Tuesday, August 31, 2010


So I now have a new record in terms of blogging: 28 blog posts in the month of August. That is the most number of posts I've made in a single month since I started my blog more than 5 years ago. So cool!

I was actually gunning for one post a day but August has been one of the busiest months I've had this entire year so I missed out on a couple of days. Despite that, I still manage 10 more posts than my previous record of 18 (back when I was stationed in Sweden). I may still go for a perfect record of one post a day in a month, but I may rest a bit first. :)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Second Wind

Happy National Heroes day to all Filipinos!

I was very thankful for this holiday as it gave me an extra day off which brought with it some much needed rest. Last week I was averaging 5 hours of sleep a night so thankfully I was able to get more than 8 hours of sleep every night of this long weekend.

The extra day off also allowed me to finally drop by Second Wind, the running store I've been meaning to visit for a while now. With running being very popular in the Philippines, a lot of running stores are coming out of the woodwork. Probably the most popular one is Runnr in Bonifacio High Street. When I went there a few months ago, I ran on the treadmill to have my gait analyzed. It's such a cool concept where they can look at how you run and suggest the best running shoe for you, but I was very turned off when after my gait analysis, they offered me the most expensive running shoe! It made me feel like the gait analysis was useless because whatever the result, they would've sold that shoe to me.

So when my friend Alvin told me about Second Wind and how the folks in that store actually give you several options with different price ranges, I felt it was a much better option.

And true enough, it was. When I arrived, the guy there, Neville Manaois, asked me a few questions - how often do I run, what distances do I normally cover during training, what running shoe did I use before, etc. He then took a look at my foot and at the sole of my flip-flop to see where the wear-and-tear was. He mulled over the information for a bit then asked for a few pairs of shoes to be brought out - one Asics, one Brooks, and one New Balance. I try them all on and they all feel pretty good and I said, "I don't know which one to choose!" He then told me that I should just opt for the cheapest one, the Asics Gel 1150, which was a couple hundred pesos cheaper than the Brooks pair and more than a thousand bucks cheaper than the New Balance pair. So after buying my Nike cross-trainers the other day, I now have a pair of Asics Gel 1150 running shoes:

Listening to Neville explain what shoe I needed (apparently I needed stability; all this time I had been using shoes that provide motion control) along with the pluses and minuses of each shoe which he knew by heart made it clear to me how much of a running expert he was. The fact that he suggested I pick the least expensive pair also gave me the impression he was more interested in ensuring that I have an overall good running experience instead of earning more money from me. Needless to say, I stepped out of Second Wind with one of the best purchasing experiences I've ever had.

Second Wind has two branches: one in Teacher's Village and one in Ortigas Home Depot. If you need new running shoes, I suggest you visit one of these two stores:

Second Wind QC
88 Maginhawa Street, Teachers Village QC
Tel No. 7992089

Second Wind Pasig
Ortigas Home Depot. Julia Vargas Avenue. Pasig
Tel No: 9140283

Operating hours:
Monday – Friday: 11am - 7pm
Saturday: 12nn - 6pm

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Food trip

Got to try three new restaurants over the last four days. Stuffed myself while I was at it. :)


On Thursday night, I had dinner with my friends Walter and Tim in Charlie's Grind and Grill. The original restaurant is located in Kapitolyo but they opened a new branch along Ortigas avenue (Greenhills side) and that's where we went for our meal. I've read good reviews about the food here but I have to say I was a bit disappointed since the food didn't live up to expectations. The buffalo wings were so-so, the fish in the fish and chips didn't seem very fresh, and the meatballs in the meatballs marinara on pasta was a bit too soft and mushy. The chili fries was the best thing we ordered that night.

Of course, Charlie's Grind and Grill is supposed to be known for its burgers and we didn't have one so I will make sure to try one of their burgers (like the Black Angus burger or the Shroom burger which I really want to try) or their cheese steaks in my next trip.


