28 July 2006

The Tag of wierdness

I got tagged by Balikbayan Box. It's been quite a while since I got tagged because I have a reputation for breaking the chain, but this one got me interested, especially since I have seen a lot of people tagged for this one already and came up with interesting responses.

Weird Habits Tag

The writer will create a blog with 6 weird things habits about yourself.

People who get tagged will have to post a blog of their own telling 6 weird things habits about themselves.

At the end of your 6 weird things habits, you need to choose 6 people that you would like to be tagged and list their names.

Dont forget to leave a comment that says You are Tagged! in their comments and tell them to read yours for instructions on how to proceed!

Here goes...

1. I perspire when I eat something sweet. Not just a slight perspiration. My broad forehead, nose, mustache area, beside my ears, eye area, my neck. I don't know why. In fact, I'm perspiring now because a colleague dropped by my cubicle to give me a couple of Turkish Delight (my first time to eat this! Reminded me of Narnia! It was nice and soft and ... sweet).

I perspire especially with chocolates. But I discovered recently I can tolerate dark chocolate, so all is not lost.

2. I don't like tomato ketchup. I prefer the one made with banana. I even got angry with the commercial where kids identify the color of a fruit and a product it's made from. When it came to the banana, the kids answered "yellow!". And when it showed ketchup, the kids said it's not yellow, it's wrong! What the heck. Is the commercial implying that banana ketchup is japeyk?

3. I cannot go straight to sleep without watching a bit of TV or reading a bit from a book or magazine, or play a video game. Which sometimes drags my sleeping time to a couple of hours later. A bit of something turns interesting most of the time.

4. I get grumpy when I'm hungry. So grumpy that my temper usually flares up when people strike a conversation with me. I have had a couple of misunderstandings due to this and I have explained this fact to them. So now, I simply keep quiet when hungry until I can chew on something.

5. I keep all receipts and bits of paper. I just learned about that when I moved house last June. It took me a whole month sifting through the grabage! That's nine years' worth of paper. Get the biggest black garbage bag; I filled up two of those.

6. I like my egg scrambled on the pan itself while it's cooking. When the egg served me is sunny side up, I just eat the white part, leaving the yolk by its lonesome.

Hmmm.... I'm supposd to tag six other people but in my hopping lots have answered this already. So, if you haven't answered this yet and you're born in the merry month of October, you're tagged!

Happy weekend everyone!

26 July 2006

The Breakfast Club: a movie review

First, a 500-peso update.

If there's one thing I learned this week, it's that I cannot stretch 500 pesos into a week. I barely have 30 pesos left in my pocket today. Oh well, I have to get funding from my coin bank and chase those who owe me. Salary day seems so far, far away ...

I think my wife hasn't been reading my blog lately ... I'd better alert her :-).


"They were five students with nothing in common, faced with spending a Saturday detention together in their high school library. At 7AM, they had nothing to do, but by 4PM, they had bared their souls to each other and become good friends. John Hughes, creator of the critically acclaimed Sixteen Candles, wrote, directed, and produced this hilarious and often touching comedy starring Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy. To the outside world they were simply the Jock, the Brain, the Criminal, the Princess and the Kook, but to each other, they would always be The Breakfast Club."

So runs the introduction to the story at the back of the CD. Don't check the current movie listings, for this one came from the jolly old 80s, 1984 to be exact. I have never watched this movie before so when I saw it last Friday while browsing through a video store, I simply had to buy it (along with Some Kind of Wonderful which a friend was looking for).

I wondered: why Breakfast Club? There was no scene of them having breakfast together (duh). They did have lunch though, each bag reflecting their lifestyle and character. The entire movie happens in the library on that fateful day where they all meet. Strangers at first with diverse family backgrounds, they display animosity towards each other. They question each other's beliefs and convictions.

Eight hours is quite a long time to just sit still. The professor monitoring them eventually found that he had his hands full with these rowdy students. But while in conflict, they stood for each other against this professor who was trying to catch who loosened the screw on the hallway door to his office, making it difficult to keep watch from his chair. Later on, they finally had an opportunity to sit down and share the reason for their detention and its even deeper cause. No cheesy dialogues. Just a batch of people looking for acceptance from their family, their friends, and questioning why they are who they are, and what if they meet each other in the corridors come Monday, will they still greet each other like friends? What will their other friends say about it? It surely hits the spot when it comes to stereotyping people based on how they dress, their family background, and the people they get along with.

I enjoyed watching this movie. No special effects, no guns blaring, no bombs going off. Just plain watching a bunch of kids spending detention and getting on with their lives. It was actually like sitting in detention with them too.

The movie even starts with the song "Dont you forget about me" by Simple Minds, taking me back to the fun 80s. There was even dancing, 80s style. What a treat!

