Monday, April 26, 2010

Belated Happy Earth Day!

This is coming in late but a belated Happy Earth Day to everyone!

I would've posted this earlier but the week of Earth Day was one of the busiest I've had this year so far. Our corporate social responsibility organization at work had been planning and organizing a charity run for months, and one of our two beneficiaries is the environmental NGO Haribon (the other is Kythe, an NGO that helps pediatric patients). These two NGOs were our beneficiaries in last year's charity run and we decided to keep them as beneficiaries this year. Since we knew already that the run would be in support of Haribon, we scheduled the event on April 24, around the same time as Earth Day (April 22), making it our official Earth Day event this year.

I also thought it would be a good idea to get Haribon to give an environmental talk as part of the Earth Day celebration. We invited employees who were interested to learn more about what Haribon does and what we can do to help the environment. To make sure that all interested parties could attend these talks, I organized one session in each of our three office sites. The talks turned out to be really good. One of the most interesting things I learned is that people who drive, jet-set, and use a lot of electrical appliances and equipment like air conditioners and computers need to plant nineteen (19) trees a year to compensate for the carbon footprint they leave behind. (So it seems I still have a lot of catching up to do!)

Interestingly enough, I've been learning a lot more about how to care for the environment better in the last few weeks. Our Earth Hour campaign back in March led me to do some research on ec0-friendly products since we wanted to give special prizes out to a couple of Earth Hour participants. We ended up buying stuff from Echo Store. If you check out their website, you will see that their products are environment friendly, sustain marginalized, indigenous and creative communities, support poverty alleviation programs, are created with fair labor practices, are animal-friendly, and express Filipino design excellence. They have a store in Serendra and a smaller one in Podium.

The environmental sustainability focus area of our CSR org is now working on doing research on proper waste disposal. Hopefully we can identify partners that correctly dispose of different types of waste - i.e. food waste, cans, plastic bottles, paper, and electronic waste - and work with them. Not sure if our research will amount to anything but if I do learn something useful, I'll post it here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap

This song is called "Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap. This particular video includes the lyrics so you can appreciate the poetry while enjoying the music.

uploaded in youtube by user LaterDayzz

If it sounds familiar, it's because the bridge (or well I think it's the bridge lol) was used prominently in Jason Derulo's monster hit 'Whatcha Say'. I actually discovered 'Hide and Seek' while listening to 'Whatcha Say' on youtube and I've been a huge, huge fan of it ever since.

I can't be totally sure what the song mean as these kinds of lyrics can always be interpretated in a variety of ways. But a lot of people tend to agree that it's about a relationship that has ended - maybe even a marriage ending in divorce - due to someone cheating. Whether or not this is correct, the song is definitely very well written and the use of the vocoder to add multiple harmonies using Imogen's own voice makes this piece very unique.

A lot of fans of this song hate the fact that 'Whatcha Say' sampled it and ruined it for them or that a lot of people sometimes think that 'Hide and Seek' sampled 'Whatcha Say' (instead of the other way around). I can understand the displeasure of these fans but on the plus side, if not for Derulo, I most likely would not have discovered 'Hide and Seek' and would've been deprived of appreciating this incredibly beautiful song.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The drought is over!

Finally! After 11 months of quarterfinal, semifinal and final appearances without a title, Rafa Nadal finds his feet on - what else? - clay and wins the Monte Carlo Masters for the 6th time in a row. So not only does Rafa finally win a tournament, but he tied or broke a couple of records along the way. He is now tied for the record of most Monte Carlo titlesand holds the record for most Monte Carlo titles in a row. On top of that, he now holds the ATP record for winning a tournament the most years in a row in the Open Era. That he lost only 14 games en route to the title - and I think this is also a tournament record in terms of least games lost - gives me hope that he is now back to his winning ways. I am keeping my fingers crossed that he reclaims the French Open a few weeks from now.

To add to the good news, Jenson Button wins his second F1 race this season. It's only the fourth race so far so his two wins now put him ahead in the drivers championships.

Now I just hope Liverpool manage to beat West Ham at home. If that happens, it'll be another perfect sporting weekend. :)

ETA: So Liverpool did beat West Ham 3-0. Awesome.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bills, bills, bills

So I met up with my friends Mitch, Joyce, and Iona and among the many things we discussed while catching up was the fact that Mitch's electric bill apparently increased by about 50-60% from the previous month. Iona said that apparently, this isn't an isolated case as everyone has had to deal with having to pay 50-150% more than they did in the previous month for electricity.

When I got home, my bill was waiting for me. And just as we had discussed, I now had to pay about 150% more than I did in March. Not good news. I don't know if this now means electricity will continue to cost this much, or whether things will go back to normal some time soon. In the meantime, I guess I just have to start saving more. Cheaper food and less gimmicks, here I come! LOL

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Birthday celebration

Happy birthday to my lola! Normally, Nanay as we call her celebrates her birthday in their house, but this year, it was decided that we would celebrate by having dinner in Tita Ace's house. And boy was did we have a massive dinner. Tito Sandro bought lumpia ubod while Tita Ace prepared grilled chicken, fried fillet dory, and lengua. My grandparents and Tita Tuds brought lumpia and a cake, while I brought bread pudding from La Cocina De Tita Moning (I had to pick it up from the resto in San Rafael the day before, but I was immensely pleased that I managed to find my way there without getting lost after driving there only one before). It's too bad that Tito Lito, Troy and Tracy weren't there to complete the extended family, but it was a really good celebration. Needless to say, I switched to 'baboy' mode yet again and stuffed myself.