I met up with my friends Joh, Raffa, and Me-ann on Saturday night. We hadn't seen each other for a while - probably since Lexi's baptism! - and since Joh just celebrated her birthday recently, it was a good time for us to meet up. I've been meaning to try Mr. Jones in Greenbelt 5 and when Joh told me it had also been in their to-try list for a while, our venue was very quickly set.

It was a very good choice too! All four of us enjoyed the dishes we ordered. I had the Big Mama's Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf, Me-ann ordered the Wicked Truffled Mac 'n' Cheese, Joh had the 1/2" Thick Double-Smoked Bacon and Eggs, and Raffa ordered the US Beef Ribcap Tapa and Garlic Overload. And the serving sizes are pretty big! We all wanted to have dessert after our meal but there just wasn't any room left after. Even hours later when I was in Reserve having drinks with other friends I still couldn't eat anything.


We celebrated my nephew Ciera's birthday on Sunday. The initial plan was for us to have dinner in La Maison Café in Greenbelt 5 but there was some kind of function there when we arrived so we had to switch restos. So we went down one floor and had a celebration meal in Restaurante Pia Y Damaso. The cuisine is mainly Filipino (or Colonial Filipino as I've read) and we ordered a lot of it: Beef Shortribs Rioja, Chicken Pastel, Tapang Usa, Pork Belly with Chorizo and Chickpeas, and Lengua Sevillana. We also ordered paella, catfish adobo, and snails (i checked the online menus and couldn't find the "official" names of these last three dishes). It was my other nephew CJ who actually ordered the snails which definitely proves that my nephews don't have the same food preferences as most other kids their age (or even most other adults for that matter!)

The desserts were also quite exceptional. Ciera ordered the ube macapuno cake, my grandfather ordered Pepay the Dancer's halo-halo and shared it with my brother, CJ tried some kind of leche flan-type dessert (can't remember what it was called), and I ordered both Sisa's Dementia and Ibarra's Kiss for everyone else to share. I absolutely loved the last two chocolate-based desserts and it went perfectly with the really good coffee they had there.


The only downside to this food trip is that I tried three new restos but took no photos hehe. Maybe next time I have a camera with me the next time I get to visit these places.

Friday, August 27, 2010

My new cross-trainers

I haven't had any exercise in almost two months (the last time being my marathon last July 4!!). I've been having some cash flow problems recently so I didn't want to make a big purchases (by big, I mean items that cost a couple thousand bucks) until I got my finances sorted out, and since I broke my running shoes during the marathon, I couldn't hit the gym until I got myself a new pair.

With all the extra inches I'm gaining around my waist, I decided to start weight training again and alternate it with running and hopefully get back to a much more desirable level of fitness. I've read that you aren't supposed to use running shoes for anything else except running, so I figured I needed cross-trainers as well.

I saw this really cool pair of Nike cross-trainers in the Nike shop in Powerplant but it cost almost P5000 so I didn't want to buy it then. Which was a smart thing to do because I saw the same pair in Toby's Sports in Megamall. Toby's is currently having an anniversary sale (started last August 13 and runs until September 19) and the pair I wanted, the Nike Air Trainer 1 Low SL Men's training shoe, was on sale at 30% off! I decided to get it then and there. This is what my new shoes look like (it's the same model but I have a different color):

The only problem now is that I am really liking my new trainers and I don't want to mess them up by using them for working out LOL. Maybe I can just start using my Nike Frees for my trips to the gym and I can use my new trainers as my new casual shoes. :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Going through my Ipod

My old-school 30 Gb Ipod has been with me for more than 3 years now and I have about 20 Gb worth of music in it. However, I tend to listen to my favorite albums, favorite artists, or favorite songs only, so there are still hundreds or maybe even thousands of songs in my Ipod that I haven't listened to even once.