Catch The Breakfast Club on HBO, or buy your copy (VCD format only, no DVD available) from your favorite video shop for only P100.00.

25 July 2006

The 500 peso update

A couple of hours after posting the previous article, my 500 pesos got turned into loose change due to the following tasks(inspite of my to-do list to save up; didn't realize it was going to be difficult!). But I also got some freebies along the way.

- got a taxi ride from office to Dusit for occular inspection with Follen. Damage: 40.00 (Booooo!)
- hungry! had to eat after the occular. Went straight to Wendy's. Damage: 55.00 (Boooo!)
- It was Princess Em's birthday yesterday! Happy birthday Em! She invited me and Follen for food and chat. It became dinner (Yeeeees!)
- a friend gave me 100.00 in exchange for the "Some kind of wonderful" VCD I bought him last Friday (Yeesss!)
- bought a sick friend dinner. Damage: 71.00 (Good deed forthe day)
- got a taxi ride going home. It was 9PM already and slightly raining. Damage: 60.00 (Booo!)

Spent: 226.00 Remaining: 374.00

- got to office through carpooling without paying for it (Yeeesss!)
- lunch at Jollijeep. Damage: 52.00 (Gotta eat!)
Follen's first time to eat in a Jollijeep

So what do you think? Will my 500 pesos last til weekend?

24 July 2006

See you around, Blackie! See you around, 500 pesos!

Last weekend was an unforgettable road trip. We brought Blackie (a Honda Civic) to Baguio so my wife can use it. I can no longer afford the car here in Manila. Rent parking space at the apartment (2,500) plus rent at work (2,000), and rising petrol prices is really getting into my meager allowance. So, bye Blackie and see you around!
Blackie was even acting up when we were driving (I have night blindness so I have a driving companion with me); a couple of hours before leaving Manila, it was overheating! To think that I had it checked before the trip. It was ok again starting from Tarlac til Sison, Pangasinan where the road finally leads up to the mountains. Then on uphill climbs we had to stop every now and then to let Blackie rest. It was like he didn't want to leave. But for sure he'll eventually settle down and love the cool mountain breeze.


Speaking of things I will be seeing around, I only have 500 pesos left in my pocket to last me this week! It's like a Mission Impossible of sorts racing in my mind.

"Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to stretch your remaining 500 pesos regardless of business trips and cab fares. And you have to eat three square meals a day and snacks to quell your ever-grumbling stomach."

To stretch the Ninoy Aquino bill, I will have to:
- eliminate cab fares altogether. That means going to work on time. Aaargh. Waking up is difficult in this rainy weather.
- sleep early I guess.
- No fancy take-outs! No Jollibee or McDonald's or Wendy's or KFC either. My, how nutricious my regular food intake sounds.
- Influence my friends to treat me out to lunch
- gatecrash parties for dinner fare

I wonder if I will indeed last til weekend. Friends, Romans, Countrymen, help me! :-)

19 July 2006

Road trip!

I am increasingly finding myself on the road these days. It's because I want to go to Baguio to unwind even for a day and be with my family, rather than spend the entire weekend in the apartment by my lonesome.

So I brave the 6-hour trip to Baguio and back by bus. I think I've even become accustomed to it already! I take the midnight-to-early morning trips so I can sleep the trip through. But sometimes they play songs that are not rather to my liking, or they have the lights on at all times. These make it difficult to sleep.

But adjust I must so I will sleep less when I get to Baguio. And in the quest for making myself comfy in these trips, I found the following handy:

Pillow. I like taking the window seat so I can prop the pillow between the headrest and the window, get into sleeping position, and doze off. I don't take bathroom breaks at stopovers anyway.

There's also this pillow that you put at the back of your neck to support you while you lull yourself to sleep with your mouth open (harharhar). I haven't tried these yet though. There's also an inflatable version of this.

Blanket. Ah yes. I have gotten so accustomed to going to Baguio on weekends that I usually go with just shorts, shirts, and slippers on. What to do about the oftentimes unnatural airconditioned coldness in the bus? Blankets! Pictured is a turban-like thing I bought in my recent Davao trip. I also have the malong, a cylindrical clothing that does the job too in making me comfy.

Aside from this, I also bring a bonnet for good measure. I can pull it over my eyes when I don't want to be disturbed by the occasional turning on of the overhead lights.

Entertainment. When you arrive early, there's really nothing much to do at the terminal and inside the bus. So I bring along a book. I have also installed games on my phone. I wish I can watch movies with a PSP but I don't have one.