Which reminds me, I really need to get back to the gym soon as I am now heavier than I have ever been in the past. I was able to go to the gym fairly regularly in early March but I have gotten so busy the last few weeks that I am unable to find time for the gym. I have been working to get my schedule cleared out next week though, so hopefully by then I can start getting fit again (and getting ready for my 7th marathon which will most likely be in March).

Saturday, April 10, 2010

High school reunion

I met up with Ed, one of my really close friends back in high school, last Thursday night. It was his first time back in Manila since 2004 and Thursday night was apparently the only day he could meet up with us since the rest of the time would be spent with his family or on out-of-town trips. So Joyce and Suzanne made an event of it and organized a batch reunion so Ed could get to see as many of our high school batchmates in one night.

It didn't start out all that well actually, and I almost didn't make it. Dinner was supposed to start at 7pm. But I had so much work to do last week and with Friday being a holiday, I ended up working until around 815pm. Suzanne's email, which I read very briefly earlier in the week, indicated that dinner would be in Abe so I rush to Serendra hoping traffic wouldn't be too bad. Thankfully it wasn't so at 8:45pm, I text Joyce to say that I had just parked in The Fort and would be walking over to Abe. Joyce then calls me and tells me that I was in the wrong place and that dinner was actually in Abe Trinoma. Whaaaat?? I was so busy this week that I didn't pay enough attention to the details of Suzanne's email and it slipped my mind that there was more than one Abe in Metro Manila!!

I was so tired and stressed out at that point and was ready pass on dinner (I figured I could try to meet up with Ed some other time before he flew back to Canada) but Ed talked to me on the phone and convinced me to still follow. I arrive in Trinoma shortly past 10pm. A few folks left shortly after I arrived - after all, it had been almost 3 1/2 hours since dinner started - and so about 9 or 10 of us were left behind. It was kinda good though, because the smaller crowd meant that I could catch up with Ed and everyone else there a bit more.

We stayed in Abe until midnight which was about an hour past closing time I think so I told Joyce to leave a big tip. We then stayed outside for about 15 more minutes until Ed's brother arrived to pick him up. It kinda sucked that I was late and ended up in the wrong venue but I was really glad that I still joined them coz it allowed me to take a really fun trip down memory lane and catch up with really good friends.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Legion of Extraodinary Dancers

I saw the Legion of Extraordinary Dancers perform last night on season 6 of "So you think you can dance" and was so impressed by them that I just had to dig up the video on youtube. Everything about this number is sensational. Check it out!!

uploaded in youtube by user RickeyTVX

Wow. Just, wow.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! The long weekend is over but I hope you had a great Easter celebration. I certainly did.

First, my mom and I took my nephews to Shang Mall to attend their Easter event. The plan was for us to leave at around 1030-11am so we could have lunch in the mall but I got up late so we ended up getting there a few minutes past 1 pm (the event was from 1 to 4pm, although registration was from 1 to 2pm). The good thing was that there all participants had free hotdogs, pork choplets, fries, popcorn, ice cream and cotton candy. So at least my nephews got to eat when we got there. There were a few games at 2pm then the magic show of Lou Hilario started after the games. At 3pm, we left the magic show to go around the mall for the Easter Treasure Hunt, which was really like Trick-or-treating since we were given a map to the shops where we could get goodies. We made our way back to the venue by around 3:40 to get the giveaways before heading to the cinema area where we had 4pm tickets for Clash of the Titans.

The cool thing about the Shang Mall is that they have new digital cinemas which means that there were a couple of 3D cinemas (Clash of the Titans and How to train your dragon were both on 3D) whereas most other places have only one 3D theater. While our tickets cost P320, it came with free popcorn and softdrinks so the tickets here were actually cheaper than in other cinemas. The movie itself was good (although i think it would be just as good to watch it on 2D - I didn't think being on 3D added much value to the film-viewing experience), and it made sense for us to watch it since my nephews have recently gotten into mythology.

After watching the movie, we headed over to Quantum so my nephews could play some arcade games. We spent most of the time on the bowling game which earned us a lot more tickets. We combined our newly-earned tickets with the 400 or so we already had from before, which left us with 626 tickets. My nephews used up about 520 of them to get prizes so we still have 106 left that we can use next time.

We then heard Easter mass and then headed home where we had dinner - I bought yang chow fried rice and lemon chicken from Flavors of China and sisig from Sisig Hooray on the way home.

It was around 10pm when things finally settled down, and since my nephews and I went swimming on Black Saturday, I was utterly exhausted by the end of the long weekend. But I wouldn't have it any other way, it was definitely worth it