As such, I recently decided to make sure I go through every song in my Ipod. I started listening to songs in alphabetical order (by song title) a couple of weeks. I don't get to listen to my ipod everyday, but when I do, I probably listen to it for about 2-5 hours. Given that, I'm still at songs starting with letter 'B' (the last song I heard was 'Built to last' by Melee). I reckon I still have close to 400 hours worth of songs to listen to before I'm done! LOL

Anyways, here's one of the most played songs in my Ipod: Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's extraordinarily soulful version of "Over the Rainbow". I never thought a song accompanied only by a ukulele could move me!

video uploaded in youtube by user mountainapplecompany

(Oh and if this arrangement sounds familiar, it's because this version was covered by Jason Castro while he was on American Idol and was also performed by Mr. Schuester and Puck in Glee.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Meeting up with Ching and John

My good friends Ching and John were in town for the weekend. I got a text from John on Friday to inviting me to meet up that same night but unfortunately I was already booked pretty much the entire weekend. Thankfully, they were in town until Thursday.

I managed to have dinner with them in Kabisera by Dencio's on Monday night. It was actually sort of a family dinner - having dinner with us were Ching's parents and her sister Kathy who is also a really good friend of mine. But I guess since Ching and John didn't have a lot of time in Manila, they decided to extend the invitation (two other friends of theirs, Millie and Cy, also joined us that evening) to make sure we got to see each other while they were here.

It was really good catching up with them while they were here since it was several months since I saw them last. I also found out that Kathy is getting married next year - she has been engaged for a while but they now have a wedding date. She asked me if I could sing in her wedding and of course I said yes. She also asked me if I would mind singing along with the UP Singing Ambassadors and I told her that she shouldn't be asking me that question - rather, she should be asking the Singing Ambassadors if they were okay singing with me LOL.

It was a good night but obviously there wasn't a lot of time to catch up. Hopefully, I get to see Ching, John, and Kathy again some time soon. Maybe during the Christmas holidays.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Family time

Sunday is family day for me, as it is for most people. One of my relatives, Auntie Toots, was in Manila for a week so we had an extended family dinner in Uncle Albert's house (funny I call them Auntie and Uncle since they are both actually in the same generation as my grandparents. So I fetched my grandparents, my mom, and my nephews and we drive to Makati where Uncle Albert and Auntie Isabel live. Tita Jill and Tito Allen were also there along with their two kids. Extra tables were set up in the living room area to accommodate us all and as soon as we arrived, dinner was served.

Naturally, our dinner consisted mainly of Filipino food for the benefit of Auntie Toots and Uncle Amor who don't get to eat local cuisine very often. We had pansit malabon, Ilonggo-style lumpiang ubod, barbecue, and steamed crabs, among other things. My nephew CJ especially enjoyed the dinner since he loves crabs - he ended up having three whole ones! For dessert, we had mango cake and ice cream.

After dinner, my second cousins played some music to provide some post-meal entertainment. Nicolas played the violin while Mikaela played the piano. My grandfather and Uncle Albert then took over and played the piano and violin, respectively. It was around 930pm when we decided to call it a night since my nephews still had school the next day. Auntie Toots and Uncle Amor were staying in their friend's house and since it was along the way, we dropped them off.

It was a tiring night for sure as I had to drive all over the metro (twice!) but I really wouldn't have it any other way as it is such a joy to be able to take my family out every weekend.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Psycho Killer by Talking Heads

Had a dream that our band org at work performed this song in a company event. Would be cool if we eventually do as this song is so kick-ass! Not sure though if we'll ever be allowed to sing a song about psycho killers LOL.

video uploaded in youtube by user paulharris1967

If this old school rock tune sounds familiar to you, it might be because a slower and much more haunting cover version of this song was used in the TV series "Dexter". Either that or you have watched Dilana sing it in Rockstar Supernova.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Road(block) to the US Open

Rafa Nadal has never really had much success after Wimbledon. The fast hard courts in North America seem to be his bane, and they continue to remain his Achilles heel as he is ousted in the quarterfinals of the Cincinnati Masters by Marcos Baghdatis. That this is the first time Baghdatis has beaten Nadal is not a good sign, but Rafa did lose to Feliciano Lopez in the quarterfinals of the event before Wimbledon this year and it didn't matter. Hopefully, he can find the form that gave him two Grand Slam titles this year and finally win the only Slam title that's missing from his trophy cabinet. It's a tall order but I'm still keeping my fingers crossed...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Visiting PGH

My 7th marathon for a cause was completed a little more than a month ago but it normally takes a few months (or more) to collect all the pledges. I've collected about P30,000 so far - half of the total pledges - so I dropped by PGH to make a partial donation.

