a breather with me.Malarayat Golf and Country Club in Lipa, Batangas
I like their lofts with a view. I've always wanted to have a house with a loft.
Canyon Woods, Batangas
Canyon Woods has a number of cottages for rent, and there are lots of family-based recreation that can be had here on weekends like fishing, boating, bowling, tennis, badminton. Photo below is the indoor swimming pool. I've always wanted something like that for our house. Hey, daydreaming has no charge, right?
Ayala Greenfields, Calamba, Laguna
The architecture is Japanese-inspired. And yes, I always wanted something like that for our house.
Summit Point, Batangas
This is the main lobby. Too aristocratic for me, I suppose. Although Dessagirl can imagine herself standing at the balcony while her guests wait below and she announces that they can play golf while tea is being prepared after the front 9.
Welcome to my home!
Owwww! I bonked my head! All my delusions of grandeur.... gone!

Gotta work hard to reach our goals and dreams, right? Happy weekend everyone!
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