More entertainment! I don't have an iPod too, but this mp3 player Chu gave me a couple of months ago does the job. I no longer have to suffer listening to the bus' radio station of choice. I just plug into my mp3 collection and in a matter of minutes I doze off. Yeah, it's quite a waste on battery power but hey, I'd rather listen to my tunes than sit like a zombie and listen to whatever they're playing.

Nourishment. Frankly, the food at the stopovers suck. The bread is dry like it's been there for weeks, the burgers and sandwiches stale. I haven't tried rice meals yet but I don't want to get left behind, and I'm not sure if it's a good idea to eat rice in the bus. Kinda messy, huh? So I bring along my food and water! I get off at stopovers only when I need to use the men's room.

Now, if only I can do something about my snoring ...

Want to share your survival tactics for long trips?

14 July 2006

Leaving on a jet plane

Yesterday, I accompanied my brother Dodi (three years younger) to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). After nearly six years of going to and from Manila and Baguio to apply for a job overseas, he's finally leaving. He's bound for Saudi Arabia, do a temporary stop at Jeddah where he will receive his assignment. He will be working as an optician, a trade he learned from my father.

His significant other went with us too to bid him farewell. It was kind of sad really, looking at her trying to catch a glimpse of Dodi where he falls in line and goes through the process inside the terminal while we stood outside.

And as usual, the security personnel would occasionally ward off those left behind to the side streets. It's prohibited to linger there. When they would come near us, I would tell them that our car is on our way up the terminal to fetch us. And the others would get driven off.

That is another sad part of going to the departure area. Our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are being touted as the modern heroes, and yet being at the departure area reminds me of these two things:

- they fall in line outside embassies, under the sun, with no seats, and
- their relatives get shooed off the airport terminal, with no regard for the feelings of these people.

I haven't seen the new airport yet, but I believe Terminal 1 is poorly constructed. It's there to facilitate the transport of people, but it is not designed to be people-friendly.

Sorry, I really had to rant about that airport part. I think it's really despicable the way they ask people to leave the departure area.

Now where was I? Oh, yes. My brother will be out of the country for 2 years. So until then, I hope he's there now safe and sound. See you in 2008, Dodi.

12 July 2006

Happy 2nd Anniversary to me!

Last year sometime in June, I said to myself I will celebrate my one-year anniversary on July! Well, that came and went.

Last month, I said to myself I will celebrate my second-year anniversary on July! July 2 came and went! Oh well. It's been a very very busy month. I will try to make time and celebrate before July comes and goes.

I went back to my first post and I said:


I've been hearing about this blog thing a couple of years now but didn't realize how easy it is to get one til I checked out Google services (I was looking for gmail).

Anyhow, I'll be posting photos and my thoughts on movies and whatever things I wanna write about. I'm gonna love this."

Well, I think for the most part, I have been blogging more about food and places than movies. :-) But one thing is true: I love blogging.

I love the way I am able to write my thoughts and share it with my ever-growing circle of blog friends.
I love sharing my adventures and experiences.
I love visiting other blogs all over the world!
Lotsa love!

It's been a year of surprises and fun. Here's to more blog posts, and more friends!

11 July 2006

Books in the Walled City

My wife went to Manila at around the same time I left Baguio last Monday early morning. She's off to a business trip: there's a Book Fair at Intramuros running until Friday this week and she's off with some of the library staff to purchase books and update the school's collection.

Yesterday afternoon, most of her colleagues went back to Baguio, and her only companion left decided to stay in the place of one of the book agencies. So I asked her to spend the night in the pad instead. She was concerned about how to get to Intramuros today because she did not want to take a cab by her lonesome. So I volunteered to go with her before I went to work. Yipee!

So after breakfast, we were off to Intramuros, the Walled City. I have been there a couple of times before but each time the place gives me thrill. It's like walking into the past. Old-style houses, the Churches, security personnel clothed looking like it was the Spanish era still (guardia sibil!), and cobblestone streets greet you.
I was thinking of staying only for a short while but when we entered the Book Fair, oh wow! Books and books everywhere! Sure, most are meant for academic institutions, but still there are loads of reference and craft books, general science and art, literature and documentaries! I started to roam around while my wife went around to choose books and pay for purchases. It felt so good to be around books again. Yeah, I can be quite a nerd sometimes.
I asked my wife to buy this book (sorry, no budget right now) with the promise to pay her back on salary day: The Idiot's Guide to winning Customer Loyalty at P1,062.00 and Beadwork and Ribbons (this is for her) at P1,800.00. Yeah, the prices are quite steep but they give bulk discount to schools. And a couple of Discovery Channel video CDs. Wait, I don't have a TV and player at home... good thing I have this laptop I can bring along at home ;-).
Whoops! It's lunchtime! Time flies when you're having fun! One of the book agents went with us to lunch and whisked us off to Barbara's, a rather fancy restaurant. Oooh. It's has a nice, old-fashioned ambience about it: from the stairs going to the restaurant proper, to the chairs and decor.