Due to a lot of after-the-fact pledges that came in after July 4, my marathon-for-a-cause will rake in almost P70,000 for the PGH internal medicine wards. There are still a whole lot of pledges that need to be collected (which reminds me, my friend Anna who now lives in Singapore will be coming to Manila in a couple of weeks so maybe my "pledgers" based in SG can send their donations through her...). But dozens of people will receive medical assistance from these funds so all my efforts to run, raise funds, and collect pledges will be absolutely worth it. :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Moving on

I was surprised to find out that Melina Kanakaredes won't be returning to Season 7 of CSI New York. Stella Bonasera, the character she plays, is my favorite in the series and it will be unfortunate not to see her with the rest of the gang anymore. Apparently, it was her choice not to return after 6 seasons. Her contract was up and CBS was offering her a new deal but she decided not to renew.

She will be replaced by Sela Ward when the first episode of season 7 starts on September 24. The dynamic is certainly going to change, but CSI Las Vegas managed to successfully introduce Laurence Fishburne, who replaced William Peterson (Gil Grissom). So I am certain things will turn out just fine in CSI New York.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Awesome mash-up of 2009 hits

I heard this back in early 2010 and I heard it again recently on 92.3. It's a really cool mash-up of hits from 2009 Created by DJ Earworm. Check it out:

video created by djearworm

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hard court season

Andy Murray won the Rogers Cup title on Sunday, and notched three firsts along with it: (1) he won his first title of 2010, (2) he beat both Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer in the same tournament for the first time (he did this feat last year but it was in exhibition), and (3) he becomes the first man to defend the Rogers Cup since Andre Agassi did it in 1995. While I am disappointed that Rafa lost, I still have high hopes that he can find his stride on the hard courts in the next few weeks and finally break through in Flushing Meadow and notch his first US Open title.

On the women's side, Kim Clijsters saves three matchpoints to beat Maria Sharapova in Cincinnati. This is Kim's 3rd title this year, and it's quite interesting since Cincinnati is where she made her comeback last year. This come-from-behind title victory must give Clijsters a lot of confidence going into the US Open, which she has won twice before.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Belated birthday presents

I wasn't able to get my mom and my brother a gift for their respective birthdays, so I made sure that the next time I would see them (which was the Sunday after their joint birthday celebration), their presents would be ready.

For my mom, I got an orange shirt from Liz Claiborne. It took me a while to decide what I wanted to get because I wasn't sure about the size. That orange Liz Claiborne shirt caught my eye immediately since it was slightly sporty but had a classic style and cut, which means I didn't have to worry about it being age-appropriate. The problem was that the smallest size for that shirt was PS (or small) which seemed a bit too big for my mom. The Liz Claiborne shop in Shangri-La mall was on sale and I saw a few sale items that were PP (or XS) which I felt was the correct size. The catch was that if for some reason I got the size wrong, it would become a problem since sale items can only be exchanged with a different size and color (but still the same style). Since sale items had broken sizes, the right size might not be available anymore. I had to ask the staff about their exchange policy a few times (non-sale items can be exchanged with anything, including bags and even sale items, for up to 30 days as long as they are in good condition and you still have the receipt). I finally decided to get my original choice - the orange shirt. I figured that if it turned out to be too big, my mom could exchange it for other items in the shop that she could actually try on (a GC that can be used in Liz Claiborne was the more logical choice but I felt an actual shirt is was more personal). As it turns out, the size was just right for my mom. Cool!

For my brother, I got a dark blue shirt from Team Manila. I've window-shopped in Team Manila several times before and they have really great graphic designs. Unfortunately, their semi-fitted shirts don't seem to agree with my bulging belly LOL so I haven't bought any shirts there for myself. However, my brother is leaner than I am so I thought a Team Manila shirt would fit him perfectly. And as it turns out, it did.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Cav night

I always passed by Cav Wine Shop every time I'd go to Bonifacio High Street, and I always wanted to try it but I never did. That is, up until the Friday night. My friends and I wanted to try a wine bar so I suggested Cav. It looks like a pretty expensive place and we didn't want a big spending night, so I decided to drop my friends off first so they could take a look at the menu while I waited outside in car. They decided the menu seemed reasonable so I parked my car and followed them.

One major downer - the corkage! There were a lot of wine bottles that cost under P600 which made my friends decide that Cav was worth trying, but if you order a wine bottle under P1,500 and drink it in the restaurant, you have to pay a corkage fee of P300. It's written in the fine print at the bottom of each page of the wine list so my friends didn't notice it when looking at the menu and deciding that we hang out there, but at least the waiter informed us about the corkage before ordering. It momentarily doused our enthusiasm and so we decided to stick to the cheaper wines (I was looking at a more expensive bottle initially). In any case, I figured that a bottle of wine in most places costs about P700-800 or more, so we didn't pay more than what we would've spent if we ate somewhere else.

The thing that made my night, however, was the Cav card and the "wine vendo machine" (that's not the actual name - I'm just calling it that lol). The system: the wine vendo has a pretty good selection of red and white wines and you can get a taste, a half-glass, or a full glass of any of these wines. You slot your card into the machine, put your glass under the wine you have chosen, select the amount you want to have, and press the button. The card automatically gets credited and you have your wine. You pay for the total amount credited to the Cav card once you ask for the bill.

If you decide to get just a taste, it can cost as low as P35 although it really is just a few sips. However, this system worked perfectly for me because I wanted to try a lot of different wines. Even the more expensive wines that cost around P1400++ per bottle had tasting options that cost about P80-90.

One of my favorites was the Belnero Castelo Banfi Sangiovese 2006, but it was a bit too pricey for my wallet (P80 per tasting). My other favorite that night was the Salmon Creek Pinot Noir 2008 from California, and it turned out that a bottled of the Salmon Creek was "only" P660. I enjoyed it so much and thought it was priced decently that I decided I would bring a bottle of it home with me.

I ended up tasting about 6 or 7 more different wines, some of them good, some of them great, and one of them tasting awful LOL (I absolutely hated the Errazuriz Chardonnay 2009! Thank God I had only a few sips of it LOL). Add to this the bottle I got for myself, the two bottles my friends and I shared there, and the salpicao I ordered (it tasted so good with the red wine! LOL) and it's not surprising that my tab that night was really high!! I have been working my ass off the last few weeks, though, so I can consider this to be my prize to myself haha. My friends in fact said it was so nice to see me enjoying myself a lot, like a kid in a candy store LOL.

While I would rather they didn't have that whole corkage thing, there are still enough relatively inexpensive wines in the menu. And the Cav card set-up is, for me, worth trying again. I will have to save up for another trip here, and maybe I need to eat a lot before going there so I won't have to order any food from the menu, but I would certainly like to pay Cav another visit.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fantasia commits suicide?

This is such sad news. Fantasia Barrino, winner of American Idol season 3, overdosed on aspirin and other pills at home. Police seem to believe that Fantasia attempted suicide although her manager claims it wasn't.


The talk of the town is that Fantasia's alleged suicide attempt was brought about by an affair she had with Antwuan Cook, a married man. To make this episode in her life even sadder, she might now be sued by Antwuan's wife Paula.


The good news is that Fantasia was released from the hospital.


Hopefully she gets past all the issues that trouble her. Fantasia has never had an easy life, even after winning AI. But I do hope she can focus on her daughter, her family, her work, and even her fans, which should be more than enough reason for her to stay alive and remain healthy.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I've heard good reviews from people who have seen 'Salt' so I made my way to the cinema to see it. It certainly lived up to the hype. The action was great, the fight scenes cool, and the fact that the movie starred Angelina Jolie ensured that it would have more than its fair share of guys in the audience. :) Jolie definitely has the tough action woman role down pat - what with Tomb Raider and Mr. and Mrs. Smith. I can't imagine a lot of other women in Hollywood being able to pull of these kinds of roles (although Scarlett Johansson comes to mind...)