When we savoured the sumptous sinigang (sour soup) to start the meal, I knew we were in for a flavorful treat. And it was. A variety of pancit, fried lumpia, seaweed salad, eggplant with fish paste, caldereta, fish, and guinataan and pichi-pichi for desert.

After a quick stop to the Book Fair to say my goodbyes, we visited nearby San Agustin Church. Whoopeedoo. I forgot to take a photo of the facade. The church was spacious and exuded solemnity. Outside, some rosary vendors tried selling us some of their wares while nearby foreign tourists listened to their tour guide while they slowly exited the Church.

A couple of SMS messages and calls from the office reminded me that I should really be heading back. So here I am, blogging about this not-so-ordinary day!

10 July 2006

A life without Television

When I moved most of my things to Baguio last month, along with these went my beloved television. It was my companion for 6 or so years, and it gave me wonderful couch-potato moments after work. The local channels, Discovery, HBO, Star, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network ... what fun!

In my new place, I only rent a room which is part of a bigger pad. My companion has two TV sets: one in his room, and another in the living. But I hesitate to open the one in the living room. I have gotten so accustomed to having my own TV that using others' set is quite disconcerting. What if there's a power surge and the TV explodes? Wat if I drop the remote control and it get broken into a million pieces? What if I fall asleep in front of the TV and he arrives to see me there? What if I suddenly get this impulse to buy something from the TV Shopping Network? How paranoid can you get?

I have never really been accustomed to using other people's things so there. I now spend my nights fixing up the place (which until now, is a bit on the chaotic side), or lie in bed and get comfy with my books. All the Harry Potters and the Reader's Digests have found a new home in Baguio City. I have the latest issue of National Geographic, some odd magazines given me or bought at the 7-11, and my timeless Dilbert books.

Sure, I miss Television and the lazy entertainment it provides. But I have rediscovered the lazy entertainment books are now giving me as well! Plus, books don't consume electricity! Oh, it does. I need light to read.

Hmmm... a visit to Books for Less should give me new material to read. I do hope the next Harry Potter book comes in soon. So until I can afford to buy a new TV, hello bed and books!

Photo credit: ISleepInADrawer.com

06 July 2006

Nang dahil sa kumukutitap na kulisap

This month's topic at Blogkadahan (a group blog) is about leisure moments. What do you do during your free time?

I wrote a piece about my latest interest: trekking. It's written in Filipino [I get to write a lengthy piece in my local language once a month through Blogkadahan :-)]

Head on over to Blogkadahan for my piece entitled "Nang dahil sa kumukutitap na kulisap."

And visit the posts of the other blogkadahan members for their doodles, paintings, and quiet-time activities!

04 July 2006

Blood! Aargh

We had our annual physical exam a couple of weekends ago. It was not something I look forward to every year. Not because I'm hiding an illness. It's the blood-letting part that I dislike. Everytime we go through the blood extraction process every year, I pray that Medical technology has already come up with a way to study whatever they have to study in the blood without having to get a sample. But every year I have to sit still while they get hold of my cold, numb finger and prick it. I've watched too many Star Trek sickbays, I guess.

This year was even worse. They're no longer coming to our office as they have done years before. We have to go to their office to complete the check-up. And guess what. Instead of the usual prick on the finger, they now need a syringe of blood! Arrgh.

So one Friday morning found me at the office of our medical insurance agency, waiting for my time to face the needle. A couple of agonizing hours later, they called me in. I looked at the chair where I'm supposed to sit. Great. It's situated so that they get the blood on your left arm. I wanted it to be at my right arm. But wait... that's not my dominant arm so it might hurt more. So I hesitantly sat and looked away while the nurse tied up my biceps to get a vein.

A short while later I felt a sting. And then it was over. Whew.

"Is something wrong mister? Do you feel dizzy?", the nurse inquired.
"Yeah, you took too much blood, and now it has left my face" I wanted to say that but instead I said, "Sorry, I fear the sight of blood."

The nurse shrugged as she patched the wound with a couple of bandages and then I was free to go.

I carried the bandage for the rest of the day like it was a battle wound. My colleagues wondered why I didn't want to remove it but I simply shrugged and said, "why not?"

Later that night, I finally removed the bandage. Aargh. There was a gruesome black-blue violet thing happening under my skin, like there was an internal hemorrhage going on. The spot lasted for a week and a half. It's gone now, but that sort of thing happens, my colleagues related later on as they stared at my battle wound, that the nurse doesn't know how to extract blood. It figures.

Another annual check-up over. And I'm not looking forward to next year.
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