While it has all the ingredients to make it your typical action blockbuster, story-wise, its not all that typical. It had three pretty major twists, the first of which was especially surprising. That it came at a point where I was starting to think that this movie would follow in the footsteps of other films that involve hunting down the central character ensured that the film would keep me interested.

All in all, 'Salt' is really good action movie that should provide movie-goers with a good time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

10-year old Opera singer in America's Got Talent

OMG, I saw this clip on youtube and I was blown away. Close your eyes and you wouldn't believe it was coming from a 10-year old!!

video uploaded in youtube by user AmericanBestTalent

Monday, August 09, 2010

Big birthday bash

August is birthday time in my family. I was planning to take my family - including my grandparents - to Adarna for lunch. I had to put that plan on hold though because my grandparents decided to have dinner in their house to celebrate the birthdays of my brother, my cousin, my mom, my grandfather, and their household help who has been with the family for decades (we actually call her 'Mama Guading'). My nephew's birthday isn't until a few weeks for now but we celebrated it as well.

I know my grandparents like the Mango Tart in Conti's so I decided to pick one up on my way to dinner. As expected, there was more food than all of us could eat - pansit malabon, lumpia, chicken, kare-kare, paella, and a few other items. We had a lot of dessert too - apart from my Conti's mango tart, we had ice cream, an ice cream cake, and a birthday cake.

I'm still planning to bring my family to Adarna, but since my nephews have exams next week, we'll probably do it two weekends from now.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Nadal and Djokovic team up

Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic join forces as a doubles team and enter in the draw in the Rogers Cup in Toronto. This is the first time that the top 2 players in the world teamed up in doubles since Jimmy Connors and Arthur Ashe played together on the same side of the court. That was 34 years ago. (Roger Federer dropped to #3 in the world for the first time after Wimbledon. It's quite strange to talk about the top 2 players in the world and not include Federer.)

Nadal and Djokovic, however, ended up losing in their debut performance. While the result was not as good as their fans would've liked, it will be interesting to see if they decide at some point in the future to play doubles together in a Grand Slam event. That would certainly draw a huge amount of attention to doubles.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

A 'Master Class' performance by Cherie Gil

Opera: the art that combines powerful musical scores and phenomenal voices to tell stories that often end in tragedy. Opera in the 20th century gave the world a star in Maria Callas, who is one of the greatest opera singers of the 1900s (and in history). As such, it was foreseeable, even inevitable, that Callas' life would imitate art, with the highs of her international acclaim and innumerable standing ovations and curtain calls and the lows of hardship she experienced in her childhood, her relationships, and even her fame.

Maria Callas is the central character in "Master Class", a Tony award-winning play written by Terrence McNally. It is Callas' life, as well as McNally's interpretation of it, that serves as the foundation of the plot. The play is set in one of the classes given by Callas at the Juilliard School in New York from October 1971 to March 1972. The audience forms the class, and it is in front of this class that Callas teaches her students, or 'victims', as she playfully calls them. This play is currently being staged at the Carlos P. Romulo auditorium in the RCBC building and is headlined by the ageless Cherie Gil and directed by Michael Williams.

I feel very lucky to have seen this play as I didn't know that it was showing, much less what it was about, until my mom asked me if I wanted to watch it with her and my brother. In fact, my mom was actually not intending to watch it either. She was initially planning see a Cecile Licad performance, but when she was unable to get tickets, she noticed the staging of "Master Class" and thought it would be a good alternative.

An exhibit about Maria Callas was set up at the entrance area of the Carlos P. Romulo auditorium.

And a great alternative it turned out to be. "Master Class" was thoroughly entertaining on so many levels. The script was loaded with repartee and hilarious one-liners. Live performances by the students of arias from operas created by Verdi, Puccini, and Bellini provided awe-inspiring moments that added color and vibrance to the play. Callas' instruction to her students - from understanding the music and the intent of the composer to how arias should be interpreted and delivered - were both lessons on artistic performance that all singers must learn and imbibe and life lessons on how we should have passion in our lives and put 100% into the things we believe in and love the most.

And of course, there was Cherie Gil. I've always known what an incredible actress she is in movies and television, but to see her perform live was another thing altogether. She was funny, sad, strong, and vulnerable as she embodied the spirit of Maria Callas. I couldn't help but marvel at the fact that 80% of the lines in the play were hers, but it was more than her exceptional memory skills that had me raving. Her extraordinary delivery and characterization made her portrayal of a larger-than-life Maria Callas believable, relatable, and ultimately irresistible. Nowhere is this more apparent than in final monologue: Cherie went through the whole gamut of emotion as she relived Callas' glory, decline, and sacrifice, and brought the entire audience along with her. Needless to say, the standing ovation she received during curtain call was very well-deserved.

It was just such a shame that "Master Class" remains unknown to many, as was evidenced by the fact that more than half the seats in the auditorium were empty. The play will run until August 15 so if you have the funds and the time, I urge you to see it while you can. Tickets are available at Ticketworld, with prices ranging from P515 to P1,545.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Panasadiyaw in Greenbelt 3

I was meeting up with my friends Martin and Jane on Friday night to have dinner, and the initial idea was for us to have dinner in the Manila Ocean Park area. The venue changed since Martin found out that there was this dance concert entitled 'Panasadiyaw' in Greenbelt 3 that he wanted to see and Jane and I thought it would be an interesting show to watch.

'Panasadiyaw' was performed in the staging area right in front of Havana and Seattle's Best, and I have to say it was a brilliant show, one that I would definitely not have minded paying to see (the show was actually free). There were two 30-minute dances that comprised the one-hour show. The first half, 'Karga Tapas', was choreographed by Dwight Rodrigazo and performed by a dance troupe from Bacolod. The dance itself was an interpretation of a rice harvest, and you could see this clearly with the movements and even the costumes. The second half, 'Panadamlong Bulan', was choreographed by Max Luna III and showcased different freelance dancers who together performed the Pangalay, the Pangasik, and the Pangiluk. The original concept of these dances is based on the Buddhist concept of male and female celestial angels, common as characters in other Southeast Asian dances.

It was breathtaking to watch these dancers perform as their incredible grace, skill, strength, and technique were at full display. You could clearly see just how difficult most of their moves were, and the fact that they had to dance for half an hour and maintain the same power and strength they had at the start all the way 'til the end utterly amazes me. Both dances were accompanied by live music, performed by what I understand to be the former members of the Pinikpikan band, and it certainly made the show more vibrant and gave it a stronger energy.

We joined the "afterparty" since Martin was friends with some of the organizers, who invited all of us to join them for some pica pica in 'Kitchen'. We hung out there for a bit before moving to People's Palace so we could have a full-on dinner and so we could all catch up a bit more. A few of Martin's friends joined us for our late dinner as well. It was certainly a wonderful night filled with arts and culture, amazing food, and great conversation with good friends.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

I need new shoes

Running shoes, that is. I broke them after running in the marathon last July 4. I used that same pair in my last two marathons so the mileage on those shoes is probably around 400-500 kilometers already. I checked out the shoes in Runnr in Bonifacio High Street a few months ago and even did a running test (or whatever it's called). I was inclined to get a certain pair of shoes there but I wanted to get their input, and interestingly enough, they recommended the most expensive pair - P7,000!- and gave me a P5000+ pair as a secondary recommendation. It seemed that they were just intent on selling their top price items, so I passed on buying a new pair that time.

My friend Alvin who is also into running suggested that I visit Second Wind. I think the original store is in the UP Diliman area, but apparently there is another store in Ortigas Home Depot. I haven't been able to go to the gym recently because I have no athletic shoes, so I need pay a visit to Second Wind one of these days.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Perfect Strangers

Back in the 80s, one of my favorite TV shows was 'Perfect Strangers'. The premise is that Balki Bartokomous, played by Bronson Pinchot, moves from Mypos (a fictional country) to the US and ends up staying with his distant cousin Larry Appleton, played by Mark Linn-Baker. With a lot of cultural and even behavioral differences, Balki and Larry end up in a lot of fun and funny situations.

I enjoyed this show so much that when I discovered that Seasons 1 and 2 of this series were now available on Amazon (I know that it wasn't for years), I made sure to get a copy.

Obviously, this sit-com is about 2 decades old so some of the gags are a bit dated, but I still find it really funny and entertaining. This is due in large part to the lead characters (and of course the actors who play them) and how they are developed as the story progresses.

On top of that, Perfect Strangers one of the the best theme song of any TV show I have ever watched. Check it out:

video uploadd in youtube by Robby520

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

My brother's birthday

My brother Clemence celebrated his birthday today so I suggested that since my nephews get out of school at around 3:45pm, they could just head to the Ortigas area and we could all have dinner at around 6pm. I suggested that we meet up in Shangri-La Mall so that my nephews could hang out in Quantum if they go their early.

As it turns out, we all arrive there around the same time. We ended up going to Sumo Sam. My nephew CJ looked through the menu and suggested that we get "The Arena", a platter that contains served with gyoza, beef yakitori, oyster teppan, mixed tempura, chicken teriyaki, tuna sashimi, salmon sashimi, yasaitame, kani sashimi, and Japanese fried rice.

picture taken from the Sumo Sam facebook page

CJ suggested "The Arena" because he wanted the kani sashimi. Since this platter is good for four, we also ordered gyoza (half of them fried and the other half steamed), seafood yakiudon, and another bowl of Japanese rice.

When our food arrived, CJ tried even the tuna sashimi - he liked the first bites and took another one then decided it wasn't to his liking - squid sashimi (or was it cuttlefish?) which he enjoyed. The interesting thing was that both CJ and my other nephew Ciera enjoyed the oyster teppan! I myself am not a big fan of oysters but the oyster teppan they served was actually quite good and well seasoned. Ciera even said that his favorite dishes were the gyoza and the oyster. This just proves that my nephews tend to prefer "adult food" to kids' food. (I mean, they'd pick fish and chops and pasta with pesto sauce over fried chicken and spaghetti on any given day!)

After dinner, we did end up going to Quantum. I tried the ball drop game and my ball luckily dropped into the 75-point hole, thus earning my 75 tickets. CJ was even luckier as his ball dropped into the Jackpot hole, earning him 100 tickets. A lot more arcade games later and we called it a night. My mom and my grandfather are celebrating their birthdays in a few days so we will be celebrating again on Sunday. Am definitely looking forward to that.

Monday, August 02, 2010

American Idol shake-up

We all know that Simon Cowell won't be sitting as a judge on the next season of American Idol. But as it turns out, Ellen DeGeneres, who made her debut appearance on the show last season, won't be coming back. Read more about it here. It seems she will be replaced by Jennifer Lopez.

But on top of that, there are rumors that Kara DioGuardi won't be coming back as a judge either. There is no confirmation on this just yet, but if it does happen, you'd have only one familiar face on the judging table and a lot of new ones. I'm not sure if this is something the viewing public will appreciate, particularly since the judges play a large part in the show and it will take some time for new people to build rapport with the audience.

Makes me wonder how this will all play out. Not that it matters. I glossed over the last season, and I don't think that I'll be tuning into the next one any more than I did in the last.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Disaster for McLaren

The Hungarian GP did no favors for McLaren as a gearbox failure caused Lewis Hamilton to retire from the race and drop to 2nd place in the Drivers Championship. Mark Webber returns to the top spot after winning his 4th race this season. With Jenson Button finishing 9th and Sebasian Vettel finishing 3rd - could've been 2nd if not for the penalty he incurred late in the race - Red Bull Racing also edge past McLaren in the Constructor's Championship.

Up next: the Belgian Grand Prix. McLaren have three weeks to sort things out. Especially now that Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa of Ferrari are starting to peak.